The 6 Benefits of Integration
Integration is one of the most strategic investments a business can make today. A connected business is a smart business. Integrating your business systems enables a holistic view of your customer, your data, and your organizational health. It creates a better customer experience and improves your internal workflow. When done – and done right – you’ll be more efficient, productive, and profitable.
Integrations of all types have their benefits. But we’re personal fans of CRM and ERP integration. These two systems essentially run your entire business, it’s only logical to tie them together. Integrating Salesforce with your financials gives you better visibility across both your accounting data and customer data. And that has some real-world benefits.
In fact, here are the top six benefits and why we (and others in the industry) think integration should be your next big initiative.
The Benefits of System Integration
1. Eliminate Error
I think we can all agree, manual data entry is the worst.
No one likes to do things twice. Duplicate entry is the bane of most businesses’ existence. Not only is it annoying for the person entering the data, but also for the team member that has to scrub for accuracy … in two places.
We all know that human entry has its flaws. Data validation and integrity is just not a natural skill set for us. A point that was proven in a 2009 University of Nevada Las Vegas controlled study on data entry. On average, there were 10.23 human errors made during manual entry and validation.
What does that error rate look like for your business?
It looks like incorrect invoicing, balance sheets that don’t balance, unhappy customers, angry sales people, and stressed out controllers.
By integrating Salesforce with your accounting system, you eliminate the need for manual data entry by having the two systems speak directly to each other.
2. Real Reporting
Salesforce has an awesome reporting engine. They’ve done a great job building a tool that can really give you insight into your business – if you have things designed correctly.
This is where integration becomes essential.
Think of the reporting and data strength you can gain by tying two of your business’s biggest tools together. You can equip your sales team with a whole new view of their customers, leveraging Salesforce’s top of the line reporting to dig deeper and see more.
3. End-to-End Visibility
You know what comes from better reporting and integrated data? Complete visibility.
The truth is, you’ll only really have full views of your business and customer lifecycle when your CRM and ERP work together.
The benefit? Equipping your sales team with the right information inside the tool they use most.
Because let’s face it, your sales team is not checking for past due statements in your accounting system before they call an account. But when your financials are integrated with your Salesforce org, your salespeople will see when a customer is more than 90 days past due from your CRM. And instead of spending their time selling to them, they’ll focus their energy on accounts that actually pay.
This visibility – between sales and fulfillment, billing and service – helps you identify bottlenecks, pain points, and sales opportunities, faster.
4. Streamlined Processes
Everyone is in business to turn a profit. To run at a healthy clip of growth. To create new opportunities for their team and expand in their market.
Throughput is a huge factor in your overall profitability.
The more you can do with less, the more profitable you become.
When you streamline your processes through an automated integration, your team is equipped to do more with less. When you can close an opportunity in Salesforce and automate an invoice in your accounting system, you’re maximizing your return in both systems.
Good integration starts with good process mapping.
5. Care about Customer Care
You hear about the “360° view” a lot these days. Heck, I’ve already talked about it a few times in this post. It’s a “buzz word” for a reason. You should care about the complete customer view.
The more successful you are at making your customers happy, the better you’ll do. This is why Salesforce exists. It’s the total experience. The complete “Customer Success Platform.”
The more information you have about your customer living in your CRM, the better you can A.) Communicate with them, and B.) Provide service to them.
6. Happier Teams
Your business’s technology and tools have a lot to do with your employee morale. Integrating your business critical tools so they work better together can be a huge boost for your team.
A lot of businesses overlook the correlation between good systems and happy employees. But interestingly, it was a key point in many of my Master’s classes on information systems management.
The single largest contributor to employee success is the feeling that they have the tools and support necessary to succeed in their role.
Not compensation. Not time off or flexible work schedules. The tools and support to succeed.
Most people want to be successful and do well at their jobs. And most high performers are not going to feel satisfied in a job where they need to manually move data from one system into another.
Even if the time savings from integrating systems doesn’t amount to much (though typically, it does), the morale improvement felt by your end-users is reason enough.