How to Integrate Your Phone System with a CRM


With so much of today’s business landscape going digital, it’s no surprise to learn that most companies use cloud-based phone systems. What you might not know though, is you can integrate such phone systems with your CRM to streamline your processes even further.

And how good is that word – streamline? Everybody wants to streamline because it’s all about making life easier. So, let’s take a look at how and why you should integrate your phone system and CRM.

What is a CRM?

If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know what a CRM is. In fact, you probably already use one or at least are considering implementing one. But in the interest of being thorough, bear with us for a quick CRM definition.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Commonly, we know these tools as customer relationship management systems, but let’s just stick with CRM for now. In very simple terms, a CRM is a piece of software that gathers all of your customer information together and helps you manage all customer-associated tasks.

You can use a CRM for marketing activities, customer service and customer support and basically everything else that involves your customers. You can also integrate them with other software tools such as your website and accounting packages to streamline your daily business processes even further

Cool, right?

What is a VoIP phone system?

Another business tool that you can integrate with your CRM is a VoIP phone system. Remember back in the day when everybody had a standalone phone at their desk, probably even a different number than your deskmate next door? It was pretty cumbersome, and you’d have to use a different system to search for customer information before making or receiving a call.

Today, most phone systems are cloud-based, also known as VoIP technology. It stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Or, in simple terms, you make calls digitally using your internet connection rather than a traditional old phone line. Typically a cloud-based, or VoIP, phone system allows you to operate most functions from your computer, with little need to even use a standard old phone.

The benefits of connecting your phone system and CRM

If you like the sounds of the two software types above, you’re not on your own. We could throw out a bunch of stats, such as 91% of businesses with over 10 employees use a CRM. Or that VoIP and cloud communication use increased by almost 25% in 2020 alone.

But if you’re a savvy businessperson (and we know you are), you probably already know these technologies are available to improve your operations. So why don’t we just jump straight in and look at the benefits you can get from integrating your phone system and CRM.

Call pop-ups

For sales and support teams who are always looking at their screens, what better way to receive a call notification than with a pop-up?

Ok, we know that the term ‘pop-up’ usually conjures images of the most irritating advertising you’ve ever seen. But in this situation, we promise a pop-up is a good thing.

Receiving call notifications on your computer screen is super convenient, and it also allows team members to clearly see missed calls and messages if they’re away from the desk temporarily.

Improved OH&S

While desk-based office injuries aren’t the biggest contributor to workplace injury statistics, there is still plenty of evidence out there that a poor desk setup is responsible for injuries, illness and absences. These problems result in decreased productivity and affect the workplace, so ergonomic desks should always be encouraged.

If you think about any work desk you’ve used before, the phone is usually pushed to the back, out of the way. This means you’re constantly reaching for it, resulting in poor posture, strains and other problems.

The simple answer? Get rid of the phone!

Easy one-click calling

If your staff members are constantly looking up client phone numbers and keying them into a phone, that’s just wasted time. We know, it only takes a few seconds. But multiply that by 30 or 40 calls a day, and it adds up.

When you’ve got your CRM and phone system linked, you can call clients with the click of a button. No more searching for information, checking multiple data sources and ultimately dialling the wrong number. Just find the customer record on your CRM and hit the ‘Call’ button.

Instant access to customer data

Imagine you need to return a customer’s call, but the only information you have is that they called. So, you sit there looking up the customer’s order history on one system. You check for previous communications on another system. Then you also rack your brains trying to think about why they might be calling.

If that sounds productive, well, you might be in the wrong business.

With a CRM and phone system link, you’ve got instant access to all of the customer data you need in one place. It’s right in front of you, and there is even an opportunity to make notes about the nature of each contact. So, not only is it faster, more efficient and makes your sales staff sound more professional, but it also solves a massive frustration for your sales teams.

Better customer service

Everybody strives to provide better customer service. Well, if you don’t, you probably should.

One of the best ways to do that is by linking your phone system and CRM. It’s a bit like the example above, where your staff members have to do so much research before making an outbound call. But what about inbound calls? If your teams don’t have easy access to customer info, they sound flustered, unprofessional and generally can’t offer a great level of service. Worse, they might even ask to call the customer back once they’ve looked into the issue.

