Despite being around for decades, Salesforce is experiencing the growth of a company half its age. Business Insider reports that “Salesforce now owns over 18 percent of the market, almost double what it had five years ago.” However, before deciding on Salesforce as your CRM or bringing on an implementation partner, you should take a few measurements and create an implementation plan. By identifying your needs, your stakeholders, and their expectations, you can create a roadmap for your company and Salesforce partner to follow.
1. Understand your needs and the costs
Reduce your sticker shock by taking inventory of your needs upfront before buying additions and licenses. Setting your goals and expectations beforehand will help you understand how the system can meet your specific needs. Every function you add will have a cost associated with it: licensing, professional services, etc. Take some time to balance your immediate needs with your budget.
Salesforce offers different additions and licenses, each with their own cost structure and constraints. Bargain implementation equals bargain services, but don’t overbuy for services you don’t need. Spend Matters identifies a few key areas where clients can overspend: wrong license type, overbuying support, failure to maximize discounts, and unanticipated monitored costs.
2. Identify the key stakeholders in your company
The best way to learn how to customize and implement Salesforce is to identify the people who will use it most. Consider not only the teams who will use it, but also those who will be on the hook to maintain the system.
CEO and executives
Salesforce.com has a best practice manual that may be helpful in identifying and working with key stakeholders as well as completing other important pre-implementation steps.
3. Interview your stakeholders
Each of your stakeholders will have different needs and priorities. While you’re organizing this information, you’ll also be building relationships with the key players in making Salesforce successful. If your stakeholders feel invested in the system, you’ll find more support when you need it. Make sure your conversation about needs happens before implementation, because reworking afterward can be expensive. Manage each department’s expectations and drill down to the most needed functions of the system.
This is also a good time to define your business processes. Shellblack writes in their pre-flight checklist, “Too often Salesforce consultants find themselves facilitating business process discussions that should have been hammered out prior to implementing Salesforce.”
4. Document the requirements
You’ve identified your stakeholders and interviewed them. Now it’s time to write it down and put it into action. The advantages to having your workflow diagrammed ahead of time include cost and time savings. Additionally, as you bring on a partner to implement your system, you’ll be sure that all your departments are on the same page. You won’t have to make big decisions while also trying to learn a new system. Just remember to start small and keep growing as your needs change.
Understanding your needs and costs ahead of time, identifying and interviewing key stakeholders, and documenting your requirements is crucial to a smooth Salesforce implementation. A thorough plan gives power to you. Each step of the pre-implementation process gives you control over the costs and education of your staff, hopefully leading to a satisfying and positive implementation.