Tag Archives: CRM

CRM for Gmail and G Suite: Chrome Extensions

Many CRM users, especially salespeople, live in Gmail. Because of this, a number of CRM vendors have developed Chrome extensions that provide access to CRM functionality within consumer Gmail and business Gmail (G Suite). A Chrome extension is a software program that adds functionality to the Chrome browser.

Historically, Chrome extensions have had little to no user interface. In fact, the original intent of Google’s developers was for extensions to be minimalist. From a user interface perspective, many extensions are no more than a button on the address bar.

As an example of basic functionality of a CRM for Gmail Chrome extension, a CRM user can search for records, edit records and add records — all without leaving Gmail. Some CRM vendors have taken their Chrome extensions to entirely new levels. Continue reading CRM for Gmail and G Suite: Chrome Extensions

Sales Process Automation in CRM

Sales Process AutomationMany organizations look at a new CRM system as a better way of organizing and tracking data about prospects and customers — which it is.  However, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that the main benefit to CRM is that it is an enabling technology for improving business processes, including sales processes. Continue reading Sales Process Automation in CRM

5 Reasons to Integrate HubSpot With Your CRM

HubSpot to CRM IntegrationHubSpot is the company that defined the Inbound Marketing category.  They provide the leading solution to SMBs that are looking for ways to have more people find their site on the Internet and to convert more site visitors to sales Leads.  Integration solutions are available to connect HubSpot to most of the leading CRM solutions, including Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SugarCRM and NetSuite. Continue reading 5 Reasons to Integrate HubSpot With Your CRM

Business Collaboration with Google Docs & Sites

Google has been actively touting the collaboration features of Google Apps and has developed some excellent marketing content around the various components of Google Apps.  But, what are some specific, real world examples of how Google Docs and Google Sites can be used for collaboration in business?

As a CRM consulting company with employees in different locations along the west coast, collaborative tools are very important to our overall efficiency and our responsiveness to customer needs.  Here just a few of the ways we collaborate using Documents and Sites within Google Apps Premier Edition.

Using Google Sites to Manage Projects

With Google Sites, we can set up a Site for each customer.  Each customer Site is shared with everyone within our company.  Within a Site, one or more projects is set up for the customer.  Within a project we’ve created template pages for areas such as:

  • The project summary
  • The customer’s CRM functional requirements
  • The data migration scripts that were used
  • An embedded spreadsheet for managing a punch list of open issues
  • A link to a folder that contains all project related Google Docs ranging from Statements of Work to training documentation

Subscribing to a Site or a page generates an email with every single change, which makes the notifications impractical if frequent changes are made.  An option for a periodic digest email would be a good enhancement.

We also plan to replace our Twiki content with Google Sites, as Sites is a more user-friendly option and we don’t need to worry about managing uptime as we do with our Twiki.

Google Spreadsheets for Collaborating on Open Items

A Google spreadsheet has proven to be a very effective mechanism for creating a list of open items or issues that need to be addressed prior to a CRM cutover (or even post cutover).  As a project manager/business analyst is logging issues found during his/her own testing or from customer feedback, a developer can be simultaneously viewing the same spreadsheet and tackling new issues as they are added as new rows in the spreadsheet.

If someone needs to be nudged to check the spreadsheet, an editor can send a friendly reminder email right from within the spreadsheet to one or more of the other collaborators.  This list can also be shared out to customer contacts who already have a Google login or who don’t mind creating one.

Leveraging a Google Presentation to Collaborate on Application Testing

Taking the spreadsheet concept one step further, a shared Google presentation can be used by an application tester to include both text and screen shots to communicate needed fixes or changes to a developer.  It’s very easy to take a screen shot of a problem area and the upload the screen shot to a slide along with text annotation.  Crystal clear communication can be provided to the developer.

It does not seem that Google Apps Videos can be embedded within Google Presentations yet, but we hope that feature is added down the road.  The ability to have a full motion explanation of an issue is occasionally needed — this is currently be accomplished by attaching an MOV or MP4 screencast to a GMail or by setting up a quick GoToMeeting.

