It’s the “one weird productivity trick” that actually works: getting all your business software tools to talk to each other.
Integrating your CRM with the rest of your tech stack saves you time by significantly reducing the need to migrate information from one tool into another, or chase down information across separate tools.
For example, by integrating your document management software with your CRM, you can automatically log and track every time you send a sales proposal to a prospect, rather than having to type it into their contact record.
CRM integrations also make your job easier by putting more of your sales team’s essential functions in one place, turning your sales communication platform into a central hub for email marketing, customer support, accounting, and more.
There are three ways these integrations can work:
Native integrationsthat are built by your CRM software provider
3rd-party integrations developed by independent companies
Custom integrations that are created using APIs (application program interfaces)
Native integrations are created by your CRM provider and built into the software to ensure that you can work with your most commonly used business tools (think email and scheduling programs) without leaving the CRM. Turning on these native integrations can often be done with a click or two within your CRM.
Native integrations are the easiest to use and implement. However, they are usually only available for a small number of the most popular business tools.
There are so many business tools being used by small business sales teams that it is virtually impossible for a CRM software platform to provide a native integration for all of them. Fortunately, third-party services have come to the rescue. These third-party integrations connect your CRM with an even wider range of business tools.
Companies like Zapier specialize in collecting simple connections between different software tools. A CRM provider may only have a handful of native integrations, yet have over a hundred third-party integrations available to users through these integration marketplaces.
Using an API key for CRM integrations
An API (application programming interface) is a software-to-software interface that allows programs to connect and communicate with each other.
All cloud-based or SaaS (Software as a Service) business tools have a published library of APIs that allow other software applications to access your CRM without requiring a password. Similarly, the other tools you use usually have APIs that can then allow a two-way flow of information, so that data from those tools can be pushed into your CRM.
These APIs can also allow your CRM to communicate with any legacy internal systems that you may have in your company. Learn more about Nutshell’s API here. The downside of these custom CRM integrations is that they do require someone with technical expertise to set them up. Fortunately, if you don’t have your own IT staff, you can easily find an outside contractor through freelance sites like Upwork and Toptal.
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