What is CRM Integration? Tools and Examples for your Business
While choosing the right CRM software is an integral part of having a successful business, it’s only part of the equation.
To get the most out of your CRM software, you need to ensure it’s properly integrated with the rest of your business systems – a process naturally known as CRM integration.
An aspect of this is ensuring that once up and running, the CRM database works well with other business systems currently in use.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In this article, I discuss everything you need to know about the CRM integration process so that you can make sure this is successful both in the short and long term.
Let’s get started.
Customer relationship management (CRM) integration is about connecting a CRM software application with other applications used by a business.
This aims to create a single, cohesive system that shares data and automates processes across all departments within an organization.
Having multiple systems that don’t talk to each other can lead to data silos, inefficiencies, and a general lack of visibility into the customer journey.
To avoid these issues, businesses need to ensure that their CRM system is integrated correctly with the rest of their business applications.
In addition, with tons of apps having functionality that could be beneficial to a CRM system, it’s no wonder that CRM integration is key to unlocking the true power of CRM software.
Business CRM systems are designed to unify an organization’s departments and data so that everyone is working off of the same customer information.
The idea is that with a 360-degree view of the customer, businesses can provide better service, build deeper relationships, and close more deals.
As a CRM starts positively impacting various business processes, you will be able to fully understand how important it is for your CRM system to integrate with the rest of your business applications.
Whether you have a small business or a large enterprise, having the correct customer information starts with having the right tools in place – and a CRM can join many of these tools together.
Let’s now consider how you might go about integrating your CRM system.
The process of CRM integration can be divided into three main phases:
- Planning: In this phase, you’ll assess your business needs and objectives, identify which applications need to be integrated, and map out the data flow between them.
- Implementation: During this phase, you’ll configure the connections between your applications and start transferring data.
- Testing and Maintenance: Once your integration is up and running, you’ll need to monitor it to ensure that everything is working as expected and make necessary changes.
A suitable CRM solution will not only meet your current needs but will also be scalable to accommodate future growth.
In addition, as your business changes and grows, you might also need to update your integration accordingly while still following the previous process.
A CRM platform provides a backbone for managing customer interactions and data, providing tons of benefits.
The following are some of these benefits.
A CRM system integration initiative can help reduce business silos by providing a single source of truth for customer data.
Data silos occur when different departments within a company maintain their independent databases, leading to duplicate or conflicting information.
With a CRM system in place, businesses can avoid these issues by having a single database accessible to all departments.
This means that the right software integrations provide a single source of truth (SSOT) for your organization.
Providing your customer support team with the proper templates they can use when responding to customer queries can help ensure that every customer interaction is handled consistently and professionally.
By integrating your CRM system with a knowledge base or customer support software, you can also give your team the ability to quickly find the information they need to resolve customer issues.
Marketing automation systems can help businesses automate repetitive tasks, such as email marketing campaigns and social media postings.
When integrated CRM systems are live, businesses can track which marketing activities drive the most leads and sales.
One can then use this information to fine-tune future marketing efforts.
For example, sending email campaigns to customers who have previously shown an interest in your products or services can be more effective than sending generic emails to your entire customer list.
With marketing automation software, businesses can set up these targeted campaigns and have them automatically sent out to the right customers at the right time.
Event management software can help businesses plan and execute successful events, such as trade shows, conferences, and webinars.
Most CRM system integrations will include some form of event management software.
By integrating your CRM with an event management system, businesses can track each customer’s interest and see which past events drove the most sales.
Business owners can streamline sales activities with CRM integration, including generating quotes and tracking sales pipeline progress.
By integrating your CRM system with a quoting tool, you can give your sales team the ability to generate accurate quotes for potential customers.
If your business uses a sales funnel, you can also integrate your CRM system with a sales pipeline tool to help track progress and identify any bottlenecks.
Speaking of funnels, once correctly integrated, a CRM can create robust funnel reports that provide accurate data and help sales teams close more deals.
Having a CRM platform where all of your customer data is stored can help you get a 360-degree view of each customer.
