All articles

Salesforce Implementation Guide: from Goal Setting to User Training

February 19, 2021

Salesforce is a cloud computing service as a software (SaaS) company specializing in customer relationship management (CRM). This subscription-based model allows companies to adopt a customer relationship management (CRM) tool in addition to marketing automation and analytics. The platform helps companies better connect with customers, partners, and potential customers.

It can improve your business experiences and enhance customer loyalty if implemented in the right way. To help you understand the process of Salesforce implementation, we’ve prepared this 10-step guide to a successful project.

Is Salesforce Right for Your Business?

There are many reasons why business owners may decide to implement a CRM strategy, and they need to make an informed decision. Below you’ll find four common questions that will help you to understand if Salesforce is an appropriate solution for your business.

1.Does your customer service need improvement?

If you see your customer service isn’t efficient as it could be, a CRM system can help you and your sales team improve your overall performance. With Salesforce, you can keep track of your customer data and manage customer accounts to increase their loyalty. It’s the most popular and flexible solution with many tools to improve any single aspect of your business flow. 

2. Is your team’s communication efficient?

On the one hand, regular customer account updates help your team keep up to date on their needs. On the other hand, CRM systems automate data report processes, saving time on data reporting. Salesforce allows you to be in touch with every team member using in-built communication tools like Chatter, live notifications, emails, reports, etc. 

3. Do you need task automation?

Data processing in Salesforce can be easily automated, saving your sales team’s working hours so that they can work more on other work tasks. Salesforce automation is also useful for cleaning, deduplicating, updating, and processing your data through third-party services.
Only Salesforce provides so many automation tools from the box as no other CRM. They include Lightning Flow, Process Builder, Workflows, Approval Processes, etc. Besides, you can implement any complex custom automation using Apex and Lightning.

4. Do you need to configure lead flow?

If you need to configure any sales flows, Salesforce is the right solution for your business. The CRM allows you to sort the leads to meet customers’ needs and create real customer loyalty. With Salesforce you can do it as easily and quickly as never before. Its intuitive interface allows you to set and configure lead flow in a few clicks.

Step 1. Define Implementation Goals

Before implementing Salesforce, you need to define and prioritize your business challenges to set the CRM goals. To consider all the possible requirements, you should analyze your business challenges from different angles. 

Here are a few aspects to analyze:

  • Business goals for the near future
  • Processes that need improvement
  • Business challenges and pains
  • Data management efficiency
  • Operations supported by your current systems

To visualize the interrelation of your workflow processes, you can draw a high-level diagram. It will help you ensure that you’ve taken into account all the participants, including partners, employees, and stakeholders.

Step 2.  Set Your Project Timeline and Budget

Discuss a timeline for Salesforce implementation with your project team. You need to decide on a start date and estimated dates for key milestones such as switching your database and going live. To help your Salesforce team to stay on track, you can use a management system (such as Trello or Smartsheet) to process tasks on time.

How Long Salesforce Implementation May Take

Each Salesforce project has specific business requirements, but it may take about two weeks if it’s out of the box start. Still, all businesses are different, and it may take a longer time depending on your particular strategy. 

The implementation time depends on user adoption and some other aspects that may retain the overall process. So the estimation of time needed for a Salesforce implementation project is influenced by certain factors, including how much data you need to migrate, how big your company is, and what features you need to customize. 

Not to waste your time estimating how much time you need to implement Salesforce to your business, you can turn to experienced Salesforce consultants. They will provide you with a precise time plan based on your business requirements.

How Much It Will Cost to Implement Salesforce

When starting a Salesforce implementation project, you need to understand how much it will cost and what factors may influence the overall price. It usually includes subscription costs, services costs, and implementation costs. 

When estimating the Salesforce implementation budget, be sure to pay attention to the following aspects:

Step 3. Build your Implementation Team

Once you choose Salesforce as your CRM solution, you need to hire an experienced Salesforce Consultant, in-house Salesforce Administrator(s), or make use of external development partners.

A Salesforce consultant will help you choose the solution and advise on implementing your requirements based on your industry and organization needs. Hiring a Salesforce Consultant will also save you time by researching your data, brainstorming ideas for customization and integration, and estimating the approximate budget and implementation timeframe.

