If you’re reading this, you’ve made the exciting decision to move forward with Salesforce as your CRM solution. Congratulations! At this point in the process, Salesforce clients begin to ask themselves: can my company self-implement, or do we need to hire a Salesforce implementation partner?
There are various resources regarding the Salesforce implementation process that can provide information to help your team make a decision. We always encourage Salesforce clients to do their research – ask your Salesforce account team for advice, peruse the Salesforce forum, and of course read the rest of this article! So, let’s get to learning more about how to make your Salesforce dreams turn into a reality.
What is a Salesforce Implementation Partner?
A Salesforce implementation partner is a company that Salesforce has authorized to implement projects, create custom solutions, and help customers’ take their platform to the next level based on their needs and goals. The services offered by Salesforce implementation partners can include needs analysis, solution design, configuration, custom app development, data migration, user training, and ongoing support. Implementation partners have extensive experience with the Salesforce platform through accomplishing rigorous certifications, and can provide best practices and guidance to help businesses maximize the value of their Salesforce investment.
Sounds great…but, so what?
Although companies may have additional allocated resources, such as an admin or IT team, Salesforce implementation partners have extensive knowledge of the Salesforce platform and its capabilities. This knowledge is gained through years of experience working with the platform and a deep understanding of its features and capabilities. Using a Salesforce implementation partner can also help companies avoid mistakes during the implementation of a Salesforce solution by leveraging the experience, best practices, and expertise of the partner. With the right Salesforce implementation partner, companies can ensure a successful implementation, avoid common pitfalls, and achieve the desired results from their Salesforce investment.
Some of the areas where using a partner can help companies avoid mistakes during the implementation of a Salesforce solution include:
- Experience: Salesforce implementation partners have extensive experience in implementing Salesforce solutions. They have seen and dealt with a wide range of challenges and can help you avoid common pitfalls that can arise during the implementation process.
- Best practices: Salesforce implementation partners have access to best practices and proven methodologies that they can use to guide your implementation. They can help you avoid making mistakes that can impact the success of your implementation, such as neglecting important steps in the process or missing critical deadlines.
- Configuration: Salesforce is a complex platform that requires specialized knowledge to configure correctly. A Salesforce implementation partner can help you avoid configuration mistakes that can impact the functionality of your solution, such as setting up the wrong permissions or security settings. Implementation partners have in-depth knowledge of the Salesforce platform and how to configure it to meet the specifics needs of a business. They can help businesses understand the different features and functionalities available, design and configure a solution that best meets their requirements. Without the guidance of a Salesforce implementation partner, businesses may configure the platform in a way that does not align with their specific needs or best practices. This can result in an inefficient solution that does not meet the desired outcomes, and can lead to additional time and costs to rework the configuration.
- Business Processes: Partners have experience working with businesses of various sizes and industries and have a good understanding of common business processes. They can help businesses design a Salesforce solution that aligns with their unique business processes, streamlining operations and improving efficiency.
- Data Management & Migration: Partners also have an extensive knowledge of data management and can help businesses implement effective data management practices. They can assist with data migration, ensuring that data is accurately and efficiently moved from legacy systems to Salesforce, and help businesses maintain clean and accurate data in the future. Data migration is a critical aspect of any Salesforce implementation, and without the guidance of an implementation partner, businesses may not have the necessary expertise to ensure that data is accurately and efficiently moved from legacy systems to Salesforce. This can result in data loss or corruption, which can negatively impact the accuracy and reliability of the platform.
- Customization: A Salesforce implementation partner can help you avoid customization mistakes by working with you to understand your business requirements and implementing a solution that meets those requirements.By understanding how to customize Salesforce to meet the specific needs of a business, implementation partners can help businesses understand the different customization options available. This includes custom objects, fields, and workflows, and implement customizations that align with their business requirements.
