Salesforce Automation for Life Sciences: Improve Salesforce for Life Sciences CAS-Cast
Life Sciences professionals have a very specific use case for their Salesforce instance. Issues that are common to the industry, like clear and clean pipeline and forecasting for both opportunity management and board reporting, business development interaction and management in Salesforce, and optimizing Salesforce to allow the system to detect signals in the commercial approach can be solved by Salesforce automation.
Join Annalisa Pricener, Director of Commercial Enablement at Signant Health, as she shares industry-leading ways to enable your Life Sciences company to have a mature, automation-rich Salesforce org.
Thank you to our sponsors Cloud Adoption Solutions, Steady State Media, Fido SEO, Elements Cloud, and CapStorm.
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Shannon Gregg 00:00
Hello, everybody. Good afternoon. Good morning. For those of you that are joining us from the West Coast, we’re so happy to have you here today. My name is Shannon Gregg from Cloud Adoption Solutions. So pleased to be joined today from Annalisa Pricener who’s going to give us a wonderful talk on some of the ways that you can use Salesforce for automation. This will really inspire you; when she was sharing her ideas with me for this webinar, I thought, wow, people are going to be really excited about this. Because there are some really cool things that you can do with automation that is going to be so helpful for you and your Salesforce organization. Whether you’re in finance, marketing, sales, or anything that’s ancillary to one of those positions, you’re going to be so excited to be inspired by some of the things that Annalisa has orchestrated to share with you today. Before we get started, I do want to tell you, our call for speakers for Life Sciences Dreamin’ is open. Let me show you exactly where you can find that. If you go on lifesciencesdreamin.com. You’ll see there’s a little button right here, you can click call for speakers, we are taking speakers for all sorts of our events. We’ve got lunch and learns coming up in the city of Philadelphia that will actually be in King of Prussia. We’ve got one in Boston, we’ve got one in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Those will all be Lunch and Learn panel sessions. And then we’ve got a two day amazing event that will be coming up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, August 24 and 25th. This is a Dreamin’ event. We are so pleased to be sponsored by some wonderful organizations, Salesforce, Capstone Elements Cloud, Cloud Adoption Solutions, Steady State Media, FIDO SEO. So if you’re interested in being a speaker, a sponsor, or an attendee for any of these events, please do let us know; we are super excited about the reception we are already getting for these events – they’re going to be marvelous. So please check that out. I will tell you at the end how you can get more information on that. But I do not want to delay you any further because I can see we’ve got friends rolling in. Everyone’s on time. I love that. Annalisa, welcome to the stage. And thank you so much for being willing to share your experience and expertise with us today. Automation is so key for 2023. We’ve got a changing economy, we’ve got a really interesting amount of people who are available in the workforce, everything seems to be changing. And one of the things that I think is the answer to a lot of our challenges in the workforce today is automation. So thank you for joining us.
Annalisa Pricener 02:48
Absolutely, I’m going to share my screen. And thank you for that excellent lead in. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about and Shannon is bringing up automation a lot. This is really like lower touch automation for maybe like a higher or more complex kind of problem. So what we’re going to talk about today is not going to be anything intimidating or difficult. But something to hopefully you know that resonates with you. Or you may have experienced similar problems before that you can apply creative solutions to that automation will assist with. So first I’m going to talk about why you’re talking with me today. So this is kind of my life sciences journey. I started out in 2011, and a really small e pro company back when it used to be called ePro. And everyone did everything. So I got a lot of exposure to a lot of different aspects of the business. Although my primary responsibility was managing and writing proposals, I did get first hand experience with back end Salesforce because it didn’t take much to be an admin there, right. So they needed the assistance, they were looking for anybody who was willing to help. So really simple requests like at updating page layouts and adding fields is what I learned how to do there, but it was my first exposure to Salesforce. And my first experience with back end Salesforce. I got a lot of experience with excel in that role, which helped me develop some transferable skills that I use today in Salesforce like solutioning requirements gathering and testing logic simply because nobody really wanted to manage or own or be responsible for the pricing model there that which which was an Excel based. So I decided it was it was something that I should learn it was a gap that I saw that need filling and I ran with it. That company was acquired and continued to manage a team of proposals writers and eventually move into a pricing manager role in 2015. And after that, I briefly took a year out of clinical trials and life sciences to work in healthcare IT and in the next slide, we’ll take a look at the reasons that I took the first opportunity that I could to get back into clinical trials. But I found that it was really more suited for what I wanted to do. And I was much more energized by the teams and the groups and the people. So in 2017, I moved to a new company, and in 2019, that company, which was about medium sized, was also acquired. At that time, they needed somebody to manage Salesforce, there weren’t really adequate candidates that we’re working directly with are responsible for Salesforce on either side of the business. And I was fortunate enough that a couple of people volunteered my name. So they felt they felt strong enough to put their name on the line, right to push me forward and volunteered my name. And I was asked to take over managing the sales technology, and specifically Salesforce at this much larger