Leaving Salesforce.com- what no one talks about

It’s the break up you did not see coming. Companies that have Salesforce.com sometimes leave it. I encountered another one this month and while I was surprised the telltale signs were there. At the end of the day, my company will likely not deter a client from leaving Salesforce.com–that is, if they engage me in the conversation at all. However, as a Salesforce.com partner we must be honest about losing customers (justifiably or not) and that sometimes they simply leave the platform (ie Salesforce.com), not you.

So here are a few things companies considering new installations and the many more questioning if they should stay with Salesforce.com should understand before making a decision:

  1. Forget about the people who are sold on Salesforce.com (the advocates). Instead look to the most important person: the lowest on the totem pole. This person’s entire way of working will be turned upside down. Whatever systems they use today will be replaced with something foreign. Something that–no matter how much they hate today’s system–requires change in how they do their job. We’re not just talking about where they look in a system or how they create new records. The core of everything they do changes. The longer this person or people have been in that role, the more difficult the change will be. (This is something my SMB clients rarely have the budgets to address with sufficient training and retraining instead taking what they can afford and hoping for the best.) This user who is most dramatically impacted is not alone what matters. The impact must be multiplied by the role and the importance that role carries if the person left the job. Said another way: The bitching factor. If this person struggles with change and plays a significant role in say, billing or HR or some other support mechanism other than sales then seriously consider how management will handle that situation. If one in 10 sales reps resist, who cares. Adapt or die. But if the one person who manages payroll resists then take heed. I’m always astounded how quick managers and owners are to acquiesce to this person. I get it….okay, maybe I don’t get it. People are replaceable. Sorry folks, This is the real world. If you are implementing Salesforce.com or any system around how a particular person or department likes to do things as opposed to what is bets for your company then know you have been warned. This will not end well. Money will be wasted and employees will know who’s really in control. And it’s not you, Mr/ Ms. CEO.
  2. The person who built the system leaves. Manager asks, “Why did my employee not commit to me for life?” Dude, it happens. Time and time again I am asked to support an existing configuration that the new guy (or gal) has inherited. Management let the system be configured by an internal resource and rarely (ok, never) has the builder left behind a blue print or manual for why things are built they way they are, making maintenance quite difficult–and costly.
  3. It takes a whole lot more money to maintain Salesforce.com than anyone realized. Salesforce.com sales reps will sell you the pie in the sky. They’ll tell you all the things it does and how great it is. in reality to set up such features and functions is NOT something just anyone can do and–oh! this is my favorite–that feature costs extra! This is the ugly reality few realize until it’s too late.
  4. Salesforce.com evolves and changes–all the *** time! (Yes I wanted to insert the f word there so please read so as you read that sentence to yourself.) Three times a year you receive release updates.  Some are subtle, some for monstrously significant and few can keep up. Do you have the resources–internal or otherwise–to stay abreast of it all?
  5. Data…ah yes data. NO ONE TALKS ABOUT DATA. Your data is dirty. It will probably stay dirty and if anyone can enter anything or your security model sucks then you will drown in a sea of bad data and wonder why you’re not growing sales (or whatever it is you bought Salesforce.com for). If you do not account for data quality and stewardship do not buy Salesforce.com. FYI- Being a decent System Admin takes a lot a time. That person may not have the skill or wherewithal to also manage data.
  6. Commitment to business protocols- Oh dear, we have to commitment how sales will be measured? We have to commit to who is responsible for managing a project? Yes. Yes. Yes. At every turn your company should be asked very difficult questions about how to recognize clients vs lost clients vs prospects. What constitutes a Lead? What constitutes a duplicate Contact? Your system will be useless unless you commit and build the system to support whatever protocol is established. This is often best done via Validation Rules but few users realize the that business processes require commitment let alone how to configure they system to support those protocols.

Sounds daunting? It is. Salesforce.com and support from a qualified partner is not cheap. You need to understand what is required of you before entering (or renewing) your license.

Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Business Processes, Custom Cloud, Data Quality, Enterprise, Group, Professional, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Unlimited | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Salesforce for Outlook + Global Actions = Pragmatic User

Ok, so here I am again: The Salesforce.com partner who actually uses Salesforce.com the same way our clients do. Yes, we have the same nerve-wrecking heartaches you do. To prove it, see how we unwittingly discovered an unplanned benefit when both Salesforce for Outlook and Salesforce1 were setup (and the former was actually working).

