Salesforce Automation Steps

Buying Salesforce.com is easy; automating your business processes using Salesforce.com has a natural progression.  In our Salesforce consulting, we like to help our customers to walk their process manually before automating.  This allows for control and mastery before coding, scripting or creating a routine process structure.  Approaching your own organization with the goal of automating your business processes should have steps accounting for the impact of change on your team.  Here’s how.

Map Out Your Process Roadmap

The steps for how a customer is won, a service is provided or a project is completed needs to have an accounting for the specific steps your users will take.  These should be captured in a list and the tasks need to be broken down into concrete and specific wording.  Your team has likely built up a culture.  Your culture has defined meaning for each of the steps.

Thus, your process map should not take for granted the implied meaning of steps.  Rather, imagine using your map to instruct a new person.  They should be able to take direction and execute within your Salesforce.com system from the steps in a sequential fashion.

Customize Your Database With Ease Of Use

Less is better.  This is what we preach with our Salesforce consulting clients. This is especially true for data.  Every field that you create unnecessarily or redundantly reduces your chances for adoption by your team.  Think like a user.  You would have to move fast in daily work.  Every form field or step within Salesforce.com becomes tedious at some point if there is a feeling the data is not used or getting work done can be more expediently accomplished without data capture.

Each step in your roadmap should produce a subset of data capture within your Salesforce.com records – Contacts, Accounts, Leads, Opportunities, Cases or any other custom creation.

Picklists should be used if your data is specific and needs to be measured.  Furthermore, it is easier for the user because less thinking is involved.  Conditional picklists are valuable to present dormant fields which may be used in specific cases rather than every time a record is edited.  Think streamlined and less.  Your team will be grateful for it.

Buttons For Communications And Tasks

Every step touches some part of the customer experience.  Often times, your value perception is based on your touch points.  Using Salesforce.com to ready personalized communications to the right people at the right time increases your branding and builds continual value with the stakeholders of your business processes.

Communications will come from documents, emails or calls.  Ensure that each is ready to go and captured within the context of the steps of your roadmap.

Your team is likely doing these things, albeit inconsistently, inefficiently and without account.  Salesforce.com creates the opportunity to create a predictable and rich experience from the inherent functionality of the system.  Use it and watch opportunities grow.

Watch, Refine And Automate

With an agile system in Salesforce.com, the most important thing is not perfection on all the details.  The important thing is launching and getting your users to adopt the system.  Their feedback will allow you to continue refining.  Salesforce.com is not like custom developed software.  It is more flexible and made to be used in real-time.  When changes occur, you can react and redesign.

Watch your users and work with them to drive towards perfection.  The process is collaborative and working closely with your team drives their buy-in because their feedback is seen in the context of real-time changes.

As you see your processes mature, there is great opportunity to drive further efficiency.  Automate the steps by coding, triggers, workflows and refinements.  Each step is an opportunity for creative ways to cut out cycle times in your team’s execution in Salesforce.com.

Automation comes from process maturity and user adoption.  Drive towards it with effective change management and administering Salesforce.com at the pace your culture fails forward with your processes in Salesforce.com.

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