Over the last 12 years, I've played various roles in the extended Salesforce Ohana. I've been an admin, a partner, and a customer. In those roles, I’ve seen adoptions of the platform that ranged anywhere from acceptable all the way to epic.

In particular, one that I will always remember is a former SVP of Sales at an SMB organization announcing that a salesperson, in one sale, made more than the CEO did in an entire year.

Think about that — one sale. Really let it sink in.

So how does someone make that happen? In this case, the salesperson used Salesforce very diligently. He even called it out when he accepted an award. True story — I was there.

After he closed this huge deal, I sat down with him and asked if Salesforce was truly a driver in his success. He said, “Absolutely!” So I then asked if he would talk me through how, so that I could share that knowledge and help his peers adopt some of the same tactics.

He left me with 3 tips that have remained true: build relationships, don't litter, and always collaborate.


1. Build Relationships


As a salesperson, this is the most important part of your job. You need to be in front of your prospects and customers, not always behind a desk. It's these strong relationships combined with a deep understanding of their business and an expert knowledge of how your product can help that leads to winning (which, of course, leads to your bonus).

Here are a few ways to build and maintain relationships using Salesforce:

  • Leverage email templates.
    • Use pre-crafted templates
    • Communicate on-brand
    • Reuse proven messaging
  • Take Advantage of list views.
    • Access a customized subset of records fast
    • Make in-line edits to amend data on the fly
  • Use tasks every day.
    • Set reminders to touch base with customers
    • Auto-generate tasks based on data updates


2. Don't Litter


A major reason that customers invest in Salesforce is to have a single trusted location for all customer data. However, when sales professionals and other users get busy, two bad habits tend to emerge: they duplicate data that's within Salesforce (e.g. entering the same contact multiple times), and they continue to update records in their old systems on top of what's in Salesforce.

If disorganized data is confusing to you, it’s also confusing to your manager and everyone else on your team. So, what can you do to keep your data clean? Here are some sanity-saving tips:

  • If it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist - make Salesforce the single source of truth for your customer data
  • Always search for existing records before you create new records
  • Strive to enter the most accurate data, and then keep it up to date
  • Create workflow rules that standardize naming conventions to allow for cleaner list views, more readable reports, and easier searching (an admin can set this up)


3. Always Collaborate


There are countless adages for this. “There is no 'I' in team.” “Winning is a team sport.” “Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.” They're all true. When it comes to success in sales, you win as a team. And collaboration in Salesforce is all about Chatter.

Here's how organizations can use Chatter most effectively:

  • Collaborate on opportunities with all parties (e.g., sales, product, and engineering)
  • Create groups to foster selling (e.g., industry-specific groups, competitive groups)
  • Share best practices, wins, losses, and lessons across the organization

Finding success as a salesperson shouldn’t be some pie-in-the-sky thing. Ordinary people accomplish amazing things with Salesforce all the time. My advice: follow these tried-and-true tips and, who knows, maybe your bonus will be bigger than your CEO’s salary.

Is Salesforce helping drive your success?

Get step-by-step instructions for the tips above, plus other great ideas to get more out of Salesforce, by using the great tools we provide for Small Businesses:

Rodney Apura is a Salesforce Customer Success Manager with over 16 years of experience in technology, 12 of which have been within the Salesforce ecosystem, as both an SMB customer and a consultant.