NextBee has spent the last several months developing integration links to connect its referral and customer service products to the major CRM applications, including Salesforce, NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics.
The general idea of the integration is to combine NextBee’s ability to track activities and provide incentives with the CRM system’s customer service touchpoints.
“CRM integration has become essential to most B2B companies’ referral and affiliate programs,” Martin Verni, director of marketing at Nextbee, told CRM Buyer.
Many B2B companies have viewed NextBee’s offerings as something to implement and use separately from their main CRM operations, but that mindset is rapidly changing, he said.
In the past, integration of these plug-and-play apps was notoriously difficult, but NextBee’s approach has changed that, according to Verni.
“Due to our flexible architecture, we can create the logic based on what they have in their sales flow process. What we build on our side basically mirrors what they are doing.”
NextBee’s flexible architecture has been the driving development force behind many of its changes, not to mention its core differentiator: It is highly customizable, and most companies create very specific applications using it as a platform.
“We customize each program for every client,” Shawn William, senior sales manager at Next Bee, told CRM Buyer.
“Most business users aren’t happy with out-of-the-box software, and oftentimes when they do customize and integrate, they find it is not completely seamless.”
That is how NextBee came to formed, noted Verni. The founders were searching for an engagement platform and couldn’t find exactly what they wanted. Eventually, they wound up creating the product they wanted themselves.
NextBee offers nine types of software in the engagement category: loyalty, customer referral, refer a friend, affiliates, gamification, social fans, subscription churn control, upsell and bundling.
The features associated with each category range from general to highly specific, from custom vanity links to online engagement tracking through social media shares, to offline tracking with printed cards.
“Essentially what our clients can do is mix and match features from the various programs to build what they want,” William said. “They can borrow portions from, for example, the loyalty program, and add elements from social fans and upsell to create their own program that best reflects their needs.”
The process usually takes between four to five weeks, according to William.
Now, with the CRM integration links, users can tap into their CRM app for further functionality in NextBee creation, he noted.
Case in Point
One custom application and integration NextBee recently developed was for Blu Homes, a custom home builder that has been emphasizing a social media marketing and referral push.
“They have made a points-based system that gives points for spreading the word,” William said. “Because we are integrated with Salesforce.com now, if friends fill out the lead form, the system is able to provide another set of points if that friend’s referral leads to a quote.”
Each company might build a different system, he emphasized. “Some might not want to give points for each step along the way, for example.”
With NextBee’s flexibility, the scenarios are almost limitless, said William. One system could be designed to allow customer service agents to provide ad hoc points, such as when the customer shares an experience through social media. Another system could be built to emphasize the ability of reps to automatically discount bundled items.
Next up, William said, Next Bee will be focusing on incorporating all this functionality in the mobile loyalty space.