A Comprehensive Guide on Successful Salesforce Implementation

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Salesforce has long been considered a pioneer of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), holding a 23% market share according to reports by Salesforce itself. Renowned global organizations, including Spotify, Toyota, and Canon, trust the Salesforce implementation process as their tool for business operations optimization - as do an additional 150,000 companies worldwide.

Salesforce solutions enjoy such widespread support due to their successful implementation outcomes, which have been shown to lead to average revenue increases of 37% and productivity boosts of 44%.

Are You Implementing Salesforce Now, or Are You Unsure How It Will Be Done? - our detailed Salesforce implementation guide can be an invaluable asset!

No matter where your Salesforce implementation journey begins - from planning and preparation through customization and integration - we have you covered with actionable tips and best practices that will make the entire process seamless. In addition, we will explore the benefits of managed services with Salesforce so that a team of experts is always there to guide and assist.

Before diving into implementation, addressing key aspects such as ultimate goals, team member preparation, budget setting, and vendor selection is essential. Once clarity has been obtained on these points, implementation can begin; here is a step-by-step guide on salesforce CRM implementation for those interested.

What is Salesforce Implementation?

When a company deploys a CRM (customer relationship management) system to coordinate key business communication and activities, that process is known as Salesforce Implementation. Services associated with Salesforce implementation include consulting, configuration, migration, customization, integration, and support - many businesses implement Salesforce solutions to strengthen customer service, sales, and marketing processes.

  • First, your organization needs to define its vision and establish objectives before creating its system by setting permission levels, importing data, and adding customization features.
  • Before going live, training should engage all employeeswithin the organization. When going live is complete, should users find CRM easy enough, it could introduce additional functionality according to business needs.
  • It is crucial that you know what your organization's CRM needs are - this will help ensure a successful Salesforce implementation.

How Do You Implement Salesforce?

Simply purchasing one of the top CRM licenses won't do it; understanding how to adapt and customize Salesforce to fit into your business is just as critical for maximum productivity.

Implementation is best accomplished with the assistance of a project manager, Salesforce consultant, and (optionally) developers; however, not every company has the internal resources for such an undertaking - especially at first.

#Option 1

Implement Yourself (Not Recommended) Unfortunately not! We advise against DIY implementation for anyone new to Salesforce. However, the temptation may be great given Salesforce's user-friendly administrative backend interface. Doing it alone poses risks such as creating solutions that work today but won't scale as your business expands; as your company expands, you may have to rebuild existing functionality when other components don't function - resulting in what is known as technical debt that many independent implementers seek help to reduce or remove altogether. This process often requires professional consultants specializing in recovering or clearing away this debt when your business grows... This issue often forces them out from independent implementers that often seek professional consultancies' expertise on recovery/removal services when required for recovering technical debt recovery/removal from independent implementers seeking consultancies' expertise when handling it alone.

Here are three drawbacks of managing your Salesforce Implementation in-house:

  • Reduced Productivity
  • Due to internal resource skillset and team sizes, handling a Salesforce implementation independently could take significantly more time than using an implementation partner. Research time alone on basic Salesforce components would take too much time without the guidance of an implementation partner on where and what components to search for. Furthermore, having limited access to Salesforce Admins, Developers, and Architects at hand may increase costs over time versus having access to multiple Admins, Developers, and Architects at an implementation partner company.

  • Underestimating Projects
  • It can be easy for teams implementing Salesforce to lose focus when setting out a roadmap in favor of taking advantage of Salesforce's latest products or features but forgetting important aspects such as migration or integration as they rush forward - something which could prove costly nearing the end of a scheduled sprint if an unexpected hurdle pops up unexpectedly - particularly given that integrations and data migrations often require extensive knowledge, experience, and practice from developers.

  • Lack of Experience
  • While your team may possess Salesforce experience and certifications, do they possess implementation expertise in your market or industry?

#Option 2

Leverage the expertise of a partner - This option is the most popular and recommended approach since leveraging their knowledge and experience mitigates many of the pitfalls associated with self-implementation. Getting instantaneous access to years of implementation expertise and their internal network allows you to move swiftly yet efficiently through implementation.

Engaging a Salesforce Implementation Partner:

Agility

By choosing to partner, you gain access to an experienced team ready to start working on your Salesforce implementation as quickly as possible. From project managers to declarative developers and apex developers, experts in each of these domains collaborate quickly on finding solutions, leading to swift implementation/development.

Expertise

Every business has unique requirements; therefore, it is wise to work with people who have been there and done that before. Salesforce consultants' extensive industry and project experience let them quickly identify a suitable solution to address your needs while explaining why. Furthermore, they must stay current on what Salesforce releases next, so you never miss out!

Best Practices

Hiring a partner that listens and implements your needs may sound great, but what if you're uncertain about your existing processes or curious to see how others in different industries have dealt with similar challenges? Learning from others' successes (and mistakes!) is an invaluable asset that you have at your fingertips.

