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Our consultants will teach you how to use CRM software to the fullest without overpaying for unnecessary functionality.
Salesforce, for a decade, has led the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) sector, boasting a market share of 23.0%, according to a report from Salesforce itself. Renowned global organizations such as Spotify, Toyota, Canon, and an additional 150,000 companies trust Salesforce for business operation optimization.
The reason for this overwhelming preference towards the Salesforce solution lies in its successful implementation outcomes. A well-executed Salesforce implementation can result in an average revenue increase of 37% and a productivity boost of 44%.
If your company is poised to adopt Salesforce and you’re keen to grasp the intricacies of CRM implementation, our detailed Salesforce implementation guide is an invaluable resource.
This guide outlines what Salesforce implementation entails, the timeframe required for a successful Salesforce deployment, the associated costs, and the crucial steps on how to prepare for successful Salesforce implementation.
Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of consultant involvement for a successful CRM rollout.
Salesforce implementation is a process of rolling out its core product — CRM (customer relationship management) system — to centralize all key business activities and communication. This platform unifies the 3 most common CRM product types, namely operational, analytical, and collaborative, making it the #1 CRM solution on the market.
Salesforce’s comprehensive infrastructure comprises an extensive array of native products including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud. Each of these products is meticulously designed to meet the specific needs of sales, service, and marketing professionals. Here are the results of Salesforce customers they’ve managed to achieve thanks to the implementation of various Salesforce products.
By implementing Salesforce Sales Cloud, companies can:
Similarly, the deployment of Salesforce Service Cloud can:
Utilizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud can:
Furthermore, integrating Pardot, now known as Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, can halve the time spent on campaign audience creation.
The Salesforce Platform, renowned for its “click-not-code” approach, can save an average of 80 developer hours and accelerate project delivery by four times.
In addition, Salesforce houses over 4,000 third-party tools within its AppExchange, augmenting the platform’s operational capacity.
Thanks to Salesforce’s popularity, there is no scarcity of professionals equipped to aid in the implementation and Salesforce structure customization of your solution. Regardless of your level of expertise in CRM or development approach, you can seamlessly delegate these tasks to a proficient Salesforce implementation partner possessing in-depth platform knowledge.
Our consultants will teach you how to use CRM software to the fullest without overpaying for unnecessary functionality.
Salesforce rollout is a serious investment, so the preparation process shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before initiating your project, commence with the following steps outlined in our comprehensive CRM implementation guide.
Involve varied teams and individuals in discussions about CRM implementation needs.
Understand internal challenges to set solution expectations, pinpoint daily issues faced by personnel at all levels, then identify which can be resolved via software.
This process aids in prioritizing teams and setting realistic system goals.
Take time to understand your teams’ daily tasks and their corresponding workflows.
Engage each department within your organization, encouraging them to document their processes and identify potential areas for optimization.
Ensure your Salesforce project doesn’t conflict with other major projects to avoid resource shortages. Define your timeline, plan key rollout phases, testing, and kickoff meetings.
Align your essential needs and expectations with a preliminary budget estimate.
For a more precise budget projection, consider consulting experienced Salesforce advisors familiar with different CRM implementation strategies.
Factors such as company size, data volume, and customization needs greatly impact Salesforce project estimation.
For risk anticipation and unexpected outcomes, devise three implementation scenarios: optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely.
Set measurable goals and metrics to evaluate your first Salesforce implementation plan’s success. This could include objectives like a 40% decrease in case resolution time or a 30% increase in lead flow.
These precise metrics facilitate goal tracking and strategic adjustment.
Clear and consistent team collaboration is essential to meeting CRM implementation goals. Successful Salesforce CRM deployment and adoption hinges on effective communication among implementers, stakeholders, and internal teams.
Regardless of resource limitations, assign key roles in the Salesforce implementation process. Typically, stakeholders include:
Generally, CRM rollout project stakeholders involve:
These roles can be represented by different people on a project or one person can often fulfill multiple roles.
It’s also vitally important to identify:
Prior to initiating the Salesforce CRM implementation, ensure your data, irrespective of its origin, is accurate and error-free for a smooth import process. Set policies for naming conventions and data duplication prevention.
Prior to launching Salesforce implementation, ensure you have an ongoing change management plan that extends beyond the go-live date.
Understanding Salesforce’s appearance, usability, and structure prior to the transition will help manage expectations about system capabilities and adaptation of your business process to the new platform.
Contact Ascendix team to get secure and effective Salesforce implementation to your business.
