In many cases Salesforce falls short of users’ expectations. The way it is implemented, however, can drastically alter that result. Having a competent consultant or group on your side that knows the ins and outs of the system and can recommend solutions based on your business processes is invaluable.
To begin, Salesforce and the automation it provides can save time on a massive scale. Imagine that each of your 50 users composes an email to a prospective customer and sends it off. Even if they simply copy + paste a boilerplate email and change the names, this could take 2-3 minutes. Multiply that by 2-3 emails per day for even a month and you have over 2 hours of work.
However, if this were to be done in Salesforce, it would probably take an hour of work total to implement a workflow that sends an email (with the correct contact information) to any new leads that are entered into the system.
This is just one application of the software that has already saved countless copy + pasting hours (and the fear that comes over someone when they send an email saying “Hi Dan” to email@example.com).
Speaking of simple errors, a second piece that proves useful when Salesforce is running well has to be historical data. Being able to see what changes were made to a Contact or Account, by whom, and at what time gives the Administrator and Management a good view into how their customer interactions are proceeding.
Additionally, the data is there to stay. It’s not on a post-it note that could easily slip behind a counter, but rather on a platform that can be accessed from anywhere. Salesforce has different tiers of data storage, but for most implementations, field storage is not an issue. The Force.com platform can also track changes made to records (Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities) to offer a trail of activity for future reference.
In order to make sure your data is even more accurate and up-to-date, good implementations focus on sharing and collaboration between users to ensure data is current and correct.
This insurance can be approached in many way, including validation rules (only allowing correct formats and related items to be input into specific fields), formula fields, and Chatter. The last item, Chatter, is like Twitter for your Salesforce and allows users to comment to each other about specific items (New Leads, Updated Accounts, Updated Contact Information), and to share sales goals or even pictures from after-work events. This builds an online community that is focused on keeping your data up-to-date, your customers happy, and your employees connected.
So that’s what an excellent implementation looks like: Efficient, Automated, Data-driven, and Collaborative. If Salesforce doesn’t improve what your business is doing, why spend the money?