Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions broadly cover human resource, finance, operations and corporate services. For everything else, we have function-specific customer relationship management (CRM) tools, marketing automation tools, social media tools, email marketing tools, and so on.
Since all of your data is spread across different software solutions with various levels of categorization and complexity, it becomes difficult to measure the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and processes. While data is good, disorganized data only adds to complexity and confusion and doesn’t provide the clear picture you require as a marketing manager or business owner.
You might have often wished for an integrated ERP solution that offers all the capabilities seamlessly. But even the most preeminent ERP tools can lag under pressure, or worse, become outdated in just a couple of years or less with paradigm shifts in technology. The pace at which technology changes makes it essential to choose your ERP software wisely.
In a detailed post on the Shopify blog, Nick Winkler likens selecting the right ERP software to getting married:
- Like a life partner, your ERP software is supposed to help you grow.
- You don’t want your ERP solution to become a handicap or a burden.
- A good life partner is the glue that binds everyone in the family despite differences. Similarly, a good ERP software takes all departments, data and resources together and creates a happy workplace.
There’s little doubt that your organizational growth is wedded to ERP. In this article, we’ll examine some of the most important ERP capabilities and understand how an integrated ERP and email marketing solution can work together.
Provides a Central Data Repository
There is an ever-increasing need for speed in today’s cut-throat digital environment. However, scaling the mountains of data collected from multiple repositories such as your CRM software, social media analytics tool and HRM tools can prove to be an uphill climb.
On the other hand, if you ignore data, you’d be digging your grave. The only solution is centralized database (conducive to quick content creation) that can be accessed by any department at any point of time. This is why selecting an ERP solution that can be integrated with other vendor software should be your No. 1 priority.
If you do not have a single point of reference or centralized database storage, you are not adding value to your business data. You can add value to data by bringing together all of it in a structured storage complete with customer scores, document notes and tags. Processed data updated accurately and on time can help your email marketing team churn out brilliant email marketing campaigns.
For example, we’re all used to those emails from the neighborhood department store wishing us well on our birthdays and anniversaries. But a company in a more formal industry could use recently updated data from its CRM to personalize a sales pitch.
Here’s how insurance provider GEICO uses a carefully worded email to bring back customers:
Improves Interdepartmental Communication
Interdepartmental communication plays a vital role in improving email marketing. From your product design team to your sales force, there should be a constant flow of information among all departments.
Say your HR team organizes a volunteering activity that benefited your community. After the event, they notify the marketing team so that they might get some publicity for the company. The best way would be to increase transparency and make the marketing team aware of all planned activities ahead of time, allowing them to strategize accordingly.
Similarly, if the product enhancement team fixed a bug in your product, your marketing team should be instantly notified so they can include the solution in an upcoming newsletter.
Here’s how Forever21 quickly pacified customers after its website went down for a few hours:
Even the smallest changes within an organization can set the ball rolling for your marketing team. But this can only be achieved through effective communication. To ensure your employees don’t miss out on this opportunity, make sure your ERP solution is capable of automatic notifications, auto-emails, workflows and routing.
Tracks Customer Journey
Lenovo uses text analysis software to monitor data from product usage surveys, purchase experience surveys and technical support chats. This helps the company get more informed data about customers and their ever-changing preferences, and consequently make more informed decisions. Imagine what kind of insights you can get from records of sales reps, phone calls and other customer data that you might be ignoring every day.
ERP solutions can work with email, CRM and martech tools to help execute campaigns closely integrated with the customer journey. For example, GetResponse, a multi-level marketing automation tool built on top of an email marketing suite, allows you to pinpoint the position of your customer along their journey and deal with them accordingly.
GetResponse does this by tracking web traffic, visitor actions and events such as clicks, bounce, cart abandonment and purchases, and triggering workflow-based responses such as emails and tags. Any simple scenario builder that works with your website, ERP and CRM can help you speed up, clean up and tweak your marketing processes.
Protects Customer Data
One drawback to having access to detailed information about your customers is the risk of data theft, which is in a perennial state of alarming rise. This is why security is one of the most significant capabilities for email marketing tools and ERP software alike. Here’s a stunning visualization of the world’s biggest data hacks:
The solution lies in controlling data access. You need to provide access to your employees in order to help them be more productive but at the same time protect sensitive information. If your ERP software doesn’t allow user-level access rights, you might be revealing more data than you intend. Allow portions of your repository to be accessed only by authorized users so that your most sensitive data is safe while your non-sensitive data is easily visible.
The Many Advantages of ERP
ERP brings many benefits to day-to-day tasks. In summary, here’s what your ERP should do for you:
- ERP should offer a centralized solution to store all organizational data and make it available and useful for marketing.
- It should help improve interdepartmental communication to encourage flow of ideas. It must monitor customer data from all digital and physical channels.
- It should provide secure, consistent and easy access to data.
If you want to squeeze the best value out of your ERP solution, make sure you mine its data for insights to use in every sub-function of marketing—in particular, email marketing. Once your email marketing team has all the data it needs, it will be in a better position to churn out good campaigns. Reliable and timely data on prospects can help you tailor campaigns for different segments, improve sales, drive more referrals and avoid marketing goof-ups.
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