Secrets to a Successful Salesforce Implementation Revealed

As a Salesforce implementation partner and SaaS software provider, we understand the value of successful implementations but we also know how daunting and difficult they can be. 

Much like with most things in life, there are good and bad. Salesforce implementation is no different. 

For 10 years and counting, we’ve dedicated time, effort, and resources to deepen our expertise in Salesforce implementations so we can reduce stress and maximize efficiencies for companies.  

Whether you’re new to enterprise software implementations or you’re a seasoned pro, change is difficult. The catalyst of success is dependent on taking the necessary steps and getting answers to tough questions.

To help set you on the right path, we’re sharing answers to frequently asked questions. These questions will provide the framework you need to create a well-rounded strategy that includes training, change management, and a plan in place to manage your technology investment for years to come. 

Let’s get started. 

 

How can leaders ensure their organizations are ready for Salesforce implementation?

A successful Salesforce implementation is governed by the commitment of the leadership team. When the leaders of the company are committed to the project, it creates a trickle-down effect with the rest of the team. 

Bonnie Royal, Regional Vice President, Portfolio Lead Customer Success at Salesforce, offered an excellent “gut check” of sorts when considering a Salesforce implementation and that is to treat the question “Why did I make this investment in the first place?” as your North Star.

It’s understandable that days get busy and people’s priorities shift to put out short-term fires, but asking yourself this question when the going gets tough keeps everyone on task and trending towards completion. 

Here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts of how leaders can ensure a successful Salesforce implementation:

Do

  • Control the scope with clear success metrics.
  • Stay engaged throughout the entire process.
  • Be disciplined and focused on the end goal.
  • Gain experience with the platform and be willing to make changes.

Don’t

  • Try to allocate your hours in advance. Plans are malleable and by allowing the process to flow naturally, you’ll put yourself in a position to make better decisions for customization that maximizes your budget. 
  • Sign the check and move on. Stay engaged throughout the entire process. 
  • Forget to manage your team’s expectations. Clearly explaining your vision and the value of this project for the business is an excellent way to keep your team motivated and their eyes on the prize

To build on the latter, here’s a high-level overview of the “ingredients” that make up a strong partnership that empowers a successful Salesforce implementation:

Skills

  • Experienced project management
  • Certified consultants with extensive experience
  • Latest Platform Tools knowledge
  • Dedicated employee resources

Planning

  • Clear goals and priorities
  • Detailed project plan
  • Clear acceptance criteria

Sponsorship

  • Strong executive owner
  • Broad departmental support

Governance

  • Regular executive steering committee
  • Weekly risk register review
  • Low customization
  • Detailed documentation
  • Change management

Ownership

  • Stakeholder representatives
  • User testing
  • Understanding your data

Measure

  • Clear KPIs
  • User adoption
  • Hypercare support

 

What does a great Salesforce implementation strategy look like?

Just like with any relationship, communication is key. At the most basic level, Salesforce implementations are agile and iterative. 

Because of this, there’s potential for miscommunication. That’s why, at Bolt Data, we tailor our implementation methodology to the needs of your organization. 

This ensures the implementation complexity is understood up front and we conduct iterative reviews to verify we have captured requirements correctly.

The process we’ve developed is marked by confirmation checkpoints from beginning to end. 

 

Here’s a sample timeline:

Step 1: Evaluation and Discovery

Step 2: Building

CHECKPOINT

Step 3: Designing

Step 4: Testing and Acceptance

CHECKPOINT

Step 5: Training and Development

Step 6: Adoption and Change Management

Step 7: Hypercare

 

These confirmation checkpoints are in place to make sure the client is on board with the trajectory of the product. 

At these confirmation checkpoints, all the information up until that point is recorded and shared with the client. The client is then able to review the information and sign off on the progress and the plan to move forward. 

If major changes have been made at that checkpoint by the client, both parties are able to adjust the scope and timeline to accommodate the shift. 

As you can see, we place a confirmation checkpoint at the beginning of the process. 

We do this to lessen the chances of the client coming back further into the process with the information they forgot that can disrupt the scope and timeline.

 

How to set expectations for implementation partner engagement

It’s important to identify key stakeholders on your internal team. These are the people that will be responsible for participating in and learning the platform. Their commitment is necessary to see the implementation through from beginning to end and beyond. 

Examples of stakeholder responsibilities include:

  • Participation in workflow design sessions
  • Participation in build iteration reviews
  • Milestone sign-offs for design, build, test
  • Creation and execution of UAT test scripts
  • End-user training

 

How much time is required from an internal team?

Prioritizing time and resources is paramount in keeping the project moving in the right direction. As is with most things in life, you get out what you put in

Our Bolt Data team puts 110 percent effort into ensuring the end result meets and exceeds the client’s expectations.

But, reaching this goal requires a reciprocal effort level from the client. 

This mirrored commitment helps move the project in the right direction. 

If you’re considering a Salesforce implementation, take a look at the sample estimates of the time and resources necessary to achieve success:

Plan & Architect

Agree on what we’ll do
Time Investment: 40%

Key stakeholder involvement: Process experts, management, IT

Goals:

  • Understand your core business and day-to-day activities.
  • Build and walk-through process maps.
  • Convey a day in the life of each role.

Construct

Do what we agreed

Time Investment: 30%

Key stakeholder involvement: Process experts, user representatives, IT

Goals:

  • Participate in iterative reviews to feedback for Bolt Data to improve what was built.
  • Begin working on UAT scripts that mirror what is built.
  • Develop training materials

Validate

Confirm what we did

Time Investment: 25%

Key stakeholder involvement: Process experts, user representatives, IT

Goals:

  • Conduct UAT cycle to ensure that the solution will meet the needs of the organization.
  • Bolt Data assists but the client tests.
  • Train users.

Deploy & Support

Realize the solution value

Time Investment: 5%

Key stakeholder involvement: Management, IT

Goals:

  • Validate data and users are set up and migrated as expected.
  • Monitor operations.
  • Sign off on the project.

 

How do I manage the change across people and process to ensure a return on investment?

Change management is an integral key to success. It’s what makes or breaks the implementation process. And it starts with leadership. 

When undergoing a Salesforce implementation, leadership should be 100 percent bought into the process and clearly communicate and manage expectations to their team. 

This layer of communication in explaining the why and the vision can help get everyone on board and open to adopting the solution. 

To manage this change effectively, we’ve broken it down into three segments, people, process, and technology. 

The questions below are meant to help you take a holistic approach to the implementation process. 

Your answers to these questions will help you formulate an internal communication plan that helps you clearly articulate the reasons for the implementation and the expectations of the team to bring the vision to life. 

People

  • Who will be impacted by migrating to Salesforce and to what extent?
  • How do I get people motivated and engaged to use Salesforce?
  • How will using Salesforce impact the culture in my organization?

Process

  • Which business processes will be impacted by the introduction of Salesforce?
  • Will there be a shift in roles and/or responsibilities in my organization?
  • Do we have the correct internal support structure and resources?

Technology

  • How will we ensure Salesforce and processes work as we expect?
  • How do we ensure the adoption of Salesforce to maximize our ROI?
  • How do we continue to improve and enhance our use of Salesforce?

 

Talk to a Service Cloud Implementation Expert

With over a decade of Salesforce Service Cloud implementation experience, we can help your organization implement and tailor Service Cloud to your specific needs. 

To chat with a Service Cloud expert, contact us today. Our team is ready to help answer any questions you may have.

 

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