Most sales reps, marketing managers and even Salesforce administrators who use CRM systems have a love/hate relationship...
CRM systems can be helpful in getting customer account information quickly and entering insightful data for colleagues. But if you ask the average salesperson about Salesforce or another platform, it's likely he'll complain about the application because data entry takes too long -- particularly if that person is on the go and between meetings or mobile.
Usability has long been a sticking point for CRM applications, where data entry can be onerous, requiring a high number of clicks to complete a task. That may mean the task takes a user through several screens before it is complete, requires several stages of "approval" -- i.e., "Click OK, then Approve, then Save" before a task is complete -- or it may requires numerous fields to be filled out that, in a sophisticated application, could probably be prefilled to take the burden off the user. Today, as users become the front lines for intuitive, fast user interfaces, burdensome applications don't cut it anymore.
Automation: The key to fewer clicks
Still, there is a way to appease users and give them more of what they want in a CRM application, and that is through automation. Salesforce makes it easy to automate multiple steps of many processes through configuration and "declarative" functionality only, meaning a company admin can implement it without needing a developer. Some of my favorite automation enhancements appear below:
Button URL hacking: If your organization had multiple record types for each object, you can search on button URL hacking and see how to incorporate some buttons that automatically take a user to the right record type, and prefill other information with only one click. This can reduce the number of clicks and page loads in no time.
Auto-scoring: If users need to know how to prioritize a workload, whether it's whom to call on a long lead list or which case ticket to answer first, you can create a scoring formula field that takes key information from other fields and assigns numbers to them. The numbers can be added and used to "score" the priority of the record.
The formula could say that if a lead has more than 1,000 employees and is in the healthcare industry, give it a score of 6, whereas if the number of employees is below 50 and is in the IT industry, give it a score of 1. Now create a list view for a user to sort by score, and he has his action list.
Flows: Flows are a powerful, often underused set of tools because they are more complicated than other declarative features within Salesforce. Admins should try to master them, because they enable greater flexibility in guiding the user experience. Flows can minimize the amount of data on each page, and also ask broader questions that can automatically fill in a Salesforce record form. Of a three-page flow with eight questions, you can create multiple records, send an email and fire an approval process, rather than requiring the user to edit the record, then push each individual button on the page layout.
Activities tab: One of the major annoyances with native Salesforce is the lack of an Activities view. This is changing with the Lightning development a bit, but if Lightning is not on the roadmap for your organization in the near future, adding an Activities tab is a quick process. Do not be intimidated by the code because it has already been done for you:
- Go to Setup>Develop>Page>New.
- Name it Activities Page.
- Replace the sample code with the following:
<apex:enhancedList type="Activity" height="400" />
- Set the Profile security by profile to see the page.
- Go to Setup>Create>Tabs.
- Scroll down the page and create a new Visualforce Tab.
- Find the Visualforce Page you just made called Activities Page.
- Name the tab Activities.
- Set tab visibility as you like.
- You should now be able to access the tab.
With an Activities tab, users no longer have to search across multiple records to see their associated activities and can instead see all activities and sort by date or subject and make list views that indicate their tasks for the day, week or month
For the best results when automating Salesforce, it is important to always challenge whether a user or step needs to be involved in the process. If there is a set rule for a task, it likely can and should be automated. Often, that means reducing the number of clicks required by users to complete a task. The more the application works for the user, the better.
Sales Cloud doesn't work without good data entry practices
Quality data is your CRM strategy
Data silos and the customer experience