In 2021, it is safe to say that the world revolves around extracting, accessing, and managing data.
It has rightly been called the “digital gold” of the modern era, helping organizations across the board in streamlining their processes and working towards attaining their objectives.
Over time, businesses have become more diversified and customers have become more demanding.
In a nutshell, this means that organizations need to handle a little more complicated database to provide personalized services to their customers.
If your team uses traditional data management tactics to meet the dynamic demands of your customers, you are likely to end up disappointing your teams as well as your clients!
CRM platforms like Salesforce help you deal with this issue with speed, ease, and efficiency.
For more than two decades, Salesforce has been helping organizations across the world in storing, accessing, and assessing their valuable customer database using a centralized and automated platform.
This allows organizations to automate processes like lead management, email marketing, quote creation, providing customer services, creating reports, and many more.
With Salesforce, you can keep a track of all relevant information about all your prospects and customers on a unified platform.
If implemented right, the CRM platform can be utilized to streamline a variety of business processes and automate the same for improved accuracy and efficiency.
A lot depends on your Salesforce implementation plan and the manner in which you approach the same.
Salesforce developers and architects help you in designing personalized solutions and setting up a platform that is in sync with all the objectives you are willing to achieve and the processes you are willing to focus on.
So, how to implement Salesforce?
Here is an extensive Salesforce implementation guide to help you make the most of the CRM platform and allow your team to operate on the same.
If you follow these steps with precision and accuracy, you can rest assured that you will have a Salesforce org ready according to your specific needs and preferences:
- Have A Project Timeline In Place
- Set clearly-defined Goals And Objectives
- Build A Team For Seamless Implementation
- Define Your End Users
- Determine The Processes To Focus On
- Choose The Salesforce Product(s) To Implement
- Work On User Access And Permissions
- Develop A Working Prototype
- Work On Customizing The Platform
- Go Live!
However, before getting to the Salesforce implementation guide, let us understand the situations that determine the need for Salesforce implementation.
How To Determine The Need For Salesforce Implementation?
Salesforce implementation is a big decision to be made by an organization.
While it is certainly a beneficial step towards customer relationship management, it is important to make sure that you go ahead with the implementation only if there is a need to do so.
Also, determining the need for Salesforce implementation would help you understand the areas you want to focus on and the Salesforce products you need to implement.
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before getting Salesforce implemented:
Are you finding it difficult to keep your data organized?
As mentioned earlier, businesses today are dealing with a variety of data that is getting increasingly specific.
New records are often created every day and datasets need to be managed effectively.
If you are struggling to keep all your records organized and use the same to carry out specific business processes, you might want to consider getting Salesforce implemented.
Do you need to establish a healthier relationship with your customers?
Almost every activity carried out by an organization revolves around the needs of its customers.
In order to survive in the market and get an edge over your competitors, it is important to have a base of loyal customers and build a healthy relationship with them.
If you feel that your business needs to build a better rapport with your customers (even if you have been making good progress in the industry), you should start making a Salesforce implementation plan.
Do you need to improve communication with your sales reps?
If you want to drive more sales and boost your revenue, it is important to stay in touch with your sales reps, obtain regular reports, and provide them with all necessary updates that would help them perform their tasks better.
It is always advisable to give and take real-time updates for engaging better with your sales reps.
If you feel there is a communication gap and you need to interact better with your sales team, you should consider Salesforce implementation.
Do you need to automate your business processes?
Business processes like nurturing leads, creating reports, managing user permissions, providing customer support, and many more are bound to get tedious and time-consuming if they are carried out manually by your employees.
If you believe you need to automate these processes to get better results and obtain the desired traction, you should get Salesforce implemented.
A Complete Salesforce Implementation Guide
Now that you are thorough with the reasons why you should get Salesforce implemented within your organization, let us get to the Salesforce implementation guide and the steps involved in getting the CRM platform set up.
Here are all the major steps involved in implementing Salesforce and getting started with the CRM platform:
Have A Project Timeline In Place
Every implementation process starts by establishing a project timeline.
A project timeline will take you on a hypothetical tour of the entire implementation process and give you the estimated amount of time taken for the project to be completed.
Having a Salesforce implementation plan in place provides you with a blueprint of all the strategies to be charted out and the different phases of developing your plan would go through before you have the platform ready.
Once you have your project timeline ready, mark your calendars with the specific dates that denote the milestones to be achieved.
This would keep and your team updated and on the same page until your Salesforce org is implemented.
Set clearly-defined Goals And Objectives
Once you have established a project timeline for implementing Salesforce, make sure that clearly define the goals you are willing to achieve through the implementation.
Salesforce is a vast platform and can be used for an array of purposes. Do you need the platform to drive more sales?
