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5 Essential CRM Project Management Tips from a Salesforce Expert

By 02.01.23
Reading time: 4 minutes

Silverline’s Transcending CRM podcast explores how the Salesforce ecosystem has impacted the careers of fellow Trailblazers and the businesses that have leveraged dynamic growth from the platform. The podcast is hosted by me, Silverline’s Managing Director of Banking and Lending, and my colleague Elliott Spence, Principal Consultant.

A recent Transcending CRM episode featured Greg Blausey, Senior Director, Banking Industry Solutions & Strategy at Salesforce. Greg is a 20-year financial services professional who previously worked for Huntington National Bank. He is passionate about helping clients create memorable moments and lasting relationships with their customers. Greg is an advocate for continuous improvement and positive change focused on the end customers’ satisfaction. 

Let’s dive into some of the key thoughts and insights that Greg shared with and Elliott and I during the episode. 

Staying up to date with regulatory and financial services news

Greg’s career in financial services started as a bank teller for a large regional bank in Columbus, Ohio. He then jumped to the other end of the bank spectrum and joined the corporate banking team as a portfolio manager working on treasury management services. That was the time when Greg started to understand how technology could help with customer challenges. It was his first introduction to Salesforce, and he immediately fell in love with how visual, agile, and quick the platform is. 

Greg thinks of his current position as Senior Director, Banking Industry Solutions & Strategy at Salesforce as an outbound product management person. Much of his time focuses on the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud product with tentacles out into many of the other Salesforce platform offerings.  

A critical part of his Salesforce role is keeping up with the financial industry news and trends so he can, in turn, relate to his customers’ struggles and best optimize Salesforce products to meet their needs. Greg relies on three primary resources for staying on top of the banking and Salesforce ecosystem: American Banker, the Consumer Bankers Association, and The Financial Brand. 

American Banker is a subscription-based publication that helps Greg stay informed about what’s on the horizon for banking and regulation so he can share a relevant point of view with his customers. The Consumer Bankers Association provides beneficial content about emerging concerns for the industry. The Financial Brand delivers a weekly newsletter that covers financial marketing and helps infuse Greg’s perspective on a broader technology set. 

Why strong listening skills are a requisite for change management

“If you were to talk to my mom, she would probably tell you that I was a horrible listener as a child. I had a tendency to have my own opinion, and I was really stubborn. And you cannot do that in this job and be successful,” shared Greg.

As Greg’s career evolved, he found that listening was an essential skill that was transferable across his various roles and functions. To Greg, listening means getting rid of your own bias and being able to take feedback, even if it’s negative. A mentor told Greg to remember that “feedback is a gift,” and he has also paid attention to that advice.

Another skill is to constantly ask, ‘why?’ such as why there might be some resistance to change or why there might be a legitimate regulatory reason for resisting change.

The ability to listen combined with the ability to question ‘why’ helps with an organization’s ability to pivot and change. Greg believes in the ADKAR model for a change management framework for Salesforce initiatives. The “D” in ADKAR stands for desire, and Greg says, “Desire is the really hard part. It refers to how you make people feel like they want to change or how to help people discover that they want to change.” 

Your team of people has to be ready for Salesforce. People have to want to use it, and you do that by showing what’s in it for them. From the very beginning and at every stage of a Salesforce implementation, you must engage your users and help define what those requirements look like and what those experiences should feel like. This approach could entail creating a network of peers or allowing them to take a leadership role. 

“Change management is not Field of Dreams. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come,” says Greg. But with sustained training and engagement, organizations will realize how important change management is to the Salesforce platform’s success.

The best advice for new CRM project managers

Many admins or new product owners become nervous and anxious when they are first starting on the Salesforce platform. Greg offers these tips for being successful in this sometimes overwhelming situation:

  • Keep on learning: There is a lot to learn about Salesforce, and it’s okay not to know everything. Create a plan defining what learning means to you and how you will learn. Salesforce Trailhead should be your main learning resource, and also ask questions to your solution implementer. 
  • Don’t take it personally: Feedback is an incredibly valuable gift, as we pointed out earlier. People will ‘call the baby ugly’ but take that feedback and grow from it.
  • Engage account teams: Become best friends with the success manager assigned to your account. Work with them to determine what’s coming down the pipeline so you understand how it may impact your roadmap.
  • Leverage your customer network: There is an extensive network of banks using Salesforce that is likely trying to solve the same problem as you are. Don’t be shy about asking to get connected with other customers to help solve your issues faster. 
  • Partner with compliance: Compliance is likely the one group in an organization that can stop your momentum quickly. Invite compliance to be part of your Salesforce initiative early and often and be proactive about investing in compliance’s education and learning.

Transcend CRM with Silverline

The Transcending CRM podcast is hosted by experts from Silverline’s financial services team. The team can help you maximize your investment across the entire Salesforce platform, including Financial Services Cloud, Sales and Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud, by designing transformational experiences for your customers and users while seamlessly integrating with the core and ancillary systems that are critical to your business. Learn more about Silverline’s Salesforce financial services solutions for your business.

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