Salesforce.com is the world’s number Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. It has an extensive feature set, but it doesn’t do everything. Indeed, Salesforce is designed to integrate with other software applications so its CRM capabilities can surface in multiple areas of a business.
ERP and Salesforce
The goal of CRM is to manage the customer relationship to the benefit of the business. This might mean closing more deals, increasing the profitability of a customer or delivering better customer service. To achieve these goals, it can be useful to know as much about the customer as possible. This is where integration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software helps.
For example, if your sales team uses Salesforce to move sales opportunities to successful closes, they will benefit from knowing about other deals the customer has done with the company. Being able to see the customer’s sales history—which is contained in the ERP financial platform—enables the salesperson to speak knowledgably with the customer about its needs and past experiences.
How ERP/Salesforce Integration Works
Salesforce publishes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for the purpose of integrating with external applications and data sources. The Salesforce API is based on the Representational State Transfer (REST) open standard. It is compatible with the JSON and XML languages. This design means that virtually any application in the world can integrate with Salesfroce.com without the need to buy a property application integration connector.
If you’re running Acumatica ERP, for example, it’s relatively easy to pull ERP data into Salesforce.com. The opposite is also true. Acumatica can request data from Salesforce.com. It is not necessary for anyone to write software code to make this happen. Someone does have to create the “API Call,” but many of these are available on a pre-packaged basis.
Benefits of Salesforce/ERP Integration
Integrating Salesforce with ERP gives CRM users a complete view of the customer. In addition to the deal history described above, the complete view of the customer might include details like the customer’s service history, payment history and current order statuses. For instance, if a customer has a history of not paying bills, this is something the sales team needs to know. If a shipment is on its way to a customer, but running late, this is also a useful data point.
Other benefits include:
- Better customer engagement – the complete view of the customer facilitates better customer engagement. When salespeople and customer service staff have a complete understanding of what’s going on with a customer, they can provide better service. The customer feels as if the vendor knows his or her business well.
- Sales growth – An informed sales team, working with complete account data, should be able to achieve a high rate of sales growth.
- Streamlined workflows – Sales, operations and finance all benefit from being able to move a transaction seamlessly from quote, to order, to invoice in a process that spans CRM and ERP.
- More complete sales and operations data – The complete view of the customer translates into a more complete data set about sales and operations. Being able to measure and visualize data about customer activity across sales, marketing, service, logistics and finance gives senior managers a better feel for the business, which in turn drives more informed decision making.
- More accurate financial planning – Financial managers can plan better when they are able to compare sales forecasts with production planning and logistics budgets, and so forth.