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7 Vital Elements of Salesforce Implementation Success

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