We have discovered that manufactures often seek a useful way to better manage and increase their sales reps’ performance and want to implement a more effective account planning tool. They want to see metrics around things like the number of calls and follow up tasks, what types of meetings are scheduled, and track the results of all this activity. Additionally, they want a solution that helps plan their sales team’s schedule around those activities which have led to the most success. We have utilized both apps and custom development to help our manufacturing clients achieve their account planning and sales activity reporting objectives.
Action Plans – Application
One of the apps that we’ve found to be useful in planning activities, is an app called Action Plans. This is a free, unmanaged app that allows you to package together a group of related activities around a certain objective. For example, you could create an Action Plan that includes a task for when an opportunity is assigned to a sales rep that they schedule an introductory call with the customer a day after assignment, another task following up with a quote a week after the introductory call, a task to send an email to follow up with the quote, and then finally a task to attend a meeting with their manager to discuss the status of this opportunity. You could also utilize this app for tasks for implementing best practices when following up with a new lead, reminding a customer that a subscription is about to expire 30-60-90 days out, or process for on-boarding a new user.
Custom Development – Weekly Business Reports
Another way to manage Account Planning and Sales Activity is through scheduled reports. We created a weekly scheduled report of each sales reps activities to be sent to their manager for weekly review/discussion. The sales reps could decide at the activity level whether the task/event was to be sent to the weekly business report to maintain control over which activities they would like to be given credit for and those for which they would like further support or guidance. Additionally, we included categories for the weekly report activities to add some additional context around each reps activity report. This helped provide a structure for the weekly business meetings in account planning and a format for which the sales reps could obtain the approval and guidance on how to handle any issues or blockers.
Another solution is to initiate activity automation around certain metrics that drive sales and customer engagement. For example, you could assign an Account follow up activity when the last activity date is greater than last 10 days or assign specific activities for when an Opportunity close date is 3 months out versus 2 months, 2 weeks, etc. You can realize this data within reports/dashboards and set filters for last activity date and close date as well.
In regard to increasing your sales team’s performance and adoption of the Salesforce Platform with regards to logging activities, we have used several gamification apps and custom developments to boost productivity and user engagement. These solutions can work by adding points whenever users create certain task/events to keep users engaged with their Accounts and Opportunities. SuMo Motivate is a highly-regarded app that helps increase sales by motivating sales users with competitions, badges, rewards, and leaderboards. Salesforce’s Work.com can also help motivate your sales team by providing coaching, rewards, performance evaluations, and recognition through leader boards.
Article by Linsey Billings