Setting Salesforce up for success

November 12, 2015 Uncategorized

The barriers to entry are low and the opportunities are high. Far from its origin as a sales centric CRM, Salesforce offers a level of independence and identity to the enterprise never before seen. Turning innovative ideas into seamless workflow is a reality, requests for additional functionality, integration or white labeling are met with open arms, refreshing! Inviting Salesforce into your enterprise is far from a subscriptive relationship, it is going to be a journey and one you need to be prepared for.

Rules of engagement – Whilst navigating the ever growing landscape of enterprise cloud applications we commit to a journey of exploration; we research the many app markets for ratings, write ups and case studies, we check that the majority of what we need is on offer and then hit the magic ‘trial’ button, and so the race begins! Most enterprise applications need initial configuration as well as the key ingredient – data. We cautiously enter an amount of sample data, add a few workflows and start to make real decisions on the future of our chosen application. Don’t be fooled, unlike most throwaway apps your relationship with Salesforce will demand a level of commitment to realise value early on. Prepare your people and your data for the change – Salesforce is not just for Christmas!

Nature vs Nurture – Salesforce out of the box has all of the essential elements that should make up a leading platform, however, like a toy without batteries at Christmas it can disillusion before it is given an opportunity to shine. As such, (and not unlike a newborn baby!) Salesforce thrives on the healthy start we give it such as clean data, and structure. Adding objects, triggers and fields without much thought in the early days are much the same as teaching children bad habits, they come back to haunt us. Taking what is given to us out of the box and creating the dream, single view, seamless end to end workflow tool is the goal, but how are we going to set Salesforce up for success?

Organic or ‘All in’ – More often than not I meet business’s who are in the process of stripping their Salesforce system back to it’s core. Commonly, configuration and development with little documentation, workarounds instead of defined processes and dirty data are major catalysts for these revisions. The most successful implementations tend to be those that have been organically grown within an organisation with strategic goals in mind. The most valuable assets to a business is its people and its data, if these two can’t work together effectively the business is set to fail.

Power to the people – Salesforce is about getting close to your customer, would it not then make sense to get close to our users during implementation? A well adopted instance of Salesforce will naturally flourish in an innovative environment with the right resources. Allowing it to be engineered by the masses is key to providing your enterprise with a stable, trusted and enriched platform. Rather than simply replicating existing processes in Salesforce it is much better to provide accurate data and optimized workflows. So what are the key things to cover when implementing Salesforce?

  • Plan – have a clear idea about why you are using Salesforce and what you want to achieve. Define your roadmap.
  • Cleanse – Dirty data is the fastest way to get users offside.
  • Manage change – identify change and communicate effectively.
  • Integrate – simple web to leads are a great way to start – get your apps talking.
  • Collect feedback – Salesforce make it easy to turn good ideas into reality, so give your users a feedback loop, make champions of great ideas.
  • Provide value added reports – Despite senior management wanting big brother reporting it is more important to drive adoption. Try giving the users valuable reports and dashboards that help rather than expose them.
  • Add connectivity – dont under estimate addiction to email, find ways to integrate mail clients to Salesforce so that you capture the information flow without disrupting your users favorite method of communication.
  • Offer Training – there are plenty of resources that give help and guidance on key functionality of Salesforce. However, custom objects, fields and workflows require tailored training and field based help guides.
  • Automate –  The amount of ‘clicks’ you can reduce in a workflow impacts positive user adoption. Finding simple ways to automate is key to a successful implementation.
  • Get Social – Allow your users to communicate via any channel and all within Salesforce.
  • Go Mobile – providing mobile solutions to your users drives adoption and data enrichment.
  • Gain senior support – Get support from senior stakeholders, they should be leading change and sponsoring innovation.

If you have or are planning on embarking on a relationship with Salesforce and have questions on any of these points feel free to contact us.