What is CRM and ERP Software?
Keeping ahead of the competition is a continued challenge for most businesses. Just like a mechanic needs his or her tools to get their work done, today’s smaller and mid-sized businesses need tools to help them be successful in their business efforts. Many businesses have turned to and benefitted from the use of CRM and ERP software to manage much of their businesses processes.
Customer Relationship Management Software
CRM is the acronym for Customer Relationship Management. The best way to explain what CRM software does is that it gives businesses the tools it needs to manage their business relationships and the information and data that is associated with those relationships. This software does this by allowing businesses to store customer information, prospect information, account information, sales opportunities and leads all in one location. Often this central location is set up in the cloud so that all this data can be accessed in real time by business users.
However, unlike old fashioned account management software, CRM systems are designed differently. They are designed along the same vein as social network platforms are. That is, they are built around the emphasis of people and relationships. Previously, CRM software was typically used a tool for sales and marketing, but now are also being used for customer service.
Regardless of the business size, a CRM system acts as the central nerve center to manage all the connections a business may have. It helps make sense of all the data that is obtained from customers, sales, marketing, social media monitoring and service into valuable business information that can be used to grow business.
One of the greatest features of CRM software that it is scalable. A small business might want to use a CRM system to put data in the cloud where it is accessible 24 hours a day by any device. As the business grows, so does the CRM while helping to:
– Improve relationships with customers
– Customize marketing efforts
– Gain insights from what is being said on social media about the business
– See business health in real time
Enterprise Resource Planning
ERP is the acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning software. Unlike a CRM system, ERP systems focus on managing day-to-day activities of business. These activities could include:
- – Accounting
- – Procurement
- – Manufacturing
- – Project management
ERP brings together and defines numerous business processes, thus eliminating the silos that previously prevented the free flow of data. It also eliminates data duplication and promotes data integrity as it collects the business’s multi-sourced transactional data. An ERP acts as the single source for data for the business process that it oversees.
An ERP system is designed with a schema that utilizes a common database. The system provides users and processes access to enterprise data using common constructs and definitions. It eliminates the need for multiple standalone databases and the chaos that can ensue with data that is incorrect, out-of-date or incomplete. The ERP database is a secure and centralized data repository where users can be confident that the data is reliable for use whether preparing a monthly account receivables report or a yearly financial statement provided to shareholders.
Today, ERP solutions have also found their place as cloud-based solutions, just like CRM systems. This gives small and medium-sized businesses the ability to use the same ERP tools that larger enterprise businesses have had for years but were previously cost-prohibitive.
Thanks to cloud-based CRM and ERP software, businesses of any size can utilize the tools that can help them succeed in today’s challenging business climate.