A customer relationship management (CRM) solution is a database (usually accessible both online and on a desktop computer), which allows you to store a variety of information about a company’s prospects, leads, and customers. Similarly, inventory management software can usually be accessed on a desktop computer and online. It allows businesses to track their inventory, assets, vendors, locations, production planning, and more.
When you integrate a CRM with inventory management software, you get a powerful tool that resolves numerous issues and gives you a plethora of benefits. In this article, we will discuss the notable features of each solution and how they complement each other when combined.
BENEFITS OF A CRM
The advantages of using a CRM are many, and these ones apply specifically to inventory management.
Customer Information – A CRM lets you store detailed information about the customers you sell to. This includes their mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and other data that affects their purchasing decisions. When a sale is made, it is also recorded in the CRM and associated with the salesperson responsible for it.
Incoming Leads – When someone fills out a form on a website to learn more about your products or services, that information gets automatically added to your CRM as a lead. You will likely want to put a process in place to manually screen leads so that bogus ones are weeded out in favor of legitimate ones. But the point is that the sales process can move forward swiftly because all of the information gets into the right hands as fast as possible under this setup.
Standardized Messaging – Email templates can be created in a CRM and automatically sent to prospects at different times, depending on how they are progressing in the pipeline. That way, your customers receive a consistently strong message. When your salespeople want to send direct messages to customers, they can also send them directly through the CRM so that every communication is recorded and customers aren’t bombarded with too much information all at once.
BENEFITS OF INVENTORY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
This list is far from exhaustive, but here are some of the most applicable features in inventory management software when it comes to integrating with a CRM.
Product Information – Inventory management software gives you access to detailed information about each product’s quantity, location, description, cost, price, appearance, and more. It is constantly updated by a variety of transactions, including shortly after sales are made, inventory leaves a warehouse, replacement goods are ordered, and items are received and put on the shelves.
Pricing Rules – You have the ability to create a number of pricing rules in your inventory management software to give targeted offers and discounts to customers in certain categories. Each pricing rule can be tailored to be more likely to appeal to a particular customer than to another type of customer. Pricing rules can be set up to apply on an individual customer basis, or by grouping customers together and offering different discounts to each group, or by setting a fixed pricing rule that applies to everyone.
Buying and Selling – Sales orders and purchase orders are fundamental to running a business. Inventory management software facilitates the selling of goods by automatically generating sales orders with the names of products, their quantities, the names and addresses of the customers they are being sent to, and other essential information for order fulfillment. The same goes for purchasing goods to restock your supply. Purchase orders may be created manually, or they can be generated automatically with the aid of auto reorder points. When an item’s quantity falls below a specified threshold, the software informs you of the need to reorder it through the vendor and at the quantity you have selected previously.
Shipping Integrations – A good inventory management solution will integrate with many shippers and shipping solutions. These include DHL, Endicia, FedEx, OnTrac, ShipRush, ShipStation, ShipWorks, StarShip, UPS, and the United States Postal Service. In addition, the inventory software should allow you to compare prices and print shipping labels without having to leave its interface. All of this enables you to quickly fulfill orders, and it ensures you are getting a favorable deal on your chosen shipping method.
BENEFITS OF CRM INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
And now we present the amalgamation of benefits that come from integrating a CRM with inventory management software.
Greater Information Accessibility – When these two solutions are integrated together, they feed each other information. The latest quantities, descriptions, and shipping options are automatically drawn from the inventory management software and viewable in the CRM so that salespeople don’t have to go into a separate solution to see them. They can access this information in the CRM on a smartphone or tablet while they are in the field or on a desktop computer if they are working in the office. Salespeople are able to check inventory quantities before making a sale to make sure enough products are on hand to fulfill an order in a timely manner.
Faster Order Fulfillment – Shortly after a sale is registered in the CRM, it gets transferred to the inventory management software for order fulfillment. A sales order is generated, as well as a pick ticket to gather the appropriate items for that order. When a package is ready to go, shipping labels are printed and the package is soon shipped to the customer. A salesperson can check the status of an order he or she submitted by simply logging into the CRM and looking it up. The inventory management software will supply the order details and status to the CRM.
Reordering – Not only do sales from a CRM produce sales orders in inventory management software, but they can also produce purchase orders. Depending on your settings, a purchase order may be created to add the amount being sold or some other preset quantity. If a sale puts a product below its minimum quantity, it will trigger the creation of a purchase order to get the quantity back up to its maximum level. Plus, looking at past sales trends helps you plan ahead for future inventory needs.
Smooth Customer Communication – You can use inventory management software to generate tracking numbers and email them to customers when their orders are shipped. You can also give them an estimated time of arrival and other useful information. The emailing process can be automated to occur when a shipment is sent, without you having to do anything manually.
START USING CRM INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
Fishbowl is a popular inventory management solution among SMB’s, and it integrates with the biggest name in CRM’s, Salesforce. Fishbowl for Salesforce is an app that does everything discussed above, putting extensive inventory management tools and information at the fingertips of salespeople in the Salesforce interface.
CRM inventory management is a combination of a CRM and inventory software. This integration allows salespeople to see detailed inventory data in the CRM, and it also allows sales orders to be fulfilled efficiently, purchase orders to be automatically generated to replenish shelves, and customers to be informed when a package containing their order is shipped to them.