Manage By Outcomes

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How do you know most of your work matters? There are probably a few things that matter to produce the outcomes important to an organization. Most work is simply effort and cost and does not produce meaningful results. You can see this with the ridiculing of office politics and people doing busy work in cartoons and TV shows.

If you are a manager, getting results starts with a system that focuses on outcomes. You have to be clear about what the key metrics that matter are. Then build your system to output those results.

It’s not easy because getting people doing what you need takes pig-headed determination. Furthermore, creating clarity is hard without clear strategy and vision. This often takes dialogue to get clear on what really matters to your business. Your attention and day-to-day is pulled by a ton of distractions and things that don’t matter.

If you’re not moving the needle lately, then think about how all the work that you and your team do contributes to the outcomes you want.

Maybe you’re working on outdated priorities. Or you have not refreshed your near term and long-term goals based on what you know today.

Anyone can work and be busy. But, getting the right things done requires taking pause and managing to the right priorities.

What outcomes are important to you now? Is your work set up to support those outcomes?

Build In the Cost

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Part of living in reality is accepting all its shortcomings and inefficiencies. All the inputs you may work hard to put into a system – materials, technology, talent, management, etc. – will not work at maximum efficiency or ever be balanced.

When your systems become more complex, there is going to be more leakage and failure points. And a good system designer will account for the cost that comes from trying to make a workflow or system work.

That cost plus comes from the dependencies and statistical fluctuations which are a natural part of life.

People get sick. A vendor doesn’t deliver goods you need on time. A strategy missed the mark. You get a software virus.

Every working day has these types of statistical fluctuations and it has an impact on how your business and workflow will operate.

It’s why accounting for the costs that are natural from everyday work as well as Old Man Murphy is so important to consider. You have to have margin that’s based on the inevitable inefficiencies which will impact your results.

I think it makes operational efficiency somewhat of an art as well. You don’t know what will impact your well-intended and well-laid plans. You can only know that there are places in your workflow that will take a hit, sometimes sporadically, and other times regularly.

When it comes to getting business results, the cost side of your systems are real and if your expectations can have a buffer to what is ideal, you can rely on a lot of flex in your outputs. This is especially true with people-dependent processes and systems.

I like to think about contingency planning along with continuous improvement in known areas that will require support at untimely intervals. This not only keeps you from being blindsided, but you manage the risk from an imperfect world we all have to tolerate.

Consider where your costs will arise and how it impacts your overall results, whether that is in selling, demand generation or operational workflow. Mitigating that cost can go a long way towards allowing for continuity and sanity.

Strategic with Your Down Time

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The business cycle with holidays, end of year and bookkeeping is an opportunity for you if you can relax and take advantage of the natural down time. Trying to force fit activities that are likely a better fit in the up times will only lead to frustration, and perhaps disfavor, with clients. Why not be more strategic about the business cycle?

The down time is extremely valuable to your business if you use the time well.

But the first thing you have to do is let go of expectations. Let go of trying to force conversations, deals, projects or opportunities that are not on people’s minds or attention.

There will be a better time when everyone is chomping at the bit to make things happen. Ride the down time with better strategic activities for yourself:

  • Express gratitude. As we get into a reflective time, give thanks to the people that have made a difference. Be specific and share why you appreciate them as a person and their business. It’s a great time to be reflective and build stronger ties. Many times, people are merely wanting to know they made an impact. When you express this, it closes the loop in their minds and helps them see the work of their hands.
  • Celebrate. Just write on a pad for 30 minutes everything that has happened the last several months. Think about where you were and where you are today. Write as much as you can. Then look at what you jotted down. We are often working so hard we don’t tie our results back to the effort. It’s good to appreciate progress.
  • Relationships. Clean up your address book. Group your Contacts and work through removing duplicates and making it a ready tool you can access. In the process, you will see many names along the way that you might simply ping to see how they are doing. Then identify 5-10 new relationships you want to develop and build in the coming months. Be intentional and find ways to get into conversations, offer value and meet up.
  • Review Systems. Look at your various tools and systems and see what is not relevant any longer. Get rid of subscriptions that you don’t need. Consolidate and take a look at your workflows. See where you can improve and minimize where you store data, how you access it and where you can improve on getting things done.

