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Salesforce Health Check Up

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What’s Your State of Health for Your Salesforce Environment?

We all know that there are so many ways that you can utilize Salesforce to fit your business model. But are you leveraging it to it’s fullest potential? Are you running out of storage space?  Are there too many triggers and workflows that you don’t know up from down? Too many installed packages that are no longer in use?

According to a 2015 Informatica sponsored report called the State of Salesforce, “in 2014 44% of companies released changes to their Salesforce instance at least monthly. This year, 64% of companies are releasing at least monthly—a 20% jump.” Salesforce does a minimum of 3 releases a year with new features and functions, which can sometimes cause errors in customize code, triggers, workflows and applications from the appexchange.This is why it’s important to reevaluate the health of your Salesforce instance and innovate new processes to build a better sales environment.

Just like it’s important to clean up and monitor your data that’s within your database it is also important to audit and set goals for your Salesforce system. Salesforce Health Checks can help identify areas where best practices and standard functionality are not being utilized. They are a great way to measure throughout the year how well the CRM is operating.

Ventas Consulting is offering a FREE Salesforce Health Check to review your current use of Salesforce and recommend best practices that will help you improve productivity and reduce risk within your system.

Your health check will include the following:

  • Governance & Security Audit
  • Business Process Review
  • Configuration & Code Review
  • Solution Design Review
  • User Adoption Analysis

Contact us today for your Salesforce health check!

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3 Simple Tips for a Better Salesforce End User Experience

Like most we all get busy with the day-to-day action items and projects that we sometimes forget about our end users who may have daily frustrations using Salesforce. Here are just a few tips to help you create a better Salesforce end user experience.

Tip #1 – Create Training Opportunities Through-Out the Year

We can’t stress this enough, business user training should happen at the very least every quarter. With multiple new feature releases from Salesforce during the year there is bound to be something new that you can teach your team and colleagues. Through training you can also learn what processes are working and what is not. It doesn’t hurt to make sure everyone is using the system efficiently.

Tip #2 Standardizing Picklist Values for Better Reporting

Next on our list is standardizing data entry values for field picklists. The data is only as good as what is put in and if most of the data values are misspelled or only in there once, you can’t accurately report or categorize your database for sales or marketing. And let’s face it dirty data has a lasting effect on your Salesforce environment. You can start by creating standard values for Country or State/Province if you haven’t already done this.

Tip #3 Add Field Level-Help Text & Documentation

This is probably the easiest thing you can do within your Salesforce environment, but sometimes the most daunting and tedious task. No one really enjoys creating documentation, but can you remember why you did something a year go? Or why that particular field isn’t only visible to certain users? Documenting fields and workflows not only helps you remember but it will help anyone else who may need to know.

Field level-help can help your end users understand what each field means and what kind of values go into those fields. This can also help improve data quality for the field values since you’ve provided guidance on what the value for the field should be. You can easily create the tips and hint if you go into the field edit area and find the field called field level-help to enter in your tip and hint about the field.

Bonus: Applications to try.

There are ton of apps on appexchange that you can use to solve almost any business problem that you have in salesforce. For instance Field Trip can help you analyze fields and find out what percentage of your fields have data values. You can also use this tool to find fields that are not being used in the system and delete them if necessary. Of course you’ll need to check with your end users first before you delete them.

These are just a few tips to help you get started. If you’d like to learn more about what other best practices that you could be implementing please sign up for our FREE Salesforce System Analysis or Contact Us.

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Rumor Mill – Pardot Dreamforce 15

Dreamforce 15 is just around the corner and rumors are running around about what’s next for Pardot. I know that most of the users I’ve meet jokingly call Pardot, the Black Sheep of the Salesforce family.
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Why you may ask? Well, that would have to do with the fact that it’s been awhile since the product has had a major upgrade. They do work on user requested features and add them through out the year, but not as many as the users would like.  Most of the users don’t know what’s on the roadmap for the year mostly because they don’t publicize it widely. The excuse seems to be that the Salesforce team has been a little busy working on major upgrades and UI design for Marketing Cloud, which for those of you who don’t know use to be Exact Target, a B2C marketing automation tool. Or so I’ve heard.

Let’s go through a little history of how Pardot became apart of the Salesforce family.  It’s been a long road of acquisition for this little marketing automation tool and it’s users. It started with Pardot being acquired by Exact Target in 2012 and then Exact Target being acquired by Salesforce in 2013. Rumor is that Exact Target wanted to be acquired by Salesforce and purchased Pardot to ensure their end goal.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel this year since Exact Target has been upgraded and rebranded. Now it’s time for Pardot. I know that I’m excited to see what will be announced this year at Dreamforce since there are more the 50 sessions for Pardot users at the conference this year.  Can we say Black Sheep no more?

Here is what I think/hope will be announced for Pardot feature upgrades in the near future.

  1. Better integration between Pardot and Salesforce – one lead database
  2. Drip Campaign – UI changes and advance setup
  3. Enhanced/Better Reporting
  4. Campaigns 1:1 instead 1:2 relationship
  5. More options with automation rules

What do you think is in store for Pardot this year? Let us know.

