Start with the right team
Create an internal project team and set expectations for their availability and required commitment. Having a set team for the duration of the project, versus a revolving door of contributors, will pull time out of your Salesforce implementation. Selecting the right people for the team is just important. You want individuals that can make decisions, know the business and can represent the needs of both end users and management. Having executive sponsorship is key for change management, as long as they don’t intimidate other team members from speaking up when gathering requirements. Though you want good functional representation (which can help downstream with adoption), too many cooks in the kitchen can make obtaining consensus challenging and time consuming. It’s a balance!
Do some homework to set the scope
If you decide to use an external consultant or implementation partner, your team will need to work in advance of any kickoff meeting to document any data relationships and business processes that you are targeting to reside in Salesforce.com. Make a first cut prioritizing business requirements (must haves vs. nice to haves). Don’t risk the success of a project by tackling too much at one time. Consider a phased approach to your implementation – get some traction and adoption in place first before adding additional scope. Remember, anything you can prepare in advance to help communicate and transfer knowledge to your consultant or partner will pull time out of your implementation.
It would also be a good idea to have a laundry list of reports ready as this might also dictate some of your data relationships in Salesforce.com. And finally, make sure your consultant or partner knows how you will be measuring success for the project!
Define your business processes in advance
A good Salesforce implementation should support the way your business markets, sells and supports its customers. Too often Salesforce consultants find themselves facilitating business process discussions that should have been hammered out prior to implementing Salesforce (i.e. a Salesforce implementation should not be the vehicle to hash-out a new sales methodology).
Is your team ready? Below is a sample list of questions I would expect to be asked by a consultant during a Salesforce implementation. If you can answer these questions, then I suspect you’ve got a defined set of business processes.
- How do you market to your customers today?
- How do you measure marketing ROI?
- How do you track the level of interest of a prospect?
- How do you sell or move a deal forward?
- What are your main sales activities?
- How do you track a salesperson’s effectiveness?
- How do you prioritize sales activities (who does a salesperson call first, second, etc.)?
- What does your sales pipeline look like today and what are your stages?
- When is a lead or prospect “qualified”?
- Do you sell directly or through partners?
- Does your sales process differ for existing versus new customers?
- How do you recognize revenue and compensate your salespeople?
- Do you set targets, quotas, or goals for salespeople on revenue, what they sell, or both?
- How do you “onboard” a new customer?
- Do you track contracts or service levels today?
- What ongoing support or care do you provide your existing customers?
- How would your customers like to interact with you today (or do you even know)?
- How do you measure service levels for existing accounts?
- Do you track issues with your customers or products today?
- Do you need to extend pieces of your Salesforce.com configuration to an external constituency – such as your customers or sales partners?
- What are the data relationships for your records that will be housed in Salesforce.com (e.g. – What are all the one-to-one and one-to-many relationships)?
- Where does the data reside today?
- Who owns the source data?
- If some of the data will remain in an external system, how will Salesforce.com be updated (does in need to “sync” or integrate with a data warehouse or legacy system)?
- Can everyone see every record or does some data need to be hidden from certain Users?
- Are there any restrictions on who can create, edit or delete a record?
- Will any type of hierarchy need to exist (such as a Sales team or a territory structure)?
- Any restrictions on User’s logging into Salesforce (hours, IP addresses, etc)?