There are two sides to the coin that is your Salesforce ROI: increasing revenue and minimizing the cost of your investment. To achieve both, you need to make sure that you — and your employees — are doing all you can to take full advantage of everything Salesforce can do to help your organization thrive. To that end, we’ve assembled this list of Salesforce best practices to help you get the greatest possible return on your investment.
Let’s start with a few general best practices geared toward executives:
- Establish metrics. Before starting any project, it’s important to establish a baseline against which you can measure your ROI. These metrics can include higher close rates, higher average deal sizes, shorter sales cycles, reduction in service costs, faster case resolution time, and so on.
- Empower user efficiency with automation. Salesforce automation enables you to prepopulate data points through workflow rules and maintain data cleanliness with validation rules, as well as pipe in outside data sources and feeds so information is at your users’ fingertips when they need it. By prepopulating key data points (such as a customer’s contact information or purchase history with your organization), your users can spend less time on data entry and more on sales and service. Automation also gives your executive team more time to analyze data — time that would be otherwise spent supervising end users as they put in data.
- Make data gathering more efficient. By implementing Salesforce’s best of breed system, you can integrate common email systems, such as Gmail or Microsoft Outlook, with Salesforce’s Inbox product, which enables end users to input data directly from their inbox rather than navigate multiple systems.
- Create a plan to support user adoption. Even the most technically sound and flawlessly designed architecture is of no value unless someone actually uses it. A solid change management strategy is the key to convincing users to get on board with new systems and capabilities, thereby putting you on track to increase your ROI.
- Break down data silos. Data silos have long plagued businesses, preventing them from sharing knowledge. Within Salesforce, silos are especially detrimental to sales teams because they prevent sales reps from accessing key customer information and using Salesforce CRM to its fullest advantage. In order to break down silos, you must communicate to different departments within your organization the benefits of working collaboratively and establish clear ground rules for your employees to follow when using Salesforce.
Salesforce Best Practices for Sales Teams
If you’re a member of your company’s sales team, you might find these Salesforce best practices useful for driving more qualified leads and contributing to your company’s ROI.
- Segment the market. No prospective customer wants to feel like just another face in the crowd — they want to feel as though they’re your only customer and know how your product or service will meet their specific needs. This desire for individuality has contributed to a larger trend in customer experience across industries, one that emphasizes the importance of personalization at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Using Salesforce’s querying and filtering functionality, you can segment your audience into smaller, logical groups based on demographics, psychographics, and behavior. Best of all, Salesforce enables you to automate segmentation, so your sales team can focus on perfecting its strategy and delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.
- Make better sales decisions with data analytics. Gather data, such as what other types of products customers in similar industries are buying from you, to determine which prospects are more likely to turn into qualified leads. Data analytics also provides your company’s service team with a view into sales activities, which empowers them to more easily identify opportunities to cross-sell or upsell products and services when they engage with clients.
Salesforce Best Practices for Developers
Custom applications are a fantastic way to expand your existing Salesforce deployment. From Visualforce to Apex, Salesforce offers multiple options for enterprise application development, so you can tailor your implementation to your company’s specific business processes.
Here are a few Salesforce best practices for developers:
- Engage in source-driven development. Part of Salesforce Developer Experience (DX) — Salesforce’s new method for managing and developing apps on the Lightning Platform — “source-driven development” refers to the practice of using tools such as Git for version control. Source-driven development makes it easier to develop applications in a team environment because it consistently documents changes to your system. So, if one developer were to accidentally delete another’s code, you’d have a record of that change and the original code, saving your team from making a costly mistake.
- Create multiple sandboxes. According to Salesforce, developers should have separate, dedicated environments for developing, testing, and training. Makes sense, right? By designating different use cases for each sandbox and determining how often they should be refreshed and who should have access to them, you can keep better track of every stage of the development lifecycle and enforce better overall sandbox management.
- Expedite the testing process with automation. Manual testing can be a long, drawn-out process, but a necessary one in order to ensure that your Salesforce deployment runs exactly as intended. By introducing test automation to the process, you can save time and money, as well as reduce the risk of human error associated with manual testing.
Note: Salesforce has produced its own developer best practices checklist for Visualforce and Apex, which you can see here.
Salesforce Best Practices for Administrators
Once your business has implemented Salesforce, you need to designate Salesforce administrators. These people will be responsible for training end users, troubleshooting workflows, reviewing and correcting data records, deactivating users, importing leads and contacts, modifying roles, running system backups, and much, much more.
If you’re a Salesforce administrator, here are a few best practices to help you perform to the peak of your ability and to help contribute to your company’s ROI:
- Never stop learning. As a Salesforce admin, you occupy a critical role within your company — that means end users will look to you for guidance and come to you with any questions. There’s nothing worse than being caught unaware when someone in your organization comes to you for assistance. That’s why it’s in your best interest to continue your education beyond what your company provides — consider earning the Salesforce Administrator certification, reading blog content from Salesforce thought leaders, and signing up for Trailhead to keep your skills sharp.
- Be on top of all things cutting edge. This one goes hand in hand with the emphasis on constant education. One of the beauties of Salesforce is that it automates all updates, which means there’s next to no downtime or interruption of business continuity. That also means that Salesforce is always adding new capabilities to its platform, so you’ll want to stay up to date on the latest news concerning all things Salesforce
- Make the most of Salesforce’s reporting tools. In addition to coming to you with their problems, end users and your company’s sales team expect you to provide them with information that will help them improve their performance. Bearing that in mind, you should use Salesforce’s suite of reporting tools in conjunction with metrics established by your executives to compile reports and build dashboards that provide quality data analytics and actionable insights.
The Value of Working With a Consultant
Over the years, Salesforce has grown from a customer relationship management solution to a platform. This rapid growth has prevented some businesses from seeing the forest for the trees and led them to become siloed in terms of how they use Salesforce. If you find your business in a similar position, you might want to consider working with a Salesforce partner for consulting services.
A Salesforce consultant can help you see additional opportunities or areas where you can expand legacy systems, which enables you to get greater mileage — and ROI — out of your current Salesforce implementation by moving other processes and areas of your business onto the platform.
This can create a significant amount of overhead when it comes to maintaining systems over time. Working with a qualified Salesforce consultancy can help you lean systems, use standard functionality when necessary, and simplify your architecture.
At VennScience, we believe there’s beauty in simplicity. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to show our clients how to take complex implementations and render them into the simplest packaging possible, saving you time and money in the process.
We also specialize in user empowerment. Oftentimes, businesses will invest in Salesforce without sufficiently training end users on how to best use it in their role. We’ve developed a unique approach to user empowerment that addresses this issue: By embedding documentation and training materials directly into each of our clients’ Salesforce instances we make it easily referenceable, so end users never have to hunt for key information.
With a partner like VennScience on your side, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your Salesforce ROI. To learn more about VennScience and the services we provide, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.