Engaging with your customers and maintaining quality relationships with them instead of betting on one-time sales really pays off in the long run. Did you know that it costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer compared to retaining a current one? With this in mind, it is extremely important to manage your customer relationships on a high level, but when your business is growing it can be a tough task if you aren’t using any tool to keep track of this aspect.
That’s why today we will talk about Salesforce, a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software that allows you to connect with customers and easily keep track of your sales pipeline.
What is a CRM?
Before moving on to Salesforce, I want to talk briefly about what exactly a CRM is, and how it will boost your company’s performance and sales – in other words, why your business needs it.
CRM or Customer Relationship Management is an approach for managing your company’s interactions with current and potential customers. It focuses on customer retention and revenue growth in the long run instead of nurturing short-term transactions. By using data analysis, you can keep track of all your customers at a single place, and successfully encourage communication and repetitive sales that lead to sales growth.
Nowadays, a CRM is usually referred as a specific tool, most often a web application or software, that allows companies to focus on individual customers. A good CRM tool allows you to store and organize customer data such as contact details, transactions, client company’s details and past interactions. It provides you with an easy way to manage campaigns, complete tasks and seal deals, send and track e-mails, manage leads and track their conversion. Moreover, CRM tools usually provide you with extremely useful and meaningful reports about your customers’ trends, patterns and behavior.
Your business needs a CRM tool for a variety of reasons, such as optimizing your marketing strategy, increasing your sales performance and growth, and storing useful data to analyze customer behavior. Building and most importantly, maintaining quality relationships with customers is essential for the success of absolutely every company.
2. What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is the world’s leading CRM software and enterprise cloud ecosystem that offers a complete integrated solution for managing your company’s current and potential customers. It is the first CRM platform that is entirely cloud-based, meaning that you don’t need absolutely any additional hardware nor software as you can access the data from anywhere as long as you have Internet.
The platform offers a variety of solutions that are not only limited to CRM, including Analytics, Marketing Cloud, Customer Support and eCommerce. Check them all here.
However, as it is an extremely comprehensive platform, it is better to explore each product individually, which I will do in further posts. Today, the focus will be Salesforce’s customer relationship management tool.
Salesforce CRM is considered one of the best CRM tools for small, midsize and enterprise organizations. It helps you collect and track your customers’ data and their interactions with your company without having to download any additional software. Since all the information is stored in a cloud, you can access it from any place, any time.
Salesforce CRM is a software that offers a lot of features such as e-mail integration, forecasting, customer engagement, sales management, analytics, and marketing automation. These features allow you to automate the whole process of generating quality leads and reduce the time needed to complete a sales cycle.
3. How do I activate it? Do I need to download anything?
As I already mentioned, it is completely cloud-based and there is no need to download anything to start using it. What you need to do is go to their website and register for a free 30-day trial period. After the trial has ended, you will be asked to select a paid plan.
4. Can I get a certification in Salesforce? Does it cost anything?
Yes, Salesforce provides a variety of different certifications depending on the job role or hierarchy. Below, you will find the prices for each exam (prices can change, so it’s always better to consult Salesforce directly if you are planning to take one):
- Administrator – $200
- Advanced Administrator – $400
- App Builders – $200
- Architects – $400
- Consultants – $200
- Developers – $200
- Marketers – $200
- Pardot Experts – $200
- Specialists – $200
- Salesforce Certified Technical Architect – $6,000
These are only the main categories, and inside each category you will find more specific certifications such as Data Architecture and Management Designer or Application Architect (for category Architects). After you’ve passed the exam, you also have a maintenance fee of $100 (may vary) per year to maintain your credential valid.
The majority of the exams are multiple-choice with between 90 and 120 minutes duration.
Additionally, Salesforce provides courses that help you prepare for your certification. You can consult them here.
5. SalesForce Rating
TrustRadius: 7.8 / 10 (1414 ratings overall)
G2Crowd: 4.2 / 5 (2739 ratings overall)
PCmag: 4.5 / 5 (Editor’s review)
6. What features does Salesforce offer?
Salesforce has the following features:
- Contact Management;
- Community Management;
- Lead Generation;
- E-mail integration;
- Marketing and Sales leads;
- Innovative apps;
- Mobile access;
- Contact Manager;
- Real-time visibility;
- Automated workflow;
7. What are the pros and cons of Salesforce?
- Customizable dashboard with a variety of widgets;
- Easy navigation and intuitive layout;
- Cloud-based (no additional software or hardware needed);
- Supports all major browsers;
- Social media function;
- Fully equipped with functions for every stage of the cycle;
- Reduction of costs (easy to learn the basic functions);
- Integration with a lot of apps;
- Accessing all the functions can be quite expensive for small businesses;
- Prices rise per increasing number of users;
- A lot of limitations with the cheaper versions;
- Need for additional modules;
- Customization can be tricky and takes time;
- Customer support needs improvement.
8. What prices are associated with it?
The CRM solution of Salesforce is associated with the following costs:
Consult the pricing for the rest of the Salesforce products here.
9. What else should I know about Salesforce?
Currently, Salesforce is working on a new desktop user interface called the Lightning Experience, which is modernized, sales-centric and faster than the classic Salesforce interface. It provides a variety of new features such as:
- Efficient navigation and switch between apps;
- Quick access to productivity tools such as Notes;
- New record layouts;
- Easy filtering and data visualization;
- A beautiful and modernized new dashboard and interface.
The Lightning Experience is a new desktop app with more than 25 new features and perfectly optimized for speed. To learn more about it, visit this page of Salesforce website.
Tip: If you have a LinkedIn Premium account, I strongly recommend you to take the course Learning Salesforce, which provides you with a great demo on how the platform works and what are its key features. If you don’t have a LinkedIn Premium account, you have a 30-day free trial once you’ve registered in LinkedIn (unless you’ve used it already).
Tip 2: To additionally strengthen the communication with your clients, make sure to check this awesome tool called Slack.
I hope you enjoyed this article, stay tuned for more!