Most businesses employ CRM to organise and boost their sales and marketing activities. Many of these CRM products are standalone software packages that are loosely integrated with the host organisation’s ERP software, allowing CRM to extract customer data from the ERP. To a degree, CRM operates as an independent function providing sales and marketing tools while actual sales transactions take place through the organisation’s ERP software. Another approach is to incorporate CRM as part of an integrated business suite, a methodology that offers numerous advantages. Here are six super cool sales and marketing features made possible by a fully integrated business suite.
The Distinction between CRM and ERP
Before discussing these features, it’s useful to consider the distinction between ERP and CRM. While traditionally they have been considered completely separate functions with ERP being used for back office functions, including financial management, and CRM for sales and marketing activities only, the distinction is no longer as clear. ERP capability is being continually extended, and many ERP vendors are offering CRM-like features. At the same time, CRM applications offer features previously reserved for ERP, such as order taking. Zach Nelson, the CEO of NetSuite, believes the point has been reached where companies should not view CRM and ERP as separate entities but rather as an integrated whole with a single view of the customer.
An integrated solution facilitates intelligent marketing automation because current client records can be accessed and used to generate qualified leads. Data can be drawn from all channels including brick-and-mortar shops, web stores and B2C channels. Prospects can be identified and their activities tracked. It’s possible to nurture leads using automated tools, and when appropriate, information can be passed on automatically to sales. Other features include access to client’s preferences and automated up sell and cross-sell recommendations to guide the sales team.
360-Degree Customer View
Traditional standalone CRM solutions cannot offer a full view of the customer, especially with regard to accessing information held separately in ERP databases. However, a fully integrated CRM and ERP solution provides the sales team with a complete record of the customer as well as giving the ability to seamlessly track orders throughout the system. This enhances the quality of customer service and increases satisfaction levels. The ability to access customers’ records across all sales and marketing channels and to track orders in real time provides a unique perspective of customers, their activities and their relationship with the organisation.
A key aspect regarding sales and marketing is to be able to access relevant information when it is required, and the ability to access information in real time is essential. Naturally, this means that the system should update in real time and that batch updates are not required. This access can be achieved through interactive dashboards that allow the sales team to keep track of prospects, initiate semi-automated nurturing activities and view metrics such as up-to-the minute sales performance and other relevant data. Dashboards should access live data and have the ability for users to query summary information and to access underlying data.
Although retail stores still account for a high percentage of sales, it’s essential that B2B and B2C businesses offer alternatives such as web stores and other forms of ecommerce to meet the diverse needs of their customer bases. Besides offering convenient access to local customers, these channels are able to extend the reach of businesses beyond their geographical footprint. An essential feature of successful omnichannel retailing is the ability to consolidate all information into one database so that there is only one view of the customer and only one view of inventory. This requirement is best met through an integrated solution that avoids fragmentation and uses a centralised database.
ERP and CRM: Mobile-Anywhere Access
Although the sales and marketing team may often be out of the office, they need to be able to keep in touch with the organisation. A key feature that really enhances effectiveness is the ability to be able to access corporate systems to obtain client information, prepare estimates and accept orders. Consequently, ERP and CRM packages need to be remotely accessible, preferably through mobile devices with the ability to seamlessly interact with corporate systems. Cloud-based solutions enjoy a significant advantage due to their ability to access these systems easily thought the Internet.
Integrated Order Management
As the need for omnichannel solutions grew, many organisations implemented standalone web stores using propriety software. While this works, such solutions have the disadvantage that they use their own database and their own inventory records that are not easily shared with in-house systems. This fragmented approach means that inventory information is often out of date and incorrect. This can be avoided if omnichannel solutions access the same database so that all orders are processed by an integrated order management system accessing a common inventory.
NetSuite Sales and Marketing Solution
Although various business suites offer some of these features, only one, NetSuite, brings them all together into one integrated business suite. It is for this reason that NetSuite CRM+ was one of winners for the 2015 CRM Watchlist. A key factor behind NetSuite’s success is that NetSuite CRM+ is part of its integrated business suite, providing unrivalled visibility into sales and marketing activities. Other benefits that lift CRM+ above competitors are its sales automation features, a real-time 360-degree view of the customer and a seamless information flow from lead to opportunity, sales order and fulfilment. Besides traditional CRM capabilities, NetSuite’s additional features include quotation and order management, sales forecasts, ecommerce, sales compensation management and performance management.
NetSuite CRM+ complements NetSuite ERP, and together with NetSuite Ecommerce, NetSuite is able to meet the business needs of modern companies. This ability is enhanced by NetSuite’s built in flexibility, customisability and advanced business intelligence features along with a highly competent ecosystem of partners who are able to extend the reach of the CRM. NetSuite is the most advanced, integrated SaaS cloud-based business suite available and is able to grow and adapt as businesses develop. To find out how NetSuite’s sales and marketing features can improve your sales, contact our trained NetSuite consultants and request a demonstration of NetSuite’s capabilities. Aptuss is an authorised NetSuite partner conveniently located in Greater London.