How does Salesforce allow you to increase your company's performance?
Most companies, small or large, need to make money in order to exist, and in order to make money they need to "sell something". Contractor satisfaction is an indicator of a thriving business.Taking these statements as true, it is very easy to conclude that the sales process and the maintenance of good relations with customers are the most important processes of any company. Therefore, having the right CRM system to build a stable and predictable sales process definitely helps to better know and understand the needs of contractors.
Unfortunately, the very decision to choose and implement Salesforce, a CRM system, is a very difficult one. For many departments in the company, it will be the main working tool, so it is reasonable that this tool works at least well.
Instant access to the information you need
One of the very common factors contributing to a company's reduced productivity is the lack of having unified customer information. Scattered information is kept in loose notes on paper, many different documents and sheets, mailboxes or only in the heads of salespeople. This type of situation makes the company unprepared to have a quick conversation with the customer, because getting complete information about the customer involves a lot of work, literally burning salespeople's time on tasks outside of sales activities. A good CRM system should give you the ability to enter, as well as view, all the necessary information in one place. In addition, it should allow work on mobile devices and be equipped with tools that make it accessible and easy to collaborate on tasks in teams. At the same time, it must also allow you to make process automation and business logic changes in a fairly simple, fast and intuitive way. Another very important feature is the ability to report and analyze data, because without this the organization is not able to clearly determine whether the decisions made are good ones and whether they positively affect the development of the company. In the following article, I will try to tell you how Salesforce CRM improves a company's productivity and efficiency.
Let's start with one of the often underestimated parameters of tool evaluation - the evaluation of the company that offers the solution. The high status of a company very often translates into the quality of its products, which definitely reduces the risk of problems such as:
- Lack or abandonment of development and technical support,
- Lack of detailed and up-to-date documentation,
- Lack of clear directions for product development.
Each of the aforementioned problems significantly hinders, as well as prolongs, the process of implementation and subsequent development and maintenance and employee training. Most often, it also leads to sub-optimal use of company resources - mainly for maintenance and bug fixing, with application development very often becoming a nightmare, in which the introduction of new functionalities is impossible or involves the addition of many workarounds and prosthetics, which are not infrequently tied with a 'string'. That's why companies offering such complex solutions as CRM systems need to anticipate product development and modification in their operations, which in itself is a value for the company.
Can we really trust Salesforce? Salesforce.com has been a leader among CRM-type systems for many years. The company has been providing its software as a cloud service since 1999, so it's safe to call it a Salesforce pioneer of this type of solution. It has more than 150,000 customers, of which about 400 are among the world's 500 largest companies. It has about 50,000 employees in almost 30 countries, while continuing to win many awards and accolades. Salesforce has been listed 12 years in a row on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. Based on data from investing.com, the stock market listing of Salesforce.com shares, looks very stable for many years, and the company, despite the global shake-up at the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, has been increasing its value all the time. Salesforce is definitely focused on the needs of its customers, so seeing the functional shortcomings of the platform, it is starting to collaborate with other companies, for example, by working with Google and Microsoft we can seamlessly synchronize mail and calendars with our system.
In addition, Salesforce in order to expand its services in recent years has acquired several major companies:
- Slack - a very popular instant messaging service,
- Tableau - one of the most popular platforms enabling data analysis,
- MuleSoft (currently available as a separate product, as well as part of Integration Cloud) - an integration platform with enormous capabilities, thanks to it we are able to connect Salesforce with practically most systems in the world through predefined or custom API connectors,
- DemandWare (currently Commerce Cloud) - which offers B2B and B2C ecommerce solutions,
- ClickSoftware (currently Field Service Lightning)
- ExactTarget, Krux, Buddy Media (currently parts of Marketing Cloud responsible for marketing processes).
Of course, all of the products mentioned integrate well with our CRM, allowing us to create a single system providing a multi-dimensional, more complete view of our contractors, which will provide them with a much better level of service.
