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Salesforce Configuration vs Customization

July 22, 2016

I would suggest starting it with defining the notions of  configuration and customization. Configuration is about “declarative” approaches with no software programming while configuring Salesforce, e.g. creating a workflow rule or a Web-to-Case Form. Meanwhile, Salesforce customization comes with coding new modules, either business logic, front-end components, or both. It requires the experts, to know Salesforce inside out in creating a highly- organized environment that can easily be supported.

Salesforce provides numerous configuration options. The configurable elements are set in conjunction with the user profile and are used to control the data shown to users of that profile. The UI (user interface) for the Salesforce CRM application configuration enables you to modify objects, field, workflows, validation rules, formulas, security settings, etc. The configurable features available differ from edition to edition.

In order to configure the Salesforce platform to your existing workflow, you should think about whether you want the system completely replicate your current processes or not. Start as simple as possible and make sure everything  that is critical is covered. pic2

Do not hesitate to extract most from the Salesforce box features to add to ease of your team’s work. Discuss with your team what can simplify their routine activities. In fact, Salesforce can become an indispensable tool for them. For example, your sales managers can use tasks to plan their next steps or recall customers, build reports to remind about this or that deal or email to send. In case you use extensions like Tout or Yesware that auto log the emails, you have an opportunity to know if someone has stopped emailing or left it out of the account. (Powerdialer possesses the same features but for calls). Custom reports on new leads, stalling opportunities, returning customers, expiring agreements, etc can also be helpful for your team.

As long as you passed on the native functionality and decided to add more to the box features you will be required to have a developer well-versed in Salesforce proprietary languages -VisualForce and Apex.

However, bear in mind that each customization should be well-considered. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the trap of throwing customization on top of customization.  As a result, later the environment will become disorganized and difficult to support.  

Before coming down for the customization I would suggest making Salesforce technical audit of your CRM implementation and determine if any customization is really a matter of life and death.

Consequently, based on  the information on your business objectives and challenges, you need to form a vision of what Salesforce could do to increase user productivity, improve data quality or automate manual processes. Here is the story to make the process more vivid.

Once upon a time there lived Bobby Cooper. After long considerations and weighing all pros and cons, he finally decided to move to Salesforce.com. He thought he would be eager to enjoy new found flexibility and simplicity of sales and marketing performance.

However,  the CRM platform has failed at justifying his expectations: the duration of sales cycles stayed the same, the quality of cross-department communication was still poor, his contact manager only provided outdated records and support service workers faced the severe critic of discouraged customers.

Poor Bobby was shocked! Such an enormous investment appeared to be a waste! Trying to avoid the nervous breakdown, Bobby decided to find out, why everything went wrong. 

After a thorough look on the process he found out that  his team neglected working with system. “A-ha!- he cried- my employees don’t record the data in CRM! As a result  the plans of every department were miscalculated and ended up in costly failures”.

Bobby acquired the taste for the detective work and continued the investigation: “Hmm, my deals are closing not so rapid as they could. I guess it is because of internal communication within my team”. The more Bobby dig the more drawbacks were found: incomplete customer portfolio, rare and inexact reports, workflow trap were a few more he identified.

As there were no certified Salesforce developers in Bobby’s company he decided to turn to a Salesforce PDO Partner asking for help. “No more sorrow, dear Bobby! We’ll help you!”

To add to ease of your staff entering the data in Salesforce, we can make the record automatically.” “Oh! That’s a kind of miracle”,- Bobby said.

“The second problem is not a problem at all: we will gather all missing modules and fields in order to facilitate the team’s work and develop the speed of deals closing. When it comes to the customer portfolio,  we’ll  do Salesforce customization of contact database to show detailed data about your customers and improve targeted campaigns planning… ” “That’s sounds awesome!” “That’s what we do, dear friend. To provide sufficient insights into marketing, workers and customers activities we’ll customize your Salesforce Analytics. We can  also enhance and automate the main processes of your company so that you can optimize departments’ work and distribute tasks and leads as well as trigger sending out emails, newsletter and notification. We suggest to reengineer your cloud solution gradually without waste of resources”.  “I looks really reasonable. Let’s do it!”.

As a result Bobby Coopers enforced his business  with extended configuration options that facilitated the process of Salesforce adoption. He streamlined company’s performance and they all lived happily ever after.  

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To sum everything up, armed with the project plan, objectives and a reliable Salesforce development team you will be up to create software magic and make Salesforce work better for you.

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