Salesforce Admin
June 2, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Implementation in 2021

Technology is growing at a lightning speed. But if we look around, we still use Excel, notepad to scribble information about meetings and customers. Don’t we? 

A CRM system like Salesforce is important to every business. If you are keen on improving your profitability and satisfy customers throughout their journey whilst keeping your employees as well satisfied, then CRM is your chisel.

In this article, we will cover how you can implement a CRM like Salesforce in your company. 

Salesforce Implementation - What is it?

It is the process wherein your team or hired Salesforce partner will set up the CRM for your firm after jotting down the short and long-term goals, business processes, and requirements. 

While doing the project, the partner or consultant will recommend specific modifications or configurations that will improve workflow and help achieve the desired outcomes. After you hire the partner, ensure you appoint a specific project manager/executive sponsor for the entire project. 

In the next section, we will cover the 6 step Salesforce Implementation approach 

How to implement Salesforce?

We have created a six-step implementation checklist that we follow with our customers.  Here’s a bird’ eye view of it.


1. Workshop 

The first step is a meeting or a call with the stakeholders from the customer end to understand the requirements better. It’s important to spot the existing areas of concern challenges first followed by understanding the company's goals and objectives. Slowly, you can deep dive into their business processes and values. Along the way you can recommend modifications to the way workflows can be set up.  As well as this you should ask the right questions, and identify what sort of customizations, configurations, and integrations would be required for this project. After this, you can propose a realistic project timeline. 

2. Configuration & Customization

Salesforce configuration and customization are often misunderstood and used interchangeably. Configuration is making changes to the default setup of Salesforce, and on the other hand, customization is adding capabilities to the existing Salesforce by extending the APEX code. Don’t forget to also take into account the end-user feedback along with the project.

3. Integrations

You need to have all data in one place or at least have data flow seamlessly between systems. For instance, you would want to integrate your CRM with order management solutions if you are an E-commerce business. Similarly, you could integrate with calling or VOIP solutions to call customers, ERP systems, etc. In order to do this, it’s important to gather your customers’ needs, understand the flows and integrate using SOAP APIs, APEX Web services, or callouts. In the end, make sure to perform tests to ensure that the system works in an intended way.

4. Data Migration

Every business doesn't start implementing CRM from scratch, they might be using some system or at least an Excel sheet to manage customer and account information. Data from the legacy systems would be migrated with minimal downtime to the Salesforce platform. Along the way, the in-house admin can also be trained with migration tools like Dataloader

5. Salesforce Training

User adoption is vital for the success of any Salesforce project. The end-users will be trained on how to navigate and use the Salesforce platform. The new system and processes associated with it might terrorize the team, but this training will ease them and ensure they use the tool smoothly. Overall, productivity is not affected this way. Also Salesforce can be rolled out in phases just to ensure that employees don’t resist change. 

6. Support

After Salesforce is live, it’s important to be there for the customer in case any troubleshooting or issues come up. There might be an ‘n’ number of queries for an end-user once they start using the tool to its fullest potential.

If you would like to perfect your Salesforce projects, Cloudideas has created its own method that can be applied from workshop to support phase. 


Best Practices

Best is often a relative term. What works for your firm might not be the best for a firm in a different industry. But based on the insights from the Implementation Best practices Ebook by Taj Frankfurt, we have jotted down some general best practices here; 

  1. User adoption is greatly influenced by the executive team. If there is a push from the executive team about the new tool’s importance, value, and the initiative itself, then the other employees will use the tool better. 
  2. Business processes will already be in place in every firm. Tools like Salesforce should be implemented in such a fashion that it makes the job of the Sales team easy.
  3. Migrating old data and integrating with tools that have data is crucial. Bad data may lead to users not adopting the tool or errors in business processes.
  4. Salesforce should be implemented in such a way that is easy to use for end-users i.e., easy flow of data inside and between pages, easy to search, navigate, etc. 
  5. Salesforce features should be implemented in such a way that it works perfectly fine even when the number of users and complexity increases in your company 
  6. Salesforce should reduce your day-to-day tasks and not increase them. Automations, approvals, triggers, etc could help here. 
  7. Reports and dashboards become critical for the management team. It should be precise, accurate, and meaningful.

These pointers are something that every team like yours should have in mind while implementing Salesforce. 

Common Mistakes in Salesforce Projects

Implementing Salesforce is not a cakewalk. It could go bad too. After investing so many hours in this project, the end-users might not end up using the tool at all. In this section, we will cover some common mistakes to give you a heads up. You can curb them at the start. 

  • Planning the whole project is very important. If there is no timeline set or a list of customizations defined, then you might end up doing the same thing over and over or do it erroneously.
  • Data issues are commonly found in failed Salesforce projects. Duplicate records, incorrect or missing information can often affect business productivity.
  • Stakeholders and a project manager’s responsibilities need to be defined at the very start of the project. If this is not done at an early stage, then people start playing blame games without being accountable. 
  • Cloud software is often sold as easy-to-use software. But sometimes the DIY steps could go wrong and it might screw up the entire workflow. Seek expert advice, if need be at an early stage.
  • Setting unrealistic deadlines for project milestones and budgets can lead to project failure or implementing Salesforce in a way that is not its fullest potential
  • Not all features are defined early. Change is common in projects. If no proper change management team or guideline is set, then it might lead to issues in Salesforce workflows.

Salesforce Implementation Partners

One question every business may have is - Should I hire a Salesforce partner to implement (or) should I DIY? 

Many Small and Medium size businesses might have budget constraints and they prefer to do configurations themselves. On the other hand, it’s always good to have an expert or partner do the configuration and support for you. 

As a company, you need to figure out the goals and business processes that work the best for you. A partner could give a hand and consult as to how to fit this process best within the Salesforce tool. That’s when their expertise kicks in. 

If your business is scaling and has more than one department that will use Salesforce, you can think about the option to hire a partner. 

“This was our chance to go best in class for not a very big upfront investment, in dollars and time”

-  Patrick Byrne -  DAS42 COO

Final Thoughts 

All businesses and their needs are unique. You know better about yours. If you feel overwhelmed about the whole implementation project, you are not alone. Many businesses are in the same boat.  

“45% of growing SMBs are preparing for future crises by adopting technology to help digitize customer interactions”

- SMB Trends Report 

If DIY hacks would work for you, go for it. But if you need help along the way, partners are here for rescue.

CloudIdeas will help you implement Salesforce products, you can take our help and just book a call today and get started with our Experts. 

About the author

Priya Ravichandran
Priya Ravichandran

Senior Consultant | Geeky Digital Marketer | Guest Content Writer

Priya Ravichandran is a consultant by day, content creator by night. Priya enjoys writing well-researched and easy-to-read business content. When she isn't typing or writing, she can be found backpacking or dancing.

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