The Differences Between CRM and ERP Systems

Implementing ERP and CRM software could help you achieve exciting business objectives – but what is the difference between the two solutions? In this post we take a closer look at ERP and CRM systems.

Deciding whether to invest in a CRM or ERP system (or in both) will depend on the specific requirements of your business and its long-term objectives – but understanding the differences between the two software types is a vital first step.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software share some common goals. Both IT solutions are designed to optimise operational efficiency, standardise essential tasks, aid steady profit growth and, of course, attract and retain customers. However, there are some clear differences between the two systems.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

What are CRM Systems?

While customer service modules are available with industry-leading ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO), CRM systems allow a more comprehensive approach to customer relationship management. They make it possible to track your client relationships from inception and collect useful data for your business to capitalise on and learn from. Ultimately, CRM systems help you understand your customers.

With CRM solutions, you don’t need to rely on customer feedback to adjust the way you attract and retain clients. By building a comprehensive overview of potential and existing customers, CRM software makes it possible to identify and maximise opportunities for making sales. It also provides insights about marketing and remarketing efforts and lets you communicate in a way that your customers will respond to.

CRM systems build this holistic approach to relationship management by collecting valuable insights about your customer base. This starts the minute someone first interacts with your business, whether by signing up to your mailing list or clicking on an online advertisement. Following this, every form of direct and indirect communication is monitored and analysed to help you track client leads, schedule email newsletters, offer discounts to loyal customers and much more.

What are ERP Systems?

Enterprise resource planning software can also be customised to help you develop positive customer relationships. However, unlike CRM systems, this isn’t the primary objective of ERP. Instead, ERP software seeks to help businesses improve their operations and customer delivery by optimising important tasks and maximising employee productivity. By streamlining and automating business processes by use of enterprise resource planning, companies can dedicate more time and resources to fostering profitable customer relationships.

ERP solutions take a business-centred approach to customer relationship management. But, this doesn’t mean that ERP solutions consider client satisfaction or retention an afterthought. Many ERP modules allow you to monitor consumer trends and keep product costs competitive, in addition to identifying and resolving customer complaints quickly.

Many ERP systems can also be adapted with certain CRM features and functionalities, allowing you to take advantage of centralised workflows while benefiting from increased customer relationship management support.

Deciding whether to invest in ERP or CRM doesn’t have to be difficult with ICS. Our Microsoft-certified developers are on hand to implement, customise and manage the entire suite of Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions to optimise your commercial operations and customer relationship management. Contact the team at ICS to learn more about our ERP and CRM implementation services today.