Technology
7 minute read

How to Automate Your Business Processes with Salesforce

Jayant is a Salesforce Certified Application Architect and Platform Developer II, and has worked in several projects in a variety of fields.

Salesforce is recognized as the world’s #1 CRM platform with various products giving you the power to put your business thoughts into action. Sales Cloud drives and improves sales productivity, Service Cloud helps your service reps deliver a superior customer experience, Marketing Cloud runs effective campaigns, and Community Cloud engages with your customers and partners. You even have the recently introduced Einstein Cloud which powers all of the above apps via artificial intelligence. And all these solutions are available as cloud-based platforms so you can not only use them as software but also customize them per your own business needs.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to apply Salesforce to your business processes and different users for a more efficient business. Salesforce can be the automation your business needs or the guard to strengthen your security. It can also be the platform that brings together all aspects of your business under one roof so that you can play 360 from the same cloud solution—a solution that also powers millions of other users around the world.

There are two major ways to implement your business in Salesforce—declarative customizations and custom programming. And we’ll take a look at both here below.

Declarative Customizations

Salesforce offers many of its sales, service, marketing, and engagement features right out of the box. In other words, these declarative features are available without needing to write a single line of code and are usually set up by your organization’s Salesforce admins or other relevant sales/service/marketing consultants. Here’s a list of some of the most common declarative features available:

  • Validation rules allow you to validate your data before inserting/updating, e.g., populating an email before creating a lead.
  • Workflow rules enable you to perform an action/value update when certain criteria are met, e.g., creating a task for a sales rep when a new lead is created.
  • Security and sharing give you the ability to specify who sees what, establishing access rights for everyone, e.g., allowing a manager to see his/her subordinates work and records.
  • Opportunity and related features include opportunity splits and revenue forecasts, features that contribute to sales cloud implementation. Opportunity splits allow you to split the contribution to a deal among multiple users, and forecasts enable you to predict upcoming revenue in the quarter.
  • Case and related features contribute to service cloud implementation including case teams and case queues. Case teams let a team of service reps work together on a case. Case queues allow you to assign a case to many users, with it ultimately going to whoever is free.
  • Campaign and related features include mass marketing emails and contribute to marketing cloud implementation.

Custom Programming

Salesforce is built at an API level. This means that all the out-of-the-box features it provides can be extended and/or updated in ways that are unique to your business. For this, we typically need Salesforce developers who are able to code on Apex, Visualforce, and Lightning. These are the main features available via Salesforce’s custom programming:

  • Apex coding is used to drive logic in Visualforce pages and Lightning components as well as for integrations with external systems for the purpose of data syncing.
  • Visualforce pages give you the ability to create VF pages to design custom forms, render PDF documents, etc. They are built on server-side architecture.
  • Lightning components allow you to use Lightning to provide a responsive mobile-first design for various UI elements, such as forms and tables. They are built on client-side architecture and are faster than Visualforce pages.

Real-life Implementation Scenarios

Here, we talk about some specific implementation projects known to me so you can understand the use cases of Salesforce, and after this, we will discuss the strategy to transform a big business process into specific requirements and tasks which can then be built on Salesforce.

CF loan implementations: We designed a complete loan management system for CF. At the initial stages, we created various loan forms for each of their business via two-wheeler loans, property loans, used car loans, consumer durable loans, etc. These forms could be filled out online in the Salesforce platform by the people in the branch. Once the loan application was completed, the customer details were sent to Posidex Services via integration, which calculated the customer’s CIBIL score. If the CIBIL score was good, the customer’s phone number and address were verified by verification agencies. This involved creating verification forms on tablets so the verifiers can go to their address and resolve any misinformation. Once the loan application was verified, the loan was ready to be disbursed. We built the database and security using declarative methods, forms were designed as Visualforce pages, and integration API calls were written in Apex.

IMS Marketing Cloud setup: We designed a marketing cloud solution for the IMS. The solution was able to create 1-1 customer journeys for the promotion of their pharmaceutical products. We were able to design highly graphical email designs as promotion templates all through drag and drop interface of the email studio. These emails could contain dynamic values such as the user’s name/photo. We could set recipient filters such as sending these emails only to people living in California. Then, we could program when to send reminder emails/SMS messages if the customer did not open the email within a specified timeframe. We could also track how many customers opened their email and clicked on a link, all without the need to write any code.

