For many sales and marketing professionals, starting the day with Salesforce is like starting the day with a cup of coffee. This habit not only informs the brain that it’s time to start functioning, but it inspires productivity. Unlike coffee, however, making the most of Salesforce requires a little effort. To help, we’ve rounded up five expert Salesforce tips. From account planning to closing deals, here are ways to make the most of your CRM:
1. Research, focus, and plan around key accounts aligned with sales goals.
Account planning protects and grows revenue and customer loyalty across accounts. It helps internal sales efforts prepare for future accounts while providing a comprehensive overview of current customers. It increases deal size, win rates, and retention. But effective account planning requires coordination within Salesforce.
Account planning must be on an individual customer basis. Research should extend beyond the customer and include both his or her company and your competition. Doing your research on an account, and applying knowledge from past experiences, brings insight to accounts. This knowledge—in addition to CRM data from Salesforce, information shared by the customer, and any supplementary data—should be integrated for effectiveness.
Making the most of Salesforce means centralizing your plan to maximize velocity and effectiveness. And focusing on opportunities where you can drive value means understanding business goals, initiatives, and obstacles your customers must overcome. Teams that research, focus, and plan around key accounts deliver information that creates alignment between actions and business objectives.
2. Build trust—build relationships.
Relationships are the foundation of Salesforce—it is a customer relationship management system, after all. It’s designed to give organizations a holistic view of the customer relationship by integrating marketing, sales, and customer support. So, Salesforce should be utilized to create personalized customer communication.
Developing an effective strategy for building relationships starts during the account planning process. Map out everything you can about the structure of your customer’s organizations—and don’t limit your research to decision-makers. Gather as much background as you can on everyone in the decision-maker’s circle. Once you’ve developed a comprehensive contact list for your target account, it’s time to use your people skills.
Build relationships in the same way you would with decision-makers. This is done by:
- Asking good questions and actively listening
- Discovering your customer’s values—and ensuring they receive that value
- Thinking outside the box and finding ways to meet their needs
- Focusing on helping instead of selling
Building relationships in a transparent, honest way helps build trust. And trust is the foundation of any ongoing sales relationship.
3. Lean on data, especially around the success of a content strategy and sales enablement techniques.
Salesforce stores information in one place, resulting in improved analytic capabilities. This data helps organizations determine which customers to target, how to use profiles to identify similar customers, and which buyers are likeliest to respond to different messaging. And analytics makes it possible for organizations to sift through data to produce viable, actionable conclusions related to causes, processes, and trends.
Salesforce only takes teams so far in this process. For example, Salesforce isn't automatically synced with PowerPoint or Excel. Traditionally, this meant that teams had to put in the effort to manually transfer this information. For reps to be truly successful, however, it’s essential to enable them with tools to use content effectively in their presentations and other critical communications with customers. With the best data, teams can make educated decisions to reap the rewards in customer loyalty and profitability.
Understanding which content is generating leads helps inform your content strategy. Enablement technology helps teams understand what content really works. Analytics can identify how users are accessing content—including devices, time spent, downloads, keywords, and follow-up actions. Augmenting Salesforce with the right tools enables teams to make the most of data.
4. Use the right technology, including native apps that streamline the sales process.
Salesforce helps sales teams merge data and streamline the sales process by providing them with a unified view of customers, opportunities, and roadblocks. This enables teams to determine the positioning of each account.
Despite the stand-alone power of Salesforce, each company has unique needs that require teams to leverage additional apps or customize it. Native apps can unlock the value of your CRM with fast implementation and easy access for administrators and users in Salesforce. The best solutions optimize your organization’s marketing and sales efforts by unlocking the value of Salesforce.
Native tools enable teams to build key account sales plans, track content consumption, and coordinate data to ensure visibility. These tools streamline the sales process by monitoring activity across key accounts through robust reporting capabilities. And they coordinate data around account, contact, and opportunity objects.
5. Integrate all apps and make sure all key account data syncs in real time.
To create the best experience for sales teams, the plans, data, and tools they need should all be in one place. In Salesforce, these elements unite to eliminate overlap of documents and systems. With everything in one place, teams can focus on their goals, objectives, and tasks to execute the plan.
Much like coffee, Salesforce is the lifeblood of most sales teams. However, despite its capabilities, it still needs enablement apps. The best tools help teams plan and execute around key accounts. They empower sales to find, show, and share content with customers. And they enable teams to research, focus, and plan around activities that are critical to winning deals and driving better outcomes.