12 ways to make Salesforce work in your business

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No doubt about it, Salesforce is a great system. This cloud-based CRM can turbo-charge your business and make a real difference to the working lives of your team.

Powerful technology like this delivers one of business life’s most valuable commodities — time. Salesforce ensures your people are free to do what they do best. Targets are met, goals are reached, revenue builds and working life is good.

But how do you make it really work for your business? Here are 12 ideas to get it working exactly the way you want it to.

It’s all in the implementation

Salesforce is a transformative system, but success is all in the implementation. If you want to get real value from your investment in Salesforce then take a deep breath and focus on these 12 things.

  1. Set clear objectives. Consider your objectives and prioritise. Know where you want to move ‘from’ and where you want to get ‘to’. The good news is that you can build Salesforce to meet your exact requirements. But you have to make a plan — only then will you get real value for money.
  2. Think big, plan big, but implement small. Do one thing well. Then move on. Small, iterative rollouts are like Christmas presents all year round.
  3. Get off to the best start. The success of Salesforce in your business depends on getting your team to use it — and use it effectively. A Salesforce quick start programme, such as Desynit’s Best Start [link], which includes the uploading of all your business information — will give you the best possible start.
  4. The tool is not what makes your business work — your team is. Get them to participate in its development and tap into their collective brainpower — at no additional cost.
  5. Old systems are not bad systems. Bringing in Salesforce doesn’t mean you have to scrap your existing systems and processes. A skilful integration partner [link] can transfer your business knowledge to a modern, cloud-based platform like Salesforce. A clean break is a high risk, high failure option. Take small steps for a robust and cost-effective end result. Think evolution not revolution.
  6. When it comes to implementation, the only way is agile. The sequential Waterfall approach results in projects that rumble on for years, and are already obsolete before they are unveiled. When it comes to implementing Salesforce in your business, take the agile approach.
  7. Work with the right integration partner. Salesforce integration projects demand an understanding of how business works, not just technology. Look for an expert Salesforce partner who can talk business as well as technology.
  8. Put everything into Salesforce. If it isn’t in Salesforce it doesn’t exist. Embrace it – wholeheartedly or not at all. Learn it, engage people in it, train them and put the work in.
  9. Invest in a strong Salesforce administrator. Nominate a Salesforce champion – part enforcer, part gatekeeper. Not an IT person but a super-user who owns that role, knows the system inside out, takes responsibility and helps others.
  10. Keep asking — could Salesforce make a task simpler? If you are copying or pasting routinely, it could be that a simple script route will automate the process and save you time, effort and money. Bounce ideas off your implementation partner or Salesforce account executive.
  11. Challenge your dependence on Excel. By building reports and dashboards in Salesforce you are looking at live data as it happens, not data that is out-of-date the second you download it. And your team can draw on those same reports and dashboards without your intervention.
  12. Learn from others. Get involved in the Salesforce community. Salesforce has spent millions on networking events, product launches and video tutorials. Find your nearest Salesforce user group (if you are in the Bristol area try Forcewest). Meet with other companies and talk to a cross section of staff using it. No implementation is perfect but why make the mistakes others have?
Make Salesforce work for you

Salesforce is an investment that can make a huge difference to your business. Don’t invest time, money, and effort, and watch it fail.  Make it work for you. We really hope these ideas help. Anything we’ve missed in your experience? We’d love to know.

For more information on how to make Salesforce work for your business help yourself to our free Salesforce guide or give us a call.

By Shaun Holmes
13 September 2013
SalesforceThe Good Systems Blog

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