CRM integration allows you to share information such as customer, contact, and lead details with other business software, meaning data can be viewed, updated, and shared across a company. This exchange of data can be done with a CRM’s native integrations tools, using a software-to-software interface, or hiring a third-party data integration services company.
If you’re looking for a CRM with a variety of integration options, Pipedrive is a great choice. It has dozens of native third-party apps including marketing, telephony, accounting, support, and others. The software is highly visual, easy to use, and affordable. Find out more by visiting the website to sign up for a free trial.
What Is CRM Integration?
Think of your customer relationship management (CRM) as the hub of a wheel and its spokes as your company’s other customer-focused business software such as sales, marketing automation, ecommerce, service, live chat, and so on. All customer information should flow between the CRM and these applications so there is one main reference record—the CRM. The connection between software is the CRM integration.
For example, when marketing starts an email campaign, those actions would appear in the individual contact record in the CRM. At a minimum, the email title, date sent, and email open data would show in the person’s record. This gives the sales rep more context when talking with the customer or prospect, e.g., did the customer open the email about the upgrade discount that expires on Monday?
How a CRM Integration Works
CRMs integrate with other software in several ways. The most common is through a CRM vendor’s native integration, which works with specific software easily and without any coding. It requires an account with that software, involves minimal set up that can be done at any time, and is essentially foolproof for the non-technical person. However, if your CRM doesn’t include an integration with your specific software, you have a few other options.
You can also hire a developer to build an integration using an application programming interface (API). An API allows one software to communicate with another. With this integration, the flow of information passes between the two software bi-directionally. For example, each time the CRM is updated, it will share this information with the marketing automation software and vice versa. This ensures data is always updated between systems automatically.
You can even use a tool like Zapier to connect the CRM with other software to automate certain tasks, but it has some limitations. Zapier will only send data one way between two software rather than the software continuously communicating back and forth like it would with an API or native integration. For example, marketing automation sends a contact to the CRM, but the CRM won’t send updated contact information back to the marketing software.
Finally, there are software companies such as Bedrock Data that provide monthly integration services for specific vendors. Like native integrations, these services are usually easy to use (e.g., no coding or manual importing). They can also share data with multiple systems (for example, CRM, marketing automation, and project management software all sharing information). However, cost may make it prohibitive for some small businesses.
Software You Should Integrate With Your CRM
CRM integration is essential for any business that employs other software applications to help run their business. As CRM is usually the heart of a business, it should share information with as many business programs as possible, which is why it should be a key consideration in your CRM’s implementation.
A CRM integration offers benefits for the following departments:
- Sales: The more relevant customer and visitor information a sales team has, the better they will be equipped to have meaningful conversations. For example, if the support team’s live chat conversations are integrated with the CRM, a sales rep will know not to try to upsell a customer that just downgraded their service.
- Marketing: A marketer’s success is driven in part by the data it collects on customers and potential customers. The more granular it is, the better marketing can develop personas for ideal buyers. The data can be gathered from sales while in the CRM, service from a live chat conversation, or any other department.
- Service: It’s crucial for service teams to see customer information such as purchase and support history to answer questions.
CRM Integration Costs
The best CRMs will provide a wide range of integration options with third-party software. The integration function for these software is typically included in the cost of the CRM subscription, with some vendors offering different access levels based on the tier purchased. For instance, an entry-level paid CRM plan may offer access to only specific integrations, while their advanced plan includes unlimited access.
Other options include hiring developers and using integration-specific companies that build both custom solutions and standard vendor-specific products. These integration service companies will typically charge $400 per month as a starting point.
With a CRM like Pipedrive, you get dozens of free, native integrations with popular marketing, accounting, data, and telephony software. It has a highly visual user interface, and there are plans for any small business budget starting at $12.50 per user, per month. Start your free 14-day trial.
CRM Integration Providers
Good CRMs should integrate natively with a wide range of applications from marketing software to accounting to ecommerce platforms. In other words, they should have developed their own integrations with popular software options that their target customers are most likely to use.
Below are three CRM providers with integration options and who they are right for:
Zoho CRM offers of dozens of third-party integrations for marketing, ecommerce, telephony, collaboration, and other apps. Pricing starts at $12 per user, per month, and includes access to all integrations within their marketplace. It’s ideal for teams that want an inexpensive yet fully-featured CRM with lots of integration options. For user reviews, please visit our Zoho CRM reviews page.
Zendesk Sell (formerly Base CRM) is part of the Zendesk suite of customer support software, and includes a handful of integrations such as HubSpot, Xero, and Mailchimp. Their plans range from $19 to $99 per user, per month, with prospecting tools available as a la carte add-ons from $30 to $90 per user, per month. For user reviews, visit our Zendesk Sell reviews page.
Pipedrive is a highly visual and user-friendly CRM with over 100 apps in their marketplace, including Intercom, Act-On, and LiveChat. Monthly paid plans start at $12.50 per user and include multiple pipelines, customization options, and advanced reporting tools. Therefore, it’s for businesses that want an intuitive CRM with many app integration options. For user reviews, please visit our Pipedrive reviews page.
