WordPress as a CRM Solution: Move Over Salesforce.com


Customer relationship management is an important part of any business. The customers have the money, and if you want them to spend their money with you, it’s your job to stay in touch, build relationships and to remind them that you’re still in business.

In this blog, I’ll show you how to use WordPress as a CRM solution and manage relationships with your prospects and customers directly from your WordPress website. I’ll start by sharing why this will prove to be a smarter move than using one of the more traditional CRM solutions…

The Mailing List Mentality is Dead

The primary reason I’d suggest WordPress as a CRM tool is its ability to create online communities rather than just creating mailing lists and blasting promotions to customers. Moving customers through an automated sales-funnel, adding them to a list and marketing your products and services to them using automated tools sounds like a great idea, but it’s just not enough anymore.

The internet has become an interactive frontier, and customers want interaction and responsiveness. Many times, they won’t buy a product or service until they’ve been in contact with a human being from your company and read some reviews from other satisfied customers.

This is why I believe a tool like WordPress is the perfect way to build customer relationships. There are WordPress plugins which allow you to not only build up a customer database, but to build an online community where your customers can interact with you and your staff and with one another.

This is what consumers expect in the age of Social Media. Maybe this doesn’t seem realistic if you’re selling plumbing services, but I’ve seen plenty of service based, brick and mortar companies use this approach, and with damn good results. So here are the simple WordPress upgrades you’ll need to make this happen…

Tool #1: BuddyPress Integration

In case you haven’t heard, BuddyPress is a plugin which allows you to build an online social community like Facebook for your company. When you start building a buzzing social community with your existing prospects and customers, you’ve got something to share on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Maybe a customer posts a positive review on your BuddyPress wall or you resolve a customer dispute which has a visible thread in one of your BuddyPress groups. These positive customer experiences then become tangible marketing tools for sharing on Facebook, on Twitter and even with other members of your BuddyPress community.

This might take more time and energy than sorting your prospects and customers into mailing lists and setting up autoresponders. But imagine how much more responsive new customers will be when they have verifiable proof of how you’re already managing your customer relationships. This is when it starts to make sense to use email marketing, and WordPress has the flexibility to do that as well…

Tool #2: WPMU DEV Autoresponder or WPMu DEV BuddyPress Group Email

The WPMU DEV Autoresponder plugin allows you to send mass emails to your WordPress users, which can include your prospects and your paid customers. This is good if you’re sending out general news or promotions about your company. But if you’re looking to streamline your customer contacts and target them according to past purchases or test separate email marketing campaigns, you might prefer the WPMU DEV BuddyPress Email Groups plugin.

This plugin does something better than sort prospects into email lists. Instead, you can use it toyou’re your customers to BuddyPress groups and send out email promotions or news updates according to the groups which your customers are in.

This gives you a tighter and more adhesive approach to building customer relationships, similar to the social features which are available on Salesforce.com. Only by using WordPress, you can manage your customer relationships from the same place where you sell products and services and recruit affiliates.

Heck, you can even turn your customers into affiliates and reward them for raving about your company to their friends and family members. This is how you start building a powerful online presence by creating a Social Media ecosystem which is driven by word of mouth marketing and high trust relationships.

Tool #3: WPMU DEV Ultimate Facebook Plugin + WP-FB Autoconnect

Building up your online client base from nothing can be a challenge, but not when you use the WPMP DEV Ultimate Facebook plugin coupled with the WP-FB Autoconnect Plugin. Ever seen those “sign up with Facebook” options on websites? The WP-FB Autoconnect makes it simple to add that option to your WordPress site.

Next, you use the Ultimate Facebook plugin to build a bridge between your WordPress community and Facebook, the largest social media site on the planet. Your users will then be able to post in your community and syndicate the content to Facebook where their friends can see it. Imagine what this could mean for the positive customer reviews that are posted on your site and which automatically post to Facebook.

Essentially, you’re no longer trying to compete with Facebook in order to build up your own social community and create ongoing relationships with your prospects and customers. Instead, you harness the power of Facebook and explode your online presence and influence.

Tool #4: WPMU DEV Q&A

This is where you really put the icing on the cake when it comes to building customer relationships using WordPress. With the WPMU DEV Q&A plugin, your customers can ask questions of you and your staff, rate the responses to those questions and help your staff members to earn expert points, just like in this screen shot:

Many marketers aren’t realizing that customer service is becoming the most powerful form of online marketing.  But considering that most consumers consult peer reviews before making buying decisions, it’s easy to see how important it is to get your customers raving about how well they were treated.

With a tool like Q&A, you can demonstrate to your prospective customers that your staff if helpful and knowledge by including these statistics in your sales pages and marketing emails. Even the best copywriting and design can’t outdo that kind of marketing.

Time to Start Building Your WordPress CRM

So what are you waiting for?

Get a hold of these plugins and start building your WordPress CRM using the power of Social Media marketing, mass emailing, customer service and the Facebook community.

While using WordPress as a CRM might look quite different than the solutions which have been used over the past ten years, it’s a solution which will help you become a trusted brand with your prospects and customers by building relationships that last while your competitors are still trying to push customers through a sales funnel.

Enjoy!

-Seth C