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5 Compelling Ways To Increase Your Salesforce Benefits in 2016

5 Compelling Ways To Increase Your Salesforce Benefits in 2016

It’s always possible to increase your salesforce benefits. Our customers have proved it time and time again.

And every business wants to maximise its’ salesforce benefits in 2016. But how will you do it?

Here are five ways our customers achieved this in 2015. See which ones apply to you.

1. Measure sales against target in salesforce

Every sales team needs to track sales performance against target. It’s fundamental to effective sales management. But there’s no target tab in salesforce. This means many businesses export data out of salesforce to measure performance against target.

But they don’t need to. Here are three ways to measure sales versus target in salesforce.com. You can:

  • Use a simple dashboard gauge. This measures revenue against a pre-determined target number.
  • Use the Forecasts tab. This is an advanced management tool and provides strong forecasting functionality.
  • Use a custom solution. Simpler and more automated than the Forecasts tab, this automatically links Opportunities to a target at the User, Account or Product Category level.

How to measure 2016 sales targets in salesforce explains the three options in more detail and tells you when each is appropriate We also have an accompanying webinar recording that demonstrates the three options in action. And Is Your Sales Funnel Big Enough To Meet Your Sales Target explains how to create an accurate sales forecast in salesforce.

2. Add Products to Opportunities

Do you use Opportunities in salesforce? But you don’t use Products? Then you have the chance to further boost your salesforce benefits.

But that might not be your first reaction. Not every business uses Products. Here are five reasons why customers initially don’t use Products:

  • “We’ve too many Products.”
  • “We sell large Products configured from multiple smaller items.”
  • “We sell our Products as bundles, not individual items.”
  • “We don’t sell Products. We sell intangible services such as consultancy, training or support contracts.”
  • “We sell items we purchase from third parties e.g. telephony companies that sell products and services from end manufacturers.”

We provide simple ways to overcome each of these perceived obstacles. And the benefits of using Products in salesforce are significant:

  • Improved visibility of the sales funnel.
  • Improved accuracy of Opportunity Amounts and values.
  • Increased potential to identify up-sell and cross sell possibilities.
  • Improved control over pricing and discounts.
  • Streamlined business processes including automated quote and proposal production.

If you’re new to Products then Learn the basics about Products will get you started in understanding how to achieve these benefits.  And using a product selection wizard makes it easy for sales people to add products to opportunities.

3. Build great salesforce dashboards

When a salesforce.com sales executive demonstrates salesforce to potential customers, guess what’s the first thing they show? Dashboards.

There’s a reason for this. Improved visibility of the sales funnel and sales performance is the single biggest benefit that Sales Managers gain from an effective salesforce environment. And the way to get that visibility is dashboards.

Yet so many executives don’t have the dashboards that allow them to manage the sales team effectively. That means they can’t take the proactive steps needed to drive revenue growth.

A well-constructed sales dashboard allows managers to answer the question, “Where do I need to focus attention in order to increase future revenue?” To do this, the dashboard should focus on five key areas:

  • The size of the sales funnel.
  • The quality of the sales funnel.
  • The trend in the sales funnel.
  • The sales performance against target.
  • The lessons from historical performance.

The good news is that poor dashboards are easy to fix. Doing so will lead to a step change in your salesforce benefits. 12 examples of the charts that should be on your salesforce dashboard gives great examples of how to get started. Download the accompanying Powerpoint if you want to use it for future reference.

And if you’ve a set of good quality salesforce reports, configure your dashboards to make the information easily accessible. 10 best practice tips for awesome salesforce dashboards contains excellent advice on how to do just that.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

Download the FREE eBook today from our website

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4. Clean up your salesforce data

Poor data quality bedevils sales people. If you’ve three versions of the same Account – or the same Contact – how do you know which one to record an Opportunity against? Or update a phone number? Or log a call?

And if you’re preparing for a meeting, where do you look?

Duplicate data usually isn’t the only problem. Very often essential data is missing. Or old data needs to be updated.

Just thinking about how to address poor data quality can bring on a headache. But if you go about it in a structured way, it’s not as daunting as you think.

You can improve existing data by exporting it to Excel, cleaning it up and then re-uploading the data to salesforce. 10 tips to prepare your salesforce data gives good advice on how to improve your data. The post refers specifically to preparing your data in readiness for the initial import, but the data improvement principles are exactly the same for existing data.

What about duplicates? We wouldn’t merge data in Excel using the Find Duplicates function. You’ll lose any data that’s related to the records you merge. Instead, there are essentially two options for merging data within salesforce.com:

  • Use the standard buttons. Click on the Accounts tab to find the Merge Accounts link. It’s over on the right at the bottom of the page. The Merge Contacts button appears on the standard Account page layout, just above the Contacts section. Both of these functions are a little slow – you’ve got to search for the duplicates record by record – but for manageable volumes of data they do the job.
  • Use a third-party tool. There are plenty on the AppExchange. These tools use advanced technology, including fuzzy logic, to search for duplicates. They also make the job of merging the duplicate records a whole lot easier. On the other hand you have to pay a license fee for using the application.

