According to a recent study, 80% of global C-suite leaders believe that marketing can be a powerful driver of organizational growth. This notion represents a long-brewing transformational shift, where advertising and audience outreach are moving beyond mere branding initiatives and into the spotlight. Yet, there is still work left to do.
In the same study, 23% of those executives admitted that their marketing projects were failing to meet that ambitious agenda due in large part to organizational silos.
Enter, enterprise resource planning (ERP). Combining ERP and marketing delivers powerful benefits that empower every employee to take an active role in a company’s marketing success. Today, we’re taking a look at a few of the key benefits you can expect to see when you automate, centralize, and align your marketing efforts with an ERP solution.
What is an ERP System?
An ERP system is a type of automated business management solution. It includes a suite of applications that streamline and simplify both customer-facing and back-office functions, including sales and marketing, finance, HR, accounting, and more. This way, all employees can log into the same system to find and share mission-critical data in real-time.
How Can ERP Help Improve Sales and Marketing Operations?
When leaders across the organization become partners in the marketing mission, productivity increases, communication improves and clients are satisfied.
Yet, this initiative requires transparency and visibility that legacy systems simply can’t provide. A centralized ERP system helps these departments collaborate effectively, at any time and from anywhere.
Point Solutions Versus Full ERP Solutions
As you research ways to improve marketing functionality within your organization, you’ll likely encounter two options:
- Point solutions
- Full ERP solutions
Point solutions are standalone marketing or CRM software solutions, like HubSpot or Salesforce. On the other hand, a full ERP solution includes not just marketing functionality but manufacturing, accounting, and other key functions, as well.
If an ERP solution contains marketing functionality, why would a business consider a point solution? Depending on the ERP vendor, the full ERP system might have weaker marketing functionality than a specialized marketing solution. Or, if it’s not weaker, it’s misaligned with your unique business goals.
While a point solution may provide a competitive advantage, it’s important to integrate it with your main ERP system – if you’ve chosen to implement both. Integration can be complex and costly, so many organizations just implement a full ERP system and call it good.
5 Benefits of Using ERP for Your Marketing Processes
Are you tired of struggling to make dissimilar pieces of software speak to one another? Have you noticed a major communication breakdown between the different departments within your organization? If so, an ERP solution can seamlessly align your disjointed efforts for easier information delivery and acquisition.
Let’s take a look at a few ways ERP systems can benefit your marketing department:
1. Detailed Product Insights
You can’t market your product until you understand it. An ERP system can help you discover key details about your offering, so you know exactly how to market it.
Using inputs from other departments, a few of the most helpful data points you’ll uncover include:
- Peak sales periods
- Customer complaints or pain points
- SKU shelf life timelines
- Optimized pricing structures
- Potential SKU/stock item pairing opportunities
- Sales numbers (best-selling/low-selling items)
At any time, you can click on an individual SKU in your ERP system to learn a host of information about it.
2. Uncover Opportunities for Customization
Research shows that 63% of modern customers expect personalized messaging. Are you still delivering the same marketing message to everyone in your target audience? If so, ERP can help you change your communication strategy.
ERP allows you to easily see which products sell best in which channels and tweak your approach accordingly. For instance, say you’re a footwear retailer. If you discover that Group 1 adores your running shoes, while Group 2 gravitates toward your sandals, you won’t waste your time sending email blasts about flip-flops to Group 1.
The purchasing and sales data contained in your ERP system will include demographic information about your buyers. With this business intelligence, you can deliver stronger, more personalized marketing campaigns.
3. Set the Right Price
You could have the best product in the world, but if your pricing structure is off base, your value proposition will suffer. To close in on a pricing window, you can access the historical pricing and sales data contained within your ERP system.
Considering holding a price promotion campaign to ramp up sales? ERP data can help.
By analyzing past campaigns, you can see if lowering the price on your products really contributed to a greater sales volume and customer acquisition. Or, did it just allow your current audience to buy their usual favorites at a lower price point, subtracting from your margin?
4. Learn About Your Customers
With an ERP system, your sales become more than just numbers. Rather, you’re granted key insights into who your customers are.
In an instant, you can see what they buy, which prices motivate them, when they shop, and more. This is another way to tailor your campaigns to best appeal to your target audience.
Could you suggest extra items for their online shopping cart? Could you schedule a sales call that syncs with their ordering cycle? Or, could you offer an attractive discount right around the time their order numbers usually dip?
These are only a few of the ways you can use the insights from your ERP system to better understand your customers, meet their needs, and build your bottom line at the same time.
5. Gauge Campaign Effectiveness
You just wrapped up a social media marketing campaign. Do you know if the effort was worthwhile?
Unless you have an ERP solution, it can be difficult to measure all costs and activities to determine the answer.
However, the right software can help you compare qualified leads to overall sales, so you know your true cost per lead. You can also download detailed performance reports to help you identify:
- High-value prospects
- Quick-selling items
- Effectiveness of promotional tactics
- Target audience campaign response
ERP and Marketing: A Powerful, Profitable Combination
Modern marketers work best when they collaborate with others. To keep pace with a discerning and evolving audience, it’s critical to know as much as possible about your products and your customers.
When ERP and marketing work together, you have quick access to all the data you need. This way, you can fully optimize your campaigns to attract key buyers, acquire new customers, and grow your brand.