July 9 by Kristan Fiandach

Last month at the Accelerate conference in San Francisco, a panel of Salesforce MVPs discussed their secrets for how users and admins can get the most out of their Salesforce investment. Mike Gerholdt from buttonclickadmin.com, Bryan Boroughf from MondayCall Solutions, Elizabeth Davidson from Acumen Solutions, and David Schach of X-Squared On Demand rounded out the panel, each of whom have been recognized as exceptional individuals within the Salesforce community for their leadership, knowledge and ongoing contributions. Here is a look at the top three tips they shared.

1. Fully Research the Prospect of Building v. Buying Applications

Concern: How do you decide when it is more efficient to build or buy?

Advice: David Schach warned, “Salesforce is so easy, any idiot can screw it up.” What he is referring to is the limitless potential of what you can build on the Salesforce1 platform. Because Admins can design and customize to the nth degree, you can create a solution for any problem. But you can also run down a rabbit hole of endless development that could end up magnifying your original pain point.

In the spirit of Einstein’s famed quote, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about the solutions,” fully understand what it is you want your application to accomplish. What is the business goal? What are the processes that stand behind it? Then determine a timeline for the project, considering how long it will take to define, build, test, deploy and conduct training. Also, be sure to weigh the cost of purchase vs. the cost of delay (how much money could you be earning/saving if you had the application today).

2. Think Mobile but Don’t Forget About the Desktop

Concern: There are more mobile devices than people on Earth. Should companies be focusing a bulk of their energy moving to mobile, or is it still an aspect of the future?

Advice: Mobile is absolutely a facet of the here and now. But when you think mobile, think connectivity and not devices. Tablets and smartphones, as information consuming tools and workflow initiating devises are breaking new ground at an incredible rate. However, mobile devices are not data entry devices. There still needs to be a conjoining link. Think of the DirectTV marionette commercials. You might not be able to see the ‘all those ugly wires,’ but that TV still needs to plug in somewhere. Same goes for mobile. The desktops are still needed for program development and data entry. What is important is your ability to remotely access and interact with any necessary data from almost anywhere. And that comes from the power of the platform. “Salesforce1 is rethinking the entire platform,” explained Mike Gerholdt. “It’s moving away from CRM and towards building all of your business applications on Salesforce, and allowing you to connect to it whenever you need to. And that’s what mobile is all about.”

3. Only Track Actionable Data

Concern: In regards to data tracking, when is enough enough, and how do you communicate that internally?

Advice: Often people get enamored with dashboards. But for them to actually provide effective and actionable date, it is important to consider why you are tracking something.

  • What is the question we are trying to answer with this data?
  • Does this answer actually matter?

“For anyone familiar with the field of medicine, where I have my background,” Schach began, “the reigning philosophy before ordering a test is ‘Will the results change what we will do for the patient?’” You probably don’t need to track it if it’s not going to change what you do. Understand your business processes, set clear and attainable goals, and use the data to continually improve those processes. This will help ensure your data remains actionable as opposed to being surrounded by a surfeit of numbers and graphs.

If you are attending the Salesforce summer event Midwest Dreamin’ 2014 be sure to attend Mike Gerholdt’s session and stop by the Apttus booth.


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