Is Your Salesforce Approach Strategic?

As noted by the economist Michael Porter, “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” With all of the Salesforce functionality available today, strategy is especially important in managing and maintaining your system efficiently. It is critical to take a step back and evaluate changes that have been made or should be made to best support your business as a whole. Most importantly, this approach can serve to maximize your Salesforce investment.

The Strategic Session

At OpFocus we highly encourage setting up strategic Salesforce sessions for the above reasons. During these quarterly or bi-annual sessions, key stakeholders should be involved to review recent accomplishments, top current initiatives, new release feature, and future goals. It is recommended to set aside at least three hours in total to fully dissect the organization’s Salesforce needs. Remember to schedule these sessions in advance to involve all necessary stakeholders.

While the Salesforce release notes can be daunting (over 480 pages for Spring ’16 alone), it is worthwhile to review to identify new changes that can add value. For instance, have you explored these 5 updates to Sales Cloud for Spring ’16 yet? From experience at several of these sessions, it is surprising what is unearthed when you set aside the time to search for what your system is not utilizing.

The Evaluation Exercise

To delve deeper into the next best course of action during the session, we recommend walking through the below business evaluation exercise for both current state and desired state in 12 months from now:
• People
• Systems
• Processes
• Data and integrations
• Reporting
• Training
• Security
This ecosystem analysis will present areas of focus for the coming months and highlight your CRM needs and goals. Questions to ask in these areas include who is responsible and what tools are currently being used for support. The exercise should be documented during the session to provide a baseline from which to work moving forward. This indexing allows key knowledge to stay in place even as Administrators change over time. Again, my exposure to this exercise in action showed me the value of fully understanding where you are and where you need to be.

The Outcome

Managing a system with multiple users, features, and integrations is complex. By setting up strategic sessions and evaluating your ecosystem regularly, you can move beyond adding new fields and workflows that may lack true business value. The final output of these sessions should involve a detailed action plan to follow until the next session. It is critical to share this plan with relevant stakeholders to ensure it remains on track. In the end, no matter how seemingly small a change, it is strategy that should deliberately drive the direction of your system.