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Tips for Implementing Salesforce for the First Time

Technology is growing at a lightning speed. But for some reason we look around, we are still using Excel and a notepad to scribble information about meetings and customers. Don’t we?

As we enter the The Fourth Industrial Revolution, a CRM system like Salesforce is important to every business. If you are focused on improving your profitability, satisfying customers throughout their journey and helping your employees accelerate deals, then Salesforce is your tool.

In this article, we will cover tips on how to best implement Salesforce for immediate success.

Salesforce Implementation - What is it?

It takes a lot of resources to properly implement an “out of the box” Salesforce solution, and it takes even more resources to implement a highly customized solution. There’s a reason Salesforce has training programs, communities, and MVPs. Assuming you can just do it yourself without having expertise is one of the biggest mistakes you could make.

Your team will need to devote a significant amount of time to the implementation process – even if you hire someone to help.

Salesforce Implementation Partners

One question every business may have is - Should I hire a Salesforce partner to implement (or) should I do it on my own? Many small and medium size businesses might have budget constraints and they prefer to do configurations themselves. On the other hand, it’s always good to have an expert or partner do the configuration and support for you.

As a company, you need to figure out the goals and business processes that work the best for you. A partner could give a hand and consult as to how to fit this process best within the Salesforce tool. That’s when their expertise kicks in. Its a opportunity to go with best in class for not a very big upfront investment, in dollars and time.

Considering that a good implementation is best done by investing in an experienced partner, plan to hire a professional to help with implementation and make sure you do your research. Being able to use Salesforce does not make someone the right partner for your Salesforce project. The partner you choose should have a deep understanding of business processes and be able to implement the tool to meet your business needs. They should be able to understand what your concerns and pain points are, and what solutions Salesforce can offer for you. You want them to ask the right questions upfront, so you’re sure they understand your business requirements. Starting an implementation project before your partner understands your processes and develops a strategy to solve your specific problems is a good way to waste time and spend money on a tool that ends up being underutilized.

Best Practices

User adoption is greatly influenced by the executive team. If there is a push from the executive team about the new tool’s importance, value, and the initiative itself, then the other employees will use the tool better. Having an assigned point person to over see the entire project is going to be extremely vital to ensure project is on track.

Migrating old data and integrating with tools that have data is crucial. Bad data may lead to users not adopting the tool or errors in business processes.

Salesforce features should be implemented in such a way that accounts for scale as the number of users and complexity increases in your company and in a way that is easy to use for end-users to understand and follow. As a rule of thumb, Salesforce should reduce your day-to-day tasks and not increase them. Automations, approvals, triggers, etc all are tools to be leveraged to make your business run smoother and more efficient.

Getting Started

At Relay we have created a simple six-step implementation Stage/Checklist that we follow with our customers.  Here’s a bird’ eye view of it.

  1. Workshop - Meeting with the customer steak-holders to better understand requirements.
  2. Configuration & Customization - Configuration is making changes to the default setup of Salesforce, and on the other hand, customization is adding capabilities to the existing Salesforce by extending the APEX code. End User feed-back is critical to making this stage successful.
  3. Integrations - Making sure data can flow seamlessly between systems.
  4. Data Hygiene and Migration - Passing along data from legacy systems.
  5. Salesforce Training - User adoption is paramount. End users should have ample training as Salesforce is deployed.
  6. Support - Investing in a Salesforce Admin or retaining a firm to tackle  support issues.

Closing Thoughts

Investing in Salesforce is a huge step for your business! You need to make sure you have the proper knowledge, partner, reasons why, support, data, and training all in line to benefit from the usage of the tool. If you’d like a stellar partner, who will understand your process and asks the right questions, reach out today to the Relay team.

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