Best Practices for Getting Started with Salesforce.com
Over the last 4 years we have had the opportunity to work on over 300 Salesforce projects and that number is growing by the week. With this experience comes a large knowledge base of best practices. These common themes were very consistent across our most successful projects. Before you take the plunge into the Salesforce world, consider these best practices for your implementation.
Top Down Approach
Having an executive sponsor who provides full support and participation for the length of the implementation and beyond is the most critical piece to a successful implementation. Most do not like change and executives and senior leaders provide the authority and credibility needed for a change to be successful. Having the mantra of “If it’s not in Salesforce it doesn’t exist” is a sure fire way to make sure your users are using the system. Once they are over the hump of change, if implemented correctly they will start to see Salesforce for the efficiency building tool it is.
If someone at your organization doesn’t have the expertise to implement Salesforce then you should find someone to do it. Whether you spend the money to get someone trained or hire an implementation partner, it is critical to get started with your Salesforce instance using someone who knows how to implement the requirements. Equally important is having someone who can be the project manager to ensure timelines and communication requirements are being met. Implementation partners should be providing both the project management and the implementation and you should make sure their project management style meets the needs and culture of your organization.
Crawl, Walk, Run
In addition to being adverse to change, too much functionality can overwhelm your users and hurt adoption. It is critical to find the right amount of functionality that can be delivered quickly and provide enough ROI. Decisions to do things like custom development or integration should be brought to the table only if the users absolutely require it to do their jobs. These components both increase initial and ongoing cost as well as add time for deployment. If it fits in the category of “nice to have”, it might we worth tabling it for a later phase.
Once you have sponsorship and an implementation team in place, the last piece is getting organized. No goal is worth setting if you don’t have an end date or you cannot measure it. Having the right people who understand Salesforce and how to manage the project will be critical to this exercise. Once you have set the level of functionality, come up a with realistic timeline and stick to it. Keeping momentum is key to success and moving dates without legitimate reasons can poke a hole in the project sails.
Making the decision to move to Salesforce is very exciting. It can streamline your business processes and provide you with insight into your customers that you never have before. To help ensure success of any implementation, it is critical to follow the best practices listed above.
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