Going Virtual with Salesforce
In not-so-breaking news, remote work is here to stay for many people around the world. For a lot of organizations, this was the sign from above to finally implement a cloud-based CRM like Salesforce so staff can securely access data from wherever they’ve decided to quarantine for the past six months. Moving to Salesforce also brings a lot of other benefits as well: centralized data, ease of reporting, transparency and information sharing amongst staff, streamlined business processes, and much more. If you’re still on the fence on whether now is the time to migrate to a cloud-based CRM, let me be the one to tell you, it is. In case you don’t believe me, go ahead and give us a shout to discuss.
What I’m really here to talk about today is how to extend the platform for remote work if you already use Salesforce as your CRM. Chances are you know there are literally countless possibilities on how to extend the platform, but with so many possibilities, where do you start? Below are some ideas to help create a long-lasting virtual infrastructure, regardless of whether you expect to go back to the office or not.
Security and Access
Here at ECHO, we talk a lot about security and with good reason. Cyber attacks are constantly on the rise, and you can bet this number has increased significantly amidst the pandemic, some sites citing a 350% increase in phishing attacks since January this year. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the lax protocols in place now that people are working from home, and these criminals are cashing in.
If you haven’t read ECHO’s Best Practices To Protect Your Salesforce Data, go ahead and open a new tab to read this first. Nothing else you implement matters if you’re putting your data, employees, and organization at risk with insufficient security measures.
Done with that? Great, let’s move on!
Onboarding and Training
Whether you’re hiring new staff, recruiting volunteers, or rolling out new security policies :), the way we onboard and train people looks very different nowadays. Most staff trainings that I’ve led or participated in have had some in-person component. It’s more engaging this way, and I find the information sticks better. Now that that’s not possible, organizations should be finding new ways to deliver training content, especially when there isn’t someone to just tap on the shoulder.
Trailhead, Salesforce’s free learning resource, is, dare I say it, fun. As someone who loves interactive, self-led training and gamification, Trailhead provides a great mix of content. If you and your staff feel the same way, Salesforce’s myTrailhead is a great option to implement for your internal staff. Think Trailhead customized for your staff based on your organization’s own business processes. And while this can be used to learn about Salesforce, you can use myTrailhead for other topics as well like an introduction to your organization, HR policies, communication guidelines, and much more.
Another option is Salesforce’s In-App Guidance that allows you to add prompts and walkthroughs within Salesforce. The benefit is users receive these prompts while they are using Salesforce, making content available exactly where they are going to use it. This allows organizations to drive Salesforce adoption and also make sure users are following best practices. In-App Guidance can also be used to announce new improvements within the system, whether it’s a feature released by Salesforce, or a new dashboard component built by your admin.
For folks outside of your organization, like volunteers or partners, consider integrating Salesforce with a learning management system. Of course it’ll take work to translate your in-person training content to virtual content. But even if you go back to in-person training in the future, this investment will make your organization more accessible with an added virtual option. You can also choose to keep some components virtual to save on the expensive staff time spent in person. Take a look at the Salesforce AppExchange for LMS options that readily integrate with Salesforce.
Chances are many of you had a desk phone at your offices. In my opinion, desk phones are a waste of space. And there’s no way I’m bringing my desk phone to my home office! We all know about Zoom meetings, but if your job relies on you making a lot of outbound calls, then you need a phone dialer. Computer telephony integration (CTI) refers to the practice of tying your phone systems to your computer, and the Salesforce AppExchange has multiple CTI options that integrate so you can make calls directly from Salesforce records. Alternatively, if someone calls you, you can quickly identify the caller ID based on matching phone numbers in Salesforce, making for a much more personalized conversation. ECHO uses RingCentral internally, and I love that I can make calls directly from my computer.
For organizations that host a lot of in-person gatherings, how can you maintain this same level of engagement virtually? Well, nothing beats a face-to-face interaction, but Salesforce certainly offers options for community engagement. One of them is Community Cloud, a Salesforce product that enables you to create a branded web portal where your customers, volunteers, members, partners, and supporters can interact not only with your staff but also with each other through Chatter, Groups, Direct Messages, and more. Start conversations, share resources, and request feedback from your constituents all in one place! ECHO happens to specialize in Community Cloud implementations, so be sure to check out our previous client work.
While ECHO does have physical offices in our three locations, our transition to remote work wasn’t really a transition at all because our infrastructure was already virtual. This meant we could focus on supporting our clients and making sure they were set up for success as well. The ideas above are just a start to get your brain thinking in the right direction. Any move you make to a more virtual infrastructure means your organization is more nimble and able to adapt to significant changes. And the great thing is that these are moves with long-term benefits for all aspects of your organization regardless of whether you resume in-office operations in the future.