Salesforce.com enables org-wide efficiencies
Updated March 18, 2015
Salesforce.com enables org-wide efficiencies
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Salesforce.com
Salesforce.com is used all across our organization, differently by each department. The sales & account management team uses it to manage leads, accounts, activities, and opportunities. The accounting department has an integration with FinancialForce to build invoices directly from accounts. Customer service uses cases to track customers' needs. Marketing has integrated Salesforce.com with Marketo and tracks campaigns on contacts and leads. Product development uses cases to track development of our own SaaS product.
- Opportunity tracking for sales people. I'm not a salesperson, but I have seen the ease of use Salesforce provides for pipeline tracking. Other features like Forecasting make it easier with multiple levels of sales management to manage individual quotas, or a team's quota.
- Customization. As the Salesforce.com Administrator, I'm often asked to add new fields to make the system more applicable. As is our mantra, If it isn't in Salesforce, it doesn't exist.
- Ease of use. The global search capability is a beautiful thing to find a record with little information to go on. No HTML knowledge is required to build custom objects.
- Contacts attached to multiple accounts. Right now, you can only attach a contact to one account. We have several duplicate contacts because they reside at the corporate level, as well as at an individual branch.
- Better WYSIWYG. I personally loathe the Salesforce WYSIWYG. It's very limited. Obviously, Salesforce is not an email automation tool. But email templates built in Salesforce are so obviously not a regular peer-to-peer email unless the Custom type is built - which requires straight up HTML code, and cannot be edited before sending.
- Outlook integration - It's a nice tool - except for the part where it eats up API calls constantly and there's little customization of how it's used.
- Increased efficiency. Salesforce.com runs a lot faster than our previous CRM. Additionally, using some other tools (like DemandTools), we've been able to cut down on the duplicates created (although there's always room for improvement)
- Better customer service. Our customer service team has been able to offer faster customer service with the use of cases - and easily communicate solutions back to the customer.
- Increased Product Development. Using a case type to track IT requests has worked really well - what the IT department is working on is now more transparent across the organization as a whole. Customer service and sales can more easily share with clients where we are in developing new features. This has been pivotal for our success as a SaaS organization.
- Sage Saleslogix
Salesforce is MUCH better than what we were previously using. For one, Saleslogix isn't a SaaS product - you're completely tied to what PC your user creds are installed on. Second, searching for records is nearly impossible in Saleslogix - you have to exactly type something how it's named in the system, and that's really hard to do when you have some people entering it as "A B C Company" and "ABC Co" - it was very gross and also impossible to manage dupes.
A company with few clients doesn't need Salesforce, but if your CRM database is big and constantly growing (or your sales team is constantly growing), Salesforce is definitely the way to go. Even if you just want strong reporting - Salesforce.com is fabulous for reporting. Reports can be run on pretty much everything, making it great for managers and regular users.
Salesforce Feature Ratings
40 - Pretty much every department uses Salesforce in some way, shape, or form. Product Development track their requests and product enhancements using Cases. Customer Support uses Cases to track support issues, as well as custom fields for some their processes. Sales and account management use it for lead / customer / sales / forecast tracking. Marketing uses it in conjunction with Marketo for lead & campaign tracking. Management uses it for reporting on pretty much everything.
1 - Currently, just me. I'm the admin, so I troubleshoot when people have issues. For the most part, it's more of a process or continual training when we roll out new integrations or processes to improve reporting. We're not a super big company, so for now just one person is needed, and not needed all that often, either.
- Opportunity tracking to know what revenue to expect each month
- Activity tracking - used by every department to improve transparency when you have multiple departments touching the same company
- Lead tracking - this provides transparency for other departments to see into marketing's efforts. It also lets marketing know if the sales department is following up on leads.
- Tracking our own product development with the cases object. We have multiple case types so you can submit a case for another department. This is most heavily used by IT for their tracking, but it's also used to track Salesforce enhancements, like adding new users.
