Before diving into Salesforce implementation, read through the checklist below.
Salesforce is an exceptionally in-depth and complex platform – and the bigger your company is, the more challenging its customization and implementation will be. You aren’t quite done with CRM improvements after purchasing a Salesforce solution – you still have weeks and perhaps even months of setup work ahead.
To hopefully guide you in the right direction, let’s now have a look at a few key points to consider on your Salesforce implementation journey.
First and foremost, you should understand why you are using Salesforce in the first place. A few base questions to answer are:
✓ What do you want to accomplish through Salesforce?
✓ What problems will you solve with Salesforce?
✓ How can Salesforce help you with your issues?
Remember – your goals should be realistic and achievable. Ideally, they should be quantifiable too. As many experts put it, your goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. This little abbreviation perfectly illustrates what you should pursue.
Not only that, but you should subdivide the entire project into smaller goals – this will help you create an implementation roadmap and will allow you to track results easier.
Additionally, discuss the decided goals with other members of your team or organization to make sure that they’re indeed what’s necessary and that people understand what you are doing everything for.
Not everything will be spot-on throughout the implementation process – there are some risks that you should be aware of and should seriously work to avoid. Among the key implementations risks with Salesforce may be:
✓ Wasting time on features that you do not need.
✓ A delayed implementation with benefits that are no longer benefits when the project is completed.
✓ A Salesforce solution that doesn’t do what the end-users want or need.
Next, determine who the end-user of your Salesforce solution will be. Will it be the sales team, the marketing team, or maybe the finance team? Who are you implementing Salesforce for?
Most likely, you will need to implement Salesforce for more than one department – in fact, the needs of each department may differ vastly. Not only that, but you shouldn’t implement something that your teams don’t need or don’t want to use, so it’s important that you define who your Salesforce implementation is for.
You should then establish a timeline for your Salesforce implementation project.
This is particularly important because your company has other important things to do – ideally, the Salesforce project shouldn’t overlap or interfere with other major plans. Your timeline should ensure that Salesforce implementation is minimally disruptive for your business.
Apart from that, the availability of team members may vary from time to time – be sure to avoid stressing your Salesforce team when its key members are out of office. Understand the availability of other resources as well to make sure your project is efficient.
Once your implementation is up and running, how will you determine if it’s doing what it’s supposed to do? Here’s when performance metrics come into play.
Your performance metrics should reflect your Salesforce implementation goals – if your main goal is, for example, to decrease customer churn rate by 20%, then your base performance metric, obviously, will be the churn rate.
This is an overly simplified example – in reality, you are likely to have more than one goal with dozens of metrics. But no matter how complex your project is, do make sure to set metrics.
Your implementation team should have the following members:
✓ The executive sponsor, who will be responsible for the success of the Salesforce project.
✓ The project owner, who is the leader of your implementation team.
✓ The project manager, who performs status updates and holds team members accountable.
✓ The system administrator, who is responsible for managing and setting up your system.
✓ The power user, who will be your test user – their purpose is to provide feedback to bring issues to the attention of other team members and make sure that the system meets the demands of the top management and end-users.
If budget allows, you may also incorporate trainers in your Salesforce implementation team. Trainers will identify weaknesses in team members and develop relevant strategies and/or learning materials for them.
Salesforce is exceptionally complex, and it’s very easy to miss crucial details that will lead to wasted potential and efficiency. It’s therefore crucial that you educate your team before and during the implementation of the project.
Online resources & documentation can only do so much – high-quality training, on the other hand, would provide your team with hands-on skills and understanding of how to optimize the complex system that is Salesforce. So before the assigned team begins to work, it should undergo training to understand how Salesforce works and what the team can do with it.
Data is paramount to the success of your Salesforce implementation – without sufficient or quality data, your team will not be able to identify flaws and act accordingly to resolve them.
Here are a few things you could do to ensure that your data is spot-on:
✓ Determine whether currently, available data is sufficient for your goals.
✓ Assess your current data sources for errors and integrity issues.
✓ Assess whether any additional data needs to be collected for analysis.
✓ Prioritize some data over others and ignore information that is irrelevant to your goals.
Finally, it’s key that you communicate with the end-users after launching your Salesforce toolset. You should continuously collect feedback from them to determine whether your current version is exactly what you and they need.
If any issues arise, make sure that your IT team addresses any concerns from end-users and ensures that any and all queries are reviewed.
That’s it for our guide! Note that we’ve had a very general overview of Salesforce implementation – the details are much more complex and will need to be assessed by you.