Integrating your ERP and CRM applications provides immediate ROI on both investments. ERP applications allow you to manage finance, inventory, receivables, etc., while CRM applications manage customer relationships, support, upsells, etc. By integrating these two distinct solutions you can automate business processes, increase data accuracy, provide greater insight into your customer base, and save time by eliminating duplicate data entry.
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.
A lack of integration between the front office and back office can create a number of inefficiencies and errors that slow down your business. One role that is most often impeded by the lack of visibility to the back office is the salesperson.
Without integration your salespeople may not have the ability to call on customers for renewals because they do not have visibility into the status of their current inventory and orders that is housed in the back office. If you have manually entered this data into both your CRM and ERP systems, there are likely to be errors and the information will definitely be out of date – you can only type so fast. Not only are you paying someone to duplicate data entry, but you’re losing operational efficiency in doing so. It’s a lose/lose!
This is just one example of how a single role in your company trying to work through a single common business process can be affected. Now imagine how integration could improve hundreds of processes for hundreds of employees across multiple departments. If you want an example, be sure to read our Q & A with our customer Skullcandy, who told us they are “saving tens of hours per week of manual data entry”with integration between SAP, SPS Commerce, and their 3PL providers and automating their entire fulfillment processes.
Do you have questions about CRM/ERP integration? Drop us an email and be sure to sign up for our“Unlock the value of SAP with CRM integration” webinar on 2/21 to see a live demo of Jitterbit.