At its core, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program is a sales tool designed to manage interactions with customers.
- Identify & Manage Leads
- Automate Marketing (ie: emails & campaigns)
- Log & manage customer contacts (email, phone calls, etc.)
- Sales Support
- Loyalty Management
Anything related to direct customer or potential customer interaction can be automated and managed through the CRM.
On the other hand, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is more about managing company resources which includes customer relationship management.
In addition to all the usual features found in a CRM, an ERP will also handle
- Accounts Receivable
- Accounts Payable
- Sales & Marketing
- Human Resources
- Vendor relationship management
- Inventory Management
- Product Management
- Project Management
- Planning & Production
While most of these products are designed for teams, you can see how having a platform that automates and manages many of the critical tasks involved with running a business are beneficial to one or two-person businesses too.
Cost varies based on features and the number of people in your organization, but most of the better programs offer a free or budget-friendly bare-bones version that meets most people's needs. And if you haven't tried an ERP or CRM it is worth setting aside an hour or two to see what they can do for you.