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22 October 2012

How can you integrate a CRM with your website?

CRM (customer relationship management) systems are now central to the operation of businesses of all sizes and in all industries and now with cloud based solutions including Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce they have become easily affordable for small businesses, providing sophisticated tools that were once out of reach.

 

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A core attraction of a CRM is the ability to centralise information, helping you run your business effectively and making the most of the data available to you.  This includes, amongst a wide range of features:

 

> Getting a full picture of a customer's interactions with your company, from initial enquiry to sales, communications, feedback and referrals;

> Managing and targeting marketing activities and marketing campaigns, tracking their conversion rates and customer response ;

> Measuring the effectiveness of each stage of your sales process from leads to opportunities, quotes and orders;

> Tracking customer satisfaction.


Many of the interactions your customers have with your company are through your website and other online assets and to make the most of these you need to ensure they arrive straight into your CRM with no delay and no double handling.

 

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Below are some examples of CRM integrations that could apply to your business:

 

Contact form / Enquiry form

 

If a potential customer on your website completes your enquiry form, this should go straight into the CRM with a new 'follow up activity' (to-do) created for the relevant person.  If it is a pre-sale question, then direct the request to the sales team, if it is about a potential partnership, forward it to the Business Development Manager or Director.

 

Quote request

 

A request for a quote is translated into a lead in the CRM and again a 'follow up activity' is created for the sales team. This now runs through the sales path and progresses through to an opportunity, in which case a new contact is automatically created and all future communication is trackable. This will allow you to track how many quote requests are coming through the website as opposed to your other marketing activities.

 

For new enquiries, quote requests or in fact any activity, you can set an expectation for response time, then track response times and flag incomplete activities or escalate to a team leader or management as required.

 

Customer feedback

 

We all want to continuously improve our customer service and customer feedback is central to understanding where those improvements can be made. It's important to make this an easy process; easy for your customer to provide the feedback and easy for your business to understand and act upon it.

 

A customer feedback form on your website with clearly defined metrics for the customer to score your service/products on and the opportunity for comment is easy for a customer to complete. In fact, they probably value the chance to provide their opinion and appreciate that your business is always striving to improve.

 

Receiving their feedback straight into your CRM, linked against this customer, provides you valuable information and a range of opportunities, for example:

 

> You can track overall customer satisfaction over time and identify common themes and areas for improvement;

> If the feedback has some areas that are concerning, this can be flagged to management or trigger a customer support call.

 

Support ticket system

 

Rather than have a 3rd party system for managing customer support tickets, whether initiated through your website, Twitter, Facebook or other means,  this information can be managed in a CRM and it forms part of your '360 degree view' of your customers.

 

Being able to directly access this as part of your customer's profile, gives your customer service staff and sales staff the full picture when assisting clients or deciding who to target with a new marketing campaign.

 

There are proprietary or integrated ticketing systems for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, SAP, Oracle and all the major CRMs, that exist within the CRM itself. This means that there is no need to switch between multiple interfaces, or alternatively, some established companies focused on support ticketing (such as Zendesk) have created connectors to ensure customer information and ticket information flows both ways.

 CRM_Graphic3-(1).png

 

eCommerce integration

 

This is a big topic and an example of the deep integration that is possible between your website and CRM.  There is also a lot of possibilities for integrating eCommerce with a CRM and it can take many forms which would depend on your business model.

 

If you sell physical products or time-based services, the definition of these items in their simplest form can be managed in a CRM, combined into a quote or order and associated with a customer. As well as using the CRM to manage delivery of the services or fulfillment of a product order, the history of quotes and orders against clients is clearly valuable information that can be utilised for multiple purposes, from support to future sales and referrals.

 

A few of the possibilities for eCommerce integration with a CRM include:

 

> Managing products, categories, brands and shipping definitions (to name just a few items) centrally in the CRM with information flowing to the eCommerce website;

> Receiving quote requests and orders from the website into the CRM for fulfillment and to build that 'deep' view of the customer;

> Linking customer logins on the website with customers in the CRM and tracking customer activity including which products they're interested in or which marketing campaign they connected with;

> Using the information you know about the customer in the CRM to improve their experience (such as providing known address details)  and to tailor their experience (such as showing accessories to a product you know they already own);

> Linking marketing campaigns created in the CRM with online product sales.

 

The list could go on as there are many possibilities that could suit your business.

 

Anything is possible...

 

There are many other CRM integration options, including many that connect your website with out-of-the-box existing data items or 3rd party CRM components, but these only scratch the surface of what is possible as one of the most important features of a CRM (and in fact a key thing you should look for if you are in the market for a CRM) is the ability to customise it.

 

Having this ability customise your CRM gives you unlimited possibilities in how you can integrate your website and other online assets.

 

Need more information?

 

If you'd like to find about more about CRM installations, customisations or integrating your CRM with your website contact us. We can use our experience to help you centralise your data and make the most of your CRM and your website.


Chris
AUTHOR

Chris

Founder // MD and Director of Technical Solutions
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