Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) is a staple of successful businesses and has been for some time, which is why a good WordPress CRM is more important than ever.
In the early days of practicing customer relationship management, businessmen used the lowly rolodex. The rolodex is an analogue, desktop notecard binder with alphabetical place markers used to keep track of their contacts.
Each entry usually consisted of a business card and a few notes on each person.
This simple yet effective piece of old school hardware allowed those who used it to keep track of their growing business/social contacts. It also allowed them to maintain little bits of useful information.
We’ve moved on – and using a WordPress based CRM is a great choice for many businesses.
What is a CRM in Today’s Terms?
This was basically how CRM was handled for as long as business cards have been around until sometime in the 80’s. During this decade, computers and enterprise software began having a major impact on business operations.
Today CRM has grown from a simple practice to an entire SaaS (software as a service) industry. It now comes with tools ranging from simple to complex depending on a particular company’s needs.
A few of the biggest players in the CRM market are Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Others that are well liked include: Zoho CRM, Saleslogix, SugarCRM, and many more.
These CRM platforms provide their users with tools and data the old rolodex generations could only have dreamed of.
Not only do they allow you to create a searchable index of each and every client, potential, and lead you ever come in contact with. A modern CRM platform will help you track and manage all customer interactions throughout the lifecycle of your relationship with them.
Today’s CRM software suites typically provide some variation of the following features (among many others):
Customer & Potential Customer Classifications
- Import Data (leads etc.)
- Export Data
- API for apps and other third parties
- Data backups
- Call Log
- Call Reminders
- Email Integration
- Email & Social Campaign Integration
- And more
- Pipeline Sales Reports
- Trends Reporting
- And much more
Even with all these features listed, I’m really just scratching the surface. If you can think of a way in which you would want to handle data associated with your customers, there is a CRM product out there that has figured it out and made it possible.
Why Use WordPress as a CRM Platform?
If that is the case, why would anyone want to use WordPress as a CRM platform instead of one of the extremely polished and robust services that already exist? Good question. And the answer is that it really depends on your specific needs.
For some of you it may actually be better to use an existing service–such as Salesforce of Zoho–and simply integrate it with WordPress as best you can.
Others will want to keep everything centralized within their WordPress install. Only you can make that decision after carefully weighing the pro’s and con’s of a given platform with your needs.
That said, one big reason you might choose a WordPress-based option is cost.
CRM services are notoriously expensive.
For example, lets say you have a five person team. You want to empower them with a CRM to improve sales generated through leads you capture via WordPress.
Getting that small team up and running on Salesforce will cost you over $100 per month! And that’s just the basic product without all the bells and whistles.
Even on Zoho, a much more affordable option, it can cost as much as $60+ per month for that same five person team. (Although to be fair, Zoho does offer a stripped down version of their product for free – for up to three users, which is really nice.)
So for many, the idea of spending a lot of money and having to learn/spend time in a new platform is a big enough deterrent to lock them into a WordPress CRM solution.
More Reasons to Use WordPress CRM
Since most business owners regard CRM as an innovative use of WordPress, let’s talk about the advantages of using WordPress as a CRM software.
After learning about the benefits of CRM, we show you a valid method to integrate your WordPress website with CRM. First of all, you need to briefly understand what the CRM is and why it has the ability to get you a leg up on your business development.
CRM is designed to manage the interaction between company and customers.
By using this powerful software, business owners are enabled enables business owners to organize marketing, sales and customer service by using advanced technology.
In this way, companies are able to know more about their customers so as to improve customers’ satisfaction and promote brand image.
Why Use WordPress as CRM Software
Considering the usability for customer relationship management, CRM brings you many possibilities.
And now, WordPress makes your website possible to feature CRM and that is really a big boon for business websites. Here, we list the main reasons why you should use WordPress as CRM.
Enable More Interaction with Customers
Interaction with customers can be a part of your success because it is a great way to know your customers and continuously improve the services.
CRM’s advanced technology allows customers to share sales information that will let you know their preferences in real time. In this case, you can perfect the services and cater to the need of more people in the market.
It is expensive to purchase CRM service, which is priced at around $100/mo. However, WordPress is an open source software and enables a bunch of plugins to make your site integrate with CRM. If you use WordPress as CRM, then there is no need to spend extra money in enjoying the strength of CRM.
Make Your Business Organized
The main purpose of CRM is to make all your business information organized. This is achieved by featuring emails, tasks, and calendars. Many other advanced functions for sales information management are also organized.
