The term customer relationship management (CRM) isn’t always viewed properly, according to Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, a provider of cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
At the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decision Conference in late May, Nelson said most people see CRM simply as a sales force automation tool used for prospect management. With a CRM solution, salespeople have the opportunity to generate forecasts based on leads in the pipeline.
But Nelson believes the big problem with most CRM solutions these days is they don’t include customer records. And in order to do CRM really well, Nelson argues there must be customer orders, which just happen to sit in the ERP system.
In fact, ERP systems contain a lot of important data on customers—such as where they bought, what they bought, when the item(s) shipped and if returns were made. By offering a single system to connect the front and back offices, Nelson says NetSuite is seeing more and more customers deploying its solutions in conjunction with e-commerce.