Why Is CRM Integration Important for B2B eCommerce?

It's not just for saying "hi"...

CRM integrations fuel many B2B platform processes that include segmenting customers more precisely, estimating the lifetime value of customers, empowering customer-facing user features for obtaining authorized account details and automating marketing processes and building customer loyalty based on the latest trends. Providing unique, user-friendly website experiences has become the defining quality of successful B2B eCommerce platforms in today’s market, and CRM integration gives companies the tools they need to deliver rich, multichannel experiences. Decision-makers face a mandate to integrate -- the only real question is whether to do it now and begin receiving the enormous benefits or integration or delay the process and allow competitors to secure customers and lock-in their loyalties. About 58 percent of B2B companies are just beginning to integrate their systems, and only 8 percent of these eCommerce platforms are providing strong integrated experiences according to company self-assessments.[1] That means the time is ripe for integrating any company's CRM software before customers and prospects are courted and influenced by faster acting companies.

Providing superior service fuels attracting and retaining customers

Service options on world-class B2B eCommerce platforms are driving sales, performance and customer satisfaction like no other design features, catalog choices or pricing tactics. CRM features and benefits -- generated from both customer-facing and operations-streamlining applications -- produce strong cost-value returns that average $8.71 for each dollar invested in development.[2] About 91 percent of companies with 11 or more staff members use CRM systems, and service-oriented B2B eCommerce platforms benefit from CRM systems at proportionately higher rates than do their B2C counterparts.[3] Integrated CRM systems are the fuel that drives user satisfaction, customer loyalty and sales in the B2B market, but between 25 percent and 60 percent of CRM implementations fail according to the previously sourced reference material. That's probably because the CRM software wasn't properly integrated with other business systems.

Integration intelligence generates consistent leads and increased sales results

Generating leads -- especially high-quality leads -- was often similar to the classic arts of alchemy that were employed by savants and some con artists in the centuries before the scientific method became the preferred method of understanding the world. Unlike intuitive inspirations, great sales personalities and even the most skilled and dedicated rainmakers on the company’s sales staff, an integrated CRM system plugs away constantly generating leads, valuable customer insights and actionable business intelligence in a structured way by using the real-world data that describe how customers and prospects behave. The compiled data includes what site users read, where they navigate, when they buy and when they quit the site. Salespeople will never need to disembowel another chicken to read its entrails, hire a psychic or buy leads from unproven consultants to get high-quality leads when their eCommerce platforms can provide a steady stream of leads and customer information that's compiled from the CRM system and other business applications.

Generating greater customer intelligence

CRM integrations can pull valuable business intelligence from any company's customer base regardless of whether its website visitors buy anything. Analysts can discover where users spend more time and where they become frustrated and abandon the website. The intelligence-gathering begins as soon as a customer or prospect arrives at the website. An integrated CRM system can determine how the customer arrived, his or her geographic location and whether the customer has visited the site before.

This information is quickly supplemented by past transactional data, website behavior, sales histories, customer service interactions, correspondence, customer satisfaction surveys and outside business intelligence when CRM systems integrate with third-party applications. Customer intelligence-gathering continues with each transaction that the user makes and includes information about areas of the site and features that people avoid. Mining this valuable data is more effective than just asking customers what they're looking for or where they heard about the company. CRM systems be configured to capture frontline data such as moods, enthusiasm, other emotional states and probable root causes for each action a user performs on the website. Speech analytics can monitor phone conversations between staff and customers to mine keywords and phrases, determine regional speaking habits, identify buying trends and measure customer satisfaction levels. Click-tracking can also be used to gauge design appeal, product popularity, content effectiveness and other valuable information.

