After hundreds of Salesforce implementations with Service Firms, and using this system ourselves, we at App Solve have developed an end-to-end implementation package that addresses 80% of what a service business needs. Then we customize the rest for that individual business.
A typical system life cycle of a business, the majority of the time, based on what we’ve seen over the past 7 years as a Salesforce Implementation and Consulting company is the following (this is not unlike our life cycle as well, though admittedly we did begin with Salesforce right away, considering what we do for a living):
The Founder(s) starts the business, and low and behold, they’re able to acquire customers. They now need to be able to invoice the customer and take payments. They can start with invoices in Word/PDF, but they’re going to need to accept payments in the way that their customers want to pay (credit card, cheque, EFT), as well as track financials. This is where many early companies begin with a fairly simple accounting system like Quickbooks. Quickbooks is great! We used it ourselves in the early stages of our business. You can manage cash in, cash out, payroll, and your entire general ledger.
So now the business has Quickbooks, or something similar, and likely applications that enable them to perform the operational part of their business. This could be heavily based on spreadsheets, but depending on the service the company provides, would likely require some type of IT system.
What tends to happen as well is that the company is able to track a customer that is now in Quickbooks or similar. A business wouldn’t want to input an account in Quickbooks unless they’re about to bill them, so naturally, you would only have customer accounts loaded in Quickbooks.
At a certain point, it becomes clear that ‘hey, how do we better track the businesses or individuals that are not doing work with us yet?’ Enter Salesforce.com. Now the business can manage individuals and businesses that could become a potential customer (leads), the sales cycles they undergo to attempt to turn those leads into customers (opportunities), and everything in between. The business realizes that they need to track the amount of leads that are out there for them, as well as the prospects that didn’t end up becoming customers after the sales cycle was engaged through an opportunity and sales cycle.
As the business grows, the sales cycle becomes more complex. There are more salespeople, and the need to understand what’s happening in sales and marketing becomes that much greater. Onboarded salespeople need to know ‘what needs to be done at stage 3 of the sales cycle’, ‘am I on track?’ or ‘what do I do next?’. This is called guided selling and guides the salespeople through the businesses’ proven process. This is a process we typically implement with our customers so that their proven sales process is followed by their staff and so that onboarding is faster and more efficient.
As a Salesforce.com implementation company, this is the point that we’re often engaged with a business, though we’ve also worked with businesses right at inception, as well as several steps down the line.
At this point in the businesses’ life cycle, they now have customer accounts in Quickbooks or similar, leads/prospects being tracked in Salesforce or a similar CRM, and low and behold, they’re winning tons of business! Those leads became customer accounts and contacts in Salesforce or similar CRM, and now we have a major point of duplication in the process.
This ties in with the idea of ERP vs. CRM. Salesforce’s primary position in the market has been businesses must put the customer of their business by making CRM the primary platform your business operates on. Whereas, in the past organizations would focus on their operational process first, like using large ERP systems such as Oracle and SAP. If we start with CRM, organizations avoid inefficiencies and also scale dramatically by putting the needs of our customers first.
At this point in the process customer accounts are being created in Salesforce as a result of sales opportunities being closed, THEN the business needs to go over into the accounting system and create those customer accounts a second time so that they can begin the operational side of the business. After several wins and after several years, the company now has hundreds and thousands of duplicate records, not to mention the inefficiencies and lack of productivity from staff needing to use separate systems to perform their functions. Management is also unable to see analytics across all aspects of the business since they’re in separate systems. With ERP/Accounting within the CRM, real-time insights are driven across all key functions of the business from Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Finance – all on one dashboard.
We focus on Service Companies and ensuring that they don’t come across these pitfalls through their lifecycle of growth.
We set up the system to ensure the ability to address the following:
- Campaigns and Leads
- Automated Proposal Creation
- Downstream Operational Automation (Could include Salesforce Field Service)
- Financials through Accounting Seed
- Project Management
- Payroll through Humi and Vendor Payments through Salesforce
Our Service Company customers are achieving the following results:
- 30% more effective campaigns
- 33% increased lead conversion
- 35% more productive sales teams
- 36% increased customer satisfaction
- 36% decrease in report generation time
- 28% increase in revenue
If you’re interested in learning more, or that this type of solution could be of value for your business, connect with us at https://appsolve.com/contact.