Businesses often ponder, “Can I implement Salesforce myself?”. Despite Salesforce’s complexity, self-implementation is feasible. Moreover, Salesforce proposes three CRM implementation models:
Each model has unique pros and cons. Thus, early consultation with a Salesforce professional is advised for a refined CRM implementation strategy and risk mitigation. They can help align Salesforce to support, tailor, or redesign your business processes. Learn more about various engagement models Ascendix offers its clients.
In this engagement type, the majority of the implementation project is entrusted to the consulting partner. Let’s explore the main advantages and disadvantages of this approach:
|Consulting partners complete technical work with extensive product and industry knowledge||Implementation by Salesforce consulting partners costs more|
|Salesforce partners have vast experience with various implementation processes|
|They focus on connecting business process and the desired outcome|
This approach facilitates a division of responsibilities between you and your consulting partner. Like all methods, this model comes with its own set of advantages and potential drawbacks:
|Lower Salesforce implementation cost||Complex project management engaging both external and internal resources|
|Expert design of Salesforce architecture by professionals||Longer timelines of solution implementation|
|Hands-on experience for your staff configuring and customizing the solution|
|Additional training for your team to support the CRM solution after implementation|
This strategy suggests that you handle the CRM software implementation under the advisory guidance of your partner, where you are responsible for all the deliverables. Similar to the other models, this engagement type carries its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses:
|Low Salesforce implementation cost||Longer project completion timeline|
|Self-sufficiency in setup process|
|Your team learns how to speed on the platform and how your business processes can best be supported|
The Salesforce implementation team, which could be composed of your employees or a consulting partner, plays a pivotal role in the Salesforce CRM implementation process. These teams generally focus on three major aspects:
However, whether you choose to manage the process independently or collaborate with a Salesforce partner, understanding the roles and responsibilities within the project team is crucial.
As the driving force behind the entire Salesforce CRM rollout journey, the Executive Sponsor is the cornerstone of success. This individual crafts a strategic vision for the business, assembles a dynamic team of professionals, and navigates the team toward successful rollout.
Regardless of your organization’s resource constraints, it’s crucial to designate individuals for key roles in the Salesforce implementation process. You don’t necessarily need a large team, as one person can fulfill multiple significant roles.
A typical Salesforce project team structure and responsibilities look like this:
In addition to the roles outlined above, it’s vital to have a primary point of contact, such as a dedicated Project Manager, to oversee the project internally.
Having completed the necessary preparations, we now delve into the vital aspects of a successful Salesforce implementation process. Allow us to guide you through the crucial CRM implementation stages you must gear up for:
In this part, we approximate costs and delve into factors shaping the final price. For a more granular breakdown of CRM rollout expenses, refer to our detailed post: “Real Cost of Implementing Salesforce“.
Key influencers of Salesforce implementation costs are:
Moreover, factor in the man-hours your team devotes to Salesforce implementation, training, and adoption, contributing to indirect CRM-related costs.
Upon deciding to deploy Salesforce, prioritize your expenditures. With a tight budget, determine what’s immediately essential and what can be postponed.
Salesforce deployment comprises two primary cost components: subscription and service fees.
The ultimate Salesforce subscription costs are driven by:
Delve deeper into Salesforce license types and their costs in our blog post: “Ways to Optimize Salesforce Licenses“.
The pillars of most Salesforce solutions are Sales and Service Clouds. Let’s briefly contrast these CRM product lines.
Subscription costs for the four basic editions of Sales and Service Clouds range between $25 and $330 per user per month.
For some sectors, pre-customized Salesforce-based solutions, including a license, are available, often at a more affordable price. For instance, our commercial real estate CRM platform built on Salesforce starts at $79 per user, including the Salesforce license.
What compromises does it entail? We explain this in our post: Salesforce for Commercial Real Estate: Available Pricing Options (relevant to all industries).
Factors that influence Salesforce services cost:
Freelance Salesforce consulting can be cost-effective, particularly with a reliable referral and a straightforward implementation of Salesforce CRM not requiring extensive skillsets. While cost-effective, hiring a freelance Salesforce consultant comes with potential risks. They’re an ideal choice for small projects or minor adjustments, especially for organizations on a tight budget seeking to enhance standard Salesforce functionality.
However, freelancers might have limited technical expertise and project management experience, which can compromise larger implementations. Their specialized knowledge might leave your project incomplete or prolong implementation.
