Since the early days of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), we have been sold the idea of the customer 360-degree view. This is what CRM vendors and companies have been seeking these past decades – the holy grail of CRM. I remember about 20 years ago, when I was introduced to CRM, I found the idea of joining all the information that sales, marketing and service people need in one system absolutely awesome. I felt that we had achieved a tremendous step towards having a full picture of our customers – and being able to use this information to treat customers differently. And we had. Twenty years ago, the idea of CRM was truly revolutionary! But we were far from being able to envision what would come afterwards.
During Dreamforce 2016 I had a mission to understand how the future integration needs of companies will evolve in the next 2-3 years and what impact this evolution will have on their integration strategy. Analyzing the various sources of opinions regarding future integration needs, it came out as a pretty consistent picture.
Integration from a CRM perspective is about giving companies a 360-degree overview of their customers and prospects. Up to now, very often getting the “full” customer picture has been limited to collecting data from the different internal systems and available data platforms. In reality this will never be a full picture, but only the best available picture. It is very clear that Salesforce is striving to move closer and closer towards a real, full 360-degree view - by combining external data agents to fill out the blanks. Together with their newly introduced AI (Artificial Intelligence in Salesforce is called Einstein), the system will actually be able to suggest actions based on history and a combination of internal and external data sources. The more data you will be able to feed this predictive insight system – also through integration to other systems, the more you will get out of your Salesforce CRM system.
I have talked a lot in past blogs about the great benefits experienced by companies integrating their CRM and ERP systems. Allow me to mention a few:
- You get a 360 degree view of your customers, allowing you to build lasting relationships and provide with top class customer service.
- You gain efficiency by giving you instant access to business critical information.
- You get rid of time-consuming and error-prone manual routines.
- It secures a much higher user adoption, because when your systems are integrated, users will always find the data they need to perform their daily tasks.
You can also read more about CRM-ERP system integration benefits here.
It is a general rule that companies benefit more from an integrated CRM-ERP solution than two stand-alone ERP and CRM systems. In fact, this rule also applies to any other systems you decide to integrate in order to streamline and optimize your business processes.