Introduction to Front Office

Introduction to Front Office

The Front Office is the face of your business, where customers are interacted with and where revenue is directly generated. In a hotel, the front office is the lobby: where guests are greeted, their problems get handled, and room payments are made. If you are at a coffee shop, the front office is the employee taking your order or serving you your drink.

In the business world, the front office is anywhere where customers are directly connected with. This includes the sales and marketing departments, as well as service and support personnel. Salespeople connect to customers through selling your company’s goods or services, while marketing connects with them through advertising and promotional activity. Your service and support staff assist customers with problems and provide help with products.

As a company does business, customer data is going to be generated. This might be emails, spreadsheets, databases or other forms of data, and it might be spread out across different systems. Salesforce is a tool that can be used to consolidate that data into one place, to gain better insight into your business and more easily manage data.

What is Salesforce?

Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software service, established in 1999 and today being the most popular CRM tool in the market. Salesforce exists as a Software as a Service (SaaS), meaning users pay a subscription fee to use the software each month. The software itself is hosted and maintained remotely, and accessed by users through a web interface.

CRM software is software used to manage relationships and interactions not just with current customers but with potential customers as well. It is a way to stay connected with customers and increase profits. CRM systems can store customer data, such as contact information, opportunities, marketing campaigns, sales data and more.

Salesforce is a large platform with a variety of features suitable for businesses ranging from small to medium sized (SMBs) to international enterprises. SMBs can benefit from other tools in the Salesforce ecosystem outside of CRM, such as e-commerce, while big enterprises can enjoy the variety of third party plugins found in the App marketplace, as well as developer support and online training.

Salesforce creates a “360 degree view” of your customers, allowing you to view customer data in one place and gain valuable business insights. This single point of engagement makes analytics more effective and easier to use, and allows users to more effectively manage customer relationships.

Salesforce Terminology

Salesforce is a valuable CRM tool, with many features and options for variety of businesses. Due to this there is a lot of terminology or vocabulary that should be learned when using Salesforce. Here are a few of the important ones.

Account: A company, person, prospect, partner, etc, that your company does business with or plans to do business with.

Activities: Activities can be events or tasks and are tied to Contacts or Accounts in Salesforce. An event is something that goes on the calendar, such as meetings, appointments, or presentations. Tasks are things that you need to do, such as follow-up calls with prospects or finishing a request for proposal (RFP).

App: A collection of components within Salesforce such as tabs, reports or dashboards.

AppExchange: An interface provided by Salesforce where users can use Apps created by other users. Apps integrate with Salesforce.

Contacts: A person that your company does business with. This is linked to an Account in Salesforce.

Dashboard: A visual representation of data within Salesforce, showing you report data.

Lead:  A lead is a potential sales opportunity. Prospective buyers, e-mail communication members, website visitors are all considered leads – they have not made purchases but have expressed interest in your business.

Object: An object is how information is stored within Salesforce. An object is like a worksheet within Excel, and objects contain Records.

Opportunities: Proposals that have been prepared or communicated. These are linked to Contacts and can be generated when a sale is closed on.

Record: A record consists of several fields that make up a Salesforce object. For example, a Contact record would include the contact’s name, phone number, e-mail address, etc.

Reports: Real time data analysis of accounts, contacts, opportunities and activities. Used to compare sales goals to actual figures and measure company performance.

Salesforce Data Organization

Within Salesforce, data is split into objects and records. An object can be likened to a spreadsheet tab, with accounts, leads or contacts all being an object in Salesforce. A row of data in a spreadsheet is a record, which is contained within objects.

Salesforce comes standard with several different objects that are available for use, such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads and Opportunities. An account is a company or individual person (such as a contractor) that you currently do business with. This account object has a variety of fields, including the ID and owner of the account, billing information, contact information, revenue, industry, and more.

Contacts are the people that work for companies you are currently doing business with (your Accounts). Examples of fields in this object include phone numbers and other contact information, Do Not Call status, names, titles and department information.

Leads are business prospects. They’re potential buyers who haven’t yet made a purchase or haven’t decided on a product yet. Leads have some similar fields to contacts, such as contact information and names, but also include fields such as a lead rating and whether or not they’ve been converted.

Finally, opportunities are proposals created when a lead is converted into an account or person. It includes fields indicating sales amounts, dates the sale has been or will be made, and type of opportunity (new business or existing business, for example).

These are just some of the most used standard objects that come with Salesforce, but there are several hundred more available. In addition, users can create custom objects to represent data as they need it, if a standard object is not available that fits their needs.

Salesforce makes managing this data easy, linking together objects and records to allow for easier information flow. For example, a lead, when qualified, can be converted to an Account object, with a Contact and Opportunity object linked with the Account, so all the data related to the sale is available and easy to find.

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