Since all information is collected together, CRM makes it easy to check the information at anytime, anywhere in the world.
Improve Sales Reporting
CRM collects all data about your business and then makes a thorough analysis on the collected data. In this condition, you can get to know the sales status comprehensively and make a plan on how to develop your business in the future. With those reliable statistics, the sales reporting can be improved easily.
Protect Your Data from Being Lost
Since servers and hard drives are prone to crash and malicious attacking, the stored data may easily be stolen or lost somehow.
To prevent such embarrassing situation, you are required to turn to the web-based software to store all data. CRM is the one that can satisfy your needs because it has the ability to enable reliable data backups for you.
Here are a couple of situations where WordPress as a CRM could be the perfect solution.
- As a standalone CRM solution for small- to medium-sized businesses (organizations).
- As an integrated data collection tool for online-based businesses (blogs, ecommerce websites, subscription/membership websites, web-based service companies).
- As a complementary extension to a fuller featured CRM via an API integration.
- As a completely customized solution to meet a very specific purpose of any sized organization.
The Pros and Cons of WordPress CRM
- Integration: Can be tightly integrated with front-end forms, surveys, client dashboards, etc.
- Access control: Contacts could be given access to secure or unique content on your website.
- Data automation: Your contact data is easily updated because user interaction are captured with front-end elements.
- Training: If your staff is already familiar with WordPress, they don’t need to learn a new software for contact management. The value of this depends on how tech savvy your team is.
- Easy to Use: By using a simple CRM solution you eliminate a lot of unnecessary complexity that larger solutions introduce.
- Limited automated triggers and workflows. It’s a little more difficult to automate tasks, reminders, emails, etc. without extensive setup on most web hosting environments.
- You can, however, trigger things manually or at the time that a transaction occurs. So for instance, sending a confirmation at the time of a form submission or a receipt at the time of payment is no problem.
- This can also be overcome by using an integration with a third-party tool such as Google Apps for calendar reminders, etc.
- Limited reporting: This isn’t a limitation of the platform but rather the maturity of the platform. Reporting could be quite robust if it were built out properly. As of now, most WordPress CRM solutions only have limited reporting.
- Limited segmentation of software access by role. Most CRM solutions for WordPress offer an all-or-nothing role restriction. It would be difficult to give your sales team a different level of access from your customer service team or executive team. This could change in the future.
WordPress as a CRM Solution
Customer relationship management is an important part of any business. If you want the customers to spend on you, you have to build relationships by staying in touch. You have to constantly remind them that you are still in business.
The Mailing List Mentality is Dead
WordPress as a CRM tool is great in creating online communities rather than just creating mailing lists.
It is no longer enough to move customers through a sales funnel, add them to a list and market products to them using automated tools.
The internet has become an interactive frontier, and customers want interaction and responsiveness. They won’t buy a product until they’ve been in contact with a human being and read some reviews from other satisfied customers.
This is why I believe a tool like WordPress is the perfect way to build customer relationships.
WordPress has plugins that will help you build a customer database and build an online community where you and your customers can interact.
This is what consumers expect in the age of Social Media. Maybe this doesn’t seem realistic if you’re selling plumbing services. But I’ve seen plenty of service based, brick and mortar companies use this approach, and with damn good results.
So here are the simple WordPress upgrades you’ll need to make this happen…
Tool #1: BuddyPress Integration
BuddyPress is a plugin which allows you to build an online social community like Facebook for your company.
When you start building a buzzing social community with your customers, you have to be active in the social media.
Maybe a customer posts a positive review on your BuddyPress wall. Or you resolve a customer dispute which has a visible thread in one of your BuddyPress groups.
The positive reviews can become tangible marketing tools that you can share on Facebook and with other members of your BuddyPress community.
This might take more time and energy than sorting your prospects and customers into mailing lists and setting up autoresponders.
Just imagine how responsive new customers will be when they have proof that you manage your customer relationships well.
This is when it starts to make sense to use email marketing, and WordPress has the flexibility to do that as well…
Tool #2: WPMU DEV Autoresponder or WPMu DEV BuddyPress Group Email
The WPMU DEV Autoresponder plugin allows you to send mass emails to your WordPress users. This can include your prospects and your paid customers. This is good if you’re sending out general news or promotions about your company.
Use the WPMU DEV BuddyPress Email Groups plugin if you’re looking to streamline your customer contacts. This plugin is also great if you want to target them according to past purchases. You can also use the plugin to test separate email marketing campaigns.
This plugin does something better than sort prospects into email lists.
