/ Interview

How Incredible Pizza uses Salesforce Lightning to Overcome Challenges and Plan for Success

Learn more in this interview with Zack Martin, Salesforce Admin & VP of Sales at Incredible Pizza Company.

We reached out to Zack to learn more about how he got started with Salesforce and how Incredible Pizza is using Salesforce to succeed in sales.

In this post you will learn from Zack's knowledge and experience; see the bottom of the post to connect with Zack on LinkedIn.

How did you go from using Salesforce as an end-user to now being an Admin leading other front-end users?

Five years ago I was hired by America's Incredible Pizza Company. We’re a big family-entertainment center; kinda like an indoor amusement park with several different buffets. I was hired with the responsibility to generate group sales. In that role, I would go out and try to find groups of people, 10 people to 2,000+ people, to come in and have their special events with us.

I think it really starts then, because in that particular sales role, I had nine different verticals, tons of different decision makers and types of opportunities to sell against, and it was really a challenge to wrap around. We didn't really have any sort of infrastructure that simplified it, made it easier for time management, or identified what sort of sales opportunities I should be looking at during different times of the year. We really were missing that piece. Looking back, it’s incredible how much focus and precision we were missing out on.

After being successful in that role, I was extended the opportunity to manage the team of group-sales professionals in all of our markets as a corporate position.

I started out as a sales exec wishing I had a bunch of tools, and now that I'm managing sales executives in the field (and in a centralized call center) I'm trying to provide them with tools that I wish I'd had all along, and it's been very fun.

The immediate goal that I had was "How can I add value to the lives of these sales people with the experience I had of being on that team?" and for me, the answer was very clearly taking Salesforce to the next level, and getting us into the Lightning platform, and having that real rich functionality of dashboards and all those measurement points that we needed to find in our business so that we could focus on incrementally growing them.

For people who want to become Salesforce Admins or for people who are thinking about branching into Salesforce, do you have recommendations or advice (whether that's Trailhead and other resources, or even mindset tips for someone who is new to Salesforce)?

Yeah, and that's a really great question. One of the things that's most exciting for me about Salesforce and having been a user for years (but really an Admin or a superuser for just about a half a year), I have been really pleased to see how many resources exist with people at various levels of their career trajectory. All sorts of unique insights and problems that are solved, and it's refreshing to get into that community, whether that's the Idea Exchange or using Trailhead training modules.

You can get out there and come up with some really creative "if you can dream it, we can build it" sort of questions from other administrators and consultants. It's just great. Everybody's excited to help answer problems, and so it's really more of a community of problem solvers. I really like that, and that it's a free thing that you can dip into to really learn about any component of Salesforce.

So, I would definitely say that's important if you're getting started. Really explore those resources, and find some forums and some communities in which you can ask questions and be accepted regardless of what those questions are or what your skill level is. I think people will be amazed at how warm each community really is.

For the mindset component of your question: that can be the most challenging part really, because a lot a times it's really easy to get stuck in the process of "just doing things 'cause that's how we've always done them."

When you introduce a game-changing piece of technology, it can be hard to let go of all of that, and really zoom out to 100,000 feet and say "Does everything we're doing make sense? Can we prove everything that we're doing makes sense? If we can't prove it, what will we have to measure to know if it makes sense?"

If you can get yourself to go down those rabbit holes and really ask questions--for me, in a sales-management-use case, asking "what matters and what doesn't matter, and how do I surface relevant information and really ignore or put to the side everything else?"--that is the mindset I've had to try to develop, and it's been challenging and humbling.

A lot of times Salesforce is so robust of a platform: for every problem, sometimes there might be 10 solutions, and you have to think about how that's going to touch against other businesses processes as well.

It takes a lot a creative thinking, and I think that's important for people to realize upfront to maximize their ROI.

Now that you're a Salesforce Admin, do you have recommendations for current Salesforce Admins (including specific features or tools within Salesforce you would you recommend other Admins use)?

Absolutely! Again, speaking from a sales-management-use case, I think there's a really powerful combination of tools that I've been in awe of recently, very recently, and I think it's the combination of, of course, the reporting and analytics functionality that's inside of Salesforce, but then also the ability to take that information and load it up into a very, very visually appealing and easy-to-understand dashboard.

The third part of that being actually Chatter. With the classic interface Chatter was around, but it was one of those many things we were kind of like "Well, I don't know if Chatter really makes sense for us." But now, being in Lightning we are able to really get high-quality data that's extremely important and urgent and then we are able to make it beautiful to where everybody wants to look at it. They're addicted to looking at the information.

Utilizing Chatter to communicate down to the record level, down to the actual individual sale opportunity record level with my sales team has been extraordinary. This level of efficient oversight ends up meaning tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales increases, simply because we can see things more clearly and quickly adapt and move.

I was in a Webinar yesterday with our owner, our COO, all of our managing partners, and this was their first glimpse of really what we've done. This was our debut of Lightning, and I would think it's fair to say that they were really impressed just at the level of scale. How you can go from looking at $40 million down to looking at $47.22, knowing exactly what's going on every step of the way and who is accountable to each part of the process. So, for us, that is just a transformative ability that we were lacking. I suspect a lot of other businesses are in the same boat.

Are there other specific resources that you utilized to become proficient in those tools?

I think everybody should start off by going through those Trailhead modules to get a good base-level understanding of how Salesforce works. As they harness that base-level of understanding, it will generate new questions for their particularl use case and how these different tools can interact with each other to be very productive for them. And as they look at making those integrations happen across reports, dashboards, Chatter, etc., they might get into some really targeted and specific creative questions. That is where the Idea Exchange and other forums can help find answers to those more complex questions.

Question Five: What's your proudest Salesforce accomplishment or project?

I think for sure migrating to Lightning has got to be by far the most important accomplishment to us. We've been able to define new key-performance indicators that we never would have thought of at all in the past. The impossible has become not just possible, but very real very quickly.

Because of this functionality (and the ability to dream up these new key-performance indicators because technology's allowed you to do that), Salesforce has allowed us to reimagine what needs to be measured in our business, and it's helped us find areas where we can improve that we never would have thought possible before.

All that happened through migrating to Lightning and the functionality that exists inside of Lightning. So, I think that's why it's our biggest accomplishment.

Question Six: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

If I had any other things to share offhand, I would say--outside of just the sales-management-use case--I would say that in business it's a challenge most of the time to get everybody, every member of the team, whether it's a small team or a large team, to all be really looking in the same direction.

Salesforce really makes that possible on a daily level.

For the CEO of a business to communicate their vision and their goal very clearly, and have that backed up through a technology platform that gets everybody in sync with that, it's a powerful, powerful thing.

We're realizing that in kind of its infancy here at Incredible Pizza Company. I'm really excited in 20 years to see the impact that this has had long-term, because when you talk about big challenges, you're talking about things like vision; questions like "why do we do what we do as a business?" and "How do we communicate the vision and the passion of the CEO or the founder of a business all the way down to the people on the frontlines in our facilities and in our restaurants that are handling the guest experience? They are creating first impressions every day."

These are things that we can now really accomplish so much easier and get better insights on, and so I think that for other businesses, if that sounds like you and you've wrestled with those questions of "How do we communicate our vision to every member of our team?" a technology platform like Salesforce and Lightning can really go a long way into answering that question for you.

Salesforce is one of those things where it's like if you can dream it, you can have it.

Connect with Zack:

*Merlin Guides’ interview series asks Salesforce consultants, administrators, and experts to share their stories, successes, tips and tricks, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ayla at Ayla@MerlinGuides.com