company. Now, more specifically, I lead the project to merge the two instances of Salesforce and that is where I absolutely was immersed in Salesforce setup, and the basics to the automation. And I was able to really develop the back end system knowledge. So even though I didn’t know really enough, I would say, for the job, I knew more than everybody else that was at the company so So I ran with it. Finally, after, you know, capitalizing on all the exposure and experience that I got during that process, in 2020, I became officially a Salesforce admin. And now my team has grown a little bit to manage Salesforce plus about 15 or more applications and packages that plug into Salesforce, as well as sales operations, project management, and training and onboarding for the sales organization. So this is my sales perspective in clinical trials based on the different roles that I’ve had. And in my experience, there are a lot of benefits to selling in this space. I’m aware that there are a lot of hurdles as well. And some of these things can go either way, like having smart and creative buyers may mean that you’re developing systems that you’re selling, or that you’re developing the builds of systems as you’re selling them. Because people are reinventing how they want things to function. But for the most part, having a firm and compelling event like first patient first visit, and having really meaningful checkpoints along the way, because of the regulated environment that are driven by the client, really help you to tell if a deal is going to move forward. And you know, based on the experience that I had other industries for that short periods of time, that that wasn’t available to them. And I can assure you that it’s not available to my vendors when they’re working with me. It’s fairly transparent, in a lot of ways in this industry in clinical trials, if that deal is going to progress if it’s on the right path, or if it’s shaky on, if there’s uncertainty.
Annalisa Pricener 08:39
So I think it helps the sales process a lot. And it helps the individuals that are working within the process to be able to forecast and understand their buying signals a little bit better. So we’re going to talk about a problem in early stage pipeline management. And it’s a little bit funny that we were talking about early stage development today because my contribution to being a Salesforce admin in this space that’s unique is that I sat in the roles that managed from, you know, quote, request, RFP request and beyond. So I lived and I worked them and I have a lot of first hand knowledge of how the process works. Within those later stages. I don’t have unique experience of early stage pipeline and progression. But in this case, we’re going to look at things that I’ve seen previously that I think can be improved upon with some flow and some automation to be able to help forecast better for early stage pipeline. So things that are before you have that formal RFP come and go We manage movement within those early stages, particularly measuring meaningful Activity. Activity itself in Salesforce can be very hard to measure at, like an accurate molecular scale, like on an opportunity basis, we find that a lot of people that are not as good as like logging activity, it’s because they actually have higher volume the activity is occurring, they just aren’t taking the time to stop and pause, and make sure that it’s apparent in Salesforce, especially if they have a higher volume of opportunities and accounts that they’re managing. So it’s not always the best indication. And then understanding if any of that activity was really meaningful, produce the kind of the right kind of results and gave you the right kind of signals can be difficult as well. So in this case, we’re starting with what I’ve seen in the past, which is to sales, early final sales stages prospecting and qualifying, a little bit ambiguous when you get into the qualifying stage, and a lot of opportunities sitting in qualifying for quite a long time. And you don’t know the caliber of those opportunities, if they’re at the very beginning stages. So you’ve just got someone to agree to engage with you. But you don’t know if that there’s no, no way to measure if that engagement is really hot, or real or kind of cold. And understand understanding how qualified it is if it’s in very beginning stages, or if it’s progressed down the line. So in order to change that with automation, here’s an example of what you could do with some gated stage progressions. So in this case, this represents a flow that automatically pushes individuals and opportunities into certain sales stages, based on achievement of buying indicators. Here, we’ve added one additional stage. But we’ve tied to these stages, the basic indicators and the key indicators, actions, actions internally, and actions that occur are driven by the client, to ensure that you understand those buying signals. So if I’m moving from assessment to quote request, here, we have free entry into assessment, which is really very similar to our previous prospecting stage. You know, we’re just confirming that if we’re doing our research, and we’re finding information online or through third party sources, sources, that this is a real life study, it’s actually exists, it’s going forward in the timeframe that we understand and in a timeframe that’s meaningful for us, and working on gaining entry. So understanding or connecting with somebody at that account that will engage with us. The next two stages, the reps are basically either excluded from entering those stages or auto inserted into those stages based on achievement of those indicators. So here, I have some examples for our basic indicators that show good indications that that trial is going to move forward. So the client confirms there’s a protocol in development, of course, we have someone, anyone at the account that is engaging with us doesn’t really matter, their level, or what kind of persona they are. But that engagement is that connection is made. In this case, we’ve added one for an internal clinical assessment. So maybe we have some experts and scientists within our group, or a team that reviews and and analyzes study information to determine the likelihood of that study progressing. And the client is communicated a budget. In this case, if our sales reps can check off at least three of these four buying indicators, then that opportunity will automatically progress into our basic indicator stage.