You can use it to add your customers to BuddyPress groups. You can also send out email promotions or news updates according to the groups which your customers are in.
This allows you a tighter approach when building relationships with your customers. This is similar to the social features you see on Salesforce.
Only by using WordPress, you can manage your customer relationships from the same place where you sell products and services and recruit affiliates.
Heck, you can even turn your customers into affiliates. And also reward them for raving about your company to their friends and family members.
With it you can start building a powerful online presence by creating a Social Media ecosystem. Make it so that your presence is driven by word of mouth marketing and high trust relationships.
Tool #3: WPMU DEV Ultimate Facebook Plugin + WP-FB Autoconnect
Building up your online client base from nothing can be a challenge. This slump is overcome when you use the WPMP DEV Ultimate Facebook plugin. You can then couple this with the WP-FB Autoconnect Plugin.
Ever seen those “sign up with Facebook” options on websites? The WP-FB Autoconnect makes it simple to add that option to your WordPress site.
Next, you use the Ultimate Facebook plugin to build a bridge between your WordPress community and Facebook.
Imagine what this could mean for the positive customer reviews posted on your site and are automatically posted to Facebook.
This means, you no longer need to compete with Facebook in building your own social community. In essence, you can create ongoing relationships with your customers and prospects.
Instead, you harness the power of Facebook and explode your online presence and influence.
Tool #4: WPMU DEV Q&A
This is where you really put the icing on the cake when it comes to building customer relationships using WordPress.
With the WPMU DEV Q&A plugin, your customers can ask questions of you and your staff. They can also rate the responses to those questions and help your staff members to earn expert points, just like in this screen shot:
Many marketers don’t realize that customer service is THE most powerful form of online marketing.
There’s no doubt, most customers look at reviews before making a purchasing decision. It is obviously important that you need to get your customers raving about how you treat your customers.
With a tool like Q&A, you can demonstrate to your prospective customers that your staff if helpful. You can include statistics in your sales pages and marketing emails. Even the best copywriting and design can’t outdo that kind of marketing.
Time to Start Building Your WordPress CRM
So what are you waiting for?
Use these plugins, build your WordPress CRM and harness the power of social media. With these plugins, you can also take advantage of the benefits presented by mass emailing and Facebook.
5 CRM Plugins for WordPress That Can Supercharge Your Business
Customer Relationship Management isn’t a new idea.
Despite becoming popular in the 90s, some people still think of it as simply a glorified contact list. But CRM is so much more than that.
True customer relationship management helps you understand your customers. In the process, you engage with them throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
This is accomplished by collecting and analyzing lots of data. This includes prospecting, customer service, marketing, data analyzing and gathering. These processes can reveal problem areas and uncover hidden opportunities.
As WordPress becomes more powerful and multi-faceted, plugin developers are creating tools that solve business needs in new ways. To help you weed through the options available, here are five CRM plugins worth looking into.
WordPress-to-Lead for Salesforce CRM
Salesforce is probably the most widely known CRM solution around. Used by businesses large and small, it’s a powerhouse option with slick design and robust functionality.
One of Salesforce’s major advantages is that everything is stored in the cloud, so you can access it via web or mobile.
WordPress-to-Lead for Salesforce CRM is a plugin that allows you to collect leads through your WordPress site. It also lets you feed them directly to your Salesforce account. Previously, users had to endure the arduous task of copying and pasting information from one program to the other.
The main drawback here is that you need to use two tools for CRM. It would be ideal to save and manage customer information directly in WordPress, but this is a nice first step in the meantime.
Cost: Plugin is free, Salesforce is premium
This plugin stores contacts in your WordPress user database. With it, you can manually add contacts. Or you can capture them automatically through a lead generation form on your website.
You can assign a default role if you feel uneasy about designating your customers as users.
The lead forms are easily customizable, so you can collect whatever data you’d like. Advanced options also let you designate which fields are required.
With WP-CRM, you can edit forms and manage contacts from within your WordPress admin. Each contact record can be categorized by contact type and has a correspondence thread. This way, you can keep track of every interaction.
One plus with this plugin is the support options. Usability Dynamics has a robust support forum on their website as well as a LinkedIn group.
UPDATE: In October, 2014, they relaunched PauPress as Presspoint CRM.
PauPress is a powerful CRM plugin that lets you do a lot more beyond capturing and storing customer data.
It also integrates e-commerce, memberships, e-mail marketing and more, all within the WordPress admin.
Not only is the plugin feature-rich, but it also allows for complex queries and reports.
