My very first day at Backupify was also the first day I started using Salesforce.
When I informed my boss of this he asked that I take the day, watch some tutorials and then come in the next day ready to attack the phones. Attack the phones I did but, as excellent as they were, the online tutorials I found didn’t make me as efficient in the beginning as I would have liked. So, I put together a list of things I wish someone had told me when I started using Salesforce.
1. When you set a task make sure you input the time zone
This is helpful for several reasons. For one thing it helps your prioritize your day by making sure you know what time it is where you’re calling. The other benefit is you know you’re not waking up someone in San Francisco or calling someone in England at dinner time. (They hate that.)
2. Put appointments on your Google Calendar
No matter what you’re selling, you’re probably going to have a large number of tasks and leads in your queue at any time. It can be easy to forget that you have a demonstration at 3pm or that a hot prospect requested a call tomorrow morning at 11am. Putting items with a set time in your Google Calendar ensures that not only can you easily see when it needs to be done, you’ll even get a reminder of it right before it happens.
3. Have a separate to-do list for long-term projects
I like to describe tasks as “things that require one button to finish.” That means you either hit Send on an e-mail, Save on a proposal or simply hang up the phone. If you’re working on things with many steps (like a blog post, for example) it’s helpful to put those in a separate to-do list. This also makes it easier when you open up Salesforce and look at your tasks for the day; you know exactly which items you HAVE to get done today.
4. Add every Contact to an Account
This took me months to learn. Often when working a potential customer, the person who makes initial contact with you won’t be the person you have a follow-up call with, and that second person isn’t the one who ultimately signs your purchase order. Every time you meet a new person associated with a customer be sure to put them into Salesforce as a Contact for that Account. That way if you need to contact a specific person in the organization you don’t have to go crawling through your inbox to find the right person; you can see everyone right in Salesforce!
5. Be consistent where you put your information
Salesforce has a large number of connected objects: Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities etc. Be sure to be consistent with where you put your information. If a potential customer returns your call, you don’t want to have to keep clicking from Contact to Lead to Opp back to Contact (maybe it’s near the bottom) to find out what price you quoted them. You’ll find it doesn’t matter too much where you put the info as long as you put it in the same place every time. (I like putting it in the Opportunity because it keeps me focused on closing, but that’s just me.)
Oh, and be really nice to any admin or phone operator you speak with. That’s not really Salesforce-related but just good advice. After all, you don’t want to be introduced as “the jerk on line five” when you get transferred, do you?