Often, you would have stumbled upon the acronyms ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) while browsing software solutions for your real estate business.
Although these two software systems serve a similar purpose i.e automating business processes, improving the productivity and efficiency of the workforce, increasing the ROI etc, the scope and the methodology used by ERP and CRM to achieve the goals are different. In this article, let’s take a closer look at the definition, history and key differences of both the software and decide which is the right solution for your real estate business.
Gartner defines ERP as the ability to deliver an integrated suite of business applications. We can elaborate this definition by saying, ERP software integrates, streamlines and automates all the business processes such as finance, HR, procurement, inventory, etc., with the help of the latest technology and provides insightful and meaningful data/information.
The obtained information from the ERP is used to make accurate business decisions resulting in increased productivity and ROI. Selecting an ERP is a time consuming and complicated process which requires thorough research. But once the system is selected and implemented into your real estate business, the many benefits of ERP will make it worth the time and money spent.
As the name states, CRM software is used by the company to manage all its customer interactions and relationships. This tool is widely popular and used by companies to specifically improve their sales and marketing activities. The best CRM software aids the companies to stay connected with their customers efficiently which creates a loyal customer base and increases profitability. CRM can be purchased as standalone software or as a part of the ERP.
ERP: The evolution of ERP can be traced back to the 1960s where manufacturing companies first introduced inventory management & control to manage, monitor & control their inventory.
In the 1970s, MRP (Material Requirements Planning) was introduced to manage the basic manufacturing processes such as inventory maintenance, purchasing and delivery efficiently.
Later in the 1980s, an updated version of the MRP, MRP II (Manufacturing Resource planning) was introduced which helped manufacturers to schedule their production processes.
Ultimately, the Gartner group came up with the term ERP in 1990 which extended its functionalities beyond managing the inventory and basic manufacturing processes. Other departments such as finance, sales and accounting were integrated into the new ERP system which has evolved tremendously in recent years with more capabilities.
CRM: The evolution of CRM can be traced back to the 1970s. Before 1970, companies used ledgers to store and track customer information.
In the 1970s, companies started using mainframe systems which helped the companies to categorise customers in spreadsheets and lists.
Later, in the 1980s, with the help of database marketing, companies started applying statistical methods to interpret the customer’s information.
In the 2000s, cloud CRMs were introduced which became accessible to small businesses at a lower price. Since then, CRM has extended its functionalities and been a widely used software by most industries.
A real estate ERP includes essential modules such as finance, purchase, project, engineering, procurement etc. which aids the real estate and construction business owners to manage their everyday tasks efficiently.
For instance, real estate ERP can be utilised by business owners or project managers to accurately map the raw materials, labour and manpower required to complete a project. They can also allot the overall budget and maintain the project expenditure. This feature of the ERP helps business owners to complete the project within the allotted budget and timeframe.
A Real estate CRM stores and manages the customer’s data on a single platform which can be accessed by the sales and marketing professionals.
For instance, sales professionals can store and track the information of the present and potential customer’s information and take the next steps accordingly to close the deal. Based on this, marketing professionals can implement new marketing strategies to target the existing or the potential customers to interact with them efficiently and maintain a good relationship.
Initially, CRM and ERP were introduced as separate software systems but eventually, vendors started integrating CRM with ERP systems. Often, companies find it simple to work with an integrated system as it aids them to streamline and manage the business processes effectively. Integrated systems provide a single platform to track all the business processes.
For instance, CRM can take the front seat and allow the sales team to handle customer interactions while ERP streamlines the procurement, finance and HR activities on the backend.
Both ERP and CRM software plays a vital role in automating the company’s business processes. Every small, mid-sized and large company can benefit from both solutions. Depending upon the business model, the company should decide whether to invest first in an ERP or a CRM. A company with a fewer, high-value customer base and complex financials might invest first in an ERP, while a company with a massive customer base and straightforward financials might go the other way.
Recently, we conducted a poll on LinkedIn asking industry professionals to choose if they would initially invest in an ERP or a CRM. 57% of the people voted that they would invest initially in CRM and 43% of the people voted that they would first invest in an ERP.
Ultimately, whatever the decision is, your company can hugely benefit by investing in both the software in the long run.
Now that you have learnt the key definitions and differences between ERP and CRM, the next step is to select the best real estate ERP and CRM software. The In4Suite® ERP and CRM platforms provide a simple user interface and a centralised platform to manage your company data effectively. Talk to our team to learn more about both the software and how they can help your real estate business.