The more knowledge a salesperson has about a particular customer or group, the better decisions they can make and insight they can gain, said Paul Greenberg, Principal of The 56 Group and Chairman of the CRM Evolution 2012 conference in New York City where I spoke to him about the importance of integration.

Companies are gathering information about their customers from a variety of sources such as the social web, traditional communications, and the commerce transactions captured in their CRM.

“You’re much better off knowing all of that, than just a part of that,” said Greenberg stressing the importance of integration. Yet Greenberg knows that companies aren’t necessarily going to dump their investments in their web, financial, and CRM systems just for the sake of integration. Rather, they’ll look for ways to tie existing systems together.

Technically, integration can happen through the use of middleware or via application programming interfaces (APIs), which are pieces of codes that allow disparate systems with data to talk to each other, said Greenberg.