Rolling out Salesforce is exciting: You’re entering an ecosystem with thousands of applications that can improve sales team performance.
But Salesforce implementation alone is a big project. Just the thought of any more new technology is overwhelming.
It begs the question: When is the right time to bring in Salesforce apps?
To find an answer, we spoke with Andrew Cann of Torrent Consulting, a firm that helps organizations align their business processes with technology. Here’s what he taught us, starting with six questions to help you evaluate your app readiness.
Sales Leaders: Are You Ready For Salesforce Apps?
Has your team hit maturity in Salesforce user adoption?
If your team isn’t fully onboarded with the Salesforce platform, adding apps will only create chaos.
The first sign that your team has fully embraced CRM is simple: Reps log into Salesforce and update records on a daily basis. If not, pause before bringing in apps and focus on user adoption.
The second sign is when you fulfill your initial reason for bringing on Salesforce. For some sales leaders, that’s as simple as having reporting metrics. Others might want more insight into their pipeline. Ask yourself: Have we fully achieved this milestone?
Once your reps have hit the core pieces of what you’re really trying to accomplish with Salesforce, you can start to extend features and functionality for them.
Have you considered your sales process?
There are a lot of sexy tools you can add to Salesforce. Don’t buy them just because they are the most popular new app on the market.
Consider which sales team activities could happen better, faster or more frequently with technology. A dialer would help sales development reps make more calls a day. But field reps might see more benefit from a meeting scheduler.
Examine the fundamental stages in your sales process. The technology you evaluate should help your team be both more efficient.
Are you listening to your sales team?
Some organizations struggle with this one because much of what they think they should purchase comes from the top down. But sales reps are the ones using the system on a daily basis.
“They’ll tell you what’s working; what’s not working; what’s missing,” Andrew said. “It’s a great crowdsourcing opportunity to really see what would have the biggest impact on your team, especially if it’s a paid app.”
Andrew added that some organizations even have reoccurring office hours, where reps are encouraged to come in and share their experiences with sales tools.
Can your team build instead of buy?
Some organizations have the ability to build the functionality within Salesforce, which can save money. In order to do this, however, your IT team need the skill set to build it, and you’ll also need the capacity to support it.
“Even though the cost might be a little bit more to buy an app, you’re not just buying an app. You’re also buying another company being responsible for supporting any issues that might come up or supporting you in installing it,” Andrew said.
Buying an app instead of building it allows your IT team to stay focused on furthering the technology within your organization.
Are you testing sales tools with managers and reps?
Most Salesforce apps let you test drive the product. You can also use Salesforce’s sandboxes: copies of your existing organization where you can download apps and have a select number of users get in there and play around with them all without disrupting your current system.
Take advantage of this. Get thorough feedback from testers and take that into consideration when making a purchase. A testing period for products also increases rep buy-in, since they are able to provide feedback and feel like a part of the decision-making process.
Do you have an implementation plan?
When you do decide the time is right to bring on Salesforce apps, have a plan to introduce them to the whole team and ensure the additional technology won’t disrupt daily business. A poor roll-out strategy will decrease the likelihood of sales rep adoption.
If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, then you’re likely ready to evaluate Salesforce apps. Don’t forget to research potential new technology on places like G2 Crowd and, of course, the Salesforce AppExchange.