Salesforce Sales Cloud is a cloud-based application designed for different-sized enterprises to manage sales efficiently by collecting customer data and inputs of their interaction with the company in one place. Sales Cloud CRM features speed up business processes and one of the core ways to do so is to simplify lead management. The lead management module is a solution for the end-to-end lead management process, which allows your team to reach potential clients and build prospective relationships.
In this article, we'll discuss how lead management is organized in Sales Cloud, how flows of inbound and outbound leads come to Sales Cloud, and share one of the thousands of possible cases of Salesforce customization.
What is Lead in Salesforce Sales Cloud?
Before talking about lead management, let's start with a bit of contextualization of what we mean by leads. Obviously, each B2B business has certain pipelines helping a company manage relationships with clients and partners using a step-by-step approach. Although business processes vary depending on unique operational strategies, there are some standard stages of funnels. Lead generation and lead management are something that each company does, as converting new clients is the heart of each business. Salesforce Sales Cloud has super inbuilt opportunities for this. Let’s have a closer look!
Sales Cloud standard objects for leads flow stages are Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, and Activities. Today we are interested in the first object — Leads.
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Generally, a lead is a potential customer — a person or a company who is interested in buying what you sell — your services or products. In Salesforce, a lead record is created as an object by default when you receive new contact information in your database. A lead is a raw prospect — a new one in your system that will be or won't be qualified.
Such information as company name, the title of the contact person, and their name and contacts are collected in the Salesforce database. Such data is often used for targeting marketing campaigns and, of course, for exact communication with leads. Moreover, listing leads in Salesforce Sales Cloud makes reporting more accessible, so you can easily get any statistic after processing the database and monitoring campaign ROI.
How Leads come to Salesforce Sales Cloud?
When it comes to communication and lead generation, most companies nowadays have a multichannel approach. Your company likely has several proven lead flow sources for inbound and outbound leads. These sources are based on online and real-life interactions: client events, social media campaigns, client referrals, advertisements, website form filling, etc. For your convenience, leads' data can be added manually and automatically into Salesforce Sales Cloud: through a list import, web-to-lead generation. An automated Salesforce integration with business software used by your team can also be an option. For example, your email contacts from Gmail can be automatically added to the Salesforce Sales Cloud list of leads if your Gmail is integrated with Salesforce. As you see, the Salesforce CRM ensures a multichannel approach, so you don’t miss any of your inbound and outbound leads.
How Lead Management is organized in Salesforce Sales Cloud?
Lead management is the process that starts with defining leads and ends up nurturing them into sales. It's not a secret that effective lead management enhances sales and revenue for a business. That's why it is vital to spend time and resources organizing this process in the best possible way.
When a lead is listed in the database, the sales team can plan further actions, schedule future interactions, create tasks and make the exact team member responsible for each lead. After communicating with leads, they can also log events with descriptions in Sales Cloud to gather all data in one place.
Let's distinguish 6 steps of the lead management process in Salesforce:
- Leads Generation
- Automatic: as we mentioned before, there are quite a lot of ways leads get into Salesforce. If leads flow comes from filling a website form, they can be added to Sales Cloud automatically with the help of web-to-lead functionality.
- Import: Salesforce allows users to connect businesses' most popular apps for communication with CRM. So, sales reps can import leads, for example, from Outlook.
- Manual: if the lead came to you from offline or in some not typical way, sales reps could just add data on their own.
- Removing Duplicates: Valuable space in your database might be occupied by repeating records. For example, you have few interactions with the same person — via email and form filling form on the website. To not clutter up the space, waste resources, and slow up the CRM work, we recommend you check the list before moving to the next steps of lead management.
- Lead Qualification: Sometimes contacts you receive appear to be fake leads, like competitors in search of insights. Your team should know if it's worth it to go farther and spend resources on leads. Defining this is called lead qualification. Default Salesforce lead statuses are:
- Leads are considered to be qualified if they are ready to buy. The first stage of qualification is Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) — those who could buy; the second stage — Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) — those who are ready for direct contact with sales reps (which can be assigned to lead with Salesforce apps like Q-assign). When a lead is qualified, they are converted to a Contact and an Opportunity.
- Lead Prioritization: Let's admit that not all leads are equally valuable. And as your database growth significantly, scoring leads and attending to the hottest of them first become the TOP priority. Moreover, if someone is interested in your product or service, it doesn't always mean the deal would be perspective. So, at this stage, the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) comes into play, as your Sales & Marketing team relies on target profile descriptions while defining marketing- and sales-qualified leads.
