There is an old idiom that applies to many organizations:  “The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing!”  That can be the root of many frustrations in business.  This is why we often see organizations start the search for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.  CRM brings to the table a shared environment where important customer information is available across the entire organization.  In and of itself, however, CRM is only a beginning.  In order to share information between the left and right hands, it can also be imperative that you include your ERP system in the mix.

In an organization where CRM and ERP are distinctly separate systems, the workforce can never benefit from 360-degree view of the customer.  Here are a few questions salespeople often ask that drain time and efficiency in this environment:

  • What’s on the order?
  • What’s the order status?
  • Has an order shipped?
  • What is the order’s Tracking Number?
  • Has the order been invoiced?
  • What was on the invoice?
  • Has the invoice been paid?

If you are considering purchasing new ERP and CRM systems, or if you have two separate systems today, it may be sensible to ensure that these technologies can integrate.  The goal should be to knock down the walls that are keeping your departments in a perpetual bottleneck.  Microsoft offers some exciting solutions in both areas.  In the ERP arena, Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX provide powerful ERP tools to meet your needs.  The best part is that Dynamics CRM will integrate with both, providing the desired customer-centric view of all data available.

Here are just a few of the features you can expect from CRM in an integrated ERP and CRM environment:

  • Allow your sales force enter orders directly into CRM and push those orders to ERP, eliminating data entry errors and re-keying of data. (This also eliminates the need to purchase additional ERP licenses to accommodate your sales team.)
  • See current inventory on hand, enabling salespeople to let customers know if items are back ordered so that alternate suggestions can be offered
  • Provide clients with updates on order status, shipping information, and tracking numbers right out of CRM
  • Identify immediately when an account has been put on credit hold
  • Allow your non-accounting staff to enter purchase orders, go through an approval process, and push these PO’s to ERP without re-keying the data

All of these features are enabled through the use of the combined tools of the CRM Connector for Dynamics ERP and code written by the certified CRM consultants of Armanino Consulting.  Perhaps the best part is that the CRM Connector is a free utility available as part of your Dynamics GP or Dynamics AX implementation.  If you have a combined deployment of Microsoft CRM and Dynamics GP or AX, you should be taking advantage of these tools to provide the best view of your customers on the market today.

Our customers who have deployed the CRM Connector are using it to enable their sales force to enter their own orders.  In many organizations, the sales team is already creating quotes.  Why not take advantage of that effort and push that quote to be an order in CRM and, with a push of a button, submit it to ERP.  Here is a typical process that we see:

1)      Create a quote in CRM.

2)      Convert that quote to be an order in CRM.

3)      Submit that order to ERP.

4)      Fulfill and invoice in ERP.

5)      Send the order and Invoice information back to CRM, providing that all-important status visibility all along the way.

 

A fully-integrated environment provides the highest return on investment and brings your sales process full-circle.  It increases scalability, data accuracy, and customer satisfaction.   If you are wondering how this integration functionality works for other companies, please take a moment to read this case study which outlines how one our customers was able to speed order processing and invoicing by using Microsoft Dynamics GP and the CRM Connector.   If you would like to learn more about ERP, CRM, or how these technologies can help your company become more productive, please contact us.

By Armanino Consulting – the West Coast’s largest Gold Certified, Microsoft AX and GP Partner in Oregon, Washington, and California.

 

Eliminate 7 Time-Wasting Questions from Your Sales Team’s Vocabulary by Connecting CRM and ERP Systems is a post from: Accounting Software Blog

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