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Here at Spiro, we have a team of BDRs and Account Executives that talk to prospects all day about implementing CRM. Time and time again we hear this from the those prospects: “My ERP includes CRM, so thanks for calling, but I’m all set.”

But, are you really all set? Is an ERP system that has CRM “included” really the best solution to meet the needs of both your sales team and your business objectives?

Let’s start with some definitions.

What is ERP?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, which doesn’t really tell you much. Basically, ERP tools help to integrate a company’s business process with the main functions of the company. ERP handles operational processes that touch on a whole slew of different departments: HR, finance, distribution, service, and yes, even sales. But, the main functionality of ERP is to help manage the business/operational side of things.

What is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management, also known as CRM, is software that helps sales teams and companies organize their interactions with prospects and customers and provides visibility across the organization for better support of a company’s goals.

The core of CRM is contact management. And in particular, sales prospects and contacts. CRM is specifically built to help the sales side of the company, ultimately increasing revenue for the business.

What Makes ERP and CRM Different?

When you boil it down into the simplest terms, CRM helps you drive business, while ERP helps you manage the business.
It’s like the front of the house and the back of the house in a restaurant – they need to talk, but they serve different functions. One is to help drive the customers in and find out their needs and engage with them. The other is to make sure the food is up to par and gets served on time.

ERP serves the back of the house, while your CRM should serve your front of the house. They have different needs, and the tools used should be specifically built to help them achieve those goals.

Why an ERP with CRM Doesn’t Work

ERP wasn’t built for salespeople, while CRM was. ERP serves a very valuable function, but it typically is an ordering software that has many extra fields and functions designed for fulfilling orders and making the engine run smoothly. All those mandatory fields, and a user interface that is usually not very intuitive, makes it clunky. When you use a CRM that is part of that ERP (usually as an add-on), you inherit all of the bad parts of the ERP, which can slow down a salesperson from selling

Salespeople needs something simple. Something that helps them sell. Something built for sales.

Why Have the Systems Separate?

Two main reasons:

1. Keep your departments focused on their separate functions. CRM manages the customer, ERP manages the business. Customers are people, business is a process. They are two totally different things that need to be handled in a different way, so you should use tools built to help you achieve your different goals.

2. While it used to be more difficult to integrate software systems, it’s now super easy and something any company can do on their own. If you have an engineer at your company who is familiar with using an open API, some CRMs (like Spiro) and most ERPs have an open API, allowing seamless connectivity. Nowadays there are also third party integration services, like Zapier, that let you connect thousands of applications. Integrating your CRM with your ERP is simple these days.

And, you don’t need to fear the cost of integration. At Spiro, we have plenty of experience with integration and will be able to integrate with your ERP within 2 weeks- and sometimes even in a day!

Summing it Up
ERP is not focused on helping you make more sales. Salespeople need something that is focused on their needs. You should have a CRM that can tie into your ERP, but it shouldn’t be an ERP with a CRM on the side. Prospects and customers are people, business is a process. They are two totally different things that need to be handled in a different way.

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About the Author Andy Levi

Andy Levi is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Spiro Technologies. Andy is a technologist with a background in sales and was originally from Venezuela although many people can’t place his accent. He focused on CRM technologies for the past 20 years and built mission critical applications used by over 100,000 sales people.

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