10 Salesforce Productivity Tools - dummies

By Liz Kao, Jon Paz, Matt Kaufman, Tom Wong

Few companies make use of every feature when they first deploy Salesforce to their employees. It would be overwhelming to absorb, and you know that success is a function of end-user adoption. So, if you’re like other customer relationship management (CRM) project teams, you tend to focus on addressing the core business objectives that often include lead, account, and opportunity management. If this sounds like you, the following list includes ten tools to boost your Salesforce productivity:

  • Salesforce AppExchange: “If only we could use Salesforce to do this. . . .” Does that sound familiar? Well, your business pain may be someone else’s as well — and someone may have already built a solution for it. Head on over to the AppExchange to look for a custom app or component that already exists to help you. You’ll find lots of popular free options, too!

  • Email templates: This simple feature can save your reps and marketing staff a ton of time. You no longer have to dig up an old email, copy and paste it into a message, and scour the text for places where you should replace the old customer’s name. Email templates are easy to set up and help you send out professional-looking HTML or text emails that are personalized to your contacts.

  • Online lead or case forms: This classic feature in Salesforce is one that every customer should roll out. Capturing lead or case information via a form helps maintain consistency of your data, which will help you increase the accuracy of your reporting. Whether you roll this out in the first phase of your implementation is up to you, but it should be high on your list.

  • Salesforce Chatter: If your employees are distributed (in different cities, in different countries, or just on different floors) and they need to collaborate, consider using Salesforce Chatter. Chatter, when used to communicate relevant, short business updates in a chronological-based feed, can draw in participation from colleagues you didn’t even know before. The collaborative power of Salesforce really begins to manifest itself through Chatter, as updates to records populate your Chatter feed, in addition to updates about humans, made by humans. What if you followed some top salespeople in your company, and you saw one day that they created an opportunity for a former employer of yours. You could quickly post some additional intel, or just offer yourself as a resource, to help the salesperson close the deal.

  • Salesforce1 mobile app: Smartphones and tablets are essential for people with heavy travel requirements and customer-facing jobs. Salesforce1 is a free app available through the Apple App Store and the Google Play marketplace for iPhones and Android phones, respectively. Salesforce1 allows reps and field-service employees to quickly access essential customer information from Salesforce on a mobile device or tablet, with a user interface built to adjust to whatever screen size you’re working with. Reps stay productive while traveling to customer sites.

  • SalesforceA mobile app: Salesforce system administrators now have a way to manage various user permissions from their mobile device. If your company has urgent user-related requests outside of business hours (such as needing to reset a user’s password, or deactivating a terminated employee), make sure you have SalesforceA installed on your smartphone. You can get the app on the Apple App Store or the Google Play marketplace.

  • Inline editing: As an end-user of Salesforce, one way to be productive in Salesforce is to minimize your number of mouse clicks. With inline editing enabled in your Salesforce instance, you can avoid having to click Edit on a record, and waiting for a full browser-page refresh. With inline editing, you can double-click a field that you want to change, and it’s immediately editable. When you’ve made an update, you can move on to the next field, also without an additional browser-page refresh.

  • Data.com: How many sales reps do you know who enjoy entering company data into Salesforce? Odds are, the answer is “Not many.” Salesforce’s integration with Data.com allows your sales reps to look for companies, and with the click of a button, automatically update a record with customer details. Data.com partners with Dun & Bradstreet to provide information on tons of companies, so your data’s accuracy is ensured.

  • Workflows: If your business processes are composed of common actions (with little deviation), consider building workflows to replace the repetitive clicks that your end-users would have to endure. Workflows reflect business scenarios defined by “if this happens, then do that.”

  • Custom apps: Grouping various objects and their respective tabs under one app helps increase user productivity by not overloading them with information. If a user is only spending her day with accounts, contacts, and opportunities, she doesn’t need to be distracted by cases, quotes, or solutions. When onboarding employees, you can have them focus immediately on objects relevant to their work, instead of showing them access to extraneous records that are irrelevant for their job function.