Challenge: When in Outlook and using the Salesforce for Outlook side panel there is no way to CREATE A NEW CONTACT when an unrecognized email address comes into the inbox. I can add the received email to SF if the email address is already tied to an existing Lead or Contact. That’s nice. But my day is made up of making new connections. I don’t have time to go into SF and manually create a new Contact by hand!!!

If you are like me then you should consider using Global Actions. Namely, the New Contact global action. Hopefully you can follow the images below to clone what I did.

global actions 1

global actions 2

global actions 3


Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, User Adoption | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

My Lead Conversion Nightmare #CRM #Salesforce #Sales

Salesforce.com lead conversion. It would seems that the built-in lead conversion process would be a true blessing but it is full of caveats that are, of course, not acknowledged let alone documented.

How did I learn this? By getting burned. By insisting that I use as much native functionality as possible before looking to apps or custom configuration. I pay enough in licensing that this function should be built in.

SEE MY 1-PAGE GUIDE HERE Lead Conversion Considerations

Scenario: Lead comes in. Lead gets converted. But what happens to the Lead record’s field data when…

  • the person does not have an existing Contact record? (Easy peezy)


  • the person has an existing Contact record and the lead fields that map to Contact are already populated? (Central issue of this blog post)

When the person has an existing Contact record the answer depends wholly on two conditions:

  1. Field format
  2. If field on existing Contact record is already populated

This is evil. Here’s why. Even though you can map a Lead picklist field to Contact picklist field, there’s nothing to warn you of the way the data will behave during lead conversion. (See above link to Lead Conversion Considerations doc for details.) Likewise, there is no warning that a checkbox field when blank is technically populated with a “0”. Meaning if your Lead checkbox for product A is checked on your web-to-lead form and your matching Contact checkbox for product A is not checked, after conversion the existing Contact’s product A field will still read blank (unchecked). Serious sorcery.

Net Net: Either your Lead Conversion protocol needs to always have a new Contact record created and then ask the user to manually Merge Contacts so the newer, incoming field values can be adopted or you can throw your hands up and go get a beer.



















Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Business Processes, Data Quality, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

American Hustle #salesforce #CRM #sales

As an entrepreneur who is solely responsible for the success and failure of her company, I often get paid to tell my clients what they do not want to hear. Namely, why their sales goalsand/or why sales forecasts–reported by the reps themselves– are not being met .

Answer: We are human. We cannot help but believe that everyone wants to buy from us, needs only what I am selling, and will choose me over all others.

To complicate the issue, you think the same. You trust what you’re hearing because it’s what you want to hear. It’s what you want to believe.

The sheer VOLUME and SIZE and COMPOSITION of your open pipeline must account for these realities. CEOs should know better, frankly, and stop being surprised.

At any one time a sales rep’s pipeline needs to be at least 3X her sales goal. There is no better way to characterize the attitude and actions such a mindful sales rep would have than as one of “American Hustle.” This person would never settle, never feel comfortable, never let a verbal take the place of a signed contract. (BTW, hustle is not to be confused with stressed and stupid.) Even a signed contract does really ensure anything. It’s a good sign, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee things will get started when planned and–most importantly–get billed as planned.

Earlier blog posts have stated the same, but here it is again: You must set and manage to quotas in your CRM system. If the quota is not met, let the person go. I’ve been told my blog posts are harsh, but the one thing harder than finding a true sales rep is finding a true sales manager. I’d rather be tasked with hiring the Easter bunny. If you, or the aptly named Sales Manager, does not enforce the quotas then know that you are throwing money out the door in hopes that it will magically return itself to your bank account.

I see this over and over again. If the following story sounds familiar, dust off the resume.

Said client’s sales team spent 90 minutes arguing under the guise of “discussion and process clarification” about when it was necessary to enter an Opportunity into Salesforce.com.

