You’ve chosen your CRM, the team has bought in entirely, and every user is committed to making it work.
Now if you could only count on all the systems you depend on to play nice as well.
CRM stands for customer relationship management, and in publishing or any other industry, it’s capable of streamlining any number of activities and interactions that take place between your company and your potential and current customers. But any CRM worth its capital letters should be able to M not only the R between you and the C, but also the relationship between the software itself and any other system or tool on which your company already depends.
This, in essence, is what integration is all about. Ideally, a CRM should complete and streamline tasks in the natural environment you’re already comfortable working in, then have the fruits of that labor appear in the shared system for all team members to access.
When it comes to your long-term plans and day-to-day sanity, you can’t leave that connectivity (or lack thereof) to chance.
Yes, It’s a Matter of CRM Survival
Imagine enrolling in a graduate school, then discovering none of your undergrad work is recognized and you have to start from scratch, entirely on their terms. Without a clear integration path for all the invested work that users have already done and will continue to do each and every day, frustration can drive users to question the system if not abandon it entirely.
When HubSpot asked CRM users about their main challenges, the only challenge that saw more responses than “lack of integration with order tools” (17%) was the actual, unavoidable manual data entry (23%). Fortunately, doing a little research before investing time and money into a CRM database can prove to be the stitch in time that saves countless hours and dollars.
Before choosing that CRM, take stock in these basic operating processes to see how your potential system should complement the tools you already have in place:
Email, if you hadn’t heard, is a modern communication method for sharing warm regards, sending cold pitches, or following up on hot tips. You and roughly 99% of your fellow humans checking email every day are probably taunted by unread messages in a deeply entrenched inbox, so the ability to integrate what you regularly use into a CRM system designed to make communicating with your contacts easier is, well, pretty basic and essential.
Apple and Gmail currently dominate the U.S. email market share, with Google Workspace and its customizable @ email-extensions contributing to Google’s share in the business world. Google boasts multiple features that allow both businesses and individual users to excel based on inbox inclinations and personal proclivities. Suffice to say, it would be helpful to have a CRM that at least works on those same terms.
Beyond email, the ever-growing number of communication software systems — from interoffice tools like Slack and Zoom to more outward-facing tools that cover customer service and live chat — continue to carve out a place in our day-to-day lives and, thus, create priority for themselves within our CRM ecosystems.
As vital as individual emails are, the ability to reach larger groups via the inbox is just as important. Whether it’s for email marketing, a newsletter campaign, or just reaching those on a segmented subscriber list, services like Mailchimp and Campaigner help ensure that your to-the-masses message gets to all intended destinations.
Neither Mailchimp nor Campaigner are single-serving email-everyone automation services either, which makes their cooperation with a CRM all the more important. Those who use these platforms to their fullest potential know they can help personalize messages and build key mail elements, so emails arrive alive and expertly designed, not drab and DOA in a spam folder.
Additionally, software like Mirabel’s Clean Your Lists provides instant email verification to catch any invalid and unknown addresses and increase overall deliverability. Clean Your Lists is made by the same company that created Magazine Manager and Newspaper Manager, so integration with your CRM was obviously on the forefront of development.
Another Mirabel product, Marketing Manager, covers everything you could want from both a CRM and a marketing automation software (including, of course, the best email marketing tools), and Marketing Manager itself integrates with a number of widely used systems, including:
- Google Workspace
- Facebook Pages
Publishers are uniquely equipped to appreciate both design as well as every consideration that goes into what’s ultimately seen. To keep designers and production managers on the same page, updates can’t be lost to lack of translation.
Within Mirabel’s Magazine Manager system, design-minded users not only have their tried-and-true Adobe InDesign to work seamlessly with, but they can also use Mirabel’s DigitalStudio management application for flat-planning and pagination.
As one of the first web-based CRMs made specifically for publishers, Magazine Manager is already established as a magazine production software and subscription management software. With DigitalStudio integrated, its tools can be geared for traditional print, tablets and mobile devices, web versions, or some synergistic all-of-the-above combination, with modules to track impressions, clicks, social media shares, and more.
By their sheer nature, accounting capabilities are likely some of the more-prioritized reasons for a CRM’s initial implementation, so its integration with established programs that your company has long utilized should be a part of any basic foundation.
No matter if the billing need is small and specialized (like procuring a digital signature via a service like RightSignature) or as comprehensive as the myriad tools offered on platforms like QuickBooks or Microsoft Dynamics GP, the ability to work with and within well-established systems is not only a matter of convenience, but also one of trustworthiness that ensures both accuracy and continuity.
So many CRM tools have the potential to transcend interoffice departments, and in publishing, where sales departments may have hands in ad sales, subscriptions, production elements, and more, salvation can be found in many of the processes already discussed.
In management systems designed specifically for newspapers, such as Mirabel’s Newspaper Manager, users will likely want to use the applications they’re familiar with for managing classified ads (like Creative Circle and Software Consulting Services) as well as for following through on every advertising aspect from proposal to production (like Breeze).
Sales software is often designed with specific industries — and especially with specific media — in mind, so it’s important to have a grasp on the tools preferred by everyone. That means you, your potential customers, the most-forward thinking sales teams, your heated rivals, everyone!
Do you conduct webinars and already use a general event management system? Does your company have an existing ecommerce component? If these can’t communicate with your new CRM, then the CRM’s potential is no longer limitless.
The math checks out: two heads are better than one. And just because your CRM is designed to analyze data doesn’t mean it can’t “share notes” and work with other data analyzation programs.
The data you analyze is entirely dependent on the work you do, but in publishing, a service like Mirabel’s Marketing Manager allows publishers to put a tracking code on your site’s landing pages, forms, and more. Knowing which content is making a bigger ROI splash already makes it an ingenuous tool, but then combining those capabilities with, say, visualization tracking offered by Elastic’s Kibana shows where integration can be an added, almost-priceless bonus.
For as advanced as a cloud CRM can be, it’s important to remember a CRM’s automated roots. And basic integrations with social media platforms help not only with logistical matters like scheduling and posting content, but interacting directly with potential customers in a more engaging way.
With a social-minded CRM, a company’s customer service department, sales department, and marketing department can be thorough in their individual engagements as well as dynamic in their idealized profiles and projections.
The word “mobile” can take on different meanings depending on whether you use it as a noun or an adjective, but in describing mobile CRM processes here, we mean a user’s ability to access the CRM while away from their primary computer. Perhaps in the lobby after an on-site customer meeting. Or after taking a quick call whilst driving to dinner. Or after any number of activities — and everyday action verbs — a user may find themselves doing away from their desktop.
If one pre-pandemic statistic is any indication — that 4 out of every 5 users accessed their CRM software from multiple devices — then that’s an integration that’s supremely important. Even if, overall, mobile phone use is generally lower than laptop or desktop usage on a CRM, the essential integration for some users might just be knowing that that weapon can be wielded.
Once that’s established, then users can work in further applications like push notifications, text message tracking, and other on-the-go capabilities.
Most Importantly, Only Your Team Knows Your Most Essential Integrations
As revolutionary as a CRM can be, a successful CRM is as much about work-continuation as it is work-innovation. Your CRM system should integrate with the essential systems you already rely on, and since nobody knows those components better than those already working within them, an open dialogue between all team members is imperative.
Prioritizing those basic processes your company needs to thrive can truly make all the difference in your CRM’s (and company’s) success.
If you’d like to know more about Magazine Manager, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager, or Mirabel’s DigitalStudio, request a free demo.
SEE FOR YOURSELF
The Magazine Manager is a web-based CRM solution designed to help digital and print publishers manage sales, production, and marketing in a centralized platform.