Events and survey app for Davita: Here we used Salesforce so Davita can manage their event registrations for all the events they do year-wide in Salesforce. We also designed a survey solution so they can track the customer feedback of patients visiting their clinics. The event registration had various features such as barcode registration, check-in page, and the ability to find events based on zip code. When the user filled the form for registration, either on Davita’s website or by calling a representative who filled out the form for them, the registrant was recorded in Salesforce and sent a registration ID number and barcode over email, which the registrant could then use for check-in. In the survey app, Davita marketing managers could build complex surveys with features such as determining who is eligible for a survey based on age/gender/etc., driving automated actions such as creating a case when a user gives negative feedback, and the ability to present the survey in multiple languages all within Salesforce. Both the events and survey app were created using lightning components.

Convert Your Business Processes into User Stories with Salesforce

Salesforce essentially helps you take your business to the cloud platform. And in so doing, it can help you meet and/or even surpass your sales, service, marketing, and engagement goals. You will most likely have a large number of tasks or processes that you want to be enabled in Salesforce. The way to properly manage this is to divide each functionality or task into various small units of work called “user stories.” You can assign these stories to your admins/developers, and then watch your business quickly come to life in Salesforce. This entire system of management via individual units of work follows the same paradigm as set forth by Agile Methodology—the recommended way of building Salesforce applications.

But what business processes can you move to Salesforce? Here we’ll take you through Salesforce’s key products and how they can be put them to work for your business.

How You Can Use Sales Cloud

As a sales manager, you can use Sales Cloud to view and report on the deals your sales reps have been working hard on. This includes knowing the status of and progress made on each deal.

As an organization, you can track the ongoing deals and move them through various stages. For example, your sales process may include the stages of Request, Proposal, Confirmed, Contract, and Closed Won or Closed Lost.

As a business forecast manager, you can predict the probability of a deal closing and thus calculate estimated revenue for the next quarter by using Salesforce Forecast Management.

How You Can Use Service Cloud

As a customer service unit, Service Cloud allows you to assign customer ad hoc requests based on the type of request being made and to which department it belongs. For example, hardware requests would be assigned to the hardware team, software requests to the software team, etc.

As a live agent, you can chat with customers right on your website and resolve or transfer a customer’s request immediately.

As a service agent manager, you can expedite cases not acted upon within a certain period of time, as defined by the customer’s SLA.

How You Can Use Marketing Cloud

As a marketing manager, you can use Marketing Cloud to launch new campaigns for specific products as well as add leads or contacts as members of the campaign. You can also send promotional emails to all associated campaign members and track their email activity. You can even design a custom screen to capture feedback of participants who attended an event at your location.

How You Can Use Community Cloud

As a customer, Community Cloud enables you to log in to the customer portal of a shoe company to find out about new product launches and interact with other buyers. You can also submit and share reviews of its products.

As a partner of the shoe company, you can log in to the partner portal and create or close deals via the main business’ common product inventory.

As a sales manager, you can see reports and performance dashboards of your partners in various areas in order to drive revenues.

As a customer community manager, you can set up a reputation system to reward leaders and active contributors to your community.

Summary

So yes, you can start applying Salesforce to your business processes. And given the variety of features offered by Salesforce, most business processes can be driven on the Salesforce platform fairly quickly. In this post, we discussed the ways in which Salesforce can act as a medium for implementing your business processes. We discussed some real-life Salesforce implementations and the concept of user stories. We elaborated on several sample user stories for all of the Salesforce products via Sales, Service, Marketing, and Community Cloud.

To learn more about the products, you can visit Salesforce Products. Salesforce provides a vivid interactive learning platform to learn the features as well as the implementation of all of its products, and that too for free. It’s called Trailhead, and you can visit it here,

I also spoke about Salesforce Einstein in the introduction, it’s a fully featured Could AI service that you can learn more about in Salesforce Einstein AI: An API Tutorial.

Understanding the basics

How can you use the Salesforce platform?

You can use the Salesforce platform to increase your sales productivity, improve collaboration among your service reps and customers, and to drive marketing campaigns in Salesforce.

What is Declarative vs Custom Development in Salesforce?

In Salesforce you can do a lot of things without even writing a single line of code. This is called declarative development. For scenarios which are complex, you can extend the platform by writing Apex code which is a Java-like language. This is called custom development.

What are some scenarios in which you can use Salesforce?

You can use Salesforce in loan management systems, in hospital management systems, as a call center tool, as a marketing tool, and as a customer/employee engagement center, to name a few.

What is Sales Cloud?

Sales Cloud is a Salesforce product which helps to drive sales productivity. It helps to convert your leads and move opportunities through the sales pipeline.

What is Service Cloud?

Service Cloud is a Salesforce product which improves how service reps deal with the customer. It contains a service console by which service reps can work on a number of requests in a seamless way. It also has a live agent which allows real-time chatting with a customer issue.

What is Marketing Cloud?

Marketing Cloud is a Salesforce product which allows building one to one customer journeys for marketing campaigns. It can track customer clicks/opens and drive decisions based on it.