Dorian Earl on the Salesforce Admins Podcast

Keeping Processes Fresh in Salesforce with Dorian Earl

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Dorian Earl, Founder & CEO of Development Consulting Partners. Join us as we chat about how to integrate Salesforce with your business processes by working backwards.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Dorian Earl.

A lost Rolodex and a new career in Salesforce

Dorian and I have been running into each other at event after event, and I finally got him to come on the pod. He does a lot of work with different companies on refreshing their Salesforce org to match their business processes, so I’m excited to share his insights with you.

20 years ago, Dorian was selling medical supplies and using an old-school planner to keep track of everything. One day, he was driving home from some client visits when he had the funny feeling he had forgotten something. “I saw about $80,000 in pipeline go flying on the interstate,” he says, and that’s when he knew he needed a better way.

Dorian started using Salesforce, initially as an org of one, keeping track of his own pipeline. He got hooked and ended up founding a string of businesses based around the platform. These days, he uses his experience in sales and his knowledge of the Salesforce platform to help companies map their business processes over their tech stack to get the most out of both.

Defining business processes for Salesforce

Time again, the biggest issue that Dorian sees is that his clients haven’t defined their processes in terms of Salesforce. “Every company defines an account a little differently,” he says, “so I push my clients to say what an account means to them, and what it means to them when somebody creates an account, or when we convert a lead into an account.”

No matter what internal terms you use, it’s important to be clear about how Salesforce is built to work. For example, you should only create an opportunity for a qualified lead. It means something specific on the platform, but you might need to do some work to help your users understand that. Otherwise, you end up with a request for a field to track whether or not a prospect is interested.

How to start a business process backwards

The most helpful thing you can do is start with the end goal in mind and work backward from there. What does the business want to look at to measure success? What report is that in Salesforce? From there, you can figure out what steps need to happen on the platform to run that report, and how those correlate to the business processes already in place.

Businesses that have had Salesforce for a while sometimes start to wonder if it’s still working for them. Usually, it’s a question of refreshing the business processes and aligning them with what needs to happen in the org. Dorian compares it to owning a home: if you want to have a workout space, you don’t go around looking for a new house, you make space in your garage.

Dorian has tons of experience helping all sorts of businesses helping them to get the most out of Salesforce, so be sure to listen to the full episode for more tips and insights, including why exception reports are the best place to start when you’re refreshing an org.

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Full show transcript

Mike:
This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we were talking with Dorian Earl who is the founder and CEO of Development Consulting Partners. Now, Dorian and I have quite the rapport. He and I have run into each other at many events. I try not to let our shorthand get in the way, but wow, is he full of energy and full of knowledge. And for admins, he’s got a lot to really provide us on easy things that we can go out into our organizations, that we can find, that we can clean up, that we can make better, that we can really fine tune this year for our companies so that we are maximizing our use of Salesforce platform because that’s something that Dorian and his team do. Now, before I get into the episode, I want to be sure that you’re following the Salesforce Admins podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. That way every Thursday, a new episode will drop right onto your phone. So without further ado, here is a very fun conversation with Dorian.
So Dorian, welcome to the podcast.

Dorian Earl:
The pleasure is all mine, Mike. Absolutely all mine.

Mike:
Well-

Dorian Earl:
And I’m… Yes.

Mike:
We have talked a lot but not on the record, that’s what I’m going to say.

Dorian Earl:
Well, we have-

Mike:
I like-

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
I know.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah you are one of my favorite people to go and find. You actually one of my favorite people to go find at all the conventions, all the shows and… I don’t know how-

Mike:
I don’t know if I find you or you find me. It’s a little bit of both.

Dorian Earl:
We are like two asteroids in the universe at all these events because I don’t know how.

Mike:
Okay.

Dorian Earl:
We get to these events and there’s-

Mike:
I was going to say like rubber ducks in a pond. You put rubber, floaty things in a pond. You ever seen that where they do that, they float a whole bunch of candles in the lake, and then all the candles drift together?

Dorian Earl:
I have seen that.

Mike:
Some weird phenomenon.

Dorian Earl:
I have seen that.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
I have seen that.

Mike:
I feel like we’re two candles floating in a lake. We just inevitably.

Dorian Earl:
We are.

Mike:
Bump into each other.

Dorian Earl:
We are, and I don’t know how we get to Dreamforce or other… Especially the World tour in Chicago. Thousands of people there and we somehow gravitate to each other. It’s like the gravitational pull between us two but Midwest guys is just very strong. So there we go.

Mike:
Well, Midwest people in general, I tend to find them. You stick me in a large room, I can find somebody from the Midwest.

Dorian Earl:
Absolutely.

Mike:
We have our own feel about each other, our own radar.

Dorian Earl:
We do. There is something about that, absolutely. Yeah.

Mike:
Let’s get started for those that don’t know you and manage to listen through two minutes of our small talk. I’m going to ask you a question that I know you ask a lot of your new hires and probably some customers. Dorian, tell me about your origin story?

Dorian Earl:
Well, interesting you would ask. I was a former Salesforce client. So I was a sales rep 20 years ago, 20 years ago plus. And I worked in a medical dental supply space. So I sold a lot of gloves, masks, anything a doctor’s office or dentist’s office would use to do their job. I would walk in and sell that to them. And I needed a better way to track my deals, my opportunities, my accounts, my contacts. And I had tried other CRMs and I tried post-it notes and Franklin Covey planners, and you would know this Mike, live in the Midwest.

Mike:
You tried to Rolodex? Did you try a Rolodex?

