How to Use Salesforce for Sales Teams: SF Sales Cloud Best Practices

March 26, 2024
11 min

Based on, 26% of sales executives still rely on Office 365 (and Excel as a part of it) as a primary sales productivity solution. But it is challenging to log in and maintain all customers’ data there. As a result, sales teams can’t collaborate on it effectively and miss valuable opportunities.

Salesforce, one of the dominant CRM platforms, helps salespeople automate, manage, and monitor sales processes for optimal efficiency. Since 1999, this sales productivity software has delivered significant business improvements to 150,000 customers.

Salesforce helps connect data, and conversation with actions, automate the workforce and mundane tasks and integrate critical systems to unlock new opportunities for better sales. We’ll cover everything you need to know about how to use Salesforce for sales and manage your sales systems and processes in Salesforce.

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How Does Salesforce Help Companies Improve Sales Processes

Based on Salesforce research, sales teams spend up to 64% of their time on non-revenue-generating activities. That’s why reliable automation is a must for greater efficiency.
Fundamental Salesforce functionality is aimed at significantly facilitating the everyday activities of sales agents. It is an entirely digital-first platform that unifies core technologies like mobile, AI, workflow, app builder, communities, voice, and the highest levels of data security.


Tasks an Average Sales Representative Spends Their Time On Weekly | Ascendix

Tasks an Average Sales Representative Spends Their Time On Weekly


Streamlined Prospecting

Salesforce CRM helps streamline even the most complex prospect and customer lists. With this software, sales executives can define and group prospects and customers by any criteria and build a proper sales pipeline.


Accurate Lead Segmentation

According to the State of Sales report, 88% of salespeople claim that the current economic situation makes it necessary to anticipate customers’ needs. In Salesforce, salespeople can also showcase data based on sales stages just in a few clicks and make more accurate sales forecasting.

In addition, such precise lead segmentation can help predict customer behavior better and build a more accurate sales funnel.


Automated Personalized Outreach

Research from the Aberdeen Group shows that personalization improves customer retention by 16%! Salesforce CRM goes far beyond just a data management software concept and can help link the right message with the right customer automatically.

Thanks to the comprehensive data stored in the system, you can personalize your emails to resonate with your customers. Also, Salesforce becomes a treasure trove of customer data, including website activity and downloads.


Salesforce Benefits | Ascendix

Salesforce Benefits


Phenomenal System Agility and Personalization

Salesforce provides remarkable flexibility to meet any sales automation needs. When salespeople leverage this CRM to its full extent, they can design an efficient sales process and see the most outstanding results.


System Transparency

A transparent system for the sales teams translates into better effectiveness in customer retention. So, sales agents can adjust sales communication and meet customer expectations of being understood.

Besides that, Salesforce CRM helps sales executives make better data-driven decisions that lead to better customer conversion.


Customizable Reports and Dashboards

Salesforce can help monitor all sales representatives’ activity and generate reports based on their actions. This kind of information might reveal which sales activities you should focus on the most to maximize productivity and transparency.

In addition, with customizable reports and dashboards with built-in intelligence, sales reps can visualize customer information and get a comprehensive view of their clients.


Centralized Data Management

Salesforce helps sales teams manage the massive amount of data produced throughout the sales process. It also enables the improvement of customer experiences, lead routing, and the expansion of cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.

With Salesforce companies can gather and retain client data in one location, including activities, phone numbers, and addresses.


Limitless Integrability

Salesforce has 4,000+ pre-built applications for seamless integration with social media, email marketing, document-sharing systems, etc. It allows the creation of a unified user experience and consolidates data sources.

Around 80% of the most successful companies highlight that they rely on a standardized sales process to reach impressive results. An effective sales process powered by Salesforce technology takes things to the next level because it makes the whole process more predictable without unnecessary guesswork.



How to Use Salesforce for Sales: Sales Cloud Best Practices

Sales Cloud is a Salesforce CRM module designed to streamline lead generation for sales teams. The fundamental items of Salesforce organization are Objects. Salespeople often use four standard Objects: Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Opportunities. And here’s how the whole Objects hierarchy works.



