How to Build Your Salesforce Center of Excellence

How to build your Salesforce center of excellence

More and more businesses are looking at Salesforce as a complete solution from lead-to-cash. In fact, the more departments working on the Salesforce platform, the better. You’ll have better collaboration, greater alignment between teams, increased transparency for managers, and improved analytics for the executive team.

But as you look to expanded sales management to other business areas such as marketing automation, configure-price-quote, and revenue management, the need for strong data governance becomes all the more clear.

Your customer data is one of your biggest assets as a business and you must protect that data not just in terms of security but also in how you create, manage, and share that data.

Creating a Center of Excellence, or oversight committee is the first step in a strong Salesforce data governance plan. This post by Salesforce Bullet highlights how important Salesforce data governance is in keeping order while allowing growth.

What is a Center of Excellence?

Bringing together key stakeholders in your Salesforce org is vital for the platform’s growth and long-term stability. We encourage companies to set up a committee for key stakeholders to stay aligned on improvements and updates to the Salesforce platform. This committee becomes your Center of Excellence and is dedicated to ensuring the Salesforce ecosystem works for all departments.

Salesforce is constantly evolving and expanding its features with three releases every year. Your Center of Excellence committee can talk through each new feature, discussing how it might be beneficial to your org, agree on which ones to enable, and set a plan for educating users. You should also be vetting out new apps against your organization’s strategic Salesforce plan during these meetings.

Include power users in your Center of Excellence because they will have ideas on how to continually shape and improve Salesforce. For example, they may have ideas on a cleaner flow to manage the approval process, a new piece of data to collect, or a cool new app from the Appexchange.

Who is the Center of Excellence?

Salesforce is not a set it and forget it solution. It must be maintained as new features are released, new data continues to aggregate and your business model or processes change.

The goal of the CoE is to bring together a team of people involved in processes touched by Salesforce to oversee the ongoing maintenance required and long-term vision for the solution.

The Salesforce platform is a powerful tool and beneficial to every department in your company. However, it can quickly become chaotic and ill-effective without a vision and oversight of the platform’s growth and of your customer and partner database.

Who is Included on the Salesforce Committee?

  • Salesforce Administrator: your admin has a full picture of how your org is configured and can view changes from an org-wide perspective. Read more on the right number of admins for your organization. Make sure to designate one owner as of the Salesforce admin, even if you have a small org.
  • IT: include someone who is knowledgeable in information security as well as third-party integrations connected to your org
  • Sales: everything you do is to increase sales and revenue. Be sure to include someone familiar with the sales process to your committee. You want to make things smoother for your sales team, never cumbersome.
  • Support: with the Salesforce Service Cloud or Sales Cloud “Cases” tool being such an effective way to manage support requests via Knowledgebase or an Ideas exchange, a representative from the Customer Success/Support team will ensure these areas continue to grow and improve.
  • Marketing: integrating campaigns with sales opportunities and synchronizing Pardot activities means marketing needs to be closely aligned with all other departments
  • Executive Sponsor: often the head of the committee is an executive sponsor who ensures company-wide adoption of Salesforce and new feature roll-outs, as well as ensures the committee maintains the overall vision for the ecosystem

 As your Salesforce ecosystem continues to grow and expand to more areas of your business, make sure to consider adding applicable stakeholders.

Salesforce Data Governance, Your CoE and the Single Source of Truth

Companies that are successfully running their business on Salesforce know that Sales Cloud CRM should serve as a single source of truth for customer data for the entire business.

Your Center of Excellence should prioritize oversight of the Sales Cloud CRM considering how central it is to your organization’s overall success with data. It’s also a good idea to consider how that data is originally flowing into the organization through your marketing automation system or manual input by sales reps. If gaps exist in that process that enables inaccurate and incomplete data to enter the org, it creates a trickle-down effect with bad data across your systems.

Sales Cloud CRM can integrate to nearly any app, and connecting your system with all other systems containing customer data is essential to reduce wasted effort entering data in multiple places, driving better reports, and improving the overall customer experience. With fully integrated systems based in Salesforce, you can get transparency and analytics on the company’s performance as a whole.

Businesses that are winning with Salesforce are connecting it to, for example, applicant tracking and employee onboarding systems; invoicing and inventory management systems; customer service systems, and marketing automation. Just remember that the more integrations you have, the need for strong data governance and Salesforce oversight by your CoE becomes all the more critical to your success in driving growth and improving profitability.

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Matt Dillon

Matt Dillon

Managing Director , Salesforce