CRM meaning “Customer Relationship Management” if you’re like me and this is a little outside your sphere of everyday software. CRMs are big business though. When I lived in Silicon Valley, I would regularly drive by a very large building bearing the name of a CRM company that you’ve definitely heard of.
The name is a good one since CRMs are for helping you manage your customers. I have a brother-in-law who sells office furniture. He definitely uses a CRM. He gets leads for new clients, he helps figure out what they need, gets them quotes, and deals with billing them. It sounds straightforward, but it kinda isn’t. CRMs are complicated. Who better to bring you a good CRM than someone who brings you a good CMS?
The fact is that people are different and businesses are different, means that rather than forcing your business to behave like a CRM thinks it should, the CRM should flex to what you need. Jetpack CRM calls it a DIY CRM:
We let entrepreneurs pick and choose only what they need.
What appeals to me about Jetpack CRM is that you can leverage software that you already have and use. I swear the older I get the more cautious I become about adding major new software products to my life. There are always learning curves that are steeper than you want, gotchas you didn’t forsee, and maintenance you end up loathing. The idea of adding major new functionality under the WordPress roof feels much better to me. Everytime I do that with WordPress, I end up thinking it was the right move. I’ve done it now with both forums, newsletters, and eCommerce and each time was great.
I think it’s a smart move for Automattic. People should be able to do just about anything with their website, especially when it has the power of a login system, permission system, database, and all this infrastructure ready to go like any given WordPress site has. A CRM is a necessary thing for a lot of businesses and now Automattic has an answer to that.
Speaking of all the modularity of turning on and off features, you can also select a level that, essentially, specifies how much you want Jetpack CRM to take over your WordPress admin.
If running a CRM is the primary thing you’re doing with your WordPress site, Jetpack CRM can kinda take over and make the admin primarily that with the “CRM Only” setting. Or, just augment the admin and leave everything else as-is with the “Full” setting.
Like most things Jetpack these days, this is an ala-carte purchase if you need features beyond what the free plan offers. It’s not bundled with any other Jetpack stuff.
It’s also like WooCommerce in that there are a bunch of extensions for it that you only have to buy if you need them. For example, the $49 Gravity Forms extension allows you to build your lead forms with the Gravity Forms plugin, or it comes bundled in any of the paid plans. The $39 MailChimp plugin connects new leads to MailChimp lists.
Mike Stott over on WordPress Tavern:
“There’s a massive opportunity for CRM in the WordPress space,” said Stott. “A CRM is not like installing an SEO plugin on every website you own — generally you’d only have a single CRM for your business — but it’s the core of your business. The fact that 3,000+ users and counting are choosing WordPress to run their CRM is a great start.”
I’m a pretty heavy Jetpack user myself, using almost all its features.
Just to be clear, this isn’t some new feature of the core Jetpack plugin that’ll just show up on your site when you upgrade versions. It’s a totally separate product. In fact, the plugin folder you install to is called “zero-bs-crm,” the original name of the product.
I was able to install and play around with it right here on CSS-Tricks with no trouble at all. Being able to create invoices right here on the site is pretty appealing to me, so I’ll be playing with that some more.