How to Successfully Implement Salesforce Sales Cloud

Sales Cloud is Salesforce’s premier sales management platform, helping you chase leads, close deals and build resilience and growth in your business. Sales Cloud hosts all your data in the cloud so it’s available from anywhere in the world and gives you a complete overview of your sales process for unbeatable strategic insight.

Sales Cloud is a common first step for businesses looking to get started with Salesforce. If you’re looking to gain access to Sales Cloud’s innovative sales management features, you’ll need to know how to get started.

In this article, we’ll walk you through what Sales Cloud is, whether your business needs it, how to implement Salesforce Sales Cloud and common pitfalls to look out for as you do. Read on and discover new routes to revenue and productivity.

  • What is Sales Cloud?
  • Does my business need Sales Cloud?
  • How to implement Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • Common Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation pitfalls

What is Sales Cloud?

Sales Cloud is the world’s leading sales platform and accounts for over 10% of Salesforce’s total revenue. It’s also one of Salesforce’s longest-standing software packages, having launched in 2006.

For over 15 years, Sales Cloud has allowed businesses to map their sales process using software and centralise all the effort and data that goes into it. The software gives sales personnel powerful out of the box tools to liaise with clients and close deals effectively. 

However, Sales Cloud is also one of the most innovative platforms for sales teams. Businesses can simplify their sales processes by automating tasks and uncover new revenue streams through smart customer management features. As standard, the software integrates with other Salesforce packages, enabling you to have a seamless history of customer interactions across your marketing, sales and customer support services.

Moreover, Sales Cloud is completely customisable. Through native tweaks, custom routing and add-ons via AppExchange, Sales Cloud can integrate with a host of apps and data sources across your business, giving you complete control over how it works to meet your needs.

Does my business need Sales Cloud?

Sales Cloud offers businesses a more efficient way to coordinate their sales efforts and gain crucial strategic visibility to improve their operations. 

Even if your sales staff are using detailed spreadsheets, your organisation will be losing time to inefficient administrative tasks in between sales steps. Each time a record needs updating, manual entry processes will drain time from your business. Worst case scenario, you risk making human-error mistakes in pricing or customer data. In turn, these inefficiencies cause problems further down the line. For example, inventory forecasts and expense reports can be plagued with amends and missing entries, putting an acute but elusive strain on your budget.

Instead, Sales Cloud uses smart data management to give you clarity and time back to your staff. With Sales Cloud, business records are updated automatically, allowing you to forecast with better insight and improve the accuracy of your financial reporting. At the same time, your sales staff save time and can allocate effort to more fruitful parts of your business, like tackling more complex tasks and anticipating customer needs.

Few businesses can pass up these benefits, so the business case for Sales Cloud is perhaps better framed as ‘can our business afford not to have Sales Cloud?’

How to implement Salesforce Sales Cloud

If you’re sold on the value and benefits of Sales Cloud and want to get started, it can be difficult to know where to begin. How can you elevate your sales teams’ capabilities and access the full power of Sales Cloud features?

This part of your guide will help you identify the key elements of any successful Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation to get you up and running.

Step 1: Learning the language of Sales Cloud

Salesforce uses unique terms to refer to different stages of the sales process. You’ll need to learn them so you can implement and use Sales Cloud effectively, as they have some bearing on your data import (see below) and learning curve. Salesforce breaks down vital sales elements into the following categories:

    • Leads: Individuals and organisations that you want to do business with. Leads have no further connection to your Salesforce data so will likely be the smallest data set.
    • Opportunities: Individuals and organisations that are potential revenue sources, following an initial interaction or pitch. They will be at the earliest stage of your sales funnel.
  • Accounts: Individuals and organisations that you have an ongoing business relationship with that may have room to grow. You will need to import recent invoices so Sales Cloud can help you manage your accounts more effectively.
  • Contacts: The people associated with each of the above for whom you have contact details. These are the people you’ll reach out to for pitches, follow-ups invoicing, etc.

We’ll be using these Salesforce terms within the remainder of the article so take some time to familiarise yourself with them. 

Step 2: Importing data into Sales Cloud

The next step in our Sales Cloud implementation is importing and loading your data into the software. Salesforce can read and import data from any program using comma delimited text formats, so save any files you plan to use as a ‘.csv’ file.

If you’re a smaller business, Data Import Wizard is likely a better option. The Data Import Wizard can handle up to 50,000 records at a time and catches duplicate records automatically — handy if you’re implementing Sales Cloud without an IT team.

The Data Loader is more suited to larger firms (importing up to 5 million records at a time) or firms importing data from a wider range of sources, and it can also export files. If you’re sharing files across branches or offices, Data Loader is useful.

