• March 11, 2022
  • By Karl Laughton, president and chief operating officer, Insightly

CRM Integration Equals Better Cross-Team Collaboration

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Integrating your customer relationship management (CRM) system is how you unlock the power of your business. Consider this analogy: The CRM is the heart of your business, and other apps are organs or extremities in the body. The integrations are the arteries and veins bringing essential data to and from those organs and extremities. Integrations make your CRM a reliable single source of truth you can rely upon to make decisions across your organization.

Having a truly integrated CRM will reduce organizational silos, save time, and provide in-depth customer understanding across teams. It’s where the CRM magic happens.

What Is CRM Integration?

CRM can manage all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. It helps companies build relationships, improve the customer experience, increase sales, and improve profit margins.

You can sync your CRM with tools from all areas of your business: HR, finance, sales, marketing, support, dev-ops, IT, e-commerce, and more. Tools like QuickBooks, Gong, BambooHR, Slack, Shopify, and more are all candidates for CRM integration.

When CRM integration is done well, it provides a 360-degree view of customer data synced across systems.

How Does Your Organization Benefit From an Integrated CRM?

When you integrate CRM with the tools used across your organization, you can expect the following:

Increased customer understanding. Sharing data quickly among platforms gives an up-to-the minute view of data across your business, empowering your team to serve.

Reduced manual processes. Manually transferring data from apps to spreadsheets is labor-intensive and error-prone, and keeps businesses from maximizing their human resources.

Improved reporting. When data across systems is shared, you get an end-to-end view of your organization, which empowers your team and your leaders to make better, more informed decisions.

Which Business Areas Benefit Most?

So you’re sold on integrating your CRM. Where do you start? Talk with your teams to discover and understand their most pressing needs. Listen for redundancies across teams to narrow down the possibilities. This approach will provide a road map to help you determine and prioritize which integrations will deliver the best ROI and the most positive outcomes.

Finance and accounting

Integrating the tools your finance team lives in—e.g., SAP, QuickBooks, and DocuSign—can free them from constant toggling back and forth. Common processes (payment, invoicing, ordering, quoting, etc.) can be triggered and routed automatically to and from platforms like SAP and QuickBooks. Automatically record each step’s sign-off status, and history via an integration with DocuSign. Ensure the required compliance documents are automatically uploaded and organized proactively using an integration to take the worry out of meeting regulatory filing and audit checkpoints.

Reporting becomes much simpler when your financial apps are integrated with your CRM. All your spend and revenue data can be available in a dashboard view to provide critical insights and allow for real-time business decisions.

Human resources

The ‘Great Resignation’ has put HR in the hot seat. Between recruiting, onboarding, and benefits, the burden is heavy. HR can use CRM integrations to talent management platforms like Greenhouse, to automate referrals, schedule interviews, and gather interview feedback. 

Keeping job descriptions up-to-date, improving resume scoring, and surfacing better candidate choices can all be integrated with your CRM for improved visibility.

Once a hiring decision is made, getting the new hire onboarded and productive is the highest priority. Integrating apps like BambooHR, Workday, and OKTA can automate onboarding and offboarding processes and grant permissions, benefits selection, and equipment issuing.

IT and operations

Any downtime means a loss to the bottom line. IT integrations can help detect problems and proactively initiate incident resolution processes. Integrating your CRM with platforms like ServiceNow can automate and prioritize incident ticket generation, which will help decrease resolution times. Users can stay up to date with real-time communications via chatbots and collaboration tools like Slack. This can serve to communicate status in areas like ticket escalation, ticket assignments, and incident alerts. Help Desk staff can access best-practice knowledge libraries from multiple systems, so they have one source of truth when researching solutions.

IT is mission-critical, and the more knowledge and information the IT team shares, the better off your company will be. IT integrations with your CRM help with incident response and resolution. Integrating your CRM with platforms like ServiceNow can automate and prioritize incident ticket generation, reduce resolution time and improve communication. Users can be in-the-know in real time via chatbots or messaging tools like Slack for ticket escalation, ticket resolution, and general, all-company alerts.

Sales and marketing

Sales and marketing already share goals, so keeping them integrated in the same tools just makes sense. For instance, keep lines of communication open with the Slack connector. Share the celebration of a closed deal by having your CRM auto-populate a “wins” channel. Or, have managers get alerts to approve deals or to alert reps when prospects are primed for a call.

Let your sales team live in the CRM rather than toggling between systems. Trigger quotes and invoices via an integration with a tool such as QuickBooks. Allow reps to send swag or links to your online Shopify store. Sign a deal right away when you trigger DocuSign directly from the CRM..

Let your marketing team generate roll-up reports on campaign effectiveness without switching apps when you integrate with your ERP (e.g. NetSuite). Let them see more of the process with integrations with Gong and SalesLoft to get insights into lead qualification from MQL to SQL.

The Road to ROI

Has there ever been a CEO who said, “We communicate internally way too much”? Depending on the CRM you choose, setting up integrations can be simple or difficult. Regardless of the level of time and effort, the increased communication and collaboration is worth it. With many companies moving to a remote-first approach, the enhanced communication from integrations is more valuable than ever.

Karl Laughton is president and chief operating officer at Insightly, a CRM provider with more than 1.5 million users in 25,000 businesses covering 180 countries. Laughton has a broad perspective on the tech industry through the various roles he has held. During his time at Cisco Systems, he worked within the corporate development and structured finance organizations, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, and strategic buy side corporate deal making. 

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