These are just a few of the ways we’ve found that Google Docs and Sites can be used for collaboration.  What are some of the ways that your organization collaborates with Google Apps?

Salesforce.com for Small Businesses

Salesforce.com is now promoting a suite of editions for small business, with the launch of the small business page.  The three, offered editions provide an easy way for small businesses to get started with the world’s leading CRM solution.  While the small business editions have feature limitations compared to the higher end, Enterprise Edition, users can still benefit from solid, core functionality and from all of the of the Force.com platform’s physical security, application security controls, and high availability.

Salesforce.com Contact Manager Edition

Salesforce.com Contact Manager Edition

The Salesforce Contact Manager Edition is for up to five users and is currently only $5 per user per month.  This edition provides the standard Account and Contact objects, but it does not have the Leads or Opportunities as standard objects.  However, since custom objects can be created even in this edition, for basic opportunity management, a custom Opportunity object could be created.

The Contact Manager Edition includes the core functionality that many users need, including activity management and Outlook integration.  Email to Salesforce, which provides email integration for any email client, is also available.  Google Apps can be enabled for companies that have moved toward Google as a productivity platform.

Salesforce.com Group Edition

The Group Edition, which also supports up to five users, has additional functionality beyond what the Contact Manager Edition offers. This edition costs $25 per user per month.

The Group Edition has a Lead object, which includes Web-to-Lead — an easy way to post Web form HTML on a company Web site for capturing visitor information into Salesforce as a new Lead.

A Lead can be converted to a Contact/Account/Opportunity, just as with the higher end editions (Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited).  The Opportunity object includes all of the features that the Opportunity object has in the higher editions, including Opportunity-related reporting.  The Group Edition also comes with Dashboards.

Salesforce.com Professional Edition

The Professional Edition lifts the user limit of five and provides unlimited users.  It also has a number of features that the Group Edition does not have.  These features include:

  • Case Management
  • Mass Email Capability
  • Mobile Access using free, Mobile Lite
  • Sales Forecasting
  • Customizable Dashboards

This edition costs $65 per user per month.

Small businesses with five or fewer users can get started with a very low cost of entry and, if needed, upgrade to higher editions that have additional features and functionality.  Salesforce.com has come up with an excellent combination of CRM power and attractive price points for small business.

Our Favorite Sources for CRM News

We’re always reading about the latest trends in CRM, and wanted to share with you the sources that we find the most interesting:

Are we missing your favorites?  Add them in the comments.

Email Interview with Paul Greenberg

This post is part of our new series of email interviews with CRM, email marketing and inbound marketing luminaries.

Name: Paul Greenberg
Company/Title: The 56 Group, President
Latest Book: CRM at the Speed of Light, 4th Edition
ZDNet Blog: http://blogs.zdnet.com/crm
PGreenblog: http://the56group.typepad.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pgreenbe Continue reading Email Interview with Paul Greenberg

CRM Strategy + CRM Software = Customer Relationships!

Photo courtesy of Beatnic on Flickr
Photo courtesy of Beatnic on Flickr

Often, when people in “the industry” think about CRM, they think about the software (or Software as a Service) that tracks lead, prospect and customer information.  While this is an important part of customer relationship management (CRM), it is not the whole picture.  Continue reading CRM Strategy + CRM Software = Customer Relationships!

Twitter and CRM Integration – What’s in Store?

I’ve gotten the same question several times recently — what currently are and what will be the integration touchpoints between CRM and Twitter?  It’s still early in the game, but here are a few strategic and technological answers to that question.

Integrating CRM Strategy with Twitter

Looking at CRM as a strategy, there are many ways that companies can use Twitter to improve their customer relationships.  I recently received a marketing email from our Web hosting company, @SiteGround, which communicated that they were now on Twitter.  Having something I wanted to communicate to SiteGround, I decided to Tweet the following: Continue reading Twitter and CRM Integration – What’s in Store?