Admins / RevOps / Sales

Speed to Meeting: Streamline Scheduling Within Salesforce

By Lucy Mazalon

Branded content with Invisory

Economic uncertainty can lead businesses to look at cutting unnecessary costs and optimize go-to-market processes. While these steps are critical in adjusting to market changes, leaders must look for optimization that will result in immediate efficiency improvements and cost reduction, while also improving go-to-market strategies that fuel growth.

“In times of tough economic headwinds, the pressure to make cuts and deliver efficiency savings and productivity improvements is irresistible. However, the evidence of the economic downturns of 2008-2009 and 2020 from McKinsey and Bain suggests that only seeking efficiency savings during tough economic conditions comes at a risk: roughly one in 10 companies manages to outgrow its peers both during downturns and in the subsequent recovery…Take your eye off of the ball, and you may be disrupted.” 

– Ed Thompson, SVP, Global Influencer Strategy, Salesforce (Source)

So, where can easy wins be found when it comes to your Salesforce org? Oftentimes, making incremental improvements to core processes results in greater efficiency as a whole – which, of course, leads to business growth.

One example to target is scheduling calls and meetings – a task that’s prone to ‘back-and-forth’ communication, and at risk of losing the momentum one has built with a prospect or customer. Cutting out wasted time is beneficial to both internal employees and the customer – a true win-win.

There are tools out there that can streamline scheduling within Salesforce, while also ensuring effective communication with your customer. How should you evaluate your scheduling needs against the multitude of other pressing requirements? Let’s explore how you can make that informed decision.

1. Speed

The lead response time benchmark is five minutes.

  • Lead conversions are 391% higher when you call within a minute of an online inquiry (source: Velocify survey, via LeanData).
  • Lead qualification is 7x more likely when reaching out to a lead within an hour as opposed to just one hour later (source: Harvard Business Review, via LeanData).

Get Your Stats:

Your Salesforce org is full of data – it’s a treasure trove of insights that you can use throughout this assessment. Here, speed (known as “velocity”) involves calculating the time passed between two points. Your A to B could, for example, be:

  • From lead initial enquiry to first response.
  • From conversion to sales meeting.

Calculating velocity involves date fields. You may find that you can use standard Salesforce date fields (e.g. Lead date created), or you may need to set up custom fields with automation to populate fields when a record moves from one state to another (e.g. Date first meeting).

It’s worth noting that standard system date stamps are in date/time format, so you can create your custom date stamp fields using that field type too (which will prevent having to transform field types in the formulas).

Once you have the date fields populated, you can either create a row-level summary formula within a Salesforce report to calculate velocity (one-off usage) or, alternatively, a further custom formula field to place on to record page layouts for users to see, and/or reuse across multiple reports. Use these formulas to calculate the examples above:

  • From first contact to first meeting = Lead date created (minus) Lead date first response.
  • From conversion to sales meeting = Lead conversion date or Opportunity created date (minus) Event date created.

And, if you want further benchmarking, you can do competitor analysis by signing up incognito and seeing the experience you receive from your competitors.

2. Number of Channels

In order to meet rising customer expectations to ‘meet them where they are’, the number of communication channels that organizations have opened up continues to rise. How many of the channels below can your customers use to get in contact with your organization?

  • Email (including email-to-case)
  • Phone
  • Webforms (including chatbots)
  • Social media
  • SMS (including WhatsApp)
  • Portals (e.g. an Experience Cloud site)

If you’re working with partners, the number of channels could easily multiply. While your partners may send leads through one channel, such as a portal (Experience Cloud site), in other cases, partner organizations are throwing leads towards your organization from their own channels. Regardless of whether this is your own organization’s channels or your partners’ channels, the speed and overall experience in scheduling meetings should be kept consistent.

Get Your Stats:

List out all the ways a prospect or customer could contact your organization – don’t forget partner channels!

3. Number of Use Cases

Scheduling is not just for sales teams. There are plenty of ways that your marketing, customer service, and service delivery teams can benefit from streamlined scheduling.

While digital scheduling is clearly good to improve, it is, in fact, the scheduling of physical appointments that can reap the most rewards. If you have teams in the field, there are additional factors beyond availability in their calendars, such as routing, travel time, and automatic adjustments in case of call cancellation/rescheduling. Vendors like SUMO Scheduler have spotted this need, and have acted on it by launching the first Self Service Field Sales Scheduler on to the market.

Get Your Stats:

Look at your organization as a whole. Ask around different business functions to determine their scheduling needs – you may uncover more ways that streamlined scheduling could help.

4. Assignment

When it comes to matching prospects/customers to the most appropriate members of your internal teams, you’ll find a mind boggling number of ways to do this.

  • Availability: Which members of your team are available at the right time.
  • In a rotation: Known as ‘round-robin’, this focuses on a group of possible owners, assigning each lead to an owner until each owner has received a record – then repeat. This ensures equal distribution relative to the number of incoming records.
  • Skill-based: Route lead records based on needs, according to the owner’s skillset.
  • Territory-based: Take location into account to ensure appropriate matches that reflect time zone and/or language.

You can see how complex record routing can get in the two articles below, or – looking at it positively – the flexibility you have to design routing how you want it:

Get Your Stats:

Aside from asking each department how incoming records are assigned, there are a number of other indicators that can shed light on whether the current assignment is working for your teams.

  • Speed, i.e. the time between being created and the record being ‘worked’ by a sales rep, service agent, etc.
  • Accuracy, i.e. how often does the record owner solve the issue, and how frequently records need to be reassigned.
  • If you use Salesforce queues, the time a record remains in the queue is a metric you can use.

