As a business leader you may not be the one configuring your company’s instance of Salesforce, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to help your business be successful in using it. At Pinkus Partners we have continued to learn that having business leaders championing and supporting Salesforce implementations is a key indicator of future success.
1. Launch Your New Salesforce Platform with A Bang (Buy-in Matters)
As your consultants or technology team near completion of a new implementation or a new feature, it’s the right time for business leaders to get back involved. You can help set the release and roll-out up for success by setting the standard that the actual business users are excited and appreciative of the work that has been done to make their job easier. As the time approaches to train future users on the new process and technology, everything will be easier and more fun with a little fanfare to build buy-in with the business users. There are many ways to do this so choose something that fits your culture, just make sure to pump your teams up and give credit where it is due.
One of the top reasons companies aren’t successful using Salesforce is user adoption, meaning that end users in the company either don’t use Salesforce at all or don’t use it for everything they are supposed to. So make sure to manage the expectations of end users before it goes live. Be clear that using Salesforce will be different than using whatever mix of tools your company has used in the past and that it will not be perfect on day one. Through it all maintain and lead with an attitude of excitement about the future and be clear that Salesforce will help you get there.
2. Use Salesforce for its Strengths
One of the great advantages of using Salesforce for CRM and related functionality is that it comes “out of the box” with much of what you need already implemented. Make sure to use it for the many things that it is good for, such as task plans, pipeline management, customer support, and building sales dashboards. The other great thing about using Salesforce is that it is built to fit together easily with many other technologies (including ones you are already using), so don’t automatically assume your Salesforce instance needs to be everything for everyone at your company and that you have to scrap other technologies that have worked in the past. Examples of things that Salesforce may not be the best for (at least for now) include: acting as a primary database (heavy storage fees) and use as a consumer-facing platform (difficult to customize and simplify compared to other consumer-facing tools, since it is primarily built for internal business users).
3. Don’t Excessively Customize
Similar to the last point, you have to remember that the “out of the box” functionality with Salesforce is meant to be adjusted and configured for your business, not wiped out entirely by excessive customization. The more customization that happens at the beginning of an implementation, the more work every future adjustment requires and the more issues you will have when Salesforce pushes out updates three times a year. So it’s important to remember not to push the technology team into more and more extreme customization every time something is needed (especially if your business is using Salesforce to increase efficiency!). If you do, productivity will decrease over time and issues will pop up more and more.
For even more help with key decisions like this, your company should consider hiring or contracting with an experienced Salesforce Architect early on. Let us know if you would like to connect with Pinkus Partners to discuss the needs of your business and how we can help.