Companies across business sectors are constantly managing myriads of customer information. However, often, it is spread across a variety of applications. Communication history with clients might be stored in the CRM, invoices — inside an accounting software, contracts — within a document management system, and so on.
On average, organizations use 110 SaaS solutions within the span of a year. Can you imagine how complicated synchronizing data across all these tools can be?
Since the customer is at the center of any business, CRM platforms are of immense importance for any organization. They keep track of all the interactions each client has had with the company, facilitate lead management, and provide extensive analytics that help improve services.
However, what makes these systems truly game-changing are CRM integrations that expand their functionality. Today, that’s the topic we’re focusing on. We’ll go over the benefits of integrating your software and even outline the tools most commonly connected with CRMs. Let’s get into it.
How CRM Integrations Benefit Business
As you probably know, a CRM platform helps your business manage customer interactions, store communication history, automate sales and marketing workflows, and even gain insight into clients’ behavioral trends.
However, to truly make the most of CRM implementation, the solution must be integrated with other relevant tools. Otherwise, your staff will be making decisions without seeing the full picture.
CRM data integration has a multitude of benefits, but let’s take a look at the three main ones below.
Full Customer View
One of the primary benefits of CRM integrations is the opportunity to acquire a full customer view. By centralizing information about email, phone, and even social media communication, the sales team can always act based on the latest interactions. Thus, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.
Moreover, if a customer profile contains not only the communication history but also all of their relevant documents and invoices — true personalization offers can be created. For instance, if your team sees that a client has been making purchases less regularly, a small discount can be offered to reel them back in. Since retention is of utmost importance, it’s easy to see how this is a definite advantage of CRM integrations.
Less Data Silos
Of course, data silos are connected to the previous benefit we’ve mentioned, so we won’t reiterate the value of having centralized customer data. However, another advantage of integrating digital information across systems and eliminating silos is that it facilitates better data management practices.
With fewer disparate sources, the way data flows through your organization will be a lot smoother, resulting in fewer issues and boosted performance.
Finally, integrating your CRM with other company software will naturally lead to higher levels of efficiency. Since data will synchronize across tools seamlessly, the need for manual labor and repetitive tasks will diminish. Thus, allowing employees to focus on more value-generating activities like actually speaking with customers.
Software Commonly Integrated with CRMs
Now that we’re on the same page about the benefits of CRM integration, it’s time to go over some of the most popular software tools that can be connected to your system. Of course, this isn’t an extensive list, but the nine solutions we outline below are the ones that companies are most eager to integrate their CRMs with.
Unsurprisingly, the email integration tops our list of must-haves for a CRM platform. After all, the sales team spends a lot of its time responding to queries, sending out pitches, and closing deals via the online inbox.
So, connecting the CRM with services like Outlook or Gmail is a must. That way, your team will have the ability to seamlessly keep track of emails, send them directly from the CRM interface, and even leverage templates and sequences to improve response numbers.
Very few teams can function effectively in the long-run without an easy-to-use calendar that helps stay on top of all the upcoming tasks and meetings. Since sales staff often have to jump on calls with leads and current clients, having a calendar integrated with a CRM can be a good idea.
This type of integration lets users easily send invites and allows customers to book meetings while seeing a real-time calendar view. Thus, eliminating the need for time-consuming coordination and duplicate invitations.
Chances are high that your company uses internal communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams for quick interactions and collaboration. CRM integration with these types of platforms is great for simplifying the life of your employees and enabling the delivery of top-notch services.
You see, by integrating software like Slack with your CRM, the team will get the opportunity to send messages from both of the platforms. Without the need to switch between applications.
Plus, adding tasks to the CRM also becomes easier as each message within the collaboration tool can be transferred onto the CRM with a click of a button. Thus, removing the need for manual copy and pasting.
Another CRM integration worth considering is with contact centers. Given that sales and customer support teams frequently interact with clients via the phone, it’s a good idea for these interactions to be swiftly recorded.
With this kind of an integration, all customer conversations are logged in the CRM. Whenever a new call takes place, the appropriate profile can be quickly pulled up so that employees don’t waste time searching for relevant information.
