What is Sales Automation?

Written by ShamrockCRM on October 18, 2009 – 12:20 pm

Salesforce Automation (SFA) is a buzzword that is thrown around quite a lot. SFA is not CRM. It is a component of Customer Relationship Management.

All companies have some form of sales process that they utilize, whether it be uber sophisticated or very simple with small sales. All of these sales processes will have some kind of inefficiencies to them that could cost valuable time and money. Salesforce automation is here to assist with that.

The purpose of Sales Automation is to:
1) Increase Sales (duh)
2) Decrease Costs to Make Sales
3) Increase Management and Operation Sales Visibility

So, how does it do this?

Increase Sales Volume:
Salesforce automation, as provided by Salesforce.com, is excellent at putting the most important and most relevant data right in the face of your sales reps. If they should be focusing on medium sized sales of product X in Florida, you do not want to overburden them with all data from all products being sold in China. You want to keep it simple and focused on their daily operational tasks, which are primarily communicating with potential leads, and managing open opportunities.

Implementing this will prevent sales from slipping through the cracks. If you manage all of your sales opportunities in your head, you will forget things, or slip behind on active communications with customers. This will provide more collaboration and cross selling with other sales reps in the area. So someone else is selling their product to this customer in your regions? Hold on, because we can compliment that product with this service! More sales!

Salesforce.com provides many ways to do this:
-Quick links directly to pre-filtered views showing exactly what the Sales Reps need: Top 10 Opps, Hot Leads, Open Opportunities, Neglected Opportunities (past closed date, but not closed), Neglected Customers, etc. Click these links and they will only show THEIR data and nothing else. Clean and simple.
-Activity management will maintain all data for all communications with your customers. Managing 20 customers and can’t remember when you should contact them next or what you last spoke about? Easy with SFDC. This also helps with knowledge retention within your organization.

Decrease Sales Costs:
Please don’t force sales reps to do too much busy work when they could actually be in the field with customers. Needing to create reports, pull together tons of data about clients, working on administrative/non-sales tasks simply wastes time, decreases customer satisfaction and costs you sales revenue.

Salesforce.com will allow you to quickly pull together mass mailing campaigns without tons of overhead to build the filter criteria. A few clicks of the button and sent. On to selling again. SFDC allows mail merge and email templates to have predefined layouts that pull together data automatically from multiple sources to build documents and mailings.

Don’t want your sales people to have to re-cold call customers that you have already dealt with, because your contact data is way out of date? Salesforce keeps all of this current so that you know the decision makers and your relationships with them

Increase management visibility:
Providing lightning fast and accurate visibility of the strength of the organization is a valuable asset for management. If the sales pipeline is skinny, they can quickly know to create new strategies to bring in new sales. They can easily tell who the high performers are in the organization and reward them/punish the under performers. Plus, pretty charts will always make the VP of Sales happy 😉

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Salesforce.com Lead Management – Re-Marketing to Leads

Written by ShamrockCRM on July 27, 2009 – 8:36 pm

Part 3 of Salesforce.com’s Best Practice Series on Lead Management relates to the re-marketing to lost, old, unqualified, archived Leads to possibly stir up new business from previously unqualified “potential customers.”

Salesforce.com recommends two fields to track the status of Leads: Status, which represents the current status at this moment (Open, Contacted, Unqualified, Archived, Qualified, etc) and Disqualified/Archived Reason (No Budget, Competitor, No Decision, No Power, Lack of Vision). I think “Lack of Vision” is just a politically correct way of something you could never record in a system :) With the combination of these 2 fields, it allows you to separate the good leads from the bad, the old leads from the new and also report on why you are not closing these Leads.

It is suggested that every so often (once a month, once a quarter, etc), you should recontact the archived Leads with new product offerings, inquiries as to if they now have budget, etc. This is a responsibility of the marketing department, but is a valid way of generating additional revenue. Things change and this could spawn new deals.

Salesforce also recommends setting up workflow rules that say “if the Lead was archived because of no budget, recontact them automatically by workflow alert in 6 months.” This can automate the marketing emails without any user time and effort.

Salesforce.com Re-marketing to Leads

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Sales Leads – Automating Your Leads

Written by ShamrockCRM on July 25, 2009 – 8:07 pm

The next installment from Salesforce.com’s marketing blogger team relates to automating your Lead Flow. Once you have identified what Leads really are and how they relate to your business, you need to incorporate them into your Salesforce environment and automate the distribution.

They go over 4 tools to do this:
Web-to-Lead forms
Web-to-Lead forms allow you to add an input form on your website for potential customers to fill out with their contact information, company information, product interest, etc. Once the customer fills in this data and submits the form, the data will automatically be inputted into your Salesforce.com as a Lead for you to sell to. To see an example of this, look at the bottom of Shamrock CRM. Web-to-Lead forms are very flexible.

