It is often said customer is king, and rightly so. Companies across the world leave no stone unturned to delight their clients by providing excellent customer service, in a cost-effective manner, to stay ahead in a fiercely competitive business world.
But how can companies provide top-notch services to their clients? What must organizations do to use their resources optimally to ensure high levels of profitability? One of the vital elements they need to consider is using a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A robust CRM platform enables firms to establish seamless connections with their clients and fully utilize marketing and customer data to make the right decisions in real time. Here’s an interesting post that tells you more about how a good CRM system can help you reach your business goals.
One of the most popular CRM systems is Salesforce; a survey by International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that the IT platform is used by nearly a fifth of the business world. A major reason for the extensive use of Salesforce is its wide range of useful features, which go a long way in enhancing business efficiencies. According to a Salesforce report, companies using this IT platform are able to reduce the time needed to make decisions by nearly 38%, enhance their revenues by approximately 25% and boost customer satisfaction levels by almost 35%.
So, would you like to use Salesforce to provide first-rate services to your clients and achieve rapid growth? You need to consider the following.
7 Factors that Play a Key Role in the Success of a Salesforce Implementation
1. Executive Sponsorship to Ensure Smooth Completion of the Salesforce Project
This is the first and arguably the most important aspect of a Salesforce implementation (or for that matter, any major organizational initiative). Securing executive sponsorship of the implementation will go a long way in conveying its significance and benefits, and thereby, ensure effective adoption of the CRM system.
All successful Salesforce implementations were fully backed by members of the management team but had to initially face resistance from end users due to various reasons. This resistance can be overcome by convincing the end users of the value the implementation brings to the organization. The management team also needs to assure the users that it is closely monitoring the implementation and the CRM platform would be very helpful to self-manage their own work. It would be ideal to send regular company-wide e-mails from the CEO or other senior members of the management team informing the users about the progress of the implementation. Companies can also consider organizing roadshows to share information about the major developments pertaining to the project.
It’s a good idea to invite suggestions from the users to improve marketing and sales processes and implement them to the extent feasible, thereby creating an impression that their views are taken into consideration.
It is very important to explain to the end users that Salesforce helps them use data effectively to get the right insights to close more deals. Businesses would do well to identify Salesforce champions amongst the users who will be part of the pilot program. These are users who are more open to embracing change. Let them act as early adopters and extoll the virtues of the new platform to their colleagues.
The management team should also set up an example by using the CRM platform itself and ensure users are made fully aware that the CRM system is easy to use and how it will help them save considerable time and effort, enhancing their efficiency in a big way.
2. Choice of the Right Salesforce Partner to Carry Out the Implementation
This is another key element of an effective Salesforce implementation. A good Salesforce partner organization will help you develop the right, out-of-the-box solutions to meet your needs, quickly, with minimal expenditure. You can also avail the services of seasoned Salesforce consultants to evaluate your business requirements thoroughly and make the best use of the CRM system’s power-packed capabilities.
Salesforce consultants can also help you identify the edition that meets your business goals. As stated earlier, they carry out a thorough analysis of your requirements and challenges and help you select the right edition of the CRM system, thereby enabling you to get the highest ROI.
But how can you zero-in on the right Salesforce partner. You need to consider the following 3 aspects.
Aspect 1 -- Select a Company that Follows a Well-defined Implementation Approach
A robust implementation framework goes a long way in ensuring the success of a Salesforce project. Ensure the company you partner with uses an incremental agile methodology to implement the CRM platform. There are two major advantages of using an agile-based implementation methodology. Firstly, you can implement the project in a phased manner, allowing you to complete it, without delays, within the stipulated budget. The second advantage of this methodology is that it facilitates hassle-free coordination between the IT team of your organization and the firm’s Salesforce consultants.
Aspect 2 – Ensure the Salesforce Partner Has an Effective Communication Plan
This is a critical (and yet, the least focused) aspect in selecting the right Salesforce partner. You must hire the services of a company that has an impeccable track record of working smoothly with its customers. You should also make sure the Salesforce services provider has a solid plan to communicate effectively with your team; a well-crafted communication plan enables the Salesforce consultant to interact with you effectively and comprehend your requirements well.
Aspect 3 – Check the Qualifications and Experience of the Company’s Team
You should ink a deal with a Salesforce services company that has consultants with relevant certifications and experience serving organizations in your industry. Salesforce certifications allow you to check whether the firm has people with the capabilities needed to execute your project effectively. You must also verify the company you partner with has good experience in delivering end-to-end services to businesses in your domain; the experience will play a key role in helping the Salesforce partner deal with various challenges in the implementation of the CRM system.
Last but not the least, ensure you ask the prospective Salesforce partner to provide credible references of companies in your industry it has worked with.
3. Comprehensive Analysis of Business Processes and Re-engineering Them If Necessary
It is very important to perform a thorough analysis of your business processes. Salesforce comes with a host of powerful features that enable you to execute the processes with high levels of efficiency; a proper analysis will enable your organization to fully utilize the features of the CRM suite of applications.
It is advisable to map your business processes using visual tools such as MS-Visio; this will enable you to identify key points for interdependencies and process parallels easily. This, in turn, will help you make modifications to the processes, wherever needed.
Make sure your stakeholders are actively involved in the creation and analysis of the business process maps. In many cases, there are certain elements of business processes that only a few end users are fully aware of, and hence it is important to involve everyone concerned with the implementation in the analysis of your business processes.
We suggest you develop a robust plan to complete the analysis of your business processes effectively, in time, without hassles. Ideally, the plan must include answers to the following 6 questions.
i. What is the process used for and what are its steps?
ii. What are the problems faced in the execution of the process?
iii. What are the likely causes of the problems?
iv. What are the various solutions to the problems?
v. Which of these solutions is the best?
vi. How can Salesforce be used to implement the solution?
4. Evaluation of Various Implementation Strategies and Selection of the Best
This is another vital element of a successful Salesforce implementation. You need to work with your Salesforce partner to determine the Salesforce products that will help you meet your business needs. Then, you must decide the order in which the products will be implemented. While it is true that the requirements of each company are unique, a vast majority of organizations use 3 widely popular Salesforce applications viz. Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud (this is not to say other products of the CRM behemoth are not used but the usage of these 3 tools is much more pronounced than the others).
Many organizations face the dilemma whether to implement Marketing Cloud first and Sales Cloud and Service Cloud later or the other way round. This is because Marketing Cloud is a tool powerful enough to be implemented independent of other Salesforce applications.
Let us now examine three common scenarios pertaining to the implementation of Marketing Cloud and other Salesforce applications.
Scenario 1 – Implementing Salesforce Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud First and Marketing Cloud Later
This is the most ideal scenario for implementing the Salesforce system. The major advantage of this approach is marketers can send the right updates to the right audiences, using real-time CRM data. Marketers can also track the interactions with audiences effectively and get valuable insights into customer needs and preferences.
Scenario 2 – Implementing Marketing Cloud First and Salesforce Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud Later
Many a time, companies choose to initially implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and then, use Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud. However, adopting this approach could lead to significant re-work and increased costs, leading to a lower ROI.
Scenario 3 – Standing Up Marketing Cloud Separately from Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud
Some companies use Salesforce Sales Cloud and/or Service Cloud along with Marketing Cloud but load data lists directly into the latter. This leads to some of the contacts existing in both applications. However, the data in the two systems is not synchronized. This will impede the creation of fully integrated buyer journeys as marketers cannot harness the real-time data in the CRM system. Likewise, CRM system users have no idea of how their contacts are getting engaged by the campaigns run by the marketing team.
Check out the insightful post Marketing Cloud and Salesforce – The Guide to Implementation Success to know more about these scenarios.
5. Development of a Solid Framework to Use Data Effectively
Creation of a robust data framework is an integral part of a successful Salesforce implementation. A good data framework not only helps ensure seamless migration of data, but also ongoing integrations and data entry activities. Here are 3 points you must remember when you develop a data framework for your Salesforce implementation.
