Whether you’re a CEO, marketing director, manager or anywhere in between, I’m sure you’ve had countless meetings on how to best manage your customers, contacts, leads and opportunities.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, tied into a Marketing Automation platform, is key.
What exactly is a CRM? What types of CRMs are there? How can you integrate your CRM with your Drupal website?
What is CRM?
Every day, your team is interacting with customers and prospects. A CRM's primary purpose is to organize, track, and manage all of your customer information, activities, and conversations. This helps your sales, marketing, and customer service teams better understand your customers. It also ensures you are delivering the right message at the right time.
In short, CRM is an application that is designed to help you and your business to organize all the data that you have on your customers.
What Types of CRMs are there?
CRM applications come in two basic varieties: software and service. Decision makers have a wide range to choose from, depending on the needs of your organization. CRM software installs on your computer or server, and the data resides there as well. With CRM software, you usually only have to pay for it once and then you have control over both the program and the data inside it. CRM services are hosted online. You will typically pay an ongoing fee to access these services, but you can access them from any computer.
What is CRM integration?
Simply put, CRM integration is building your website and CRM to function together seamlessly. Instead of using your CRM to just be a system that retains customer information based on manual entries, integrating your website/marketing automation software brings in valuable customer information directly into your CRM.
For example, let’s say a prospect downloads your recent whitepaper from your website. This “prospect” is graded with a solid “B” (based on the grading structure you’ve put in place in your marketing automation software). If your marketing automation software is integrated with your CRM, a new record will be created and assigned to a sales person for follow-up.
In addition, your sales person will be able to pinpoint when that lead last visited your site, what they looked at, and what other information they requested.
Integrating A CRM into Your Drupal Website
Like any software you are integrating with your website, IT staffs should thoroughly think through coding issues before getting started. Participating in a live Demo and asking questions about other successful Drupal implementations is key. I would also suggest calling references provided by the CRM you're choosing. It's a great way find out what issues they had that you might not have thought through.
If you are going with a less widely accepted CRM, a custom API might need to be written. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but can be time consuming.
Regardless of the CRM you use, the majority of CRMs hold the same types of information and have the same types of goals:
- Improve customer communication and retention
- Increase company profitability
- Enhance customer/prospect tracking
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