A Lead in the Sales Cloud is a prospective customer who has shown interest in buying a company’s product. Salesforce Sales Cloud assists in locating leads and works to turn them into clients.



If a sales representative qualifies a Lead, they become a Contact. Contacts contain information about key businesspeople involved in a deal.



Usually, a Lead isn’t the only person that has initiated the deal, and there may be other individuals associated with the company. And Accounts unify all the Contracts to keep information about these individuals and companies. Further, salespeople can customize and categorize Accounts by the “Type” field in Salesforce based on the needs of the sales: Prospect Accounts, Customer Accounts, or Partner Accounts. Accounts can also represent Opportunities.



Opportunities are deals in progress. And Opportunities remain Opportunities until they are Closed/Won or Closed/Lost.



How to Activate Leads, Contacts, Accounts, and Campaigns in Salesforce Sales Cloud

To enable all the above, follow these steps:

Step 1: Log in to your Salesforce account.

Step 2: Go to products and choose Sales from the drop-down menu. You are prompted to a new window.

Step 3: Choose the Campaign or Lead or Account, or Contact menu depending on what you want to perform.

Step 4: Now click on the new button. A window pops up.

Step 5: Fill out the details and click on the Save button to save the changes made.


What is a Sales Process in Salesforce?

The Salesforce sales process is a sequence of activities from product and market research to the sales close that a sales representative must complete using CRM tools.

The four typical sales process stages are research, prospecting, sales calls, and closes; however, the exact number of steps might vary depending on the industry, product, and sales approach.


Sales Funnel VS. Sales Pipeline | Ascendix

Sales Funnel vs. Sales Pipeline


Salesforce helps to organize and visualize a sales process as a sales pipeline. With this pipeline, salespeople can manage and track the complex activities essential to closing deals.



How to Create a Sales Process in Salesforce

Salesforce Sales Cloud enables building a perfect sales process powered by top-notch CRM technology. But before you apply it, you need to draft and negotiate with your team. Here are the effective sales process steps sales representatives usually follow:

  1. Become an expert in the products you are selling to successfully market their functionality, spot potential pitfalls, shorten the sales cycle and manage objections effectively.
  2. Identify your buyer persona: their demographics, needs, wants, behaviors, and communication priorities.
  3. Set up prospecting and lead generation.
  4. Qualify prospects to make sure that your product is a good match for them.
  5. Analyze and understand the needs of your customers.
  6. Take time to prepare for the sales call and be ready for objections.
  7. Present your product as a solution to the prospect’s issues, not just highlight product features on a sales call.
  8. Follow up with the prospect and send a proposal, reiterate the following steps, and negotiate the deal.
  9. Nurture the relationship with your customers, cross-sell, and upsell.

Once you agree upon the key elements of a sales process, you need to set up key sales stages in Salesforce for Leads and Opportunities.


Lead Stages vs Opportunity Stages in Salesforce | Ascendix

Lead Stages vs Opportunity Stages in Salesforce

The most common Lead stages look like these:

  • Open: The Lead has been created, but a salesperson has yet to communicate with them.
  • Nurture: The Lead has shown interest in the product/service but is not yet ready to purchase. They require further nurturing.
  • MQL: This means Marketing Qualified Lead, a prospect who has subscribed to mailing (usually via website) and demonstrates a high level of interest.
  • Contacted: A sales representative has reached out to the Lead to initiate the qualification process.
  • Qualified: A sales rep is in the process of the Lead qualification.
  • Converted: The Lead has been turned into a Contact within an Account.

After conversion, it becomes and remains an Opportunity until the deal is either Closed/Won or Closed/Lost.
The Opportunity Stages look a bit different:

  • Awareness: The Contact knows about your product or service.
  • Interest: A sales representative has interacted with the Contact and sent them educational content like eBooks or whitepapers.
  • Consideration: The Contact is comparing you against other product or service providers.
  • Decision: The Contact is narrowing down their choices.
  • Quote/Negotiation: The Account decision-makers have received a personalized proposal; discussion may occur.
  • Closed/Won: The salesperson has succeeded in closing the sale.
  • Closed/Lost: The Account chose not to use your company’s service or product.


