Salesforce is well known as a system that provides a 360-degree view of your customer, but what it’s not known for is resource planning and management, despite the fact that this critical process can significantly affect the customer experience.
In this article, we’ll dive into resource planning and management – what it is and why Salesforce is the right system to manage it.
What Is Resource Planning & Management?
Resource planning and management is one of the most common processes in a business, yet it is sometimes one of the most poorly managed. In recent years, businesses have struggled to cope with demand from customers with the resources they have on staff.
We’ve seen the effects as consumers with empty grocery store shelves due to a lack of truck drivers, long lines at airport security due to reduced security staff/baggage handlers, even restaurants not being able to operate at full capacity due to a lack of servers. These are just the effects we have seen on the front end; imagine the back-end challenges faced by thousands of organizations around the world.
By definition, resource planning is a vital part of any project that involves estimating, allocating, and controlling the resources needed to ensure successful completion. A well-developed and thoughtfully implemented plan enables better management of resources by keeping an eye on the budget, availability of personnel with the required skills over the duration of the project, and any other material or logistical inputs.
Proactive resource planning also helps identify areas for improvement so that waste can be minimized, while providing insight into project delays, accounting for changes in demand or environment, and optimizing operations according to goals and objectives. When performed correctly, resource planning results in efficient use of resources while meeting timelines and expectations.
With this in mind, it makes sense that the system you use for resource planning and management should be in the same system where you manage your sales pipeline – in this case, Salesforce. Let’s dig a little deeper into some real use cases.
Let’s look at some specific examples to understand why having your resource planning and management tool in Salesforce will improve your customer experience and satisfaction.
Efficient project planning is critical to any project’s success. Think about any project you’ve worked on in the past, whether a personal project or a professional one – it’s likely that you needed to plan how you were going to do it before executing the plan.
Utilizing Salesforce for project management offers a cohesive solution that aligns sales with execution, streamlining operations and enhancing the customer experience. At its core, Salesforce is designed to provide a holistic view of customer interactions. By integrating project management into the same environment, businesses can ensure that deliverables are directly aligned with customer needs and expectations.
Tracking the delivery of a project is much like tracking the sales process of an opportunity. There is a planning phase, delivery phase and sign-off phase at a high level, and each one of these phases will require certain tasks to be completed. Salesforce Admins could create a series of custom objects to track projects, but utilizing a third-party tool from the AppExchange will be the fastest and most complete option to get your Salesforce set up for project management.
One of the most critical parts of any project is allocating resources with the skills to deliver. It is therefore imperative that companies know the skill sets of their resources. Imagine a consulting company with thousands of consultants. They will all have been hired because they possess certain skills, but if you don’t have a central place to track this, it’s impossible to properly allocate resources, and you could be left without the necessary resources to deliver projects to your customer, resulting in poor customer satisfaction.
Consultancies are just one example of the type of organization that would benefit from skills management in Salesforce. For example, let’s think about a construction company that builds everything from commercial buildings to single family homes. The skills and certifications required for their builders may differ based on the type of project they need to deliver, and if you assign the wrong resources to a project, the effect could be detrimental, not only to customer satisfaction, but also to the balance sheet of the construction company.
By managing skills in the same system as your sales pipeline, you can effectively forecast what resources you will need and by when, based on the progression of deals. When users get to a certain point in the sales pipeline, they could put in a tentative request for resources, which project managers can then use to effectively staff projects in advance, rather than reactively staffing projects once deals are closed.
Anyone who has ever worked in a role where wages are paid by the hour will have experienced some form of timesheet. This could be in retail, healthcare, professional services, or freight hauling, just to name a few industries, but there are numerous industries where time tracking is essential.
In a nutshell, timesheets allow you to track the hours an employee works, which makes it easy to calculate wages and ensure compliance with local labor laws. Timesheets can also provide valuable insights into the productivity of your workforce, enabling you to better manage resources and allocations.
Tracking time worked in Salesforce allows you to have a complete view of the cost of a project. You can track both the cost of the employee to your business and the amount of revenue they generate to track profit margins, which are essential for any business to remain in operation. Imagine being able to have a complete view of the cost of delivery alongside the revenue generated from sales. This is possible if your resources are tracking their time worked in Salesforce!
While tracking time is essential to the sustainable operations of an organization, it also means this process should be easy for users. Think about the factors of when and how your resources will be logging their time.
- Do they need to be able to do it on the go? If so, you need to ensure whatever tool you choose is mobile friendly.
- Do you have specific criteria for when a resource can log time? Maybe they need to start and end their time logging within a certain location, such as with freight hauling.
- Do your resources have preset schedules that you could use to automate time tracking? This can greatly improve the user experience.
