Engineering eCommerce and back-office integrations can be expensive, time-consuming and confusing, but once a system is fully integrated, the back-office software, eCommerce store and CRM software work in tandem to save money on administration, generate greater sales, improve company productivity and attract and retain customers. B2B companies face increasing competition from all over the world, and automated, integrated platforms provide a superior customer experience and streamlined operations that cut costs and generate greater income, so the costs of development are usually more than covered by increased profit.

Why You Should Choose ERP-CRM Integration

When all operating software and applications--such as CRM and ERPs--are fully integrated, the system becomes a centralized base from which all operations can be conducted. ERP, or enterprise resource planning, software is critical to the customer experience because customers can access their complete history with the company to facilitate placing new orders, researching old purchases and accessing price quotes. About 40 percent of B2B buyers mentioned that back-office integration was the most important feature when choosing a supplier. [1]

Customer relationship management, or CRM, software helps companies to manage their customers more effectively and gather intelligence about them that helps to separate them into distinct profiles based on their buying habits, personal preferences, social media activity and other influences such as demographic details. Material from CRM can be integrated with ERP and other internal records to provide a holistic customer view. B2B companies increasingly depend on an integrated view of customer interactions, buying decisions, browsing habits and external habits.

While most B2B companies have a CRM or ERP, they don’t understand the impact of the benefits that they can achieve with exposing much of the information from those platforms with their customers via an integration. Some call this “connecting the front and back of the house.” The front of the house is what customers or people walking by see, while the back of the house is only what the employees see.

Some of the benefits of ERP-CRM integration include:

Improved Productivity

  • Back-office integration improves productivity across sales and marketing channels by reducing paperwork, streamlining operations and detecting waste and fraud.

Better Communication

  • B CRM and back-office Integration provides more ways to communicate such as emails, text messages, Live Chat, AI-powered Chatbots and communications in other platforms such as social media. Companies can operate customer service pages on social media and attract more customers while dealing effectively with the service-related issues of existing customers.

Scheduling Efficiency

  • Integration saves time and money in scheduling staff by reducing the need for manpower and delegating tasks more efficiently. For example, a salesperson can be sent on a call based on his or her current location or skill set.

Enhanced Control

  • In larger companies, there is often a disconnect between departments and teams. Integration brings together front- and back-office employees to work collaboratively. Managers can view progress and make adjustments to improve efficiency.

Customer Self-service options

  • Customers can perform hundreds of operations using self-service when the platform is integrated. This improves the customer experience, increases conversion rates and strengthens B2B buyer loyalty. Companies can win more customers and earn higher profits.

Better Delivery Options

  • Customers can choose from multiple delivery options and even connect directly with carriers on the website when it’s fully integrated with third-party connections. Customers can monitor their deliveries for just-in-time delivery efficiency. Other options include split shipping, partial deliveries and return management.

Cleaner Data

  • Who better to enter their name, address, phone number and email address than the user themselves? Want to keep your contact and marketing data accurate and up to date? Let the users edit it in the portal and sync it from there to your CRM or ERP. The human errors and up to date contact records alone are worth the investment in integrating.

The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Integration

The options of integration include no integration, one-way integration and two-way integration. No integration means that staff members will have to make multiple entries and consult two or more databases just to check on sales activity and post new orders. That means a lot of error-prone manual data entry with out-of-sync data in multiple data sources. One-way integration reduces the need to make multiple entries and generates automated processes such as printing packing slips, generating shipping addresses and connecting eCommerce and back-office integrations. This works well for allowing customers to keep their contact records in sync and up to date.

Two-way integration enables back-and-forth communication between all company departments to automate updating stock, providing real-time inventory counts and offering increased options for customer communications (i.e. things like viewing past orders, paying invoices, checking order statuses, etc.). Automated triggers can alert staff members when their help is needed.

For most B2B companies, integration is not only favorable but almost a competitive necessity. Integration reduces training costs for operating multiple disconnected systems, increases productivity, generates higher sales, improves business collaborations and enhances the customer experience. About 96 percent of B2B organizations believe that integration is a business-critical step to compete in today’s markets. [2]

Development at Your Own Pace

The best developers offer end-to-end integration of those features that are most necessary to business operations. Modular systems allow companies to add modules as needed. That way, companies don’t have to pay for capabilities that they don’t really need. An experienced B2B developer can limit the problems of development by helping to train staff and collaborating on the development process with internal IT staff. Careful testing and the use of design shortcuts--such as The Visual Studio and other coding resources--can greatly reduce development costs. Platforms, like Clarity eCommerce and Clarity Connect can provide an answer to all of the above scenarios, changing and uplifting your business processes and promoting higher customer satisfactory rates and sales conversions.

Going Beyond Traditional Business Limits

If you want to position your company for international sales, multichannel marketing and streamlined management of complex customer-facing applications, full integration should be your goal. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, and many problems can be avoided by choosing the right developer. Clarity fields an experienced team of coders and designers, with more than 350 years of combined experience, who are fully versed in B2B practices. You can get the services you need without paying for unnecessary capabilities, and you can add features as your business grows with a modular development strategy.

 

References:

[1] B2xpartners.com: B2B eCommerce Trends and Statistics - B2X Partners B2B eCommerce Agency

https://b2xpartners.com/b2b-ecommerce-trends-and-statistics/

[2] Magnetoitsolutions.com: B2B e-commerce Trends 2018

https://magnetoitsolutions.com/infographic/b2b-ecommerce-trends-2018/

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