CRM is a highly valuable system that many businesses are adopting to reap its benefits.
When CRM is not compatible or has difficulties integrating with other systems issues arise. This is problematic as it is costly to replace systems to better suit CRM and disturbs the established programs set in place, such as using a Closed Loop Marketing System. Both systems complement the other and when used correctly together, enhance the marketing experience, but it may be difficult to integrate CRM. Thus, selecting a CRM system and ensuring that it works in synchronization with other systems is crucial to further advance the sales and marketing process.
Gartner Analysts emphasize this importance: “CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years. This is one technology area that will definitely get funding as digital business is crucial to remaining competitive,” said Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner. “Hot areas for CRM investment include mobility, social media and technologies, Web analytics and e-commerce.”
1. Determine the Use of CRM
Assess how you will use the CRM system. This is a necessary step in order to gauge which CRM system will be most appropriate for you. Depending on your needs and workflow, clarify what you need to do to import, synchronize and follow up with leads from marketing activities. Furthermore, analyze what you must do to support your already existing customer base while attracting new customers. Lastly, evaluate what works in the sale process and what does not. These steps will allow you to judge what CRM system will be most suitable for your organization.
2. Choose the Right CRM System
Based on the criteria from the last point, choosing the right CRM system is crucial to integrate CRM models with other systems seamlessly. To begin, judge how well it can integrate with other applications. The goal is to be able to accommodate for both your CRM system as well as other applications (such as marketing and accounting). Most likely, one CRM system will not be sufficient in providing everything you want. It would be unrealistic to assume otherwise. In order to work with this, it may be beneficial to have “an ecosystem of partners that provide a lot of other applications that you can easily use”, as stated by Mike Volpe. Sometimes a CRM system may not work with what you want, in which case, the best solution is to find a different CRM system. Similarly, consider the accessibility of the system – if the CRM system is incredibly complicated, this can be a drastic downfall to using the system. It requires training and consume a substantial amount of resources to properly maintain and use the system. Free demos/trials and acquiring the opinion of others in specific CRM systems may depict a better idea of the CRM system at hand. Choosing the right CRM system will allow for easier integration with other applications, so be careful with this step.
4. Ensure that Integration is Ideal with CRM
Some programs are hard to integrate with each other. For example, accounting systems and CRM systems are stark contrasts in relation to each other, which may make it difficult to combine the two. For instance, integrating configure-price-quote, expense claims, credit card disputes, commissions and incentives, and referral fees make the integration process significantly more difficult, as suggested by David Taber. Thus, the most important thing to gauge is whether or not implementing CRM is appropriate for you. It may be more expensive to attempt to integrate it, so make sure that both programs at hand have some potential to complement the other.
Gartner Analysts say that the Cloud is holding development back: “The remaining areas of CRM application functionality will be ever harder to adopt in a cloud delivery model, so the switch to cloud will steadily slow.”
Ultimately, research thoroughly and make sure you know what each system and application is capable of. By abiding by these steps, the integration process should be easier, resulting in an enhanced marketing and sales processing experience.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.