Getting Started with Salesforce: 3 Simple Steps for Beginners

You can do anything you put your mind to.

That is, as long as you have Salesforce.

Ok, maybe anything is a stretch, but with this CRM software, you and your entire sales team can take full control of the sales process.

You can track customer interactions for every step of the buyer’s journey.

You can update your accounts right from your inbox.

You can personalize every single customer’s experience.

And that only scratches the surface of what Salesforce offers. You can also:

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Am I saying there’s nothing Salesforce can’t do? Well.

There are more than 2,700 apps in the Salesforce AppExchange to help you customize your experience.

So.

Even better? Getting your Salesforce account up and running isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of rocket science.

In just three steps, your shiny new Salesforce account will be ready for action for you to do anything.

Step 1: Sign up for Salesforce

Did you know you can make the most out of Salesforce without even knowing the first thing about HTML?

Your team will quickly adapt to the user-friendly platform, whether your sales reps work for the Geek Squad or still think “LOL” means “lots of love.”
Curious just how intuitive Salesforce can be? See for yourself by signing up!

First, access Salesforce’s website. You can register for a new account by entering your information and clicking “Watch it in action.”

On the next page, you’ll have three options.

  1. Watch a handful of tutorial videos to learn what Salesforce can do for your business.
  2. Take a tour based on the size of your business and what you want to do with Salesforce.
  3. Select your pricing plan.

Jump in with both feet or ease yourself into things with a 30-day free trial for any of the pricing plans.

With the “Lightning Enterprise” plan, you’ll have immediate access to all main features and the ability to purchase many others.

This plan, along with the “Lightning Professional” and “Lightning Unlimited” plans, also allows access to the Salesforce Lightning Experience.

The Lightning Experience is a new and improved version of Salesforce Classic. It provides a modernized and expedited User Interface, as well as a long list of new features.

Here’s a look at the Salesforce Classic homepage:

In contrast, here’s the Lightning Experience homepage:

Thanks to its new features, the Lightning Experience requires fewer clicks to complete tasks within Salesforce. For example, moving your opps to the next stage of their journey is easy with the Opportunity Kanban.

Just access your opps list and click on the drop-down menu featuring a table icon to switch to the Kanban view.

Now, your opportunities will be organized by their current journey stage.  You can move an opportunity forward simply by dragging and dropping it into the next stage.

The Opportunity Kanban is just one of many updates brought to you by the Lightning Experience.

That said, while classic mode offers fewer features, it may come in useful from time to time.

After all, many web resources are written for the classic mode. And if you’re a visual learner, switching over is the best way to follow along.

Toggling between the two modes is simple. Just navigate to the top right of your screen and click on your name or picture. Then, switch to the mode you’d like to use.

Once you’ve decided which version you’ll use, you’re done with your first step! Up next, we’ll look at the ways you can make Salesforce your own.

Step 2: Customize your settings

It’s time to make this house a home.

Adjusting your settings isn’t just about leaving a personal touch on your domain. It’s about getting things in order to keep everyone in your business organized and on the same page.

You can get started by clicking on the gear icon on the top right of your homepage. After that, select “Setup.”

Next, choose “Company settings.” You’ll see a long list of settings you can alter.

To start, set your regular business hours.

  1. Choose a name for these hours. Decide if they will be active now and whether or not they are default business hours.
  2. Choose your timezone.
  3. For each day, choose how long business hours run. Be sure to deselect “24 hours” if it does not apply.
  4. Click Save!

Then, it’s time to organize your fiscal year.

  1. Choose from a standard fiscal year or set custom parameters.
  2. Choose your start month. You will also need to decide whether the fiscal year will be measured by the starting or ending month.
  3. Click Save!

Now, input any national and/or company holidays. Here’s an example:

  1. Name the holiday and set the date and time (if the holiday is not all day).
  2. Set the frequency of this holiday. As with everything, just check Google if you aren’t sure.
  3. Click save!

Circle back to the settings list and choose “My Domain” to set your domain name. This will make it easy for employees to access your company Salesforce.

All you have to do is enter a domain name, press “Check Availability,” and then register the domain.

Proceed with a healthy amount of caution. You want the domain name to be something with staying power, but it won’t be set in stone. Necessarily.

After all, you may go through rebranding later on and need to change your domain name completely.

Although you can’t do this from your account, you can do it with the help of customer service.

Finally, be sure to adjust your settings to resolve any security risks. You can do so from that same menu. Just click on “Settings,” then “Security,” and finally “Health Check.”

The next screen will tell you what percentage of the Salesforce Baseline Security Standard you have met. If you aren’t happy with your results, try clicking “Fix Stats.”

You’ll be provided with a list of risks and the settings you can change to fix them. By checking the box next to a risk, you will change your settings so that the risk is eliminated.

For example, you may set a maximum number of times someone can attempt to log in. Or you might require numbers, letters, and symbols to be included in a user’s password.

Review every suggested change and decide whether Salesforce really knows best.

Good to go? Check off the entire list by clicking the top checkbox, and then click “Change Settings.”

