How to Know ASAP If Your Salesforce Implementation Is Going Off Track

Published on
August 9, 2017

With a new CRM implementation, like all projects, the sooner you catch something going wrong, the faster and less costly it is to fix it. Sometimes, especially when an organization executes a significant change in a process or system, it's not obvious when a project begins to veer off track.

Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system, like Salesforce, is that kind of significant change. It's not simply switching from Microsoft Office to Google's version of office. Implementing Salesforce CRM is a culture change that requires training and involves many departments. You'll want to get Salesforce implemented the right way — before training employees.

What Are the Early Signs a Salesforce Implementation Isn't Going Well?

Knowing the early signs of problems and their causes will go a long way in saving you time and money. Watch for these early signs of a problem with Salesforce implementation:

  • Implementation partner does not complete the initial deliverables.
  • Organization stakeholders cannot come to an agreement on requirements.
  • Implementation team is dealing with confusion.
  • Organization and implementation partner don't know what steps to take next.
  • Organization frequently changes scope.
  • Implementation team can't resolve technical obstacles.
  • Implementation team transfers unwanted data into Salesforce.
  • Data migration results in data loss or errors.
  • Salesforce edition is not compatible with implementation and Salesforce requirements.

What Are the Biggest Causes for Salesforce Implementation to Go Off the Rails?

  • If requirements are not concluded by both parties before starting the Implementation.
  • Not having clear understanding of the scope by both parties.
  • If the scope is changing frequently.
  • Not choosing the right engagement model by the company.
  • Not providing a project manager from the company side to communicate with the implementation team.
  • Not having a clear roadmap by the company.
  • Not using or engaging the right technologies & tools by Implementation team.
  • If the implementation team doesn’t have the expertise and experience.
  • Not following the logic or sequence by implementation team.
  • If the implementation team has taken the wrong methodology.
  • If the project from the implementation team is unable to identify the risk.

What Can Organizations Do to Prevent Implementation Problems With Salesforce?

It's critical for companies and Salesforce implementation partners to agree on the requirements and scope before starting implementation. Together, they need to define what the Salesforce setup will look like.

Discuss and document the tools and technologies to be used in the implementation, including:

  • Integration tools
  • Deployment tools
  • Development tools
  • Software development languages

The requirements should indicate both parties will have regular follow-ups and outline the follow-up schedule.

A company has several engagement model options. An engagement model is a framework that defines collaboration between a company (client) and a vendor (implementation partner). A company could choose onsite, offsite, or offshore, and the right one depends on its needs.

If the project manager isn't following up or getting the job done, replace that person. The same rule goes for any member of the implementation team: If someone's skills do not meet qualifications, replace that person with someone who can do the job. While no one likes to fire personnel, a company's success depends on having the right players on the project.

How Can Our Organization Avoid Salesforce Implementation Problems?

Salesforce is a powerhouse with a wealth of features and apps. Start with a gap analysis to determine the company's CRM needs. Salesforce affects many departments, so the company needs to collect requirements from various departments, functions, and teams.

Salesforce is a powerhouse with a wealth of features and apps. Start with a gap analysis to determine the organization's CRM needs. Salesforce affects many departments, so the organization needs to collect requirements from various departments, functions, and teams.

Once collected, hold a meeting with all the organization stakeholders to come to an agreement on the business and functional requirements. When you have this, document the current and target states. While documenting, consider the following questions to identify the needs and things not needed:

  • What prompts the need to upgrade or implement Salesforce?
  • What's the desirable outcome after implementation?

Next, create a Salesforce CRM roadmap — a strategic plan that aligns the organization's business strategy with its Salesforce CRM priorities. It includes the CRM implications, current state, gaps, CRM business and functional requirements, strategic CRM capabilities, business case, and roll-out strategy.

By this point, the organization can allocate a budget for the Salesforce implementation. With an outlined budget and requirements in hand, choose the ideal Salesforce edition and obtain the required API for integrations.

Next, determine what tools and technologies are needed for the project. Not all vendors offer all engagement models, so identify the best engagement model to guide you in finding the right implementation partner.

Research and interview implementation partners to find the right match based on expertise and experience. As you bring the implementation team together, evaluate their experience and skillset to verify you have what you need. Diligence at this stage will help you avoid replacing personnel later in the project.

Implementing a CRM is a large undertaking that needs someone to dot all the I's and cross all the T's. Assign a project manager to oversee the entire implementation project. This person is responsible for communicating with the implementation team. The project manager needs to be a strong and consistent communicator who can keep things on track.

After successfully implementing Salesforce, the organization moves forward with its roll-out strategy, which includes training. This is a critical step that seals the deal.

Implementing Salesforce is a massive undertaking, something you want to do right the first time. Following the guidelines in this article will help ensure its success.

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