While undertaking the process of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), you need to gather all possible details pertaining to all the customers catered by your company. You also need to service every need of your customers in the best way possible. Traditional CRM methodologies can no longer be employed by businesses these days and software platforms like Salesforce provide considerable relief to the sales teams working hard with their business data.
The platform of Salesforce CRM helps their client businesses in managing their customer database in an organized and efficient manner. It provides a high degree of automation to certain specific activities resulting in the sales tasks being performed faster and more accurately. Right from approaching potential customers and generating effective leads to staying in touch with the current customers and communicating with them on a constant basis, Salesforce allows you to manage your bank of leads, contacts, and Accounts in an organized and automated manner.
If you are an organization that has been in the market for a few years, you are bound to interact with several customers and other businesses having a vested interest in your business. It is important to establish healthy relations with the customers catered by you. Your customers can essentially be divided into three categories – leads, contacts, and Accounts (also important Salesforce objects). The data pertaining to each of these customers is likely to be different they all need to be managed in unique ways.
Here, we will discuss the importance of Salesforce Accounts and ways of handling these Accounts in the best way possible.
What Is A Salesforce Account?
In terms of Salesforce CRM, an Account is essentially a business organization with whom you are doing business currently or with whom you had business relations in the past. Though the majority of Salesforce Accounts consist of companies you cater to like your customers, the Salesforce object pertaining to Accounts also allows you to store details regarding your competitors, resellers, investors and any other entity having a vested financial interest in your business.
It is important to understand that a Salesforce Account is more than a mere customer. It can be a group of customers and contacts belonging to the same company or an entity your firm has been interacting with for business purposes. Based on the scale of your business and the number of varied Accounts dealt with by your team, Salesforce allows you to store information based on specific account types. For instance, if you have stored Accounts in Salesforce with information about your distributors, you may choose to add more specific fields such as demographics to organize the information in a better way and managing the Accounts more efficiently. However, it is advisable to approach your Salesforce Consultant before taking any decision regarding the creation of such Salesforce Account types.
The Salesforce Account object contains all necessary information pertaining to an Account handled by your team. You are required to enter the following basic details to store information regarding Accounts in Salesforce:
- Name of the company
- Industry the company belongs to
- Size of the company, i.e. the number of employees
- The billing and shipping address of the company
- Office phone number
- Official website of the company
- Name and details of the Account owner
Once you have created a Salesforce Account, it is often supported by important information from other objects (contacts, leads, opportunities, etc), allowing you to synchronize these Salesforce objects and undertake specific marketing and sales activities for your customers.
Situations Leading To The Creation of Salesforce Accounts
Here are the three major situations that might lead to your team creating new Salesforce Accounts:
- You can create a Salesforce Account after you have converted a lead and created an opportunity. Here, the lead will be converted into contact and the company your lead belongs to will turn into an Account.
- You can create an Account by importing a list of Contacts and/or Accounts from a data provider.
- You can create an Account after closing a sales deal or undertaking a successful outbound marketing activity simply by adding details into Salesforce CRM.
Parent And Child Accounts In Salesforce
If you run a large scale business organization catering to numerous Accounts simultaneously, you need to maintain a hierarchy when it comes to organizing data pertaining to specific business units, subsidiaries, and divisions. In such situations, it is advisable to create Parent Accounts and Child Accounts.
As the name suggests, a Parent Account is the title company or a business group as a whole. This Parent Account may have several regional offices that constitute the Child Accounts in Salesforce. Having this approach in Salesforce Account management helps you in organizing information and records pertaining to every Account, allowing your team to handle the customers effectively.
Benefits of Salesforce Accounts
Here are some of the major benefits of creating and managing Salesforce Accounts:
- Managing Salesforce Accounts helps you in consolidating all the businesses you are interacting with on a centralized platform.
- It relieves your sales team from the hassles of paper-based management of Accounts by providing them with a cloud-based software platform.
- It helps you in creating new customer accounts in real-time, ensuring that the pace of your business is maintained.
- Salesforce Account management helps you in maintaining the consistency of the Accounts handled by your team.
- Salesforce Accounts help you in explaining the hierarchy of a business organization you work with and the relationship they share with their subsidiaries.
- You can create important Account teams and assign a suitable Account owner to improve business communication.
- Salesforce Account management also allows the users to track the topmost Accounts and prioritizing them for performing personalized sales and marketing activities. Once the Accounts are ranked, the high-ranking customers can be effectively approached using Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Salesforce Strategic Account Management
After you have successfully created your Salesforce Accounts and obtained all necessary details pertaining to the same, it is important to know how to manage these accounts effectively. Efficient Salesforce Account management would lead to leveraging the overall functionality of your business. If you are successful in managing strategic Salesforce Accounts, there are high chances of your business acquiring new customers and your current customers forming a loyal base.
