You know that feeling when you're talking to your customer, and things are going really well?
You're both on the same page; everything's clicking. The call is coming to an end, and they thank you for your help. But before hanging up, they suddenly ask you another question.
This may sound like a minor issue, but these questions and how you answer them can mean all the difference between someone who becomes a lifelong customer and someone who leaves with unresolved issues.
When you encounter such situations, it’s important to find a way to mitigate them and satisfy your customers’ queries. And this is where CRM integration comes in. Let’s overview how CRM integrations can help you enhance customer interactions and boost your customer experience and sales.
What is CRM integration?
CRM integration is the process of connecting your customer relationship management (CRM) platform with third-party business software to improve work efficiency.
CRMs are used by enterprise-level organizations to provide visibility into their key business drivers and build stronger relationships with customers.
CRMs allow businesses to use the programs they're familiar with to access CRM databases, and in turn, increase their productivity. CRMs can also be integrated with email marketing solutions to synchronize email campaigns with CRM information.
Integrating CRMs with your sales and marketing automation solutions makes it possible for data from the CRM system to flow into these channels. As a result, you have a single view of all of your customers, and it’s easy to keep track of the actions you take with them, from nurturing to selling.
There are specific CRM integration tools in the market that help users connect CRMs to email marketing solutions.
One such example is the integration between Zoho CRM and Salesforce CRM. This integration enables synchronization via data flow through application programming interface (API) calls using the POST method.
CRM integration makes it possible for two applications with customized interfaces to communicate seamlessly without knowing about each other's internal function or language. This approach helps businesses become more agile by enabling real-time information sharing across multiple systems in a CRM environment.
As CRMs are designed for various businesses, CRM integration tools simplify connectivity between CRMs and a wide variety of systems, including CRM, cloud storage, and ERP systems. These integrations result in a better customer experience across multiple channels.
When your CRM is integrated with email marketing solutions, you'll never run out of customers to communicate with. You'll have a list of all potential prospects at your fingertips.
With the right automation tool, this can go very smoothly on its own while you move on to other tasks or work on more important areas like sales. Essentially, CRM integrations increase efficiency by synchronizing CRM software in real time.
Why do we need integration in CRM systems?
Integration is important for CRM systems because it gives CRM the ability to create useful knowledge.
For example, suppose your CRM integrates with an accounting system and can pull real-time data on the company's financial status. In this case, it'll be able to determine what deals would help the company's finances.
This can help sales managers get a better conversion rate by targeting prospects when they’re most receptive and open to new offers.
CRM integration can also help businesses maximize profits by making sure that every customer interaction counts. CRM integrations can ensure that all sales, marketing, and customer support activities are effectively streamlined. That way, marketing campaigns can be executed faster with fewer resources and a higher profit margin.
CRM integration can also help businesses better understand their customers and create a robust marketing strategy. This is also known as a 360-degree view of all customer attributes and interactions across all communication channels.
CRM integrations further help businesses:
Eliminate the need for manual data entry and updating records one at a time
Improve customer interactions with speedy data retrieval and management
Gain a more holistic view of customers across social channels
Become more efficient and effective with just one business solution
Key CRM integrations and their benefits
The most important integrations for any CRM would be email marketing, lead management, website, and social media. The more CRM integrations you have, the better are your chances of streamlining business processes and getting work done faster.
Here’s a list of integrations you should consider for your CRM. These integrations will help make your CRM system a lot more efficient.
Email CRM integration is one of the most powerful features for business transformation. This integration allows users to send personalized emails to customers segmented by the CRM.
CRM software can also be integrated with email services, so you can send emails and manage your email contacts from the CRM dashboard itself.
CRM tools can help in email marketing campaigns, such as CRM-led drip email sequences that keep your leads engaged with your brand.
CRM software also allows users to automate emails to be sent out when a certain action is taken or a criterion is met. They allow you to set guidelines for communication between sales reps and customers at every stage of the CRM workflow.
For instance, the CRM software can automatically change the customer score when a customer responds to all your emails from one sequence, and a different (upselling) drip campaign can be sent out to them. You don't have to do any of this yourself except setting up the emails and conditions in advance.
You can integrate your CRM tool with calendars to save time and optimize the appointments experience. CRM calendar integration gives you access to all of your tasks and appointment schedules from one dashboard. This makes it a lot easier to integrate appointments into tasks and assign them to other team members or collaborators.
While some calendar apps let you schedule appointments, a CRM integration can add plenty of intelligent features, including:
Customer time zone detection
Real-time updates based on availability
Custom windows for appointments
Two-way email sync and appointment reminders
Buffer time for events
With CRM integration, sharing your calendar on social media also becomes super easy.
Website integrations are an essential part of CRM systems. CRM integration allows the software to interact directly with your website and gather information about your site visitors, including their email addresses and the pages they spend more time on.
