Salesforce Process Builder… Are you using it?

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!


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Hard Selling; Please Stop and Listen

Sales and Sales teams all have a job to do. Most companies would go out of business if not for their sales teams. There would be no marketing team, executive management or budget if the sales team is not selling their product and making revenue to pay for everyone’s PTO and benefits packages. As a consumer and someone who has worked alongside sales teams I completely understand the need for sales. That does not mean I agree with some of the tactics involved in selling.

There is no need for constant hard selling. I find that 90% of the time hard selling does not work. There are quite a few industries that seem to be most popular when it comes to jokes about hard selling. There are even clichés about sales people who act as if they are “Car Salesmen”. There are all kinds of clichés including phrases we have all been guilty of using in business across the board whether selling or trying to drive sales internally. That does not mean you hammer away at your consumer until they run screaming from the room or react negatively.

This is something I have been experiencing more often lately. It must be “that time of year”. I can understand what a telemarketer is going through; I use to work in a Contact Center myself. But when you call my house at dinner time and I give you the time to explain what it is you are calling about but end up saying very politely “thank you but I am not interested at this time”. Just say “okay have a good day”. That is not an opening to hammer away at me and try to force me into something I have already declined. This was not an “open door” to negotiate down to a more reasonable amount. It is very simply a “NO”.

The same experience took place at my gym. I am interested in working out with a trainer. I agreed the amount per session was “GREAT” but when I am rubbing my head and telling you as nicely as I can that I am not going to give you a credit card tonight then stop. If I explain I need to discuss the details further with other people and will get back to you as soon as the next day please accept the information I have given you. I did a work out that was intense and extremely tough after having been awake for over 14 hours, worked two jobs and drove 2.5 hours. Hard selling and hammering me while I slowly succumbed to a raging migraine is not going to convince me to continue my work outs with you and your company.

I understand Sales teams are not only responsible for helping customers/consumers get the most out of their product but also are also responsible keeping up their lively hood. I understand the premises of the whole sales process but not at the expense of a potential customer. A previous manager I had did not push our team towards numbers for sales sake she always told us we are servicing our customers. We are not looking at numbers while discussing our customer’s livelihood, we are helping them to get the service they need and can put to use to better their situation.

A successful sales team knows to treat each customer/consumer as the individual they are. When you feel the service and conversation is geared towards your needs and not the company pitching to you, you are more likely to see clearly whether this will in fact be a good purchase or not. Customers, consumers and other businesses want to know how a company or product will benefit them not how they will benefit your sales goals. Hard selling does not work if you forget you are talking to a living breathing person at the same time.


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Prove Your Worth With Social Media Even if your CEO is not On-Board…

    Social Media is a powerful tool now. It is no longer a personal outlet to entertain yourself with on your down time (of course it is still primarily used this way). Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and Instagram are all-powerful public media tools that allow us to get important (and not-so important) information instantly via our smartphones, tablets, email and computers. These outlets are now powerful tools that every working professional should have a crash course in to understand how effective these social media outlets truly are.
     Besides having your own personal and professional experience with these outlets it is also a major tool to use at work regardless of what industry you are in. Everyone is using them so you should too. Here is the thing; there is a large population of “Executives and CEO’s” that put no stock in these forms of communication and media. Boy are they living under a rock or have buried their heads in the sandbox. If anyone is keeping up with current events they know just how powerful Social Media is. Grass root movements are changing the political scene using their smartphones, hash tagging all over the internet and insta-gramming everything from their cat to a police officer who pulled them over for running a stop sign.
     As anyone in the IT field knows user adoption is only effective if it comes from the top down. In Salesforce for instance we know that a platform will be successfully implemented when the CEO and the Executives are all on board. If there is any sign of hesitation or the “big-wigs” are not in on the conversations user adoption is going to trickle. Once the executives see the bill of sale and the lack of activity things usually have to pick up from their point of view or the ship is going to sink. The same goes for having a Social Media Marketing plan of any kind. Of course since Social Media is public domain and everyone can use these outlets personally and professionally it does not mean your company will sink. This means there is an opportunity for you to show off some unusual skills and innovation that could propel you directly into your executive’s line of sight.
      This does not mean you should start tweeting or posting status regarding your company tomorrow. This is an avenue for a great deal of growth but there is a fine line between personal and professional that we all have to see clearly. Researching regulations for your particular industry is always a must especially for those working for public offices and financial institutions. Since Facebook became public across the globe Human Resource professionals have had to come up with clear and defined rules for their employees regarding Social Media. This doesn’t mean Social Media is left out when it comes to a marketing scheme it just means; keep it clean and strictly professional.
      Of course best practices also say to keep your personal Social Media completely separated from your professional. There have been too many instances of Social Media outlets leading to job loss. You do not want something you posted on a Social Media outlet being used negatively against you at work. I am only suggesting that there are skills you have gained from using Social Media that could be useful in promoting your career path and growth. These said same skills could help your company advance their own Marketing and Sales goals if done correctly.

