Salesforce is leading the way into the world of App Developement. We as a culture and society are consumed with technology which continues to make leaps and bounds. Everyone is striving to beat their competitor. While the rest of us mere mortals sit back and eagerly await what new toy we will race to purchase the day it debuts. Salesforce is a little more subtle. App cloud is according to Salesforce “at the core of the Salesforce ecosystem” (http://www.salesforce.com/platform/overview).
App Cloud is where you can build custom personalized Apps for your users, partners and customers. App Cloud is what is leading the way for IT departments and CIO’s to keep up with their Business demands. Here Administrators can design and build custom apps without complex configurations and code. App Cloud allows Admins to assess a business need and proceed with building and automating an App with simple Clicks within hours. App Cloud is transforming IT departments from being heavily bogged down with App Development requiring complex coding that could take weeks or months to complete a project to days with no code.
Every time we use our smart phones we are using Apps. Businesses and IT teams know Applications are driving business, and fostering adoption among users. We can take complex Business strategies and simplify them by automating it through an App built within the platform. This increases adoption and can lead to insightful feedback and oversight. In the last year I have seen this myself. I have assisted and built over 15 Apps within App Cloud and have seen the business impact this can have. I have also seen an increase in user adoption which every company regardless of industry hopes to see when investing in a product or partner that can make or break their business.
Technology is advancing at such a rate that most companies are being left behind. The best way to keep pace is by tackling the demands your business have for simple easy automated Applications. It can stream line individual user work and automate business processes to ensure that opportunities do not fall through the cracks. Now with App Cloud coupled with the power of the Salesforce Platform Administrators can produce Apps within hours and days alleviating the brunt that can weigh down an IT team and hold a business back from keeping up with rapid pace of developing technology.
App Cloud is simple and easy to use. If you can think it, App Cloud will help you build it and make it a reality. This is the best way to take complex business strategies and turn them into simple pain free business and profit. If you can dream it then you can build it yourself!
When I first started as an Administrator in Salesforce (and even now 7 years later) workflow rules continuously tripped me up and proved difficult. When Salesforce introduced the Lightning Process Builder in 2014 I did not give it much thought since it wasn’t going to solve any problems I had at the time they mentioned it. Of course once I stepped into my current position in January 2015 I started learning more about what Salesforce is really capable of at an accelerated rate than I had the previous 5 years. When Lightning Process Builder became available in our Sandbox as a Beta test I was skeptical about whether we should begin using it.
By the time Process Builder was available in Production we were impatient and eager to use it. Process Builder takes complicated single workflows and combines them and simplifies their flow. The whole layout is clean and reads just like a flow chart where you write out the process flow starting with the target object and defining the initial criteria. The Process Builder allows an Administrator to create a configuration that would have originally required a Developer and knowledge of Apex. Salesforce is now on a mission to encourage point and click automation over code configuration. They want their customers to be able get jump in and be able to work smart and efficiently without having to be bogged down with code writing and complicated customization.
By introducing Process Builder as the first part into the Lightning Platform they opened the way for Administrators to be able to better refine business procedure using fewer processes than multiple individual workflows that may have needed complicated Apex code written by a specialized Developer. Process Builder is so easy and clean I activated nearly 5 processes the same day the tool was released from Beta testing and launched live. Since then there have been 3 releases that have all included upgrades and improvements to an already simple tool.
When I attended Dreamforce this past year I was stunned to find so many Administrators, Developers and Customers who were hesitant to use it. I encouraged anyone I met that was not already using it to test it and demo it. Process builder is one simple tool that can streamline an entire Business. What is the harm in using an easy, user friendly point and click automated tool? So if you are asking whether or not you should use Salesforce Process Builder to automate business functionality and flow within your platform the answer is as simple as the tool itself. Of course you should use it!
When I first was introduced to Salesforce I didn’t know anything about CRM at the time. As I jumped into the deep end and started self-training through the available videos in 2009 I had no idea just how versatile the platform would become. The initial training videos were nowhere near as comprehensive as the current Trailhead training platform. As the years have progressed there have been times when I have thought “this would have been easier if only I had known this in the beginning”. I have picked the top 3 things I wish I had known in 2009 as I started immersing myself in the world of Salesforce.
- There is more than Sales Cloud to the Salesforce platform. Get to know Service, Marketing and App Cloud. Your company may only use one Cloud but App cloud is available to everyone and can open your platform up for customization and integration through multiple API’s. The more acquainted you are with all of the Salesforce Clouds the more likely you’ll be able to pass certification (if you want too) and if you ever end up moving onto a new company using a different Cloud.
- The Success Community is amazing and very friendly. Any questions or concerns you have there is someone willing to give suggestions and solutions. Every single question I have posted in the Success Community someone has responded and helped me think thru a solution. There are numerous Salesforce groups on LinkedIn with open membership who respond to posted questions and concerns as well.
- Sandboxes!!!! I had no idea what a sandbox was the first 3 years of Salesforce diving. Now every change, new field, or validation rule I build is activated and tested in a sandbox. Everyone has at least one developer Sandbox, though it’s limited on the amount of data that can be put in it at least you can safely test all of your changes to ensure success. Activate it as soon as possible and start building and testing.
