Salesforce is an incredibly flexible CRM with a vast number of applications available to add to its functionality. In fact, Salesforce’s AppExchange marketplace contains over 3.5 million applications. However, with so many third-party apps at your disposal you must be careful of which you choose to implement within your business. Poorly built tools, or those that do not integrate well with Salesforce can become a burden and actually be detrimental to your sales reps. The wrong sales tool can:
- Disrupt your team’s workflow
- Lengthen the onboarding processes
- Create a burden for IT and Salesforce administrators
- Clutter your Salesforce org with superfluous custom fields and data
- Greatly increase API usage levels across the organization
Sales acceleration tools can be especially helpful for sales teams. These tools are applications that help reps sell both faster and more intelligently. They increase the velocity of sales by helping reps identify hot prospects, connect with them more successfully and increase productivity during the selling process.
There are six crucial questions you must ask before implementing a new Salesforce tool to ensure it is effective, successful, and works properly within your organization’s workflow. They are:
1. What CRM was the solution originally designed for?
Many sales acceleration tools claim to integrate with Salesforce, but often they weren’t intended for it in the first place. These tools usually contain their own databases and merely pass limited information back and forth with Salesforce as an afterthought. If a solution wasn’t specifically designed for Salesforce, then it may require extensive development and extended implementation time in order for it to work harmoniously with your CRM. This comes with its own set of side-effects, like the possibility of slowing down Salesforce or requiring a large amount of API calls.
On the opposite side, a tool made specifically for Salesforce should seamlessly integrate, keep your data natively in your CRM, and require no extra effort to implement or manage.
2. Are there any up-charges or hidden fees associated with Salesforce integration?
Sometimes third-party applications will charge an additional fee or “up-charge” in addition to their regular pricing to integrate with Salesforce. This is a sign that the app was never intended to work specifically with Salesforce. You should also be suspicious of vendors who charge an additional monthly fee for users of specific CRMs.
If an application is truly designed for Salesforce, there should never be any fee associated with its integration or use with Salesforce.
3. Are pre-made Salesforce dashboards and reports included?
Sales accelerations tools can make your team more productive, effective, and successful. One of the ways they accomplish this is through data collection, analysis, and reporting. Sales managers should be able to easily access reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales teams so they can instantly see the ROI of their new sales tool. If a sales tool doesn’t include pre-fabricated Salesforce dashboards or reports to show improvements, be wary. You shouldn’t have to spend time and money on the purchase and implementation of a tool, just to spend more on making it actually work.
4. How much support will the vendor provide?
Some vendors simply turn over the keys to their software and expect you to handle the integration, implementation, and setup. For a truly successful implementation, you need to find a vendor that is willing to guide you through the onboarding process and ensure it is successful. Furthermore, it’s natural for a sales acceleration tool to become an integral part of your sales workflow, and therefore you may find that many of your reps rely on it. The downside of this is that if the tool fails or goes down, a cornerstone of your sales stack disappears. You must find how much support your potential vendor will provide you with, as well as the quality of their service.
5. Does the sales tool have a long learning curve?
When implementing a new tool you should also consider the user adoption on your reps’ side. A new tool is great, but if it frustrating and unintuitive, your reps will likely be resistant to it and you may never see 100% adoption. In fact, badly implemented sales tools can actually cause a decrease in revenue. The longer reps take to utilize your new application, the less successful they will be.
To see true ROI on a new Salesforce application, it’s important that it changes your sales process for the better and that your reps can see that right away. The application should seamlessly blend with your existing systems in a manner that provides value to your reps. In the same vein, the tool shouldn’t require that reps work outside of their normal processes.
6. Will the solution write to custom fields? If so, which ones?
Salesforce was designed to be customized, so it’s great if you’re using custom fields. Just make sure your new tool is capable of reading and writing data within those fields. It’s also important that the application doesn’t require the addition of unwanted fields, which can clutter your organization’s data.
By asking these six questions with yourself, your team, and potential vendors, you can gain an understanding of what is like to implement your potential Salesforce application, as well as how successful it will be.