The Advantages of Integrating CRM with ERP

In a recent Tech Evaluation Center (TEC) newsletter (see link below), TEC's Raluca Druta, CRM analyst, makes three main points on how having CRM functionality integrated with ERP is more important than ever. According to Druta, these points will help companies automate workflows, improve communication and enhance the customer experience.

1. Consistent Data - Using a single database, there is no worry about keeping databases synchronized. There are no transfers, manual or otherwise needed to get ERP and CRM on the same page. Everything happens quicker and more accurately.

2. Simplified Workflows. Druta explains, "When a customer returns a product, she speaks to a customer service representative who looks up the original bill in the ERP system. Then the rep uses the CRM system to create a return merchandise authorization (RMA). The customer sends the product back to the company marked with the RMA number.

"When the company receives the product, it goes back into inventory and the accounting department gets a notification. Now accounting can credit the customer and issue a check or an electronic payment. So the warehouse and the accounting department are processing the RMA in the ERP system, using information that customer service entered in the CRM system. Finally, the completed return needs to appear in the customer history in the CRM system.

"That kind of complex workflow is a lot easier to manage when CRM and ERP are integrated. You can even automate it. And the end result is a big boost in productivity."

Inventory replenishment and discount management work much the same way. Bottom line - the integration of ERP with CRM simplifies complex workflows.

3. Companies Gathering and Use Customer Feedback Better. "You can take feedback that you collect in the CRM system, analyze it with powerful business intelligence tools and display the results in ERP dashboards and reports. Then, you can map that feedback onto your development strategy," explains Druta.

She adds, "You’ll see increases in sales, reductions in R&D costs and possibly more profitable product lines."

How to Make Sure Your Cloud ERP is Integrated Quickly with CRM

What is interesting in this report is how Druta points out that, because of all the benefits of CRM and ERP being integrated, this is why so many ERP vendors are working so hard to do so in their software. However, cloud ERP users on the Salesforce platform don't need to concern themselves with that. They already have immediate access to the world's most popular CRM.

Here's what a customer says. "Having selected Salesforce for our CRM, we wanted a fully functional cloud-based ERP solution which integrated with Salesforce," Andy Sears, Backyard America vice president and COO avows. "We went on the AppExchange by salesforce.com and discovered that Rootstock was the only ERP that would do what we wanted.

Consistent data, simplified workflows and increased leveraging of collected data are all prime benefits of integrating CRM and ERP. To achieve such results easier, it is of major importance that CRM and ERP written on the same platform.

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To read Raluca Druta's full article on integrating ERP and CRM in the TEC newsletter, click here.