CRM software is used by just about every business that has a sales force. Once your business graduates from one salesperson to several, the need for contact organization and interaction tracking beckons. But when looking at the relative simplicity of the core functionality of many CRMs, it is a bit curious—at first glance—as to why it is such a behemoth in the business software space. After the second and third glance, it becomes clear. Like an abandoned engine sitting in a garage whose true utility isn’t realized until it’s connected to the rest of the car, a CRM’s true value is put on display when it’s integrated with other software tools.
Visit the website of any standalone CRM and you won’t have to look hard to find the business boasting about its limitless integration capabilities. The truth is, while limitless may be a bit of an overstatement, many of the leaders in the CRM space have robust integration capabilities. The larger CRMs like Salesforce CRM or Zoho CRM will even have their own software tools, which seamlessly integrate with their CRM.
Which systems should you be integrating with your CRM? That largely depends on the needs of your business, but there are a few that are almost universally useful.
You can think of these tools as a dashboard of sorts. By integrating sales analytics and performance management tools into your CRM, you will be better able to evaluate your sales processes and people. Sales analytics tools provide diagnostics, alerting you if one of your sales strategies or processes isn’t running to capacity, the same way your car’s dashboard will notify you if your rear-left tire is low on air. While these tools won’t actually be able to fix any problems, their value in diagnosing them can save your company from wreckage.
Marketing teams are crucial in keeping your sales pipeline healthy, and marketing automation tools facilitate marketing efforts like email campaigns and lead nurturing. They feed the CRM the same way gasoline powers an engine’s internal combustion system to ultimately produce energy. If a marketing automation tool can’t produce leads, the number of contacts in your CRM will diminish and your sales team’s success will sputter to a halt.
This software can range from file storage to data uploading and cleansing. When you have tons of people adding and editing customers and prospects in your CRM, things are bound to get messy. Like tires on a car, IT management tools ensure everything runs smoothly. When the road gets bumpy, this software ensures your business keeps running with little to no interruption.
All of these tools are hugely beneficial to a business, but without a CRM to link them all together, they can easily feel like a pile of disparate parts that don’t work together.