Jul 10, 2023

8 Steps For A Successful Salesforce Implementation Project

You can make your Salesforce implementation successful by careful planning, finding the right partner, including all the affected employees, and focusing on the needs.

While aimed at helping to manage your business challenges, Salesforce implementation may not bring the desired outcomes because of poor planning. This blog will show you the steps you should take for successful Salesforce implementation. Salesforce implementation can be challenging, regardless of the team's skill level. In fact, CRM implementation projects have a failure rate of anywhere between 30% to 70%. You can make your Salesforce implementation successful by careful planning, finding the right partner, including all the affected employees, and focusing on the needs and concerns of the end users.

8- Step Approach to A Successful Salesforce Implementation for Your Business

According to Salesforce, properly implemented solutions increase revenue by more than 37% on average. To ensure a successful Salesforce implementation, organizations should follow the following eight-step framework:

  1. Define Stakeholders
  2. Identify and define your goals.
  3. Defining your requirements
  4. Identifying high-priority requirements
  5. Building
  6. Testing and Implementation of Feedback
  7. Preparation to go live.
  8. Go-Live
8 steps for a successful salesforce implementation

The process can be divided into two phases for a better understanding. Steps 1-4 mark the first phase that is critical in ensuring your Salesforce implementation aligns with your business goals and addresses its immediate needs. This phase also plays a significant role in the testing phase, where the expectations and the system usually contradict. In this phase, explicitness increases your chances of success. Steps 5 -8 can be followed through Waterfall methodology or Agile methodology. The waterfall method completes each step as a whole before moving to the next phase. This is a more typical approach for initial implementation, as it allows you to build the product as a whole at first, then test and go live. It gives an idea of how everything will work, but this method can sometimes lead to expectations vs. reality being further apart compared to the second option. The agile method is quite a different approach; in this method, each step is broken down into smaller stages. Each stage involves continuous collaboration with stakeholders and continuous improvement at every step. Once the work begins, teams follow a cycle of planning, executing, evaluating, and going live at each stage. This method is preferred as it is more flexible in prioritizing developments and enhancements on different system parts in near-real-time!

1. Define Stakeholders

First and foremost, who is relevant to the project? You'll have to identify and define the entities with a vested interest in the project and whose needs will be addressed as part of the implementation. Next, you'll have to define some key roles and responsibilities for the project. End Users: These are the team of people actively using the system. Usually, one person from each team is chosen to represent the end user's needs. Role: Their primary function is to identify the problems and needs of the end users and explicitly define what success looks like to them. Superusers: These individuals belong to the end user group that are eager users and willing to help with the testing and final rollout of the implementation. Role: A Super User's basic responsibility is to support end users in their departments before, during, and after go-live to ensure a successful implementation. Project Manager: This individual is responsible for planning and developing the project idea. They need to create and lead the team, monitor project progress, set deadlines, solve issues that arise, manage money, ensure stakeholder satisfaction, and evaluate project performance, including the performance of their team members. Decision Maker: This individual has the authority to make decisions for the project, like timeline, budget, or even design decisions.

2. Identify and define your goals

Okay, now that your stakeholders are defined, you can engage them to determine the project's goals. Some of the example questions that help identify goals are:

  • How will you define success?
  • Who do you want to impact by the implementation?
  • When do you want to go live?
  • What do you want/need your new system to do?
  • Which processes are going well that you would like to mimic in other methods or the new system?

This phase helps identify the main pain points and which area needs the most impact. These goals help in prioritization later on. Moreover, it helps the alignment of the visions of the stakeholders and gives the project a better chance of success.

3. Defining your requirements

Well great! Now you have a team with an aligned vision for a successful salesforce implementation. Next, you need to identify what specific functions you want in the new system to support your vision. How should you define your requirements?

  • They should be clear and use precise language.
  • They should be short, excluding unnecessary information.
  • They should be testable - to check them off the list at the end of the project.
  • They should use consistent terminology, with industry standards/naming conventions listed in a glossary
  • They shouldn't include conjunctions like "and" / "or" as these probably represent two separate requirements.

The best practice for defining requirements is to include everyone but not at the same time. You can assign each team to identify requirements, and then after reviewing, prepare a clear list of what you want from the new system.

4. Identifying high-priority requirements

Great! You are now on the last step of the first phase, which includes identifying high-priority requirements. You'll be less likely to have enough resources to fulfill all your requirements in your expected time frame. So, for an efficient Salesforce implementation, categorize your requirements as follows:

  • Must-haves are high-priority requirements; without these, you cannot go live.
  • Should-haves are the medium priority requirements; these would benefit if present in the new system but can be worked around with manual effort.
  • Nice to have been the lowest priority ones; they serve more convenience than a core business function.

Now that your requirements are categorized ask your Salesforce partner to start putting together an effort estimate on each requirement. Estimating requirements is one of the main tasks of your chosen Salesforce partner, and you should set this point on your expectations list. Afterward, it's up to you to prioritize based on what fits within the budget.

5. Building

The next phase begins now! In this step, all your requirements will become live. Obviously, you'll not be involved directly in the building process as it is mainly consultants and development teams, but you should discuss these 3 things with them:

  • Refreshing a sandbox org.
  • Documentation – what documentation will the partner provide?
  • Prepare for deployment from Day 1.

6. Testing and Implementation of Feedback

After some functionality has been built or a draft solution has been implemented in the sandbox. It's time to connect with the business team and implementation partner to ensure that the expectations meet reality. Some tips for this step are as follows:

  • To request a demo, if the demo is too long, take breaks to make sure you retain the information well.
  • Consider the whole flow and how each component connects with the next. This is where you'll learn how Salesforce works and how it has been customized according to your business needs.
  • Take notes to track the conversation and ask your partner to send over a manual with instructions.

Now that you have finished reviewing the functionality, check the feedback gathered and any additional feedback that is required. Next, compare the input collected with the initial high-priority requirement list. If you have any feedback on additional requirements that were not on the list previously, you can add them to the current project or add them to the future phase. Remember that if you add it to the current project, you'll need to re-evaluate the time frames. Now that you have conveyed your feedback to your partners. The second and third reviews will mainly focus on the changes made rather than the process.

7. Prepare to go live

When technical aspects are signed-off, it's time to ensure that the transition process is smooth and calculated. You'll want to inform all the affected end-users about the changes. It's beneficial to send multiple reminders about the changes and transition before the final date. Training is another critical factor before implementing the new system. Without it, users will get frustrated even when the system is designed with all the essential requirements.

8. Go -Live

This is it – the day you've been dreaming of since day 1! You'll be deploying according to the pre-deployment, deployment, and post-deployment steps you've outlined since the build phase. Some critical tips for a successful deployment:

  • If possible, validate your package a few days, up to a week, before deployment. This allows you to catch any errors from missing components.
  • Check with your Implementation Partner that email deliverability in Setup has been turned off or set to System Email only from the beginning of deployment until you have completed all possible post-deployment checks.
  • Consider your deployment window and the impact on users. If you're turning off email deliverability, can they still use the system confidently? It is best practice to avoid users updating or creating records during deployment to prevent unexpected behavior.
  • After completing your post-deployment steps, do a quick run-through of various key functionalities to ensure the system works as expected.

Ending Note

A properly planned and managed implementation process allows releasing the full potential of your Salesforce solution. Whizzbridge experts will be glad to help if you need all-around assistance in Salesforce implementation. We provide the implementation of key Salesforce products, such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Community Cloud. We can carry out the implementation from consulting to after-launch support of your Salesforce solution.


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