Going to Dreamforce this year? Here are a couple of Pardot links about sessions at Dreamforce 15. Enjoy!

http://www.pardot.com/event/5-must-attend-pardot-sessions-at-df15/

http://www.pardot.com/events/dreamforce-2015/

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Our March Madness NCAA Bracket – A Chance to Win Dreamforce 2015 Pass

March Madness and last minute shots – crazy things can happen in March. Do you want to advance your Sales team through the month and come out a champion? Are you always sitting on the bubble, will you be tagged as a Cinderella or run with the Wildcats as a #1 Seed?

Regardless of the situation one thing is true, you have competition. Let Ventas Consulting be your Salesforce Coach to help your team outperform and set new records. With help from our Final Four AppExchange picks your sales team advance deep into the madness and produce a successful year.

March Ventas Bracket

Our picks: AXIOM, Drawloop, InsightSquareduStudio

Get a Chance to Win a Dreamforce 2015 pass…

If you want some sporting fun then join the Ventas Consulting March Madness NCAA Bracket at your chance of winning a Dreamforce 2015 pass. Enter here and use group password “Dreamforce” to enter.

We look forward to seeing your picks this season and all the best of luck to those that enter.
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Five9 Roadshow with Ventas Consulting & GolfNow

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Join Mike Barnes, Director of Salesforce Administration at GolfNow, Ventas Consulting and Five9 for an in depth review of the considerations, challenges and eventual opportunities generated as the result of an integrated SFDC and Five9 Call Center solution practices around deploying a cloud based call center.

This is a no-cost event and space is limited, please RSVP immediately to secure your spot.

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Dallas Salesforce Workshop for Administrators & Developers

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Join Ventas Consulting for our free Salesforce workshop that includes specialized hands-on training sessions for administrators(9am-12pm) and developers(1-4pm). Space is limited at, please register now to reserve your spot, you must have vaild email address to register.

Administrators, whether you’re brand-new or experienced, in this workshop you will learn how process planning and documentation can make your life easier when working with Salesforce and your team. With these tips and techniques you will be more efficient, increase user adoption, and learn what pitfalls to watch out for.

Developers, in this workshop we will cover the basics of building your own VisualForce page and how to take advantage of the Developer Console to make your administration and development tasks simpler. For the advanced attendees and those who appreciate a challenge, we will explore the extended functionality of VisualForce, which provides limitless application possibilities. You will also learn how to “spin up” your own developer org, which will allow you to test anything in the safety of your own environment.

Agenda:
Administrator Track 

08:30 – 09:00am Registration/Networking
09:00 – 10:30am Salesforce Business Process Session (90 minutes)

  •   Build your team
  •   Define your vision
  •   Prioritize and clearly outline your goals
  •   Discover the key aspects of your processes and diagram the process flow
  •   Define fields associated with your processes
  •   Decide which reports you need
10:30 – 12:00pm Salesforce Administration Session (90 minutes)

  •   Edition limits and functionality
  •   Governance Pitfalls
  •   Release Management
12:00 – 01:00pm Networking Lunch and Presentation by Spanning  - (60 minutes)
Check-in for Developer Track

Developer Track  *If you plan on attending the Developer track please bring a laptop.

1:00 – 2:00pm  Introduction to VisualForce (60 minutes)

  •   What is VisualForce?
  •   Create your own development org
  •   Using the Developer Console
2:00 – 3:00pm Creating a VisualForce Page (60 minutes)

  •   Syntax and Structure
  •   Overriding the standard UI
3:00 – 4:00pm Advanced VisualForce (60 minutes)

  •   Using the Geolocation field type
  •   Using a maps API to plot data points on a map

 

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The 5 Stages of Salesforce – A Love Story

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Salesforce; the apple of your eye, the object of your affection, your dream come true. Pick me, XOXOXOX, Be Mine, Chemistry, Soul Mates. These might be descriptions when you first meet Salesforce.

Ok, we know this isn’t a physical relationship but you are investing money, time, and expertise on this relationship. You are invested and as such there should be a mutual return.

Knowing there are different phases of a relationship we want to share 5 ways to stay in love, fall back in love or renew your love for Salesforce. Maybe a good laugh too, so please share in our humor, a few tips and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

 

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1. The Romance Stage – You see Salesforce through beautiful rose colored glasses.  Since your engagement you’ve replaced broken processes, migrated away from legacy systems, limited risk and created transparency and collaboration across teams. Tip: Pace yourself and focus on what you do well (Sales, Marketing, Service) 
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2. The Power Struggle Stage – Disappointment is setting in and you are focusing in on differences now.  Break up or survive is the game. You need a governance program that promotes change management and drives adoption. Tip: The challenge appears to be the tool, but it’s actually your process.
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3. The Stability Stage – Maturity and a deeper understanding knowing that you will never succeed if you change CRM’s. Establish a core team across business units and allow them to collaborate on change. Tip: It is easier to turn a ship when the entire crew is rowing in the same direction.
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4. The Commitment Stage – You fully surrender to the reality that you and Salesforce have shortcomings but you choose to stay no matter what. A CRM’s total cost of ownership on average is recognized in year five.  Tip: Invest in resources that produce results. 
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5. The Bliss Stage – Now you are a team and your relationship becomes a gift to the world. Industry dominance is before you, build and share apps. Tip: The Force is strong with you

Take advantage of our Expertise On-Demand program that will address these 5 areas for you.

