Living in Salesforce.com

Well, not quite but it’s feeling that way. Aside from moving my domain and shuttling kids to various doctor appointments, I’ve been spending the majority of my time in Salesforce.com for the past few weeks. That’s why I’ve become so much better in Excel. Trial by fire.

We’re working with consultants, but the time is fast approaching where we’ll be on our own and I think we’ll be okay. I had an early morning call with one of the consultant’s data migration team members who said that he’s never seen a new client pick it up as fast as I have. Let’s see, I’ve been reading everything I could get my hands on, clicking every button and participating in user group communities. I’d have to be rather dense not to learn something. Truthfully, that’s just me. When I find a new technology that interests me, I’m rarely satisfied with just learning my little corner of it. I like to understand how it works and how I can customize it to do exactly what I want it to do. Salesforce.com is perfect for that type of person. Everything is fiddleble. I have no clue about S-Controls and programming my own custom objects (that’s what consultants are for) and I’m a bit shaky on formula fields, but I’ve gotten quite comfortable at everything else.

We had our group training earlier this week. I think it went very well. Everyone was skeptical when I first sold them on this idea. Salesforce is not known for being a nonprofit organization tool. I think everyone now sees how powerful it is and they’re using it well. Our contact database has grown by over 70% since we implemented Salesforce. I think that speaks for itself. How? Before our contact list was mainly those folks who came in through our website. Now it’s everyone…combining Excel files, Outlook address books, assorted lists, etc. Better yet, we sent out a newsletter a couple of weeks ago that included those folks who didn’t directly sign up with us online (but had existing relationships with us through other means) and 99% didn’t unsubscribe. A few even made a point to say, "hey, I got your email newsletter for the first time…nice job."

In Salesforce we can keep track of money we’ve received, but we can also track money we hope to get and follow the process all the way from initial contact with the donor to depositing the check in the bank (hopefully). We can keep track of who knows who, who did what, and where. And we’re using it to keep track of each other’s schedules, project and document management (thanks to a grant from Dreamfactory.com). I want to get us to a point of "if it isn’t in Salesforce, it didn’t happen." It’s close.

On Monday, I hope to find out if we got a Salesforce Turn it Up grant. I applied so we could work with Theikos again to build an application that gets Salesforce and GetActive to speak to each other, so I can stop being so good at juggling Excel .csv files. We’re also planning to implement OpenAir, which is a time and expense management service that works from within Salesforce (as well as stand-alone), provided that the company will give us competitive enough pricing. Free would be nice. 

All good stuff…and a relief to be past the implementation phase and solidly in the using-it phase. 

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One thought on “Living in Salesforce.com

  1. Hi, I can relate to a lot of your experience. We began using salesforce.com for our organizing network without as much consulting as we probably needed. We’ve learned a lot, especially around systems to clean and maintain data. We also use GetActive and would love to have a tool that syncs data between the two systems. Let me know if you end up getting this work done. Thanks.

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