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Salesforce Implementation: Top 10 Things to Avoid for Success

Implementing a new business system such as Salesforce CRM is one of the most difficult business challenges you might encounter. Meeting or exceeding return on investment (ROI) for new technology for business should be of high priority for any organization. Achieving a desired implementation outcome – one that’s on time, within’ budget, and function as intended – contribute significantly to such ROI

When implementing large and complex enterprise applications (e.g. a CRM system such as Salesforce or ERP), risk increases. Not fully knowing or understanding what to do can lead the entire process to failure. Salesforce CRM when implemented correctly can help transform your business, simplifying and automating many processes etc. which will help increase productivity as well as business results. But there are challenges that will arise during the implementation process.

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In this article, we’ve explained the 10 things you need to pay special attentions to, in order to avoid a bad Salesforce implementation.

  1. Planning

Getting familiar with Salesforce CRM system is a relatively easy tasks. However, implement the whole Salesforce system from scratch is not exactly an easy process. Moving forward without fully understanding the whole system might result in bad implementation wasting time and resources.

A good planning for your Salesforce implementation project is composed of a series of tasks, a budget (or budget range), a timeline, and a detailed list of needed resources, tools, and materials etc. Additionally, your company can employ Salesforce consulting service with an external agency to have an implementation plan designed specifically for your business.  Taking the time to create a detailed implementation plan gives you a structure within which you can confidently work on and also provides you a much better chance of meeting your implementation goals on time and within’ budget.

Not thoroughly planning your Salesforce CRM implementation before starting to do so will lead to more works and further complication along the process.

  1. Bad Data

Bad data is one of the reason which leads to bad salesforce implementation. It could be duplicates of records or inaccurate/outdated data and etc. Clean-up and optimize your database before implementation is a good way to not let bad data making its way to your newly implemented salesforce system.

In our experience, many bad Salesforce implementations are due to bad data in the first place. Take the time to clean and ensure quality of your business data early in the implementation process will make it easier for you, and your sales and marketing team down the line. Especially when your organization starts to use Salesforce for your daily business activities.

  1. Unclear Objectives

Once your Salesforce planning and project scope is clearly established, business should meet with implementation team to discuss objectives setting. This helps to gather insights from those that will be heavily involved in the process. 

To effectively setting objectives in a project management means they should be specific. Specific objectives improve the chances of leading to a specific outcome. Therefore, objectives shouldn't be vague, such as "increase sales target," since they are not measurable. Objectives should show how successful a project can be and are measurable.

  1. Responsibility

Salesforce implementations consists of many phases involved various personnel across departments, for example: sales, customer service, and marketing etc. All the individuals and parties involved needs to clearly understand their responsibility and how their efforts all contribute the outcome of the project.

Lack of clarity in regards to roles and responsibilities creates causing confusion, frustration, and causing slow progress leading to missed deadlines and drain of resources. This is another factor that might lead to bad Salesforce implementation and final product, essentially failing to meet the required ROI (return on investment).

Each individual needs to take responsibility for their own assignments, including how their tasks affect other parts of the implementation. The more your employees understands their responsibility of the implementation process, and how to collaborate and work together, the more likely you can improves the success of Salesforce implementation.

  1. Unrealistic Goals and Expectations

Another mistake many organizations make when implementing salesforce system is to set unrealistic goals and expectation. For example, business leaders might underestimate the time and resources it take to implement, and thereby setting unrealistic project timelines and budget without planning, coordinating and discuss internally with their teams as well as other related parties.

Additionally, it could be easy to think that the new application is a “magic solution” solving all of your business challenges and simplify and automate the business processes improving results in every aspects. The truth is, there’s a lot of thought, planning, and works required to get Salesforce efficiently function in your business. To get the desired results, there needs to be adequate effort put into it.

A bad Salesforce implementation is an implementation that doesn’t fully address all your business requirements as pre-defined. Businesses need to realistically tackle their objectives as well as taking time to outline them thoroughly.

  1. Engagement

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As mentioned before, salesforce implementation is quite a complex process which requires teamwork and collaboration between departments. Hence, senior managements need to actively involved and engage with team throughout the implementation process.

It’s very easy for management to just involve in the beginning of the process and the not pay attention to it until unexpected issues arise and then it might be too late. In cases like this, which usually occur in the later stages of the project, the implementation has already gone astray and over budget. An example of a bad Salesforce implementation.

To get the desired result out of salesforce implementation – and to ensure project timeline and budget – leadership needs to actively engage during the entire project.

  1. Project Management

In our experience, carrying out a salesforce implementation project without employing a project manager is very likely to result in a bad Salesforce implementation.

On paper, having project management would look like an unnecessary overhead as project managers don’t exactly deliver anything. The truth is, running projects without good project management is even more costly than employing one. Without project management, there’s nothing to hold the teams and developers together. And without it, there’s nobody to navigate through the ups and downs, manage the misalignment of the project.

Good project management is more than just keeping the project moving forward according to plan, delivering on time, within budget, and scope; it unites and improve teams collaboration, creates a vision for success and keeps everyone on the same page of what’s needed to be done stay on track for Salesforce implementation success.

  1. Forms over substance

Realistically speaking, it’s not possible to anticipate all the business requirements ahead of time. When implementation starts and new features become available, it can be very easy to want to incorporate many new things into your system.

You should clearly define which features are important and should be included as well as addressing what’s within the scope. Also, it’s helpful to establish a set of criterion for including new requirements because they will arise eventually. This will help you avoid the risk of slow progression and projects which won’t move forward and costs more than you budgeted for. Other than that, you will also be able to avoid a bad Salesforce implementation that isn’t functional because it didn’t fully address all necessary requirements.

  1. Governance

Governance is a somewhat an overlooked aspect when it comes to salesforce implementation. Having a strong governance model is undeniably essential to ensure the long-term success of any Salesforce implementation. Without a strong engagement model, users might become disengage, leading to low adoption rate and distrust of the system. Keeping users engaged on Salesforce system usage as well as improvement is just as important as technically implementing them.

 A good governance model is to provide structure for users, managements, and other stakeholders to understand and effectively use and improve the salesforce system.

  1. Technical support

Although Salesforce is user friendly and Trailhead already provides training, there should always be a person in charge with technical expertise to help with business users (e.g. sales reps and marketers etc.) navigate and familiarize themselves with the Salesforce system. Such employee is a designated Salesforce administrator. It’s important that your Salesforce administrators possess the necessary technical skills required (e.g. salesforce certification) to architect and develop an effective Salesforce organization when setting role permissions for business users.

Without a Salesforce Admin or designating one with a limited technical expertise will be an issues prevent your organization to maximize the potential value Salesforce system can bring. The long-term goal of your organization must always be carefully considered. Outsourcing the training and post-live support of your salesforce system is also a great option helping your organization to move forward with business strategy, eliminating the hiring process as well as reducing cost.

End-note:

As a leading IT service and business solutions consulting provider in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. TP&P provides business solutions designed specifcially for your company's Salesforce CRM requirement. Contact us today to know more about our Salesforce service.