Many organisations think that if they have an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system they don’t need a CRM platform. In fact they are two quite distinct systems, serving specific purposes and delivering specific outcomes… Manufacturers need both – and they need to integrate them for optimal effectiveness.
In simple terms an ERP system helps you manage the process of getting from order to invoice, while a CRM system helps you get to the point where a customer makes an order. ERP gives you visibility and control in areas like logistics, bill of materials, stock control, invoicing and accounting. CRM does the same for your sales, marketing and customer services processes.
Here are six reasons that implementing and integrating the two will substantially improve your business:
1. Drive revenue through a more complete view of the customer
There are only two ways of growing your revenues: find new customers or sell more to the existing ones. A standalone CRM system can help you find new customers and to sell more effectively to them. Combined with an ERP system, it will allow you to profile your existing customers, by industry, purchase history and historic revenues, and so drive greater revenues from them.
2. Tailor pricing to individual customers
If you know how much it costs to deliver to a specific customer – drawing data from previous orders, stock availability, logistics costs, and so on – you’re able to work out how much you need to charge that customer in order to make a profit. The more detailed the information, the more competitive you can make the price whilst retaining your profit margin.
3. Spot up-selling or cross-selling opportunities
While an ERP system will show you one client as a different account for each location or subsidiary, the CRM platform will bring them all together into a single 360 degree view. This allows you to more easily spot cross-selling opportunities. If you can see that five of a client’s ten sites are buying products, but that the others are not, then you may be able to double your sales to that one customer.
4. Streamline order and quote management
By automating the transfer of information from the sales team’s ordering through to the operations team’s manufacturing, delivery and invoicing, you speed it up, reduce the work needed to make it happen, and limit the possibility of human error.
5. Manage contract renewals
At many organisations the renewal of contracts often relies on an individual’s personal reminder system. It might be that an Outlook reminder pops up, or they reach that line on a spreadsheet, or they spot the Post-It note on their desk – none of these are as failsafe and efficient as having a CRM solution integrated with ERP that automate that process and ensure no renewal deadlines are missed.
6. Customer Services and Support Issues
Putting all your support case management in one automated solution allows you to manage the workflow, escalation and prioritisation of support cases more efficiently. It also helps avoid any awkward situations of the sales team trying to sell to an unhappy customer.
There are then many potential benefits of integrating CRM and ERP systems. But keep in mind that not all CRM platforms are equals and not all will allow you to do all of this. So before you commit to a CRM solution, check it will deliver all of this functionality and truly support your business growth.