In our latest series of blog posts, we’re gearing up to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Salesforce. These are the some of the Salesforce Implementation questions that we sometimes here. Kicking off this new run of posts we attempt to answer all your questions starting with “How”.
Salesforce is Customer Management (CRM) software for businesses. Salesforce was one of the first companies to utilise the Software as a Service (Saas) structure, which is a subscription based model where businesses pay for each license on a monthly basis. Built on Force.com, Salesforce works by managing companies’ relationships and interactions with their customers. From storing contacts and accounts, to managing sales pipelines, to reporting and analysing company KPIs, Salesforce streamlines business processes. Salesforce doesn’t just stop at elevating your Sales team, it’s a complete platform that can provide effective solutions to any customer-related issue throughout the the buying lifecycle. With several features that you can pick and choose different elements and clouds depending on your needs, all can finely tuned specifically to your business.
Customers are key to the growth of any business, harnessing good relationships and improving interactions will allow for greater customer retention = increased company performance. Salesforce allows you to prioritise your leads and opportunities based on scoring leads that are likely to convert based on their interactions, improving sales efficiency. Automation also takes manual jobs away from employees which means your team can focus on selling and marketing rather than administrative tasks. The CRM also allows you to provide better customer service through reaching them in the right place at the right time.[caption id="attachment_742" align="alignnone" width="1211"]
Salesforce Sales Cloud - source: salesforce.com[/caption]
Salesforce sells Salesforce to its customers in order for them to drive their own customers’ success. So how does Salesforce use Salesforce? Like other Business to Business (B2B) companies, Salesforce uses (its own) platform to drive customer success. From setting up customer journeys, gathering data insights on the customers in order to deliver precise engagement and moving leads and accounts down the pipeline, Salesforce uses the CRM that it sells to its customers, to sell to its customers.
Like many other companies hailing from the SanFran area, Salesforce started in a small apartment on Telegraph Hill in March 1999. Starting out with the aim of challenging well-established business software on the market, Salesforce struggled to get any funding from VCs, Marc Benioff recently announced. Eventually a VC took a chance with Salesforce on its mission of making the cloud the future of software, funding the company with over $60 million, before it went public in 2004. Since then Salesforce has gone from strength to strength, now holding 19.6% of market share with a predictive revenue of $10.48 billion in 2018.
After launching a promising product offering verticals for Sales, Marketing, Service and Community teams, Marc Benioff has always been a firm believer in events as a marketing channel. Salesforce ran its first conference, Dreamforce in 2003 - 1,000 people attended. While competitors were still offering software based on legacy systems that had to be hosted and updated on-site, Salesforce’s offer of allowing people reach the cloud 24/7 grew in popularity over the years, as it’s SaaS model took off.
Salesforce is well known for the events it runs and hosts around the World, with Marc Benioff always keen to put on events to showcase the latest Salesforce features and engage with industry peers. Today, Salesforce runs a whole host of events across the world, from Dreamforce (the world’s largest software conference (171,000 attendees and 10m online viewers in 2017), to Essentials to World Tour, it’s more than likely that a Salesforce event will come to a city near you.
Salesforce CRM relies on objects to handle data storage. While Salesforce offers standard objects which are preset with fields and information, it also makes the creation of custom objects readily available with clicks, not code. Your Admin can easily extend the database architecture by creating these custom objects and fields. Data stored in Salesforce can be accessed via the report engine or via export using the Data Loader, or by an SQL Query builder.
Originally a document editing tool, Quip was acquired by Salesforce and has undergone a new minimalist design. It now lets users add date reminders into documents and has some tie-ins with the CRM in the form of spreadsheets which allow you to pull in sales data. Now Quip has very much been adopted as a project management tool, allowing for collaborative, free-flowing documents with text, checklists and spreadsheets.[caption id="attachment_741" align="alignnone" width="1172"]
Salesforce Quip - source: salesforce.com[/caption]
Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a platform for marketers to manage marketing campaigns with customers, allowing them to manage their customer relationships and reach them in the best ways. The marketing vertical from Salesforce includes solutions such as customer journey management (using customer behaviour data to influence customer experiences), email marketing, mobile marketing, social media, advertising, content creation and data analysis. The Journey Builder component enables marketers to customise campaigns to customers’ behaviour, needs and demographics. Marketing Automation allows companies to target customers with automated messages across channels to generate sales leads. A tool from CRM, marketing teams may choose to use Marketing Automation software for repetitive workflows, to personalise customer journeys, increasing productivity and efficiency.
We often associate Salesforce with diagrams including flowcharts, process maps and organisation charts. These are important because the way Salesforce works, does not require much writing or coding, you just need to understand how the Salesforce Architecture works. Drawing out all of your business processes and which automation you’d like at what stage with the correct logic and specific action, is worth doing in a flow chart, before you start building in a staging environment, rather than just jumping straight in, building and deploying.
The giveaway’s in the brand name, it’s no secret that Salesforce tracks your Sales activities. In Salesforce you have contacts, accounts, leads and opportunities. You’re able to customise conversions, depending on what a conversion means to you, e.g. after initial dialogue, the client would like a price estimation. You can then customise the different fields for your opportunity stages including: prospecting, qualifying, value proposition, proposal / price, negotiation / review, closed won or closed lost. By organising all of your prospects in Salesforce, you are able to get visibility on which prospects to prioritise. You can then analyse KPIs to see where to narrow your focus, e.g. getting more prospects into the top of your funnel, or improving your value proposition to help close more deals.
Whenever you create any sort of record in Salesforce, the search function makes your information easy to find. It works by breaking up searchable content into smaller, more digestible pieces, called tokens. These tokens are then stored in a search index. Similar to a book index or Google’s search data formula, there is an algorithm that scans these tokens to find you the most relevant results when you search.
Enterprise Architecture refers to medium to larger sized firms analysing their business systems in a strategic way. The goal is to achieve an architecture which allows companies to reach their business goals. It’s up to the leadership team including the CIOs and CTOs to make proper use of technology in order to advance the business. Salesforce uses a 7 step Enterprise Architecture methodology which pragmatically takes into account your business objectives, your current state, your future state, defines a roadmap and starts building value for your business.
A Salesforce trigger is an Apex (Salesforce programming language) script that enables you to perform custom actions before or after an event in a Salesforce record, e.g. insertions, updates or deletions. These triggers allow you to modify related objects or restrict certain operations from happening. You’d typically use Salesforce triggers for tasks that cannot be done by using point and click configuration available in the Salesforce interface.Do you need more information about Salesforce Implementation?