You can use reports to simply mine the data or to perform bulk actions such as editing or mailing. The interface blends seamlessly with WordPress, so it should be intuitive to use and navigate.
Most of the advanced functionality is part of the Pro version of the plugin, which is priced by the number of licenses. However, the basic plugin includes everything you’d need to start building your customer database.
Cost: Free and Premium
WordPress Leads is a great plugin for people who want to track how individual users interact with their sites.
Contacts are stored as custom post types within WordPress and the admin options are easily accessible from the left menu.
The beauty of this plugin is that it shows each lead’s activity prior to submitting a form. That goes a long way to helping you understand customers’ decision process before converting.
It also collects geographic data and pulls in associated social media and web sites for each contact.
Knowing each contact’s social media habits unlocks a whole new level of information.
Unlike some plugins that require you use their form shortcodes, WordPress Leads integrates with any contact form plugin.
If you’re looking for more advanced features and reporting, this plugin may not fit the bill. But it does provide the option to integrate with third-party CRM tools.
WooCommerce Customer Relationship Manager
If you use WooCommerce to sell anything from your WordPress site, you’ll want to take a look at the WooCommerce Customer Relationship Management plugin.
Also, this plugin lets you track orders, add customer notes, send email and even make calls from the WordPress admin.
Yes, you read that correctly. You can pull up a contact, add a new call task to their file, and place the call from the contact record. It even has a call timer if you want to analyze your call data.
Because this plugin is meant to integrate with WooCommerce, it doesn’t work as a standalone solution.
You currently can’t feed customer information into the database through web forms. But it is worth mentioning that WooCommerce is free to download. So if you do sell products online, it might be worth looking into.
Once you start building a customer base with your WordPress site, it’s critical to have a CRM solution in place. This will help you build future business.
The more you know about your customers, the better positioned you are to provide the products, service and support they need.
CRM solutions can also be invaluable for highlighting underperforming customer segments and growth opportunities.
The Benefits of Integrating WordPress with Salesforce
Salesforce is one of the most well known CRMs on the market. This CRM offers many tools for storing and organizing your company’s sales and prospecting data.
Yet this data could be even more valuable when integrated with your corporate WordPress website. Below we offer six valuable ways to synchronize your Salesforce and WordPress data.
User Management Made Easy
Syncing your WordPress users to your CRM is crucial for maintaining a cohesive user database.
You can setup core WordPress functions, like site registration, to create new leads in your Salesforce database that come from WordPress.
You can also sync fields between the two applications so that your company departments all have access to the same data set.
Do you run a membership related website or host specific data on your website that is only visible to your customers?
With a Salesforce to WordPress integration you can keep your users’ account status synced dynamically. This lets you tag your leads as customers in Salesforce and have them automatically updated with a customer tag.
In turn, giving them access to ‘customer only’ areas of your website. Automated prospect to customer updates lessen your sales teams’ workload. You won’t have to worry about manual updates, and they’ll look like geniuses to their newest customers.
Convert Form Submissions into Leads
If you need to convert WordPress form submissions into leads, you’ll need to integrate your site more with Salesforce.
WordPress hooks and filters let you send form data to Salesforce and track your form’s performance in your CRM. Knowing the forms that convert better will help your inbound marketing team tune the forms that don’t work as well.
Track ‘Logged-In’ User Activity
To identify the most trafficked areas of your website, you can set up ‘logged-in’ user page tracking. This way, you can push user page history into a custom Salesforce Object.
If you’re hosting your WordPress site, you would need a great deal of computer resources to track users with more details.
And depending on how your web hosting provider charges you – could turn into an expensive proposition.
A more reliable and efficient way to track customer activity is through HubSpot. This is a great way to have a place to store the usual contact management information.
Build a Product Catalog or Ecommerce Store
There are many ways to import your product database into your Salesforce CRM. However, there are few ways to keep that data synced up with an external eCommerce store.
There are some out of the box solutions available. Some of these solutions are products designed to work with as many Salesforce setups as possible.
Yet these off-the-shelf solutions may nullify any customizations to your eCommerce workflow or database. A custom integration solution could include a product catalog.
It could even include a full eCommerce solution that records data. This includes information on all stock quantities, sales and other sales data in your database.
With previous purchase data, you can target customers for new products and marketing campaigns.
Tack on Campaign IDs to WordPress Actions
Do you want to associate any core or custom WordPress actions with your Salesforce campaigns?
Attaching WordPress actions to Salesforce lets you associate users who register on your WordPress site with a sales campaign.
