If you’re reading this, you’ve purchased or are considering Salesforce as a CRM solution. We support that decision! The common question that most Salesforce clients ask themselves at some point is: Can I self implement or do I need to hire a Salesforce implementation partner?
There’s a lot of information out there regarding the Salesforce implementation process, and we encourage you to do your research – ask your Salesforce Account Executive for advice, do a quick google search, browse the Salesforce forum, and of course read the rest of this blog post – to learn more about the Salesforce implementation process and choose the best solution for you!
So, let’s get to it – can you self implement Salesforce? If you have a very technical background and the time to dedicate, yes, you can self implement. Should you hire a Salesforce implementation partner? If you don’t have the technical confidence, a team to support you, and time, yes, you should hire a Salesforce implementation partner. Keep reading, and we’ll explain.
The Salesforce Implementation Process
The Salesforce implementation process is just that – a process that requires 100% focus. This is one issue that many clients run into when trying to self-implement a Salesforce environment. You’re busy. You have a full time day job pulling you in a million directions, and unless you can dedicate 100% of your attention to the technical and administrative needs of a Salesforce implementation (which will require well over 40 hours of your time) you simply may not have the time required to handle this project on your own.
A Salesforce implementation partner can help get you up and running in as little as 2 weeks, depending on the complexity of your needs, with minimal time investment on your end. To give you an idea of what’s involved in a Salesforce implementation, here’s what our process at Kadence Collective typically entails:
- Design documentation: This is one of the most important steps of a Salesforce implementation, because it sets the stage for the rest of the project. During the design phase, a Salesforce business analyst and certified Salesforce consultant will meet in one or more working sessions with your team to understand the day-to-day operations of your business. Once a full understanding of your needs is gathered, the Salesforce consultant will put together design documentation, which serves as an outline for the implementation.
- Application configuration: The Salesforce consultant will configure your Salesforce environment based on the design specifications. Multiple review meetings are typically required to ensure successful setup.
- Custom development: Salesforce can do pretty much anything! With an experienced Salesforce developer on hand, the possibilities are endless. Some of what you are looking to do may require customization, including: the creation of custom objects (“tabs” where your data sits) and fields outside of the standard out-of-the-box solutions, custom code solutions, custom app integrations, and much more. An experienced Salesforce consultant will determine what design specifications require customization, and will sometimes work with a Salesforce developer to accomplish complex custom needs.
- Data migration: Before the Salesforce implementation gets started, it’s a good idea to think about your ideal process and exactly what data you’ll need from your legacy system. Once you’ve defined that, it’s time to take an honest look at your current data. You’ve probably heard the adage, a system is only as good as its data. This is absolutely the case when managing your CRM data! A Salesforce implementation partner can handle the heavy lifting in the data migration (moving data from your legacy system to Salesforce), but will likely need assistance from your team in mapping the data (matching it to the right place) and cleaning the data – especially if your system has been rather messy in the past! But don’t worry – this is your chance to start fresh. It’s worth the time to do it right.
- Quality assurance: A Salesforce implementation partner should always have a quality assurance team to test all new environments. This is especially important if your Salesforce environment is complex and/or has a lot of customization. Quality assurance makes sure that everything is set up and functioning according to the design specifications.
- Training and deployment: Salesforce is more than new software – it’s an entirely new, more efficient, way of operating. This requires proper training and on-boarding for your entire team. A Salesforce implementation partner will handle an in-depth training and work with you to ensure successful team adoption. Help your sales team see beyond the challenge of learning a new system to a more efficient sales process that will lead to a fuller, better-managed pipeline and deal closing process.
- Project management: A dedicated project manager will ensure that all moving pieces are working in harmony, timelines and budget needs are met, and the project stays on track. With many people and processes involved, a good project manager is an invaluable resource to keep things moving quickly.
- Phase II: During a Salesforce quickstart implementation, it’s smart to take a “crawl, walk, run” approach. This allows you to get Salesforce up and running quickly, while also giving your team the flexibility to adapt your Salesforce environment as your needs change. An integrated Salesforce implementation partner can provide ongoing Salesforce support and help determine what features and processes will be beneficial in a future iteration of your Salesforce environment.
3 Keys to a Successful Salesforce Implementation
There are a lot of moving pieces, but following the above process for Salesforce implementation ensures your project runs smooth as silk! When you work with a Salesforce implementation partner, you can focus more on a few key areas for successful setup and deployment.
The main keys that you should focus on for a successful Salesforce implementation include:
- Be a champion, find a champion.
Be a constant champion for Salesforce. Exude positivity when speaking about the project and help the rest of your team get excited about the new efficient processes. It’s a good idea to also recruit a champion at a different management level (e.g. C-level or manager level, based on your role) to help lead the charge with you.
- Get user involvement early.
Any time a big change happens, especially in operations and process, user adoption is key. Use your company’s regular sales meetings to communicate key Salesforce changes coming up and ask for feedback. Showing future Salesforce users that you care about their needs and user experience is a key to successful implementation and adoption.
- Work with a Salesforce implementation partner.
If it wasn’t already clear enough, you’re going to need some help in this project. If you’re going to spend the time and budget on making the switch to Salesforce, do it right. A certified Salesforce implementation partner will ensure your environment is set up right the first time. It’s critical to dedicate a small portion of your time to detailing your business’s needs, and reviewing your partner’s progress and questions.
A new Salesforce implementation is an exciting step! You have the ability to leave your mark on your company – be the person who helps to make impactful, lasting changes to the way your business operates. Contact us if you have any questions about the Salesforce implementation process. We’d love to help you sort it all out!