The Importance of Integrated CRM & ERP for Distributors

Integrated CRM & ERP for Distributors provides distinct advantages, such as the ability to provide a personalized customer experience.

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    Your business is distribution, but increasingly, every business is in the technology industry. In order to build a resilient operation that can withstand pandemics, supply chain disruptions, and whatever else may come along, you need the right technology stack. Historically, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems have been separate, siloed platforms. Both worked within your business, but they weren’t always, or even usually, integrated. That is changing.

    Today, using an integrated ERP and CRM solution provides distinct advantages, including the ability to provide a personalized customer experience smoothly, regardless of whether a sales rep, customer service rep, or someone in another role is interacting with the customer.

    It’s all about the customer

    Customer visibility and customer experience are inextricably intertwined. When a customer calls with questions about an order, whoever they are talking to should be able to access their account, see their history at a glance, and answer questions accurately.

    Taking the entire experience to the next level, the person speaking to the customer should be able to offer additional products, available discounts, or information that improves the customer’s experience. That’s personalization, and it’s what customers expect.

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    Easier budgeting, forecasting and faster invoicing, payments

    Understanding your cash cycle is crucial. When your ERP and your CRM are integrated, you gain insights that allow for more accurate forecasting based on both historical data and current trends. Invoicing happens faster and more smoothly, and payments are instantly reflected in your customers’ profiles.

    Along with all of this, when you use an integrated solution, many operations are automated. Automation reduces human error, saves labor hours, and improves accuracy.

    Accurate quoting and inventory management

    When a customer asks for a quote, it’s part of their overall experience with your business. The more accurate the quote is, the better the customer feels about your organization. With an integrated ERP and CRM, both the accurate quote and the fact the customer asked for it are documented and available for future reference.

    Similarly, when customers place orders, it’s imperative for them to know if the items are currently in stock or not. It’s also crucial for their order to be reflected in your inventory. In the past, inventory was often a hazy guess until the entire company performed a reconciliation between what was actually in warehouses and what the books said was on hand.

    An integrated CRM & ERP for distributors solution removes the haziness and the guessing from the equation. Inventories are updated instantly, and the information is available.

    Understanding trends and predicting buying behaviors

    A more informed staff can provide better and more personalized customer service. For example, if your sales team knows that most people who buy product X also eventually buy product Y, they can suggest Y during the sales call with the customer buying X. Similarly, if your sales team knows that during the summer, many customers order a particular product, they can be prepared to talk about it or suggest it.

    Understanding trends and predicting buying behaviors also helps executives make decisions about where to put resources. An accurate understanding also facilitates planning.

    Customer value tracking

    Knowing the value of your customers is crucial for robust and clear financial tracking. When your ERP and CRM platforms are integrated, you can track your estimated budget and compare it to real-time spend. You can see which customers are most valuable to your business across the entire relationship, and you can build in automated customer loyalty programs.

    Connecting the front end of your business, represented by your CRM, with the back end of your business, or your ERP, has clear advantages when it comes to customer service and business operations. Less obvious benefits exist, too—like the ability to invoice and accept payments faster or the more accurate records because human error is reduced. Get in touch with our team to find out what an integrated solution can do for your distribution business.

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