Pro Tips for Successfully Enhancing Your Salesforce CRM system

Posted by Cathy Boudreau on Mar 19, 2013 4:41:00 PM

Enhance Your Salesforce CRM systemEven the best, most well-planned Salesforce implementations requires a pilot phase of testing and refining to produce the optimal CRM system for the organization. However, far too often, organizations struggle with determining the importance and priority of customizations and/or modifications to enhance their Salesforce system post-implementation. So, in the immediate months following a Salesforce rollout, the time is critical to decide which tweaks, changes or enhancements need to be made, as these decisions can affect both employee adoption rate of the new CRM system, as well as the overall goal of implementing a new CRM system.

If your organization is rolling-out a Salesforce CRM, we recommend the following progressive tips for ensuring or improving user adoption.

  1. Gather user feedback and categorize appropriately
  2. Determine if Salesforce CRM features are being underutilized
  3. Increase user adoption with Apps from the AppExchange
  4. Determine if substantial needs still exist (i.e.: data integration) – Phase 2 Project
  5. Call in the big guns (expert CRM consultants)

Gathering and Categorizing User Feedback

Post-implementation of Salesforce CRM, we highly recommend gathering user feedback during the rollout phase as fresh perspectives may shed light on enhancements that would result in a better user experience, higher adoption rate, and most importantly, a more efficient workflow process.

In addition, we further recommend categorizing this feedback appropriately into 2 categories: Enhancements or Features. Features include any “hard-wired” capabilities offered by the Salesforce software, like Workflows or Dashboards, while Enhancements refer to customized add-ons which can be found in the App Exchange interface, for example LinkedIn for Salesforce or Gmail/Google Apps integration. Knowing the different types of feedback allows executives to appropriately prioritize if enhancements need to be made as well as which customizations will help achieve the goal of the system.

Determining Underutilized Salesforce Features

Typically, a lack of user training results in low usage of features offered in Salesforce, so make sure your rollout plan includes a training schedule - both for users and executives. For more information on CRM training, read our recent bog article titled Helping Employees Adopt CRM.

In addition, Salesforce administrators should regularly access the usage reports in Salesforce to determine exactly which features are being overlooked by the users.

Enhancing Salesforce with AppExchange

Much like iTunes, the AppExchange is a marketplace dedicated to helping Salesforce users enhance their CRM system with beneficial Apps/add-ons to increase employee usage and efficiency. Recently, Harvest Solutions conducted a webinar - specifically addressing AppExchange, how to use it, how to determine the best Apps, and when it’s necessary to seek assistance with the Apps/add-ons. For example, say your organization uses the Gmail interface for email communications. Cirrus Insight allows you to save your Gmail into Salesforce history.

For a quick glance, here is a punch list of apps we recommended in our recent webinar to enhance your Salesforce CRM:

  • Cirrus Insight  (GMail and Salesforce integration)
  • LinkPoint 360 (Outlook and Salesforce integration)
  • Logger by Salesforce (Log activities from a mobile device)
  • RedHot News (News articles in Salesforce)
  • DemandTools (Data quality & deduplication)

Keep in mind, not all apps are created equal. You may need to test and refine or do a little homework on which apps will truly help improve your Salesforce CRM usability. If you are new to Salesforce AppExchange, or if you’re just looking for some advice on which Apps/add-ons to choose, Harvest Solutions can help your business decide the best way to enhance your Salesforce CRM system. Give us a call, or contact us online. We frequently help organizations select which add-ons make sense and which ones they can do without.

A Phase 2 Project

Considering a Phase 2 project may be necessary if it’s been determined that you would get more functionality if the Salesforce CRM was integrated with a back office system (i.e. your accounting system). This is not typically a simple job and should be done with the guidance of an experienced consultant and should be approached with the same process that you did for the initial implementation. Since this type of work can be costly, you should discuss the goals you want to achieve and whether the end-result is worth the money you will spend. For example, we mentioned above data integration.  If giving users access to customer accounting/invoicing information would make them more productive, then undergoing an integration project might be your solution.

Calling in The Big Guns

If you’re still scratching your head wondering why your end users are still NOT adopting your CRM system, it might be time to reach out to the experts for a Salesforce Relaunch. A variety of factors can point directly to re-launching your CRM as a solution rather than simply scrapping and starting over. If for example, your business processes have recently changed, the current Salesforce setup and configuration may not fit in-line with those new processes. Whatever the case may be, consultants can look at what your business processes are, assess any current issues with your system, evaluate the structure of the current configuration and offer recommendations on how to fix/revive the CRM.

Keep in mind...just because your CRM system is live, doesn't mean it should remain stagnant for the rest of time. User’s needs change. Business processes change.  Your CRM system and business processes should be reviewed periodically to see if there is room for improvements.  Some can be quite easy and inexpensive while other are much more time consuming.

Do you have a Salesforce enhancement success story?  If so, we'd love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below or tweet us @harvestcrm now!

Topics: CRM Adoption, Salesforce.com

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