Additionally, top-notch Salesforce consultants are often booked in advance, posing scheduling challenges. Plus, any project complexities could result in higher costs compared to hiring an experienced specialist upfront.
|Low prices||Risks that expected level of expertise and service may not correspond to promised ones|
|Culture fit (Ability to hire a freelancer from your location who speaks your language and is in the same time zone)||Longer timeline of performance, limited scope of services due to limited expertise|
Opting for an in-house Salesforce team can be beneficial for companies ready for a long-term investment in expertise. This approach ensures a team with the needed technical skills, committed to company projects, and aligned with the company vision.
However, for smaller organizations, this option might be costly. Apart from the annual salary, additional expenses include recruitment, onboarding, payroll costs, taxes, leave benefits, office and team management expenses, and workspace provisions.
|An employee will work only on your projects and will be available when you need them||On-going payroll expenses and related staffing costs|
|You reduce time on online conferences, calls, chatting, and emailing because you can discuss all the issues face-to-face for less time||Spent time on team management|
|Complete involvement and understanding of the company vision, goals, and needs||Persistent skill development of your employee|
Assuming that both aforementioned types are not fit, engaging with Salesforce consulting partners is another popular approach.
Salesforce Consulting Partners are certified firms showcased on Salesforce’s AppExchange. They help not only implement Salesforce but also can deliver diverse tech solutions like custom apps or CRM solutions.
CRM consulting partners are tasked to:
These partners need to meet Salesforce standards, including having Salesforce-certified employees and ongoing engagement with the ecosystem.
Higher tiers equate to more business and talent, although some firms prefer lower tiers for competitive pricing.
|Favorable pricing policy without loss of quality||Different time zone|
|Similar business models||Difficulties with some regulations’ compliance|
|While communication barriers still exist, English is spoken throughout the world and with the appropriate firm, language barriers can be removed||Language barriers can become an issue with some firms that do not place a priority on English fluency|
Service costs are also influenced by specialists’ technical skills, largely demonstrated by their certifications, which require both financial and time investments. With different Salesforce certificates, each costing $200 to register and $100 for retakes, the cost and effort put into these certifications factor into consultation fees.
Therefore, a professional with extensive specializations or deep knowledge in a particular aspect of Salesforce, like Financial Cloud or CPQ & Billing, typically commands higher fees compared to those specializing in implementing Salesforce Sales or Service Cloud implementation.
Specialists with specific industry expertise, such as Commercial Real Estate or Legal Services, are often highly sought after. Their in-depth understanding of industry operations, terminology, and data tracking needs can command higher rates. However, this investment can save considerable time in orienting the consultant to the nuances of your business operations.
The location significantly influences the cost of Salesforce services, even within the same country due to varying living expenses. For example, within the US, average Salesforce salaries fluctuate state-by-state. To optimize costs, agencies like Ascendix can offer off-shore or mixed engagement models.
A general CRM implementation process consists of 5 phases.
A CRM strategy is an action plan for CRM system implementation, considering users’ needs, process requirements, and technological capacities to fulfill business objectives. Key sub-stages include:
In this stage, you:
In this phase, you:
This phase encompasses:
This phase involves:
We will teach you how to do that right and get the most out of your Salesforce CRM.
Every Salesforce rollout project plan necessitates certain critical elements such as:
The timeline, typically outlined in months, should be promptly updated as each task is completed.
Stakeholders are vital to the plan, clearly identifying who is accountable for each step in the SFDC implementation.
Dependencies highlight the project’s constraints, including the necessity of executing tasks in a specific order, which must be considered during planning.
Lastly, the plan should incorporate granular milestones marking the completion of each implementation phase.
Three principal project management methodologies can be applied to orchestrate a Salesforce CRM implementation process:
This methodology is suitable for predictable projects that can be meticulously planned and executed in distinct stages. Its primary disadvantage is the difficulty of introducing changes during the testing phase.
This approach allows for managing the implementation project in compact sequences or ‘sprints’. Agile methodology enhances flexibility, enabling swift responses to unpredictable scenarios and efficient oversight of complex projects.
This approach amalgamates the two previous methodologies for varying use cases. It ensures the comprehensive involvement of all stakeholders and optimizes project management efficiency.
To initiate successful Salesforce implementation, you need to perform a set of preliminary activities like:
Once all the above-mentioned actions are made, you should proceed with designing a CRM implementation project and plan. Here are the most significant project steps:
Initiate your CRM deployment process by defining business objectives, analyzing client needs, and examining competitor and customer actions.
Convene workshops to determine detailed needs in areas such as functional, data, UI, and technical requirements.
Maintain comprehensive documentation for future reference and discussion with Salesforce implementation partners. Subsequently, set clear CRM targets, goals, and KPIs.
