How To Find the Best ERP Software for CRMs

staff at a business use CRM software to support customer engagement and satisfaction

Whether you have dozens, hundreds or thousands of them, the same truth applies: without customers, your business doesn’t exist. That’s why it’s so important to show your customers that you know them, value them and want them to keep coming back to your business. And unless you’re operating a small-town diner where the waitstaff knows every patron’s favorite order by heart, you’re probably going to need some technical assistance to accomplish that. 

This assistance comes in the form of comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) software that works in tandem with your ERP system. 

Here’s a look at the qualities you’ll want to consider when choosing the best ERP CRM software for your business and two leading CRM platforms: Acumatica and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Top qualities to look for in CRM software for your ERP Real-Time, Enterprise-Wide Visibility

Want a surefire way to irritate a customer? Have your sales team try and sell them a product they already ordered two days ago. That’s exactly the scenario you risk when data silos exist between sales and customer service teams.

But transparency across departments isn’t just helpful for preventing awkward moments. It behooves every department in a company to know what their customers are thinking because that’s ultimately who every department is working to please. If, for example, the fulfillment department can’t access customer service call logs and their attached notes and photos, how will they know that the new shipping boxes are practically disintegrating in transit?

What Acumatica Offers

Acumatica’s Integrated Marketing solution keeps tight connections between financials and content management and promotes collaboration between sales, marketing and support. One way it accomplishes this is through a central repository of documents such as customer collateral, email templates, price lists and contract templates. You can also automatically generate lists based on customer information, such as purchase history, to support tailored sales campaigns.

What Dynamics 365 Offers

Dynamics 365 integrates seamlessly with Microsoft products like Teams and Outlook, allowing for efficient interdepartmental collaboration. Data, too, is at the ready with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. With this module, according to Microsoft’s product website, companies can “ingest transactional, behavioral, and demographic data to create deep insights and complete, up-to-date customer profiles.” That data can then be utilized to forge a tighter connection between sales and marketing.

Workflow Automation 

Want another way to annoy your clients? Deliver them a poor billing experience. Invoices that arrive erratically (I forgot you even performed that service, and now you want how much for it?!), are inaccurate or come after payment is made can infuriate clients enough to walk away from your business. There’s evidence supporting this in the healthcare industry specifically, where more than half of patients said they’d switch providers after a poor billing experience. 

Workflow automation, then, helps ensure invoicing happens in a timely and accurate manner. It can also be integral in the sales pipeline as well as toward streamlining customer support. 

What Acumatica Offers

Acumatica’s Customer Relationship Management suite utilizes automated workflows in multiple venues. For example, it automatically attaches incoming and outgoing emails to CRM tasks and activities. With Acumatica’s Service and Support Automation, you can set policies to automatically assign, reassign and escalate cases. On the sales side, you can automatically manage approvals required by your company’s sales process, even sending them to a different approver if the original recipient doesn’t reply.  

What Dynamics 365 Offers

With more than 700 prebuilt process automation flows, Dynamics 365 users can start saving time and increasing productivity right away. The proof is in the numbers: a Forrester study revealed a 73% reduction in average agent handling time and a 50% time savings from an increase in agent productivity as a result of using Dynamics 365 Customer Service. 

Multiple Contact Options

A popular internet meme depicts a humorous take on a millennial’s outgoing voicemail message: “Please leave your name, number and a good reason why this couldn’t have been a text.” The joke illustrates the very real fact that not everyone has the same preferences for getting in touch. The best CRM software for ERPs enable businesses to contact their customers (and vice versa) via text, phone call, email, internet chat, mail and even social media. 

Omnichannel contact options don’t just keep customers happy; they can optimize the support process. If you configure a chatbot to deal with easy or frequently asked questions, for example, along with automated collections or order follow-up emails, this frees up your human agents to deal with more complicated situations.  

What Acumatica Offers

With Acumatica’s Customer Self-Service Portal, customers are empowered to access their own information including contracts, financial statements, support cases and more – all on their own terms. Crestwood Associates offers a collections management add-on that automates the collections process and incorporates both email and call tasks. You’ll be engaging with customers using multiple avenues and, ideally, increasing your cash inflow in the process.

What Dynamics 365 Offers

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing allows your business to meet customers where they are, both in terms of their preferred method of contact and where they are on their individual customer journey. Employ email, push notifications, text messaging (SMS), and custom channels such as WhatsApp. And because the last thing you want is to scare customers off by appearing overeager, the solution also offers frequency capping. Dynamics 365 Customer Service offers similar omnichannel support options, including voice, digital messaging and chat. 

Analytics and Business Intelligence

The best CRM software for ERPs either come with or integrate with quality business intelligence and analytics tools. This allows you to find out what your customers want and need, love and hate, even if they don’t tell you directly. Metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV) help you determine whether your marketing and customer service efforts are paying off. Information like demographics and top-selling products can help you tailor marketing campaigns and drive decision-making on product or service offerings.  

What Acumatica Offers

Acumatica’s reporting and dashboards provide customized views of your business overall and focused views of departments and functions, with business intelligence tools offering a 360-degree view along with drill-down capabilities. You can also display lead analysis and lead response time metrics and, with the addition of the Acumatica Project Accounting module, you can track marketing campaign expenses and revenues to ensure strong ROI. 

What Dynamics 365 Offers

As a Microsoft product, Dynamics 365 applications integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Power BI, a robust business intelligence solution that provides easy-to-understand data visualizations. Within Dynamics 365 Customer Service, businesses can track key KPIs along the customer journey and analyze customer-agent conversations to spot emerging trends and opportunities for improvement. 

A Final Note On Acumatica and Dynamics 365

Although you can’t go wrong with either Acumatica or Dynamics 365 as your CRM solutions, you may find one or the other more tailored toward your particular business. 

Acumatica is a well-rounded solution that provides important data and promotes efficiencies at points throughout the customer journey, from lead analysis to after-sale customer support. But maybe your business isn’t as heavily focused on the sales pipeline because you don’t have a dedicated sales team, or maybe you’re satisfied with the level of success you’ve achieved just through word-of-mouth referrals, so you haven’t felt the need to implement marketing campaigns. In that case, Dynamics 365 might make more sense for you, as it consists of separate modules focusing on specific aspects of the customer journey. While you can deploy all of these modules for a comprehensive CRM solution, you can also pick and choose the ones you need most for your particular business. 

Another key distinction between the two solutions is pricing structure. While Microsoft Dynamics follows a traditional, per-user pricing structure, Acumatica is unique in that it charges based on resource use – the number of sales orders created, for example. 

Why Crestwood?

At Crestwood Associates, our knowledge of what it takes for successful customer relationship management isn’t just theoretical – it comes from our firsthand experience as a partner on more than 5,000 ERP implementations. Our team, highly experienced with both Acumatica and Microsoft solutions, will be with you every step of the way as you choose and implement your new ERP system. And we’ll help you customize it with valuable add-ons and integrations, including the customer relationship management solution that’s right for you. 

Request a consultation to learn how Crestwood Associates can help your business find the right technology to promote successful customer relationships.

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