I say, “As soon as one is suspected.” Put every possible engagement, no matter how little is known, in Salesforce at 0% probability and hustle (get it?) to fill in all the unknowns, including all the players (aka Opportunity Contact Roles). If we did this and were prudent with Close Dates, Amounts and Probabilities (something that is very difficult for anyone in sales) then you’d realize just how precarious today’s pipeline is. “Pathetic” is the word I hear most often.

Most would crumble under this reality. Anyone worth keeping would start to hustle. They’d stop feeling comfortable, ask themselves how to be smarter*, and start to pay attention to every person involved in the decision to contract your company–not just the person you have a connection with (who may very well be insignificant…but we don’t want to believe that either.)

There is no CRM or other magic lever that can make up for the “hustle” the people on your sales team requires.

I know, I know…this is not what you wanted to hear.

* You noticed that asterisks, didn’t you? Good sales reps at least know how to identifying dogs that they need to ditch. Really good sales reps think through how to delicately disengage without burning a bridge.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Heaven in My New “Generate Invoice” Button

I finally did it. After 4 years I finally set time aside to set up Conga Composer (by @CongaMerge) for my very own instance of Salesforce.com. I run my entire company on Salesforce.com and can proudly say that that now includes invoicing. I hate QuickBooks and loathed the time spent compiling my time entries, generating my line-item invoices, saving them with my preferred file labelling, saving, emailing, attaching. It was a nightmare.

So I drafted my wish list for how my instance of Salesforce.com would work. (Okay, okay…I was going to insert the image here but honestly it’s chicken scratch on coffee cup-stained paper. Who cares.)

Even with such a crude plan today I have a simple and foolproof “Generate Invoice” button.  Isn’t she simply stunning, folks? Just beautiful! Just kidding…Keep reading for why this button is making my life so much easier.

generate invoice

“Generate Invoice” Button Highlights:

  • Stemming from an Opportunity (i.e. the master record) there is a Project/Support Contract (ie the child record) that can be one of two record types
    • Project Record Type are for fixed bid engagements with an estimated number of hours spent on certain tasks/phases/staff. My fixed bids were based on estimates so we record time to track how on or off the estimates were from the actual project so when faced with a similar endeavor we can adjust accordingly.
    • Support Contracts Record Type is used for time billed by the quarter hour and often requires who/when/what/how much time details about how time was spent. This, of course, requires that staff accurately (!) enter time.
  • Staff need an easy way to enter their time–by phone or via a computer but doing so must be SUPER EASY and built to ensure minimal mistakes
    • Due to the rigidity of the native Task/Event UI (which we otherwise love) we created a custom child object “Time” to record the unique traits our invoicing would require: billable/not billable, work category, staff (user), etc.
    • Our staff has a custom Time Entry user interface built using VisualForce that include what is equivalent to dependent picklists. For example, if the user is Annette Abell and she is a Project Role on open Projects XYZ and ABC then her Time Entry UI will only offer her those active Projects so–you guessed it!–when a Project is closed no more time can be slated against it. (I love such controls!)
  • Subcontractors (of whom there are a coveted few who meet our expectations) need to be able to enter their time against the same Project/ Support Contract record but we, of course, do not want to A) spend money on full blown licenses, B) have the volume (yet) to warrant a Customer Community, which last I knew was a $6,000 year commitment for 100 CP licenses whether you needed all 100 or not, or C) enter their time on their behalf into our instance of SF.
    • We instead requested a dev org with a Salesforce to Salesforce connection to the Able Cloud production org that allows our Subs to enter time against the shared Support Contract/ Project record. Why does this matter? Because Able Cloud no longer needs to wait for their invoice before sending our own and we have a real time gauge on what hours are being spent so there are no surprises. When the actual invoice is received we can compare it Time records entered. (Yes, this likely requires subs to enter time once for Able Cloud and again via whatever internal system they use but, alas, I only care about my client’s life (aka mine) easier in this scenario. I promise the same “you matter most” mentality when serving our clients’ needs.)
  • At the end of each week and at the close of each month, each User receives a scheduled report on his/her time entries for the month at hand for verification. This is when most employees–me included–catch up on all the time not entered.
  • On the 3rd day of each month our Project Managers each receive a scheduled report advising of each project’s hours by both staff (users) and subcontractors (connected dev org users). This is nicely tallied against the month’s estimated hours using roll up summary fields for a quick check & balance. (Rollup summaries on the parent object is one of the reasons we did not to use the native Task/Event records to record time.)
  • Once the hours submitted are confirmed accurate, the Project Manager can  click on the Conga merge-driven “Generate Invoice” button that
    • Use a word template to mail merge in field data from variety of related objects (Account, Contact (ie. the designated invoice recipient), the Opportunity, the Project/ Support Contract, and all time entries for the prior month).
    • Save the document as a PDF
    • Attach the document to the Project/ Support Contract under Notes & Attachments
    • Send a HTML email via Salesforce.com from the project manager using a mail-merged template to the designated invoice recipient with the PDF attached.
    • The email message itself can be customized as needed for that specific project.
    • Accounts Payable is copied by default on all such invoice emails.
    • The Project Managers and A/P is then sent an scheduled HTML email status report to track which invoices were opened or not for phone call follow up.

