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How Does CRM Integration Work?

Did you know that using a CRM could improve your sales by almost 30 percent? Of course, any improvement can only be realized when you successfully install and use the CRM.

To that end, you need to focus on CRM integration. Only when a CRM system is properly integrated can you leverage its full potential.

What benefits does CRM integration have, and how do you achieve it? This guide has everything you need to know.


What a CRM Does

A customer relationship management system helps you do what the name says. CRMs help you manage your relationships with customers.

More important, they allow you to automate some aspects of managing those relationships. As your business grows, it becomes more difficult to remember who you need to follow up with. The CRM can take those tasks off your hands.

The system also allows you to grow your sales more effectively. If you’re using content marketing to discover new leads, it would be a shame not to follow up on them.

The CRM allows you to follow up with ease. The system can grade each prospect, then assign a salesperson to get in touch. It also shares information such as which webpages the lead visited and when their last visit was.

A properly integrated CRM system also boosts sales with existing customers. You can use information about their previous orders to determine what other products they might like. You might even be able to send reminders about restocking.

CRM Integration is the Key

Of course, the CRM can only do all that if it’s integrated with your other systems.

For example, a CRM that isn’t integrated with your website can’t collect information about your new leads. When someone fills out a contact form, you have to enter that information into your CRM by hand.

The same is true if your CRM isn’t integrated with the other systems you use. If you don’t integrate with your order database, your sales team won’t know about customers’ recent purchases.

That can lead to a whole host of problems. You may spend too much time moving data between systems. You could spend that time talking to customers instead.

You also might not be able to offer customers deals that interest them or to follow up in a timely manner. This leads to lost sales and lost leads.

How Do You Integrate Your CRM?

Now you’re asking how you can integrate your CRM.

The first step is to find the right CRM for your business. Some may offer you built-in integration with systems you’re already using.

Integration may also depend on the type of CRM you choose. There are two main types of CRM:

  • Software
  • Service

With software, you download and install the CRM on your machines. With a service, the programs are hosted in the cloud.

You also want to focus on features. If you want to use a particular CRM because of the features it offers, it could be time to upgrade other systems. Older systems may not integrate with the CRM that offers you the features you really need.

Pricing may also be a concern. CRM pricing ranges widely, from open-source options that claim to be free to thousands of dollars per user.

Keep sight of value when you’re considering a CRM for your business. The lowest price may not be the right fit, but the highest cost doesn’t always guarantee value.

Doing the Dirty Work

Now that you’ve found a good CRM fit for your business, it’s time to focus on the actual process of integration.

If you’ve opted for a custom-built CRM, then you shouldn’t encounter any issues with integration. The system was designed with integration in mind.

If you choose something more off-the-shelf, you may be able to customize it somewhat. Integration may need to be set up by hand.

The real challenge is often bringing the data from several sources together. Data may be entered one way on your website. It’s entered a different way in your order processing system.

Point-to-point development has long been the answer to this challenge. Developers build custom code to connect your various systems.

A newer approach makes use of application programming interfaces, or APIs. An API is a set of functions that let you create applications. Those apps can then access features and data of other services.

Using a CRM API, you can access the data of all the other systems, applications, and services you use. This draws your information into the CRM. It also avoids the issues of point-to-point development.

The API essentially allows for easy integration.

What Should You Integrate?

The API-powered CRM can connect with practically any system or application. The question then becomes, which systems should you connect your CRM to?

We’ve already touched on a few of the most important ones. Almost any system that touches customer data should be connected. You’ll want to include:

  • Web forms and chatbots
  • Customer support platforms
  • Social media
  • Marketing automation tools
  • Calendars

Order processing, point-of-sale, and other systems should also be considered.

You may also want to keep track of contracts and proposals sent to customers. You may even want to let your CRM connect with a phone platform.

Your email platform should also be connected. This allows you to draw in information about when customers were last contacted. You can also see what offers they received, and when you should follow up again.

You may also want to consider integrating your team communication tools. This makes it easier to keep track of who is following up with which leads.

Make the Most of Your Tech Tools

CRM integration is changing, but it remains vital for your business. If you want to use your CRM to its full advantage, then integration is key.

You have more business tools at your disposal than ever. Learn more about how to make the most of them with our library of articles. Discover just how much easier running your business can be with the right tools.

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