Before you jump in...
We have delivered over 80 Salesforce.com projects, and thought it was about time we shared our success checklist with you before you jump in.
These points relate more to people and organisational change, rather that specifically to Salesforce.com. We do everything to make sure your project succeeds. However If the project fails, the reason is less likely to be related to the technology and more likely to be related to people, processes and change.
We know that a project implementation might not be suitable for everyone, and we simply want to raise some honest awareness to help you avoid known pitfalls, and some costs!
Check 1: your roadmap vision
You probably have several driving factors for considering Salesforce. The most successful implementations recognise that you are committing your organisation to a digital transformation journey of multiple small steps over several phases. You can't do it all at once, and you will change your priorities once you see what is possible. It's always best to aim for 80% vision clarity from the outset.
And - without getting ahead of yourselves - are you aware of all the solutions that can be built on the Salesforce platform? There are many basic tools and products besides just being a CRM. The Salesforce AppExchange might help you plan.
Check 2: your state of readiness to embrace the transformation
Is there buy-in from the senior management team, and are they ready to set by example and create that sense of positive momentum that helps so much?
The process of defining your new business processes and implementing change can prove challenging. Do you still have some decisions to iron out internally and is the full team behind you? User adoption is a common challenge with any new system, and so its best to invest time and effort in this area beforehand.
Check 3: your project lead
Your project lead should have excellent communication skills. They should be able to combine existing business process knowledge with future vision to define requirements and outcomes. Do they have sufficient time and can they make decisions quickly on behalf of the organisation? Fast decision making combined with an iterative approach to delivery inevitably works best.
Salesforce is flexible enough to enable relatively rapid configuration and reconfiguration where needed. Can the project lead provide internal support and coaching to team members that need it? Most users will take to using Salesforce as if it were Facebook. Others will struggle with the change - you should have a strategy for repeatedly helping them through the transitions until they get there. Larger classroom Salesforce training days don't tend to be as effective as targeted hand-holding.
Check 4: your reshaped budgets and ROI
Salesforce.com licenses are sold on a subscription basis. After you are up and running, your journey with Salesforce is likely to require occasional small injections of configuration work, either by your internal administrator or a consultancy like us. You should not therefore typically be looking at large capital investments, with the associated risk that tends to go with these.
You should be able to measure multiple ongoing efficiency gains brought about by the Salesforce platform and recognise your ongoing positive ROI. This interesting article by DazeWorks provides more insight into this interesting area of the hard and soft ROI measurements.
You control the accelerator and the priorities on the journey. You will need to make provision for some ongoing budget, momentum and team discipline to maximise your ROI.
If any of the above makes you worry, you should take a pause. You will get there but you need to be ready.
We trust you appreciate our honesty. Our transparent approach is intended to ensure that you will always arrive at the right solution for your organisation's digital transformation.