The development of the internet has made it possible to manage relationships between companies and customers using a digital tool called customer relationship management technology. These technologies give organizations a simple method to organize, monitor, and manage connections and interactions with their customers. Additionally, by integrating your customer relationship management (CRM) software with other company programs, you can make it a hub for collaboration, sales, marketing, and other tasks. But, what is CRM integration?
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What is CRM Integration?
CRM integration refers to the smooth connection of your CRM software with third-party apps. These linkages produce automated operations that extend the capability of your software, reducing the need to switch between platforms. Although these third-party systems are independent of the CRM system, the data they generate or use can help CRM perform better, and vice versa.
How does it work?
CRM integration links each application to your CRM platform, allowing data to flow to, from, and between them. CRM integration aims to contain entire, correct data from your company software in order to provide you with a complete picture of your organization and customers.
For different sorts of firms, integration will look very different. For others, connecting a CRM system with a few functions of a company website is as simple as using connections built into CRM software. More complicated firms, on the other hand, will require the integration of a CRM platform with a number of other systems, including those that are equally or more complex, such as an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.
Why does your business need CRM Integrations?
CRM systems that are fully integrated simplify an organization’s operations by allowing its numerous customer-relations technologies to communicate with one another. This ability to aggregate client data therefore opens up options for time savings, targeted marketing, increased organization, and customer base expansion.
A successful CRM system is backed up by an intelligent integration structure. “Smart Integration” ensures that the relevant data is available at the right moment, as well as the automation and orchestration of workflows and essential CRM operations across applications (ERP, social media, phone systems, lead generation, reporting software, mobile devices, calendars, e-commerce systems, among other applications). A clever CRM integration boosts both employee productivity and customer experience.
Smart cohesive connectors can bring functionality from the ERP or other edge apps into the CRM application. This gives CRM users a 360-degree perspective of the customer and eliminates the need for users to log into various systems to execute their duties, enhancing employee efficiency and, ultimately, the customer experience.
Benefits of CRM Integration
One of the most significant advantages of CRM integration is the ability to cross-pollinate email and messaging platforms into CRM solutions. Once integrated, businesses may utilize the CRM to send emails and manage contacts, as well as send automated marketing messages. A CRM user can also set communications depending on thresholds, such as response rate, assisting firms in increasing customer satisfaction and making the most of existing relationships using email marketing software.
Opportunities for automation
CRM connection can assist automatically assessing the relationship between a firm and clients based on specified metrics, in addition to the capability to carry out scheduled marketing email blasts through marketing automation software. CRM software, for instance, can give a score depending on whether a customer reacts to or engages with communications from a business, giving the corporation a better idea of customer value. Last but not least, automating repetitive operations like scheduling, billing, or timekeeping is made quick and simple by integrating with a CRM.
Efficiency and coordination
CRM integration gives businesses a method to automate a wide range of business processes. For instance, combining CRM software with enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools enables a company to examine crucial client data such as demographics and contact details as well as their account history in one location. Additionally, by connecting tools like calendars, internal messaging, marketing, and even sales with CRM, businesses can gain crucial consumer insights that can boost productivity in addition to centralizing information.
Drawbacks of CRM Integration
The difficulties associated with CRM integration keep growing. To ensure flawless operation, secure transfer of sensitive information, proper updates in marketing automation software, etc., CRM integration requires the right tools and platforms.
In terms of technologies (SOAP vs. REST), transmission protocols (HTTP vs. HTTPS), authentication (OAuth 2.0), digital certificates, and other factors, CRM systems can vary greatly from one organization to another. Depending on how closely CRM and marketing automation suppliers abide by one another’s requirements, CRM integration will either fail or succeed.
This issue doesn’t just apply to CRMs; there’s a good likelihood that any tool you integrate will have unmet needs and requirements (billing systems, e-commerce software, software systems for any other business areas). When it comes to corporate software integrations, CRM integration is occasionally just one link in the chain.
Best CRM integration software for business
All integration platforms come with pre-built interfaces for the most popular CRM programs. Some integration platforms offer prebuilt recipes and automatic process integrations that can be used with little to no coding. Integration platforms can act as the main controller or governor orchestrating workflows in ERP, CRM, and other systems, as well as a workflow engine.
