Some business leaders think of a Salesforce strategy as a theoretical nice-to-have — a couple of lines of chicken scratch on a CEO’s misplaced notepad. This line of thinking is dangerous, however, because the vision for the platform influences everything from the shape of the build to user productivity.
So the wrong strategy (or none at all) can result in a Salesforce org misaligned with end-user needs and expectations. In this world, the platform hampers user productivity instead of enhancing it because employees are spending too much time clicking through complicated screens, completing unnecessary steps and troubleshooting errors.
But if you’re worried your strategy is slowing down your team, what can you do about it?
Below, we’ve laid out 11 tips to improve your Salesforce strategy and overall org productivity. Starting with strategic ideas and ending with tactical tips, we lay out ways of moving toward a more productive technology solution. Even one of these actions is a step in the right direction. Together they lay out a basic blueprint for a user-centric org, which goes a long way toward boosting productivity on the platform.
1. Invest in an admin team - Hiring a team of knowledgeable Salesforce admins will allow you to improve and maintain the system much more efficiently than you could otherwise. From delivering on-the-spot training and best practices to troubleshooting errors and monitoring adoption, Salesforce admins provide value to your business and allow you to execute on your Salesforce strategy nimbly and efficiently.
2. Iterate, iterate, iterate - Your Salesforce org should never be set in stone. Your business changes; so should your Salesforce build. A key to any successful implementation is a willingness to listen to end users and to release consistent updates that alleviate their pain points.
3. Plan regular Salesforce training sessions - Salesforce users are only as productive as their knowledge of the system allows them to be. For this reason, training shouldn’t be a blue moon type of occurrence; your Salesforce strategy should include regular training sessions to communicate recent changes and onboard new employees.
4. Always be on the lookout for new ideas - The Salesforce ecosystem offers a wide array of products and third-party apps that extend the functionality of the platform and boost your team’s productivity. Need to generate common documents automatically from Salesforce? There’s an app for that. Want to integrate your phone system for automatic call logging in the platform? Yup. Producing shipping labels directly from Salesforce and tracking packages right in the app? You get the idea. The possibilities for your org are endless; your search for improvements should be too. Get involved in the Salesforce community, search for new solutions online, attend Dreamforce. Understanding how other companies are using the platform to improve their business processes will help you determine the right solutions for your business.
5. Know your process, and build your tool around it - A CRM tool will enhance the productivity of a company only if it fits into that company’s existing workflow. In fact, the best builds don’t merely follow the existing routine; they also use system features to automate and speed up that process. Orgs that force users to deviate from standard procedures, meanwhile, often disrupt their productivity and bring more confusion than anything else.
6. Integrate to eliminate duplicate entry - Want an easy way to slow down your employees? Force them to enter the same data multiple times. For added inefficiency, continually ask them to compare information across different systems. Maintaining separate platforms that don’t talk to one another is a giant headache for any business. If your teams are facing this problem, the best way to improve their efficiency is to put all of your essential data in Salesforce and keep it up-to-date (whether it’s from your ERP, finance records or some other system). Integrations require a serious investment to build and maintain, but the time they save your users is well worth the cost.
7. Open your system sharing as much as possible - Every organization needs some level of security — many companies have private information somewhere in Salesforce that they can’t share widely. However, restricting data access too much will severely hamper employee efficiency and collaboration efforts, build restrictive silos of information and make employees feel untrusted. It pays to develop a consistent strategy for Salesforce security that shares as much data across teams as possible without compromising sensitive information.
8. Customize your UI to your users and teams - Your marketing team might not need to see cases, and your customer service team probably doesn’t need to see leads. Salesforce Lightning allows you to build highly customized pages for each division and type of record. Tailoring each group’s view of the system to the information that’s most relevant for them will allow them to work more efficiently on the platform.
9. Teams on the road? Make the mobile app part of your Salesforce strategy - The Salesforce1 mobile app offers quick access to Salesforce — even without WiFi — and allows team members to log interactions, take notes and make quick updates without booting up their laptops. The UI and functionality are different from the web-based version of Salesforce, however, so it’s a worthwhile investment to customize SF1 to your company’s needs, train users on the app and encourage them to make it a part of their day.
10. Automate, don’t validate - Automation and validation rules serve similar purposes: They cleanly set data. But they have the opposite impact on productivity. Automation takes work away from your users by populating information for them, while validation slows them down by making them fix mistakes themselves. It won’t be possible to replace every validation rule, but every time your admin team is building a new one, they should ask: “Can we do this with an automation instead?”
11. Use quick actions to boost user productivity - Salesforce quick actions are a great way to improve the productivity of your team; they allow users to create new information without filling out every field. Not only do these buttons auto-populate information on the new records, but they also shorten the form users see for these objects, helping users concentrate on critical information needed right off the bat.
Any tips to add? Comment your thoughts below — we’d love to see them.