Lack of trend analysis is bane of my existence.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
October 25, 2012

Lack of trend analysis is bane of my existence.

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version

Unlimited Edition

Modules Used

  • Sales Cloud
  • Chatter
  • Services Cloud

Overall Satisfaction

  • It’s truly the platform for the business. We can comprehensively run almost everything we do.
  • It’s all down to management adoption. As it gains more data, it becomes more useful.
  • Opportunity tracking is great.
  • Native reporting is very intuitive, very straightforward, and efficient.
  • I Iove the dashboarding. Even with workarounds, it is really intuitive.
  • The user interface and its ease of use for developers/administrators
  • Help and training on their website is amazing.
  • The bane of my existence is the ability to snapshot and warehouse data for reporting and trend analysis, i.e. any type of reporting on deltas to where we were last year. Salesforce really needs to fix this.
  • I have not seen something in production from Salesforce for data warehousing. You can do an analytical snap shot that allows you to run a report, but it is very manual and only allows 2,000 line items of data. This is incredibly limited and not very user friendly.
  • You can use a tool like ForceAmp to do data extracts, then push the data into a warehouse to run analytics. We have created our own extract capability and licensed Tableau for visualization and analysis (e.g. joins).
  • We tried out Cloud9 as a solution but it was poor at everything except warehousing data. If you change a field in Salesforce you want this added to your data warehouse, however, there was no API/interface to make fixes on your end and you had to reach out to the company (Cloud9). We had to give them a user license to run their snapshotting. We fired them a year ago.
  • We had to buy a solution (Apptus) for quoting/proposals as native Salesforce.com functionality wasn’t great. Workflow and approval process was squirly and price modification was rudimentary. As you build more complexities, the system breaks down.
  • The forecasting tool is great for some things but not great for others. It is not that flexible. Presently forecasting object does not have API access. Salesforce are currently overhauling it. If you have a custom developer, you can bypass issues with custom triggers e.g. totally separated stage and forecast categories.
  • If people move departments, everything they do (e.g. their past sales) moves with them – e.g. when they move vertical. It is not role based. Historical reporting moves with them and you need to snap shot. The data doesn’t line up. You cannot do roll-ups across custom objects.
  • Access to data – I wouldn’t have any idea to report on the business without salesforce.
  • Contrasting to non-SAAS CRM products, it is so easy to make changes that roll out to the whole user base. You don’t have to do a re-deploy. You can play with a sandbox with no downtime.

Product Usage

900 - 90% of the company are on Salesforce.com Sales Cloud, the remaining 10% are just on Chatter.
7 - The IT function had a dedicated team including one system administrator and a couple of project managers. They used an agile development approach.

Within each Business Unit, we had heavy business users/administrators - one for support/cases, a couple of people for sales, a couple of people with client services. I strongly advise that’s how you structure as IT is way too far away from the business.

Depending on your size, the right model may be different.

IT has the overall keys to the kingdom due to SOX compliance. Otherwise we would have had full administrators in the BUs. Access was paired down.
  • Within the sales function:
  • Account planning
  • Territory management
  • Opportunity management
  • Forecasting
  • Reporting
  • Compensation – at a rudimentary level
  • Contact management for sales and marketing automation
  • Hand-off from inside to outside sales team
  • Developing market strategy/planning - run total available market analysis
  • Content repository – ROIs and case studies.
  • Contracts, quoting and proposals, pricing approvals and workflows.

Evaluation and Selection

Salesforce.com was our first CRM.

Implementation

Avoid the leads object if you can as:
- Conversion to account contact exclusively is a pain
- Cannot group leads very easily if data entry errors
- Difficult to run reporting.
- Becomes a messy object – no robust transitions.

Start with your process first, then translate into your system, find ways to capture data, and run reporting to see if you have made an impact.
  • Implemented in-house
  • Professional services company
Original implementation was prior to my joining. We did use an implementation provider/ professional services firm called Strategic Growth to consult on system and process. We also used them for custom development work until we hired someone in-house.

We have a varying degree of happiness with them. Sometimes it was best thing ever. Other times it felt like racketeering ring. They are very knowledgeable and depending on who you work with can provide a ton of value. I would rate them 6-7 overall.

Training

  • In-person training
I attended two training sessions. I would rate them a 4 as an advanced user. It was very basic – great for someone new – would give 8+ for new person.

I had 3 years of experience at the time. I skipped basic and went onto advanced and still not helpful. A lot of it was best practices that didn’t feel relevant for our business.

Configuration

We have built visual force pages that allow you to group things beyond native capabilities.

We have built custom triggers to overcome system limitations e.g. if you close an opportunity it can only do certain things – the custom trigger allows you to do 15 things, e.g. send emails, create account etc.

We have built custom reporting features in the system.

We needed an in-house developer when we reached 300 employees. Previously we were using outside help.

If you can find someone who does systems administration and development early on that would be best. We had one, but they ended up leaving. They were a senior system developer.

Support

Premier support quality varies by person. We have been dedicated a person on premier support side – a direct person – sometimes better to go through them, but sometimes better to go through account exec depends on the person. We had a very ineffective support person at one time and they moved.

I have been blessed with incredible account executive. When you have a lesser account rep or not a premier account, I have seen cases, where you cannot escalate. You need know-how and knowledge as to how to navigate.

Also, Salesforce never let you talk to someone above the second tier. You always have to go through the liaison. I have never had a chance to speak to tier 3 or R&D.


Yes - Front-line support is very low level.

Usability

For end users: usability depends on how you set-up the system. It can be intuitive or not.

Integration

  • Apttus - Pricing/quoting
  • Docusign - electronic signatures - attempted, not fully implemented.
  • Data.com/formerly Jigsaw, LinkedIn, InsideView, formerly Hoovers - data augmentation
  • Eloqua, Marketo - Marketing Automation. We were using Eloqua but switched to Marketo.
  • Mindjet deal navigator and People Maps - account/connection mapping
  • Cloud9 - analytics - not longer using
  • Clarizen and previously DreamFactor - project management/ professional services automation
  • Oppdots - reporting
  • Boomi - middleware to pass data to Netsuite
Installed packages on appexchange are generally intuitive.

Boomi (which we use to integrate to NetSuite) has been a struggle:
- The core challenge is that one system used for one thing, and the other for another.
- It is difficult for one system to claim dominance over the other.
- An account in one system (i.e. NetSuite) not the same in other (Salesforce.com).
- Our integration did avoid double entry, but led to complications due to these reasons

Vendor Relationship

I was not involved in the negotiation.