In today’s digital ecosystem, to deliver consistent experiences, businesses need to implement technology and data together. However, they face challenges in data gathering, deriving actionable insights, and employing those to deliver better customer experiences. The only solution is to build a unified data system that collects data across all organizational departments data to streamline operations across departments. If you’re leveraging Salesforce CRM along with other tools like ERPs, PIMs, etc., ensuring proper integration between all internal and external systems is imperative. A seamless Salesforce CRM integration is how you gain a unified view of your customers and operations.
In this blog, we will understand the Salesforce integration challenges, benefits of Salesforce integration, types of Salesforce integration, Salesforce integration strategies and patterns, and how seamless integration helps make data-driven decisions faster.
What is Salesforce CRM integration and why is it important?
Salesforce CRM integration unifies all your internal and external tools and streamlines data flow between multiple applications. Integrating all tools with Salesforce CRM empowers decision-makers with a holistic view of marketing, sales, commerce, and customer service operations.
As a modern business, it is highly unlikely to employ only one tool to suffice all your evolving business requirements. MuleSoft suggests that organizations employ over 900 apps across the cloud, on-premise, and legacy systems. All these applications must be connected with your Salesforce CRM to facilitate data flow, prevent data redundancy, and provide a unified view of operations across all internal and external tools.
Importance of Salesforce CRM integration:
- With proper data management and integration, businesses gain a unified view of their customers which empowers your organization to make data-driven decisions faster and serve customers in a personalized manner.
- Salesforce CRM integration opens up new opportunities for businesses to assemble and study disparate data together to improve decision-making, minimize risks, and unearth valuable insights.
- Implementing the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence via Salesforce Einstein, it becomes easy to analyze and process data, to optimize strategies based on statistical finds and not estimates.
Why seamless integration between systems is the need of the hour?
Enterprises employ hundreds of applications that only increase with time. Every department uses multiple software and systems, all of which host data specific to their operations. However, it might be possible that data that exists in one department might be useful for another department. In such scenarios, siloed environments hinder deriving real insights from data sources that further disrupts customer experiences. Therefore, it becomes imperative that businesses integrate apps and data across departments and environments to drive innovation at scale, gain competitive advantage, and achieve digital transformation.
#1. Increased demand of customers pressuring businesses to deliver digital faster
Employees and customers want seamless digital experiences and expect organizations to deliver these experiences faster. With the rapid shift to remote working and the need for increased productivity and efficiency, migrating apps to the cloud, and automating business processes, are now key focuses of organizations.
#2. Need for connected customer experience
With high customer expectations, intense competition, and dynamic customer interactions across departments and channels, enterprises are now more focused on improving their overall customer experiences. But organizations find it challenging to integrate end-user experiences across all channels. Integrated systems help improve customer engagement, business transformation, and innovation to deliver connected experiences.
#3. Data silos set back digital transformation
With lack of integration between systems or applications, enterprises usually build data silos unknowingly that further impacts an organization’s efficiency and results in lack of proper collaboration between departments. The need for extensive data insights and analytics is why businesses must focus on integrating systems.
Types of Salesforce integrations
Before implementing Salesforce integration, you must decide on the architecture:
#1. App-based integration: Application integration enables individual apps, each designed for specific purposes, to integrate with one another. The integration can be done either with low-code or no-code solutions. Salesforce CRM app-based integration can be implemented with the help of MuleSoft Composer and is ideal for SMEs and solopreneurs.
#2. Code-based integration involves writing code manually and hosting the code for Salesforce API integration. It is a complicated method and allows intricate and difficult integrations for your business.
#3. Salesforce data integration: Salesforce data integration utilizes SOAP and REST APIs which handle data synchronization requirements. It does not require any coding in Salesforce and is the easiest way to integrate the platform with another application. The app can send customer data into the Salesforce database for recordkeeping or export Salesforce data into a BI tool.
#4. Business process integration: Salesforce allows enterprises to integrate systems or applications not just internally but with external systems as well and connect with customers, partners and suppliers by automating business processes. For example, connecting email marketing tools like Marketo to the Salesforce database or automatically aggregating data for reporting purposes.
#5. User interface integration: Integrating UI with Salesforce will allow users direct entry into multiple applications from a single platform. This prevents the need for repetitive sign-ins by integrating the UI of both platforms. This integration will enable you to control email marketing campaigns from a single dashboard rather than switching tabs.
The different Salesforce integration patterns
Every integration is unique, but standard requirements and issues should be addressed. Most business owners choose from two main options for integration patterns:
#1. Direct integration: Direct integration is either a direct API or database integration between Salesforce and other platforms. It is a simplified approach that may seem limited in flexibility but will satisfy your business needs. Most often, it’s a single integration, like sending data entered into a form to a Salesforce database.
#2. Server-based integration: Server-based integrations require manual coding and can be more beneficial for complicated integrations like merging business processes and UI of different apps. It is a flexible solution that reduces the effects of system updates on the integration and gives you more control over data flows. Server-based integration involves solutions delivered according to a hub-and-spoke and an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) model and hosted in the cloud and on-premises systems. Server-based integration fits small businesses as well as large enterprises as well. Salesforce follows the following patterns for server-based integrations: