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Dual Studies at COViS: Analysis of the Introduction of a Sales Cloud

Our dual students have long become integral parts of COViS's project business. Along the way, practical examples formed the content of their thesis papers. This article series offers insights into the daily work of our COViS young talents. Like with Salesforce consultant Toni Bommes, who indirectly provided a guide to setting up through his analysis of our in-house implementation of the Salesforce Sales Cloud in 2020/2021.

Toni Bommes has been employed at Glinz COViS for 5 1/2 years. The Salesforce consultant started in 2018 as a dual student and is an important part of internal and external projects as a consultant, such as in the MEINSERVICE project of Deutsche Post DHL Group. As part of his studies, his bachelor thesis analyzed the opportunities of a Salesforce Sales Cloud for COViS, the implementation process, challenges, and the rollout of the cloud.

Opportunities of a Salesforce Sales Cloud – a CRM for companies in the B2B sector

A well-implemented CRM system can significantly optimize customer management. It improves collaboration within the company based on the system's communication tools and working on a central database, which makes all information immediately and everywhere available. Through the shared data warehouse, all employees have access to the same data. Therefore, the data foundation is the same for everyone, which largely eliminates redundant communication due to a lack of coordination in the company.

Furthermore, CRM systems provide so-called "Multi-Channel". With these, customers can be reached efficiently and coordinated across various communication channels – thereby standardizing customer life cycles. As a result, interactions and the life cycle of a customer can be kept identical and at a high-quality level.

Additionally, CRM can integrate other external systems if needed and make visual and technical adjustments in the form of Low-Code or Pro-Code.

In the B2B sector, this facilitates the diversification of the customer base through active customer acquisition and simultaneously maintains and improves the relationship with existing customers through uniform and targeted communication. For salespeople, this also means getting a better internal overview of how and which colleagues are involved in sales activities.

Implementation of the Sales Cloud

The fundamental roles for an agile implementation project following Scrum are Scrum Master, Product Owner, the development team, in the case of COViS also consultants, as well as a Requirements Engineer.

For the requirements analysis, all persons who will work with the CRM system in the future or have an interest or claim in it should also be defined as stakeholders.

Additionally, the project needs a "SMART" project goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely). For COViS as an IT consulting company with B2B-oriented communication, the goal was formulated as follows:

"Introduction and setup of a Salesforce Sales Cloud according to the stakeholders' requirements by March 31, 2021, so that COViS's customer data is structured and improved collaboration in the COViS Delivery Process can take place. This should reduce the time for information retrieval, increase user satisfaction, and maintain customer data more precisely. Through only one 'Single Point of Truth,' the work in sales becomes more efficient. A uniform customer journey should lead to higher customer satisfaction."

All requirements were developed on the Salesforce platform itself. Salesforce offers the possibility to serve as an integrated development environment. That means the Sales Cloud can act both as a development ("Dev") and as a usage environment ("Prod"). For this purpose, a copy was created from the productive COViS Sales Cloud, where the product is developed and tested. The use of test and development environments is a common approach in software development to test developed increments.

The further development and the definition of exact lead and opportunity processes followed broadly the standards of Requirement Engineering. The epics, the collection of all requirements on a topic, formed the following areas after joint requirements analysis by the project team and stakeholders:

  • Lead process (Lead Quality, Status model, Guidance, and linking with existing systems)

  • Opportunity process (Path, Status model, MEDDIC, Opportunity Quality, and Guidance)

  • Field setup (Creation of new or renaming of existing input or information fields)

  • App setup (Design, presentation, and navigation of the user interface)

  • Permissions (Setting up user and role profiles to precisely target functions in the app)

  • IT Security (Ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all information within the company)

  • Outlook integration (Synchronization of appointments, contacts, and emails)

  • Proposal creation (Creation of offers with all relevant information within the cloud)

  • Experience Cloud (Controlled access management to selected data by partner companies)

For the deployment of new functions, Salesforce offers several options. Based on the internally identified requirements and practicability, it was decided in this project to work with Change Sets. The creation of Change Sets takes place declaratively and can be done via the Salesforce Setup. In a ChangeChange Set selects the metadata to be deployed. Then, the changes in these metadata are migrated during a deployment. Not all metadata types are available in Change Sets, but this was inconsequential for this project.

Challenges in Development

Let's be honest: A project can be well-planned, but challenges that need to be addressed will always arise. In the case of the implementation described here, the challenges were largely minor and did not jeopardize the project's success.

Especially since it was an internal project with a small project team. The priority of customer projects and coordination with stakeholders made it difficult, especially around the holidays and vacations around the turn of the year 2020/2021, to adhere to the sprints exactly. This led to an unplanned extension of the third sprint.

In the last two sprints, the difficulty of keeping the review schedule became apparent. Full calendars meant that stakeholders from many different teams were seldom available at the same time. Since the project was well advanced at this point, the resulting short delays were manageable.

Rollout of the Salesforce Sales Cloud: Integration into Daily Sales Operations

After the successful implementation of the defined requirements, onboarding and training of users as well as the active productive use of the Covis Sales Cloud were part of the project conclusion. A solid documentation keeps all requirements and details about the developed increments. Preconditions for further development of the solution were initiated, and the problems and difficulties were highlighted so that measures can be taken in future projects to avoid repeating mistakes.

As a dual student, it was very interesting for me to gain early experience in project management and the entire implementation process of a Sales Cloud. Additionally, I had the opportunity to develop a system that is still used in the company today and paved the way for the use of Salesforce at COViS.

Toni Bommes, IT Consultant at COViS

You can find more information about what COViS offers students and vacancies in our careers section.

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