It’s undeniable that CRM and ERP are game-changing software investments. Individually, CRM shines for front-office transparency while ERP opens new insights into back-office operations. Many organizations know that CRM and ERP integrate, but they don’t invest in the crossover.
While many factors may be involved, one of the most common reasons is because the initial investment of the two systems took more resources than planned, so the integration gets put on the back burner. Although budget is a reasonable concern, the long-term benefits of CRM and ERP integration outweigh the initial investment every time. Shared data between these systems outpaces the capabilities of the systems on their own and creates an unprecedented powerhouse for forecasting, cross-departmental collaboration, quoting, and much more. Increased data visibility and collaboration enable usability that wasn’t possible before, which ends up saving money over time. Don’t believe me? Here are six ways CRM and ERP integration saves money.
1. Fewer ERP Licenses
ERP licenses aren’t cheap. The more users you have, the more expensive it gets, and that can make a CFO’s eyes bulge out like a cartoon character. Integrating CRM and ERP gives your CRM users access to the most pertinent ERP data without having to own an ERP login. Sales can see crucial accounting insights without leaving the CRM, while the financial and services departments understand how sales data relates to quotes, invoices, and inventory in the ERP.
2. Stronger Forecasting
Because data visibility is so much clearer when CRM and ERP integrate, the forecasting accuracy improves. Accurate forecasting leads to more precise financial planning, reduced inventory costs, decreased budget waste, improved gross margin return on investment (GMROI), and better cash flow optimization – to name a few.
3. Customer Payments Kept in Check
Here’s a fun scenario: A customer contacts their sales rep for help with an additional project. The sales person, blind to the current credit history of the customer, obliges, only to find out later that this customer never paid their previous invoice and owes the company thousands of dollars. That cringe-worthy situation happens all too often when departments don’t have the proper front and back office connections. However, with an integrated CRM and ERP, this problem is easily avoided. The details of the account (including billing and payment history) are visible to all parties in one location, so if a customer falls behind on their bills, the sales rep is aware before offering additional services.
4. Reduced Training and IT Overhead
Some employees use the CRM and some employees use the ERP. Learning both costs money. Integrate CRM and ERP to avoid the overhead of additional systems training. CRM users can continue to work in the system they understand and ERP users can confidently continue their use of the ERP. In the meantime, IT spends less time maintaining both systems and making sure duplicate data is cleared out because users aren’t entering the same data into each system separately. Instead, they enter it once into their preferred system and it syncs right into the other. Eureka!
5. Better Inventory Management
A company looking to replenish its inventory must factor in order history, contractual agreements, and quotes to get the clearest estimate of future demand. However, that information is spread out between the ERP and CRM systems. Without integration, the insights are insufficient and can even be contradictory, which can lead to ordering too little or too much of what is really needed. Money is saved through proper inventory management, so when those overages or scarcities happen, it’s a hit to the company wallet.
6. Higher Customer Retention
Everyone knows it’s less expensive to retain and upsell to a current customer than it is to acquire a new one. A company must provide excellent customer service, be proactive in their marketing strategies, and truly understand the deeper needs of each client to do this successfully. When people talk about CRM ERP integration, the benefits of a 360-degree customer view is always a highlight. The CRM provides personal information about the customer, which is a great start. But combine that with the financial insights on their annual spend with your company, their most recent purchases, their credit limit, and their outstanding invoices and you create a complete representation of that individual or business. The 360-degree picture helps you understand the customer’s loyalty, preferences, and profitability potential faster so marketing can send the right messages, sales can seek out more tailored upsell opportunities, and services can stay ahead of the game on customer issues.