Skill Transfer

Partnering with an implementation service should never result in dependency for our clients; at Closeloop, in particular, we emphasize documentation and system administrator training so they are capable of managing and expanding their systems without our services anymore - giving our customers independence and control of their data long after the project has concluded.

Top Salesforce Implementation Challenges

There are various approaches to implementing Salesforce into a business. Some organizations do it themselves, while others hire freelancers or consulting teams, the latter being recommended. Without adequate planning before implementation, however, you risk getting an unsuitable solution that does not meet your business goals and needs.

Challenges in Salesforce Implementation

Before beginning our project, let's first identify some common challenges users encounter when implementing Salesforce - this will enable us to address them more swiftly and ensure a successful rollout.

An Outdated (or Absent) Roadmap

Salesforce implementation may fail without a clear vision and roadmap for your project. This is one of the primary issues consultants, and developers face when undertaking any Salesforce implementation project; consequently, many implementations don't reach business objectives, decrease productivity within organizations, or hinder the growth of companies.

To unlock immediate value from Salesforce, it is critical that your organization establish short and long-term goals, evaluate immediate needs, and create a roadmap.

The existence of outdated processes built around previous platforms' capabilities can hinder Salesforce implementation efforts. Such procedures might not bring out all the best functionality available within Salesforce; as a result, they must be adjusted per your company's needs so you can use all its features.

Developers and consultants often face difficulty during this process due to stakeholder disagreement on project requirements or scope, leading to confusion within the implementation team and technical obstacles such as migration issues in Salesforce that don't align with business objectives. A clear roadmap must be devised to avoid these complications.

Out-of-Scope Items

Businesses implementing Salesforce may require additional investments in technology and resources, especially if they are large organizations.

Consulting teams often encounter an uncomfortable challenge during implementation: organizations may not understand out-of-scope items, the features, and limitations of each Salesforce edition, or which features need to be purchased separately - creating awkward conversations with stakeholders about out-of-scope items, features that need to be purchased separately, etc.

Implementing Salesforce can be costly at first. To ensure a smooth implementation experience, it's essential that you know exactly which edition of Salesforce you purchased, how many licenses will be necessary, the ongoing operating cost involved with running operations, as well as any additional features needed - not to mention unexpected complications that could add unexpected expenses. Before commencing the implementation of any project, there must be clarity over its scope as it might reveal surprises along the way that are hard to anticipate.

Correct Data Migration

Salesforce experts face a unique challenge during implementation: mapping data accurately between systems and Salesforce (and vice versa). Incomplete or inaccurate information renders your CRM platform useless as it will provide inaccurate analytics, create duplicate records or lead to inconsistencies, and add further costs when fixing these errors.

As we mentioned above, large volumes of data are being created daily in the Financial Services industry by various sources, and it can be challenging to determine what data is useful versus irrelevant for their businesses.

However, accuracy in data migration must always be ensured. When considering which data will need to be transferred between platforms (for instance, Salesforce), note whether any integrations or data validation metrics need to be put in place and implement appropriate validation metrics accordingly.

Data migration can be arduous, so the necessary expertise must be available to ensure its success. By having a comprehensive plan to clean and consolidate your data and working alongside an experienced Salesforce team, you can speed up this process while making it simpler and quicker overall.

Customization

Customizing Salesforce may be required to meet your business's unique needs. Although highly adaptable, this process may prove complex and time-consuming depending on its scope of services and industry sector.

Customizing a platform without first understanding your business requirements can result in an overly complicated implementation or over-customization, making the platform harder for end users.

At this stage, some developers may face additional difficulty if they need to modify customizations developed previously but no longer meet business objectives or are no longer relevant. Your Salesforce implementation company must fully grasp your requirements to find an optimal customization balance.

Scalability

Businesses evolve, so a platform must be easily scaled. Salesforce architecture offers scalability by adding application servers allowing businesses to add users gradually.

Businesses adopting Salesforce may face scalability hurdles upon implementation; for instance, custom code, integrations, and workarounds that accrue can accumulate into technical debt, preventing further upgrades and creating a cluttered user interface, making navigation of the platform difficult for end users.

Implementing a scalable system requires knowing where and when to make changes that benefit users, which could require investing resources outside the initial scope. To avoid this scenario, start small with basic functionalities before building upon them with technical expertise from outside your company's core team. Continuously optimize performance monitoring of your platform over time to maintain a continuous improvement approach.

Training

Training is an integral component of implementation. Without proper instruction, users may struggle with using your system, which could delay its launch or lead to minor issues becoming much larger, despite how good the solution may be.

Consultants may encounter difficulty at this stage due to limited resource availability; organizational changes during the project timeline could alter this, training resources may take more time than planned, or there may not be anyone to oversee its maintenance nor Super Users of the new system (people who can train other colleagues on it).

