During a recent webinar, we received a question about using Salesforce as a one-stop communication tool. We always preach that Salesforce functions best when it’s positioned as an organization’s single source of truth, but this one gave our marketing team pause — does such a rule apply to email and phone calls, too? What about chats?
To work through some answers I talked to a few experts in the company. Here’s what they had to say about the pros and cons of routing every communication channel through your org.
Sending emails and making calls through Salesforce
Let’s start by covering Salesforce’s relevant capabilities here. In addition to logging calls and emails, Salesforce allows you to send messages directly from the system. Sending emails works about how you’d expect, via an internal client, while phone calls can be dealt with in one of two ways:
- You can download Salesforce1, the company’s official mobile app. There, you’ll find a “make call” button tied to each prospect or lead. The app will automatically log information about any calls handled this way.
- You can integrate your office’s phone system. With this integration in place, calls will also automatically get logged. Additionally, incoming phone calls will launch the caller’s Salesforce record.
Obviously, these two solutions cater to different audiences. If your team is literally out in the field, consistently beyond the reach of wifi, Salesforce1 could be the answer. Our team estimates that it offers 90% of Salesforce’s desktop functionality and — being a mobile app — it’s designed to work with cellular data.
In more traditional office environments, however, you might want the robust features offered by a phone system integration. Consider the power of a prospect’s record appearing in front of you the minute they call: you’ll instantly be reminded of all the pertinent info about their company, and you’ll know what you last talked about and when. Talk about feeling prepared.
In either scenario, you’ll save time by eliminating the need to manually log communications after the fact.
Taking full advantage of Salesforce Chatter
In a post about using Salesforce as your one-stop communication tool, I’d be remiss not to mention Salesforce Chatter, the platform’s enterprise collaboration solution. With Chatter, you can post messages in Salesforce for particular individuals, groups or even the entire company. These messages can be attached to practically any record, object or task, which essentially eliminates problems that might arise from ambiguity or confusion.
At Torrent, Chatter is our only internal communication tool. We believe that email often wastes a lot more time than it helps save. Our CEO told me that he believes the inbox obsession that’s so prevalent in so many companies provides a false sense of accomplishment: “If [people] go in and knock out a bunch of emails… I think there’s a sense of productivity that people feel that I actually don’t think is reality.”
From an employee perspective, I can attest that not having to constantly monitor my email gives me the time to get a lot more work done.
Of course, if using Salesforce as a one-stop communication tool was the right choice for everybody… well, everybody would be doing it. As you’re deciding whether or not you want to run phone calls, emails and chat messages through your org, there are a few potential snags to consider.
The first is Salesforce’s limited email functionality. If you’re just messaging a prospect or lead directly, you’ll have no problem. But because every message must be tied to an existing contact, you’re somewhat restricted in who you can contact — at least without a little extra legwork. This could prove frustrating if you’re trying to, say, CC somebody who isn’t the system and whose email address you don’t have handy.
Then there are the email features like calendars and meeting invites: Here, Salesforce might present a learning curve. More commonly used email services like Gmail and Outlook are meant to serve universal audiences. As a result, they tend to be more intuitive to pick up.
And when it comes to Chatter, getting full-team buy-in could be tough. People are so used to email, they’re going to want to keep using it. Leadership will have to make it very clear that switching to Chatter isn’t an optional priority.
Ultimately, Salesforce can be whatever you want it to be — a sales tool, a collaboration tool, a productivity tool. And, yes, a communication tool. The key to success, however, is commitment. If you don’t take the proper steps to boost adoption, your initiative will likely fail. Make the change and stick to it.
And if you’re not sure about the best way to make your communication vision a reality, you might want to reach out to a Salesforce expert. They’ll be happy to discuss your particular questions and needs.