- Integration: Integrating Salesforce with other systems can be challenging, and mistakes can impact the functionality of your solution. A Salesforce implementation partner can help you avoid integration mistakes by ensuring that your Salesforce solution integrates seamlessly with your other systems, improving data accuracy and streamlining processes. Implementation partners have experience integrating Salesforce with other systems and can help businesses implement integrations that improve the efficiency and accuracy of their operations. They can help businesses avoid integration mistakes and ensure that integrations are set up correctly, improving the overall functionality of their Salesforce solution.
- User Adoption: Ensuring that your users adopt and effectively use Salesforce can be a challenge. A Salesforce implementation partner can help you avoid user adoption mistakes by providing training and support for your users. They can help you create a training plan that addresses the specific needs of your users, ensuring that everyone is able to use the platform effectively. User adoption is a critical factor in the success of any Salesforce implementation, and without the guidance of a Salesforce implementation partner, businesses may not have the necessary expertise to ensure that users are effectively trained and able to use the platform. This can result in low user adoption, which can negatively impact the ROI of the platform.
- Cost Overruns: Without the guidance of a Salesforce implementation partner, businesses may not have a clear understanding of the costs associated with the implementation and may face cost overruns as a result. An implementation partner can help businesses understand the costs associated with the implementation and help them stay within budget.
- Missed Opportunities: Salesforce is a highly customizable platform, and without the guidance of a Salesforce implementation partner, businesses may miss opportunities to customize the platform to meet their specific needs. This can result in a solution that does not fully align with the unique requirements of the business, which can negatively impact the ROI of the platform.
Salesforce implementation partners have extensive knowledge of the Salesforce platform and its capabilities. This knowledge, combined with their experience with businesses of various sizes and industries, allows them to provide valuable insights and guidance to help businesses maximize the value of their investment. Not using a Salesforce implementation partner when implementing a Salesforce solution can result in several risks. To ensure a successful implementation and maximize the value of the platform, it is recommended that businesses use a Salesforce implementation partner.
This is a large investment for my company, what are the long-term benefits of using an implementation partner?
Using a Salesforce implementation partner can help businesses achieve their future goals by providing the expertise, support, and resources necessary to implement a successful Salesforce solution.
- Scalability: Salesforce is a scalable platform that can grow with your business. A Salesforce implementation partner can help you implement a solution that can scale to meet your future needs. They can help you design a solution that can handle increased volumes of data and users as your business grows.
- Faster implementation time: Salesforce implementation partners have the necessary expertise and experience to implement the platform quickly and efficiently. This can result in a faster time to value and a quicker return on investment.
- Future-proofing: Salesforce is constantly evolving, and new features and functionality are regularly added. A Salesforce implementation partner can help you ensure that your solution is future-proof by implementing features and functionality that will continue to meet your business needs as Salesforce evolves.
- Long-term success: Salesforce implementation partners can help you achieve long-term success with your Salesforce solution by providing ongoing support and maintenance services. They can help you stay up-to-date with the latest Salesforce features and functionality, ensuring that your solution continues to meet your business needs over time.
- Improved efficiency: A Salesforce implementation partner can help you optimize your processes and workflows, increasing efficiency and productivity. They can help you automate manual processes, streamline your data management, and improve collaboration among teams. This can result in increased efficiency, which can positively impact business operations and increase the ROI of the platform.
- Better decision-making: Salesforce implementation partners can also help you improve your decision-making by providing you with the insights and analytics you need to make informed decisions. They can help you set up reporting and dashboards that provide real-time insights into your data, enabling you to make data-driven decisions.
- Increased customer satisfaction: Finally, a Salesforce implementation partner can help you increase customer satisfaction by improving your customer experience. They can help you implement a solution that provides a seamless customer experience, improving customer engagement and loyalty.
Where do I even begin? How do I go about determining whether or not an implementation partner is right for me?
Glad you asked! When choosing an implementation partner for a project, there are several important factors and questions to keep in mind:
- Experience and expertise: Ensure that the partner has a proven track record in delivering similar projects and has the necessary skills and expertise.
