After helping thousands of clients implement Salesforce for their organisations, 4C has seen that even the best-planned executions cannot anticipate all the subtle ways that a new system will affect a user’s job. As an organisation puts the theory of CRM into practical application, users and managers find themselves grappling with a new set of challenges focused around efficiency and optimisation, such as:
How can we improve the accuracy of our forecasting and pipeline activity?
How can we increase visibility to information and foster collaboration across the organisation?
How can we gain higher rates of system adoption and usage?
How can we consolidate our enterprise data?
- How can we better use automation and workflow?
4C has pulled together a handful of tips to help boost the performance of your Salesforce investment
1. Get regular feedback from users
There is natural project fatigue that comes with the completion of any major technology initiative. Deployment of Salesforce is no different. After typically working in overdrive to put forth the needed blueprint to deploy their new CRM, internal project teams are ready to get back to supporting their normal work efforts.
In order to boost adoption and productivity, it’s time to reengage resources to begin gathering user feedback and to start up the dialogue for continuous improvement. Assemble cross-functional project teams if you can, or set recurring meetings with functional departments to capture feature requests and process improvement ideas from your user community. Manage their requests like any other disciplined project – with tasks, owners, priorities, and delivery dates. Show consistent delivery against their wish lists, and the user community will reward your company with increased usage of Salesforce.
Initially after deployment, hold weekly open sessions (maybe a brown bag lunch) to field how-to questions and suggested changes.
Quarterly, meet with executives, managers, and users to solicit ideas for process improvement.
Twice yearly, meet with company executives to ensure that reports and dashboards focus and relate to the strategic objectives of the company.
Reach out to groups that are not utilising Salesforce today to look for ways that Salesforce can help their teams. For example:
– Marketing: Tracking marketing projects through Campaigns
– Sales: Enabling quoting with Products
– Sales Operations: Enable notifications through Workflow
– Customer Service: Enable Agent Console to improve their productivity
Consistent delivery of system enhancements that users have requested will make them more likely to use Salesforce. Assembling cross-functional teams to gather feedback after the deployment will improve adoption today and further gain productivity through continuous system improvements.
2. Maximise the workflow functionality
Salesforce contains dynamic workflow functionality for automating recurring processes. By leveraging workflow automation, your users benefit from greater control over routine activities and elimination of redundant tasks. Workflow automation can also improve your organisation’s adherence to approval processes.
Ask your users about their recurring work, and look for ways to automate it.
Create custom rules based on a business event (i.e., the change in a sales stage, a priority change in a case) to notify affected teams such as sales or professional services.
Assign tasks with due dates to specific users or groups.
Create escalation rules when something doesn’t happen within a defined time period (i.e., notify a manager).
Develop multi-step approval processes to automate business processes, such as requests for discounts.
- Enable managers to grant approval to their sales teams’ requests for special pricing or contract arrangements, directly through email without logging into Salesforce.
Use workflow functionality to help your users eliminate manual tasks and automate approval processes.
3. Extend your application to other systems
To boost the efficiency of Salesforce, extend Salesforce by adding bolt-on applications that broaden functionality or through integration with legacy systems to improve data flow, access and analytics.
Add on applications
To deliver functionality to your users without having to build it from scratch, browse Salesforce’s application exchange known as AppExchange. This site contains applications that Salesforce and other developers have created and shared with the rest of the customer community. You’ll be able to view, test and install applications that range from simple utilities to full vertical solutions. Not only is the site free to use, many of the applications are free as well. Simply download them to your Salesforce application, install and test.
Integration & development
User adoption depends on process efficiency. Yet 4C has found that even companies with excellent Salesforce adoption have process inefficiencies where users must look up data in one or more systems to complete a process.
Simply put, users want ready access to data in one seamless solution, regardless of where data or functionality resides. They want to eliminate “silos of information” – – multiple databases that store the same information – – to remove data inconsistencies that cause process errors and that hinder communication. Additionally, users typically want relief from situations that require them to re-key data from one system into another.
So, to boost process efficiency, look for ways to streamline processes and minimise re-entry of data through system integration.
Rather than inventing, check the wide selection of bolt-on applications on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange to quickly deliver functionality to your users (http://www.salesforce.com/appexchange). For example:
Download dashboard utilities to extend your lead and opportunity reporting.
Locate email and direct mail solutions for your marketing team.
Uncover tools like Pollzter to capture survey data and feed it into Salesforce.
- Integrate Salesforce to your accounting system to pass orders and invoices back to Salesforce for financial analytics.
Integrate Salesforce with other systems to optimise efficiency, extend functionality, reduce errors, and improve communication.