All you need to know about Salesforce for Startups.
Salesforce for startups: is it worth it? Will you really see any added value from such an advanced system? Life in a startup is fast-paced, ever-changing and generally a lot of fun. But it can also be chaotic and unpredictable, requiring you to juggle a lot of priorities and disparate issues.
At an early stage of your business, you might write off any intelligent pieces of software. After all, who knows where your business will be in a year’s time. The last thing you want to do is invest valuable money into a system that doesn’t bring any benefits to your growing business.
However, if growth is what you’re after, then don’t write off a CRM system just yet.
Salesforce was a startup too.
Well, all businesses were a startup once.
But the difference is that Salesforce believed in CRM from the beginning, it’s the service they’re offering after all.
Salesforce began with four men working from a single bedroom apartment in San Francisco. Their goal to create a business software application that eliminated the need for multimillion-dollar fup front costs, implementations and constant upgrades.
With CRM on their side, they built their business to be a $13 billion empire. Maybe we should be paying attention.
Planning for growth
So maybe you don’t have plans for billion-dollar growth like Salesforce, or maybe you do. Either way, it’s clear that planning for growth in the early stages can bring wild success.
It’s been said that many startups focus so much on guaranteeing growth will happen, that they fail to plan for it appropriately. If you haven’t got the right tools from the beginning, how do you expect to grow and scale over time?
Ultimately you need to work out the challenges you might face early on, and identify which tools will support you in overcoming these challenges.
Systemising your startup
So how can you turn a bedroom venture into a multi-billion enterprise?
The answer is systemisation.
Systemising your processes is what allows you handle growth. A sudden influx of leads is no good if your company can’t actually handle them. Therefore you need to find a balance between human input and automated systems. If you’ve got tasks that don’t require manual input, these are the first you should automate. The tasks that do require manual input should be systemised in a way that means they are done as efficiently as possible. Not only will this be a huge time saver for your startup, but it also sets you up for future success. Which is what we all want, right?!
What processes can you systemise?
Small businesses which implement systemised processes from day one are ultimately being built on efficiency. But what exact processes should you think about systemising?
In reality, any business process has the potential to be systemised. There’s always ways to improve what we’re doing. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worth systemising every process you can.
Overall there are 4 key areas you should definitely be systemising:
- Sales and lead nurturing
- Lead generation
- Quotes and proposals
- Customer service and retention
And all of these can be systemised with an intelligent CRM system like Salesforce.
Salesforce and Automation
If it’s not already, automation is about to be your new best friend.
Automation is a facet of systemisation which refers to automating otherwise manual tasks. If you’ve got a report you run every month, automate it! If you’re regularly sending out quotes, automate this and cut your time in half!
There are plenty of business processes that can easily be automated, and for startups this is hugely beneficial.
Salesforce is a world-leading CRM system that helps businesses to manage and nurture their client relationships, as well as streamline their internal processes. Automation tools in Salesforce eliminate monotonous tasks, freeing up your users time and allowing them to focus on other business critical tasks.
So what exactly can Salesforce automate for startups?
Salesforce automation for Startups
The king of automating your standard internal procedures.
A workflow rule is the main container for a set of workflow instructions. And workflow instructions can always be summed up in an if/then statement.
Setting up your workflow rule then allows automated actions to be executed when the condition meets the exact criteria.
Tasks like updating a field, sending an email, sending an outbound message and creating a task are examples of how workflow rules can be utilised.
A more recent addition to Salesforce’s arsenal of automation tools. Think, multi-decision workflow rule on steroids!
The beauty of process builder is it’s point-and-click tool, allowing you to easily automate if/then processes whilst viewing a graphical representation of your process as you build.
Process Builder has a huge functionality, increasing the amount of work your users can do by a huge margin. It’s obvious why this tool is such a win for businesses as it can automate almost anything! The inclusion of multiple decision points also means that you can have far more outcomes than possible with Workflow Rules.
Tasks such as creating a record, updating a field, updating a related objects field, logging a call, launching a flow, sending an email, posting to chatter and submitting for approval are all examples of how the automation tool can be used in your startup.
Also known as Visual Flow, the tool is a supposed unsung hero amongst Salesforce users. Used largely to build wizard-style flows where take a user through a series of steps whilst updating records along the way.
All automated tasks possible with Process Builder are possible with Flow, in addition to the wizard-style screens, delete records as well as update any record in the system.
Ultimately, if process builder can’t do it, Flow usually can.
Benefits of Salesforce for Startups
So now you know the different types of automation tools Salesforce has to offer, with the main advantage to save you significant amounts of time whilst setting you up for exponential growth.
But what other benefits does Salesforce have for startups?
Simple, scalable customer management
It’s no secret that in the early stages of a company’s growth, your little black book of contacts is one of your most valuable assets.There’s no end to the prospects waiting to be converted and the existing customers who bring in a steady stream of repeat business.
Using Salesforce as a startup allows you to neatly organise all your customer information in a single location, with all critical information to hand to aid seamless interactions. But best of all, a CRM system doesn’t just make it easier to contact your customers, it actually helps you do business with them, delivering the speed and scalability that a growing company needs.
More effective selling
Salesforce can help you qualify and prioritise your leads so you know where your efforts should be directed. Automated actions can prompt you at the most appropriate times to maximise the chances of converting your lead.
Of course not every lead will result in conversion. However Salesforce can hep you analyse and learn from your outcome to guide future strategies.
Simplified IT infrastructure
As a startup your initial IT infrastructure needs may be minimal. But what happens when you have an influx of customers?
An intelligent CRM system such as Salesforce is able to meet your IT needs no matter what stage of growth you’re at. Whether you need it stripped back to the basics, or need a sudden bolt-on to expand your functionality, with Salesforce you can do it all.
Better yet, the cloud based technology ensures that you can access your data from any smart device, enabling full collaboration with your team.