ERP systems vs. CRM systems – What is the difference?

There are a lot of different solutions available on the market to enhance and streamline your business operations. If you are currently researching what is available in the market, it is likely that you have heard of ERP and CRM systems, but what is the difference between the two, and how can your business benefit from them?

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What is an ERP system?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are designed to help streamline day-to-day operations by integrating different functions across the business such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk and compliance, customer relationship management (CRM), and supply chain operations.

Depending on the ERP solution you choose, and whether you require any customisation, the capabilities may vary. However, as a basic system, it integrates finance as well as these key business functions, and acts as a central hub / single pane view for your business, allowing you to obtain insights, make better decisions, and reduce costs.

Three ways an ERP system can improve your business:

  1. Drive business performance
    As ERP systems improve with technological advances, you can leverage new capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI) to access insights into your business. These will allow you to make informed decisions and reveal how you can enhance your operations moving forward.
  2. Enhance operational insights
    Integrating your core business processes and data will enable more visibility across departments where needed. By having a central view, your employees will be able to gain access to the latest information, which will allow them to make informed decisions and act quickly.
  3. Ensure business agility and resilience.
    ERP solutions are developed to adapt to your business’s needs, and to scale as you grow. By having access to the most up to date information within your business, you can proactively prepare, and readily respond should there be any changes in the market or disruptions to operations.

What is a CRM system?

A Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) is your central hub for maintaining customer relationships whether these are existing, new, or potential customers. The system allows you to track sales leads, pipelines, customer interactions, as well as marketing activities.

A CRM system will allow you to have a 360-degree view of your customers and your relationship with them overtime.  It helps businesses to have better data management and organisation.

Three ways a CRM system can improve your business:

  1. Streamline processes
    You can use your CRM to streamline administrative sales, marketing, and service division processes. By having a centralised view of all activities related to your customers you will gain an exceptional insight into your customers and their needs.
  2. Boost sales performance
    Sales managers can receive up-to-date information about individual and team performance against sales targets. By giving your sales teams shared access to customer information, they can get to know their customers better which can help create focus on lead generation activities and conversion rates.
  3. Enhance customer service
    Having customer records and information in one centralised area, facilitates knowledge sharing amongst internal teams. This means that at any point in time an employee can look back at records of a particular customer to see previous conversations, pick up overdue tasks and therefore ensure everyone dealing with that customer is singing from the same hymn sheet and therefore providing a fluid experience.

What are the key differences between these two systems?

When looking at ERP systems vs. CRM systems, both help to streamline your business and improve efficiencies. But, an ERP system focuses primarily on financials and reducing costs by making functions and processes more efficient, were as a CRM system focuses on data management, sales processes, and improving customer interactions.

In the end, the main difference between both solutions is the scope. If you are comparing ERP and CRM, it is necessary to consider your business’s needs. We would encourage you to consider both solutions as a CRM system helps to drive sales, while an ERP system helps to streamline operations and reduce overall costs, so working together they can maximise business growth.

The good news is Xperience can offer your business a solution which combines both CRM and ERP functionalities, we can organise for one of our consultants to give you a call to discuss your business requirements and find out what would be the best fit for you.

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