I recently read a good article from Scribe Software on the challenges of integrating ERP’s with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Link to it here. The white paper concentrates on Data Replication (e.g. keeping you customer list in two places), Data Synchronisation (e.g. Keeping all the phone numbers the same) and Process Integration (moving quotes from CRM to Orders in GP).

The short of this is that replicating data across any two systems is a challenge – but something that is handled pretty well by the SmartConnect templates as well as the Scribe Templates. All of this is good and an essential part of many CRM to GP integrations. But it is not sexy. It is not exciting. It is not inspiring.

While the GP/CRM bundle has to have all the features discussed above – this is not a ‘selling feature’ it is an ‘expected feature’. AccPac, Salesforce, NetSuite all have solutions that Replicate data.
So what should a CRM and GP bundle look like? What makes it Sexy? What makes it sell? What is there about the GP and CRM Dynamics solution that sets it apart?
We all sell the single Dynamics brand and it is time we delivered on the much higher expectations that this branding implies. The data you capture in one end of Dynamics should be used to drive the business. Let me explain some examples of what you should be selling to your customers:
1. Have a scheduled routine that runs once a month, flagging any customer that has purchased a certain $ amount from you during the period (e.g. $45,000) . For each of these customers create an activity within CRM for the relevant account manager to give them a call and ‘Thank them for their business’. Now that’s an integrated system.
2. Use your ERP sales data to drive campaigns (Don’t replicate the data as that is just wasted energy). Lets say you want to sell hosting services to your customer base and your target customers are those that are remote to your office. Have a process that scans all orders through GP for an inventory code called ‘Travel’ and when it finds one, create an opportunity in CRM for the sales team to make some calls. Now that’s an integrated system.
3. Show summarised opportunity data to the operations team in GP. Create an eXtender screen per customer, and populate it each day with the current opportunity value for that customer. Have this screen pop up when ever an item is listed as backorder on an order. Perhaps this information will help in allocating the stock more appropriately. Now that’s an integrated system.
4. What about creating follow up activities in CRM for the sales team – for those customers that have not placed an order for the past 4 weeks? Now that’s an integrated system.
The list can go on for a long time. When you go to talk to a customer/prospect about ‘Dynamics’ this is the vision you should be selling. Why? Because you know your competition cannot do it, it makes sure you customers business runs better, sells more GP and generates good services revenue for your team.