Software Integration Q&A
Implementing a new CRM can be scary for any business, and that tension only increases when the CRM is integrated with the company’s other software systems. It’s normal to have a degree of trepidation and anxiety, even with the best CRM partners and solutions. You’ll have questions about the way the integration will impact your existing workflows, as well as the way the workflows will change as a result.
Our clients ask our experts CRM integration questions all the time. So, we’ve decided to share our answers to the most common questions we hear during the software integration process:
If I integrate my CRM with my ERP, will it mess up the data that’s already there?
For obvious reasons, companies tend to be extremely concerned about the integrity of their data. It’s the lifeblood of their business, after all. If the data is incorrectly imported or merged, it can create a tidal wave of problems—from incorrect invoices to lost customers.
The good news is that these problems rarely occur when clients are working with an experienced CRM integration partner. And by utilizing best practices for data integration, these problems can be completely avoided.
How quickly will my sales team be able to see CRM invoices after it integrates with our account software?
Paid invoices mean everything to salespeople, and so it’s only natural that your sales team would want to have instant access to their invoicing data. In most cases, this information will be immediately available. In addition to giving sales reps information about the sizes of their next commission checks, this integration allows them to scan their invoices for key information, including possible upsells and resells.
What information will be exposed in the CRM after the integration?
One of the biggest concerns our clients have about data integration involves ensuring that only specific users have full access to sensitive or restricted information. You don’t want random sales reps to have access to sensitive data.
Thankfully, a well-implemented CRM never allows this kind of access. Part of the testing process involves looking for these kinds of issues, and an experienced CRM partner will utilize best practices to prevent sensitive data from being accessed by unauthorized users.
How will conflicting data be managed during the CRM integration?
Before any CRM integration takes place, the data must go through a “cleaning” process. Every piece is examined to make sure it conforms to the needed protocol. Since this data hygiene is an essential step in the integration, any conflicts that arise will be dealt with long before the final integration. There will also be multiple backups of that data along the way, which will provide a failsafe if anything goes wrong.
How long will the CRM integration take? Will it be expensive?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to these questions. It’s kind of like asking, “How long is a movie?” It depends on a lot of variables, right?
Similarly, the length of CRM integration depends on a variety of factors, and each situation is unique. For instance, integrating SugarCRM with a typical ERP system might only take a few days. However, integrating that same CRM with a series of bespoke, badly-documented software tools could take months and require a substantial budget. So, they’ll stay within most budgets and timeframes.
Will a CRM integration erase my data?
No, it won’t. In almost every integration setup, the CRM is pulling data from another source. Since this connection is often a one-way connection, the CRM is unable to send data to the source program. If there’s an error that erases data in the CRM, it won’t affect the data source.
In more complex, two-way integrations, protections are implemented to keep the CRM from blindly overwriting the source data. Frequent data backups are also implemented, so even a catastrophe would only result in a brief loss of access to the original data.
Should we integrate our email system with our CRM?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to CRM integration. And with email, it really depends on your company’s CRM use case. If your sales team does almost everything via email, there’s a lot to be said for integrating the two systems. For instance, it’s an efficient way to track email-based sales activities, and it also makes it easy for reps to manage documents and update records.
However, there are some situations where a CRM/email integration doesn’t make sense within the overall workflow. Some email integrations might also be too resource-intensive on the database and mail-server, which could degrade the performance of both. So, to answer this question, you’ll need to talk with your CRM implementation partner about your specific needs and goals.
If we use our CRM to manage our marketing emails, will there be more of a risk that it will be blacklisted?
If you plan to use your CRM to manage your marketing emails, carefully consider the possible consequences. Your customer email addresses are incredibly valuable assets, and they need to be protected as much as possible.
While your CRM may be more than capable of sending out bulk messages, it’s probably not the best platform for this kind of customer contact. There is good news though.
Even if your CRM system does not have its own marketing automation platform attached, there’s a good chance you can connect it. You have options.
Do we have to integrate all of our software systems?
You certainly can integrate your CRM with other software, but that doesn’t mean you should. It really depends on your company’s needs. For instance, it might be tempting to integrate QuickBooks with your CRM. For many business workflows, this integration could be a crucial timesaver. But for others, it would be completely useless.
A good CRM implementation partner will go through your entire workflow during the planning process. They will only suggest integrations that benefit your company.
How often will the CRM sync with the integrated programs?
How often do you need it to? The CRM may only need to push data to the accounting software once a day, but it also needs to update the ERP in real time. To further complicate matters, some vendors place hard limits in their APIs about how often data can be synced.
Since it’s possible to create a solution for any CRM use case, those needs should absolutely be a part of your planning conversations with your CRM integration partners.
To learn more about integrating your CRM with other software and tools, contact Faye for a free consultation.