25 Salesforce hacks to better utilize Salesforce

It’s been 15 years since Salesforce made its way into the cloud computing scene and the company hasn’t looked back since. Its products give companies solutions to more effectively manage areas such as sales, marketing, and customer relations.

Although it is best known for its CRM product, Salesforce has acquired multiple companies over the past ten years that has allowed it to expand into other commercial applications. Some of its biggest acquisitions include ExactTargetBuddy Media, and recently acquired RelateIQ. Many of the acquisitions have been implemented into Salesforce products including Sendia (now Salesforce Classic), GroupSwim (now Salesforce Chatter), Activa Live Chat (now Salesforce Live Agent), and Kenlet (now Salesforce Ideas).

Salesforce, therefore, can be a powerful and effective tool for your business when used properly. Here are 25 critical hacks to help you navigate Salesforce more efficiently and give you better results:

1. Track leads by source for effective remarketing.
By evaluating the source of your Salesforce leads, you can use this to your advantage and more effectively determine new remarketing strategies for your company. When you know how many people are coming in through each source, it’s easy to utilize this data to allocate funding to different remarketing campaigns based on the numbers of leads per source.

2. Track lead conversion by time. What leads convert faster?
Tracking conversions by time will help you better see how the sales cycle works for your target customers. This will help you know what marketing and sales strategies will be the most effective, and plan the appropriate amount of time for each strategy. It will also help you better know how to remarket to your first contacts in a way that will keep them more engaged in the sales cycle.

3. Track what leads convert better.
Just like looking at leads by time and source, using Salesforce to track the conversion rates by Source and type of Lead, will provide some valuable insights. Not only will you find out where most of your leads are coming from, you will also learn the sources of your leads with the highest conversion. Many companies focus more on where the MOST leads are coming from, and not enough on where the BEST leads are coming from. If you can pinpoint the source of the best converting leads, it may be of more value to put more resources towards that rather than sources that only produce the most leads.

4. Tie leads all the way through to revenue.
Another aspect of lead tracking that is often overlooked is the value of the lead. Your company may have a lead source that yields fewer leads with a lower conversion rate, but the leads that do convert might be worth five, ten, or twenty times more than the typical lead from another source. If you have a lead source that is producing even just a few high-value customers, it may be worth your while to hang on to it, or even put more resources into it.

5. Track opportunity win rates.
Looking at what your opportunities are, and the win rates of those opportunities, should be something you track constantly. This is one of the most important things you can track because it is a good representation of how effectively you help your potential clients when the ball is in your court. Make sure you run a regular report so that your sales managers and executives can stay on top of this data, and make any necessary tweaks in protocol.

6. Look at opportunity type — see what opportunities win more revenue..
All opportunities are not created equal; some will bring more value and be better for your company in the long run (i.e., recurring deals versus non-recurring). Often, a certain type of opportunity will take longer to close simply because of the nature of the deal, but the revenue is often higher on the longer sales cycle. You may get lots of opportunities from a single source, but the type of deal may play a factor as well in how valuable an opportunity may be to you, and how quickly that opportunity may close.

7. Use the Products object.
Opportunity Products allow you to add line items to Opportunities with an individual quantity and price so the Opportunity Amount becomes a sum of those products. You can then see if the Opportunity dollars are coming from hardware or software or both (or any product family/segment you need to see).

8. “Stay-in-Touch” with your contacts.
Salesforce includes a “Stay-in-Touch” feature which allows you to email customers a summary of their contact data (as you have it in Salesforce) and make quick adjustments online. You will then see those updates and be able to accept them and push that change to Salesforce with one click.

9. Run historical trend reports.
Trend reports are great for tracking data over time. Instead of having to run several reports to compare the differences between today, a month ago, or even a quarter ago, you can run one single report that will show the trends from one date to another. Plus, it always feels good to see the progress you’re making.

10. Create and implement web forms.
Web forms are a great feature of Salesforce that make it easy to integrate your website into your CRM. Create and implement a web form that allows your customers to request information on certain products or services and send the request directly to Salesforce as a lead. Assignment rules in Salesforce can then route that lead to the appropriate sales rep or team based on information the prospect entered on the form.

11. View dashboards.
Dashboards provide a quick and easy way for you to analyze the data that’s most relevant to your company’s goals and vision. By compiling the reports you frequent on a daily basis, the dashboard gives you a quick visual overview of everything most important to you. The dashboard is also customizable so you have assurance that the things you want to see are front and center.