- Lead Nurturing: Not all Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) are ready to purchase your service or product right now. Maybe, they are still looking into different options, or perhaps they are still deciding whether to buy — they might not be ready to engage. Such leads need nurturing to emphasize your offerings' benefits and your product relevance. Moreover, nurturing is something you do to stay on potential customers’ radars. Classically, it includes unobtrusive follow-up emails, informative marketing campaigns, or targeted social media advertisements.
- Salesforce Clouds have awesome basic features and instruments that automate these processes and convert leads into sales easier. However, some standard options might not work for a particular business, which polished its unique funnels to be a competitive advantage in customer service. In such cases, Salesforce should be customized to fit these processes perfectly. Such customization can be done by an internal technical team, but an experienced technical partner is often a better option.
- Evaluation of Lead Management Effectiveness: Ensure the lead management process is effective or determine areas of improvement. With Salesforce Lead history reports, you can see, for example, what industry most of your leads are from. The marketing team will be grateful for such information, which will simplify the launching of future campaigns. With Salesforce dashboards, you can track different metrics of the lead management process. There you will see what you need to improve and what actions bring the most value.
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Example from the Healthcare domain: Salesforce customization in compliance with HIPAA requirements
As we said before, a CRM should fit and serve your company's identity, values, and image. This is how companies achieve operational excellence without losing their unique customer relationship approach.
As Salesforce is world # 1 CRM provider, it is adaptive for different-sized businesses in fintech, manufacturing, IT, telecom, retail, etc. Moreover, standard features are not the limit — Salesforce CRM can be customized for your unique business processes fostered through the years.
Let's see the real case when Sparkybit Salesforce experts needed to fetch data from a website according to Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance requirements via the custom word press forms.
HIPAA is a compliance regulation that businesses operating in certain Healthcare spheres are obligated to follow to protect and secure Protected Health Information (PHI) as prescribed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The healthcare industry-wide HIPAA compliance costs are close to $8.3 billion a year. Plus, a lot of financial penalties were issued in 2020, more than in any other year since the Department of Health and Human Services was given the authority to enforce HIPAA compliance. $13,554,900 was paid to OCR to settle the HIPAA violation cases. But fortunately, 2021 saw a slightly reduced in the number of settlements and fines for HIPAA violations. So no doubt, fine-tuning a CRM to meet such strict rules might be challenging.
Because a CRM such business uses must be HIPAA-compliant as well. This is why Salesforce customization comes into play.
Sparkybit Salesforce experts are familiar with the case. One day our Client needed to make some changes to their website and therefore meet HIPAA compliance standards through features that help keep Patient Health Information (PHI) secure. It's not all about just playing by rules; regulation compliance is something a business does to prove its solid reputation and operational excellence.
After analyzing the case, our consultants focused on the major security issue: the data must be safe while being transferred from one entity to another. The whole vendor's reputation might be at risk in case the data suffers or leaks. After the solution was chosen, Sparkybit engineers updated the existing encryption process and specific storage to protect sensitive data. We are talking about fetching patients' personal data from a website via custom WordPress. It was the best way to help the Client take care of their patient's privacy.
By some trigger on the website, the custom algorithm decrypted sensitive data and sent it to Salesforce that way. On the Salesforce side, there was a custom-developed connected app and some Apex classes for handling and mapping the input data. All the process was orchestrated to work as a swiss watch, not demanding any manual work, double checks, bureaucracy, and hustle. As the key result, the Client had the appropriate not just HIPAA-compliant Lead records but the whole Lead flow. Summing up, the Salesforce customization was not simply about adding features. The main value was ensuring business ethics while operating sensitive patients' data. Because when a business cares for customers, it is the best way to ensure mutual trust and fruitful relationships.
Salesforce CRM is a customizable tool that adapts to various businesses' needs. In its turn, Sales Cloud is a platform that combines all possible information about leads and customers and is used for each stage of lead management: lead generation, qualification, as well as lead nurturing, and also for business analytics and marketing campaign planning.
Are you going to integrate Salesforce CRM, or have questions about its customization? Sparkybit Salesforce experts are always ready to analyze your current Salesforce requirements and offer customization to meet your business needs.
Sparkybit, Salesforce consulting and development company. We make Salesforce perform at its best by fitting it to Clients’ custom business needs. 9 years of sharpened expertise, 25+ successful long-term projects globally.
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