Salesforce is a leading CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software which is served form cloud. It has more than 800 applications to support various features like generating new leads, acquiring new leads, increasing sales and closing the deals. It is designed to manage the organization's data focused on customer and sales details. It also offers features to customize its inbuilt data structures and GUI to suit the specific needs of a business. More recently, it has started offering the IOT (internet of things) connectivity to the CRM platform.
Anyone who manages sales and customer relationship will find this software highly useful as an end user. This tutorial will also benefit the software developers and cloud computing enthusiasts who wish to learn customizing software for specific business needs.
Knowledge of cloud computing is essential to understand the environment and its architecture. Knowledge of databases is essential to understand how the data is stored, retrieved and manipulated.
Salesforce started as a cloud based solution for CRM. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It involves managing all aspects of relationship between an organization and its customers. For example, the contact details of the customer, the deals that are in progress or already completed, the support requests from a customer or a new lead from a new customer. Beyond the customer related information, it also involves storing and managing the details of the people and the concerned department from the seller organization that is managing the customer’s account and needs. This makes it easy to manage and enhance the relationship with the customer and hence better growth for the organization.
*Following are the different features of the Salesforce platform *
To view customer contact details, activity history, customer communications, and internal account discussions, etc. In short, it manages all the data pertaining to the contact with a customer.
It provides the details of the stage a deal is in, the products involved in the deal, the quotation for the deal etc. In short it manages all the data that helps in identifying, progressing and closing a deal.
This feature is focused on making personalized contact with a customer for various campaigns designed by the marketing team. It also provides real-time sales alerts based on the level of engagement with a customer.
This feature helps in quickly finding experts who can help in closing a deal based on customer queries and feedback. In short, it helps in bringing in a collaborative effort to engage an entire team in the deal and make the deal happen.
Sales Performance Management
It provides a metric-based goal setting, and also continuous feedback and rewards and recognition for the sales team. This helps in enhancing the performance of the sales team.
This feature initiates and tracks the leads that are in progress. It also helps in continually optimizing campaigns across every channel.
This feature helps in building a community with partners. It also helps in connecting directly with channel partners to share goals, objectives, and activities.
Salesforce Mobile App
This is the mobile platform to carry out all the above activities on a mobile platform.
Workflow and Approvals
It is a visual design to automate the business processes. The interface provides simple drag and drop options to make this design. It helps in creating a flexible approval process with deal discounts and expense management etc.
Salesforce can integrate to an existing email platform. This helps in providing flexibility to the existing team with no additional learning curve.
Files Sync and Share
This feature provides the sales team the power to easily share various files, discuss them and update them as needed. Also receive alerts when something in the file changes.
Reports and Dashboards
Dashboards offer a real-time picture of the business at a glance. With this, anyone can create detailed reports which can be accessed from anywhere.
This feature helps in getting a real time view of the forecast of a sales team. It provides multi-currency support and an in-line editing mode to manage the sales forecast well.
This feature is used to create multiple territory models, preview them before rollout, and continually optimize and balance territories throughout the year.
Salesforce delivers a highly customized experience to the customers, employees, and partners of an organization. Such a platform is used to customize standard functionality and create custom pages, components, apps, etc. Also it is done faster, mainly because of the superb architecture on which it is built. Below is a brief introduction to the Salesforce Architecture.
* FREE Salesforce Tutorials*
The architecture of Salesforce can be put into layers for better understanding. The purpose and function of each layer is described below −
Trusted Multitenant Clou
Here multiple instances of one or multiple applications operate independently in a shared environment. The instances are referred as tenants and they logically separate from each other while physically remaining in the same hardware. It is called trusted because of both its robust nature and high security.
Scalable Metadata Platform
The metadata driven platform makes it easy for customization and scaling up as the amount of data or concurrent user instances increase.
The Enterprise Ecosystem of Sales is very large as a large number of partners contribute by creating and maintaining applications in this platform.
CRM and Related Functionality
Salesforce includes all aspects of CRM in its list of features and also extends it by providing features for creation of apps and integrating analytics, etc.
Salesforce provides powerful suite of APIs. This helps to develop and customize the Salesforce1 Mobile App.
As Salesforce is a cloud based system it does not need any software installation on your part. All you have to do is signup for a free trial and get started. The free trial account provides nearly all features which you need to learn to understand the basics of Salesforce platform. Let us now discuss the steps to get started with the Salesforce environment.
Go to the link Salesforce and click on Free Trial.
It takes you to a window where you have to fill in some details about you and sign up.
You will receive an activation mail for your account which also contains the details of your account and the duration of the trial period. Click on the link in the email to verify your email ID and activate the account.
Again visit the link Salesforce and click on login. Give the login credentials which you just created. You will be directed to the following screen.
You are ready to learn as your environment is set up now. You may click on Take Tour of Salesforce to familiarize yourself with the user interface.