You missed the difference between CRM and ERP

Gururaj Swamy
3 min readMar 6, 2021
Difference between CRM and ERP

They do look similar but if you look closely, there is a subtle difference between CRM and ERP.

No worries. I will run you through it.

CRM software Aka customer relationship management helps to automate your sales activities. It helps to keep things in order for the sales team.

Be it a new lead or a prospect; CRM can help to organize leads from the website or from the sales reps.

CRM system also keeps the track of leads and converts them into potential customers i.e throughout the sales cycle.

Let’s admit it.

It can be a hell ride for human sales agents to remember each detail of their leads. Moreover, leads just don’t turn into customers in a day, right?

It may take a month or a year too for a customer to take a final call for your product.

As a sales guy, do you have such an impressive memory? Probably no.

Anything can happen after some months. Maybe the sales guy who pitched is on leave or left your organization.

Well, thanks to CRM, you or your team can maintain that huge data of prospects received a long time ago.

CRM is a boon for a big shot organization with a huge sales team.

It gives enough clarity for sales reps about their territories and follow-ups.

ERP Aka Enterprise Resource Planning

Let’s rewind a little.

Well, the manufacturing industry was the first one to adopt ERP and track down what’s going on over the shop floor or track inventory.

Tracking inventory or back-office financials became easy with CRM back in those days.

With time, CRM was welcomed by literally all types of organizations.

What is ERP all about?

It is a single and central system to glue together the capabilities and departments of your business.

ERP covers a broad range of your business functions and helps to coordinate without any delay or glitches in serving customers.


  • Focused on one single part of your business.
  • Helps to manage how customers interact with your business.
  • Helps you to make informed decisions based on past customer data.


  • Connects financial and operational systems of the organization.
  • Helps to store and manage massive amounts of data.
  • Give the right information at the right time to serve customers.

Having narrated the differences between CRM and ERP, please note that there is a mix of vendors offering both.

For instance, ERP vendors can offer CRM features. CRM vendors can also offer ERP functions too.

The top leaders in ERP systems:

SAP, SAP S/4HANA, Microsoft Dynamics and Oracle ERP cloud, and Netsuite.

The top leader in CRM: Salesforce

ERP vendors offering robust CRM capabilities:

Netsuite and Microsoft Dynamics.

It all boils down to the same purpose. Yes, they are two different roads but the destination is the same.

Both improve your business and enhance productivity.

Do you want to go for a new ERP system?

If yes, it can be challenging sometimes since a lot of your employees are comfy with old ERP types.

Switching to new ones might take some time as people resist.

Similarly, including a CRM system in your sales department is not an easy job either.

Since sales folks are good at selling stuff, they might struggle to use a new CRM system.

Although CRM and ERP got challenges, in the long run, they can scale-up your business by offering the best customer experience.

Well, more happy customers imply more business right?

So, before you go for a CRM or ERP system, weigh each factor and make a decision accordingly.

Connect with me over LinkedIn and share your thoughts.



Gururaj Swamy

Technical content writer | SaaS | Cybersecurity | ERP | IAM | CXaaS |