Better Salesforce (pt. 1): Lead Details, Project Info, Portfolio
If you are a creative agency, marketing agency or web development studio like us, chances are that you keep track of your leads and opportunities in Salesforce.
Salesforce is a powerful tool out-of-the-box, but its true potential lies in how you can customize it to fit your needs. In this two-piece series we will share some of the Salesforce customizations we did to improve our sales and engagement process. While some of these changes might not apply to your organization, they can be inspiration for your own experiments.
The first article demonstrates basic data improvements and describes how you can build a portfolio in Salesforce. In the second instalment, we will explain how you can create a custom rating system for leads and opportunities.
We customized our Salesforce instance with the following goals in mind:
- Improve engagement process – it should be easy to find examples of our work for particular technologies that we can share with potential clients
- Save time by having consistent data – what takes a few seconds now, for instance, filling in company name or tagging projects with technologies, can save hours in the future
- Make communication easier – make it easier for everyone to be on the same page when talking about the leads and opportunities or taking them over from someone
Our leads get to Salesforce from our website form. The form is simple, we found out it has the best conversion rate this way. However, that also means that our leads come to Salesforce with just the basic data:
- name – just one field for full name
- email – we need to get back to them, right?
- message – project brief or message from a client
- files – files uploaded by a client
- UTM parameters – if the lead comes from a campaign, we pass these here
(I’ve described some implementation details in a previous article.)
We get a notification about a new lead to the company email.
From this message it’s very easy to grasp if we are looking at real lead or if it is something else – job interest, offer, spam. We also see if the lead passes minimal quality in terms of project brief and attached assets. Serious contacts don’t have a problem writing a sentence or two about what they need.
Now we try to find out more about the person and company behind the lead. No magic here, just a simple Google or LinkedIn search.
As a result, we fill in additional details or update the existing ones in Salesforce:
- first name and last name – we split the full name to better detect duplicates
- company name
- website address – typically a part of the email address
- company’s LinkedIn profile – LinkedIn profile is a good source of basic company information like company size and employees list
- contact’s LinkedIn profile – provides quick and easy info about the person behind the lead when writing a follow up email
This is mostly trivial information but updating them helps to keep our data consistent in the long run.
The project brief from the client usually isn’t suitable for quickly understanding what kind of project we may be dealing with. That’s why we introduced two new fields – Project Summary and Project Technologies.
Project summary is a one sentence executive summary of the project in a form What – For whom. Here are a few examples:
- A complex multilingual WordPress project for a subdivision of an international company.
- Rental of two Python developers for a Norway company.
- A simple 4-page WordPress website for a small Italian bistro
This gives anyone a quick idea of the project type and scope and how it fits the Xfive offer. In the above examples, only the first project seems to be a good fit for us because we don’t have Python developers available and the third project seems to be more suitable for our service for small websites, Goodie.
Project technologies is a text field with a list of technologies separated by comma, for example WordPress, Timber, three.js
Why did we use text fields instead of tags?
- Tags are not available in LEX (although, there is a free app called Lightning Universal Tagging)
- Multi-select list isn’t searchable and we would have to update the list with new technologies constantly
- Text field is searchable, you can use it for reports (using contains) and it provides the most freedom when it comes to filling in various, even less frequent, technologies (eg. Zone.js, Hubspot, etc.)
We update both fields as we learn more about the project, whether it’s an early discovery or refining project requirements on the opportunity stage.
When we convert lead to opportunity, we transfer custom fields to opportunity too.
Salesforce is a good place to build a company portfolio which we use when engaging new clients or for marketing purposes. Our portfolio has the following information (custom fields) which the Project Manager fills in on the project sign-off.
Whether this is a suitable work example or not.
- NDA (default) – client signed NDA or doesn’t wish to disclose any information about the project
- Private sharing – we can share the project as a work example in private communication with others, eg. during the engagement of potential clients
- Public sharing – we can disclose and share the project publicly, on our website (case study) or in social media
Whether we can write a case study about this project:
- N/A – default status
- Tip – Project Manager suggests that the project is suitable for a case study (we helped the client to solve an interesting challenge)
- Approved – client approved case study and we can start working on it
- Published – we published case study on our website
Website or web app URL or a link to the app store. Even on NDA projects it’s good to have this filled in for internal use.
Our portfolio is a Salesforce report with signed-off opportunities which don’t have Work Example status set to NDA. By editing report parameters for Project Technology we can create custom reports for certain types of projects like React or Ruby on Rails. Another custom field we use often for filtering is vertical market.
In the next part…
In part 2 we will take a look at our custom rating system for leads and opportunities.
- Better Salesforce (pt. 1): Lead Details, Project Info, Portfolio
- Better Salesforce (pt. 2): Leads & Opportunities Rating System