Connected data has become essential for successful business decision-making. Nowadays, companies gather data to better understand their customers and adjust their business processes accordingly. Data-driven decision-making means leveraging verified, analyzed data rather than merely shooting in the dark. For the past several decades, companies have been using systems to support their ambitions to become more data driven. Some use a CRM system, others an ERP system. Many companies even use both. What is the recipe that makes some companies more successful than others in their search for growth and business success?
What is the difference between CRM and ERP?
Let’s start by taking a step back and looking into the definition of CRM vs ERP systems and how they can help companies become more successful.
CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management” and CRM systems are designed to record and store every piece of information regarding customer interactions. Because CRM solutions offer functionalities that support the customer-relationship processes, the collected data is then easily shared between staff and departments throughout the organization. CRM solutions help companies properly manage customer information and build better customer relationships in order to identify trends, increase customer loyalty and, ultimately, revenue. CRM covers prospecting, customer support, etc.
ERP stands for “Enterprise Resource Planning”. ERP systems are designed to streamline business operations. ERP uses a centralized database for various business processes to reduce manual labor and to simplify existing business workflows. This type of software typically covers suppliers, financial accounting, plant maintenance, production planning, etc.
Both ERP and CRM systems improve efficiencies in business processes, and both offer central repositories for customer data. ERP systems are made for improving the efficiency of processes across business – from accounting to warehouse to inventory to fulfillment. They focus on reducing costs by making business processes more efficient while CRM systems focus on the sales side of the organization. Where CRM is centered on customer activities, ERP focuses on the entire business.
Is Salesforce a CRM or an ERP?
According to Salesforce.com, “Salesforce is a customer relationship management solution that brings companies and customers together. It’s one integrated CRM platform that gives all your departments — including marketing, sales, commerce, and service — a single, shared view of every customer”. The Salesforce CRM product is made up of distinctive cloud offerings:
- Sales Cloud – a CRM platform that enables to manage an organization’s sales, marketing and customer support.
- Marketing Cloud – one of the world’s most powerful digital marketing platforms used to manage customer journey, email, mobile, social media, web personalization, content creation, content management and data analytics.
- Service Cloud – a platform for customer service and support teams, providing features like case tracking and social networking plug-in for conversation and analytics.
- Community Cloud – a social platform to connect and facilitate communication with employees, partners and customers
- Commerce Cloud – a service that provides seamless customer service and experience irrespective of customer’s location (online or in-store).
- App Cloud – a collection of development tools that can be used to create custom applications that will run on the Salesforce platform. This includes Force.com, AppExchange, Heroku, Thunder and Sandbox.
- IoT Cloud – a platform built to store and process IoT data such as the massive volumes of data generated by devices, sensors, websites, applications, customers and partners.
There is a lot of additional jargon around Salesforce and their products. It can be confusing, but it is easily clarified. In your readings, you might have come across the term “SFDC”, “SFDC certification” or questions such as “what is SFDC in Salesforce”? In fact, SFDC, SFDC CRM, and Salesforce are the same thing. SFDC simply stands for “Salesforce Dot Com”. It might sound like a strange way to abbreviate the company name, but the organization picked SFDC over the less complex SF to abstain from mistaking for the normal abbreviation for the organization’s hometown of San Francisco!
Salesforce.com, Inc. is the name of the American cloud-based software company headquartered in San Francisco, California, that provides customer-relationship management services. Their software has become the number one for customer success and helps businesses track customer activity, market to customers and many more services.
Are companies using Salesforce CRM more successful?
According to Salesforce.com, over 150,000 companies around the globe are using Salesforce to support their businesses, and if you look at the full list, you will soon realize that they are not just any customers, Adidas, Samsonite, AWS, Schneider Electric, T Mobile, Aldo, Canon, Kimberly-Clark, Philips, Toyota just to name a few.. the list is long.
The latest Magic Quadrant for CRM solutions published by Gartner in July 2019 still features Salesforce as the undisputed leader. And it has been the case for many years in a row. Salesforce is the most popular CRM for many reasons. When a piece of technology is popular for a long period of time, it is not only because they have an excellent marketing strategy, it is because people trust it.
