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ERP vs CRM: Which software is right for you?

What is a CRM system?

A customer relationship management (CRM) system allows businesses to manage their customer relationships, nurture their leads and process their sales orders effectively. A CRM becomes increasingly important as a business grows and the team has increased volumes to manage, as manual systems and processes can quickly come under strain. 

A CRM allows you to store and organise customer contact details and other relevant information in one centralised, online system. Having customer data in your CRM allows you to automate your sales and marketing communications to them, so you can engage with your customers and leads consistently, professionally and — importantly for your business – efficiently.

Having a single view of the customer via the CRM means your teams can collaborate effectively and deliver the most streamlined customer experience. For example, customer service representatives can access live chat histories and support tickets and have a complete history of client interactions so the customer doesn’t have to keep repeating themselves if they need to follow up on an enquiry.

A CRM system increases sales efficiency, strengthening business performance and the customer relationship. By tracking customer and lead actions, the CRM is a mine of valuable data. Authorised users can pull off reports to dive into this detail and understand customer behaviour, sales trends and how your business’ sales and marketing efforts are performing overall.    

What is an ERP system?

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is business management software that can be customised to fit the specific needs of different companies and industries. The primary goal of an ERP system is to digitalise and connect different parts of the business to improve visibility, streamline and automate processes, improve efficiency and enhance decision making.

An ERP may be modular in design and include a CRM, but may also offer other functionality, such as: 

ERP vs CRM: which is right for your business?

Whether a comprehensive ERP or a CRM is right for your business depends on many factors, including your current pain points, long-term needs and the investment that you’re able to make. 

Here are a few differences to consider when making this decision:

Scope and functionality

The main difference between an ERP system and a CRM system is that an ERP is built to meet an organisation’s holistic operational needs. A CRM, on the other hand, is specialised software for managing client relationships and sales and marketing efforts. 

It’s important to be clear on what you need in your software so you’re not paying for features and functionality that you won’t get full value from. 

Implementation costs

An ERP implementation can be complex and cost significantly more than a CRM implementation. However, by bringing your business onto one integrated platform, you can increase efficiency, lift productivity and grow your business effectively. 

As a result, it’s important to consider the projected return on investment alongside the total cost of ownership for each software system.


With an ERP, additional modules are available out-of-the-box so you can add on to your platform when you’re ready. This saves you the time, effort and expense of going out to market to curate a tech stack. 

Conversely, it may be expensive and complicated to integrate a best-in-class CRM with existing company systems or applications you may choose to integrate in the future.

Software vendors

With an ERP, there's one software vendor who has expertise across your platform. Conversely, with a CRM, you’ll have a specific software vendor that may differ from those responsible for your other company systems. 

Consider how many vendors you want to deal with, and whether there are advantages in having one software vendor who knows your entire platform inside out. 

Choose a CRM in a business management platform

Get the benefits of an ERP system and an integrated CRM at an accessible price point for small and medium-sized businesses.

MYOB is a business management platform designed for businesses with 0-1000 employees. Built to address the 6 core workflows that any business may need to handle — customers, employees, suppliers, projects, finance, accounting and tax — MYOB is a platform to help you grow and scale with confidence.

Cloud-based, you only pay for the software you need, but you can add on capabilities across and within those workflows as your business matures and your needs change.

Try Tall Emu, MYOB’s CRM for goods-based businesses, free for 14 days. Alternatively, check out what other CRM integrations are available to you on the MYOB App Marketplace

At MYOB, we have you covered.

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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