It’s well-said happy customers ensure a healthy bottom line. Companies across the world, irrespective of their size and industry make all possible efforts to deliver first-rate services to their customers, and thereby, delight them.
A key element in enabling businesses provide excellent services to their customers is a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A good CRM system helps a business to identify the needs of its customers in a timely manner and come up with the right strategies to meet the needs effectively, in a cost-efficient way. This, in turn will enable the companies to develop a loyal customer base and ensure high levels of growth.
One of the most widely used CRM systems is Salesforce. According to a report by the International Data Corporation, Salesforce is used by nearly a fifth of the corporate world. Various factors such as ease of usage and a vast array of powerful features have made this IT platform the preferred choice of companies across the world.
So, are you too planning to use Salesforce? Here’re 9 steps that you need to follow to make the best use of the innovative suite of CRM applications.
9 Easy Steps for Salesforce Implementation
Step 1: Identify Your Goals and Estimate Risks
Incorporating Salesforce into your business is not a one-and-done approach. It requires considerable time and needs to be divided into smaller tasks. You need to understand the risks that your business entails and define your goals.
Some of the points that you need to consider carefully are:
- Choosing an appropriate Salesforce edition as per your business needs and budget
- Evaluating possible risks that are likely to occur
- Checking your hardware and data storage limits
- Duration of the implementation process
Step 2: Define Your Team’s Roles and Responsibilities
Every project has specific scope and timeframe, and Salesforce implementation is no different. Based on the scope of your Salesforce implementation project and the time required to set it into motion, you need to allocate resources to ensure that your project is successful. Here is a list of people who will play a critical role in the project.
- Executive Sponsor – This role supports the project from the ideation phase till its completion. Also, the executive sponsor will help create awareness about the Salesforce system to ensure high levels of its adoption by users.
- Project Manager – The project manager is the primary point-of-contact for the implementation project; he will organize all work processes and facilitate proper communication and coordination between various stakeholders to ensure that all your business needs are met.
- System Administrator – A system administrator deals with the server-related aspects of the project before, during, and after the project release.
- Trainers – Trainers develop Salesforce training content and will ensure that all the users are equipped with the right knowledge and skills needed to use the CRM system effectively.
- Power Users – Power users are people who immediately try out the latest product features of Salesforce once they’re out. By giving them access to your alpha release, you can take their inputs to enhance your CRM system even more.
Step 3: Choose a Methodology that Works
Though the business world is gravitating to the Agile Scrum work model, some teams still adopt traditional methodologies like the waterfall model. Let’s take a look at these two models.
In the Scrum approach, the project is divided into smaller tasks and iterations. For instance, a product with core features will be launched initially. And, the rest of the features will be released in future iterations. By adopting this method, you can observe the demand for the product, and then, make the necessary adjustments wherever required.
As the name suggests, every step in the waterfall model depends on the initial task, time estimations and initial project cost. Apart from interdependencies being one of the major roadblocks in this model, it provides very little flexibility in the project lifecycle, thus, providing less value to the customer.
For this reason, companies often use a combination of these two approaches. For example, they come up with a rough estimate of the investment required in terms of time and money based on the Waterfall approach and use the Scrum methodology to develop project deliverables. Whichever mix you use, make sure that your implementation project will benefit from it.
Step 4: Define Your Implementation Plan and Timelines
Your Salesforce implementation project strategy depends upon the size of your business and the capacity of your marketing and sales teams. You should define your implementation plan and timelines accordingly based on the following.
- Define the implementation sequence that best suits your business needs. You can either choose to implement various Salesforce clouds simultaneously or go in for a step-by-step implementation of each cloud.
- Create a robust implementation plan by considering various factors like gathering your business requirements, initializing and customizing your settings, importing your existing data into salesforce, conducting QA, releasing the product and training your team members.
- Estimate the time required to complete the entire project.
Step 5: Take Ownership of Salesforce Customization and Integration
For any software solution to work well and deliver the results you want to achieve, it should be customized at the code level, along with workflows, validation rules, user interfaces and every other aspect. You can roll out the customized features all at one time or in a step-by-step manner. But during this phase, you need to accord the security of the product you’re developing the highest priority. Also, you need a robust tracking mechanism in place to check the performance of your product.
Step 6: Migrate Data to Salesforce
The first step to Salesforce implementation is migrating your data from your existing CRM or on-premise system to Salesforce. Also, keep the following pointers in mind during data migration.
- See that the data quality and accuracy are not affected during the transfer
- Ensure that data mapping is correctly done
- Avoid duplication of data to eliminate confusion
Step 7: Test-run the New Salesforce Solution
Post data migration and application customization, your product needs to be tested. By performing the quality assurance (QA) of your product effectively, you will be able to answer critical questions like:
- Is the solution working well?
- Are all the processes running smoothly?
- Is the product compliant with all your business requirements?
Step 8: Launch the Salesforce Solution
Encourage your employees to try out and experience the product for themselves. If there are no glitches to be found in this test phase as well, you can roll out your product with confidence.
Step 9: Organize Employee Training and Deliver Post-launch Support
Post the system release, your employees will need guidance to use the brand-new Salesforce tool thoroughly to manage their daily tasks without any glitches in the future. Also, you have to provide after-launch support to help your employees as and when the need arises.
Developing and implementing a robust Salesforce solution plays a key role in helping meet your business goals. However, it can be overwhelming to execute the implementation project by yourself without any inputs and guidance from a Salesforce expert.
Solunus, a dedicated Salesforce partner, can help you with your Salesforce implementation requirements at affordable costs. Team up with our team of experts to get a customized Salesforce solution for your business today!
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.