The internet is chock-full of Salesforce best practices that, in reality, just won't be followed long-term. But accurate Salesforce data means more pipeline reporting and forecasting, so are there any methods that you can use to inspire your team to keep better records?
Everyone on a sales team would have the same passion for detailed, accurate record-keeping as the most passionate sales manager in a perfect world. Each rep would wake up each day with a burning desire to close more deals and check on every one of their accounts to ensure it's up-to-date.
However, we know that's absolutely not the case for those of us living in the real world, even among the most committed sales leaders. Heck, even as a sales manager or operations leader, you can admit that you're probably not always on top of things as you'd like to be.
We're tossing out some of the "conventional" Salesforce methods in favor of more streamlined and automated processes that actually work.
Why Most Salesforce Best Practices Are Flawed
If you've tried implementing the most common best practices for Salesforce and found that most were abandoned within months, you're not alone. We've seen many ways we "should" be doing things in Salesforce that just don't work given the demands facing modern sales reps.
This is mainly because:
- They rely on old systems and processes that require too many steps (i.e., log into Salesforce, change X on the account, go to the Opportunity and change Y, etc.)
- They require each sales rep to dedicate valuable hours of their time to basic admin tasks like data entry
- The internal automation features that are included with Salesforce are often time-consuming and complicated to set up, which leaves many attempts at building an automation framework abandoned in favor of using band-aid solutions
So we're throwing out the old rulebook and building new "best practices" that make it easier to maintain better data hygiene and help accelerate the sales pipeline while improving your deal closure rate.
If it sounds too good to be true, we promise there's a method to this madness, and it just requires the right tools.
8 Salesforce Best Practices Your Reps Can Actually Follow
Ok, time to roll up our sleeves and build a workflow that even the most over-scheduled sales rep can follow and cinch just as many wins while preventing their manager from pulling their hair out after chasing down information for yet another incomplete Salesforce record.
Here are our seven modern Salesforce best practices that help you get the data you need without slowing anything down:
1. Build alerts to notify reps of new data
Stop relying on your reps to constantly check Salesforce all day to see updates on their client records or new leads. If they're good at their jobs, they're out there making phone calls, scheduling meetings, and pushing as many deals through as possible, not just sitting at their desks scrolling records.
Instead, employ automated alerts that "ping" reps anytime something significant happens in Salesforce, such as a new lead assignment or a change to the buying process. This ensures that your reps are always up-to-speed on any changes with their prospects. Also, it frees them from constantly monitoring Salesforce to focus more on client communication.
This is one of the many use cases for sales teams using Rattle. Rattle is a bidirectional Slack/Salesforce integration that allows you to build automated Slack alerts that ping reps whenever they get a new lead, new intent data, or when a record needs to get updated. This will enable them to act on this information within the crucial "first hour" so prospects don’t go cold.
2. Make it easy to auto-log all sales activities
Calls, meetings, and handoffs are crucial actions taken with clients during the sales process. To ensure every deal is handled appropriately, they should all be documented to ensure anyone on the team can hop in and get context on the prospect.
However, most sales reps won't remember to log every single meeting or call, especially if they have back-to-back interactions with multiple clients or leads throughout the day.
So instead of expecting your reps to slow down to manually log every interaction, create automation that helps reps immediately log calls and meetings in a few clicks. This is a huge timesaver, and it helps you keep a more detailed log of all client interactions, so you can improve your forecasting and see which deals take longer to close.
3. Create a simple process for approvals on requests
You're just as busy as your reps, so you need more efficient ways to approve sales requests. The last thing you want is to create a bottleneck in the final sales stage because requests are lost in the bottomless pit known as your email inbox.
Instead, make requests easy by creating a simple, non-email workflow for request approvals. We highly recommend doing this inside Slack or Microsoft Teams, our modern sales org productivity darling, where fast, efficient communication is the norm.
