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Salesforce Customer Relationship Management - CRM

 

Salesforce has been in business for nearly 20 years and has the bulk of the market share when it comes to sales applications, marketing applications, and customer services applications. SMB and international enterprises alike use Salesforce products, including its highly reviewed customer relationship management SaaS solution.

Salesforce offers small businesses the power and functionality of an enterprise level CRM in a package that can be gradually scaled and upgraded over time. For SMBs that want to compete on a larger scale, investing in the industry standard can be a way to even the playing field. While lightweight customer relationship management systems can be easily outgrown, sophisticated solutions like Salesforce can service your small business from the startup stage through to the enterprise level. The fact that Salesforce has an ecosystem that extends beyond CRM services (and into areas like e-commerce, community engagement and collaboration) also makes it a good choice for small businesses that want to build out comprehensive systems to service multiple departments.

In 2016, Salesforce was named Innovator of the Decade by Forbes, and, today, Salesforce is one of the top five fastest-growing enterprise software companies worldwide. One major edge Salesforce offers clients is access to the massive Salesforce App marketplace, which makes installing third-party integrations relatively painless. Additionally, the sheer size of the CRM giant makes it an excellent option in terms of scalability; your business is highly unlikely to ever outgrow the Salesforce ecosystem.


Powerful, customizable, scalable 
Salesforce dominates the CRM market because it can be scaled and customized to meet the needs of a diverse range of businesses. The implementation timeline for Salesforce varies wildly due to different subscription levels and integrations that require varying levels of hands-on setup. However, once implemented, Salesforce offers one of the best user interfaces available.

Salesforce's modern UI is intuitive enough to use that very little training is necessary for non-admin users. Navigation within Salesforce is easy, too. Each tab is separated into easy-to-understand categories, such as Home, Contacts, Accounts, Leads, Campaigns, Opportunities, Forecasts Files and more. This tab-style layout makes it easy to see all the information available and jump from task to task. Additionally, Salesforce admin controls make it easy to maintain different permissions and displays based on user groups or individual users, and since the SaaS product is mobile-ready it can be accessed from anywhere.

Some CRM solutions have one or two standout features that make them worthy of consideration among business users, but Salesforce's sheer variety of features and nearly limitless service options make it an award winner in our book. Here are a few of the best CRM features Salesforce offers business users. Keep in mind that some of these features are add-ons and aren't included in the tiered pricing structure we outlined.

 

Customizable dashboards: The CRM dashboard is arranged in an intuitive way, with reporting widgets and real-time summaries of sales numbers and customer data. Dashboard views can easily be customized, so employees with varied roles see only what's important to them.

 

Advanced analytics: Basic business analytics are built into Salesforce's CRM, but advanced analytics are available as an add-on for those with robust data analysis needs. Products like Salesforce's Einstein Analytics family includes a variety of products designed to boost sales and productivity by interpreting data gathered.

 

Click-to-call: While it's not included in any of the tiered subscription plans, Salesforce CRM users may opt to pay extra for the addition of Lightning Dialer. Salesforce's proprietary click-to-call add-on is a must for high-volume call centers and eliminates the need for a third-party calling solution.

 

B2B marketing tools: Pardot B2B Marketing Automation is a Salesforce add-on that allows B2B users to streamline the marketing and lead-generation process and maximize on ROI. Very few CRM solutions offer tools specifically for B2B industries, so this is a standout feature.

 

Salesforce Trailblazer Community: For the self-serve set, the Salesforce Trailblazer Community is an invaluable online resource. The comprehensive help forum features knowledge articles, best practices for implementation, interactive groups, a space for Q&As and more. Since Salesforce is so widely used, the Trailblazer community is more active and responsive than other branded CRM user groups.

 

Customer Service Console: You'd be hard pressed to find a company with more customer service support tools than Salesforce. In fact, this CRM provider offers an entire customer Customer Service Console add-on that's designed specifically for small businesses and help desks. Through the service console, users may view customer inquiries from social media, phone, chat, and emails in one place, route questions to the correct agents, and maintain records of conversations and response time.

 

Project management: Salesforce has lightweight project management built into its CRM solution, primarily in the form of workflows, task assignments, approvals and permission levels. However, if you require more advanced project management or already use a popular project management system you can integrate it with your Salesforce CRM through AppExchange. There are currently 112 different project-management tools (paid and free) that can be paired with Salesforce, including popular solutions like Taskfeed and Tracker by Deloitte as well as industry-specific products like the AdvoLogix Legal Suite.

 

AppExchange Free Integrations: There are plenty of paid services Salesforce users can integrate with their CRMs through AppExchange, but there are also hundreds of free integrations available, some of which are pared down versions of more expensive products (ideal for very small businesses) and others that are open source or simply available free of charge. Browse the Salesforce AppExchange store by category to get a sense of the scope of add-ons available.

 

With nearly 20 percent market share as of 2015, Salesforce owns more of the CRM market than tech giants SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. While size may seem irrelevant when it comes to the end user, some companies prefer to implement products from major companies, because larger SaaS providers tend to continue to build out the types of services and products they offer. Getting multiple solutions from one provider can also make it easier for large businesses to keep a handle on the tech they use.