All that in my new tiny, but awesome button!

FYI- If you’re a real Salesforce.com guru and wonder if we’re using Approvals for Time Entry the answer is “no.” We’re considering it though. Right now it would be overkill. This one seemingly minor step in the process that alone could be reason enough to warrant a Customer Community. Long story if you’re unfamiliar. Call me if you want to discuss why this is.

Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Business Processes, Custom Cloud, Data Quality, Enterprise, Reporting & Dashboards, Sales Cloud, Uncategorized, User Adoption | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

#1 Reason it Sucks to Be a Salesforce.com Marketing User

The Marketing App is Salesforce.com is constructed in a thoughtful manner in terms of how the data needs to be stored in order for Users to draw the necessary conclusions from its CRM system about what Campaigns are doing vis-a-vis the influx on inbound Leads and the number of Opportunities they generate. Without going Campaign Influence and other grossly detailed, painful parts of the Marketing App allow me to highlight the single most frustrating, seemingly unsolvable issue one encounters as a Marketing User.

From the Campaign record when you want to “Manage Members”

#1 reason image 2



The two little buttons in the image below assume you have ALREADY CROSS REFERENCED YOUR INCOMING DATA against your Salesforce.com data so it:

  1. Can differentiate between existing Accounts in Salesforce versus those in your file
  2. Can differentiate between existing Contacts in Salesforce versus those in your file
  3. Provide you with the existing Account IDs for those in #1
  4. Provide you with the existing Contact IDs for those in #2
  5. Tell you which of those records have an existing Account but not Contact record (so you can, if you so choose, import new Contacts in existing Accounts on the “right side of the house”)
  6. Identify those records in your import file that do not meet any of the above so that you know those are the records that you either have to A) import as net new Leads for “on the left side of the house” or B) create new Accounts and Contact records for “on the right side of the house.”

#1 reason image 3


What? Who? How? How would you ever be able to obtain such intelligence and append your import file in advance of clicking either button?

I’ll give you a moment…You won’t. Only someone with infinite time and talent could even think about running and exporting the necessary reports from Salesforce and systematically cross referencing your import file against that entire Salesforce database of Accounts & Contacts in excel.

Is that you? Likely not.

Now for the naysayers who insist that Salesforce is easy to use, consider the following issues you will not only encounter along the way of this manual cross referencing, but also have to determine how to systematically resolve. (That’s right, knowing there is an issue is one thing. Attending to it is quite another.)

Oh, and before I begin this list, we all know life would be infinitely easier if those responding to Campaigns already had their existing Salesforce.com Contact IDs associated with them but this is rarely, if ever, possible. This will never happen. It’s a pipe dream. Move on in the land of reality. I’m happy to go into detail why this is not possible for anyone who’s interested in learning more. (And if Marketo or Eloqua or other snazzy marketing app facilitate ANY OF THIS then I’d love a demo. And a free license since I’m sure Able Cloud and 90% of the rest of users cannot afford such apps.)

