12th Dec 2017

How To Avoid These 5 Common Salesforce Mistakes

by: Tim Combridge

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Cloud-based CRM software solutions have improved dramatically over recent years, and it’s a rapidly growing industry. IBM reports it generates powerful returns, as much as 50% improvement in productivity and 65% improvement in sales quotas. Plus, it reduces labour costs by an average of 40%.

Pretty good, right?

 

Many companies get CRM wrong

The Merkle Group states that 63% of CRM initiatives fail, while the Gartner Group found a failure rate of 50%.  Furthermore, less than one fifth of CRM managers believe they’re getting value from their investment according to ITProPortal.

That’s because many business make the leap without adequate preparation, and then struggle to get the value from their investment. Perhaps you’re thinking of introducing Salesforce into your CRM program. Or maybe you have already made the investment, but you’ve been less than satisfied with the results.


Salesforce is challenging, but worth it


With a healthy 21% share of the global market, Salesforce is one of the leading CRM cloud software solutions on the market. Investing in this sort of technology is essential if you want to stay competitive. We’ve helped many clients harness the true capability of Salesforce, and we’ve seen first-hand the mistakes that are often made.

 

Mistake #1: Poor Data

Salesforce is only as good as the data you import. When the data is substandard, users tend to supplement the CRM program with manual systems, and that leads to inconsistency and mistakes.

Imagine visiting your local bakery where the owner cheerfully greets you by name and asks if you’ll have the usual order today. You’ll feel welcomed and valued as a customer. Your data should have the same objective. When data has missing fields, or inconsistent ways of tracking information, it can be difficult to access that knowledge on a broad scale.

What to do about poor data:

  • allocate time (and budget) to cleanse your data

  • seek help from Salesforce Consultants about AppExchange solutions

  • if budget allows, engage third party experts to manage the outcome on your behalf

 

Mistake #2: Poor Migration

Migrating from legacy vendors can be fraught with danger. If you’re using two or three systems and backing it up with manual programs, your transition to Salesforce will reflect that inconsistency.

One organisation we worked with had more than seven different systems for capturing customer data, all formatted in different ways. Customer records were taken across different organisational departments, making it difficult to merge into one centralised database. By taking the time to create systems to ensure the data is consistent, the quality of the migration (and consequently, the sales outcomes) was considerably improved.

What to do about poor migration:

  • create a realistic plan to tackle (or fix) the migration

  • approach the migration process in logical stages—don’t attempt a quick fix

  • consider automated migration tools, but only if your data is consistent and clean—be prepared to supplement with manual fixes

 

Mistake #3: Unclear Objectives

Businesses that get the best from Salesforce align it with their cold-hard business objectives. If your overall sales and customer relationship goals are not clear, then there’s no point making the investment.

Start by considering what you’re trying to achieve with your investment in Salesforce. How do you know you’ll be successful with Salesforce? If you’re not satisfied with Salesforce at the moment, what would it take to achieve a better outcome?

What to do about unclear objectives:

  • take time for a big picture planning and strategy session

  • include your team in the process so they feel engaged and included

  • define your objectives and evaluation metrics, then specify how they’ll be measured in Salesforce

 

Mistake #4: Lack of Processes

Have you mapped out each step of your sales process in each detail? Do your processes allocate for changes or variations in customer journeys? When Salesforce has been properly configured to your exact process, the results can be spectacular. It empowers sales staff to convert leads, because the system is set up for their success. It has taken into consideration the potential deviations the customer can make in the journey and armed the sales team in responding appropriately.

The Salesforce platform can send documents, prompt staff to follow up, engage on social media and undertake thousands of other actions that convert leads into customers, and then into fans and brand advocates.  But, If your Salesforce setup doesn’t accurately reflect your true processes, it can let your team down.

What to do with lack of processes:

  • detail every potential outcome of your sales process, by asking ‘if this, then what’ questions

  • map out how each process can be configured in Salesforce (we can do this for you)

  • regularly review the system to see if it still reflects your approach, and continue customising it as appropriate

 

Mistake #5: Lack of Staff Training and Engagement

Salesforce is only as good as the people using it. You need to have your staff enthusiastic and engaged with the system. By demonstrating the many benefits of Salesforce, you’ll transform your staff from skeptics to fans. But if they’ve found it difficult or disappointing, it can be difficult to change opinions. One negative user can influence an entire organisation with a bit of watercooler chat. Or perhaps some teams are engaged and using it while others are not, leading to a lack of consistency across the business.

What to do about lack of staff engagement:

  • invest in periodic and ongoing training, both internal and external

  • ensure that knowledge of Salesforce doesn’t sit with one unique user, leaving you vulnerable to a knowledge gap if that person leaves the business

  • recruit the loudest critic—if you can convert them, the rest of the team should follow suit

  • take a top-down approach, engaging senior staff as Salesforce champions to encourage everyone to use it properly, and updating it in real time (not Fridays at 4pm)

 

Liquid Agency is a Certified Salesforce Consulting Partner. We identify and fix the Salesforce problems to ensure you’re getting the most from your investment.

If you want more customers, more leads and more business growth, Salesforce can deliver. We make sure you do it right. Contact us for a chat about how we can help you harness the power of Salesforce.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Combridge

Tim is Liquid's Lead Salesforce Consultant