Maximize Your Salesforce.com ROI

Salesforce.com is the market leader among growing businesses.  Organizations adopt Salesforce to increase their leads, minimize lost opportunities, and automate business processes.  And Salesforce is the perfect tool for the job; it’s fast, flexible, and robust.  However, we are often contacted by customers who feel they haven’t yet maximized their ROI.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What is the Salesforce ROI?
  • Why do Businesses Fail to Maximize ROI?
  • What Does Success Look Like?
  • Quick Tips to Maximize ROI
  • Next Steps for Optimizing Salesforce

What is the Salesforce ROI?

Perhaps your organization purchased Salesforce before you arrived.  Or perhaps you weren’t involved in the decision.  In any case, the question still stands: what is the benefit of using Salesforce?  It’s a premium product; what should the ROI impact be?

Salesforce.com is a world-class CRM and app-building platform.  Businesses have seen increased sales, customer retention, decreased service costs, and other tremendous benefits from implementing Salesforce.  The below graphics illustrate the potential ROI for optimized businesses on the Salesforce.com platform

Integrated sales and marketing can result in +34% sales revenue.

Why do Businesses Fail to Maximize ROI?

Tools & Approach Make all the Difference

For businesses that are questioning their existing Salesforce ROI, we typically see two major reasons why their Salesforce utilization isn’t maximizing ROI.  They are due to the implementation approach (a one-shot project) and due to lack of experience on the support team.  Let’s review each.

1. A One-shot, “Big Bang” Implementation:

Organizations often purchase Salesforce with a vision in mind.  It’s often a vision of increased efficiency, better sales pipeline visibility, and world-class collaboration.  Typically Salesforce is implemented with an “all hands on deck” implementation project, and often with high-priced consultants.

While this approach is an excellent way to ensure the project is finished on-time and on-budget, it doesn’t offer the business a chance to iterate.  An excellent quote for this situation:

We reserve the right to get smarter every day…

90 days after the implementation, the business will learn and grow.  They will adopt new practices, and optimize others.  But often the Salesforce implementation team is long gone.  Thus, Salesforce becomes inflexible and inefficient.

2. Lack of Experience on the Support Team:

Salesforce is famously easy to administer.  Users, fields, and reports can be added and adjusted in a matter of seconds.  It’s a true rapid development platform.

Often, the system is supported by non-certified individuals.  Perhaps the Sales Operations Manager or one of the Marketing Associates had past experience with Salesforce, so they are appointed as the Salesforce Administrator.

This approach is the equivalent of buying a Formula 1 race car and turning over the keys to someone who watched a few races on TV.  They may not crash the car, but it will never reach top speed.

Non-certified admins often don’t have a breadth of experience or familiarity with new Salesforce features.  But worst of all, they often don’t have the business analysis and consulting mentality.  If a sales manager asks for a new dropdown field, the inexperienced admin will often execute the request without discussion.  They won’t ask important questions such as:

  • What is the end purpose for this field?  Is it used on a dashboard, or email alert, or…?
  • Should we automate this to reduce the burden on reps?

And non-certified admins often don’t have a background in data analytics.  They just don’t understand the capabilities of the reporting engine, so they can’t provide sales management with detailed, accurate reports.

The end result is a convoluted, inefficient CRM system that decreases adoption.

What Does Success Look Like?

As consultants, we often ask our most important question:

What does success look like?

We know what we don’t like about poorly-optimized CRM systems.  But what does a well-optimized CRM look like?  It varies by business, but here are some of the symptoms of a CRM that is maximizing the company ROI.

  1. User Adoption is High: the team views the tool as vital to their day-to-day work.  They view the system as a source of good leads that reduces (not increases) work.
  2. Automation is Maximized: the system maintains itself whenever possible.  There are no “grunt work” data entry tasks.  The system automatically updates records or closes idle opportunities, for example.
  3. Integration is Available: the reps might perform 90% of their Salesforce updates from within their email client.  Outside systems like Quickbooks or Netsuite have some degree of integration.  (No recurring copy/paste between screens is needed.)
  4. Proactive, Predictive Data: the system isn’t a “glorified rolodex”.  (Yes, that’s an actual pre-optimization customer quote).  Instead, it provides missing phone numbers for elusive leads via Data.com.  And email alerts warn the reps when close dates are looming.  And credit reports are automatically run before an Opportunity is closed.

In short, successful Salesforce usage will turn your CRM into a vital business partner, not just another system to keep updated.

Quick Tips to Maximize ROI

Optimizing Salesforce requires an in-depth assessment of your current state and business processes.  However, here are a quick tips that may point you in the right direction.

  1. Automate “Low Hanging Fruit” for Quick Wins:  Use Process Builder or an App to automate repetitive work that is often missing or inaccurate.
  2. Remove Unused Fields: If your Opportunity has 100+ fields, and the reps only use 20 fields 90% of the time, the system needs slimmed down to reduce training time and remove data inconsistency.
  3. Access Reports & Dashboards: These are a great way to get to the heart of your data.  If the VP of Sales maintains his own spreadsheets because of an existing data limitation, that issue needs to be uncovered and solved.  The goal is system trust, and reports are a great way to get to the source of system distrust.
  4. Review Adoption: Salesforce has adoption dashboards that can make it very clear who is using the system and who isn’t.  Cross analyze that with your sales numbers, and you will see that the highest performing reps are often your system champions.  Make sure the reps know that it pays to use world-class tools.  And assess your license allocation to determine if licenses can be shifted to a different license type or allocated to a different person.

Cross analyze your sales numbers.  You will see that the highest performing reps are often your system champions.

Next Steps for Optimizing Salesforce

It can be challenging to thoroughly optimize your Salesforce ROI, but we are here to help.  Please contact us to schedule a free call to discuss your current state.  A small assessment project may yield huge benefits.