Right after identifying all your organization’s pain points and goals, talk to a Salesforce implementation partner or consultant like Ascendix.
They provide industry-specific strategies, assisting with business case & system gap analysis, product selection, customization, optimization of Salesforce pricing, and sequencing of Salesforce Clouds and product implementation.
By leveraging their expertise, you can save considerable time and avoid potential pitfalls, especially if you lack Salesforce implementation resources or experience.
Following your consultation with a Salesforce implementation consultant, review the available Salesforce Clouds, including their editions and functionalities.
Evaluate their compatibility with your business needs, timeline, budget, and potential for further customization.
Pinpoint possible risks associated with your Salesforce implementation project and devise mitigation strategies.
At this juncture, develop a change management plan and, if necessary, restructure processes.
Recognize the uniqueness of each project and its varying influences, such as company size, data volume, and required customizations. Accordingly, devise business and implementation plans, setting appropriate timelines and budgets for project completion.
Identify decision-makers across your organization to represent all business facets, determining executive sponsorship and project leadership.
The implementation team should include sales agents, customer service representatives, IT experts, marketers, general users, and business administrators.
Conduct design workshops to create functional, technical, and UI designs, ensuring thorough documentation.
Review design documentation, solicit feedback, and establish acceptance criteria. Develop a sandbox as an accurate reflection of your future production organization for testing purposes.
Poor-quality data can compromise your reputation, distort results, and potentially violate legal regulations. Prior to importing data to Salesforce, conduct an audit to assess quantity, quality, complexity, and diversity.
Identify and rectify gaps, errors, and duplicates across all objects, ensuring data cleansing, consolidation, and deduplication, and then create a CRM data model.
Consider using email verification tools, employing a data engineer for large-scale data cleansing, and utilizing data enrichment tools. Ensure clear differentiation between clients, partners, leads, and others.
Plan and execute data migration to Salesforce, including detailed field mapping. Facilitate a workshop to thoroughly address this.
Prioritize data protection and health in accordance with corporate policies. Automate data cleansing within the new CRM platform. Ensure data backup before migration.
Evaluate Salesforce’s compatibility with various products, taking into consideration over 3,000 dedicated apps. Identify the ideal tools that can efficiently integrate with Salesforce.
Determine if API integration is feasible or if third-party connectors or custom coding are necessary. Seek recommendations from professional Salesforce consultants to optimize investment and avoid unnecessary customization.
Comprehend the inherent Salesforce functionality, then identify enhancements through feature configuration or custom coding. Consider optimizing aspects such as:
Also, consider modifying business processes such as:
This step may involve onboarding a marketing team for campaign and event setup. If tools like Marketing Cloud, Pardot, or other AppExchange marketing automation tools are purchased, coordinate additional projects with relevant consultants and your marketing team.
Develop test scripts for final user acceptance testing, verifying:
This testing approach ensures comprehensive alignment with your CRM.
Allocate time for building and testing scenarios before the final Salesforce rollout. While small projects can launch simultaneously, it’s advisable to implement larger, complex projects in phases, allowing employees to acclimatize to the new system.
High adoption rates hinge on proper training, ensuring continued and appropriate software use. To effectively train your team:
CRM adoption signifies stakeholders confidently utilizing the software, resulting in simplified workflows. Despite this, Salesforce implementation is ongoing, reflecting your ever-evolving business needs.
Post initial rollout, consider expanding the system or adjusting customizations.
To enhance efficiency, maintain receptivity to user feedback, regularly evaluate your CRM, and modify functionality as required.
CRM projects may stumble due to a variety of factors. Common obstacles include insufficient project planning, lack of a coherent implementation strategy, and disregard for potential risks. Potential Salesforce implementation challenges include:
Our Salesforce professionals explain why Salesforce implementation projects succeed while others do not:
“ There are many reasons why Salesforce implementations fail, but here are a few to highlight:
1) Lack of management commitment of resources (allocation of internal resources and money for external consulting)
2) Lack of direct and identifiable connection between the technology and the business problem it is trying to solve
3) Lack of proper training to bring the end-user community
4) Importation of inaccurate, incomplete, or duplicate data ”
“ I have noticed that if the software is not meeting a need for the user or management doesn't “force” the users to log in and use the system, then it will just languish. Change is always hard for people to embrace but if you can provide them a better way, a faster way to do something then it will be a success. However, if the user has to do double-entry because of a lack of integration with another system, or they can't get the information out they need in a simple way, then the project will fail. ”
For over 20 years of Salesforce consulting, our experts have collected a set of recommendations on how to launch and drive Salesforce implementation projects well. Among them:
“ Successful Salesforce implementation, first off, must have a balanced approach that focuses on the technology design, the people that are going to use it, and the processes that are to be supported by the salesforce system. ”
We’ve applied this best practice to all our projects, but one of the most illustrative examples is our Salesforce customization project for Source Energy Partner.
