Imagine for a moment that you were in the room with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs as they worked on the Apple I computer. At the time, it may not have looked like much, but would you have had the vision to see what it could become? I don’t have to explain what would have been the result of you investing early and sticking with a venture like that.
The point is that we often need to look into the future to justify the struggle of sticking with current initiatives. The same goes for initiatives we try to implement within our companies. Consider Salesforce. Implementing a CRM is proven to have a profound impact on your sales and marketing effectiveness, but often these initiatives are slowed or abandoned altogether. Why? Two of the main reasons are poor team adoption and a lack of understanding of how Salesforce works.
While you may not create a completely new product like Apple, you can reinvent the way your sales and marketing team engage with customers. Here are 3 keys to getting started with Salesforce in a way that sticks.
1. Start by understanding how Salesforce works
Your CRM can help you manage relationships with customers on a personal level while keeping track of every interaction. To get the full benefit from this platform, you need to understand its basic functionality. This will help you take full advantage of its features and plan the development of features it doesn’t have.
Since customers and contacts are at the heart of what your CRM handles, we’ll focus on those for a moment. There are four main components that pertain to the customer:
- Accounts – These are the companies you are doing business with.
- Contacts – These are the people you know who work at those companies (accounts).
- Leads – These are contacts with the potential to turn into a customer.
- Opportunities – These are leads that have been qualified and could be turned into a customer.
Knowing how to correctly enter customer data is key to benefiting from your Salesforce installation. It helps you keep customers organized and correctly track their progress through the sales funnel. It also helps you prioritize the right people. One metric that especially helps you do that is opportunities. These represent a potential sale, which is, after all, the reason why your team is using Salesforce. Within opportunities, you can assign contact roles, opportunity stages, and other important metrics for getting your opportunities to close.
Additional reading: If you want a more comprehensive breakdown of how Salesforce organizes things, I suggest you read the following training module on their site: Get Started with Salesforce CRM.
2. Take a balanced view of customization
Salesforce is big, really big. Currently, the platform connects with over 2,700 apps. This makes some new users wary since they equate “big” with hard to use. But, this isn’t the case. In fact, you can shrink the starting process down to three easy steps: sign-up, customize settings, and add customer data.
That said, Salesforce can get complicated when customizing it to your organization and adjusting the settings and workflows for your team. While difficult, customizing Salesforce for your team is critical, as it will likely increase adoption exponentially. And, even though importing data can be a challenge, you can take advantage of tools that import your customer data from a spreadsheet or another CRM.
If you’re wondering how to get started customizing your Salesforce installation, remember two rules. First, try to use standard Salesforce features when they fit your needs. Second, make Salesforce work for your team and not the other way around (within reason, of course). Adapting Salesforce to fit your team’s workflow may require the help of a Salesforce developer; applying these two rules will help you determine when you need to do that.
3. Don’t discourage honest feedback from your team
In an attempt to save face, we tend to avoid feedback that could be perceived as negative. This viewpoint is detrimental to any project, especially one that requires team-wide adoption to be a success. View feedback, even the negative, as an opportunity to make your team feel heard and gain their support. Fixing what you can in your Salesforce installation to solve their issues is also a great way to encourage adoption.
Don’t take feedback personally, and remember that you’re all on the same team. This is crucial to ensuring that your implementation of Salesforce will help, not hurt, the way your team works. If you understand how Salesforce operates, take a balanced view of customization, and are open to feedback, you’ll help your team engage with your customers like never before.
Do you want to get started with Salesforce but have a large, distributed workforce? Talk to our team today, and we can help you implement Salesforce in your organization
Korey has over 10 years in digital marketing and IT experience with emphasis on Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Graphical content creation, and Web Development. Korey garnered his education from the University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and vast experience in the technology space since the 90’s.