Making a successful Salesforce implementation requires careful planning and execution. In this blog, I’ll share some key insights based on what I’ve learned over the years which can help you get the most out of your Salesforce implementation. My perspective is from the side of a Salesforce Consulting partner and my experience working with clients.
Every implementation is different with many different variables and a lot of moving parts. I am going to cover five of my suggestions and hope that it helps!
#1 – Define Goals and Objects
- Define High-level Goals and Objectives
- Gather Requirements
- Prioritize Requirements
Define High-level Goals and Objectives: First and foremost, a successful Salesforce implementation requires careful planning and preparation. This means taking the time to understand your business requirements and how Salesforce can meet those needs. Prior to the kickoff of an engagement with a Salesforce partner, know what you want to accomplish at a high level. This will help you determine the specific features and functionality you need from Salesforce and the resources and budget required to achieve your goals.
Gather Requirements: Get a little more specific with your goals. Do you want Salesforce to integrate with another system? That’s great! In what scenarios should data pass back and forth? What objects are involved? Who can edit these records? This can all be done before you reach out to a Salesforce partner and it helps us know exactly what you want. We will help you fine-tune them and put them into “Salesforce terms” but we want this project to be successful just as badly as you and with specific requirements, we can guarantee they will happen.
Prioritize Requirements: Take your requirements and rank them. It can be one through ten or in buckets of must-haves vs nice-to-haves. Especially when working with a budget you can ensure that the items you care most about are included in this phase of this implementation.
#2 – Gather a Team
- Find your experts
- Clear up their schedule
- Support from the top
Find your experts: I’m going to point you to a specific episode in a podcast that I listen to. The podcast is Against the Rules with Michael Lewis and it is Season 3, Episode 1 (all episodes in all three seasons are great). The concept of this episode is ‘finding your L6’ which are your employees in the weeds doing the work (six levels down). They know the problems and solutions because they live and breathe it on a daily basis. One of the biggest mistakes I see is these people are not included in the implementation and when we get to go-live we have holes in our solution.
Clear up their schedule: Whoever gets put on the implementation team, make sure they have the time to do it right. Everyone has a busy schedule, sales quotas to hit, etc… If you do not adjust their schedule and priorities, they will either not be fully invested or work a lot of overtime. If you use a Salesforce partner, I would recommend ensuring that every team member has 8-10 hours a week they can dedicate to the success of the implementation (this will vary based on the size).
Support from the top: This is absolutely critical to the success of any Salesforce implementation. Make sure everyone is on board, including senior management and C-Suite members. Make sure they agree with your goals and requirements. Simply put – if it matters to them it is more likely to matter to everyone.
#3 – Educate Your Users
- Be diligent with UAT
- Come up with a training plan
- Designate team leaders
Be diligent with UAT: As a Salesforce partner, we do everything we can to get it right. We go through discovery and have multiple touchpoints along the way but at the end of the day, we never know as much about your business as you do! This is where UAT comes in. Take it seriously and do things you do in your everyday life to make sure it works with Salesforce.
Come up with a training plan: There will be a lot of Salesforce users who are not part of the implementation team, they have to be trained too! Provide adequate training and support for your users. It’s important to ensure that your users are comfortable and proficient with the new system. Provide training materials and resources (we can help with this).
Designate team leaders: Make sure each team has someone they can go to for the first round of questions that come up. Not everything has to be escalated to who did the build or the system admin. It can be power users, people with previous experience, or members of the implementation team. The goal is to make sure that support is available for any questions or issues that arise.
#4 – Data Migration Plan
- Have an expert
- Do multiple rounds of sample imports
- It is time-consuming
Note: Not all implementations have data migration.
Have an expert: If you are working with a Salesforce partner you are off to a good start as we have experience with this. However, we will need someone on your team that is an expert at exporting and manipulating data. The data migration process is often one of the most complex and time-consuming aspects of a Salesforce implementation and we need to make sure we have someone who knows what they are doing.
Do multiple rounds of sample imports: You can have data mapping documents and be really detailed in your notes, but nothing beats doing a sample import into Salesforce. Every project I’ve ever worked on has a few issues that pop up and need to be fixed before we import data into production.
It is time-consuming: We start the data migration process from day one. The back and forth and ensuring everything is configured in the EXACT format that Salesforce needs takes time. This has to be top of mind throughout the entire implementation and it is critical to do it right the first time.
#5 – It’s an Ongoing Process
- Monitor and track performance
- Gather feedback
- Follow through
Monitor and track performance: While not specifically called out above, you want to make sure your goals, objectives, and requirements have KPIs associated with them. After go-live, see how everything is going! It’s important to remember that a successful Salesforce implementation is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. You will need to continue to support and maintain Salesforce after it is implemented in order to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of your business. This may require ongoing training and support for users, as well as regular updates and enhancements to the platform.
Gather feedback: Both from reports and your Salesforce users. Take the feedback seriously and use them to identify what happens next. There will always be room for improvement and the best goals, objectives, and requirements for the next implementation comes from your team!
Follow through: Change is hard! Every Salesforce implementation, in one form or another, has changed the status quo and this can be stressful and difficult for employees. As mentioned above, make sure you listen to them. However, it means nothing if you don’t follow through and take their ideas and implement them. This will establish trust which will lead to more feedback which will lead to the best solutions to our problems and the most successful implementations!
Brian is one of our Senior Salesforce Business Consultants, who continuously strive for customer success and the highest level of satisfaction. He has a sophisticated background in supply chain management, sales, and marketing which makes him one of our finest Salesforce business consultants.
We’re an Austin-based Salesforce Consulting Partner, with a passion and belief that the Salesforce platform’s capabilities can help businesses run more efficiently and effectively. Whether you are just getting started with Salesforce or looking to realize its full potential, Roycon specializes in Salesforce Implementations, Salesforce Ongoing Support, and Salesforce Integrations, and Development. We’re the certified partner to guide the way to increase Salesforce Adoption, make strategic decisions, and build your Salesforce Roadmap for success.