Best Practices , Sales Operations
April 29 | Blogs
Salesforce Implementation: Gathering, Storing, & Executing on Qualified Leads
Estimated read time 5 min

Salesforce is one of the most powerful tools you and your team can use. It allows you to store and retrieve leads, gather, sort, and prioritize them.

However, many companies don’t use the tool to its full potential. Improper salesforce implementation means that they end up leaving leads, and thus money, on the table. The issue, as with so many powerful programs, is learning how to use it correctly. It’s vital for your entire team to know not just the basics of Salesforce, but what it can truly do.

How Does Salesforce Work?

Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that works not just for your sales team, but also for marketing, post sales support, etc. The Salesforce suite is built around Customer 360, which includes AI to automate repetitive tasks, collaboration features for employees, and even training opportunities.

For sales specifically, Salesforce offers Sales Cloud, which allows your reps to work from anywhere, and provides lead management capabilities that allow you to track every lead from click to close, which helps you optimize your marketing abilities, and gain the data you need to know which leads to focus on. Think of it as an analytical database that holds all of the information you need about prospects and loyal customers alike.

However, if not implemented correctly, it’s not going to work. So, here are some things to consider when implementing Salesforce.

Management Buy-in

Bluntly, everyone involved needs to have buy-in to the new system. The most common reason why implementations fail is lack of support from senior management. Not the CEO, no, but somebody at a high level needs to care about this. Everyone involved needs to be willing to commit to the system and put in the time to do so. If management appears to be sleeping on the job, then team members are unlikely to show proper buy-in either.

Breaking It Down

The other common reason for failure is trying to implement the entire system in one fell swoop. The exciting part about Salesforce is that it can do everything you need to do. This can result in trying to implement it quickly, all at once, and without securing that essential buy-in first. If you have reluctant team members, then they need to see small victories so that they will be willing to commit to the program.

So, how should you implement Salesforce to maximize buy-in? Here’s a quick guide:

Steps to Implementing Salesforce

Clean Your Data

First, you need to clean and de-duplicate your existing sales data so it can be imported into Salesforce. Make sure that, for example, you don’t have multiple customer records under slightly different names, which can easily happen when an employee makes a typo. Combining these records first will help you get a clean implementation.

Set Up Users

Salesforce includes both global licenses and user licenses. User licenses can be set up with different permissions so that you can give, for example, the ability to use the Identity Connect feature (which integrates Salesforce user records with Microsoft Active Directory). For security reasons, you should not give users permissions they don’t need and use.

Each user gets a profile, which might range from Standard User to System Administrator. Make sure everyone changes their password and security question the first time they log in.

Provide Training

Set up training for your users. This might be comprehensive or very role-specific. Make sure to properly identify your user groups and who needs what training. Training somebody on features they don’t need or have access to is a waste of time, whilst missing stuff they will use regularly will cause problems later.

Try to provide training that suits multiple learning styles. Also, ask what worked and what didn’t a bit later so you can produce better training materials for new hires.

Import Existing Data

Salesforce has two tools for importing data, the Data Import Wizard, and Data Loader. The latter is best for your initial population as it can bring in up to 50,000 records at once (as long as this doesn’t hit your data limit).

Data is imported as comma-delimited text format (.csv), so can be brought in from any program that saves data in that format, such as Excel. There is also the ability to directly import from ACT! and Outlook. You might find you need to import from multiple sources.

Then, run a job to identify duplicates and use duplicate record sets to merge them. Cleaning your data first makes this easier, but you should still go through this step.

Set Up Campaigns & Events

Groups in Salesforce are used to represent campaigns and events. Private groups are restricted to a team, Public groups are organization-wide, and Chatter groups can be used to bring in anyone, including customers. For example, if you are running or attending a conference, inviting your customers to a Chatter group can help you explain to them what is going on while making them feel included and valued.

Make sure that you set up a group for each campaign and then assign the appropriate reports to it so you can use Salesforce’s powerful analytic tools to assess what is working.

Observe, Then Automate

Once your data is imported and your people trained, you can start using Salesforce to gather and store leads and to optimize your sales pipeline. Your team should be able to pull up customer data easily, run reports to manage campaigns, etc.

Watch how your team ends up using the data and look for repetitive actions that are wasting them. Then, seek ways to automate them. Salesforce has some incredibly powerful automation tools, but resist the temptation to use them right away. Instead, make sure you know what you need to automate, then map it out and use Flow Builder or Process Builder to set up an automated script.

Go After Those Leads

Assuming you have everything set up, new leads and prospects will be entered into the system and then compared with others. Your sales personnel will be able to use the right tactics to execute on those leads, in addition to storing them for as long as is needed.

Implementing Salesforce can be incredibly complicated. If you’re still overwhelmed, you should seek help. Contact Delegate to find out how we can guide you through the process of implementing Salesforce and using it to properly gather and store your leads.