ERP and CRM systems are vital to your business’s day-to-day operations, but these systems alone cannot provide you with an all-encompassing view of your company. Juggling multiple databases can result in a cluttered view of your company and if your ERP and CRM systems aren’t working together there may be major blind spots within your business, losing you clients and costing you time and money.
Most modern companies employ a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to manage their client interactions on the front end and an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to handle back-end business processes. It is important to integrate the two systems so you and your team can have all the information needed when it matters most.
Siloed data systems can have such catastrophic effects on your business as inaccurate quotes, outdated data, incorrect predictions, lack-luster client relations, disjointed operations, and slow manual processes.
Now let us take a look at the main ERP and CRM integration approaches, challenges, benefits, and tools.
Table of contents
- Main Challenges of CRM and ERP System Integration
- General Integration Points Between ERP and CRM Systems
- Main Benefits of CRM/ERP System Integration
- Tools for ERP and CRM System Integration
Main Challenges of CRM and ERP System Integration
The first challenge businesses often face when integrating their ERP and CRM systems is the planning and managing of this intensive project. Those involved need to choose what type of integration they want to attempt and whether they should do it alone or hire a Software as a service (SaaS) ERP CRM third party.
Secondly, businesses must ensure data quality before CRM and ERP system integration. This means adhering to data integration architecture principles by cleaning up the data found within both systems and standardizing the data format.
Lastly, businesses often underestimate the amount/types of data they should integrate in order to create a successful unified system. Below we highlight the main CRM ERP integration architecture points a business should consider synchronizing.
General Integration Points Between ERP and CRM Systems
Client and Account Information
Synching your client and account information is probably the most common integration point and is fundamental to your company’s successful ERP and CRM system integration. Capturing basic information such as order history, shipment details, contracts, financial records, and more provides both your factory floor and your sales force with easy access to valuable client insights.
Contact data is often changing as people move positions or leave companies regularly. That is why it is important that contact data flows freely between CRM and ERP systems. Those within your team that are in regular contact with your clients can update contact data as soon as new information comes to light, ensuring everyone within the company has the most up-to-date information regarding a client.
Sales teams require product information to be available within the CRM and not just siloed in the ERP to create accurate quotes. New items can easily be created within an integrated system as the two records in both ERP and CRM systems are already linked, and any updates can be made within either system.
As already stated, sales teams need product information and most importantly product price. ERP and CRM systems can contain different information regarding prices and any discounts your company may offer. Sales teams can use this information to provide clients with accurate price orders within either system immediately allowing your sales team to close deals faster.
It is considered best practice to synchronize the process of generating quotes in both your ERP and CRM systems. Before the time of CRM and ERP system integration quotes were created within the ERP, then someone would have to manually enter the same information within the CRM. Once the client confirmed the quote, a sales order was generated in the ERP. The process was still not complete as then someone would have to update the opportunity stage within the CRM to complete. This laborious workaround resulted in sales teams hopping from one system to another to gather the information needed to complete the sales process. Integrating both ERP and CRM systems allows sales teams to work on one system streamlining the process. It also provides your sales team with the ability to forecast expected demand and supply.
Synchronization doesn’t end when a quote within the CRM transforms into a sales order in ERP. A sales order should be integrated back to the CRM to maintain a comprehensive view of the account. Changes can still occur within the fulfillment process whether it is on the part of the client, invoicing, or distribution.
Having the sales history available in both the ERP and CRM systems is an incredibly powerful tool for your business. Integrating this touchpoint creates a valuable pool of data from which your team can predict future demand and track sales trends through the year. Accurate sales history influences your marketing techniques, client interactions and production.
Client payment information should not remain siloed within the ERP system. Sales teams can use this information found within the CRM to see payment patterns or overdue/credit amounts to better negotiate a quote for a client.
Main Benefits of CRM/ERP System Integration
CRM and ERP system integration provides you with a comprehensive view of your clients, saves you time on data entry and improves client relations. The ERP and CRM system integration also provides you with improved reporting and analytics, allowing you to better predict buying habits and track clients’ relationships and history with your business.
The benefits of CRM architecture in sales productivity are easy to see, but the synchronization between ERP and CRM systems can provide sales teams with valuable information when and where they need it, allowing them to close deals faster and more efficiently. ERP and CRM system integration not only benefits the sales team but also benefits departments throughout your business. A cross-departmental approach allows teams to collaborate easier as everyone has access to the same information in real-time resulting in departments working together to accomplish the same goals.
A completely integrated ERP and CRM system provides employees with valuable information when and where they need it most, allowing them to effectively aid clients in their requests. Faster access to crucial information allows sales reps to quickly and accurately produce quotes. All departments from sales and support to finance and accounting benefit greatly from uninhibited access to information.
ERP and CRM systems can contain very similar information, for example, contact data. Integrating these systems negates the need to input the same information twice and also prevents data duplication.
Using one integrated system allows quotes generated within the CRM to be automatically updated into orders within the ERP. This integration reduces the time required for data management, therefore, increasing business efficiency. Sales teams can also easily track orders throughout the sales process and make any updates required by clients.
It is easier for employees to familiarise themselves with one integrated system rather than learning the ins and outs of two individual systems. This reduces the time and money spent on training. Businesses often require trained individuals to separately manage their ERP and CRM systems as well as the data migration between the two. It is easier to maintain one unified platform which reduces IT, staffing and training costs.
Tools for ERP and CRM System Integration
Skyvia is a universal SaaS (Software as a Service) cloud-based platform for data integration, management, backup and access. It provides quick and easy data integration, (import, export, replication, synchronization, migration, etc.) The platform requires little to no configuration and no programming skills. It supports a number of cloud applications and databases and requires no software except a web browser. Skyvia’s data flow allows building integrations with powerful transformations between multiple data sources such as a CRM and cloud ERP integration.
Xplenty is an ETL (extract-transform-load) cloud-based solution that automates data flows. The solution allows users to create powerful data pipelines between CRM ERP tools with almost no coding. Xplenty systems require no configuration, maintenance or updates. If users require customization they can make use of Xplenty’s Application Programming Interface (API).
Celigo is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) designed to automate the integration of data into cloud applications including CRMs and ERPs. Their user-friendly no-code integration of CRM with ERP system and its approaches is ideal for less technical users. Celigo implements CRM and ERP system integration as the first step to data automating and scaling.
Dell Boomi is also an iPaaS provider with a cloud-native data integration platform. It performs integrations within complex hybrid cloud ecosystems such as CRMs and ERPs providing a user-friendly end-to-end data integration experience. Most common integrations are automated within the platform. Other features include API management, data discovery and data quality governance.
We have tried to answer the question whether CRM can be integrated with ERP. We hope we’ve managed to do it successfully, but it is also clear that the ERP and CRM system integration is a complicated process, but ultimately benefits any businesses that undergo it. The best practice is to leave such involved integrations to the experts in order to achieve optimal results. Contact Skyvia team to learn more about its data integration platform for CRM and ERP system integration.
Was our article useful? You are welcome to leave comments, suggestions and questions if you have any.