An administrative interface must be trained on your system's new features and functionality by its development team, serving as the point person for users in your organization should any errors arise. Also, designating someone as Super User ensures someone within your company continues training other users on using the platform. Finally, having a clear view of who's using your platform allows users to receive proper instruction when training begins on utilizing this new system.

One way to ensure you have enough resources for implementation is to establish roles during the roadmap stage and involve stakeholders in designing your process. Stakeholder involvement is crucial to use your platform effectively.

Types of Salesforce Implementation

While it is possible to implement Salesforce without hiring an outside firm to assist, investing in an experienced partner who understands your industry could prove far more fruitful.

Services offered by professional Salesforce implementation experts will save you time and frustration while offering valuable insight and opening doors to possibilities that wouldn't otherwise exist.

Here are three types of Salesforce implementation projects:

In-house implementation

Implementing Salesforce in-house is uncommon; according to Salesforce, 90% of their customers rely on implementation partners for consulting and apps. But some smaller and mid-sized organizations (and occasionally enterprises) still attempt a fully in-house implementation project.

Pros

  • Upfront costs are low
  • Accelerates team knowledge of Salesforce quickly

Cons

  • Potential for technical debt (i.e., creating short-term solutions that cause more work later)
  • May take significantly more time due to the learning curve and needing expert input
  • Limit the features and tools your team can explore quickly.

However, experts rarely advocate taking an in-house approach when implementing Salesforce or third-party applications. Reconstructing systems from scratch almost guarantees you'll spend more time and energy building fewer effective solutions than if you invested in proper tools and support from day one.

Official implementation partners and third-party integrations offer an invaluable service: they can assist with developing the customized system you require more quickly, effectively, and with greater foresight than if left alone.

Third-Party Implementation Partners

Salesforce implementation partners and tools exist that offer end-to-end services, from helping plan your CRM through training, implementation, and even maintenance afterward.

However, it can be expensive, and the daunting task of selecting an implementation partner suited to their industry and specific needs often deters teams who would otherwise jump at the chance for expert assistance.

Pros

  • Implementation partners offer faster solutions than trying them independently
  • They help facilitate change initiatives
  • Provides insights and helps identify tangible business benefits you didn't anticipate Salesforce could address
  • Deliver more customized Salesforce instances

Cons

  • Increased upfront costs
  • Selecting an ideal partner can be challenging
  • Due to a lack of in-house IT skills capable of supporting Salesforce maintenance, organizations may require third-party assistance for ongoing system support.

So many aspects of Salesforce would take considerable time and education to fully grasp. That's where implementation partners come in handy -- they're experts in using the software, having helped many organizations successfully implement Salesforce in the past. A hybrid implementation approach could be best suited to meet this need.

Hybrid Implementation Approach

Suppose you feel confident that some aspects of Salesforce implementation can be managed efficiently. In that case, a hybrid approach might be worth exploring.

Enterprise organizations often hire an implementation partner for planning, building, and data migration; however, many also possess an in-house training department eager to take on CRM training duties themselves.

Pros:

  • Flexible: you can hire implementation support only when and where it is necessary.
  • It may be less costly than investing in an end-to-end Salesforce implementation partner,
  • It creates in-house experts you can rely on for maintenance and support issues

Cons:

However, this method will require additional work (in terms of time and resources).

Implementing Salesforce can be challenging when deciding how best to handle its implementation - every partner provides different services depending on your goals and needs.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach - choose one suited to you!

Why Should You Implement Salesforce?

Many businesses are opting to implement CRM technology solutions such as Salesforce CRM implementation. According to Grand View Research's projections, spending on CRM will total $114.4 billion by 2027.

If your business falls behind its goals, developing an effective customer-centric plan and employing cutting-edge technologies may be key to finding relief. Organizations generally look towards meeting business objectives while increasing sales and profit. To do this successfully, reliable information on progress must be readily available - such as data from customer service, sales, social media monitoring, and marketing activities.

Here Arrives a CRM System with Such Requirements.

  • A CRM enables businesses to centrally store all customer and order information in an easily customizable dashboard, including customer history, order status updates, service issues, etc.
  • Marketers can benefit greatly from implementing Salesforce CRM solutions. They can leverage it to optimize marketing campaigns and take a data-driven approach when approaching lead journeys.
  • Additionally, they may gain insights into their sales pipeline to make predictions more precise and easier. With CRM implementation, they can monitor every opportunity, from inquiries to sales.
  • Businesses can increase productivity by incorporating CRM into all aspects of their business - finance, supply chain, and customer services management - while shifting towards customer-centric practices that ensure customer requirements drive innovation cycles and processes.
  • CRM systems were traditionally employed as sales and marketing tools; however, customer support and service are now emerging areas within CRM that play an essential part in building strong customer relationships.
  • CRM platforms enable users to coordinate inquiries across channels while remaining organized. They also give service, sales, and marketing professionals an overview of customer activities, informing their team about what's happening with customers.

