Did you know that 91% of businesses with more than 11 employees are using CRM? It’s obvious companies of all sizes are recognizing the value of CRM, but that also means higher stakes and greater competition. Once a productivity wheelhouse for the elite, CRM is now so accessible that even the smallest companies can participate.

If CRM technology is leveling the playing field, how can you maintain a competitive advantage?

Integrating CRM uses the innate benefits of your software investments to create one cohesive, scalable, cost-saving powerhouse. A CRM system can be integrated with almost anything: ERP, marketing automation, phone systems, social media, and even legacy databases. There are numerous competitive advantages for each of these integrations, but here are a few of the big hitters:

1. Integrating CRM for Customer Retention

The numbers vary by market, but most sources estimate the acquisition of new customers is four to ten times more costly than retaining existing customers. Increasing customer retention by only 5% can increase profits up to 75%. In short, your ability to retain existing customers has a huge impact on your revenue stream.

Customer retention is more manageable with integrated systems. Integrate CRM with marketing automation to segment messages to the right demographic of customers. Integrate CRM with ERP to monitor customer credit and invoices. Integrate phone systems, social media, or email to quickly convert a call or message to a service case. All these integrations are the means to a similar end: simplified communication and case management between you and your customers. With information feeding between your major systems, every department has full accessibility. Marketing has insights on customer behaviors, sales has a better view of potential upsell opportunities, and services resolves customer cases faster. In the end, you’re delivering a complete experience, while making customers feel their needs are understood.

2. Integrating CRM for Boosted Mobility

We are a mobile-centric society, and the way we do business is no exception. Mobile CRM increases sales performance by 59% and helps salespeople achieve quotas more often than reps who don’t have mobile access. So, how does integrating your CRM enhance that?

Take ERP integration as an example. Using integrated, mobile capabilities, a sales rep can view inventory, products, and pricing information on the spot, which gives them all the tools to close the deal. If the customer made a previous order that hasn’t been delivered, the rep can check the status and offer immediate feedback. Integration helps salespeople avoid unsavory surprises by understanding the full landscape of a customer relationship. Perhaps the customer recently submitted a service request for a product that isn’t working properly. If the rep knows this going in, they can choose to alter (or delay) their sales pitch.

3. Integrating CRM for Lower Training Overhead

According to Training Magazine’s 2017 Training Industry Report, companies spent an average of $1,075 per trainee in 2017, compared to $814 in 2016 – and the cost keeps rising. Training an employee on multiple systems adds significantly to the training overhead. Instead of spending more time working towards project goals, employees are busy learning the system. Integration minimizes the time necessary to get teams working together. If one department uses CRM and the other uses ERP, both can work in their individual systems towards a mutual end. Besides saving time and money, the synchronization of the two systems also lessens potential data entry errors and unnecessary duplicate entries.

4. Integrating CRM to Gain the “Big Picture” View

No matter which systems you choose to integrate with your CRM, your competitive advantage will always benefit from better data visibility. Whether you’re monitoring social conversations, comparing customer financials, or logging email threads, knowledge is power when it comes to customer data. This “big picture” customer view (also referred to as 360-degree view) delivers some major advantages including:

  • Reduced time-to-market for new products: When you understand the customer’s buying patterns, you understand how to create the best product and service bundles to meet their needs.
  • Improved marketing interactions: A well-rounded customer profile shows what is relevant and of interest to each person.
  • More detailed reporting & analytics: Combined metrics from your major systems can help determine how people are learning about your business, which platforms they’re using to engage with you, and what actions they’re taking that build loyalty with your brand. Metrics can also help marketing pinpoint segments and sales track the lifetime spend of a customer.
  • Multichannel customer service: Integration with social media, email, and phone systems gives your customers more ways to contact you and receive faster responses. Social media integration notifies the services department of a post and allows them to immediately respond or turn it into a Case in the CRM. Email and phone integration work similarly, keeping your team in sync with all communication channels and giving your customers the convenience of reaching you how they prefer.

With a significant number of businesses utilizing CRM technology, companies can make the most of their investments by fully harnessing what they already have. Think about Legos – a Lego by itself is a building block without a purpose, but add more Legos to your pile and you can create something strong and unique to you. Data from integrated systems acts as your connecting Lego pieces, empowering your competitive capabilities and unearthing hidden opportunities. If you have questions about integrating CRM, or would like to start an integration project, contact us today.

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