CRM Integration Questions and Answers
CRM Integration Questions and Answers
Your ERP & email integration questions answered!
It’s CRM Mailbag time again! This month, our mailbag is full of common CRM integration questions.
Let’s take a look:
Q: We’ve been using CRM for three years now, and had a consultant quote us $5,000 to integrate 10 custom fields from our CRM system to our ERP system. While the thought of this is great, and something that we could use, we won’t have the budget to do this until end of year. Is there any way of having some ERP data in CRM without doing this full-blown integration at this time?
– Chris the Controller
A: You know, Chris, that’s a great question. We see that kind of stuff a lot. If you’re okay without having the real time integration, it’s very easy to create a manual integration that you can run on a regular basis whenever you want: once a week, once a day, whatever it is that you want. What you’d have to do is first just add a field into your account records in CRM so that you can create a key that will link your CRM record with your ERP customer record.
Using that key, you’ll be able to then send whatever data that you want out of your ERP system, and then import the fields into CRM. If you even have a little bit of a budget, you could probably even automate that whole process, so that the export file from your accounting goes into a specific place in your network. We’d just write a program that picks up the export file and brings it into your CRM.
That could be done. If you need help with that or if you want more information about how that would work, just ask us. We’re happy to help, we do that a lot for customers.
Q: Our company uses email a lot. We rely on emails to be able to paint a picture of the interactions that we have with our international customer base that we can’t always reach during work hours. I understand that CRM will integrate with our mail server, I’m just worried that it’ll take all the emails that we receive and put them in CRM, and that’s not what we want.
Yeah, that is a common concern. In fact, we hear from prospects all the time who want all their emails to come into CRM. We advise against this for two reasons:
1.) It’ll fill up your database pretty quickly, it’ll just put a lot of records into your CRM system.
2.) It’s not just the space, though, it’s actually the noise that gets created. Having all those unimportant emails inside of your CRM can drown out the important emails that you want people to focus on.
The way we prefer people do things is, you use the Outlook plugin, and then your salespeople, your service people, your marketing people are trained to pick only the important messages and file them in the CRM. That works a lot better.
Okay, hopefully that helps. Again, if you need help, just reach out to us.
Q: Our marketing team just got introduced to CRM. They’re eager to blast out emails, but they’re worried about getting blacklisted or blocked as a sender. Is it best to use third-party solutions, or can we just use the CRM natively to reach our leads?
That’s always a concern, and in today’s day and age, it’s more of a concern than ever with all the spam laws. If you’re going to send out emails in bulk, even if it’s to people that are known customers, people that have signed up, people that are friends of yours, you’ve got to be careful. What we recommend is if you’re going to do any kind of bulk messaging for, let’s say, 50 or emails, probably even 30 or more emails, you probably want to use a third-party system.
These third-party systems vary in cost. Some of them are even free in the low end. They’re really great, because not only do third-party systems make sure that you can stay off the spammer list, they can give you other features, such as seeing who opened your emails, who clicked your links if anybody clicked your link, how many times they opened each email, who they forwarded the messages to, etc.
There’s all sorts of analytics that you can get to see which messages are working and which messages aren’t. You can also use these systems to create templates, and to facilitate the sending, tracking, and managing of your emails.
That’s it for this CRM mailbag. Thanks for joining us, and hopefully we’ll see you next month for some more CRM questions and answers.
If you have CRM questions, please send them to us. We’re happy to answer them in future episodes.
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Peter Wolf is the president and founder of Azamba. He has spent the last 18 years focused on helping small and medium-sized businesses become more profitable through effective and efficient usage of CRM.
His passion is blending the promise of CRM with the realities of business needs to create successful outcomes.