BUSINESS IS NOT AS USUAL - MANAGING PROJECTS ON SALESFORCE WHEN IT'S ALL CHANGE
Disruption is the new normal. When everything is changing quickly in terms of your customer’s requirements and timelines, we look at how you can realistically manage to keep on delivering smoothly.
Businesses everywhere have just had the world turned upside down. So much has changed overnight and we all need to get ready to change the way we do business. If you are currently on Salesforce, here are some pointers on approaches and tools that can help you streamline the process of getting new customers up and running quickly on your solution while minimizing complexity.
What we will cover in this post has always been important, but in the face of additional disruption and complexity outside of your control, now is really the time to fast track the management of what you can control.
With this in mind, we have put together the following Q&A on managing project continuity via remote teams, on the Salesforce platform.
What do I need in place to keep my customer projects on track, faced with changing demands on my existing team?
There are a lot of features that come with an Onboarding Project Management app, but when it comes to managing team continuity, there’s one feature that really needs highlighting as the one that is going to count. That’s the board view.
This is a visual kanban-style ‘board’ that everyone works from. It’s likely you already use some Agile tools that incorporate a kanban view, for example, Trello or Jira.
In separate race-lanes you can see exactly what your project status is at a glance. There’s a column for what’s coming up next, in progress and still to be completed. The real advantage here is that anyone can log in and pick up someone else’s tasks exactly where they were left off.
It's tough sometimes when someone has all that knowledge in their head. What if someone is out sick? At least we can look at a board and think, ‘OK, what does ABC have to do?’ and then we can pick it up.
/ Project Manager, Scout
Why not just use Trello then?
Certainly you can, and in fact this would definitely be sufficient for many smaller businesses (or smaller departments within larger organizations). However as soon as you start trying to scale Trello, across many different customers on many different products and services, it all becomes unmanageable very quickly.
What’s more, these tools are not native to Salesforce (we’ll come back to that), that’s to say that while there are integrations available, they have not been designed and built specifically for this purpose.
And then, of course, certain simple-kanban tools don't have repeatable Playbooks...
What’s a repeatable Playbook and why do I need one?
When it comes to onboarding customers to your product or service, while no two implementations are identical, within customer segments it’s very likely that there is a lot that is the same. That’s where Playbooks come in; these are the repeatable processes that roll out at the click of a button. As soon as you close a new customer, everyone gets to know what their next step is.
By getting these Playbooks down now, you’ve just gone a long way to mitigating the risks of depending on individuals who may be in high demand across multiple projects, and that’s the only way to scale.
Precursive OBX was the catalyst for us. It really forced us to take a look at our process, the knowledge we had and document it. We were growing to the point where we really needed the ability to scale, and scale efficiently and effectively. And we've been making a lot of investments into updating our processes, putting everything into Salesforce and coming up with standard procedures. It was a company wide initiative.
/ Activation Director, Scout
Is Salesforce-native important?
If you aim to have Salesforce as the single source of truth in your business, then yes, this is fundamentally important. Here’s a quick list why:-
A Salesforce native Customer Onboarding Projectment solution will work seamlessly with your Salesforce data, so you are always working with real-time information.
You can use Chatter to post updates on any Salesforce object relevant to the project at any time.
Make use of the reporting and dashboard capabilities to tailor a data dashboard that reports on the metrics that really count in your operation
See at a glance the status of your project pipeline without having to toggle between different apps.
And most importantly, no data will end up siloed by tool or simply kept in someone’s head.
They can see where everything is at, and who needs to do each specific piece - so that belongs to a specific person who is the task owner. It also really helps if someone gets switched out on one of our installs, which is a pretty common thing, the data stays there.
Ken Gentry / Manager Operations Development, Dealertrack
I’ve already paid my license fee for Salesforce, why would I not configure Salesforce to be a PM solution?
You could. If you have a good Salesforce Admin who has the capability and importantly the capacity to configure bespoke workflows in your existing Salesforce instance, then this is definitely an option. However, if you take the decision to purchase a license for a pre-built Salesforce App, you will save yourself a huge amount of time and error. You will benefit from the experience and thought someone else has invested in the process as a result of many rounds of learning and optimization. Plus they will be in charge of keeping your toolkit up to date and secure with every new release.
Last question...I’m on Salesforce but my customer isn’t and they still need to see the plan.
How does that work?
Not a problem. There are solutions that allow you to externally share your plan within Salesforce with the customers. They will not need a Salesforce license but can still access a visual project plan in Salesforce in this way, allowing your customer to understand exactly what the project status is in realtime and what’s required of them in real-time at every stage.
Hopefully this overview is useful and gives you a better understanding of the real advantages available to you now in order to manage your operations in a time of huge upheaval.
In the words of one Head of Onboarding at a scaling SaaS financial transactions business:
Whenever people are off or away, we can handle a pretty large number of merchants and handle them in a way that we are pretty happy with, and handle them all in Salesforce, which means we can manage this and tailor things to a merchant, even when we are low on capacity