9 Tips for Salesforce Project Success
by René de Jong on August 9, 2021
Agencies and other organizations who use Salesforce as their CRM can benefit from optimizing their project management by improving communication, streamlining processes, and adopting affordable project management software.
Because project management involves such a wide set of moving parts, you may want to take an honest look at your processes and how specifically you oversee each facet of project management. Measuring where you stand today as a company is a great place to start.
While an excellent and popular choice for sales, Salesforce doesn’t offer the functionality most businesses need for effective project management.
We’ve created a list of tips that project managers and owners who use Salesforce can use to increase their project success. These tips were created in the best interest of project profitability, efficiency, productivity, and saving money, so that you can grow and scale your Salesforce business. Let’s dive in.
1) Make time tracking easy for everyone
One of the key aspects of managing any successful project is the management of time. Time tracking errors are incessantly common, with the US alone losing 50 million hours in productivity per day due to unlogged work hours. But now, efficient time tracking options for Salesforce can eliminate a lot of the ambiguity, errors, and lost time/money. In some cases, technology like self-driving time tracking can even eliminate manual time entry entirely. Other features of industry-best time trackers for projects include:
- Browser time tracker
- Mobile app
- Calendar integration
- Invoicing integration
Time tracking tools in most cases are highly affordable, so pick a Salesforce time tracking solution that best fits your goals and your organization. Be sure to look for the features and capabilities discussed above.
2) Use templates to save time
Whether it’s contracts or invoices, use templates whenever feasible to save time and stop reinventing the wheel. While Salesforce alone has a wealth of free and low-cost templates to help with CRM-related business like emails, it doesn’t offer much by way of managing invoices, contracts, etc.
"However, an integrated Salesforce solution on the project side will have more flexibility and functionality for businesses that want to optimize their processes and have less sources of truth for team members."
You should be able to easily reuse past, successful project contracts for new clients with the right integrated solution. Forget doing invoices on Excel spreadsheets; invoice templates (especially when combined with automation) can make invoicing a breeze.
3) Leverage automation
If you’re a Salesforce agency, you can leverage automation at various points in the project lifecycle, and even before it technically begins. As a powerful CRM, Salesforce has multiple automation tools to promote productivity with sales teams. On the project side, you can use automation to keep people on time and make sure your agency gets paid accurately, among other benefits. Here are just a few examples of where you can leverage automation in the sphere of project management to keep your Salesforce projects efficient and organized:
- Invoicing- With the right project management solution, you can automate invoices and customize everything about them. Invoice automation that’s linked with your Salesforce CRM can help reduce invoice errors, save your people precious hours, and help ensure you get paid on time.
- Time and Expense- The more automated time and expense is, the better. With automated time and expense solutions like self-driving time tracking, team members can spend less time on admin and more time on deliverables, among other benefits of these types of smart solutions.
- Contract management- Automation under the contract management umbrella is a critical feature, in some cases. For example, automated alerts from contract and budget data can keep you prepared for important dates and milestones. If you want to go even further, with more advanced contract management for Salesforce, AI is used to predict if a project is statistically in danger of going off rail.
4) Ensure the sales-to-service handoff is smooth
The sales-to-project handoff is not always seamless in larger organizations or in projects with complex contractual parameters. If you want your project to go swimmingly after sales closes the deal, it’s important to optimize the transition. The most effective ways to ensure a successful sales to project management handoff include streamlining communication between both sides, outlining a clear list of what sales will always provide project management, and using an automation tool. If you use an automation tool like PSOhub to manage your projects, you can automatically create projects from your data in Salesforce, decreasing the burden on your people for the sales-to-service handoff.
5) Easy-to-use task management
Task management is another pivotal joint in the project management sphere, so much so that many consumers equate it automatically with project management. While, task management isn’t the end all be all to create successful Salesforce projects, you can’t afford to live without it. Speaking of affordable, there are quite a few robust task management solutions out there that are budget-friendly and integrate with Salesforce. Beyond making sure your task management solution integrates with Salesforce, check to see if it integrates with other platforms you’re using as well, especially for resource management.
