17 Jul Countdown to Launch: How to Prepare for Your Salesforce Project
Whether Salesforce is the first CRM you implement or you’re migrating from an existing system, this process is sure to be transformative for your organization. At Nubik, we have seen our fair share of launches, and we’ve learned through experience that projects are successful not due to luck, or the alignment of the stars, rather, it’s the careful planning and execution that are the biggest determining factors.
Having worked with 100s of companies across 100s of projects, we polled our Project Team, and have identified the common themes that can make or break your project. Whether you’re planning a QuickStart for a small team, or a complete digital transformation for 10s or even 100s of users, here are our top 6 pointers for to set you on the right path:
Involve Your Users
You want your implementation to succeed? Easy, get your team involved. Why?
- First (and probably most importantly), you will make it THEIR project
- They can help you uncover some of their day-to-day use cases that you might not even have thought of, or didn’t evaluate the importance
- You will seed the idea so that when the project is launched, they are in the right mindset and ready to ease into the transition
How do you do this? Communication is key. Both throughout the project by sharing information on the project status, but also meeting with them to their ideas and inputs. The more you communicate the more they will follow your lead, and become the champions after delivery.
Build Your A-Team
The project has been communicated, everyone is onboard. Super! What’s next? You need a team to drive the project. Your next objective is to identify who will be the key people within your organization who will be directly involved in the project, figuring out which role they will play and organizing a kick off to outline their involvement. The key roles you need to cover off are:
- The first thing to identify is who will be the Project Manager. This person will be responsible for keeping the project on track, making sure you adhere to the scope, the timeline and the budget. Whether you self-implement or work with an implementation partner, the project manager is your Quarterback.
- You need an executive level sponsor who will help drive the success of the project. This person will support the project manager in all major decisions, and will also help advocate the value of the project to other departments and stakeholders. The project sponsor should have, at all times, a solid grasp on the project status to ensure that it stays inline with the corporate objectives.
Business Process Owner
- Your CRM is a reflection of you business processes. When you are launching a new CRM, your Business Process Owner is the key driver to determine how the system should work. In the case of a Sales Cloud implementation, this person would naturally be a senior Sales Executive in your organization. For a Service Cloud project, this is the head of your Customer Care of Services Department. You get the idea. This person will be mainly involve at the beginning of the project during the Business Process Review, and then throughout the project to review and test how the system functions.
- During the development, the Super User will be the voice of the team, able to provide feedback on questions of usability and identify training needs. Once the project is live, this person will become the point of contact for internal questions on how the system is to be used. In the case of a Sales Cloud project, this might be a member of the sales team; for a Service cloud implementation, this could be someone in the Customer Care department; and so on.
- An internal Salesforce admin will become your best friend. This person will be an aide to the implementation partner, learning what are the core system requirements and having a full grasp on how the system has been configured. After Go-Live, this person will remain at the helm serving as the POC for daily support and adjustments that will be needed once you take ownership of the CRM. Our #1 piece of advice for the Admin? Involve them as early as possible in the project, so they have time to ramp up fully before they take ownership.
Great, now you know the key people that need to be assigned on your project but how do you help them succeed? Make sure they have enough time to work on the project.
Once the project kicks off, you will need to regroup on a weekly basis, often to make important decisions related to your process. When you understand it fully, you are in the best position to ensure that the system is configured to match those business needs.
Identify Your Core KPIs
We all know that a CRM is a powerhouse at keeping your Sales Team structured. But what other KPIs are important to your organization? There are a ton of standard KPIs that you might also want to track
- Number of leads per month,
- Leads from source
- Sales pipeline
- Average opportunity age
- Close rate,
But you need to keep your eye on those custom KPIs that keep your organization at the top of it’s gam. Sometimes, just figuring out what those might be can be a challenge, so start by looking at your sales data including what’s in your ERP, and find some trends you might want to better understand. Look at your best performer to find out what’s his average deal size, then use this as a benchmark for their colleagues: How many items per transaction? How many deals per year?
Taking the time to identifying those KPIs will better scope what data needs to be captured in Salesforce so we can make to configure it properly.
Extra bonus: these KPIs will become key reports after Go-Live, to keep your business on track.
Plan to integrate with your ERP
In an ideal world, all your IT systems are fully integrated, and data is visible from anywhere. That is the dream. But let’s start smaller, looking at how and when to integrate your ERP and your CRM. Integration can be very challenging, yes, but this is by far one of the most powerful ways to give your sales team a complete view of their customers right in Salesforce.
Before moving forward with your integration, here are few questions to consider:
- Do you want to automatically create new accounts in your ERP once they reach a certain stage on opportunities?
- Do you want to sync your total sales from the ERP to Salesforce so sales people can compare sales data year over year?
- If you will be quoting in Salesforce, do you want to sync the quotes to the ERP as an order once they are won?
There are unlimited possibilities and your job is to identify what those are, so that we can design the best architecture in Salesforce to meet those needs. Even if you don’t perform this integration as one of the first steps of your Salesforce implementation, knowing this information will allow the implementation team to build the object architecture accordingly, so you’re future-proofing your system for Phase 2.
Clean Your Data
Have you ever heard the phrase Garbage-In, Garbage-Out? We cannot underscore the need to scrub your data before you launch. Most projects will involve a data import from the previous systems that were used. And, if you migrate old, inaccurate data into your fresh new system, you’ve already compromised the success of the new system.
- remove duplicate company records
- remove duplicate contacts
- make sure your contact names are correct (proper titling, not all caps)
- … you get the idea.
The lesson here is: plan plenty of time to clean your data, prepare your import, and get ready for a fresh start.
Change is thrilling. New horizons. Out with the old, in with the new… Harness that excitement and launch quickly. Organize the projects into phases, so you can respect your original timeline and get people using the new system as soon as possible.
Not to mention, going live quickly has its own advantages :
- Present a tool that’s much easier to learn
- Show that the project is under control
- Get a return on your investment faster
- Your users can become your advocates, helping inspire ideas of their own to improve the overall system performance.
And let’s not forget: Once the project is live, by all means, you can continue to iterate and improve. The system is not set in stone. Updates can be pushed anytime. Just keep what’s working and upgrade functionalities that need to be changed. Exciting times call for exciting measures, so: Carpe Diem.
If you’re about to embark on a Salesforce implementation, take some time to think through these points and get prepared. And of course, never hesitate to discuss these steps within the project team and ask for help throughout this process. The more you ask, the more you communicate, the better your project will be, allowing your organization to reap all the benefits that Salesforce has to offer.
By Jean-Michel Tremblay, Salesforce Consultant