Getting the Most Out of Salesforce


By Nathan Breidenbach, Technical Writer @ Stratifyd

In the customer experience driven era, CRM systems are critical. Salesforce seems to be ubiquitious these days, and for good reason. The platform has all the customizable bells and whistles, AppExchange App integration, and easy automation of time consuming tasks.

Although many organizations use Salesforce's to enrich their data driven approaches to customer experience, many struggle with user adoption. Bottom line: if your employees don't like the way it is setup, then they aren't going to use it effectively.

To help you get the most out of Salesforce, take the following into consideration:

1. Keep it simple

Salesforce has a notorious reputation in the sales departments of too many companies because managers try to capture every data point. When there is too much customization, too many automated processes, and a demand for admin reports that require endless tinkering of dashboards, you're going to have an unhappy sales team. Salespeople despise being swamped with excessive data entry.

Take a step back and ask which data fields, visuals, options, and automated processes are vital to your sales teams. I recommend the KISS method (Keep it simple with Salesforce) proposed by Brian Smith, solutions architect at Simplus. Less clutter in your CRM system means it is more maintainable, easier to extend or expand upon in the future, and quicker to train your employees on.

Always remember, the CRM system is for your salespeople. Any distractions are eating away at productivity. When choosing which dashboards, modules, data fields, and functions survive in your suite, you shoud be asking your salespeople for their opinions too. You want the end up with the fewest amount necessary for them to do their jobs effectively. As great as Salesforce is at generating endless management reports, that is not and should not be its primary purpose. If more time is being spent to generate reports than actually gaining insight into customer experience, you need to scale down. Your salespeople will love you for it. I promise.

2. Make a landing page

Put the most important links and dashboards on the initial screen along with any other information that should have quick and easy access. This will help guide your sales team through the system. Placing analytics, calendars, and training materials at the forefront can make a huge difference by grabbing the attention of your users first.

3. Communicate with Chatter

Are you sick of email chains cluttered with signatures and forwarded messages that often times exclude key employees? Chatter is the answer to your problems. You should encourage employees to post ideas and solutions on Chatter. Its search capabilities allow you to quickly find critical information being discussed. When you provide an avenue for asking questions across your organization through Chatter, you increase efficiency by letting employees be more autonomous.

4. Integrate with Artificial Intelligence

If you aren't currently using Salesforce Einstein, I would strongly recommend brushing up on it with some of their trailheads. Data science is a sexy field now; demand is through the roof and there is little supply of talent. Einstein is "data science for all"; a solution to your data science shortage. It is built on machine learning data analytics algorithms that analyze large volumes of data and provide predictions and recommendations. For more detail on Einstein, click here.

Aside from Einstein, there are several third-party AI platforms that work with the Salesforce API to receive data out of Salesforce for technical analysis. For example, Stratifyd is a powerful text analytics and customer experience data analytics software that specializes in data visualization. Through its pre-built Salesforce data connector, the platform rips down your Salesforce data for a high level analysis to provide insights. Where this program really shines is in its text analytics engine. Sentiment analysis, feature extraction, and dynamic topic modeling are increasingly becoming 100% necessary to unraveling the customer experience question of "Why is this KPI is increasing/decreasing?".

5. Capture Social Media Interactions

Salesforce has the capability to integrate social media channels with your CRM data. Social media data is critical to understanding your customers.

We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.
Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson.

Couldn't agree more. Marketers tend to publish content on social media without ever having actually listened to their target audience. Meanwhile, while your campaigns gain little traction, your customers are busily having conversations about your company across social media. That's a wealth of data ripe for mining.

Your customer service teams should be capturing social media data too. It is very common for customers to voice their concerns on social media through posts, polls, and reviews. Many companies have dedicated accounts to handle customer service inquiries and respond to customers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc.

Social media makes customer service a spectator sport.
from Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer

But don't just take my word for it; look at these 14 examples of how a social CRM can elevate your customer service game.