You’ve chosen Salesforce; now what?
Time to implement! A Salesforce implementation is the process of setting up and configuring the Salesforce platform for a business to use as a daily customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
A Salesforce Implementation involves both standard Salesforce features from Sales Cloud or Service Cloud as its foundation and can include specific customizations to the Salesforce platform to meet your business’s unique business processes.
What Happens During the Salesforce Implementation Process?
The implementation process can feel daunting for many businesses that haven’t yet experienced a technical overhaul of this degree. Here are typical steps and considerations you can expect to tackle during a Salesforce implementation process:
1. Identify key dates related to migrating off of another system. If you are retiring another solution, you should be familiar with the terms of any contract and renewal date to ensure there is enough time to successfully complete your Salesforce crm implementation.
2. Create a roadmap to success that illustrates major work streams and internal departments to further identify stakeholders, business requirements, sales or service processes, and user stories.
3. Refine your business needs by prioritizing. An easy way to do this is by identifying ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ and working with the end-users that are responsible for the daily operations of your business to make sure all ‘must’-have’ functionalities are accounted for and the ‘nice-to-have’ functionalities are stored for future phase considerations.
4. Data Migration – if you have historical data from a legacy CRM solution and intend to have that within your new Salesforce solution, you will need to queue up your legacy CRM administrator to prepare data files for your Salesforce implementation partner. The data migration process should be thoughtfully planned with your Salesforce implementation partner, so there is no large time gap between turning one system off and turning the new Salesforce crm on.
5. The build. This is likely the largest part of the Salesforce implementation process, depending on the complexity of your business needs. Your Salesforce implementation partner will work to bring your requirements to life by configuring, automating, customizing, testing, and more.
6. User Acceptance Testing (UAT). This is a phase of your Salesforce implementation where you have the opportunity to preview your Salesforce customizations and solution. This is a period for you to involve your end-users to look at your page layouts, test key automation, security permissions, various dashboards, and more.
7. Prepare for Go-Live & User Training. This short time should focus on any final touches identified in the UAT phase and end-user training. End-user training should focus on enabling users to find effective ways to use the new Salesforce solution with extra focus on customizations or automation points and familiarizing them with the Salesforce ecosystem and training opportunities.
8. Go-Live. This is the industry term used for ‘turn it on’, or ‘hit go’. It can be a specific day when your new Salesforce solution is ready for all users to begin to use all at once, or some go-lives take a phased approach for special considerations. Regardless, it’s an exciting day for you and your end-users, and also for your implementation consultants as they see their team’s successful Salesforce implementation come to life!
At The CRM Firm, our team has used these steps to successfully complete over 300 Salesforce development implementations across multiple Salesforce Platforms, Salesforce products, and vertical markets.
How involved should I plan to be during my Salesforce Implementation?
A Salesforce implementation project requires a high level of effort from your key stakeholders. Your Salesforce implementation partner will rely on your stakeholders and end-users to understand your established business and business needs.
You should not assume that your Salesforce implementation partner will know everything you want, nor do you want to leave any of your business requirements up to their interpretation—plan on being clear and direct during the sales process and project onboarding.
While your Salesforce implementation consulting team will probably have experience within your industry and vast experience with Salesforce implementation services, each business’ expectation, timeline, and data are unique.
Plan to invest weekly with your stakeholders and with your implementation team members to review in real-time implementation plans, timelines, progress, and additional questions throughout the process that will come up.
Your full engagement is critical during all business requirements sessions, data migration planning, and UAT phases.
Can I implement Salesforce without a Salesforce Implementation Consultant?
Can you DIY your own taxes? Sure, but should you?
While there are endless online resources and education, how-tos, and articles to leverage in customizing your Salesforce org; something of this magnitude is often best left to the professionals.
An unsuccessful implementation can result in a far more costly and time-consuming engagement with a Salesforce consultant later to attempt to reconstruct or fix your Salesforce solution.
Without a Salesforce administrator with the deep technical know-how of your new technology, you risk far too much error and loss by deciding to bypass Salesforce consulting services.
At The CRM Firm, our team of mostly senior-level consultants, architects, and developers have a robust portfolio of Salesforce certifications and the hands-on experience of countless successful Salesforce implementations. They can ensure a seamless implementation process, data quality, successful end-user training, user adoption, and more.
Still not convinced DIY-ing isn’t your best bet? Check out our blog, 4 Benefits for Hiring a Salesforce Consultant.
What To Do if Your Salesforce Implementation plan Changes Mid-Project
Implementations rarely go through the roadmap above without any changes.
Whether your team forgot to mention a business process that your new system needs to account for, or new requirements come up after beginning to use your CRM system, changes do not need to be scary; here are 3 tips to successfully manage change.
1. If you are working with a Salesforce Consultant, you will also be paired with a Project Manager, and one of their key roles is to monitor your implementation, identifying and flagging change management. Ask them how they have tackled small and large changes in past deployments. It’s important that your Salesforce Consultant does not act on changes immediately but rather communicates your initiatives or modifications that do pose a shift in the project so you have the information and ability to proceed or not.
2. Identify how these changes impact your budget and timeline. If implications are greater than desired, determine how important these modifications are to your initial Salesforce rollout or if they should be later phase considerations. Classify changes as ‘must haves’ initiatives or ‘nice to haves’ to make it simpler to decide when to undertake these project changes in your initial Salesforce implementation.
3. If your business needs require the identified changes, understand where the change came from and why. If one change occurred, others may lurk, and key details may still be not considered in the new CRM. Re-review your business processes and workflow with key team members and stakeholders to flush out any additional areas that may have been neglected or missed in the initial scoping discussion for your new CRM.
Is a Salesforce Implementation Best for Your Business?
Whether you’re just beginning to consider your crm platform, researching Salesforce implementation cost and requirements, or weighing the pros and cons of implementing Salesforce in-house or with a Salesforce Implementation Partner like The CRM Firm, following these steps will guide you down a path to success.
We hope that this gave you a better understanding of what a Salesforce implementation involves. While many steps are required for a successful implementation, it will create efficiency and improvements to your business and team’s daily responsibilities.
If you’re interested in hiring an implementation team for your salesforce implementation project, contact us here to get the conversation started!