All Sales organizations (even those within the same industry) have unique sales processes due to their company’s individual cultures, sizes, and employee talent. Out of the box Salesforce.com solutions can help better manage these processes, but tailored Salesforce.com solutions, configured to fit an organization’s specific business processes, will produce the greatest possible ROI.
We recently implemented Salesforce.com for a financial services company, tweaking a few pieces of Salesforce.com’s standard functionality to better fit the company’s specific business processes. This customization not only improves their current sales management process, it also simplifies additional future systems integrations.
Implement for Today, but Plan for Tomorrow
When we first met with the organization’s stakeholders, they asked for a quick rollout of Salesforce.com as a simple stand-alone tool that they’d use to manage their Accounts, Contacts, Leads and Opportunities. However, as we dove deeper into the planning process, they mentioned an additional future goal of integrating Salesforce.com into many of their other internal systems.
This revelation brought us to a halt. With our experience in Salesforce.com implementations, we knew the best way forward was to first step back and do a high-level project review of both the company’s immediate AND future CRM and data management goals.
We started by reviewing their entire lead to order process, flow-charting all sales related business processes necessary to close deals and enter orders into their order management system. We determined integrating customer data from their existing order management system with Salesforce.com at the time of the initial roll-out would be critical (this would eliminate rework and data cleansing at the time any future system integrations.)
However, the company expressed concern over moving all of their customers over into Salesforce.com, since they don’t deal with their entire customer base on a regular basis. Making this segmentation work out of the gate (and with any future integration plans) would require custom work around a master account id / unique identifier within Salesforce.com.
Customizing the Salesforce.com Create New Accounts Process
We started with the company’s initial goal of implementing a quick implement CRM solution for their Sales team, and more specifically, the problem of getting correct (and selected) customer data into Salesforce.com. We addressed this through some customization work involving Jitterbit:
1.) First, we had their IT department create a scheduled job to download all Customer and Partner data on a weekly basis to a .csv file on a local server.
2.) Next, we created a custom object to hold this information in Salesforce.com.
3.) Then, we set up a Jitterbit Data Loader for Salesforce job to upsert the customer information from the .csv file into the custom object.
4.) Lastly, we wrote some triggers which allowed Users to select the correct Account from the custom object and push that Account to the standard Salesforce.com Account object.
Done! Correct Account information can now be added to each Sales rep’s Salesforce Accounts object, including the unique identifier required for initial segmentation and by other systems in the overall integration plan.
Example of Custom Object Detail Record
The user clicks the “Create New Account” button to create a standard Salesforce.com customer Account record, using the most current data from the system of record.
However, during our planning and requirements gathering sessions, we discovered other unique factors regarding this company’s business processes. Each Opportunity is usually related to both a Customer Account and a Partner account, and the Leads received from different sources usually include both the Customer and the Partner that would be involved should that Lead became an Opportunity. Therefore, it made sense to us that when Leads are converted to Opportunities, those new Opportunities should automatically be related to both the Customer and the Partner account.
Customizing the Salesforce.com Convert Lead Function
Since we had used a custom object to hold the Customer Accounts, the standard Convert feature couldn’t find the Account in the custom account object. We addressed this by customizing the standard Convert Lead functionality:
1.) First, we created a trigger to search for the Customer Account in both the standard Salesforce.com Account object and the custom object. The user selects the best Account information, and when the Lead is converted, it either:
- Relates to a current Salesforce.com Customer Account
- Creates a new Salesforce.com Customer Account from the custom object
- Lets the user create a new Prospect Account and relate that account to an Opportunity.
(All of this all happens with a click of a button!)
2.) Next, we created a trigger that matches the Dealer Id listed on the Lead to the Dealer id on a standard Salesforce.com Partner Account (partner and customer accounts are identified using Account record types). If the Dealer Id matches, the Opportunity is automatically related to the Partner using the Partner related object at the time of lead conversion.
3.) Lastly, we created a Lead Conversion visualforce page to include the custom convert functionality.
Customized Salesforce.com Lead Conversion Process
Step 1: Starting with the Lead to be converted. The user clicks the “Convert” button.
Step 2: User selects the customer Account and either:
-Relates that Account to a new Opportunity.
-Creates a new Customer Account from Warehouse Accounts (if no standard Account exists).
-Creates a new customer Account that does not exist in Warehouse Accounts or standard Accounts.
End Result: Opportunity created and related to the correct Account, and also related to the correct Partner Account in the Partner related list.
Some of the Benefits of Customizing Salesforce.com
Customizing these Salesforce.com standard features helped this company reduce data-entry for their sales reps, improve their data quality, and prepare for additional future integrations. Overall, the customer is excited about Salesforce.com as a tool and already is discovering ways to improve other business processes using Salesforce.com.
Stay-tuned for my future blog posts on using Jitterbit Data Loader for Salesforce as a data integration tool, as well as how we used Chatter Plus licenses to enhance the quote process. In the meantime, if you’d like to hear more about this project, or would like to schedule some time to discuss possible Salesforce.com customization that can benefit your business, please contact us.