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Top questions asked about Salesforce on Quora

August 5, 2016

 Wondering around the Internet for the fresh meat to make a new post I’ve accidently noticed a tendency on the FAQs about Salesforce. Making a top of questions asked about Salesforce on the Quora we’ve decided to provide our answers.

1) What is Salesforce.com?

That is easy. Salesforce is a global cloud computing company. Its main product is salesforce.com which is a CRM.

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2) What’s the difference between Salesforce.com and Force.com?

Force.com is a platform where one can customize and extend the core functionality offered by Salesforce as well as create new applications and/or products.  Force.com is PAAS (Platform as a Service)

Salesforce.com is a package of pre-built applications under “Sales Cloud”, “Marketing Cloud”, “Service Cloud” etc. that are built on Force.com platform. It is SAAS (Software as a Service)

e.g. You’ve decided to sign up for Salesforce.com’s “sales cloud”. As a result you get CRM with box functionality pre-built by Salesforce. You can use Force.com (and other tools) to customize your CRM or build new applications housed within your salesforce infrastructure.

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3) How much does it cost to implement Salesforce?

Answering this question is like drifting into waters as Salesforce implementation can require anywhere from 5k to over 80k. There are many factors influenced on it:

  1. The size of your organization. It can be measured by number of  licenses, number of customers etc. Normally, the bigger operations/organizations are, the larger investments in the implementation they require.
  2. Your business industry. There is no secret that sales pipelines differ from industry to industry. Some businesses require deeper customer engagement than others. Here complexity generally drives the clock.
  3. The structure of your organization The more complex your organisation (corporate structure, hierarchy, internal procedures, business processes, etc) the more time will be required  to implement Salesforce.
  4. Other factors. There are some more aspects that can influence the cost of implementation. Among which migration from another CRM, integration with the third-party applications (e.g. accounting software), consulting expenses.
  5. Salesforce implementation partners and contractors rates. Normally they charge per hour. As a result the longer your implementation takes the more it will cost.

4) Do Salesforce developers actually write code?

In fact they do. There are two ways to alter Salesforce application for business needs.

  1. Configuration* changes when the application flow is setting up by clicking and pointing
  2. Customization of the application by means of coding.

*For more info about Salesforce configuration and customization turn to our previous post Salesforce Configuration vs Customization

It is essential to admit that almost all complex applications coming within Salesforce.com will require code to be written as soon as you notice that box features no longer satisfy your business needs.

5) What does a Salesforce architect do?

The Salesforce Architect is a key member of a project team.  He is responsible for the overall technical design and build of the custom elements of a project. If to dive into details it is about the architect to do the estimates, think over integrations, form the tasks into sprints and build the delivery process. Apart from that, a good architect is well-versed in special needs of the particular industry.

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6) Is it possible to integrate Salesforce with ERP?

Sure! At this point I guess it would be useful  to outline the common integration points:

Customer/Account Integration

While transferring the customer information from the ERP to the CRM system a two-way integration looks more reasonable. In that way the customer information will be kept up-to-date in both systems.

Contact Integration

If you are starting with an empty Salesforce instance then contacts residing in your ERP system are often migrated from your ERP to your new CRM system as a one-time transfer. Once migrated you start creating your new contacts inside your CRM system. However, if you wish to keep all  your contacts up-to-date in both systems we will do a full two-way integration of all your contacts.

Product & Price List

For pricing we can either just transfer a standard price or we can use some more time and transfer all your pricing (per customer group or even per customer) to the CRM system thereby creating multiple price books. The detailed pricing is needed in the CRM system if you want to create opportunities (or quotes) with detailed information on product level.

The detailed pricing is often done in a second phase along with the opportunity or quote integration described below.

Sales History (Invoices and Invoice Lines)

The availability of the sales history inside the CRM system enables the sales team to analyse and create reports in the system that they work in. This adds greatly to the user adoption of the CRM system.

Open Sales Orders

The sales orders are transferred from the ERP to the CRM system to provide the insight and reporting capabilities on this data. Sales orders appear as a related list under the account and can be made visible under that opportunity.

7) What do salespeople hate about Salesforce?

“We hate our CRM system. It’s terrible.  No one is using it.  We need a better one.”

“CRM is a scam.”

“In our experience, the reason many sales users get frustrated with Salesforce.com is because it is too complex”

“I’m getting bogged down with paperwork and admin when I should be out selling”

These are quite common grumbles at Salesforce. But the thing is that all these complaints are the signs of poor Salesforce adoption. The most vivid obstacles are:

  • The absence of the Salesforce administrator –  You’d better hire one or re-organize to create time for that person. Authorize him fuss over the sales team like an old hen gathering the information about their complaints on the CRM to automate the processes and build smooth workflow. Make it part of his job description and give the pride of system ownership. Every successful CRM system has a strong administrator behind it.  As well as a senior manager willing to make that investment.
  • Over-complicated systems

Disorganized environment with the customization over customization is difficult to support. Moreover, over-complicated systems add to chaos and decreases user productivity and disapproves data quality. Make an audit of your system and bear in mind that sometimes, by changing the license type the company expenses can be reduced by 50% without any loss in the functionality.

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8) How is the future on Salesforce?

Let’s imagine the nearest future. The picture looks reassuring. I see a world where sales people have no need to interact with the CRM software. I see the future in which CRMs are always up to date, and where data is updated in a way that doesn’t require manual labor.

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In fact so far with evolving improvements in updating technologies frequently Salseforce.com will become more innovative and scope oriented.

It has already made a huge push towards data analytics, with its Wave Analytics Platform released in 2014.It is still on the testing mode and provided for a limited number of companies. But we’ve already tried it and it looks really promising.

In 2015 Salesforce made for Artificial Intelligence (AI) by acquiring two entities Tempo and MinHash. That means that marketing campaigns will become more and more focused and as a result more profitable.

In Oct 2015 Salesforce Lightning was introduced to the public. This more customization and personal approach to the organization’s needs.

Observing this tendency I should admit that my picture of the future on Salesforce doesn’t look so silly.

If you have any other questions on Salesforce or its products you are welcome to contact us on marketing@salesforce.com.    

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