Recent data confirms what most assume to be true: CRM is ubiquitous. Ninety-one percent of companies with 11 employees or more use some type of CRM software.

how top leaders use CRM Sales ToolsBut CRM sales tools are often complex, packed with customizable functionalities. It’s overwhelming. That’s why we parsed through advice on places like Quora to help you understand how today’s business leaders are utilizing CRM tools.

Because Salesforce is used by more than 100,000 companies around the world and cited as a leader by CRM Magazine, G2 Crowd and Gartner, we chose to focus on it for this article.

Here’s what eight business leaders said about how they use the sales tools in Salesforce.

How To Use CRM Sales Tools Like Today’s Top Business Leaders

Ari Klein, DocSend:

“We use the Salesforce process builder to auto-generate renewal opportunities as soon as we close new business and create a set of tasks that are associated with the new customer. These tasks are paired with email notifications sent to the assigned account manager. This serves as a push system to proactively remind our reps about important milestones in a specific customer’s lifecycle and leads to a higher close rate for renewals. Before using the Salesforce process builder, accounts had a higher likelihood of falling through the cracks, and it could inadvertently lead to last minute renewal conversations. Implementing process builder has made that a thing of the past.”

Connor Jeffers, Dose:

“Salesforce is the system of record and serves as the skeleton, not only of the sales team, but increasingly the entire business. Salesforce helps sales leaders specifically in the following ways

  1. The system of record: Salesforce can serve as the single source of truth, answering questions about what’s happening within the business, who the customers are, and forecasting future deal flow. This eliminates hours of meetings where people are exchanging information the system contains and endless conversations around what’s working and what’s not.
  2. Process management: A business is a set of repeatable processes that produce more money than they cost to operate. They’re money generating machines and the best ones run on Salesforce. Salesforce can ensure process adherence through validation and create data feedback loops around different processes so they can be optimized and iterated upon.

Heidi Haskell, MarketerGizmo:

Taking advantage of software that integrates with Salesforce helps you maximize its potential. Hubspot has a great integration that lets you track how all campaigns and efforts are affecting your bottom line. Another great example is through the SurveyGizmo integration: Survey Software with Data Integration which creates and updates lead profiles from your survey data, as well as triggers emails through the Marketing Cloud.”

Zac Carman, ConsumerAffairs:

“Communication through dashboards: Individual contributor reports so people can self-manage [and] team reports so managers can manage and the board can understand performance.

Spotting training opportunities for the team — you can only improve what you can measure. Salesforce enables you to measure everything…from messaging to activity level for the Individual Contributor. This creates a wealth of information for sales enablement to draw on for teachable moments.

Automating sales process: Integrated calling (e.g., RingDNA), integrated email tools (e.g., Outreach.io) [and] integrated contract processing (e.g., Docusign).”

Mike Gerholdt, Salesforce:

Start off by making sure that the right people have access to the right report folders in Salesforce. I would hesitate to make all folders read/write because users will store reports everywhere. Next, create folders for departments and pre-populate them with base reports that users can use to create a more specific report. For reports, specifically, I follow Scott Hemmeter’s suggestion from his blog.”

Aslam Kamal, Qburst:

Salesforce provides access across various mobile platforms, so there are organizations where sales reps are not confined to offices, but go around to visit clients with their iPads. Allowing them to show graphs, demonstrations, documents on their devices, as well as closing deals then and there in Salesforce. With small customization, it is possible for the rep to get the client’s signature on the device, itself, which is captured within Salesforce. It all depends on the mindset of the organization. Some are paranoid about allowing data to ‘roam’ around everywhere. Others understand that this is crucial in clinching important deals quickly.”

Kevin Carothers, EdgeCast Networks (now Verizon Digital Media Services):

“Salesforce is virtually limitless in its expandability and features – I can’t list all of the features because it won’t be even close to complete. But, in my personal experience, I’ve found the only times it’s failed are when a company has tried to make the Salesforce platform into something that it’s not.

This sounds like a contradiction because it’s so extensible, but SFDC is not:

  • A ‘turn it on and forget it’ system
  • A data warehouse
  • A replacement for your entire company IT infrastructure
  • An easy system to learn

It’s so easy for companies to stray from these concepts because it’s so expensive – the temptation is to leverage the system into something it’s not – you do this at your peril.”

Will Rus, Toast:  

“It’s a system of record. The reason companies get CRMs in the first place is to keep track of things. This might start with contact information, products and services for quotes, but if you invest in making the system better and actually plan you can set yourself up for a future where you have answers lying in data for questions you haven’t even thought of yet. This concept is not exclusive to Salesforce, but it’s one of the best at making it happen, because…

It’s robust. If you’re going to rely on a system, and hold people accountable to putting information in there, that system better be robust – Salesforce is. It’s meant to be tweaked. This may appear less ‘user-friendly’ to start because there is simply more there to play with.

It’s customizable. if you care, you can make it do pretty much everything within reason. If you can get a developer on it, you can do things out of reason too.

You can integrate it with loads of other programs. Since it’s such a dynamo in its market, it already has tons of companies who already have Salesforce integrations to make things easy, or you can integrate it with your own software if you like.

I can imagine plenty of reasons why a company would abandon any software, particularly one as expensive as Salesforce. However with any system, you get out what you put in. Therefore, if you actually invest in using a system, you can really scale with it and make it cater to your needs. Salesforce happens to hold up to that concept better than most, which is why you see so many people flock to it.”

Because Salesforce has so many sales tools, it brings different benefits to every organization. Do you use Salesforce? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

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How Top Business Leaders Use CRM Sales Tools
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How Top Business Leaders Use CRM Sales Tools
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CRM sales tools are often complex, packed with customizable functionalities. Learn more about how today’s business leaders are utilizing them.
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Level Eleven
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