It is important to be extremely careful and precise while tending to your Salesforce Accounts. Here are the major steps you should follow for managing your strategic Salesforce Accounts that would help you increase the performance of your organization in general and your sales team in specific:
Come Up With An Ideal Selection Criteria
The first step towards efficient Salesforce Account management is that of selecting the Accounts you specifically need to cater to. A business enterprise may have numerous Accounts and all of them do not require the same treatment. One of the biggest mistakes made by businesses is that of selecting Salesforce Accounts to be managed based on the volume of transactions with them or the force of the Accounts’ personality.
It is important to understand that all large volume Accounts are not necessarily strategic. A strategic Account is an Account that pushes your business on a strategic path and has the maximum contribution in helping you achieve your key business objectives. It is therefore important to be objective and select the Accounts that are strategically important for your business and undertake further practices only on these accounts. However, tending to strategic Salesforce Accounts does not mean that you would ignore the remaining Accounts.
Create A Robust Account Plan
Once you have selected the strategic Accounts you want to manage, it is time to create an extensive Account plan. This is the plan that will serve as a blueprint of the business process undertaken by your team in servicing these Accounts. It is advisable to be goal-oriented and far-sighted while developing this plan. Make sure you take into consideration a time period of the coming one to three years and plan all your activities accordingly. This will provide you with a solid base for every action you take, help you ascertain alternatives if certain specific activities fail and make sure the Salesforce Accounts you are managing are successful in creating value for the customers. With the help of a carefully drafted Account plan, you secure your place as a strategic partner for the Accounts you tend to as well.
Allocate The Necessary Resources
Once you have a strategic and goal-oriented Account plan in hand, you need to shift your focus in allocating all the necessary resources. Managing Salesforce Accounts that matter the most demands considerable attention as well as resources. Make sure you have added all the details regarding the resources to be allocated in your Account plan. However, you should prepare your team for allocating the resources at the last minute as well, owing to the majority of the Accounts making last-minute demands.
Go Ahead With The Execution
After you are done allocating all the resources required for managing the strategic Accounts, it is finally the time to put your plan into execution. One of the major mistakes committed by business organizations is that of not paying enough heed to the Account plan while executing the same. Make sure your sales team sticks to the details mentioned in your plan during the execution process. Also, it is important to monitor every single activity on a periodic basis to make sure things are going as planned.
It is advisable to set up an efficient reporting system that provides you with a thorough analysis of the execution after regular intervals. It is also important to multi-task while your plan is being executed by constantly looking into the requirements of your Accounts, organizing all the important data in real-time and making considerations for future plans as well.
Make Final Assessments
The majority of the business organizations make the mistake of assuming that the process of Salesforce Account management is completed once the team is done with the execution. However, it is important to understand that the process of Account management is essentially an ongoing one, as far as you want an ongoing relationship with your Salesforce Accounts.
Once you are done with the execution, make sure you make a thorough assessment of every activity performed by your team. Ascertain the areas they excelled in and the areas where they need to improve. It is advisable to use the platform of Salesforce in creating informative reports and dashboards that would help you in making important business decisions. Always stay in touch with your Accounts. Ask them if they require any additional services. If an Account has not been in touch with you for quite some time, approach them with suitable offers they can avail and get back with you. These activities help you in establishing a healthy relationship with your customers which is crucial to sustaining in this highly competitive environment.
Best Account Management Practices
The process of Account management is challenging one but can prove to be immensely beneficial for your organization if you execute it in the right way. Here are two of the best Salesforce practices pertaining to Account management, explained in brief:
Anticipate The Challenges
While charting out an efficient Account management plan, it is not enough to highlight only the goals you want to fulfill and the key business objectives you want to attain. It is advisable to ascertain all the anticipated challenges you may face while executing your Account management plan. Anything that involves dealing with human beings should be considered highly dynamic and full of challenges. Always prepare your team for dealing with unexpected circumstances while tending to a Salesforce Account.
Make Use Of The Right Salesforce Tools
It is important for your sales team to employ the right tools while executing an Account management plan. Depending on the requirements of your Accounts, resources to be allocated and specific purposes to be solved, choose the Salesforce tools that leverage your functionality and provide your customers with exactly what they want.
“Chitiz Agarwal also known as “Kumar” is a Salesforce.com evangelist and architect who has more than 13 yrs of IT experience. He has worked with big MNCs like Accenture and IBM and now running Techila Global Services from last 7 yrs and grown the company to size of 150+. He has delivered more than 700 projects on Salesforce.com till date and participated from initial requirement understanding to final delivery. His twitter handle is @ChitizAgarwal”