Creating detailed business leads

Outside B2B consultants offer all kinds of promises about supplying companies with high-conversion leads, detailed names of decision-makers, foolproof BI and other guarantees of quality. Like any initiative, these leads tend to work with varying degrees of success but with one thing in common: The leads cost money and never provide as complete a picture as businesses can gain from cultivating their own sales leads. CRM integrations work for any B2B organization 24/7 to build a complete picture of website users and everything they do and even include information about what visitors did before their visits and where they go after leaving the site. This kind of intelligence offers salespeople verified lead data with more details than outside sales lists, and the best benefit is that these leads don't cost a cent unless accountants apportion a minuscule percentage of the initial integration and CRM software costs to each lead, sale and other benefit of the CRM system.

Delivering social media and third-party information

Custom dashboards can make real-time use of social media connections and data, front-facing applications, third-party resources and back-office software for automatic management of information by customers, staff, managers, administrators, business associates and other stakeholders. These dashboards can provide astoundingly detailed predictive analytics, streamline managing data, facilitate compiling custom reports, set automatic alerts and optimize marketing processes. Company analysts can link key performance indicators and marketing strategies and tactics to fine-tune, monitor and change business initiatives or reroute the customer journeys of key user profiles based on new trends, real-time data, customer value, ordering history or changes in company policies.

How CRM integration can automate and optimize marketing

Drawing transactional and analytical data from multiple sources, CRM integrations can automate and optimize many marketing tasks such as personalizing messages for key demographic groups and sending alerts and reminders based on dates, seasons, holidays, customer deadlines and recent buying or browsing habits. Integrating offsite information, account history, buyer profiles, custom pricing, sales quotes, incentive offers and other information, the CRM system can trigger automatic emails, discount offers and mobile marketing messages or send further information about products of interest and important advertising-related communications.

Building customer loyalty in the age of 3-second attention spans

Building customer loyalty isn't a process that belongs strictly in the past before digital communications were common, but the techniques for building online constituencies have certainly evolved. Companies can't just rely on providing attentive customer service, troubleshooting problems, managing complaints and building strong customer relationships with personal contacts. Customer service needs to be proactive, and relationships must be established and nurtured within seconds because customers have extremely limited attention spans when browsing online. Marketing automation and optimization through CRM integrations are the keys to delivering greater customer loyalty by giving customers the kind of service that they'll never complain about -- self-service. CRM integrations offer the following self-service options that save money on operations and convince customers that the company's service is truly outstanding:

  • Automatically adapting to different areas of the website instead of forcing customers to adapt or become confused
  • Allowing customers to discover and control support features like product demos, live chat, sliding banners and image carousels instead of bombarding site visitors with materials they don't won't, use or need
  • Answering buyer questions proactively instead of waiting for customers to figure out what they need to do or find
  • Eliminating intrusive forms, mandatory click requirements, pop-up offers and automated features that wrest browsing control away from users
  • Personalizing content, user displays and offers of support services based on analytics information
  • Contacting customers with incentive offers, discount prices for larger orders, live support services, marketing messages and third-party resources at the right time in the sales process
  • Automating email campaigns, marketing efforts and special promotions
  • Providing customers with different options for navigating through product catalogs such as stores-within-stores, brand-specific catalogs, searches by product, part number and function, saved searches from past visits and other navigation tips and tricks such as finding acceptable alternative products for out-of-stock or discontinued items

Getting ahead of the curve with proactive CRM integration

Your CRM system occupies a lofty perch where it's highly visible to customers, browsers and prospective buyers. CRM integrations can help your company develop sound business operations such as segmenting customers, building loyalty, sharing data in real-time, securing favorable decisions from multiple decision-makers and crafting targeted inbound marketing initiatives with automation, lead-qualifying and distribution, email campaigns and timely communications. Full integration of your CRM system isn't something that you can just check off on a list of options because the process requires customizations based on your business goals, industry, customers, stakeholders, software applications and eCommerce platform's capabilities. Finding the right development partner, however, can simplify the process, speed development, eliminate trouble spots and ensure that your systems are fully integrated and that the staff knows how to use the platform’s astonishing new business capabilities.