Fixing Disconnected Sales: Salesforce Org To The Rescue


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Imagine if three different divisions inside your company sold to the same customer and they all showed up to pitch new products on the same day without knowing that the others would be there. Odds are, it wouldn’t do any favors for your business’ relationship with that customer.

That’s just one of the potential problem scenarios faced by businesses that don’t correctly coordinate their sales activities. And it’s a common problem for businesses that don’t think holistically about what their approach to sales should be or that don’t create, plan and pursue a related CRM adoption strategy.

In the not so recent past, for example, many business divisions’ sales force automation (SFA) needs weren’t being met by their parent company’s hand-me-down CRM — typically Siebel. Accordingly, the business units would “go rogue” and rapidly implement their own version of Salesforce to get the functionality they needed.

Over time, however, many of these parent organizations implemented Salesforce themselves, which means that now the business may be using multiple, disconnected instances — or “orgs” — of Salesforce. As a result, sales teams inside different business divisions may be operating in an uncoordinated, inefficient and — from a customer relationship standpoint — potentially dangerous fashion.

Businesses Must Resolve Multiple Orgs Now

As bigger businesses continue to migrate to Salesforce, they frequently ask Cloud Sherpas what they should do with their smaller business units that are already using the cloud-based CRM application. Answering this question is urgent, because any business division that’s held back — pending senior managers announcing a global CRM change or plan of action — will lose deals.

In general, Matt Johnson, Cloud Sherpas’ VP of Advisory Services, says that if one organization has three or more business units selling to the same customer, then, provided that the divisions are all using similar business logic, it should use a single Salesforce org.

For example, the business divisions inside some of our life sciences customers’ organizations all sell to the same hospital, albeit to different units — cardiac, kidney, maternity. Typically, these companies will go with a single Salesforce org, which is a good choice since their sales teams are based on a single business model. Furthermore, it’s okay if different teams have different sales stages — perhaps four stages for division A and five for division B — because they can use role-based access controls to ensure that a salesperson will only see the relevant sales stages.

The same thinking applies to pharmaceutical and medical device companies that don’t rely on sales stages — because they’re not selling products — but that try to influence physicians to prescribe, recommend or use their products. Similar to the life sciences example, these companies can use CRM software to track the required stages of influence all the way through to revisiting physicians to see if they’ve been prescribing or using the product.

Conversely, you should beware of trying to shoehorn divisions with different business practices onto the same Salesforce org. In these cases, the overall business may be better served by giving those business units their own Salesforce orgs.

Single Orgs Bring Benefits

Businesses that opt to standardize multiple divisions on a single Salesforce org must decide how much account data to share between different sales teams, not least to let disparate groups of salespeople know when they’re working the same territory.

How much data should be shared? To answer that question, first identify your desired business results, Johnson says. Many Cloud Sherpas customers, for example, target these quick-hit payoffs:

  • Foreseeing Bundling Requests: One of our medical device manufacturers has multiple business divisions that often sell to the same laboratory. But if there are two deals on the table, then the customer’s purchasing department might come back and demand that the deals be bundled and the company receive a better discount.

  • Leveraging Preferred Sellers: In the same industry, meanwhile, the diagnostics division inside a medical device manufacturer may have been designated as a customer’s preferred diagnostics vendor. So when another business unit is trying to close a deal with that customer, bringing in the preferred business unit might help close the deal.

  • Collaborating To Avoid Fallout: On the flip side, however, the business unit with preferred-seller status stands to lose out big time if another one of the company’s sales teams somehow manages to blow up the relationship. To prevent that from happening, sales teams — and managers — must collaborate.

Steps To Better Sales Collaboration

When it comes to coordinating the activities of multiple sales teams, should organizations focus on collaboration, which relies on social interaction, to keep disparate sales efforts in sync? Or should they also give CRM users varying levels of access to customer and account data?

In most businesses, of course, talk of giving all salespeople full access to account data will trigger account-poaching concerns, and those are legitimate. What business division wants to jeopardize a lucrative account by having a salesperson in a different division ride its coattails and potentially ruin the relationship? Furthermore, from a customer’s perspective, buyers typically see any salesperson from your company as a representative of the entire company, not just the single business unit. As a result, uncoordinated sales efforts will make the whole company look sloppy.

But individual businesses must answer for themselves the questions of whether enabling and fostering collaboration — for example via Chatter — will meet their needs and whether they want to allow for a greater flow of information between sales teams. Next, they must test their approach to ensure that it’s delivering the desired business results.

How Quarterbacks Safeguard Customer Relationships

Businesses that do allow different sales teams to see some — or all — of each other’s account information might want to create related checks and balances to safeguard customer relationships. For example, one Cloud Sherpas customer, a medical device manufacturer, created a strategic account management structure for its sales teams. That features a single account owner — akin to a quarterback — who owns account access across all product lines and whose job is to ensure that any one deal (especially a small one) won’t compromise another (especially a big one).

For many businesses, that combination of controlled information-sharing and ongoing collaboration will ensure that sales teams remain well coordinated and that customer relationships stay intact.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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