Get a step closer to your customers with ERP-CRM integration
By Henning Lund - March 30, 2017
How many efforts do your salespeople make every day to know their clients better? I’ve spent most of my career in sales, both as sales guy and as sales director. Along the years, I have had the opportunity to observe many interactions between salespeople and their clients. One thing that has always been striking me is that, often, the little things we do in an effort to get closer to our clients are those that make a huge different in our relationship with them and eventually in their likelihood to purchase our products or services. In my experience, turning the vendor-customer relationship into a partnership is the most efficient sales approach.
How do you get your salespeople to know, understand and service your customers better? It starts of course with a customer-centric culture, deeply anchored in your corporate strategy. Creating a platform for engagement that fuels dialog with your customers is a great start. Maybe you have even invested in a CRM system to take care of this. CRM alone can take you a long way in getting to know your customers better. But if you want to go all the way and have a true 360-degree view of your customers, you should really integrate your CRM with your ERP.
Why an ERP-CRM integration helps you become more customer-centric
If you look at the business areas covered by ERP and CRM systems, you cannot help noticing the complementarity of the two systems. ERP systems provide much-needed internal information that can be shared with new stakeholders. CRM systems provide the entry point for stakeholders to engage with an organization. You can't really have one without the other and be successful in the marketplace.
From an operational point of view, you can achieve much greater benefits by integrating the two systems. Why? Because the integration will take you a step closer to providing best-in-class service to your customers:
Integrating ERP and CRM is the only way to get a true 360-degree view of your customers. From prospect, to sales and support, to finance and accounting, together these systems provide complete visibility into your customers’ needs, buying habits, order history, preferences, account standing, etc. you get better insight into your customer base, and you can use it to build lasting relationships with customers and determine where there is potential for future growth.
You gain tremendously in efficiency because you have instant access to important information. Always having access to business-critical information in real-time (whichever system you are working in) means that you are able to quickly and accurately respond to your customers’ and other stakeholders’ questions and requests (for example about inventory levels, shipments, customer financials, order history, returns, payments, pricing, etc.) without having to search answers in multiple systems. You avoid wasting your time finding information and you improve customer experience.
You get rid of manual routines that are time-consuming and prone to human error. You eliminate redundant data entry and have a chance to streamline processes and automate workflows, enabling you to increase response time to your customers.
An ERP-CRM integration can make a huge difference for a company, and the good news is that today, it has become a lot easier and affordable to integrate systems. ERP and CRM systems have both been enhanced to allow for easier integration with other systems. Also, it has become easier to find data integration solutions such as RapidiOnline that deliver out-of-the-box integration templates that can get you started quickly.