How to Set Lead Stages in Salesforce

These are the steps that will help you create your Lead Stages in Salesforce:

  1. Click the Gear icon.
  2. Click “Edit Object.”
  3. Click “Fields and Relationships.”
  4. Click “Lead Status” in the search box.
  5. Search for the Lead Status Picklist and click “New’.
  6. Create your New Status based on criteria defined by your team.
  7. Click “Save.”
  8. Go back to the “Edit Object” page from Step 2.
  9. Click “Reorder.”
  10. Drag and drop your stage names and modify them accordingly.

After you set up sales stages in Salesforce, you need to constantly monitor historical trends to review and improve your pipeline processes.


How to Build a Guided Sales Path in Salesforce

A guided sales path can support and improve your sales process. You can design your strategy based on the signs and activities most likely to indicate closed deals.
Once you build a process, you can recreate it in the CRM by following these steps:

  1. Move to the required Object.
  2. Create a New Record Type within the Object for which you would like to create a Path.
  3. Navigate to Setup and Enable the Path.
  4. Type “Path” into the search box and select Path Settings.
  5. Click “Enable.”
  6. Select “Remember User’s Path Preferences” to ensure that the Path remembers its previous state.
  7. Select New Path.
  8. Create the Path and assign it a unique name.
  9. Select the Object that the Path will be used on.
  10. Select the Record Type you created and choose the Picklist from the Record Type.
  11. Click “Next.”
  12. Choose up to five critical fields for each stage.
  13. Click “Next.”
  14. Activate the Path.

Such a sales path can simplify the onboarding of a new sales representative.

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Salesforce Lead Management: Best Practices

Salesforce lead management best practices help your team capture real decision-makers and spend valuable time speaking to people with buying power. It leads to improved lead quality and ROI as well as revenue increase.

Here is the list of tips that sales executives can use to boost lead management:

  1. Automate Lead capturing and import using built-in tools provided by Salesforce.
  2. Identify fields and rules linked to the lead Object and customize them if necessary.
  3. Streamline lead channels.
  4. Set criteria for lead deduplication and data hygiene.
  5. Score and prioritize leads.
  6. Automate the distribution of leads among appropriate sales team members.
  7. Nurture leads that are not yet ready to buy.
  8. Assess the effectiveness of your lead management.


Salesforce Contact Management: Best Practices

Contacts help the sales team keep the information about critical decision-makers and buyers for a Salesforce account. Salespeople need contacts to reach out to the customer or organize demos.

The Salesforce Contact object has a standard set of fields that can be customized based on your needs. Here are the default Salesforce contact fields you can complete when creating a contact:

  • First and last name
  • Account name
  • Job title
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Fax
  • Address

Besides that, you can fill in the following fields:

  • Contact owner
  • Reports to field
  • Lead source drop-down list
  • “Email Opt-out” checkbox
  • “Do Not Call ” checkbox


How to Add Custom Fields to the Default Contact Page Layout

The default layout of the contact page is general, so it may need modification to meet your unique needs. For example, you can add several custom fields to make your content page layout more personalized. These custom fields help you add more professional information for the company and keep these records simple.

You can organize your contacts manually, or if you already have contacts in an Excel spreadsheet, you can use the Salesforce Data Import Wizard.

Then, you group contacts in Salesforce in contact lists to meet certain criteria. Besides that, you can quickly build custom list views or a list of contacts created for a certain period of time.

To make contact management in Salesforce effective, salespeople should associate only one person with only one contact record in Salesforce. These records should contain, as many accurate details as possible. And sales agents should update them as soon as any information changes.

