I’ll start at the beginning, explaining each one individually. The answer will become very clear after that.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the most basic management software for a company. It is used to ensure the financial , fiscal and accounting control of the organization.
The ERP integrates information about payment of expenses and receipt of income, taking into account the tax cost of each of the operations. This type of software is literally the basis for running a company.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management ) is a system used by companies to take care of their consumer base.
CRM is sold as software (either the license model or the software as a service/cloud computing model). The main objective of this system is to secure and protect the company’s business information, while helping to identify the best action plans and alternatives to increase sales, manage goals and evaluate salespeople.
So, ERP is the financial control and management of the company in a complete way, while CRM is the control of customers and, consequently, of sales.
Now you may be thinking: “Okay, Matthew, I understand. But what are the benefits that each of them can bring to my company on a day-to-day basis?” So I will highlight the main advantages of each one.
ERP helps to :
• Reduce IT, labor, waste, errors and rework costs;
• Reduce delivery times, as it increases productivity;
• Facilitate the management of stock and the purchase and sale of goods (as a businessman, you know the importance of this);
• Improve tax management , avoiding fines and reducing dependence on accountants.
CRM helps to:
• Reduce paper expenses;
• Reduce the time spent searching for information and documents;
• Facilitate team training through the software;
• Increase sales, as it allows you to spend more time selling and less time organizing information.
I think it’s even clearer now, huh? You might even have already decided which two systems should be deployed right away in your company. The next step is to know how you can do this deployment. And don’t worry: this goes for all sizes of organizations.
I have seen around that this step causes a headache for some managers, as it involves organizational changes, altering some tasks and responsibilities of the team.
At this time, the human factor is fundamental: call your employees to participate in the implementation. Ask for suggestions for contribution, because they know what can be improved. No one should be left out!
Another important point is the choice of vendor and software. Choose an experienced company that is available to work in partnership, supporting and adapting everything to your needs. Together with this partner, you will have to decide how the deployment will be done. You will have to choose whether all the modules will go live together – in all departments of the company – or if the implementation will be in stages, little by little.
When is the right time to implement an ERP?
If you’re wondering this, know that it’s a great question. Basically, any company that is experiencing difficulties in organizing files and information flow may need an ERP. And if you’re not sure if you have 100% finances, I’ll tell you: in that case you need an ERP for yesterday! Imagine finding out just a few months from now that you were operating at a loss and didn’t even know it. This can happen if your cash flow is not strictly organized. On the bright side, an ERP helps make everything infinitely easier to control.
But since I’m here to help, I feel obliged to give some advice: prevention is better than cure. Nothing replaces an integrated and structured information management, regardless of the size of the company. Managing a company without using an ERP is more or less like playing a sport with your eyes closed.
And when should I implement a CRM?
CRM is especially important for those who work with sales, whether products or services. If you depend on closing new contracts every month, tracking clients, submitting proposals and following up, then you can be sure CRM is for you.
In addition, a CRM system can be very useful after sales, because it helps you to always be in contact with the customer, giving attention and providing support at the right times. Thus, satisfaction increases, making it easier to recommend to other people who can also become customers.
I would say ERP is more urgent, but CRM can make a huge difference in your sales process. So if you’re feeling that you could make better use of the resources you already have, it doesn’t hurt to study this possibility.
In the end, the sooner your company can count on this technology support, the better. The day-to-day work is hard for everyone, and having tools that optimize the resources invested is very rewarding for the entire team. More than ever, this is the moment when the market is giving space to those who work smart.