  • What happens when your import file’s Account Name is “ABC Corp” but the true Account match in Salesforce.com is “A.B.C. Company”? 
    • If they do not match and you create a new Account named “A.B.C. Company” how will you ever identify and resolve the duplicates?
    • If you choose to update your import file with the existing Account’s name and your file is 1000 records long–are you really going to take the time to compare and update your import file match Salesforce.com when theoretically every Account record with need to be manually updated to match what is in Salesforce? (Oh, and if you say “yes” this this you get to do the same all over again for Contacts except now if you have duplicate Contacts in Salesforce you have to decide which Contact to append with the incremental Campaign details. Having fun yet?)
  • What happens when your instance of Salesforce has multiple Accounts named the same–and we’ll just ignore for a moment the harsh reality that most of us are not using the Account Site field properly (or at all) and/or that your import file does not have any address details.  Imagine if the “A.B.C. Company” in the import file that lacks any address could be either the existing ABC Corp in Dallas, TX or the existing ABC Corp in Seattle, WA. Do you look to the phone number (assuming you have one in your import file)? What happens when the Contact’s phone doesn’t match either Dallas or Seattle area codes. Do you create a third ABC Corp?
  • What happens when you–by some amazing feat of good luck–are able to append your import file with the IDs or at least update the import file to reflect the same name as in Salesforce.com? How often do you think the data in your import file–be it an email address or phone number–actually matches what you have in Salesforce? When different, what one do you keep? Do you overwrite what’s in Salesforce?
  • For all those left without existing Accounts “on the right side of the house” will you A) import them as Leads that require  conversion one at a time or will you B) create new Accounts & Contacts of the “right side of the house”?
    • If the former, how will you ever get Lead owners to actually act on and convert all those Leads? If you have a magic solution, please call me at 585-739-5251.

Remember to have prepped your import file with all the details necessary so each effort above will ensure the updated and newly created records (Leads and/or Contacts) are added to the correct Campaign as campaign members. Joy! Joy! Yes, being a Marketing User is, oh, so joyous! 

I’m a small operation compared to my clients and can barely handle such import hassles for the volume my own company generates. If your marketing efforts are robust enough and/or if you purchase lists, how do you manage all this without creating duplicate Accounts, duplicate Contacts, and a pool of Leads that never go anywhere?




Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Data Quality, Enterprise, Group, Professional, Sales Cloud, Uncategorized, Unlimited | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

CEOs who kowtow to Sales

Where have all the Sales Managers gone? I assume since I haven’t met one in years that this is a bygone profession like the Typist and the Milk Man. I mean, what other reason could there possibly be for the void of the craft, wits, talent typically reserved for the VP /Director/Manager of Sales title?

Being in sales is not for everyone. Sales Management is for fewer still. And being a CEO should be reserved for the elite. Yet time and time again the CEO seems a subordinate–an indentured servant if you will–to the Sales Manager and the Sales team. I just don’t get it. I see it every day and it confounds me.

Today with the advent of CRM systems a monkey could run a report to tell you what the company’s open pipeline is. Yet this is all that most of today’s sales managers are good for: running a report. The data may suck, the forecast may be way off, but the report was provided as the job description requires.

Why, oh why, do CEOs let the sales team decide what the team will and will not do when it comes to SOPs? (Standard Operating Procedures for anyone who’s not as old as me.) I was paid over $150/hour to sit and listen to a sales team that was meeting in Orlando argue about at what point an opportunity had to be entering into Salesforce.com. Really? Really? Who’s in charge here? Unless you’re signing your own paycheck then you do what is required of you, including using the CRM system as it’s intended to be used. It’s not up to you, Mr. Sales Rep, to tell me, the CEO, what and when you will do something!

Here is a list of what I think CEOs need to realize:

