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5 Key Steps to Start Your Salesforce Implementation Journey

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Starting your Salesforce implementation journey is a big decision for many companies, not only because of the investment involved but also the time it can take to hit the ground running. When starting a Salesforce implementation, you first need to ensure everyone on the team is on board and willing to accept the new system. In this article, we will discuss the five main steps for a successful implementation journey that will help your team plan better.

For a smooth implementation process delivering maximum ROI, working with an experienced Salesforce partner is a must. But not all partners are the same – learn more about the Groundswell difference

Key Steps to Start Your Salesforce Implementation Journey

1. Hire a Salesforce Partner for a Successful Implementation

There are many Salesforce implementation partners and tools available to you, some of which provide end-to-end services from helping plan and build your Salesforce platform to training and even maintenance afterward.

Compared to moving forward with an in-house implementation, working with an experienced Salesforce partner will help you avoid unnecessary technical debt. Plus, working with experts gives you access to benefits you never thought of and recommendations with specific modifications that will improve workflows without compromising on end goals. At Groundswell, we help you evaluate specific  technical points important to your businesses success:

  • Does your team manually handle many aspects of your business?
  • Is crucial data and information housed in more than one location?
  • Are you not utilizing the benefits of a cloud-based storage model?
  • Is there a secure way for your employees to access essential data outside the office?
  • Can you keep track of your clients, vendors, or partners?
  • Do you have a single source of truth, or are your workflows run through multiple systems and databases?

You can also consider the hybrid implementation approach. A hybrid system works best, especially if you have internal IT support and can efficiently handle some elements of a Salesforce implementation. This can include conducting training sessions internally within your organization or having your team certified to handle any ongoing maintenance. Groundswell has also worked within this model as projects required.

2. Define High-Level Management Goals in Detail

For the success of your implementation journey, you need to plan your organizational change management strategy well. At Groundswell, our methodology starts by diving into your short and long-term goals, as well as learning your existing technology landscape to drive business requirements. We draw up a Capabilities Map to help identify priorities, and with the help of focused sprints, we make sure we are on track and deliver the right final solution.

Another important aspect of defining goals is assigning the right stakeholders. We can split them up into several groups: 

  • Key Decision-Maker(s): making the executive decisions of the project, including the budget and timeline.
  • Project Manager(s): the primary contact for the Salesforce partner, helping keep the project on track.
  • Team Leads: make sure you have several team representatives helping guide implementation requirements.
  • General Users: usually internal employees or vendors, partners for the testing and training process.

Start by ensuring your whole team has input and have your team leads compile a list of department responsibilities, recurring tasks, tech or sales processes, and main workflows. It will also be beneficial to set up anonymous surveys, and/or a system so employees can submit recommendations and feedback for their team leads and project managers to review. 

3. Prioritize Implementation Requirements

To optimally organize and track your implementation progress, it is best to establish a timeline with specific milestones you want to hit. This will help shape a proper understanding of the main implementation expectations and have measurable goals. It is essential to include some buffer time for any unforeseen events. The project schedule will also be affected by taking into account the time to clean up data duplicates, fixing errors, and creating backups. 

To avoid overcomplicating the implementation process, keep things simple by using your high-level goals mentioned in step 2. This will ensure that you will develop a workflow that your employees want to use and make their daily tasks easier. But don’t just use Salesforce to copy and paste your current processes into a nicer new system. Every requirement needs to improve how you do business – some tasks might need to be deferred in future phases of your project while using your budget on the features that will bring about maximum efficiency.

Groundswell experts will be present in every project phase, providing real use cases with proven results and recommending the right customizations that will match your requirements.

4. Build & Launch the Implementation in Phases

Working with Salesforce partners like Groundswell facilitates and streamlines the process of defining and developing project methodologies. There are two conventional implementation approaches, sequential and iterative. Groundswell generally uses the iterative process: by breaking the project into mini phases, we build and thoroughly test each feature before going live, minimizing issues during the official launch.

The main part of the build process involves communication and documentation. As a project owner, it is important to define what you need the Salesforce partner to report on and how often you want updates. Prepare a feedback system so that whenever a new phase is launched, everyone knows where and how to confirm if it is in scope or out of scope. With Groundswell, you will always know how time is allocated and have many opportunities to review progress. 

Once the initial build is ready and implemented in a sandbox environment, you can test and ensure all the workflow components are connected. This is where you will see the full potential of Salesforce and how it will be customized to your business. Salesforce won’t work for your business if it isn’t used and adopted properly, so it is vital for your teams to be comfortable with it.

5. Test & Approve Implementation

Consider setting up ongoing support at the beginning, or the end, of the implementation. We recommend planning for it from day one.  You’ll need an expert team, like Groundswell, to take care of enhancement requests, bugs, user problems, and new project requirements as they arise. 

Also, invest in training – it will cut down on the ramp-up time it takes for your team to understand the new tool and workflows. Be sure to send multiple reminders as the date approaches when specific sessions are confirmed with the Salesforce partner. These usually are online sessions and should be recorded. We forming internal groups according to the level of access to the system: 

  • Admins: project managers and team leads
  • Super Users: IT teams and select persons that will do user training internally
  • Users: internal employees, vendors, and partners

Admins should be persons that will also filter and manage issue requests with their designated Salesforce partner or internal IT teams to handle. 

Once all the backend processes are complete and approved, the official date and time can be set to Go Live. As per your deployment window, make sure you provide ample weekly updates and reminders – especially if there may be a significant impact on users, vendors, and/or partners.

Our professional and trustworthy team, with over 200 certifications, ensures that all clients get what they expect. Your implementation journey is vital to move your company forward and allow for marketplace scalability. We prize helping improve efficiency so that you can gain more profits. Contact us today to find out how we can be partners for a successful Salesforce implementation:

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