Salesforce is known as one of the first companies to implement a CRM software successfully and their solution is one of the oldest cloud-based CRM software solutions in the market. They are the innovator of the SaaS approach in the enterprise space and their customers benefit in many ways. It is what one could go as far as call “the Salesforce (or SSFDC) experience”, that special thing that allows organizations using Salesforce to become more successful:
- Salesforce CRM is scalable and easily customized, giving their customers an assurance that the software will be able to support their needs whichever way they develop in the future.
- Salesforce is a multi tenant CRM. Therefore, their customers don’t have to worry about updates or upgrades that happen seamlessly, simultaneously and without worrying about downtime. And it doesn’t need any level of customer intervention.
What is most important? ERP or CRM?
Do you need a CRM or an ERP system? Not all companies can afford implementing both an ERP and a CRM at the same time. They will have to decide which to implement first. It can be a difficult decision because they each have unique advantages. To scale, companies must increase sales and profit. That requires a CRM system, for example Salesforce. On the other hand, an ERP system drives the business with precise and accurate inter-departmental data. Before organizations can cut costs, they must make a profit.
ERP and CRM are different means to the same goal. For the most, ERP focuses on reducing overhead and cutting costs. CRM on the other hand works on producing greater sales volume and thereby increasing revenue and profit. CRM will fuel an organization with new business, and ERP will allow them to manage and drive business around obstacles, allowing them to deliver according to the promise made to their customers, and do it in a profitable manner. Therefore, having both CRM and ERP is the most efficient way to run a business.
Integrating Salesforce CRM with ERP is the key to success.
Many companies have understood the benefits of implementing both CRM and ERP. However, left as stand-alone systems, CRM and ERP solutions often become data silos in organizations, and these organizations miss a full 360-degree customer view. The lack of integration between the two systems can create information gaps that eventually damage a company’s operations. For example, without integrated systems salespeople might not be aware of a customer’s credit limit and therefore grant credit to a customer that should not have it.
There are many benefits of integrating ERP and CRM, including efficiency gains and return on investment in both platforms. The integration is the guarantee that all departments in a company can work together effectively.
A simple ERP – Salesforce integration can easily allow companies to bring together all the vital data they need in one place, cutting off the worries about how to share information between teams, removing the time spent copying data manually. Just real-time, automated sharing. Companies integrating their ERP system with Salesforce CRM experience multiple benefits:
- All employees access all the information they need: Salesforce isn’t the only place where customer and product information is stored. ERP systems typically hold important information about order history and finance that can be used by everyone to work more efficiently. Equally, there might be information in CRM that people outside the sales and customer service teams could use.
- Access to vital information in real-time: Data changes all the time in a business. Orders are made, bills are paid, new leads are found and nurtured. Even with very good processes to accurately copy data manually, it is impossible to keep up with data changes without a time delay. An ERP – SFDC integration gives everybody the insurance that what they see on screen is completely up-to-date and trustworthy. That’s game-changing because it helps staff work faster and more independently. It also means that people from different teams don’t question or lose trust in each other – they know everyone else can see and use the same data as they can.
- Improved customer relationships: All companies want to have trustful long-term relationships with their customers. In order to do that, they must provide responsive, professional service. They must respond to questions and deal with complaints quickly and accurately. A Salesforce-ERP integration can play a big part in helping organizations achieve this. Because the integration means that customer data is easily accessible in one place, it is always possible to see if anything’s gone wrong when working with customers before and anticipate when they might be ready to buy.
- Saving time and money: Doing more with less means being able to adapt and grow faster. A Salesforce-ERP integration helps companies eliminate time-consuming manual data entry and allows them to focus on driving business rather than endless admin tasks and error corrections.
- Seamlessly driving innovation: Businesses rely on innovation to succeed. A Salesforce CRM – ERP integration can help businesses become more innovative. When the admin burden is lowered, staff has more time to come up with ideas and discuss how to improve processes with each other.
A solution like RapidiOnline is a very cost-effective cloud-based solution that allows fast, automated and secure Salesforce CRM and ERP integration. The RapidiOnline integration solution is based on pre-configured templates, so it is fast and easy to deploy, and it is flexible enough to be customized with organization-specific needs and transfers. It runs as a service, and implementation time is in the large majority of the cases limited to 3-10 man days; giving organizations the possibility to quickly and easily integrate and reap the full benefits of both their ERP and CRM investments.