One of the questions I've seen raised across the Internet when someone is looking to choose a CRM is, "How will it integrate with my other systems?" This is especially common when considering a system such as AddressTwo, whose claim to fame is simplicity and ease of use through a cloud based, minimal frills interface. By it's very nature, systems such as this are not designed to integrate with every other piece of software on the market - it would simply bog down the system with cumbersome rules and "features" that really just get in the way of simple yet effective contact management.
This question can take many forms:
- How do I sync my contacts with Outlook?
- Can I keep my tasks and project schedules coordinated with my Google Calendar?
- We already have some systems in place for [insert A2 feature here]. How can I "connect" my existing system with AddressTwo?
- I'm building an interactive website for my customers / vendors and want to integrate it deeply with my CRM solution for tracking history, tasks, and such. How can I accomplish that with a system as simple as AddressTwo?
One of the things I love about AddressTwo is the great set of documentation write-ups and videos that they provide. I'm the kind of guy who likes checklists and step-by-step walk-throughs, but I also like to be shown how something works. Take for instance the problem of integrating your Google, Outlook, or other electronic calendaring system with A2. There's a great explanation of all you can do with Google Apps right here. There's also some great walk-through videos that will show you how to sync your Outlook contacts, along with many other common tasks people want to accomplish. It may not be as simple as "flipping a switch" but let's be honest, sometimes all that magic that "just works" just doesn't fit the mold of exactly how we tend to operate day after day. If we're willing to take a minute to learn, put together a process, and develop a habit, many things we didn't think were possible are actually quite simple.
Beyond some of the simple tricks of synchronizing data between other applications, there are also many other things you can do with AddressTwo. Our company, C2IT Consulting, has come on board as an A2 Partner Provider for just those scenarios. When we partner with a small business that has some great internal IT systems already in place but wants to integrate it into a new CRM system, we can confidently say that we can make it happen using AddressTwo. Right now, for example, we're helping a small manufacturing company who is building an online store connect directly with their contact and project records in AddressTwo. When a customer logs on to the public online store, we establish a link to their AddressTwo account. When they create an order, we can log a history item on their account, along with a followup task to check back with them. We could even automatically add them to an e-mail campaign that would automatically follow up with them a week later to invite them to share their experience with their friends.
The sky is the limit when it comes to integrating and connecting tools such as AddressTwo with other systems you may already be using. In future posts, we'll share in a little more detail about how some of these features work, and how you can put them to work in your business.
C2IT helps small business DO business in a big business world by leveraging technology in a way that focuses on discovering and meeting true business needs and goals, incorporating existing systems, and focusing on an affordable, flexible solution that is just the beginning of a long term partnership with our clients.