With over 150,000 end-users and a nearly 20% market share, Salesforce maintains its position as the world’s leading customer relationship management solution. By automating business processes and providing a 360-degree customer view, the platform helps companies drive doubled email conversions, increase lead volumes, and boost sales.
Those benefits are within your organization’s reach, too. However, efficient Salesforce implementation is an ambitious undertaking that requires a well-conceived strategy. How to create it? Here are several tips to consider.
Don’t… Start Without a Plan
Signing up to Salesforce is relatively simple. Implementing the system, taking account of your company size, user profiles, and the business niche you operate in—much less so. The estimated failure rate of CRM projects reaches 70%, and this often results from the lack of accurate planning.
To achieve the expected results from Salesforce implementation and avoid common pitfalls, develop a detailed plan collating your business goals, available budget and resources, and KPIs. Think of how you’re going to align your sales & marketing departments with the deployed platform and decide which Salesforce Clouds you need to implement first.
Don’t… Settle on Default Features
Salesforce offers a high degree of adaptability and countless features. You might want to fine-tune every single detail to your exact requirements through intuitive point-and-click configuration, or more complex code-based customization.
By tailoring Salesforce beyond its standard features, you can improve data visualization and reporting, adjust UI, add custom fields and objects, and automate your unique processes. Through integration, you can leverage external systems and technologies to optimize the system capabilities further. These and other personalization methods are what can drive streamlined workflows, productivity growth, and a tangible revenue increase.
Don’t… Overlook Common Implementation Risks
Neglecting Salesforce implementation risks can have a destructive impact on your ROI. Some of the most common mistakes made while deploying platform-based and custom-built CRMs include:
- Over-complicated requirements, which often stem from unrealistic expectations.
- Irrelevant features that may incur extra costs.
- Poor data quality has a severe impact on the overall effectiveness of your work.
- Lack of project management leads to drawn-out project implementation.
Don’t… Ignore End Users
Any system becomes worthless if its end users see no value in using it. That’s why it’s essential to involve users in the project from a very early stage. To achieve that, start by building detailed profiles of your user groups. Which teams are going to use the Salesforce apps? What are their current pain points and concerns? By carefully mapping out user journeys at the design stage and collecting user feedback before the system goes live, you will make it easier to secure user adoption of the deployed solution later on.
Don’t… Think It’s All Done Once Salesforce Is Live
Salesforce is a massive system that needs constant monitoring and maintenance for smooth operation. After the launch, schedule 2-4 months for the reconciliation of bugs and issues that couldn’t have been spotted at the quality assurance stage. Note that this phase may consume up to 10% of the budget spent on the entire implementation. Once your deployment is stable, remember about regular system checks and upgrades to keep the system functional, up-to-date, and aligned with your changing business needs.
Do… Determine Your Expectations
Most companies typically use a CRM system for contact management and tracking customer interactions. Less than third leverage it for email marketing, and even fewer for lead generation.
Salesforce serves diverse and specific business objectives, and it’s up to you to understand what you want to achieve through the implementation, whether it’s to automate marketing tasks, reach more qualified leads, or track customer interactions through a mix of offline and online touchpoints. Before the deployment, define your expectations and set realistic business-specific goals that can be broken into smaller milestones.
Do… Get Executive Buy-In
We mentioned that user support is essential to make the best out of Salesforce. Full acceptance from top management is another significant ingredient of the implementation success. Ensure that you communicate the business and operational values of the system to the company’s management at all levels. By identifying and supporting leaders willing to promote the solution, you can dramatically cut the adoption time, cost, and efforts.
Do… Prepare Data
One of the most complex and significant stages of Salesforce implementation is the preparation and migration of data. Even if the system is running seamlessly, it won’t be delivering value if you operate on missing, irrelevant, or duplicate information.
To expedite data migration and ensure the proper functioning of the system, verify and clean up all data sets before you move them to Salesforce. Check accuracy and completeness of the existing information, map fields from your current database to Salesforce, and set up duplication and migration rules to streamline and speed up the process.
Do… Join Efforts with a Salesforce Consulting Partner
There are numerous traps to implementing a robust system like Salesforce. That’s why many companies prefer to hand over this task to professionals. Expert Salesforce consultants will help you make Salesforce work specifically for your business, and expand and adjust its capabilities as your needs evolve. They will work with your teams to carefully analyze your requirements, recommend the most appropriate Salesforce cloud, and design a scalable and high-performing solution that efficiently solves your challenges. And you will be able to enjoy peace of mind, being confident about positive implementation outcomes.
Do… Set Realistic Timeframe and Budget
Multiple variables impact the cost and duration of Salesforce implementation. They include the number and profile of end-users, the team that carries out the project (in-house, freelance, consultants), the quality and volume of your existing data, as well as the goals you are looking to achieve.
Depending on these factors, Salesforce implementation may require anything from $5,000 to $50,000 and take from 2-8 weeks. But don’t be deterred by these numbers. On average, companies leveraging Salesforce experience up to a 25% increase in revenue and marketing ROI, and see customer satisfaction scores grow by 35%. When done right, CRM implementation is an investment that pays off quickly.
Customer-centric systems like Salesforce reimagine how modern businesses engage with their buyers, creating long-run profitability through customer engagement. However, their successful implementation is a colossal task and requires a thorough plan. When factoring in all the above guidelines and recommendations, you will have a much higher chance to avoid common implementation pitfalls and see it paying off in the long term.