You can also add anyone who submits a specific form to a given Salesforce campaign ID. You can even target specific website activities you want tracked.
For example, you can add a WordPress action that keeps track of the number of blog posts a user views in each product or service category.
If they hit a certain metric you can associate them with a campaign ID that corresponds to that category.
The number of custom actions you can create and track in this manner is endless. So be sure you have a specific marketing or sales goal in mind you can align these custom actions to.
Custom Object Integration
Salesforce is extremely extensible with the right developer on your team. You can create entire Salesforce objects dedicated to your website (isn’t that sexy?).
You want to build a website that helps keep track of your rental properties and store their data in Salesforce. Then a custom integration with custom Salesforce objects and tracking is what you need.
You can even keep track of tenant rent due dates, amounts and payments right inside of your Salesforce database. But you can make it so that your tenants to pay their bills on your WordPress website.
There certainly is a lot you can do with Salesforce and WordPress and even HubSpot.
Just be sure you have all your configurations tied to your business priorities. Otherwise you’ll just be spinning your wheels on cool tech that has no benefit to the bottom line and proves little ROI.
How to Use WordPress as CRM with WP-CRM Plugin
After getting a brief introduction about CRM you may wish to integrate your WordPress website with CRM as soon as possible.
WP-CRM is recognized as the most popular WordPress plugin for CRM integration. This plugin enables you to organize, filter and edit the business information with ease.
It comes with an understandable interface, which makes it easy to manage your customers, partners, vendors, affiliates, and so on.
To get more features of WP-CRM, you need to install and activate this plugin right now.
Plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-crm/
Go to your WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New and search for WP-CRM in the search bar.
When the WP-CRM comes to you, you are required to click Install Now button and then you will turn to the plugin activation page automatically. Click “Activate Plugin” to make this plugin work on your website properly.
Once you have completed the above-mentioned steps, the CRM is shown in your WordPress Dashboard menu. First of all, let’s have a quick view of WP-CRM settings. Go to CRM > Settings and check the options if needed. There are 8 tabs available for you, which have been listed as below.
Main is where to generally set up your CRM. You can replace the default setting as a customizable one. You can then determine whether to enable attribute grouping. Or determine if you want to track detailed user activity or automatically covert line breaks.
Note that, you need to set your email properly.
UI is where to customize the user interface settings. This includes user avatars, user information showcase and quick user actions.
Data is where to customize the attribute of customer information. You are allowed to determine what information should be included in the personal file. In addition to the default attributes, you can add more attributes as you need.
Roles tab is where to manage different user roles on your website and pitch on certain attributes selectively.
Notifications tab is where to modify the messages that will be sent to your customers in various situations.
You are allowed to customize the message according to your own needs and add new messages if needed.
Shortcode Forms tab is used to add and modify new shortcode forms.
For instance, the shortcodes like:
* user_current_user, and many other options are available for you.
Premium Features tab shows you the way to pay for some advanced features to expand the functionality.
After having a rough idea of WP-CRM settings, you should get started to add new person to your Customer Relationship Management system.
Go to CRM > New Person and fill out the individual information about this person.
You are required to enter the information that will be displayed in the information column. This can be modified via CRM > Settings > UI).
Finally, click the Save button to confirm all settings. Perhaps, you are allowed to add as many people as you want to your CRM.
To check all people included in CRM system, you can go to CRM > All People and check the user information & user email. If there is a need to modify certain users, you can click his/her avatar and then go to the edit page.
Note that, the sidebar on the right enables you to filter results in terms of role lists or user types. In this case, you can determine who will be show in the list and quickly target the users that you are looking for.
To check the contact messages sent by customers, you need to go to CRM > Messages, which let you know your customers in real time.
What’s more, you are allowed to modify the following:
* your own display name
* user email
* and some other information via CRM > My Profile.
Maybe now, you have known the charm of CRM and the way to use WordPress as CRM. We suggest you to try your hand at WP-CRM right now and get started to make your WordPress website integrate with CRM.
If you wish to get the recommendation of more CRM plugins, then the following list can help you a lot.
CRM Integrator(plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/zoho-crm-integrator/)
Leads Builder For Any CRM(plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-leads-builder-any-crm/)
Charmer Dashboard CRM(plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/chamber-dashboard-crm/)
WordPress as a CRM has gone through leaps and bounds over the past decade, providing solutions to businesses. It can help you become a trusted brand with your customers. You can now build lasting business relations with your prospects and clients. You will have an excellent edge over your competitors in pushing your customers through a sales funnel.