Sales and marketing departments are usually separate entities, but taken together, their joint activities are the driving force behind many successful companies. The business research organisation, Aberdeen Group, has over a period of time been studying sales and marketing dynamics, and their conclusion is that strong bonds between sales and marketing produce stronger results. While companies need effective ERP solutions in place, it is the integration of their sales and marketing functions with ERP that helps drive that success. Aberdeen also noted that there are many organisations that understand what they need to do, but lack the business automation tools for effective sales and marketing. Here are five important ERP sales and marketing features that help make this a reality.
ERP System Integration
The free flow of information between different sales and marketing functions is crucial for effective marketing. This includes all information that’s generated through sales activities, including direct B2C sales, brick-and-mortar outlets, and web sales as well as other customer information held within company databases. As an example of what can be achieved, Aberdeen in a Marketing and Sales Performance Report revealed that best-in-class companies convert 6.7 per cent of website visitors to marketing-engaged contacts compared to only 3.1 per cent for companies who cannot access this information. In order to maximise the opportunities identified through enquiries and other customer interactions, there needs to be a free flow of information, in both directions, between ERP, CRM, Ecommerce and Point of Sales software. This is only possible when effectual system integration between different software functions systems is in place.
Complete and Valid View of the Customer
In that same report, Aberdeen stated that it was essential that companies had access to a good marketing database. The key criterion is not the size of the database but the quality of the information held, because bad or incomplete data reduces the number of leads that can be converted. Aberdeen estimated that on average only 70 per cent of the data in most databases was usable. Based on this, the reliability of the sources of information used to compile these databases is crucial. Time and again, it has been shown that the best leads are those of clients and contacts who are already in an organisation’s database. Those companies that have immediate access to a complete view of their current and potential customers have a head start over those who are relying on partial, incomplete information from disparate sources.
Lead Generation and Tracking
The starting point for sales and marketing is effective lead generation, nurturing and tracking. Systems need to be in place that automatically identifies leads as they interact with the company. These systems should be automated and provide sales staff with appropriate information in real time. Leads can be nurtured using carefully planned targeted marketing activities that encourage further interest and, based on clients’ responses, automatically qualify those leads that indicate real interest. While it’s essential sales and marketing staff manage lead nurturing, automated tools that simplify the process are a great help, especially those that allow real-time monitoring of individual leads. Aberdeen in their research show that best-in-class organisations are able to achieve a 35.6 per cent conversion of market-engaged leads into qualified leads and to further convert 45 per cent of sales opportunities into sales using effective lead nurturing and tracking tools. These conversion rates are three to five times better than those achieved by organisations that don’t have access to such lead generation and tracking tools.
Mobile and Remote Access
Sales and marketing employees are frequently away from their offices, but need to remain in touch in order to maximise their opportunities. Aberdeen has shown that organisations with mobile access have more than twice the ability to maintain real-time visibility into processes as those without. In addition, those using mobile access have greater ability to access customer information when they need it, as well as real-time access to information such as order status, inventory tracking and product delivery dates. The importance of remote access using smartphones and other devices cannot be overstated, and Aberdeen notes that organisations using systems that permit mobile access experience greater customer satisfaction and are able to process orders significantly faster than those without.
A critical component of sales and marketing is access to analytics that provide information on sales performance. The ability to measure metrics such as customer retention rates and attainment of targeted sales, as well as the time taken to complete sales cycles all enhance business effectiveness. The efficacy of sales employees is enhanced when they have access to personalised dashboards that show their overall performance in real time. Additionally, departmental management is enhanced by access to more sophisticated business intelligence analytics that guide strategic decisions and provide tools to monitor departmental and individual performance.
Other Important Features
Sales and marketing effectiveness give organisations the ability to shine even during difficult periods. The ability to access detailed customer and organisational information in real time gives these organisations an edge over those who rely on traditional sales methods. Likewise, the ability to expedite order acceptance, approval and to automate internal systems so that order processing requires minimal manual input, shortens the sales process from acceptance to fulfilment, increases cash flow and promotes customer satisfaction and retention.
NetSuite Leads Marketing Automation
The analyses performed by Aberdeen demonstrate the wisdom of NetSuite’s overall strategy of a coherent business management suite that’s fully integrated. Although there are a number of excellent CRM standalone applications in the market, their lack of ERP integration means that information flow is primarily from customers’ ERP to CRM. On the other hand, NetSuite’s integrated Marketing Automation Solution provides users with first-class sales and marketing tools, yet also enhances the entire business process through the sales automation features that automate order processing. In addition, data integrity is enhanced because of NetSuite’s unique central database structure that stores all data in one place so that there is only one complete customer record. This feature enhances NetSuite users’ customer focus and improves their ability to provide top-class customer service. This was recognised when ISM recently included NetSuite in their 2015 Top 15 CRM Software Award for SME Solutions.Are you concerned about the efficacy of your sales and marketing processes? Take a closer look at what NetSuite’s CRM and ERP have to offer by speaking to one of our NetSuite-trained consultants. Aptuss is an authorised NetSuite partner based in London with a highly professional team that’s able to evaluate your requirements, propose a solution and help you implement NetSuite.