CRM is a customer relationship management system that allows businesses to set up their processes and automate sales. Integration and setup of a CRM system for the work with a website is a necessary step in the development and upscaling of any e-commerce business.
Why integrate a CRM system?
CRM allows you to effectively organize the work of the sales department and enhance the quality of customer service. The advantages of such integration are as follows:
- Analysis of the sales department effectiveness. It helps one measure the productivity of individual specialists, coordinate and distribute the workload among employees and analyze the stages of sales funnel;
- Storage and systematization of client data. CRM records the entire history of a client’s interaction with the sales department. It stores the history of purchases, contact data, preferences and all the messages and conversations with operators. This enables you to increase your customers’ loyalty by sending them personalized recommendations and suggestions;
- Automation of business processes. CRM reduces the burden on the staff and allows you to optimize work processes of the enterprise. With CRM and ERP integrated, it is possible to facilitate document management, conduct transactions according to the stages of the funnel, and send emails automatically using prepared scenarios;
- Analysis of the advertising channels effectiveness. An end-to-end analytics provides you with the opportunity to track the entire customer path – from viewing an ad to paying for a product on the website.
The best solution for automating internal business processes as much as possible is to integrate CRM, ERP and the website. To learn more about integration of ERP and CRM, check out this guide.
Ways to integrate the CRM system and the website
You can connect the CRM service with the website manually using the service’s built-in tools, or by means of third-party applications, or by hiring programmers. Let’s analyze the specifics, advantages and drawbacks of these methods of integration.
Free (built-in) integration methods
You can conduct integration with the website without any third-party instruments – the product’s built-in tools are used for this purpose. The optimal free methods of synchronization include installation via a prepared script and connection via email.
Creating a contact form or a widget
The most popular solution is to add a ready-made widget or a contact form. To do this, you need to create a new form in the synchronization settings of the CRM: set a name, enter the website URL address and choose the characteristics and functions of the form from the suggested options.
When the new form is saved, a program code will appear in the CRM. You should copy it to the clipboard and paste it into the source code on the website pages. Make sure to add the code between <head> and </head> lines, otherwise the data won’t be sent to CRM.
The advantages of this method are the ease of setup and the option of creating separate forms on the website. The drawbacks are the minimum amount of visual changes and the lack of configuration options for the linked custom fields.
Creating a website on the basis of CRM
Developers of modern CRM and ERP systems enrich them with the built-in CMS modules. Using such services as Odoo Website Builder or Dynamics 365 Commerce, you can create both corporate websites and online stores.
The strength of this solution is a complete integration of your online service with your CRM and ERP (since it’s the same platform). The weakness lies in the fewer number of website customization options. For instance, you can redesign a WordPress-based service in any way, which is impossible in case of built-in solutions.
Integration via paid solutions
Similarly, you can integrate the CRM system with the website with the help of third-party software. To accomplish the synchronization, buy a ready-made app from the CRM’s internal store or from the integrator’s website. The cost of the app depends directly on its functionality and the popularity of the utilized system. For example, users of Acumatica often choose solutions developed by BigCommerce or a module for Magento integration designed by FiduciaSoft.
When speaking about the advantages of this method, the extensive synchronization and data-to-CRM uploading setting options should be highlighted. One of the main challenges is the need to install a third-party app, since finding a suitable solution for unpopular CMSs or self-written websites is often problematic.
Integration with the use of API
API is a programming interface that enables the server to receive queries and send responses, which allows you to set up synchronization between the third-party IT products. Integration with CRM systems via API is a way to implement nontrivial tasks and set up sending any data from the website, including the hidden one.
For example, API can help you set up the distribution of customer requests into the CRM groups based on the format of contact data, as well as transfer values from UTM parameters. This allows you to fully control the sales funnel, run the end-to-end analytics and analyze traffic sources.
To integrate the website with the CRM system, a team of qualified specialists should be involved. Additionally, you need to install your website on a hosting service that supports PHP processing, so that this method works smoothly.
To summarize, let’s look into the most preferable methods of website and CRM integration based on the tasks assigned. We can state that:
- Creating a form or a widget is the easiest and the cheapest integration option that allows you to collect customer data. This solution will suit informational websites, blogs, online portfolios, business card websites, etc;
- Third-party apps can be used to handle the most complex tasks associated with launching landing pages, small online stores and the like, but they are not suitable for more complex cases;
- Using API implies flexibility of setup and ability to complete even the most complicated tasks. In case of challenging and nontrivial integrations, such as connecting an online store or a corporate website to a CRM system, it is recommended to contact the specialists.