How to Get Your ERP and CRM Integrated Successfully
You have your customer relationship management (CRM) system and your enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. It is a good idea to integrate these two together. If you integrate your CRM and your ERP, your investment returns on both of these items will increase dramatically. Your CRM handles your customer relationships and support, along with upsells and other related items, while your ERP handles your inventory, receivables, finances, and other like items.
Not only will integration of your CRM and your ERP maximize the returns on these investments, but it will save a lot of time by eliminating manual data entry. Instead of entering data on one system, then entering the same thing on the other system, integration allows for automation, eliminating this process. Aside from automation, this will increase accuracy and provide better information about the customer base.
Before you begin this integration process, you need to take a look at four key areas. The first area you need to look at is the integration of your accounts and contacts. Both your ERP and CRM systems have customer account data, just on different areas. The CRM’s information is concentrated on sales, while the ERP’s information is concentrated on billing and shipping. The system integration must still differentiate between the two different sets of data under the same account and allow for customization if needed.
Product integration means that the CRM should be able to access the ERP for products contained within. If this is possible, then true process integration has been achieved. An example of this is a sales rep being able to look at a bill of materials and being able to order from that same bill if necessary.
Ordering and quote management is another area that needs to be looked at. Proposal generations are done within the CRM and ordering is done in the ERP. Full integration allows for both of these processes, and is done virtually seamlessly.
Repositories of products, orders, and invoices are the last key area to look at before doing integration. If the CRM and ERP were to be integrated, there should be certain functions available. For example, a sales rep makes a sale and places the order for the customer. Naturally, the sales rep will want to know the status of the order, so there should be the ability to track orders as well as make changes and keep tabs on them as well if necessary.
Integration of the CRM and ERP not only makes processes easier, but it eases the stresses of the sales reps. If they are able to track orders from the moment they are placed to the moment they are paid, they will breathe a little easier. The sales reps make their main living from commissions, so being able to track all of that info is advantageous. The integration also eliminates much of the potential for errors in data entry as well as other process issues that could arise from not being integrated.