Dorian Earl:
I tried a Rolodex, and really the thing that got me, I think I spent maybe $300 on a Franklin Covey, a Franklin Mint planner, those things that had hundreds of dollars worth of inserts to him.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
And if you’ve ever seen a sales rep walk into a doctor’s office, they had their laptop bag, they had their planner and they had a cup of coffee or something that they’re giving away with notes. And so here in the Midwest, when it’s snowing or something happening, when you get in your car, you set things on top of your car to get in. So I would set my laptop on top of the car or my portfolio plan on top of the car and then do a quick check, make sure I have everything. My wallet, my phone, and one of those two things and then I would drive off. And I had a really good quarter going, and I had about $80,000 in pipeline that I saw fly on the interstate in Chicago. And I’m sitting going, I said, “Unbelievable.” And for a time I actually thought about stopping a car, pulling over and just running through five lanes of traffic to find my pipeline. And, you’re right.

Mike:
Blowing in the wind.

Dorian Earl:
It is a bad feeling when that’s a lot of commissions flowing literally in the wind. And I said, “I will not have this happen again.” And I went to purchase some software for the company. Well, for me and the company I worked for said, “You cannot install it on the company laptops.” And so I went to something web-base. They said, web-based CRM, Salesforce was the only thing that popped up. And so I used it to track all my deals, my opportunities, my accounts, my notes, all of those things and I’ve been using it ever since. During the down economy, I went independent, started my own company, built it, sold it using Salesforce. I worked in several tech startups doing the same thing. A couple of startups were hired by Google and Apple. And so I got a chance to work as a contract rep with those two firms and never looked back. About seven years ago, a company said, “You got out of sales and Salesforce in your background, would you come help us make heads of tails of our sales and marketing?”

And when I went in, I said, “Well, why are you doing it this. This doesn’t make sense.” And really all that it was Mike was their sales and marketing process was not mapped on top of Salesforce. They were just using it out of the box. And so it was only really supposed to be a 60 day endeavor. It turned out to be seven months and I realized there’s something to this. I can affect companies from the inside out, helping them unify their tech stack. Not just use these things, but really help them utilize their tech stack to grow sales marketing. And I’ve never to look back. I think five years ago I got certified, four years ago I started to freelance and then three years ago during the down economy and COVID, some of my freelance business grew and outgrew my regular job and my full-time job and really never looked back. So yeah.

Mike:
Wow.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
It’s funny, so you say that the paper’s blowing in the wind, and I think of Glengarry, Glenn Ross, which is an old movie.

Dorian Earl:
Yes. That’s a great movie.

Mike:
First place is a Cadillac, second place is a steak knives, third place is you’re fired. Right?

Dorian Earl:
Third place you fired.

Mike:
Baldwin.

Dorian Earl:
Mm-hmm.

Mike:
Right. And I thought about that when I started because I admittedly about joined the working world at about that same time too and we had.

Dorian Earl:
Sure.

Mike:
A web-based CRM. And I think of these companies that have been around for sometimes decades or hundreds of years.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
They’ve got to have accounts and contacts and leads figured out because that’s the line in Glengarry Glenn Ross, it’s “The leads. You’re not giving us good enough leads.”

Dorian Earl:
You would think they do, but true.

Mike:
You’re not giving me good enough leads.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
And I think to you driving down the road and all this paperwork flying in the air, how did we get to a point where all of a sudden it’s a web-based CRM that’s forcing companies to understand or maybe you tell me, do they not understand accounts, contacts, leads, and opportunities?

Dorian Earl:
Well, I wouldn’t say they don’t understand it, I would say they haven’t clearly defined it because every company defines an account a little differently or contact a little differently.

Mike:
Okay.

Dorian Earl:
I push my clients to say, what is an account to you and what does it mean to you when somebody creates an account or when the system creates an account or we convert a lead from a lead to an account which is a whole nother type of deal in Salesforce. But I ask, one, I ask candidates and people who interview with me but I definitely ask our clients, who are your accounts? And they say, “Well, the companies we work for.” I say, “No. Who are your accounts?” Because sometimes you have accounts that aren’t really companies. And in the Salesforce world, you can actually make almost anything in anything, now you shouldn’t which is why we get into this. Let’s begin with the end in mind, let’s clearly define what this is going to house, and then we move forward. Okay, so again, I’m going to ask this to your podcast audience. If I had to define an account, what is it?

And everybody will say something different, but I will tell my clients, an account is any company or organization. Now, I know we can have personal accounts or other things but just out of the box, an account in Salesforce are any company or organization because you can use it to track the companies you work with, the companies you partner with, the companies that you’re affiliated with or nonprofits, any type of organization. You can use it as a Rolodex. And our personal Salesforce org in our company, we track our partners, we track our clients, we track our organizations, we track nonprofits. I use it as a Rolodex. So companies in our org are accounts as well as organizations. But you’ll be surprised how many companies go, “Oh. Well, we have, our customers are accounts but if they’re not customers, then they’re not accounts” or something weird like that. Or they’re a customer, but they have to be a customer for a year in order to make an account. Just something weird. And so that’s… Yeah.

Mike:
No, I’ve actually been in this mind-numbing all day, eight hour meetings where we can’t get through.

Dorian Earl:
Sure.

Mike:
The single definition of one object. And you’re thinking, I’ve only got 34 more objects to go.

Dorian Earl:
We only have 34 more.

Mike:
I just hope I’m done before my kids graduate college at this point.

Dorian Earl:
Exactly. Well, oftentimes it comes up to your point when somebody’s migrating from another CRM into Salesforce.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
Or migrating to legacy data is to say, because inevitably the question will come up is, should we migrate this data over? And I have this policy, never throw away data. All data is important data.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
And they’ll say, well-

Mike:
Collect it for a reason.