Sales Cloud can also pull data from external sources, like social media profiles, so you can follow up with contacts and pitch to leads with more insight. Make sure your records are accurate, or you could pull updates from someone else’s social profile.

Similarly, check your formatting is consistent across your entire data set and that you’re loading data on a 1:1 ratio, so your data is assigned to where it needs to be. For example, load a small sample dataset so your accounts data appears in your accounts folder, rather than anywhere else. 

Learn more about data management best practices and field mapping on Salesforce’s website. 

Step 3: Setting up sales processes

The next step in our Sales Cloud implementation guide is setting up sales processes. Now that you’ve loaded your data, it’s time to tell Sales Cloud what to do with it. 

You’ll largely be able to map your existing sales funnel onto Sales Cloud’s out-the-box features. Sales Cloud comes with everything you need to perform the core set of tasks any sales team would expect.

However, remember that Sales Cloud is one of the most innovative and customisable tools for sales teams. You should spend some time refining your process to uncover new sources of productivity and revenue.

For example, take advantage of collaborative tools like Slack integration and the mySalesforce app to centralise progress updates, or define sales territories to drive performance and keep records accurate. Once you’ve streamlined your sales process, Sales Cloud will give you a clear overview so you know the next step for any account at a glance.

Step 4: Forecasting and reflecting

No business strategy would be complete without feedback and success metrics. That’s why it’s vital to familiarise yourself with Sales Cloud’s forecasting and performance report and dashboards.

With Sales Cloud’s forecasting feature, you can predict staffing resources and product inventory with more accuracy, reducing your overheads and maximising your profits. More accurate forecasting also has dividends for your brand. With staffing levels tailored to meet busier periods, your customers won’t be left waiting for service or callbacks about queries — giving you a better chance at repeat business.

Similarly, Sales Cloud’s analytics dashboard lets you take a comprehensive overview of your sales pipeline and staff performance. You can filter by a range of success metrics for a detailed breakdown of your progress, including revenue over time, per territory, per client account or more.

Combined, these features will help you identify future avenues for success as well as pain points for a two-pronged approach to achieve growth.

Step 5: Automate and innovate

The best-equipped sales teams have time for their customers. That’s why the final step in our Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation guide is to establish automated tools to ease your team’s burden and let them focus on what matters.

Integrating Sales Cloud with Marketing Cloud allows you to revolutionise the way you generate new leads and revenue streams. You can see which of your marketing campaigns have worked for each client and hone your messaging to capture more of the market.

Similarly, integration with Service Cloud gives you seamless access to customers’ purchase history, allowing you to address issues more effectively with all relevant information to hand.

Sales Cloud’s quote-to-cash feature allows you to further improve your forecasting and invoicing by updating financial records automatically. You’ll gain a complete view of the sales process for each client and can tailor your offers to them with more insight. Quote-to-cash also allows staff members to get up to speed on order queries so different staff can answer queries and make tweaks to orders easily.

Last but certainly not least is Einstein AI. Einstein AI merges across the entirety of your Sales Cloud software to give you data-driven insights on a host of topics. For example, Einstein AI enables advanced lead prioritisation via machine learning algorithms, recommending more probable pathways to revenue targets. Einstein also analyses your business performance to make your forecasts more accurate

Common Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation pitfalls

If you’re preparing to implement Sales Cloud in your business, make sure to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Planning your implementation without clear objectives, accountability or timeline.
  • Using poorly formatted and inconsistent data sources.
  • Training your team properly.
  • Under-utilising customer feedback and KPIs.

Each implementation pitfall has differing impacts on your success with Sales Cloud or any other Salesforce package. If you’d like to learn more about effective Salesforce implementation more broadly, you can learn more in our dedicated Implementation Checklist guide.

Uncover new revenues and efficiencies with Salesforce Sales Cloud

Sales Cloud is the leading tool for businesses looking to diversify their revenue streams and build resilience for the future.

Sales Cloud gives you unparalleled insight into your sales process so you can target new opportunities and clients with more insight and precision than ever before.

Use the steps above to implement Salesforce Sales Cloud in your business, give your sales team innovative tools to dazzle clients and access new revenue opportunities today.

Implement Salesforce Sales Cloud best practices with an expert partner

makepositive is a Platinum Salesforce Partner with a team of Sales Cloud professionals. We can help you unleash the full potential of your sales team and customer base to deliver the best return on investment.

We’ve helped a range of organisations implement Salesforce Sales Cloud to hone their sales efforts, simplify their workloads and find new revenue streams.

Get in touch with us at [email protected] and learn where Sales Cloud and other Salesforce solutions can take your business today.

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