Complex bi-directional data and process orchestration with complex business rules defining routing, enrichment, transformations, and exception handling is possible when using an integration platform like Mulesoft, Dell Boomi, Oracle, or Jitterbit. These integration platforms can also make it possible for all apps and systems to share APIs with standardized functionality. An API or microservices design removes the complexity of integrations, enabling “citizen integrator” self-service integration and the quick creation of new integrations.
The use of robotic process automation (RPA) can significantly boost staff productivity by integrating software and manual processes into workflows.
Key features of CRM integration
1. Customer & Prospect Communications
- Customer Communication: Access, management, visibility, and keeping track of client engagements started via various kinds of communication channels (phone, web, chat, email or social media).
- Phone: CRM integration with the phone system enables the recording of call information and contact details for later use and visibility. With caller id and auto-query of the customer record, this capability also facilitates incoming and outgoing calling from within the CRM application.
- LiveChat or Chatbots: Chat functionality is gaining popularity. Chatbots can automatically create leads from website visitors or users of mobile applications with the help of CRM integration with a chat program or chat feature installed on the corporate, sales website or mobile application. The CRM system can be integrated with these conversations and leads to guarantee a prompt response from a live person.
- Email: By integrating the CRM application with the email system, you can access the internal email client UI from within the CRM program (i.e. Outlook or Gmail, etc.). Salespeople frequently use email as their primary way of communication; by leveraging it within CRM, they can access the most recent contact and account information without having to register into numerous systems. Additionally, it gives users access to shared templates and sequences, increasing efficiency.
2. Management of lead
Before importing a lead into the CRM Sales Automation system, leads created by other systems should be analyzed to see if the lead has ever been a customer, or if there have been any previous interactions. Aside from qualifying criteria like source, social media, demographics, and psychographics, leads can also be evaluated, categorized, and scored in accordance with these variables. Because they can concentrate on the correct leads at the right time with the appropriate information at their fingertips, this increases the efficiency and productivity of your sales staff.
3. Forecasting sales
Short-term and long-term sales results are forecasted with the use of sales forecasting systems that employ historical and real-time sales data. This data may be spread across several places, necessitating clever integrations to guarantee its availability and completeness.
4. Analytics for sales & marketing
Tools for sales and marketing analytics incorporate a variety of data from sources like CRM, ERP, social media, surveys, website traffic, and more. These tools offer simple methods for gathering, processing, analyzing, and viewing these facts. Integration of these tools into various systems is necessary.
5. Reports, Dashboards, and Business Intelligence
Business intelligence, reports, and dashboards need immediate access to all company-wide data that is stored in both on-premises and cloud-based systems and applications. Smart CRM integration makes sure that all the necessary data is accessible and organizes it logically so that Business Intelligence tools, reports, and dashboards can use and process it.
6. Contact Administration
The CRM system frequently includes contact management as a feature. To support invoicing and order fulfillment procedures, it is frequently necessary for data saved in the CRM system to be automatically kept in sync with the ERP system. Additionally, the ERP system often updates bespoke data. The CRM system frequently needs to have these updates implemented. Smart CRM integration software is useful.
7. Case Management & Client Contentment
A CRM system is all about managing your interactions with your clients, as the name implies (and contacts). Employees with a 360-degree perspective of the customer and access to all pertinent data from various systems have the highest chance of delivering the best possible customer experience.
8. Marketing and Sales Automation
The ability to automate many elements of your sales and marketing activities is one of the benefits of a good CRM system. These procedures may span many applications, necessitating data and process integration. By automating repetitive operations, you can increase employee productivity by allowing your staff to concentrate on and devote their time to more difficult tasks. This comprises duties that were formerly completed manually, such as data collecting, data analysis, outgoing calls, marketing campaigns, and others. Additionally, it enhances data quality and gets rid of mistakes. Most CRM systems have limited email marketing capabilities, hence some businesses use stronger external direct email marketing platforms. Such systems require connectivity with and access to data from the CRM and ERP systems, such as customer and prospect demographics and purchasing patterns.
