Survey Tips

How a CRM Integration Can Help Your Survey Data Work Harder

michael day
9 min read

Even the most powerful survey software can be limited when the right people don’t get the right information at the right time. To make this happen, you need integrations that let all your relevant software communicate.

One common integration is connecting survey software with a CRM (Client Relationship Management) tool. Establishing this line of communication will go a long way towards getting the data your surveys collect into the right hands while it’s most valuable.

Even organizations that don’t have a high end CRM can take advantage of their survey data in real time.

There are dozens of software integrations that can help you leverage your data stream effectively as it comes in, and we’ll outline exactly what you can do with this information once your integrations are in place.

Integrations with CRMs and Survey Software

If your organization has a CRM, connecting it directly to the forms you build in your survey software puts that information into your existing workflows in real time.

Lots of organizations use CRM software to help streamline operations on a day to day basis. These software packages can use all kinds of rules and workflows to update to-do lists automatically, prevent duplicates, increase order accuracy, and much more.

These powerful options make it easier to ensure that the right person gets the right information from your survey as soon as it comes in.

Don’t Think You Have a CRM? Think Again

Not everyone uses high-priced CRM software, but if you have clients, you have a CRM.

At a high level, your CRM system is all of the ways you share information with your clients, all of the ways your clients share information with you, and the connections between them.

For most organizations this means several – if not dozens – of different software applications and processes. It can be overwhelming to try and coordinate the data flows among so many sources, but data can lose its power rapidly if our applications are not able to play nice with another.

Using Integrations To Get Real Time Leverage With Or Without a CRM

Getting data between applications is typically done with “integrations.” An integration is a small part of one software application that is specifically designed to talk to another application.

It’s important to realize that if you want your CRM to talk to your survey software, only one of them needs to have an integration to the other. Always make sure to check every integration option you have in all of your applications.

Alternatively, both can have an integration to a third service, so you might be able to get one to pass data to a middleman, who then passes it to the final destination.

One of the easiest ways to get this kind of middleman is Zapier.

Think of Zapier as a drag and drop way to build your own integration. You may have to go with a slightly less sophisticated system that requires more effort from your end users or your employees, but it can at least address the timeliness issue and let you act in real time.

And when no integration is in sight, don’t give up hope.

One of the simplest way to make data collected on a form actionable in real time is using email.

In SurveyGizmo, for example, you can employ email actions. This feature will shoot your team an email any time a particular condition is met in your form, so you get an immediate notification you can act on even without a fancy CRM integration.

Whatever options you have available to you, keep in mind that even a small real time improvement can make the difference between using your data a little too late and with less effectiveness.

And even if you have the “best” full integrations available, take advantage of things like Zapier and email actions to get initial experiments up and running, or to supplement the more established processes your organization already has.

Remember, the goal is simply to find the best way to get the right information, to the right person, at the right time.

How to Know If You’re Acting on Data at the Right Time

When it comes to responding to leads or customer feedback, acting as close to real time as possible can keep problems small and convert opportunities with less effort, and keeping this data stored for later analysis lets it work twice as hard.

Keep in mind that every piece of data entered in a form can be useful in more than one way. You could analyze data for big picture trends to inform strategic choices, or you could measure the success of small initiatives over time.

For example, if we have a satisfaction survey and it reveals that low satisfaction scores correlate with high attrition, we can launch an initiative to raise satisfaction and help increase retention.

We may look at this type of data over weeks or months to gain the insights we need at that high level, and this is a great use of the information. But there are also real time opportunities for action we don’t want to miss.

Solve Problems When They Are Small

Reaching out to a customer within the first few minutes of a low score may turn that person’s experience around, making it more likely they will stay a customer.

Even for those relationships and transactions we cannot save, we can improve the experience enough to avoid creating a vocal detractor. And if there is an underlying problem we can fix it right away and prevent additional problems.

What is important here is that the more time that elapses after someone hits submit, the less valuable that data is for a particular type of response.

You can – and should – still do the long term analysis later, but if you can make the data actionable right away by pushing that information into your existing CRM workflows, the data can help you twice.

Maybe you changed packing slips and they are harder to read, or you have added a toll free phone number but forgot to change it in all places where folks may see it and the old one goes to voicemail. Why wait until a week of low satisfaction scores to correct the issue?

Let the Right Person Act on Opportunities

By making your surveys just a little smarter and more personal, you can use your CRM to put opportunities in front of the right person at the right time.

The most obvious way to achieve this is with interest forms, in which prospective new clients can let you know what products or services you offer they want to know more about.

Customizing The Contacts

Creating new leads or adding prospects to campaigns from this data is comparatively simple when your survey software integrates with a CRM. And, as everyone in sales knows, the sooner you contact a new lead, the better your chances of making a sale.

Many survey softwares that integrate with a CRM can pull information from your CRM as well as add data to it. These kinds of integrations can help you identify a pre-existing contact who filled out a form and customize that contacts experience with what is most meaningful to them.

You might show them only certain offerings based on their past choices, or the training details for the event nearest to their location. This makes it easier to funnel the lead to the account manager or specialist best suited to help that lead make a decision.

Having the right person view the new contact in context of the entire account gives him/her the best chance of engaging the contact in a meaningful way.

Reaching the Decision Maker

It’s better to reach out to the decision maker than the intern, even if it was the intern who filled out the form. And you definitely don’t want to have multiple people following up on the same lead. Two professional salespeople can easily be more than any prospect cares to deal with.

Setting this integration up may take a little more time and planning, but done correctly it’s less intrusive for the prospect or returning client. In fact, it can make it easier, both psychologically and in terms of time, for clients to get the help they want.

As with solving problems while they are small, getting data in front of the right person is about time.

In this case we’re working to keep the lead warm. Sometimes, the contact from the right person can even heat it up. The right person in this case is the Account Manager best positioned to speak to the whole account.

The right information is often not what the prospect filled out on the form, but it might be other information you already have in your CRM. Good integrations will let you access this data so you can best leverage it.

Collecting the Right Information

Of course, all the greatest integrations won’t matter if you aren’t collecting good data with your survey form. When setting it up, consider what kind of information can make your lead follow up more successful.

This may be information provided by the lead or customer, or it may be supplemented by your CRM using the integration. The most important best practice: whenever possible, don’t ask for information you already have.

Regardless of the source, consider what information will be most timely. Having that CRM means the account manager can always dig deeper if needed. The best success comes when the form is easy for the prospect and the follow up is easy for the account manager.

Commonly useful details include:

  • Needs and pain points the customer has expressed.

  • Known decision makers or stakeholders.

  • Products or services the prospect buys or has looked at.

  • Other contacts from that customer that have looked for information recently.

  • Average satisfaction score from feedback surveys.

  • Location and geographical information – e.g. closest training event.

Similarly, knowing the value (or potential value) of different kinds of clients based on their interests and purchase history can help you make decisions about what small problems to solve first.

However You Use It, A CRM Helps You Get Data Right

The feedback and opportunities can reinforce and multiply one another, provided all the information is getting combined into one system that lets you connect the dots. And if you can’t connect all of them, connect as many as you can.

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