ON-DEMAND WEBINAR

Why Salesforce is great for customer onboarding

Join Nic Widhalm, VP Customer and Partner Success, Cloud Coach, in conversation with Christine Worthington, Director of Business Operations, Gears CRM for our on-demand webinar discussing why Salesforce is great for Customer Onboarding.

By taking advantage of Salesforce’s Customer Onboarding tools, you can onboard your customers successfully in less time.

Transcription

  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Thanks everyone for joining us here today for this webinar. I'm extremely excited to talk about why Salesforce is so great for customer onboarding. We're going to be talking about utilizing that Salesforce platform, utilizing Cloud Coach for customer onboarding. My name is Nic Widhalm. I'm the Vice President of Customer and Partner Success here at Cloud Coach. And I love using Salesforce for customer onboarding for a whole lot of reasons. We get to use Cloud Coach ourselves internally. So, I'm really excited to talk about it.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And I'm extremely excited to welcome our guest today, Christine Worthington, the Director of Business Operations at GearsCRM. And, Christine, I'll go ahead and just start by kind of letting you just tell us a little bit about Gears and then we can kind of jump right on into it.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Yes, thanks for having me. So we are a consulting company with Salesforce IA and integration practices. So we help companies simplify and improve business process using the right technology. So basically what we do is we use our in-depth business experience and technical know how to solve our client's toughest problems.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    And so we've been in business for over 10 years and have worked with more than 500 companies with many partners, including Cloud Coach and Salesforce. We've been a Salesforce partner since 2009. And we're coming up on our year of using Cloud Coach ourself and have recently partnered with Cloud Coach.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    So for me, I am the Director of Business Operations at Gears, and my team is responsible for resource planning, pipeline management, project oversight, and company financial reporting. So you can see how that ties really closely to a lot about what we're going to talk about here today.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Absolutely. That's wonderful. Yeah, I'm really excited. Let's just jump right on into it. So you kind of touched on this just very briefly, but why don't you tell us a little bit more about how you're currently utilizing Salesforce in your business?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Yeah, so like I mentioned, we are partners with Salesforce and we deploy Salesforce for our clients. And then for our own business, we use it quite a bit. We were on Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Revenue Cloud. We use Tableau CRM. So we're not only there to deploy for our clients, we're big time users. We use basically every cloud there is.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Wonderful. All right. And then going from there ... let's see. There we go. About how long have you been using Salesforce for specifically doing your customer onboarding?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    So really since inception of our business, we've been using it. We've been managing our projects and our client data within it since the start. But as we grew and client and project data got more and more complex and we started to standardize things, we were using tools within Salesforce and outside of Salesforce for customer onboarding. And that's basically what led me to come talk today and why we decided to partner and use Cloud Coach ourselves.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Wonderful. So kind of just, as you mentioned, very briefly, you were sort of doing a bit of a custom build before, a little bit here, a little bit there, some of the stuff you built kind of custom on Salesforce. So what kind of drove that decision to want to move to a more managed, packaged solution?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Yes. So as a consulting company, we are onboarding new customers all the time and we're even onboarding new business units with our existing customers frequently as well. So about five years ago, we started talking about what we would need to be able to scale our business, simplify and streamline processes for our employees and ensure the most seamless customer experience throughout project life cycle. And that all starts with the customer onboarding. And we knew we needed to bring a bunch of things into one place. We needed to bring resource and project planning, budget reporting, time logging, pipeline, and invoicing all into one system. And so we had built, like I mentioned many custom ways to do that within Salesforce and outside, but we knew we needed either build our own PSA or find one that worked for us.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Once we saw what Cloud Coach could do, we were like, "We're not going to reinvent the wheel. This is going to work for us." And we knew that ... let's ditch all the custom stuff we've done and let's bring it all into one shot.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Yeah. I love that. Yeah. I think that that's absolutely critical of knowing how you're going to be able to scale and continue to not have to put all that extra effort into also maintaining and adding and building, so I think that's a great thing. What would you say are your top three things that you love about utilizing Salesforce and Cloud Coach specifically for customer onboarding?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Well, it's hard to pick three, because we love Cloud Coach. But if I had to pick three, I think as I mentioned, we are consultants that are bringing on new clients all the time, so customer onboarding is key to our success. And the top benefit I would say is resource planning. This isn't something that's just looked at during customer onboarding, but it's extremely important throughout our client's engagements. But shifting from the sales team to our delivery team and pulling in specialty resources when needed can be really, really tricky, and having our project plans tied directly to allocations and therefore our utilization, it helps us manage and adjust workloads for over 120 employees. And this is essential to meet our client deadlines. So that's number one, resource planning.