When two worlds collide: CRM and ERP integration

Here is everything you need to know and understand when looking for a CRM and ERP integration to help take your business to the next level.

Two workers in an office looking at bill of materials on their ERP and CRM software.
Last updated: 20.01.2023 6 mins read

Traditionally, ERP and CRM systems worked separately to complete tasks specific to the individual software’s capabilities.  

But with the advent of digital evolution, learn how the coalescence of ERP and CRM solutions can turbocharge sales growth for product sellers. 

How does CRM integrate with ERP? 

ERP software is ideal for monitoring and managing your stock and inventory while also having control over your manufacturing materials.  

Although it’s critical to have this sort of power over the functionality of internal operations, ERP alone is not enough to place a firm grasp on the entirety of your business activities, namely customer relations, interactions, and behavior. CRM software should complement your existing ERP system, acting as a central database that lays bare the fundamental customer, product, and sales information needed to stimulate success. Ultimately, the synergy between ERP and CRM composes a more powerful solution that’s greater than the sum of their individual parts. 

The purpose of both ERP and CRM is to store invaluable data, so combining the efforts of both systems welds the data through integration, meaning the two no longer operate as silos. As a result, the obscured data visibility caused by software that’s not entirely fit for your customer-facing teams is given clarity through CRM integration.

What is retail inventory management software? Many different software tools are available to help retailers manage their inventories more effectively and efficiently.

What are the benefits of CRM integration with ERP? 

At its most simplified level, the integration helps with the overall management of business processes, but there are so many other intricate features that are made available to you with CRM.  

By connecting two systems, you gain wider visibility of your operations, meaning no important data goes unseen. 

Access customer sales data  

By integrating your ERP with CRM software, you’re given a holistic view of all the crucial data in a systematic and accessible format.  

From the very moment your ERP and CRM are synced, the circulation of data begins. All the information that you’d have formerly extracted manually from your ERP and passed to customer-facing teams is now automatically converted into valuable, intelligible data that can be accessed in one concentrated location. With the two integrated, you can track your sales progress from the initial acquisition of a quality lead, all the way through to the final sale.  

But the insights don’t end when the sale is closed. Stock-Aware CRM focuses on the retention of your customers — crucial for B2B product businesses that rely on the repeatability of orders. Stock-Aware CRM provides real-time analysis of post-sale data to help product businesses be more profitable by identifying patterns in purchase behavior to uncover missing orders, potential churn risks, and opportunities for upsell. Essentially, ERP provides the foundational product intelligence, and CRM centralizes this information whilst contributing valuable insights — adding merit to your existing data. 

Improve teamwork  

Not only are all sales, customer, and product data amalgamated and stored in one location, cloud-based CRM enables entire companies a shared view with real-time access.  

Storing this information in a virtual location that’s accessible to all employees makes interdepartmental communication an achievable prospect, and no matter who is engaging with your customers at the time, all employees will be able to pick up a task exactly where it was left off. 

Create real-time reports 

As well as extracting invaluable customer and sales data, CRM can also be used to convert these statistics into actionable insights for proactive Sales efforts.  

CRM reports succinctly direct the focus of your data analysis to information that’s relevant to your product business’ goals and address the most important metrics for your type of business. By combining your ERP with a Stock-Aware CRM system, the raw product and customer data can be collated and converted into a digestible report, helping you make sense of the unprocessed statistics that are distributed throughout the portal. Whether it’s reports indentifying what customers are buying for better upselling, tracking order progress and alerting your team for more efficient customer prioritization, or identifying loyal customers for building an informed and targeted customer acquisition strategy, Stock-Aware CRM can swiftly consolidate the required information, converting quantitative data into a visual construction that can be easily interpreted and actioned by your customer-facing teams.  

With this caliber of information at hand, you can improve the efficiency of manufacturing operations by prioritizing the sales techniques and materials that procure the most successful outcomes — and adapt those that don’t. 

Bridges the data gaps  

Before implementing a CRM system in your daily workflow, it can sometimes be difficult to store such vast quantities of data without software that’s designed to do this.  

CRM is formulated to mine and store historical data whilst keeping the most current information in the foreground. By providing a portal for the storage of customer and sales data, the product data that’s gathered in your ERP or inventory management system can be associated with customer records, making it possible to identify patterns in customer behavior and buying habits. By correlating customer records with purchase history, as well as other insights, the veil between customer and product data is lifted, and the union of atomic data from different systems builds a coherent set of statistics that can be used to your advantage. 

Two young manufacturers working in a smart factory, one is calibrating machinery while the other uses manufacturing ERP systems.

CRM best practices  

Although Stock-Aware CRM automatically extracts data from your ERP, these systems are specifically designed to be adapted.  

There are many functions available that can be configured to suit the needs of your business, so following these best practices means you can leverage your user experience. 

Make use of the automation 

One of the virtues of CRM implementation is its ability to automate your business activities.  

Whether this is report building, progressing your sales pipeline, or building customer awareness of new products for cross-sell campaigns, CRM is able to automatically facilitate all of the processes that you’d have previously managed manually (or struggled to manage at all). With all this functionality at your disposal, it’d be remiss not to explore the automation that CRM offers and incorporate these conveniences into your daily workflow. 

Configure your data  

Configuring your CRM means that all the data that’s stored is personalized to complement the business.  

Although businesses should seek out a CRM system that’s built for their industry or business type, they’re usually able to mold themselves around the business’ processes by offering configurable settings and enhancing the user experience. Setting up essential configurations ensures that you’re extracting optimal value out of the system. From upsell options and sales pipelines, to document templates and customer categorizations, there are so many configurations that can improve the system’s ergonomics and ease of use, naturally making the integration and user experience a more seamless transition. 

Prioritize customer experience 

CRM not only enhances the hold you have on customer and product data, but it provides a platform to log and supervise customer queries and issues until they’ve been resolved.  

Despite the acronym — Customer Relationship Management — many businesses lose sight of how CRM can be used to establish customer relationships or how to strengthen pre-existing ones. CRM doesn’t pool data into one place just for convenience. The collated data is intended to be employed for the benefit of businesses as well as their customers, so setting up your CRM system with client engagement and after-sales in mind will avoid the risk of haphazard integration that compromises the connections you share with customers. 

Engage with CRM Onboarding 

Companies that offer CRM solutions usually provide onboarding as part of the package. Much like any other software onboarding program, they’re specifically designed to drive adoption from the get-go, easing teams into the daily use of the system. Not only does it boost employee engagement, but it also means you can promptly set up configurations, reports, and sales pipelines with the help of CRM specialists. When expert knowledge is closely within reach, and you can take your CRM user experience to the next level, onboarding advice will only enhance your continued success with the system.  

This article was written by a guest collaborator at ProspectSoft — the #1 Stock-Aware CRM for Wholesalers, Distributors & Manufacturers who sell products from stock B2B.  

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Katana Cloud Inventory

Katana Team

Katana’s cloud inventory platform covers the live inventory, production, accounting, and reporting features that give businesses the knowledge they need to make the right decisions.

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