Salesforce dominates most comparative CRM lists, and in most business communities, it’s the de facto standard for defining what CRM means to businesses today. While Salesforce’s default CRM functionality is outstanding, it’s actually the limitless availability of Salesforce plugins that really makes this particular design shine.
Salesforce has a proprietary (but very easy to work with) API called Apex, which allows not only the creation of various automata and custom forms and queries, but also fully functional apps for extending functionality and facilitating integration of other services fluidly.
With the App Exchange, this library grows daily, equating it to an app store on a mobile device in extensiveness and ease of use. But, simply saying “there are a lot of neat Salesforce plugins” isn’t the same as pointing out some of the actual apps, and giving you a good grip on the kinds of practical things this readily makes possible.
#1 – Cirrus Insight
One of the most convenient things these apps can do is to let you tie in external services that you undoubtedly use, allowing you to remove some manual transposition of information between them. Cirrus Insight does this for integrating Gmail, Google Apps and the Google Calendar.
The convenience of this is extended contacts, use of yet more web apps provided by Google, and true global synchronization of your calendars and timestamps. It may sound utilitarian, but man, it saves you annoyance.
On the same front, integrating your social network fronts with your CRM is an excellent step to making social customer service and support more practical, and also allowing automated cultivation of leads and publication of updates with the push of a button.
Now, this one is pretty obvious in how helpful it is.
#3 – Survey Force
Data capture is always a hurdle for CRM, and in the past, getting survey data into your central CRM database was tedious. Survey Force eliminates this problem quite effectively, allowing native creation and deployment of survey forms from within Salesforce itself.
#4 – GridBuddy
Editing records and tables is a tedious process in any CRM, or any kind of database structure in general. GridBuddy relieves this tedium within reason, allowing you to edit things in line, or do mass modifications or deletions with a single click of a button.
This will greatly improve the efficiency and maintenance and data input processes, making the lives of staff and customers easier by an exponential amount.
#5 – PowerDialer
PowerDialer is a solution for integrating telephony solutions directly into Salesforce not only for ease of calling out from the contacts table, but also for logging call events and recording metrics directly, making Salesforce ready for your multi-channel, VoIP and standard call center environments with no fuss.
Salesforce plugins can make Salesforce do about anything, and these five instances are just a small sample of that. I didn’t even scratch the surface of what these can enable, and what intuitive services Salesforce can bring in thanks to this intuitive API and the skill of many intrepid developers. Apple’s slogan of “there’s an app for that” more astutely describes Salesforce than iOS, in actuality.