Salesforce.com (SFDC) is a suite of CRM
products that work together to make today’s corporations function more
efficiently and profitably. They touch many functional areas in the company so
let’s look at each:
What does salesforce do for the sales
organization? SFDC is a contact and pipeline manager that allows sales reps
to function more efficiently no matter where they are physically. Not only does
the product keep track of all contacts, whether they are leads, opportunities,
accounts, partners or competitors, it also integrates tightly with Outlook and
other mail clients to sync calendars, and associate emails with the proper
contact. Salesforce keeps a record of every time you touch a contact and tracks
the next steps in your calendar. When integrated with your website, sales force
will become the system of choice for your sales team and they will spend the
majority of their computer time here and in Outlook.
What does salesforce do for the customer
support team? In a similar manner, SFDC also keeps track of customer support
issues and tracks them through to resolution with escalation rules based on
elapsed time and the importance of each client. This ensures higher customer
satisfaction because issues do not fall through the cracks and problems are
automatically escalated to level 2 support, development and then management if
they are not fixed in a timely manner. Extensive reporting is also available so
management can track problem areas in products and address them as necessary.
What does salesforce do for marketing?
SFDC Professional Edition and above allows the creation and tracking of
marketing campaigns so the marketing team can create, implement and track each
campaign to measure it’s success and automatically feed leads to the sales team.
It also allows mass emails to be sent to prospect lists or existing contacts to
keep in contact with your sources of revenue. Web-to-lead is available in all
editions except the contact manager and sends web inquiries directly to the
sales rep responsible for immediate follow up and tracking of the lead source
and success rate.
What does salesforce do for management? Salesforce has extensive reporting
capabilities and visual dashboards that give management visibility into what’s
happening in sales, support and marketing. They can immediately see what’s
working and what needs improvement and accurately forecast sales revenue based
on criteria they establish. Because SFDC captures all the details of every deal,
support issue and marketing campaign, managers can see when they need to get
involved in certain situations and improve outcomes.
What does salesforce do about training?
The support and training capabilities of SFDC are the most robust in the
industry. The answer to almost any question a user might have is contained in
the help facility online and many times there is an associated video to walk the
user through the situation. There is also a large online user community and user
groups to share best practices, tips and traps. Of course, there is no
subsititute for formal up-front training for your users which is available from
Tidewater Salesforce Consulting at very reasonable rates.
What does salesforce do to integrate with
other applications? The salesforce AppExchange is a huge marketplace of
products that allow SFDC to integrate with other popular systems to extend its
functionality. Many of the interface Apps are free or are available for a small
monthly fee, depending on complexity and functionality. Stand-alone applications
that interface with salesforce usually cost more money. From quoting systems to
automated marketing and social media tools to you name it, chances are there is
an App for that.
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