Integrate SAP Business One & MailChimp for Seamless Email Marketing

Jalene Ippolito June 23, 2016

Managing contacts effectively is typically a bit challenging for most businesses. It requires time, effort, top notch processes and a good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool to stay on top of new and changing contact information for each of your customers, prospects and suppliers. Then in July 2014, a whole new element came into the mix with the Canadian Anti-spam Legislation (CASL). In a nutshell, CASL regulations state that, as a business, you can't add individuals to your email marketing lists unless they say “yes, I want to be on your list”. This adds extra work to list management for any company. But for small to mid-size businesses with fewer resources it presents a real challenge. And if you have disparate systems, accommodating these processes becomes even more complex.

Note: There are all kinds of exceptions and gray areas to the opt-in consent rules which we won’t go into in this article. If you’re unfamiliar with CASL, you may want to brush up on the ins and outs of the regulations before implementing a comprehensive plan.

The Complexities of Contact List Management

We always recommend you use your ERP system as the source of truth, even for CRM data. But many of our SAP Business One customers also use best-of-breed email marketing tools like MailChimp (which we highly recommend, by the way). This adds a whole new layer of complexity to list  management because you have the same contacts stored in two places. As the single source of truth, contact data for your customers, leads and vendors should be stored in SAP Business One first. But you probably don't want every contact in SAP Business One to be on your email marketing list. And manually exporting the list and uploading to MailChimp before you send a campaign gets cumbersome and invites opportunity for error.

So, how can you easily transfer that data from one system to the other without too much manual intervention? All while remaining compliant with CASL regulations?

For SAP Business One users, B1 MailChimp is going to be your best friend. Using this integration tool from our Solution Partner, Boyum IT, you can automatically sync your contacts from SAP Business One to MailChimp. Simply add new contacts into SAP Business One, assign them to a mailing list and they will be pulled through to your MailChimp account, using a scheduled server sync. Alternatively, let’s say you want to create a new list. Rather than manually selecting each of your contacts individually, simply write a query to choose the appropriate people and add them to the list all at once.

Managing your contacts and subscribers from a single location offers significant gains in terms of efficiency and accuracy. But what about one of the most important aspects of CASL – tracking consent? There are two really ways of doing this:

  1. MailChimp Signup Form:

    MailChimp provides the option to create a signup form for each of your lists, allowing your connections an easy way to subscribe. These forms are easy to configure and can be integrated into your website or published on a stand-alone web page. When someone subscribes to your list using this form, MailChimp will automatically record the date and time of the request, acting as your record of consent. Note that this data is stored in MailChimp, not SAP Business One.

  2. SAP Business One Activities:

    In the second scenario, which we see quite often, prospective customers may provide their consent during a phone conversation or email thread with a member of your sales team. Here, you would add them to the mailing list directly from SAP Business One and create an activity indicating the date, time and method used to obtain consent. You could even create a custom activity group called Marketing List Opt-in to easily distinguish these activities and run reports on your opt-in rates. Take it a step further and automatically trigger a new activity when you add a contact to a MailChimp list in SAP Business One – this way, you can ensure your team is consistently tracking consent.

The B1 MailChimp integration for SAP Business One is a pretty slick solution to the challenges presented by CASL and list maintenance in general. Interested in learning more? Contact us for a free demo.

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