Salesforce CRM stands out as an innovative and comprehensive way to unify service, sales, and marketing functions with teams that perform them more efficiently on one platform with one customer view - not to mention offering relevant and engaging experiences - making its implementation essential for businesses of any kind.

Steps for Successful Salesforce Implementation

Let’s dive down into some steps you may follow when developing your Salesforce implementation project plan.

Hire a Professional Salesforce Partner

The initial step in Salesforce implementation is selecting an experienced partner. There are two approaches to setting up Salesforce: either doing it yourself or hiring an implementation partner; many opt for DIY implementation instead to save expenses.

Not recommended as managing the Salesforce implementation on your own may lead to unexpected consequences; you could underestimate projects due to lack of experience and expertise, potentially decreasing business productivity.

For this reason, hiring experts is always best. Salesforce partners bring expertise in this area and can implement Salesforce according to your specific business requirements - this may increase your operations' agility and provide better overall implementation results. Plus, with knowledge of best practices, they'll ensure implementation goes as smoothly as possible!

Define Stakeholders

Step two identifies and defines your stakeholders once you have partnered with one of the best Salesforce implementation partners. Involved parties include decision makers, project managers, and business or end users in your Salesforce project.

At this step, it is also necessary to define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders. Decision-makers are accountable for setting budget and timeline parameters, while project managers keep tabs on results and progress. Businesses or end users are responsible for using the system, helping identify potential issues, and quantifying its success.

Setting a Project Timeline

Before undertaking Salesforce implementation, creating a timeline is vitally important. Establish start and completion dates, as well as mark certain days on the calendar that correspond with milestone achievements. An estimated timeline will give you a better idea of the entire implementation process and estimate the time necessary for the completion of the project.

Your project timeline can assist your team members to stay on the right path and ensure it moves as scheduled.

Establish Goals and Objectives

In the next step of Salesforce implementation, setting specific goals and objectives you wish to attain is essential. Different businesses use Salesforce for various reasons; during this step, you need to identify your purpose for using it - increasing sales, improving client support, or integrating CRM platforms. The process should become much smoother by outlining specific goals and objectives for Salesforce implementation.

Once your goals and objectives have been established, the next step should be deciding which Salesforce product you want to implement. You should find something suitable here with so many products like Sales Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and Service Cloud to choose from based on your business's requirements.

Develop a Prototype

Your next step should be to develop a working prototype. Begin by designing and creating the preliminary design based on your goals and objectives, then test various versions before creating your final model - this can help identify any flaws early and correct them as required.

Work on Customization

Once your basic model is in place, it's time to move on to customization requirements. Customization involves adding more capabilities to the Salesforce platform to meet your business requirements more closely; everything from homepage customizations and page layout changes can be tailored specifically toward end-users.

Go Live

Once all essential customizations have been completed, your Salesforce CRM platform is ready for launch. When making it live and reaping its maximum benefits, integrate with other systems, migrate your existing data, and train your team on how best to utilize this new platform.

Salesforce Implementation Cost

The average cost of Salesforce implementation begins at around $5,000. It may exceed this figure depending on factors like the experience of implementation partners, business needs, and more.

Consideration should also be given to several other aspects when calculating the cost of Salesforce implementation:

  • Salesforce consulting
  • License
  • CRM customization
  • Data migration
  • End-user or admin training
  • 3rd-party system integration
  • Adoption
  • Post-launch support

How Can We Help You?

Are You Hoping That Your CRM Hits the Spot? Closeloop can help your new system CRM hit its stride; we have the knowledge and capabilities needed to meet all of your Salesforce CRM implementation expectations, meeting them perfectly with the needs of your business. Our dependable Salesforce services meet and surpass them all.

Closeloop offers comprehensive Salesforce implementation services, such as Sales Cloud Implementation, Service Cloud Implementation, Marketing Cloud Implementation, Community Cloud Implementation, and Commerce Cloud Implementation.

Conclusion

We hope this article has provided enough insight for you to make an informed decision regarding Salesforce implementation in your business. As it has become evident that using Salesforce will take it to another level for any venture, so don't wait - hire a Salesforce implementation company now and join the bandwagon this year.

Author

Assim Gupta

Swetha GP linkedin-icon-squre

VP of Delivery

She is a VP of Delivery at Closeloop. A communicator, business analyst, and engineering aficionado. Besides handling client relations, and engineering duties, she loves to pour her thoughts on paper. She writes about engineering, technologies, frameworks, and everything related to the software domain. She reads, spends time with family, and enjoys a good walk in nature in her free time. Her dream destination is Greece.

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