Lead Assignment rules
If you have a lot of Leads being entered in the system and you have multiple sales people that these Leads should be assigned to, Lead Assignment rules might be an excellent option for you. Lead Assignment rules would allow you to say that “any Lead where State = Florida, Assign to Jim.” This removes a ton of manual work that you might possibly perform already.

Another option for this is Round Robin Lead Assignment or Lead Sprinklers or Lead Assignment based on a rating structure. These require some code, but are excellent.

Lead Auto-Response rules
Lead Auto-Response rules allow you to respond to the Leads automatically with pre-defined email templates based off of that Lead’s specific details. This allows you to quickly get information to these users, so they do not sit around waiting for a response. These are essentially workflows.

Lead Scoring
An example of Lead Scoring would be the “Hot/Cold” rating system in combination of potential revenue estimates in combination with other criteria. An example can be seen here with my Lead Activity History Report.

Salesforce.com Marketing – Best Practices in Lead Management pt 2

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Salesforce.com to SMS

Written by ShamrockCRM on July 12, 2009 – 12:37 pm

Have you ever wanted to notify your sales people in the field of new Salesforce.com leads, immediately using SMS text messages? Well, this is not actually as hard as you would imagine.

Imagine that you have a call center accepting incoming phone calls, filling in certain bits of important data in a Salesforce.com Web 2 Lead form and generating leads in the system. This data routes to the appropriate Salesforce.com user based on Lead Auto Assignment rules. This is fine, but the person does not have the ability to check Salesforce.com for new Leads constantly and would like to be auto notified by SMS. This can be done using “SMS Gateways.”  SMS Gateways are email addresses assigned to cell phone numbers that allow you to Email text messages to Users.

What we do in this situation is, upon creation and auto assignment of the Lead, we will fire off a workflow rule in Salesforce.com to send an email alert. This email alert will go out to this SMS Gateway email address. You will either need to assign the User’s email as the gateway email or have some kind of trigger to auto query the SMS Gateway email and assign it to the Lead record for easy emailing with the Email alert. *I could always assist with this if interested.* Use an email template to include vital Lead fields, such as why they are contacting you, name and phone number.

Below is the information on how to find the appropriate SMS Gateway. This is assigned by carrier. Try it out by sending a test email to yours! Remember, you are limited to 160 characters.

AT&T (formerly Cingular)
Boost Mobile
Nextel (now Sprint Nextel)
Sprint PCS (now Sprint Nextel)
US Cellular
Virgin Mobile USA

If you need the gateways for the smaller US companies or International companies, email me and I will provide them for you.

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Salesforce.com Lead Activity History Report

Written by ShamrockCRM on March 30, 2009 – 9:15 pm

I would like to show you a pretty effective Lead Activity History Report that I have been using in Salesforce.com.

This report is a typical Lead Report based off of Last Activity and Created Date.  I have added a few additional components to assist in the day to day process of following up on Leads.

I have added 2 formula fields:
1) Days Since Created – a number field
2) Days Since Last Activity –  a number field tracking the amount of days since the last Email sent to the Lead, Call logged with the Lead or Event scheduled with the Lead.

I filter my report by all Leads created within the last 45 days, because many Leads have a waiting period on budget, etc.

I use a combination of the Rating (Hot, Warm, Cold) field, the Status field (Contacted, Open, Qualified, Unqualified, etc), Estimated Project Value and the Days Since Activity field to generate an IMAGE formula field.  This image formula field is either of a Red or a Yellow flag to say “HEY, Red Flag, this person needs to be contacted immediately, because it is either a hot deal and too many days have passed since activity or it is a warm deal of high value and too many days have passed!”

This is absolutely wonderful, because you can easy look across your list of Leads without too much analysis and realize if something needs to be done.  It won’t show Unqualified Leads, so these won’t confuse you on your report.

I have also generate an “Importance” IMAGE formula field that takes into account the Lead Rating, Status and the Est. Project Value to show a stoplight.  Green means GO PURSUE, Yellow means COULD BE GOOD, Red means DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME.  This will tell me that even if an Activity is not needed, keep an eye on this record, because it is Good, Bad or Ugly.

Salesforce.com Lead Activity History

*Image from dev account

What is great about this is you can put these IMAGE formula fields and “Days Since …” fields directly on your Leads dropdown lists views for easy viewing as well.  See the screenshot below.

Lead Management

As you can see, this is a great way to operationally manage your own Leads and the Leads of your employees!

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Posted in Business Analysis, marketing, sales, Salesforce.com | 3 Comments »