Last month, we hosted the first of our Salesforce Trailblazer Community events for our Hi-Tech customers. The virtual event had a great turnout from a wide range of UK&I Hi-Tech companies.

The purpose of the event, asides from setting up what we hope will be a valuable platform for our customers to develop their network and make the best use of their Salesforce solutions, was to talk about something that we’ve been hearing about a lot recently – the so called ‘new normal’.

One such business adapting to the new normal is global data and analytics technology and services organisation, Concentra Analytics. We had the pleasure of hearing first-hand how the business is adapting and evolving, with a presentation from Concentra’s Business Process and Salesforce Lead, Alistair Birrell.

After a period of rapid growth, Concentra was in a position where it needed to update its CRM, and has been using Salesforce for the last two years. Concentra works in the technology space, helping clients to apply their data and better understand their business, using its platforms orgvue and TrueCue.

Concentra has implemented Sales Cloud and CPQ, with help from its partner Pracedo, and uses Gainsight for client lifecycle and Kimble for its professional services automation.


Using Salesforce to pivot post-lockdown

Concentra delivers software that helps business with data-driven business and workforce planning, combined with analytics and consultancy services, so it is fair to say the company was better positioned than many when it comes to adapting to change. But that is not to say that the company was immune to shifts in the market. The uncertainty had made clients understandably hesitant, and that meant the need for greater scrutiny of pipeline and deal data.

“The main way was reviewing our opportunity management,” says Alistair. “Which seems like the simple beginning of how to use Salesforce – we did a number of things that seemed small but has actually had a big impact,” he adds.

This included improving page layouts – reducing the number of mandatory fields and increasing the amount of automation – as well as making use of Einstein Opportunity Scoring. Combined, these changes help free up Sales Directors, enabling them to spend more time on outbound activities and nurturing existing deals.


Improving communications

Like all businesses are finding, communication is key. Concentra has ensured that team cohesion has been maintained through town hall meetings and all-hands calls with senior leaders, while Alistair himself maintained daily check-ins with the Operations team.

Even so, Alistair noted that some of the more casual engagements between team members had been affected. Those informal lunchtime chats between Sales and Development teams, while impromptu, were valuable to all involved.

“What we did with Salesforce is to actively direct people towards Chatter and Quip,” says Alistair. “We’ve been setting up account and opportunity groups, but also for people who would not traditionally be part of the sales cycle, like developers, just to keep that level of casual collaboration going.”


Order optimisation

Concentra’s third pivot when adapting to the new normal was to look closer at some of its processes. The organisation has a large Channel Sales team, and its partners were still busy putting through orders. Previously, the order process used emails and excel sheets and could take days, so there was a big opportunity to optimise operations.

Working with Pracedo, Concentra rolled out a fully integrated order placing system with Salesforce CPQ. “We’ve allowed partners to self-serve a lot more. Now, they are able to directly log into the community, see the list of products and get up-to-date pricing and place orders instantly,” says Alistair. “We’ve seen the time between order and the setup of products go down from two days to roughly two hours, which I think is pretty amazing.”


Lessons learned

While our current situation is evolving, Alistair can look back over the last few months at how to further improve the business in the future. This includes trying to increase the data quality of opportunities and leads to further aid Sales Directors, and continue to find new process efficiencies, but also to take advantage of the business’s new rapid responsiveness.

“There wasn’t a lot of time to dwell on decisions, so we’ve had to make them quickly and see what happens… We’re trying to retain that sense of ‘deliver quickly, iterate, see what works’ and just repeat that process. Some things don’t work, but that’s okay if you remember why,” says Alistair. 


Accelerating into the next normal

While the ‘new normal’ has become something of a buzzword over the last few months, it is inarguable that we are in a period of considerable change and we need to seek out business successes in new ways.

The businesses that have proven most resilient and adaptable to change are those using technology like Salesforce to accelerate out of it, back towards growth. Read about the trends in integrated customer experiences