CRM vs. ERP: what startups need the most?

What is CRM:

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a strategy for managing all the relationships and interactions of a company that take place with potential and existing customers. A CRM system helps companies stay in touch with customers, simplify processes and improve profitability.

When we talk about CRM, we usually refer to a CRM system that is a tool used for contact management, sales management, productivity and more. The goal of this system is simple: to improve all the interactions underlying the business.

A CRM system helps companies to: 

  •  keep customer contact details up to date, 
  • monitor every interaction with customers and manage their accounts. 
  • improve relationships with customers and also their lifetime value (CLV). This aspect is fundamental, given the high amount of data generated by companies on a daily basis.

The issue of customer data represents a challenge to which CRM systems have been created. Whenever someone answers the phone and talks to a customer, they go out to meet a potential customer or follow a promising lead, learn something new and potentially valuable.

A CRM system essentially provides a central point where companies can store actual and potential customer data, as well as monitor customer interactions and share this information with colleagues. It allows companies to manage customer relationships, helping the company grow.

Using a CRM system, each question, service request, preference and past contact data of each customer is available immediately, which means that each new interaction should always be personalized, relevant and updated.

In addition to keeping track of every phone call, email, meeting and presentation, CRM systems can also be used to add notes, plan follow-ups and organize next steps. This ensures that opportunities to close deals or grow customer accounts are not wasted.

Key features of a CRM system

Key features of a CRM system typically include contact management functionality, dashboard-style presentation of information and reports that analyze pipeline activity, as well as communication tools such as e-mail. integrated mail and internal instant messaging:

  • Contact
  • management Lead management
  • Sales forecasting
  • Instant messaging among employees
  • Email monitoring and integration with Outlook and Gmail
  • File and content sharing
  • Dashboard-based analytics

Evaluating and comparing the various types of systems CRM

When evaluating and comparing CRM systems, three types must be considered: desktop, server and cloud. A desktop system is suitable for a single user who simply needs an electronic version of a Rolodex to manage basic customer contacts, so for most companies the key question to answer is: server or cloud?

The three basic types of CRM systems include:

  • Desktop systems that run on a single computer
  • Client-server systems that have a central database stored on a server, usually hosted autonomously with software installed on each user’s PC or laptop so that it can access it
  • Cloud-based systems provided and hosted online by a third-party provider and accessible anywhere via a connected device

 As technology evolves, the way we work and connect with customers also evolves. Advanced systems go beyond the obvious functionality of CRMs, to respond to developments such as remote work and artificial intelligence. Cloud-based CRM systems are at their best in this area, as they can be updated as new technologies become the norm.

Mobile CRM for remote work

Some CRM systems such as Salesforce now offer mobile CRM functionality, which allows salespeople to access crucial information wherever they are and to update that information immediately after a meeting while still in the field, so that colleagues can follow the customer with the latest information, before the competition.

With mobile CRM, you can manage an entire business from a phone, without being tied to a desk: closing deals, customer support and even implementing 1: 1 marketing campaigns. This feature can also support work from home and even allow companies to reduce the size needed for offices.

Social Media Integration

Today’s CRM platforms can help companies get the most out of social media as a source of new leads, data about potential customers and information for customer support workers. All these new social data flows are integrated with the rest of the data available to a customer, to provide the widest possible image and a series of new information with practical value.

Leveraging artificial intelligence

Some CRM systems can use artificial intelligence (AI) to learn from available data in order to make recommendations based on business processes. In this way, the system improves constantly and automatically, becoming more intelligent and more targeted to customer needs.

Here are some ways in which artificial intelligence can enhance a CRM:

  • Transcribing and analyzing sales calls: the transcription of calls can be useful to highlight which are the most interesting topics for the customer, or to improve sales performance. For this purpose there are software such as Chorus that can be integrated with Salesforce.
  • Identify what all support tickets have in common: This can be used to advise which is the best answer and halve the time. Some software such as Digital Genius help automate responses and halve problem resolution times. 
  • Speeding up content production thanks to a natural language generator: Creating content for websites, social networks and landing pages takes a lot of time and resources, but software like Wordsmith can produce content for articles, social content, landing pages and much more. It produces content using the language suitable for your audience, greatly reducing the time. It does content in 15 languages ​​and can be integrated with Zapier foto 

CRM software

Here is a list of some CRM software 

  • Monday: This is one of the most famous software, it has 14 days of free trial and you easily integrates with tools that are commonly used by many companies (for example Slack). 
  • Zoho is a cloud based CRM, usable by businesses of all kinds. It supports more than 26 languages ​​and is very easy and fast to use.
  • Salesforce is one of the main cloud based CRM tools / software in the world that provides creative CRM solutions that can be used effectively for all companies with business needs, from large size to small start-ups.
  • Dynamics: It contains everything a company needs. Very easy to use, and has integrations with other systems such as Social Engagement.
  • HubSpot: It has all the basic functionality of a crm, without being as complex as other platforms.

