When, Why, and How to Implement Salesforce
Part of running a successful business is utilizing the right tools to effectively and efficiently manage your day-to-day. One way to save a significant amount of time and effort is to implement a leading business management software. Whether that’s a customer relationship management (CRM) or an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, solutions like Salesforce help manage your business processes to enable continued growth.
Why growing businesses need the cloud
A CRM like Salesforce can touch many areas of your organization. From managing your customer data, contacts, and leads, to automating your sales funnel, marketing campaigns, and vendor partnerships. If your company has yet to implement a CRM tool – or if you’ve outgrown your current software – upgrading to Salesforce can be the key to take your business to the next level.
Knowing When It’s Time to Switch CRM Software
How do you know that it’s time to implement a new tool? Particularly one with the business transforming ROI of Salesforce? Well, the answer – surprisingly enough – is often right in front of you.
Just take a look at your daily operations. How are you running? Where can you improve, and would a new/better business system help enable that improvement? Consider the following signs as clear indicators that it would:
- Your employees manually handle many aspects of your business.
- Key information about your operations and your clients is not located in a single area.
- You are using physical storage at your office instead of running on a cloud-based model.
- There is no easy, secure way for your employees to access essential company data from outside the office.
- Telecommuting is difficult because your employees lack reliable mobile access to work tools.
- Contacting and keeping track of your clients is challenging and time-consuming.
- You’re running on multiple systems and databases with no single source of truth for your data.
If these sound familiar, it’s time to get serious about a technology change. Making the move to Salesforce can help you streamline your business processes, provide a better experience for your customers and employees, and help accelerate your growth.
Benefits of Salesforce CRM
What sort of benefits can you expect by upgrading to this type of business management software? In addition to eliminating those growth prohibiting factors listed above, Salesforce comes with some great qualities you want in a tool. After all, it’s one of today’s leading technology solutions for a reason.
- Cloud-based: You don’t have to purchase, store, and maintain any physical hardware. Imagine how nice it’d be to cut those IT costs.
- Scalable: It’s easy to configure Salesforce solutions that grow with your business. As your business grows, adding new “seats” to your org is quick and painless. As your needs change, the solution can change with you.
- Easy development: You can create applications using point-and-click options instead of investing significant resources into custom coding. We believe in the 80/20 rule, and develop our clients’ Salesforce solutions with easy maintenance in mind.
- Regular updates: You and your employees will get access to new features and improvements automatically, on a regular cadence. Salesforce pushes improvements three times a year.
- Quick setup: With a little advance preparation, Salesforce can be up and running in no time.
How to implement Salesforce effectively
- Robust solutions: You can tailor your Salesforce instance with a mix of different Salesforce Clouds. Need to manage customer support tickets? Service Cloud is for you. Want a place where your customers or vendors can self-service? You can create a portal with Community Cloud. The possibilities are endless.
- Expanded functionality: A great perk of implementing Salesforce is that nearly everything can be added or “plugged in” to it. The AppExchange has an endless array of add-on applications built specifically for Salesforce, and Salesforce’s open API and a good partner can help you integrate your other systems.
These are just a few high-level advantages of choosing Salesforce for your business. Of course, a knowledgeable Salesforce consultant can demo exactly how upgrading would benefit your unique business model.
Planning & Preparing for Implementation
If you’re ready to make the switch to Salesforce, it’s important to plan ahead. This will help the transition go as smoothly as possible. Well, you can’t prepare for everything, here are a few of the key areas to keep in mind:
- Have clear goals in mind for how you want the software to improve your business model. Do you want to increase sales by a certain percentage? Are you hoping for a measurable improvement in your customer support results? This will help guide the scope and ensure your implementation addresses your critical areas.
- Make sure you understand all of the changes that will take place. Ask questions of your implementation partner and consider workflow changes. Don’t purchase Salesforce just to copy your current process flow in the new system. Improve and communicate the way you do business.
- Engage your sales, marketing, and customer support staff. Your Salesforce implementation will likely mean significant changes in the way they do their jobs. It’s important to keep them involved in the entire process so nothing is overlooked.
- Invest in training. Salesforce is extremely powerful, and while it is easy to use, your employees will likely experience some questions. Prepare for the impending learning curve that will occur when you switch over from your previous business processes and systems. End-user training will cut down on the time it takes for your team to ramp up on the new tool and process.
Planning for the Tool
- Take time for your data. Organize and create back-ups. And if you can, take the time to clean up data mistakes (duplicate customer entries, missing/inaccurate information, obsolete accounts). It can make the transition so much smoother.
- Think about how you’ll need to customize Salesforce. There are a number of Salesforce products and add-on solutions that you can implement and configure to suit your needs. Scope and determine which will work best with your parameters.
- Move your data slowly. We find it can be helpful to create a small test batch (client database entries, for example) to import first. Once you have verified that everything is set up the way you want, you can move the rest of your data.
- Monitor the transition closely. Talk to your employees and customers to figure out where configurations need to be modified and if any additional training is needed.
- Don’t hesitate to lean on your community. A great thing about implementing Salesforce is that there are a number of other organizations who are going or have gone through the same transition. There are a number of avenues for help and support so you can use Salesforce to its full potential. Whether it’s an online forum for administrators, a developer network, or a community user group of your peers, reaching out to other Salesforce users can be an invaluable resource during your implementation and beyond.
Ensuring a Successful Switch
If you’re ready to improve your company’s overall efficiency, operations, and management by switching to Salesforce, get ready to see positive results. Take the time to really define your needs and examine what Salesforce has to offer. And don’t forget to find a reliable, qualified Salesforce partner to help you through the process. While you can self-implement, a certified Salesforce consultant will have the knowledge and experience to get you your best implementation.
Should you self-implement?
Here’s one business’s experience.