What is an ERP system? What is CRM?
In business, as in life, the only constant is change. A few decades ago, enterprises were still tracking their data on paper. Ten years ago, they were upgrading to the cloud. Now, they’re looking at automating processes with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions.
The ultimate goal of these solutions is revenue generation, automation, and an increase in productivity. They are usually kept in a cloud-based software portal.
CRM systems are customer-focused. They collect information about customer’s interactions with your business. ERP solutions are internally focused, collecting financial and operational data in a central database.
This allows your enterprise to keep all of its data in one place and make it available to your employees across the company who need it most. For example, your salespeople can access customer information from anywhere on a tablet or smartphone device without having to go back to the office.
What is an ERP System? Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
One of the most important software decisions you’ll make is choosing the right ERP software. With the right ERP, it’s easier to do business and grow your company. But with the wrong ERP, you could be stuck in your tracks and miss out on significant opportunities.
ERP is the system of record for a company. It manages all of your essential internal financial and operational business functions for a streamlined workflow.
Other software systems may have one or two of these features, but the best ones have them all under one roof. Customer relationship management (CRM) software, which is discussed later, may be included in an ERP software solution. If it is included as part of ERP, it is likely included at a more basic level than it would be as a standalone CRM.
In addition to being available through the cloud instead of installed on individual computers, today’s ERP systems also contain artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These allow your business to collect data from multiple sources, including customers and competitors, and use it for decision-making. AI can also help automate your processes such as billing and inventory management. Finally, these systems can be used to connect companies around the world to collaborate on projects or share resources. Raw materials that might otherwise go unused at one location can be reallocated to another location that needs them urgently.
Example Use Cases
ERP systems are a great fit for your finance department. An ERP system can help the finance department of your company close the books more easily and quickly. General ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and financial reporting processes can all be automated with an ERP system.
In addition to automating these functions, an ERP system can also provide assistance in budget development, financial forecasting, and tax calculation.
Human Resources Management
Human Resources management is crucial to the success of any business. Without proper HR management, your employees may not get paid, they may not know what their job responsibilities are, and they may not know how many hours they are supposed to work.
HR management may include such things as the ability to schedule employee hours, distribute wages and approve part time off and vacation requests. Your HR department helps keep your employees happy and motivated.
Inventory Management software is designed to make it easier to keep track of your inventory, but what does that mean, exactly?
Inventory management is the process of keeping track of the products in your business’s stock. The scope of inventory management software can vary greatly depending on your company’s needs. At its most basic level, inventory management makes it easier to track products and quantities—what you have and how much of it. The software also includes the ability to set up reordering of products and to notify your business when stock levels are low. Inventory management is often part of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
An ERP with a comprehensive inventory management component will typically be combined with distribution, warehouse, or manufacturing management. For example, if you are a large-scale manufacturer with multiple warehouses, you might need to monitor where its products are stored as well as what’s on hand at any given time.
ERP systems are often customizable to meet your businesses unique needs. Reporting goes into one database, making it easier to uncover financial insights, make faster decisions, and quickly close the books at the end of the month. Another advantage is that access to certain relevant information is available only to certain employees.
What is CRM Software? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
CRM software empowers your business to increase revenue and build better relationships with customers. It organizes, streamlines, and automates sales and marketing efforts. By using CRM software, you can nurture leads more efficiently while seeing an increase in your customer acquisition and retention rates. Your sales team will be able to deliver greater personalization to their customers, optimizing the customer experience. Outstanding tickets will be logged automatically so you can prioritize high-value clients. Your marketing teams can use data collected by CRM software to identify customer profiles and target audiences more effectively.
Combining an ERP with a CRM
A CRM software solution can operate as a standalone system or together with an ERP solution. Businesses can choose one or the other, but all businesses benefit from both. The ability to keep an eye on finance and operations in addition to customer acquisition and retention are clearly important to all businesses. Many vendors will incorporate both an ERP and CRM into one portal.
An ERP and CRM system that are technically integrated make it simpler to share data. Usually, a sales rep will want to access ERP data from the finance department, while someone in finance will want to easily access sales data from the CRM tool. An integrated system also makes it easier to manage KPIs and pricing structures. Configure, price, quote (CPQ) is a process that necessitates integration between ERP and CRM.
When your company purchases an ERP system with CRM built into the platform, it can save money as compared to selecting the prebuilt integration a vendor or third party offers. It tends to be less expensive than purchasing both systems separately and saves money when an upgrade is needed. Also, all information is updated in real-time and programming and customizations are easier when systems are built for ERP from the start.
And lastly, when you’re considering purchasing either an ERP or CRM system (or both!), it’s important to consider how robust the platform needs to be. Too many features can overwhelm your employees. It is best to configure a system with only those necessary tools. Your employees will be able to focus on core functions rather than being distracted by excessive, underused products.
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VenuTRAX™ is a powerful tool that can help your business succeed by giving you all the information you need to make informed decisions. When you use VenuTRAX, you can spend less time worrying about your marketing strategies and more time focusing on what matters: providing your audiences with an amazing experience.
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