customer experience

The success of a new Salesforce CRM implementation hinges on the due diligence put forth to prepare for it. It’s the company’s readiness that is the difference-maker between a successful and unsuccessful deployment. Salesforce implementation is not a simple flick of the switch, but rather a carefully thought-out process that carries you well after launch.

Here are a few best practices to help get you on your way:

Create a Clear Timeline

It’s not enough to just hope your team will complete tasks before the deadline. You have to start at the beginning and plan out tasks and milestones with a clear Salesforce CRM implementation timeline as part of your statement of work and workflow. This may include major deliverables broken down by task, start and end dates, estimated switch-over date, and go-live date.

It’s important to remember even the most detailed and meticulous schedules are bound to change. As long as humans are in charge, there will be decisions made along the way that affect the schedule. The key to successful implementation is adapting and adjusting to these changes and staying organized and on track so all parties are aware of projects and next steps. 

Don’t stress your team out by setting dates no one will be able to hit. Discuss the plan and goals with each member and decide if these goals are realistic. When there is no plan outlined and shared across departments, there’s a gap of knowledge and understanding of what is being built and why. It can lead to frustrated team members as expectations and needs are not defined or met. It can translate to slow Salesforce implementation and lack of adoption, which can be costly to the organization.

Having a clear timeline holds people and departments accountable. It improves the customer and vendor experience, ensuring greater satisfaction and end-user adoption while completing projects on time and on budget.

Prepare the Data

The goal of Salesforce is to bring various data sources into one central location to make the right data available to the right people at the right time. Getting the right data into Salesforce is critical and can be a challenge. Companies across all industries know the importance of data for delivering value to their customers, yet improving its quality is often overlooked, even though it significantly enhances productivity. 

Data quality problems do not present themselves until the project is underway. In fact, a recent survey involving 150 Salesforce users across multiple clients found data quality to be the biggest factor impacting user adoption

Often, companies will have different databases and software for different aspects of the business such as sales, marketing, customer service, order fulfillment, etc. This increases the chances of misinterpretation and duplication of data, among other kinds of errors.

Integrating data effectively requires an up-front and thoughtful analysis of current data sources, specific data needs, frequency of data exchanges, and more. Once the data sources are identified, it’s important to make a plan around how that data will integrate into the new system. Having organized and complete data in the system when you go live will increase user adoption, create efficiencies and improve future data collection. 

Having clean data before your Salesforce CRM implementation makes for more efficient business practices when multiple data sources are at play. Sorting through the data on your existing platform first helps determine exactly what needs to be transferred over. As a result, it increases overall productivity, informed decision-making and reduces the risk of errors post-implementation. High-quality, well-integrated customer data is the cornerstone of a successful CRM project. 

 

Utilize the Right Salesforce Implementation Partner

Most businesses that adopt the Salesforce Platform either have a dedicated team on staff to get things started or an outside implementation partner. A good Salesforce CRM implementation partner combines technical expertise with business experience, knowing that it’s more than just a tactical transfer of information. It’s about understanding the business and designing workflows and processes that fit the way that particular business operates.

For growing businesses, they’ll want a partner to help customize their Salesforce CRM so it keeps up with the pace of the business growth. That’s why relying on outside help with an outside perspective can create real value; finding a team that knows the right CRM system that will capture data and share a single source of truth and 360-degree view of all customers. When there are partners by your side with deep knowledge of best practices to avoid costly mistakes, it sets your organization up for a productive adoption beyond launch day.

While Salesforce offers an amazing CRM platform, it does not offer implementation services. Finding the right partner to help guide you through is a key strategy for continuing success. The road to enterprise CRM success can be long, and even with the most careful planning and preparation, unforeseen challenges can arise. It helps to have a trusted advisor beside you who has been down that path before and has a proven track record of implementation success.

Be Prepared

The innovative, cloud-based Salesforce CRM carries a load of possibilities that ensure better business growth for organizations of all industries. Understanding the scope of the implementation project before one embarks on it, and having the resolve to stick to it, is important. 

Along with mapping out a clear timeline, there should be a comprehensive data management strategy in place at the beginning of the implementation. You don’t want to implement a powerful, expensive tool for no one to have the skills to use it. Investment in professional, standardized training is an investment in your business and team and should be viewed as the foundation to any Salesforce CRM implementation.

Steve Baines