Let’s get one thing out of the way: Integrating your ERP application (which allows you to manage finance, inventory and receivables, etc.) with your CRM application (which manages relationships, support, upsells, etc.) will provide dramatic ROI improvements on both investments.
At a high level, CRM and ERP integration will eliminate “swivel-chair” data entry, and as a result, will automate common business processes, increase data accuracy and provide greater insight into your customer base.
When you look to integrate ERP with CRM, there are four key areas to consider:
- Contact & Account Integration. Both CRM and ERP systems contain contact and account information, with ERP focused on billing and shipping addresses and CRM on prospects and sales/support. Your integration must address the differing business rules for each system, while also supporting ongoing changes, such as custom fields on these objects.
- Product Integration. The CRM application should provide access to the products that are contained in the ERP if true process integration is going to be achieved (for example, allowing sales reps to view, or even order from bills of materials.)
- Order and Quote Management. This is necessary if a company is going to turn proposal generation (created in the CRM) into actual orders (executed and tracked at the ERP level.)
- Product/Order/Invoice Repository. One of the functions of the CRM/ERP integration should be to provide your sales reps with visibility into the status of the order, as well as to make and track changes.
Consider what a lack of integration means to your every day business processes. For example, if you’re a manufacturer whose accounting functions are handled in your ERP application. Your sales team currently tracks their opportunities and wins in the CRM system. Without integration these orders are manually entered into the ERP financials module — errors abound.
Without integration your sales team won’t have access to the ERP application, meaning they are unable to track their sales from prospect to opportunity to close to invoiced to paid. Since their commissions may very well depend on revenues, not having visibility into the entire sales/payment cycle can be frustrating and costly for the sales rep (underpayment of commissions) and the company (overpayment of commissions.)
…and these examples only scratch the surface when it comes to process issues that your company is facing without integration!
When considering ERP/CRM integration, prioritize which objects are most critical to the success of your business, and what type of data each of your teams needs visibility and access to.
Contact a Jitterbit expert to learn more ways that CRM/ERP integration can transform your business.