Looking Over Salesforce - Salesforce Basics - Salesforce.com For Dummies, 5th Edition (2014)

Salesforce.com For Dummies, 5th Edition (2014)

Part I. Salesforce Basics


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In this part …

· Understand high-level features of Salesforce and how those are applied to typical business challenges

· Learn basic Salesforce terms so we speak the same language

· Navigate the standard landscape of Salesforce to know where to go for what

· Personalize Salesforce as an end-user, to match your productivity needs

Chapter 1. Looking Over Salesforce

In This Chapter

arrow Solving business challenges

arrow Extending the value of what you have

arrow Deciding what Salesforce size fits you

You might not realize it yet, but every time you log in to Salesforce, you’re accessing an extremely powerful lever of change for you, your group, and your company.

Sounds like a tall order, but consider this: What value do you put on your customer relationships? Your partner relationships? If you’re a sales rep, it’s your livelihood. And if you’re in management, you have fewer assets more valuable than your existing partner and customer base. What if you had a tool that could truly help you manage your partners and customers?

Salesforce wasn’t the first customer relationship management (CRM) system to hit the market, but it’s dramatically different than the other CRM systems you might have used (spreadsheets and sticky notes count as a system, too!). Unlike traditional CRM software, Salesforce is an Internet service. You sign up and log in through a browser, and it’s immediately available. We currently call this cloud computing, where the customers access “the cloud” (that is, the Internet) for their business needs, and are not required to install any traditional software on, presumably, Earth. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can be anywhere in the world and have access to the clouds. Some of you may already be at companies that use cloud-based applications, as salesforce.com’s success has spawned a whole new marketplace full of business applications done “in the cloud.” Others may just be entering the workforce but are very familiar with the use of Internet-applications in their personal life (think Facebook). For other readers, this is your first foray into cloud computing, and you might be taking a first step by yourself or with the rest of your company. Don’t worry — your company made the right choice by picking Salesforce.

Salesforce customers typically say that it’s unique for three major reasons:

· Fast: When you sign on the dotted line, you want your CRM system up and running yesterday. Traditional CRM software can take more than a year to deploy; compare that to months or even weeks with Salesforce.

· Easy: End user adoption is critical to any application, and Salesforce wins the ease-of-use category hands down. You can spend more time putting it to use and less time figuring it out.

· Effective: Because it’s easy to use and can be customized quickly to meet business needs, customers have proven that it has improved their bottom lines.

With Salesforce, you now have a full suite of services to manage the customer life cycle, divided into three product families: Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud. These services include tools to pursue leads, manage accounts, track opportunities, resolve cases, and more. Depending on your team’s objectives, you might use all the Salesforce families from Day 1, or you might focus on just the functionality to address the priorities at hand.

The more you and your team adopt Salesforce into your work, and you determine how you want your business process to be reflected within the technology, the more information you’ll have at your fingertips to deepen customer relationships and improve your overall business.

In this chapter, we reveal the many great things that you can do with Salesforce. Then we describe how you can extend Salesforce to work with many of the common applications that you already use. Finally, we help you decide which Salesforce edition is right for you, just in case you’re still evaluating your options.

Using Salesforce to Solve Critical Business Challenges

We could write another book telling you all the great things you can do with Salesforce, but you can get the big picture from this chapter. We focus here on the most common business challenges that we hear from sales, marketing, and support executives — and how Salesforce can overcome them.

Understanding your customer’s customer

How can you sell to and retain customers if you don’t understand their needs, key contacts, and what account activities and transactions have taken place? Can you serve your customers well if you’re not familiar with how your products and services help improve your customer’s customer’s (no, that’s not a typo) experience? With Salesforce, you can track all your important customer data in one place so that you can develop solutions that deliver real value to your customers, which in turn should mean higher customer satisfaction with their customers.

Centralizing customer information under one roof

How much time have you ever wasted tracking down a customer contact or an address that you know exists within the walls of your company? What about trying to find out which sales rep owns the relationship with a subsidiary of a global customer? With Salesforce, you can quickly centralize and organize your accounts and contacts so that you can capitalize on that information when you need to.

Expanding the funnel

Inputs and outputs, right? The more leads you generate and pursue, the greater the chance that your revenue will grow. So the big question is, “How do I make the machine work?” With Salesforce, you can plan, manage, measure, and improve lead generation, qualification, and conversion. You can see how much business you or your team generates, the sources of that business, and who in your team is making it happen.

