One of the scariest things I ever encountered in my work life was a salesperson when asked how he remembered potential leads. He answered “Up here”, and pointed to his head. Perhaps he had a savant memory, but considering most of us don’t, we need something more to go on. Probably the second scariest thing I have encountered in my work life are multiple departments within the same company using different systems to keep track of their business prospects and/or current accounts. The sales department used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, each salesperson having his or her own “style”, marketing used a Microsoft Access database, and account management used some sort of homegrown hybrid of a bunch of different documents, calendars, and software. One department had NO idea what was going on elsewhere in the company, and this caused loss of potential new customers, or loss of possible repeat business from existing customers.
Investing in Salesforce can organize the chaos described above, and once organized can give you more insight into your pipeline and revenue than ever before. Departments can talk with each other, understand what efforts are being used to capture new leads and how successful those efforts are, massage those leads through to an actual sale, and provide account managers all of the customer information they need to keep a customer happy, satisfied and loyal. Happy customers = Repeat Business AND Referrals.
How does Salesforce accomplish this? Salesforce takes all of those spreadsheets, databases, documents, sticky notes, and brain waves and puts them into one central place that can be accessed globally. People in different departments have access to the information that they need to do their jobs, and this information is organized in a customizable, efficient and reportable way. Marketing departments can keep track of their efforts to drum up business, and leads that actually close due to those efforts can be tracked. Sales departments have visibility into those marketing efforts, and can work those leads, track activities such as phone calls and emails with those leads, and report on where in the sales pipeline those leads stand. Account management can use Salesforce to track and resolve issues a client might have. Management sees all of this using dashboards and on-demand reports that put up-to-date data in front of them, when they want it. No more waiting for weekly spreadsheets to be consolidated by someone to see what actually is in the pipeline.
Taking the leap from spreadsheets to Salesforce can seem like a huge undertaking. But think of it this way: you want your business to grow, and the more it grows, the more you need to manage your data. If the informational chaos isn’t already out of hand, as you grow, the potential for chaos exponentially increases. Use Salesforce to organize your company NOW, customize it to reflect and support your business needs, and work on user adoption. With thought and planning, users within your company will see immediate value.