Because we offer business management solution integration services, we are subject to many questions from our customers. “Why should I choose an ERP rather than a CRM for my business management?”, “I already have a CRM; is it compatible with an ERP solution?”, “Why would a CRM suffice for me rather than an ERP?”. Because, indeed, the border between these two software is sometimes thin, and the differences could be clearer. Although there is a considerable gap between these two tools, they both lead to the same point: knowing your customers and optimizing the system of your structure. In this article, after summarizing the function and characteristics of these two management software, we will see which is most adapted to your activity according to your objectives and ambitions.
CRM, YOUR BUSINESS ALLY
THE CRM DEFINITION
CRM is Customer Relationship Management. In other words, it allows the centralization of all your interactions with your customers, intervenes in each step of your conversion process, and offers a panoramic view for analyzing your different flows. Thus, it allows you to combine customer data and optimize your organization.
Depending on business preference, GRC can be available as a web application, intranet, downloadable software, or tool to provide maximum accessibility. It can therefore be deployed in Saas (Software as Service) mode as a cloud, allowing instant access to your resources from any web platform without downloading the CRM first on your computer. In addition to a certain cost saving, it allows you seamless mobility and a more flexible organization.
THE AREAS OF INTERVENTION OF THE CRM
The CRM intervenes in 3 main axes of the customer relationship:
A 360-degree view of customer actions and interactions: the CRM allows you to track and analyze the history of your interactions to organize and streamline your processes. So you can build a single, easy-to-follow database for all business aspects.
Marketing targeting: the CRM offers you the possibility of setting up targeted marketing campaigns and measuring their impact to determine the attractions of your target and their primary needs.
Personalized customer service: it optimizes the management of requests and incidents and helps you schedule appointments.
THE 3 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
CRM is commonly summarized as sales force automation, but its functionalities offer much broader possibilities for action. Indeed, this digital business solution can be represented around three principles:
Over the years, its functions have expanded over the years to cover all prospecting, sales, and customer service processes. Therefore, These CRM solutions make it possible to bring together your tools, your different strategies, and your operating processes from the customer meeting stage to the follow-up in the back office.
THE 3 AREAS OF INTERVENTION OF THE CRM
ITS BENEFITS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
CRM is a highly recommended tool for creating a lasting relationship with your customers and managing your loyalty process. It lets you maintain and optimize your contacts and flows with your targets. This is to obtain an instantaneous and complete vision and management.
This greatly simplifies the work of your salespeople and offers your customers and prospects quality services, which will be a major asset against your competitors.
In addition, it is an essential companion when you want to analyze the behavior and needs of your customers, and it allows you to acquire crucial information (barriers, expectations) to readjust your marketing actions and your communication.
Regarding organization, the CRM is a real lever for measuring the degree of maturity of your various leads and removing those that do not correspond to your objectives. Focusing on your relevant leads will allow you to devote your time and energy to maintaining the satisfaction of your confirmed customers.
Between organizing your various surveys, creating an agenda for making appointments and reminders, generating detailed reports, and taking orders, the potential features are numerous, and the savings in time and efficiency are great.
Thanks to the CRM, you adapt to the challenges of time and the evolution of your activity. Indeed, over the years, your database, portfolio, and customer file have increased, and managing the various information seems more and more difficult.
In addition to productivity and time savings, CRM can generate long-term benefits when properly designed and installed. Indeed, the commercial management offered by the CRM allows your teams to determine the important leads in real-time to close more sales.
Your sales representatives seeing their increased productivity can ensure better customer relationship management to optimize customer retention. This also positively impacts your brand image regarding customer relations and service.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPECIFICATIONS
To implement a CRM project, you will first need to draw up specifications indicating key information, such as the functioning of your company, your objectives through this CRM, your specificities, and the employees who will use it. , the resources available for this project.
EXAMPLES OF EFFECTIVE CRM TOOLS
Among the many CRM market players, some are renowned for offering quality services at a fair price:
Hubspot: Simple, fast, and with a free version, it offers flexibility and powerful features.
Oracle is one of the most reliable on the market, offering you an adaptable solution thanks to its different modules.
ERP, A POWERFUL ALLY OF YOUR BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
The ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), translated by “Management Software” ( PGI ), can be defined as software allowing the management of and connecting all the operational processes and the resource of a structure to optimize its management. It consists of a set of modules interacting in synergy and able to adapt to the specificities of your company, taking into account all its poles.
Like the CRM, it is available as a web application, intranet, and downloadable software. It is also accessible in the cloud, a deployment whose many advantages are not to be neglected in terms of price and efficiency.
The so-called “tailor-made” ERP comprises different modules (functionalities) compatible and permanently connected to your database to offer you an amazing result and a solution that precisely meets your needs and that other companies in your area cannot be procured.
Its architecture is flexible and offers your teams a quality user experience. Indeed, built from your existing processes through a fair understanding of your organization, its appropriation by employees is greatly facilitated.
There are also “standard” ERPs in the form of a packaged system that can meet your basic needs. However, the absence of modules and functionalities specific to your activity can serve unnecessary functionalities. In terms of optimization, packaged ERP can therefore prove to be much less profitable and efficient in the long term.
AREAS OF INTERVENTION OF AN ERP
While the CRM intervenes only in managing the customer relationship, the ERP meanwhile can group together all an entity’s polarities, departments, and different resources. It, therefore, challenges traditional organizations to bring colossal productivity.
Indeed, a personalized ERP solution can cover, thanks to its many modules, the processes related to:
Finance and Accounting
Project planning and monitoring
Thus, you can manage all or part of your business processes according to your needs. If you notice a slowdown in one of your departments, ERP may solve your problem.