This information can provide a more personalized experience and improve customer retention rates.
Using the right software tools to generate reports and analytics can help you make better business decisions.
When combined with data from various other systems, you can get a complete picture of your customers, sales, marketing, and operations.
A connector that links your CRM system to your business intelligence software can help you generate accurate reports and insights.
The customer experience can be improved when different departments work together more effectively.
By integrating your CRM system with collaboration software, you can give employees the ability to share information and files in real-time.
While sales reps might be the top users of your CRM system, it’s essential to remember various departments can benefit from CRM integration.
CRM data can also help businesses contain IT costs. When properly integrated, a CRM system can help companies avoid duplicate data entry, reducing storage and maintenance costs.
There are many different CRM integrations that businesses can use to improve their operations.
Big data tools with reporting and analytics integrations allow businesses to connect their CRM system with business intelligence software.
This enables better customer interactions that are also aligned with your business goals.
A sales team that has access to real-time information will always be more effective than one that doesn’t.
Workflow management and automation integrations allow businesses to connect their CRM system with various tools.
This gives employees the ability to automatically update customer records, create tasks, and send notifications – all from one interface.
The right customer contact information is essential for a successful email marketing campaign.
Email marketing automation coupled with a CRM integration allows businesses to connect their CRM system with email marketing platforms.
This gives businesses the ability to automatically add new contacts to their email list and send targeted campaigns.
An effective social media marketing strategy can help businesses improve their customer engagement.
This allows businesses to use the CRM and have the ability to post updates, track mentions automatically, and send messages.
The sales process doesn’t end when a customer makes a purchase – some might say that’s just the beginning.
eCommerce CRM integrations allow businesses to connect their CRM system with any ecommerce platforms used in business.
This gives businesses the ability to track customer orders, send shipping notifications, and upsell products.
Using the right customer profile and sending the appropriate follow-up at a precise time can also improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
This can only be done using the proper CRM integration.
Finally, businesses can also choose to develop custom CRM integration solutions.
This gives businesses the ability to connect their CRM system with any other software integration platform or database.
Custom CRM integration solutions are often used by businesses with particular needs or require a high degree of customization.
One of the main advantages of using a CRM system is that it can help businesses avoid spreadsheets.
Spreadsheets are often used to store customer data, but they are not designed to do so – especially as a business scales.
Using spreadsheets can lead to data entry errors and make it difficult to track customer interactions.
Compared to spreadsheets, CRM integration and customer relationship management systems are the way to go.
An API is a set of programming instructions that allow two applications to communicate with each other.
A suitable application programming interface (API) can make it easy to connect your CRM system with other software platforms.
The best way to find the right API is to consult with a development team that has experience in building CRM integrations.
This ensures you avoid the need to duplicate customer data on different software platforms and can save your business time and money while also ensuring that such data is accurate.
The price of CRM integration can vary depending on the features you need and the number of software platforms you want to connect.
Additional features (including modules for lead generation, webinars, and email marketing) can also increase the price.
Some solutions also integrate with invoicing software to streamline the sales process.
The price of a CRM integration can also vary depending on whether you choose to develop a custom solution or use an off-the-shelf product.
As such, these are all factors to consider when choosing a CRM.
If your business is struggling to keep track of customer interactions or if you are using spreadsheets to store customer data, then it is probably time to consider a CRM system.
You can also use Zapier to set up integrations with various tools and systems you use in business – however, this is sometimes just a quick fix before needing a more long-term one.
If you want to arm your salesforce with the best possible tools to get the job done, consider integrating a CRM system into your workflow.
Whether it’s a salesperson who needs to quickly access customer data or a marketing team that wants to track leads, CRM integration can benefit any business.
Have you used CRM integration before?
Which solution did you use, and how did it benefit your business?
Let me know in the comments below.
Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: Do you want to take things even further in your business?
Having an enterprise CRM can help you manage your customers and sales while providing more features and insights.
Here’s my article on the best enterprise CRM software if you wish to learn more.
Last Updated on June 2, 2022 by Adam Enfroy