Salesforce CRM: What You Need to Know to See If It's Right for You

Published on
September 21, 2017

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems automate sales processes to help organizations start and build deeper relationships with prospects and customers. CRMs are powerful systems so shopping for one is no small undertaking.

Ranked the No. 1 CRM platform in the world, Salesforce can be completely tailored to meet each organization's needs. Salesforce offers a variety of tools for extending the CRM, everything from visual and point-and-click to platforms for Salesforce developers. These can enhance the CRM to meet your sales, service and marketing needs and to automate your processes.

5 Issues to Factor in Your CRM Decision

Whenever shopping for a CRM, here are some things to consider:

  • Cloud-based CRM. Is your organization equipped to work with cloud-based apps that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Some organizations may need an alternative if some employees do not have internet access.
  • Cost. Salesforce is cost effective for developing custom applications with unique requirements or to integrate external applications. However, the more customized and complex a CRM becomes, the more it will cost.
  • Resources. Ask about the CRM's system resources to ensure users — including customers, partners, and developers — aren't affected when working on the system.
  • Hosting. There are different types of hosting for CRMs. Ensure your that the CRM you select has a hosting solution that works for your organization.
  • Customization. Every organization has a distinctive sales process based on their business requirements. Some CRMs offer more customization features than others. Of course, the more you customize, the better the CRM will work with your business processes.

5 Major Salesforce Functions

Salesforce offers a variety of features in every functional area. To show you what's possible, here are the five functional areas in Salesforce:

  • Cloud-based CRM: Hosted in the cloud, Salesforce is easily accessed from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Cloud-based software does not require any infrastructure maintenance or hardware setup.
  • Flexibility: Because every customer has different business requirements, Salesforce offers a customizable cloud-based platform that can be tweaked and enhanced to meet each customer's business needs.
  • Open platform: Salesforce has a robust, well-documented open API that allows Salesforce developers to easily integrate the CRM with third-party applications and existing systems.
  • Security: The Salesforce Cloud CRM provides highly secure solutions to prevent end-user data from being compromised in the cloud. It provides real-time updates on system performance and reports about the state of the data.
  • Mobile CRM: Salesforce1 is a new platform that connects customers to the next generation of apps and devices. Using Salesforce1 app, customers can view data and access custom applications on mobile devices. Salesforce uses single code-based techniques to develop applications for Android, iOS, and desktops.

The potential and possibilities of Salesforce are endless. Just about anything can be added to the default setup. You'll find an abundance of apps in Salesforce AppExchange, or you work with a Salesforce developer or a third-party partner to customize and augment the CRM to meet your unique requirements.

5 Reasons to Implement Salesforce CRM

Though it's not the answer for every organization, Salesforce provides excellent customer relationship management benefits. As one of the bigger cloud platforms, it has these advantages:

  • Increases productivity. Organizations increase efficiency and productivity with help from Salesforce CRM's customizable and flexible platform that adapts to their processes.
  • Access from anywhere. Accessing Salesforce through the internet allows users to easily access data and applications from anywhere in the world with any connected device.
  • Dynamic databases. Salesforce is a multidimensional relational database. In other words, it brings powerful databases together and unites them in a dynamic, flexible way.
  • Stays updated. Salesforce provides three major releases each year, with new features and updates, which makes it compatible with other technology updates.
  • Effortless enhancements. Organizations can enhance Salesforce to better meet their needs by extending its functionality with add-ons from Salesforce's AppExchange.

A powerful tool, the potential of Salesforce "out of the box" is only the beginning of the features and functions that are available. If the features your organization needs aren't in the original software, they may be available on AppExchange, Salesforce's official cloud application store. Adding apps may be as simple as a few clicks.

For example, if you need a way to send text messages and track the conversations, you can search AppExchange to see if it exists. (Here's one called Open SMS Pro.)

If you can't find the perfect app on AppExchange, Salesforce offers more resources for customizing the platform. For example, you also have the option of working with certified partners who have years of Salesforce development experience. A Salesforce partner can develop an app just for your company.

Salesforce implementation partners earn the designation of Silver Consulting Partner through proven experience in successfully designing, building, implementing, and launching Salesforce solutions and apps. You reduce the risk of running into problems when you work with one.

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