Consolidating your pipeline

Pipeline reports give companies insight into future sales, yet we’ve worked with companies in which generating the weekly pipeline could take more than a day of cat herding and guesswork. Reps waste time updating spreadsheets. Managers waste time chasing reps and scrubbing data. Bosses waste time tearing their hair out because the information is old by the time they get it. The prevalence of cloud computing makes this traditional method of siloed data collection obsolete (or pretty darn inefficient). With Salesforce, you can shorten or eliminate all that. As long as reps manage all their opportunities in Salesforce, managers can generate updated pipeline reports with the click of a button.

Collaborating effectively with your colleagues

Remember when you were the new guy (or gal) at the company, and you had to find out who knew everything about a particular customer, process, or product? Even at smaller companies, it takes time to discover who possesses that extra bit of historical knowledge that could help you close that important deal or resolve a support issue. Other times, you might be so busy that you’re out of the loop on certain key company updates, even when departments try to keep you informed. What if you could harness the insights from others within the company, yet not be overwhelmed by information overload? Chatter (the salesforce.com product, not the noun) increases internal awareness and collaboration on the business issues that matter the most to you, so you’re always up to date and never caught unawares.

Working as a team

How many times have you thought that your own coworkers got in the way of selling? Oftentimes, the challenge isn’t the people, or even the technology, but standardizing processes and clarifying roles and responsibilities. With Salesforce, you can define teams and processes for sales, marketing, and customer service so that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. Although Salesforce doesn’t solve corporate alignment issues, you now have the tool that can drive and manage better team collaboration.

Collaborating with your partners

In many industries, selling directly is a thing of the past. To gain leverage and cover more territory, many companies work through partners. By using Salesforce Communities, your channel team can track and associate partners’ deals and get better insight about who their top partners are. Partners now can strengthen their relationships with their vendors by collaborating more easily on joint sales and marketing efforts.

Beating the competition

How much money have you lost to competitors? How many times did you lose a deal only to discover, after the fact, that it went to your archenemy? If you know whom you’re up against, you can probably better position yourself to win the opportunity. With Salesforce, you and your teams can track competition on deals, collect competitive intelligence, and develop action plans to wear down your foes.

Improving customer service

As a salesperson, have you ever walked into a customer’s office expecting a bed of roses only to be hit with a landmine because of an unresolved customer issue? And if you work in customer support, how much time do you waste on trying to identify the customers and reviewing the context of previous support interactions? With Service Cloud, you can efficiently capture, manage, and resolve a high volume of customer issues that come in from a variety of communication channels. By managing cases in Service Cloud, sales reps get visibility into the health of their accounts, and service can stay well informed of sales and account activity.

Accessing anytime, anywhere

The mobile revolution that hit your personal life is now a large part of business life, too. People work from home or on the road, oftentimes due to that new universe of cloud-based business programs that has evolved within the last decade. Globalization means that offices are oftentimes spread out. You expect to get access to information from multiple devices, easily and reliably. With Salesforce, you can access and manage your critical customer information, at 3 p.m. or 3 a.m., online or offline, in multiple languages, and from multiple devices.

Measuring the business

How can you improve what you can’t measure? Simple, huh? If you use Salesforce correctly and regularly to manage customers, you have data to make informed decisions. That benefits everyone. If you’re a rep, you know what you need to do to get the rewards you want. If you’re a manager, you can pinpoint where to get involved to drive your numbers. And Salesforce’s reporting and dashboards give you easy-to-use tools to measure and analyze your business.

Running your business in the cloud

Salesforce’s success has empowered a whole new generation of managers and administrators to become business operations gurus. Cloud computing’s generally lower licensing costs, its ability to allow system configuration to happen with no prior programming experience, and its ability to make modifications quickly to the system mean that newer businesses can compete with slower, older, bigger competitors, but at a fraction of the cost.

Extending the Value Chain

Salesforce.com understands that you already rely on existing tools for parts of your business. Such tools might include your e-mail, your word processing and spreadsheet programs, your public website, and your intranet. Salesforce.com isn’t naïve enough to think you’re going to stop using these tools. In fact, you can readily integrate Salesforce with many of the tools you use today to interact with your customers.

