Well, this is a bit of a different ‘plugin’ review here over at Boss WP. Why different? well this plugin we are reviewing today is more than a ‘plugin’, let me take a minute to put down the definition of a WordPress plugin.
Plugins extend and expand the functionality of WordPress – WordPress.org
What ZeroBS CRM does is more than this. When you install Zero BS CRM you’re not looking to add a new feature or a new part to your website.
You’re not looking to extend the functionality of posts by adding a ‘share this’ or a funky little widget which tells you how long the post is going to take to read…
What this “plugin” does is transform WordPress itself.
Let that sink in a minute. Zero BS CRM uses the WordPress software to produce a hybrid piece of kit that gives you your very own CRM. But wait, let’s take a minute to look up what a CRM is
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential future customers. The CRM approach tries to analyse data about customers’ history with a company, to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention, and ultimately to drive sales growth. – Wikipedia
Before diving into the usual plugin review. I wanted to spend a little bit longer going into what this thing actually does. It gives you a CRM.. for free. So let’s run through what it does give you (in features) after quickly touching on the first use.
We’ve been chatting with the guys at Zero BS CRM and since the plugin is a beast of a development (the plugin actually has it’s own plugins – called extensions) which shows just how big a beast this can be (if you want it to be). The first use is quite nice. Although the guys are working on a cool Welcome Wizard to make it even nicer. Zero BS CRM is less than a month old at the time of writing this post.
First Use, no worries. Like most of the plugins that have had involvement from Epic Plugins, the settings pages are a breeze. Easy to see what is going into the plugin and where to tweak things. As shown below there’s tabs available for any extensions you may add and a super clean and simple layout.
One thing to point out though is the CRM is a bit ‘crowded’ if you don’t check the ‘Override WordPress (For All WP Users)‘ mode. This mode hides all the the usual WordPress menu items (such as Media, Posts, Pages, Appearance, Plugins etc) and trims your admin sidebar down considerably (remember – this is more than just a plugin – you’re likely to be using this to manage your customers and therefore run it on a stand-alone sub-domain).
OK – so first use and settings under the belt? Good. It’s now onto the features of the plugin. The plugin itself has plugins (called extensions) so rather than muddy the water and start going into all the things you can do with the system if you extend it. I’m going to concentrate on going through the features that come in the free plugin available from WordPress. I’ll touch briefly on the extensions but not in any great detail in this review (we may do stand-alone reviews for the extensions in the future).
Manage customers is great.You can add Customers and Leads and other ‘Status’. It’s a great way to manage Leads through to customers and more.
Manage Quotes is super cool too. Simply create a quote for a Customer (or Lead) and you can then manage everything for that customer in one place.
Ready to send an invoice? Either create one from scratch and send it. Or you can turn a Quote into an Invoice and you’re ready to roll.
So, through the use of quotes and invoices you can manage customers and guide them through the process to becoming regular customers and, as the definition of a CRM goes….
analyse data about customers’ history with a company, to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention, and ultimately to drive sales growth.
Extensions – at the time of writing there’s the following extensions available from the following URLs. Touching quickly on each one (as to not detract form the review of the free plugin)
Mail Campaigns: http://zerobscrm.com/extensions/mail-campaigns/ – this extension lets you ‘Mailshot’ your customers. Segmenting them and making your CRM customer data insanely valuable. It’s a tool to make sure you hit all your customers (including those who haven’t yet made it onto your mailing list)
PayPal Sync: http://zerobscrm.com/extensions/paypal-sync/ – if you sell through PayPal this extension is for you. It automatically populates your CRM with your customer data from PayPal and records each customers transaction history. You can quickly and easily see who has purchases what from you and when (and as such, leverage that data to email them personalised and targeted communications and boost your sales growth.
Sales Dashboard: http://zerobscrm.com/extensions/sales-dashboard/ – one for those of you who want to visually see how sales are going. Maybe you write transparency reports and want a super easy tool to see a snapshot of your business. Is the fact you’ve got a CRM helping sales? At a glance sales reports.
Simple CSV: http://zerobscrm.com/extensions/simple-csv-importer/ – got your data elsewhere and want to import it to the CRM? then this is for you. Maybe you have a mailing list that you want to import the first name and last name of and then track them through to customers.
Woo Sync: http://zerobscrm.com/extensions/woo-sync/ – run a WooCommerce store? this extension grabs your customer history and pulls it into the CRM.
OK – I’m going to skip this. If you’re using Zero BS CRM you really shouldn’t be thinking ‘Oh, is this compatible with my theme’ it’s a CRM solution and should be running from either a totally different domain, or a sub-domain to your site.
There’s even an option in the settings to lock down the front end so any visitors are taken to your login screen… capiche… don’t start complaining this messes with your jetpack super cloudflare plugin… set it up properly, on a dedicated URL.
It’s pretty easy to get going with this plugin and not very technical at all. The hardest hurdle to over-come is realising that you should have actually been using a CRM for a long time.. rather than find out it’s too complex of a system to use (it’s no bullshit, remember).
The documentation is slick, and there’s YouTube videos for all the steps along the way. The guys over at ZBS are really on top of this and have some good plans to make the use of the Zero BS system as easy as turning on your laptop in the morning.. (to check on how many new customers you’ve got, of course)
This one I’ve marked it down a bit.. it’s cool and insanely useful for your business. But wow factor? no one raves that they use a CRM. It won’t get a crowd gather to look at how easy it is to create that invoice, or that quote… but it’s pretty cool to know you have this helping your business grow and helping you sell more relevant products or services to your customers and leads..