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Are you new to the big, big world of entrepreneurship? Are you passionate about the non-profit you’ve gotten started on? Or have you been a part of digital marketing for as long as you can remember, even before Google became the latest, newest thing?
However long you’ve been a part of the business world, online or offline, customer relationship management makes things a whole lot easier.
Business owners and entrepreneurs of all kinds have a huge, wide variety of CRM systems to choose from. One of those we’re going to discuss in good detail today is Salesforce.
First, we’ll answer the most obvious question:
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is one of the first CRM models of its kind to rely on Cloud-based software. It frequently uses SaaS (Software as a Service) features and provides all sorts of handy solutions to the way you conduct business.
Using Salesforce means you will be able to better track your business’s customer activity, market to them more effectively, and allow stronger communication between all teams involved (marketing and sales and IT and customer service, rather than one or the other team), all while worrying less about backups because everything is saved in the Cloud.
Salesforce offers several easy to use features, which can vary depending on what your role is at your company:
- The Sales Cloud. This part of the CRM system can help you manage your organization’s sales, marketing, and customer support. As the name suggests, it’s a beneficial system for the sales team.
- The Marketing Cloud. This provides an incredibly powerful platform for your marketing team. Those staff members can use this part of Salesforce to manage the customer’s journey and provide analytics for email, social media, mobile, content creation and management, and customer data.
- The Service Cloud. This is the best platform for your company’s customer service and support team. There are features included such as a social networking plugin and case tracking. Not only do these features help you solve customer service problems faster, but also they can give your customers access to certain answers they’re looking for. Allowing these answers to have access can help your customers solve problems on their own.
And guess what? This is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to what Salesforce can offer you and your company. A full, extensive list can be found here.
What is Salesforce used for?
One thing that unites all of these teams and the many, many services Salesforce has to offer is that it builds one, valuable thing: trust.
According to a report, a whopping 80% of customers have said that the experience a company provides is as important as the products and services from it.
What this report means is it’s really not about what you’re offering to your customers for sale. It’s about where, when, why, and how you reach out to them that really matters.
Picture a barrel of apples. Did you know that one apple that’s rotten alone can affect an entire crop? Leave the one bad apple alone in the barrel for too long, and the rest will decay fast in turn.
Customer trust can work in a similar way. You can have the most amazing and innovative product on the market that will truly change lives. But, as soon as one experience for a customer turns sour and their trust in your business is broken, you can expect the rest of that whole “barrel” to turn sour too.
Customers today want to trust that they’re getting exactly what they need from you and in when and where they really need it. They want their experiences to be seamless and with hardly any effort on their part. If that trust is fulfilled by certain brands, the customers will in turn be incredibly loyal to them.
If customer service is your business’s weak point, and you really need to nail how people use your product and create that sense of connection while providing a seamless experience, Salesforce is a must-have CRM to build that sense of trust.
Why would my business need Salesforce?
These names should be brought to your attention because they rely on Salesforce to ensure their business runs smoothly: Amazon, IBM, American Express, Sony, Adidas, and Coca-Cola. And that’s only the beginning.
B2C companies aren’t the only ones who can benefit either. B2B companies can also benefit from using it. After all, both kinds of businesses rely on that customer trust to flourish.
Salesforce takes the concept of trust and connection even further. From the beginning the platform has been based on what’s called the 1-1-1 philanthropic model. What this means is that Salesforce places 1% of its equity, technology, and its staff’s time each towards improving equality, education, and the environment for the world.
Over the years Salesforce has used this model to contribute the money it has made to several charities and good causes such as 1 Trillion Trees. They’ve also contributed millions of dollars to grants for public schools and education.
So if you want to choose a CRM system that does a whole lot of good for not only your business, but also for the rest of your community and the world itself, using Salesforce is a good way to go.
How much does it cost?
Naturally the more expensive Salesforce costs, the more features and the greater access you’ll have to its services as your CRM system.
The most expensive version is their Unlimited Edition (which I’m certain big names like Amazon are paying for currently) and it’s a whopping $300 per month to use.
However, smaller companies can still have access to some really useful elements. These accounts range from an affordable $25 per month for the Sales Essential Edition, to $75 per month for the Professional Edition.
The Enterprise Edition takes the best of both the Sales Essential and Professional accounts to create one account that’s near the level of the Unlimited. Its cost is $150 per month.
That being said, Salesforce is going to cost you extra if you don’t set it up or integrate it into your current software properly. For more reasons why it’s worth consulting with a Salesforce administrator before you sign up for a plan, visit our previous blog post “CRM System Integration: Don’t Do It Yourself! Here’s Why“.
Stumped? Hire a Salesforce consultant
As someone who has used Salesforce over the past 12 years, I can safely say this is one of the quintessential kinds of CRM to use for your business.
It’s convenient, it’s Cloud-based, it’s philanthropic, it’s completely dedicated to enhancing the customer service experience…and it’s complicated, if you don’t know where exactly to start.
I’m not only an experienced CRM consultant—I’m also a certified Salesforce administrator. Together, we can customize Salesforce and figure out together how your software should be working for you as opposed to against you. That way, not only will your unique business needs be met, your customers’s needs will be too.