Much of this down time work is housekeeping. It’s a luxury you don’t necessarily get to work through when you are in the grind. But this part of the business cycle can be enjoyable and make your up times much more fruitful.

Sometimes, we are so busy we can’t see the opportunities whether it’s how we work or connecting with the people that matter.

Enjoy the down time.

Salesforce Enterprise Edition: When To Upgrade

Generally speaking, we advise our Salesforce.com consulting clients to start with Salesforce.com Professional Edition.  This edition is at $65 per user per month.  You can always upgrade later if you require more features.  However, you cannot downgrade.

Most organizations do not require an upgrade to Enterprise Edition.  Those that do tend to are larger, more-complex businesses, where it would be easier to simplify most complex customer operations with an upgrade.  It can be rapidly deployed across multiple departments and locations.

The Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition includes considerably more functionality which bridges most of the critical gaps found in the Professional Edition. Basic campaign management for marketing activities is included.  The ability to send email campaigns is still very limited without the addition of one of Salesforce.com’s email partners and can add a significant expense to the overall cost per user.

Notable Features

Some of the notable features added in this edition are territory management, workflows, self service portal and web services API for integration.

If integration with other systems or workflow automation is required, then this is the CRM system edition for you. Send emails using Salesforce email templates, update fields, assign tasks, create multiple profiles, and change owners automatically based on any criteria you choose.

Enterprise edition raises the limits to ten custom apps and 200 custom objects to allow for more customization as you grow and want to track more data.

More Features

In addition to the overall enhancements, the following features can also be found in an upgrade:

  • Account and Opportunity Team Selling Client Lifecycle Management
  • Advanced Call Scripting
  • Territory Management
  • Mass Quota Updates
  • Workflow and Approvals
  • Marketing Automation Advanced Call Scripting Workflow and Approvals
  • Customer Service and Support Service Entitlements
  • Desktop and Mobile CRM Desktop Solution Administration
  • Data Model Customization Custom Object Sharing Controls Smart Field Defaulting
  • User Interface Customization Multiple Custom Page Layouts Record-Dependent Page Layouts AJAXToolkit
  • Enterprise Administration Field-Level Security Multidepartmental Administration
  • Profile-Based Departmental Security
  • Delegated Administration Opportunity, Lead, and Case-Sharing Controls
  • Business Process Controls Multistep Approval Processes Workflow Automation Rules and Tasks for Multiple Business Processes
  • On-Demand Database Real-Time Database Mirroring Data Loader Salesforce Sandbox

Primary Reasons Our Customers Upgrade

There are several key reasons our customers tend to upgrade.  Here are some of them which require consideration for your own decision:

Workflows And Approvals

There is built-in workflow software which allows for business process management.  You can design, track and control business processes inside Salesforce.com.  If you want to have a multi-step process where there is an approval from team members before the process proceeds, then these controls are available.

Furthermore, tasks and alerts which are triggered based on process or data conditions can be programmed into Salesforce.com.  An email or an assigned task can be automated.

API And Custom Software Integrations

If you are wanting to create custom developed software scripts that are not available in the AppExchange, then you will need Enterprise Edition to accomplish this.  You have the opportunity to program on top of Salesforce.com as a platform and use their API for integration and triggering scripts.

Stronger Security And Controls

There are security layers based on Roles and Profiles.  These tend to suffice for most organizations.  However, if you are working with multiple processes and teams, then the available security layers can be further defined using the features and toolset inside Enterprise Edition.  This includes defining page layouts for data objects, field-level security (which is also available in Professional Edition), territory management, team management and data object level security.

Depending on your organizational goals, the available methods can vary with the combination of features for security and user access to information within your Salesforce.com system.

Exhaust Your System First

As advisors to our clients, we encourage our users to exhaust Professional Edition first with creative workarounds.  There are many, so the dialogue around specific problems will help to clarify when you should consider any other solution.  Assume there is always more than one way to get things done.

If a feature, process or requirement is important to upgrade, then it would be an appropriate time to upgrade permanently to Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition based on the cost/benefit decision.

What questions do you have about Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition?