Building and maintaining a strong relationship with your customers is critical for your business to find success. This may seem easy on paper, but maintaining customer relationships can be very challenging. As customer demands change, your organization must be able to adapt to them, all the while providing adequate customer service. To balance all of the factors that contribute to a thriving customer relationship, many companies utilize customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Salesforce is the world’s number 1 CRM, and supports more than 150,000 companies around the world to manage their customer relationships while optimizing customer service, marketing, and more. But, as beneficial as Salesforce is, the implementation process can be challenging and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are best practices to help you implement Salesforce successfully.
Planning is Critical
First and foremost, you must plan for implementation. Adopting Salesforce into your organization goes far beyond simply acquiring the software. In implementing Salesforce, you will change how your organization manages customer relationships, in addition to adopting new software that your team members will need to learn. As a result, formulating a change management strategy is essential.
To prepare your end-users for Salesforce implementation, it is important that you communicate its benefits to your workforce. Explaining to users how the software works and how they will benefit from it can do wonders in encouraging them to embrace change and drive adoption. Once they are excited about the possibilities of new software, you can guide them in learning how to utilize it. Additionally, discussing goals for implementation with users can ensure that goals are met and open discussion for questions and concerns.
Beyond end-users, there is some logistical planning involved with implementation. As with any new software adoption, you must plan for the time and cost that implementation requires. To begin, determine an implementation approach and the requirements that it entails. Once this is complete, you can start to build a timeline. Implementing Salesforce can take as little as a few weeks for an out-of-the-box solution but can be a lot longer depending on organizational requirements, customization and methodology. After establishing a timeline, it is critical to keep track of milestones such as database switch-date, user acceptance testing and project completion-date.
In addition to planning out an implementation timeline, you must plan for the cost of implementation. The cost of implementation depends on a variety of factors such as data migration, integration, customization, consulting, user training, and support – all of which will be unique to your company. The price of Salesforce will change depending on your needs, so determining these needs during the planning stage is crucial.
Don’t Forget the Numbers
Business success is all about growth, and that’s likely why you are choosing to implement Salesforce into your organization. Equally as important as achieving this growth is monitoring it. After all, without specific and measurable goals, how can you really determine your growth? For this reason, it is essential that you set realistic goals and success metrics while implementing Salesforce. The goals you set will be unique to your organization but should be specific and measurable, allowing you to clearly track your progress. Some example goals you may consider are:
- Increase new revenue (revenue generated by customers within six months of closing) by 30% this year.
- Reduce customer churn rate by 20% by the end of the next quarter.
- Reduce the length of our sales cycle by 40% by the end of this year.
With each of these goals, there is a clearly defined timeline and a goal that can be measured using CRM software. As a result, companies can explicitly track their progress on goals and measure their success accordingly. This is highly beneficial in determining the ROI of your CRM, ensuring that you are maximizing its value.
In addition to determining quantitative success metrics, it is also vital that you prepare your data for integration implementation. The success of the implementation and performance of Salesforce is highly dependent on the data that you input into the software. As the goal of Salesforce is to consolidate your data into one central location for optimized CRM, it is critical that you effectively integrate your data. This will require a careful analysis of your current data sources and needs. Once data sources are identified, you must make a plan for data migration and integration. While this process may seem tedious, having clean and accurate data in the system when you go live will increase your chance for an effective launch, in addition to the likelihood of user adoption.
Launch & Follow-Up
Once you have made a plan, complete with success goals and a method for data integration, it is time to launch Salesforce within your organization. Often, following a “go-live checklist” can be beneficial during this process. This checklist should include all information regarding your method of Salesforce deployment, ensuring a smooth launch.
Following your business requirements, you can begin to set up and customize your new CRM software to your individual needs. Keep in mind that there will be a learning curve with any new software implementation, so be patient with users and customize the system according to their feedback.
With this in mind, it is highly beneficial to follow up with users after Salesforce has been implemented. Offering training to your Salesforce users is instrumental in guiding user adoption and easing frustrations around implementation. The feedback received from users may guide you in identifying errors and determining opportunities for improvement. This can also help you ensure that your team members work towards your success goals and reap the benefits that Salesforce intends.
Use the Best Resources
Salesforce is a highly beneficial CRM software, enabling companies to optimize their relationships with customers. Utilizing Salesforce, companies can easily manage customer data, ensuring that customers have a positive experience from start to finish. That being said, the implementation process can be challenging, especially for companies unfamiliar with the software. As a result, many organizations utilize the support of an implementation expert.
Many MSPs are experienced in implementing Salesforce and can help businesses do so quickly and cost-effectively. With the help of a provider, you can implement Salesforce with ease, ensuring that it operates smoothly within your organization. Not only does this ensure a seamless implementation, but it alleviates the stress of the implementation process from your internal team. This means that while providers take on the responsibility of implementing Salesforce, your team can focus on the tasks that continue to drive your business forward. With an expert in your corner, you will reap the benefits of the Salesforce CRM in no time – satisfying your workforce and customers.
Rely on the Experts at K2 Partnering
The demand for talent who are experts in Salesforce has never been greater, and by 2026 it’s expected that there will be 9 million new jobs created in the ecosystem. And yet. Finding and retaining skilled Salesforce professionals still proves to be a challenge. At K2, we’ve partnered with Salesforce to play a part in their Pathfinder Program as an employment and education partner providing flexible and seamless solutions that help companies easily deploy certified Pathfinder graduates for their strategic projects.
Contact us today to learn more about how K2 Partnering can support your Salesforce requirements.