Activities Drive Sales and Insights

With Salesforce rolling out the Winter '18 updates, it's time to revisit a key feature in the Lightning Experience: Activities.

 If you're responsible for sales results, you know that focusing on the results is a rear-view mirror activity; instead, the way to achieve success is to proactively manage all of the activities that drive results. Those sales activities include meetings, calls, tasks, events, emails, and more. It's a lot to keep up with, and even harder to track if you're managing a big team. That's a key reason why you need to be using the Activities functionality in Salesforce.

The Activity Timeline appears on the layout for Opportunities, Leads, Accounts and Contacts, where your reps can see their open tasks, scheduled meetings, and a history of all the associated activities. That drives rep productivity, as these activities show up on their home pages on the calendar, and in Today's Tasks and Today's Events. BTW, integrating Outlook and Gmail into Salesforce is easy to set up, allowing your reps flexibility and control, while still capturing vital Activity data.

Beyond keeping your reps on top of their accounts, all of this activity data drives insight and automation. For starters, create a weekly Activity Report, sorted by sales rep, account, and type of activity. Get a data-driven view of how your most successful reps manage their accounts. Analyze who is most effective in face-to-face meetings versus phone interactions. Refine the sales cadence: what is the right amount of time between initial outreach and follow-up? 

Create a Sales Activity Dashboard, with graphs and metrics to guide the coming days and weeks, instead of relying on monthly reports that only show you where you've been. And you can incorporate these graphs into your reps' home page, so they know their status at a glance.

The next step is to take these new insights and best practices and make them part of the organizational process. Start by refining your sales process using the Path feature, as detailed in this previous article

And go a step further by creating process automation that maximizes productivity, eliminates repetitive or tedious manual tasks, and creates a more consistent customer experience. For example, if you've determined that 10 days is the ideal cadence for a personal call follow-up, that follow-up task assignment can be automatically generated when the previous contact is logged.

Finally, we must mention Einstein. AI is becoming a major force in Salesforce, marketed under the Einstein name. 

Einstein Activities applies AI to the analysis of sales activities to provide unprecedented guidance on the factors that drive success. However, the analysis is only as accurate as the data, and you need to have a decent set of historical data. Even if you're not ready to use Einstein now, it is inevitably in your future, and when you do make the leap, the more historical data you have, the better it will work for you. 

So start today, getting your reps diligently using Activities in Lightning Experience. If you need help setting things up or migrating your team to Lightning Experience, contact me.