What is CRM integration?
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.
Some of the more well-known CRMs are Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, and NetSuite, as well as custom-made CRMs.
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.
Many of the larger CRMs have modules already created to make installing a bit easier (.i.e Salesforce, SugarCRM, and a suite of modules for the Drupal-based CRMs like RedHen and Civicrm).
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
Marketing Automation and Drupal
A strong lead management process requires B2B marketing professionals to respond to each prospect within the buying process. However, as your business grows, understanding and responding relevantly to a buyer’s interest is almost impossible to do manually. To ensure that your marketing efforts are targeting customers and prospects with the right messages at the right time, a marketing automation software is key.
What Is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation software brings together content assets such as landing pages, emails, web events, etc. and delivers them to prospects at a time when it is most relevant to them in their buying cycle.
Knowing the “right time” is key to effectively engaging prospects with your brand. Conducting an analysis of your target audience and capturing demographic information, along with their interactions with your brand through your website and social platforms, allows you to qualify a lead and deliver to your sales team. Most marketing automation platforms integrate seamlessly with popular CRMs, so your sales staff can most likely continue to use their existing tools.
Marketing automation and Drupal?
I’m skipping ahead in the process and assuming you’ve already determined that you need a marketing automation software. The question now is “how effectively will this software integrate into a Drupal website?”
Drupal is definitely one of the better marketing platforms, and with a simple install of custom modules, the most popular marketing automation platforms can quickly be integrated with your Drupal Site.
Below are just a few examples of custom Drupal modules that have been created for marketing automation platforms:
- Marketo Munchkin Module – (created by Mediacurrent‘s Damien McKenna) The Marketo Munchkin is a very simple module to output the Marketo Munchkin tracking code obtained from http://www.marketo.com/.
- Eloqua Module – This module allows you to build webforms that directly parallel forms in eloqua, and can thereby be posted into eloqua.
- Pardot Module – This module adds Pardot web analytics directly onto your Drupal site. It supports general visitor tracking, path-based individual campaign tracking, and path-based lead scoring.
- Built In Module to Replace 3rd Parties – This module serves as a locally hosted replacement for 3rd party services like Pardot, Marketo or Eloqua, allowing you to track individual user paths through your site and assign rules for marketing automation in the form of drip campaigns triggered from user interaction.
Personally, I recommend every Marketing and Sales Director investigate marketing automation software. To truly grasp the value provided by marketing automation, a level of understanding is needed, which only develops from in-depth personal experience with the technology, or a thorough investigation of its core features and functions. In either case, plan to spend a significant amount of time learning the ins and outs of the solution features. However, I strongly believe that companies that implement a marketing automation system to support their marketing and sales efforts are better equipped to manage lead flow and process leads more efficiently.ketin
Interview with Josh Clark: Mobile Design and Strategy
Today consumers regularly, if not exclusively, access online content on their mobile device. What does that mean for businesses? Where does mobile fit into your digital interface?
Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Josh Clark, Keynote Speaker for the Atlanta Drupal Business Summit and Drupalcamp Atlanta. Josh specializes in mobile design, strategy, and user experience.
In this interview, Josh previews his talks for both events and answers questions about mobile strategy and design such as:
- What are the biggest hurdles companies face when “going mobile”?
- What new mobile standards and technologies will Drupal need to embrace to stay relevant?
- What are the next phases of responsive design?
Drupalcamp Atlanta and Drupal Business Summit.
The 2012 Drupalcamp Atlanta and Drupal Business Summit are coming this October!