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Zero BS CRM, WordPress Multisite and WP Ultimo

This guide is created to help Resellers who want to offer Zero BS CRM to their clients, through a WordPress Multisite setup and charge for the use of a site in the network.

Getting started

First up, what you need for this is the following:-

  1. Zero BS CRM Reseller account
  2. WordPress Multisite installed
  3. Active Zero BS CRM license keys for the WP multi-site.
  4. WP Ultimo – if you want to charge for access to the sites in your network (i.e. sites that are running ZBS CRM)

Step 1: Install WordPress Multisite

The first thing you want to get up and running is WordPress, particularly the WordPress multi-site variant of the popular content management system.

Fantastic CRM

Throughout this guide. We’ll be showing exactly how this has been setup on  “Fantastic CRM” which is a CRM site running ZBS CRM on multi site.

We have a full guide here for what WordPress multi-site is and how to install it.

After installing your multi-site admin should look like this

It’s very familiar to the standard WordPress admin screen except with the following areas

  • Sites – this shows the sub-sites in your network. Remember, each one of these takes up a license key slot.
  • Users – this is slightly different to the normal WP users area from a single site install

Step 2: Install WP Ultimo

WP Ultimo is a WordPress plugin which runs on WordPress multi-site and makes it easy to offer “WordPress as a Service” (WaaS) what this means, is you can offer your customers an install of WordPress – which you host for them.

This is great if you want to offer your customers a CRM which they can use and have their data separate only to themselves (vs running on single site, with multiple CRM users).

Once you’ve installed WP Ultimo, your site will look like this (network admin)

It adds the following areas to your WordPress Multi-site install

  • WP Ultimo
  • Subscriptions
  • Plans
  • Coupons

We won’t spend the time going through how to setup WP Ultimo – that’s covered in their documentation. The next step would be to setup the plans you want to offer your CRM under (using Zero BS CRM) and which plugins should be used in each plan, but first set up Zero BS CRM and install the extensions.

Step 3: Install Zero BS CRM and Extensions

Rebranding

We are running standalone ZBS CRM – without branding it throughout this guide. You can rebrand the CRM with your brand using our Rebrandr tool

Next up, you install Zero BS CRM to your WordPress Network Admin area

Now you have Zero BS CRM installed on your network, lets not network activate it for now and take a look at how a sub-site would look

When it’s not network activated – the sub site has the option to activate Zero BS CRM. We don’t want to give them that option when using the CRM, we want it to be installed and active by default.

Click network activate for Zero BS CRM and now your sub-site will have Zero BS CRM.

Installing extensions

Next up, you want to install the extensions for Zero BS CRM, however you do not want to network activate these. It will be clear why not in a minute.

Do no network activate extensions

When using Zero BS CRM on multi-site. Do not network activate the extensions. This would make every extension active for all installs which is not what we want.

Ok, so you should now have something like this on your network plugins page

This is important for the next step, which is setting up your WP Ultimo plans

Step 4: Set up WP Ultimo Plans

This is where things will start to tie into place. When we installed the WooSync extension above, we chose not to network activate it. This is important if you want to offer a free plan (i.e. use the CRM for free, without any extensions).

When setting up your Pro plan you can then choose which plugins should be available for sites who have signed up on that plan.  The screenshot above shows that only the Pro plan can see the Zero BS CRM Woo Sync plugin.

If you set up a Free plan and leave this unchecked – any one who signs up will not be able to see this as a plugin option (and therefore, only use Zero BS CRM on its own).

Step 5: Decide on Pricing

Here is where it will be specific to your business. You can choose to have a setup where people can sign up for the free plan (no extensions for Zero BS CRM) or a Pro plan (all extensions). Then try and up sell people from free to pro (but not limit their time using the CRM on the free plan).

The other option would be to run only the Pro version, but with a limited time trial (say, 14 days). This is the most common practice and how the rest of this guide will proceed under the assumption of.

Step 6: Give your customers a way to sign up

WP Ultimo does this via their shortcode for the pricing table. Simply add the following to a page for your pricing

Then hit publish, and your pricing page will look like the below (this is on the twentyninteen WordPress theme).

