Integrating your CRM with business software maximizes your productivity by allowing all of your business applications to talk to each other.

This saves time by significantly reducing the need to copy information from one tool into another, or switch back and forth between programs. For example, a CRM integration can be used to automatically create a person record when someone fills out a form on your website, eliminating the need for manual data entry.

CRM integrations also make your job easier by automating tasks you’d otherwise have to perform in external software tools. These integrations put 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, document management, and more.

Related: The five most important CRM integrations for sales teams

There are three ways these integrations can work:

  • Native integrations that are built into the CRM software
  • 3rd-party integrations developed by independent companies
  • Custom integrations that are created using APIs (application program interfaces)

Native integrations

Native integrations are created in-house 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 one click within your CRM.

Native integrations are the easiest to use and implement. However, they are usually only available for the most popular business tools such as Gmail, Outlook, Mailchimp, Slack, and Intercom.

Third-party integrations

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.

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.

How do I integrate my CRM with my sales team’s business software?

Nutshell is a user-friendly and affordable CRM built for the needs of small business sales reps. Start a 14-day free trial of our award-winning sales platform (starting at just $19 per user per month), and our support team will make sure your business software stack can integrate seamlessly into your CRM.

Nutshell is a top-rated small business CRM that integrates with dozens of leading business applications, including email and calendar platforms, marketing automation tools, help desk software, and more.

Need a small business CRM that puts all your important sales tools in one place? Try Nutshell free for 14 days!

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