If your organization is considering Salesforce as a customer relationship management platform, you’re not alone. In fact, 90% of Fortune 500 companies are using Salesforce in some capacity. But, while the platform continues to grow in popularity, it is only as effective as the implementation and the design of the processes it is looking to empower.

Research demonstrates that failure rates for CRM implementation projects are high, with estimates varying between 18% and 69%, depending on the research methodology. If you want to maximize the success of your Salesforce implementation and realize the full potential of your technology investment, below are eight key considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Understand your organization’s needs—and define success.

Planning for a successful Salesforce implementation requires foresight and a detailed analysis of your organization’s needs to determine where Salesforce may enable people, process and technology, as well as provide additional support to the organization. It is critical to assess both your current state and your desired future state before determining the suitability and effectiveness of Salesforce. Specific and measurable goals must be defined and documented to enable the trackability of key outcomes achieved throughout the implementation process. Having clarity around the objective of the implementation is vitally important; the documentation of which will serve as the barometer for the entire project.

  1. Identify team members needed to deliver the project.

Aligning internal groups and key stakeholders is the next step to a successful implementation, Salesforce or otherwise. Identify key team members who will facilitate the transformation and support its long-term success. While core engagement and responsibilities, including the associated teams, will likely fluctuate based on the stage of the implementation, the internal team providing support and sponsorship of a successful Salesforce implementation typically includes an executive sponsor, a product owner, subject matter experts and a change management lead. Planning for the resources required for a successful implementation will likely involve a mix of internal and external experts. The right Salesforce implementation partner will not only be able to help map out those resources but will also be capable of providing supplemental resources, should it be deemed necessary, for project execution and success.

  1. Tailor solutions based on unique organizational goals and objectives.

Every organization has distinct and complex objectives, requiring uniquely tailored solutions for success. While industry best practices can guide implementations, it’s crucial to develop a solution that aligns with the specific goals and needs of the business. This process starts by prioritizing the essential objectives and then crafting a roadmap that includes future optimization and increased utilization to achieve the desired end state.

  1. Select the implementation approach that is right for your organization.

There are two primary decisions that should be made when it comes to an implementation approach.

First, determine the implementation methodology that will be utilized during the development process. Common options are either an Agile or a Waterfall approach, and both have pros and cons that should be considered against your organization’s unique situation.

Methodology: Agile vs. Waterfall

Note: There is an ability to have a blended approach between these two models, depending on your organization’s unique needs and circumstances.

In addition to project management, the rollout strategy needs to be considered. Some may prefer a phased approach, where changes are gradually introduced over an extended period of time, while others choose a simultaneous go live.

Release: Phased vs. Big Bang

  1. Establish an implementation timeline.

Establishing an implementation timeline is crucial for a successful Salesforce implementation. The time required can vary significantly based on the organization’s needs. Working with an experienced Salesforce implementation partner who can design and implement solutions across its extensive modules is key to streamlining the process and maximizing value.

An established timeline holds the team accountable and serves as a metric to measure the overall effectiveness of the implementation. This timeline should be aligned with the organization’s objectives to ensure that the implementation stays on track and delivers the desired outcomes.

  1. Prepare for change—from delivery to results.

Through the selected implementation approach, an organization will determine requirements (the “what”), design (the “how”) and then configure, test and deploy the solution. The success of each phase in this sequence depends on the successful execution and outputs of the previous phase. End-to-end delivery through structure- and purpose-alignment often results in a successful implementation.

Incorporating change management principles is crucial at every stage of the implementation process. This involves preparing the organization for the upcoming changes, ensuring that stakeholders understand the reasons behind the implementation, and addressing any resistance to change. By actively managing change, organizations can increase user adoption and achieve better results from their Salesforce implementation.

Adoption and results should be measured against established goals. This supports a seamless transition that meets key objectives, while capturing relevant information that can be used for future initiatives aligned to the long-term roadmap.

  1. Training for a successful Salesforce deployment.

To enable a successful deployment, delivering tailored training to necessary stakeholders to enable their immediate and long-term success with Salesforce is essential. This is one of the most critical aspects of the implementation process, and it sometimes goes overlooked. An ineffective or insufficient approach to training often leads to low adoption rates and limits the overall success of the project. The right partner will support training—from strategy through execution—to empower stakeholders to use and embrace the Salesforce solution being delivered.

  1. Select the right transformation partner.

Selecting the right Salesforce implementation partner is the single most significant aspect of a successful Salesforce implementation. The right qualified partner brings the comprehensive capabilities required to lead and support organizational transformation—from planning through delivery.

A well-rounded implementation partner will provide expertise in designing, configuring, deploying and maintaining Salesforce solutions, and those wholistic solutions will encompass the business’s processes, people and technology. Salesforce offers accreditation for those firms and practitioners who have demonstrated the ability to provide the essential resources, knowledge, methodologies and accelerators to enable a seamless and effective transformation. Take into account what those accreditations, applied to your business, will mean for your implementation and its long-term success.

As a Salesforce Alliance Partner, MorganFranklin Consulting has extensive experience serving clients across industries with net-new implementations, optimizations, system integrations and managed support. To learn more about how MorganFranklin can help your organization leverage Salesforce to transform marketing, sales and service—contact our team today!

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