6 CRM Plugins Your Customer-Facing Teams Sorely Need


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Your CRM helps your company earn new business and create a seamless customer experience — but are you getting the most from your software?

Workflow automation tools empower brands big and small to close more deals and satisfy more customers. As much functionality as great CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot offer, they don’t specialize in every area growing companies need to be successful. To make the most of your CRM, you need plugins that can handle the load.

Here are a few CRM plugins worth considering for your customer-facing teams’ needs:

1. Prospect Communication

Does your CRM tell you everything about how your prospects and customers engage with your emails? If not, you’re missing out on valuable data that could help you optimize your customer experience.

Tools like Mixmax help companies create scalable communication to make the most of their customer success strategies. Users can collect data on outbound emails, including opens, clicks, replies, and meeting confirmations. That information can be used to create multi-touch sequences and integrated into CRMs like Salesforce and Pipedrive to create tasks, making it easy for customer-facing teams to provide contextual guidance or keep deals moving through the funnel. The Chrome extension also lets sales teams add or edit CRM records directly from Gmail, ensuring clean data is maintained on prospects.

2. Social Intelligence

Your customers are talking about your brand online. Unless you take advantage of social selling and tracking software, however, you can’t join the conversation. Integrate social tools into your CRM to tap into your biggest network of marketers — your customers — to ensure online conversations trend toward the positive.

InsideView, for example, can help you analyze social network connections and bolster your CRM’s contact database. Social tools like InsideView also let you monitor networks for news, so you can stay abreast of trends that may impact your business. Keeping a finger on the pulse of social media lets you nip problems in the bud before they spread — and they also enable you to take advantage of positive buzz.

3. Lead Scoring Software

One qualified prospect is worth more than a thousand unqualified prospects. Instead of wasting effort chasing down leads that won’t (or can’t) convert, use lead scoring software to grade leads in your CRM and spend more time working on better deals.

Salesforce offers its own lead scoring add-on, Pardot, but you don’t have to go with a first-party option to get first-rate results. Look for software that can break down total lead scores into multiple components. You might weight budget heavily, but a low-budget lead with deal-making authority and an immediate need could be a better lead than one with a fat budget and little interest. Translate intuition into hard numbers to help teams understand the varying needs of different prospects.

4. Website Integration

Most of the digital customer journey happens outside the influence of reps. The stronger the online experience, the easier life gets for reps when they speak with customers who need help. Businesses with WordPress websites should create deep CRM-WordPress connections to make life simpler for customer-facing teams.

Zapier offers both variety and power for companies with WordPress sites. The basic free plan works for small businesses, while larger companies can spend a little money for more features. Because Zapier can connect dozens of third-party applications to WordPress sites, you can create and manage complex workflows across multiple apps with one easy process — perfect for customer-facing teams that already have full plates.

5. Vacation and Expense Management

Your teams can’t provide great service if you don’t take care of your people first. Use HR-focused apps like Vaykay to transform your CRM software into an all-in-one team management solution.

With Vaykay, your team members can manage expenses and request vacation time through a simple interface. You can also use Vaykay to track timesheets, set up automatic email responses, and export vacation data to third-party calendars, ensuring your team always knows who’s available to help. Customers may never see the effects of HR software in action, but they’ll feel the benefits when dealing with more prepared and focused reps.

6. Live Chat and Chatbots

Not all customers want to call or email. Live chat options help companies provide fast, effective customer service through a variety of channels, including proprietary sites and social media. By integrating live chat functionality into your CRM, you can improve your relationships with customers and provide more context for interactions with support reps.

Plenty of businesses rely on HubSpot’s free CRM, which makes HubSpot’s live chat software an appealing option. You can design custom chatbots to solve easy customer service questions; when visitors need more complex help, chatbots can collect information to allow reps to solve issues faster. CRM integration allows chatbots to provide contextual help from the beginning, further cementing live chat as a must-have for all customer-facing teams.

No CRM works perfectly out of the box, but with a bit of customization, you can transform your CRM into a powerful weapon for your sales teams, as well as your marketing department and customer success staff. Don’t skate by with unintegrated tools and messy apps — give your employees the streamlined resources they need to provide the best experiences to your prospects and customers.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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