Learn how to choose the best Salesforce delivery strategy to smoothly, swiftly and cost-effectively achieve your goals, in an article by VRP’s Alexandru Stoica.Read more
Are you considering using Salesforce® at your organization? This powerful CRM offers huge advantages, with the potential to revolutionize all kinds of aspects of your work. It’s crucially important to get your Salesforce implementation right, both to make sure it delivers everything it can for you and ensure the swiftest and best return on investment. However, if you don’t, implementing Salesforce can be a longer, more expensive and ultimately less effective process.
In this article, I’ll explore the top 5 Salesforce implementation challenges we’ve found that many organizations face. I’ll also reveal how we at VRP Consulting solve them for our clients.
Let’s start with a challenge that can occur toward the very start of the implementation process:
1. The discovery phase drags on and on…
Before your Salesforce solution can be created and implemented, you need to know how it will fit into your existing business processes and teams. But many organizations aren’t able to gain a clear picture of those processes (they don’t know how) or reach internal agreement on what the solution needs to deliver for everyone. This means the vital discovery stage is mired in endless back-and-forth as you define your processes and nail down every requirement. This risks your solution not being fit for purpose, and wasted time and resources — for your organization’s own employees, and also potentially running up further costs from your implementation partner, if you’ve engaged one.
How we solve this: As an experienced Salesforce Partner, we have carefully developed our own comprehensive pre-discovery questionnaire designed to help our clients collect all the information needed. It asks all the questions necessary to move forward with a swift and productive discovery phase — and these questions often spark vital brainstorming within our clients’ teams, establishing new, efficient and effective company procedures. We also demonstrate relevant solution prototypes and best practices during kickoff and discovery phases, to help all your stakeholders understand the possibilities and what your own solution could look like, helping everyone get aligned.
2. Data transfer headaches
Your existing data, which could be stored in a legacy system (perhaps more than one), will need to be migrated into your new Salesforce solution. However, lots of organizations have trouble preparing their data suitably to import it — once again, often because they don’t know how. This can result in a long period of data cleansing, wasting resources and time. In the worst case scenario you could end up with duplicated record issues and other problems once you’re using your solution. So, as you can see, data transfer poses potential challenges in Salesforce implementation that can set back your project and run up additional costs if you’re not careful.
How we solve this: Our team uses a series of tried-and-tested data collection templates that were created to streamline the data transfer process. Like our pre-discovery questionnaire, it’s been painstakingly designed to be comprehensive and easily understood, for a simpler and quicker migration. We also make sure to prepare your team in advance, so they know what they’ll need to do and when, and can fit it into their schedules accordingly. That means that during the configuration phase — when they need to play their part in data migration — it won’t come as a surprise to the employee dealing with the data preparation and they’ll have enough time to complete the templates.What’s more, to minimize problems with bad data being entered when you’re actually up and running, we can set up validation rules during the setup and customization of our solution.
3. Project is bigger or more complex than planned
Scoping a Salesforce implementation project isn’t always a simple matter. But defining the correct project scope at the outset is important to avoid headaches further down the road. Your project may turn out to be larger or more complex than you anticipated – e.g., requiring integration of external software that’s part of your existing technology environment. You should ideally know at the outset if you’ll need to integrate a bespoke application, for instance, or create a complicated new feature. Otherwise, your project is likely to be more expensive and lengthier than you’d prefer it to be — so it ends up being less cost-effective, taking longer to deliver a return on your investment.
How we solve this: VRP’s experience really comes to the fore here. We have successfully completed many previous projects, across all kinds of different solutions, industries and organizations — very likely including ones similar to your own. That means it’s highly probable we already have a very good idea what your solution will involve, what will need to be done to create it and how long it will take. Crucially, unlike less seasoned Salesforce partners or freelancers, we also know exactly the right questions to ask from the very start, resulting in thorough and correct project scoping.
4. Unexpected drain on resources
You probably already realized that your Salesforce implementation project would require some level of involvement from your internal team. After all, it’s your solution and their input will be needed to shape it to best meet your needs. However, you didn’t know the full extent of the involvement, and it’s taking employees away from their other work and responsibilities. This is one of the less-considered challenges in implementing Salesforce that can really cause you problems.
How we solve this: We make sure our clients understand ahead of time how much involvement their employees will need to have in the project, and what they’ll need to do. That allows them to plan their resources and arrange team schedules accordingly. What’s more, because we’ve helped organizations tackle these client-side implementation tasks so many times in the past, we’re able to provide expert guidance and support. We’ll explain the best way for you to approach them for maximum efficiency, saving time and effort, as well as the solutions for any common Salesforce implementation challenges you may encounter.
5. You don’t know what your solution should be
So, you embarked on a project knowing that you wanted a Salesforce solution. You were aware of the general benefits that this powerful platform can provide for your organization, revolutionizing sales, customer service and more. However, you weren’t 100% clear about exactly what your solution would do and how it would meet your needs — particularly those specific to your company or your industry. It’s okay, you aren’t the only one! Many of our clients face exactly the same issue.
How we solve this: To prevent uncertainty and confusion during your Salesforce implementation project, if necessary we can provide a dedicated expert during the presales process. This expert is chosen for their knowledge of your sector and the most appropriate Salesforce cloud(s) for your needs. They can determine the best solution for your organization’s individual case.
Overcoming Salesforce implementation challenges with our help
If you want to make sure you avoid or minimize the challenges explored in this article, we want to help you. VRP Consulting is an award-winning Salesforce partner and we’ve helped businesses and nonprofits around the world to get up and running with this powerful technology — swiftly, smoothly and cost-effectively.
In fact, we created our QuickStart Practice with exactly this aim. It was founded to give smaller businesses and nonprofit organizations such as charities the best possible route to implementing Salesforce. During a QuickStart Salesforce implementation, we use some or all of the methods described here, as well as other approaches we’ve developed. It’s all about streamlining the process, mitigating difficulties and ensuring success. So, if you’d like to discuss how VRP Consulting can help you overcome these top 5 Salesforce implementation challenges and others, and give you a great start with Salesforce — let’s talk.
About the Author
Head of QuickStart Practice, VRP Consulting
Mateusz leads VRP Consulting’s QuickStart Practice. He is a certified Salesforce consultant and is dedicated to ensuring we deliver solutions that provide clients with the most value and effectiveness possible.