Salesforce: Limitless Potentials or Expensive Headaches? Make the Most of your Implementation to Avoid Pitfalls.
As customer relationship management (CRM) tools go, Salesforce is the Cadillac of systems. It empowers organizations with the ability to retrieve vast and deep pools of customer information. Users can easily view and act on individual accounts, contacts, tasks, opportunities, leads, and events. With detailed customer data and robust planning and collaboration tools, you instantly gain efficiency and productivity. So, why do so many organizations often experience an enthusiastic Salesforce start only to be disappointed after several months of use?
Here are four reasons that lead to Salesforce fatigue or outright disillusion – along with how to avoid them.
Lack of Vision, Planning & Communication
If you purchase Salesforce only because every other successful business is using it, and roll it out to your Sales teams, you’re not going to get much value. Before you jump in, ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. A successful Salesforce implementation requires a clear vision and definition of goals, careful planning, and road mapping, and a well thought out communication plan to your teams. Only then, will the execution work. In fact, insufficient and incorrect communication is the number-one reason we see Salesforce implementations fail. Without a well-defined vision, it would be impossible to carve out a roadmap and without a roadmap, you’re pretty much guaranteed to fail in your Salesforce journey.
Often, we see customers, especially those in the nonprofit world, dive head-first into configuring their Salesforce instance after reading a few blogs or tutorials. While this may work in the short-term, and with smaller teams, it’s ultimately not scalable. As your business and team grows, Salesforce will morph into its own bottleneck. While the platform itself is built to serve businesses at scale (almost all Fortune 100 companies use Salesforce), it takes an experienced admin or solution architect to avoid common pitfalls. To avoid this problem, either invest in the necessary training for your in-house resource, or work with a qualified architect who understands how to configure your instance, considering how your needs will change over time as your organization grows.
One of the biggest strengths of Salesforce is the ease with which it allows you to define new objects and fields to hold your data. A few clicks makes it available to everyone on your team. However, in the wrong hands, this can be disastrous. We have seen inexperienced admins go trigger-happy adding new fields and objects, with very little thought. This results in hitting all kinds of platform limits, frustratingly long data input forms, bad and insufficient reporting, and poor user adoption and satisfaction. In worst case scenarios, it can prevent your business from scaling altogether. As I’ve mentioned previously, clear planning and knowledgeable admins will prevent the creation of improper schema and associated problems.
Salesforce prides itself on being the market leader in Sales Automation, 14 years in a row. It offers multiple choices when it comes to automating data enrichment and processes, each with its own pros and cons. However, being a multi-tenant platform, Salesforce enforces strict governor limits regarding utilization of resources in each transaction. Consequently, poorly designed automations can hit these governor limits once your data and/or processes reach a certain scale. In worst-case scenarios, this can happen without warning and could bring your business to a standstill.
In fact, automations hitting governor limits is the single biggest problem that growing organizations struggle with, in Vertex’s experience. Fixing the problem after it happens costs more and takes longer than setting it up correctly in the first place. In some cases, backward engineering never fully alleviates the risks and issues. Identifying the right automations and designing them the right way, technically and architecturally, right from the beginning, is the cornerstone to Salesforce success.
With the right planning, properly trained users, and an understanding of how data will be used and configured, Salesforce can transform your organization. Vertex is a trusted Salesforce solutions provider to manufacturers, suppliers, nonprofits and other industries. If you would like to discuss how a Salesforce CRM system can propel your organization to new heights, give me a call.