Not the prettiest, but you can easily style this with a theme, or some CSS of your own. This guide is focusing on the functionality of the setup (and not the aesthetics)

Recap so far

So now lets recap about what we have in the setup. We have the following:-

  • WordPress installed and setup to run Multi site
  • WP Ultimo network installed – to give the functionality for people to pay for a site in the network (i.e. get their own CRM)
  • Zero BS CRM network activated (to give everyone a CRM once they have a site)
  • Zero BS CRM extensions installed, but not network activated (so they can choose which to use, once logged in)

Step 7: Testing the Process

The next step is to test the process you’ve just set up. We set up WP Ultimo to use Stripe to handle the payments for subscriptions. We also set the pricing at a point which helps us cover the costs of our Reseller license (you can choose any price you like).

The point here is that this setup lets you automate giving a CRM to your clients or customers and lets you charge a price for doing so (since you’ll be helping them maintain the CRM and host their data for them)

This is what happens when you click on the Select Plan above. The logo has been added as part of setting up WP Ultimo and you can replace this with your own when setting things up yourself.

For this article I’m acting as a customer, who is setting up a CRM for my Epic Themes business, hosted by Fantastic CRM (which is run by WP Multisite, Zero BS CRM and WP Ultimo to manage the setup of the site).

Step 1, I choose my site name and the URL

Step 2, I fill in my account details

Then, onto the next step. Once you have filled in the information, your very own WP site is created, you’re logged in and Zero BS CRM is installed and ready to be set up.

Having a look at the generated site now for your customer, you’ll see the following admin area

It’s just like any other WordPress site, except you’ve automated its creation, it’s running from a network and has the URL {client_choice}.fantasticcrm.com

The Plugins page also looks like the following

The only plugin they see on the site, is the one which you allowed in the Plans setup of WP Ultimo.

So a particular install could have this on the network admin

and since the Plans area of WP Ultimo has only got WooCommerce ticked, then that is all that will be available under the plan they have signed up to.

Step 8: Offering a fully extendable CRM

This is one of the key benefits of Zero BS CRM, you can extend the CRM and use only what you need. If you’re offering this to your customers though, you won’t know what they need – so the best way is to install all of the extensions on your network admin (but do not network activate them)

This then gives your sub-sites (i.e. the {client_choice}.fantasticcrm.com) the ability to activate which extensions they need from their plugins page.

So, going back to the Plans in WP Ultimo and ticking the Sales Dashboard too

makes them both available to the sub sites, but it does not force them to be active (the sub-site themselves choose which they want to activate)

So, to run this as a fully fledged CRM to your clients, spinning up CRM sites for them on the back of them paying your fees, is super easy.

Step 9: Making it CRM only

Each sub site will have the options for posts and pages. This is where the power of this approach comes in. You can let them use their CRM with some front pages too (their site will have a front end, as shown below)

This is pretty important as there are certain areas of the CRM which you want customers of your client to be able to see, for example

  • The Client Portal (for people to see their details)
  • Lead generation forms (if embedded on the front of the site)

Step 10: Turning off Posts, Pages, Media

You can, if you choose, decide to remove the “WordPress” parts of the install and just have the CRM pages. This is automatically done if the setting of the CRM is “CRM only” and turns the admin area to look like this

The Plugins page is also removed when this option is chosen, so it’s important to have the correct

Step 11: Full Screen Mode

The CRM also comes with the ability to toggle the CRM to be full screen mode, clicking the logo top left will toggle the CRM to full screen mode

So, by now. You’ll have provided a CRM for your customers, which can be setup to be “CRM only” and full screen.

It can also be further customised to fit your brand, which will remove references to Zero BS CRM and you can link to your own support channels etc.

Step 12: Custom Domains

WP Ultimo even gives you the option of allowing your customers to have a custom domain for their website. This is useful if you want to package up a more broad offering to your customers, for example

  • Free website, with [X] pages
  • Pro themes, where they can use any theme you have active
  • etc

If you just want to offer a CRM though, then you can offer it very easily using WP multi-site, Zero BS CRM and WP Ultimo to manage the payment and setup of the sub-sites.

Rebranding the CRM

Zero BS CRM also comes with the ability to Rebrand and run this with your own branding. This removes our name and logo from the install, the steps are exactly the same as above, but rather than install Zero BS CRM and extension on the network admin, you’d download the rebranded ZIP, extract your rebranded CRM and extensions and install those on the network admin area.

Updated on December 14, 2018

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