Engaging Customers Just Got Easier

Written By: Rokas Varanavicius, Brad Vorbeck, and Michael Ramatowski

from September 5, 2013

Why Integrate?
Organizations today have a considerable number of tools available for researching future purchases.  Consequently, sales teams should be equipped with the tools needed to know their customers and engage them in a way that is relevant and meaningful. Having access to thorough information about customers and products are crucial elements to empowering a sales team.  Integrating the back office data of an ERP system with the front-line sales tools of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM system gives sales teams the complete, detailed picture they need to properly engage with, and bring value to, the customer.

Integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a simple way to strengthen the sales force. Unique tools have been developed to ease the process and eliminate most of the manual work involved with integrating key data, which is already in the system waiting to be used. Organizations just need to bridge the gap between the two and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system becomes a high-powered database containing all the information the team needs to interact with customers.

Some key benefits of integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are the elimination of double data entry and improved data accuracy by reducing opportunities for errors. Integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP data with Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives the sales team a complete picture of the customer, including credit limits and all past interactions with your organization. This eliminates the need for staff to constantly pull transactional data when sales people request “account summaries”. Finally, integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps organizations better understand their customer’s overall needs and buying trends to improve service during each customer interaction.

Integration also provides additional ways to increase revenue. Customers can be smoothly moved through the sales process by generating accurate sales quotes, creating and executing product-focused sales campaigns that maximize revenue by using inventory and pricing data, and by upselling to customers and suggesting sales items from inventory to pair with current purchases. Integrating systems allows greater revenue margins by lowering the cost of selling. The lower cost of selling provides more flexibility on ways that resources can be allocated. Streamlining repetitive order processes and eliminating duplicate data entry frees up time that the sales team can now dedicate to revenue-generating activities. Shorten the sales cycle by automating the “Quote to Cash” processes. Activities spent between attracting customers and getting paid can be greatly reduced, which in turn gives the sales team more time to interact with customers and increase sales volumes.

Retaining customers is made easier with Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration. Benefits such as having real-time customer data meetings with that customer occur will help the team deliver a more meaningful sales message. Customer’s time is important and they will be pleased to see sales people came prepared by putting in the time to do some basic research about them and their needs.

Business intelligence and visibility is greatly improved when Microsoft Dynamics CRM has access to the data stored in Microsoft Dynamics GP. Complex data can be summarized and presented to users to help them better understand the customer. For example, daily order transactions can be rolled up to a month-over-month and year-over-year summary by product class, providing insights into buying trends.

What to Integrate?
Different types of data can be integrated to empower the sales force in various ways. The data being integrated depends on a number of factors such as the total number of products offered, pricing policies, the general nature and seasonality of the business, and current Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP functionality that is already rolled out. Ultimately, the data being integrated depends on the goals of the organization. However, as a general rule, the following objects/entities should be considered:

Customer Integration:
General account/customer information such as primary address, additional addresses for shipping and billing, accounts receivable details, and credit limits should be considered for integration. Synchronizing this information between Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps paint a complete picture and generate accurate sales orders.

Product Integration:
Information such as products/items, price lists, price list items, and units of measure can be integrated for increasing visibility for the sales team, generating accurate quotes, executing product-based sales campaigns, and automating order processing.

Transactional Data Integration:
Orders, invoices, recurring contracts, and credit card processing are also important considerations for automating and streamlining transactional processes across the business. This type of data integration allows transactions to be generated and documented from the purchase all the way through to accounting and shipping.

Type of Integration
With these considerations in mind, the types of integration – one way vs. two way integration should be discussed. Again, this depends on the nature and goals of the organization. For integration that increases visibility and insight, most “set-up” types of data such as products/items and units of measure should be managed from Microsoft Dynamics GP and integrated into Microsoft Dynamics CRM in a read-only capacity. When automating processes from sales to accounting, Microsoft Dynamics CRM must be able to “talk to” Microsoft Dynamics GP to relay the information and initiate processes. For these types of objectives, real time, two way integration must be considered.

A major deterrent for companies to integrate their Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM systems is the perceived complexity of the project. This perception would be well-justified if integrations had to be done manually. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available that are made specifically for connecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM and other Microsoft Dynamics ERP databases. One such tool is the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics. Connector is intended for an implementation when Microsoft Dynamics CRM is used to manage business contacts, track leads, enter sales orders, and perform other sales and marketing activities, and when Microsoft Dynamics GP is used for accounting, managing your company’s chart of accounts, and maintaining customer, vendor, item, employee, and other records.

To make integration even simpler, Scribe developed templates that integrate key customer-related business processes. The Scribe Microsoft Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Template is a highly functional “starting point” for integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, from which further extensions and customizations can be made to meet the demands of any business.

Integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a great way to enhance the capabilities of the sales team without having to purchase additional software. Combining the two systems creates value that is greater than the sum of each part. The benefits are numerous, the project is cost-effective, and the integration process is simple.  Don’t wait to empower the sales team.  Have sales team running at peak performance with better utilization of tools already at their fingertips.

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