When your company is small and you’re only working with a handful of employees and clients, managing a variety of processes isn’t that challenging. But, what should you choose when your workforce increases and you have to handle hundreds or thousands of clients?
In that scenario, it’s necessary to introduce various software tools that can help you establish a much better workflow. The first choice that businesses typically take is CRM and ERP software. Let’s take a look at why these software tools are useful, and why integrating them is a move every business should make.
What are CRM and ERP software?
CRM (client relationship management) software serves to collect a variety of data from different sources about your customers. It’s a perfect way to gather all your information about a customer in a single database.
This allows the customer support team, marketing team, and sales team to become much more effective. When a customer reaches out to one of your reps, they can easily find all the important information about the client. This makes it possible for your workforce to handle a higher number of customers and achieve higher productivity.
ERP (enterprise resource planning) software can be used for many different processes, such as distribution management, pricing management, knowledge base, supply management, accounting management, and many other in-house processes that all businesses face.
At some point, every business has to rely on both of these tools, but using them separately isn’t the best option. This is why there are plenty of software tools that offer CRM and ERP integration, which brings a variety of benefits. Let’s take a look at those benefits, and see why you should have an integrated CRM and ERP tool.
A complete overview of your customers
This is the most important benefit for your employees. All your important client data becomes explorable. Every employee can see buying habits, purchasing history, past issues, customer support contact or any other type of interaction that a client has made with your business.
Access to all these types of data puts your employees in a much better position, where they can make well-informed decisions that provide the highest benefit for your business. This means that your business can better meet your customer’s needs and build long-lasting relationships. This is the recipe for success in the modern competitive market.
One is better than two
Although using the two software tools separately will still provide benefits, it’s more challenging to analyze the combined data. Once you integrate these two tools, all the information is located in a single place, and more importantly, accessible through a single tool.
This alone makes it easier to conduct several processes simultaneously. We’ll explore this more in the next sections.
The biggest problem with using CRM and ERP software separately is duplicate data. This occurs when the same types of information are collected by the two separate tools. Sometimes, this can cause problems in the long term, as mismatching duplicate data can occur.
For example, ABC Company might have a different phone number listed in the ERP system than the CRM system because someone made a typo when entering the data; but which number is the right one?
This problem becomes a non-issue when the software tools work together.
The adoption of new tools is always challenging for a company. The training process can take a lot of time, as people are skeptic about incorporating new tools. Nobody likes uncertainty, which can increase both the time needed for training and the time needed for the software to be adopted completely.
Imagine how confused your employees could be with two separate tools that are being implemented in the company at the same time. They have to double their effort before they can completely understand both tools and start using them regularly.
By integrating CRM and ERP together, you can make the process less painful, as employees only need to focus on a single tool. By implementing integrated ERP and CRM software, you can improve the adoption rate and make use of the software sooner, increasing your return on investment.
Easier software upgrades
Regardless of whether the software is in the cloud or used locally, there will be regular updates to improve security and add new features. Logically, it is easier to keep one software tool updated than two of them.
For example, imagine first having the CRM updated, then the ERP updated a week later. It is necessary to pause the workflow twice before you are able to continue working. With a single software tool, you only experience this process once, enabling your employees to continue working without any further interruptions.
Having an Integrated ERP and CRM software tool noticeably reduces your costs. First of all, you will find it easier to measure your
expenses. Second, you’re going to reduce several different types of costs:
- Training costs – You only need to train your employees on how to use a single software tool. Also, unified software tends to be very user-friendly, making it easier to adopt, which equals a shorter training time. This is very important, as you want your employees to be able to use the new software as soon as possible.
- Software costs – Without an integrated system, you’re paying for two separate tools. By using a product that integrates the two, you'll consolidate billing and pay a single lower fee. In the long term, this pays off significantly, as you are reducing your monthly and yearly expenses.
- Higher productivity – By achieving higher productivity, you save on staff costs without sacrificing the amount of finished work. In fact, you'll get more work done with fewer employees in a shorter period of time. Additionally, the quality of service you are providing is going to increase, ensuring higher profit rates.
Explosion in productivity
Productivity is the foundation of every company. It assures that everything gets done, without sacrificing the quality of a product or service. By integrating ERP and CRM software, you’re not just bringing a single team closer so they can handle their work tasks better – the whole company will be more efficient.
All the departments in your company will rely on a single tool and share the valuable information it holds. This will improve in-house communication, workflow, and productivity of the whole workforce.
If you’re looking for a way to improve productivity in your company, implementing an integrated ERP and CRM tool is one of the best choices you can make.
The point is to simply dedicate enough time to find the software tool that integrates both of these tools. For example, for mid-size to large businesses, NetSuite is a perfect option that comes with lots of flexibility and features.
With all these benefits, it is clear why you need to integrate ERP and CRM software tools. The sooner you make this change, the sooner you can start experiencing the benefits.