Discover the Zen of a Connected Business

By Guest Blogger Brian Collins | Sage CRM Blog Channel

Six Benefits of Integrating CRM and ERP

You've heard about the benefits of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, right? You know ERP can help you control your inventory. You know it will enable your team to manage your supply chain. And you know it will make your business more productive.

Or maybe you understand the benefits of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool? You understand that with CRM, your employees can develop better relationships with leads, they can close more sales through a customer relationship management, and that you can make better business decisions.

Since you already know this, I'm not going to tell you about the benefits of CRM or ERP. Instead, I'm going to answer the nagging question at the back of your mind—what would happen if I integrated my CRM and ERP solutions?

With an integrated CRM and ERP solution, you can do the following:

1. Deliver better customer support. Customer service teams can provide better support with an integrated CRM and ERP solution.

For example, if a customer service representative receives a request from a customer for a replacement part, he can order this part and document the outcome of this call in your company' solution.

He can also check existing stock levels and set up automated orders for when stock levels dip below a certain point. This will decrease call resolution times, improve customer relationships, and make your business more efficient.

Being able to collaborate on customer information is one step on the journey toward becoming a more profitable business.

2. Market more effectively. With an integrated CRM and ERP solution, your company can use customer information to create targeted marketing campaigns that deliver a better return on your marketing budget.

For example, you and your marketing team can segment customers based on the frequency and value of their orders and then create more relevant mailing lists.

You can then develop campaigns that maximize opportunities with high-value customers. And you can market surplus stock to customers who previously bought similar products.

A business that actively listens to its customers is able to create more personal marketing campaigns.

3. Increase the productivity of your employees. Employees can avoid duplicating each other's work and become more productive if they are able to collaborate on key business information. When employees have access to connected tools, they can spend time advancing a business rather than duplicating effort.

For example, a sales team member based in your office can store documents related to a key account in your company's integrated CRM and ERP solution.

Another sales team member on the road can access these documents using her mobile device. She can then act on this information prior to an important meeting with a lead.

Both team members can collaborate on one account and avoid duplicating each other's work.

4. Improve business processes. Customer information is constantly flowing through your business. As customers request a quote, make a purchase, arrange shipping, and pay an invoice, their information moves from one team or department to the next. Handling this information consistently is a challenge.

With a CRM and ERP solution, your business can configure the automatic sharing of certain financial information between sales and accounts so both departments know where customers are in their billing cycles.

These departments or teams can use this information to decide on an approach before making contact with a customer. Alternatively, they can save time by setting up recurring invoices.

A business in control of information about its customers can achieve its goals.

5. Drive profitability across your company. A 2014 IDG report found companies with more effective data grew 35 percent faster than those without it. This is because it's easier to identify sales patterns and cross-sell opportunities if you have insight into the volume and value of trade in your business.

You can spot customer tail-off and take measures to address this before business is lost. And you can convert key performance data into easy-to-understand reports and identify opportunities to boost your company's growth.

For example, if you identify a delay in your existing inventory, your sales teams can concentrate on selling other products and services unaffected by this delay. Meanwhile, you can focus on improving fill rates across the company.

Together, you and your sales team create a more enlightened business.

6. Pitch products to the right people. If you have suitable customer data, you can analyze real-time sales reports within your CRM and ERP solution and then decide what type of products to develop or ship next. And your sales team can use this information to cross-sell relevant products to existing customers.

Alternatively, a sales rep can use this information to determine if he should upsell after a customer makes a new purchase.

Using this information, you can match the right products and services with your customers' queries and give your customers what they really want.

For more information contact Enabling.

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