Most businesses rely on a number of software applications to run their company, e.g., accounting, CRM, SAP, etc. Typically, a great deal of thought, time, money, and energy was invested into securing and implementing these various business applications.
When we look at how firms plan for a successful Salesforce implementation – we typically see meetings around these three areas – Executive sponsorship, Process Design and Budget. And yet, we often find additional funds and forethought have not been designated to proper training for the users on how to better manage their efforts in order to reap the benefits of Salesforce. Sure, sometimes there’s brief mention of a training program, but not nearly the in-depth discussion that is really required.
Let’s look at the first three in brief;
Be sure that your company’s executives are prepared to “share the ownership” of the automation you have put in place. Note – this doesn’t mean just preaching to the choir, as we have so often seen. Many executives love to extol the virtues of the entire firm jumping on board and utilizing Salesforce. But often, when it comes to drinking the Kool-Aid and actively logging into Salesforce everyday, many execs sadly are far from exemplary.
C-Level executives should become well-educated on how this tool may impact their business, the reporting and other essentials for greater efficiency – doing so will ensure they are prepared to “champion” use of the system.
Also, executives need to be prepared to re-design business processes to effectively take advantage of the system’s functionality and enhancements. Cloud based software today operate differently than traditional, older software. Functionality is integrated, redundant data entry is eliminated, etc. – hence changing the way work is done.
Salesforce automates process. That’s it. Nothing else. Straightforward and simple, right?
What’s not as straightforward and simple is designing the right process (or more likely, processes). And not just designing, but documenting them. For Salesforce to truly work its magic, the business must come to terms with how things should work. Lead flow, conversion of leads into Opportunities, who owns what and at what stages, who says what to who and when…. All of that needs to be carefully analyzed, documented and detailed.
So many organiztions want to start with Salesforce first. The advice we always give – start outside of Salesforce first. Look at how you do business today, and then determine how you should do business today. Often they’re the same, sometimes they’re not. Only after a careful evaluation of these areas, are we ready to introduce automation.
Once the organization has determined it’s “how to’s”, that information needs to be set up within Salesforce. Record types, page layouts, custom fields and even custom objects, can all be designed in such a way to accurately guide the user through the desired steps in the company’s business process.
The key is to create a budget that is realistically aligned with your Salesforce implementation goals. Thoroughly understand all of the costs associated with the engagement up-front. A few requirements to consider: technical staff or vendors to explain system performance and use, training resources both within and outside the company, on-going support fees by an outside vendor to run Salesforce administration, or at least a fund for continuous system improvement from within.
Unforeseen support costs can be avoided by properly having a needs analysis / process review done before you solicit proposals for implementation, training and/or ongoing support or purchase a certified program. All department leads should be active in the needs analysis to avoid surprises later.
Often overlooked, training is essential to your long-term success and one that is an on-going effort. The biggest problem we see is not understanding what the system is designed to achieve for the business. The right training program, from an experienced Salesforce Training vendor at the time of installation (or before) will allow you to learn enough to independently manage the training basics. It’s important that all ‘key’ users and department heads become fluent in the use of the system. They should be able to train other users within their department on the basic needs and how the system impacts their job (position).
Salesforce Training is ranked as America’s Number 1 Resource for Sales Managers wanting to improve the effectiveness of their sales teams with the utilization of Salesforce