Salesforce Best Practices: 5 Ways To Improve CRM Use

Salesforce Best Practices

When we work with businesses inside of our CRM consulting practice, we get dozens of inquires around how to implement Salesforce best practices, and make the software itself work better.  Organizations know that once the software is installed that it is an empty slate, and that the success of it’s implementation and adoption is solely tied to how well the system is configured, and how well the project team aligns the business processes to the technical setup of the system. This caution is well warranted, but not overly difficult to navigate.

Determining if Salesforce is the right fit for your business depends on several dissimilarities. Most of the determining criteria will be based upon how your business is structured today, and very little to do with the software itself. Too many businesses develop preconceived ideas about the benefits of Salesforce without actually assessing if those benefits will actually apply to their business.

Based on the feedback from our own Salesforce Admin, Salesforce project consultants and business process modeling experts, we have come up with the top 5 ways to apply Salesforce best practices to make the software work better for you.

Top 5 ways to apply Salesforce best practices

• Unlock Hidden Capacity

Salesforce is often revered as the leader of the CRM class. This simply isn’t because it locks tight a stream of static values; but instead how it transforms those values into meaningful data and criteria that shape the framework for a successful pattern of work. By leveraging other parts of Salesforce (not just the portion designed for sales), companies can significantly shorten the sales cycle, as well as unlock new capacities. Marketing automates their Salesforce data to sales, whom comes to the table with a readied and more attractive solution for a prospect. Those engagements are then stored in the system later by service personnel to enact the appropriate action (i.e. repair, replenishment, contract renewal).

Essentially what you want to do here is utilize all of the channels of Salesforce across all departments. It makes sense — and this is obviously what Salesforce want— but uncovering the buyer / customer journey and tailoring your processes around those behaviors can pay big dividends. Creating transparency across the system will allow businesses to do this. Salesforce best practices would dictate that all departments utilize the software to create a steady storyboard of how  leads, prospects, and customers interact with your business. Ultimately, this story will influence how your entire business operates.

• Alleviate Time Consuming Tasks

Business users are busy. Very busy. They are working hard at building your business. It’s often a struggle to dig through a paper trail, year old emails, or even take a walk to track a single person down — regardless of the company’s size. Some of those contacts may even work remotely and their input on a matter critical. A tried and true solution for most businesses whom deploy Salesforce is adopting the Chatter function. It allows quick and easy communication among departments directly from their screen. Essentially it fosters collaboration on important decisions, and speaks to a directly to a workforce of daily social media users.

Many businesses look down on social applications embedded inside of the software; declaring them useless or non-essential. However, the ability to collaborate quickly on items can save a lot of time. Relying on e-mail to process decisions it an outdated methodology. Businesses and customers demand instant responses. Social functionality is becoming more and more popular inside of many software applications.

• Eliminate Unnecessary Data Entry

A cornerstone of Salesforce best practices is eliminating wasted data-entry. Configure the system to capture the information business users need on a daily basis. Unnecessary fields, can cost money and slow things down. Under-utilized tools and fields cost capital; both to create and to manage. Not every field Salesforce offers is a fit for your process. It is important for team leaders to communicate exactly which data is essential for reports, automation and compliance purposes; then build out the system to reflect that. This eliminates mundane work for users whom could put their talents to use elsewhere.

This will help your business score major points with sales as well. As we’ve wrote about before, sales people are inclined to hate CRM. And, one of the best ways to mitigate this sentiment is to eliminate data-entry that sales people might fight cumbersome and wasteful.

• Parallel Salesforce Best Practices to Your Selling Process

Compared to Salesforce best practices mentioned here, this is the most important. Prior to its implementation, it is up to the project committee, sales team,  and Salesforce Admin to define the selling process with executive leaders at a high level. This will create clarity around how the system will work, and what will work best for your business.

Document the buying process, then map each instance of that process in Salesforce to replicate how you do business. If you employ several Salesforce users on multiple sites or separate divisions, it may be wise to include a task or service reminders based on those territories or hierarchies. This ensures opportunities are always serviced with the most relevant information to the appropriate groups. Ultimately, those solutions put recurring noncompliance issues to rest.

Equally as important, if users are already on Salesforce and the system calls for an application integration or modification, check the system’s mapping to be certain those changes do not cause a change in another area of the system. Check back to the document illustrating the system’s mapping to be certain changes align with the path your company chose. If the Salesforce implementation team supplied a document illustrating myopic details it is advised to consult with a certified Salesforce expert. Failing to do so does often causes problems. Many times, when systems stray from Salesforce best practices, Salesforce even will void service agreements; leaving system maintenance up to your team.

• Take Advantage of Mobile

Salesforce offers a dynamic mobile offering. We touched on this in a recent article pitting the powerful functionality of Salesforce mobile to other industry trailblazers. Many fail in comparison. The great part about Salesforce for mobile is that business users can access any part of the system from anywhere they do business — on any device. Other leading CRMs on the market have built basic user functionality for mobile, like simple account lists and reminders.

Many traveling sales teams — especially in midmarket manufacturing and distribution — will be hard pressed to access plant floor information, procurement contracts, or inventory databases in a moment’s notice. As society moves faster and faster, businesses whom fail to implement this solution could risk be swallowed up by the competition.

If your business is currently weighing these options you should contact our enterprise software experts to further discuss the merits of a move like this for your organization. We’ve successfully helped dozens of businesses make the transition, and have talked a few out of it as well. Visit our services page for more info.


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