January is coming to a close, so let's dive into the HubSpot Product Updates for this month. Elixir...
Vincent Sheppard and the integration with Microsoft Business Central
Vincent Sheppard is a Belgian furniture company. Since 1992, they have been designing and manufacturing indoor and outdoor furniture. To sell this furniture in more than 40 countries, they work with both internal and external sales agents. Vincent Sheppard wanted to boost their customer experience, digitize their processes and improve the alignment between Marketing, Sales and back office.
But they realized they faced multiple challenges that prevented them from being truly customer-centric:
- The commercial data quality was bad
- The governance processes for commercial data was weak
- The current tech stack didn’t include a CRM system to keep track of all customer interactions
- An integration would be required between a new CRM system and the existing ERP and e-commerce solutions to fully leverage customer data
They chose HubSpot as a new marketing & sales platform and because of the complex data and integration requirements, HubSpot advised them to work with the most experienced partner in Benelux in this area, Elixir Solutions. This would allow them to set up methodologies, processes, and tools that help them remove these points of friction in the commercial departments.
In this customer case, you will read the story of how we assisted Vincent Sheppard in their data cleaning processes, in setting up a new data governance process, and integrating HubSpot with their backend ERP system.
Like in all projects, Elixir Solutions started with a detailed assessment of the current business and technical processes. Via interviews with key stakeholders we tried to unravel the data governance processes in place, the data structures and IT architecture at stake. It appeared that two main systems were used to store customer data: Microsoft Business Central as ERP system and SANA as e-commerce solution.
After the assessment we came up with the following approach:
- Start with a guided data cleaning exercise of Customers and Contacts
- Migrate commercial Contacts from Microsoft Business Central and other sources into HubSpot
- Integrate Companies from Microsoft Business Central to HubSpot
- Map out the data governance processes to ensure the data quality
- Set up a new customer creation process from HubSpot to Microsoft Business Central
- Facilitate quote creation process in SANA e-commerce, starting from HubSpot
The implementation of the first 4 steps took less than 3 months, exactly as planned, as it was done in parallel with a marketing and sales onboarding. We will elaborate on each of these steps in this blog.
1. Data cleaning & migration
Vincent Sheppard assembled a lot of customer data over the last few years. Most of this data was collected in their ERP system, but also additional data was captured in SANA and email marketing tools. Before any integration could be done, it was crucial to ensure the data was clean. For this, several actions were taken:
- First general marketing mail was sent out to all contact persons with an email address. All email addresses that bounced were removed.
- Then an extract of all customers was taken from Microsoft Business Central and sent to the respective account owners to indicate if this customer is still relevant, add missing information or correct wrong information.
- Next Excel lists were created with all Contact data collected from the email marketing tools and sent to the salespeople with the same questions.
To determine which fields were needed a Mapping file was created to map out the required fields from Microsoft business central to HubSpot fields.
The salespeople had a few weeks to go through this process. Afterward, the lists were assembled and the Company data was adapted in Microsoft Business Central by admin staff. The contact data, enriched with amongst others, persona data, were assembled together in one big Excel file to import in HubSpot.
2. Integration between Microsoft Business Central and HubSpot
Once the data was cleaned, we could set up the integration between Microsoft Business Central and HubSpot. As the standard data sync integration of HubSpot currently only supports Contact integration, we had to look further to be able to integrate Microsoft Business Central customers with HubSpot companies. After a short analysis, we found the right tool to do the trick.
But before the integration could start, we had to make sure all the required properties were available in HubSpot. Based on the created mapping file, a few custom ones had to be created and other properties were changed to dropdowns with matching internal names between Microsoft and HubSpot to facilitate the integration.
Once this was done, the integration and data sync could be set up in a few days. Of course, a test portal was used to validate the integration before it was deployed in the production portal.
3. Data governance processes
Once all the data was integrated, it was important to ensure the data quality remained high. For this, the correct data governance processes had to be defined. At Elixir Solutions, we are very experienced in these matters and advised Vincent Sheppard to apply the following guidelines:
- Leads should be generated in HubSpot and only after validation be converted in Microsoft Business Central customer by a dedicated resource
- Microsoft Business Central should be the master of the companies and they should be integrated uni-directionally with HubSpot
- HubSpot should be the master of the contacts and no direct integration should be done with Microsoft Business Central
4. Customer creation process
Vincent Sheppard was also struggling with its process to create new customers in Microsoft. Sales users were able to ask for the creation of a new customer in Microsoft Business Central via a separate form on the Vincent Sheppard website. This webpage was a complete standalone page, which resulted in a lot of missing and duplicate data sent to Microsoft. A dedicated resource had to copy all data to the correct Microsoft fields which was very time-consuming and error-prone.
Elixir Solutions came up with a much smoother and cleaner process. A CRM card was created in HubSpot, via which the user could trigger the customer creation in Microsoft. An intermediate web page collected all the required information: the known HubSpot properties were already prefilled and the additional info were set as mandatory to fill in. This information was sent to Microsoft and created a temporary customer. Only after validation, this was converted into a proper Microsoft customer.
5. Quote creation process
Vincent Sheppard had a great quoting tool set up in their SANA e-commerce solution, which included amongst others a product configurator that is not available in HubSpot. They wanted to leverage this tool, but ensure a smoother process for the sales people. That is why Elixir Solutions created a new CRM card, via which the sales user could easily create a quote for a prospect or an existing customer. The prospect or customer information was passed to SANA and via a seamless login, the sales person could complete the quote with the correct products and associated accessories.
Vincent Sheppard disposes now of a complete integrated solution to handle their commercial data. The integration with Microsoft Business Central runs flawlessly, the data quality has greatly improved, the sales users have access to the latest customer data and can use HubSpot as their main gateway to carry out their work, which greatly improves their productivity. In combination with the improved marketing capabilities, Vincent Sheppard is able to generate more leads, qualify them better and close more deals than before.
We can proudly say that Elixir Solutions once again met all the requirements set forward for this complex data and integration project. If you want to transform your business as well, do not hesitate to contact us.
Good support with integration and sales and marketing onboarding
Elixir smoothly integrated HubSpot with our ERP system and guided us through all the different steps to launch the CRM. They also advised us on how to start with inbound marketing and set-up a good data management.
Julie Collett, Vincent Sheppard