Both customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are powerful tools. But when tied together, they give your company full access to both front-office and back-office activities. In this three-part blog series, Intelestream dives into why and how you should connect these two systems.
This article focuses on the benefits of integration. Wondering what the difference is between CRM and ERP? Check out the first article in this series. More interested in learning the types of data to integrate? We’ve got you covered.
Here are 5 CRM and ERP syncing best practices:
It sounds simple, but you have to start somewhere. When connecting these systems, it’s important that you take your time and understand your process. Your goal is to give your team a full overview of each customer, not to confuse them.
There are two different ways data can integrate your CRM and ERP systems. Information can either move in a signal direction (unidirectional), or back and forth between systems (bidirectional). In a unidirectional connection, data flows from one system into the other, and it’s available in a read-only format in the second system. Note, data typically flows from ERP into CRM.
To help streamline the CRM/ERP connection process, transfer the data from ERP into CRM, then slice up the information for the end user as needed.
After you’ve integrated the data into CRM, parse it into the format the end user prefers.
Some businesses get confused when integrating information from CRM and ERP. Which system contains the record of the master data? They lose track.
Therefore, choose one program that will house the most recent information. Usually, it’s CRM. By having a master record, businesses worry less about where to place the data, and how to transfer it if they have to change a customer’s phone number or address.
Data can be pulled from one program as frequently as necessary—whether it’s once a week, every hour, or every few minutes.
The frequency of data integration varies from business to business. It’s best to start with baby steps, and work your way up. You should begin your integration by syncing less frequently, seeing how the data is used, and progressing from there.
You can integrate your information with APIs, or you can manually load the information. At the beginning of the process, don’t be afraid to use a CSV file to transfer data. That way, you can test the integration to see how the shared data is used.
As a best practice of general integration, keep your data connection simple. Only transfer information that your team will use. You could use data intelligence, or you can use any business-intelligence tool to analyze the information.
Consider how your individual teams will use the data you’re transferring. How will the sales team use it? What about your service team? What will the marketing department do with the information?
Here’s the most important thing to remember: You want to give your team a larger view of your customer, not create unnecessary steps for them.
Do you want more information about CRM and ERP integration? Download our free whitepaper.