The CRM-system is the centre of the sales department in many companies and a switch to a new system is often associated with large costs. When we talk to companies about HubSpot, we are often asked whether you can, or should, integrate your existing CRM with HubSpot's marketing automation platform. Or, whether you might be forced to switch to using HubSpot's CRM-system? The answer is, as often in these cases, when it comes to the interplay between different IT systems - “it depends” on many things.
There are some rules that can be followed, which have been tested in conjunction with HubSpot. If for example, your CRM is relatively new, it is often possible to integrate. However, it is a good idea to keep in mind what compromises you are willing to make when choosing to integrate, rather than using the full package from HubSpot. It is not always the case that an integration will pay off.
Why integrate your CRM with HubSpot?
Sales and marketing are intertwined, at least if you want to be successful with inbound. In fact, it is quite misleading to call inbound “marketing”, it should instead be called inbound marketing or sales. The inbound marketing method involves helping the most qualified leads through the buying journey and sorting out the less qualified leads, so that sales get the best and most qualified leads to work with.
With inbound marketing, the marketing department's task is to ensure that content is produced to attract, inform and prepare leads for the sales phase. When a lead is taken over by sales, the seller receives a wealth of information about the customer's movements throughout their buyer's journey. There is information about their name, company, persona, interests, what content they have read - and much more.
This information can be used by the sales department to their advantage. The data that sales previously had to manually enter into the CRM-system comes delivered without prior, hour-long - and often unsuccessful - attempts to contact loads of potential customers. If you integrate your CRM with HubSpot, you can pull them directly from the marketing efforts into the sales work. The data collection shifts to a greater extent in marketing.
How resource-intensive is a CRM integration with HubSpot?
Let's put it this way: there is no concrete answer to which system you should use, which you can also integrate with HubSpot. The most important thing is to examine whether your existing CRM-system in practice provides the opportunity to exchange data that helps both marketing and sales. Many older systems may give you smaller problems, because the way they are designed - for example systems built around ERP or some of the first existing cloud-based solutions.
When we say that systems cannot exchange data, we know that we will get IT-specialists on our back, because basically you can get all systems to exchange data. Here it's a matter of economics - when your system is not designed for it, there will always be a long way to get it to do so. In some cases, it might even be too complicated to make an extension and the extra gain will be too expensive to purchase.
If you have a modern CRM-system designed to exchange data, then integrating it with HubSpot will be relatively tangible. Basically, there are two ways to do this: via a pre-programmed integration or via the HubSpot API. Depending on which system you have, there are different degrees of how a specific an integration is.
How do you replace a detached spreadsheet and the salesperson's individual systems with a CRM, which also provides the right overview of the pipeline and sales process? Get the answer in the beginner's guide to CRM here!
Pre-programmed integration or API?
If there is no pre-programmed integration to your CRM-system, you can use the HubSpot API, for which you can develop your own integration. It requires a lot of technical skills to make your own integration with the API and you need to be able to code or get a developer to code it for you.
The pre-programmed integrations do not require coding and are therefore more straightforward technically. HubSpot, for example, has a partnership with Salesforce, so a standard integration is relatively simple and requires only a few clicks. Certain software providers, such as Bedrock Data, have also made integrations to a number of CRM-systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, Pipedrive, Netsuite and SoHo CRM. Integrations through Bedrock Data do not require coding either, and they are all relatively easy to use.
Benefits of integrating
The easiest system-wise is (of course) to switch to using HubSpot's CRM-system. That way you can avoid having to integrate and at the same time get the full benefit of what HubSpot calls Growth Stack; marketing software, sales software, service software and CRM in one platform.
However, there can be many good reasons to keep your existing CRM; many people prefer to use a system they are familiar with and it may be that the system is already set up to work with other of your internal systems. If you choose to maintain your existing solution, you will get the following additional benefits by integrating:
Better data: Data found in the system is refined with new and updated data from HubSpot Marketing Software
Streamlining sales: Sales spend less time creating leads and entering data, as much of it is done automatically
Better utilisation of your CRM: Receive even more functionality into your CRM-system when it is updated with new data about your leads automatically
Better collaboration: Sales and marketing can work together easier, because sales get data directly from marketing
Disadvantages of integrating
However, there may also be disadvantages associated with an integration. The systems might not be designed to talk to each other, and as with all other types of IT integrations, there can be a lot of architecture that is difficult to get up and running. Among the disadvantages are:
Duplicate data: Copies of your data lie in several different systems rather than being gathered in one place. It can quickly become a messy affair.
Maintaining the integration: If there are updates in HubSpot or your CRM-system, it is possible that your integration will also need to be updated to work with the new changes.
New data structure: When you change the structure of your data flows, it requires control over how your data is processed - so you always know which data is where. This can be challenging, especially if you have many systems integrated.
Personal data is created in one place, maintained in another: Imagine that a lead is created in HubSpot and you delete it in your CRM. Is the lead now also deleted in HubSpot? And what about your other systems?
The IT department can be opposed to a new integration: When systems have to talk to each other, there are many things that need to be taken into account. In fact, it can ultimately be a fairly large integration project if you have a complicated setup. The more integrations, the harder it will be to close any potential gaps in your security.
No such thing as one size fits all
We do not necessarily advocate that you have to go through the hustle and bustle of HubSpot's CRM, because it basically depends on what your needs in the company are and what setup you already have. If you do not use a CRM beforehand, it is clearly easiest to start using HubSpot's CRM and avoid integration.
If you already have a CRM-system in place, it may well be that it is the best solution for you to keep it, and integrate with HubSpot. To get to the goal of inbound marketing, it just requires that you come up with a decision and make a choice of one CRM. Remember: there is no one size fits all.
Want to know more about CRM and the huge benefits an integration can your provide your business? Feel free to contact us, we are happy to help.