In a past blog, I wrote about the horror of tracking resources in a shared Google sheet: Manually updating the entire queue inevitably led to mistakes, and those mistakes in turn led to underbooked or overstressed employees. And that’s to say nothing of the time it sapped from our team. Overall, a very poor situation.
Thankfully, there are much better ways to handle resource allocation — especially in Salesforce. Here are a few solutions we recommend to professional services organizations across industries, based on our own experiences and those of our customers.
2 Effective Ways to Use Salesforce for Resource Allocation:
1. Custom Objects
One simple way to build a resource allocation process into your Salesforce org is to create a few custom objects — “projects” and “project resources,” for instance. Let’s say you’re in charge of a boutique design agency, and you’ve just landed a project with a small tech startup that needs a new website. You can add the project as a whole (the agreed-upon scope, that is) to Salesforce as a specific “project” record, filling in whatever fields are necessary (budget, deadlines, etc.).
You can then add necessary roles to the project — designer, developer — as “project resources” (a related object). These records represent specific individuals with the appropriate skill sets and availability. They’ll be able to check how many hours they’ve been allocated based on a custom field — let’s just call it “hours” — that contains a set number. And because all of this information is in Salesforce, you’ll be able to run allocation reports by employee or project to see where the team is over or underbooked.
While relatively basic, however, this approach to resourcing could demand extra help in larger organizations. With more projects and people to keep track of, big firms might need someone dedicated to staffing to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Another way to handle resourcing in Salesforce is to download a third-party app for the platform, like Precursive, which gives you the needed visibility to make scheduling for large teams much, much easier. That’s because Precursive’s main interface features a sortable calendar view that shows you every member of your team, the days/times they’re booked and on what projects. In other words, it allows you to see everything you need all at once, without overwhelming.
This holistic view is important not only for current projects, but for forecasted projects as well. When a sales team has a number of deals in the pipeline that they strongly believe will close, it’s essential that your services team has the availability to complete those projects within an agreed-upon timeline. Using Precursive, you can create a soft hold on future dates to make sure you don’t have to bring bad news back to a prospective/new client and risk losing out on a sale that otherwise would have closed.
No matter which solution you choose, using Salesforce to manage your company’s resource allocation process brings the added benefit of streamlining your business. The fewer disparate systems you have in place, after all, the more your employees will actually use them. Switching back and forth between platforms takes time and mental energy, two things most of us are in short supply of these days. And when it comes to resourcing, it’s essential that everybody involved is actively engaged with the process.
What about you — do you have another effective way to use Salesforce for resource allocation? Let us know in the comments!