Our Comprehensive Guide to Salesforce Implementation: Part 1

5 min

In the ever-evolving landscape of customer relationship management, Salesforce has emerged a...

In the ever-evolving landscape of customer relationship management, Salesforce has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses seeking to streamline their operations, foster meaningful customer relationships, and achieve impressive growth. However, the road to harnessing the full potential of this dynamic platform can be intricate and challenging. Salesforce implementation can be a somewhat difficult process, however, by getting it right, your business will be well-positioned to reap the many advantages that the platform offers. 

Whether you wish to embark on your Salesforce implementation alone, with the assistance of an experienced partner, or a mixture of both, incorporating the platform into your day-to-day operations is a guaranteed way to improve ROI, enhance innovation, and boost productivity. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to give you a greater understanding of the Salesforce implementation process.

As Salesforce implementation is a detailed, multifaceted process, we’ve decided to split our guide into two parts to ensure all aspects are covered. In part one, we’ll explore why implementing Salesforce is an excellent choice for your business and examine the three primary Salesforce implementation types. Then in part two, we’ll delve into the ten steps you should follow to ensure a successful beginning to your Salesforce experience. 

Why Implementing Salesforce is a Forward-Thinking Move 

In the modern era’s evolving business and technology landscapes, consumer expectations are changing, and businesses need to come up with innovative, tech-driven solutions to meet their customers’ demands. The digital age has given customers a vast amount of online retail choices, and businesses that fail to facilitate exceptional customer experiences risk losing their competitive edge. 

Given buyers who enjoy positive customer experiences are likely to spend 140% more than those who report negative experiences, it is crucial for firms to go above and beyond to address the needs of today’s customer-driven markets. 

If your business is keen to boost innovation, improve revenue, and forge long-lasting connections with loyal customers, implementing Salesforce’s CRM software is a surefire way of doing so. From emerging tech start-ups to well-established international organisations, Salesforce offers a wide selection of benefits for companies of all sizes. With an esteemed reputation for its customisable features, highly secure software, and excellent range of support resources, Salesforce has emerged as the go-to CRM platform for companies across the globe. 

Salesforce is effective in helping companies to digitally transform to align with their customers’ needs, leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AI and real-time data to make consumer experiences all the more personal and memorable. As well as improving customer experiences, the platform offers financial incentives, with research indicating that Salesforce can boost revenue by 25%. 

Improved ROI and customer relationships are two of the most common reasons why businesses choose to go ahead with their Salesforce implementations, but what are some other deciding factors?  To give you a thorough understanding of why implementing this market-leading CRM platform would be a forward-thinking step for your business, let’s examine 3 more of the top Salesforce benefits: 

Better Productivity and Efficiency 

One of Salesforce’s biggest advantages lies in its ability to facilitate better productivity and efficiency. The platform is capable of automating a wide variety of time-consuming sales, customer services, and marketing-related tasks, such as task management and report generation. 

By processing these tedious jobs via the use of AI automation tools, Salesforce frees up a significant amount of time, allowing staff to focus on more meaningful aspects of the business, like closing deals with customers. Owing to this efficiency, the platform is able to boost company productivity by 44%.  

Enhanced Innovation 

As a platform that champions innovation, Salesforce products include cutting-edge technology that can help companies embrace digital transformation. For instance, their state-of-the-art Salesforce Lightning platform allows companies to develop bespoke applications for automating their work processes. Salesforce also provides AI capabilities via Einstein, a platform that provides key predictions using AI technology. Additionally, their AppExchange marketplace hosts a broad selection of third-party applications for Salesforce users to leverage, giving them the tools they need to drive innovation. 

Improved Customer Insights

Salesforce has garnered an esteemed reputation for its ability to provide valuable customer insights. Through its 360-degree customer view, the platform allows businesses to create comprehensive customer profiles using data from a wide array of sources, such as contact details, purchase history, and support interactions. Salesforce offers all of this vital information in one place, making it easy to access more accurate insights. 

If you are interested in learning more about why Salesforce is a savvy investment for small businesses, be sure to check out our ‘Benefits of Salesforce for Small Businesses’ guide. This post takes an in-depth look at the advantages, common costs, and implementation tips that are specifically relevant to smaller firms. 

What are the Primary Types of Salesforce Implementation? 

