3 Must Do’s to get the Max from a Salesforce.com investment



Written by Daniel Tautges @danieltautges

CEO Pinpoint Worldwide

I have worked with Saleforce.com really since its inception and built out entire implementations.  I consider myself a power user both at the Exec Management Level and at the configuration/code level.  After using CRM’s from several vendors, I prefer Salesforce.com based on the fact that it’s relatively easy to customize to get top end analytics that help manage the business.  Like any software though, it’s not perfect and a lot of the benefits are highly dependent on how the software is implemented.   What I have found in working with my clients is that there are good implementations and not so good implementations.  In discussing their previous SFDC configuration, client’s have made comments like:

“Our salespeople don’t regularly update it and hate it, the reports are not actionable.”  Exec from Billion dollar Medical Device Manufacturer.

“Our pipeline is never accurate, the software costs so much for the value.”  CEO  from Enterprise Software Company, 

“We are really not sure if our lead generation is working or where to invest more marketing money.”  CEO IoT Data Center Hardware/Software vendor,

These comments are all classic indicators that the implementation was not done well.  There are three must dos in maximizing a SFDC implementation to get the most out of the CRM investment.  Must do’s include configuring the platform to insure reliable forecasting, architect a sales process that tracks, reports and manages the pipeline, and (probably the most important) is to make it easy to use for the salespeople.

Reliable Forecasting

A CRM has to provide the ability to produce a reliable forecast.  The only way to do this is to configure the CRM with a defined selling processes that stages sales against pipeline weighed indicators.  Each sales step weight needs to be hard coded so that when certain stages have been achieved a set percentage weight is given to the opportunity.  You can’t rely on salespeople to weight their deals.  I have never met a sales person who wasn’t 99% sure the deal was going to close.  Remember, that eternal optimism is why you hired them in the first place.  By driving weights against percentage of sale process completed forecasting can be an analytical process vs. an emotions one.  Configure the CRM to maximize Forecast accuracy.

Pipeline Management

Saleforce.com has the ability to be configured so that the sales process and each stage within the sales pipeline is reported and visualized.  Its easy to get a dynamic representation of what is moving into, out of, and through the sales pipeline.  It is important to use this information to determine new lead activity, opportunities converted, days in each stage of the pipeline, total sales cycle, stuck deals, and activity by sales rep vs. their peers.  If we put a lead in the top of the funnel when should we expect it to come out?  To maximize Salesforce it must be configured to dashboard and report on the performance and health of the pipeline.

For Pete’s sake make it easy to use

For Pete’s, for Jim’s, for Joy’s, for sales, make it easy to use.  Salespeople get paid to sell.  They are keenly aware that this is their charter.  Most (all) don’t like doing paperwork.  The configuration of Salesforce (CRM) needs to be easy and intuitive.  Extra fields for the sake of extra fields are just are not needed.  Keeps custom fields to a minimum.  Configure to allow users to click and select vs. key.  Understand the selling process prior to building out the architecture.  One of the biggest, most common, mistakes I see in SFDC implementations is that IT does the implementation without getting deeper input from sales.  This is a implementation breaker, it will always be a struggle to keep the data current in salesforce, and will make the really important analytics out of date or completely wrong.  To maximize Salesforce make sure that it is configured to be easy to use or you will not only not maximize it but potentially jeopardize the entire implementation.

Get the max our to SFDC to produce reliable forecasting, clear sales pipeline tracking, and reliable data by making it easy of use or risk losing the benefits of your CRM investment.

To learn more about Pinpoint Worldwide and how we have solved company growth problems, helped penetrate new markets, and launched innovative technology to a global marketplace, please visit us at  http://www.pinpointworldwide.com or contact me at daniel@pinpointworldwide.com