Businesses need to attract or retain customers. It has been proven that regular, focused, and positive communication will keep your brand foremost in their minds, make them more likely to buy from you again, refer your company to others, and keep the door open for future selling opportunities. Customer communication is a business fundamental.
“But I’m too busy and constant communication sounds like a lot of effort”, I hear you say! Managing clients and accounts can be overwhelming but it is possible to make life much easier with automation. Business process automation (BPA) software tools are designed to simplify and automate regular tasks and can be used to communicate and build powerful relationships with your prospects and customers. BPA can be used for many business processes like document workflow, updating statuses, and reminding you of outstanding tasks. Typically, BPA automates mundane tasks which gives you more time to focus on running your business.
Salesforce is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) system. At its simplest, Salesforce is a convenient and secure place to store your data. It’s in the cloud so you don’t need a local computer network with servers, operating software, or engineers to install, protect, upgrade, or backup your data. With Salesforce, all you need is a web browser (PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone), username, and password. This gives you global access to your data plus features, including BPA, to help you be successful. Salesforce is a very long way from the days of using a notebook, spreadsheet, or database to store your customer information.
With Salesforce you hit the ground running. It comes preloaded with a flexible data structure and a number of storage entities that relate to people – leads (typically prospects), contacts (customers), campaigns (lists of leads and/or contacts), and accounts (usually companies you deal with). There are many other business entities like products, cases, opportunities, sales, and more. Salesforce is easily extended and very customizable so can be configured for complex business structures that are outside the norm.
Salesforce and BPA
Salesforce has a powerful set of inbuilt BPA tools that provide impressive automation opportunities. Setting up automation can be quite simple. For example, consider the scenario where a visitor on your website completes and submits a web form that creates a new lead in Salesforce. The webform is simple, having fields for first name, last name, and email address, and includes a drop-down that lists five possible items of interest. When the lead is created in Salesforce, automation fires an email to the visitor thanking them for their interest. A second automation looks at the chosen item of interest and sends an email to the particular sales team member who deals with this item.
Extending this example further, a third automation adds the lead to one of five pre-existing Salesforce campaigns depending on the chosen interest item. This collects like-minded prospects together. Every month, another automation sends a newsletter email to the members of each campaign offering add-ons to products that have already been purchased. One approach would be to prepare five custom email templates, each focusing on a different item of interest. This better targets the recipient who will be more likely to open and action the email.
BPA technology can do many things to make life easier and, at the same time, improve communication and revenues. Use automation for client management, sending emails, payment reminders, thank-you letters, preplanning questionnaires, and more. Some support-related automation examples are:
- Customers submit support issues through a web form which creates a new case in Salesforce. An automated email thanks the customer, and tells them the case number and which agent has been assigned.
- A task is auto-assigned to the relevant support staff based on the case details.
- Based on the level of importance, a supervisor is sent an SMS.
- A supervisor is emailed if the case is still unassigned or unresolved after two hours.
- The case is escalated to the company owner if particular keywords appear in the description field. A second email is sent one hour after the first that outlines the case status.
- A feedback request email is sent to a customer seven days after lodging any high-priority case.
- An apology email is sent to the customer, saying that you’re working on a resolution if a case has not been closed after four hours.
Account-related automation is also very useful to keep customers in the loop:
- Automatically send emails to customers letting them know an expiration date is approaching, and offering them renewal options.
- Use an "Expiry" date field to notify team members when a renewal deadline is approaching.
- Alert the sales manager if changes are made to Salesforce accounts marked “Key Account” by task or email notification.
- Alert the sales manager if a new account with more than 10 employees is created.
- Notify relevant people of a status change made to a high-value account.
- Assign a task to check the credit of a customer 10 days before invoicing if the amount is $10,000 or more.
- Notify the full team when a sales rep adds a document to an account.
Automation is good for celebrations too. Consider using automation to email customers two days before their birthday, wish them a happy Valentine’s Day, or congratulate them for using a product or service for three months. By using automated processes you can routinely re-engage with inactive customers after a predetermined time to cross-sell or upsell products.
The genius of implementing business process automation in Salesforce is that creating them is so easy. Typically, users do not need to learn new technologies as they already understand the environment and entities. While you can get started very quickly with Salesforce, and begin building your own automation, we recommend you use an experienced Salesforce partner to help you map your business objects and establish processes that will maximize the benefits.
FuseIT is a Salesforce ISV partner with clients ranging from medium-sized companies to Fortune 500 enterprises. Our range of enterprise connectors supports our claim to be one of the global leaders in Salesforce integration. If you would like to learn more, please contact us and we will point you in the right direction.
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