How can enterprises increase revenue and profitability?
CRM and ERP- It’s well known that many ERP projects fail. According to research firm Gartner, as many as 75 per cent of such undertakings fail to deliver the expected result.
And yet, despite the problems, many manufacturers still turn to the software when it comes to updating their infrastructure. The reasons are clear: the use of ERP is an excellent way to ratify business processes by improving collaboration throughout organisations and pulling separate strands together.
The business process element is key here. One of the main reasons that ERP implementations fail is that businesses try to lever ERP into a system that it’s not been designed for. They fail to consider all the ramifications of the software, in particular how it fits with other aspects of the business.
What ERP isn’t designed for is managing growth; converting those sales leads into revenue – and maintaining good relations with existing customers. It’s true that ERP systems can bring some insight to bear but it’s an expensive way of going about things, ERP licences aren’t cheap and equipping sales and marketing staff with access to ERP software smacks of overkill. And even if a company were to go down this route, production teams are often reluctant for their sales and marketing colleagues to have access to the ERP system.
This all makes sense when we consider the typical sales and marketing workflow. Driving sales involves the use of marketing tools, a sales pipeline, sales targets, website and marketing ROI- going from leads to prospects to opportunities to quotes to sales orders, to customers and contracts.
This has taken on a different dimension in the last decade or so. The rise of social media and the growing importance of real-time data access mean that some of the more traditional sales channels are being by-passed. Pulling the different elements of the sales process together is a challenge, but one that could bring great benefits to any organisation.
Reacting to customer interactions
That’s all some contrast to the operations workflow which involves stock management, logistics, just-in-time production, credit control with shipping, processing quotes to purchase orders, deliveries and invoices: they are two different worlds.
But what would make sense, however, is for these two worlds to coincide. Given the complexity of modern organisations, there needs to be some sort of platform to gather all relevant information in one place: companies can’t rely on a collection of spreadsheets from everyone involved in the sales process. And they certainly can’t rely on information stored in the salesperson’s head – that may have worked 50 years ago but we’ve advanced considerably since then.