The financial industry is extremely competitive. As well as having a great product, taking market share and retaining customers is critical to success. The Sales Cloud can have a profound impact on a company’s ability to hit their growth targets. You only have to look at Salesforce itself. The company has been growing at close to 30% compound growth for the past 20 years. They attribute a large part of their success to automating sales and marketing business processes on their own platform.
Time-to-market for any financial product or service is the difference between success and failure. Getting your Sales Cloud implementation right is critical. In this short post, we look at 5 tips for implement Salesforce Sales Cloud successfully in your business.
1 - Understand what problems you are trying to overcome with Salesforce
Very often with the Sales Cloud, customers think of their implementation in terms of functionality they would like to have, e.g., better pipeline visibility, versus the business challenges they are trying to overcome, e.g., better pipeline visibility to improve forecast accuracy. Customers who try to solve business challenges with the Sales Cloud will be more successful over the long term. By doing so, Salesforce will become a platform for creating business value versus just a tool to conduct day-to-day business activity. Using Salesforce in this way will make it easier to measure the success of the implementation using Salesforce dashboards and KPIs.
It’s really important to list and prioritise all the business challenges at the start of the project. Workshops with key stakeholders are a great way to understand the problems you are trying to solve. The Sales Cloud can be used to solve many types of challenges. Here’s a small tickler:
- Too many sales systems creates a fragmented view of the customer.
- Disparate systems create poor communication between sales, marketing and operations.
- Stale sales data and lack of real-time information make it hard to make key decisions.
- Lack of sales productivity slows the deal cycle.
- Cost of upgrade client-server CRM is substantial. When we do an upgrade, it disrupts the business.
- Excessive time spent on admin due to a lack of Salesforce automation.
- Approving discounts on deals takes too long and slows down deals.
A great way to expose these challenges is through workshops. Workshops should include a key stakeholder and also an experienced Salesforce consultant who can help you tease out problems that can be solved using the Sales Cloud.
2 - Use dashboards and reports to measure success
Once you have defined your business challenges, you can begin defining how you will measure success. A simple and easy way to do this is using Salesforce dashboards and reports. A Sales Cloud dashboard will measure up to 20 KPIs at once. These can be displayed in real-time data and can be viewed from your mobile device. Very often, customers race past the measurement stage, but it’s really important to slow down at this point to define what a successful implementation will look like and what impact it will have on your business. It’s important to take some time to document the KPIs, ensuring you get input from all your key stakeholders. I highly recommend you include KPIs from your CEO or managing director in here also. Salesforce is not a silver bullet for success, but it’s particularly good at exposing weaknesses in your business that need to be addressed, like a downtrend in pipeline creation, deteriorating close rates, slow deal cycles, etc.
3 - Ensure senior management are bought in
Getting buy-in from the management team will give your Salesforce implementation a real boost. If you are implementing Salesforce in a financial company, you should be aiming for the CEO, VP of sales, or the head of distribution. For your Salesforce implementation to be successful over the long term, it’s really important the leadership team sees and uses the data in Salesforce to make decisions to drive the business. At a bare minimum, they should have access to a dashboard to show how the business is performing. This can be easily done from a phone using the Salesforce mobile app. A step beyond this is to use the Sales Cloud forecasting app to predict sales revenue and to use the approvals workflow to approve customer discounts. Leaders who are successfully using the Sales Cloud will learn to trust the Salesforce data and will drive improvements in the sales and marketing organisation through the CRM. For example, if a rep is not closing deals effectively, they might ask them to view opportunities managed by the top salesperson for helpful tips. If they see a lack of pipeline, they can work with the marketing VP to generate leads, or if their CEO asks them for the latest sales numbers, they can pull a report together in a couple of clicks and send it straight to them.
4 - Keep the implementation simple
For a company starting out with the Sales Cloud, it’s important to keep the implementation simple. A basic implementation of the Sales Cloud can be implemented properly by an expert over a 6-10 day period. A simple implementation is particularly important for a small business that is moving quickly. You only get one chance to introduce something new. Users are going to like it or hate it within the first hour of using the platform. The Sales Cloud itself contains a huge amount of functionality. The same application can be used for a company of 3 people or 30,000. When we start using any technology, there are probably only 2 or 3 things you will use it for at the start. Those initial use cases create value for the user. If you are in marketing, it’s probably going to start with basic lead management. If you are a sales rep, it might be as simple as opportunity management and access to Salesforce from a mobile device. It’s important to introduce Chatter to allow users to communicate across teams and reports so they can expose business insights quickly and share with others. It’s also important you make your Salesforce implementation your own, so spend some time branding and customising your instance. This gives users a sense of ownership and allows you to integrate the application with the wider brand of the business.
5 - Develop a Salesforce roadmap
Once you have Salesforce up and running and the platform is starting to address real business problems, the VP of sales will be strutting around the office, grinning at your newly-minted Salesforce mobile app, the CEO will be gloating about his new sales dashboard and you won’t be able to ignore all the positive comments of how amazing Salesforce is around the office! This is the time to think about your Salesforce roadmap.
The roadmap will set out a number of things, but it will primarily focus on how Salesforce will continue to deliver value to your business. That typically takes two forms: upcoming Salesforce releases and customisations to your Salesforce instance.
Salesforce gives you 3 free upgrades per year: spring, summer and winter. Each upgrade is packed with literally hundreds of new pieces of functionality. Very often, companies are unaware of these releases. Even if they are, companies lack the processes to capitalise on the upgrades and educate users on the new functionality. A Salesforce roadmap is a great way to communicate how you will be taking advantage of upcoming releases. Similarly, creating visibility for users of new customisations to your Salesforce platform can be a challenge. Aligning those changes with the wider corporate strategy can also be difficult. Creating and updating a company-wide Salesforce roadmap is a great way to prioritise upcoming changes and arm your executive sponsor with clearly illustrate plan for management meetings. This will ensure everyone is reading from the same page.
Navirum is Salesforce consultancy specializing in helping financial services companies to implement the Sales Cloud. We have extensive experience helping traditional banks and insurance companies as well fintech companies. To find out more about helping get the most out of your Service Cloud implementation, feel free to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 (438) 520 4412.