What software should your CRM integrate with and why?

Not all CRM systems are the same, so when liaising with your vendors, you need to be sure that you get the best fit for your business.  Whilst most CRM software will provide a uniform system that enables you to track performance, boost productivity and ensure quality customer engagement, you can get even more out of the system by making sure that it integrates with other third-party software.

Because certain functions are essential when considering the best fit for your business, you can have full peace of mind knowing that your system does all by integrating. Here are some of our favourites for you to consider and discuss with your vendor.

Email

E-mail functionality is essential and a lot of CRM software solutions have this built into their platform.

However, if you prefer to stick with what you are used to and link with Outlook or similar, ask for a CRM that will work well with the most well-known email providers, such as ProsperWorks for Google Apps and Maximizer for Outlook.  This way you will be able to brand your emails, using a specific email address and forwarding correspondence from within the CRM and updating the contact details at the same time.

Phone

When your sales team spend much of their time on the phone, it is logical to have the phone system integrated.  Some CRMs like FreshSales allow calls to be made using the in-built VoIP but if you want to use a system that you already have in place, discuss this with the vendor and ensure that they are compatible.  Phone systems are expensive and you don’t want to find yourself with a CRM and phone system that do not work together.

Calendar and diary

CRMs often provide a facility for scheduling appointments, tasks and even events, all from an in-built calendar.  However, if you or your employees prefer to stick with your existing calendar app and want to integrate with what you know, then you need a CRM that will merge easily with software such as Outlook or Google Calendar.

Use this CRM selection survival guide to find sales software that can meet all your key requirements

Marketing

Don’t think that you are limited to using your CRM for purely contact management and sales tools.  

If you're using a separate marketing tool, you can also merge the activities of sales and marketing, making your processes far more effective.  Some software systems like HubSpot and Marketo integrate with CRMs such as Sugar and Salesforce so make sure that this facility is available before you purchase. Infusionsoft comes with sales and marketing features already built in and is ideal for smaller businesses.

CRMs like Zoho and Zendesk also come already set up with social media tools, allowing you to monitor trends and track customer engagement.  Easily link to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc.  and take control of things like social media advertising, customer relationship building and the production of detailed reports.  

ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can help with every business operation, including sales and marketing,  HR, accounting, order creation and manufacturing.  If you already have this in place, whatever type of software you are using, check with your CRM vendor that both will operate smoothly together.

It really is well worth the effort of making sure that these types of software and others similar integrate fully with your CRM if you are to reap the full benefits.  By taking the time now to ensure that essential processes are taken care of, later down the line you will not find yourself struggling with integrations that do not work with your CRM.

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Jane Tareen

About the author…

An MBA-qualified professional, Jane specializes in all kinds of copywriting and creative content production. With many years spent working in advertising and publishing, she is also skilled in editorial production and proof-reading. Whilst writing, she has a constant companion in the form of one very large Fox Red Labrador!

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Jane Tareen

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