< Back to Blog

Salesforce CRM Review

Download the PDFSalesforce integration with Windward Studios

It is important that a business can collect as much information as they can about their leads. Salesforce CRM is hyped to be the best cloud solution to achieve that and much more. With features such as real-time analytics, cloud storage, and a wide array of integrations, it is impossible for a business to ignore it.

The CRM Salesforce statistics are impressive. The website reports that businesses that have used their product have seen a 37% increase in revenue on average. Areas of lead generation and customer satisfaction have also improved for businesses that use the CRM.

What is Salesforce CRM?

With over 150,000 businesses around the world using this platform, we can say that it is the most popular customer relationship management platform.

Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM system that provides standalone applications that accommodate sales, marketing, and customer service products within the same suite. These products are suitable for both large and small businesses that need a trouble-free way to store and manage customer data within a secure environment.

Businesses use Salesforce to generate leads, manage marketing campaigns as well as connect with their customers at different stages of the customer journey.

You can now connect Windward Hub to the Salesforce CRM to start generating documents automatically. Learn more about this integration here.

How Does Salesforce Work?

Think of Salesforce CRM as a tree with several branches, now because of the complexity of modern businesses, there are several aspects of customer relationships and so Salesforce provides different products which you can compare to branches that cater to the different needs of various businesses.

These products can also be flawlessly integrated with external apps that enhance communication and management of customers for example email accounts, social media channels as well as document automation software among others.

Because Salesforce cannot predict what a business may prefer, they have made their products customizable so that a user can build their own solution to address the needs of their business without having to worry about unnecessary applications wasting space.

Something else that you need to know about how Salesforce CRM works is that it is cloud-based. This means you will need an internet connection to get full access to the different tools. The CRM is also restricted to four internet browsers. They are:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari

Since these are the most common browsers, there shouldn’t be much of a fuss about it. Almost every business has at least one of them. At the same time, even though you need connectivity to have full access, this doesn’t stop a user from working offline. Using cache data, some files can be available offline so that you can edit data and once you have a connection, files will sync. For people who may worry about running out of internet data, it is a relief knowing that you can continue working on that important document and once you regain connection, it will sync.

Salesforce CRM Pricing

A business considering Salesforce CRM pricing will be looking at a range from $25 to $300 per month. Pricing typically depends on your business requirements as well as the size of your business. There is a marked difference between the price tiers and it might be best if the business sought a quote particularly for the business.

As a business owner, you naturally will be looking for a CRM that fits your needs and you would want to get it at the best price. Here we shall discuss the options you have and what comes along for that price.

Basically, you need to understand that Salesforce CRM divides its services into “clouds” you can choose the cloud that suits your business or take on all of them and that will determine the price you will pay. The Clouds are:

  • Sales Cloud
  • Service Cloud
  • Marketing Cloud

Sales Cloud

This cloud oversees all facets of the sales process right from generating leads to nurturing the lead to a sale and after the sale. It offers a 360 view of the customer journey giving the user full control of the process of selling to each customer.

With the information provided by this cloud, the user can make informed decisions based on information like past purchases, email history, and internal documents shared between team members. Data stretches as far as social media statistics.

Salesforce incorporates Artificial intelligence to track where a lead came from and that information can guide what product to offer the customer as well as determine the best time to approach an existing customer with new offers.

This cloud begins at $25 for Essential tier, $75 for professional, $150 for Enterprise, and Unlimited costs $300.

Service Cloud

For a business looking for quick solutions, the Service cloud is an appropriate choice. It gives users the ability to build customized service portals. This makes it possible for a customer to perform self-service. Questions, complaints, and feedback from clients can be responded to as soon as possible.

If you are seeking to automate some responses to client inquiries, this is the Salesforce cloud that will enable you to do that. The software even offers the user suggestions to set up workflows that will effect automated responses.

Even when it comes to responding to comments on social network, this cloud gives you a bird’s eye view of what is being said about your business so you can respond whenever it is necessary. Huge enterprises with many customer service centers can benefit the most from this.

Just like the Sales Cloud, this one offers Essential, Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited tiers with the same pricing from $25 to $300.

Marketing Cloud

This Salesforce CRM solution provides just about all the tools you need to carry out marketing activities. Whether you are trying to turn a request for information into a sale or you need to automate email marketing campaigns and organize posts on social media, this solution will take care of that.

It will combine sales and marketing information in an easy to interpret way so that a user can make marketing decisions based on analytical data. Within the Marketing Cloud are several creation studios that can be used to customize marketing information.

Some of the studios available in this cloud are Email studio, advertising studio, and Social studio. You can also integrate third-party apps to make the process of marketing even more effective.

Marketing Cloud is the more expensive Cloud starting at $400. It is however worth the spend per month considering the insight it provides and tools to perform different marketing tasks.

Commercial Cloud

One other cloud that a business may be interested in is the Commercial Cloud which supports online shopping. A business can create a seamless online shopping experience for its customers. You would have to request for pricing of this cloud.  

How to Use Salesforce CRM?

Once you get to know what Salesforce is and the different Clouds, it becomes much easier to figure out how to use Salesforce CRM. Obviously, you will have to first sign up for an account and choose your preferred pricing plan. With that done, here are some of the ways in which you can use it.

Sales Automation:  Your sales pipeline is a very vital part of your sales success. Automating the sales pipeline will create a smooth e-Commerce process. The sales Cloud can enable a user to automate tasks like contact management, lead management, sales information, mobile interactions as well as approvals among so many other sales tasks.

Marketing Automation: Whatever marketing activity you may want to perform using Salesforce can be automated using the different studios within the Marketing Cloud. Social media interactions, advertising, email campaigns, and collecting analytical data are some of the tasks you can automate.

Service Automation: The after-sales services you provide can also be automated. Use Salesforce CRM to Automate responses to customer inquiries and to manage assistance in different situations.

As you use this cloud-based CRM, you will discover many more ways to use it to improve your sales processes. Also, when you integrate it with other applications, you will discover a whole new world of possibilities.

Summary

Salesforce CRM is a cloud-based solution for daily sales tasks. It may not go out and make cold calls, but it is almost as if it does with its different features. It will make the process so much easier especially with its automation functions. Small-medium and large enterprises can find it helpful in different aspects of their business.  

If you’ve just discovered us, we’re excited. Try Windward Hub for free and take it for a spin. Start automating contracts, agreements, quotes, proposals and more in just a few clicks starting today.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

If you've just discovered us, we're excited. Learn more about Windward document automation software now.

Try Windward with our 14-day free trial and start creating documents in quick time with our low/no code solutions.

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Written by:_
Genesis Abel

Get tips straight to your inbox and become a better document creator.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
Windward © 2021 All Rights Reserved.