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BEAM: Salesforce Appointment Scheduling Solution

BEAM (https://www.jaxbeam.org/) is a human services non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance and a path to economic stability for its clients. BEAM envisions a future in which no Beaches resident goes hungry or is haunted by the fear of eviction. BEAM supports its clients by providing pantry services, rent, mortgage, and utility payment assistance, nutrition consultancy, SNAP application assistance, single parent support and more.
For Phase 1 of Salesforce implementation, BEAM had several requirements that demanded enhanced appointment scheduling functionality that is not provided as standard functionality on Salesforce.

High-Level Requirements were as follows:

  • Pantry: BEAM will book appointments for two pantry locations with their clients who will be recorded as contacts on Salesforce. The appointments are not scheduled with a person on Salesforce, they are booked for the resource which is a pantry in this case.
  • Service Availability: One pantry can accept only one client at a time. And each pantry has a different availability schedule. Pantry visits are 20 min. long, without buffer time before or after. Available times are different for different weekdays; one of the BEAM locations works every other Saturday.
  • Users & Visibility: Three front desk volunteers/employees take calls and book appointments for the two pantries. They all need to see the availability for both pantry locations and all bookings.
  • UI: The system should show buttons for available time slots to book instead of having the user enter start and end time.
  • List views and reports: BEAM uses a note/comment field in appointments to pass certain messages to the pantry staff when printing their daily schedule.
  • Other Services: Nutrition assistance, financial support,  single parent or senior program appointments will be booked by the Salesforce users who are meeting with the clients.
  • Follow-up: The system needs to create appointment records on Salesforce so that surveys can be sent out and cases can be created to follow up with the clients.
  • Reporting: BEAM needs to track the result of appointments: Attended, no show, rescheduled, etc. Operations team needs to report on the outcome of the meetings, preferably within Salesforce. Reports will need to be filtered using fields on accounts and contacts: e.g. appointments with clients from a certain ZIP code.
  • Nice to have: The calendar should be viewable by people who are not Salesforce users.

BRDPro evaluated the following appointment scheduling solutions. The project team eliminated some of the more expensive solutions before the evaluation phase:

  • Timetrade: This provider does not work with small organizations. They have a minimum user requirement.
  • Appointiv: Appointiv is an AppExchange solution. It is a managed package you install in your instance. The advantage is that all data is in Salesforce. Appointiv satisfies most of the requirements. However, they do not support a 20-minute-long meeting.
  • DayBack: DayBack is an AppExchange solution. They describe themselves as: “Schedule Balancing & Calendar Sharing for Process Innovation”. DayBack does not meet the UI button requirement or the flexible availability schedule requirement.
  • Timetap: Timetap is a SaaS solution that resides outside Salesforce, however it provides Salesforce syncing capabilities. Timetap satisfied all the requirements above with the exception of the result of appointments and their reporting within Salesforce. Timetap allows for the user to record the outcome of appointments, but this field does not sync back to Salesforce.

Timetap is a highly configurable, powerful solution. Their support team is very responsive. Timetap has broad help and training content available, both in written and video format.

In conclusion, BRDPro and BEAM selected Timetap as the appointment scheduling solution for clients. Both Salesforce and Timetap have been live since April 2019.

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How Do You Sell to SMB?

When you are selling products and services, you are willing to pay for the cost of your sales activity with a fraction of the gross margin you are making from the sale.

It is important to keep in mind that smaller businesses need smaller solutions and lower invoices than bigger enterprises. Let’s say you are selling a software product over the phone for $50. The gross margin to be made is $25. Even if the sales transaction costs $20, you are turning a $5 profit.

If you are selling a subscription service, such as access to a cloud based SaaS platform, then you should calculate a lifetime-value for the acquired customer, since it would make sense to assume that most of customers will stay on, and there would not be another sales acquisition cost at the time of renewal.

Let’s say 80% stay the second year, 20% the third year and none beyond three years. The expected revenue from one customer becomes $100 (assuming the interest rate is zero just to make this calculation simple). In this case, you can expect to bring in $50 gross margin and increase your sales acquisition cost to $45. Don’t forget; you will have to fund this acquisition until future revenues come in. There are very important cash flow implications and interest calculations involved that are beyond the scope of this simple post.

Since in most markets, closing a sale in person will cost you more than $45, you will have to use alternative channels of communication to close the sale from a distance; such as phone, e-mail, web, chat and etc.

So how would you execute your omni-channel sales activity:

1-Collect a list of companies, their contact phone numbers and mail addresses. Please note that this is public information in many markets, you just need to find where to get it. Check local laws and regulations and also keep in mind that you might have to collect opt-in or opt-out permissions.

2-Filter and segment the list with the information you have. Exclude the ones you should not be targeting based on your strategy.

3-Prepare a questionnaire of relevant information that will help you in the future to profile the companies and segment based on factors such as size, type and industry. You will use this information for efficient targeting of products and services.

4-Contact them one by one; go through your questionnaire and generate leads on the spot when possible. If there are no opportunities, enter the information into a database.

5-Go back to the same list every few months (TBD based on your sales strategy) on varying channels (phone, e-mail and etc.) and assess needs, position products and services, and generate leads.

Remember to track and follow up on your leads on a capable CRM and sales automation system, since you don’t bring in any revenue until you close the sale. Nowadays, SaaS platforms such as Salesforce.com are easy to set up, and provide great flexibility according to your needs.