So, you are thinking of taking your customer relationship management to the next level and decided to set up the Salesforce CRM platform of your business (and your management’s) dreams, yet feeling overwhelmed with the seemingly endless possibilities Salesforce brings? Setting up Salesforce can be daunting, requiring a full understanding of your business and its goals to prevent revisions on the core CRM itself! But do not worry, we have all been there, but to save you the hassle, here are some actionable steps to start your Salesforce journey off right!
Step 1) Come Up with your Business Case
The first step to creating the CRM system of your dreams is to come up with or revise your business case. Often, companies overlook a small but crucial portion that keeps the company running, an example would be not implementing data analysis causing their sales team to upkeep a lot of manual work to keep organized. Though the team can run fine without these integrations and tools, the issue worsens supply chain issues as the company scales. Businesses can use this opportunity to get a fresh look at their business and how they want to improve it, rebrands, customized dashboards, and customer service integrations often follow suit, as they all come together to provide a better and more personalized user experience.
To build a great fortress we must start off with a rock-solid foundation. Said foundation in this case is getting your core business structure down pact by getting perspectives from multiple teams and parties involved in the business. A way to identify employee departments that would be a great addition to the discussion is analysing how often they use the system, how knowledgeable they are about the company’s infrastructure, and how often they interact with customers. Examples of these are the sales department, IT department, and customer service department. Besides this, the administration team would offer unique insight into how they see the business workflows, as someone who is currently doing those processes either manually or in another alternative way. By this point, you should have identified your internal stakeholders who should be involved in the discussion of the CRM. No matter big or small, before committing to a CRM structure, it is important to get the stakeholders into a discussion room to make sure it reflects what the team needs for daily use while still reflecting the company’s overarching vision.
Before the meeting, make sure to create a list of potential implementations your business would definitely benefit from, to narrow down the Salesforce optional implementations that apply to your business. A great way to do so is to take a look at online resources and what each bundle has to offer! Although skimming through Salesforce’s resources and documentation can be overwhelming, it really does make a difference in setting up the CRM for success at conception.
Visualize the CRM Structure
Setting this meeting to define your unique business goals helps not only set your Salesforce CRM on the right path to success but also gives you an opportunity to revisit and formalize the current state of the business and its business goals!
To make sure everyone in your team is on the same page, here is a list of ballpark tasks to accomplish during the meeting:
- Evaluate long-term business goals (ideally 3 – 5 years)
- Establish business goals
- Get perspectives of top pain points staff encounter that can be fixed by CRM
- Revise your unique selling point and what CRM features help enhance that
- Understand your business’ unique workflow
- Map critical roles and data
- Define Key Metrics
- Explore and compare available modules and functions
With these key points discussed, you would easily be able to determine which features to emphasize, have a better understanding of core pillars that keep the workflow smooth, and what CRM features to look into to expedite those processes. During this meeting, try to outline and visualize workflows and procedures instead of using verbal words, to ensure everyone is on the same page. Also, remember to take the discussion beyond the 1-to-2-hour meeting by creating a shareable framework and discussion channel with a proper timeframe for anyone to contribute online. This way, the team, and shareholders can constantly review and update the framework requirements when something springs to mind.
Build upon that initial visualization
With your sales processes outlined, it is time to structure the CRM. By now you should have a list of requirements the CRM is expected to do, now it is time to prioritise! it is almost impossible to be able to satisfy all requirements extensively, and because of this you should be adding either high, medium, or low priority labels, representing “must have”, “should have” and “nice to have” respectively. This not only helps you revise and vet the items in the pre-existing requirements list, but it also helps you narrow down what actual core non-negotiables. Pro Tip: A great way to keep track of all your requirements would be either a database or an Excel spreadsheet, to enable filtering by priority!
Time for the final step of preliminary work before we build! With the core metrics of your implementation in mind now it is time to get a reasonable timeline and implementation plan. there is no one-size-fits-all for either of these, this would vary wildly depending on the size of the business and the complexity of the marketing and sales processes that are being created. To get an accurate benchmark, it is best to talk to a Salesforce professional. And that is it! Now you have all the things you need to bring to your Salesforce CRM provider and allow them to begin setting it up!
All in all, preliminary work for the CRM should not be overlooked, it not only prevents the reiteration of the whole setup process, which is resource intensive, but also serves as a great base to gain a better objective understanding of your business from a system perspective. But we know that starting with a blank slate can be overwhelming, if you are not sure where to start, talking to a Salesforce representative could start you off on the right track!
Step 2) Integrating & Customizing
Here is the final stretch! By this point, your Salesforce CRM should be freshly set up using your requirements and implementation plan as a base, and it is time to migrate your pre-existing data into Salesforce!
The method to transfer the bulk of the data can be done in multiple ways depending on your previous CRM, manual or otherwise.
What is important to keep in mind while transferring data are:
- Data quality should not suffer during the transfer
- Data accuracy must be maintained without risk of data loss
- Data mapping in Salesforce should be already setup and ready for the migration
Following these 3 concepts, your data should be fully implemented with the rollup being accurate to the previous CRM’s data. Now, you would assume the system is fully set up and you can finally start off using the wonderful tools Salesforce offers.
Well, that is partially true, while using it in day-to-day activities, make sure to keep a mental note on the flow of the processes. Test-driving your new custom Salesforce CRM is the best way to give your Salesforce CRM provider feedback on what to change and be improved.
Again, with the preliminary work done, the system should not have any unforeseen big changes, but with that in mind, minor tweaks, while the system is fresh, is always the best way to prevent issues from festering. This is not limited to you or your administrative lead either! Getting more people who will use the finalized system to have a hands-on test of the new system offers up more opportunities to improve on user experience.
Finally, the beauty of Salesforce is its ability to customize and integrate modules as needed. If you ever have a need to extend your Salesforce CRM to, for example, a dedicated Lead Management solution, rest assured it can seamlessly be added without completely starting from scratch again. Whether it be social media plugins, website live support chat widgets, or a customized real-time dashboard, Salesforce has got you covered.
Now that we have reached the end, hopefully, you have gotten an idea of how to create a great starting base CRM that fulfills its duties perfectly while being able to scale depending on your needs in the future. It can be daunting at first but the work you put in, preliminary and post the production of the system will result in great longevity of the system as well as a significant boost in performance for your business. So, with that being said, are you excited to start your Salesforce journey? We would love to be a part of it to set you and your business up for success!