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Like many organizations before you’ve made the decision to implement the go-to CRM.  You are eager to dive in and begin taking advantage of the all of the new capabilities. However, as is the case with any system implementation there are good and bad implementations. So how can you set your implementation on the course for success?  We’ve identified 5 crucial areas to focus on: 

  1. Failure to plan is planning to fail.

If you haven’t properly scoped the project and considered the entire instance before you begin customizing you are sure to be doomed.  You will see many of the same themes in the additional items below but before you set sail on your journey your organization must:

  • Consider the data you will rely on
  • Clearly designate implementation roles and responsibilities
  • Clearly designate your post go-live roles and responsibilities
  • Consider and map your key processes
  • Consider where your organization is and where it is heading over the next several years
  • Identify your challenges and risks (i.e., what could go wrong? What could stop successful implementation?)
  • Consider your governance during and after implementation.

This is clearly not a one-size fits all list but should give you a good start on the proper mindset and focusing your vision.

  1. Define the team and the roles.

If you want to see an implementation go sideways quickly failing in this arena is a surefire way.  A few considerations are:

  • Do you have executive sponsorship?
  • Do you have legitimate project management?
  • Do you have parachuting management?
  • Do you have Administration properly assigned?
  • Do you have too many voices? Do you have too few voices?
  • Does everyone know their responsibilities and are they held accountable?
  1. It’s all about the data.

Garbage in, garbage out.  Make sure you aren’t bringing in bad, messy or duplicate data.  This will most certainly undermine the confidence your users have in the system. Spend your time up-front to ensure you have scrubbed your data. Then make sure you have the right governance going forward to make sure it stays clean.

  1. Project management is serious business.

Putting in new systems is always difficult because all involved team members still have their ‘day jobs’.  The only way to make sure the train stays on the track and you don’t experience significant time and scope creep is through diligent project management.  Nobody really appreciates project management until things go badly, but don’t be that organization.  Ownership of the communication, the budget, the urgency, the accountability are just the tip of the iceberg on what your project manager is doing.  Don’t spend the money on expensive licenses only to shortchange the management of your project.

  1. Manage your expectations.

Salesforce is an awesomely powerful tool.  However, if you think dropping a new system in will instantly solve all your ills you probably have unrealistic expectations.  Without good planning, good execution, executive support and buy-in your system will be a byproduct of what you put into it.