If you’re looking to achieve rapid growth in your customer base, or if you want to empower your sales team with a deeper view into the sales cycle this year, a customer relationship management (CRM) system is a great tool for reaching those goals.
When it comes to CRM systems, Salesforce has proven to be a gamechanger for CEOs and their teams aiming to drive BIG growth. As a CEO, it can help you track crucial KPIs to effectively monitor business health, keep tabs on key relationships, and ensure your sales team remains accountable and on track toward their quarterly goals.
It is imperative that you set the tone for your company’s Salesforce rollout from the executive level. Done well, a Salesforce implementation can help you fulfill your biggest visions. Done in haste, it can be a waste of money and cause a headache that will halt BIG progress in its tracks.
Before you use Salesforce or similar cloud-based technologies to supercharge your efforts, you must work with your team to ensure the technology is setting them up for success. Even if you hire a third party to assist you in rolling out the new technology, a Salesforce implementation will inevitably change how your team works. As CEO, it is your responsibility to communicate why you are implementing the software, how it will improve team and company performance, and budget for comprehensive training so your team feels confident in their new workflow. Many salespeople will view Salesforce as something you are putting in place to police them. Because of this, it is important to communicate to them how it will help them to be more effective so they can sell more.
We spoke with CEO Coaching International Strategic Partner Darren Starr, CEO and Founder of StarrData, about best practices CEOs should keep in mind when integrating Salesforce into their businesses. StarrData provides 5-star-rated Salesforce implementation and administrative support to companies with both new and established Salesforce instances.
Whether you are a veteran or novice with CRM systems, these tips will ensure your Salesforce setup keeps your team on track to making BIG Happen.
1. Don’t Let Hidden Costs Derail Your Plan
You’ve purchased Salesforce, connected your contacts, and you’re ready to go!
Not so fast.
- Have you audited your contact list?
- Have you eliminated those undeliverable emails from 7 years ago?
- Have you considered email software integrations like Vertical Responses, Mailchimp, and Pardot?
“Salesforce will charge you for additional storage. Additional integrations (like the email software mentioned above) generate a lot of data in Salesforce. Sometimes, our client companies won’t even realize the data that’s being generated,” Darren explains.
Darren says it’s good to audit your storage so you’re not paying to keep dormant records that aren’t driving you toward your BIG goal.
Another cost-saving pro-tip? Pay attention to your licenses.
Paying for licenses you’re not using or using the wrong license type can drain your budget before Salesforce has even scored your first new client. One of the biggest ways a company will waste money on licenses is to use Salesforce Sales Cloud licenses in departments other than sales and service. In many instances, these other departments can use Platform licenses, which can reduce your licensing costs by more than 80%!
2. Keep Data Clean
Do you have a system in place to periodically audit storage use? Great! That puts you one step closer to making Salesforce move mountains for you.
But before Salesforce becomes a mainstay company-wide, Darren says it’s essential to do two things:
- Structure Salesforce in a way that complements the structure of your business so you make it easier for people to use.
- Develop a procedure to ensure you keep your data clean.
When you sign a contract with a Salesforce rep and log in for the first time, Darren says the view you see will meet the needs of a generic company.
A set-up that isn’t suited for you (we’re looking at you, extraneous fields) will leave the door open for data input mistakes that could derail reporting down the road.
“Salesforce is like Lincoln Logs and an Erector Set all in one,” Darren says. “You can build whatever you want, which is great, but then you can build whatever you want, which is bad. People can inadvertently create a giant mess, and then people can’t generate the reports that they need.”
To solve this problem, Darren recommends consulting a firm like StarrData for a customized initial set-up. If your company is large enough, a Salesforce administrator can make a big difference in keeping data entry consistent and reports squeaky clean.
Administrators can help you keep duplicate entries to a minimum and perform a regular record audit to ensure both your sales, marketing, and analytics teams have the accurate information they need to make BIG happen.
3. When In Doubt, Keep it Simple
Whether you’re implementing Salesforce for the first time at your business, or if you’re new to the software altogether, remember – it’s important to walk before you run.
“People get very excited about having a new tool, and there’s usually a pent-up demand for things when they move into Salesforce for the first time,” Darren says. “A lot of companies will have this big laundry list of things that they want to do.”
That feeling of excitement can quickly turn into feeling overwhelmed when users discover things are more complex than they initially anticipated, especially when they see Salesforce contains more information than they might need.
Darren recommends that CEOs and their teams “start with the core, most important things you must have. Get that set up in a way that’s intuitive and makes it easy for people to use.” Start with the basics, and “you can always add on to it later,” Darren explains.
And, while you’re nailing down the basics, Darren says it’s wise to make sure you’re training people for their specific use cases. This means helping them integrate the tools provided by Salesforce into their existing workflows and educating them on how it can help them in the long run.
“You have to start in a way where you will have wins with Salesforce. You want to make sure people are going to be satisfied with it. And then, people need to understand how it will help them.”
Darren says leaders who adopt a systematic and iterative approach to Salesforce will see better adoption, more commitment to the tool, and BIGGER opportunity for your company down the road.
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About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 67.8% during their time as a client, nearly four times the U.S. average and a revenue CAGR of 25.5%, more than twice the U.S. average.