Are you shifting business priorities and how you communicate because of the current business environment? Now is a good time to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment with a Salesforce Sales Cloud Assessment.
This blog was revised in June 2023 to reflect the most up to date Salesforce feature releases.
I’ve had many recent conversations with sales leaders regarding their use of Salesforce. A lot of them are uncertain about selling right now. Whenever there is uncertainty in the business climate, many shift their business priorities and change how they communicate.
But what should sales leaders be doing with their Salesforce Sales Cloud investment? If your company has used Salesforce for several years, one important thing you can do during a slower season is conduct a Salesforce assessment to ensure you obtain the most ROI out of your investment.
A trusted Salesforce partner, consultant or internal administrator can provide an assessment, but if you choose an internal administrator, choose one who is newer to the organization. A current but long-time administrator often skews the assessment.
Below are the areas you want to make certain your Salesforce assessment provider covers.
Key Considerations for a Salesforce Assessment
It’s important to ensure that any assessment covers the following six critical areas:
1. Vision and Roadmap
First, your assessment provider should review your current Salesforce environment against any defined vision, goals or roadmap your organization has for Salesforce. For example, your roadmap may include implementing Salesforce Einstein or AI functionality. If your assessment discovers users don’t capitalize on standard functionality and there are data integrity issues, it’s not a good time to add Einstein or any other solutions that rely on having accurate data.
An assessment brings to light any areas you need to address before your organization moves forward with enabling or purchasing any additional products or add-on. Note: A vision and roadmap (or roadmap update) should include deliverables of any assessment.
2. License Types
Have you ever heard of a platform license? What about limited use licenses? How about third-party applications that can deliver reports without a Salesforce license? Monitoring use cases, login frequency and object access can affect not only the license type but also the need for a Salesforce license in general, directly impacting your Salesforce costs. The assessment provider should navigate your instance, conduct interviews to discover business processes and needs, and then define the best possible solutions for your organization.
3. Object Usage
The assessment process should include an analysis of all current objects and their use or lack thereof. The evaluation should include underused, standard objects, such as campaigns, cases (yes, they are in Sales Cloud, too), and the ability to create custom objects.
4. Feature Usage
Salesforce has three releases per year, offering new features that administrators and users can take advantage of immediately. The most recent releases offer improvements to the end-user experience with Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions. They allow you to create user-centric pages based on the user viewing the page, providing them with only the information they need and delivering an improved user experience.
Because Salesforce is such an innovative company, keeping up with their ever-changing platform and getting the most from the features can be a challenge.
5. Third-Party Applications
Do you have redundant applications installed in your instance? Companies that migrated from the Classic UI to Lightning may now have functionality that makes older applications obsolete. An assessment provider should consider the use of all applications, their cost and their usage to determine if the application is necessary or allocated appropriately.
6. Stakeholder Involvement
The assessment should go beyond the technical focus of Sales Cloud as a platform. An important part of the process is interviewing stakeholders to understand their use of Salesforce, the processes it supports or enables, and how this relates to their goals.
Interview responses often reveal opportunities to better use Salesforce to support business processes or misalignment between the goals of marketing, sales and customer service in their use of the platform.
The assessment can benefit your business processes as well as your Salesforce instance. If your organization does not have a clear vision for how to use Salesforce, you also need to document this fact as part of the assessment.
When to Conduct Salesforce Sales Cloud Assessments
While a challenging business environment is timely for an assessment, remember to consider assessments at other key points in your journey with Sales Cloud, such as when integrating additional applications, when scaling the platform, acquiring additional Salesforce clouds, or when it’s been a significant time since your last assessment or since your initial implementation.
The roadmap (or roadmap update) that comes out of an assessment should assist you with planning your path to CRM maturity using Salesforce Sales Cloud. Additionally, assessments are useful tools as your organization increases its maturity with Salesforce Sales Cloud to help roadmap where you are at and how to move to the next phase of CRM maturity.
We define CRM maturity as consisting of five phases: Initiate, Repeatable, Establish, Mastery and Optimized.
- Initiate: This phase contains CRM customers who recently implemented Salesforce. Typically, users encounter a few mandatory processes, and managers attempt to use the solution to make decisions.
- Repeatable: In this phase, users understand the idea of adding leads, opportunities and activities in Salesforce, but they haven’t defined their processes. Outcomes are not yet present. Companies in this stage often find users stumble through the system and complain it is not intuitive.
- Establish: Now, users have defined processes for the usage and management of marketing, sales, and customer service activities, but they are not necessarily basing decisions on the data provided in Sales Cloud.
- Mastery: Users managed their processes, defined as stated above. The management team makes decisions based on the data provided in the solution.
- Optimized: The processes and solutions are central to the business and its success.
Other areas to consider are training and change management. If Salesforce adoption and usage has been a concern for your organization, take the opportunity now, while things may be slower, to train and educate your staff. As part of this process, revisiting critical areas of Sales Cloud, such as lead and opportunity management, forecasting, account planning, reporting and territory management can help create a more stable platform for future use.
Once completed, your assessment is something you can take advantage of immediately. It should identify immediate “quick wins” along with larger longer-term projects as part of the roadmap. It should also include an estimate of the financial or time investment required to achieve them.
Whether you are new to Salesforce or have used the platform for years, the current business environment can be a great time for taking stock of your people, processes and technology (including Salesforce). One constant is change and an assessment and the resulting vision and roadmap will help you be better prepared for whatever comes.