Organizations worldwide often wonder what the difference is between a customer relationship management (CRM) system and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The two systems are similar in many ways but they have different core functionalities. Both are valuable business solutions that help to improve, both revenue and productivity. So, are you ready to learn more about the differences? Let’s compare and contrast.
CRM means Customer Relationship Management. CRM at its simplest is systems and processes for managing a company’s interactions with its current and potential customers. When we talk about CRM, we usually are talking about CRM Software. A CRM software is used to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, and customer service.
CRM now has been developed to include all areas of the customer experience, keeping the customer happy and in turn keeping them loyal and more valuable to your business. It is the process of identifying potential leads/prospects, nurturing them, and guiding them through the sales process to close the business deal. Once they become a customer it ensures that you maintain that relationship and encourage repeat business – either more frequent orders or higher value.
CRM focuses on three key areas: sales, marketing, and customers. It can help your teams within these departments achieve the following:
ERP software is designed to streamline business operations. While a CRM focuses on the sales and customer service side of the organization, an ERP system is integrated and implemented across multiple departments within the organization.
At its core, an ERP system offers interconnected management of specific business processes. So, you can access standardized information throughout every department in real-time. Any issues can be sent as alerts to designated recipients.
The business can hence focus more on data and less on operations. There are fewer errors, and organizations can make better decisions.
The right ERP system will help your business and your team achieve the following:
ERP and CRM are both business applications that store and analyze data in a relational database. Both are delivered either through a traditional on-premises model or through software as a service (SaaS), where the vendor manages the software in its own data center and customers access it through the cloud.
While NetSuite and Salesforce.com, the two pioneers in SaaS ERP and CRM respectively, got their start around the same time, CRM systems were quicker to move to the cloud because the systems proved simpler to build and businesses were initially wary of putting financial data in the cloud.
Generally, you may have to choose between CRM and ERP. Your choice will depend on three critical factors:
For instance, smaller businesses may choose CRM systems to grow their customer base. In contrast, complex organizations choose ERP systems to cut operational costs and maximize ROI. Thus, your IT capacity, current, and future needs may also influence your choices. You might choose an ERP system to streamline processes. Or perhaps replace existing non-integrated applications. Other businesses with a focus on their customers and want to sync sales and marketing functions may choose CRM systems.
For companies who want to maximize their growth, they often wonder which system to implement first. It can be a difficult decision because they each have unique advantages. To scale, companies must increase sales and profit–so, that requires a CRM system.
On the other hand, an ERP system drives the business with precise and accurate inter-departmental data. Before organizations can cut costs, they must have profits. Moreover, a company can be extremely organized yet not make enough in sales to continue operating. Business processes are only possible with consistent sales revenue.
So, what’s the answer? Well, you need both. A CRM system drives sales, and an ERP system helps to streamline operations and reduce overall costs. Working together, a CRM and an ERP can maximize business growth.
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