GCOMM embarked on a software review over the past several months looking for the right business tool. As part of this review, we looked very closely at our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. In most organisations the CRM represents the primary interface for sales and customer service related functions, so it’s a critical piece of software that needs to integrate deeply within your organisation.
Without wanting to go into the detailed ins and outs of why GCOMM selected Salesforce, suffice to say the Salesforce platform demonstrated rapid deployment and access to an extensive selection of deeply integrated, globally market-leading software solutions.
Of course with the transition from one CRM system to another, you will inevitably have a steep learning curve for staff and the unavoidable complexities of data migration. In this respect Salesforce provides an interface that is intuitive and natural, meaning the uptake of the solution has been very rapid in our organisation. The tools provided as part of Salesforce for data migration are also well thought out and give you the control you need to make your data work.
Running an organisation such as GCOMM requires the full focus of our staff, so distractions caused by software transitions to new business tools are not to be taken lightly. With GCOMM’s operation expanding into Serbia, we were able to dedicate and transfer a staff member to Australia to focus on this transitional period. Because Salesforce is 100% cloud based it is easily accessible from everywhere, so our Serbian team members continue to be our administrators for all future change requirements from abroad.
There are a few hurdles to overcome in relation to Salesforce that our experience has made us well aware of. Firstly, there is no structured on-boarding and implementation assistance provided. This means that if you don’t have dedicated resources and expertise in-house to commit to the software, it’s going to operate like a very expensive digital rolodex. Partnering with someone who has implemented Salesforce previously will save you significant time and deliver you the results you need, quickly.
Secondly, Salesforce is not just a CRM. Rather it’s a whole development platform where there is countless third party applications all designed to solve unique problems. In isolation, Salesforce may look fairly simple from the outset but the power of the platform provides endless capabilities for streamlining and automating your organisation. We are just starting our journey to where we would like the platform to go.
I thought I would share with you a list of the tool’s features we have implemented and how it’s improved our business operation:
Support ticketing integration – For all of our ticketing we implemented a pre-integrated solution as part of the Salesforce partner offering, called Zendesk. It uses the Salesforce API to communicate directly with our customer data. It means our account managers can easily see tickets in the CRM without having to enter into the ticketing system.
All device access – We made a decision some time ago to use iPhones extensively across the organisation. Both Salesforce and Zendesk have clients for IOS, which means that we can access the applications from all iPhone and iPad devices.
We have a long term vision for how we would like Salesforce to work within GCOMM. By partnering with a world leading platform, we have already experienced tangible productivity improvements and learnt best practice behaviour that global organisations can teach.
I expect it will take more than a year before we really get Salesforce working to its full potential and continue the integration with our operational billing systems. I will keep posting articles as we expand our use of the CRM and share with you our experiences. Feel free to comment below or write to me if you have any questions.♦ End