Demystifying Understanding CRMs in Relation to WordPress

What is a CRM and How Does it Work with WordPress?

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is software that helps businesses organize, track and engage with leads and customers in one place. CRMs integrate tightly with WordPress in several ways:

CRM plugins for WordPress allow capturing lead data from forms on your site and syncing it automatically with popular CRMs like HubSpot, Salesforce, Active Campaign, Drip, FluentCRM and more. This connects your website activity with your internal teams and helps organize internal and outgoing reach out efforts.

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What is the “bother factor?”

Integrate WordPress with CRM

The bother factor is quite simply that, when you bother someone who has light interest in what you are offering, you dilute the strength of your communications. It’s easy to get caught up in this as with the law of averages, if you blast everyone on your list, you will have some degree of conversion. You will see this as success, but it is not. Think of it like “robbing Peter to save Paul.” You end up greatly impacting your overall long term conversion capability by bothering people. It sounds simple, but so many get caught up in the momentary reward and see that as success when they are actually shooting themselves in the foot.

Some Additional Points About Using CRMs with WordPress

  • CRM software may offer WordPress integrations that embed lead forms/chatbots or dynamic content from the CRM, and other experiences right on your WordPress site to focus your efforts in the right direction.
  • User data and behavioral signals from your WordPress site can be pushed to CRMs via plugins. Things like email subscriptions, content downloads, purchases and more can trigger workflows. Gone are the days of not knowing what your website visitors are interested in.
  • Many CRMs have associated marketing automation tools for email, social media and more. These integrate with WordPress for executing targeted campaigns based on lead scoring and activity directly on your website. You can optimize your reach out and advertising expenditure by only attempting to engage people who are actually interested in what you have to say. This results in saving your time, the time and bother of customers who are likely not to have interest and savings in terms of not putting time, effort and money to reach out to those that don’t have interest to begin in something specific that is not a match to their interests.

CRMs Help You Organize Leads and Prospects

A CRM allows you to keep all your leads and prospects organized in one place with relevant details like contact info, lead source, notes from conversations, tagging for segmentation, etc. Understanding potential prospects is a respectful and thoughtful thing to do and a CRM is an additional advanced step you can take for yourself (or business organization) to better understand your website customers needs and wants. (we’ll go more into the differences between tagging and lists and how segmentation works later in the article)

My Real World CRM Usage as an Example
As a real world example, I’m personally not big on outgoing communications in the web development and design business (but I am in other web businesses I work on where I think people actually want this type of communication and where it will enhance their experience and the engagement will be valuable to them). In my business, I feel like sending out emails typically has more of a bother affect than a benefit, so I do those extremely sparingly, substituting more personal reach out.

I still use a CRM to log interactions. The reason I do this is I feel it’s a service to customers to be able to remember specific details of what we talked about. I talk to a lot of people and trying to sift through emails or “remember” is a disservice to customers. Being able to pick up a conversation with some relative details specific to their case is not.

I’m sure you’ve been there where you’re talking to one customer and you think their details are actually details of another customer you’ve talked to. It’s embarrassing and overall, just not good business.

CRMs Enable Targeted Communication and Lessen the “Bother Factor” Enhancing Communication with Prospects

Repetitive, irrelevant outreach is annoying. Having seen this first hand with some website clients who do nothing but blast the same message to their entire client database, I’ve seen clients (against my recommendations) completely dilute the strength of their communications (by sending irrelevant messages to those who aren’t really interested). When you continue to blast messages that even 60% of the time aren’t relative to a customer, they start to ignore you and the value of each communication from that point dwindles. Don’t do this. You’ll basically put amazing customers in a mode where their first inclination is to ignore you.

CRMs Help You Track Customer and Client Interactions

We’re all super busy and what is on your mind at one time and seems super clear ends up as partial detail memory, often with details mixed from conversations you remember with other customers. The ability to log meetings, calls, emails and other touchpoints between leads/customers and your teams is invaluable. This interaction history allows picking up conversations to be seamless drawing insights to improve the end result, making a conversion for your company and giving the customer what they want, not targeting something at them that they don’t.

Multi-Participant Team Interaction and Process Stage Management

Collaboration features like shared tasks/notes, account assignment rules and visual process workflows promote alignment between sales, customer success and support teams. This delivers a consistent experience throughout the buyer or customer journey. (you should be mapping your customer journeys…customer stories and creating a profile that customers are likely to fall into based on your service offering)

CRMs Integrate to Multiple Platforms and WordPress

Leading CRM platforms integrate seamlessly with popular marketing, payment, web analytics and other systems via APIs and plugins. This capability streamlines lead capture, attribution, transactions and efficiency. The strength of using a CRM with WordPress is that WordPress is very “integration friendly,” so it supports just about any CRM system you want to use or are already using.

