Whether you’re a small organization, medium company or a big enterprise, you’re always looking for the best way to manage your customers, contacts, leads and opportunities. Most companies use a CRM system to do so. And a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software, integrated with your Phone System (IP PBX) is key. Instead of using your CRM to just be a system that stores customer information based on manual entries, integrating your phone system software brings in valuable customer information directly into your CRM.
In a nutshell, by integrating your CRM system, an application that is designed to help you and your business to organize all the data collected from your customers, with your PBX you obtain a number of benefits such as, the ability to automatically log calls in your CRM, customer records pop-ups when an inbound call occurs and the ability to launch calls to contacts with a single click.
For instance, let’s say a prospect calls your company asking for a quote of one of your products. If your phone system is integrated with your CRM, a new record will be created with the phone number of the prospect and assigned to the sales person who answered the call for a further follow-up. In addition, your sales person will be able to call your prospects back just by clicking on their phone stored in your CRM.
Regardless of the CRM you use, the majority of them hold the same types of information, however not all integrate with your PBX out of the box. In such case you can use the Restful API to integrate your CRM with your Phone System in a matter of minutes. RESTful API is designed to take advantage of existing protocols and return XML, JSON or any other format depending on what the client requests.
But what is a RESTful API?
An Application Programming Interface is a set of rules that allow programs to talk to each other no matter the “language” they speak. RESTful determines the rules that you need to follow when creating an API. For instance, when you link to a specific URL, each URL is called a request, while the data sent back is called a response.
Let’s say you’re trying to find a phone number of one of your customers in your CRM. You open up your CRM, type the contact name into a search field, hit enter and you see a list of possible customers with the same name. This is how the RESTful API works, you search for something, in this case the phone number obtained from the Caller ID thanks to your phone system, and you get the name of that customer back from the CRM.
So, how to add support for a new CRM system? First, you will need the following information:
Step 1: Obtain the required information
(For this example we are using opencnam)
- First of all, we need to create an account with opencnam. To do so follow this link: https://www.opencnam.com/register
- Authentication Mechanism is Basic and requires the SID and Auth_headers to be concatenated with a : in between. Here’s an example:
auth_header = "Authorization: Basic " + base64_encode(SID + ":" + TOKEN)
cnam = http_get(“https://api.opencnam.com/v3/phone/+16786318356”, headers=[auth_header])
- REST URL format requires the account_sid and auth_token which you can get from opencnam dashboard
- URL to query the name belonging to a number +16786318356 would look something like this:
Step 2: Create a CRM template
To know how to integrate your CRM and information about XML please check the following guides:
Watch the video below for more information:
Many of the larger CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics, Google Contacts, Freshdesk, Nutshell, MS Exchange, Bitrix24, Exact Online, Salesforce, Act!, Zendesk, EBP, Datev, Vtiger, and ConnectWise are already integrated out of the box. If you are going with a different CRM, a custom integration might need to be done. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in such scenarios you can use the RESTful API.