Deciding to implement Salesforce into your company is a step toward streamlining your business processes, improving overall efficiency, and enhancing customer relationships. But before delving into the nuances of implementing Salesforce’s market-leading CRM platform, it is vital to choose an implementation approach that works for you. While Salesforce implementations can greatly vary in scope and complexity, there are broadly 3 key methods of implementing the platform: in-house, third-party support, and hybrid. 

While it is certainly the case that Salesforce offers numerous advantages, implementing it can be a challenging and complex process. However, by selecting the option that best suits your business, you’ll be able to ensure that your implementation closely aligns with your organisation’s unique goals and objectives. Failure to select the right implementation option carries numerous risks, including increased costs, poor user adoption, and integration difficulties. 

Whether you are a growing company or a multinational organisation, Salesforce is an effective tool supporting your customer relationship management efforts. To help decide which option you should choose, let’s delve into the 3 primary types of Salesforce implementations: 

1. In-House Implementation 

While in-house implementation may seem like an attractive option for those who wish to save money on hiring a Salesforce implementation partner, it is rare for a business to opt for this route. It is worth noting that many Salesforce experts actively discourage people from going ahead with a fully in-house implementation. Without calling on the expert services of a Salesforce implementation partner, companies may risk losing out on the many benefits that the platform provides. 

According to Salesforce, 90% of companies that implement the platform do so with third-party support from implementation partners, and considering the high levels of technical debt that usually accompany fully in-house implementations, it is unsurprising that the vast majority of Salesforce users avoid this option. However, in the interests of full disclosure, here are 3 advantages of choosing in-house Salesforce implementation: 

  • Lower initial costs: A perk of implementing the platform yourself is that the upfront expenditure is relatively low compared to the costs associated with hiring a third-party implementation partner. 
  • Encourages staff to learn about Salesforce quicker: Without input from Salesforce experts from implementation firms, your team may be motivated to learn more about the platform. This can be beneficial in the long run, as having a team familiar with the platform means that you won’t have to rely on ongoing support from third-party firms. 
  • Familiarity with your business: As your in-house team has a thorough understanding of your business, they’ll be able to better customise your systems. While third-party Salesforce partners can provide expertise, they won’t have the same familiarity with your company as your existing employees. 

Now let’s explore the potential challenges associated with implementing Salesforce yourself: 

  • Limited expertise: One of the biggest drawbacks of in-house Salesforce implementations is a lack of expertise. Even though your existing staff may show a willingness to learn, they likely won’t be able to provide you with the in-depth guidance and insights that a seasoned Salesforce consultant will. 
  • Time-consuming: Choosing to implement Salesforce yourself can be time-consuming, particularly if you have a smaller team. Unless you hire a squad of dedicated Salesforce admins, developers, and architects, your existing employees will have to dedicate significant time to overseeing the implementation process. 
  • Risk of technical debt: Technical debt happens when businesses opt for short-term solutions that generate more work in the long run, and there is a high risk of this for firms that choose to implement Salesforce fully in-house. Although initial costs are low, they may end up spending way more in support from third-party firms further down the line when they uncover issues. 

2. Using a Salesforce Implementation Partner 

For companies willing to pay more upfront, using a Salesforce implementation partner is an ideal choice. By leveraging expert support from an organisation that has been reviewed and approved by Salesforce themselves, you can be certain that your Salesforce journey will be a successful one. Salesforce’s vast ecosystem features almost 2,000 accredited partners, and by 2026, this ecosystem is expected to create a staggering 9.3 million Salesforce jobs. 

These statistics highlight the sheer amount of choice that Salesforce customers have when it comes to choosing which implementation partner to work with. Many partners offer end-to-end implementation services, overseeing every stage of the process, from preliminary CRM planning through to post-launch maintenance. Although this option requires significant investment, it is perfect for those who are new to the world of Salesforce and want to reap its rewards to the fullest. 

Here are 3 of the biggest advantages of using a Salesforce implementation partner: 

  • Expert knowledge of the platform: As Salesforce partners are reviewed and accredited by Salesforce themselves, you can be sure that the firm you hire has a team of professionals with a thorough understanding of the platform. It’s also likely that they’ll have experience in implementing Salesforce for a wide variety of business types and industries. 
  • More efficient implementation: Sourcing third-party support will allow you to implement Salesforce much faster than doing it entirely in-house. Your accomplished implementation partner will be well-versed in the most efficient methods of setting up and launching the platform. 
  • Knowledge transfer: Once you have reached the end of the Salesforce implementation process, there is a good chance that your partner’s expertise will have enhanced your staff’s understanding of the platform. Through this transfer of knowledge, you’ll be able to count on your employees to resolve potentially complex Salesforce-related issues without needing to pay for more support from your partner. 

