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  • Writer's pictureCorey Schwitz

Finally, A Clear and Concise Salesforce Implementation Guide

Implementing a CRM like Salesforce can seem like a substantial undertaking for any organization. The bottom line is that implementation should intentionally be as simple as possible to maximize adoption, but in this case, achieving simplicity actually comes with expertise.


Knowing what requests to say “No” to and how to avoid over-complicating the CRM in an attempt to make it full-featured are skills that take practice to hone.


Due to its comprehensive library of features, Salesforce can present challenges and seem confusing even to capable teams. And while it offers some out-of-the-box functionalities, most organizations require customization to align with their unique business processes and needs.


This Salesforce implementation guide will help you confidently streamline your implementation and get the most out of the platform.


Preparing for success


CRM implementation has a high rate of failure. The key to a successful implementation is meticulous preparation. You’ll want to extensively understand how your team is planning to actually use the CRM, what information is crucial to gather for the benefit of other departments as well as for sales and customer success management, and how the sales and support process should flow from beginning to end.


From there, you should take care not to overly indulge the requests from non-operations professionals: for this field and that field, for all sorts of extras and bells and whistles, and for complexity in general. Non professionals will often ask for ‘more’, but the job of the CRM implementation specialist is to filter those requests and choose the simplest path that actually helps the team adopt, use, and (dare we say) enjoy the CRM.



Options for a Salesforce implementation


DIY


Though rare (about 70% of Implementation is done by partners ), some smaller businesses attempt a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to implement Salesforce. While this method may seem cost-effective initially, it can result in technical debt that incurs higher costs over time and delays the adoption process.


That being said, a DIY approach may make sense for smaller organizations that don’t have the resources for an implementation partner or for whom implementation is being run by someone who has extensive CRM usage experience and is willing to hire a consultant to teach them what to do, and/or to read extensively about the subject, picking up books such as “Lightning Sales Ops” by Matt Bertuzzi or others of that caliber.


Working with a partner


The second option is to hire a trusted partner offering Salesforce implementation services to complete the process for you. Hiring a reputable partner offers a smoother and faster implementation process. Partners can also intelligently and gracefully push back on erroneous requests to overcomplicate the CRM and remind you that an effective, smooth adoption - not “exhaustively capturing all data” - is the ultimate goal.


Experienced implementation partners can guide you through building system architecture, reporting, integrations, and training, ensuring a tailored approach that matches your true business needs, even taking your own Requirements list with the grain of salt taken by experts in their field.


The step-by-step guide to Salesforce implementation


Implementing a tool like Salesforce is a pivotal step toward enhancing organizational growth, reporting, and sales performance. However, a poorly executed implementation can hinder productivity and cause salespeople to dislike a CRM.


At a minimum, here’s what you’ll need to achieve:


1. Determine business needs and filter out bad-fit requests


Understand your organization’s unique needs and set aligned goals. Define simple, adoptable processes within Salesforce and agree on KPIs that all department heads agree are crucial to measuring performance.


2. Establish a timeline


Set a realistic timeline for implementation, ensuring that the completion of the process is prioritized to reap the full benefits of the platform. Don’t let implementation drag on indefinitely.


3. Identify key stakeholders


Identify key team members and external parties using Salesforce. Who really needs access to what? Customize the software to accommodate compliance and streamline operations for all users, but primarily for the individual contributors who will use the tool on a day-to-day basis. Create a non-invasive reporting solution that allows occasional users and executives to report on what they need without sacrificing end-user adoption.


4. Select the right Salesforce Edition


Pick the appropriate Salesforce solution aligned with your business needs, budget, and customization capabilities. Do you really need Enterprise when the Professional Plus API edition would cut it? Your implementation partner can consult with you honestly on this.


5. Migrate the data


Ensure a smooth transition by migrating data from your previous CRM or spreadsheet. Expert assistance is crucial to avoid challenges in the short and long term, and this is a good time to begin to purge unnecessary data. Data management can be stressful if you aren’t experienced in using Salesforce’s tools; experts have a far lower error rate here than data managers newer to the process.


6. Customize to fit your needs


Personalize Salesforce to suit your unique business needs and sales workflows. Customization includes adding specific fields, designing page layouts, creating validation rules, implementing workflow automation, and training the team. As a leading implementation partner, Skydog Ops can expertly manage all of this for you, including encouraging team adoption: money extremely well spent.


7. Retrain your team


Design a training program specifically for your custom Salesforce solution to get employees and stakeholders up to speed. And no, training isn’t a one-time process, it’s an ongoing system that needs thoughtful investment on an ongoing basis. Sometimes, the implementation needs to be adjusted based on how training goes and how post-implementation usage ends up going later.


8. Go-live and get post-implementation support


Validate the software before fully going live, and maintain close contact with your implementation partner for any required modifications. Monitor for fields not being used, used wrongly, validation rules that cause confusion or broken sales processes, and in particular, any areas of sales and customer success process friction. If your team members are coming to you with the same CRM grievances, that’s a good reason to consider modifying, simplifying, or otherwise addressing those areas.


A proper Salesforce implementation process can make or break your CRM adoption


At Skydog Ops, our goal is to provide our clients with real Salesforce adoption solutions. We understand that CRM is an incredibly important technology to use and select for your business, and we design and maintain elegant solutions for you rather than just responding reactively to our clients’ requests. Whether you’re looking to scale your operations, improve productivity, or accelerate your revenue growth, our team of talented, reputable, and responsive Salesforce implementation experts can handle any challenge you bring to us.


If you're ready for a successful Salesforce implementation, reach out to us today.


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