Many Salesforce customers simply use the system as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Although that’s how Salesforce started out, and you will still see it advertised as a CRM solution, it is so much more than that.
First off, let’s define the term CRM. Simply put, it is a way to manage your customers, sales, and all the data that comes with those. You can track leads, accounts, contacts, and opportunities in Salesforce. You can create cases for customer issues, track customer service contracts, create quotes and orders…there are many standard objects and functionality built to support your customers and increase your revenue.
But what about internal support and functionality?
In our organization, we live and breathe Salesforce — it is the center of our universe. We rely on it for everything from requesting time off, to recognizing our peers, to providing an internal help desk option. It is our go-to solution for everything.
Here are a few ideas on custom objects you can create to support your staff internally.
Create a Help Desk
Every organization using Salesforce must have someone who takes on the role of the system administrator. In your organization, that might be you…or it might be a few people. Either way, that role is likely bombarded with questions, issues, or requests — many of which can get lost or never addressed. An efficient way of dealing with those requests is to create a custom help desk object.
A help desk object will give your users a way to formally make requests, and it will give your system administrator a way to formally respond to and track those requests. Users can see the progress or status of their request without having to hound the system administrator. It is a win-win for everyone.
You don’t have to just limit the help desk to requests to the Salesforce team. You can also use it to funnel requests to your building manager or the person in your organization who orders office supplies…basically whatever you want. The trick to utilizing this properly for different types of requests is to build record types based on the request. In our organization, we have help desk record types for building issues, IT issues, new employee setup requests, process/operational requests, report requests, and Salesforce issues or requests for enhancement. This setup has dramatically increased our response percentage and improved the response time.
Create a Time-Off Submission Object
How do your employees request time off? Do they send their manager an email? Then what? For a lot of companies, the process for requesting time off is very informal and tracking is either done manually or by going to the HR department to find out the number of days already taken; this is not efficient for anyone.
With the power of Salesforce, you can create a custom time-off submission object to formalize the process, make it easier for everyone, and allow quick tracking. With this object, employees can easily submit requests through Salesforce. Those requests can trigger emails to managers and require management approval (yes, Salesforce offers a way for you to build approval processes.) Employees can designate backup employees while they are out. Approved requests can generate entries onto a shared public calendar for all time off. Employees and managers can view reports and dashboards showing time taken and time allowed. These are a just some of the benefits and functionality to an object like this.
Create Objects to Track Employee Training
Too often, companies fail to provide their employees with enough training or they train their employees but don’t keep track of what’s been completed — leading to errors and wasted time. A remedy for this would be a custom training object…actually a couple objects.
First start with a “Training” object. The records in this object can house all the information on the training itself. For example, if you push out an e-learning session to your employees, the training record would include the name of the training, how long it takes to complete, a link to the e-learning video, which departments should take the training, what category of skill it falls under, etc.
Once the “Training” object is complete, create an object called “Training Activities.” This is where you would track which employees completed the training, the completion date, etc. You might be wondering why I’m not suggesting just using the standard Salesforce “Activity” object. The main reason is because of archiving and reporting. With activities, Salesforce archives activities after 365 days. This means that if you go into a record in Salesforce, you can see all the activities associated with that record for all time, but if you try to run a report, you will only see activities from the last 365 days. This is to improve speed and performance of activity reports. When running reports on employee training, it is often necessary to look at all training for all time, and you don’t want to have to go into each individual employee or training record to see that information.
The default setting for archive days on activities is 365. You can request an increase to that through Salesforce, but it’s not necessarily something you want to do because increasing the number of days will increase that for all activities. This can impact the speed and performance for your whole organization.
These are just a few ideas of custom objects you can build to help support your internal team and processes. You can also look at the Salesforce App Exchange to see if there is something available that has already been built. In some cases, apps are free. Take a look, you never know what you’ll find.