9. Approvals and Workflow
Prebuilt workflows can be used to increase productivity and efficiency right away. You can find prebuilt workflows in both your CRM and ERP system. Other edge applications connected to your CRM may also offer workflow engines. Additionally, you can create unique workflows in your integration middleware, edge application, and CRM (if used). Additionally, discrete workflows can be combined to offer automated end-to-end workflow for a variety of applications.
10. Social Media Marketing Management
Integration of CRM software with social media platforms facilitates cross-departmental communication and automates social media marketing chores like automated posting. You may find out what your consumers are most likely to “share” and “engage” with by integrating your CRM with your business’ social media accounts.
11. Calendar sync for personal and professional use
Employee productivity and customer satisfaction both increase when employee calendars and schedules in CRM are synced in both directions. Employees get scheduled prompts and reminders and are guaranteed to keep on top of their obligations.
12. Devices and Applications for Mobile
Integration of CRM and ERP data and processes with mobile devices and applications used by staff, suppliers, and customers is necessary. By enabling vendors to self-serve, this boosts employee productivity and enhances customer satisfaction overall.
13. Sharing and Syncing Files
For many of your enterprise applications, CRM software can serve as a synchronization platform and conduit. In addition to importing Excel worksheets, it can sync email accounts and file sharing.
14. Telephony automation
Call centers frequently demand the use of and access to numerous systems, which leads to confusion and decreased staff productivity. Employee productivity and the entire customer experience are enhanced when CRM is integrated with other applications into a single UI.
15. Controlling proposals and contracts
You can track, discuss, and electronically sign contracts thanks to CRM connection with a doc signing platform. Additionally, you can rapidly move contacts from Oracle Projects or another third-party contracting system. Proposals and contracts can be sent and signed immediately from the CRM system thanks to this connectivity.
16. Ecommerce Systems
Understanding your customers requires integration with an e-commerce platform. You can access important customer data by integrating your CRM with your e-commerce platform, which may automatically sync items, contacts, and orders.
>> Learn more: Ecommerce ERP integration
How to integrate a CRM system
There are 3 ways to incorporate various programs and systems into a CRM.
- You can purchase software from a single vendor or firm to enable automatic system integration (akin to how all Apple products automatically sync up when you log in).
- To connect the systems, your IT or tech department can build additional code (not advised if you’re utilizing a lot of systems, but doable for small organizations with the correct personnel).
- An API, or application programming interface, can be used.
Particularly given that businesses are always expanding their usage of software, the third option is frequently the best. Let’s examine CRM integration in more detail and in example.
Some examples of CRM Integration
Although CRM integration can encompass a wide range of business processes, the following instances of CRM integration are particularly prevalent.
1. CRM and E-Commerce Integration
Sales is a sector of organization that can stand to gain the most from a CRM system and effective integration. CRM systems are a crucial tool in this context as they store and track information on current clients and leads across numerous media.
Whatever e-commerce platform is being used to oversee sales operations must be coupled with the CRM system in order to get the most out of this function (i.e. customer browsing, ordering, payment collection). To name a few, examples include Square, BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce. By doing this, contacts, items, and orders may all be linked up automatically within a single system.
2. CRM and Marketing Integration
Many organizations want to have a “360-degree” view of a client profile before any sales are made, which means they want to have gathered a plethora of data about potential customers. Because of this, a lot of companies use marketing automation tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Adobe Experience Cloud, HubSpot, and others to combine customer data from the most popular marketing channels.
Integration of CRM systems is essential if you want to view a potential consumer through all available channels and market to them most successfully. CRM integration can link pertinent data to all other customer information created across the customer life cycle in marketing, helping to direct leads to the most effective marketing channels and facilitating the closing of sales.
3. CRM and Customer Service Integration
When customers contact businesses for information or support, tickets or cases are generated and must be documented and structured. Up-to-date information on warranties, repairs/maintenance, and returns must also be managed and cross-referenced. A variety of technologies can be utilized to address various parts of customer service (such as IT service management software and field service software), but integration with CRM software or services is required to connect this information to other related areas.
CRM integration can simply blend this customer service data with larger databases of client data, and it can also connect customer service activities directly with other channels.
As a result, as organizations increase their technology portfolios, the requirement for a good CRM integration plan is critical for enterprises to make the most of their technological investments, gain efficiency, and ensure seamless interaction between apps.