Are you feeling the heat when it comes to running your business during summer?
We know how busy of a season it can be for most business owners. Maybe you’re still trying to track sales from spring and even winter the year prior, or maybe you want to gather leads at trade shows you’re planning to be part of.
One thing is guaranteed, and that’s there’s always a slew of to-dos for small businesses! Rather than allow your to-do lists to get bigger and have them spread out far and wide across your team’s computers, why not settle on a CRM system to help you out?
We recommend Salesforce because it’s very customizable, so much so in fact, that it can suit any business type. And we stand by this statement because we know the backend of Salesforce so well that we know it can be customized to suit your business, regardless of what kind it is.
But wait, you may be thinking, in what ways is Salesforce so customizable? How do I customize Salesforce so that it works for my business and not the other way around?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Let us show you how you can customize Salesforce so that you can enjoy the summer season, rather than melt from all the energy spent on it.
Wait…don’t you mean configure Salesforce?
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Aren’t we talking about configuration for Salesforce? Isn’t customization super technical? And to a point, you’d be right.
One thing we have noticed while putting this article together is that there’s more information about configuring Salesforce, as opposed to just customizing it. Customization comes with a lot of coding which, honestly, isn’t something you really ought to worry about.
The thing is, in our experience, configuring Salesforce is basically VERY similar if not almost exactly the same as customizing it. That’s why for the most part, when we talk about customization, we’ll likely mean configuration too. The two things are interchangeable when it comes to using Salesforce at its most powerfully helpful.
For clarity’s sake, we’re going to include information about both subjects, and that way you’re much more knowledgeable about what not to do when customizing your system. So grab yourself a drink and dive in with us.
Before you start, first know your limits
First of all, just because there are ways to customize Salesforce it does NOT mean you can customize any old version of it. Specifically, Salesforce Sales Cloud limits customization capabilities, meaning some versions won’t allow you to customize it at all, in particular the Essentials account.
The more basic an account you have for Salesforce, the less options you will have at your
fingertips. We recommend at least saving up for the Enterprise edition of Salesforce; that way, you’ll have access to its workflow and approval automations, where it really shines most.
If you’re not able to afford Enterprise right away, consider at least getting the Professional edition, where you can at least have access to collaborative forecasting as well as everything you can find in the Essentials.
What you can configure:
- Settings in email
- Alterations to fields
- Changes in workflows
- Additional report creation
- Page layouts and the interface for you, the user
What you can customize:
- Integrations, aka features and functionalities that are not part of the system
- Alterations to the system so that your CRM aligns with your business’s exact needs
In particular, Salesforce allows the following software integrations:
- Microsoft Dynamics
- And many, many more
Now, explore EVERYTHING
Yes, we do mean everything. Don’t worry, we’ll give you some stepping stones so that you don’t get lost.
Step 1: Look into personalization options. Play around with the settings of your email and the main platform where everyone connects in Salesforce. You could add company information, logos, and signatures where your brand needs to appear and shine in Salesforce the most.
Step 2: Set up your Reports and Dashboards. Do as much for these as you can so that you can harness the power of Salesforce’s analytics. This will give you incredibly valuable insight into the health of your business, marketing endeavors, and many more areas.
Step 3: Create your first workflow and its automations. More on this below.
Final step: Have fun with this because look at it this way, exploring can be fun! Depending on your idea of what fun is, of course.
Automations and workflows really are its strong suit
I know we mentioned that this is also a strong suit for Dubsado in our previous blog post. However, Salesforce’s power in automations really blows every other CRM out of the water. The possibilities are almost endless.
Customer service and lead generation for your business both have their own special processes. And each of those processes has its own series of steps—this is the workflow. Within each workflow can be automations, i.e. the actions that will reduce the number of repetitive and manual steps involved to complete each task.
Here’s a good example we can give. Let’s say a lead of yours sends in their inquiry on your business’s website lead inquiry form. Salesforce can be directly connected to this form so this info gets into the CRM system right away.
There can then also be a whole set of automations that first, sends a notification email to the Lead Owner (i.e. you, or a staff member in charge of lead generation) that they have a new Lead and prompt them to check on/follow up on it. It can then automatically send the Lead an email response thanking them for their inquiry and sending them a scheduling link to book a call.
The Lead Owner’s calendar can be synced with Salesforce, so when the Lead books a call, the event gets entered into Salesforce and is shown on their Lead profile.
Now, let’s say the Lead Owner needs to now send them a form to be filled in prior to their meeting. A custom button can be built onto the Lead profile that can send the form via an integration.
Once they fill in the form, it can be configured so that their answers are automatically populated into their Lead profile AND a notification/task can be set for the Lead Owner to go in and check their answers so they can prepare for the call.
And that’s just a small snippet about automations and workflows! We could go on for a good long while longer, but it’s time to move on to the other tips.
Have goals set and get ready to test
Easier said than done, we know. To help, here’s what we suggest in terms of goals.
- Create a client journey map. Where do you want your clients to start on their customer service journey? Really think about their experience here. What is the end result you want them to have when they choose your service or product?
- Identify where the most crucial interactions happen in your client’s journey. Where in these interactions would automations help the most?
- Build your first workflow when you have a client journey map going. What triggers do you want to initiate? What would come after the first one?
- Set up the automations in your workflow. Remember, these are designed to help reduce your workload, not add to it!
Now, test, then test again, frequently
Just like with Dubsado, testing goes a VERY long way when you customize Salesforce. What good is a CRM system anyway if you keep doing a thing that’s not actually saving you that time and money you’re looking to save?
Testing may seem time-consuming at first, but it’s really not. It’s common sense, it’s good practice, and it’s a saver in so many ways (think time, money, heck even life saving).
Once you’ve set up the workflows and dashboards in Salesforce, test things out with your staff to see if the main workflow’s automations are working, or if there are certain actions that need tweaking.
Keep testing everything you’ve set up until it’s working the way you need it to. Yes, this part will take a little time now, but it will save time in the immediate future when you’re done.
The main no-no: over-customizing your platform
Yes, unfortunately there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Over-customization can lead to a lot of confusion down the road. It can not only add on to your workload but also take away that valued time and money from your day.
Imagine having your Salesforce customized the way you want it, only to be distracted by a new shiny feature you don’t fully understand yet. As soon as it’s been customized, poof—there’s a new thing that you don’t like, and now you need time to undo what you did.
You can prevent this part easily by 1) reading up more about Salesforce, and 2) asking for advice from a consultant. We happen to have several team members at our agency who specialize in Salesforce specifically!
Need some more helpful tips? Contact our Systems Queens
Salesforce is one of the many specialities our Systems Queens are proud to offer. In fact, we offer a comparison guide that you can download here, in case you’d like to see more about how Salesforce can be the best fit for your company’s CRM needs.
And if talking to a team of experts directly about how Salesforce can help your business is more your style, we’re a phone call away. From analyzing just what exactly is going on or wrong with your CRM system, to setup and integration, all the way to configuration and customization, rest assured your business is in good hands.
Ready? Book a discovery call with our Salesforce Systems Queens today!