Using a CRM may be a journey, but all businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, want to end up at the same destination: a place of growth based on more (and larger) sales.
This can be challenging in large enterprises that have huge sales teams, but that’s more an issue of training and managing staff. At least those bigger companies have dedicated IT departments, and even the resources to hire dedicated Salesforce administrators who do nothing but increase their proficiency with Sales Cloud.
Within SMBs, on the other hand, convincing the sales team to use a CRM may not be as difficult, because there may only be a few reps you need to win over. Instead, the bigger challenge is in getting used to working with a technology that transforms the selling process from one based on instinct and manual efforts into one that is data-driven.
Fortunately you don’t need to be an IT director, or even a technology enthusiast, to get up to speed on a CRM. Products like Sales Cloud were designed with their specific users in mind, knowing that reps would inevitably be transitioning from managing customer data they’d stored in spreadsheets and sticky notes taped to their monitor.
The big mistake many neophyte CRM makers risk making is assuming they have to learn everything on their own, or solve all their initial problems or glitches as though they had never happened to anyone else before.
In reality, CRM products have been around long enough now that there are a vast number of resources available, especially online, where they can dip in and out as their schedule permits. Here are just a few idea of places to begin finding them:
Salesforce recognized early on that educating the SMB community about what CRM could do was among the most important parts of our mission. That’s why we established Trailhead, an online learning platform filled with hundreds of courses that take you from absolute beginner to sophisticated expert — the kind of people who have spoken at or have even led sessions at events such as Dreamforce.
Unlike other online courses, Trailhead gamifies the process of learning by offering those who use it the opportunity to earn badges based on various achievements they’ve made. It doesn’t take long before you’ll have an impressive roster of badges that not only keep you motivated, but can establish you as a potential source of help for the next person who joins Trailhead.
The hallmark of a great customer experience is paying as much attention to everything that happens after the sale as everything that happened before it. In that sense, your account manager is a great point of contact for questions and tips on getting your Sales Cloud deployment up and running. They’re committed to making you successful.
Even if your account manager doesn’t have an answer for every question at hand, they act as excellent conduits to expertise across Salesforce and its ecosystem — think of them almost like a tour guide to the world of CRM and its potential to transform business.
No matter where you live and work, chances are there is a Salesforce user group close by where SMBs just like you get together to share best practices and celebrate their wins with the technology.
While many of these groups are not meeting in person amid the pandemic, they are often continuing to support each other through online meetups. Sometimes you’ll discover Trailblazers who have made great strides in Trailhead who are also part of their local user group. They may be able to direct you to one you’ll want to join.
SMBs may not feel they have the budget to hire a third party to assist with their CRM needs, but that’s okay. Many of the consultants and system integrators who have built their business around Salesforce technology have created lots of assets you can use free of charge.
Browse these firms’ sites for blog posts, eBooks, webinars and other content that could provide you some actionable advice (of course, do the same thing with the resources we provide here at Salesforce Canada, including this blog!).
They might not always work at an SMB, but there are many people who have used a CRM so well that they have propelled their careers and have pivoted from selling based on data-driven thinking to teaching others how to do it.
Search social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter and you’ll discover lots of people worth following who want to demonstrate their mastery of CRM and how it can be applied. Like and share their posts, but also thinking about asking a smart question they haven’t tackled before. You might not only get an answer, but one that could benefit others in your peer group besides yourself.
Technologies like CRM were once only covered by publications aimed exclusively at IT professionals. As tools like Sales Cloud have become more prevalent, however, you may find it’s time to give the magazines and newsletters targeting your industry or vertical a second look.
This isn’t where you come for technical details but trends and case study-style stories about how other firms have used CRM as part of their digital transformation strategy. Do as they’ve done and you may be featured next!
Although COVID-19 has put many physical events on hold, a lot of the content that once would have required travelling to a convention centre or out of town is now part of a virtual summit. Some of these are specifically tailored to SMBs. Look for a tech track that might touch upon CRM or the evolution of the sales process.
The more you keep your eye out for resources to guide you in using a CRM platform, the more that will come across your radar — and the sooner you’ll start seeing the growth you’d hoped for.