It’s the dream scenario for any company: purchasing software that can do the work of multiple employees in a fraction of the time and with far fewer anomalies.

For a certain type of company, this dream can become reality.

Take an HR department, staffing firm, or background verification company for example.  All of these companies look to the applicant (an employee, a potential contractor, or a new-hire) to provide information.  Many of these companies still use manual processes to gather this information (think of a doctor’s office, where you fill out the same form every time you arrive, but in most cases, this is unnecessary rework).  But with the technology readily available, most of these data-gathering techniques can be streamlined and done via the web.

So where do we start?  The first step in automation is to map out your business’ processes.  This will reveal the opportunities for automation as well as hopefully revealing inefficiencies or redundant steps.  Let’s take the example of an HR department.  There process (simplified) is to find candidates, request information from them, review that information, and communicate with them.  So there’s the first step – we mapped out how the process flow should look in our (albeit fake) company.

Now we want to move onto building out some of these steps using native Salesforce functionality.  Always be careful in building that you don’t get ahead of yourself.  Many times your company will need to build something that fits one need and then rebuild that component again so it works with the next component.  So our process will be to build out individual features one at a time and then rebuild any necessary components when we move on to the next improvement.

Let’s look at a few examples of first steps in this project.  Because we want to gather data from our potential hires, we could easily implement an out of the box Web to Lead form instead of making our staffers look at individual emails from leads and translate that into Salesforce.  Another benefit of the Web to Lead form is that because we gather the individual’s contact information (namely their email address), we can also automate a message out to them, thanking the prospect for filling out our form.  This takes 2 steps out of our staffer’s job already and it’s a pretty quick change.

We’ll stop there and let your brain fill with ideas for tasks that can be automated within Salesforce (data collection, case creation, email responses, user feedback, and now even sending commands to outside web devices – imagine Salesforce telling your coffee machine to start brewing every morning depending on when the first person logs in – it is possible!)

To conclude, the SFDC platform allows for an amazing amount of automation and most companies haven’t even scratched the surface.  So we urge you to start scratching and building – it could end up saving you much more than time.

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