Dorian Earl:
Right, exactly. You got it for a reason. And so anyway, I’d say account or any company or organization, any contact, any person associated with that company or organization. A contact, any person associated with the company or organization, what’s an opportunity? Any potential agreement to do business. Sometimes that agreement involves money exchanging, transactions periods over time, but it’s really any potential agreement to do business. And sometimes you do business and you close on the opportunity, sometimes you don’t and you close lost. Right? But those.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
Three things hang people up and then they say, “Okay, what is a lead?” Well, a lead is any potential account, contact or opportunity that has not been qualified yet. Once they’re qualified and once they’re interested, we’re going to convert them. Right?

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
And that’s one of those stickling points of Salesforce. When do leads become opportunities? When do leads become accounts and contacts? When they’re qualified and when they’re interested. Well, I went into this great account and I think they’re going to be really good. I’m going to create an opportunity. Are they interested? No, but I think they would be. They’re a lead. Or marketing to send us a bunch of great leads, we’re going to make a bunch of opportunities for them, and then we’re going to call on it. Are they interested? I don’t know. I haven’t called them yet. Well then they’re going to stay as leads. Now that’s me speaking as a sales rep and sales manager but sometimes I have to tell clients, you don’t want to put a bunch of non-qualified accounts in the system because then eventually you’re going to say, “We need a field that tracks interested or not on the account.” I’m like, “Well, why would you do that? You can just use the whole lead process because what Salesforce is actually for.”

And they go, “Oh, I didn’t know that.” And again, I can’t tell you how many times it comes out with, “We started with Salesforce and we just loaded in all of our data in, it’s just accounts and contacts. And we didn’t really sift it.” And I’m like, “That’s one of those issues.” So, yeah. So hopefully between those core four between accounts, contacts, opportunities, and leads, those are things. Now I know we can have the next level of this which is the person account. Which is, “Hey, you are selling to me as a person. Maybe you’re Comcast cable or you’re SBC or you’re a company that works more B2C, but you don’t need an account or contact. You really don’t care who I work for, I am your account.” And then we have this thing called the person account, and that kind of trips people up as well. But just out of the box that we could define those things, there’s a lot of issues that we can help people solve.

Mike:
And simply define it, right?

Dorian Earl:
Yes, yeah. Simply.

Mike:
Not in complexity. Because I think to be fair, you buried the lead on your explanation. Your explanation really, very powerful. You said, “Let’s begin with the end in mind.”

Dorian Earl:
Yes.

Mike:
And nobody does that. They sit down and they, “Well, let’s begin by defining,” and then we get caught up on, like you mentioned. Well, an account, but it’s only an account for if it’s mentioned for us for a year.

Dorian Earl:
Sure.

Mike:
Well, now you’re jumping from start to finish.

Dorian Earl:
Right.

Mike:
Let’s begin with the end. And I think this is a lot of what I’ve heard when I’ve done business analysts podcast is, let’s start with what is the number? What is the report? What is the thing that you’re looking for at the end that shows success? And you brought that up. So if they’re not converted to lead, now I can simply, keyword, run a lead report.

Dorian Earl:
Right. Yeah. Because everybody in the organization knows what a lead is. And actually even before then, and I asked this question to people who I actually interview. I said, “How would you define Salesforce?” And if you ask people, sometimes you can get this paragraph long answer. Sometimes you get three videos and a help link. And I’m like, “Just tell me in your own words what Salesforce is?” And what’s very intriguing to me of course, people tell me, “Well, Dorian, what is Salesforce? I see you work for Salesforce.” I’m like, “No, I don’t work for Salesforce. I have company Salesforce partner.” What is Salesforce really because obviously it’s not really in the name. But to me, Salesforce is really three things at its core. It is one, it is a relational database. You can, like a spreadsheet, you have a spreadsheet tab of accounts. Who are the companies? What are the attributes of those companies?

And then you may have another tab for contacts. Who are the people? What are the attributes of those people? And at its core, Salesforce is a relational database. You can say, “I have a list of accounts or a list of companies or a list of people or a list of contacts. How many of those contacts work at those accounts? How many of those accounts don’t have contacts? How many of those contacts are working at the same account? How many of those accounts have two or three contacts? Why is that important? Why would you have accounts with no contact? Well, what does that tell me about the quality of your customer accounts?” And if you can just relate those two things together, you can start to run reports and gain insights on just your accounts and your contacts or your opportunities. How many of those accounts have opportunities over a certain amount? How many of those accounts, contacts, opportunities? How many of those opportunities have key accounts? How many of those opportunities have key contacts with those key accounts?

And so many people don’t use Salesforce to just run that, in essence, report of if you have Salesforce and you can use it as a relational database at its core, that’s what it starts with. And then… So that’s one. Salesforce is a relational database that tracks data, it tracks processes and then actions against that data. So if people understand that’s what it does to start, then you can begin exactly what you mentioned, with the end in mind. What are we going to put in Salesforce? Items that will relate to each other? Maybe they will, but maybe they won’t but they probably will. And then we’re going to track attributes against that data. Then we’re going to track processes. What are we doing with these accounts or these opportunities? And then what are the user actions against all of that? Are we sending emails? Are they opening? What are the users doing against those accounts? Are they calling? Are they messaging? Are they visiting? Take all of those things together and that to me is, I know Salesforce does a lot of them things, but at its core, that’s what it does.

Mike:
Well I mean, yeah. The stuff that it does is just extensions of that core thing. A pizza oven does a lot of things but at its core, it’s just a hot place to bake things.

Dorian Earl:
Absolutely. Yeah.

Mike:
But if you don’t know what you’re baking or you don’t know how to prepare, it doesn’t matter what pizza oven you have.

