Love them or hate them, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have matured into incredibly complex systems. Countless features and options help companies and salespeople track and optimize their entire sales process, making CRM systems today the backbone of any sales organization.
However, while CRM software is powerful on its own, integrating your CRM with other tools across your sales stack will unlock its full potential. Only when you connect to other tools, you’ll achieve a seamless workflow without having to go back and forth between multiple systems.In this article, we’ll explain why you expand your system’s functionality with CRM integrations. As an example, we’ll go through the three steps you need to take to integrate your CRM platform with a sales intelligence tool.
Next, we’ll cover:
- What is a CRM integration?
- Auditing your existing data
- Building a solid foundation
- How to integrate with other tools and systems
Let's get into it.
📌 TL;DR: This checklist helps you tick all the boxes to set up a high-performing CRM.
What is a CRM Integration?
A CRM integration is a seamless connection between your customer relationship management (CRM) software and third-party applications. Integrations increase productivity by automating and expanding the functionality of your software, eliminating the need to toggle back and forth between systems.
Why bother with CRM integration?
Simply put, CRM integrations make your job so much easier. When your business applications talk to each other, all the essential functions of your sales team live in one place, turning your CRM platform into a central hub for email marketing, customer support, document management, and more.
First designed to manage customer relations, CRMs have matured into incredibly complex systems with countless features designed to help companies and salespeople track and optimize their entire sales process. Integrations guarantee that you take advantage of those functions and features, streamlining your business processes.
There are as many integrations as types of sales tools. When you’re evaluating your options, one of the first integrations you definitively want to consider is a third-party tool to help you identify and engage with prospects. Combining the company information provided by a sales intelligence tool with your CRM data, you’ll generate the account insights you need to know exactly who you should be talking with, what you should be talking about, and when you should reach out to them.
Let’s look closer at what you need to integrate your CRM with a provider of company information such as Vainu.
How to integrate your CRM platform with a sales intelligence tool
So, how to integrate your CRM platform with a sales intelligence tool without breaking your systems? First, start by looking at the state of your CRM database.
Step 1: Audit your existing data
Like Cookie Monster, CRM software has a voracious appetite. Instead of saying "Me want cookie!", CRMs says "Me want data". A CRM system continuously accumulates information about business prospects and customers. Every time a sales rep adds a new record, or when a prospect fills out a form on your website, your database grows. Now, ask yourself, does this information provide the insights you need? Is it updated? Or, is it stale like the cookies left in an open jar for far too long?
Bad CRM data causes many headaches in business-to-business sales. For starters, longer sales cycles, and time-consuming administrative tasks. Before you switch an integration on and additional data starts feeding into your CRM, you want to make sure your existing data is in good shape.
To audit your data, look at these five areas:
- Accuracy - Is your data accurate? Is data quality a challenge?
- Completeness - Do you have business IDs for each company? Do you have all the necessary information for each of your records?
- Consistency - Do you use different nomenclature and vocabulary across your records?
- Uniqueness - Do you have duplicate entries for companies/contacts?
- Timeliness - Is your data up to date?
Step 2: Build a solid foundation
At this point, you might feel overwhelmed by the state of your existing contact data. Don't fret. That's perfectly normal; 30 percent of company information becomes outdated every year for various reasons. Fixing inconsistencies and duplicates is part of the integration process.
Once you know what's in your database, it's time to do some thorough housecleaning. A data cleaning process will detect and remove corrupt or inaccurate records from your database, opening the door to the additional data points and richer insights the integration with a sales intelligence platform will bring. A word to the wise, any organization that works with a CRM wants to establish year-around data cleaning activities.
By getting correct data into your CRM, you'll see the winnings of having access to rich, real-time company information.
Select the data points your want to add
The ultimate goal of integrating a sales intelligence tool with your CRM is appending company information, such as firmographic, technographic, and signal data to the contacts in your database. This integration will build a more robust profile of every contact in your CRM, allowing you to improve your lead and account scoring models and find the right talking points for every customer interaction.
With an automatic data enrichment process running in the background, you'll be sure to stay on top of changes happening in your accounts. Whenever one of your contacts implements new technology or changes office, the information will be added to the right account in your CRM.
Select the data points you want to add. For example:
- Business IDs
- Firmographic data points
- Technographic data points
- Any necessary data points you have previously identified
Step 3: Integrate with other tools and systems
Once you're happy with the data points in your CRM system and the integration with a sales intelligence platform is up and running, it's time to connect other tools in your stack. When all your sales and marketing tools are working harmoniously together, your teams have a complete picture of the buyer lifecycle, from visitor to customer, at will times.
For example, a marketing automation tool compiles how your web visitors interact with your content. Did they download your latest eBook? Or, how many times have they opened your newsletter? Such behavioral data is incredibly valuable, but its insights won't be complete without the contextual information your contact database (in your CRM platform) can offer.
Connecting your CRM data with your marketing automation platform will allow you to:
- Enrich inbound leads with relevant company information.
- Shorten online forms.
- Route leads to the right sales reps.
Similarly, you can extend your CRM data to customer success platforms and automate onboarding and renewal workflows.
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Dot the i's and cross the t's
CRM integrations can't be ignored. Any integration greatly expands your system's capabilities and, eventually, makes the life of a salesperson easier.
An integration with a sales intelligence platform has the potential of setting your CRM database maintenance on autopilot. Not only that. With the addition of company information, your CRM will put all the relevant information in front of you to know exactly who you should be talking with, what you should be talking about, and when you should reach out to them.
Vainu integrates with popular CRMs such as HubSpot, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and Pipedrive and appends company information to your database. This way, you enjoy all the benefits of using a sales intelligence platform without the annoyance of jumping between systems or web browsers. Everything works in one central hub: your CRM.
Download this checklist to check all the details that make a high-performing CRM.