Part of making the case for getting Salesforce.com in the first place, usually entails answering the question — “Well, how soon will we see more sales because of this?”
Once the project has been approved, the Salesforce.com implementation schedule will be the single most visible aspect of managing the integration project. While Salesforce.com and other SaaS systems can be turned on instantaneously (as your Salesforce.com rep no doubt will have told you), Salesforce.com out-of-the-box, as it were, is pretty useless until it has been configured to match your overall sales and/or business processes (which, it would seem, many Salesforce.com reps seem to omit sharing in the sales presentation).
When we speak with prospective clients, one of their key needs is for Salesforce training. What they have failed to take into account is that the system needs configured well before training. Training is one of the last things in a fairly extensive list of items to happen. Think of configuring the system to work for your environment as the essential first step, and the planning for that as the first step of that.
The actual time to configure Salesforce.com may not actually take that long (think days, not months), but the time required to think through and accurately assess how you want it configured will be the challenge – particularly if your sales team has never really sat down and develop a standardized methodology for selling (which most SMBs seem not to have done). For larger companies, time must be devoted for initial review meetings – even though Salesforce.com is a hosted system, security and compliance reviews will be necessary before the “go live’ switch is turned on.The first clue we have that there is probably a lack of process in place is when we hear, “Oh, each sales rep just does it their own way.” To which the cynical side of us thinks “and so exactly what did you expect a CRM like Salesforce.com to do for you exactly?”
A useful analogy is to think of Salesforce.com as a new employee. A new sales rep wouldn’t be ready to go on Day 1. They would need to be ingratiated into your company (called onboarding). This would entail days if not weeks of training and orientation on your company’s culture, products, procedures and processes. Well, Salesforce.com is the same. We need to “show” Salesforce.com how your company (or at least the sales department) is set-up and how things happen. Then we need to program Salesforce.com so that it is adequately configured to help your sales reps stick to that process, and ensure that all of the data and reporting capabilities it can deliver, are meaningful and useful.
SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional coaching and training firm that specializes in helping companies navigate their way in a Salesforce.com environment. SalesForce Training is based in Toronto, with trainers in Boston and Chicago, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, Salesforce.com training and Salesforce.com Admin support, sales training and sales personnel assessments.