12. Track active partners.
If you utilize a partner ecosystem, you need to be able to keep track of actively engaged partners and manage those relationships uniquely. Using the active partners feature allows you to know how many active partners you have. That being said, this means that you can “deactivate” partners that you aren’t currently working with, and also “reactivate” them if you are putting resources toward that partnership. Staying on top of this will prevent wasting resources on partnerships that aren’t currently active.

13. Compare partner leads.
Looking at how partners compare in lead performance can be a big help in deciding which partnerships to expand, contract, continue, or terminate. If your company is most concerned with the number of leads or quality of leads a partner brings in, this may be the most valuable metric to track. It also allows you to set a benchmark for your partners to reach if they want to keep their “active” status with you. Partners don’t have to know about the benchmark, but having it will help you to make objective decisions about them.

14. Do inline editing.
Knowing how to use the inline editing feature can save you a lot of time and headache. Instead of having to find and edit records that are spelled wrong, have outdated information, or just don’t look very nice, there are many instances where you can edit that information right where you find it. This is especially helpful when you’re looking at records page or even list view.

You may find quite a few corrections to be made on a list that might take some time to visit each record or field individually to correct. Instead, just use in-line editing to make the corrections directly from the list or page.

15. Deduplication.
If you aren’t always on top of your database of contacts, leads, and opportunities, you may find that it can be extremely annoying, and sometimes fatal to an account, to have duplicate records. You can avoid this by using one of the free or paid deduplication apps available on the AppExchange.

16. WalkMe
When you hire new employees, one of your biggest expenses comes from the time and energy it takes to train them. WalkMe, a Salesforce app, guides users and trains them through popups, hints, and walk-throughs to make training and adoption easier.

17. Use a marketing automation tool to streamline your lead to sales process.
By utilizing a marketing automation tool, you cut down the hassle of delivering information and content on a bunch of different platforms. Clean up your marketing efforts by consolidating them into one easy-to-use interface. Research some of the more well-known marketing automation tools, like PardotExactTarget, or HubSpot, to find out their specific strengths.

18. Use a consulting partner to get the most out of Salesforce.
Chances are, you’re not using Salesforce at its optimal potential. Since it’s such a powerful tool, there’s bound to be more you can do with it to help your business. It might be worth the investment to hire a Salesforce consultant to tell you about features you’re paying for but not using. A consultant can help you create a plan for implementing these features.

19. Think mobile.
It’s no secret that mobile technology has transformed the daily lives of individuals in the 21st century. If you are using mobile in your personal life, you should definitely be using it in your professional life. Saleforce1 is a free cloud-based social, mobile, and customer platform that has a ton of great components. Saleforce1 is also free for ALL Salesforce editions at no extra cost, which makes it a no-brainer. Delve in and see how you can utilize it to your advantage for your company.

20. Run activity reports.
Sometimes you’ll want to see how active your employees, contractors, or even opportunities/clients are in your operations. You can run reports to see just how active those you work with are. Compare the activities of your employees to better get a feel for how each one works, and to see how you can better train them.

21. Track files and content engagement.
Salesforce tracks your files and content usage to report on how much engagement you are getting as a result of your efforts. Check on your leaderboard for file and content engagement, and sort by user-created content segments to compare similar data. Content segments also allow you to be sure you are building content for the right audiences, and not leaving out any part of your target audience.

22. LinkedIn sales navigator.
Everyone knows that LinkedIn is great for identifying leads. With over 50 percent of users being decision makers in the B2B space, LinkedIn is an excellent channel to take advantage of. By using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool, you will be able to easily unveil target contacts and their connections. This feature makes it an absolute breeze for your sales team to know exactly who they are targeting.

23. Focus on one sales platform.
Sometimes, having your eggs in too many baskets can cause confusion and distractions for your company. This is the case when it comes to sales data. Make sure your sales team logs all of their data into one platform like Salesforce, and that they are paid based upon that information. If you start to use outside reports for commission payments or other sales information you will be causing yourself unnecessary headaches in the long run, not to mention your data in Salesforce can be skewed.

24. Take advantage of custom integrations.
Salesforce allows you to do custom integrations with other systems through open APIs. This allows you to easily integrate with the systems you use most often. Make sure you leverage an integration service partner that can help you easily work through this process, and ensure a seamless transition.

25. Integrate with work management.
Salesforce integrates well with work management systems like AtTask. By enabling Salesforce to trigger projects for production or delivery, you can ensure that tasks are completed on time. This also allows for all of your data to be available in one place, which is ideal for analysis and reporting.

Implementing Salesforce properly can benefit your company to reach the goal of becoming more efficient and effective.

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