Six Keys to a Successful Salesforce Implementation

Derek Vargas


Over the past 5+ years, we’ve done a lot of Salesforce implementations… but we’ve also been asked to come into existing implementations to fix what wasn’t done right the first time.   This month, we thought we’d take a look at 6 areas that can help to ensure that you get the most out of your Salesforce implementation.

  1. Marry Planning & Process
    This is your foundation…make a commitment, invest in it, and you’re well on your way to a positive, organization-changing implementation.  A well designed Salesforce platform should mirror, support, and augment your business process, reflect your internal roles, hierarchies, and security, and enable your organization to be more efficient.  Kick off your Salesforce planning with a comprehensive requirements gathering that:
    -Maps all of your current business processes and identifies the strengths, weaknesses, and critical path of each
    -Takes into account both near-future and future plans that could affect the way your organization works
    -Allows your Salesforce Cloud Alliance implementation partner to identify clear areas for automation, customization and integration
    -Prioritizes the output in buckets similar to: “Mission Critical”,” (Really) Nice to Have”, and “Perfect State”
    -Uses all of the information captured to architect an efficient, scalable Data Model and implementation plan for your Salesforce platform
  2. Data, Data, Data: the critical trifecta
    Here are a couple steps to follow in order to manage your data effectively. 
    -Know where all of your data currently is, and plan/prepare to move from silos to one system of record. 
    -Now that you’ve wrangled all of your data, simplify it.  Everyone working inside of Salesforce doesn’t need to see every data point – that could quickly cause data overload and have a negative effect on adoption!  Know who needs to see what to be both effective AND efficient in their roles, and, keeping a sharp eye on security, ensure that Salesforce page layouts, lists and views are reflective of that.
    -There’s nothing worse than dirty data…make a plan to clean it when it first goes in, and to keep it clean moving forward.
  3. Communicate and Engage
    Perhaps one of the most underrated, but most critical, functions of any Salesforce implementation is communication.  Everyone wants to be kept “in the know”, so keeping users informed of what’s going on inside of their Salesforce org is a great first step…but if you deliver on a plan to engage them, and solicit and incorporate their feedback, you’ll impart a sense of shared ownership and see a huge increase in user adoption.
    Naming a clear, internal project lead – someone who can work across functions, quickly gain consensus, make decisions and remove obstacles, and serve as the overall project champion will significantly improve both the quality of the implementation and the speed at which the implementation progresses.
  4. Get on the Train!
    So often we hear from end-users: “You don’t know what you don’t know!”  Right along with Communication, Training is one of the most critical points in ensuring user adoption and the long-term success of your Salesforce implementation.  It’s crucial that users not only learn how to use the system, but that they know how to make the most of it.  Make the commitment to effective, on-going training, and you’ll have a confident, effective user base. 
  5. Support provides the soft landing
    You’ve put in the effort to plan and implement a Salesforce platform that supports your processes, your organization is working with great, clean data, your users have been informed, engaged, and well trained…are we done?  Not just yet!  Like most things in life, the more you know about something, the more questions you’ll have…and the more ideas you’ll have on making it better.  Having a plan to support your user base is important to the continued growth of your platform.
    Make sure your users have a way to submit support requests, make suggestions for improvements, and request additional training, and your organizations users will know you’ve got their back and that they’re going to be heard.  Translation: Even further user adoption and engagement!
  6. Always remember – especially at the start – Less can most definitely be More
    It’s SO easy to get excited about what Salesforce can do for your organization – after all, organizations who implement Salesforce see 30-40% increases across ALL major business metrics, but it’s also important to remember that it’s better to do a few things really well, than to do a lot of things poorly.  Focus on your mission critical business processes first (or launch with a targeted pilot group)… get them humming… and then, using the best practices listed here, methodically tackle bringing your Salesforce platform to the next level!

Need help with your Salesforce implementation? Contact us!