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Topics: Integration Management, Marketing and Sales
What words of advice can you offer on integration of CRM tools (such as Pipedrive, Zoho CRM) and PM platforms (like Smartsheet)?
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We are rolling out Smartsheet for project/portfolio management and are considering integrating a CRM tool to provide the biz development team with all their desired functionality (better contact database, tracking existing client touchpoints, managing the pipeline). I am working through to what extent we actually need to integrate the platforms or am I introducing a level of complexity that is unnecessary?
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Catherine,

I would say that integrating these processes now is less complicated than doing it later. Bottom line: They DEFINITELY need to be integrated. The more that BD and implementation can be tied together the better it will be for everyone involved (ESPECIALLY the customer). Historically, there has always been a disconnect between sales and implementation. If you can have your BD professionals include a robust description of customer needs and value delivery upfront then those can be distilled down into requirements that are clearly understood by everyone. This makes for more effective:

1. Requirements mapping
2. Estimation of level of effort
3. A coordinated/sortable listing of efforts that have been done in the past
4. A shared space for collaboration between the two teams.

Moreover, I would suggest that you include a project manager (lead implementer) about mid-way through the sales process to ensure that the relationship with the client is maintained and that the vision of the project/product is clearly understood. This can be done regardless of the systems integration that you do (CRM to smartsheet). What an exciting time for you!!! Best wishes for your success.
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This could be really worthwhile. In addition to your scenario, there are other projects I have worked on where there are a large number of stakeholders and a CRM tool integrated with the project management tool would be a very valuable way of tracking their input and activity.
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In my experience, you will need to integrate both systems to get the best out of both. Having said that, I am familiar with other similar solutions and know that integrations can be built but from the little I know of smartsheets, I wonder if you can build integrations
I hope it helps
I'd recommend also check other PM solutions that may have CRM integrated

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