ERP and CRM Integration: A Match Made in Heaven

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ERP CRM Love Photo“So what’s next?”  Our strategy team often hears this question from clients as they look to the future and consider ways to drive new business efficiencies across their organization.  Quite often there is an easy area of exploration that has gone unnoticed:  finance and sales alignment through ERP integration with Salesforce.com (or whatever your CRM of record may be).

In our experience, whether your firm is running NetSuite, Oracle, or any other ERP, this integration is an overlooked opportunity that can have significant impact on sales efficiency, customer experience and even cash collections.  Let’s look at the love that can blossom between finance and sales through the integration of your ERP with Salesforce.

First, let us set the record straight.  There can be an inherent gap between the goals of finance and sales.  Sales wants to get deals done, no matter what obstacle presents itself. While finance also wants new sales – they balance that with getting cash in the door through collections.  If a customer is over 90-days overdue on a payment, do you want to accept a new order from them?  Sales probably does; finance probably does not. Corporate policies will usually dictate when an order can or cannot be taken from a company that is in arrears.  But now comes enforcement.

Sales needs easy access to this information within their go-to system (Salesforce) to identify the payment status of an account.  If sales is forced to access another system for this data, you’re creating a huge sales time soak and inefficiency, and therefore likely a scenario where sales may “forget” to look at the ERP data.  They might accept another order from that customer anyway, or at least work a deal for weeks or months, only to realize policy prevents them from taking an order.  Not good.  If ERP data for a customer is provided within the sales tool, it becomes easy for sales to identify payment issues upfront.

Building on this scenario, if the sales team does have easy access to ERP data within Salesforce, you’re creating a virtual AP team – a huge benefit for finance! Sales is hungry to get deals done.  If they are not able to accept an order because of an overdue payment, you can be sure they will poke, prod, and cajole the customer to make the payment.  Sharing of collections and order status within Salesforce can significantly impact collections and your cash flow, as well as making your sales team more productive.

Finally, by sharing key ERP data within Salesforce, you’re taking a strategic step towards creating the 360-degree view of the customer.  Best in class organizations leverage Salesforce to aggregate finance, sales, marketing, and support data to create a holistic view of the customer.  With data aggregated in one location, any party within the organization can view where any account is in the customer life cycle, from quote to cash.  This enables fantastic reporting capabilities by leveraging Salesforce’s native dashboard, or going further with a robust reporting layer (check out Salesforce Wave).

Related: Get the Ultimate Guide to ERP-CRM Integration

As you look for new opportunities to drive finance and sales efficiencies, start with a candid conversation about the relationship between sales and finance.  This quite often will lead to a first date between your ERP and Salesforce.  As our customers will attest, the first date will virtually guarantee a journey down a path that most certainly ends in a long-lasting marriage.  Like any good marriage, both parties will end up happier (and more efficient).

About Bridgepoint Consulting

A Texas-based  leader in delivering and integrating ERP and CRM solutions including NetSuite and Salesforce, Bridgepoint Consulting has a large team of consultants who are here to help you make the most of your investment. Our team of certified professionals has expertise across all enterprise systems – incljuding  ERP, CRM, CMS and BI/Data Warehousing. If you have any questions or would like help integrating a system, please contact us. Learn more about our comprehensive services and areas of expertise here.

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