CRM software development has exploded in popularity as businesses aim towards becoming more customer-centric in a competitive marketplace. With the advent of SaaS CRM, however, CRM software customization is now often limited to businesses that are keen on adding bespoke functionalities to an already turnkey solution. Nonetheless, the demand for building excellent CRM applications isn’t waning anytime soon – especially as more businesses choose to battle it out in an already saturated market.
As a result, CRM services in Sri Lanka continue to top the list of deliverables amongst the country’s leading information technology companies. Serving clients both local and international, Sri Lanka’s software development sector is hard at work building applications that can not only delight customers with every interaction but are also equally adept at meeting deadlines with minimum downtime and maximum cost savings.
Irrespective of how CRM solutions are purchased and/or built, they are bound to be disparate all on their own. In this current day and age of deep digital interconnectivity, businesses need to be in lockstep with the rapidly changing demands and preferences of their customers – else lose them to their competition. While leading cloud CRM providers offer bundled solutions that include all the modules a typical business may require for smooth operation, chances are that your business may already be using certain enterprise software systems for other yet related tasks, and don’t wish to migrate over from a familiar solution.
This is where CRM integration comes into the picture. Having worked closely with our clients to build the best bespoke CRM applications, EFutures understands the importance of having a CRM system that isn’t just capable of systematically dealing with customer quandaries, but is also adept at connecting to third-party applications in order to facilitate seamless flow of data and companywide business processes.
In this article, we share everything you need to know about CRM integration – what it is, what it can offer, and how it can benefit your business.
CRM integration is the system of connecting third-party applications with a CRM system, so data can be shared between applications and workflows can be automated. Connecting your master customer database with your CRM software is an example of CRM integration. While each business will have a unique set of applications that need to be integrated with its CRM, the end goal is the same with every CRM integration i.e., to facilitate the smooth flow of information between systems that may otherwise have required duplication of efforts on the part of your team members.
APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are a common means of integrating third-party applications into CRM systems. However, microservice-based CRM integrations have also gained much popularity as they offer less risk in terms of system crashes, and are faster to deploy than their monolithic counterparts. For SaaS CRM solutions, vendors can offer dedicated expertise for CRM integrations, which may also include end-to-end deployment and regular maintenance such as software updates.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or phone systems solutions are a popular component for CRM integration, as call centre agents can access customer data with greater ease when they deal with customers. By connecting customer profiles to a VoIP solution, softphones can be configured to automatically dial relevant numbers so that agents experience less downtime and every minute is optimised for productivity.
CRM and campaign management go hand-in-hand, with top cloud-based CRMs already offering an in-built campaign management module to subscribers. Integrating your existing campaign management system into your CRM can help identify prospective customers via strategic audience segmentation, so relevant lists can be built for future engagement on an omnichannel approach.
Especially valuable for B2B organisations, having a pipeline management system integrated with a CRM can offer sales teams significant insight into customers on a historical basis. This may include (but isn’t limited to) past purchases, attending agents, custom preferences and even overall engagement scores. All this data shall be conveniently accessible across every stage of the pipeline, so sales teams will always have the insights they need to make the best decisions, all from a single, centralised platform.
As online events become the norm in this era of remote work and collaboration, organisations across multiple industries can benefit from integrating their CRM with their event management system. Offering capabilities to plan and schedule online and offline events alike, event management systems can be fed with updated customer data that can assist with segmenting audiences into relevant groups. Customer feedback can also be captured, stored and analysed for better insight so that future events can be tailored to suit individual audience requirements.
Integrating any enterprise application to a Business Intelligence suite can enable teams to unveil a treasure trove of valuable insights – and CRM software is no exception. Integrating your CRM with an analytics and BI solution can offer your organisation the ability to map data that can then be used to identify patterns and forecast trends. Many leading cloud BI solutions are equipped with AI and machine learning capabilities that can automatically train algorithms via big data repositories, clean up raw/unfiltered datasets and offer insights that are of a predictive nature, along with intelligent recommendations on possible next steps and workflows.
Workflow automation is the biggest benefit of CRM integration, as it enables data to flow smoothly from one system to another with no manual intervention. As a result, your employees are freed from doing menial tasks such as repetitive data entry, while coordinating between multiple disparate applications. This also removes the chance of error and duplication, so your teams are able to better pursue strategic or complex tasks that demand more of their attention.
Integrating your CRM with applications from other business units can greatly contribute towards enhanced CX. As other departments view and interact with data from your CRM, your customer is constantly in focus across the entire organisation. This can enable teams to pay attention to specific tasks that are of priority to the customer, thereby leading to faster ticket resolution times, better customer understanding and an overall positive experience for your customer.
Your CRM system contains large amounts of customer data that is home to valuable business insights – even in its raw and unfiltered form. CRM big data can be curated, analysed and repurposed for identifying what customers like and dislike, which campaigns were successful (and why) as well as niche audience segments that may be expressing an interest towards your products or services. With CRM integrations, data from third-party applications can also be combined to form a more holistic picture, so owners and managers alike can be assisted with future business decision-making.
With CRM integration, your business systems are constantly ‘talking’ to one another in order to share data and facilitate workflows. Adding AI and machine learning to this mix can open up a world of potential within your organisation, as deep learning algorithms can be trained to reveal intelligent analytics and automation opportunities. However, AI and ML can go far beyond just offering predictive reports and workflow automation; it can learn the workings of your business to deliver intelligent recommendations on how your business can be scaled for optimum growth while identifying new markets for increased opportunities and revenue
CRM integration is a popular topic of discussion among sales and marketing teams, no matter the industry or size. However, CRM integrations go beyond simply facilitating smooth workflows for sales and marketing teams; they can be a lynchpin for instilling a customer-centric focus across your entire organisation. However, integrating a CRM depends on individual business requirements. With no two business needs being the same, business owners and managers need to figure out what they need to be achieving via a CRM integration, before proceeding.
By conducting a detailed business assessment, your business teams will know what to expect, while keeping customer interests in mind. With CRM integration benefits entailing smooth workflow automation, redundancy elimination, no manual errors, better insights as well as CX, investing in a CRM integration will be money, effort and time that is bound to be well spent. Your software development team or cloud CRM provider will be the best sources of advice when it comes to what you need to do in order to implement a smooth integration, so any data is safely migrated over and your teams are well aware of how they can access this data for their day-to-day duties.
Whether it’s lead, pipeline or campaign management (over even a basic database of customer profiles), strategically planning your CRM integration to include connectivity between the third-party applications that need it will help ensure your teams are empowered to focus more on your customers, and less on administrative tasks.