Let Data Be Your Guide: Adapt to Become Digital First

By Evan Natelson - August 19, 2020

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the world, disrupting many lives both socially and economically. Many businesses have had to shutter doors as customers are quarantined or fearful to be active in their community. Some may never re-open, but those that do must confront the challenge of re-defining the way they do business – managing a remote workforce, dealing with disrupted supply chains and loss of other critical resources, maintaining warehouse inventory levels, and identifying new ways to target customers, to name a few. Under these very challenging conditions, Salesforce offers a ray of hope.

Salesforce is widely touted as the best-in-class CRM for the diversity of channels offered, adaptability, superior accessibility, and the multitude of capabilities offered to process, automate and visualize information. The toolset offered by Salesforce helps businesses adapt to this new world.

All implementations require configurations and settings appropriate to the specific business. However, that is usually only sufficient to “get the ball rolling.” The beauty of Salesforce’s ecosystem is that it can be further customized to meet the organization’s detailed and nuanced approach to how their users work and process data. For example, custom validation rules can be built to make required data inputs mandatory on a conditional basis, or approval rules can be established that route to individuals or tiers based on criteria. Look and feel, critical to the usability of the database, can also be customized by role within the company, and lists of important recent data updates can be presented on an individualized basis.

Most companies would readily admit that their Salesforce database is not at an ideal state. While businesses need to master data management, it is not as critical when it’s business-as-usual because business is predictable and steady.

However, the chaos pummeling the world economy right now means that companies must creatively pivot, finding new opportunities hidden in troves of data. Sometimes this data is within legacy systems that the company already holds, but at other times the data must be collected through new systems and reach new channels. To truly maximize the data landscape and collect enough soil to unearth hidden gems, all that data must interact and relate on an apple-to-apple basis.

Agility, transparency and actionable insights are pillars to this pivot. The Salesforce engine can help any business become more proactive, responsive, and alert.

Recently, Customertimes was asked to investigate an international company’s Salesforce usage. A series of interviews and an independent investigation helped to uncover various process bottlenecks, dead zones, silos, communication gaps, governance challenges, and other inhibitors blocking Salesforce’s potential value.

The assessment delivered to this client presented a roadmap to an optimal future for the company’s Salesforce instance, tailored to the company’s current business systems and industry-specific processes. The recommendations were broken down into different tasks and then prioritized by level of effort required to implement, business impact, and training and adoption required. These dimensions allowed us to present an impactful list of recommended enhancements in a readily digestible format.

In short, some recommendations included:

  1. Enhance the entire opportunity lifecycle from prospect to lead to close
  2. Increase collaboration upon team records and documentation across a dispersed workforce
  3. Establish a community to facilitate communication and teamwork of distribution partners
  4. Integrations with backend systems and other data repositories to improve capacity planning and strategic direction
  5. Optimize operations through activity transparency and additional data point customizations
  6. Create timely, evidence-based decisions through reporting and visualizations
  7. Improve customer loyalty through highly targeted, marketing-driven outreach

During this time of unprecedented upheaval, these are some ways to become a digital first business. The goal for businesses is to continue to evolve as necessary by taking advantage of the agility and adaptability of the Salesforce platform in order to easily navigate the rough waters ahead. For those that recognize the need to adapt and for others seeking to innovate to optimize their business, rest assured that “when one door closes, another door opens.”

This post was originally posted on LinkedIn.

Evan Natelson

Evan Natelson is a Salesforce Consultant at Customertimes. He has more than 14 years of Salesforce experience in Administrator, Business Analyst, Project Manager, and Consultant roles and has been awarded 5 Salesforce certifications.