Using Salesforce has become a tried-and-true strategy for improving customer relationship management and surpassing dozens of other business benchmarks. However, there are still some organizations that haven't be as quick to adopt the innovative technology or, even if they have, they haven't yet been able to get a firm grasp on how to best make it work for their specific needs and goals.
"Investing in innovative technologies can facilitate organizational success."
But, as Chris Enstrom pointed out in an article for CIO, investing in innovative technologies can lead to significant returns on investment as well as an increase in productivity and performance – and at the end of the day, that means achieving overall success as an organization.
"Help employees become more productive and connect their efforts to achieve business goals," Enstrom recommended.Enstrom recommended.
In that regard, deploying Salesforce is a must, regardless of the industry. The platform has exactly what it takes to bring your operations to the next level. That said, you can't just sign up for Salesforce and send out a mass email, telling your co-workers and employees to start using it. As with the installation of any type of IT solution, there are certain guidelines that you should adhere to if you want to reap maximum benefit from this CRM system.
Preparing and customizing
Although Salesforce and its various components are easy to install and use, achieving true operational success requires planning. The first phase of the process is to identify the specific needs and goals of your business. Obtaining a thorough assessment of what workflows must be improved will enable you to customize the solution to provide your company with the most value possible.
While Salesforce can always be tweaked and adjusted when necessary, it is important that you initially launch on a strong yet simple IT foundation.
Another key step in preparation is collecting and reviewing any and all existing data flows. By mapping this information before the system is installed, you will be in a better position to determine how the application should be customized and secured. Personalizing the CRM will also involve:
- Configuring security settings
- Determining user roles and accessibility
- Designing custom field components for business requirements
- Defining your required reports
As you can see, planning to deploy Salesforce isn't an afternoon task. It entails a strategic assessment of your existing organization structure, as well as a focus on the IT side of things. While you can probably handle the former, you might want to find a consultant for the latter.
Deploying and adopting
Once you've established your plan and determine how to customize Salesforce to your company's needs, you should get ready for deployment. Step one: Educate employees on the benefits of using Salesforce and how doing so will put your organization at a unique advantage.
Throughout the planning, preparing, customizing and deploying stages of Salesforce software implementation, communication should be clear, consistent and convenient. It's important that users know not only how the CRM system works, but how support processes are handled.
Step two: Ensure your IT department is on board and that all the technical aspects of deployment are aligned. That means integrating with existing systems and updating all software to guarantee it will support the platform. Once you make Salesforce available, you can turn your focus on the next phase of successful execution.
Using and updating
After the initial deployment of the CRM system, you will be able to "continually revisit and optimize the application, build and refine your metrics, and always keep your end users and overall vision in mind," Salesforce explained. You can incorporate additional tools and apps for further Salesforce customization. Minor changes can be made immediately and, even if you want to implement a more complex feature, this can be done without disrupting any other areas of production.
On its website, Salesforce recommended using the guidelines for the Software Development Lifecycle, or SDLC. Essentially, the development and implementation of a new functionality should continue throughout the lifecycle of the platform, and you can even do so without impacting current deployments with an isolated production testing environment. This means you can continue improving Salesforce without affecting other users or processes.
Salesforce and its modules provide you with the resources and tools needed to streamline operations, improve customer service and, ultimately, boost the bottom line. But if you don't start out on the right foot, you might not achieve Salesforce success.