Steps for Salesforce Success


One of the great things about Salesforce is that it is flexible enough that it can be used many different ways by different types of organizations. As a company that has completed over 1,500 implementations and worked with over 1,000 organizations, CRM manager has found that there are a few items that seem to fit for pretty much every sales organization. These are the items that should be added to every Salesforce implementation:

  1. Validation rule to verify phone, mobile, email – You want to make sure that every Lead or Contact has at least phone, mobile or email filled in. Otherwise, what’s the point if you have no way to contact the person? Users will often want to throw a name in as quickly as possible, figuring they can always go back and put in the phone or email when they need it. That’s a good way to get a lot of garbage in your data.
  1. New Unqualified value on the Lead Status – Leads start out unqualified and the purpose of having them is to try to qualify them. If it turns out they are not qualified, Salesforce has only one value in the Lead Status field to use – “Unqualified”. There really should be two different values. Use whatever wording makes sense to you but the bottom line is this:
    • “Unqualified – NEVER” which means this person has no decision power or works for a company that needs something different from what we do or will never have the money to afford us, etc. It’s a total dead end.
    • “Unqualified – Try Again” which means there is no hope for any kind of deal right now so I don’t want to create an Opportunity, but I want to try back at a later date. Maybe I found out I need to wait until their next budget cycle or their next round of funding kicks in. Regardless of the reason, I want to keep them on the radar again at some point.
  1. Reason for “Unqualified” status – When you mark a Lead as Unqualified, there should be a picklist to identify why you decided they were unqualified. For example, maybe the reason was that they couldn’t afford you. But down the road, you have a new version of your product or service aimed at a smaller market. If you have marked the Unqualified Reason you could go back to all the Leads that were unqualified because of price and let them know about your new offering. This should include a validation rule so that when you mark a Lead as Unqualified you are required to select a reason.
  1. No Longer With Company box on Contact – In Salesforce if you find out a person leaves Company A and now works for Company B, you don’t want to move their Contact record because it will take all the Activity History along with it. What we usually do is add a checkbox on the Contact to indicate a person is no longer with that Company.
  1. Ping Frequency – On the Contact, add a picklist called Ping Frequency with options such as 30, 60, 90, 120, etc. For your key Contacts, you can indicate how often you want to make sure you have some activity with them. Then to make sure none of these key people get neglected, you add the following based on this new field:
    1. Formula field for Ping Due Date = Last Activity Date (standard SF field) + Ping Frequency
    2. Views for things like “My Pings Due This Week”, “My Overdue Pings”, etc. For managers, make versions of those views looking at all Contacts owned by their direct reports.
  1. Opportunity Reason for Loss – Add a picklist field to the Opportunity called “Reason for Loss”. The reasons can vary greatly from one business to another but the need for this field is pretty much universal. Running reports to quantify how often you are losing deals and for what reason can be very valuable information. Add a validation rule so that if the Opportunity Stage is changed to Closed Lost, the Reason for Loss cannot be blank.
  1. Opportunity On Hold Resume Date – Many organizations have a sales process long enough that it is a common occurrence for deals to go “on hold” for a while. Maybe the customer told you they will be tied up with another project for 6 months and will get back to your deal or maybe they need to wait for the next fiscal year. Regardless of reason, the deal is still on the table so you don’t want to mark it as Closed Lost, but you don’t want it to show in your pipeline that gets reviewed every week. Add a Stage called “Hold” and adjust your pipeline reports to ignore the Hold Opportunities. However, we don’t want Opportunities to be lost or forgotten, so we add a field called “Resume Date” along with a validation rule that requires you to put in a Resume Date if you change the Stage to Hold. Then you add a workflow rule that notifies the Opportunity Owner (and maybe the manager) on the Resume Date that the Opportunity is ready to be put back in the pipeline for review. You could even have the workflow rule change the Stage back to something other than Hold to force it back to the pipeline reports. This will help keep your pipeline from being clogged with a lot of deals that aren’t going anywhere right now.

So as you can see, there are a variety of steps you can take to ensure that your organization is going to experience Salesforce success. For any questions, please email us at