Automation of the sales process
Salesforce's most popular product is Sales Cloud, very often called Salesforce by customers. The main purpose of Sales Cloud is to support the sales process. It is used to collect information about customers and sales opportunities, giving you the ability to analyze them in real time.
Sales Cloud introduces a very transparent process for tracking and managing sales opportunities, including by tracking sales activities such as meetings, phone calls and emails. Activity reporting is also possible using the Salesforce Mobile app, which significantly shortens and simplifies the process. The system enables automatic prioritization and routing of leads to the appropriate salespeople or teams.
With tools enjoying the benefits of artificial intelligence (Salesforce Einstein), Salesforce automatically analyzes the sales process. Based on historical data, it helps us assess the quality of sales opportunities and suggests what activities we should perform to increase sales opportunities. It also helps us better forecast future sales. According to statistics calculated by Salesforce based on evaluations of the platform's implementations, thanks to the above automations, employees are less likely to make mistakes and are definitely relieved of manual work. The tool allows them to improve their performance by simply doing some of the work for them. This has an impact on customer service time and company efficiency. According to statistics, Sales Cloud can improve a company's sales by about 30%, and sales predictions become more accurate by more than 40%.
Undoubtedly, good communication within a company is hugely important, which is why Salesforce pays a lot of attention to this aspect. In order to improve communication and ensure proper data visibility, Salesforce allows the company's structures to be reflected in the system through the ability to build a hierarchy of roles and assign employees to appropriate departments, groups and teams. Improving the ability to communicate and collaborate within teams and between different departments of the company significantly speeds up decision-making. Aside from the ability to integrate with popular messengers like Slack, Zoom and Teams, Salesforce also provides a tool for Chatter based on the experience known from social networks to quickly share information and documents. A very interesting extension, allowing multiple users to work in real time on a single document, is Quip available after purchasing additional licenses. Thanks to the above functionalities, Sales Cloud very often contributes to the complete elimination of the so-called "paperwork" in the organization, reducing the time spent on information retrieval.
Faster customer service
Another very popular Salesforce product is Service Cloud which is mainly used for customer service and support. A key aspect of building a good brand is to make our customers feel important and taken care of. To do this, our agents need to have the right tools that allow them to quickly access current as well as historical customer information. Service Cloud allows us to build a number of different support processes, each process can consist of multiple steps, and moving to the next steps forces the execution of certain actions (such as sending information to the customer about the start of work on a task or sending the corresponding article from the knowledge base). In addition, we are able to define the SLA for each step of the process. Thanks to automatically collected statistics, we are able to analyze and optimize the least optimal process steps very quickly. Another very interesting Service Cloud solution is Omni-Channel - a tool that facilitates and automates the management of requests from multiple communication channels, such as phone, email, social media (e.g. Facebook Messenger) or chat. With this tool, we are able to appropriately redirect requests to agents based on their skills or current workload.
Salesforce Service Cloud also offers the ability to build a Call Center to make and receive phone calls through CTI.
The Knowledge Management functionality allows us to build articles, through which we are able to gather knowledge about our products, processes, service methods, or solutions to the most common problems. Salesforce, using AI, is able to automatically suggest relevant articles to agents based on the topic and content of the case, which can significantly speed up agents' work. According to Salesforce statistics, Service Cloud increases the efficiency of service agents and the speed of solving customer problems by more than 45%.
According to many studies, the least optimal medium for conducting support is a phone call, as it takes up 100% of the agent's time, so this medium should only be used when the problem cannot be solved in any other way. A very good solution to this problem is to introduce a self-service portal, where our customers will be able to solve their problems themselves, whether by accessing the knowledge base, other similar cases, or by asking questions on the forum. A rather interesting solution could also be Einstein-Chatbot - functionality, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, is able to simulate the work of an agent. It is very well shown in the statistics that such an e-agent is able to solve many issues on its own, so that human resources are not involved so much.
