Alere Toxicology Customer Story

"I'm now confident that our Salesforce users get the help that they need..." - Sam Cobley, Online Development Manager

Who are Alere Toxicology?

Alere Toxicology is a world leading provider of diagnostic products and connected health solutions. They are committed to providing innovative solutions and support to organisations seeking to detect and deter the abuse of drugs and alcohol across a wide variety of industries, including employers, government agencies, occupational health clinics, family lawyers, drug treatment & rehabilitation centres and distributors.


Click here to read more about Alere Toxicology

How Alere Toxicology uses Salesforce…

Alere’s CRM of choice is Salesforce and Alere Toxicology has a separate and highly customized instance of Salesforce that integrates with their specialist Laboratory Management Information System, as well as managing accounts and the sales pipeline. Salesforce is pivotal to everything they do.


So what’s the problem?

Sam Cobley, Online Development Manager, Alere Toxicology has first-hand experience of the difficulties of training an external sales team – and employees based across several locations – with the limitations of standard Salesforce help. It means that training and onboarding Salesforce users can be expensive and a time-consuming process.


“The help functionality that Salesforce has out of the box isn’t really fit for purpose to be honest. It doesn’t give anywhere near the functionality that most businesses need, especially when it comes to onboarding for people that have never used Salesforce before. It takes a lot of time to get somebody up to speed…and when you’ve got new people starting fairly frequently it’s just not feasible.” Sam Cobley


Why is the Alere Toxicology team glad it turned to Improved Apps for help?

Improved Apps has provided a cost-effective solution to communicate change effectively – as well as embed new and existing training materials as in-page help. These ensure Alere Toxicology’s salesforce users have the correct answers to questions exactly where they need them.


“I’m now confident that our Salesforce users get the help that they need and that it’s worth me spending time writing a guide or creating help topics because I know that the users find it on screen, engage with the information and as a result are far more proficient and comfortable using Salesforce..” Sam Cobley
“The benefits for saving time updating and creating training material are huge. With the implementation of Improved Apps, a new Salesforce user, technically and realistically shouldn’t need any training from me other than a quick intro into what Salesforce is and what it does. Everything else they need will be published in the application, so that they only have to call on me if they have additional questions.” Sam Cobley


Full Interview with Sam Cobley

Alere Toxicology

How does Alere Toxicology use Salesforce?

Salesforce is our CRM of choice across Alere, and in Alere Toxicology we actually have a separate instance of Salesforce to the rest of Alere, because we’ve done heavy customization on it to drive our lab systems, manage our accounts, manage the sales pipeline, but also to set up our lab contracts which determines what testing we’re going to do for our clients, and then that information is all pushed from Salesforce into our LIMS, which is our Laboratory Management Information System, which means that our customer services teams can quickly make amendments to clients’ contracts and things like that.

We see it as pivotal to everything we do really, having one source of the truth if you like, so no matter what it is you’re trying to find out you can probably get it from Salesforce.

But what are the challenges you have using Salesforce that you want to overcome?

We do have an external sales team and we do have employees based across several locations, so obviously delivering training to a workforce like that is challenging; it takes up a lot of my time so what we really wanted to do was to give a better in-page help functionality than what Salesforce has got as standard, and Improved Help obviously does that very well.

What are the benefits of embedding context-sensitive help at the point of need in Salesforce?

In terms of being able to go about your daily duties it’s very frustrating if you can’t do something, because you want to do it now before you forget about it, or you just wont bother doing it… you just think ‘oh I don’t have to do that and never do it’, so I think that’s the main benefit for people. Embedded help gives them the opportunity to fix things there and then rather than having to wait for someone to reply. And then obviously clearing up some things, where users have always wondered what a field was for or they’ve always wondered how you did something – Improved Help provides the answers, so it’s educational and broadens their understanding.

What are the advantages in using Improved Noticeboard?

The Noticeboard fits in when it comes to launching new training or whether we’ve changed something within Salesforce – the notification pops up on the page as and when they load it, which means I can track who’s seen it, who’s accepted that they’ve acknowledged it and then if anyone has any troubles they know who they need to speak to. So it just helps with the communication about changes to Salesforce or new training guides as and when they become available.

What would you say to an organization considering purchasing Improved Apps?

Certainly for businesses with maybe a slightly larger user-base of Salesforce, training is going to be a bit of a logistical nightmare, certainly in terms of the time it takes, whereas I think Improved Help takes a lot of the headaches away from that. It gives training to people where and when they need it whether they’re in Dubai or whether they’re in Scotland. I think that’s the beauty of the system.

What long-term benefits do you see yourself achieving with Improved Apps?

For us the key benefits that we want to see is the reduced need for training, in face-to-face or through a webex type session because the Improved Help guides and help tips are there, and it’s also increasing the adoption of Salesforce, and the fact that people are more comfortable using the system and are going to use it more often and make more use out of the system itself because they know how it all works. So it’s not just reducing the training it’s also getting people using Salesforce more effectively and more frequently.

And I think for the Improved Noticeboard it’s knowing that our users have seen and understood notifications, whereas you can send out an email to a group of people and you don’t really know who’s actually opened it and read it properly and who’s understood it, so the tracking that the Improved Noticeboard gives you is much, much better.

And let’s not forget the analytics…

And obviously we’ve then got the analytics side of Improved Help which is something that we’re looking forward to using to understand what tutorials are most effective, and the fact that people can post comments and questions in them as well is a good thing as it gives you in the moment feedback which is something that can be lost otherwise without that sort of functionality.

How have you found the support from Improved Apps and just how easy is it to use?

The implementation went very easily; we were shown how to set up the help guides; enabling the help is pretty easy in the page you just need to click enable and the click on the fields you want to enable tool tips for. It’s all nice and straightforward as far as that goes. I think anyone who is familiar with Salesforce wouldn’t have too many problems, and if ever I’ve had a question it’s always been answered very quickly so we don’t have any complaints at all from the support side, so it’s very good.

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