CRMs are fantastic and there’s no denying that they’re one of the most powerful tools available to businesses today. Finally, marketing, sales and customer support teams can manage the majority of their vital data - including emails, marketing, social media, lead generation, customer information and sales - all in one place and they can see how it’s working and how their customers are interacting with their business.
It’s an important tool. But let’s face it - it can also be a little overwhelming. With so much data, so many different sources and so much to learn, it can be hard to stay on top of it all and understand what to do, where to look and how to achieve success. On top of that, if businesses want to integrate with third party sources that don’t already have a native connection to their CRM, it’s a long process that usually requires that they go into the code, use their developers and, ultimately, take their focus away from their core business.
One foolproof way to clear up the confusion and gain some much-needed visibility on your CRM and third party data? Data integration.
Common CRM Integration Challenges
CRMs are extremely powerful, but they can also be very complicated and there are many challenges that users can run into when they try to integrate all of their data. Here are some of the most common challenges that CRM users face:
Challenge 1: CRM Systems Integration
The first step to getting your CRM up and running is to link all of your sources and get everyone in your company who can produce valuable data - support professionals, sales marketers, etc. - using it. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is often easier said than done and many businesses struggle with improper integration or confused employees.
Oftentimes, a company’s CRM is difficult to understand and the relevant employees are not fully trained in how to use it. This is a common and costly mistake; if your key employees don’t understand your CRM and contribute to it, you lose valuable data input and you are more likely to have a system that has out-of-date or incomplete data.
Challenge 2: Not Enough Data From Different Sources
Another major challenge with CRM implementation is not gathering enough data from a variety of different sources. A CRM is only as good as the data it has access to - and there is a lot of data for it to access. Think about all the channels through which the average customer interacts with your company: they could, among other things, respond to a Facebook comment, look up your company’s website, visit a landing page, find a blog article or send an email. If you don’t track all of these interactions and manage them in your CRM, you could be missing valuable business insights like:
- Where your customers are coming from and why
- What questions they have about your business and your site
- What interests them most - or what turns them off - about your business and your online efforts
- How they interact with your business and your site
Consider the following example: let’s say your company has an app that helps users pick out restaurants for dinner. You are currently looking to expand the cities that the app covers and your customers have been downloading the app, emailing you and posting on your social media because they really want to know when it will be available in their city. If your CRM isn’t set up to register this data - and, say, only looks at the number of social media posts or the number of emails sent - then you’re missing the key pain points and interests that your customers may have. Your data is incomplete and it’s leading you to make incorrect assumptions and business decisions.
This kind of CRM mismanagement is extremely common and it can be detrimental to your business. This is where a data integration platform like Xplenty can be a real game changer.
Data Integration to the Rescue
So, we’ve established that your company receives data from many sources and that it’s sometimes hard to even keep track of it all and make sure that your CRM’s information is relevant, accurate and up-to-date. That said, this has to be done. The majority of this data is useful and you need the full picture to really gain a deeper, actionable understanding of how your business is doing, how your customers are interacting with you and which of your efforts are working.
Xplenty’s user-friendly data integration platform helps ensure that all of your data from all of your sources is fully integrated and available for analysis in one centralized data warehouse or any other data repository.
Read more about why cleaning your CRM data is important on the Xplenty blog.
So how does it work, exactly? Let’s go back to our previous example of the restaurant app. In this case, you would have already used the Xplenty platform to integrate the majority of your customer information into your CRM, so you know when site visitors are converting and reaching out. With Xplenty, you can also take it to the next level and gain a clearer understanding of your customer’s real time pain points and interactions by integrating the rest of your relevant customer data, including marketing, sales and customer support data from all of your sources.
With traditional data integration tools, this would require extensive work and coding and would take time, money and developers. With Xplenty, you can do it on your own and lay out exactly what data you want to integrate, where you want to move it to and how you want it to look in one user-friendly, centralized data platform.
In just a few minutes, then, Xplenty can help you extract data from all of your relevant sources, transform it so that you have the most comprehensive view possible and, finally, load that data into a centralized, easily accessible data warehouse.
With Xplenty data integration, you can finally take the confusion out of your data, fully integrating, organizing and analyzing all of your data sources so that you can effectively understand your information and make informed business decisions.