Integrating with your website

For many companies, their public website is a primary way to communicate information to their customers. You might use your website as a channel for visitors to request information or to log customer service issues. When you use Salesforce, you can generate leads and capture cases from your website, route them directly into Salesforce, and automatically assign them to the right reps. No more stacks of e-mails to info@yourcompany.com cluttering up one poor person’s inbox before he or she has to reroute them to the right people. And Salesforce’s assignment rules can make sure that incoming leads or cases get to the right reps in a timely manner. With minimal effort, you can even offer self-service options in the form of a public knowledge base or a private portal, enabling customers to help themselves.

Connecting to social sites

As part of your job, you might regularly use websites for tasks such as researching potential customers, getting driving directions, and getting the inside scoop on your competition. Your customers, like your own company, probably have a presence on networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Salesforce makes it easy to find a business’s or contact’s profile on any of these sites, where information is often visible to the public, or only a few degrees of separation apart. Accessing your intranet, populating a web form to provision a demo, creating and propagating a Salesforce record — all these tasks are within reach. And all this means time saved for you.

Integrating with other applications

Your company might have other applications that contain critical customer data — financial and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications are just a few examples. Many applications provide unique and indispensable value to your organization. Your company isn’t going to retire them just because you’re using Salesforce. But, based on company objectives, those applications might need to integrate with Salesforce. Because of Salesforce’s open architecture, your company can integrate applications if you have the right technical assistance.

Managing other business processes

When you log in to Salesforce, you see several tabs, grouped into tab sets called apps. Salesforce.com prioritized the visibility of those tabs based on core CRM functions. However, depending on your business needs, you might require apps that have different functionality for teams that may or may not have anything related to sales, marketing, or support. With salesforce.com’s Force.com platform, your company can now easily build or download these custom apps to fit your specific business needs. You can now use Salesforce for more than CRM and ultimately manage a significant portion of your business online.

Deciding Which Edition Is Best for You

If you already use Salesforce, this topic might be a moot point. At the very least, you know which version of Salesforce you have.

image If you’re not sure which edition you have, look at the top of your browser after you’ve logged in to Salesforce.

Here we’ll review five versions of salesforce.com’s service. All versions have the same consistent look and feel, but each varies by feature, functionality, and pricing. If you’re considering using Salesforce, consult with an account executive for more details about edition differences, pricing, and upgrade paths:

· Contact Manager: Basic account and contact management for up to five users. No lead or opportunity tracking.

· Group: Basic CRM, which includes the ability to track leads and opportunities, for teams of up to five users. This allows you to view the full sales life cycle, from the initial interaction with a lead to a closed opportunity.

· Professional: Thorough CRM for any size organization that’s starting to nail down processes. Again, you can track the full sales life cycle from a new lead to a closed opportunity. Dashboards allow managers to track key metrics at a glance. Some optional features for businesses with more detailed process needs (such as managing marketing campaigns, creating contracts, tracking various products sold, or accessing Salesforce while offline) come at an extra cost.

· Enterprise: More sales and service functionality for more complex organizations, including the ability to integrate with other systems within your company. This edition provides more value than if you were to pay extra for certain add-on features in more basic editions. If you absolutely need your business processes to look and act a specific way, this edition provides more ways to make that happen for you.

· Performance: Even more customization capabilities for extending Salesforce to other business uses. You need a dedicated (and usually technical) administrator to take advantage of all the options that this edition delivers.

image Salesforce also provides another edition, Developer Edition. This is a free instance of Salesforce with which developers can test and build third-party solutions. It has full functionality but a very limited license count and storage space.

Professional or Enterprise Edition?

Most companies tend to make a decision between using Professional and Enterprise Editions. Budget might be an issue, but the decision usually boils down to core business needs. Consider these questions: Does your company …

· Have different groups with distinct sales processes, customers, and products?

· Have a lead-generation or service team that relies on a call script when initially speaking with prospects or customers?

· Plan to integrate Salesforce with other applications?

· Require complex data migration into Salesforce?

· Need greater control over users, what they see, and what they can do?

· Sell in defined teams with specific roles?

· Require consistent, specific workflow or approval steps to further automate processes?

If the answer to any of these questions is a definitive “Yes,” your company should probably evaluate at least Enterprise Edition, and possibly Performance Edition.

Whichever edition you choose, the good news is that every edition of Salesforce is rich with features that can help companies of every size address their business challenges. You can choose a more basic edition today and upgrade later, as needed. Upgrades happen in the background and are easy, so you can focus on the business processes that drive the need for new functionality. And when salesforce.com rolls out new releases of its service, it provides product enhancements for the different editions wherever relevant.