Annalisa Pricener 14:19
And it’ll give us a good idea, or a good understanding that we really truly have qualified this opportunity. It’s in a space that we want. We’re getting a connection with somebody the account, and they’re giving us some indications of progression towards RFP. The second stages are key indicators. So these ones are maybe a little bit more difficult to reach, but they’re giving us really great indications that we would be included included in the quote request or the RFP process and that that process is pending and upcoming. So in here we’re talking about the client is sharing The protocol or protocol draft with us, they’re confirming that their funding has been approved. They know the timeline of when they’re going to start reaching out to, to vendors to collect quotes for their RFP process. And they’ve maybe introduced you with the decision maker, or they’ve agreed to meet with some of our specialists on our side consultants, clinical leads, individuals that have expertise to be able to consult on their protocol. In this case, if the rep can achieve two of these four indicators, that flow will auto progress them into the key indicators, these are really great buying signals now that we’re capturing that are very tangible and finite, that lead us to believe that we probably are in a good spot to push towards being included in that RFP process. And then eventually, when that happens, we have free entry into the quote, request stage as well. And some of the reasons that we look at these. Breaking out these early stages a little bit better to help with our forecasting, is because a lot of systems later stages, from the time that you actually create draft or requested to create a proposal, they’re very tangible, you really understand what’s occurred, it’s a specific action, something’s been delivered, you’ve gotten a specific response from a client that are moving those stages of progression, while early stages don’t have those really finite buying indicators. So this is a way to be able to capture that and increase your insight into how you’re progressing, before you’ve received your quote, request. So what’s the actual intent here? Right, the actual intent is to be able to forecast better in your early funnel, so that you can see what in your funnel is going to turn into pipeline. What we’re looking at here is movement and timeframe. So really specifically, how many of those studies progress through each of those stages? And how does that percentage change? As we move from the, you know, early, the easiest achievement to the highest achievement stage? What are the number of indicators achieved, because we’re managing this through, let’s say, just a tick box that it’s been achieved on the opportunity, we can say is there are a better possibility that something is going to move from basic indicators to key indicators, when these particular indications are met? Or these buying signals are received? Or do we see a drop off when we don’t ever get that clinical review? That’s an internal indicator. And then the timeframe, how long does it take things to progress? So when does the progression stop? Do we reach a certain point where things sit in assessment or basic indicators, and if they’ve been there for X amount of time, we rarely see them progress any further than that. So we can measure on our forecast, timeline based forecast to see what we think is going to turn into pipeline later stage pipeline, then segmenting that measurement, maybe by market segment by the channel that we’re going through. So how does this movement compare if we’re going through a CRO versus bidding direct to client, as well as which products are involved in the sale. And the last piece of this automation, which is one of the problems that we see a lot that you look to solve with these really early stage opportunities, is ensuring that that funnel stays accurate and relevant. So this is another flow that you can implement to auto age out those deals, basically push the deals out of your system that sit there untouched, and enact and, and really don’t get cleaned up until you do maybe your fiscal year account updates and those opportunities get moved to a new rep and they evaluate their pipeline. So some of our reps are not as good as others as keeping that information current, especially when it’s very early stage. They know less, maybe less individuals or there’s less scrutiny on the quality of deals that you have in there.
Annalisa Pricener 19:47
This flow is a time based triggered flow. So maybe once a month, the first of the month or the fifth of the month. Take a look at all of the deals that are still sitting in the very first assessment stage. And based on the trigger criteria, so maybe they were created more than a year ago, the stage is still sitting in assessment, the booking states in the past, no activity logged recently. And the next step follow up date is past. If any deals, hit all of those criteria, then the flow auto closes them with the closed type agent, which is a controlled closed type. So we know that this one was closed as part of the automation, the reps get emailed immediately that that’s been done on their behalf. So if the system, you know, happens to be wrong, or if maybe they were logging activity to the account in this circumstance, and not to the opportunity, they can review that and they can really quickly act on it to make sure that it gets one of those triggers is met and gets moved out of there, update the booking state reinstitute the stage. So that is one way that you can use Flow automation on a trigger based flow and a time based flow, to be able to manage your early stage pipeline, forecast a little bit better, as well as track meaningful activity and buying indicators. So I will stop sharing now.
