Salesforce Made Easy: How to Leverage Software in Your Sales Process
Good salespeople follow a disciplined sales process. Sales softwares can be powerful tools for managing that process, but they can be overwhelming to understand—let alone use effectively to manage that process. In this post, I'll define the basic sales process and best practices, demonstrating how to use Salesforce.com to manage the process efficiently.[bctt tweet="How to manage your #sales process efficiently w/ @salesforce, by @TomStearns1"]
Let’s start by defining the basic sales process and how Salesforce.com is organized. Note: I’m focusing on the
version of Salesforce.com.
The basic sales process:
- A good salesperson identifies leads (or marketing supplies leads) and “works” them. Typically “working" could be contacting via phone, email, social interaction and in-person. Consistently working many leads through this process can literally mean hundreds, if not thousands, of individual activities.
- Once a lead becomes a potential deal, or what's called an "opportunity" (you’ve discovered they’re interested and you may be the right fit for their needs), then working this opportunity becomes another process, to which there are many stages.
While perhaps oversimplified, this chart explains how Salesforce is organized:
The key components of Salesforce software:
- Leads (prospects) are not connected to anything else in Salesforce.com
- When an opportunity (potential deal) is discovered, the lead is converted to a contact, and an account and a default opportunity are created.
- Open Activities: tasks not completed yet (calls, demos, email, social interactions)
- Activity History: completed tasks
Let’s marry the sales process to how Salesforce.com is organized:
Working a lead-
This is a lead in Salesforce.com with open activities and an activity history:
2. Now set a follow-up task here:
Every time you complete an activity you should set up the next task. By doing this, you don’t have to remember the next step in your process. Salesforce.com will remind you of all your tasks for the day when you login. This ensures you don’t forget and it frees your mind. Keep good notes when you log an activity and you’ll be able to efficiently reach out to hundreds of prospects without losing track of where you are in your outreach process.[bctt tweet="Assign a new task in @salesforce every time you complete an activity, says @TomStearns1 #sales"]
3. You can email directly from Salesforce.com or use your own mail program (Outlook, Google, etc.) and track this in Salesforce.com. If you use an external mail program, use your Email to Salesforce.com unique URL (find this in "setup" under "email") in your bcc. field and it will automatically log the email as an activity with the lead, contact, account, and opportunity.
Converting leads to opportunities-
After a couple of weeks of out-bounding, you discover a lead is interested, has the budget, authority, need and timing for when they’d like to implement a service like yours. Great! Now is the time to convert this lead to a contact, account, and an opportunity.
It’s simple. Click "convert" and follow the prompts. BUT, remember that you'll now need to open the opportunity and work
, instead of the lead itself.
Make sure a "primary contact" is assigned (in case you have several contacts at one account).
Closing the deal-
Your process now changes from an out-bounding process to managing the opportunity through the close.
Activities work the same under opportunities as they did as you worked your lead. Now, you'll move this opportunity through the stages. Salesforce.com helps you with defaults (though these should be customized to your business).
Consider your timeline as it relates to the stages, working backwards. For example, if the deal needs to close in a month and you still need to analyze their needs, provide a proposal and price quote, negotiate, and get paperwork through their legal department, how will you manage your time and tasks to this end?[bctt tweet="Smart #salespeople plan backwards to map a process toward their goal, says @TomStearns1"]
Note: Salesforce.com automatically associates the likelihood of closing the deal successfully to the stage you put it in. This is for forecasting purposes. For example, if you’re at the negotiation/review stage then you should expect to close 90% of those opportunities.
Use your tasks to manage these stages, giving yourself enough time to close the opportunity. For example: If you have a closing date of three days from now and you haven’t provided a proposal/price quote then it’s unlikely you’ll get through the other stages in time to hit that close date. Be realistic and set tasks so you’re following up regularly and moving the opportunity through the stages.
Keep thorough records-
Keep as much information in Salesforce.com as possible. It’s your record of everything you've done and plan to do to close the deal. Add notes, descriptions, track emails, social interactions—everything. By doing this, you’ll keep yourself and management informed on everything that’s going on with your leads and opportunities and free up valuable brainpower. You’ll know who to call in the morning because you already scheduled it, giving you peace of mind that you have your sales process under control.[bctt tweet="Use @salesforce to keep open communications with your leadership - @TomStearns1"]
Maintain a disciplined sales process-
In conclusion, sales has many crucial aspects, but a disciplined process is the most critical. Consider that process, manage that process, and use Salesforce.com to keep you focused and on-track. You'll be more efficient, in control, and confident in what you can do.[bctt tweet="Consider your sales process and how @salesforce can keep you on-track, says @TomStearns1"]