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Near Shore

Benefits of NearShore Application Development

Under pressure to do more with less? 

Near ShoreContrary to popular belief India is not the only economically-viable solution for outsourcing in support of software development (e.g. Force.com Development). There are viable outsourcing options here in North America and Ventas Consulting is a partner capable of supporting the application development needs of many companies.

It makes perfect sense for organizations that routinely outsource their development activities to keep these closer to home. Accessibility is extremely important to ensure development projects remains on target and on budget. We’ve found that a key differentiator for us has been our ability to keep development close to home.

It can be a challenge to manage outsourced development, so why complicate it by placing design, development, and testing on the other side of the world (i.e. India), when viable options exist in North America. Mexico, and Mexico City specifically, can be a viable solution.

There are numerous reasons why Ventas Consulting has invested heavily in developing a strong nearshore model centralized in Mexico City. For example:

  • Economic business sense and cost savings
  • Cultural Affinity and Ease of Doing Business
  • Access to intellectual capital and highly educated workforce
  • IP is protected under the rule of law
  • Proximity to Mexico City from all major American cities (particularly Texas)
  • Same time zones as the U.S. to support collaboration during normal working hours
  • NAFTA has stimulated years of economic and infrastructure development in Mexico

Let our experienced nearshore development team help augment your project resources and deliver quality services you can depend on. Contact us today!

Salesforce Surfboard Awards 2014

Lennox Salesforce Surfboard Road Warriors Award – Salesforce1 Results

surfboard2014Congrats to Lennox International Residential Development Team

We are pleased to announce that with a little help and insight from our team’s resources, our client, Lennox International, has won the Salesforce Surfboard Road Warriors Award for their new Salesforce1 application. This award celebrates companies who are able to connect the power of Salesforce1 and their business to drive sales results from anywhere and from any device.

The Lennox residential development team was awarded for their development of printable, mobile sales tools that visualize Dealer sales and program participation information. This tool is intended for the sales team to use during their intentional sales calls with customers and reviews with their managers. Congrats to our customer, we are so proud.

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Expertise On-Demand

One major advantage of hiring a consulting firm is that you only pay when they provide you a service. This also means that you don’t provide employer benefits, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Ventas Consulting can provide that cost savings and also give you an outside, fresh perspective on your business with long term strategies to grow revenue through user productivity and system effectiviness.

The Wall Street Journal reported on March 23, 2013 that 31% of employer costs went to paying benefits on top of regular salaries which is even greater in some industries according to the Labor Department.

31% of Employer cost per employee went to benefits
8.5% – Health Insurance
7.8% – Regulated compensation (Social Security, Medicare, etc)
7.7% – overtime & bonuses
7% – Paid Leave

* These numbers will vary per industry as private companies pay more in overtime and bonuses.

In addition to financial overhead, employee productivity has decreased by 2 hours per day or 40 hours per month.

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What does this mean for you? MITIGATE COST & EXPERTISE ON-DEMAND

The Ventas Professional Service program is a many to one relationship. You set the term, you determine the hours and we provide the resources.  You are assigned a dedicated Sr. Business Consultant that has access to certified admins and developers to solve your request.

As a rule of thumb this is what you should have to administer your Salesforce CRM:

Suggested FTE Matrix
Role & Expertise Salesforce Users
< 1 Full-Time Administrator 1-30 Users
1+ Full-Time Administrator 31-74 Users
1 Sr. Administrator; 1 Jr. Administrator 75-149 Users
1 Salesforce Analyst; 2-4 Administrators 150-499 Users
1-2 Salesforce Analyst; 2-4 Salesforce Administrators 500-750 Users
Multiple Roles 751+ users
*Data provided by Hire On-Demand

Ventas employees have held these various corporate positions and understand these metrics very well. Our lean agile operation can be a valuable and trusted extension to your business team.

An article in the JMS by Donald Bergh and Patrick Gibbons look at the ‘signaling game’ value of consulting, measuring the stock-market reactions to firms’ announcements of hiring a consulting firm. The stock-market likes it when “good” firms hire consultants, typically the returns are positive and significant even with the client’s prior performance.

  • Rent rather than own specialized skills.
  • Break up internal political deadlocks.
  • Provide better rationalizations for what you want to do already.
  • Take advantage of Ventas’ exposure to other firms and their practices.
  • Signaling various things to the market–lack of complacency, growth opportunities, etc.
  • Building the entourage for image-polishing or ego-building purposes.
  • A sounding board for managers who are afraid to say what they really think to their intramural colleagues.