We already discussed in a previous article how important it is to have the possibility to integrate CRM and CPQ in order to optimize sales performances. Now, let us take another essential company system for everyday activities into consideration, the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
While some are using these systems independently, most of the companies are integrating CRM with CPQ and ERP in their IT infrastructure.
It is clear how closely integrated these systems are when we look at how data flows from CRM to CPQ from the creation of the offer to the moment the contract is signed.
In this scenario, the CPQ represents the meeting point that combines CRM and ERP, giving life to a perfect circle.
CPQ-ERP integration: why is it important?
At the most basic level, the integration between CPQ and ERP unifies the sales system by eliminating friction.
Internal processes such as sales and pipeline management and quotes creation are controlled through the CPQ, while inventory management, production, order fulfillment and billing are managed through the ERP.
Even if these processes are separated, every part needs data from the other one in order to function effectively.
For example, your sales team needs visibility on inventory levels and order fulfillment status in order to carry out the work efficiently; on the other hand, the ERP needs data on sales, pipelines and quotes in order to manage the inventory, fulfill orders and handle billing correctly.
Consequently, it is necessary to transfer data back and forth from CPQ to ERP systems (for example, by making the CPQ communicate with Dynamics or Salesforce).
Without an integration between the two software, most of the companies rely on updating processes and manual data entry, which can lead to unexpected human errors and significant waste of times.
On the contrary, the integration between these two systems enables a back-and-forth data exchange for eliminating this kind of errors, accelerate processes and share information in a bidirectional way for augmented visibility from both parties.
By synchronizing the functionalities of these three software it is possible to develop a circular system in which the sharing of information allows to:
- provide sellers with suitable means for conducting the negotiation;
- engage customers thanks to a rewarding buying experience, both during the negotiation and the post-sales phase.
The company will gain great benefit from the integration of these tools: this means being able to configure quotes more easily, even the most complex ones, for any industry, managing them, closing contracts, and having up-to-date information on the CRM always at disposal in order to manage job orders and billing through the ERP.
Having the possibility of offering the company a simple integration between CPQ, CRM and ERP means being able to rapidly configurate quotes, even complex ones, for basically any industry.
The real benefits of a fully integrated end-to-end technology
Modernization, automation and customization are the principles on which a technological offer should be based. When a CPQ software is being added to the company toolkit, it creates a real automated end-to-end solution.
There is a long list of benefits for companies tackling this digital transformation, and also for players who are willing to offer solutions that are fully connected and automated with each other, for example:
- Integrated platform with real-time data access;
- Time savings thanks to the elimination of double manual data entry;
- Optimized data visibility and drill-down for better company planning, forecasting and decision-making;
- Better accuracy for quotes and order;
- Empowered sales force, which works more efficiently and rapidly and thus will reach sales and revenue targets more easily;
- Faster sales cycle and quoting time, which leads to increase in probability of closing deals by creating up-sell and cross-sell options and better margins for amplified revenue;
- 360° end-to-end workflow visibility. The integration with the ERP allows to see where orders are in the fulfillment process or if there are any pending invoices;
- Systems alignment: product or pricing updates and new discount policies. An integration will assure that everyone will be working on the same data for better alignment and better results, faster.
These tools are being increasingly searched and employed by companies who have grasped their benefits.
Cleaner and safer data with CRM-CPQ-ERP integration
Thanks to system integration, once an opportunity is closed and marked as won in the CRM it will automatically be sent to the ERP for fulfillment and billing. At the same time, the CRM will be updated automatically with new data from the ERP.
With this kind of integration, if a sales rep needs information on how a deal is progressing, he or she can simply look into the CRM and see every detail he or she might need, without having to access a different system or contacting another team for an update.
A scenario where a company adopts a CPQ solution integrated with the ERP and the CRM is the ground for augmenting productivity, not only because it enables a silos of information that is being powered by different sources, but also because archived data will be much more clean and safe.
In addition, the role of the ERP is fundamental, as it guarantees an error-free archive with close to no possibility of intrusions. One needs to consider that this kind of software is normally used by a few people, that have a great responsibility on the financial side of the company and, by consequence, need to extremely precise when they add or update data concerning payments or legal aspects.
Having the possibility of drawing data from the other two systems and use them on the CPQ will eliminate errors during product or service presentations, especially when the quote is being composed or the contract is being signed by the customer.
An offer configurator which is optimally integrated with other company systems such as CRM and ERP will help having clean and reliable data and accurate orders.