Companies planning to streamline their business activities and boost productivity, should consider integrating their accounting software and customer relationship management (CRM) software systems. Doing so will help them remove silos in fragmented system, gain 360 degree view of organizational processes and boost operational efficiency. Furthermore, this will lead to significant cost saving and higher business productivity, boosting growth of the organization.
Need for an Integrated System
As companies evolve, their businesses expand to new segments and geographies; in the process, they acquire new customers. They invest in new sales channels and may engage in extensive financial consolidation. As a result, inventory and order management along with fulfillment systems get more expansive and sophisticated. Along with this, customer expectation has also increased substantially. In this scenario, companies cannot afford to work in a typical siloed business system where they use one system to manage their customers, and a different one to manage their accounting. This will not only cripple their growth but impact their profitability also. Consider for instance the expectation of various B2C and B2B buyers in a global technology player Amazon.com, Inc. The customers expect a consistent service and interaction with the company regardless of the communication channel they chose.
The company can fulfill the customers’ expectations better if they have comprehensive information. The information will typically consist of how well the company knows about their customers in terms of their buying patterns, their payment volume and terms, the products they are interested in, and more. Businesses using a fragmented system will not have access to these consolidated information. Hence they will lack the much-needed visibility at the point of contact with the customer.
Benefits of Integrating both the Software
The integration of CRM system with the accounting software entails significant benefits for an organization. The integrated software helps the organization to review overall client portfolio, by offering in-depth understanding of their overall customer landscape.
Some of the benefits enterprises gain by integrating their accounting software with CRM system are:
- Making sales team more efficient: Sales teams who have access to an integrated software will become more efficient when managing their own accounts. If they had access to only CRM software, information such as sales volume data, both for the historic and current period, would not be easily available to them and in real time. In addition, sales team using the integrated software could access the information on current orders and invoices in real time.
- Effective resolution of customer issues: The sales team that engages with customers have access to all key account information such as unpaid invoices. The integrated information enables them with real time updates to help them in effectively resolving pending payments or any customer concerns.
- Reducing data duplication: The information on purchase or sales orders and invoices that are entered by the sales team in CRM software can be easily available by linking to the accounting software of the organization. This decreases the number of errors when processing orders and reduces time to complete order processing, invoicing, expense approvals, and fulfillment. In addition, data extraction and pooling of data from different business processes becomes easier. As a result, sales and marketing teams are better informed about their end-users and can make more effective marketing strategies.
- More precise information with channel partners: The ERP and CRM integration leads to more precise information about the end customer. Such information offers insights into their buying pattern and preferences. As a result, this helps in setting more predictable lead times for products and more effective pricing arrangements leading to significant competitive advantages for the company.
Infographic: Integrated CRM and Accounting Software
To Sum Up…
Having access to an integrated system will not only benefit the sales and finance team, it will help optimize the resources. Information on sales, marketing, customer service, order management, financial transactions can be shared with all the members of the organization in real time. The system serves as an effective process of conversion of potential customers into actual revenue-generating customers.
Customer-focusing businesses have already begun capitalizing on the process of integration.
Keeping a tab on the trend, Kathleen Booth, CEO, Quintain Marketing confers, “CRMs will evolve from sales-oriented tools to truly integrated marketing and sales platforms,” which sums up the emerging business scenario in favor of integration.