Salesforce.com is often thought of as solely for the sales process. What happens after the sale is the fulfillment of your sale. This may be a service or delivery of your product. Either way, you move from sales to operations. It is typically a project management focus. Your operations typically takes a handoff from your sales process. Knowing how to manage and integrate data accordingly allows for a closed-loop business system within Salesforce.com.
Salesforce.com Project Management Design
Within the standard data objects presented by Salesforce.com, you have the Opportunity record. This data object is a starting point for customizing the stages for a deal moving through the sales process. Depending on your approach, Opportunity records can be further extended to capture the details of post-sales activities and status. Adding additional stages with a dependency on a Closed/Won Opportunity stage can trigger the operations process of your business and the respective fields and sections in your Opportunity record.
If you are in the Enterprise edition of Salesforce.com, you can customize your Opportunity records to be different based on a selection criteria and present different sales or operations processes based on variable page layouts.
The Project Record
It may be more strategic to develop a new data object altogether which captures the details of a project. This data object should have necessary stage information which can be captured as an activity history as well. The association of this record to Contacts, Accounts and Opportunities ties it to the other parts of your organization for transparency between pre- and post-sales.
Within the project record, your team can collaborate on past activities and next steps to drive towards project completion. Ensure the same best practices of assigning next steps and communicating relevant and timely information to your customer is retained as a continuity of the sales process.
Salesforce Consulting Best Practice
In our Salesforce consulting, we advise on the requirements within the project data record. It is important to ensure full adoption of the business process for tracking and closing a project. There is a secondary pipeline of work to be completed for closed sales. This all ties together within the reporting and dashboards for effective management of the operations of your organization.
The best practice is to ensure the project data object contains a complete history for effective team collaboration. Unnecessary fields should be eliminated and work should be managed efficiently with easy and presentable fields. A knowledge base with the process steps is also critical for helping new and existing team members adopt the system.
Salesforce.com can run the enterprise. Implementing the operations piece within this framework avoids having more tools to integrate as well as keeps all users within a common extended pipeline environment. Be sure your strategy extends beyond the mere sale.