  1. You are in charge. When you say you want something done follow up to make sure its done. And done right. Otherwise fire the person you delegating the responsibility to.  
  2. Don’t be afraid to fire people. If your Sales Manager is not making her numbers after a quarter or two, clarify what needs to happen and how it needs to happen. Set the clock. If it’s not done in a manner that reflects the company’s brand and integrity, then fire her. (Said in layman’s terms, if your Sales Manager suddenly turns into a screaming bitch who threatens everyone into making sales then this is not good. Fire her on the spot. Smart people do smart things under pressure, not beat others into submission.) Sales people are a dime a dozen. Most suck, in fact. They may have the brass balls needed to knock on doors but few actually know how to sell. If you have a great sales representative, you’ll know it because the quotas will be met, the client retention and renewal rates will far exceed his peers. That person is a keeper. Ditch the rest.
  3. You need to know who your clients are as much as you need to know who does not want to be your client. If you don’t have the following readily available within 10 minutes of asking, then you should be ashamed of the title you hold because you clearly have no idea what it takes to run a company. (HINT: It’s those folks who as representatives of their employers take a calculated risk that the money paid for your company’s product or service will do what your sales rep promised.)
    1. A holiday card list. Sounds silly but it is downright comical what struggles a company goes through when the dreaded holiday card list is needed. How much do you pay for email, phones, computers, CRM systems, billing systems and the like? This ought to be well documented, accurate, and accessible. Name, title, mailing address! We’re not asking for blood type or social security numbers here folks! These are the basics you should have on file if you’re in business!!! Yet we scapegoat this annual tradition now by reverting to a digital greeting, throwing in every email address we have stockpiled in hopes that the net is cast wide enough to reach our clients and partners. Such impersonalization actually says more than you think. It says, my company has no idea who buys from us, why or how much. We just want your money–and your email so we can say thanks once a year with this crap email greeting you probably won’t open anyway.
    2. A list of each person involved each Closed Won sales engagement from this and last year. Sure you want to know what companies the people work with whether it was the end client, partner, consultant or otherwise. That’s always great to know. Sure you want to know who was your company’s primary contact. That’s great too. If you only have one person identified per sales engagement, your company’s trajectory has a steeper arch downward than the McDonald’s “M”. Jump ship now.
    3. A list of each person involved each Closed Lost sales engagement from this and last year. If you’re a CEO, the first thing you ought to do after thanking clients for their business is meeting with those who rejected your company. Find out why. I promise you it will be the best time spent all week. I’ll even put money on it. (Call me at 585-739-5251 to place your wager.) By the way, your sales team will tell you their win rate is 90-100 percent. This is a lie. The average win rate in a B2B environment is 1:3 so you’re “Why did we not meet your standards” calls should outpace your “Thank you for your business” calls by 3:1. Your best business intelligence comes from what did not happen, not what did.

Do I have an ax to grind? Absolutely! I love what I do for and with my clients. But a CRM system (Salesforce.com or otherwise) is a technology that will never replace what the human being can do when it comes to thinking, qualifying, advancing and ultimately closing a sales engagement (or whatever else your software/SAAS is intended to do). It’s people who make this happen. Seeing a CEO kowtow to his Sales Manager–who is clearly clueless–is embarrassing to other CEOs. There are distinct traits that a successful sales representative has that your company can learn from and emulate, but only if you have the gumption to set expectations that people document what they do, when they do it, with whom, or what. One example is insisting on and verifying that people are using your CRM system correctly. If they are, you can get #1, 2 and 3 above without fits and firings.  

Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Business Processes, Data Quality, Reporting & Dashboards | 1 Comment

5 reports Salesforce users should run but don’t #Salesforce #CRM

If you know me or my company, Able Cloud Advisors, then you know I insist on making technology work for me (not me working for it). One of the ways this happens is by creating scheduled reports in Salesforce.com to tell me things I ought to (in theory anyway) be remembering to do myself. Staying on top of current projects is priority 1 and my open pipeline is priority 2. Little gets done beyond those two focus areas except maybe the select tasks I assign to myself. (Remember how I discourage using Tasks unless necessary?!)

8.5.2013 blog post image - 5 scheduled reports




So if you are like me you might appreciate having the same or similar scheduled reports I send to myself once a month:

