Lead generation and CRM integration

Many enterprise companies, particularly sales organizations, want their Web sites to be "lead generators." In other words, any time a prospective customer ("lead") contacts the company, they want that customer lead inserted into their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

The largest and most popular CRM software is Salesforce (www.salesforce.com). Fortunately, Salesforce offers a RESTful (Representational State Transfer) API for lead generation. RESTful APIs allow data to be transferred over standard Web protocols to a Web service (in this case, Salesforce) that processes the data. The SF Contact Form plugin for WordPress does just this, creating leads in Salesforce out of prospects who contact you through a Web form. The SF Contact Form plugin is available at www.cuplaweb.com/software/wordpress-plugins/sf-contact-form/.

Another CRM integration plugin for WordPress is Tactile CRM Contact Form, which behaves in a similar fashion to the Salesforce plugin. Prospective customers contact a company through a Web form, generating leads in the Tactile CRM. This plugin can be downloaded from the WordPress Plugin Directory at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tactile-crm-contact-form/.

There is even a plugin that turns WordPress itself into a CRM platform: the CRM plugin available at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/crm/. With this plugin, all leads and opportunities are maintained directly in WordPress and can be managed from within WordPress (see Figure 21.2).

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