Oh, the big question—essential, inevitable, but sometimes a little bit complex to answer. It’s, without a doubt, one of the most asked by our clients in meetings.
For a lot of us, the difference between ERP and CRM systems is difficult to distinguish at first, and this is why we’re taking the time to explain it to you today. We know that it can all be confusing.
But you should know that they are the opposite on every level (or so), and if you need an ERP, you do not necessarily need a CRM system and vice-versa. The technology, and the way it evolves, can enable you to make more with your company, on the condition that you know it well.
This is why you need to know everything about the differences between ERP and CRM systems to understand theirs subtleties, usages, but also the points where they complete each other.
An ERP, what is it?
An ERP is a resource planner like nothing else. To say it plainly, it will increase your revenue, reduce your expenses, optimize your priorities, and ensure the efficiency of all your processes. Does this sound a little bit like magic? That’s just the beauty of technology!
So an ERP, being a resource planner, will offer you centralized management for better decision-making. That way, its utility can be mainly found in the processes of your company. This is a big difference between ERP and CRM.
In fact, what does it do in concrete terms?
An ERP can help you:
- Enter data and find it instantly everywhere where it counts in your system: from inventory to orders;
- Optimize your departments and their organization;
- Connect every department to automate the activities flow
- Manage your enterprise in a centralized way from a unique database.
That way, an ERP can help you worry less about each step, each detail from each order, and have instead a global picture of the situation to make better decisions in the long term.
When entrepreneurs come into our offices, we often see them buried under a ton of simple and repetitive tasks that prevent them from putting in place a long-term strategy for their company. The technology of an ERP that is well adapted to your needs will offer you the ability to automate these tasks and better evaluate what is wrong and what works well in your company in general.
⬇ If you recognize yourself in this portrait, it’s because you need an ERP. ⬇
And the CRM in all that?
The CRM, unlike the ERP system, has nothing to do with your process and production, but rather the marketing and customer service sides of your company. As a manager of your client relationships, it will help you refocus on your clients.
Let’s be clear, if there are no sales and no clients to buy your products, it can be the best product in the whole world, and you still are looking at a failure in the end. Since you always need a constant flow of clients and constantly nurture your relationships with your clients, managing your client relationships is essential.
So a CRM, what does it do?
- File your clients information
- Support in new client acquisition
- Nurture existing relationships with your clients
- Save all the information in a database
- Analyze the data, the behavior, etc.
As you can see, the main difference between an ERP and CRM is that the latter is looking to improve and ease the management of your clients while working to increase your sales. Due to its unique database and a cutting-edge analyzing system, your CRM will help you make better choices for your company's future.
By storing all the data at the same place, you will get a better picture of the situation by being able to identify specific behaviors from each geographic area, activity, level of interest, etc. You will have all the needed information to make informed marketing plans, and adopt sale strategies that work.
And ERP or CRM does not stop there in terms of services!
Depending on the CRM or the ERP that you bought, you can have access to different functions to complete your solution and tailor the software to your company. In your ERP, you could use, for example, a unit dedicated only to human resources and recruiting that would gather all the data about your employees in a database, and let you optimize their time and skills.
It’s also possible to add a field management unit to your ERP to help you better use your resources and your workforce when they are deployed outside of the walls of your factory or warehouse, whether they are in the field or working directly with a client.
On the other hand, a CRM can also include a unit dedicated to marketing, for example. Having all your clients’ information in a database can be smart to adopt those types of functions for all the data and nourish your strategies.
There are also management project functions that can be added to your CRM sometimes. By gathering all the data, by allowing you to integrate your management directly into one program, it’s far easier to collaborate, have a global vision, and have access to the precious data you need to complete projects.
The new generation of Dynamics 365
The interesting thing about a solution like Dynamics 365, the new generation, is that you can have an ERP that includes a CRM. Yes, you have read correctly: the CRM is integrated into the ERP system.
Besides using the most popular and well-renowned Microsoft applications like the Office Suite or Outlook, more specifically, you can really center your operations, whether they are about inventory or client support, on the same software.
This suite of applications has been specifically created to optimize your operations and support your company. This way, all the modules flawlessly communicate with each other, and there is no need to spend many hours creating customized links to make your CRM and ERP systems work together.
You will find on the cloud everything you need to manage your company, optimize, and generate more sales: an Office suite, CRM applications (marketing, sales, customer service, project services, field services), and ERP applications (financial management and HR, finances and operations, supply chain and fabrication).
You will also find Power BI and an IoT suite—the analysis service for your company from Microsoft—a ton of extensions, customizable modules, and adaptable solutions for your industry. All of this is hosted on Microsoft’s powerful and trusted cloud, Azure.
So as you can see, the difference between ERP and CRM is pretty easy. Remember that CRM is for your clients, and your ERP system is for resources. Then, you will be able to distinguish them better and target your true needs on the matter. If you ever feel overwhelmed with repetitive tasks and daily management, consider choosing a global solution like Dynamics 365.
Contact us to learn more about the solutions we offer to support you in your change!