Your customer data is one of your most powerful assets. The right customer relationship management (CRM) platform can help you manage that data to enhance the customer experience, streamline processes for your team, and enhance your marketing strategies.
Yet when you have all the other tools that power your business working in sync with your CRM, you gain an even better view of your customers—and benefit from other advantages that enhance your bottom line, like increased efficiency and improved data accuracy.
Integrating your CRM with other tools like email marketing platforms, social media accounts, and analytics software is the first step to realizing your CRM’s greatest potential. This guide explains the most effective strategies for integrating your CRM with your tech stack and getting the functionality you need to drive your business forward.
CRM integration is the process of connecting your third-party applications and software with your CRM to create a single source of truth. Integrating a CRM platform with the other tools your business uses in its daily operations eliminates the need to move between applications to accomplish tasks.
There are many benefits of integrating your CRM with other tools, including providing a complete view of your customers and leads, allowing you to save time through automation, and more. Planning ahead and strategizing will help you maximize these benefits.
Implementing a strategy when integrating a CRM with your other tools is crucial for getting the most out of your platform. Strategizing the integration process saves your company time during CRM implementation. When you already know what integrations your company needs and how to set them up, you can streamline CRM implementation and improve your ROI sooner.
Strategies for integrating CRMs with other software
You can use one of five strategies for integrating a CRM with third-party tools. Your business may also be able to combine aspects of multiple strategies to enhance its CRM’s functionality.
Take a look at these integration strategies to decide which might work best for your business:
1. Write your own code
The most labor-intensive solution for integrating CRMs with third-party applications is to write your own custom code to make the two systems communicate in the way you need. Developers may be able to write code fairly quickly that will link an application with their CRM.
However, creating custom code may not be the best solution for every company. For starters, some businesses don’t have the development resources to write their own code. Secondly, this strategy is only worth the effort if the company only needs to connect one or two apps to its CRM rather than a suite of tools.
Another disadvantage of writing your own code is the potential for the code to become messy. When an integrated system updates, the custom code can break, requiring even more coding to maintain the connection. Unless your company has specialized needs and the resources to write custom code, a different strategy will be more effective.
2. Invest in products from a single provider
Another CRM integration strategy is to only use services and tools from a single provider. This strategy guarantees that all your tools will integrate seamlessly to create a single source of shared data. For example, you may be able to find a solutions provider that offers a CRM, a marketing tool, team collaboration software, and more as separate but integrated platforms.
Using as many tools from the same provider as possible can be a good thing, as it reduces the number of integrations your company needs to create to get the greatest value from its CRM. But be careful not to limit yourself to one set of tools just to make your integrations work. Many businesses use a wide variety of tools that a single provider doesn’t offer. Your company may also use specialized or industry-specific applications that one provider can’t replace.
3. Use an API
A third option is to use an application programming interface (API) to connect your software. APIs are interfaces for allowing systems to share data so businesses can easily retrieve, edit, search, and create data between CRMs and other systems.
This strategy enables businesses to manipulate integrations to get more customized functionality. Companies can reuse an API whenever a process requires it to play the same role. APIs are also great when connecting your CRM with a more specific system, like your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
But smaller businesses should be aware that unless you can find an existing API from a third party, APIs require custom software code, meaning you need a developer to build them. The best time for an API is when your business has in-house developers or can find a plug-and-play API to start using quickly.
4. Leverage native integrations
Maybe the easiest and fastest way to integrate your CRM with other tools is to use integrations that are already built into your CRM platform. Most CRMs come with a selection of convenient software integrations that allow you to connect your CRM with the tools you use for:
Many CRMs also come with native versions of applications you already use that provide equal or better functionality. Even if you can’t use only software from a single provider, you may be able to leverage multiple tools to reduce the number of integrations your company needs.
For example, using Nutshell’s CRM as well as our email marketing software, Nutshell Campaigns, allows you to create and send eye-catching email marketing campaigns to lists of your CRM contacts. Nutshell Campaigns connects seamlessly to your CRM data so you can better understand your relationships with contacts and how you generate sales.
Easily integrate Nutshell with your favorite tools
Explore the software integrations our team has developed and validated to help your sales and marketing teams work more efficiently.
The final CRM integration strategy is utilizing connector software to sync your CRM with third-party applications. Connector software offers a library of integrations to facilitate communication between CRM systems and third-party apps without the need for coding.
One of the best connector software integrations is Zapier, which allows companies to connect over 5,000 apps to their CRMs seamlessly. With a Zapier account, you gain access to all the apps you use most and can quickly integrate them with Nutshell to streamline your workflow.
Integrate your team’s favorite tools with Nutshell
As your business grows and needs more functionality from its CRM, integrations become more and more important. With several integration strategies available, from writing your own code to using native integrations or APIs, consider your company’s needs, budget, and resources to determine which method is best for your company.
At Nutshell, our mission is to help your business thrive. Our dozens of native integrations give companies options for connecting Nutshell with their mission-critical apps with no need for coding.