Dorian Earl:
Right. Exactly. It doesn’t, and many people get caught up in the oven, “Oh, it’s too hot, it’s too cold.” I’m like, “Ow. Sometimes you can have the oven. Sometimes you could be talking about the ingredients.” Sometimes you could be talking about a lot of different things in there but that at its core, between those two things that mentioned to, there’s not understanding what the core four is and not understanding what Salesforce is at its core, and people can’t really adequately describe it to novice users. These are things that get people into trouble over time because they say, “Well, I actually created a custom object for people that would relate to my accounts.” I’m like, “How come you just didn’t use contacts?” “I didn’t know that that was there. I couldn’t actually see that tab right on my admin.” I’m like-

Mike:
Oh.

Dorian Earl:
And I go… Right, exactly.

Mike:
I’ll say that on mine.

Dorian Earl:
Exactly. Yeah. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had, they actually created their own prospect object because they didn’t see leads in the avenue, and I’m like, intriguing.

Mike:
Well, yeah, and then don’t even get me started with number of record types I’ve had on leads.

Dorian Earl:
Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Mike:
You can set up an entire sales process and leads alone and then… Yeah. So we’re getting into mistakes people made.

Dorian Earl:
Sure.

Mike:
And I think it’s interesting because you and I, I think we bumped… Yeah, we bumped into each other at Dreamforce, yeah.

Dorian Earl:
Mm-hmm.

Mike:
Of course, just going through. One of the things I did at Dreamforce was in the admin area, we had one-on-one consults, and I love sitting down talking with people and hearing stuff that they’re working through and possible solutions. One common theme that I took away this year, and I’ve taken this away every year, is people sit down and not they made a mistake. They view it as they made a mistake because they assume that there’s one right way to set up Salesforce.

Dorian Earl:
Sure.

Mike:
And that’s also like saying there’s one right way to make a pizza and there isn’t. The right way to make a pizza is the way you like a pizza.

Dorian Earl:
Sure.

Mike:
And the way that somebody else likes their pizza. May be different than you, and just because they like it differently doesn’t mean they made a mistake, it just means they did things differently. But I do think a lot of what people see in such a highly configurable system is, I must not be doing something. So in your mind, when you go in and work with clients that it doesn’t fit right. It’s like the fat man pants. “I bought these pants three years ago. I don’t understand why they don’t fit.”

Dorian Earl:
Mike, I thought that we promised you wouldn’t be mentioning personal things about me on the podcast.

Mike:
I’m mentioning about me. I’m down to two pairs of jeans that fit after COVID. “I bought these before COVID, why don’t they fit?” I gained on a lot of weight during COVID.

Dorian Earl:
I’m sorry to laugh all the podcasts there, but-

Mike:
No, it’s fine.

Dorian Earl:
That’s true.

Mike:
It is. It’s true for all of us.

Dorian Earl:
Yes.

Mike:
There’s your pre COVID closet and then there’s your post COVID closet.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah. My pre COVID closet is sitting at Goodwill right now. At Post co…

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
Yep.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
Post COVID is constantly Amazon and new stuff. But I mean.

Dorian Earl:
Absolutely.

Mike:
At the core, people look at it. “Oh, I’m not setting it upright. Tell me how to set it up right.”

Dorian Earl:
Absolutely. Yeah.

Mike:
What do you run into when you have people ask you that?

Dorian Earl:
Well, it’s funny, and I don’t know whether I should use this phrase. There’s a great show on HGTV called Love It Or List It. And we do, I would call probably 20 or 30 reconfigurations of Salesforce every year. Which is companies that come out and say, “We’ve been using Salesforce and it just doesn’t fit our current business. If it’s part of our business but not our current business.” Because maybe it was set up three or four years ago and companies evolve, but nobody’s really evolved your Salesforce org to match the new products you sell or the new sales process or the new sales enablement tool you have or maybe a new market or maybe a new region that you’re selling into. And so because of that, people assume that Salesforce is this rigid thing that I have a problem and maybe it’s the platform and we have to talk about should we keep Salesforce or should we switch.

Or “Hey, I’m using Salesforce exactly to your point. I know all these other companies use it. There must be doing something different or I must be doing something wrong.” I’m like, “Maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s you just need to clearly get back to basics again. Let’s get back to the main thing of clearly defining what you’re doing in Salesforce, and that’s as they say, let’s get the main thing, the main thing. Let’s go back to first things first.” And actually, but some of those major issues I’ve seen it is just that, they’re not beginning with the end in mind, they’re not clearly defining what their issue is. They’re not doing a, I guess, an audit or maybe a snapshot of time is to say, if what we’re doing today is not working, what do we need to do to get it to this next level? And everybody goes through this. Just, you go through this with your house.

You move in and you put all your furniture together and you decorate it and you figure out, “Oh, I’m married now. The house doesn’t work for how it were, let’s redecorate.” Now that doesn’t mean you’re going to throw away the house. That just means mean-

Mike:
To most people know, we can’t afford to just throw away our houses.

Dorian Earl:
Exactly but most people don’t say that. Now, if you’re living in a one bedroom house and you have six kids, that’s a little different story.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
Maybe you need to look and see, but you may not know that adequately. You just may say, “Oh, I didn’t know that there was a downstairs to this house that I’ve never been using properly.” Which usually is the case in Salesforce. I didn’t know there’s a feature that I should be using. I didn’t know I could cut on this. I didn’t know I can actually connect my email to Salesforce and not have to manually log emails. Yes, actually you can. I didn’t know that I can actually track two separate sales processes in Salesforce and not have a separate CRM for the other system. Yes, actually you can,. I didn’t know I can track tickets in Salesforce and relate those tickets to my accounts and figure out who are my top accounts, who are the accounts that I need to prioritize support for, Yes, actually you can.

