With its ability to track and illuminate just about every aspect of the customer relationship and sales pipeline, Salesforce has become an indispensable tool for over 150,000 companies around the world.
But it’s not always easy to leverage the power of this extraordinarily powerful platform. In fact, many companies run into potentially significant challenges that really put a hamper over reaping the full benefits of Salesforce.
We recently conducted a poll of administrators and power users to ask them what their biggest challenges were in terms of Salesforce. Here are their top 6:
#1: Lack Of Support From Salesforce
Salesforce.com (SFDC) offers a free support plan with a 2-day response time. The intent of this support is not necessarily to fix the issues users have but instead to help guide them to the right solution.
Additionally, SFDC offers free online training resources like its Trailhead video library, guided journeys, and a user community.
But this just isn’t enough for most companies. So they either need to seek other support options or risk having serious issues with Salesforce that could cause a serious disruption to their business.
While a typical Salesforce user can easily learn basic tasks and use online tools to boost their efficiency, when problems – real problems – arise, they’re almost never solved by these users. They need the support of someone with dedicated training and experience fixing and customizing the platform.
The lack of this type of support was by far the most frequently cited challenge faced by the users we surveyed.
#2: Difficult To Customize
Salesforce is a massive product. It’s designed to meet the needs of a large variety of companies. It is meant to be customized, not simply activated and rolled out to users.
But many companies find that Salesforce is challenging to customize to their needs and the needs of individual users.
The tools are there for nearly whatever customizations a company or individual may require. But like with any robust system, it takes time to learn what’s even possible – let alone bring those possibilities to life within the application.
To get the most out of the platform, you need someone who both understands the requirements of the business and who has the technical knowledge to customize Salesforce according to those requirements.
#3: User Permissions
Ask yourself … would you assign full access privileges to your accounting software to anybody other than your top executives and the accounting team? Of course, you wouldn’t.
Yet many companies do exactly that in Salesforce. They way too freely give administrative access to users who just don’t need it.
Usually, it’s because either these companies don’t understand the importance of roles and profiles or don’t think it’s worth spending time and energy to properly configure users.
Just as with accounting software, you need to protect the data within Salesforce, and you want users to have access to functionality that is just right for what they need to accomplish. No more, no less.
But some companies feel that this is not easy to do. And they are likely right. Customizing user permissions and creating the correct profiles and hierarchal structure does require some level of Salesforce expertise. Not to mention the ability to customize permissions for each individual field.
Bottom line? Companies who underestimate the importance and complexity of user management and its effect on data integrity will at some point live to regret it.
#4: Compromised Data Integrity Linked to Support Issues
When the Salesforce environment isn’t managed properly, over time the system becomes clogged with inaccurate, non-critical and outdated data. Users are frustrated when they can’t get the reports and analytics they need, or worse, think they have the right data when they don’t.
And remember, without a hierarchy protocol, users with system-wide privileges can change any aspect of Salesforce, including what’s displayed on the screen and what happens to the data after it’s entered, which has obvious negative implications for data integrity if they’re not admin-level, trained experts.
So while this was stated as a challenge by our survey respondents, like all of these challenges, it can be mitigated by creating the right systems up front that address data management. And that includes the proactive monitoring of data to ensure accuracy and necessity.
#5: Lack of Useable Reports and Dashboards
If everyone has access to and can change data, they’re probably also given the ability to add and edit reports and dashboards. Great. Why is that a problem?
Over time, the system is populated with inaccurate, non-critical, and outdated reports generated by inexperienced, untrained users— just like the data we mentioned above.
If available reports number into the hundreds and your team has no ability to understand which ones are accurate and still relevant, you might as well throw out Salesforce reports and dashboards and go back to using a spreadsheet program.
You need a process to protect your data and reports from the potential chaos that threatens them. And you also need access to someone with expertise in designing useful Salesforce reports and dashboards.
As the oft-quoted Alan Deutschman once said, adapt or die. Agile companies have to pivot all the time to stay competitive, which means the metrics they care about can change over time too. Your reports and dashboards should be as dynamic as your company so you’re getting the best, most relevant information whenever you need it.
Bottom line? If you hope to dominate, you’re going to need a Salesforce report and dashboard specialist on tap, and you’re going to have to invest in periodic maintenance and updates for these essential tools. That’s one of the reasons why many companies are turning to managed service solutions to assist them with this and other Salesforce support-related challenges.
#6: Poor User Adoption
This last challenge most likely stems almost entirely from the preceding ones.
Our survey indicated that without access to trained support professionals, your team will almost surely become frustrated with Salesforce and stop using it altogether.
Not only does this mean your reports and dashboards are populated with inadequate data, but productivity and efficiency also go way down. If each employee has his or her own siloed method for tracking sales and customer data, you’ve lost the benefit of a central repository for information.
To optimize the benefits of Salesforce, you should be aiming for at least 90% of active users logged in each month, and at least 75% created or updated a record. So why don’t people use Salesforce?
Your sales team comes to work every day to hit targets, close deals and feed the pipeline. They can’t do any of these things if they’re stuck in front of a screen trying to diagnose yet another software problem, or are expected to perform repetitive, time-consuming tasks that could otherwise be automated, or can’t get a third party tool to integrate with Salesforce.
Without the proper support in place, even minor irritations like being locked out of an account or password reset issues can become time and productivity black holes and users are presented with yet another barrier to use.
If it’s a hassle to use Salesforce, your team won’t use it. They don’t care how important their adoption rates are to data integrity. They just know the software slows them down, and they don’t have resources available to help them quickly and efficiently overcome challenges.
You wouldn’t hire an IT expert to fill a sales position, so why would you hire talented salespeople and expect them to solve admin-level Salesforce software issues? Companies who implement a robust Salesforce support solution see higher user adoption rates, better data, more insightful reports, and dashboards and increased revenue. It’s kind of a no brainer.
More Support, Fewer Challenges
Companies invest a lot in acquiring Salesforce. But they can’t forget about the ongoing investment required to keep Salesforce running smoothly and effectively.
If you want to maximize the nearly limitless potential of Salesforce to increase your bottom line, StarrData can help with expert support solutions geared to your unique organizational challenges.
For 10 years, we’ve helped hundreds of companies do more with Salesforce. StarrData is in the top 1% for customer satisfaction among all Salesforce Partners in North America. With our Salesforce Managed Services, you’ll have access to our world-class support, our 5-star certified Salesforce teams, and our value-based pricing structure.
If you’re ready to explore all the benefits of StarrData’s Salesforce Managed Services, we invite you to fill out this simple