In reality, the issue could have been solved right there and then on one phone call. Efficient, easy, and the customer hangs up happy. CRMs are able to provide updated customer data in real time, too. So, if a customer hangs up and calls back soon after, another staff member will have all of the updated information to provide a high level of service.

Imagine that when one of your customers calls in, you have a supercharged Caller ID happening right in front of you on your PC. Not only can you see who is calling before you answer it but you see all their info pop up in front of you, ready for you to act on it.

And if it happens to be someone you’ve never spoken to before (forget stranger danger here; it might be a prospect) simply click to add them as a lead in your CRM!

Increased efficiency and productivity

Efficiency and productivity. They’re some terrific business words, but what do they mean for your business? Getting things done cheaper? With fewer staff members? Completing more work in a day? Well, it probably means all of those things depending on who you are.

For us, we love productivity and efficiency because we’ve seen first-hand what it means to our clients. Integrating a phone system and CRM allows your team members to do things faster without compromising on quality. Better access to information, more phone calls, and more customer issues solved in a timely manner.

You can’t ask for much more than that!

More sales

You’ve probably all sat in a meeting at one time or another, desperately searching for ways to decrease your sales.

We’re joking, because obviously nobody wants that. Sales are the backbone of most companies, and it’s pretty hard to achieve meaningful growth without increasing your sales. Phone and CRM integration makes life so much easier for your sales teams.

Instant access to customer data, notes about what needs to be discussed, and less wasted time all mean more time to focus on selling.

Superior reporting and analytics

Finally, the other huge benefit you get from a business planning point of view is data. When your CRM and phone systems are linked, you can access a huge amount of data about your phone calls.

If you love micromanaging your staff, you can get all sorts of juicy phone data.

Managerial tip: Don’t micromanage your staff. They hate it, and it has the opposite effect of what you hoped for.

However, data is still extremely valuable in terms of training, identifying issues, and even recording calls for random performance assessments.  

How to connect a phone system to your CRM

Do you want to know how to connect every single phone system to every CRM?

Don’t worry, we’re not going to bore you with endless instructions. The reality is that most CRMs and VoIP phone systems integrate quite easily, but each one is different.

Let’s look at Zoho PhoneBridge, for example. This one is particularly good because it’s a phone system that integrates seamlessly with Zoho CRM. Plenty of major call centres already use this combination, so it’s a great option especially if you already use Zoho.

·        Pop-up calls? Check

·        Single-click calls? Check

·        Customer data on-screen for every call? Check

·        Awesome reporting? Check

To connect the two systems, you’ll need an API, which is an Application Programming Interface.

Ideally, unless you’re a bit of a technical wiz, you’ll want some help from a Zoho implementation specialist. They’ll do the work in the background to make sure your phone system and CRM are connected.

The great news is, if you use Zoho CRM but you’ve already got a different VoIP phone system you’re happy with, you’re in luck. Zoho CRM integrates with most quality VoIP systems and even PBX business phone systems.

Connecting other phone systems and CRMS

Of course, not everybody uses Zoho, so what about all the other great CRMS out there?

Any decent CRM has the ability to integrate a cloud-based phone system. You just need the right assistance to help you along the way.

Seriously, we’re not saying this just so that you’ll give us a call. Without technical knowledge, integrating apps and systems can be extremely difficult and time-consuming, so it makes sense to work with a team of professionals. Human Pixel specialises in improving business processes and systems, whether it’s phones and CRMs or websites and customised software. So, whether you need advice on CRM or phone system implementation, or you’ve already got both tools and just want them to work together, have a chat with our experts today.

About Author

How to Integrate Your Phone System with a CRM

Adam WInchester

Experienced Technology Leader with Nearly Three Decades of Impactful Achievements | Driving Business Transformation with Data-Driven Solutions | CRM and ERP Expert With an extensive career spanning nearly three decades, Adam brings a wealth of experience and expertise across various industries and software applications.