6) Do capacity planning for long-term projects
One of the benefits of adept resource management software is the ability to leverage capacity planning on long-term and/or complex projects. Capacity planning is most often used by small and medium sized businesses in one of two ways: task-based capacity and hours-based capacity. Task-based capacity planning is a popular choice for smaller businesses and startups who care more about quality of deliverables and timeline versus actual hours. This type of capacity planning is really easy to set up with an intuitive resource management tool. On the other hand, hours-based capacity planning is much more granular and will require more setup time and information to complete. For businesses more concerned with hourly input, this type of capacity planning is often used. And finally, for those who really want to, a Salesforce project management platform with comprehensive resource management can enable you to do both for maximum control.
7) Use a client portal
Salesforce is all about helping you win more clients, but promoting and executing transparency in your relationships with your clients will help you get repeat customers (something we all want). An easy and highly effective way to demonstrate transparency is with a client portal. While not all customers want to be involved with the various stages of the project lifecycle, others want to be informed to another level. And still, there are those situations where the client is also a collaborator, or more like a team member. Even for those customers who don’t want to be involved, offering a client portal into your Salesforce project is a great way to gain trust. The top project management software options that offer a client portal will let you pick and choose what your client sees and what they don’t. In this scenario especially, the client portal is a win-win, and a seemingly small thing that can make a positive impact on the customer experience.
8) Consolidate your tech stack
Including Salesforce, how many software licenses do you currently pay that relate directly to project management? Whatever the answer, Salesforce companies that can consolidate their tech stack can save money on monthly or yearly licenses. Plus, having less platforms in the mix can help their teams be more productive by reducing the switch cost of having to jump from solution to solution.
Another result is that your people should be having to do less admin work, as comprehensive project management solutions that replace 2 or more platforms will inherently have more sophisticated and automated features, like smart contracts. When you consolidate your tech stack, you’re essentially eliminating siloed software by going with more all-in-one solutions. That can particularly save you money on Salesforce project management, seeing that in theory you could have 5 or more separate solutions to manage everything you need aside from the CRM and your accounting software. One for each of the following:
If you integrate a project management platform with Salesforce that includes all the above, you’ll most likely save significantly, depending on the price of the software you choose.
9) Integrate Salesforce with all-in-one project management software
The last tip encompasses all previous tips, in that getting affordable project management software that integrates with Salesforce will make it all possible. Remember that task management is often advertised as project management, so if you want a more 360-degree project management approach, you’ll need more functionality than an Asana or a Monday that mostly manage tasks. A Salesforce project management solution that’s worth the money should be able to handle all facets of the project. If it can’t, it should be able to integrate with missing links.
"The best options for managing Salesforce projects will be able to eliminate the need for siloed solutions while being able to connect with solutions you can’t live without."
And at the end of the day, getting a CRM-integrated platform to manage your projects should save you money, not add up to another stressful license spend where you’re not sure if you’re getting value. Keep these tips in mind when you’re looking into your options.
Our tips for Salesforce project success aren’t complicated, but they may require an honest look into your monthly spend and your current project management practices. Each tip is in the best interest of optimizing parts of the project lifecycle where you can with automation and also, saving money. For example, if you can incorporate a Salesforce time tracking solution for your team that’s easy and affordable, that’s a win that can help you reduce time errors and bill smarter. Remember that software automation and templates are designed to save you time, so make sure to leverage these for efficiency. Furthermore, the sales-to-project handoff should be optimized, along with adopting a task management solution or switching to a better one. Capacity planning for Salesforce projects will give you an edge, along with a client portal that you can offer to improve the customer experience. And finally, by consolidating your tech stack and going with a Salesforce-integrated project management solution, you can keep more moving parts within the same digital environment, saving everyone time and saving the business money on monthly licenses for separate solutions.