Salesforce For Dummies
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Salesforce comes packed full of great tools to help you win more deals, get more leads, and provide better customer service. This brief guide will help you understand how Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud help make you more productive and efficient.

How to use Sales Cloud to win more deals

Sales Cloud helps companies increase their sales success in a number of ways. But first, it’s important to note that any system you use is only as good as the data entered in it. This is an important point that cannot be emphasized enough.

If your data is stale and outdated or just plain incorrect, the entire infrastructure built around it is essentially worthless. And that’s why user adoption is so important. With Salesforce, it’s easy to put in place a number of guardrails to ensure that the integrity of your data isn’t compromised.

Assuming that data is up to date and accurate, Salesforce is a powerful sales machine that gives organizations all around the world insight into their businesses.

Making sales groups more effective with Sales Cloud

So, how does Salesforce do it? Let’s look at a few ways Sales Cloud makes sales teams more efficient at their jobs.

Account management and contact management are the focal point of sales teams and the foundation of Salesforce.com’s products. What would a CRM tool be if you couldn’t use it to track your customers and the organizations they’re a part of? Accounts are those organizations or businesses. Contacts are the individuals that belong to those Accounts.

Salesforce lets you establish and differentiate between your customers, partners, competitors, and distributors effortlessly. It also shows you valuable information about these people and organizations in one place (again, assuming someone is inputting that data).

This allows any company using Salesforce to view customer details quickly and easily. It is also built with the user in mind, providing an attractive and intuitive user interface so that inputting this crucial information isn’t too cumbersome.

The user interface has gotten a facelift recently, and has come with some fundamental changes under the covers. It’s called the Lightning Experience (LEX or Lightning, for short), but we’ll get much more into that later. Of course, regardless of how simple the interface is, a system can’t read your mind and data entry is ultimately necessary. Entering this data can get laborious over time if you aren’t careful. But Salesforce gives administrators what they need to make entering or updating accounts and contacts easy.

Another way Salesforce boosts sales efficiency is by minimizing time spent trying to communicate across and within teams. Salesforce provides multiple tools for on-demand work collaboration, as well as quick communication. Many companies see a dramatic decline in emails after using Chatter. Tasks and events that are automatically created and synced to the digital calendars of sales teams also increase efficiency, forecasting, and opportunity management.

Improving sales productivity with Sales Cloud

Sales Cloud can be used to dramatically increase sales productivity for many organizations. Sales Cloud can increase forecasting accuracy, which has many obvious benefits. Tracking and managing leads, following up with them, and converting them with a single click of a button can help sales teams focus more on selling and less on entering data into a cumbersome Excel spreadsheet. Organizing massive amounts of data and presenting these results in a way that makes sense to users in real time is one of the most powerful weapons of Sales Cloud.

In essence, there really is no secret formula to how Salesforce boosts productivity and efficiency for sales teams. You can manage and view all customer information in one place, while updating contacts or following up with them (again, from the same single place), and track all this using powerful reporting to see trends over time and act accordingly. You can organize your tasks by priority, forecast more accurately, and respond to customers more quickly, thereby helping your business become a “customer company.”

Generating better leads with Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud is really a suite of multiple product offerings, but here you’ll see a focus on email campaigns, marketing automation, and lead management, and how Marketing Cloud can improve your organization’s ability to execute on all of them.

Managing email campaigns with Marketing Cloud

How can you drive online commerce, as well as sell to and build customer relationships, without email? Email is the engine behind these forces. Marketing Cloud gives companies the tools to quickly create and automate attention-grabbing emails to customers throughout the customer life cycle.

It’s essentially a user interface for managing communications and content to a wide customer base. The platform maintains mailing lists and schedules and can modify email messages based on what recipients read, click, and forward. You can easily filter your subscriber base so that you’re sending specific, targeted emails based on criteria or events of your choosing. You don’t want certain customers to be bothered by email campaigns? No problem. All of this can be set up and monitored as you desire.

ExactTarget is the name Marketing Cloud used to go by, so if you see ExactTarget in documentation somewhere, don’t get confused.

Improving marketing automation

How much time have you wasted tracking down customer activity, emailing potential buyers that weren’t even interested, or trying to understand who clicked your links? Marketing automation is a general term for platforms that enable the automation of repetitive tasks, as they relate to marketing on multiple online channels. In other words, automating marketing communication.

So, via multiple channels, a company that uses marketing automation is able to manage and automate the targeting, timing, and content of outbound messages. What’s more, it can do this intelligently, using cues from prospective actions and behaviors on the customer side.