Here’s where you can find data cleansing and de-duplication applications on the AppExchange.

5. Use Chatter to work more effectively

Hands up if you think Chatter is like Facebook? Well it isn’t. It’s a whole lot more useful.

Here are five examples of the way our customers gain benefit from Chatter:

      • Get automated updates on Opportunities and the sales funnel.
      • Collaborate more effectively during the sales process.
      • Share important information on customers, prospects, partners and competitors.
      • Help resolve customer service issues and problems quickly and easily.
      • Drive salesforce user adoption by encouraging useful dialogue within the application.

Chatter doesn’t replace email. But for those organisations that use Chatter effectively, it certainly cuts down on the flow and volume of email. And Chatter provides a much quicker and easier way of sharing succinct and relevant information amongst people within a business.

However there’s more to successfully using Chatter than simply switching it on. Use these 10 tips for a successful Chatter roll out to boost Chatter benefits in your business.

What next?

So there you have it – 5 compelling ways to increase your salesforce benefits. But there’s more. Watch out next month for 5 MORE ways to increase salesforce benefits.

Of course don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to discuss how any of these ideas can be implemented in your own business.

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3 Myths about Collaborative Technologies That Sales Managers Believe

3 Myths about Collaborative Technologies That Sales Managers Believe

Executives often give three reasons why their business shouldn’t use collaboration technologies such as salesforce Chatter. 1) People will post inappropriate content. 2) I’m swamped with email now I’ll be swamped with Chatter posts. And 3) It only works if everyone uses it and not everyone will use it.

Here’s why those reasons aren’t true.

Reason 1. People will post inappropriate content

Employees don’t generally send out a company-wide email telling everyone what they did on Saturday night. Likewise they don’t make Chatter posts on the same subject either. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’ve never heard of it.

That doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t have rules on what is acceptable on Chatter. In my own business we use Chatter extensively for business purposes. However several members of the team recently had babies and they’ve posted a picture on Chatter. Other people have commented on how cute they look.

In our organisation that’s an acceptable use of Chatter. If the pictures hadn’t been on Chatter they’d have been circulated by email. It’s part of the fabric that binds us together as a company. Especially as people are often out working on customer sites for periods at a time.

But in some of our clients the policy on Chatter is to keep it strictly business. That’s also fine. Just let people know where they stand.

Reason 2. I’m swamped with email now I’ll be swamped with Chatter posts

My own experience is that internal email significantly reduces when organisations adopt Chatter. Communications that would have taken place on email now happen on Chatter. But because Chatter is a much more collaborative mechanism than email there’s an improvement in the quality of communication. People tend to be more concise. They get straight to the point. And you avoid the mess that results when some people hit ‘Reply All’ and others just ‘Reply’.

However it’s also a question of filtering. Follow the people, records, groups and files that matter to you. If other people want to bring you into the conversation they can @ you. So rather than being swamped I’ve found that executives have more time to focus on the important priorities.

Reason 3. It will only work if everyone uses it and everyone won’t use it

It’s true that to get the best from Chatter everyone needs to be committed to using it. And to achieve that there are a number of steps you can take to achieve full Chatter adoption. We describe these more fully in a seperate blog, ‘10 tips for successful Chatter roll out‘.

In summary, to achieve full Chatter adoption:

  • Get executives involved from the start.
  • Persuade users to add a picture to their profile.
  • Plant some seeds by pre-populating with some Chatter posts.
  • Get managers to ask questions using Chatter – on the relevant record in salesforce.
  • Set up feed tracking to alert people about important changes to records they follow.

Of course not everyone in your organisation is necessarily a full salesforce.com user. So provide free Chatter-only licenses for other employees. It’s a powerful way of bringing everyone into the conversation.

If you found this blog post interesting then you might also want to review:

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10 Tips to Help You Roll out Salesforce Chatter

10 Tips to Help You Roll out Salesforce Chatter

salesforce.com Chatter is a great tool for collaborating with colleagues and making working life more efficient, effective and enjoyable. But there’s more to successful Chatter roll out than simply switching it on.

Here’s our 10 tips for successful Chatter roll-out based on our experience of working with salesforce.com customers around the world.

1. Get Executives involved from the start

It’s tempting to let Chatter use be driven from the ground-up. But really driving the benefits means that senior managers have to provide visible approval – and participation – in Chatter.

chatter executive2. Add profile pictures

Chatter is a far more personal communication than email. We all like to see the person we’re talking to so get people to add a pic!

Chatter User

3. Plant some seeds

Ever felt like you’ve been missing out on something good? Don’t present users with a blank canvas when they first login. Seed Chatter with some good quality posts. Include some from the management team!

