How well does your business know its customers? The answer may depend on your CRM-ERP integration.
Together, these systems track all of the critical touch-points along the customer journey.
CRM deals with front-end information, such as recording customer interactions, sales tracking, pipeline management, prospecting, and managing marketing campaigns. ERP software handles critical backend processes, including purchase history, billing and shipping details, accounting information, financial data, and supply chain management details.
A seamless real-time CRM-ERP integration provides accurate relevant data when it’s needed most, for all customer facing employees resulting in improved customer service. Employee productivity and job satisfaction is increased while ensuring stronger user adoption of applications. In addition, IT investments are protected by enabling the free flow of data from legacy back office systems. Here are some additional benefits that contribute directly to the bottom line.
1. More sales opportunities
When salespeople have access to leads, order history and customer service calls, they stand a better chance of reaching out and closing a deal while they have a window of opportunity. For example, if salespeople know the frequency with which repeat customers place orders, they can proactively contact the customer to up-sell or cross-sell. If they know when customers are experiencing equipment problems, they can contact them to upgrade and purchase a newer model of an older product.
2. More accurate proposals
With a CRM-ERP integration a sales representative can use the most accurate pricing when preparing a quote by retrieving updated pricing information including any promotional or discount pricing. The latest information about product availability will result in more accurate shipment dates, and can allow for special rush orders if merchandise is out of stock to meet customer deadlines.
3. Quicker approvals
Giving salespeople real time access to ERP systems can also move sales contracts through the approval process in real time, reducing the time for customer approvals, allowing even same day signing. Speeding up approved sales contracts also shortens the time for billing and recognizing revenues.
4. More qualified sales
Enabling a sales team to view a customer’s credit limit, current balance, a list of outstanding invoices and previous orders gives the salesperson a complete financial history, which can influence proposal terms. With this, information managers can make more informed business decisions, for example requiring payment in advance.
5. Customers billed quicker
With ERP-CRM integration, businesses can automatically turn proposals created in the CRM into actual orders executed and tracked in the ERP system without any manual intervention. This results in quicker invoicing and payments. Automatic updates keep both systems in sync and prevent the possibility of inconsistent or inaccurate data. Any alterations made in the ERP database will be simultaneously reflected in the CRM system and vice versa, including the addition or removal of custom fields, new entries or changes in the database.
6. Quicker product deliveries
The free flow of data between these systems with automatic updates of changes in customer details and orders, will enable companies to ship products quicker, reduce operational costs and increase customer satisfaction. Delivering products on time helps a business stand out from the competition.
7. More accurate product forecasting
The integration between marketing and ERP better links forecasts to production. Operation managers can forecast capacity with more accuracy, preventing the build-up of excess inventory, which ties up cash that could be better used elsewhere.
While CRM systems bring in more revenue through better sales figures, ERP systems reduce overall operating expenses. Together, these systems can help businesses grow through improved sales efficiency and more productive operations.
There are many benefits of integration beyond improved IT efficiency, the elimination of duplicate data entry and improved development times. The business has even more to gain—CRM-ERP integrations add up to increased revenues and customer satisfaction.
By Stephan Romeder, General Manager, Magic Software.
Stephan Romeder, is the General Manager of Magic Software Enterprises Europe, a leading provider of multi-channel application development, application integration and enterprise mobility solutions. He is also the Managing Director of Magic Software Deutschland, covering Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Stephan began his career at Magic in 1996 increasing sales and earning many sales and business awards as he worked his way up the corporate ladder by combining a strong focus on innovation with a commitment to developing long-term relationships with customers, partners and employees. Stephan has a Masters in Business Informatics.