In the third of our series of articles, we look at how workflow rules in Salesforce can help sales teams do more of what brings in revenue.

1 – Value your time

2 – Increase your accuracy

3 – Keep managers and reps on the same page

4 – Be tenacious

5 – Stay onside with the wider organisation

Salesforce is the industry standard sales CRM for a reason. It is packed with features that help sales teams keep track of their process:

  • Forecasting
  • Managing leads and opportunities
  • Data at your fingertips – on desktop and mobile

The best sales teams know what is truly important. They know the attributes which make them successful. By employing automation processes in Salesforce, they can tap into those attributes and enhance them.

Workflow is the original method of creating automations in Salesforce. The automations you can create using Workflow all relate to what makes sales teams achieve more. They can help you do more of what works, which is why the best sales teams take advantage of them. Let’s find out more.

The best sales teams value their time

If you’re in sales, time is literally money. It’s the one resource we have no control over. We only have a finite number of hours in the day and you can never get them back. Anything you can do to save time becomes like gold dust.

For sales reps, their time is most productively spent talking to customers, either face-to-face or on the phone. The time you spend with customers, finding out what their pain points are and positioning yourself as the solution, translates into revenue.

No one expects salespeople to be able to spend 100% of their time with customers. There are parts of a salesperson’s role that are essential but don’t directly involve selling. However, any time your reps are not with customers, they are not bringing in revenue, so you must do everything you can to minimise the length of time these non-selling tasks take.

One of these essential but non-revenue generating tasks is updating Salesforce. Having as much data in your CRM is beneficial to the whole organisation. It also benefits the individual salesperson, as they can quickly call on helpful data when they need it. However, the longer a sales rep spends entering data into Salesforce, the less time they are selling.

Workflow rules can dramatically reduce the amount of time a sales rep spends doing data entry. For example, a rule can be set to automatically update all the relevant fields across Salesforce, when one field is changed. This saves the sales rep a lot of time, as they only have to enter each piece of data once. The time saved can be used serving customers.

The best sales teams value accuracy

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of being human. When you’re under pressure, as salespeople often are when they’re trying to hit a target, mistakes are common. More haste equals less speed.

When it comes to entering data into Salesforce, accuracy is essential. Mistakes have consequences. A stray letter or dot in an email address could lead to a customer not receiving important emails. A misplaced digit in a revenue field could put your whole quarterly quota in jeopardy. Therefore, anything you can do to minimise errors is worth doing.

The thing that unites most data entry mistakes is that it is a person that makes them. So, the more you can take people out of the data entry process, the better. Salesforce automation does just that.

Going back to the last example. If automation can populate all relevant fields when one field is changed, that means the human only needs to get it right once; everything else is taken care of by the automation. This is how Workflow rules boost accuracy in a sales team.

In the best sales team, reps and managers are on the same page

The best sales teams thrive on two attributes, accountability and communication. Reps must take responsibility for the business they are working on, while managers must be confident that they are on track to hit their targets.

Of course, sales managers are also accountable to people higher up in the organisation – the CEO, for example. The best sales managers always know what is happening in their team.

Communication is key here. When things go wrong in a sales team, it’s often due to a breakdown in communication. Perhaps a sales rep hasn’t kept their manager informed that they are about to lose a piece of business. Maybe they need help clarifying their proposition to a customer, but are afraid to ask for it.

Salesforce is a terrific tool for helping sales managers stay up-to-date with what their team are doing. When a manager can easily see the details of every call a rep takes with a customer, or every email they receive, it’s much easier to have a handle on the business as a whole. However, as we’ve discussed, updating Salesforce takes up a lot of sales reps’ time. Plus, managers are busy people too.

Enter Salesforce workflow rules. When you can create rules that automatically email the Sales Manager when a deal is marked ‘Closed’, for example, the Sales Manager will be more informed, without the rep having to do anything.

Salesforce Workflow rules improve communication in teams, which can only be a good thing.

The best sales teams are tenacious

Another hallmark of a great sales team is that they never give up on a piece of business, nor do they let a potential customer slip through their fingers.

This can be a difficult outcome to achieve. Sales teams can be large, with people leaving, joining or changing roles regularly. Often, a team can be dealing with hundreds of pieces of businesses at a time. Some customers are worth a lot more than others. Some are harder to sell to, or the sales process takes a lot longer. It’s no surprise that pieces of business get forgotten about or fall by the wayside.

If you can put in a system that ensures that a rep will always follow up on a potential customer within a specific amount of time, this is a big step to ensuring nothing slips through your net. This is something you can do using Salesforce Workflow rules. You can automatically assign tasks to sales reps to call a prospect within a pre-set amount of time after their last contact.

You can also use Workflow rules to perform lead scoring, so if a prospect interacts with your organisation enough times, their status is escalated and they become a more valuable lead. All this ensures that no prospect gets left behind, while reps can still prioritise the hottest leads.

The best sales teams are involved with the broader organisation

Sales teams often have an image problem within organisations, most of the time unfairly. Salespeople can be seen as flashy, out wining and dining customers while everyone else does the real work! On the other hand, they are essential to the business. If you don’t make sales, you don’t have a business. Therefore, it’s desirable that the sales team gets along well with all the other teams in the organisation.

Just as it is within a sales team, communication is key to maintaining a strong relationship the wider organisation. Collaboration is also a great way to bring everyone together, as well as initiatives that bring benefit to all.

Salesforce Workflow rules don’t just bring benefit to the sales team who use it most often. Other departments can benefit too. The nature of Workflow rules is that it only has to be set up once and it should work forever. This is good for the Salesforce admins in your IT team, as it will reduce the time they spend assisting reps. It also helps your finance department as they will have a more up-to-date handle on forecasting and revenue figures. They will also benefit from the more accurate contact details when they have to chase payments.

Are you making use of Workflow rules?

These are all great examples of how Salesforce Workflow rules can help a sales team to perform better, which is why the best sales teams use them.

Of course, nothing is perfect. Salesforce Workflow rules can bring a different set of problems that sales teams have to deal with. For example, it can generate a large number of automated emails, which can make some team members feel bombarded. It’s advisable that you try to strike a balance. You need emails to ensure that every piece of business is being looked after, but you don’t want there to be so many that reps just ignore them as there is no time to answer them all.

The flaws of Workflow rules have also been identified by Salesforce themselves, which is why they introduced a new method of creating automations, called Process Builder. Process Builder can perform more functions than Workflow and is more intuitive to use. Rather than dealing with fields and codes, you set up Process Builder automations using visual flow charts.

These problems aside, it is clear that Salesforce Workflow rules can help sales teams be the best they can be. The best sales teams look for anything that can give them an edge, no matter how small. If you’re not using Salesforce automations, you could be losing out. Don’t get a human to do a robot’s job!