When thinking about Salesforce Sales Cloud, the immediate reflex might be to think of it as a tool to plan and monitor sales or business development. For many companies, that instinct is correct. However, Sales Cloud also has advantages for professional services organisations. Everyone at Nubik, for example, knows this to be true since we use it each day in every aspect of our work.
Here are just a few aspects of Sales Cloud we use to ensure our organization runs smoothly:
Salesforce’s Forecast Engine enables everyone, particularly the operations team, to have a complete view of the sales opportunities that are likely to materialise in the coming weeks and months. Consequently, Forecast becomes a gauge by which future assignments are evaluated, and enables us to plan better as a result.
Based on our experience, Forecast should be consulted weekly, at a minimum.
Bringing together ops and sales under one roof is vital for Nubik. Both teams need to constantly work in tandem to continue providing our clients with the level of support and professionalism they expect.
The most effective approach is to validate architectures and work estimates before presenting them to clients and prospects. On one hand, this helps Sales because it brings technical credibility to their estimates. On the other, it helps operations be more effective by providing them with a project based on solid footing.
One of Salesforce’s strengths is the Chatter messaging engine. Sales opportunities can retain all records of internal communications, which enables one to quickly get up to speed on the sales dynamic.
More importantly, all activities are saved in the opportunity record, including call notes, emails, and other communications between the client and the sales representative. It’s probably the most effective way of avoiding misunderstandings and other surprises such as, “Yes, but during the sales cycle, we were told that …”. At the very least, these notes enable everyone to get realigned.
Together, these activities, Chatter notes, and other opportunity data points can be used at a later time (e.g., a few months) to reconstruct the sales history and to provide the operations team with a customer overview.
The creation of an effective project structure begins during the sales cycle. It’s then that tasks are broken down and presented, followed by proper budgets assigned to each task. This separation at the opportunity level enables project managers to align the project and give it a truly representative status. This enables the client to understand at all times where the project stands relative to what was promised. The organization will appear that much more coherent and well-organized as a result.
Whether it’s for project planning, risk management, alignment, or follow-up, Sales Cloud’s tools (i.e., Opportunities, Quotes, Forecast) are a must. To try them is to love them!