The integration then improves your business by helping you:
Send personalized emails, newsletters, and other messages to these visitors at the right time based on their attributes and preferences
Transfer lead or customer data back to the CRM for lead scoring and sales quoting
Automate lead conversion campaigns based on lead behavior
Social media integration
Integrating CRMs with social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn helps users keep the target audience updated about their business news, latest products, and offers.
CRM integration with social media can help you collect data about your CRM leads and customers so you can follow up with them immediately after they engage with your brand.
Moreover, CRM integration allows users to post updates on social pages directly from the dashboard. It also helps you track social feeds and send direct messages to prospects using some built-in CRM functionalities.
You can also set rules for the CRM to take action based on lead interaction frequency or engagement on particular posts, and so on.
When CRM software and e-commerce platforms are interconnected, CRMs can pull, analyze, and report customer information based on their behavior on the e-commerce pages. This helps your business create the perfect customer experience.
CRMs help you manage customer relationships, but with e-commerce integration, they can even take orders and automate the billing services.
These steps can be connected to automation workflows in marketing so that customers buying (or virtual window shopping) on your e-commerce platform can be sent relevant, personalized emails or SMS soon after they complete their activity.
Full-fledged CRMs even offer built-in telephony, so qualified leads or high-priority customers can be contacted over the phone from the CRM based on their shopping interests or service requests.
CRM ERP integration is a way of integrating CRM software with enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. CRM ERP integration helps businesses unify CRM data with information about customers and products from the company's ERP system.
CRM ERP integration improves CRM data accuracy, reduces CRM implementation costs, and increases CRM system and process efficiency.
When you integrate CRM software with your enterprise resource planning application, CRM data automatically shows up in your ERP system. This enables you to view CRM details, such as contact information, in the context of other business-critical data like customer demographics and account history.
Integrating CRM software with your ERP system can help you achieve meaningful insights more quickly and easily. You can see key details about individual customers plus important information about the customer's employer (such as annual revenue or number of employees).
A two-way CRM ERP integration makes changes made on one system visible on the other. Data transfer is seamless between the two systems, and this saves plenty of time and improves business efficiency. For security reasons, you can have one-way integration too.
It is always good to have CRM integration with sales tools because CRM systems can capture both sales and customer data.
CRM software focuses on improving the efficiency of interaction between the customer and the organization. CRM integration with sales automation tools will help your business become more efficient with the sales process by improving and automating some CRM features and helping your sales reps pitch better.
For example, Starbucks uses CRM integration for sales quite effectively. It helps the sales reps understand what drinks customers like best and which locations they usually go to. This makes upselling much easier, as it takes away the risk of shooting in the dark. Targeted sales usually have a much higher success rate.
If you’re in the technology space, be it software or gadgets, CRM integration with the sales automation system will always help increase sales by recording your prospects' needs through online forms.
When people fill out these forms, the data goes through a workflow that can be monitored at each stage. Your business gets information about your prospects and customers' preferences and pain points as they move through the sales funnel.
Sales and CRM integration also make it easier for developers to create add-ons or bug fixes for software or consumer tech products. This, in turn, makes selling the improved products much simpler.
Integrating CRM with marketing automation software helps companies improve their customer experience. CRM integration helps create a more seamless and faster connection between marketing efforts and sales. It also provides marketers the most up-to-date information on leads and customers.
CRM integration with marketing automation software makes CRM data available in real-time for each campaign across the CRM and marketing automation software.
This enables marketers to identify customers with a higher closing potential. It also helps marketers create higher value customer journey maps by identifying crucial customer interactions for sales.
Marketers need access to all that CRM integration offers:
Real-time data on each customer's interactions with your products or services
Greater insights into which channels lead to the most conversions
Customizable automation across each CRM interaction point
Automating marketing with CRM integration allows marketers to access all of the above without additional IT support.
With artificial intelligence (AI) integration for your CRM, your marketers get a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of lead or customer behavior. This is accomplished via automated predictive lead scoring, where the integrated lead scoring software does the entire job for the marketers and the sales teams.
Leads are scored based on their interests and previous interactions with your company's website, emails, blogs, mobile app, phones, and social media. This is also called customer tracking.
When new leads are added or your existing leads change their behavior, the AI-integrated CRM software analyzes all the data to determine how valuable the leads are (scoring) in real time and what type of marketing outreach would work best for them.
This way, your marketing campaigns win more deals, and the sales teams don't have to navigate the myriad of challenges to understand customer data and behavior for targeted pitches. Revenue improves, sales go up, and your bottom line looks so much better.
3 examples of successful CRM integrations
Let's look at some examples of successful CRM integrations to understand the concept and benefits better.