So these are things that you can do inside of Salesforce that many people don’t know is that extra bedroom or bathroom or that extra downstairs or that extra feature that they said, “Imagine you living in your house, but you only live in a half the house or maybe a third of the house. And then you’re moving because you really don’t know the house has all these extra features or extra rooms or all these extra things. Which could be really cool.” So I guess the long answer, Mike, is many people just one, they don’t clearly define what they’re doing today and then they don’t really have an education of the platform is, what I call the art of the possible. What can you do in there? And then the roadmap there to be able to get to that.

Mike:
Yeah. And I point this out because I feel like it’s not only opportunities that you as a consulting partner look at to optimize for customers, but also for admins to look at. You mentioned that, well, when we moved into this house, maybe you didn’t have kids. Now you have a kid and suddenly you work from home and your home office is also your nursery and that’s not what you planned.

Dorian Earl:
Right.

Mike:
And to me that’s almost like, well, we didn’t really plan on something and so what we’ve been doing is just putting this as a note in the description of the opportunity.

Dorian Earl:
Exactly. Yeah

Mike:
But we can’t report on it and Salesforce isn’t helping us report on it. Right, because it’s not going to report on a description of an like… Huh.

Dorian Earl:
Right.

Mike:
But did you think about maybe utilizing a different room in your house for your home office and then fully building out that nursery. Did you think about adding a custom field to capture this information on the opportunity versus just sticking it wherever. I think that to me has always been… I remember we had to migrate a database and I found call notes.

Dorian Earl:
Oh my God.

Mike:
In a phone field.

Dorian Earl:
Oh, you got call notes. Yeah.

Mike:
I thought to myself, at what point was that where you think, “Oh, they must go here.”

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
But how are you going to report on that? I wasn’t thinking, obviously.

Dorian Earl:
Well, the worst org I think I’ve ever seen or maybe I ever worked in was a client had a bunch of free text fields for everything. So everything, the name.

Mike:
Oh.

Dorian Earl:
The phone number, the address, everything was just a free text field because that was easy to make. They didn’t understand what a phone number field was, what an address field was, what a website field, just everything was free text, and they wondered why they couldn’t sort.” How come I can’t sort A to Z? How come I can’t…”

Mike:
Uh.

Dorian Earl:
And I’m like… Yeah, literally. If I have to start off with a noise versus an explanation, I have to start with, uh… That is never good. If you take your car to the auto mechanic, he says, uh… You know you’re in trouble. Right?

Mike:
It’s going to be expensive. You know it’s going to be expensive.

Dorian Earl:
Exactly.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
Or there’s something that you did that you shouldn’t have done that’s going to cost you. So exactly to your point. I will say this, this is really becoming popular that I’ve seen in maybe the last three years. Almost every client I have, when an opportunity is closed, one, it should kick off a second process, and they don’t have that.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
And they don’t have that done.

Mike:
No.

Dorian Earl:
Many clients, especially us internally, when a client says, “Dorian, we want to work with you and Dev Con Partners.” And we close one an opportunity, we kick off an onboarding process and we track that all the way through.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
And then we kick off other project related items. Many of our clients just don’t do that. Because they’re like, “Where do I do project management?” And I’m like, “Do you need to do project management or just track this process?” Because those are two different things. Or do you need to actually relate how many of these projects are related to the opportunity and did you actually deliver what you should have when you sold the opportunity? Which is a whole nother comment, right?

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
We told you we were going to sell you this, and nobody tracked that. It went from opportunity close one into spreadsheets or it went from opportunity close one into the billing team keeps track of everything on a spreadsheet that was closed one. And I’m thinking this could all be in Salesforce, should all be in Salesforce but many clients.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
They are actually becoming smarter knowing that they need to unify their sales, their support. Of course, sales and marketing was first, but I think also this whole customer experience of opportunity close one should kick off the next thing. They can use cases, they can use other things for this to say, “What is that next thing?” Maybe it’s an app on the app exchange but it should kick off something and that’s one of the really value added things that we are doing for clients. Sure.

Mike:
Well, back to what you said in a previous answer, begin with the end in mind.

Dorian Earl:
Yes.

Mike:
I think there’s an implication that there’s only one end and closed one is that end.

Dorian Earl:
Yes.

Mike:
And there’s actually many ends. That’s the first end of sales, then as you mentioned, there’s also implementation or if you’re a services company, then you have to deliver the service, or if you’re a product company, then you have to like, “Yay, you sold it, but they don’t have it.”

Dorian Earl:
Right.

Mike:
So they need to have it.

Dorian Earl:
Exactly.

Mike:
Or you need to deliver it and install it. But then once that’s done up and running and they’re happy, that’s another end but that’s not the end either. Because then the next end is, so then what happens if there’s a warranty or there’s a service issue and then the resolution to that, then that’s the next end. You’re just not, I don’t want to say chasing ends, but you’re always chasing the next end to ensure that really the customer never meets a complete end. I said, end a lot.

Dorian Earl:
Well, that and you’re onto something with that because one of the things that’s one of my pet peeves in Salesforce is multiple processes on the same object. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the opportunity is. Yes, we use this to track the sale and when an invoice gets sent and also when they do their training and also when the training wraps up, and also-

Mike:
No, that’s not the job of the opportunity.

Dorian Earl:
I was like, the opportunity is only to track the potential agreement to do business, not the business.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
That should be in another place. So that’s actually one of my pet peeves. I just look in an organ, I go, “What are we doing here?” They’re like, “What are we doing these four things.” I’m like, “Four separate processes. Why your opportunity has 35 stages to it. I can understand that but it shouldn’t be.” So it’s like cooking and sleeping and bathing in the kitchen. That’s not what the room is for. It’s only one process. I’m like, “You can but it’s not recommended.”