- Communication and collaboration: Good communication and collaboration are key to a successful project. Look for a partner who is responsive, easy to work with and has a collaborative approach.
- Cultural fit: Look for a partner whose values and work culture align with yours.
- Project management methodologies: Evaluate the partner’s project management processes and methodologies to ensure they align with your organization’s approach.
- Technical capabilities: Assess the partner’s technical infrastructure and processes to ensure they have the resources and capability to deliver the project effectively.
- Pricing and contract terms: Carefully evaluate the pricing and contract terms, including any hidden costs, to ensure that the project stays within budget.
- Problem-solving and risk management: Look for a partner who has a proactive approach to problem-solving and risk management to ensure they can effectively handle any challenges that may arise during the project.
- References and case studies: Ask for references and case studies to assess the quality of the partner’s work and to ensure they have the experience and expertise to deliver a successful project.
- Can you provide references from previous clients who have used your services?
- What is your experience and expertise in our industry and with the technology or processes we are implementing?
- How do you approach project management and ensure successful outcomes?
- What is your process for communicating with clients and ensuring that their needs are met?
- Can you provide a detailed proposal, including timelines, budgets, and resources required for the project?
- What is your process for addressing any issues or challenges that may arise during the project?
- How do you handle changes to the project plan and ensure that the project stays on track and stays within budget?
- What is your process for training and supporting clients after the project is completed?
- What is your availability for ongoing support and maintenance of the technology or processes being implemented?
- Can you provide examples of similar projects you have completed and what the outcomes were?
This is all good information but, most importantly, how much is this going to COST and how LONG is it going to take? What are the factors that could lead to costs spiraling out of control?
There are several factors that determine the cost of Salesforce implementation projects:
- Project scope: The scope of the project, including the number of Salesforce modules to be implemented, customization and integration requirements, and the complexity of the business processes, will impact the cost of the project.
- Size of the organization: The size of the organization, including the number of employees, locations, and systems to be integrated, will impact the cost of the project.
- Required resources: The resources required for the project, including the number of consultants, developers, and support staff, will impact the cost of the project.
- Length of the project: The length of the project, including the time required to complete the implementation, will impact the cost of the project.
- Customization and integrations: Customization and integration requirements, such as integrating Salesforce with other systems or adding custom functionality, will impact the cost of the project.
- Third-party tools and applications: The use of third-party tools and applications, such as Salesforce appexchange solutions, will impact the cost of the project.
- Data migration and cleanup: The cost of data migration and cleanup, including transferring data from existing systems and cleaning up and standardizing data, will impact the cost of the project.
- Training and support: The cost of training and support, including providing training to end-users and ongoing support and maintenance, will impact the cost of the project.
These are some of the main factors that determine the cost of Salesforce implementation projects. An implementation partner can provide a more detailed estimate of the cost of a project, taking into account all relevant factors.
The completion timeline of a Salesforce implementation project can be impacted by several factors, including:
- Project scope: The scope of the project, including the number of Salesforce modules to be implemented, customization and integration requirements, and the complexity of the business processes, can impact the completion timeline.
- Availability of resources: The availability of resources, including internal staff, consultants, and developers, can impact the completion timeline.
- Integration requirements: Integration requirements, such as integrating Salesforce with other systems, can impact the completion timeline.
- Data migration and cleanup: The time required to migrate data from existing systems and clean up and standardize data can impact the completion timeline.
- Customization requirements: Customization requirements, such as adding custom functionality, can impact the completion timeline.
- User adoption and training: The time required to train end-users and ensure user adoption can impact the completion timeline.
- Unforeseen circumstances: Unforeseen circumstances, such as changes in project requirements, unexpected technical issues, or delays in decision-making, can impact the completion timeline.
- Project management methodology: The project management methodology used, including agile, waterfall, or a hybrid approach, can impact the completion timeline.