Think of this like responding to body language. In today’s world, consumers do their homework and visit the websites of multiple competitors before deciding which product they want to buy. Email blasts are no longer acceptable means of capturing a large piece of the consumer pie. More personalized and sensitive communications must be sent out, based on various criteria such as the buyer’s role in his or her organization or the buyer’s purchase readiness. It’s more important than ever to send the right message at the right time.

Marketing Cloud includes a host of features that assist in automating these marketing processes. Even better, Marketing Cloud is already part of the Salesforce network, meaning that you can leverage all the information in one database, instead of worrying about complex integration of various systems feeding into one another. Now it’s easier than ever to manage these interactions and deploy online campaigns from a central platform.

Identifying qualified leads with Pardot

Leads are the lifeblood of your business. The more leads you generate and pursue, the greater the chance that your revenue will grow. You probably already know that with Salesforce, you can plan, manage, measure, and improve lead generation, qualification, and conversion.

You can see how much business you or your team generates, the sources of that business, and who in your team is making it happen. What about the step preceding that, though? There’s no use in filling your pipeline with leads that won’t actually follow through. So, how do you make sure your leads are qualified?

Pardot, Salesforce’s marketing automation tool, ensures that you fill your pipeline with the highest-quality leads. You can use the tool to create custom landing pages, lead capture forms, and targeted personalized emails. This helps your business shorten the sales cycle and close deals faster.

You can set up personalized lead scoring based on criteria that you decide, to evaluate how qualified prospective buyers are. You can control which marketing content and messaging goes out to those leads based on that score criteria.

Finally, you can add those leads that aren’t quite ready to buy to your nurture campaigns, so that you can spend more time “nurturing” them into high-scoring leads that will more likely purchase your product. This, in turn, accelerates your pipeline and ensures that team effort is being spent where it will pay off most, all from a central place.

Providing excellent customer service with Service Cloud

When the sale is closed, good companies don’t say sayonara. An organization should still keep tabs on customers, or have relevant purchase history ready on the off chance that the customer will reach out with questions or issues. This is the foundation of customer support. Salesforce Service Cloud is a tool that helps call centers and customer service agents track customer interactions after point of sale.

Managing customer interactions with cases

Remember when you used to call a toll-free number about a broken product that you bought? Maybe you emailed a support email address or filled out a web form. Whichever method you chose, chances are, you weren’t at your happiest at that moment. And who can blame you? It’s critical that customers receive world-class customer service from companies.

Today, customers demand satisfaction more than ever before. If they aren’t satisfied, they can easily turn to competitors, or even worse, create smear campaigns against a company with bad customer service on social media networks.

Have you ever heard a customer service representative say, “One second while I pull up your record”? Those records are what are called cases in Service Cloud. Cases are related to contact records, so when a customer calls in, an agent can quickly pull up her record and see not only her purchase history, but also a record of every issue and interaction that customer has had with your organization.

Cases, and the ability to clearly see what’s going on with customers, make both your customer service reps, as well as your customers themselves, much happier. Nobody wants to be transferred to another agent, only to have to repeat the issue for the third time.

Service Cloud uses case management to expedite and streamline customer service, creating a much more efficient experience for everyone involved and bringing your service organization into the 21st century.

Using Service Cloud to interact with the customer across multiple channels

Service Cloud has an added benefit: the ability to interact with customers across multiple channels. Or perhaps it’s better said differently: Service Cloud gives your customers the choice of how they want to connect with your company.

Not only can customers choose to contact you anytime, anywhere, and from any device, but they can also choose the medium through which they do so. Some customers are old-fashioned and prefer calling a toll-free number. Other customers dread long hold times and would rather chat with an agent online.

Giving your customers the choice to contact you the way they see fit will do wonders for their perception of your company. Service Cloud gives you many different ways to do this, and it will pay off in terms of satisfaction, as well as reduced operational cost.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Liz Kao has been a member of the Professional Services team as well as an independent Salesforce consultant. She has implemented CRM solutions for companies both large and small.

Jon Paz is a Salesforce consultant and former editor. He has delivered world-class solutions to an assortment of perplexing business challenges for his enterprise clients.

After working with various clients and industries to implement Service Cloud, Jon Paz has witnessed first-hand the transformative value of the product and evangelizes the need for it across verticals. TJ Kelley is a Salesforce.com partner and certified Service Cloud consultant.

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