Do you still remember that slogan “There’s an app for that!”? It’s almost inconceivable nowadays, but there was actually a time we could not install 3th-party applications on our iPhones. We could only use applications written by Apple itself, the reason for that was Steve Jobs.
Pretty early in the existence of the iPhone however, the App Store launched. And it changed the way we use software forever. We learned that we didn’t need large, expensive software suites to do the work for us, but we could target specific features and acquire specialised apps to do only the work we need it to do. This also reflects in the number of applications or software tools we use on a daily basis. Of the 8.000 marketing software tools available, we use up to 200+ apps on a per daily basis.
One of the biggest challenges we are facing while using such a large number of independent tools is how to properly handle all the data those tools are consuming and generating. It’s more important than ever to integrate the data dependent applications to avoid data corruption in essential software.
What data do you need?
There are all kinds of fine reasons to integrate your tool with HubSpot. Once you have convinced yourself you have a valid one, consider your options carefully, as integrating software can be a breeze, or become a IT-nightmare.
Once you have identified your needs, you will be able to define the data you want to have available in both systems. If you are trying to integrate HubSpot with Mailchimp for example, syncing contact data will suffice. If you want to integrate HubSpot with Salesforce, chances are you want to sync company data and deal data as well. Do you use an external ticketing system to handle customer support requests, you might want to connect HubSpot tickets.
Only synchronize data on a per-need basis, don’t simply sync data because you can. Do realize that the more data you will synchronize means increased complexity and more to maintain. More to consider; what direction will you synchronize the data? From HubSpot to your supporting tool? The other way around? Or do you need a full two-way synchronization?
How to connect?
Now you know what data you want to share between your tools it is time to find the proper way to do it. There are more ways that lead to to Rome, but most of them are dusty and bumpy.
The first option to check is if there is a native integration. Check both the HubSpot app marketplace as well as the app list of the tool you are trying to integrate. Chances are there already is a ready-made solution which is easy to setup and maintained by either HubSpot itself or a specialized vendor. Native integrations are often free of charge, or come at little cost.
If there is no ready-made solution available, consider a customer data sync platform like Piesync. Equally easy to setup, it offers more flexibility as you can define filters and more extensive field mapping options, yet no specialized knowledge is necessary.
Finally you can consider an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). The likes of Blendr or Boomi offer countless connectors and full flexibility to configure your integration. You do need to have a proper understanding of of data objects and models, but you can integrate virtually any piece of software exactly the way you want.
Build and test. Then test again
Always make sure you have a sandbox-environment for both systems so you can break stuff without, as you definitely will. The last thing you want is to corrupt your data in either system. Only when you are fully convinced your setup works as intended port to the live environment.
Besides normal operation, also consider what to do with initial setup. Do you immediately want to sync historical data? Or only amendments made to the data in each system?
Ask a pro
Even though setting up an integration can be fairly easy when a native integration is available, asking help from a specialist is always an option to consider. It can help you avoid common pitfalls.