Your agents can add or edit information right on the call, and your managers get a better picture of agents productivity. On top of that, when empowered with artificial intelligence, you can significantly improve your call center performance, guide conversations, and reduce learning curves of new reps.
For both, marketing and sales teams alike, social media plays an important part in the job. The former leverages it for promotion, to interact with customers, and to better understand them. The latter is naturally interested in any communication via social media as it can help offer better services and ensure no request ever falls through the cracks.
So, integrating your CRM with social media is definitely worth the effort as it helps further centralize information from all of your company’s communication channels.
Plus, some platforms like LinkedIn can help augment data on contacts that have been added to the CRM. Naturally, this empowers the sales team as they can perform less manual research.
Companies implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to manage day-to-day operations like purchasing, accounting, and human resources.
So, integrating a CRM with this kind of an enterprise solution, if you’ve got one, is a useful endeavor. It will allow you to connect all the sales and marketing data with other business areas for an even fuller view of the entire organization.
No matter the size of your company, accounting is certainly part of your business. Unsurprisingly, solutions that help with accounting efforts should also be integrated with a CRM. This will ensure that whenever the team is dealing with clients, they will have the full spectrum of information, including payment details, outstanding invoices, and the like.
Document Management Platform
You should also consider connecting the CRM with a document management system. After all, you probably have to work with many client-related documents and having access to them from a single platform can really simplify operations.
CRM and document management software integration lets your staff handle communication and document processing from a single window. Plus, it automates the process of filling customer details by pulling information from the CRM directly onto the document. Thus, reducing time spent looking for relevant files and copy-pasting key info.
Lastly, if you work in the ecommerce sphere, connecting the CRM with the online shopping platform is pretty much a must. It’s the best way to get an even better understanding of customers.
For instance, if you integrate the CRM with Shopify — products, orders, and contacts will automatically sync, providing you with a full view of each client and their shopping preferences.
On the other hand, if you rely more on Stripe to process online payments, connecting it to the CRM is also a great idea. Contacts will also sync across platforms while providing your team with the most up-to-date payment history, whenever a profile is pulled up.
How to Perform CRM Data Integrations
When you’re finally ready to integrate your CRM with other software, there are three ways you can go about it.
- Use only one provider’s software. Only purchase tools that are built by the same company so that they all automatically connect with each other, as is the case with Apple products for example. Of course, this is rarely a suitable option if you require many different software solutions.
- Write additional code. If you’re a small organization with just a few solutions, you can get the IT team to write additional code to link the CRM with other platforms. Typically, this isn’t a good idea for larger companies with complex IT infrastructures.
- Use an API. The most popular option is definitely relying on an API as it can be leveraged whenever the business expands its software use. In this case, there are three APIs with distinct roles that are worth knowing. We’ll discuss them in more detail below.
This type of API integration pulls data from various software like ERP systems, billing solutions, and payment processors to deliver it to the CRM.
For instance, if a retail firm wants to deliver a shipping update to a client, it would use a system API to access information from the UPS, DHL, or FedEx system to fetch key details on the delivery status.
Process APIs combine system APIs for a concrete purpose and to break down silos. If we carry on with the above-mentioned example, a process API could be used if the retailer wanted to access multiple data sources. For instance, to get information from the delivery company and also the toll tracking organization.
Lastly, an experience API leverages several integrations to boost the end-user experience of apps. They provide a business context for the digital information that was unlocked with the previous two API types.
Get Help Figuring Out Your CRM Integration Needs
We’ve covered a lot of ground on CRM integrations today, and we hope that you’re now confident in the benefits they can bring to your organization. Integrating any kind of software requires an understanding of what it is that you’re trying to achieve, but this may not always be evident.
So, if you need help figuring out how your company can capitalize on connecting various IT tools, don’t hesitate to reach out to Velvetech. We have spent years implementing successful CRM solutions and delivering software integration services. Thus, our specialists can quickly understand your unique challenges and pinpoint how best to solve them.