Clean the Data Thoroughly and Ensure It Is of High Quality
Perform a Comprehensive Review of Data Objects and Fields
Create Data Maps to Perform Data Analyses Easily
Clean Data Thoroughly and Ensure It Is of High Quality
Leave no stone unturned to ensure only clean data enters your newly-implemented Salesforce system. You need to concentrate on eliminating duplicate records from the data in your legacy system. You must also make sure the data is complete and of high quality. It is a proven best practice to purge incomplete and unnecessary records and archive unused data. Here’s an interesting post that explains how you can ensure data of high quality using ArchiveIt, a robust data governance solution for the Salesforce platform. You can also use constrained picklists and fix data at the source to make sure bad data in the legacy system doesn’t creep back in.
Perform a Comprehensive Review of Data Objects and Fields
You must thoroughly evaluate data objects and fields to ensure they support your business processes and data policies you wish to implement. For instance, you may implement a policy where a visitor to your website must provide both his first and last names to download an e-book. In this case, you must ensure the data fields pertaining to the first and last name of the visitor are made mandatory.
Create Data Maps to Perform Data Analyses Easily
We suggest you create clear data maps to identify the relationship of each data object. The maps must also indicate the type of each data field (numeric, text, date and so on), besides throwing light on data length and security needs of the field. Furthermore, the maps should provide information about data-process interdependencies (which data drives which process).
6. Automation of Business Processes to Enhance Efficiency
Implementation of Salesforce provides an excellent opportunity to automate your business processes. Here are 3 tips to ensure hassle-free automation of your processes using the CRM platform.
3 Best Practices of Business Process Automation Using Salesforce
I. Avoid Using Multiple Automation Capabilities
Salesforce comes with a wide variety of business automation capabilities; make sure you use only one of these capabilities on a single object at a given point in time. See that automation workflow rules are followed meticulously in the correct sequence. You also need to disable previously-defined workflow rules or apex code before embarking on the automation of a business process.
ii. Automate Several Tasks of a Process at a Time
Salesforce’s process automation features are very simple to use, and you must see that your processes are also configured in a simple manner. It is advisable to use a single procedure to control all tasks involved in the creation of records for an object (sales order, for example). Try to reduce the number of steps to the extent possible. It is a proven best practice to keep the number of tasks as low as possible to prevent organizational constraints.
iii. Go in for Reusable Actions to Hasten the Automation
It is advisable to reuse common actions to automate your business process to complete the automation quickly, with minimal effort. Salesforce allows you to create repeatable actions. You can also reuse the actions created as part of an invocable process.
7. Use of Trailhead to Train End Users of the Salesforce System
Proper training plays a vital role in enabling your people to make the best use of the Salesforce system, thereby leading to high levels of productivity. We suggest you to utilize Salesforce Trailhead, a novel, user-friendly training platform developed by Salesforce, to impart the required knowledge and skills to your people.
Salesforce Trailhead is designed to ensure end-users from all backgrounds and skill levels can learn to use the CRM platform with minimal effort, in a fun-filled manner. This training platform provides all the information needed to use a Salesforce product with high efficacy to achieve business goals.
It is a good idea to utilize Salesforce Trailhead to assign topics pertaining to the IT system and allow your users to ‘self-check’ their progress. The training platform of Salesforce comes with a wide variety of learning activities including quizzes and games that enable users to test their knowledge and skills in a hands-on environment.
We advise you to create a learning path for each user based on his job duties; Salesforce Trailhead comes with several training options, which can be utilized to create a program for imparting the required abilities to use the CRM suite of products in a highly efficacious manner.
As you can see, these 7 aspects play a vital role in ensuring the success of your Salesforce implementation. At Solunus, we help you fully leverage the immense potential of the CRM suite to enhance your efficiency and deliver excellent service to meet your revenue goals. Our rich experience gained working with several companies in diverse industries coupled with a strong focus on understanding your unique needs will help us ensure your Salesforce implementation is a grand success.
Hope you liked this post. How do you plan to use Salesforce? We’d love to know.
Solunus is a dedicated Salesforce partner organization, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Our unrelenting focus on comprehending the unique needs of our clients coupled with our unrivaled expertise of the Salesforce platform enables us to deliver the perfect solutions that create the best value for IT and business analytics firms.