5. Coordination

How does appointment coordination happen within each team, and teams coordinating with other teams? Common examples include:

  • The marketing team handing over a qualified lead to the sales team. The sales team needs to arrange a meeting while having the full picture of that prospect’s journey so far.
  • A sales rep requiring a technical team member during a custom demo call.

Coordination comes down to different departments having visibility into each other’s calendars. The built-in Salesforce Calendars is one option, but you’ll find this limiting when you want to filter on multiple types of assets or user characteristics.

Get Your Stats:

Do teams currently have visibility into a shared calendar? Is this calendar contextual with Salesforce data, or does it exist outside of Salesforce? Your best bet is to ask different types of users in your organization, and/or observe how they go about their day-to-day work.

6. Communication (Setting Expectations)

Giving prospects/customers an indication of how long their query will take to be answered sets the right expectations. Often referred to as a service-level agreement (SLA), you should consider that organizations are often setting expectations outside of formal SLAs. For example, does your Contact Us form state that you will respond within two hours? Is the prospect/customer expecting a courtesy message or a more meaningful interaction (i.e. a meeting/session)?

Get Your Stats:

Similar to point number 1 (relating to speed), you can find where time expectations are set along the customer journey (not only the ones documented in formal SLAs). Assess the duration between what you’ve promised and what happens in reality.

7. Preventing Drop-Off

Even when scheduling is streamlined, meetings take effort to prepare for. In addition, no-shows have essentially taken the rep/agent away from speaking with another prospect/customer during that time. It’s a source of wastage, where productivity leaks out of your organization unnoticed.

A tried-and-tested tactic for preventing drop-off is sending SMS reminders – I’m sure we’ve all received them at some point in our work or personal lives. SMS is a fantastic channel that boasts high open rates, therefore, the prospect/customer is more likely to see the message wherever they are. Unfortunately, not all organizations are set up to send these valuable reminders.

Get Your Stats:

In your Salesforce org, pull a report on activities (tasks and events) to determine the number of meetings that have been canceled or postponed. It’s highly likely that your organization has set up custom status values, such as “Left VM” (voicemail) for task records. You know your org best, so filter these reports to your needs.

Scheduling Priority Matrix

So, we’ve outlined the indicating factors to consider, and you may have gathered some statistics from your own org. Now, back to the question we raised earlier: How should you evaluate your scheduling needs against the multitude of other pressing requirements?

While working as a Salesforce Consultant, I’d regularly have clients asking me to prioritize their needs relative to other requirements. I always find it useful to put some numbers to this. The matrix below offers a way to score your needs as an organization. For each factor, you could have lower priority needs (which scores 1), building up to medium priority (scores 3), and finally high priority (scores 5).

Work through the matrix, and total up your score.

Your Result

  • 25+ indicates that you have urgent and complex scheduling needs.
  • 20-25 indicates that you have complex scheduling needs.
  • 15-19 indicates that you have moderate scheduling needs, with plenty of opportunities for optimization.
  • 7-14 indicates that, while you don’t believe scheduling is urgent/complex, you will still benefit from exploring further.

Scheduling Features (You Never Knew You Needed)

  1. Resource pools: Comparable with Salesforce Queues, automatically assign appointments to the schedule, with an additional ability to select the way appointments are assigned through teams.
  2. Multi calendar view: Beyond the standard Salesforce Calendar, give your teams an optimized view (in terms of look/feel), plus many more filter options on all relevant assets.
  3. Link building for events: Give hosts confidence that their registration link matches the use case at hand. Regardless of whether it’s a virtual or in-person event, all links created will be readily available – for example, to the marketing team who are organizing an event. Once a link has been created, this can be embedded on the website, communities, or even social media platforms, allowing attendees to self-register.
READ MORE: Automate Appointment Scheduling for Salesforce [In-Depth Overview]

Scheduling Needs for Your Industry

So far, we’ve talked about scheduling needs relating to a typical ‘cookie cutter’ way. With Salesforce Industries, Salesforce advocates for pre-built CRM by industry, with roaring success. Those who work in specific industries know that there are specific use cases for scheduling, and are likely looking for ways to improve it. In the following industries, you may be looking for:

  • Healthcare & Life Sciences: An automated way for patients to schedule appointments without having to call customer service, while addressing potential privacy risks that stemmed from outdated non-secure scheduling methods (read more).
  • Education: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were changes from in-person learning to online interactions. With the forced digitalization, many practices have been maintained. Students can self-schedule classes and arrange to meet with tutors/mentors without having to go via educational coordinators (read more).
  • Financial Services: The aim here is two-pronged: Not only do you not want customers to be left waiting for appointments, but also security is a major requirement that needs to be considered in every technology decision. With manual scheduling processes, not only does your organization jeopardize customer experience, but it also compromises sensitive customer data by increasing its vulnerability to cyberattacks (read more).
  • Government & Public Sector: Institutions find themselves in a balancing act when it comes to scheduling, ensuring that the appropriate people are involved to take care of all the ‘balances and checks’ in their specialized remit (read more).


The back-and-forth nature of scheduling meetings can be a source of frustration for Salesforce users; projects can quickly lose time, momentum, and direction if meetings are not managed effectively. However, there are ways to make this part of the process far more efficient and user-friendly.

It’s worth considering a native, self-service solution like SUMO Scheduler to streamline conversations, keep projects moving, and improve the overall efficiency of your Salesforce org. Click here to read more on how SUMO Scheduler has reduced administrative time by 90%, and visit them on the AppExchange to sign up for a free trial.

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.

Leave a Reply