In a previous blog, “Customizing Salesforce.com for Better Business Results,” I described a customized Salesforce solution configured for a financial services organization to help realize the greatest possible return from its Salesforce.com investment. After seeing the initial value the platform delivered for its business, the institution wanted to expand its use of Salesforce.com to solve another identified business process challenge: using Salesforce.com to manage its pricing approval process.
Like most “foundational” Salesforce.com users, the organization still used e-mail, spreadsheets, and paper to manage some sales sub-processes such as pricing approval. The approval process involved pricing associates who did not have access to Salesforce.com licenses, budget for licenses, or a need to manage Accounts, Contacts or other key data elements. They only needed to view and update a portion of the Opportunity information that helped set the pricing for each sales opportunity.
To address this challenge, we took a twofold approach:
- First, we recommended the institution purchase a reduced Salesforce.com License Type for these users–specifically, the Chatter Only license, which provided these users with access to standard Chatter people, profiles, groups, and files, plus permissions to:
- View Salesforce Accounts and Contacts
- Use Salesforce CRM Content, Ideas and Answers
- Modify up to ten custom objects
The Chatter Only license cost is significantly less per month than a full license and provided these users with the limited functionality they required.
- We also designed and built a process that simplifies pricing approvals. This included development of a “Pricing Desk” object related to the Opportunity object and the addition of a custom button to the Opportunity page layout named “Submit to Pricing,” which sales representatives can use to submit pricing requests to the Pricing Desk. When clicked, the system copies a subset of the Opportunity information required by the Pricing Desk into the custom object. We built the pricing approval processes using Chatter Approvals into the custom object so that when the Pricing Desk associate completes a pricing task and requires approval, they can easily submit the request for Approval. We also developed appropriate workflows, notifications, field updates, and a few other customizations to help support the institution’s process requirements.
Ultimately, this proved to be a cost-effective solution that streamlined a key business process and enabled sales representatives, sales managers and Pricing Desk associates to collaborate around opportunity pricing. In addition, the institution gained other benefits, including:
- A central point for managing price approvals and auditing reasons behind a specific approval or disapproval, without having to manually search through e-mail chains and paperwork
- Better visibility into discounts and pricing trends per customer and related sales partners involved in the sale