You have heard about all the success stories from lots of customers using Salesforce, and now you are ready to see if Salesforce is really the CRM for your business needs. But not sure where to begin?
Here is a comprehensive guide to implementing Salesforce for the leaders and decision-makers. This list should help you make a project plan for successful implementation of Salesforce. This guide includes all considerations for Salesforce implementation starting from planning to execution and even your CRM rollout strategy after successful implementation.
1. Build Project Management Timeline
“Plan your work and work your plan.” Without a project management timeline, no project is complete. This plan provides a very simple yet useful visual overview of the Salesforce implementation project from the beginning to the end. This also helps in increasing the efficiency amongst team members. It can feel overwhelming to break down a project into a timeline, but every effort that goes into building this plan pays off when you are able to easily have a quick overview of your project at any time during project implementation.
Once you’ve settled on a timeline for your project, mark key milestones on your calendar, such as business process mapping, pilot testing, and roll-out date. This will help to hold the entire team accountable for keeping the project on track.
2. Define Metrics for Success Using the Salesforce CRM
Metrics for success can vary company by company and team by team. Also, there is any number of ways to define goals for your Salesforce implementation project. For some companies, their goal is to reduce case handling time. For others, it can be increasing their average sale amount. By defining goals and metrics, you can give yourself a tangible way to gauge the overall success of your implementation.
3. Define SMEs
Your Salesforce implementation’s success or failure largely depends on your end-users. Therefore it’s important to continue communicating with end-users or a person representing your end-users. Even though the Salesforce platform is incredibly powerful and has a large potential of transforming your business from the ground up, it is only good if your end-users use it.
This is where a SME (Subject matter expert) comes to any project’s rescue. Carefully select SME for your implementation, who has thorough knowledge and experience of the business process you are trying to implement on Salesforce. SME should be able to represent who you are implementing for, and what you are implementing. This can be in the form of a Salesforce Partner or an internal member of your team.
4. Select Salesforce Cloud
Salesforce ecosystems have multiple clouds to select from depending on the type of business and use cases. When designing a Salesforce CRM implementation plan it is important to decide which cloud you want to choose, whether that be Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, CPQ, Heroku, etc. Each of the clouds has its own unique set of constraints, features, and benefits. If you’re unsure, a Salesforce Partner should be able to help guide you to the proper product based on your goals and budget.
5. Decide User Permissions and Roles
Since many users will have access to the implemented Salesforce CRM Solution, it is in your best interest to define users’ access and permissions by defining each user’s Role with the system. Ideally, you would provide more access to the employees as they move higher in the role hierarchy. For example, a Supervisor will have access to view all leads versus a sales representative who can see only leads that they own.
While it is fairly straight forward to implement security using Roles and Permission within Salesforce, it can inadvertently expose data or give too much permission if not designed carefully.
6. Establish a Data Model
A well-architected data model plays a very important role while designing an implementation plan for any Salesforce implementation. Without a data model, it can be extremely challenging for the Salesforce Administrator to develop page layouts and automations.
The data model helps you define the right set of Salesforce standards and custom objects used to store data from the company’s business process.
When designing a data model, investigate the various relationship types, including Lookup, Master/Detail, and External. Also, be sure to ask yourself whether a data point belongs as a field on an existing object or as a child object related to a parent object. By keeping these paradigms, you can ensure that your data model grows along with your organization.
7. Design a Prototype
Proof of concept or prototype is used to collect users’ feedback early in the implementation process by providing a partially working product. Prototypes have historically helped to easily collect feedback from the users, which is why it is important to provide a working prototype in front of your user group as soon as possible
8. Determine the Needed Amount of Customization
It is incredibly important to determine the amount of out-of-the-box functionality and other custom development efforts are needed in any Salesforce implementation. This should start early on and should run parallel to every other stage of the project. This is so important because custom developments are little projects on their own, and may stall the project if decided upon too late in the process.
9. Define a Rollout Strategy
Once the solution is implemented, the architecture looks scalable, and your users seem to like it, you should start preparing for your roll-out strategy. Create a go-live checklist that includes all pieces of the project, no matter how small, that you have implemented; all integration that needs to be implemented; and all data transformation that needs to occur.
The next step in the rollout strategy should be moving your entire implemented project to a full sandbox environment to check its competitiveness with large business data volumes. Full sandboxes, opposed to partial/dev sandbox, allow organizations to store a large amount of data to replicate a production-like environment. This sandbox crucial to run penetration testing on newly developed automation.
10. Prepare a Change Management Strategy
Change management is a crucial part in any Salesforce implementation, as it tells your users what to expect when you deliver the newly implemented Salesforce solution. It also empowers them for success. Executive leadership must be involved in the change management process. Executive oversight plays an important role in change management, as executives can make Salesforce implementation and adoption of a corporate initiative and make a compelling case as to why the change is necessary.
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