You’ll know the threat has been neutralized when you see a screen like this:

With security tightened, you’re ready to field access requests from anywhere, even mobile devices.

Which works out great, because it’s time to consider going mobile.

Recently, Software Advice discovered that 48% of CRM users access CRM software from a smartphone.

45% access the software from a tablet.

And 81% of all users said they access CRM software from multiple devices.

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Let’s face it. Nothing beats closing a deal from your iPhone.

And thankfully, going mobile has never been easier. Enable mobile access to your Salesforce with the Salesforce1 Mobile App.

Your settings are good to go. You’re all unpacked and moved in. The transition from house to home is officially complete.

And that means you’re ready to start tracking your sales and working with your customers.

Step 3: Create new leads, opportunities, and accounts

With Salesforce, you can know your customer better than you know your best friend.

After all, 74% of companies say CRM software has given them better access to customer data.

And by storing and updating information on your leads, opportunities, and accounts, you too can have that kind of control over your customer data.

So leave that settings page behind! Navigate back to your homepage to start entering customer information into your database.

We’ll start with creating a new lead. On the menu above your sales analysis, click on the “Leads” drop-down menu, and then select “New Lead.”

You’ll then see the following form. Fill in on all the information you have gathered on your lead.

Or, let Outlook and Gmail do that work for you by creating new leads from the comfort of your inbox.

Once the lead is created, it will be assigned its own page. You can access this whenever you need to review data about that lead.

You will also see a timeline of what stage the lead is in, allowing you to move the lead along the timeline as every stage is completed.

Scroll down to assign this lead to one of your team members. You can click on “New Task” to create a to-do list for your team member.

For example, consider asking the team member to call the new lead by a specific date.

Whoever was assigned the lead will be notified on the right side of their Salesforce homepage.

You can also see what’s coming up next by selecting the “Tasks” drop-down menu. Here, you’ll be able to view your own personal to-do list.

Finished with a task? Check it off. Salesforce will then cross this task off your list, as well, making you feel doubly-successful and productive.

Meanwhile, you can get a great view of every single one of your remaining leads by clicking on the “Leads” tab one more time.

Feeling overwhelmed by all those leads? Very understandable. And very curable.

Try viewing a chart to organize your leads by a certain variable, or use a filter to narrow down your list.

For instance, take a look at where your leads are coming from as you plan your next campaign.

Or, add whatever filters you need workable data for a specific set of leads. Just choose “Add Filter,” set your parameters, and click “Save.” Your list will then update with just the leads you want to see.

And the best part is, even after you’ve created every single lead, the fun is only just beginning.

Because now you’re ready for new opportunities.

Tracking opportunities in Salesforce is critical because they tie back into that handy-dandy graph you saw on your homepage.

By updating information on your opportunities, you can adjust that graph every time you close a deal.

Start by clicking on the “Opportunities” drop-down and selecting “New Opportunity.”

You will need to include the name of the opportunity, the account name, who on your team owns that opportunity, and the close date of the deal.

All that information will be waiting for you in a list of your opportunities. You can access this from the “Opportunities” drop-down menu.

Once a deal is closed, your Quarterly Performance chart will be ready to update. Just click on the refresh arrow on the top right of the graph to get an updated version of your performance.

You can also click on the calendar icon next to it to adjust the dates for which you want to view your metrics.

Finally, let’s talk about creating a new account within Salesforce, which is actually almost the exact same process.

From the homepage, click on “Accounts” and then “New Account.”

From here, fill in information and assign tasks, just as you did with your new lead or new opportunity.

You can view a list of your accounts too, as well as add filters to that list or view the list in graph form.

And if you’re using the Lightning Experience, you’ll be able to switch your table view over to the Kanban view.

With the Account Kanban, you can take a look at your company’s accounts based on who on the team owns the account.

This is the perfect way to figure out who your next employee of the month should be. Among other things.

You can also compare your reps’ workload side-by-side through your dashboards.

Your analytics dashboards report back on everything you’re dying to know. For example, who on the team is crushing it.

Or, on the flipside, use dashboards to reflect on where you went wrong. You can analyze why you are losing customers to help you adjust your future game-plan.

Click on “View Report” to get an in-depth report on any of the dashboard graphs.

And keep an eye on your analytics! These reports are the heart and soul of Salesforce.

And as long as you keep them close at hand, you’ll always know exactly what to do to try and close the latest deal.

Conclusion

The percentage of companies using CRM software jumped from 56% to 74% in 2013.

Your competitors know how important CRM software is. And so do you.

So don’t spend another minute waiting to get started! You can have your Salesforce setup done and dusted with just three simple steps.

Register for an account and select which Salesforce experience you’ll use.

Specify your company and security settings.

And finally, bring your company to the big screen by adding info on all of your leads, opps, and accounts.

Now that you have Salesforce set-up, the possibilities are endless. Ish.

Try using Salesforce to optimize your email marketing campaign.

Or, get valuable insights about your campaigns by building new reports.

And always keep an eye out for new features, updates, and all the other fun tricks that Salesforce has up its sleeve.