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Is doing a decent sales job possible without a good ERP-CRM integration?

By Henning Lund - March 01, 2017

Sales people are experiencing more and more pressure from their management to sell more, sell better and sell faster. Sales targets are getting higher and higher, and as a result, sales people need to be more effective. Recently, I read an article about the resistance from sales to adopt technology. If anything, sales teams are particularly notorious for resisting CRM adoption. Some resist because they do not believe that systems can do better than human relationships. Others because they are worried about sharing their insight with others. But most of them resist because they have not yet seen enough value in using their CRM system. What’s funny about this – and quite paradoxical– is that in reality, CRM systems have been developed to help salespeople overcome their biggest work challenges! This made me wonder why CRM systems seem to fail to deliver the full customer insight that they are promising.

A true 360-degree customer view would help

CRM systems have claimed to deliver a 360-degree view of the customer for quite a while, but in reality, in most CRM systems, the customer view is quite limited to the sales and marketing information related to a customer, which is only a fragment of all interactions between an organization and its clients. Information about previous orders, payment terms, habits, are all valuable to a salesperson in a sales situation and those are not usually present in a CRM system. Then, why rely on a system that anyway only gives you a partial vision of your customers?

Read also: CRM: 360-degree customer view is simply not enough

Does that mean that a stand-alone CRM system is not enough to enable sales people to perform a good job? Well, without access to the other systems that contain highly relevant customer information (for example an ERP system, or an e-commerce solution), your sales people are navigating partly blindfolded. That does not mean that your sales reps need to have access to all the systems that contain customer-related information. But it means that you want to provide them with the relevant customer information from these systems via their CRM system so that they will have the FULL picture. Only then wil theyl be able to truly deliver to the maximum of their potential.

Read also: Sell more, sell better, and sell faster with CRM-ERP integration

An example: how ERP-CRM integration boosts you salespeople's productivity

Based on a simple lead to invoice workflow, let me show you how salespeople can benefit from having ERP information at their fingertips.

Read also: From lead to invoice: how ERP-CRM integration streamlines processes

Let’s say that a company receives a lead. The lead is created in their CRM system (for example, Salesforce). As the sales process moves along, the lead in Salesforce is converted to an account, a contact, and an opportunity. This is standard in Salesforce Sales Cloud. At a trigger point for instance, when the first quote is accepted, a transfer in RapidiOnline will create a customer, a contact and the order in the company’s ERP system (for example Microsoft Dynamics). The integration will also secure that, moving forward, the record stays in sync.

Since there is now an open sales order in Microsoft Dynamics, the sales order is being transferred back into Salesforce as a copy of the sales order. It can be displayed under an opportunity or an account - or wherever it makes the most sense. If you are using a data integration solution such as RapidiOnline, you can also trigger additional workflows to notify your back office e.g. to make a credit check on the new customer, to review the order before it’s released or whatever you need in regards to your order fulfillment process.

One of the benefits of working with our solution is that you can follow any changes to the order in Salesforce because RapidiOnline secures that the systems stay in sync. When an order is invoiced, it also syncs from the ERP system to Salesforce, and the sales order is consequently removed from the open sales orders in both systems and re-appears as a posted invoice.

When the customer pays the invoice, the payment is shown as a ledger entry which enables you to follow the client’s balance and payment history directly in Salesforce without having to switch systems. The payments are balanced out with the matching invoices, giving a really good customer overview as well as possibilities for improved reporting directly from CRM. 

Read also: ERP-CRM: 9 most common integration points

ERP-CRM integration can be indispensable for reaching your sales goals

Now, this simple process (and therefore the job of your sales people) is much more complicated without an ERP-CRM integration. The integration will get your sales reps a step closer to a 360-degree customer view and will improve their efficiency. 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. which gives you better insight into your customer base. You can use it to build lasting relationships with customers and determine where there is potential for future growth.

Learn more: To integrate or not to integrate? The ERP-CRM dilemma 
Learn more: Can you afford not integrating ERP and CRM? 
Learn more: Do you need both ERP and CRM?
Learn more: Top 4 reasons for ERP and CRM integration

Read also: Data integration platform vs custom integration
Read also: Can you afford not integrating ERP and CRM?


About the author

Henning Lund

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With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.

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