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Old School Sales Process vs. Social Media Sales and How it Can Impact Your Way of Thinking

I recently worked at a manufacturing company that has been in business for almost 60 years. This particular company is very innovative in their particular field. They are good at what they make and they have molded and changed their own industry to their very own standards. The problem they have which will eventually impact their business in the long run is not their product or lack of creative engineering but their old school sales process. Their Sales team is excellent at selling but they lack good communication skills both internally and externally. There is a very large gap between the Sales process and the Sales team themselves. Of course the sales men are very good at selling but they are the ones who do not stop or take a breath. They are “on” 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

We had a team meeting where we were brain storming and trying to come up with a formalized business process and a plan for the last 3 quarters of the year. This was the most painful meeting I have ever participated in. Being in the room one could see how talented every sales person was; seeing their strengths and even their weaknesses.  The problem is with social media and everyone having a smart phone nowadays old school sales tactics do not work. One of the sales members insisted that postcards drove business. As nice as that sounds (and you know the post office loves it) post cards do not work anymore.  Most of us do not read junk email let alone junk snail mail. As soon as I suggested social media all of them had a meltdown. Of course they were thinking MySpace or Facebook. Of course I think facebook would have been good idea but that was not what I was focused on. They assume because their ideal clients are hotels or individuals with extra money looking for an easy small business venture that they do not use social media.

Everyone is using social media, EVERYONE. To assume that (an example) an older Asian American family is not using social media and smart phones is narrowing your own thinking. By doing just that you are putting yourself in a box instead of reaching “outside the box” as most Sales people strive to do. This will than prevent you from giving new potential clients the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to Social Media, Technology and Communication always assume everyone is using Social Media.

Social Media is a powerful sales tool and can revolutionize any industry and sales team. Social media should be on the top of every sales team process list. It should be one of the many ways you keep in contact with your current clients and how you reach out to new potential clients. Old School sales tactics did work at one time but we have to admit when things change. To improve our own processes individually and as teams we have to be willing to understand the world in which we live in. We no longer live in the 1950’s when housewives home baking and raising children. We no longer live in the time when the only way to really communicate with a new market of people is by mail or door to door salesmen. Now everything and everyone is available at our finger tips literally. You can reach millions through social media if you do it right.

When I had suggested Social Media to my sales team at the time I was thinking something more along the lines of a weekly blog or a monthly newsletter. Some of the sales people had really strong strengths such as particular tips for new business owners and layout designs they did on their own time. Why not share that information? Not only would you enlighten your own client base but you will attract attention by your knowledge depth and your willingness to share tips and tricks with a larger audience. They are not just focused on getting the product out of the factory but building businesses that will make an impact on their respective markets. Sales teams would show their clients, customers, industry competitors that not only are they innovative and creative where their products are concerned but in their sales tactics as well. Most Sales guys are very good at what they do; just remember why you got into sales in the first place. Always remember the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does not apply to People, Sales, Social Media and Technology.