  1. HTML email performance: What emails did I send from Salesforce.com using an HTML email template and how many times were they opened? (Recall how I religiously send proposals using an HTML email template because I find that if it’s opened 5+ times that Able Cloud generally wins the project. Don’t you wish you had that kind of insight? You can if you had Able Cloud as your Salesforce.com partner…yes, it’s “Shameless Plug Monday.”)
  2. Email Bounces: Even the best of us sometimes have typos or simply need a little help when it comes to staying on top of prospects’ and clients’ employment statuses. I first started using this scheduled report–which I’d thought about many times but never actually built–only when a prospective client asked me why he hadn’t received the proposal I’d promised him. I sent it but had misentered his email address into Salesforce.com. (If you’re asking yourself why the first report did not tell me this, it did. You have to actually open the email Salesforce.com sends to you to see the results! Also, the HTML Performance Email report would tell you if it’s opened or not but, unfortunately, it’s a separate report that would tell you if an email address bounced regardless of whether sending a regular text or HTML email from Salesforce.com. Annoying, I know.)
  3. Contacts with no Accounts: Sure every Contact must have an Account when entered into Salesforce.com, but I use Outlook Connect. When new Contacts I create in Outlook lack an Account (labelled Company in Outlook) they still get created in Salesforce. They simply linger in space, floating around without a home, per se. To catch these, I run this report.)
  4. Pipeline Next Steps: This actually gets sent every Monday morning! This is the kingpin report. This report shows me the key fields I need to do my job:
    1. NEXT STEPS— Few of us use this field…it’s supposed to be a quick way for the Opportunity Owner and his/her Manager to know what to do next to advance the sales engagement forward. This is all too often ignored. In the spirit of Miller Heiman, this should be action commitment-driven steps.
    3. STAGE
    4. AMOUNT
  5. DupeCatcher: We all struggle with duplicate Accounts and Contacts. Me included. Until I finally invested in CRM Fusion’s DemandTools data management app, which includes a tool to identify and resolve duplicates, I used the free DupeCatcher app found here to help me. Setting up your criteria for what constitutes a duplicate takes careful thought. Yes, technology is great but it doesn’t do the thinking for you…sorry. FYI- This report only tells you about potential duplicates after they’ve been created. There are paid apps out there that will restrict Users ability from creating duplicates in the first place.

If you happen to notice the image above included more than 5 scheduled reports, here are two others I use daily to help me run my business.

  1. Day’s Hours for Each Support Contract: I log my time in Salesforce.com using a custom Support Contract object that includes Activities so I not only log the time spent working on a client project, but also store the details about how that time was spent. These details are now including with monthly invoices. The I use a dev org with a Salesforce-to-Salesforce connection for staff who don’t need a paid license to enter their time too. Genius, I know.
  2. My On Time Resolution: Many companies using Salesforce.com only take advantage of the Sales Cloud. Those Sales Cloud users often don’t realize what a wealthy of Support Cloud functionality that have access to. I use it….all of it. This includes Web-to-Case. This report tells me how well Able Cloud’s help desk ticket time resolution is compared to the Due Date that the Case Owner originally set.

Lastly, the single most important report marketing, sales management, and executives ought to be running:

  1. Opportunities with and without Contact Roles: If you don’t know why this is so important may I invite you to read this past post. That or hire Able Cloud Advisors…Shhh, I have 12 hours left of “Shameless Plug Monday”.

Now get back to work…

Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Enterprise, Professional, Reporting & Dashboards, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Unlimited | Leave a comment

Another Reason to Convert, Then Qualify Leads #Salesforce #Benioff #CRM

This is a quick post. I’m sure if you’ve read my past posts regarding Lead Conversion protocols in Salesforce.com that you know I typically (but not always!) advise my clients to adopt the “Convert, Then Qualify” approach.

One client who is used to its existing “Qualify, Then Convert” approach stumbled on something I did not even know existed. Before I share it let’s agree that the basic premise behind Salesforce.com Lead Conversion MO (to qualify and only then convert) is that marketing and/or inside sales will continue to “work” unqualified leads until they become qualified. Marketing would, of course, include these unconverted Leads meeting certain criteria to its ongoing campaign efforts. Still with me? Well, if the Lead Owners are tracking their activities against these Leads properly* then the user should be able to tie their efforts to respective Campaigns the Lead is a Campaign Member of.


Image 1 is a (fake) Lead for Marc Benioff in my org  who is a member of two Campaigns                                                                    (Oh, your Salesforce.com partner doesn’t even use Salesforce? Interesting, let’s move on…)

4.11.2013 blog image #1

Image 2 is the Activity pop up window that does not allow you to associate the Activity to one of the two Campaigns Marc is a member of.