“ Take a phased approach while you launch Salesforce implementation. Trying to accommodate too many requirements in the initial phase can unnecessarily protract the rollout, complicate the user interface and impact user adoption. Moreover, it is normal for perspectives to change as usage of the system expands which oftentimes increases the wisdom of design decisions for future implementation phases. ”
“ I think the biggest deciding factor of Salesforce implementation success is feedback from all levels. If the admins and brokers are not allowed to give feedback, then we find that day-to-day needs are not met by the Salesforce functionality. Also, if management doesn't have a voice, then we aren't able to provide them with the reports they need. ”
“ Involve those that are going to use the system throughout the implementation life cycle. This includes management, end-users, and support staff who need to have their "fingerprints" on the solution to get buy-in and ensure the application supports all aspects of the business. ”
“ The length of deployment is driven largely by the scope of the engagement but all things considered. If you've done an adequate job of putting a deployment roadmap in place, a viable Phase 1 Salesforce implementation should target a range from 3 to 6 months for moderately complex implementations. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb (especially for the smaller engagements of fewer than 10 users) and it should be noted that this timeframe is relating to the first of what may be a multi-phase project. ”
“ It depends on the client and the scope of the project, but I would say for smaller projects with little customizations and a straightforward data import, maybe 3-4 weeks. For the larger projects, it can take several months to a year to really just get through implementation phase 1. ”
“ Data is also a big part of successful Salesforce implementation. No Salesforce will start off day 1 with no data. It usually needs to be brought in from another system or from spreadsheets. If this data isn't cleansed or up to date, it is useless. Sometimes data is an afterthought for our clients, and it needs to be front and center. ”
“ The system is only as good as the data contained in the application. While time-intensive, an appropriate amount of time and attention to detail needs to be spent on gathering a data set that will provide valuable insight from the application during the initial stages of the deployment. To the extent possible, a CRM deployment should refrain from starting off with an empty database. ”
Also, read what one of our clients, Robert Sattler at CRESA New York is saying about the importance of building a clean database.
“ Some of the key factors for effective SFDC implementation, in my opinion, are managing expectations of what is to be delivered (not making assumptions about functions of product), frequent communication: weekly meetings, status updates, budget updates and not trying to solve for all things, but delivering solutions to the key areas that will increase productivity, efficiency and ultimately revenue. ”
Engaging a Salesforce implementation consultant optimizes the chances of successful Salesforce implementation.
If you encounter difficulties with Salesforce platform implementation, re-implementation, optimization, or require guidance transitioning from Salesforce Classic to Salesforce Lightning, our Salesforce implementation professionals are at your service.
Why Ascendix is a Reliable Partner for Salesforce Implementation Services?
Our industry-specific expertise ensures an understanding of your niche CRM requirements.
Our technically proficient team, certified by internationally recognized bodies, is committed to your project. Furthermore, our global delivery capability promises competitive cost structures through blended or offshore staffing models.
To start Salesforce implementation, identify your needs, establish a budget, find a suitable expert, and plan an organizational change management strategy. Proceed to migrate your CRM data, gradually roll out features, invest in employee training, and ensure proper CRM maintenance and support.
While Salesforce offers substantial rewards, its implementation is not straightforward. It’s a resource-intensive and time-consuming process that requires significant knowledge and expertise. Therefore, engaging a proficient Salesforce implementation partner is vital for success.
While Salesforce’s user-friendly interface may seem appealing for self-implementation, it’s not recommended for newcomers. Doing so risks creating a non-scalable solution. Inexperience and lack of expertise can also lead to underestimated projects and potentially negative outcomes.
It takes from 10 hours to 1 year to implement Salesforce. Organizations with up to 10 users, can set up basic Salesforce products like Sales Cloud and Service Cloud in 2-3 weeks and more advanced like CPQ Cloud in 2 months.
Anzhelika is a seasoned B2B content marketing strategist with extensive experience in elevating corporate profiles through compelling content. At Ascendix, she offers a wealth of knowledge in Salesforce consulting, providing valuable tips, tricks, and comprehensive guides. Additionally, Anzhelika stays at the forefront of the industry, delivering expert analysis on the latest Salesforce tools and emerging technology trends.
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