Many organizations implement ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software separately. But with separate systems for ERP and CRM, you will constantly have to worry about the quality and completeness of data used by employees in their decision-making.
A 360-degree view of your customers
Whether it is the account manager who completes a sales deal, administration who sends out an invoice or the technician who carries out a service job; every customer interaction is important information for your company. For a complete insight into your customer, you need to register all interactions in the same system. This enables you to provide the best service and to take the best decisions based on complete information. A service technician can hear something during his visit that is interesting for the sales department, then it is nice to work in the same system. And for a salesperson, information about the payment behavior and creditworthiness of the customer can be important when discussing a deal. Integrated ERP and CRM provide a 360-degree view of your customers, so that all your employees always have a complete view of the customer.
"Customers will only need to explain things one single time to you, and they know that every employee of yours they speak with is aware of what is going on."
Improved customer experience
The improved IT infrastructure within your organization by integrating ERP and CRM contributes to a better customer experience. Customers will only need to explain things one single time to you, and they know that every employee of yours they speak with is aware of what is going on. The account manager comes to visit and he or she already knows about the problems that were detected during a service visit earlier that day. Or: after asking a question to the service technician, sales support calls a little later to answer the question. Customers feel more valued, experience a personal approach and are helped faster.
Time savings and lower costs
Looking at costs and efficiency, integrated ERP and CRM offer enormous benefits. No more double data entry and no longer a need to check two different systems. Start a conversation with the customer fully informed and ensure a proactive and personal approach. Being able to act faster in the case of problem or complaints, but also when there are commercial opportunities. And lower IT and overhead costs by working in only one system. That means less time required for training and support to employees, lower maintenance costs and it will be easier to upgrade to new product versions.
A major challenge is that the requirements for ERP within the organization are completely different from the requirements for CRM. In some cases, the requirements may even be contradictory, for example the desired structure in ERP versus freedom and flexibility in CRM. Nevertheless, in view of the above advantages, it is wise to investigate the possibilities of an integrated environment.
Philip van Kemenade is marketing manager at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.