RKL eSolutions Blog Trends and Insights

ERP vs CRM: What’s the Difference?

If you’re reading this newsletter, you’re probably already familiar with what ERP does. But as a relative newcomer to the business software landscape, some are still figuring out what CRM can do for your business and how it’s different than the ERP system you already have. Let’s explore.

What is CRM?

First things first … CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it’s important to understand that CRM is both a tool and a philosophy for managing relationships with your current and prospective customers.

Happy young couple meeting with a broker in her office leaning over the desk to shake hands, view from behind the female agent-1

At its core, CRM software ties all of your customer-facing activities together. So, whereas ERP ties together “back office” functions such as accounting, purchasing, inventory, and operations, a CRM system ties together “front office” functions such as:

  • Sales, Meetings & Calendars
  • Company and Customer Contacts
  • Customer Service & Support

In short, CRM connects and streamlines sales processes while providing better visibility and reporting on activities such as upcoming meetings, pending quotes, open orders, shipping status, paid/unpaid invoices, customer service & support issues, and much more.


How is it Different Than ERP?

While there are similarities between ERP and CRM - in particular when it comes to the goal of using technology to cut costs, drive revenue, and improve efficiency - the two solutions serve different purposes. Here are some of the key differences between an ERP system like Sage 100 and CRM software like Sage CRM:

  • CRM typically handles “front office” sales and customer data while ERP manages operational and accounting data.
  • CRM manages contacts, appointments, and sales opportunities while ERP focuses on key functional operations like   invoices, payables, inventory, and manufacturing.
  • CRM is designed to help drive sales revenue and manage customer opportunities while ERP focuses on speeding up production and automating accounting.
  • CRM is primarily used by sales, marketing, and customer service teams while ERP is used by accounting, shop floor and warehouse teams.


ERP and CRM Are Better Together

Business team solving a problem in the office-1

Truth be told, CRM and ERP work better together. Like the old adage “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” an integrated solution like Sage 100 and Sage CRM provides additional benefits like enabling sales people to convert quotes from CRM to orders in ERP, or to check inventory status without ever leaving the familiar interface of CRM and fumble around in the Sage 100 accounting application.

When you connect ERP with CRM, you gain 360-degree insight into your business from sales and marketing in the front office to accounting and operations in the back office.

RKL Team

Written by RKL Team

Since 2001, RKL eSolutions has helped growing companies maximize their technology resources and investment. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of small and medium sized businesses as their strategic business partner. We specialize in the needs of Entertainment, Software & SaaS, Professional Services, Manufacturing, and Non Profit organizations. Our experienced consultants have a passion for making every facet of your business successful and are intent on building a long-term relationship with every client.