MCA’s Top 5 Series: Do You Know How to Effectively Optimize Salesforce for Your Business?

By Julia Bardmesser, Head of Technology and Data Practice

Many retirement organizations employ industry-leader Salesforce as their customer relationship management (CRM) system today. One of its key capabilities is allowing firms to track end-to-end customer relationships, from prospect to onboarding to servicing to offboarding.

While Salesforce has robust capabilities that allow firms to optimize critical customer data that will give their Sales and Servicing teams critical insights, we too often see firms using the toolkits the wrong way.

Is Your Organization Guilty of Using Salesforce Inefficiently?

We continue to see our clients struggle with six key challenges when it comes to Salesforce optimization:

  • Determining the appropriate application of Salesforce’s capabilities to business needs
  • Not fully capitalizing on the full capabilities of the technology
  • Bringing in too much external data
  • Customizing and changing code
  • Using it for non-sales and marketing functions (e.g., using it as a workflow tool)
  • Inability to gain full use of the insights the data contained in the applications provide, including not understanding the correlation between the Master Data Management (MDM) strategy and Salesforce

If these challenges sound familiar, the following insights may help inform your path forward.

Our team has developed five best practices for using Salesforce and integrating it into your firm’s CRM:

Take full advantage of CRM functionality within the Salesforce platform – embrace its robust capabilities. Take advantage of all the configuration capabilities. At its core, it is a tremendous CRM, and firms too often fail to utilize its full capabilities as a CRM tool. Salesforce has a proven CRM methodology, and it can be configured to meet most companies’ needs. 

Standardize your data inputs and minimize free-form data entry. The data you collect is extremely valuable. Do everything you can to enter data well the first time and keep it up to date. Standardization provides greater ease of use through selection navigation (e.g., standardized data labels, a pull-down vs. typing data in each time) and ensures data quality, which will produce better reporting and analytics. 

Customize your interface and workflow to fit your markets and sales and servicing processes. A customized interface and workflow translate to the easiest way for a user to enter information into the system. By doing so, you will have better information coming out of the tool, and the tool will be more valuable to your Sales and Service organization.

“Approach your CRM with your Sales and Servicing Teams in mind. Enable AI to provide insight into customer behavior and product effectiveness.”

Integrate with a Master Data Management (MDM) platform. Successful integration will ensure “clean” customer data in the Salesforce ecosystem and beyond while removing the potential for duplicate entries.

Maximize Analytics and Reporting capabilities. Maximize the value of Salesforce’s CRM data by combining with other external and internal data in a separate analytics environment to produce insights and next best actions. Make the insights available to Sales and Service staff by using Salesforce’s extensive embedded reporting capabilities.

Five Things to Avoid When Using Salesforce  

Now that you know what Salesforce is best used for, it is equally important to understand what business problems Salesforce is not intended to answer. 

  • Too much customization and writing code to implement
  • Using overly standardized, generic field labels
  • Entering customer data without resolving through MDM first
  • Bringing in external data not necessary for CRM functionality
  • Deploying only as a workflow tool for business processes unrelated to Sales and Servicing

We encourage you to ask yourself:

“Am I using Salesforce most effectively today?”

It is our experience that when our clients utilize Salesforce effectively, they can enhance sales and service processes. The added benefit is that clients can collect invaluable data to gain customer insights, optimize customer acquisition and retention strategies, and analyze product and service costs.   

In summary, Salesforce can be a great tool for managing relationships with your customers, but you do need to know how best to use it and understand how to avoid falling into the traps outlined above. Make sure you are asking yourself the right questions and solving the right problems when it comes to Salesforce so you can reap the benefits of its sophistication and optimize it for your Sales and Servicing teams. 

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About My Corporate Ally

My Corporate Ally is a practitioner-based firm primarily focused on the retirement industry space. Our industry experts deliver practical and actionable client solutions across multiple channels, operating models, and delivery types.

Built on the premise that client enablement leads to better customer outcomes, we provide organizations with the necessary tools to navigate complex challenges and transform their business model with proven methodologies. 

We encourage you to contact us today to find out how we can become your ally. Together, we will get you and your team further, faster, and with more confidence as you take your ideas from conception to implementation.

Barbara March, CEO

Barb is an entrepreneur with deep roots in the Financial Services industry, having extensive expertise leading global and domestic mutual fund, asset management and insurance companies, as well as global technology outsourcing firms.

She built and ran BridgePoint Group, a global strategic consulting firm which worked with over 50 global financial service industry providers. BridgePoint completed multiple major global transformations resulting in increases in both growth and scale. She sold the firm to TATA Consultancy Services (TCS) in 2018.

She then built and led the TCS US retirement business. Her team designed next-generation software to support the US retirement market and leveraged the TCS global operating model for delivery.

Now as CEO of My Corporate Ally, Barb is bringing together industry experts to deliver MCA’s suite of practical, actionable solutions.

Interested in Learning How My Corporate Ally Can Help You?

Contact Laura Lynn Morrissey

Laura Lynn has built a reputation as a transformative executive, hands-on change agent, and business leader. She is able to merge entrepreneurial vision with strong business and financial acumen to build client-centric, consultative cultures that meet the evolving demands of today’s highly competitive markets.

Challenging the status quo while at Fortune 500 companies like Fidelity Investments, she has developed strategies that propel sustainable revenue growth and market positioning, and top client satisfaction scores. Her experience spans private and publicly held startups, turnaround, and high-growth organizations across diverse industry sectors, including Financial Services, Healthcare, and FinTech.