Podcast February 15, 2024

From Leads to Logistics: How Salesforce Unifies Sales & Operations Processes for Optimal Service

Introducing Salesforce

Its the end of the week! On this episode, David Beaudet is joined by Alex Sbaite to discuss how Salesforce can be leveraged for seamless integration between sales & operations teams through every step of the customer journey.

Here’s a peek at the features discussed in the episode:

1️⃣ Real-time Visibility: Through seamless integration with existing WMS and ERP solutions, Salesforce can provide real-time information to sales teams. This ensures accurate promises to customers, preventing conflicts over inventory allocation.

2️⃣ Tailored for Your Business: Salesforce offers a user-friendly platform with extensive flexibility in setting business rules to support order management, orchestrate fulfillment, and streamline complex operational processes.

3️⃣ Last-Mile Delivery Optimization: Salesforce aids in planning routes, updating them on the fly, and providing customer service with real-time updates on the delivery process, enhancing the overall customer experience.

🔗 Check out the full episode to learn all this and more:

Listen: Anywhere you get your podcasts.

Watch the full video below:

Check out our Salesforce page to learn more about our services!

Hi, Alex, how are you. Hey, I’m good, I’m good.


It’s the end of the week. Yep.


All right, we’ve got Jeremy here


in the window, just making sure because we have a hybrid setup.


Now, like, I don’t want to say too much,


but you know, with all the fuss around the podcast,


we’re upgrading our setup, but now we’re kind of half upgrading.


There’s the new camera, some things on the lights.


For some reason we have these chairs which microphone are old.


And so anyway, a lot of things around here and Jeremy’s


checking because obviously he doesn’t want us to speak for all this time for nothing.


All right, so welcome to the podcast.


Today we’re going to talk about Salesforce, but before we do,


can you just do a quick intro about yourself, quick background?


Yeah, I’m a solutions guy.


Let’s say I’ve been a solutions guy all my life.


And I started as a chemical engineer,


I ended up as a solution guy, software engineer.


Yeah, I started in business processes,


supply chain, and then I migrated slowly to technology.


I wanted to understand


why technology people was like saying no to my request when I was in the business.


So I tried to figure out that way.


And then you joined lid, helping us on


the pre sales engineering process on erps warehouse managements.


But your role has evolved and now not more precise, I should say,


but targeting a new practice, which is Salesforce, right?


Yeah. The main idea why Salesforce and was


brought to the picture is really to complement our services and supply chain.


Because when we think of Salesforce is


known as a CRM, a customer relationship management tool.


But it’s way much more than that.


When we think of an operation


in distribution, manufacturing, you think of all the transactions going


on internally, but there’s a lot of relations internally


and with external environment to make sure that the results will be so.


Today, the purpose of today’s discussion is around how Salesforce can be used.


Not only, well, we’re not going to talk


about the CRM part, but rather in the context of supply chain,


how the software can contribute, support, help supply chain operations


and kind of distinguish it also versus the other softwares that obviously are


used to plan and execute on supply chain activities.


Right? Yeah.


As we think of how everything starts,


let’s say, I mean, we have the client in the beginning


and the client in the end, the customer in the beginning and the customer in the end.


So if you are selling


products or services or anything like that, you have to capture that demand.


You have this relationship with your client or customer and you can have like


a website, ecommerce, you can have someone calling


in, you can have multiple ways for these orders to come in.


And we call it omnichannel.


So when you receive the orders, then you have people taking orders.


Could be salespeople in the field, it could be customer service desk or anyone.


And then these orders will be processed


through the operations down to the delivery in the field,


if that’s the case, from delivery to the customer at all.


It’s interesting because you’re saying


there is a relationship with the customer throughout every step of the supply chain,


or at least I should say the distribution, from the moment they place an order,


let’s say at certain organizations, until all the way that it receives its goods.


Before we talk about that process


and the steps, how does that


relate to the ERP and the warehouse manager or other, as I said,


planning and planning and execution software maybe kind of explain


where it has a role or where it’s being used, I could say.


And then we can fall into the specifics.


Yes, if we think of, let’s say, an ERP system, which is the main mission


of an ERP system was to break the silos within an operation, right?


So we’re talking, I can have the order being take


the orders, I can have the order being the inventory allocated to the orders


properly and keep the steps for the fulfillment after up to the delivery.


So this is all coordinated and also supported by finance in a big loop.


And you can have other systems like transportation management systems or


warehouse management systems complementing the shop floor to the delivery


for planning and et cetera, down to the delivery.


Obviously, the ERP takes care also of all


the planning for replenishment, for inventory management and et cetera.


So that is internal to the operation.


This is obviously there to serve the customer in the end to meet


the customer requirements, but this is transparent to the customer.


The customer doesn’t care.


He doesn’t interact with those.


Customer does not interact with those.


But there are interactions internally,


because if you think of sales and the operation, in most situations,


there’s still a gap in communication between the two.


