This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Dreamforce 2016 coverage

T-Mobile migrates to Salesforce Lightning for sales efficiency

T-Mobile made the move to Lightning Experience to make its sales reps more efficient.

SAN FRANCISCO -- When customers are ready to buy, the last thing a sales representative needs is to wrestle with obstacles in sealing the deal. But those kinds of hurdles were hobbling sales productivity at T-Mobile.

At Dreamforce 2016, representatives of the Bellevue, Wash., mobile device provider said the company wanted to make sales processes, such as building a sales quote, more efficient and remove some of the hurdles and friction in completing customer sales. But T-Mobile was hobbled by sales templates that reflected old processes and old development. It wanted to step into the future with Salesforce Lightning, the cloud-based CRM provider's development platform, to reduce the number of mouse clicks a sales rep would have to use to create a sales quote and make the pages more user-friendly and efficient. But to do so, it needed to migrate from Salesforce Classic and Visualforce first.

Top-down pressure spurred migration

"There was lots of top-down pressure," said David Bauer, managing director at Bluewolf Group, a New York-based consultancy that helped T-Mobile migrate from Visualforce and Salesforce Classic to Lightning. Executives were saying, "Hey, you need to move the needle on sales productivity in a big way, particularly when the customer is ready to buy." But, Bauer said, sales reps were bogged down jumping through hoops and contending with layered processes that were antiquated and based on historical processes in the business.

The faster we can activate customers, the faster they become customers.
Bob Birdsenior manager of operations, T-Mobile

Bob Bird, senior manager of operations at T-Mobile, said migrating from Visualforce and Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience was about bringing productivity to sales reps' jobs.

"The faster we can activate customers, the faster they become customers," Bird said. "We want to make that sales process as streamlined as possible. That was a direct result of moving our platform from Classic to Lightning."

As a result of implementing Lightning, which took approximately five months, T-Mobile reduced the number of mouse clicks to create a pricing quote from 104 to eight.

Moving to Lightning cleans up business process

Salesforce introduced the Lightning framework at Dreamforce 2014 and has been perfecting it since. In February 2015, Salesforce brought Lightning to all its clouds, pledging to create "one experience" with its development platform. But with Lightning, which promises to make mobile and application development far more user-friendly, there are liabilities. Companies still need to deal with their existing code, particularly customized buttons and templates that won't translate.

"Not everything worked on Lightning as you would think it would," Bird said. "If you have custom buttons, custom email templates, those things tend to break with Lightning."

But that translation can present an opportunity, he said. T-Mobile used the move to Lightning as an opportunity to clean up processes and eliminate steps in the sales process that would require customization in Lightning. "We started asking, 'Why do you guys do this and do that?' It was a good learning experience in how our users are actually using the platform," Bird said. "When you transition to the new UI, it's a great opportunity to ask, 'Why are we doing this, and do we need to?' I don't need a bunch of custom buttons to streamline because we redesigned the sales process."

Move enabled business functionality

As Bird noted, migrating to the Lightning platform is not just about moving to the latest, flashy, new programming framework. It's about enabling a variety of business functionality.

"Everything that's coming out is based on Lightning," Bird said. "If you aren't on Lightning, you are going to be left behind, and are going to have to play catch-up."

Bird said moving to Lightning also requires change management and constant training to bring users up to speed.

The project ended in May, but Bird said, "We're still doing refresher trainings. We're not done yet. I feel like I'm going to be in constant retraining mode for the next six months."

Next Steps

Salesforce unleashes next incarnation of Lightning

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Lightning piques user interest

Key differences between Salesforce Classic and Lightning

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