Are you willing to improve your client support processes?
Do you want to leverage your B2B/B2C marketing processes? Are you willing to streamline your marketing processes?
Do you want to integrate your CRM platform with relevant third-party platforms?
Establish the specific objectives you want to achieve through the CRM platform. This will dictate all the subsequent steps you take towards implementing Salesforce.
Build A Team For Seamless Implementation
After you have all your goals and objectives in place, you need to build a team that helps you carry out the implementation.
This team helps you in making sure that the CRM platform is implemented in a timely and effective manner.
Here are some of the key professionals you would require to help you implement Salesforce within your organization:
- Executive Sponsor – An executive sponsor is a professional who will be responsible for the business success of the implementation. From convincing the stakeholders about the project to making sure that all the strategies are in line with the implementation plan, your executive sponsor acts as a senior executive when it comes to Salesforce implementation.
- Project Manager – A project manager is responsible for overlooking the entire implementation project. They are well-versed with the nitty-gritty details of the platform and responsible to ensure that all the processes are in sync with the project timeline and the established business objectives. Also, they are responsible for motivating their team members to get their work done on time and resolving any issue arising during the process of implementation.
- System Administrator – A system administrator is a professional who is well-versed with business management and the technical aspects of Salesforce. They are responsible for overlooking the day-to-day operations carried out using the CRM platform and guiding the implementation team to make necessary configurations and customizations within the Salesforce.org.
- Power User – A power user is responsible to make sure that the platform is developed the right way and fulfills all necessary requirements at all phases. They check the functionality of the platform and provide critical feedback to the team for making any necessary changes if required
- Salesforce Consultant – A Salesforce consultant plays an important role from the first to the last stage of the implementation process. They are the professionals who have mastered the CRM platform and are responsible for providing you with valuable insights that help you implement Salesforce in the most effective way possible.
Define Your End Users
When it comes to Salesforce implementation, defining your goals and objectives is never enough.
It is important to clearly define the end-users who would be using the CRM platform. Ultimately, it is these users for whom you would be implementing Salesforce.
Here are some of the most common end-users who utilize the platform of Salesforce for various purposes:
- Sales team
- Marketing team
- Customer support team
- Operations team
- Project management team
- Development team
- Finance team
- Customer success team
- Business partners
The end users you decide to implement the platform for influence the Salesforce tools and products chosen to add to the package.
Determine The Processes To Focus On
As discussed earlier, Salesforce is a fairly vast platform and can be used to leverage a number of business processes.
Once you have decided on the end-users who would be using the platform, it is important to define the business processes you are willing to focus on while implementing Salesforce.
For example, if you want to implement Salesforce for your sales team, you can choose to focus on automating and improving the processes of lead generation, lead scoring, opportunity management, sales forecasting, business analytics, or other relevant sales processes that make the work of your sales reps easier.
Choose The Salesforce Product(s) To Implement
Salesforce has divided its functionality into different offerings known as Salesforce Clouds.
Each of these Clouds is designed to provide a specific set of services, tools, and features, to the users.
Normally, each Salesforce Cloud is suitable for a specific team or department within an organization.
Some of the most commonly used Salesforce products include:
- Salesforce Sales Cloud
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud
- Salesforce Service Cloud
- Salesforce Commerce Cloud
- Salesforce Financial Services Cloud
- Salesforce Community Cloud
- Salesforce Field Service Cloud
Before going ahead with a specific Salesforce Cloud, it is important to go through an extensive guide to implement the same.
For example, read Salesforce Sales Cloud implementation guide to implement the Sales Cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud implementation guide to implementing Service Cloud, etc.
Work On User Access And Permissions
Once you are certain about the Salesforce Cloud you want to go ahead with, you can finally start with the development process.
The most important aspect of Salesforce development is to set user access and permissions.
When you implement the CRM platform within your organization, it is not necessarily for every single employee to work on the same.
Make sure your system administrator sets specific access and permissions for different users working on the platform.
This will help you ensure the utmost privacy and security of your CRM platform.
Develop A Working Prototype
Once you are done setting all necessary permission and access requirements for the users, you can go ahead with the development of a working prototype.
Start by building preliminary architecture and designing the basic solutions based on the pre-defined objectives to achieve.
This is where you build custom objects for improved data management and leveraging the business process you are focusing on.
Make sure that your prototypes go through multiple testing stages before you are ready with the final model.
Work On Customizing The Platform
After you have your basic model ready, you need to customize the platform to suit the working of the end-users.
Right from customizing the homepage to deciding on the page layouts, this is where you tailor the platform by making the smallest custom development changes for the users.
Finally, once all your customizations are made and the CRM platform is ready, you can go live with your Salesforce org and start making the most of the platform!