Salesforce is a powerful tool that can have a dramatically positive impact on your organization’s operations and bottom line. But the same features and functions that make it so impressive also add layers of complexity to implementing it.
In fact, many organizations that attempt implementation on their own will often fall somewhere between never using it to its full capability or at worst, completely abandoning it because it turned into a pain point. Salesforce, though it has a number of user-friendly qualities, it wasn’t necessarily intended to be plug-and-play right out of the box.
While it can come with technical challenges, most can be avoided with the proper planning and getting the right people in place. With that in mind, here are eight common mistakes that often lead to challenges down the line, ultimately impacting the return on your Salesforce investment.
1. Jumping in without clearly defined goals: Before investing in any digital tool, it’s critical to define your purpose or your ‘why’. Why are you implementing Salesforce and what processes do you want to improve with it? What are your goals over the next 6 to 12 months specifically with Salesforce and organizationally? You want to be sure there’s alignment. In other words, your Salesforce goals should parallel your overall business objectives and support your organization in achieving them.
2. Not creating a standardized process for collecting data: This one can’t be emphasized enough. It’s one of the top reasons for CRM failure. Data is the fuel that will ultimately power your Salesforce engine. Thus, it will only be as good as the data going into it.
Too often we see Salesforce systems riddled with incomplete or incorrect data, which can lead to duplication and errors. This is also a top reason for user abandonment –– if your team isn’t deriving value from it, there’s no reason to use it. To avoid this, there has to be a standardized, documented process for data collection.
3. Overlooking the importance of leadership buy-in and stakeholder involvement: Naturally, you want your team to adopt the platform, but don’t expect them to immediately embrace it. In fact, most teams tend to be resistant to change for fear of disruption to their workflow. A couple ways to avoid this is to get the leadership team bought into the idea of using Salesforce and to include all stakeholders early on.
When the leadership team sees the value in the tool, they will help advocate for it, ensure you have budget for it, and set the example for the rest of the team. When all stakeholders are involved from the start and can provide input on developing the right workflows and automations, they’ll be more committed to adopting and championing it.
4. Underestimating the training and resources required to gain adoption: Training is essential to successful implementation, yet it’s commonly skimmed over. While Salesforce provides a robust library of how-to content, relying on this alone won’t be enough, particularly since every implementation is unique. Training should be routinely revisited. A one-time training or once-per-year is not enough to ensure adherence to standardization and best practices. Salesforce consistently releases feature updates (three times per year), so you might want to schedule trainings around these releases.
5. Not investing enough in a Salesforce Admin: When technical issues arise or new features are rolled out, you’ll want to be able to handle these with ease and agility. Additionally, as your organization evolves, you’ll want your Salesforce to evolve with it. This is where an internal administrator comes in. This person will be your Salesforce champion, keeping up with general maintenance and making sure it’s being efficiently leveraged across various departments. While they are experts in what they do, administrators need resources for proper training and advanced education too.
6. Selecting the wrong implementation partner: While internal admins do play an integral role, most organizations simply don’t have the bandwidth or in-house technical expertise to execute on a full implementation or upgrade. Outside partners can bring strategic and technical expertise, and unbiased perspective to the table, but you have to find the right one.
You’ll want to develop a rigorous RFP process to evaluate not just skill and capability but commitment to deadlines, cultural fit, and emotional intelligence (EQ). Any partner you select should be skilled in SFDC and digital transformation strategy and execution, as well as the “soft skills”. High EQ goes a long way in problem finding and solving. You want a partner who is willing to spend the time to really listen to, learn and understand your organization. Cultural fit should also be a priority, as your integration partner will be working closely with your team for several months at a minimum.
7. Relying on the “out of the box” system to do what you want: Every business has a unique set of needs and as robust as the Salesforce CRM is, most won’t realize the true benefits if it’s not customized to meet their needs. Salesforce was built with customization in mind –– there are eight leading cloud programs and more than 3,400 apps in the AppExchange. This prevents you from ending up with a bulky system of features you’ll never use.
8. Disregarding data migration and integration: Data migration and integration often takes a back seat to features, but if not prioritized at the start, it can cause significant delays. Joining all of your data into one unified dashboard requires expertise. It can be a complex job –– data has to be inventoried and formatted properly before it can all be woven together.
Salesforce can deliver tremendous value with the right planning, execution and maintenance. In fact, companies using it effectively will experience a 25% increase in revenue, 35% increase in customer satisfaction and a 34% improvement in productivity. Could you be getting more out of it?
To determine if you’re getting all you could out of your Salesforce, take this quiz.