Salesforce’s AppExchange offers over 1900 third-party gadgets to enhance, enliven and engage your CRM database. Finding the most effective and user-friendly (not to mention cheapest!) among them is a challenge. While you’ll undoubtedly adopt tools to fit your particular niche, here are three that we think any sales organization could benefit from integrating into its Salesforce setup. These three plugins will save your team a lot of time by making it easy to enter, manipulate and export data that may otherwise remain trapped in your Salesforce implementation.
Salesforce has an in-built Web-to-Lead functionality that uses internet forms to drop contact information into your CRM account. The function has several shortcomings, the biggest of which is that it will only drop information into the “Leads” field. This renders Salesforce’s own tool useless for, as an example, gathering data on existing customers.
FormAssembly, on the other hand, allows you to create surveys that automatically send information into any part of Salesforce. The possibilities here are endless. You can use FormAssembly forms to solicit client feedback and associate it directly with client records. Prialto also uses FormAssembly to engage employees in our evaluation process, with the evals then directly populating an employees’ Salesforce record. We can even use FormAssembly to record weekly reports on our customers’ usage, which go straight into the customers’ individual account records.
While FormAssembly has its competitors (Clicktools, for example, is a formidable one), their survey setup interface is not always intuitive. FormAssembly itself takes a bit of time to master – especially when you get to flipping the switch to start Salesforce integration. Still, its hyper-flexibility with custom objects, customization and branding options for the actual surveys and low price-point make it the best $39/user that we spend each month.
If you’ve already done the hard work and convinced your entire team to fully adopt Salesforce, you are probably just a few months away from the next major CRM hurdle - duplicate entries.
The power of your CRM lies in its ability to give accurate, up-to-date information to your team. But when multiple people are entering data into the same database in several different ways, they are bound to start duplicating each other’s work. The danger is that you’ll start relying on information that’s outdated, over-counted or just plain wrong. And while Salesforce is aware of this issue, its own simplistic “contact merge” functionality does not begin to deal with it.
Cloudingo, on the other hand, overcomes this problem amazingly well. It crawls your existing database at regular intervals to merge duplicated records. You can filter fields like full name or email addresses, and the tool will locate duplicates for you. No more exporting and sorting in Excel, which can be painful once your CRM database is above 200 contacts. Cloudingo’s detailed interface and its ability to do mass and automated merges set it apart from its competitors. The pricing model is almost as simple as the UI ($1596 per year for a single Salesforce instance, with priority support) and Prialto members get a discount!
Salesforce is great at storing your data, but not that wonderful at spitting it back out in a helpful format. How much do you enjoy cutting and pasting out of an Excel spreadsheet each time you need to send out a new job proposal?
Conga allows you to produce template forms from your chosen Salesforce fields. The application turns drafting contracts, presentations, reports and invoices into a 1-click process from directly within Salesforce. The fields and formats that you can choose are infinitely configurable. You create your templates in easy-to-use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF or even HTML email templates and then upload to Salesforce for use with any conceivable piece of information in your database. Conga integrates with Docusign and other e-signature companies to send out documents however and whenever you choose. Pricing starts at $12 per user/month, with a 5 user minimum and no limits to the number of documents produced.
So what we’ve effectively laid out here is a 3-step process to get data into Salesforce (FormAssembly), clean it up (Cloudingo) and get it out (Conga). These three apps will add tremendous lift to your Salesforce platform, and you won’t need an expensive Salesforce consultant to plug them in for you. The work can fall on any decently strong Salesforce.com administrator or to a company like Prialto that administers Salesforce as part of its service for an entire team.
Once you adopt these plugins, they’ll become so integral to yours setup that it won’t be easy to get them out. That’s the best sort of problem to have!