WHICH TECHNOLOGY TO CHOOSE FOR AN ERP?
Among the many publishers present in the integrated management software market. These modules, otherwise called “applications,” are developed according to the real needs of the structures following case studies.
THE ADVANTAGES OF AN ERP FOR YOUR STRUCTURE
It offers a 360-degree view of your structure, allowing you to analyze each department, find any resource, and monitor your entire progress in real-time. It can greatly help you develop your business, bringing you an optimal harmonization of flows while reducing your costs.
Thanks to its scalability, i.e., its ability to withstand a sharp increase in demand while maintaining its level of performance, Enterprise Resource Planning can meet your development prospects, particularly your desire for internationalization. _ Indeed, the custom Cloud mode can allow you to respond to the challenges of different countries and their applications in the international context.
THE CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTING AN ERP
However, if the benefits can be enormous thanks to the ERP, it must be designed in good and due form to become truly effective. Indeed, implementing this software so completely requires real knowledge and analysis of its own company. If the CRM has fewer stakes, the ERP and its areas of intervention must be carefully considered before their implementation. And this, therefore, requires specifications that precisely define your needs, as well as the expectations of your different teams.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SPECIFICATIONS OF AN ERP
These specifications must include essential information such as:
- A preamble on the reasons and objectives pushing you to acquire an ERP
- Your sector of activity, key information about your company (turnover, workforce, number of structures, position on the market), and the products, services, and different offers you offer.
- Explanations concerning the organization of your entity, the different geographical sites, and how the departments communicate with each other.
- The description of your environment explains the links with your suppliers, customers, partners, and co-contractors or subcontractors. This will allow your provider to consider each specific module’s nature.
- You are mapping your different business processes. This part will be the most decisive for understanding your needs. Indeed, following the detailed analysis of this section, your service provider will be able to offer you a tailor-made model capable of adjusting to your entire mechanism. You will also have to detail your product type if it is in series or on the forecast so that the solution can align with your operation.
These specifications are essential to ensure a good understanding of your objectives and to cover you in the event of failure to achieve them by your service provider. It must therefore be as precise and refined as possible. It should also not be put in the background if you want to acquire or redesign an ERP. It is your guarantee of achievement.
Each module link must be done correctly to avoid distorting the entire company’s data.
CRM VERSUS ERP, WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE ACCORDING TO YOUR ACTIVITY
Now that we have defined the characteristics and roles of these two tools, it will be a question of seeing which is the most suitable and profitable for your activity.
DEFINING YOUR NEEDS
As we have seen previously, the specifications are essential to correctly define your needs, have a written record of your request, and benefit from the advantages of CRM and ERP. By defining and analyzing your needs and expected objectives, it will be possible to determine the tool to adopt and how to adapt it to your structure. Thus, two types of needs will have to be defined: functional needs and technological needs.
Your functional needs refer to the business processes you want to automate. They must be defined in as much detail as possible so that the service provider understands your expectations. Is it automation for your entire business or just for customer relations to increase your sales and improve your loyalty? Which streams do you want to digitize and why? Which department(s) integrates the solution?
Regarding the technological needs, it will be a question of defining which platform(s) you want the personalized solution to be available: via the web or downloadable on your computer. Should this solution be compatible with other applications you use or replace them? What security method do you want? How do you want to authenticate yourself?
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS SHOULD YOU CHOOSE CRM?
If you are a young company with growth prospects but want to take it step by step, CRM will be a strategic choice to get you used to digitizing your flows and finding your balance. It will allow you to automate your customer relationship and implement processes that help you retain them over the long term. This way, you will have more time to devote to other aspects of your entity.
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS TO CHOOSE THE ERP?
You’re an eligible candidate for ERP if you’re ready to automate your workflows and optimize your entire organization. Indeed, it will be a major asset to increase productivity and performance and access precise information in real-time.
Although it represents a big change for your structure, it brings you, in the long term, better competitiveness in the market, a fluid coordination of your various collaborators and departments, and detailed analysis reports to make the necessary corrections. To your processes before they cause you real problems.
In addition, if you wish to deploy your company in other regions or internationally, the PGI will be of great help to you in your management and your management of the various resources.
If you have a CRM and want to move to the ERP stage, know these two complementary solutions. Indeed, their common use has advantages for controlling your costs and increasing your sales.
However, these two tools can sometimes be difficult to connect, and their respective prices can seem high. You should know that the ERP can cover the role of a CRM. This allows you to centralize your data on the same software package and reduce expenses.
In conclusion, CRM is a good tool for managing customer flows and creating loyalty. However, in the long term and according to the evolution of your structure, the ERP seems, by finality, inevitable. But then, how can you be sure of acquiring an ERP that keeps its promises and allows you to manage your poles smoothly while giving you a confirmed ROI?
THE CHALLENGE OF CHOOSING THE SERVICE PROVIDER
Many players claim to be competent in integrating an ERP solution, but the many offers on the market are only sometimes reliable and can put your project at risk. You need to study the offers carefully and pay attention to the content of your specifications to ensure you have invested time and money inefficient and expensive software. The choice and the study of your service provider are essential aspects.
So, to ensure you’re on the same wavelength as your potential provider, ask them to rephrase your need. If he is invested and carefully studies your implementation project, he can offer suitable and judiciously thought-out options.
The price is also a factor of choice. The lower the price, the more questions you will have to ask about the real effectiveness of your ERP. Made-to-measure can have a high cost, but it should be seen as a smart investment thanks to the financial and organizational benefits it will generate for you.
However, your service provider must justify the various costs related to ERP (the price of modules, license, integration, training, and project management) for you to benefit from a fair price.