We already know that Salesforce will help us handle sales opportunities, and simplify service and support for our customers. Salesforce will also help us gain new customers. We have a wide range of tools on the web to connect with our customers (email and sms messages, push notifications, social media, websites or online advertising). Marketing Cloud as a platform designed to automate B2C campaigns, now offers a wide range of tools that can also be successfully used for B2B campaigns. The platform also provides a number of solutions for customizing content, timing and communication method to subscribers' preferences.
When planning a marketing campaign, we should know which communication channel each specific person in our contact base prefers because trying to "hit" customers with all methods can prove costly and ineffective. This is where the services offered by Marketing Cloud tools for collecting and analyzing data. Thanks to them, we can collect historical data on the effectiveness of each form of communication in the context of a particular person, and then, based on this data, decide how we will send messages to him. Using this knowledge appropriately, we reduce the likelihood of being ignored, as well as of our advertising being perceived as intrusive.
If we've reached the point where we've gained the recipient's attention, the final, extremely important aspect is content. When creating marketing content, it's a good idea to again tap into subscriber knowledge and use individual information to personalize the message. An example of this would be creating an email that presents the recipient with recommended products based on their order history, or displaying upcoming events that fit into their area of interest.
Of course, with a few clicks we can synchronize Marketing Cloud with other Salesforce products, thus enabling us to use the data from them for even more effective personalization, as well as building more accurate profiles of our contractors. It's equally simple to integrate the system with a mobile app or other third-party system using SOAP, REST Api and SFTP servers.
We will look at another very important parameter of any CRM system, which is its expansion capabilities. Salesforce, guided by information obtained from its customers collected on the Idea Exchange, updates the platform, improving and introducing new functionalities in releases made available every four months. The scope of each release is described in great detail long before the release in extensive Release Noteswhich enables faster testing and, if necessary, implementation of new functionality. Platform enhancements are made available to all customers at no additional charge. Access to Salesforce products is through the purchase of appropriate licenses, in addition, it is possible to install functionality from the store App Exchange which contains various types of extensions - from ready-made applications and tools to sets of components, reports and dashboards.
Salesforce CRM is a fully cloud-embedded product, so once deployed, we are no longer concerned with the problems and costs associated with maintaining the physical server infrastructure, which is usually a very big plus. By default, Salesforce customers use an infrastructure managed by Salesforce. Starting in late 2020 with the creation of Salesforce Hyperforce, we are able to move part of the platform to the infrastructure of public clouds like AWS or Azure, so you can build more scalable solutions. Currently, Salesforce offers access to two cloud models SaaSand PaaS (Force.com and Heroku). The SaaS layer allows us to take advantage of a huge range of off-the-shelf products Salesforce, helping us to quickly extend the system with processes related to sales, service, marketing, e-commerce, integrations or data analysis. The PaaS layer, on the other hand, allows us to introduce automation into our business processes, through the ability to implement custom business logic using code (technologies Apex, Aura, LWC, Visualforce) or tools point-and-click (Process Builder, Flows). Point-and-click tools allow very granular configuration of access and data visibility depending on user profiles and roles. One of the best practices pointed out by Salesforce is that before building functionality in code, first try to implement it using point-and-click tools, as this significantly speeds up implementations and reduces change and maintenance costs. Salesforce also provides mechanisms for us to take care of the quality of our system's data by introducing validation rules and data deduplication.
It is also worth mentioning that in the interest of maintaining the highest level of security, speed and availability, Salesforce services are monitored 24 hours a day, and information about the current status of services, errors and upcoming releases is made available at trust.salesforce.com.
There's no denying that the implementation of a CRM system is most often a relationship for many years, from which it will be impossible to get out of without problems, so you should approach this decision very carefully, choosing the system that will best meet your requirements. Salesforce offers a platform that is trusted by some of the largest companies in the world, and as a result, often the very use of the platform contributes to the credibility of our business. With Salesforce, we can improve our processes, taking advantage of the conveniences of the latest technology, and use a number of ready-made solutions that can significantly increase the company's performance. Of course, the more information we have in the CRM system, the better we will be able to serve our contractors, but we will also be able to develop better sales strategies, better select as well as optimize resources during customer service, and predict future sales.