Drew Thornsberry, Penrod’s Director of Sales, uses Salesforce.com as a System of Engagement in order to successfully manage our sales team. When implemented correctly, Salesforce.com equips managers with the necessary tools in order to provide insightful coaching opportunities allowing teams to increase performance, accelerate improvement and distinguish accountability. In his blog series he will share his experience with creating a 360-degree view of the customer and how it creates success in our organization.
For this first installment, I’d like to go back to the more traditional sense of CRM, and talk about how Salesforce.com can help managing a Sales Team. Ultimately, when we think about sales processes we’re focused on driving a set of behaviors that result in activities taken to move deals forward and enable the delivery of revenue.
To start, aligning Lead, Account, and Contact page layouts to capture and present relevant, useful data is the foundation of a solid sales organization. Where things can get off track is when we let a lot of different constituents elect a large number of data points that are included in this structure, and instead I would encourage organizations to be greedy with your real estate. What I mean by that is the key stakeholders of the implementation should critically consider every single field of information they decide to use on these core objects, and more importantly, understand why they are important and how they’ll be critical to the behaviors we want to drive.
“I would encourage organizations to be greedy with your real estate – key stakeholders of the implementation should critically consider every single field of information they decide to use.”
Moving through the sales process, the absolute core is the opportunity management framework, where we can use things like stages and guided selling to follow either a proven sales methodology or a customized process that is standardized for our specific business. Here is where we really tie things together, relating information from the core foundation as we move prospects and customers through our sales process driving toward the recognition of revenue. Additional tools like Activities and Tasks, as well as email integration can really make the tracking and visibility of processes useful – leading to actionable data and more importantly, helping us identify where we’re not spending our time and should be. Tools like reports and dashboards, workflow automation rules, and validation rules, can raise opportunities not getting their due consideration to the attention of an account executive, their manager, and so on to provide coaching opportunities as well as just a convenient reminder that we haven’t followed up in a set amount of time or our next step is overdue and prompt the desired follow up activity.
Those are the basics, but we’re still just scratching the surface of the value available on a true platform System of Engagement, and when you seek to take things further, the Opportunity framework becomes even more-so the hub from which multiple spokes support the rolling wheel. I started my career in Lean / Six Sigma implementation, so I always like identifying waste and eliminating it. One of the biggest bottlenecks I see repeatedly is the process by which organizations prepare quotes, proposals, legal agreements, orders, and invoices.
The best part about the Salesforce.com platform is that often you’re collecting data in an earlier part of your process that is very useful later in the process, and if you continue making space to keep collecting that data as you progress through your customer’s experience, you’ll continue to streamline future processes. When done correctly, creating a quote and later a formal proposal with required legal documents and resulting orders can all be automated by the push of a button, or the change of an opportunity stage, or the electronic signature of an integrated document. All things we’ll get into as this series continues.
- Be thoughtful about your core data structure and processes. Be greedy with your real estate.
- Take advantage of the work people are already doing and give them a place to do it.
- Use reports and automation to “give back” to your users using the data they’re providing to make their lives easier.