Maximizing the Power of Salesforce

Kurt Andersen, CMO, SAVO
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Kurt Andersen, CMO, SAVO

Leading organizations, and particularly their sales management, recognize the essential nature of Salesforce as a strategic platform for capturing customer and prospect information. Yet, as technology and business continues to evolve, and budgets continue to shrink, IT organizations are tasked with trying to customize CRM systems to also satisfy a multitude of sales and marketing needs. How can organizations augment Salesforce with other complimentary solutions to help address varying cross-organizational needs to gain these additional benefits without forfeiting the platforms original intent? Maximizing the robust capabilities of Salesforce happens when organizations take steps to elevate it beyond an accounting system of recordand realize the ways a “give to get” relationship can help people do their jobs.

A Reciprocal CRM Relationship

On a basic level, CRM benefits tend to lean toward sales leadership who can translate data into pipeline opportunity and forecast potential. Sales reps don’t receive the same value because they enter data into what feels like a transactional system and receive nothing in return. Considering sales reps have a host of other administrative or non-selling tasks to complete within a day, what follow is typically poor adoption and a perception of CRM as a management checkpoint. Shifting the experience from one-way to two-way communication where reps “give” information to “get” information is the key to using Salesforce to its full advantage.

When done right, this “give to get” experience is a new one for sales reps accustomed to merely entering data into the CRM system. Suddenly, the daily task of entering information provides, in return, easily accessible and relevant marketing content, ongoing coaching for specific circumstances and sales methodology reinforcement. The personal investment made by sales reps in the CRM system becomes one that actually helps them do their job and progress deals forward. Suddenly, they’re gaining insight into how to close a complicated deal or how to engage a buyer and receive access to the right content for the opportunity or step-by-step coaching tips.

Having information at your fingertips is critical – as long as it can be easily accessed, accurately communicated and presented in an engaging, memorable way. From marketers wanting more visibility into their content to sales leaders seeking an impactful mobile strategy, IT organizations face the daunting challengeof providing customized access to both essential data and sales and marketing content in a mobile, on-demand environment. At a time when roughly 80 percent of leads fail to make it to the opportunity stage, ideal CRM partner solutions should provide the end user prescribed information, in the form of guidance and assets, at exactly the right time in the sales cycle. When reps take time to input the details of their day, the reward becomes the ability to view the moving pieces of each deal, in real-time, and leverage opportunity-specific information to actually grow the business. Augmenting Salesforce with tailored, complimentary solutions has significant benefits that can help sales reps move deals forward, faster.

A simplified user experience answers their questions, the responses to their requests and the feedback they seek to advance their sales cycle all in one location and with one login entry; a term Salesforce has dubbed, a single pane of glass. Second, marketing organizations are relieved of the complex (and often arduous) process of developing and managing content to align with the sales process. Not only is the content easily accessible when the CRM is augmented for the benefit of marketing, it is available for the right purpose at exactly the right time. Third and arguably the most impactful on the organization is that the augmentation of Salesforce drives greater CRM adoption because users realize that the more information they enter into the system, the more the system aligns the resources, content and enablement they receive in return.

"Having information at your fingertips is critical – as long as it can be easily accessed, accurately communicated and presented in an engaging, memorable way"

An Investment in Differentiation

Once organizations take steps to augment Salesforce to increase the value for sales reps, the entire sales enablement framework is improved. An augmented CRM system drives consistency, education and knowledge to reps and elevates their relevance to their buyers, particularly in mobile situations, to help advance and close deals. Reps no longer only connect with Salesforce after the meeting to account for new developments. Instead, the prescribed solutions the CRM system provides help them prepare and execute in customer and prospect meetings. The CRM technology that they once perceived to be a repository is transformed into a valued partner that can help them anywhere at any time.

Today, organizations find that a foundational Salesforce deployment does little to set them apart from the competition. Sustainable CRM ROI – the kind that is realized by everyone who participates in it –is realized by looking at the responsibilities of the sales rep holistically and identifying the complimentary solutions that seamlessly plug into the Salesforce ecosystem. The most successful implementations of Salesforce solutions utilize all of the relevant partnerships available, improving the communication, the culture and ultimately, the bottom line.

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