Lists Explained in Detail

Lists in CRMs allow you to group contacts and leads together based on shared attributes and interests for more organized lead management. You can create separate lists to segment prospects by criteria like source, demographic, interactions and engagement metrics, order history, etc. Building targeted lists helps tailor reachout to the right customers. A simple example, if you sell both Men’s and Women’s clothing and have a customer that has purchased 5 times, always Men’s clothing, you probably don’t want to be emailing them about a new Women’s or Baby retail line. You can and maybe a small percentage will have interest, but you will increase the “bother factor” and dilute your impact overall by approaching communication this way, which will have a direct impact on your overall success.

Tagging Explained in Detail

Whereas lists look at contacts as a whole, tags allow you to label specific attributes on a per contact basis for segmentation. Tags are custom fields that can be applied manually or automatically via workflows (or manually during customer and client interaction). Common uses include tagging lead interest levels, lead sources, interactions with specific content assets, event attendance and more. This facilitates dynamic list building and hyper-targeted nurturing. This allows you to take a list and the contacts on them and become more granular with multiple ways to separate them from others.

A real world example, you might do cold calling. The prospect is cold (so you place a “cold prospect” tag. When they respond, they may still be cold, but have at least a slightly greater level of interest. Hey, they know who you are at least…

So in this case, maybe you tag them as “cold plus.” If you start to have a conversation where you are discussing important details, maybe the prospect becomes “warm,” so you place a “warm” tag.

The point here is if you do outgoing email campaigns, you don’t really want to be attempting to engage someone who doesn’t even really know who you are or didn’t respond at all to any of your efforts. You’ll just bother them.

A “warm” prospect may actually be interested in what you have to say.

You may still want to keep the “cold” prospect on your list. Maybe they don’t need your services right now, but remember you in 6 months and re-contact you, to which they can become “warm.”

By keeping these journals (tags and lists), you are doing a thoughtful service for customers and also not wasting your valuable time and theirs. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Segmentation Explained in Detail

Segmentation refers to grouping your contacts and leads into categories based on certain common characteristics like demographics, behaviors, customer lifecycle stage etc. Powerful CRMs provide visual workflow builders and rule engines to automate segmentation and tagging based on advanced filters and logic. This level of automation delivers dynamic groups for personalized communication at scale. Segmentation is crucial for optimizing conversion rates across sales and marketing initiatives.

So to go further, think of tags as the highly granular label, but you may have people with multiple tags that fit into one more broad “segment,” to which being able to earmark them that way becomes valuable when you don’t want to get so granular.

  • Let’ say following our previous example, you have segments:
  • (in this case, you are running a clothing store that offers product across multiple broad categories)
  • Men’s Apparel Buyers
  • Women’s Apparel Buyers
  • Baby Apparel Buyers

The people in these segments may have bought certain things though. Suppose some bought shoes, some bought jackets, some bought hoodies and some bought accessories.

Your tagging workflow might include getting granular to what they bought, so if you have a sale on shoes, you might want to reach out to those shoe people.

If you’re running a sitewide sale on Men’s Clothing, you might want to reach out to people without regard to the specific things they bought, just based upon the fact that they bought Men’s clothing.

There are many different ways to organize your Lists, Segments and Tagging, which is a customized endeavor to your offering (it’s not a one size fits all type of thing, you have to develop your organization method).

Think of the CRMs as a powerful If/Then logic layer to work with your prospects and outgoing communication or targeted ads, relative to the lists, tags and segments.

Retargeting from CRM to Ad Networks Like Facebook and (Google) DoubleClick explained in detail

We all see those ads on Facebook and Google and wonder how they got in front of you. No, they are not listening to when you mentioned Chex Mix while talking to your coworker. It’s your user behavior, you were likely on the internet looking for snacks, watching videos about snacks or doing something similar. As a result of participation in these “free” sites, that’s the tradeoff you’ve agreed to, like it or not, and that’s where these types of targeting capabilities come from, from what you do.

Likewise, CRMs provide that capability for your assets and advertising endeavors. The benefits here are the same as outgoing email, except they relate to advertising expenditure. You don’t want to spend money to display ads to someone who is highly unlikely to have interest in what you’re offering.

