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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

5 Salesforce Tips for Small Business

Salesforce Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

When it comes customer relationship management (CRM) software, Salesforce is king. It offers a ton of features and capabilities to help you acquire and retain customers, boost sales and manage contacts, but its complexity can also bog you down. Used correctly, however, Salesforce can be simple and easy to use for small businesses. Here are five Salesforce hacks to make your life easier.

For an in-depth look at Salesforce, visit our Salesforce review.

Salesforce works with a gamut of popular business solutions, and email integration is going to become your best friend.

"The absolute biggest timesaver for me has been Salesforce IQ Inbox, which links up my GSuite Gmail account with my Salesforce account," said Brian Forrester, co-founder of Workshop Digital, an SEO and digital marketing firm.

This integration works with a wide range of email clients, including Outlook, to sync all sorts of data to streamline your workflow.

"It syncs my calendar and email with Salesforce and allows me to create new leads and opportunities right from my inbox," Forrester said.

You can also automatically link email communications with a lead or opportunity and even see whether contacts have opened your emails.

"It saves mountains of time and makes Salesforce easily worth the investment," Forrester added.

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Take the leg work out of contact management by automating data entry. Casey Tongg, digital marketing strategist at transportation and shipping company CFR Rinkens, recommends Salesforce's Data.com service, which cleans up Salesforce accounts and automatically updates contacts with the most current information.

"[Data.com] saves time and increases productivity because it's one of the most complete sources of business and contact information," Tongg said. "The best part is that it's already available to you in an easy-to-use, organized format."

Tongg also uses Datanyze, a technographics tool that analyzes and automates Salesforce data.

"The tool uses different forms of tracking and analytics that can provide assistance with everything from prospecting to closing more deals," Tongg said.

Datanyze can help you find new accounts, research contacts, locate email addresses and build contact lists – and then automatically enter them into Salesforce to save you time.

Google Chrome users can take advantage of this time-saving browser trick: save the Salesforce search box as a search engine within the browser.

"All you have to do is right-click on the search box, click Save As Search Engine, and change the keyword to 'SF,'" Tongg said.

This hack lets you run Salesforce in the browser without having to launch or switch to the app.

"Anytime you open up a new tab and type 'SF' and then hit space, you'll be able to search inside Salesforce from anywhere," Tongg said. "It's a huge timesaver."

Save your sales team from wasting time manually logging meetings. David Radin, CEO and co-founder of the Confirmed scheduling app, recommends using add-ons to automate meeting logs.

"I have traditionally added an app that helps the user log his calls from a lead view or contact view, which reduces data entry tremendously," Radin said.

You can also use add-ons to automatically log meeting requests into Salesforce. Radin has built in this feature into the Confirmed app to help sales reps.

"The sales person can use the app to get a higher meeting acceptance rate and still have the data in his Salesforce.com records ready for his use and for reporting and analytics," Radin said.

Kill two birds with one stone. Round-robin assignments, which automate the process of assigning leads to sales reps, will help you save time, while setting up your team for success.

"If you're with an organization that has high traffic in terms of inbound leads, then I cannot stress enough to create round-robin lead assignments for your sales reps," said Nick Pennebaker, founder of Awardzee.

By creating round-robin assignments, leads are automatically dispersed evenly amongst sales reps. Pennebaker, who has used Salesforce for seven years, says this equalizes things across the board. It also saves you massive amounts of time from manually assigning leads, he said.

Round robin isn't a built-in feature, so you'll have to set it up yourself by creating custom fields and a lead assignment rule.

"You're sort of on your own, but it's not too terribly difficult," Pennebaker said. "It takes a bit to learn, but after some Googling and YouTube videos, it's well worth the hour spent."

Check out this tutorial from FocusOnForce – a website specializing in Salesforce certifications – on how to create round-robin assignments.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.