Example CRM Integration Steps: Pipedrive & Trello
Because native integrations are common, we’ll look at a short example of how to connect Pipedrive CRM and Trello, the project management software. This integration—a Trello-designed integration—would help auto-create new project cards (task) in Trello, attach information from Pipedrive to Trello, and share information. The integration will automatically create tasks from Pipedrive into Trello once certain criteria are met.
To automatically add cards from Pipedrive into Trello, follow these steps:
1. Determine Your Workflow
You can use the card auto-create function in Trello to set up project tasks, whether they are during the sales process or after a deal is closed. For example, if you’re selling website development services and part of the presales process is to do an initial site assessment, you can create a card to automatically land in your project team’s project Trello board workflow once a prospect is moved to a certain deal stage in Pipedrive.
2. Add Pipedrive Integration in Trello
To enable this integration, you’ll need to be an Admin User in your Pipedrive account. Go to the Board Menu in Trello and click Power Ups. Search for Pipedrive and click “Add.” Then click Pipedrive under Powerups and select “Edit Powerup settings,” where you’ll authorize Trello to “link your Pipedrive account” and allow access to information.
3. Set Up Auto-create
Once you’ve linked the accounts, you set up how you want Trello to create project cards from Pipedrive. You’ll be given options of when to create cards: 1) When a deal is added to Pipedrive, 2) When a deal enters a pipeline stage, or 3) When a deal is marked as won or lost. From here you can select a particular pipeline to pull from, in which column list you want the card to appear, and its won or lost status. However, you can only set up one rule per board.
4. Test the Card Automation
After you’ve defined your workflow settings, you can test the integration. In the below example, I’ve set cards for an initial website evaluation to be sent to that team in Trello once my deal reaches the “Needs Defined” stage in Pipedrive. As soon as I changed the status in my pipeline, it populated the board in Trello like an order. Now that team can see the card and will be able to access the sales rep’s notes or attachments.
How CRM Integration Helps Sales, Marketing & Service
The departments that benefit the most from CRM integration are sales, marketing, and service. The more aligned these teams are, the better they’ll be at identifying, attracting, selling, and keeping customers. An integration will eliminate information islands, giving each team visibility into what the other is doing. By understanding customer behavior with tools such as lead scoring, it also allows the teams to focus on the activities, assets, and customers that are most valuable.
As a sales rep, your only task for the day is calling the contacts in your CRM. You can see their name, company, email, phone, and any previous notes, but nothing else. If your CRM was integrated with the company’s marketing platform, you could also see campaign activities, email opens, site pages visited, social media interactions, and other information that could help you have more meaningful, productive calls.
Another helpful feature found in marketing platforms is lead scoring. This uses data, such as demographic, behavioral, and purchase history, to rank a person’s sales readiness. While the tool that calculates the score is built into the marketing software, the data comes from a variety of “touches,” such as sales entering a customer’s job title or support updating an address.
Eliminate Information Islands
As the hub through which customer details are collected and dispersed to other platforms, your CRM is more than just an information source—it’s the information source. For example, if you’re running a furniture store, your delivery management software should integrate with your CRM so the sales and service people can see the details of each delivery. And your point-of-sale (POS) software should likewise integrate with both your CRM and the delivery platforms.
Pros & Cons of a CRM Integration
CRM integration is essential for most businesses for at least some of its software. However, if you’re a new business, you may still be deciding what to integrate and whether it’s worth it. We’ll take a closer look into the pros and cons of CRM integration and let you weigh them.
The Pros of a CRM Integration:
- Eliminate information islands: As a business grows, information will be created faster, from more customers, and from different parts of the company. A CRM not integrated with other company platforms will create information islands.
- Create a better customer experience: With one main record (CRM) of all customer-related data and activities, your team will be better prepared to market, sell, and solve problems leading to a better overall experience.
- Empower employees: If you have a small company, everyone wears multiple hats. A CRM integrated with other departments provides more information, which will empower your employees.
- Easy setup: A CRM vendor with native apps will be easy to integrate and you won’t have to do any maintenance—the vendor should take care of that (hopefully).
The Cons of a CRM Integration
- Resistance from staff – Cost prohibitive: If your CRM does not include integrations with your other software, it may require a developer or company specializing in data integration. This can get expensive for a small business.
- Territorial departments: Some employees may be reluctant to “share” information from their department, but for some of the reasons mentioned above, this should be easy to address.
CRM Integration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What software can I integrate with my CRM?
Most software should be able to integrate with your CRM with an application programming interface (API). However, this will require help from technical expertise, which can get expensive. The easiest software to integrate are those integrations that were developed by the CRM vendor.
What should be considered essential CRM integrations?
Email is first, as this is a primary form of communication, easy to connect, and a ubiquitous CRM integration. In no particular order, the others would be marketing automation, support, help desk, telephone (e.g., voice-over-internet-protocol, or VoIP), calendars, and social media. Larger companies will have software such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which should also be integrated.
The Bottom Line
CRM integration with other business software is essential for collecting and sharing information across a company. With a central record of all customer-related data, these integrations can help maximize productivity, increase transparency, and reduce the chance that information will become siloed.
Pipedrive is a CRM with dozens of popular software integrations that can be set up quickly and easily. Its user interface is highly intuitive and visual, making it simple to use and manage. With plans starting at $12.50 per user, per month, it’s also very affordable. Find out more about Pipedrive by visiting their website and signing up for a free 14-day trial.