One of the benefits for manufacturers in integrating ERP to CRM is superior Customer Level Forecasting. ERP systems are very product focused – Inventory Control, Average Cost, demand models for replenishment etc. are all very product focused events, but – by turning that data on its head – and making the customer the top of the pyramid (bottom of the pyramid?) Manufacturers can use the past to predict the future.
We have helped customers take sales history (basically Sales Order or Invoice History) and use that to build a forecast for the next year. This allows reps or managers to then tweak that data into a solid forecast – by month – by quarter – however you measure it. We think it gives manufacturers:
Enhanced Customer Insights: By combining ERP and CRM data, clients can gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns. It can help with new product introduction strategy and overall marketing strategy.
Accurate Demand Forecasting: Using basic Sales Order history (or invoice history allows for more accurate demand forecasting. It automatically includes Seasonality, and product mix information since actual sales drive the basis of the forecast. This helps in optimizing inventory levels, production planning, and resource allocation.
Cost Efficiency: By leveraging ERP data within the CRM system, you can optimize resource allocation and reduce inefficiencies. For example, you can avoid overstocking or understocking products, streamline order processing, and minimize the risk of stockouts.
Identifying Cross-Selling and Upselling Opportunities: using the actual sales data from a previous year, you can easily see “whitespace” – areas at the category or product level where you DON’T sell to a customer (more on that later). Having those missing areas highlighted gives reps the ability to focus and forecast on the missing pieces. Instead of selling more of the same old stuff, reps can take advantage of the knowledge and try to lean into different categories.
Big companies have whole departments dedicated to this process, but for the small and medium sized manufacturers, simply integrating ERP to CRM gives you access to this data – and from there, the ability to analyze and use the data to build more accurate and actionable forecasts.