Your tool will also need to be configured to handle whatever type of scenarios your organization has defined for your resources. Ultimately, the tool needs to achieve your main goal: improving the customer experience, as well as overall satisfaction. Essentially, customers will appreciate receiving accurate invoices for services rendered, in a timely manner, for time worked on a project.
Rate cards go hand in hand with time sheets. Rate cards are set up by organizations to determine the cost of resources in various regions where the company operates its services. Costs are defined by the local economy and local rates at which services can be reasonably charged.
It is, therefore, imperative that any tool you choose for project management has the ability to hold rate cards for each role and zone in which you operate. Delivering the same services in one location will likely cost more or less than delivering a project in another location. For example, delivering a project in New York City versus Rochester, NY will cost vastly different sums of money. It’s essential that accurate rate cards are defined so that, when costing a potential project, you are able to not only cover the costs, but also ensure you are making a profit.
Oftentimes, clients and prospects will attempt to negotiate the rates at which resources are charged, but having predefined rate cards ensures a consistent baseline from which negotiations can start, and most importantly, not drop below. By having rate cards in Salesforce, you are able to accurately price and sell your services depending on where the project is due to take place.
Resource utilization is an essential part of delivering any project and efficient resource allocation is necessary to achieve optimum levels of customer satisfaction. I mentioned earlier about skills management and how you need to have the right skills for the business to deliver projects, but how you allocate those resources is even more important.
Although you might have resources with the right skill sets, if they’re not available when you need to deliver a project, this will impact your customer’s experience as they may be forced to delay their project to wait for a resource to become available. Equally, having too many underutilized resources can become a drain on your business.
Effective resource utilization requires a careful analysis of the available resources, client demands, and expected outcomes. Using Salesforce reports, you can get insight into the percentage of utilization for your team members, and take action where there is under or over utilization. This helps you plan more effectively for things like job openings – it’s easy to see where you need to hire more, or pause hiring based on the needs of the business.
Another advantage to tracking utilization on the Salesforce platform is that admins can take advantage of standard Salesforce functionality, such as validation rules, to ensure resources not added to projects which would put their utilization over a maximum threshold.
There are numerous use cases by industry, such as:
- Healthcare: Hospitals need to staff the right number of doctors, nurses, administrators, pharmacists (and more) to ensure the facility runs smoothly for patients.
- Retail: Shops must have the right amount of resources on hand to cope with demand, which can change drastically depending on the day of the week, the weather, the time of year, etc.
- Law Enforcement: It is essential to have the right police allocation based on what’s going on in a city on any given day. There could be an event happening that requires more staff than usual, or perhaps you will have an influx of new police officers joining the force who need to be paired up with experienced officers to continue their learning.
The list of applicable industries for effective resource allocation and utilization is seemingly endless, which just goes to show how important it is to get this process right. If your organization suffers from inefficient resource utilization, this will likely create bottlenecks which impact your customers’ satisfaction.
Automate Your Invoicing
Invoicing is the process by which most B2B organizations get paid for their goods and services. It’s a document that needs to contain details about the goods/services that were delivered, along with the associated cost.
This process can be both time consuming and error prone when it’s completed manually, however, by using the Salesforce platform to manage projects, you can easily automate the invoicing process as you will have all of the required data in the system already.
With timesheets and rate cards in Salesforce, it’s easy to bill your clients for the services delivered, as well as invoice for any goods they’ve been sold. Producing accurate and timely invoices not only ensures your business is generating cash flow, but it also improves customer satisfaction as they don’t have to worry about incorrect invoices or mistakes that need to be remedied.
How Atachh Projectivity Can Help
Atachh Projectivity is a native application to Salesforce and offers many benefits for companies looking for ways to streamline their resource planning and management processes. For starters, it allows you to quickly identify any gaps in staffing or availability while keeping track of progress and completion rates of each project in real time.
Plus, all of your data is stored securely on the Salesforce platform so there’s no need to worry about losing important information, no matter where your consultants are in the world – whether they’re on site or remote.
Atachh Projectivity saves teams time and money by reducing manual entry errors that often cause delays in billing cycles, or missed payments from clients due to incorrect invoicing details being sent out too late or not at all!
By connecting your resource planning tool to your CRM, you will have full visibility of projects as they progress through the sales process. Having this visibility allows you to staff projects faster, with the right resources, while ensuring they come in on time and on budget.
In summary, effective resource planning and management improves the customer experience and overall satisfaction. By using the same system for sales and project management, you will have a complete picture of everything that’s going on in your business, allowing you to always remain ahead of the curve, and reducing the risk of failing to deliver goods and services to your customers.
Contact the team at Atachh today to see how you can improve your customer experience and satisfaction with efficient resource planning and management software.