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    On a very similar note, but I do call them out as separate, I'm going to say pipeline management. So obviously without a pipeline, we don't have customer onboarding, but it's essential that we set accurate expectations with our clients about when we can start their work, and having the ability to overlay our utilizations from active project work with pipeline that's coming in, gives us the data to know when we can start projects so we can clearly set those expectations of clients. So very similar, but pipeline management is huge for us, and it's been a big benefit for moving over to the Cloud Coach platform.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    And then the last piece I would just say is the unified reporting. So we use CPQ quoting and actually have what's on our CPQ quotes create our projects. So when we look at an SOW or a client is looking at an SOW and then they look at how time is being logged on our projects, they're unified, and it's all tied together. So having that clear budget oversight that a client can see that ties what they agreed to on an SOW to work that's happening to their project plan is huge. It's just one stop shop. There's no question about, where does this fall within what I agreed on in the scope?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    So that unified recording from the SOW to the project plan to time logging is huge for us. And especially when we're kicking off a project, there's no uncertainty between the project team and the client on what's in scope and what their ultimate goal is for the output of that project.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    That's wonderful. I could not agree with you more, Christine. I think that unified reporting, and I think the theme of kind of what you said with those three things is that there's sort of a unification that kind of runs through all of it, of having all of this in one area, in one place where your resource management can begin all the way back on an opportunity when you're doing that pipeline management to have that all connected together in something that's all in Salesforce that can then pull into the reporting, I think is absolutely critical.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    I know when I talk with customers about customer onboarding, one of the key things I hear all the time is around things like these handoff points, these touch points, these critical areas where things can kind of fall through the cracks. So I love hearing that unification. I think that's a wonderful way of putting the real key benefit, I think with Salesforce about having all of that on the platform. So could not agree with you more. Absolutely. So you've been using Cloud Coach for a little bit now. What are you looking forward to in the future? What are you excited to use in Cloud Coach that they aren't using yet today?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Yeah. So this is a fun question, because if you would have asked me this a couple of weeks ago, before I saw it's coming out in your spring release, I would have easily said the top two things we're looking to start using are your utilization and profitability report. We currently are still using our own, that is in Tableau CRM, and it's working great, but we know that we want to switch over and ultimately start using what you guys have. So utilization and profitability reporting, but I have to mention some of the things that I'm super excited about in the spring release. So number one, the goals and requirements, and it just happens to kind of fit into this customer onboarding discussion today, but that is such a neat enhancement in making sure that we're all in agreement with the output of what that project is going to have is huge.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    And having those new tools within Cloud Coach to kind of document that and have it there is huge, tying tasks to them. So goals and requirements we're really excited about, and can't wait to start playing around with. And then the second thing is the new project type of Water-Scrum-Fall. We have clients that are agile shops, so when we manage projects that are agile and then a mix, we're kind of a mix of agile, waterfall, depending on what's the need of our customers, but having the ability to have that Water-Scrum-Fall project type really is a way to flex different project methodologies. And we're excited to get in there and start playing with that as well.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    I think that's again, fantastic. I you really touched on some of the things I'm personally really excited for, for using it. That spring release came out pretty recently. Our customer onboarding team has just been foaming at the mouth, just so excited to get into the Water-Scrum-Fall piece, readjust those templates and really kind of introduce that more agile experience into waterfall. So, so excited.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And as a customer success manager, I'm very excited for goals and requirements. So I'm very glad you touched on that because we're really excited to be able to kind of show those to customers, call those out, talk through kind of how we can really grow with you and how we can utilize those goals. And I think for customer onboarding, having a clear sense of those goals and requirements, like you said, so everyone's on the same page, I think is absolutely critical for making sure that things stay in scope, delivery stays on time, under budget, all those key aspects for customer onboarding. And absolutely, the utilization and profitability reporting, I'm excited to kind of show a little bit of that here next and in our product demo. So I love hearing that you're as excited about that new stuff as I am, so yeah, that's fantastic. All right. So what kind of tangible benefits have you seen from adopting Cloud Coach, bringing that into GearsCRM?