By taking these factors into account, it is possible to create a realistic completion timeline for a Salesforce implementation project. An experienced implementation partner can provide a more detailed estimate of the completion timeline, taking into account all relevant factors.
How to Avoid Spiraling Costs:
There are several factors that could lead to implementation projects costs spiraling out of control, including:
- Underestimating project scope: Underestimating the scope of the project, including the number of Salesforce modules to be implemented, customization and integration requirements, and the complexity of the business processes, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
- Unforeseen requirements: Unexpected changes in project requirements, such as additional customization or integration needs, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
- Data migration challenges: Data migration challenges, such as transferring large amounts of data from existing systems or cleaning up and standardizing data, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
- Technical issues: Technical issues, such as compatibility issues between Salesforce and other systems or unexpected technical difficulties, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
- Poor project management: Poor project management, including lack of clear project goals, ineffective communication, and lack of project planning and monitoring, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
- Unclear stakeholder requirements: Unclear stakeholder requirements, such as lack of agreement on project goals and requirements, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
- Inadequate resources: Inadequate resources, including insufficient internal staff, consultants, or support staff, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
- Underestimating training and support needs: Underestimating the time and resources required for training and support, including providing training to end-users and ongoing support and maintenance, can lead to costs spiraling out of control.
By avoiding these factors, it is possible to minimize the risk of implementation projects costs spiraling out of control. An experienced implementation partner can help ensure that project goals and costs are managed effectively, minimizing the risk of cost overruns.
I think I’m ready to get started, but how do I prepare my team?
To prepare your company for success when undergoing an implementation project, consider the following steps:
- Define clear goals and objectives: Identify what you hope to achieve with the project and create a clear, concise project plan that outlines the goals and objectives.
- Assign a project team: Assemble a cross-functional team with the skills and expertise required to deliver the project, and assign clear roles and responsibilities.
- Communicate the project plan: Ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the project plan, goals, and timeline. Maintain open communication throughout the project to keep everyone informed and on track.
- Evaluate the technology: Ensure that the technology you are implementing is the right fit for your company, and conduct thorough testing to identify any potential issues before the project goes live.
- Prepare for change management: Implementing new technology often requires changes to business processes and workflows. Plan for these changes and provide training and support to ensure a smooth transition.
- Plan for ongoing support and maintenance: Consider the long-term support and maintenance needs of the technology, and put processes in place to ensure that the technology continues to operate effectively.
- Monitor progress: Regularly monitor the project’s progress and take action to address any issues that arise. Be open to feedback and adapt the project plan as necessary to ensure a successful outcome.
Any ending thoughts?
Using a Salesforce implementation partner is important for several reasons. A well-chosen implementation partner can bring expertise, experience, and knowledge to a project, ensuring that the implementation is delivered successfully, on time, and within budget. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations, helping companies to optimize their Salesforce investment. An implementation partner can also provide ongoing support and maintenance, helping companies to get the most value from their Salesforce investment over the long term.
A good implementation partner should have a deep understanding of Salesforce and the technical capabilities to deliver complex customizations, integrations, and data migrations. They should also have strong communication and collaboration skills, ensuring effective communication between all stakeholders.
In conclusion, using a Salesforce implementation partner can bring many benefits to a project and help companies to achieve their goals. By choosing the right implementation partner, companies can ensure that their Salesforce implementation is successful, helping them to optimize their investment and achieve their desired outcomes.
And if you have any further questions regarding your Salesforce implementation, make sure to give Roycon a call!
Being involved in the Salesforce ecosystem within the Sales and Equality organizations, Samantha is excited to share her knowledge and experiences to help others understand the power and impact of Salesforce’s solutions. As the Alliance Manager for Roycon, she is responsible for overseeing and managing strategic partnerships between organizations. Samantha is looking forward to utilizing her expertise in a multitude of industries and transformational projects, to align and build partnerships with businesses to ensure their success and satisfaction as they transform their company.
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.