Customers are at the heart of any business. But when customer data is spread across multiple systems, there is the possibility that information will go missing, creating black holes along the customer journey.
Most companies still have siloed systems where the CRM system fuels their business with new business, and the ERP system allows them to optimize profitability. By combining these systems, companies have a single source for all customer data and transactions from contact details, shipments, and credit history to quotes, orders, and customer service requests. So whether someone from sales, accounting, or operations pulls up a customer record, they see the same complete 360-degree view of the customer.
This consolidated information is more accurate and efficient, enabling a superior customer experience. Here are some of the processes that benefit the most from data integration.
1. Improved sales processes
When salespeople have access to the order history from their ERP system in addition to the customer data in their CRM system, they stand a better chance of reaching out and closing a deal while they have a window of opportunity. For example, if salespeople know the frequency with which repeat customers place orders, they can proactively contact the customer before the next predicted order to up-sell or cross-sell. If they know when customers are experiencing equipment problems from a customer support database, they can contact them to upgrade and purchase a newer version of an older product.
With a CRM-ERP integration, a sales representative can prepare proposals more quickly, using the most accurate pricing information including any promotions or discounts. The latest information about product availability will result in more accurate shipment dates, and can allow for special rush orders if merchandise is out of stock and the customer needs to receive their order urgently.
2. Quicker revenue recognition
With CRM-ERP integrations, salespeople have all the necessary information before making contact with a customer, including any outstanding invoices and credit history in real-time. This can speed up the collection process while ensuring that proposals include the most relevant payment terms. If the system enables signatory approval from accounting for financial terms and conditions, the proposal can be approved even in front of the customer to shorten the sales cycle.
Order processing is quicker because when a salesperson enters a quote or order in the CRM system, the data is automatically transferred into the ERP system, eliminating the need for manual data entry from emails, sales printed reports, or completed paper forms.
The free flow of data between CRM and ERP systems with automatic updates of changes in customer details and orders will also enable companies to ship products quicker with fewer errors, resulting in faster product delivery and invoicing.
3. More accurate product forecasting
CRM gives you a picture of which marketing campaigns are generating engagement while ERP reveals the products that are selling right now and the products that are not. This data combined can be used by operations to forecast product demand with more accuracy.