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Okay. So I might sound like a broken record, but for me, with me being so involved in resourcing, it's better resource capacity management. For us as consultants, using Cloud Coach has really led to less bench time and just that visibility into active project work. And what is coming in our pipeline has been instrumental in driving change with how you're resourcing. So number one, hands down for us, it's that resource management.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    I would say the second, scoping accuracy. So since we are building our project plans in Cloud Coach based off of our CPQ quotes, it's enabled us to have such more granular reporting at the lowest level in terms of scoping. So we can easily identify places where we're just a little bit, where we have gaps and we can address it quicker than we were able to in the past.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    And then the last thing that we really haven't talked about at all, and I know it's not totally helpful and around the customer onboarding side, but I did want to mention it, is retainer tracking. So we have a lot of retainer based projects, and having the retainer tracking within Cloud Coach, either tying to a project or an account level, has simplified reporting and made it so much more efficient to track. So it's one of those kind of more hidden benefits that maybe not the greater organization notices, but for us folks in the backend that are looking at finances and invoicing and all of that financial end of the business, the retainer tracking has been such a nice benefit to going on the the Cloud Coach plan.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    I'm really glad you mentioned that, actually Christine with the retainers, because that again is one of those areas that, like you said, sometimes kind of gets a little bit lost in the back end with some of the financial reporting pieces. But it's critical, I think, to be able to identify in the sales cycle and post sales cycle where people have purchased buckets of hours, buckets of spend, what is the draw down on those? How would that tracking ... kind of, where is that burn down sitting? And so I, again, I agree with you because we utilize that ourselves. Having that retainer functionality, I think for customer onboarding is one of those critical areas that doesn't really get, I think mentioned enough. So I'm glad that you brought that piece up, and I love hearing that the resource utilization is really taken a step forward there. I'm really excited to kind of show off some of that here coming up. So that was wonderful. So why would you recommend a company use Salesforce for their customer onboarding?
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Yeah, I would recommend it anyone use Salesforce. I think that there's two key pieces. Number one, it's a one-stop shop for all of your needs. You don't have to have multiple tools. You don't have to have some things in Salesforce, some things out. It's one of the key benefits to having Salesforce in and of itself. Then the second is the ability to customize, right? So just like anything on the Salesforce platform, Cloud Coach is customizable, and that's key because you can use it and leverage it in a way that works for your business, and it doesn't have to fit a mould of somebody else's.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    But at the same time, I want to mention that the out of the box functionality of Cloud Coach really hits and checks most of our boxes. And I can imagine that for most businesses there isn't a huge need to customize a lot of it. But if I look at what we use Cloud Coach for within Salesforce, I mean, we're using the majority of the out of the box functionality, but the things that we did need to tweak, we were able to customize. So just having that ability to make it fit for your business need is awesome.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Yeah, absolutely. Once again, could not agree more. I think having that super configurable platform that you can really extend the out of the box functionality on is really key. For things like customer onboarding, lots of businesses have small little tweaks that they like to add here and there. So I'm glad to hear that, that you found it configurable, but also pretty accessible out of the box. Because again, that's one of my favorite things about the platform is that when you need it to be configurable, you can do it. Yeah. You can get it there. Wonderful.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Well, Christine, thanks so much for answering those questions. I think you really teed up this product demonstration perfectly. I'm going to kind of touch on a few of those pieces that you just talked about so we can kind of see them in action. Starting off right here with that initiation piece, because this is one of ... again, my kind of my favorite things about having Cloud Coach and the Salesforce platform as part of your onboarding is that when you start on something like an opportunity from the sales side, you can really make use of things like products, like CPQ, kind of all these different quoting tools to be able to add things like project templates to, and really what that allows you to do is to build a scalable, automated solution for your project creation, that you can attach things like templates back to these products.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    You can attach resourcing forecast information back to these products. So that from your sales side, you can really, again, just automate this workflow to be fast, easy. I'm a sales person, I've closed out this particular opportunity. My products and CBQ have kind of done all the hard work for me. I've used those Cloud Coach project templates here in my products. So that again, I can kind of standardize out how this project is going to be get created. What phases are going to get inserted into it, what project data is going to be accessible. So that now as a project manager coming on, ready to start my onboarding, I now have this great kind of project plan pre-built out for me. So I think being able to utilize that with that connection to an opportunity, again, one of my favorite things about Salesforce, that platform is that you can kind of have all of this together when you use Cloud Coach.