From lead nurturing to managing customer relationships and data, and automating marketing campaigns, Salesforce does it all, making it an essential asset for companies aiming to maintain a competitive edge. When it works well, your team can work smarter, not harder, saving time and boosting productivity.
One of its strengths is how flexible it can be, allowing you to tailor it to mirror current processes, and continuously adapt it to align with the ever-shifting requirements of the business.
But, here’s the thing - Salesforce isn't a 'set it and forget it' kind of system.
It’s all fun and games that we are able to do this, but with great flexiblity comes great complexity. With every new field and feature, every new rollout, there is the inevitable accumulation of clutter - unused fields, outdated processes, and complex configurations that may no longer serve business goals.
So here are some best practices to routinely check to keep your instance in shape.
Data Cleaning & Management
The reliability of your CRM is directly proportional to the quality of data in the system. Knowing that you have data that you can trust, and good data practices in place is fundamental to informed decision-making, ensuring efficient operations, and driving strategic initiatives that will contribute to your strategic or tactical goals.
Duplicate data can lead to confusion, inefficiency, and errors in your sales and marketing efforts. Start with identifying duplicates using Salesforce built-in tools. If you have duplicate rules turned on, run a report and use the merge tool to clean them up. This is also the perfect time to audit and if needed, update existing rules or create new ones. This step will ensure that each customer record is unique and comprehensive.
Updating Critical Customer Information
Now, focus on the accuracy and completeness of your critical customer information. Are all contact details up to date? Are there missing fields that are vital for your sales and marketing processes or for reporting? Here you also have a chance to encourage your sales and marketing teams to regularly review and update data they own. This could be part of their end-of-year wrap-up or start-of-year kick-off activities.
The impact of clean data on your marketing automation and CRM efficiency cannot be overstated. Clean data means your marketing campaigns hit the mark, your sales team has accurate information at their fingertips, and your customer service is spot on. Inaccurate or outdated data, on the other hand, can lead to missed opportunities, wasted resources, and frustrated teams.
Reporting & Dashboard Audits
Salesforce isn’t just for managing customer interactions; it's a goldmine of hopefully clean and useful data (that is, if you have solid data management principles in place) that can guide your strategic decision-making. The real challenge now is to move beyond mere data collection and start integrating these insights into your strategic planning. In this section, let’s see how to audit existing reports & dashboards and if needed, create new ones to make the most out of your data.
Evaluate KPIs & metrics
Begin by re-evaluating strategic KPIs and metrics. If you are measuring these KPIs in Salesforce, are the reports telling the right stories? Are there data sources you could connect to get a more rounded story? If you are not reporting on KPIs, evaluate based on the data in Salesforce, what can be added. For sales, this might include tracking monthly revenue, average deal size, or lead conversion rates. For marketing, you might focus on campaign ROI, lead generation metrics, or customer engagement levels.
Custom Dashboards for Real-Time Decision Making
Create custom dashboards that focus on strategic KPIs, providing a real-time view of how your business is performing against its strategic objectives. These dashboards can be invaluable for leadership and decision-makers, offering a snapshot of progress and highlighting areas needing immediate attention.
Tracking Sales Trends and Patterns
Salesforce allows you to not only look at your current performance but also to spot trends and patterns over time. This can be invaluable for forecasting and for adjusting your strategies to changing market conditions. For instance, you might identify seasonal fluctuations in sales, or discover that certain products perform better in specific market segments.
Enhanced User Experience
The easier and more intuitive your Salesforce instance is to use, the more your team will use it – and the more value you'll get out of it. Salesforce is constantly evolving, adding new features and capabilities for better user experience. Now is the perfect time to check the latest updates and assess how they can be integrated into your current setup to boost productivity.
Optimising the User Interface
A cluttered or confusing interface can be a major barrier to user adoption. Take the time to customise the Salesforce UI to make it as intuitive and user-friendly as possible. This might involve reorganising menus, simplifying page layouts, or even changing colour schemes to make important information stand out.
Checkout the first in the SF UI series: How to setup a consistent sales process with visible progression for the sales user in Salesforce
Customising Dashboards for Different Roles
Different team members need different information. Customising dashboards for various roles ensure that everyone has quick access to the data most relevant to them. Sales reps might need a clear view of their pipeline, while marketing teams might focus more on campaign performance metrics. Tailor these dashboards to meet these specific needs.
Simplifying Navigation and Workflows
The less time your team spends navigating complex workflows, the more time they can spend on actual sales and marketing activities. Review your current workflows and look for opportunities to streamline. This might involve automating repetitive tasks, reducing the number of steps in a process, or removing unnecessary fields from forms.
Guide: Setting up an automated customer sequence after opportunity is closed with Salesforce Scheduled Path
Finally, don't underestimate the power of training and support. Even the best tool can be underutilised if people don't know how to use it effectively. Check that all documentation is up to date, and plan regular training sessions to help your team make the most of Salesforce. Consider creating a knowledge base or a community forum where users can share tips and best practices. By focusing on these areas, you'll not only make Salesforce more user-friendly but also increase its overall adoption and effectiveness. When your team enjoys using Salesforce and understands how to leverage its full potential, you’ll see a real impact on your sales and marketing results.
If you’ve stuck with us this far, and you’ve checked everything above, awesome! If not, there’s no better time to do a check to make sure you’re getting the most out of Salesforce. While some of the recommendations in this article are sufficient to be performed only once every year, there are also benefits to revisiting some areas throughout the year, perhaps quarterly or even monthly if necessary.
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