You can have your reps ping you via a Slack message with the details of their request or utilize the Rattle Slack/Salesforce integration to create a custom Slack alert that shows the details of the client and the deal request with one-click approval/rejection buttons and a quick field for notes.
Now, reps are getting the approvals they need faster, and you’re also freeing up your own time to look at the big picture of what’s going on with your team instead of getting hung up on admin tasks.
4. Automate how reps add all relevant customer contacts to accounts
Adding additional customer contacts to Salesforce account records is vital for ensuring that every potential opportunity for a "win" is exercised. But again, if you want your reps to spend more time with clients and less time in Salesforce while still maintaining all relevant data, you'll need to automate.
Utilizing the Rattle integration, you can auto-create contacts if they're guests on your calendar event. Now, when you hand off a record or need to double back to follow up with a decision-maker, you have a complete record of all stakeholders that have discussed the account, giving you more people you can work with to secure the win.
5. Create simple note-taking prompts to encourage reps to keep regular, meticulous notes on each account
This is one of those best practices that no one really wants to do, but you really can't get around if you're going to keep your Salesforce data as accurate as possible. You need detailed information on each account to make handoffs, approvals, customer conversations, and overall sales analysis easier.
The best way to encourage this practice is to make doing it as easy as possible. We recommend creating a Slack alert that pings the reps after each meeting and includes a prompt that asks them to add notes about the meeting and account. It becomes an automatic part of the workflow instead of something they need to pause and open Salesforce to do several times a day.
6. Ask reps to keep their opportunity records up to date
Similar to note-taking, ensuring that accurate data is captured for each deal stage is vital. When done correctly, it can:
- Make forecasting better and easier for sales managers and leaders
- Help managers know where your prospects and customers are in the cycle
- Ensure leads are promptly followed up on by providing accurate contact information
On the flip side, your overall pipeline can fall apart quickly if you don't keep current records. Deals can get stuck in a stage or move into an approval-needed phase and languish without management knowing. In addition, incorrectly captured data can make forecasting inaccurate, and incorrect contact information is just an embarrassing time-waster.
Utilizing tools that alert reps and managers when there is missing or incomplete information in a record or a deal is stuck in stage for too long can help you prevent these issues and help build better lead management habits among your entire team.
7. Have reps and management review their wins and losses
This best practice is much less technical, but it's still vital. Reviewing wins and losses helps give your reps insights into what's working and what's not and can also be a huge source of encouragement when wins are celebrated appropriately.
Sending alerts to your reps whenever a deal is won can be a huge motivator, and making it easy for them to keep an eye on the win/loss ratio can help them identify problems and adjust their strategy to grab more wins.
With tools like Rattle, you can choose to notify your reps of wins in a private channel or make them something the whole team can celebrate.
8. Create stronger team collaboration with Deal Rooms
Deal Rooms are shared Slack channels where teams can collaborate and communicate on a specific opportunity or account. Everyone who needs to be involved can get account and opportunity updates, and activities are all tracked in one place for the team to collaborate on.
They’re also a great way to bring people into deals once they’re needed. For example, you can bring in a sales engineer when you’re helping a prospect validate a solution. Or you can bring in Customer Success to take over onboarding once the deal hits Closed-Won.
Where Rattle can come in handy here is by automating Salesforce notifications into the Deal Room based on any changes you care about to an account or opportunity.
Utilizing automation improves your chances of success
If you haven't noticed, the crux of what we believe is that relying entirely on your sales reps to constantly live on the Salesforce platform to follow through on traditional "best practices" is just not the best time optimization strategy.
The data still needs to be input, and records must be kept, but enabling your sales reps to spend less time on the platform and instead be automatically prompted when they need to input data after a call or meeting or check on a record that's been stuck in a stage. This helps to refocus them back onto the core function of their job (selling) while gently nudging them along on the more administrative tasks.
With automation, you really can have the best of both worlds. You can have clean, organized, updated Salesforce records, and your sales team members can spend the bulk of their time actually closing deals. And that’s what we call a win-win!