Yes, professional salespeople, sales managers, business owners, and entrepreneurs need tools like a Salesforce CRM to keep track of their prospects, pipelines, quotes, inventory, and more.
But few need the full power, complexity, and costs that come with maintaining a Salesforce installation.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, Wes. You don't sell Salesforce, so you're just out here muddying the water because you don't get paid if my company buys Salesforce."
Yes and no.
Back in 2004, I started using Salesforce as a quota-carrying sales rep when the Austin tech startup I was working for replaced their Siebel installation.
I was actually fired up to use Salesforce because Siebel was a pig!
I started learning about templates and email send limitations as a user.
I plugged in my numbers and kept the database pretty much up to date.
In 2007 when I stopped working for them and started The Sales Whisperer®, I was brought back to Austin to help Dell deploy Salesforce and train their 3,000 North American inside and outside sales reps.
I actually brought in a team of five, and we helped train all through the summer, and two of us were retained to assist with new hire training for about seven additional months.
It was a good gig, and I really got to know Salesforce since the Dell deployment was Salesforce's largest single installation at that point.
And for companies like Dell, Salesforce is what they need because that is Salesforce's sweet spot. They were made for big deployments and complex integrations with ERP systems, accounting, service, etc.
But Salesforce is a static CRM, which is a liability for SMB users because it does not make you money while you sleep.
(Hint: That's why Salesforce purchased ExactTarget, which had already purchased Pardot. See "Salesforce After The ExactTarget Purchase.")
Having the names of your clients and prospects sitting "in the cloud" impatiently waiting for you to remember to call or email or visit or send them a letter means you can only sell to those you remember to communicate with, and hopefully, you do so on time, every time, and deliver the proper message and content at the right time.
Ford makes money because it mastered the assembly line and then automation.
Ditto for McDonald's.
Ditto for Subway...and every other big company that is a household name.
Salesforce CRM Is Overkill For You
You, the ambitious, motivated entrepreneur, must do the same with your lead nurturing process, which is why I say you don't want or need a CRM like Salesforce.
Having a CRM like Salesforce is actually hurting your business and your profit-earning potential.
Why do I say such harsh things about Salesforce.com?
Because it requires you to bolt on additional, expensive tools to attempt to automate some portion of your lead capture, nurturing, sale, fulfillment, and/or follow-up. (See the video below.)
As an entrepreneur, you have enough to do.
Worrying about whether or not a hot prospect got Email #3 of your 7-step sequence they requested last week is not scalable.
Having to remember it has been 30 days since your client purchased and it's time to send them the New Client Survey is insanity.
At best, you'll grind yourself into the dirt trying to make that happen, or you'll pay an admin to do it—but nobody's perfect, so not all clients will get the survey, which means some will go away mad, and some of the happy ones will never be asked for a referral or testimonial—or you just won't do it at all.
Instead, you'll focus where all entrepreneurs focus:
- making a better mousetrap. (Which will provide marginal increases in revenue if it's released on time and if enough people buy it.)
- handling the hot lead because you can't let the hot ones slip away because you don't have a system producing more leads tomorrow than you generated today.
What a grind.
As I mentioned above, I've used Salesforce since 2004.
Before that, I used Onyx, Siebel, ACT!, and a handful of smaller and/or home-grown CRMs, none of which had any automation built in.
And at every company, I was a "power-user" of the CRM platform.
With Salesforce, I used the Blackberry and iPhone editions.
I had the Desktop and Microsoft Office features installed.
I could generate quotes, assign Tasks, and add team members to view and/or edit my Companies, Contacts, and Opportunities.
I kept my forecasts updated, made Templates to accelerate my one-off communications, and utilized the Outlook plugin, so my email history stayed with the Contact inside Salesforce.
But Salesforce was not purchased for me or any of my sales peers at any of the companies I worked at.
It was installed for my managers and their directors and their VPs of Sales and the VPs of Operations, and the owner of the company (or the CEO) so they could run reports, forecast sales to order raw components, set our quotas for the next quarter or year and squeeze us if we were behind on our sales.
Salesforce WAS NOT EVER used well, regularly, or proactively to help us generate sales.
Marketing would get an idea and maybe develop a Campaign using an expensive, bolt-on marketing tool like Marketo, to send a couple of emails about a webinar or trade show, but then the salespeople wouldn't know how to look at the hot leads and/or didn't know how to communicate with them in a relevant manner based on how they came into the system.
But Salesforce is the 800-pound walrus in the CRM space, and since you think you need a CRM—instead of a sales and marketing automation platform—you think you need "the best," so you pay for Salesforce for a year upfront, and by the time you upload your contacts and realize support is not included, email is not included, eCommerce is not included, affiliate marketing is not included, automation is not included, nice templates are not included...—you're stuck.
Automate. Integrate. Celebrate.
Contact me to discuss the best CRM for you based on your needs, your goals, your budget, your expertise, and more.
Being certified in many platforms and an affiliate in even more enables me to offer you so many bonuses like extra training hours, private group training, in-person training options, archives, free books, and MP3 and copywriting tools you'll think it's an Entrepreneurial Christmas every week.
Automate Your Sales. Live Your Life.
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- Keap vs HubSpot: The True Cost
- Salesforce vs Keap for Trade Show Marketing
- Salesforce vs Keap Support | Free vs. Not Free
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.