Now let’s delve into 3 pain points commonly associated with leveraging third-party implementation support: 

  • Greater initial costs: Although teaming up with a Salesforce implementation partner gives you access to valuable expertise, you’re likely to take on higher upfront costs. However, if you want to make absolutely sure that your Salesforce implementation is a success, you should be willing to speculate to accumulate. 
  • Too much choice: As we alluded to earlier, there is a rich and varied selection of Salesforce partners with the expertise you require to manage your implementation process. While this range of choices gives you plenty of options, it can also be somewhat stifling, and you may spend a significant amount of time trying to pick the right one. 
  • Over-reliance on external expertise: One of the most common drawbacks of utilising third-party implementation support is becoming overly reliant on their expertise. Many companies may lack talented IT professionals with the skills to deal with maintaining Salesforce, meaning that they have to spend more on support from implementation partners. 

3. Hybrid Implementation 

The hybrid implementation approach is ideal for those who feel they can handle the nitty gritty of Salesforce implementation but need a touch of professional, third-party support from a partner to get them over the line. In this method, the responsibilities for your Salesforce rollout are shared by your internal team and Salesforce partner. This option is particularly suitable for organisations that already have in-house talent with Salesforce skills but require expert support for specific tasks such as data migration or CRM customisation. 

Let’s take a look at 3 key benefits of hybrid implementation: 

  • Nurtures in-house expertise: With frequent collaboration with Salesforce partners, companies can expect their own staff to develop an in-depth understanding of how to resolve maintenance and support issues with the platform. 
  • Flexibility: By adopting a hybrid approach, you have the flexibility to decide when to bring in third-party support. While there may be some aspects of your Salesforce rollout that you feel confident in, there could be others where you require additional expertise. 
  • Cost-effective: Hiring an implementation partner to provide end-to-end services can be an expensive investment, but by only relying on third-party support in areas that require specific expertise, you can save significant amounts of money. 

Now here are 3 considerations for businesses that choose this option: 

  • Difficulties in deciding which tasks to outsource: Although the freedom to choose when to seek expert implementation support is most certainly an advantage, there may be difficulties when it comes to deciding exactly when you require assistance. 
  • Communication challenges: In this implementation type, tasks are delegated between in-house teams and Salesforce partners. While this level of collaboration is likely to benefit your rollout, it may also pose additional communication challenges. 
  • Accountability ambiguity: The hybrid approach requires a large amount of organisation to ensure that in-house teams and Salesforce partners are well aware of their specific roles and responsibilities. If there is ambiguity regarding this, people may not be aware of what they are accountable for. 

Key Takeaways from Our Salesforce Implementation Guide: Part One

Salesforce has become a leading force in customer relationship management, offering a dynamic platform to streamline operations, nurture customer relationships, and drive growth. While Salesforce implementation can be complex, choosing the right approach is vital for success.

Selecting the right approach depends on your unique goals and resources. Salesforce promises improved productivity, efficiency, innovation, and market insights, making it a forward-thinking choice. It's a crucial tool to meet evolving customer expectations in the digital age, and it can enhance ROI and customer relationships.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Salesforce Implementation: Part Two 

Now that you’re familiar with the top Salesforce benefits and the various implementation types, we encourage you to check out part two, where we explore the 10 steps you should follow to guarantee that your Salesforce implementation runs smoothly. Here’s what part two covers:  

  1. Outline Your Goals and Business Objectives
  2. Define Your Stakeholders and Assign Roles
  3. Create a Detailed Project Plan
  4. Develop a Change Management Plan
  5. Clean up and Migrate Your CRM Data 
  6. Customise and Configure Salesforce Products 
  7. Integrate and Test
  8. Initiate Go-Live 

Once you have read part two, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to initiate your Salesforce rollout.   

Inspiring Innovation in Salesforce Recruitment 

At MA, we are proud to be at the forefront of Salesforce recruitment. With years of experience in connecting the best and brightest candidates with Salesforce jobs, our consultants have a thorough knowledge of the trends and developments shaping the Salesforce recruitment space. Whether you are looking for an entry-level candidate or a seasoned expert, we are here to support you in sourcing the ideal person for your role. 

Reach out to us today to learn how we can support you with your Salesforce needs.