If you are looking to automate processes, streamline systems and grow your company, you will likely have considered enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software. But which is right for your business?
ERP & CRM: What are they? What is the difference?
ERP and CRM system are different in their primary purposes. However, when used together they can effectively complement one another to help manage your business with greater efficiency.
CRM software is used to manage interactions with customers and potential customers. You can maintain customer contacts and their interactions with your business. By storing this valuable information you can drive both customer retention and acquisition strategies. CRMs can often automate many processes that make up the customer journey, which can be used to drive marketing, sales, and customer service strategies.
On the other hand, an ERP has a much wider reach across your company, managing processes across the whole operation. It fundamentally automates process and provides insights and internal controls. You can read a full breakdown of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in our article, here.
In very basic terms, a CRM can be seen to look after more ‘front office’ processes whereas an ERP manages your ‘back office’. Although they can be separate systems, they can also be integrated so that information flows between them – a big win-win for business decision makers.
Benefits of ERP
There are incredibly valuable benefits of integrating an ERP with your business, but a main consideration seen across the board is the real-time, complete visibility it gives you across the entire organisation. ERPs like NetSuite run on one unified database, providing accurate information across all business functions. With this cross-business picture, real-time reporting and analytics, business leaders can make faster decisions that save cost and promote efficiency.
For the finance team in particular, an ERP can dramatically speed up financial close. The software will accelerate and automate financial consolidation, provide strong expense management, offer streamlined and auditable revenue management and give complete real-time visibility into financial performance.
In addition to the financial aspects of an ERP, it also brings greater efficiency to areas such as:
- Supply chain management
- Inventory and order management
- Professional Services and Human Resources
- Warehouse management
Benefits of CRM
As it also runs from a unified database, CRM tools provide a central, single view of your customer and prospect data. They provide a seamless flow of information, from initial lead through opportunity, sales order, fulfilment, renewal, upsell, cross-sell and support. Ultimately, it helps align and oversee all aspects of customer relationships, including marketing automation, interaction history, customer service and more.
NetSuite’s bespoke CRM module is scalable and adaptable, it will keep up and change with ever-evolving customer needs and expectations. A CRM will replace manual processes with automated ones to improve efficiency and responsiveness of core business operations.
NetSuite ERP or CRM, which do you need?
Although some ERP systems, such as NetSuite, incorporate CRM capabilities and modules, a CRM does not have the functionality of an ERP. Although a CRM can access customer data and sales history, it will not handle any transactions themselves – this is controlled within the ERP.
Whether you look to implement a CRM or ERP first will likely depend on the functions of your company. If you have complicated financial procedures, then an ERP might come first. On the other hand, if you have thousands of customers in complex communication you will likely seek a CRM.
If you’re a growing company, you will likely seek the functionality both systems can provide. In that case, you can either seek a system that integrates both or look to implement two separate systems.
As you grow the time will eventually come that integrating both systems will be necessary to enhance the flow of information, improve visibility and streamline efficiency. With this being the case, seeking an initial system that integrates both ERP and CRM functionality could save you both time and money further down the line.
Integrating NetSuite ERP and CRM
Implementing an ERP system that includes CRM, like NetSuite will improve your internal decision-making and drive greater growth than competitors. Working with a NetSuite partner, like Elevate2, will ensure the end-to-end process is smooth and successful.
If you are looking to discover and understand the functionality NetSuite offers you can book a demonstrationwith our experienced team. Alternatively, you can contact us today to talk through any questions you might have.