Shannon Gregg 21:34
That was amazing. Annalisa. If anybody has any questions, please feel free to throw them in the q&a. I did have a question that came in in Lisa, which is how do you know if there is a process of yours that you should even evaluate for Salesforce automation?
Annalisa Pricener 21:49
Well, typically, in my experience in what I’ve been working on, it is usually this problem solution, right? Typically, when things are going well, and their adoption is great, and you have the visibility you need, the metrics are producing what you’re anticipating, then it’s not a call to action. But in a lot of cases, it will be you know, we’re having trouble getting insight into X, Y, Z, or we have low adoption. So we’re seeing the users are not there bypassing this process that we’ve set up for them, we have a way to do something. And you know, in Salesforce, even if you set up a way to do something, you there are probably still three to four other ways to do it. That either impossible to turn off. Or, or maybe you don’t want to turn them off, because in certain circumstances, it is the right way to do something. So when you see low adoption, when you see that data isn’t coming through as cleanly or in the way that you want, then it’s really great to evaluate if you can basically guide the user through automation. In this case, we looked at, restrict them from going into certain stages, if they don’t meet minimal criteria for that. In other cases, it could be giving them warnings, or guiding them to the correct location to be able to perform an action. And it could be basic automation is not to be flow, it could be custom button creation on an object that basically guides them through a form. And if they don’t go that route, a warning like a flow warning to make sure that they understand that that is available for the circumstance that they need to apply to.
Shannon Gregg 23:43
I love it. That’s such a good answer. Thank you that was really thoughtful. And I think pretty comprehensive. So one of the things that I think, you know, when people were sending us messages ahead of this webinar that people were asking about is can you help clarify a little bit the difference between a validation rule and automation? And would you ever use the two of them together?
Annalisa Pricener 24:07
Yeah, possibly. So what’s nice about the flow is that in, in this case, right, we can combine the two, although I would say the flow errors are not as human readable as you can set the validation errors up to be. So that is something that that we’ve experienced in the past even by entering like a custom message to be displayed, just the way that the flow errors come across it spooks individuals that are not accustomed to viewing them. So it is possible that you might want to incorporate both, particularly if if there are cases that you can, you know, control things in advance ideation airbases, it might be easier than always going in and updating a flow. And, you know, testing it in the sandbox, launching it, activating it in production. So there are much more steps sometimes in the higher end and automation, that you can eliminate those number of steps with some of the lower end automation, like validation rules. I love that I
Shannon Gregg 25:23
think that’s a really good answer to you know, when, when we’re thinking about how to help guide our users through Salesforce, because that’s what we’re all here for, you know, that’s why this crowd joined us today. We really want to make sure that our users get that help that they need. Now, are there amazing outcomes short, you know, finance has cleaner, pipelines, sales, management has a better idea of what are actually the right opportunities, salespeople, you know, can get the access to the information they need about their conversion rates or the quality of their pipeline. And I think there’s so many benefits to automation. And we’ve seen it change so much in the past, you know, five years, right? I mean, Salesforce really has started to place, I think, an exorbitant unnecessary amount of, you know, impact on automation, right? We’ve seen it change, you know, we’ve had process builder, we’ve had workflow rules, we’ve had flow, you know, there’s been so much, and I think it feels intimidating. So a question that I have for you is, if I’m a brand new new person to Salesforce automation, how do I get over that sort of fear of introducing automation,
Annalisa Pricener 26:17
I am not a flow expert, by any means. I just had my basic Salesforce admin certification. So and I actually did create this, this flow to auto progress stages. And to do it, I just did a Google search. And I found someone who had done on a progression of stages prior. And I looked at the guidance that they gave on the blog, on the developer sites, whatever it was, I found an example. And it didn’t have anything to do with my example. But it was close enough that I could use that basis to be able to build out the specifics of what I was doing. So my team and I like we, we all say, you know, we don’t, our main our primary skill that helps us with Salesforce is that we’re all researchers. So we search for the Salesforce knowledge articles, they can help guide us through because it is so nice that the information is open source. And that will get you so far. And then with things like these customizations, and these automations, we look for someone else who’s done it before. And kind of viewed how they have done it seen what kind of tweaks that we need to make to be able to apply something similar to our problem to meet our solution. I love that.
