Organizations often wonder what the difference is between a customer relationship management system (CRM) and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The two systems are similar in many ways but have different core functionalities. Both are valuable business solutions that improve both revenue and productivity. So, are you ready to learn more about the differences? Let’s compare and contrast.

 

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Explaining a CRM system

CRM systems are designed to record and store every piece of information regarding customer interactions. The data is standardized and easily shareable throughout the organization. To illustrate, if an inside sales rep has a call with a prospect, they might enter new information such as contact details and notes about the conversation.

Then, a marketing person might use that information to tailor a new, personalized newsletter. All they have to do is pull up the record in the CRM system. With the right system, organizations can organize and segment every single aspect of the customer experience.

Moreover, CRM systems can create sales projections, can nurture the prospect through the sales funnel, can manage invoices and communication and more. A CRM improves efficiency, increases sales and offers more accuracy with customer data. As a result, customer relations are enhanced.

Here are several features you can execute with a CRM system:

  • Automate and manage marketing campaigns
  • Analyze purchasing patterns
  • Offer high-quality customer support
  • Automate redundant tasks
  • Identify new leads
  • Streamline the sales process

 

Explaining an ERP system

Like a CRM, ERP software is designed to streamline business operations. While a CRM focuses on the sales side of the organization, an ERP system is integrated and implemented across multiple departments.

At its core, an ERP system offers interconnected management of specific business processes. So, you can get standardized information throughout every department in real time. Any issues send as alerts to designated recipients.

The business can then focus more on data and less on operations. There are fewer errors, and organizations can make better decisions.

Features you can utilize with an ERP system:

  • Enter business process information in real time
  • Get alerts about issues
  • Manage hiring initiatives
  • Track manufacturing and supply chains
  • Manage benefits, payroll and employee information
  • Create enterprise-wide strategies
  • Update accounts
  • Process orders

 

Different approaches to business processes

Both ERP and CRM systems improve efficiencies in business processes. But an ERP system focuses on reducing costs by making business processes more efficient. Both solutions offer central repositories for customer data.

Still, a CRM system works best as a facilitator of higher sales volume and as an improvement in customer interactions. Regardless of business size, deploying a CRM or an ERP system is better than searching for customer data via email chains, handwritten notes, and instant chats.

Since every company needs to optimize customer relations, a CRM helps to ensure customers are satisfied and loyal. With an ERP system, every department can understand the workflow with other departments.

Executives can also get a real-time overview of what is happening in every department. This is highly critical for growing companies and companies who want to scale.

 

Deciding between a CRM or an ERP system

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. There is good news: you don’t need to choose; Microsoft Dynamics 365 combines both CRM and ERP functionalities.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365: An ERP and CRM powerhouse

Now that you know the difference between an ERP and a CRM, you can decide which software solution works best for your company. But wait: you no longer have to choose when you have Microsoft Dynamics 365. Why not get both?

To produce true business transformation, organizations must take the necessary operational steps to implement technologies to help products  move faster and more efficiently. Through digitization, companies are better prepared to enter new markets successfully.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 unifies a CRM and an ERP cloud solution with features and functionalities tailored to improve customer service, sales, financials, operations, and more. To illustrate, a salesperson can provide an accurate and quick quote because they already have financials, the right pricing and discounting available at their fingertips.

They no longer have to converse with accounting to figure out how to price a product or service. And, this can be done entirely through Outlook. For service repair industries, field agents can avoid customer service issues by accessing the system which alerts them of any anomalies.

Plus, Dynamics 365 comes with applications that can mine through data stored in the system, kept in Microsoft documents and on LinkedIn to provide useful business insights for sales campaigns. As a result, you can boost both sales and business processes.

It is a win-win. There are several subscription plans to meet any business budget.

 

In conclusion

As you can see, companies need both a CRM and an ERP system to maximize business growth. One improves sales, and those revenues facilitate business processes. Then, an ERP system optimizes those business processes. But, why choose between one or the other? Now, you can have both with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

 

Written by Alexandre Painchaud Content Marketing Specialist @ SherWeb

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