How To Get The Full Value of Your Salesforce Investment

“I’ve got but I’m just not sure I’m getting the full value of it.” We hear this statement a lot from our customers. Generally when I hear it, I immediately start with a question –

“What do you want Salesforce to do for you?”

The response is usually something like, “Well, I want it to make my business more effective, make my team work together more seamlessly, and give me higher quality information that I can use to make decisions. There are just so many options and so much functionality that I’m not convinced my team gets all they can out of the system.”

With those things in mind, I think it’s helpful to look at the core components that you need to be leveraging in order to get the full value from Salesforce. These components build off each other so you really start at the base, and work your way up.

Cloud based database
At its core, Salesforce is a database in the cloud that is almost infinitely flexible in capturing data for all your key business processes. It’s valuable to not get too caught up in the out of the box tabs and forms, and to think freely about what business data should reside in Salesforce.  The biggest trap I see organizations fall into is forcing their business process into the pre-built sales and support tabs. These can be a helpful starting point, but you only get full value from the platform when you intentionally model the way your organization works on top of the standard tabs. This allows you to then work with a talented systems analyst to personalize Salesforce tabs and forms to capture all the data that’s relevant and unique to your business.

It’s this core database flexibility that makes Salesforce able to be the one repository for all your key data for Sales, Marketing, Support, and business operations. This flexibility, coupled with the robust security, profiles, and page layouts, allows you to model your business into Salesforce and have one single location where everyone can go to see only the data that’s relevant to them about your customers and partners.

Salesforce layers on the ability to create custom forms, automated field updates, and notifications. This flexibility over the database allows you to fully refine the workflow your team experiences and provides you with a robust web application to manage the entire business.

Salesforce makes all your data and workflows accessible from mobile devices via the Salesforce Touch platform. This platform offers the ability to tap into Salesforce data via native apps, HTML 5, or hybrid apps. As the business world turns increasingly to tablets, phones, and a mobile first mentality, the only way you can truly get the maximum value from Salesforce is to be actively planning on how each core business process will be made available to tablets and phones. Mobile access has the unique ability to improve data quality and adoption by allowing users to capture key interactions in real time.

The Chatter social experience radically alters the way individuals and teams can collaborate on selling and operating the business. For many organization, this is one of the single greatest underused features in Salesforce. They simply haven’t had the experience of leveraging a modern collaboration platform and don’t know how to work it into their day to day workflow without some assistance.

If you’ve got these bases covered, you’re well on your way to getting the full value from your investment in the Salesforce platform. If you don’t, stay tuned for a follow up post on action items you can be taking around each component to make sure you see increased adoption and value from Salesforce in 2013.

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