Salesforce CRM + Zendesk
Salesforce is a recognized name among forward-looking businesses of all sectors and sizes, as it offers robust tools for CRM. This CRM can be integrated with business process applications such as Zendesk for ticketing.
Zendesk is a well-known solution for customer communication management. With Zendesk and Salesforce integration, businesses can access customer support data from the Salesforce platform touchpoints and view Salesforce records in Zendesk without manually entering data into either application.
Enterprise businesses are collecting more and more information about customers as they go about their day-to-day operations. This information needs to be brought together in one location for easy management, analysis, customer support, and effective marketing campaigns.
Integration of CRM systems like Salesforce with customer support platforms such as Zendesk lets you bring all of your customer interactions in one place.
Shopify + Mailchimp
Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform and can be integrated with CRMs like Mailchimp. This powerful CRM integration allows you to connect with your customers via email marketing campaigns while using customer data stored in Mailchimp for direct sales.
A CRM integration with Shopify means that you will have access to a single entry point for all your customer information and deep insights on the performance of your marketing campaigns.
E-commerce businesses that sell their products through multiple channels (e-commerce website and Amazon marketplace) will find integration with Mailchimp especially advantageous. It can help them perform all the marketing activities and CRM operations from a single CRM center.
Companies want to improve consistency and effectiveness across customer touch points within their call centers. Cogito's integration with Amazon Connect equips Amazon's customer service reps with instant emotional support on every call.
This integration of AI and CRM is an exciting new move in human augmentation for customer support.
The key principle is to empathize with the customer's needs, and Cogito achieves this for the support reps by recording calls and using sophisticated technology to analyze the emotions expressed by customers, all in real time.
Cogito's AI coach then guides the customer support reps to respond effectively and resolve customer satisfaction complaints.
Challenges associated with CRM integrations
One of the biggest challenges with CRM integrations is that there are too many software types. For example, CRM integrations generally involve three types of projects: data conversion, system integration, and data analysis. This means that CRM integrations require a variety of project management capabilities to be successful.
Another challenge is developing a plan for integrating CRM data with other important datasets like customer service or inventory data. There is always a risk associated with integrating new systems into existing ones.
That's why it's essential to map out the various parts of the project before starting any implementation efforts, so you can identify problems and find solutions in advance.
The third challenge is designing an interface that’ll meet your needs and also those of your customers. It might be tempting to think that you can simply throw any two systems together and see what happens. But unless the interface is designed correctly, it could lead to data errors, crashes, or other frustrating problems for users.
The final challenge associated with CRM integrations is identifying which problems are important enough to be fixed immediately vs. the issues that can wait until later in the project or never get addressed.
Getting everything right at once isn't always possible, but you do want to move forward at a steady pace so that you don't give up before accomplishing your core objectives.
For instance, if your CRM integration project involves building a user interface, this could be the most important part of the entire effort. But if you're working with an existing system with many problems or limitations, you might decide to focus on fixing the core system first instead.
Others may disagree with this approach, but it's up to you to make final decisions about where and when to fix various parts of the overall CRM platform.
Why CRM integrations are worthwhile
Despite their challenges, there is no doubt that CRM integrations are worth pursuing because they can lead to better customer service. They also help companies collect more data than ever before.
CRMs connect businesses directly with customers so that no other system can get in the way of critical data transfers. For this reason, CRMs play a key role in most customer service strategies and will continue to be used heavily well into the future.
There are many other reasons why you should care about CRM integrations. They often lead to higher employee productivity levels and better overall results for your organization.
In particular, these integrations help employees work more effectively and speed business processes like sales, marketing, or recruiting.
CRM integrations also offer an impressive new level of responsiveness to customers by reducing delays commonly associated with manual efforts. They also provide enhanced visibility into customer interactions that would otherwise be missed if only one system was used.
Power up customer experience with the right CRM integration
CRM integrations can power up your customer experience as they solve many problems associated with typical CRM usage. However, it takes patience and planning to make sure CRM integrations work as intended.
Many CRM integrations can be customized to meet specific business requirements, so it pays to do your research before committing to any particular approach.
It's also wise to invest in a CRM solution that offers an all-in-one package and is still affordable. This kind of unified CRM platform can provide you various tools to deal with all aspects of your business, so you need not add a dozen integrations just to get started.
While most CRM systems come with limited capabilities, the market is opening up to newer options that offer a more holistic approach to business management. These integrated CRM solutions can help you with marketing automation, sales automation, live chat support, social media tracking, AI capabilities like lead scoring, and much more.
Additionally, you can integrate these unified CRMs with any tool you like if any key feature is missing or is not offered with advanced capabilities. This way, you get to use just a couple of software applications and still deliver a pleasant customer experience.
Sharjeel Ahmed is Content Manager at
Engagebay, a CRM software solution tailored for startups and small businesses. Sharjeel enjoys writing about innovation in marketing software and new trends in the CRM space.
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