How to Budget for Your Salesforce Implementation

Published on
June 28, 2017

Investing in Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) can be one of the best decisions an organization makes. Salesforce helps users create deeper customer relationships, which grow the business. The payoff, however, heavily depends on the creation and execution of the Salesforce integration and implementation plan.

A study by Merkle Group Inc. found that 63% of CRM initiatives fail. People issues made up almost 40% of the CRM failures, according to a Forrester survey. These issues include deficient training and change management, which lead to poor user adoption.

Ensuring a successful Salesforce implementation that yields a faster ROI demands developing an implementation plan that considers all the factors. The more you know, the fewer the surprises.

Determine the Salesforce Implementation Approach

Before delving into costs, it's important to understand your implementation options. Software can't install itself, so organizations must choose from two approaches for installation and roll out:

  1. Do it yourself.
  2. Work with a Salesforce implementation consultant.

The do-it-yourself approach often appears less expensive in the short-term, however, tends to be one of the most common causes of botched implementation. Even if an organization hires an employee dedicated to Salesforce, the employee will not have the deep implementation experience that Salesforce integration partners have.

Most successful organizations engage Salesforce experts, who live and breathe the CRM and use best practices in every implementation. Partners have performed many implementations in countless different ways.

No two implementation plans are alike, and consultants can handle the unexpected. They know how to roll out Salesforce as efficiently as possible.

Evaluate Factors in Salesforce Implementation Planning

Regardless of your implementation approach, Salesforce should be adapted to fit your organization and its processes, not the other way around. Because Salesforce contains many possibilities, one plan or price will not fit all.

These questions will help you create an effective Salesforce implementation plan:

  • What existing systems does the organization use?
  • What's the organization's sales process?
  • What sources of data does the organization have? Which ones need to be migrated to Salesforce? Which fields will you use in Salesforce?
  • Which activities will be automated and which will be user-driven?
  • What's your current data traffic? How will you scale?
  • What solutions will you need to optimize Salesforce? Will you use an existing application or a custom solution?
  • What's the plan for Salesforce user adoption and training?
  • How will users and administrators receive support when they have questions or issues? What's the process for submitting a support request?

Estimate Costs of a Salesforce Integration and Implementation

Most Salesforce implementations come with licensing costs and software ownership or leasing costs. Travel costs may be a factor depending on whether the consultant needs to travel or if employees go offsite for training.

Fees and services should include time and materials. The number of people involved with the implementation and training will also impact the budget. Depending on an organization's Salesforce needs, an implementation could take the form of a bundled quote for a quick start implementation, or it could be priced as a fixed estimate for more complex implementations.

Making assumptions — rather than getting ample user input — during the design phase can negatively affect cost, too. In these scenarios, organizations find that their assumptions often do not adequately reflect what users need. They find it necessary to change the requirements or the schedule, which can drive up the price of the implementation.

That's why it's critical to get the right people — especially the users — involved during the discovery phase. Organizations can reduce the cost by gathering information — internally and in the marketplace — to determine what they need in their Salesforce setup.

Any Salesforce development will also affect price. The simpler the requirements, the cheaper the implementation will be.

To simplify your setup, make a list of requirements. For each requirement, note whether it's a must-have, important, or a nice-to-have. This will nail down all the must-haves. Then you can decide on the rest once you determine the cost and complexity of the must-have requirements.

Most important of all, ensure the implementation plan outlines the process for rolling out Salesforce across the organization. This is where training and support comes in. An implementation plan including these two will increase Salesforce adoption. Organizations that skip or skimp on training and support often pay the high price of owning a great system that no one uses.

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