The Benefits of Magento-CRM Integration

Magento, the powerful and flexible open source e-commerce solution is fast growing in popularity owing to the many advantages it offers. However, rather than run it in a stand-alone environment, integrating this suite with the in-house CRM allows users to leverage even greater benefits. Together, Magento and a CRM system such as Salesforce or SugarCRM deliver complementary benefits, offering users the infrastructure and an interactive front end at the same time.

Integrating Magento with Salesforce

Integrating Magento and the CRM is easy. Most CRMs offer integration and external access to their databases using an Application Programming Interface (API). The API allows the external system, Magento in this case, to access and make use of the services offered by the connected system. For example, it would allow Magento to access a specific lead’s data from the CRM system and add it to a campaign.

Magento offers the infrastructure to set up an online store, and Salesforce offers the front-end to address customer queries. Magento offers a dynamic and flexible catalog management system that allows users to set up and administer up to 20 online stores from a single admin panel. Salesforce CRM synchronizes all customer data across every node of the company, allowing the business to centralize all customer facing operations in a single application.

Enabling bi-directional synchronization

Brands interact with customers through multiple channels. In normal circumstances, much of the touch points belonging to several channels are not integrated, and data has to be fed in manually to the CRM. This is not only a time-consuming process but also prone to error.

Very often, in a non-integrated system, the marketers struggle to keep up with order volume, as sales increase. The amount of time it takes to pull orders down from the e-commerce store and then migrate that data into the CRM can cripple the business, causing not just delays but also chances of data inaccuracies and worse, some data falling through the cracks.

Integrating Magento with the CRM enables bi-directional synchronization. For instance, when a customer places an order online using the Magento front end, the integrated system updates the inventory in the Salesforce CRM automatically. This improves speed and accuracy, besides offering consistency to the data. However, the benefits of bi-directional synchronization go far beyond such automation.

Integration allows Magento to pull in data from different clouds—marketing, sales, customer service, social network, human resources and others—to offer real time information about product prices, delivery, shipping, support and other key parameters. Conversely, the CRM can update itself in near real time on crucial parameters such as sales volumes. Apart from making transactions seamless, this keeps everyone in the loop, improving decision making at all levels.

Enhancing user experience

Integration improves user experience considerably. This is owing to a number of possibilities that integration facilitates:

  • A fully integrated retail management platform incorporating Magento and the CRM suite equips CRM with the ability to pull documents and data from various departments, such as purchase orders, goods received notes and packing status notes and more. This offers a host of possibilities. At the very least, customers get up-to-date and transparent status and process of their orders, service requests and enquiries, such as “Has the order been shipped?” or “When will stock arrive?”
  • Integration allows marketers to engage with customers more proactively. For instance, when a customer logs in, the Magento front end can pull in the stored preferences and history from the CRM to show an appropriate “related products” bar, load customized settings, and more.
  • Integration speeds up customer services. For instance, any change that a customer makes to her shipping address is shared automatically and synchronized across the board, eliminating any chance of mix-ups.
  • Integration allows resolution of issues in real-time, very often on proactive basis. For instance, when a customer abandons a shopping cart, the integrated system pulls in data related to the customer from CRM in real time, enabling the marketer to engage with the customer on a customized basis, in near real time. If the customer has not made up her mind, the marketer could, based on past experience, throw in a special offer. Knowing a customer’s interest is important to decide when to offer a discount, a promotional offer, or something else.

Refining lead nurturing

Integration lends greater insights about customers and transactions, making possible better forecasts and also anticipating potential threats or roadblocks accurately. For instance, a customer who browses the website but departs without making a purchase is either seeking more information, or did not find what she was looking for. Either way, this insight allows marketers to cull relevant data from the CRM and engage appropriately, with insight.

When a sale is indeed made, the integrated system not just alerts the marketers immediately, but also offers crucial insights that enable them to make effective up-sell and cross-sell pitches.

Integration allows the CRM system to talk to the marketing suite and vice versa and de-duplicate leads that have already registered earlier. This keeps the database and CRM system as clean as possible and ensures that sales reps have the most up-to-date information on a lead.

Improving internal efficiency

The real-time integration process spares the company the task of sustaining the CRM suite and Magento independently. An integrated system is put to use more efficiently, overcoming potential problems that come with massive idleness of information if the systems are not put to optimal use. Managing these suites independently also entails extra costs.

Many enterprises underestimate the savings in human resources that come from integration. Integration promotes automation and efficiency in a big way. It eliminates not just time consuming and error-prone manual tasks, but also does away with several layers of process. The direct savings in salary and cost of computing resources, the indirect savings in operational expenses for such drawn-out processes, and the cost benefits of deploying such saved human resources for productive work are invariably very huge, and make a significant difference to the bottom line.

In short, the real-time integration of Magento with CRM suites such as Salesforce and SugarCRM lubricates the sales and revenue cycle of enterprises. Such an action improves efficiency, accuracy, productivity and speed, while reducing costs.

Author : Nayab Naseer Date : 08 Jan 2015