The operations, in all those steps in execution or


fulfillment of a given order, they are much more streamlined.


Sometimes operations, sales,


they are in the field, or they have like these moody channels


to deal with customer demands and stuff that they cannot promptly respond


to without knowing more or without a very close link to the operations.


Meaning I’m in sales,


but if I don’t have visibility on inventory, on what’s coming on,


what’s the pipeline or market my capacity or capability to deliver.


I cannot close a deal.


I cannot close an order or if I do without


having that, I can put an order in place that’s not going to be met


by my operations soon and my client’s going to be frustrated.


So one of the things that it does internally to an operation is to bring


sales and operations much closer, interacting internally within a company so


they can have that interaction that’s necessary.


One example, I work with a company and they were saying one of the things,


when I have a call and I want to close a deal,


price is important, but even more important for us is


my ability to, on the fly tell the client, yes, I can deliver that to that date.


And without this bridge or this link, they don’t have that visibility.


They have to call the operations to figure


out and they don’t have the ability to promise the date to the client.


So a system like Salesforce or salesforce


allows to provide the visibility to the person who’s directly interacting


with the customer to make promises that in theory they’ll be able to fulfill.


Yes, I would say not only the promise to say in terms of capability or


availability, but also when I’m closing an order I want to make sure I’m profitable.


For example, if I’m being under pressure, if I have inventory to offload,


if this is being profitable, no, as I was saying,


if I can have information, again, this information is coming from the ERP.


If I have that information on the fly as I


place the order, it’s going to help me see if I can upsell, if I can give another


promotion or got another discount or anything and close the deal and have more.


Revenue and stay within the boundaries of the objective.


But that’s interesting. It’s not about can or cannot, but also


being able to gage the, well, you say, the profitability of doing x or z.


Okay, so is it worth to go to the next, because I like how you broke down,


you say, well, during that lifecycle or the interaction


with a customer, well, you want to talk about the three main


areas where Salesforce will play a role in that operation,


which is at the beginning, at order entry, somewhere in the middle at order


allocation, and towards the end when it’s time to deliver.


Yeah, amazing.


Because the first portion, I mean if you think of order entry,


is pretty much aligned to what we’re just talking about here,


is not only someone in customer service having visibility or taking calls or


interacting with a customer is also an alignment with these different sources.


When I have a call and I check for example, inventory in front of me or


anything for me to help, to help me close this deal.


If I have at the same time orders coming


from a website competing with the same inventory I’m


seeing, I may promise something that’s not good enough, that’s not realistic.


So one of the things salesforce does at the order entry level,


not only linking or bringing all that information from supply chain


and vice versa to facilitate what I need to do for me to do my job in sales,


let’s say in an efficient way and profitable way because we want to meet


customer requirements or demands, but we want to make sure we are profitable.


So in that sense it also looks


to the outside, to these other sources of orders and orchestrate all of this


for this visibility of these steps to be aligned.


So does that mean that it’s near real time or almost real time information,


as you say, when two salespeople are competing,


potentially competing to sell inventory to customer, it has to be real time.


Yes. These different channels are competing,


as you say, and these different channels are under the same platform.


So Salesforce has marketplace.


So you can have your website,


you can have your b, two b or b, two c portals in there all connected


to this platform, the same platform that’s going to be linked to your supply chain.


So everybody’s looking at the same thing.


Because I’m thinking about a certain operation, call it in the


meat supply chain, food, but specifically around protein, let’s say.


And in that industry, a lot of the sales are done over the phone as well.


So someone who’s talking on the phone


with a customer will basically have access to the platform.


Yes, they’re going to have,


and if they have colleagues covering pretty much the same region,


they will be like reaching out or picking up things from the same inventory.


They’re going to be seeing as it goes real time.


So it’s all in the same platform.


So that’s the benefit.


And so as we go from there, this person in this role,


once he’s going to, or she’s going to be promising


date to something, sometimes what happens is this happens in sales.


It’s kind of order allocation or inventory allocation to the order,


but it’s informal, so it’s communicated like in a broken way to the ERP.


So by the time that is communicated and arrives to the ERP for fulfillment,


it’s already being allocated somewhere else.


So this bridge,


what it does is the salespeople, they can see the inventory,


they can see what’s coming in the pipeline, they can see if they are


on back order and they can trigger already soft allocation of inventory that’s going


to be passed on to the ERP confirmed, and they can place a PL that’s going to,


I have a demand here associated to this order, so commit.


So when the ERP receives


that for fulfillment, which is the next step,


it’s all streamlined, it’s all aligned, it’s already confirmed.


It’s not like someone just called,


I got an email or it’s not broken in that process.


So the workflow ties every piece fluid.


So that is important because it makes sure


that when you get to, you’re going to respect,


because customers is all about customer experience with your company.


Customers are happy not only if your product is good or the price is good,


but companies expect more and more today, or company expect more and more today


to have great product, right, fast delivery and et cetera.


