You have a business to run. That means you have customers to manage and, if you’ve done things correctly, you have a lot of them! Naturally, you need a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help.
Types of CRMs
A CRM is a tool used by businesses to manage their interactions with their current and potential customers. It makes for happy, well-informed customers which, in turn, makes for healthy profit margins. How’s that for “win/win”?
There are many types of CRMs out there on the market today to suit your business needs:
- Business-to-business (B2B)
- Business-to-customer (B2C)
- Small business
- Social media
- SaaS (on-demand software)
- Customer-centric (CCRM)
- Non-profit / membership-based
As you may have guessed, there are also many different brands of CRM systems, including:
- sage crm
- sage line 50
- sage 200
- Microsoft Dynamics
- Salesforce CRM
How to integrate your website and CRM
“So, how does CRM integration work,” you ask? At its simplest, we can create a series of web forms and plug them into your website. These forms collect information from your customers and push it through to your CRM. At a more complex level, we can embed dynamic CRM data in web pages by synchronising CRM data with your website’s content management system (CMS) database. What we do really depends on what you need.
The CRM integration process goes something like this:
1. Select your CRM. It is key that you have your system in place and are sure it is working well for you before you even consider integration. If you don’t already have one, choose a CRM that suits your business type and needs. Are you a charity? A non-profit / membership-based CRM may be perfect for you. Maybe your business makes heavy use of social media platforms. Well, a social CRM is probably more for you. Do your homework. There are plenty out there from which to choose.
2. Decide what workflows you want your website to support. Because it’s important to implement the right ones for your business, you should have a dedicated team in place for this task. CRM workflows allow you to automate your business processes—notifying your sales reps of customer contracts that are up for renewal (account management), notifying sales managers of hot leads or automatically generating follow-up reminders for your sales reps (sales process automation), etc. All processes are worth considering as likely candidates for integration because the more you automate, the more you free up resources to give your customers the attention they deserve—and that will make your business stand out from the crowd.
3. Ask CRM integration specialists to propose a solution. Any specialist worth their salt will follow CRM integration best practices. They should work closely with you to identify the pressing needs of the business, encapsulate and articulate those needs and formulate a roadmap of small development plans and processes essential to the integration process. They will also analyse the actors and roles for each business process and clarify the scope of the integration solution.
4. Select your supplier and build your perfect customer solution. Once you have whittled the specialists down to a shortlist, choose the one who will best meet your business’ needs. Get them involved early on in the process so you can establish a rapport with them. That way, you’ll have someone in your corner to turn to when quick, reliable answers are needed.
Benefits of CRM integration
CRM integration for your website is good for your business. It means less time spent manually entering customer details into your CRM from multiple inlets and more leads generated than ever before. Other benefits:
- Customer churn is kept to a minimum
- Better-quality leads
- Higher conversion rates
- Increased productivity
- Reliable and consistent information
- Improved response time to enquiries
- One master record (no duplicate data)
- Improved revenue tracking
- Shortened sales cycle
- Better-informed customers
- Better visibility of customer behaviour