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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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:
- Field format
- 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.
LEAD CONVERTED TO NEW CONTACT (IN EXISTING ACCOUNT)
LEAD CONVERTED TO EXISTING CONTACT WITH ALL MAPPED FIELDS ALREADY POPULATED (IN EXISTING ACCOUNT)
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.