Mike:
We bought the wrong house.

Dorian Earl:
I don’t think you want to use that… I don’t think you want that oven for that.

Mike:
No.

Dorian Earl:
Exactly.

Mike:
Oven’s to dry clothes.

Dorian Earl:
Yes. But exactly to your point, this is how us as consultants or really admin should look at all of our clients or Salesforce users and say, “How do we help you get the most out of the platform? Did you know there’s a room for this? We can move this off, which actually helps you in the end with security. You don’t have to let your accounting team update opportunities which is probably not what they should be doing anyway. They should be looking at the opportunities by updating the billing or you let your customer experience team, they shouldn’t be editing opportunity dollar amounts or just opportunity stages. They should look at the deal but they shouldn’t be able to affect it or change it. As with your sales team shouldn’t be affecting what the customer experience team is doing. They should be listening in, that can be part of the handoff, but that’s not the role. The role is to be selling.”

And one of the things used to drive me crazy as a salesperson, I would sell something. I’d be involved in the billing and the support and the training because I wanted to make sure my deal went through because I didn’t get paid until one of those things happened. And now in Salesforce, we can see all of those things. So it’s more of a visibility thing. But yes, exactly to your point.

Mike:
We actually, I do a presentation where we talk about app building, exactly what you called that 35 stage opportunity. We call that an overburdened object where you’re just overburdening the object with too much responsibility essentially. At some point, that opportunity needs to hand off responsibility to the next object to track relative data based on that different process.

Dorian Earl:
Absolutely. Yep. It should, and granted me as a previous salesperson, I have a lot of pet peeves and things. I don’t like to see on the opportunity, ultimately-

Mike:
Really?

Dorian Earl:
Opportunity-

Mike:
I don’t pick up on that at all.

Dorian Earl:
Ultimately, the opportunity is the clients.

Mike:
I didn’t pick up that you had any pet peeves at all.

Dorian Earl:
I don’t have any. I just let it all go, Mike. I’m just free flowing, but.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
One of the things that gets me, of course, to your point, is too many things going on on opportunity, too many items happening or people that actually delete opportunities. Please do not delete data. “Well, it didn’t close. I’m just going to go in and delete it.” Or “Yeah, this account’s closed. I’m just going to go in and delete it.” I’m like, “Oh, please don’t do those. Thanks. Please.”

Mike:
I’m the opposite. I’m actually the guy… So I get the deleting opportunities but I can take that away. I’m an admin. I’m powerful. I cannot force people to create things and it really bugs me when I run. I used to create reports for sales managers that showed creation date and last end stage dates.

Dorian Earl:
Oh yes.

Mike:
Right?

Dorian Earl:
Yes.

Mike:
So anytime a stage was changed, because the red flag that I would create that would go to him or her would be if an opportunity was created, it went through three stages in a few hours. Because what that tells me is that the salesperson was shelving that.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah, they waited on that one.

Mike:
Until they got it.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah. They sandbag on that one.

Mike:
Yeah, they planted the seed, they watered it. “Oh, now it’s starting to grow. Now I have a plant.”

Dorian Earl:
Well, there was a couple world one, and to your point, yes. Now I’m going to go against something of what you said was really sales don’t always move in a straight line which is true. But that line shouldn’t be moving in the same day.

Mike:
No.

Dorian Earl:
Ideally. You mean we went through this entire sales process of discovery, quoting, needs, analysis, and follow up in one day? That would be one, I need you to know-

Mike:
In a few hours?

Dorian Earl:
Right, exactly. You started it at 7:00 AM.

Mike:
You’re amazing.

Dorian Earl:
Right, exactly. And you need to be doing other things. You need to work in sales ops because evidently you have this superpower to just to move sales in between processes in hours as opposed to days. But yeah. One of the things, how I cut my teeth in Salesforce is I was new. Of course, I was what we call maybe an advanced user but I was a really rookie admin when I first got certified but what really intrigued me about Salesforce is the reporting piece. I really cut my teeth as a sales ops sales analyst, and my deal was to tell you something about your sales or your sales process that you didn’t know using data. And so still to this day.

Mike:
Yep.

Dorian Earl:
My favorite report is really in a exception report. And I don’t know where I stole that language from, but it’s from some place. It’s a list of reports that you don’t want to see, and whenever I do training for our team. I say, “Okay, let’s talk about the reports that we want to make.” It’s usually the top 10 or 15 reports on each object. That’s reporting 101. Then you have reporting 102.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
Show me the reports that you shouldn’t be seen. Let’s actually create something for a report that addresses some behavior or some issue in the org. There’s some exception, and one of my favorite reports is opportunities that have not been updated in some period of time. Last week, last 30 days.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
Last six months, that’s something. Especially if it’s closing this month. I just had a brand new client. I opened up their org. I built one report, opportunities closing this month with no activities. And I said, “This is not going to close.” So like, “How do you know that?” I said, “You can’t close a seven figure opportunity without talking to them this month. Either they talked to them and did not report it or they never talked to them.” I said, “Everything here should be validated.” And he said, “Hold on.” He took a link, he forwarded to his VP of sales and said, “Check into this 50 million of pipeline that we have. I don’t think it’s going to close by January 31st.” And I’m like, “I’m not telling you it’s not going to close. I just told you you want inspect that pipeline.” Right?

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
But literally I do the same thing for leads. Leads that are in some states that haven’t been working. Key accounts that haven’t been talked to in a period of time. Contacts, key contacts, same thing. So yeah, some of my favorites.