- Building a PTO Request object. While we don't use it now, it was very easy to set up a method of tracking PTO requests & approvals using a custom object.
- The sky is the limit! I'm not sure now, but I can only envision it's going to get better.
Our account rep is very helpful - she's even visited our office to get a better understanding of how we're using Salesforce and has been helpful in recommending other ways we can use it to increase efficiencies. Cases submitted to the support team are generally resolved in a timely manner. Salesforce is also open about what items are being updated or added in each major release. I find that communication very nice from such a large, global organization.
Evaluating Salesforce and Competitors
Yes - We were previously using Sage Saleslogix. It was server based, so employees were completely dependent on the in house server being up. It also hadn't been updated in a really long time, so it was an old, clunky version. I'm not sure how good the product is now, but we were severely limited on how to search for accounts. I was not on the admin team for that product, so I can't provide a comparison from that aspect, but I can tell you that life got a whole heck of a lot easier once we were using Salesforce (i.e. previously, our IT guy built our reporting tools and opportunity/quoting/order processing function - now all of that we can do very easily with Salesforce)
- Product Features
- Product Usability
- Product Reputation
- Prior Experience with the Product
I think probably prior experience with the product. Our new CEO had us switch to Salesforce because it was a tool he'd seen a lot of success with in the past. Additionally, there was a strong drive to move as much as we could to the cloud, so switching to Salesforce was the first step.
Just from an organizational standpoint - we standardized our data prior to moving to Salesforce. But we essentially standardized it wrong. That's created a big disgusting mess for us know that I'll have to deal with as the Admin. Be sure you think through use cases prior to doing something like that - seek outside opinions on how the data will work best, especially depending on what else you're going to integrate with Salesforce.
Yes - Essentially, it was meeting with our partner, Doextra, to decide configurations and how we needed to have it set up to match our unique situation. They configured it for us, let us look at it, then the final phase was importing all of our existing data. That was done at the very end of the process, with a test batch brought into our sandbox prior to uploading everything to production.
Change management was a major issue with the implementation - Looking back, I think it would have been smoother to do training in phases. I think we ended up dumping on employees and they weren't sure how to go from a really old CRM to something as spiffy as Salesforce. Salesforce isn't perfect, of course, but it is definitely much better than what we were working with before.
For free support, it's pretty good. Everything is treated based on a priority level - you have to justify how it's impacting your business so Salesforce knows how quickly to respond to you.
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
No - Most of the answers I need, I can find in the user community. The community is really well fleshed out, with documentation from salesforce, knowledge-base articles, and answers.
I think as a user, it's simpler - and it's so very configurable. From the admin side, it's more complex because there's so much you have to learn/know before you can start truly administrating an instance. That being said, administrating it can be easy - our PTO request process is a custom-built Salesforce object. Most things in Salesforce are easy to figure out if you're technologically-minded, and it's also a simple tool for users that may not be as technologically savvy.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- Creating new records is very easy - depending on org settings.
- Permission sets and/or profiles for different user types are great for designating particular types of users with permissions that other users don't need
- Integrating with other tools. There are so many things to choose from on the Salesforce App exchange - there's just about an app for everything. The ease of installing these of course depends on the app, but I like that there are so many things to integrate to create a one-stop-shop for employees to manage their day.
- Administration. It isn't particularly difficult, but it did require quite a bit of self-learning before I was ready to release Salesforce.com to my colleagues.
- Creating email templates. This is the bane of my existence. Ideally, you want the email template to look like someone popped open a new email in Outlook and typed it out, right? That's really hard to do with Salesforce while still letting the user edit the email before they send it. Probably one of my least favorite things.
- I have to check the API Usage report regularly to make sure we aren't going over our API calls. There's virtually no customization of this report and no way to build one. There are some administration reports (and a few other reports, like HTML EMail Status Report) that are not available to build from scratch, or generate on an organization-wide level.