How to make a successful start on Salesforce

Salesforce Best Start Quote

Google “Salesforce Quick Start” and you’ll get a lot of results. Most Salesforce consulting partners offer this service, and that’s how many Salesforce customers start their life on the platform.

Salesforce Quick Start: What’s included?

A ‘Salesforce Quick Start’ is a pretty set formula. It typically takes three days, during which time the consultancy will spend some of that time on site, and some working remotely. This is configuration – not development. That’s to say, it’s clicks not code. You are getting Salesforce branded with your company logos, the relevant tabs displayed, some fields relabelled, a few new fields added and a few reports built. Simple. You are good to go.

Sounds great. So why do we not offer it?

Well, we don’t offer a Quick Start, because for the majority of businesses to work with, we don’t think it’s enough. Here’s why.

1) Salesforce is a complex, enterprise-grade product. This level of sophistication is reflected in the licence fee  – particularly when you start looking at Enterprise Edition.

So given that you’ve just committed a chunk of your budget to monthly licence costs, and you’ve heard that this tech works straight out of the box…..why would you then pay more money to get someone else to configure it for you?

The answer is that yes, it works straight out of the box, but in the same way that a lego kit does. You’ll get a robust standard configuration.

However, if you’ve ever been to a Salesforce conference, or watched a customer story film clip, you’ll know that this platform can do a lot more than that, once it is tailored to your specific business needs and processes. As a result it’s likely that your vision for your own platform is a little bigger.  And that’s a good place to be: focussed on getting the kind of systems that will give you great ROI, and make your business fly.

For that to happen, you need to get the set up right from the beginning. This requires attention, time and expertise.

We know that for the type of business we work with, it’s not realistic to deliver that in three days.

2) Businesses are complex places. They know that they are going to need a system that can accommodate this complexity and continue to grow with their changing needs….and that’s why they choose Salesforce.

As soon as you start looking at all the elements of your business that you could improve and automate on the platform, you open up new avenues of complexity. That’s where the trouble can start. The possibilities are endless, which is kind of the best thing, and the worst thing about Salesforce. Trying to capture every processes from the beginning is not just unwise, it’s impossible.

We designed our Best Start service as a response to this.

Based on our experiences with a range of the SME to Mid-Enterprise market, 5 days is a realistic amount of time to get one well defined area of your business up running properly on Salesforce. When we say ‘properly’ we mean:-

  • Working in a way that answers the original business vision for the project

  • With all of your own data in there

  • Your people trained to use it

  • Good level of  adoption by those users

  • In good shape to accommodate the next steps you’ll want to take on with the platform

So, yes the standard three day Salesforce Quick Start is enough to configure tabs, fields, reports and workflow rules.

But for many businesses, it’s not enough to properly understand your business needs now , and how they fit into a bigger picture over the next few years.

It’s not enough to get all of your own data in there (and believe us when we say Salesforce will not be real to you until you are working with your own records).

And its not enough to get your team using the system in a sustainable way that improves your business.

And finally, its really not enough to spend three days with a business and leave them with a brand new system, walk out the door and expect them not to have a few questions over the few days, even weeks. People need to know that they can pick up the phone and have a question answered by their consultant for a reasonable period post-install. That’s why we built 2 weeks of free support into our Best Start package.

Think very carefully about ongoing system support

Systems support is so important. In fact, it’s critical to the success of your implementation. When we say support, we are talking about –

  • Being able to pick up a phone and someone talk you through the difficulty you are facing

  • Send an email and have a change made to your set up within a given SLA

  • Having on-site support if necessary

  • Regular training sessions for your users

  • Access to expertise on what the next steps are for the platform

Beyond the first two weeks, this level of support is not included in the Best Start package, that is true. But we want to be absolutely upfront about this – great support for your platform is an ongoing cost, but one that is key to protecting the investment you have made. You are going to be building up your usage of the platform, realistically over the next 12 months. If you factor this in from the beginning, you’ll great a great outcome.

Here’s a quick comparison of the traditional Quick Start against our Best Start

Quick Start Vs Best Start

We are well aware that at a straightforward cost comparison stage, this may well take us out of the shortlist for many businesses. To this we would say two things:-

  • If you are unwilling to invest in a good start on the Salesforce tool, is this the right platform for you? There are cheaper, even free alternatives out there. If you need to solve a single issue then opt for a product that does that. If you just need a CRM system, Infusionsoft or Highrise are great. Basecamp is a great project management app.

  • Are we the right partner for you? We don’t have a very high turnover of clients. We like to partner with our clients for the long term. That’s how we work best, that’s where we really offer value for money.

So here’s our proposition to you – make your start on Salesforce with a Best Start process, and you’ll deliver a success story to your business. It’s true that Salesforce configuration can be found for less money. However, if you are the kind of business that looks beyond a financial quarter at a time, a Salesforce Quick Start is not likely to be the right option. Those three days will come and go quickly, we guarantee it.

There are lot of “overnight success stories” that took 12 months in the making – build your business case on ROI and value for money, realised over the next year.  Do this, and you are on the road to having the kind of story that every business wants to tell… particularly if Salesforce are going to film it for you!

We welcome any comments on this blog and would love to hear from customers, partners and other consultancies.

Some useful links

Read our Best Start case study for The Retention People

Watch our film – Best Start for Bristol Green Capital

By Amy Grenham
27 February 2014
SalesforceThe Good Systems Blog

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