Best Practices , Sales Operations , Salesforce
May 29 | Blogs
Salesforce for Beginners: Demystifying the Platform for New Users
Estimated read time 4 min

Salesforce is a powerful CRM platform, offering a vast array of tools that can feel overwhelming for newcomers. Certainly, you are not alone! Did you know that half of operation managers face challenges in implementing CRM?

In this article, we’ll focus on some key Salesforce features that, while initially confusing, are crucial for aligning marketing and sales efforts. As your Salesforce consulting partner, we will guide you through these tools for maximum business impact.

Understanding “Leads” vs. “Contacts”

  • Leads represent potential customers who have shown some interest in your product or service but haven’t yet been qualified by the sales team. These leads are essentially in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. They may have a basic understanding of your offerings but haven’t necessarily identified a specific need or problem that your solution addresses.
  • Contacts, on the other hand, are qualified leads who have been nurtured by marketing and deemed sales-ready. This qualification process typically involves gathering more information about the lead’s needs, budget, and decision-making authority. Contacts are considered to be in a further stage of the buyer’s journey, potentially demonstrating purchase intent or actively researching solutions. 

Salesforce’s lead conversion process lets you seamlessly transform qualified leads into contacts linked to an account. This ensures clean data and a clear progression in the customer journey.

Campaigns in Salesforce can seem complex at first glance, but they are the backbone of tracking marketing efforts across various channels. Imagine a multi-faceted marketing campaign promoting a new product launch. 

By creating a separate campaign for each of these initiatives within Salesforce, you gain a holistic view of their effectiveness.  Each campaign can have its own budget, timeline, and specific goals (e.g., generate X number of leads, increase website traffic by Y percent, achieve a Z% conversion rate from webinar attendees to qualified leads). 

As the campaign progresses, Salesforce tracks various member statuses:

  • Leads/Contacts who are Sent marketing materials associated with the campaign (e.g., emails opened, webinar registrations).
  • Leads/Contacts who Responded by taking a desired action (e.g., clicking on a link in an email, downloading a white paper from the landing page).
  • Leads/Contacts who Converted into qualified leads or paying customers directly attributable to the campaign.

This rich data empowers you to measure ROI (Return on Investment) and identify which marketing channels are generating the most qualified leads at the optimal cost.  This visibility allows you to optimize future marketing campaigns for maximum impact.

Harness the Power of Salesforce Reports

Reports and dashboards are the core of Salesforce insight, but finding the right ones can be a maze.  Here’s how beginners gain clarity:

  • Start with standard reports:  Salesforce offers prebuilt reports on lead generation, conversion rates, and sales pipeline health. These reports provide a foundational understanding of your marketing and sales funnel. 
  • Understand Report Types: Mastering these different report types empowers you to extract the most valuable insights from your Salesforce data. There are three main report types in Salesforce:
  • Transactional reports provide a detailed snapshot of your data at a specific point in time (e.g., a list of all leads generated last week).
  • Summary reports aggregate data over time and provide insights into trends (e.g., total leads generated by marketing campaigns over the last quarter).  
  • Joint reports, meanwhile, combine data from multiple Salesforce objects (e.g., Accounts and Contacts) to give you a more holistic view. 

Leverage Dashboards:  In a recent survey, an extraordinary 75% of businesses emphasized the paramount significance of dashboards in their operational activities. Dashboards provide a visual representation of key metrics at a glance. They can combine data from reports, charts, and gauges to give you a real-time snapshot of your marketing and sales performance.  Salesforce offers prebuilt dashboards, but you can also create custom dashboards specific to your team’s needs.

Bonus Tip: 

  • Treating ‘Leads’ and ‘Contacts’ the same way creates misalignment. Marketing generally nurtures ‘Leads,’ while sales focus on building relationships with ‘Contacts’.
  • Customize the standard reports as you become more familiar with the platform and your specific business needs.

Salesforce can feel complex at first. However, by focusing on its core marketing and sales alignment tools, you’ll quickly unlock its potential to drive growth. We’re ready to be your guide, simplifying the implementation process and ensuring you make the most of Salesforce from day one.

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