By Richard Morochove
If your e-commerce site is an important source of new customer leads, a new Salesforce.com service could be just what your business needs to streamline the work of turning a new lead into a new customer.
Salesforce Group Edition is the successor to the company’s Team Edition customer relationship management service. The major enhancement in this Web-based CRM service is its tight integration with the Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising service.
Salesforce Group Edition’s integration with Google AdWords is the best I’ve seen. It makes it easy to determine which search engine advertising keywords deliver the most new customers and added revenues to your business. However, you’ll need to modify your Web site to take advantage of this feature.
Complete Google AdWords Integration
I’ve looked at AdWords before. A PPC advertising service such as AdWords can drive more visitors to your Web site. You write text ads that are displayed next to results for specific terms, or keywords, that people enter in search engines. You pay for each visitor who clicks on your ad and is then redirected to your Web site.
It’s always been possible to track the trail of PPC ad clicks, from the initial visit to your site to the sales lead and ultimate customer sale. This information is generally collected in several places: your Google AdWords account, your Web server logs, and a CRM app.
The elegance of Salesforce Group Edition lies in the way it seamlessly integrates the data from all these sources in one place, making it easier to view and analyze the results of your PPC ads. You can readily determine which keywords bring you the biggest bang for your advertising buck. Lead source information is updated every 15 minutes, so you can track results almost as they happen.
Tracking Leads From Other Sources
You can use Salesforce Group Edition to track leads from these other PPC services, but the reports aren’t as complete. Furthermore, you can also use the service to track leads generated by sources other than PPC, such as telephone inquiries, e-mail, trade shows, and referrals from other Web sites.
Google AdWords Integration Requirements
Salesforce Group Edition generates the code for both new elements, so you can copy and paste it into your Web editing application.
You must also enter your Google AdWords Customer ID and password in Salesforce Group Edition to link it to the CRM service. If you do not have an AdWords account, you can create one from within the service.
Is Salesforce Group Edition Right for You?
Salesforce.com is considered the leader in online CRM services. If you don’t require sophisticated lead tracking or Google AdWords integration, you may find a simple online CRM service such as Highrise better suited for your business needs.
Salesforce Group Edition targets small businesses, and lacks some features available in the company’s more expensive offerings for larger businesses.
Also, unlike NetSuite, which offers a complete end-to-end online business management service, Salesforce Group Edition concentrates on CRM. You must enter the amount of the sale manually, since it doesn’t automatically generate a sales invoice, for example. However, extra-cost add-on services available in Salesforce AppExchange enable integration with third-party accounting apps that do include invoicing, such as Intuit QuickBooks.
Salesforce Group Edition costs $600 per year for five users. A free 7-day trial is available, and you may be eligible for a $50 AdWords credit if you establish a new Google AdWords account (conditions apply). Normal Google AdWords advertising charges apply.