How to Use ERP for Sales and Marketing

Last Updated: August 17th, 2023
Researched and Written by: Lexi Wood

Sales, once a relatively straightforward part of business, have become increasingly complex as global supply chains and eCommerce stores mean sales can happen anytime, anywhere. Fortunately, technology is also evolving to help make sales processes easier. One particularly useful tool for sales departments is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software which automates a lot of backend workflows. Learn about the best modules and features ERP has to offer your sales team.

How to Use ERP for Sales and Marketing

Using an ERP system for sales and marketing can significantly enhance efficiency, coordination, and data-driven decision-making across these departments.

To start, an ERP provides a centralized location for storing historical sales data and makes it available for regular reviews. In turn, this helps support upcoming sales efforts by showing what worked and what didn’t in the past. For example, a sales team member can see a customer’s past purchases and use that information to tailor an upcoming offer.

Using an ERP to automate sales tasks, like timely outreach to prospects, also reduces human error. And an ERP can improve interdepartmental communication, allowing users to review feedback to identify pain points and make necessary campaign adjustments to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Top Sales Features and Functions of ERP

ERP software has a lot of separate functions for streamlining business processes, though these are the ones most relevant to sales:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) features record contact details such as conversation notes and order history to make future interactions easier.
  • Document management for keeping all sales-related documents organized and accessible.
  • Inventory management tools track all information about the items that your company builds, buys, stores, or sells.
  • Supply chain management modules maintain the flow of goods and services between locations as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.

Many ERP developers also offer customization, so users can add on additional modules designed for better managing sales. In other situations, a third-party software may need to be integrated to cover those extra functions, such as distribution.

Which ERP Sales Reports Improve Decision-Making

Many ERP products include prebuilt or customizable reports which reflect internal and external sales data. When used properly, they can show which sales tactics have garnered the most success, which ended work, and who your best customers are. Key reports generated by ERP include:

  • Sales Order Report: An overview of all sales orders, including order numbers, dates, customer details, products ordered, quantities, and total values.
  • Revenue Report: Shows the revenue generated from sales within a specified time frame detailing sales by product, customer, or region, long with comparisons to previous periods.
  • Sales Performance Report: Analyzes the performance of the sales team, measuring metrics such as individual sales quotas, conversion rates, and revenue contributions to identify top performers and areas for improvement.
  • Sales Forecasting Report: Predicts future sales based on historical data and market trends. To better plan inventory levels, resource allocation, and overall business strategy.
  • Pipeline Report: Visualizes the sales pipeline, showing the stages of various deals and prospects to track progress, identify potential bottlenecks, and prioritize opportunities.
  • Win/Loss Analysis Report: Reviews won and lost deals to identify common reasons for success or failure, then areas for improvement.
  • Trends and Analysis Report: Highlights sales trends over a defined period, enabling businesses to identify seasonal patterns, market shifts, and emerging opportunities.

Just like modules, these reports can be customized, either by the developer or users themselves.

ERP vs CRM: Which Helps Sales More?

An ERP can automate almost all back-office operations at a business while a standalone customer relationship management or CRM software only focuses on data related to customer interactions. Many ERP products include CRM modules. Utilize the CRM module to manage customer interactions, track leads, and nurture relationships. Store customer profiles, communication history, purchase behavior, and preferences, enabling personalized engagement.

However, there are times where standalone CRM is more beneficial. This tends to be the case for businesses which rely heavily on customers and need a more robust system to keep track of their details and history. Otherwise, many businesses opt for an ERP with a CRM module in order to keep all sales data in one place.

How is ERP used in sales?

As previously mentioned, ERP software can streamline several sales processes. It can create a centralized database of sales data which employees can use to inform their upcoming marketing campaigns or customer outreach. The customizable reports are another valuable tool for analyzing past performance and predicting future sales trends.

Is Salesforce a CRM or ERP?

Salesforce, a popular cloud-based software, is a CRM, as it focuses on providing companies with ways to better manage customer relationships. Although it has a lot of business functionality, it is not suitable as an ERP because it lacks additional traditional features for accounting and inventory management.

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