Mike:
That haven’t been updated.

Dorian Earl:
Well, haven’t been updated, could be one thing because sometimes data does get stale but if you haven’t talked… Sometimes the account data shouldn’t move.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
What I call the NAP, the name, address, phone, of an account may not change.

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
So that could be different. However, if they’re an account that’s your top 25 account and you’re not talking to them on a regular basis, whatever your company says it should be every two weeks, every four weeks, everything. When I used to work in sales, I got 80% of my business from my top 20 clients and I talk to my top 20 clients every week. And so if I didn’t talk to them with an email, with a phone call, with a text, with something, then I knew somebody else is talking to them because they’re that big. So when I ran my report and when I had sales teams. I’m like, “Look, you have to talk to these people every two weeks. I don’t care what you tell them, send them something. You should be top of mind and your B accounts every month, and then your see accounts every quarter, and then your D accounts. Who knows? But you have to do that. And then your key contacts at those accounts or your key accounts that have not had an opportunity in the last quarter.

Who are your top accounts that have no open opportunities in the last quarter or no update opportunities in the last quarter?” These things are red flags that every organization should be able to say, “This is an exception. We need to call this out right away.” And I will put all those things on the dashboard and I would subscribe to key people to it. I didn’t have to say anything. If you saw that coming to your Monday morning with your accounts on there that you ever talked to in the last couple of weeks, that says it all, right?

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
You have something-

Mike:
Well, it-

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
Because as an admin, I used to do that too. And it says two things. One, maybe the people aren’t doing their job.

Dorian Earl:
Right.

Mike:
But more importantly, if they are, and let’s say they are, then they’re not utilizing the tool that you are spending good money to get this actionable data out of, so that you can manage and make better business decisions, period.

Dorian Earl:
Well, true. Now, this is when I have to, and I know we’ve talked about a lot of pet peeves in our clients, but this is when we as admins and consultants need to be better. Because if you are using spreadsheets and you have Salesforce, so you’re doing that for two reasons. One, something about Salesforce is not easy for you to use or it has not been configured properly for you. You don’t know you can do this in Salesforce, it’s not easy for you to do it or something. There’s too much friction in that process. Whether it’s education and us as admins, consultants, people that enable usage of the platform, we need to be better. So one of the questions I try to ask all of our clients, I’m like, “Are you using spreadsheets for anything right now?” And they’re like, “Yes. This person’s using spreadsheets.” I’m, “Okay. I need a meeting with them.” So all of our clients need to be checked up on every quarter because not everybody knows and you get a new person who joins the organization.

“Yeah, this person just started spinning up spreadsheet.” I’m like, “Okay. They need to know either the data’s already in Salesforce and they can use it or maybe there’s a new process or something that we need to put in Salesforce that we didn’t know about.” So every quarter, I try to reach out to again, our key accounts and say, “Is there some process that’s new? Are you using spreadsheets? Is something happening here?” And you’ll be surprised what those answers are but that’s really, it falls on us, Mike.

Mike:
Yeah. No, a hundred percent. Dorian, I’m going to end by asking you the big question that you’ve tantalized me with since we talked at Dreamforce which is, I’d love to know how you started listening to the podcast?

Dorian Earl:
Well, so one, when I got started with Salesforce. Again, I was more of an advanced user but I was really green in the Salesforce world. I didn’t know, what I call everything under the hood, everything behind the gear. So I freelanced partly outside of working my full-time job. One, I needed to make extra money. And then two, I felt like I just didn’t know enough to help people. And so I went back and I said, “Where’s the best information I can find?” It was a Salesforce Admins podcast. And so what I did was I put in my podcast reader to actually play it oldest to newest and I played every single podcast.

Mike:
Oh my…

Dorian Earl:
That you put out, and it took me 18 months to catch up. I would listen to a podcast almost two a day. One working out, one driving to work, 18 months I caught up. Now, you’d be surprised what you get there because there’s some stuff that’s old but again, I learned about-,

Mike:
You get a whole lot of me, that’s what you get.

Dorian Earl:
You get a whole lot of you-

Mike:
More of me than I’ve listened to.

Dorian Earl:
There was a woman with a great voice named Jillian, and everybody knows who that is.

Mike:
Jillian, yeah.

Dorian Earl:
Jillian had a different last name at the time, right?

Mike:
Mm-hmm.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah. But it was important for me to go back and just listen, start to finish with that. And still to this day, one of the things I am doing is I’m retaking the admin trails on Trail head. So if you follow me on LinkedIn and say, “Why is Dorian learning how to be an admin? Why is he doing the basics of this?” I’m like, “Because it’s been five years since I’ve been certified and admins are learning something different. And I need to go back.” And so I’m retaking my learning journey but how I started with you back then was I heard 45 minutes, 60 minute episodes, if you remember back in the day where we used to do those, right?

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
And then they got trimmed down.

Mike:
I still do them now and then.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
I cut it shorter because people really wanted shorter episodes for their dog walks.

Dorian Earl:
Well, they could have. I mean, I do have a podcast hacked. I started listening to you on one speed and then-

Mike:
Yes.

Dorian Earl:
It was one and a half, and.

Mike:
Yes.

Dorian Earl:
I think most of the podcasts now I listen to are like two, two and a half speeds.

Mike:
Yep. I know.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
That’s why I’m… Yeah, that’s what most people tell me. I’m going to listen to myself sometime on 2x speed. I’m sure I sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Dorian Earl:
You sound great. On 2x speed, you sound awesome. I don’t care what anybody else does.

Mike:
You just did that because you’re on the pod.