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And now that we're in this project, I definitely want to touch on some of the things that you brought up, Christine, like that new Water-Scrum-Fall functionality, again, that we're really excited about. It allows you to build out a project waterfall, Gantt chart, kind of like you see here, and then you can tag certain tasks as these Kanban waterfall tasks here. So it really allows you to kind of break out a project plan.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    Now, in this case, this is a brand new project. There's not a whole lot of data in it. So I'm going to go ahead and switch to a project where we've built out a little more data to kind of show off some of these functional areas here. So my tech build project, I'm just going to switch to it by utilizing my side panel here, Water-Scrum-Fall project where I've got these different tasks, some are regular tasks with just a side panel with task information. Then some of them here are these Kanban boards where I can click into it. You can see that little Kanban functionality there, go into the Kanban board itself. And now I can of course, move my cards around, move them into the completed column, kind of roll up that status to the Gantt chart.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And when it comes to onboarding, what I really love here is that you can do things like utilize these different areas to send out work to maybe a development team or a team that's working more on like a Kanban agile board. And that team can just focus on, in that Kanban, adding cards, moving those around. You can transfer them between different areas. So you can again have that really agile experience, but your project managers can still keep their dates. They can still keep their delivery times. They can still see the progress that's rolling up, the hours that are being entered against it. So you no longer really have to argue about what methodology are you doing, and it really kind of unifies and pulls all that in together. So I'm personally really excited that we have this new functionality to get to utilize there.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And another key piece that we have now are goals and requirements. So again, I run our customer success team. We're really excited to get to utilize these for our customer success projects. But our onboarding team is really excited as well, because what this allows us to do is to set high-level goals right at the beginning of an onboarding. And because these projects can get created even earlier in the sales cycle, these can also be things that are captured during sales, because not only do we have these goals, as you can see here, where I've got these high-level areas, but we have a requirement section as well, where we can build out a requirements tree.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    So these different areas where we can say, "Okay, these are our high level requirements. These are the more granular levels that are going to roll down into it." When I click into it, I can kind of see which different requirements are in these areas here. If I click on that requirement, it opens up this side panel, allows me to see things like, okay, which of these requirements here are linked back to cards in our project, linked back to tasks in our project so that we can actually complete these requirements and kind of see that data.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    But from just a showing to my customer standpoint, what I love is that we can give these a rating. Then as they're completed, it's going to roll that up to my goal section. So as a project manager, going through an onboarding, I can sit down with my client and say, "Okay, these are our goals, and here's how we're progressing toward them." We have some five star requirements, some four stars, et cetera. We can see our overall delivery toward those. And we can see how we're progressing against those specific goals. And of course we have lots of different ways to be able to filter those down and really get that key information right in front of them. So one of those areas, again, that we're really excited that has come up now in the product.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And of course, resource management, one of those key things you brought up, Christine that I think again, it's just really great. It allows you with our resource management to go in and assign out specifically at a project and a task level, certain tasks to different users here. But it also lets you do a forecasting, which I think is a kind of a nice way of being able to capture your initial forecast at either an opportunity level or a project planning level where I can say, "Hey, I don't actually know which users I want yet. I haven't actually gotten to this level of assigning out specific users. But what I can see is that I'm going to need a developer here, two developers here," and I can kind of go down the list like that.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    It's going to roll here into my overall resourcing screen, where I can see kind of my top level resourcing information here. I can open this up and see again, kind of where different project data is coming from. In this case, I'm actually looking at a screen where I've just kind of assigned out at a top level. So if I'm not wanting to get super specific to my tasks, I can just kind of build that out on my specific users. Or if I don't want to look at a user capacity, maybe I just want to again, look at that top level, just, hey, do I have enough resources? I don't even know who it is yet.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    I can switch over to my FT capacity where I can both plan out my capacity across my entire organization. Here's just how many we have on each of these areas. So that's my pool of resources. We can also break that out by things like different business units. So for again, a large-scale organization where we want to have a different areas and have different resource pools, we can do that. And then in the work-type summary, we can start to see where we're going to start to hit collisions. So, Hey, as a business analyst, I can see we're going to start running out of business analysts here really, really soon, same with our engineering areas. And again, we can kind of break that out by overall business units or look at just a top level workflow.