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Five Ways Small and Medium Sized Businesses Can Use Salesforce® to Drive More Sales!

If you’re a small or medium-sized business (SMB), are you leveraging all the features inside Salesforce®?

In our work with many SMBs we often notice that these companies do not take full advantage of all the features and functionality their Salesforce system provides.

There are many standard features included in the Salesforce system, which if leveraged and implemented properly, provide tremendous business process automation and productivity improvement (more sales with less effort!).

Tip #1- Use Automated Emails

Email Prospects with Open Opportunities to Close Deals

Many companies use email alerts to their internal employees to remind them to call back prospects, or to follow up on deals soon to close. Or to consistently badger new leads that they haven’t heard back from.

Our recommendation is to first put expiry dates on all created proposals and a corresponding date field on the opportunity related to the specific proposal (‘Proposal Expiry Date’). Then, by setting up a ‘Prospect Quote Reminder Email’, an automated alert takes over and ‘gently’ reminds the customer that ‘their quoted price expires in 7 days’, or 10 days or 30 days, or whatever. This does the work for the salesperson. It is also helpful in situations where a salesperson may have left the company, and nobody is following up in a timely way on those outstanding opportunities.

Tip #2 Index Account Records

Accounts Are Not Always Customers

In Salesforce, ‘Account’ really means ‘a record’ and this record can be an active or inactive customer, or a prospect or non-customer. The problem is that the term ‘Account’ confuses users into thinking they are all customers, and they may not be aware of any of these varying statuses.

Our recommendation is to index all Account records as either an active, inactive or non-customer. This helps in all kinds of ways; territory assignments can be more accurate and you can also identify when accounts become inactive customers and determine why quickly.

The most common criteria we use is to refer to ‘active’ customers as anyone who has purchased in the current or prior year, ‘inactive’ customers as anyone who has not purchased in the current or prior year… but has purchased within 4 years, and ‘non-customer’ as anyone who has not purchased in five years or more… or never purchased at all.

Tip #3- Turn on Web-to-Lead Functionality

Ensure all Leads Come into Salesforce

The Salesforce Web-to-Lead feature is easy to implement and allows you to create a customized web lead form that directly integrates into Salesforce. When someone fills out the lead form on your website, a lead is automatically created inside Salesforce instantly. The Salesforce web lead form is embedded as code in your website.

There are several benefits; (1) web leads arrive instantly and can be routed to the appropriate salesperson using assignment rules, (2) there is no need to re-enter the data from an email or another web form system, (3) data fields are harmonized between the web form and the Salesforce lead record and (4) companies are typically aware quickly if there is any disruption in the flow of leads (this is not always the case when using alternate forms which just feed an email).

Tip #4- Set up Email-to-Case Functionality

Support Cases Won’t Fall Through the Cracks

We often see SMBs using a single email address to receive support emails; this email address is a catch-all that might be monitored by one person, many people, or worse, nobody at all.

There are multiple problems that occur in this scenario; (1) if multiple people login to the same email account, they don’t know if a read support email has been answered, or by whom, (2) they may assume a read email has been resolved, or, (3) they may open and read an email with a problem they don’t like, or don’t want to answer, and just ignore it hoping someone else will open it and help out.

Finally, if just one person monitors the email, what happens if that person is absent or leaves the company? We have come across situations where the support email address is a black hole that nobody monitors.

By taking that email address and activating the Salesforce Email-to-Case routing function, every email sent to ‘’ creates a Salesforce case and the content of the email is inserted in the case. Cases are numbered and can be routed to different people or a group of different people (a queue). Reports can be used to monitor the status of cases and ensure they have been responded to and resolved.

Don’t Burden Salespeople with Support Calls!

With case functionality, the business will have a built-in process for handling support and service issues. Without it, sales staff inadvertently take on the support task to keep the customer happy, which takes them away from their valuable selling time. Furthermore, the salesperson may not be the best person to handle the support issue. Salespeople can create cases on behalf of their customers directly in Salesforce or in an email.

Tip #5 Classify Best and Worst Customer Types

Not All Customers are Equal

In SMBs, business leaders typically know intuitively that there are more desirable and less desirable types of customers. But the characteristics of a ‘better customer’ may not be communicated to the sales teams. Salespeople may exert disproportionate sales effort towards customers who may always remain small accounts.

Identify and Index all Account Records A, B, C, D Customers

We typically perform an ABCD analysis of all past customers who have purchased in the full prior business year. We then determine appropriate thresholds to classify these customers as either A, B, C or D based on purchase volumes. The resulting ratio helps calibrate where sales effort should be exerted.

Our analysis typically shows that the ‘A’ customers represent a very small number of accounts by count, but a large proportion of total sales dollars. Conversely, the ‘D’ customers represent a large volume of customers by count (often 80% of total accounts) but only a small amount of total sales by dollars (often as low as 5%).

The value of knowing this ABCD customer split ensures that 80% of the sales efforts are not targeted to accounts who can only generate 5% of total sales. While this fact is often known by executive leadership, individual salespeople may not recognize this fact and can inadvertently allocate 80% of their sales call time to accounts that represent only 20% or less of total revenue.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. Examples cited in this article are only examples. Salesforce® is a trademark of, inc.

© 2019 Edgemont CRM LLC. All Rights Reserved – November 2019


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