So when they’re placing an order and you


confirm an order, you cannot just go in there and say, oh, oops, it’s a mistake.


I mean, I leave that as a customer.


And it’s really frustrating to have


someone saying, oh, by the way, you place an order here, but it’s on back order.


It happens because of that, because of.


The disconnect among the different nodes.


Okay, so then let’s say inventory,


no mistake, the inventory has been allocated to a customer.


What happens next?


Or how does Salesforce support?


So the next component is the component around order fulfillment orchestration.


So if you have all these orders,


so there’s this pre confirmations done, but then I have to further dispatch


and orchestrate this to different warehouses and support that.


There is this order management capability


within Salesforce, there is basically other management


system, but this is within Salesforce that does exactly this.


It’s going to have much more room


for business rules that will be complex to send signals to, for example,


WMS systems in the floor to how to properly execute those orders based


on priorities or anything that may be relevant for the business.


Because more and more there will be


complexity to deal with one rule on top of the other.


And in most systems it can become pretty


custom or cumbersome to manage, but within salesforce can be really user friendly.


You’re saying rather than try,


and I shouldn’t say bastardize your ERP, but try to make compromises within the set


of functions or tools that exist to apply some business logic,


Salesforce has been designed in order to give you a lot of flexibility.


Is that the way to compare that?


If you think of two squares, one square,


the black square, where is the core of the system that you shouldn’t touch?


If you touch it, you’re going to break it.


And there’s a leeway around it where you


can change, customize and flexibilize the system.


Let’s say within Salesforce, that black box is much smaller.


It’s like a box of legos that you can,


as you put the legos, the legos are the objects.


As you put them together, they’re going to be consistently going to work fine.


You don’t break the system, so you have more leeway.


Those business rules makes sense. Yeah.




So you talk about managing that order


and then on the delivery side, what comes into play.


Yeah, because if you think of the steps for delivery,


let’s say I have the orders that they’re picking lists in the floor and they start


doing that based on, they’re obviously going to be sequencing


that to make sure the loading in the truck is based on the stops that you’re going


to make and the routes that you’re going to be delivering and everything.


This can be well managed by WMS and TMS system internally.




But what Salesforce does is by the time the truck is out the door,


up to the point that the customer receives that it could be like B2B example,


but it could be an example of distributing food service distribution, for example,


where it’s critical to receive at a given time for continuity of the operation,


restaurants or hospitals or anything like this.


So in an example like that,


this last mile delivery is as important, if not more important than any other steps


that you worked on to prepare that delivery.


Meaning that when the drugs out of the door, you have the routes,


Salesforce can plan those routes, can optimize the route.


Meaning, okay, I have a route established here, but then there’s traffic,


then there’s an accident or someone calls in, I have to add something


to that delivery, another stop and optimize the route.


Make sure that this is going to happen in the day, but wait time, they need it.


Salesforce is not trying to replace a route optimizer.


No, Salesforce in the mean, it’s again in the same spirit that this is


a relational part of your supply chain as well.


So all this, if I’m customer service here


and I get a call, I know exactly where my driver is,


how many minutes they are from your house, or if the truck is okay,


anything that the customer is asking, I’ll have the visibility as well.


Yeah, okay, I understand.


The Salesforce part again is to inform customer service.


For instance,


to provide accurate data to the customer service that then can inform the customer.


But Salesforce in that case would feed off potentially.


Not potentially if there’s a route optimizer or transportation management


tool that’s in place for delivery when there’s multiple stops on a route.


The optimization is not within Salesforce.


Yes, really it is.


We can in there.


In there you can plan the route,


you can stop, you can schedule, you can dispatch, and on the fly you can


optimize mean, and it’s much less cumbersome.


And again, because most optimizers,


let’s say, are niche solutions, satellite to the other solutions.


Right. This solution is linked.


It’s the same platform as you’re going to have many other components,


so it’s the same backbone, so it’s not something satellite just for that.


Because in this delivery steps,


the driver can interact with the client, the client can be receiving messages,


they can take approval of receipt, they can take a signature if it’s a technician.


Because some other companies do actually service not only product,


you can have your technicians actually accessing the tool being dispatched,


assigned based on their capacity, but based on their capability.


Oh, this technician can do this job, this technician cannot do that job.


So you do that in dispatch


and in the field, you can have people executing,


collecting hours, payments and everything, closing the work order or delivery order


and closing the loop back to the ERP system.


Very interesting. And yeah, because we have numerous


clients we work with that has field technicians, either they have to go


and repair something, installation and install.


Exactly. And that has been quite appealing to them.


Yes. All right, anything else you want to add?


No, I think it’s just much more important


really is really to demystify this transactional versus the relational


because this component, yes, you’re finalizing the transaction,


but they have components relationship with your client across the board.


So that’s why Salesforce was known as CRM, because it’s really focused


on the relational part of this business, components.


Well, Lex, thank you very much.


That was insightful.


I appreciate very much. Thank you so much.


All right, take care. Take care.

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