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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2021 / Vol 44 No 2


32 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK COMPUTER INSIGHTS INC. 108 Third Street, Bloomingdale, IL 60108 TEL 1-800-539-1233 EMAIL WEB FRUSTRATED WITH YOUR CRM? by Dennis Cowhey Almost everyone I have talked to about their CRM efforts is frustrated. Their implementation has failed, or they are grappling with whatever they have. CRM systems are often expensive, complicated, and are not integrated with the ERP software used to run the company. People spend time and money on a CRM system because they want to make themselves and their salespeople more productive. Frequently the added complexities and extra processes added by the CRM system have the opposite of the desired effect. It is not uncommon for these changes to be met with resistance and a lack of user adoption. The salespeople skip steps and find workarounds. A system is only as effective as the information flowing through it. For this reason, a CRM system has to be easier to use than it is not to use. At Computer Insights, Inc., we decided to help relieve peoples’ frustrations by creating an optional integrated CRM system in The Business Edge. TM Over the years, we have talked to hundreds of business owners about the challenges they face. We have taken that knowledge and combined it with our mantra of “Simple, Focused, Effective” and created a module called “CRM Actions” that is woven into The Business Edge system. True Integration Why do so many people struggle with integrating the ERP system that runs their business with a CRM system? And why is integration important? The three biggest obstacles with integrating systems are redundant data, user interface, and fundamental approaches to information. If you have to enter the same information twice, you waste your time and open up possibilities for errors. Automating data sharing is often incomplete because the two systems do not share the same definitions of what should be stored. The difference between one system’s user interface and another can be large or small. In both cases, it causes aggravation and slows down productivity. Two systems are not truly integrated unless they both use the same user interface. The ERP developers and the CRM developers see the world differently. These subtle differences regularly bring about design conflicts. ERP systems focus on keeping track of the history of what has happened and what quantifiably needs to be done. CRM systems approach things based on what should have happened and what someone hopes will happen. A quote to a prospect is one simple example of the difference in mindsets. A quote in an ERP system has actual dollar amounts, quantities, and the date it was created. Where a CRM system is more interested in an estimated opportunity value. The ERP system sees a single quote for three pieces at 0 that was created last Thursday. On the other hand, the CRM system sees the same quote as a potential to sell a quarter-million dollars to the prospect over the next twelve months with an estimated initial close-date of the first of next month. If you are forced to use a single field for multiple purposes, things get muddy fast, and you lose control. All of our ERP and CRM features are fully integrated. We have written everything with the same user interface. The Business Edge TM sees the world clearly from both points of view of an ERP and a CRM. BUSINESS FOCUS ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 114


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