Salesforce is Not Suited for Account Management

Are you forcing your account managers to use pre-sale tools to do post-sale activities?
If you’re one of the 22.9 percent of businesses using Salesforce, this might be you.

Salesforce is an excellent solution for helping your sales team efficiently close deals. However, it’s not well suited for customer engagement.

Although Salesforce can be customized to accommodate your sales process, it lacks the essential elements needed to properly support the complex post-sales process.

Sales are focused on advancing leads through a sales pipeline until the deal is closed. Then the baton is passed to the customer engagement team to retain and grow the customer in the long term.

These two processes require different data and tools that Salesforce doesn’t support. Where does Salesforce CRM fall short when it comes to post-sales activities?

The Complex Customer Engagement Process

Let’s start with a review of what’s involved in an effective customer engagement process, like our KAM Process™. This process involves three key phases. We call them Know, Act, and Measure.

These phases are continually repeated by account managers to maintain an ever-deepening and up-to-date understanding of the client. This enables them to create effective account plans that help drive measurable customer outcomes. Then they monitor progress and adjust, or update plans accordingly based on evolving client needs in response to market and economic conditions.

The customer engagement process involves many activities such as:

  • Customer onboarding and offboarding: Starting or ending the relationship on the best possible note to drive rapid outcomes and develop or maintain advocacy.
  • Client stakeholder management: Developing a deep understanding of the customer’s organization and contacts across the account and conducting voice of customer (VOC) interviews and SWOT analyses.
  • Success planning and implementation: Overseeing strategic account planning initiative creation, coordination, communication, and project management.
  • Monitoring, measuring, and reporting: Tracking account plan progress to ensure it stays on track and adjusting as needed to get back on track or better meet evolving client needs.
  • Risk management: Ongoing customer engagement and issue resolution, as well as proactively watching for signs of risk and acting to prevent customer churn.

All these tasks can be completed with tools that you already have, but they become more time-consuming and cumbersome. Plus, this information is significantly more useful when account managers can view them all in one place.

Why Salesforce Isn’t Suited for Account Management

As you can see, an effective customer engagement process is very different than a typical sales process with a goal of customer longevity, excellent lifetime value, and advocacy.

Therefore, account managers require tools and automation that do more than manage leads, contacts, opportunities, and service tickets, which is what Salesforce does best. That leaves post-sales teams to create their own way of filling in the gaps where Salesforce doesn’t support them.

No Roadmap

The intricate customer engagement process includes many activities and tasks. Without a roadmap to show account managers where they are in the process with each client, details or steps will inevitably fall through the cracks.

Depending on what action is skipped and its timing, this can mean missed deadlines, unidentified risks, or less consistent customer outcomes that increase the odds of customer churn.

Doesn’t Support Long-Term Strategies

Account managers need to monitor customer goals, experiences, and history. Salesforce offers contact management without the in-depth documentation required by customer engagement teams.

Client retention and growth is a long-term endeavor that involves gathering extensive data and insights.

Effective account managers gain a deep understanding of their customers by developing a robust org chart for each client to discern how the business operates. This allows them to see where each contact fits and who else they need to know to achieve their mission.

VOC interviews with contacts reveal insights like challenges, goals, and priorities, and SWOT analyses provide additional perspectives as well.

The ability to view all insights and communications in one place saves time while streamlining the account planning process.  

Lacks Project Management Capabilities

Account managers not only lead the account planning process, but they also manage plan implementation, delegate plan tasks, and monitor progress so it stays on schedule.

The ability to store the plan, communicate with the team, receive notifications of due dates, and monitor progress all in one place facilitates the management of these initiatives.
Salesforce doesn’t support these activities, making it necessary for account managers to use multiple applications to manage and monitor account plans and drive customer outcomes.

Scattered Data Sources

Monitoring progress toward measurable customer outcomes, customer health, and internal goal achievement, all require metrics. The challenge is that account managers who use Salesforce can’t view all this data on one platform. They’re left pulling data from various sources, making it more cumbersome and challenging to track what matters most.

Hampers Collaboration and Communication

Account Management is a team sport that requires continuous collaboration and communication for optimum success. The inability to complete these important processes within Salesforce causes application switching and disjointed communications through Slack channels or lengthy email chains. These exchanges aren’t stored with account documents in a central location, eliminating insights that could offer valuable context in the future.

Lacks Account Management Process Tools

Activities throughout the customer engagement process become labor-intensive without the right tools. Templates and automations streamline processes and boost efficiency.
Without these essential tools, account managers are left reinventing the wheel or using their own formats and methods. Things like VOC interviews, SWOT analysis, account planning, business review preparation, and risk management are more likely to happen consistently when your team has the right process tools.

Not a Purpose-Built Tool

Account managers are more efficient and effective when they have a holistic real-time view of customer challenges, goals, and progress. Storing all relevant insights, data, documents, communications, and collaboration in one place ensures that no detail or step is overlooked.

Don’t Use Salesforce for Account Management 

Salesforce isn’t designed to support the complex Account Management process. It is a platform focused on pre-sales and service activities that’s great for managing basic contact data and sales funnels.

Account Management is a strategic long-term endeavor that involves many activities throughout a cyclical process. Salesforce isn’t designed to support this process. It lacks the necessary tools, templates, and automation, hampering account manager productivity, efficiency, and customer outcomes. Ultimately this can lead to less customer retention, growth, and revenue.

There’s a better, more cost-efficient way to support your customer engagement team’s efforts.

Provide them with a purpose-built solution like Kapta, that includes all the tools account managers need throughout the customer engagement process.

Learn more about Kapta’s robust customer engagement solution. Schedule time with a Kapta team member.

Elevate your customer engagement practice. Register for KAMCon, taking place in Boulder, CO on April 24 – 25, 2024.

Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta
Jennifer is a Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta