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What is ERP & CRM software- A Quick Explainer for Small Businesses

Running a business is no easy feat. Thankfully, the digital age has introduced some very versatile software that makes the day-to-day running of a business a quick and efficient process. Most businesses today use two leading software applications, ERP and CRM. Both these applications are quite significant in managing business processes, generate automated reports, track resources, and so on.

Let us take a brief look at each of these applications and why businesses need them.

what is erp softareEnterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software

ERP stands for enterprise resource planning. It is easy to glean the function of ERP software from the name. Essentially, the ERP software is designed to help manage business processes in real time. A number of back end operations are automated, and everything from planning, resource allocation, development, sales, marketing, in fact, all aspects of managing an enterprise can be easily integrated using ERP software. ERP focuses on dividing business operations into modules in order to generate very specific reports. The higher the number of modules in the ERP software, the greater is the accuracy of the operations. A higher number of modules also help businesses to deal with projects that are highly specific to each module. ERP is also an integral part of asset management in every business.

Now that we have understood what ERP software is, let us take a look at why businesses really need to implement ERP software applications within a business.

One system for the entire business

A business has several core functional areas. There are human resources, sales, marketing, inventory, accounts, quality management, and so much more. Each of these areas needs to be integrated with one another in order to achieve seamless outcomes. The processes in each area are closely interlinked with the processes in all other areas. An ERP software will help to integrate several functional areas for the best possible outcome smoothly. The advantage is that such a system will automate even the most minute tasks making sure that all operations function on uniform data and all processes are updated as and when required. This increases the efficiency of how a business is run.,

Data analysis

Running a business largely depends on data. Past data, present data, and future data help determine the next course of action in your business plan. The challenge here is to pull up relevant data. Most businesses already have a load of data collected in the background and looking for insights is akin to looking for the metaphorical needle in the haystack. This is where ERP software offers some advantages. One of the features of ERP software is reporting real-time data. This allows analysts to gain access to highly relevant and updated information. Another advantage is that ERP software is a centralized system. This means that all the information is available in a single system making it easier for analysts to access this information and identify past trends and potential strategies that could improve current business operations.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

CRM stands for customer relationship management. CRM software is designed to help businesses manage all processes that are related to customer operations. It is used by a number of businesses to improve productivity and boost sales. Functions of CRM software include managing customer data, sales, employee training, customer support, contracts, customer interaction processes, and so on. CRM software is used to manage business partners and clients as well. In addition to this, CRM software is used in asset management and inventory tracking as well.

Every business, small or big needs to implement CRM software in their business applications. CRM software act as one big platform where you can integrate and coordinate notes, data, trends, metrics, and several other aspects into a single system. This has a very far-reaching impact on how a business manages its relationship with clients as well as other businesses.

Here are the benefits of implementing CRM software in business processes.

Managing customer data

The success of any business lies in how it manages its customers. Businesses are constantly analyzing and improving on the available customer data to modify business strategies and operations for the benefit of the customers. CRM software helps businesses to keep track of customer data. The software closely monitors a large amount of data so that analysts can easily access relevant and up to date data when it comes to looking at customer metrics. The system created by CRM software organizes data into highly relevant categories. This means that each time you communicate with a customer, you have access to a very detailed history of how the businesses have operated with the specific customer in the past.

Increase sales

Not only does CRM software keep track of existing customers, but it can also nurture a number of potential leads. CRM software stores very relevant information about prospective clients. The sales team can regularly follow up with such clients and turn these clients into actual sales. In addition, CRM segments customers into different categories based on how each category of customers reacts to specific content or mode of sales. This is an important function because the essence of building a good relationship with customers entails understanding what works for certain individuals and what does not.

Track buying habits

CRM software makes use of several different kinds of reports and metrics to track customer buying habits. CRM software is able to identify certain trends and preferences in customer habits. The software can track factors like when a customer is most likely to respond to an e-mail, how a customer behaves on social platforms, likes, interests, and other information. All of this information combined helps to build a customer persona which can be used during further sales activities. This information helps the different teams in business to coordinate their activities and build good habits when interacting with existing and potential clients. The key is to make sure that you are approaching the client tactically and not frustrating them. A carefully planned sales strategy will help sales executives to deal with customers in a much more efficient way and will keep customers coming back to you.

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