What Is Salesforce And Why Is It Relevant In 2022?
Salesforce is arguably the most popular CRM platform in the market that helps organizations manage their customer records on a centralized platform. It prevents you from resorting to tedious and time-consuming methods by providing you with automated tools and applications.
It has been more than two decades since Salesforce was launched. However, the CRM platform is still highly relevant across multiple industries. This is because it has evolved with time and is in sync with the latest technological trends in the market. With Salesforce, you can record, store, track, assess, and share your valuable records to provide personalized services to your customers. Right from sales reps to finance experts, the CRM platform provides users with a 360-degree view of their clients and multiple ways of connecting with same.
The offerings of Salesforce are divided into different products (known as Clouds) based on the features offered by them. Some of the most popular Salesforce offerings include Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Community Cloud, and Field Service Cloud. All these products are designed to help organizations build healthy relationships with their customers.
If you are willing to switch to the modern way of handling your customer database, it is important to implement Salesforce the right way.
Essentially, there are two different ways of implementing Salesforce within your organization – the DIY approach and working with a Salesforce implementation partner.
The DIY Approach To Salesforce Implementation
As the name suggests, the DIY Salesforce implementation approach involves setting up the CRM platform all by yourself. Although it does not require one to have a degree or educational qualification to implement Salesforce, it is never advisable to do so without taking anyone’s help.
Salesforce is a fairly vast platform with a range of different tools, features, and add-ons. Especially if you are entering the world of Salesforce for the first time, it is never advisable to implement the CRM platform by yourself. Even the best Salesforce implementation guide in the world would not help you build a full-proof CRM platform without seeking professional help!
Also, Salesforce implementation is certainly a difficult process and a work of experts. Your internal team may not comprise dedicated Salesforce experts. If you force yourself and your in-house professionals to set up Salesforce, the project is bound to fall apart in the near future.
It is, therefore, advisable to work with a dedicated Salesforce implementation partner.
Why Should You Work With A Salesforce Implementation Partner?
A Salesforce implementation partner is an individual or a dedicated agency that helps organizations implement the CRM platform effectively. They understand your specific needs and preferences to provide you with tailor-made services.
When you hire a Salesforce implementation partner, you have a subject-matter expert at your disposal. They would guide you every step of the way and prevent you from committing errors while implementing Salesforce. Most implementation partners possess years of experience in the domain and are well-versed with all different aspects of the CRM platform.
A lot of organizations ask the question, “how long does it take to implement Salesforce?”
Well, while there is no definite answer for the same, the implementation approach you choose certainly makes a difference. If you venture into Salesforce implementation all by yourself, it will take you way longer to get your work done and start with your operations. On the other hand, working with a Salesforce partner provides you with greater speed and agility.
Now that we have chosen the ideal way of implementing the CRM platform, let us get to the heart of this Salesforce implementation guide.
Steps Involved In Salesforce Implementation
In 2022, you cannot afford to make any mistake when it comes to implementing a cloud-based CRM platform like Salesforce. It is always important to follow the right steps and be systematic in your approach to develop the CRM platform as per your requirements.
Here are some of the most important Salesforce implementation steps you should follow to build an ideal CRM for your organization:
1. Clearly Define Your Business Goals
It is impossible to go anywhere with Salesforce implementation without having well-defined goals. Always start with listing down the important goals that you are willing to achieve through Salesforce implementation.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself while you are defining your business goals:
• What customers are you willing to cater to?
• Which processes do you want to automate?
• What are the major issues faced by your organization on a daily basis?
• Do you make use of process automation in the age of digitization?
• Which of your business processes are still traditional and take time?
Answering questions like these would provide you with a clear sense of direction and help you set a strong foundation for Salesforce implementation.
2. Identity The Key Stakeholders For The Project
Once you are thorough with your goals, you can go ahead with identifying all the major stakeholders to be associated with your Salesforce implementation project. These professionals have a vested interest in implementing the CRM platform and helping you achieve your business goals.
Some of the most noteworthy stakeholders include:
• End Users
– These are the individuals who would be using Salesforce once it is implemented. Right from sales and marketing reps to customer service executives, anyone can be an end-user based on the business goals to be achieved.
• Project Manager
– A project manager shoulders the responsibility of bringing your implementation project to fruition. They are responsible for overlooking the entire project, communicating with the clients, coordinating with the team members, and ensuring that the development takes place seamlessly.
• Super Users
– These stakeholders may or may not be involved in using the CRM platform once it is built but help the project managers out in testing the platform. They are associated with the implementation process until the final rollout.
• Decision Makers
– As the name suggests, these are the individuals with the authority to make important decisions regarding your Salesforce implementation project. These decisions may revolve around establishing a project timeline, allocating the budget, ensuring effective communication, and much more.
3. Prepare A Budget
Another important question asked by organizations related to Salesforce implementation is about the cost of implementation. If you are precise and careful while preparing a budget for your implementation project, the cost of Salesforce implementation would be within your budgetary constraints. However, not preparing an extensive budget or making calculated estimations may make the CRM platform way too costly to implement.
It is, therefore always important to have an extensive budget in place before you go ahead with the implementation. Include all the costs associated with your implementation project and see if the amount is feasible for your organization.
Here, the Salesforce edition you subscribe to plays an important role. On the basis of the features offered, there are four major editions you can subscribe to:
• Salesforce Essentials ($25/user/month)
• Salesforce Professional ($75/user/month)
• Salesforce Enterprise ($150/user/month)
• Salesforce Unlimited ($300/user/month)
Once you have decided upon the edition to choose and the number of users you need, you can calculate other costs related to Salesforce implementation.
4. Building The CRM Platform
Once you have finalized the cost of implementation, you can start building the CRM platform with the help of your implementation partner. Make sure that you explain your objectives and goals to your Salesforce partner well. This would allow them to add relevant tools and features to the CRM platform.
If needed, you can ask your implementation partner to provide you with different prototypes and versions of your Salesforce org before developing the final version.
Once you have finalized the platform, it is time to test its functionality. You can always request your implementation partner for a visual demo to be well-versed with the functionality of your Salesforce org. If you feel the need to make changes, provide them with feedback and ask them to show you the revised platform.
5. The Final Launch And User Adoption
Once all the tests are successful and you are happy with the final product, you can go live with your Salesforce org and start working on the same. However, if the end-users are not too well-versed with the platform, make sure you arrange for extensive user adoption sessions. This would make your team members comfortable with the CRM platform and give them an ideal kick-start!
The Final Word
This comprehensive Salesforce implementation guide should help you get at least a basic idea about implementing the CRM platform the right way. As we have just entered 2022, it is always advisable to get on the digital bandwagon to leverage your business processes and stay ahead of the curve.