Integrations are easily one of the most crucial trends for UC in 2017. I’d be beating a dead horse at this point if I was to say again how beneficial integrations are, but they really are game changing. Integrations link the individual tools we already use together into one platform to help us get work done more quickly and efficiently. Whether your business operates a contact center and its agents need to see customer information the second a call comes in, or you combine different Slack integrations to manage remote workers, the end result is the same. Combining more than one tool we use to work and collaborate allows us to do so much more quickly and with ease.

When shopping around for a business VoIP provider, or even a CRM solution, it might be a good idea to see just who supports what integrations, and what systems play nicely with each other. Of course, there is more than one way to integrate popular — and even unpopular — solutions together. Thus, if you don’t see your favorite provider included in this list, or that specific integration is listed with a “no”, don’t fret. We’ll be taking a look at some DIY approaches as well.

Salesforce Dynamics 365 Zoho CRM Sugar CRM Oracle CRM Netsuite Infusionsoft Zendesk
Nextiva Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes
8×8 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Vonage Business Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No
RingCentral Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Mitel Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes
Megapath Yes Yes Yes Yes yes Yes Yes Yes
Jive Communications Yes No No No Yes No No Yes
Alliance Phones Yes No Yes Yes No No No No
OnSIP Yes No No No No No No Yes
Fonality Yes No No No No No No No
ShoreTel Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes
VoIPStudio Yes Yes No No Yes No No No
Twilio Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Nexmo Yes No Yes Yes No No No Yes
Dialpad Yes No No No No No No No

Why Should I Bother With Integrations?

As I explained, integrations are quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of any cloud service. No more alt+tabbing and searching for one specific window; no more struggling to type in a customer ID while trying to listen to their complaint — integrations will do all of that work for you. Integrations can be seen in the same light as cloud solutions, which help reduce wasted time and annoyance on the part of users. The seamless, connected experience between two applications handles all of the heavy lifting for you. Every feature and function will work as if these solutions have been built together from the start.

As we know, the integration between your VoIP and CRM is more than just an incredibly important step in improving agent efficiency. At the end of the day, it is your business’ bottom line. Better equipped agents can offer better service, which will not only solve problems quicker, but make customers and callers much happier. Integrations don’t have to be just a simple screen pop in your CRM, but can also even expand your support to help customers with direct in-app service.

Major Benefits of Combining CRM and Business VoIP

We put together a list of the most crucial integrations your CRM software should have. Right up top is phone integration  and for very good reason. Essentially, CRM and VoIP integration will provide agents with the context and information they need. When you integrate the two, your CRM can produce a screen pop with all relevant customer information as soon as a call comes in. This allows agents to focus on the call instead of looking everything up. Integrating VoIP and CRM is one of the easiest ways to boost your agent efficiency with little effort.

Notes, open issues, or even closed issues can be read, edited, revised and saved without agents ever having to swap between different applications. The benefits of integrating your CRM and VoIP can be summed up with two major takeaways:

  • Free up agent time with quicker calls and simpler tools
  • Arm agents with the necessary information to best serve a caller without any extra work on their end

So, how exactly does a simple integration produce these massive benefits? That’s the easy part. In short, when you integrate your CRM with your Cloud Communications, your agents can quickly reference information such as:

  • The Title and Company associated with that contact
  • Relevant Company information such as owner and business hours
  • Any open activities – current open tickets, cases, issues etc.
  • Activity history – closed tickets, cases or issues
  • Opportunity stage – part of the sales process and will be displayed if applicable

Beyond that, agents can also provide activity logging and call logging directly through their communication apps. As I mentioned before, this means agents can access information such as received, missed or answered calls; inbound or outbound calls; or customer call history. It’s also worth noting, however, that the functionality your agents will gain from a CRM integration will vary heavily based on the solutions you will be joining together. Overall, though, the same concepts and functions will generally carry over for the most common solutions we listed.

But, My Favorite Provider Isn’t On The List!

Have no fear. Even if your favorite provider is not included on our list, it is still completely possible to integrate the two systems together. However, the process will not be the incredibly simple solution that we all hope for with pre-built integrations. Part of the beauty of  the”out-of-the-box” integrations that we took a look at is the simplicity of it all. Generally, integrations are simply “turned on” or activated by the providers, so users won’t have to worry about the technical side  unless, that is, they want to build something of their own. It’s safe to say, though, that the majority of the VoIP providers have you covered. Yet if your business wants to ensure everything is included out of the box, you can never go wrong with either Nextiva or RingCentral — just take a look at our head-to-head comparison and you’ll see what we mean.

On the other hand, there’s another level of beauty hidden in the idea of integrations. With so many APIs available from so many different providers, solutions, and apps, it can be a simple task for just about any developer to build their own integration and link two otherwise separate tools. For those who don’t know, an API stands for Application Program Interface. Essentially, an API is just a few lines of code that allow one application to talk to another, which is exactly what an integration is. These APIs will always know how to access the information they need, and complete the intense coding for the user so that they don’t have to.

Call In The Integration Providers

Even if an API doesn’t exist, a developer can go ahead and create their own. However, this requires some intense programming and development knowledge. Unfortunately, this is neither a task many newcomers can take on, nor something a business would want to spend time on. Sure, there are many developers for hire all over the internet, but freelancing has its own source of problems. So, what if your team doesn’t have an in-house developer and doesn’t want to fork over cash for a freelancer or outsourced attempt?

That’s where vendors like Tenfold and Zapier come in. These providers pretty much handle the development work for you, just like the CRM and VoIP providers sharing their own APIs. Tenfold and Zapier already have a massive list of integrations to make up for what providers are lacking on, especially for a large number of the providers included in our list. Even if you cannot find the solution your team utilizes on these providers’ websites, they can go ahead and make it for you. Therefore, no matter what tools or solutions your team uses, be sure to integrate them all together for one cohesive super solution.