Of course as you go along in Salesforce, building Sandboxes and positing in the Success Community remember you know more than you realize. Everyone is willing to share, educate and succeed together. Salesforce is one of the best IT and CRM Companies in the market. This is not because of the platform alone but because the people who work for Salesforce and those who work within the platform itself that make it one of the best CRM’s available. I wish I had known just how much would change in the last five years, I would have blogged sooner.
How to increase User Adoption of your CRM platform? Remember everyone struggles with this regardless of what industry they are in or what platform they choose.
The biggest struggle any company with a CRM platform has is boosting and maintaining User Adoption. However long it has been since you implemented your CRM platform user adoption will always be an issue. With a platform like Salesforce it can be a daily struggle for any Administrator to keep User Adoption up since they regularly upgrade Salesforce 3 times a year. Some releases are bug fixes but majority of them introduce new services or products and as well as upgrading and improving current ones. With a company like Salesforce that regularly upgrades and fixes their own instances for all of their customers at once Admins for smaller companies may struggle to keep their users up to date. Not every user is tech savvy or a quick study.
I find that as an Administrator I struggle with keeping up user morale and convincing my users that Salesforce is a good system. It gives you a 360 view of your customer relationship regardless of what industry you are in. How do you convince a group of users that a system like Salesforce is worth investing their time and energy in? Salesforce is good for making things simple. I find as an administrator it’s my job to translate the complexity of the system into simple easy to understand steps. Training, training and more training is what will boost user adoption. A companies Salesforce team cannot expect that once they train their users that the buck ends there. Most companies have multiple programs to run their businesses and not everyone will remember what was trained during their initial days on the job. Refresher training is a must! Small power sessions I find are the most useful. When you get a couple of users from different departments together in a mini session you get better feedback.
I also believe it is the Administrators job to not only know the system inside and out but they should know their business. You can expect your users to get the most out of their CRM system as it stands out of the box. It has to be molded to their industry, to their business styles and processes built to make the users jobs easier and more efficient. An administrator and developer cannot expect a company to get the most out of their platform if they lack the business knowledge to translate their needs to the system. If those in charge of a platform do not understand their users how can they expect their users to understand their system?
Salesforce has quite a few tools to help boost user adoption. They suggest metrics to help boost adoption by reporting and measuring who is actually logging into the system and using it. I find that the rewards and badges they have created under Chatter works wonders. My company boosts different locations so not all employees work face to face. We find that Chatter allows us to connect socially and professionally. We share company events and good news via chatter but we also reward each other for jobs well done. This has boosted morale across the board as well as adoption. As users get better acquainted with Chatter and seeing their fellow team mates using it they start exploring the possibilities more. Another way you can boost adoption is showing your users how the system can save time and building processes that stream line data for them. Salesforce has plenty of ways to automate services as well as saving time when it comes to reporting that may be used weekly, monthly, and annually which can be set up automatically to run on a clocked basis.
Regardless of how many users you have or how intricate your build your platform it is always a good idea to stay organized. It allows you to keep track of training users across the board as well as planning for upgrades which Salesforce schedules and announces at least a month before it is due to launch. It is always a good idea to have a communication plan to keep your users informed of any changes that may be coming including any training you may be putting together. Keeping your users in the loop and even encourage suggestions they believe could improve their job and experience. This will get them into the CRM conversation and forces them to really take a look at the platform and see the potential it has and not just another burden or task to complete.
Of course as the CRM Administrator I believe my first priority is to be positive and encourage my users to believe in our platform. I am here to encourage my users to use the system. I prefer to call myself a Chatter Cheerleader and Salesforce Supporter. If I am not using the system to the fullest then my users will not either.
A CRM or Customer Relationship Management is basically a system for managing a company’s activities and data with current and new clients or customers. Usually the system used will organize the customer’s data, track communications, evaluate revenue deals while also tracking sales and marketing and even support services. A good CRM helps keep the data up-to-date and has extensive reporting capabilities.
So why is CRM important? It is DATA! Data is pertinent to the well-being of your company for one. Data is always important. If you have a sales focused company then a CRM will keep track of current and future deals but also give you forecasting for future goals as well as historical tracking and data stats to see where you can improve. It teaches you and houses your important data so of course it is important!
Social Media has revolutionized how we work professionally and how we receive information personally. A good CRM program will have adopted a form of social media to aid in user adoption but also to promote internal communication and information sharing.
Data makes the world go round. Data is not something you ignore or disregard. Data is precious and should be handled with care. Good clean data cane make or break your company. Collecting your data into the right CRM and making it accessible through a cloud option could free up time and save money for your company in the long run.
These are just a few reasons why I like CRM’s. I am slightly biased as to which one I think is the best of course. My CRM is constantly growing, learning, educating and reading outside the box. No one program is perfect but if you want a user friendly system that takes some of the best features of social media and encourages constructive feedback then you may want to consider Salesforce.com. They are one of the largest growing cloud CRMS in the business. Their entire community is user friendly and more than happy to welcome you in. Do not just take my word for it, remember I did say I am slightly biased.