Shannon Gregg 27:56
Thank you for sharing that. Because I think it is it feels so heavy and hard to understand when you first come into it. But the possibilities are endless. And I know you’re a Dreamforce expert. And one of the reasons why I think it’s called Dreamforce is because you can start to dream about make things better for your, for your entire team. So I love that we have a question to sales reps typically get an early warning before their opportunities are aged out. And or how has this automation process been helpful for better managing outside sales reps?
Annalisa Pricener 26:17
Yeah. So we did start out low tech here with the auto agent process, right. So we just started with a report. And we have a data quality dashboard that gets reviewed every two weeks by one of our Salesforce admins. And basically, the intent is to keep that dashboard down to zero. So none of the components should have any data if any of the components have any data, they their need updated and reviewed and changed. And we started out low touch by especially when we first implemented because as you can imagine, there were a lot of opportunities that met that trigger criteria when we first implemented it. But in that circumstance, we just pulled a report off Salesforce, sent it to everybody that owned opportunities on that list and let them know we’re instituting something new, we’d like you to take one of the following actions. If this opportunity is legitimate, update the bookings date to a date in the future, update the follow up steps right. And we gave them maybe a week and a half to do that and then revisited the report anything that was still on there, we closed out and then we’ve added two additional components to their homepage dashboard sense. So we’ve added a list view specifically shows them all their opportunities with bookings dates in the past, so that information is pushed to them so they can manage it on an ongoing basis. And on their homepage dash we add an a component that shows them all their opportunities that are eligible for age out since we’re only running this once a month. Then they’ll they’ll have time to review those opportunities and go into them and make those updates to them. So now we don’t, we don’t prepare them for the action, it just occurs on an ongoing basis, although we do give them tools to manage it themselves. And then they get that notification when it does happen through email. So if there are any that again, like they’ve been logging activity against the account, instead of the opportunity that wouldn’t maybe have been caught, they get immediate notification that that’s occurred. And they can go in and basically ask one of our admin team to Backstage it for them.
Shannon Gregg 30:39
That’s amazing. Thank you. That was a really detailed response. And one of the things that I heard you saying was how throughout the whole entire process you visited, you know, change management theory, because when you start with that sort of low touch, and you work in the way that people are already working, and continue to process it so they can see how it makes their life and their job better. They’re more likely to adopt it. And so that was a beautiful response that I think, you know, when around one, how do you handle it in the technology, but to how do you help the people make the change, because that’s always the hard part. You know, people are running at 100 miles per hour. So that was great. Thank you so much. Annalisa. This was a beautiful conversation. Hopefully everybody here today is inspired on how you can use Salesforce automation to help your team have better quality data, how you can have a better pipeline, how you can use Salesforce to make everybody’s jobs a little bit better, because we all know, things are not going to get easier. They just keep getting faster. But Salesforce is fully equipped to help you with that. Before we leave today, I want to make sure that we thank our sponsors we’ve got as our sponsors for the life of for the life sciences, dreamin whole entire series, Salesforce cap, Storm elements, cloud cloud adoption solutions, steady state media, final SEO, next month, we have a webinar, you will not want to miss, we’ve got to experts in value stream mapping, which you’ve probably done even if you don’t call it that, they’re gonna be talking about how you can Value Stream Map your go to market process to reduce the waste that you have in your go to market process and apply things like Annalisa just taught you about today’s salesforce automation. So we’ve got JT who’s been a friend for a very long time, actually Annalisa I know that we’ve been students of GTs, he’s taught us a lot about how to use value stream mapping and a Kaizen approach. And Ian from elements cloud is going to be facilitating that webinar that is just in one month. After that we’ve got a Demo Jam in March a life sciences Tech Stars Demo Jam that is gonna be really fun. Everybody’s got three minutes to show their goods. So hopefully everybody is in attendance to that. Don’t forget to visit life sciences dreamin.com Because after our webinar series, we’re heading into three live lunch and learns in Philly, Boston and Research Triangle Park. And then we’ve got our keynote conference in Fort Lauderdale in Orlando. We are currently looking for speakers and sponsors. So if you’re interested in that, add yourself over to Life Sciences. dreamin.com Annalisa. Thank you so much for this today. It was really marvelous.
Annalisa Pricener 33:13
Absolutely. It was great. Chatting with all of you today. Thanks everybody. Have a wonderful day.
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