Trend reporting – push stuff to Excel for this. We are not using an analytics package. Salesforce.com does have some abilities now to capture trend data but it’s difficult to expose it and use through standard reporting templates. We pushed that data out into Excel.
Ability to shape itself to your forecasting methodology is limited – inflexible – you need to adopt their approach. I am now used to it, but may be problematic for a new user.
For those on legacy installed CRM apps - some considerations - the rate of innovation in SF is significant; sooner or later you have to pay the piper – your internal development costs will need to increase; the AppExchange marketplace is also valuable.
Examples of valuable recent innovation include: they have significantly improved their dash boarding; the ability to join tables/ objects; they have allowed you to start capturing trending data and export to Excel. This was the primary reason we used Cloud9 at my last company – Cloud9 captures and visualizes.
1 - We don’t have a dedicated Salesforce.com admin but we should.
We do have highly experienced past Salesforce.com users in sales management and services. In total, 3-4 people spend a small portion of their time on administration. We also have an outside consultant we use as necessary.
We tried implementing ourselvesand my satisfaction with that was a “4”. That increased to an 8 when we got outside help. You should plan on having continuing need for Salesforce administrative help as, even after initial implementation, what you need and want from the product will grow, expand and change with the business
Spend some time at the beginning of the implementation to really understand what you want to report on after its implemented. Spend significant time understanding your work flows within departments and between departments. Resist the temptation, and sometimes the pressure, from upper management, to build a system that captures every bit of information imaginable. Remember that much of that data will be input by high paid sales people and it takes a lot of time. So only plan on capturing data that 1) is truly important to the business rather than a curiously 2) that is reportable and actionable and 3) someone in the organization is on the hook for looking at the reports and taking action. In other words, focus on capturing and reporting on KPIs for the functional heads. Technical implementation is one thing but adoption is critical so have a good plan there. It’s important for each user to understand why time spent inputting data helps THEM as well as the “business”. Lastly, for most businesses its important to start capturing data earlier than you think is required as eventually you are going to want to look at trend data that you simply won’t have if you don’t capture it.
Combo of in-house and consultants. I used a sales operations/ Salesforce.com administrator from another local high tech company who was moonlighting. There’s an abundance of SF administrators flying around – that’s a key advantage.
For the most part we were self taught and everybody knew enough that, in aggregate, we could get quite a bit done. When we brought in consultants to build out deeper functionality or to speed things up, we would have them build training for the sales team that we would jointly deliver.
Salesforce.com has tremendous capabilities and some of that is accessible and usable for simple tasks such as contact management. But to use it for a growing business and have it be at the heart of your reporting systems, you will need to configure the objects, create fields, automate workflows, customize forecasting, build security levels, and configure reporting etc.
I would rate the non-premium support a 6 and the premium support a 9
With the non-premium support you eventually get the answer, but you have to make your way through the level one support guys and it can several days if you are a small client. You may have a problem that is critical to your business but not impacting a lot of others so the level of urgency at Salesforce is, understandably, low. Premium support solves most of that in that you get attention more quickly, the level of folks on problem seem better trained and legitimately concerned about getting it fixed. They aren’t perfect, but its good support.
In some areas it’s pretty easy to customize except for the forecasting module.
It’s logical. Its menu system is good, layout is good. It can capture and report on just about any aspect of your business. The only reason its not a “10” rating is that there are areas of the product that you just have to do things their way because of table structures, unchangeable nomenclatures etc. And for a small company without deep in house Salesforce.com administrator experience, getting it humming for business will likely require some outside consulting.
I’ve found that the overall response time of the system is vastly more dependent on local bandwidth rather than Salesforce.com system speed. If you have adequate bandwidth at your business, you should be pleased with the response times.
Box.net - file storage. When you go into opportunity record, instead of storing the contract in Salesforce.com, we store it in Box. This is a central repository for documents so you don’t have multiple versions flying around.