Dorian Earl:
I do. I’m saying now, this is actually a huge dream come true from five years ago. Being the person who needs to study up to listen in, to now feeling like I’ve gotten to the point where I would have something of value to share with you and just in the Salesforce world in general. It’s a huge, not only it’s a dream come true, but also I started with Salesforce. Somebody gave me a shot. They said, “Dorian, for your first Salesforce job. You know a lot, I’m going to help you.” And a woman named Lauren took me under the wing, gave me some trails and help me out and this is one of my ways I give back. I give back by giving people advice and sponsoring conferences, dreaming in color, one of those and speaking.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
But one of the things that I like to do is also… One of the things I wanted to do is to, what can I learn? What can I give back to this place that’s given so much to me? Now I’m full-time. I own the company, there are 20 people who work with us, and I’ve helped over 80 people start their Salesforce jobs. Start their career in Salesforce, and still going. So it’s honestly just an honor to be able to give something back. So.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
So thank you.

Mike:
Well, you have a lot. And you have a lot, there’s a reason for that. And I think people always look at individuals like yourself, not for what you’ve learned, but for the potential that you have. I’ve always told people it’s a lot easier to pull back on a rope than it is to push a rope.

Dorian Earl:
Sure, yeah.

Mike:
And all of that has to do with motivation.

Dorian Earl:
Well, yeah, it could be. And maybe then the next time when I come back, I can give you some of the… I can’t remember. There was… When I spoke at a conference previously last summer, it was about the jobs you can get with no Salesforce certification.

Mike:
Oh, sure.

Dorian Earl:
So definitely if people want to want to ping me on LinkedIn, said, “Dorian, one of those jobs, all those things.” Where I figured when people ask me where the learning journey is, what should I be learning? And I think 80% of Salesforce clients use five clouds. And if somebody’s not learning one of those five clouds, they’re going to deepen those areas, they’re going to have difficult time finding a job or maybe staying in the ecosystem. So those are things.

Mike:
Yeah.

Dorian Earl:
So there’s just a lot of that. And maybe then if you have me back, we can have that chat.

Mike:
I like how you, in a very sales way, did the presumed close.

Dorian Earl:
Oh, yeah, you like that?

Mike:
Yeah. I mean, if you have me back.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah. If you have me back.

Mike:
Pressure you, it’s the same stuff I would do is I wouldn’t end the sales call by, “So would you like me this?” I would be like, “So does next Tuesday or Wednesday work better for you for the follow-up?”

Dorian Earl:
Oh yeah, that works out. Yeah.

Mike:
You just presume the close.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah, exactly.

Mike:
So good job. It’s a very salesy of you.

Dorian Earl:
Well, I can actually offer you some great deep dish pizza in Chicago but that would be way too obvious. So I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to lead with value and then if Mike says, “Oh, well, he could… Maybe the podcast is well received, and then you can come back in. Absolutely. So sure.”

Mike:
Right.

Dorian Earl:
So let’s make sure that happens. Yeah.

Mike:
I like it. No, I’ll definitely have you back. We have more to talk about.

Dorian Earl:
Yep. We have that-

Mike:
Thanks for being on the podcast-

Dorian Earl:
Yeah. That and those eighties references that you and I have talked about, right?

Mike:
I mean, there’s so many and that’s 40 years ago now. There’s… Man, there’s people… I’ve got people on teams that are, “What are you talking about, trapper keepers?”

Dorian Earl:
Exactly.

Mike:
Like “Oh no.”

Dorian Earl:
Exactly.

Mike:
Trapper keepers are how important it was to keep your LA Gears bright white.

Dorian Earl:
Oh, the LA Gears. Yes. Well, you know what? I was the British knight person for about six months.

Mike:
Oh, the BKs.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah.

Mike:
Yeah. I got to rock the BKs.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah, we got to keep, the Bks. I was-

Mike:
Yeah. I had BKs with Joe Dash.

Dorian Earl:
Oh, well, yeah. Well, that means you were privileged, Mike. So you have-

Mike:
No, it just means I watched a whole lot of Saved by the Bell.

Dorian Earl:
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So when you get me back, we can have a little bit of that, if that works out. So yeah, we will talk-

Mike:
Will do, sir.

Dorian Earl:
We’ll talk with some eighties. So…

Mike:
Will do.
Okay, so I enjoyed that conversation and I’m going to call this the Dorian Earl Challenge. If you want to go back in time on admin.salesforce.com and listen to all of the podcasts from the beginning. I did do a count, there’s close to 560 episodes. So Dorian managed to get through them in 18 months. That’s pretty aggressive, but fun conversation. I hope you learned a lot, I did. I really came away with, the begin with end in mind and that there’s many end points. I hope you take that approach to everything that you’re working on this year. And if you enjoy the episode, I want you to do me a favor, just share the episode with one person. There could be something out there, maybe Salesforce friend, somebody you just met, a community event that’s getting started as an admin or working to clean up their org. If you’re listening on iTunes, all you have to do is just tap the three dots in the corner and choose share episode, and then you can post it to social, you can text it to your friend that was just at the user group.

And of course, if you’re looking for more great resources, admin.salesforce.com is the one stop for everything, including a transcript of the show. If you want to hop on over to the admin Trailblazers group that’s in the Trailblazer community, the link is in the show notes there. That’s where a lot of people are asking questions and improving their processes and working to iron things out in their organizations. So until next week, we’ll see you in the cloud.

Dorian Earl:
All right. I’m-

Mike:
So Dorian, welcome to the podcast. Oh, hey. That’s all right. We’ll start over.

Dorian Earl:
There’s going to be a lot of uncomfortable silences in between us but Midwest-

Mike:
I know. That’s all right.

Dorian Earl:
There we go.

 

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