Chatter feed

4. Set the ground rules

In some teams it’s acceptable to post about subjects that are not strictly work related. A new baby for example. They take the view that the pictures would be circulated by email anyway.

In other organisations Chatter is the preserve of work subjects only. Both policies are fine. Just let people know where they stand.

Chatter guidelines

5. Give training

Creating a Chatter post is simple. But what about bookmarks, hashtags, messenger, @symbolls, favourites, files and polls? If you really want your users to adopt Chatter give some simple training on how best to use it. And follow up regularly with additional tips. On Chatter!

Chatter launch plan

6. Ask questions about deals. On the record!

So much communication about the sales pipeline, important customer issues, customer service cases or projects relies on email. Make sure managers know how to get an update on a large deal by creating a Chatter post directly in the feed on the record. Nothing is more likely to drive adoption amongst the sales team.

chatter record

7. Enable Chatter feed tracking

This means anyone following a specific record will get an automated Chatter post when an important field changes. So make sure you enable this feature! And think carefully about the fields that should be tracked (sometimes less is more!).

Chatter feed tracking

8. Monitor Chatter adoption

At the moment it’s not possible to create reports that show the number of posts by users. However encourage managers and team leaders to use Chatter statistics on posts, comments and likes during appraisals and reviews.

gary smith

9. Communicate the benefits

Don’t keep it a secret! In particular get executives and managers to highlight examples of how Chatter has helped them resolve issues, close deals or driven projects forward.

chatter benefits

10. Use Chatter swarm

This free app lets you create business rules on Leads, Opportunities and Cases. Specified users automatically follow records based on rules that you specify. For example, if an Opportunity is over £100K and the Opportunity Stage advances to Proposal Made then the VP of Sales is automatically added as a Chatter follower. Or a customer service case is changed to type ‘Complaint’ then the Head of Customer Service and the Account Manager are automatically added as Chatter followers. Useful, free and easy to install. Click here to see the app.

Chatter Swarm

So there’s 10 tips for successful salesforce.com Chatter roll out. Don’t forget to let us know if you’ve got some more!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Salesforce Chatter

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Salesforce Chatter

We’re big users of salesforce Chatter and now we take it for granted as a way of working. But a customer asked me this week, “Why should I use Chatter? What are the benefits?”

I gave him 5 reasons to use salesforce Chatter. Here they are.

1. Chatter is a far more collaborative way of working

Like many organisations, if someone in The Gary Smith Partnership was trying to solve a problem or get feedback on a presentation they’d send out a global email. Some people replied to everyone, some just to the sender. Either way the email thread quickly became jumbled.

Now we use Chatter. The problem solving process becomes a conversation rather than a series of disjointed emails. People interact and spark new ideas. There’s no ambiguity over which is the current version of the document. Other employees can be brought into the conversation using the @ symbol.

The whole process is a smarter way of working.

2. Chatter will give you input from expected quarters

A prospect I was working with recently asked me how they could support a fairly complex requirement using salesforce.com. I wasn’t sure of the right technical solution so I asked my colleagues for help.

Previously I’d have sent an email to the top 3 or 4 most technical people in the team. But this time I posted it on Chatter. And yes, the experienced guys all replied. But one of our graduate trainees also chipped in with some ideas. It wasn’t the final solution but her contribution then sparked some further Chatter discussion. Between us we came up with the answer.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen a significant contribution on Chatter that simply wouldn’t have happened in the old way of working.

3. You’ll find out things on Chatter you wouldn’t otherwise have known

At GSP we use Chatter to keep each other updated on customers we’re visiting, prospects we’re talking to and projects we’re working on.

I was on a train recently and posted on Chatter to say I was on route to visit a particular prospect. It turns out that one of our team used to work for their biggest competitor. He saw my post and immediately gave me industry insight that I simply didn’t have. And which I wouldn’t have received if I hadn’t made that Chatter post. We got the deal.

Other times I’ve found out about configuration tips and tricks I didn’t know about, opportunities I wasn’t aware of and ideas that wouldn’t otherwise have surfaced.

4. It’s a great way to keep up to date on deals and projects

We make good use of salesforce.com reports and dashboards to track projects and deals we’re working on. But I also want the important insights and updates to be pushed to me, in real tie. That’s exactly what Chatter does for me.

I use Chatter to follow all projects. If a key field such as the RAG status is changed I get an immediate, automated Chatter post to tell me. It means I save a huge amount of time asking about the status of things. Which also means I don’t go around constantly interrupting other people!

5. And you’ll get a lot less email!

Who doesn’t want less email? I’m not someone that’s ever counted the number of emails I get per day – or how few I receive now. But one thing’s for sure, there’s a lot less internal emails flying around now! The dialogue and communication hasn’t reduced, it’s not being handled a let more effectively on Chatter.

And because Chatter posts are typed into a box rather than an email they tend to be shorter and more to the point. And that’s definitely a more productive way of working!

What to do next

If this blog post was useful you might also want to read:

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