4.11.2013 blog image #2

How are companies supposed to track Campaign follow up activities against a Lead record if the Related To field is grayed out? Nothing gets my goose more than having one of the smartest business people alive make such a silly programming decision. It flies in the face of the Qualify, Then Convert mentality! 

This new finding only matters if your company:

  1. Uses Salesforce.com
  2. Actually uses the Leads object (in their original state, not customized to be something its not…yes, I’ve seen that too)
  3. Are using Campaigns and adding Leads on the left side of the house to those Campaigns as Campaign Members
  4. Expecting either Lead Owners or Campaign/Member Owners to follow up on targeted individuals
  5. Those follow up activities are supposed to be recorded in Salesforce.com

It’s the last criterion that matters the most here but if you’re not doing 1-4 then 5 won’t matter anyway. 

A synopsis of this discovery said in another way: If your company has a “Qualify, Then Convert” lead conversion protocol and you actively marketing to those unconverted Leads until they finally meet some magic standing that makes them worth of conversion to the right side of the house, then you should know that there is no way to associate your campaign-driving follow up activities to the campaign. Few of us are diligent about updating a Campaign Member’s Member Status. In the absence of being able to associate activities to a campaign like we can on the Contact, the Member Status becomes the only means of needle movement.

Not cool, not cool at all…

Posted in Business Processes, Data Quality, Reporting & Dashboards, Sales Cloud | 2 Comments

Opportunity Contact Roles Are For Losers #Salesforce #CRM

Contact Roles are not needed to make a sale with a new client. Contact Roles are needed to make the 2nd sale with that client.

Yes, Opportunity Contact Roles are for losers. Losers are those who only see today and not tomorrow. Loser are those who leave money on the table. The Opportunity Owner is as much to blame as management when a company using Salesforce.com does not MANDATE that every person involved with an Opportunity be tied to it via a Contact Role. Actually, management owns 90% of the blame because they have either not created the necessary environment where its clear who signs the paychecks and/or they are clueless at what it takes to run a company.

(Tangent: If you are considering buying another company or preparing your own company for an IPO, you should not proceed until you fully understand the negative impact of not using Contact Roles and have taken all means necessary to correct for it.)

Here why companies do not use or require Contact Roles:

  • They are slaves to their sales reps who whine and cry when required to enter data into Salesforce
  • They have no idea just how debilitating it is not have this information (i.e. they don’t know what they don’t know)
  • They like to flush their Salesforce.com licensing money down the drain because they are truly not using the system for anything more than bookkeeping (i.e. what sold…instead of what sold, what will sell, and how will we improve sales among both prospective and EXISTING clients)
  • They don’t have a knowledgeable, capable marketing resource. This person’s questions on the first day of the job would have been:
    • Who are our existing client companies?
    • Who are we selling to in those companies?
    • Who are we not selling to in those companies?
    • What did we sell to those companies?
    • What did we bid on but lose to those companies?
    • What are the common characteristics of those companies?
    • What are the common demographics of the contacts in those companies?
    • What companies are we bidding to but losing?
    • Who are we selling to in those companies where we are losing?
    • What is it about what we’re selling when we lose?
    • Who at out company is involved when we lose?
    • And the list goes on…
  • They do not have a knowledgeable System Administrator who understands the impact not using Contact Roles has (that or you are not listening to her)
  • They are no desire or need to understand what impact their marketing dollars are having on sales. (This bullet deserves its own blog post and may get one later. I offer a 6-8 hour training course for marketers so if you think this is simple or that your admin can manage your marketing you are not someone I want running my company.)

So now that I have shamed any readers into realizing that Contact Roles are important–if not your sales future’s lifeblood, let me tell you how to use Contact Roles. It’s pretty simple actually…

When in the Opportunity record, you click the little “New” button on the Contact Role related list, identify any and all Contacts in the Account that you are selling to, give each a role and save. Best part? You can create multiple Contact Roles at one time. There is no other place in Salesforce where data entry has been made so easy for you!

3.8 3.8B

Oh, and if your sales reps are only tying one Contact to the Opportunity via a Contact Role I would out them on a performance improvement plan because no one sale is made by one person.


Posted in Able Cloud Staff, Data Quality, Enterprise, Group, Professional, Unlimited | Leave a comment