Use a good consulting company to get the most from it.
March 13, 2013

Use a good consulting company to get the most from it.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Sales Cloud
  • Service Cloud
  • some Visualforce stuff we've created

Overall Satisfaction

  • Salesforce is great at deal mgmt and forecasting, and as a repository for account information and contact management.
  • Integration of support tickets into CRM view of Account is really useful (rather than having them in a separate system).
  • Ability for Inside Sales to create email templates for one-off sends is also really useful.
  • We tried Chatter, but it never clicked here (or anywhere I've tried to use it). One problem is that the whole company is not on Salesforce, so it's not used across the company. Furthermore, it doesn't have standard chat features like gamification, rewards for chatting, chat search capability etc. The tool just seems to create a lot of distracting noise and was not adopted by Salesforce users.
  • Salesforce can be a bit tough and expensive to customize. You need a sys admin with some stroke to make it sing. The ideal profile for this person is part programer, part business analyst, and part program manager. Without this, the system is always less than satisfactory. The whole argument that Salesforce is a SAAS offering, and therefore services and support are less important is just not trueI feel that Salesforce really needs a services arm.
  • There are many customizations essential to making users of the system productive. For example, I have to create workflows and dashboards to show many of the things we want to know - especially around data maintenance and Business Intelligence. I have to build dashboards for users. - both sales people and execs struggling with what they need to have for it to be useful.
  • The product is really a toolkit rather than a set of capabilities that are ready to go out of the box.
  • Sales CRM tracking allows us to forecast much better than we could without it. We hit support ticket SLAs. We also get some good business analytics (# customers, products sold, customers by industry, deal sizes etc.) out of the system.
It's pretty entrenched, although we are not trying to grow our footprint due to the pricing. It is quite expensive.
Use a good consulting company to help you. I recommend Strategic Growth Inc. (the VP of that company uses to run services inside Salesforce).

Product Usage

2 - One marketing person and me.
  • We support three primary processes via Salesforce: sales CRM, support cases, and lightweight marketing/emailing for the sales team.
  • CRM: Opportunity tracking; territory management; detailed information about accounts and deals. This is where sales people or Account Managers go for account information.
  • On the support side its simply case management. Opening cases, escalating cases, appending support contracts, etc. The Service Cloud is not a great tool for handling support cases. Not a good support tool. They have tried to build workflows and everything from scratch but it doesn't really work that well.
  • Marketing lite: Inside sales reps use Salesforce for Outlook. This provides them with automatic syncing between Outlook and Salesforce for email and appointment tracking. It provides basic email templates, but is clearly not a real marketing automation system like Eloqua or Marketo.

Evaluation and Selection

Zoho crm
Sugar crm
Goldmine (back in the day!)

We are an enterprise class company and, as such, need an enterprise-level system. Salesforce is the clear enterprise market leader, and that drove our decision.


I implemented the system myself. Frankly, I would have liked more help. I expressed dissatisfaction with the process and with the fact that I was not getting any real help from Salesforce, and eventually they assigned me a quality consultant who was excellent at advising on best-practices / features that we might not have considered using etc.

However, I was only assigned this resource because I complained loudly enough. It's not a standard part of their offering.


I'd recommend some training for selected heavy users/admins for sure, and then I'd recommend you create your own internal training once you get it customized.


Building custom dashboards mainly.


Support process is slow and onerous.

Level 1 tickets mean that you are typically working with an offshore agent who can do little more than enter the ticket information. Getting the ticket escalated up to Level 3 when it goes to a knowledgeable person in the Bay are who can actually answer the question can take several weeks.

One quick fix for this would be to introduce live chat. Salesforce does not offer this currently. 90% of our support issues could be answered in seconds if we were talking to the right person.


The user interface is fine. Figuring out how to do things is not difficult and often quite intuitive. The UI is not really the issue.

The problem is more one of what to do rather than how to do it. As a sales person, it's not obvious what I'm supposed to do - which tasks and in which order. It's a bit like doing your like doing your tax return yourself instead of using a guided product like Turbo Tax that constantly shows where you are via built in workflow.

There needs to be some kind of guidance as to what are common tasks, how to get started. It looks as though Salesforce is aware of this problem since they have now rolled out something called "WalkMe" that attempts to solve this problem.


Sometimes a little slow, but that could be because of our internet connection.


  • Intaact. Tenrox. LinkedIn. iProfile.
Integrations are fairly standard and not too complex. For example, we can log into Intaact (our accounting system) directly from Salesforce and pull data back and forth. Account level billing data etc. data shows up automatically in Salesforce. Similarly for integration with Tenrox, our project management system.

However, these integrations are almost impossible to build without 3rd-party help. Typically, we always need a consultant from the vendor company to help with custom objects / workflows.

I turned on the integration to iProfile myself, because intergration was relatively simple.
  • Treehouse
We use Treehouse for partner management and our marketing department also uses it for some marketing automation tasks. Leads in SF will be passed to partners through Treehouse, and when deals close, this is registered in Salesforce so that they can be paid.

Vendor Relationship

Not overly easy. Salesforce sales reps have a lot of "in their box" processes and are not so comfortable working with customers that do not really fit that standard use case. It's sometimes difficult to get them to see things through a "use case" lens.
Their standard license terms online have auto renewal and +7% annual increases built in, I'd negotiate that out.