It is not uncommon for organizations to customize Salesforce.com for managing projects with their respective customers. It seems these days that this is an increasingly frequent use case beyond the traditional requirements of using Salesforce for the sales process. The ability to mold Salesforce.com to your business processes makes it attractive for enabling how your team gets things done both before and after the sale.
In our Salesforce consulting work, we often build requirements via a roadmap and implement custom project management that works for how a specific client does business. The process often includes the design of a new custom data object which supports the workflow for a project management process. Once this is set up, a team can now operate from one real-time system.
Here are 3 tips to help your project management process work inside Salesforce.com:
- Establish clear data relationships. Your project management may be a continuation of an existing Opportunity record or it may be a new data object altogether. The other relationships such as billable time, job costs and relationships need to be customized and related in a way that makes sense to the flow of how you manage projects. Ensure it is easy to add new information and access how information is viewed to gain a quick grasp of projects.
- Ensure task sequencing. Salesforce.com is a task-based system. Each person on your team needs to set new tasks for themselves and others. Once tasks are completed, they need to be closed as part of the activity history. This keeps a record for yourselves and your customers on what has been done. The litmus test is that any person should be able to open a project record and know what has been done and what is remaining.
- Use reporting for real-time management. Your reports and dashboards should be set up to manage across all of your projects. This will give you greater capacity for more projects as you can prioritize workload and monitor how projects are progressing. Furthermore, your reports can be used to status customers on how their specific project is doing in weekly meetings that help them understand progress, budget and work quality.
With strong leadership and a well-designed system, your system is able to help your team collaborate effectively with greater productivity. Everyone should be on the same page and moving in the same direction.
There are many other best practices, but focus on these items to further create effective systems in your business and customer experience.
How are you doing project management and what has been your experience with your systems? Feel free to comment below.