Four approaches to integrate your website and CRM: Which is best for your marketing team? | Hubspot & Drupal example

Giving some thought to how your martech stack is connected is key to streamlining your lead generation efforts. Read on for marketer-specific pros and cons of four main types of website-CRM integration, using Hubspot’s CRM platform and Drupal CMS as an example.

If you’re a marketer who has experienced the pain of manually copying website inquiries into your CRM system then pinging sales, or uploading CSV files from your CRM system to your email marketing platform, you’ve probably dreamed of a world where your website and CRM are connected. 

In this martech utopia, leads seamlessly flow from your social media campaign, to your landing page, through a contact form that simultaneously confirms the opt-in and notifies sales, where a rep can find this new contact’s details immediately and refer to any other interactions they might have had with your brand.

You approach your website developer with your vision, and if you’re lucky, the answer is “yes,” followed by “how?”

Huh? You thought your developer was the one who knew all about how to build integrations!

Not so fast - there are more ways than one  to approach an integration, and your developer recognizes that you have a vital role to play in selecting the right one for your business needs. By understanding the tradeoffs and benefits of each approach, you can make an informed decision. You’ll get the results you’re looking for, minimize costs you’re not prepared for, and avoid that cringey conversation where you ask for a do-over because the integration isn’t what you expected. 

We’ve been there - and we know that giving some thought to how these two platforms connect is your best bet to streamline your lead generation, nurturing, and marketing attribution efforts. Read on for marketing-specific pros and cons of four main types of website-CRM integration, using Hubspot’s CRM platform and Drupal CMS as an example. 

Example: Connecting Hubspot CRM and Drupal CMS

Hubspot’s marketing automation platform offers a powerful, easy to use software product that delivers personalized inbound marketing experiences. With a CRM system at its core, Hubspot’s  integrated set of applications is popular with a host of businesses across numerous industries and have a long history of support and integration into Drupal.

Thanks to the Drupal architecture, integrations between Drupal and Hubspot—from Drupal content, users, CTAs, and Hubspot automation tools—can be easily achieved in a variety of ways. 

Four Methods of Integration

1. No integration

The simplest but least useful option, and likely where you’ll start if you recently began collecting leads through your website. In a no-integration scenario, all web assets (forms, landing pages, etc.) are created in your marketing automation system and live within that platform exclusively. 

In Drupal, you would use call to action blocks, or links provided through an e-mail campaign’s social media, to send visitors to pages housed withinHubspot to continue the experience.

Pros

  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Lacks menu integration for landing pages
  • Lacks UI/UX consistency between Drupal and Hubspot
  • Calls to action have to be placed manually into each Drupal content element, increasing workload for marketing users 
  • Marketing users forced to go back and forth between Hubspot and Drupal platforms to manage content
  • Advanced knowledge of Hubspot required for the marketing team to build the assets

2. Embedded mix

In this form of integration, assets are created in Hubspot and embedded manually within Drupal content.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Users can stay within the Drupal site to craft landing pages and other lead generation mechanisms

Cons

  • Hubspot asset embedded code has to be included manually in each Drupal content element, increasing workload
  • Increased chance of errors if one line of embedded code is missed or if the HTML is not rendered correctly
  • Lack of UI/UX consistency between Drupal and Hubspot assets
  • More QA required for Drupal content where Hubspot assets are embedded
  • Advanced knowledge of Hubspot required for the marketing team to build the assets

3. Full integration

Full integration means that assets are still created in Hubspot but are linked or integrated automatically into Drupal elements like webforms thanks to contributed modules.

Pros

  • Users stay within the Drupal site 
  • No manual pasting or coding required, reducing workload and chance for errors
  • Drupal elements are automatically integrated with Hubspot and can be placed anywhere by the marketing team
  • No need for advanced knowledge of Hubspot required for the marketing team to build assets
  • Less QA required

Cons

  • More site building is required for full integration, so costs could be higher
  • New contributed modules need to be installed and configured
  • Drupal elements to be integrated (forms, webforms, blocks) require configuration

4. Custom integration

Custom integration is an option when workflows and desired outcomes are more complex than standard integrations can accommodate.

Pros

  • Can enable very complex marketing automation scenarios 
  • Users stay within the Drupal site
  • No manual pasting or coding required
  • Drupal elements are automatically integrated with Hubspot
  • No marketing team intervention in the site building is necessary, as elements are placed automatically depending on the scenario
  • Marketing KPIs and other information can be retrieved into the Drupal site, so there is no cost of learning Hubspot for marketing assistants or analysts

Cons

  • More site building and coding of custom modules is required, so costs are higher
  • Costs of maintenance incurred if Hubspot assets code change
  • Implementation costs for new features

Conclusion

With these four options, you can select which kind of integration is right for your organization, based on your needs, staffing, and type of marketing operation. 

In our case, Drupal’s architecture made integrating Hubspot’s automation tools a breeze thanks to its high level of customization and security.

We have helped clients connect their websites to marketing automation / CRM systems that are just as straightforward and others that are much more complex. If you have questions about how to approach your own website-to-CRM integration, reach out using the contact form below.