Salesforce is an innovative internet-based CRM platform that allows you to boost your productivity, generate new leads and take control of your sales cycle from any device, anywhere you go.
Before you start, though, you will need to integrate your existing data and external applications with Salesforce. By following these four simple steps for seamless Salesforce integration, you can be well on your way to increasing your business and customer satisfaction.
1. Define Your Objectives
An important first step is to define your objectives and expected outcomes of using Salesforce. Outlining your big-picture goals can help to direct the integration process towards your end goals. If there are specific sales metrics or processes you’d like to improve, have a clear and organized idea of what these are and how implementing Salesforce can help you achieve those outcomes.
Some typical objectives with Salesforce integration are:
- Security-based integration. Integrate authentication mechanisms across applications to improve the user experience and minimize user administration.
- User interface integration. Combine the UIs of two or more apps to create composite apps with little or no rework on the UI of each individual app.
- Business logic integration. Business logic often spans multiple application systems. Extending related business logic from one app to another helps to implement complete end to end business processes.
- Data integration. Integrating applications at the data layer is a common scenario. For example, multiple apps written in different programming languages can all use an open API and manage related data in one shared database.
Defining clear and appropriate objectives will guide the rest of the integration and implementation process and help to lay the foundation for your new processes.
These are some of the typical objectives with Salesforce integration.
2. Prepare Your Data
Taking a little extra time to clean up and organize your data before integrating it into Salesforce can go a long way in the grand scheme of things. Sort through your data to determine exactly what you want to transfer and what you want to leave out, and make sure that you address all entry mistakes or duplicates at this stage. This is also a good opportunity to take a moment to update your contacts and other essential customer information to start off on the right foot.
3. Transfer Data
Now it’s time to actually transfer your data. Start out with a test run on a small group of data to make sure that everything matches up. Double-check that everything has transferred over smoothly and that nothing has been left out. When working with a small, contained batch of data, it’s much easier to catch mistakes than if you were to try to tackle all of your data at once.
When you implement Salesforce, you frequently need to integrate it with other applications. Although each integration scenario is unique, there are common requirements and issues that developers must resolve. A typical integration follows this pattern (Salesforce):
Name - The pattern identifier that also indicates the type of integration contained in the pattern.
Context - The overall integration scenario that the pattern addresses. Context provides information about what users are trying to accomplish and how the application will behave to support the requirements.
Problem - The scenario or problem (expressed as a question) that the pattern is designed to solve. When reviewing the patterns, read this section to quickly understand if the pattern is appropriate for your integration scenario.
Forces - The constraints and circumstances that make the stated scenario difficult to solve.
Solution - The recommended way to solve the integration scenario.
Sketch - A UML sequence diagram that shows you how the solution addresses the scenario.
Results - Explains the details of how to apply the solution to your integration scenario and how it resolves the forces associated with that scenario. This section also contains new challenges that can arise as a result of applying the pattern.
Sidebars - Additional sections related to the pattern that contain key technical issues, variations of the pattern, pattern-specific concerns and so on.
Once your test run is successful, go ahead and transfer the rest of your data. Be sure to notify all employees before this happens, though, so that no new data is lost in transit.
4. Monitor Adoption & Track Your Progress
Review your new process to find out what's working.
At this point, it’s key that everyone is familiar with and actively using Salesforce. What’s the point of integrating all of your data and external applications into one easy-to-use platform if some members of your team aren’t using it? The idea is to create one easily accessible, streamlined source of files, contacts, sales metrics and everything else your business needs to succeed.
Finally, remember to regularly track your progress to ensure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently. Review your new process to find out what’s working and what may need to be tweaked. Taking advantage of feedback from your employees and even customers at this point can be extremely beneficial.
Staying organized and ahead of the game has never been simpler. Once you’ve successfully integrated Salesforce into your sales process, you’ll be equipped with all of the tools you need to grow your business, available to you and your employees on any device with internet access. Don’t get left in the dust when it comes to ramping up your business and your customer satisfaction. Let Salesforce do the heavy lifting for you while you concentrate on what matters: boosting sales and fostering happy, loyal customers.