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    So we have that ability to see kind of just overall, hey, I just want to see my work types, my overall capacity, and that ability to also see at an individual user level who has what coming up, where do we have placeholders that we've put in, where we haven't actually assigned somebody yet? So we can go kind of from very general to very granular with that resourcing pretty, pretty quickly there. So one of those great things about utilizing Salesforce and Cloud Coach is you really get that all the way from an opportunity to project close, that resource capacity forecasting utilization.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And that also rolls up into those financial pieces there. So when you look at our financial screen, you can, of course track things like your expenses, your overall financial benefits, but you can also look at things like labor cost information. And what I love about this tab is that not only can I see my cost, my plan cost by these different work types. So this is who we're utilizing on the project where there's a big project, lots of different work types there. But I can also pull in things like, okay, how's my actuals versus my estimates? What's my plan cost? What's my actual costs as users enter in time against this?
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And I can also say, "You know what? Rather than looking at costs, let's go ahead and look at ... This is a revenue generating project. What about rating? What will we plan to bill? What do we actually bill?" So again, here's our plan. Here's our actual rating, all pulled into this kind of screen here so we can easily see it. We can also do things like track our project time. So again, super critical in on onboarding is tracking where that time is going.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    We have estimated hours across these different tasks. How are we going against those? How are we capturing costs and rates? And we have all of that time entry built in here, which is fantastic, as the project managers can easily see it. And then for our end users, they have their time card. So when they're working on a project, they can go to their time card right here and they can see all the time they've entered it and against it and they can make use of these assistants that can show them the places where they should enter in their time.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    So they can say, "Oh yeah, that's right. These are areas where I should enter my time in against." Here, genius that shows me everything that I worked on this week that I forgot to enter time again. So I can say, "Oh yeah, you know what? Here on Wednesday, I did do some work against that opportunity. I'm going to put in some time." And I can put in a comment or attach it back to utilization category and just click kind of right off of that.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    So your end user experience is nice and easy when it comes to that time entry, your project managers get to see it roll up right here in their project time, where they can sort it, filter it, adjust it here if they need to, maybe change that up. Of course again, that rolls here into my overall planned rate, actual rate, my labor cost, my actual cost. So your reporting kind of gets all visualized here, quickly project by project.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    And one of the key things about this Salesforce platform and, Christine, I think again, you just nailed it early on when you said unified reporting. This is a way that I can pull in all of this information into a unified dashboard and report, whether that's budgeting information, revenue information, margin information, RAID for things like tracking risks and issues against a project.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    All of this can get pulled in directly here, including my opportunity pipeline information, and I can see it immediately and easy, and I can switch between different dashboards here as needed. So that depending on my role, I can really make sure that I'm looking at the exact information that's critical, including things like utilization, which again, I heard you say you're kind of excited to adopt. And I think this is one of the best things about our product is that you can pull in that utilization again, take advantage of that Salesforce reporting and unified reporting structure to kind of get all of this in one place and then send these out.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    One of my favorite little Salesforce features is that you can subscribe to these kinds of reports. I do this all the time with my team. I have the reports go out every Monday morning or every Tuesday and Thursday, set a time, send it to me or my team. Then I can see things like, how is our utilization as we're doing this implementation? We're onboarding this new customer, is our team actually utilized? What is our billability at? All of those pieces get tied back to that time entry. So it's, again, this really clear, unified easy experience.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    So just a few of those little areas that you touched on there, Christine, which I think were absolutely critical for onboarding. So again, I just want to thank you for taking the time to join us. I know we're out of time, so unfortunately we won't get to any Q&A today. We just have a lot to discuss, but once again, I just want to thank Christine from GearsCRM for coming on and being such a great co-host with me.
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON:
    Thanks for having me.
  • NIC WIDHALM:
    All right. Thanks everyone. And have a great week. Take care.

In this webinar you’ll learn

  • The benefits of moving from a custom build to a packaged solution
  • How Salesforce can deliver better resource capacity management, scoping accuracy and retainer tracking
  • Why you should use Salesforce for utilization and profitability reporting

Speakers

  • Nic Widhalm
    Nic Widhalm
    VP, Customer and Partner Success, Cloud Coach
  • CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON
    CHRISTINE WORTHINGTON
    Director of Business Operations, Gears CRM

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