What is ERP

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) refers to a type of software that organizations use to manage daily business activities, such as accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance and supply operations chain. A complete ERP suite also includes enterprise performance management, software that helps plan, quantify, predict and communicate an organization’s financial results.

ERP systems combine and define a set of business processes and guarantee the exchange of data. By collecting shared transactional data from different sources in the organization, ERP systems eliminate duplication of data and ensure its integrity through a single reliable source.

Nowadays, ERP systems are fundamental for the management of thousands of companies of all sizes and belonging to different sectors. For these companies, ERP is as important as the electricity that powers all systems.

ERP systems are based on a single defined data structure (schema) which generally shares a common database. This ensures that the information used throughout the company is normalized and based on common definitions and user experiences. These main constructs are then interconnected with business processes driven by workflows between corporate departments (e.g. finance, human resources, engineering, marketing, operations), connection systems and the people who use them. In a nutshell, ERP is the vehicle for integrating people, processes and technologies into a modern company.

For example: consider a company that makes cars by getting parts and components from multiple suppliers. It could use an ERP system to track the demand and purchase of these assets and ensure that every component of the entire procure-to-pay process uses uniform and clean data related to integrated business workflows, business processes, reporting and analytics. When ERP is used correctly in this automotive manufacturing company, a component, for example, “front brake pads”, is identified uniformly by component name, size, material, origin, batch number, part number vendor number, serial number, cost, and specifications, along with a host of other descriptive and data-driven articles. Since data represents the lifeblood of every modern company, ERP facilitates the collection, organization, analysis and distribution of this information to all individuals and systems that need it to perform their role at best. and their responsibilities.

ERP also ensures that these fields and data attributes are entered into the correct account in the company’s general ledger so that all costs are tracked and represented correctly. If the front brake pads were called “front brakes” in one software system (or perhaps in a set of spreadsheets), “brake pads” in another and “front pads” in a third, it would be difficult for society car manufacturers understand how much he spends annually on the front brake pads and if he has to change supplier or start a negotiation to get better prices.

One of the basic principles of ERP is that of centralized collection of data intended for wide distribution. Instead of numerous standalone databases with an infinite inventory of disconnected spreadsheets, ERP systems bring order into chaos and allow all users, from the CEO to the administrative staff, to create, store and use the same data deriving from common processes . With a secure and centralized data repository, everyone within the organization can be assured that the data is correct, current and complete. Data integrity is guaranteed for every activity performed within the organization, from quarterly financial statements to individual credit reports, without using error-prone spreadsheets.

It is impossible to ignore the impact of ERP in today’s corporate world. Since business data and processes are integrated into ERP systems, companies can align different departments and workflows, with significant savings in terms of profits. Examples of business benefits include:

  • Optimized business insights from real-time information generated by reports
  • Lower operating costs through simplified business processes and best practices
  • Greater collaboration between users who share data in contracts, requests and purchase orders
  • Better efficiency through a user experience common to many well-defined business functions and business processes A
  • consistent infrastructure from the back office to the front office, in which all business activities have the same “look and feel”
  • Greater adoption rates by users with common user experiences and designs
  • Reduced risk through greater data integrity and financial controls
  • Lower operating and operating costs through uniform and integrated systems


  • Oracle JD Edwards : Oracle JD Edwards software meets the demands of a modern and simplified user experience. Its innovative approach increases productivity and allows companies to work smarter and faster.
  • SAP It has an ERP system tested to streamline processes in all business areas: procurement, production, service, sales, financial management and HR. 
  •  SAGE Designed as a management system for small businesses, Sage offers an ERP system capable of adapting to the growth of your company and the changing needs of your business.

What is the difference between ERP and CRM?

ERP and CRM are not the same thing, even if someone sometimes confuses them. Let’s start with the acronyms. 

ERP: stands for “Enterprise Resource Planning”: the literal translation would be “planning of enterprise resources”. It 

  •  is a management system, technically an information system, which integrates all the business processes of a company: from sales to purchases , from inventory management to accounting and so on. 

CRM, however, is for Customer Relationship Management

  • in which case we speak of a management strategy for all interactions that take place with customers, and prospects.

not really same thing, then. On the one hand the company resources, on the other the customers; on the one hand the organizational flows, on the other a database of names (to simplify). 

Your priority is an ERP if:

  1. You have to manage complex warehouses , times of the production department
  2. Administer the accounting
  3. Coordinate the distribution chain (in slang supply chain) 

Your priority is CRM if:

  1. You have to automate customer management and profiling processes, 
  2. Manage rep arts sales and analyze the results, but above all 
  3. If you want to optimize the internal processes and centralize the information of your company in a single tool.

The combination of a CRM with an ERP instead is Targeted Operating Model (TOM) once the business has reached SME size.

Artecha develops custom built ERMs, CRMs to clients including ad hoc solutions such as integration, business intelligence and automation.

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