ERPs and CRMs are two types of systems businesses rely on to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and improve efficiency. Both systems are valuable tools in the business world, though they’re distinctly different. Taking the time to understand how each functions and provides benefits helps you determine which one is right for your organization.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at ERPs and CRMs as well as what each provides. We’ll also cover what you need to know to determine which one is right for your business. Along the way, we’ll explore how you can use as an ERP and CRM solution.

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What is an ERP?

ERP software, short for enterprise resource planning, is used to connect and manage a business’s operations and finances. In many scenarios, an ERP is an organization’s single source of truth for processes, reporting, and data across various departments.

Finance and operations often get the most from an ERP, though every department benefits, including human resources, marketing, and sales. A great ERP can integrate various systems and their respective data into one cohesive platform that provides easy access to data to every department within an organization. While every department has its individual systems, all enterprise information is accessible through a single platform.

Organizations adopt ERP systems for a variety of reasons. They may want to expand their sales volume or streamline their operations. Or they may wish to reduce costs.

In short, ERP improves accuracy across the business by linking disparate processes and reducing redundancy in workflows and data.

A good ERP also provides a wealth of benefits in the form of reporting and analysis. As a single source of truth for finance and operations, an ERP provides access to data analysis and reporting that helps businesses plan, budget, and forecast operations quickly and efficiently. This, in turn, means more productivity and better decision-making. In fact, for small- and medium-sized enterprises, an ERP can reduce decision-making by 35%.

While ERPs are focused on operations and finance, CRMs bridge the gap between the business and its customers.

What is a CRM?

CRMs, shorthand for customer relationship management, are platforms for managing and nurturing relationships with clients and leads. Like an ERP, a CRM is an interactive data repository. Unlike an ERP, a CRM is designed to help sales, customer service, and marketing professionals provide the best possible experience to their customers.

A CRM offers an interface and storage for everything related to a business’s leads and customers. This often includes call logs, text messages, emails, and notes from meetings as well as any associated documents, such as quotes and purchase orders. It also serves as a sort of task management system relative to each client or lead.

One of the key features of any good CRM is contact management. All of the aforementioned documents, tasks, and details link back to a single contact, whether it’s a lead, existing customer, or business partner. Given the importance of the customer experience, CRMs are valuable to any business. Among sales pros that currently use a CRM, 97% say it’s important to their job.

As you can see, ERP and CRM software are both important to organizations of all types. Getting the most out of them requires that you know which type of system is right for a given task, process, or department.

How do you choose between an ERP and CRM systems?

ERPs and CRMs share an underlying approach in that both are designed as central data repositories that provide a single source of truth, though there’s a clear distinction between the two. An ERP is focused on business operations and finance, while a CRM is focused on sales processes, customer experience, and contact management. As you can imagine, businesses managing comprehensive organizations rely on both tools to get the job done.

That said, if you’re uncertain about where to focus your efforts, the first step is understanding your business’s unique needs.

Some reasons you might choose an ERP solution include:

  • Operational insights: Advanced reporting based on a single source of truth helps businesses identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls.
  • Increased efficiency: Automating repetitive tasks across the organization can significantly increase productivity and operational efficiency.
  • Better supply chains: Streamlined supply chain management means businesses can more easily forecast demand and optimize production and inventory management.

And some reasons you might go with a CRM include:

  • Sales insights: As a database for all your customer interactions, a CRM can provide detailed insights that can help support sales reps and refine your sales pipeline.
  • Increased customer retention: Sales professionals can better manage existing relationships and build new relationship with potential customers, leading to repeat business and higher customer loyalty.
  • Better marketing efficiency: Automating marketing tasks means team members can focus on more important aspects of their campaigns, such as overall marketing strategy.

In an ideal scenario, these two tools share a single data repository, enabling tight integration between business operations and customer experience. This is exactly why many businesses have adopted a customizable Work OS, such as

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Can be used as an ERP?

One of the biggest challenges businesses face when looking at ERP solutions is finding one that matches their specific workflows. Incidentally, one of the biggest benefits of is flexibility.

Like an ERP, can function as your organization’s single source of truth. You don’t even need to do away with your current data and tools — encapsulates existing systems through seamless integration. By integrating data from various sources, you can provide departments with a single, unified workspace featuring customized workflows and advanced automation.

With this level of data aggregation, provides robust analytics and dashboards to help drive decision-making. With a few clicks, users can create detailed visualizations and reports based on the entirety of your business data. The best part is that it’s all shareable across the entire organization, including sales and marketing.

Can be used as a CRM?

Whether you’re leveraging an existing CRM solution or looking to start fresh, has the tools you need to effectively manage leads, clients, marketing campaigns, and other customer data.

On, you can create custom sales dashboards pulled from within the Work OS or from an integrated tool, such as Salesforce. With a few clicks, you can customize these dashboards to provide real-time insights that show you exactly how your sales or marketing campaigns perform.

A key feature of a great CRM is automation. With, automation is a breeze. Integrated functionality enables you to quickly build customized actions. You can configure automatic emails based on due dates, and get live notifications when certain tasks are completed or milestones reached.

Using as a CRM or ERP is even easier when you start with our many templates.

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Related templates for CRM and ERP

CRM template

If you’re looking for a starting point to integrate existing tools with, this CRM Template is what you need. You can easily connect other CRM solutions, such as HubSpot or Salesforce, and manage your leads and contacts. You can also use it to manage sales pipelines, send quotes and invoices, and manage email campaigns, all with a few clicks.

Contacts template

The pillar of any great CRM is effective contact management. It’s what enables you to track and nurture the relationships with your past, current, and future customers, and with this Contacts Template, it’s both simple and powerful. And if you’re looking to up your lead collection, you can embed this template’s form view directly into your site to watch new prospects.

FAQs about CRM and ERP

Is Salesforce an ERP or CRM?

Salesforce is a company that provides an assortment of software solutions, the biggest of which is its CRM solution, Customer 360. While Salesforce does provide integrations to help connect its CRM to third-party ERP platforms, it doesn’t offer its own ERP solution.

Is Oracle an ERP system?

Oracle is a technology company that provides a number of cloud-based business solutions. Its Fusion Cloud ERP platform is a suite of ERP tools that provide automation, analytics, and management of finances and various business processes.

Is CRM part of an ERP?

The key distinction between an ERP and a CRM is that the former is mainly for finance and operations, while the latter is for sales, marketing, and customer service. While some ERPs feature elements of relationship management, most CRMs stand alone.

CRM, ERP, and everything in between with

Workers spend a lot of time searching for information. In fact, 20% of the average workday is spent doing just this. One of the biggest reasons for this is the various unintegrated systems used across an organization with disconnected data sources. solves this problem by serving as your business’s single source of truth. With seamless integrations to countless CRM and ERP systems, your teams can depend on a unified platform for all their workflows, automation, and collaboration needs.