ERP is not CRM – why your business needs both solutions
What is ERP and what is CRM – similarities & differences
The names Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management, which is what the ERP and CRM acronyms stand for, clearly show the differences between both tools. ERP is inherently an ecosystem of solutions that allow the management of a company and planning the production process through inventory, accounting, human resources, etc. A CRM system, on the other hand, focuses on customer relations. One could say that an ERP system is meant to streamline the internal functioning of a company, whereas CRM was meant to improve communication with the outside world which are customers. Of course, neither of these worlds could exist without the other, there are no companies without customers, and a customer won’t get adequately served if the company doesn’t function properly. Both systems are becoming essential for the functioning of a modern company and it’s a good thing if they are integrated with each other, with the company benefiting from the synergistic effect of these tools.
What connects CRM and ERP together is people. When it comes to office work it’s usually the same people using both CRM and ERP. After all, they have to be able to provide customers with answers about the shopping process, product availability, or addressing complaints, and these elements are usually included already in ERP systems.
CRM – the key to contacting the customer
An ERP system helps a company efficiently achieve its goals, plan the production process, check the inventory. CRM, on the other hand, is mostly there to lead to a sale, which is achieving the actual business goals of the company. CRM allows for automation of some of the processes related to customer service, gives full access to the customer communication history, leads us through the entire sales process from contacting the customer, to negotiating, all the way to concluding the sale and following up with the customer. CRM could be referred to as our sales assistant, it’s a customer base ledger adapted to the 21st century. Not only does it provide us with the contact details but also all the other details related to the customer’s shopping history, adequate notes, further stages of the sales process. A CRM system constitutes the company’s repository of knowledge on its customers, it is also a key to a better understanding of the customer’s needs, timely reaction to any possible issues, analysis of shopping patterns, and maintenance of customer relations. It is the effective use of a good CRM system that allows us to gain an advantage on the market.
A CRM module in an ERP system, or a dedicated solution?
All that’s left to do is answer the question of how to choose a good CRM system for your company. There is no shortage of ERP platforms that feature a CRM module. It’s a tempting solution, after all in most cases we rely on an interface that the company is already familiar with. We also get direct access to the customer base based on the invoices issued, or access to the product base, which makes it easier to make an offer.
It is definitely a better idea to choose a native solution, which might be tailored to our company’s needs, as well as integrated with the ERP system already used at the company. A good example here is the cloud-based Salesforce CRM platform. It’s a scalable solution that grows as our business grows, available everywhere we need it, and it operates on every sales channel, both B2B and B2C. Using such a CRM system gives us a full overview of each customer and enables us to take proper care of them.
Choose a solution tailored to your company’s needs
ERP and CRM systems allow for more effective business management. A company needs them both because they are responsible for processes inside the company, and the synergy of ERP and CRM allows you to achieve business goals and leads to the growth of your business. It’s a good idea to check out modern CRM systems that allow for the automation of processes, advanced marketing, and implementation of efficient communication with B2B and B2C customers. It is important to choose a tool that will suit the actual and up-to-date needs of the company while also being scalable and cost-efficient. It is worth taking time to properly choose such a solution and then commissioning qualified experts with implementing it. They will make sure that CRM will make your business and customer relations fully under control.