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Salesforce Account Management: Best Practices

You can set up a new Salesforce Account in two ways:

  • By importing a list of Accounts from a data source,
  • By converting a Lead in Salesforce into a contract and then into a Salesforce Account,
  • By manually logging information into Salesforce.

A default Salesforce Account object contains the following fields:

  • Company name
  • Industry
  • Website
  • Phone number
  • Company Size (the number of employees)
  • Company billing and shipping address
  • Account Owner

Further, users can add new custom fields if necessary.
Salesforce Accounts can also contain customer documents or who and when communicated with the customer.

Here are more Salesforce account management best practices:

  1. Link contacts in Salesforce with accounts for better data organization.
  2. Set up personal accounts to keep key business data
  3. Search for “Inactive” Salesforce accounts to fix them
  4. Verify that inactive users do not own the accounts


More Salesforce Best Practices for Sales

Here are our eight more general Salesforce best practices for salespeople:

  1. Create automated alerts to notify sales reps of significant data changes in Salesforce
  2. Simplify auto-logging of all sales activities, such as calls and meetings
  3. Build an easy process for requesting approvals
  4. Streamline how sales executives add all related customer contacts to accounts
  5. Create straightforward note-taking prompts to stimulate salespeople to maintain regular notes on each account
  6. Keep sales rep’s opportunity records up to date for better sales forecasting and sales cycle visibility
  7. Review sales team wins and losses to spot problems and tailor the existing strategy to get more wins
  8. Build centralized and secure team collaboration


Key Takeaway

Salesforce is the most popular CRM tool that enables sales agents to concentrate more on the needs of their clients and less on back-end management. It helps free up time for a sales team and focus on the things that matter.
And as a Salesforce consulting company, we do much more than innovate CRM technology.

We know that more than a one-size-fits-all approach is needed for a sales strategy. And sales executives must understand their clients’ demands thoroughly. So our consultants will guarantee the complete personalization of your Salesforce Org to your sales team’s needs.

We will suggest the best approaches for Salesforce implementation, data migration, and customization.

On top of that, we can perform custom Salesforce and AppExchange app development to enhance your platform capabilities and create unique functionality that is unavailable on the market.  If you want to avoid having a huge toy that you can’t utilize properly, or if you are overwhelmed with Salesforce functionality, contact us. We’ll solve all the complexities for you.

How to Use Salesforce for Sales Best Practices FAQ

How does Salesforce help sales people?

Salesforce helps sales people by offering a comprehensive suite of tools and features for sales efficiency:

  • Centralized Customer Data: It provides a single source of truth for all customer interactions, enabling personalized sales approaches.
  • Sales Automation: Automates routine tasks, allowing salespeople to focus more on closing deals.
  • Lead and Opportunity Management: Facilitates efficient tracking and prioritization of leads and opportunities through the sales cycle.
  • Analytics and Forecasting: Offers insights into sales trends and performance, aiding in informed decision-making and forecasting.
  • Integration and Customization: Easily integrates with other business tools, allowing for a tailored sales ecosystem.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Promotes better teamwork and communication within sales teams and across departments with tools like Chatter.

How can I use Salesforce more effectively?

To use Salesforce more effectively, focus on customizing it to match your business processes, utilize automation for repetitive tasks, and integrate it with other tools and software you use. Regularly train your team on new features and best practices and ensure that they use Salesforce on a regular basis. Leverage analytics and reporting to continuously refine your sales strategy based on insights gained.

What are Salesforce's best practices for sales?

Salesforce best practices for sales simplify maintaining better data hygiene and help accelerate the sales pipeline while improving your deal closure rate.
They include creating a sales process setting up sales stages, pipelines and reports, and key sales metrics monitoring and reviewing.

How do I use sales process in Salesforce?

To use a sales process in Salesforce, first define the stages of your sales that reflect your business cycle, and customize Salesforce to match these stages under Opportunities. Utilize automation features for tasks and follow-ups. Track and manage leads, opportunities, and customer interactions within each stage and ensure your sales activities are aligned with your defined stages for efficiency and effectiveness.


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