What is CRM Integration?
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are in full swing these days. The problem comes when trying to use that software in conjunction with others, as the two won’t necessarily be compatible. Getting data to flow from one system smoothly to another is the goal of CRM integration.
CRM integration is the act of connecting your CRM software with other systems, meaning that your business can send data between the systems without risking corruption or loss, while also doing it quickly and seamlessly at the push of a button.
CRM integration has the aim of making better use of data, thus connecting your CRM to other pieces of software might involve connecting to a central database first. That’s a perfectly valid strategy that has the advantage of not needing the two pieces of software to be directly linked, though it does pose its own issues.
The integration looks different depending on who you are and what you do. Some organizations will be happy simply linking their CRM to a website, others will want to connect to other, more complex pieces of software that aren’t straightforward to connect to.
Benefits of CRM Integration
Integrating CRM solutions into business operations has become a critical part of staying competitive in an ever-evolving marketplace. By streamlining the customer and seller experience, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer data and trends, increase operational efficiency, better manage customer relationships, and improve marketing and sales strategies.
For starters, CRM integration with other business software helps companies create a smoother workflow throughout the entire sales process. This improves communication between employees and customers as it eliminates manual processes and helps build trust through more reliable records. It also allows businesses to track customer history, understand their buying habits, predict future needs, and tailor marketing campaigns accordingly.
Improved Customer Experience
A significant benefit of CRM integration is improved customer experience. An integrated system allows for personalized, tailored interactions between customers and businesses, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. This improved customer experience can also increase sales through better engagement with existing customers and increased referrals from satisfied customers. Additionally, integrated CRM systems provide users with insights about their customer base that allow them to better understand the needs and wants of their target audience. This helps increase the efficiency of marketing campaigns while saving time and money by only targeting those individuals who are likely to be interested in the company’s offering.
Better Data Accuracy and Security
Furthermore, CRM integration with other solutions, such as CPQ and Billing software helps businesses keep their financials organized while giving them access to real-time data about their clients’ needs and preferences. This enables them to make informed decisions for better forecasting accuracy across departments.
Another benefit of CRM integration is enhanced data security and protection against unauthorized access to sensitive information. A properly configured system makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to sensitive customer information such as payment details or account details, keeping both your customers and business safe from potential data breaches. Additionally, an integrated system allows for greater visibility across different departments, enabling managers to easily assess trends within the business on both macro and micro levels.
Integrating a CRM system with other applications gives managers greater visibility into customer contact information and sales pipeline and ensures each team is working collaboratively towards achieving business goals. With all this in mind, it is easy to see that the benefits of CRM integrations with other business software far outweigh any potential difficulties encountered when connecting systems together.
Lastly, integrating a CRM system into a business can help increase efficiency across departments by allowing them to share information in real time. This saves resources otherwise spent on redundant tasks while ensuring that all data remains consistent throughout the organization’s network due to the centralized storage capabilities that come with most modern CRMs. In addition, the automation features available in many popular CRMs can streamline processes such as lead generation, order tracking, and billing.
Increased Sales and Revenue
CRM integration also provides businesses with valuable insights about the customer experience that can be used to create targeted campaigns or product promotions based on customer preferences. By leveraging the power of analytics, businesses can offer customized solutions that appeal to the specific needs of each customer. This helps encourage loyalty among customers, which leads to higher customer retention rates and increased sales.
With the right strategy for successful integration, businesses can reap immense rewards from an interconnected network of solutions designed for enhanced productivity and profitability.
How to Integrate Your CRM System
CRM integration is usually done in the following ways:
- Using Your Dev Team
If you have a dev team, you can ask them to write code to connect the systems. This has the obvious advantage of being done in-house and thus cheap, but the resulting code can often break with new integrations and updates. You don’t want to have to re-code the entire thing every few months, so unless you’re dealing with static software, you’ll never update this isn’t a good approach.
- Purchasing An Integrated Package
You always have the option of purchasing a fully integrated package, but this limits your choices. You’re stuck to using software from the same provider which might be good for one aspect but lousy at others. You do have the advantage of being able to communicate regardless of updates, as no provider would make software that isn’t back-compatible to some extent, but whether it makes up for the lack of choice is up to you to decide.
- Using APIs
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is a medium through which two pieces of software can talk to each other. You can think of it as an interpreter for the two programs, taking the code of one and translating it into a form that the other will understand.
APIs are considered the best way of integrating CRMs since you can pick and choose which software packages fit your needs the best, regardless of who makes them, and still be able to communicate between the two. APIs may cost a fair amount, but their resilience and flexibility make them well worth it if you have the capability to invest in one.
CRM Integration Examples
There are plenty of CRM integrations out there, so let’s take a look at some of the more common types and see what they do and who’s doing them.
- Email automation
- Calling software
- Live chat
- Contacts & proposals
- Lead tracking
- Quote generation – CPQ
If you’re looking to give your sales team a boost, some popular integrations come from DealHub, HubSpot, Salesmate, ClickUp, and Salesforce.
- Team communication
- Data collection
- Web form integration
- Marketing automation
- Data scraping
For marketing, look to Wrike, Marketing 360, Klaviyo, Zoho and Twilio.
- Calendar integrations
- Social media
- Customer Success
- Live chat integration
- Video integration
CS/CX is best utilized when you have the assistance of Planhat, Totango, ChurnZero, Salesforce, and Front.
- CPQ integration
- Lead generation
- Inter-departmental data tracking
If you’re in the legal department, you might find Cetrix, Veon, SalesMate, Affinity, and FreshSales useful.
How APIs Enable CRM Integration
As touched on above, APIs act like translators, enabling pieces of software to talk to each other despite having radically different code bases.
APIs usually use HTTP or REST API standards, easily accessible and able to be used by developers in case small tweaks need to be made. They’re also more secure this way, with fewer bugs or loopholes that might be trouble for you.
In today’s market, APIs are more like products than lines of code. You’ll generally see the end result of the connection rather than the code base itself unless you specifically ask for access. This means that although they’re very code intensive, users themselves don’t need any specific knowledge of coding in order to use them.
CRM integration is the process of integrating customer-related data, such as contacts, leads, customers, and other information, from CRM systems with other enterprise applications. This gives businesses a 360-degree view of their customers, enabling them to better understand and serve them.
An example of CRM integration is linking a customer’s account information with order processing software or an eCommerce platform. With this type of integration, customers can quickly and easily place orders by retrieving their saved profile information and payment methods directly from the CRM system. This helps reduce errors and save time for both the customer and the business.
Other examples include integrating an accounting system with a CRM system so that invoices can be sent directly to customers from within the CRM interface or synchronizing customer contact data across multiple applications so that any changes made to one application are reflected in the others. By having up-to-date customer information at all times, organizations can provide more personalized service and better understand their customers’ needs.
The purpose of integration in CRM is to facilitate the sharing and exchange of data between different systems, allowing businesses to streamline their operations and improve customer service. Integration allows users to access all CRM data in a single location, helping them manage customer relationships more efficiently.
It also helps track customer interactions across multiple channels such as email, social media, online chat, etc., providing organizations with valuable insights into their customers’ needs and preferences. Additionally, CRM integration can help reduce data entry errors by automatically importing important information from other applications into the CRM system.