Step 4. Choose Your Salesforce Cloud

It’s crucial to decide which Salesforce cloud meets your business requirements before starting your Salesforce implementation project. The platform offers a wide range of clouds, including Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, etc. Still, each of them has particular option constraints you must be aware of before configuring your Salesforce CRM. Thus, be sure to look through the constraints and weigh up the pros and cons. This will help you make an informed decision.

Step 5. Set User Access and Permissions

Since many users from different departments will access the Salesforce system, it’s crucial to work out your internal security model to define user access and permissions for your Salesforce environment. 

Building a complex security model is one of the fundamental tasks before your Salesforce software deployment. Be sure you follow a constituent-based approach to opening access and configuring permissions. According to this approach, each user who has access to the system can see and edit only the information under permission based on their role. Don’t forget to test all the security settings before sending invitations to your Salesforce system users. 

Step 6. Design a Data Model

Creating a comprehensive system architecture is essential for your future Salesforce functionality. If you neglect this step, it will be challenging to implement user-friendly and scalable features to your Salesforce CRM. It’s necessary to define an appropriate set of standard and customized objects to keep data records about your business processes if you plan to build a working data model.

When building a data model prototype, remember to analyze and structure relationships between different data types, such as Master/Detail, Lookup, or External. It will help your project team understand how the system works before its deployment. 

To monitor the relationships between your business data types, you can create an entity- relationship diagram (ERD). It shows the connections in a way understandable for all collaborators, including stakeholders, end-users, etc. You can draw it with the Schema Builder integrated into the Salesforce Setup menu or use other software for creating visual diagrams. 

Step 7. Be Ready for Production

It’s necessary to build and provide the specialists involved in your business processes with a working prototype to get feedback from users as early as possible. The prototype will include pilot functionality and system architecture. Then go on with creating customized objects to store and manage data records not included in Salesforce out of the box options. After you finish building customized items, add some test records, and ask your team to enhance your requirements. 

Prototyping can reduce the time you can lose while gathering requirements and reviewing your business processes. Prototyping is also called ‘’user acceptance testing’’ or ‘’UAT’’. It’s crucial to implement your new functionality or enhance the existing feature iteratively to benefit from user acceptance testing. That’s why you should test one solution step by step from your plan and refine it after receiving feedback from users. Don’t stop the process until the Salesforce system meets functionality and system architecture requirements. 

Step 8. Manage your data

To ensure that your data transfers consistently and adequately, you need to hire a data engineer who will maintain all the processes related to your company data. If maintained always, your data won’t be compromised or become unstandardized. 

Also, you should check if you have duplicate data to avoid a negative customer experience. Be sure to configure a fall-back system so that you have time for fixing issues in case of emergencies. 

After you set up a Salesforce implementation strategy, you are ready for its implementation. The first thing you need to do is migrate data from your existing system to a new Salesforce solution. When transferring the data, you should pay attention to data accuracy and quality. Automated data migration will be quite useful as it will save much time for further implementation activities.  

Step 9. Review the Implementation

Every time you implement a new work process, review if it needs improvement. A well-adjusted Salesforce system will bring you more benefits than the one working with issues. Ensure your team is satisfied with its functionality by regularly getting their feedback. You can discuss the feedback you receive from your team with your Salesforce consultant and Salesforce Administrator. After your staff adopts your Salesforce system, you’ll get improved efficiency and customer loyalty. 

Step 10. Train Your Employees

Training your employees on using your new Salesforce system is crucial if you want them to use it efficiently. That’s why you should add training as a primary task to your user adoption plan. 

There are different options for learning Salesforce to your employees. For example, you may start with Trailhead by Salesforce. This option might be time-consuming enough, but just 1-2 hours per day will help your staff master Salesforce. 

Besides, it’s essential to encourage your employees to use the new system properly. Explain to them why they need to keep the data updated in the Salesforce system. 

Are You Ready to Implement Salesforce into Your Business?

Salesforce implementation may seem a real challenge, but once it’s done, your business will leverage from it. Your Salesforce implementation should be based on a well-thought plan related to your business goals. Finding an appropriate partner is the first step to successful Salesforce implementation.

By Kirill Lukyanenko

Kirill is a Salesforce Department Manager, actively participating in Cloud Development. He has been working in IT as a Developer, Tech and Team Lead, Cloud Consultant and Trainer for 10+ years.