According to Computer Weekly, 53% of respondents to a 2018 survey said that enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) were priority areas for investment. Being able to integrate the two systems is becoming a solution more and more in demand as companies strive to gain full visibility of their entire sales lifecycle.
A digital transformation can help your company gain efficiencies in critical business processes maintain tight control of workflows. Investing in ERP and CRM software enables those goals, and integrating the two systems is becoming a priority for IT managers, CMOs, and COOs.
What is ERP software?
ERP centralizes and simplifies your business processes and data-driven workflows, from order history and fulfillment to planning and scheduling. Comprehensive ERP software helps to streamline processes and manage the critical parts of your enterprise. Your ERP runs in your back-end, doing all of the behind-the-scenes work.
What is CRM software?
CRM helps track customer data, purchases and contact information, employing analytics to develop better insights into your customers for next best actions to retain them, improve their lifetime value (LTV), and increase referrals. Your CRM is visible on your front-end, coordinating interactions with customers and facilitating sales.
Integrating your ERP and CRM
Integrating the two systems will help you link purchase history, shipping and billing data, and other financial information with supply chain management tools, inventory and fulfillment data. An integration will involve connecting and synchronizing your ERP software to your CRM to enable automated and consistent information sharing between both systems. This creates what is known as a single source of truth; what your customers see on your website will match inventory in real time.
Benefits of ERP/CRM integration
An ERP-CRM integration architecture can allow you to:
Gain true, end-to-end visibility of your business processes, including sales, support, marketing and general customer data, aggregated across your enterprise and easily accessible for decision-making on how to maintain and improve customer business relationships.
Automate workflows for enhanced productivity, minimized data duplication (thanks to un-siloed data) and greater worker productivity as attention can now be focused on more important customer-facing tasks.
Promote cross-departmental collaboration by connecting and integrating your front-end and back-end employees and uniting them. With the ability to access real-time data on demand, everyone is on the same page.
Achieve faster sales approvals, thanks to the ability to provide same-day signing and expedited contract processes. When your data can be viewed and verified in real time, delays can be shrunk to a minimum.
Information-Age notes that integrating your systems can give you a 360-degree view of your customer journey, helping you identify bottlenecks and facilitate transactions.
The challenge to ER/CRM integration
The biggest challenge will be standardizing all your data across your business processes. Each system you plan to connect must be capable of accepting the data being exchanged, meaning data cleaning, formatting, and transformation to support various formats. You'll need to scrub your data sets of duplicates or inactive customers, segmenting your audiences and cleaning up all of your customer data for optimized use.
When all of your data systems work together and speak the same language, it gets easier to map the customer journey and create upsell and cross-sell opportunities. If your inventory is delivered in real time, you can steer customers to similar products instead of losing them at fulfillment. By integrating your ERP and CRM systems, you can bring your enterprise closer to being able to scale and improve your bottom line.
As you get your software in order, don't forget your hardware. Perle can help you establish the framework to support your infrastructure. Read our customer success stories today.
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