Remote working: companies who have truly adopted the cloud can reap the benefits, when there's a new normal
Many companies have enabled remote working for some time. We’re a globalised society for one thing, with employees working all over the world. For another, millennials say they prefer working remotely, so habits are changing anyway. Right now, with constant talk of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working is fast becoming a necessity for anyone who is able to do so.
Perhaps surprisingly, there are still plenty of companies who aren’t ready for it yet. A company can provide a laptop, a phone, or make it possible for HR to know who’s doing what on which day. That doesn’t mean people are working as effectively at home as they would at work.
At BrightGen, we see first hand the problems that come about because employees haven’t truly adopted cloud technology. Almost all companies are now using cloud services. But there’s still a long way to go before we stop the reliance on spreadsheets and informal sharing of information in the office.
Most salespeople will prioritise almost anything above admin. The common complaint is that they don’t have time, because they’re too busy calling their customers. This might be true - but the answer should never be “I can’t do it”. The answer should lie in making it easier to do the admin.
Salesforce SalesCloud responds to the needs of the complex businesses it serves. This is why, without sufficient training, salespeople might omit important information when recording their interactions. Or the system might not be set up correctly for a specific company’s individual needs. BrightGen advises businesses on how best to tailor their instance of Salesforce to allow their salespeople to incorporate it into their day-to-day activities. This seemingly simple step can transform a sales team’s rate of success.
With emergencies such as global pandemics (COVID-19 being only the current case), it has never been so important to connect all data and sales interactions. If you can’t speak to customers or salespeople as quickly or easily as you used to, the very least you need is a central thread of information on them.
An additional complexity here is the matter of data privacy and GDPR. Sharing spreadsheets with customer data carries a lot of extra risk. Keeping all data in Salesforce ensures that data is kept securely and cannot be shared externally by accident. The right of access to data means that the fewer places a customer’s data is kept, the easier it will be to provide information if the customer requests to see it.
Single view of the customer
When you think of your favourite brands, can you imagine the last customer experience you had with them? If so, it’s likely they made life a little bit easier for you. As Gartner puts it, “effort matters more than delight” - if you make your customer’s experience effortless, they’ll be loyal.
Here are a couple of scenarios of where lack of data can ruin the customer experience:
- If a customer success professional knows no details of what their customer was sold, the customer will have to explain their needs to the company twice.
- If a customer success professional does not know what their subject matter expert told their customer, the customer may not be able to take their work to the next step.
Without being able to speak in person, data easily gets lost in emails, notes and instant messaging platforms. When recorded in the right place in Salesforce, the customer is understood in the same way by everyone. The customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves and service promises are not broken.
One of the biggest industries to be affected by the coronavirus outbreak is live events. For those running the events, business losses in the immediate term are sadly inevitable. But for marketers who were planning to sponsor events this year, there is certainly no need for panic. Some marketers may even realise opportunity. By getting ahead of competitors, marketers can take advantage of tools such as Salesforce’s Pardot to give their customers a seamless online experience.
BrightGen has helped customers to put into place ways to digitalise their marketing efforts to a new level. We recently introduced a customer to Pardot, who were able to transform the way they did marketing from a heavily live events-led strategy to purely a digital one. This kind of transformation does not have to be forced by the threat of pandemics.
One of the most difficult aspects of remote working is for business leaders to get an understanding of their employees’ progress. Here again is where Salesforce can replace the need for in-person discussion and informal sharing of data. By consistently keeping the database updated throughout the business, employees can be sure that their hard work will not go unnoticed.
Leaders can have dashboards and data visualisation set up for them so that they can assess their business performance in a few mouse clicks. Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau makes the potential of the CRM even more powerful. With the advanced capabilities of Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics, leaders can be proactive and predict threats or opportunities before they arise.
This is perhaps the biggest motivating factor for business leaders to encourage and enable Salesforce adoption throughout their organisations. The majority of our customers at BrightGen rely on us to enable faster Salesforce adoption with the aim of increasing visibility at the top. In times of uncertainty, fast change and potentially needing to let workers take more sick leave, this becomes more important than ever.
Remote working involves the whole business
HR and IT teams might be preparing for infrastructure, policy and other performance issues in response to COVID-19. But every leader across the business needs to think carefully about their employees’ readiness for change. Companies need to be joined up throughout the business to minimise disruption. Those who resolve their internal data issues sooner will find they advance more quickly.
Internally available data needs to be treated as seriously, and maintained as respectfully, as externally available data. Data is expensive and when it gets lost because of people not utilising the tools available to them, it should be treated as money being wasted. The concept of storing data in one place on the cloud as a “single source of truth” has been around for the last 20+ years. BrightGen has been providing a service to enable companies to do that for over 13+ years.
For companies who have already succeeded in adopting cloud computing throughout their organisation, emergencies like COVID-19 will only be worrying for the reason it should be: it’s an illness. Companies that haven’t yet succeeded in adopting cloud computing will risk lower productivity when working remotely. Digitalised businesses will reap the benefits.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, watch our webinar replay on Salesforce adoption. We spoke to property developer Mount Anvil about how they increased their number of Salesforce users by ten times after setting it up to provide value and simplicity to the business.