Difference Between ERP Software and CRM Software

Companies competing in the marketplace today rely on key tools to streamline processes and provide the necessary visibility and control to maintain a competitive advantage. These tools include both enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software. While both platforms rely on some of the same information to deliver value within your environment, their respective roles are actually very different. Integration between CRM and ERP software is essential, but a clear understanding of what you should expect from each platform is critical to overall success.

ERP Software – the Nitty Gritty

ERP software offers a platform to enable companies to more effectively manage accounting processes, warehouse functions, supply chain activities, inventory control and more within one platform. Integrated ERP software ensures all key employees can update the platform in real-time with information important to other departments within the company. If a shortage is encountered in the supply chain that will slow distribution on the warehouse floor, ERP software will capture this issue. Robust ERP software provides a clear and accurate picture of where your company stands at any given point in time, providing all necessary information across all departments.

CRM Software

CRM software fulfills a much different role within the enterprise as compared with ERP software. CRM is focused on customer management – capturing information pertaining to a customer account. That information is used by sales reps to schedule follow-up activities and close sales; managers to forecast sales to C-level executives; warehouse managers for supply chain efficiency; and even accounting personnel to update the customer’s account. Every interaction between the company and the customer should be captured in the CRM software to build out the value of the relationship between the customer and the company, securing loyalty and additional revenue.

ERP Software and CRM Software – the Integrated Approach

As both ERP software and CRM software manage information important to your company, it stands to reason that they may be easily confused. Understanding the value they deliver when integrated, however, can ensure you get an optimal return on your investment in both platforms. Consider the sales rep ready to close a multimillion dollar deal with one of your biggest clients. If he has failed to leverage either CRM or ERP software in managing this deal, your company could very easily fail to meet delivery demand and lose the business. When the deal is properly forecasted and managed in the CRM platform, the necessary information on the account is captured in the ERP software.

ERP Software – Clear Visibility with Integration

The clear integration between CRM and ERP software provides the necessary visibility to ensure you can meet customer expectations, while also staying in line with internal goals. Your accounting department can determine if you have the funds available to secure the necessary supplies, your inventory manager will measure his current stock against your projections and your warehouse manager will determine if he can meet the customer’s delivery expectations. If challenges are presented, the sales rep can be notified ahead of time, closing the deal with all necessary information.

This integration is often an easy next step as the same companies that offer CRM platforms also offer ERP software. Companies such as SAP, NetSuite, Oracle, Sage and Microsoft Dynamics deliver clean integration and value-based ERP software to ensure you can track the information you need to track, and provide access to those who need it to make clear business decisions. ERP software clearly ties together all information pertaining to your supply chain, warehouse, accounting and inventory into one platform for optimal business performance.

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