Where does CRM end and ERP begin?
As a CRM product startup, we often get asked by customers to add features to our product that, in my opinion, are well in the domain of ERP.
1. When you send a quote from the system, will it be possible for you to send the expected delivery schedule as well?
Answer: Sure, we can make the change. But, think of the problems. The CRM will need to know, what is the current stock-position, what are the pending orders in the system against them and so on before sending a quote.
So, either I link to your ERP (if it exists) or I continue to support duplicated information and make sure it is synchronized.
If you are a SME; which my customers are, the extra cost is not worth it.
2. Can you generate invoices from the system?
Answer: Yes, and no! I mean, generating an invoice from the system is child’s play for us. But, then, without a link to your billing system, how will it work? So, now you will want a billing system and then you will end up the work that is being done thru your ERP as well. Then you will want to build a “bridge” to your ERP.
Can you afford it? Should you?
So, in short, our answer has always been to resist these requests. We think, for an SME, adopting CRM has anyway lots of challenges. You have to map and adapt your existing processes to the software, customize fields, work with your team to evangelize the concept and check progress in adoption. You may not want to bite off more than you can chew at the very first instance.
What do you think?