We’ve all seen companies doing it wrong. Have you ever seen an ad for a burger joint opening in Minneapolis and you live in California? Well, that company just wasted their money. They know you’re a voracious burger eater, but you don’t live anywhere near where the new restaurant is opening up. Maybe you visited Minneapolis a year and a half ago visiting your folks, but to spend advertising to focus on someone in that profile is misdirected and on an aggregate level when you multiply it by doing that many times, maybe 1 or 2 people are going back to Minneapolis and will seek out your restaurant, but you’ve wasted a whole lot of money to put your delicious sandwich in front of just a few people when you could have taken the same budget and directed it more precisely.

I want to also showcase popular CRM systems that work with WordPress.
(and explain details of how they work and some of their specific features)

Active Campaign: Integrates well with WordPress, offers lists, tagging and segmentation, database is housed on third party (ActiveCampaign) site and prospects and customer data is synced there. Emails and communications are sent via their mail server, not yours (your hosting server), relatively expensive. Limited number of contacts supported per plan.

FluentCRM: Is housed on your own WordPress site. Email communications are sent via your hosting server, integrates to WooCommerce and WordPress contact forms and activities and prospecting with tagging and lists. Requires something like SendGrid for outgoing email as without, results in a lot of messages not being seen as they get filtered as spam. More affordable on a multiple (site) project basis, nice visual drag and drop campaign builder. Greater number of total contacts supported.

Drip: Very similar to ActiveCampaign. Better visual campaign builder (drag and drop and link), integrates well with WordPress and popular ad networks like Facebook and Google, relatively expensive. Limited number of contacts supported per plan. Drip and ActiveCampaign are very similar. I think of Drip more or less as an easier to use Active Campaign.

Salesforce: This is the CRM that is more popular on an enterprise level. It includes Contacts and Accounts, Opportunity Tracking, Marketing Campaigns, Customer Support Tooks, Advanced Reporting and integrates with WordPress and many other apps. Considered more expensive than the other options we’ve been discussing.

Hubspot: HubSpot provides robust sales, marketing and service CRM capabilities for growing businesses although tag-based segmentation and large contact list creation is limited. It does integrate with WordPress, but requires a little more from the development side. The user interface is less intuitive than some of the other options. Limited tag functionality (if/then automations based on tags), but large number of allowed contacts. Highly affordable.

We didn’t cover all of the CRMs that work with WordPress as there’s really quite a few of them. There’s a post here with 12 different CRMs that work with WordPress to see a couple other choices.

Automation Solutions That Can Help Bring It All Together

Plugins like WP Fusion allow adding tags and custom fields to WordPress user accounts based on certain actions. This data can automatically sync to CRMs allowing tailored follow-up and workflows.

I want to describe how plugins like WPFusion work to automate certain things, add tags on actions taken on websites and how this ultimately provides benefit to the other things specifically showcased above.

Why a WordPress Developer is Necessary to Make These Integrations

Enabling deep integration between WordPress and CRM systems requires technical knowledge and coding capabilities that make developers essential for implementation. While some CRM software offer pre-built plugins to connect with WordPress, integration customization is often necessary to tailor the data syncing, segmentation rules, campaign triggers, and user experiences to each business’ unique requirements.

A Developer can also help with planning your organization scheme prior to the implementation as experience with having worked with these different CRMs allows them to understand the limitations.

Developers must leverage APIs and webhook functionality to build bi-directional data flows that update CRM lead records based on website activity, while also pulling relevant CRM data into the WordPress frontend to enhance personalization. Handling user authentication across systems and connecting to databases also necessitates development skills and the coding required to make these connections or fill in gaps around the function of plugins being used.

Developing CRM Implementation Plans

Having “User Stories” is an essential function of operating a business and scaling to the next level. CRMs highly revolve around these User Stories. Putting together illustrations of customer journies really requires a post of its own, but think of it relative to what we’ve already been discussing here.

You have a Customer that fits within a particular label based on what they buy, want or are interested in. Your user stories are what enable you to create a list, tagging and segmentation plan for your CRM. The CRM is what manages the contacts and user information relative to those who are part of a certain “story.”

So this is a two tier process. Once you create the stories, you can create your CRM plan.

This also helps you optimize your user interface and experience as once you know the story or journey a customer is likely to be associated with, you can determine what to offer them by way of products or offerings on your site and balance that with which particular products they might be most apt to purchase.

This is the same theory as advertising or outgoing communications. You lessen the bother factor on your user interface and put products in front of the consumer that they are likely to want to purchase or new products they might want to try based on their interest.

Your CRM plan is based around this same concept, but more relative to how you actually manage the prospect before they get to the action point and direct your efforts to provide them a better experience by determining your offerings in a way that saves them time and makes the entire experience less frustrating and pleasant.

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