5 ways to use Salesforce to help drive sales

In an ideal world, your business will have perfect balance and performance right across the board; sales, marketing, finance, HR etc. In reality, most of us that own or manage an SME spend more time that we'd like running from one fire to the next to make sure the business keeps moving forward. We'd like to share how Salesforce CRM can help bring some organisation to the chaos.

Salesforce Dashboards displaying key sales data, closed deals, sales pipeline, and product sales

Most business owners know deep down that the most important part of the business to keep optimised and performing well is the sales department. Quite simply, if the sales and revenue is rolling in you'll have the time and money to fix the issues you may have in other parts of the organisation a little down the track.

We encourage our SME and startup clients to start their Salesforce implementation with a focus on sales and marketing, and then scale the platform from there to include more features. So what should you expect if you implemented the CRM in this way, and how do you make sure you get the best value from the system straight away?

Here are some ideas.

1. Create a sales culture in the company

Depending on your industry, your business may have an operations or technology focus due to the staff background and the proportion of the time that you spend discussing the day to day activities. That's fine, but the sales function in the company needs to be respected and the staff needs to understand that without sales we all go home and don't come back.

With a Salesforce CRM implementation from Tenacre, the CRM platform will create awareness of what the sales targets are in the business, and if the sales teams are actually meeting these targets. The reports and dashboards that are displayed on the home page and (hopefully) discussed at your daily or weekly company meetings means that all staff knows the health of the company's sales. A sales focus or culture will see everybody getting involved to help sales (selling is a team sport after all) so that if a business development manager needs a technical staff member to attend a sales meeting there will be plenty of volunteers.

There are also a number of integrated applications that can be included to your Salesforce CRM that can help build your culture. One of our favorites is Hoopla!

2. Selling is a process

We discussed this in more depth here, companies with successful sales departments focus on the sales process more than the final sales figure at the end of the month. We often help companies to develop a formal sales process before we deploy the Salesforce CRM platform to that all sales staff understand that there is a repeatable process that is applied to each lead and sales opportunity.

We then create dashboards and reports for the sales staff and management to display the volumes of sales activities such as sales calls, sales meetings, and proposals.

Increasingly marketing is focused on 'inbound', that is generating leads for the sales team through online activities such as AdWords, LinkedIn, blogging etc. Tenacre focuses heavily on making sure that marketing and sales are aligned so that the marketing spend in your business is accountable. You will be able to see reports and dashboards on all marketing spend and how this has fed the sales team. You'll be able to see the Return on Investment calculation for each campaign or media on which you advertise to that you can consider whether to continue advertising there or to move your budget to a better-performing media.

3. Create controls in sales

You'll likely have controls in your business to make sure that you don't run out of cash, that your projects are delivered on time or that your staff is putting in a full shift each day. Your sales activity should be treated the same way. If your sales team starts to slack off, or if the process is 'broken', we'll build in telltale controls so that you can see there is a problem before it starts having a dramatic impact on your cash position.

Breaking the sales process down into its component parts gives you the visibility and control to make sure the sales effort is growing the business.

4. Encourage competition

People that work in sales are competitive by nature, we like to come first and take the plaudits for bringing in the big deals. In some companies, the efforts of the sales team are barely acknowledged, and beyond the sales manager, very few people actually know who is doing well.

With Salesforce, Tenacre creates sales leaderboards that show the top performers in terms of sales, pipeline, calls made, meetings completed and proposals generated. These leaderboards are on the dashboard for the entire commercial team (or company-wide..) to see.

We have clients that tell us the revenue figures increased by 20% within the first 60 days of deploying the CRM, and that they put this down to the competitive nature of the sales team being challenged by the public availability of the dashboard.