Salesforce Implementation Guide in 15 Steps

This Salesforce implementation guide helps you understand the process that goes into our work as a certified Salesforce partner. After seeing all the press for Salesforce, are you ready to see how it transforms your business? 

The difficult question is where to begin. Throughout this guide, we walk you through how to implement Salesforce effectively. The goal is to lay out a seamless project plan that sets you up for success. From beginning to end, we know what it takes to map out a successful Salesforce project. 

Before You Start

Before you start your Salesforce implementation project, it’s important to find an experienced consultant to partner with. 

Your first thought might be, “Why do I need a consultant? We can handle implementation.” Perhaps that’s true. However, without internal expertise and skills, these projects become costly and time-consuming. 

Moreover, it leaves you without professional Salesforce support if something goes wrong. In turn, that leads to faulty implementation and a poor ROI. Is that worth the risk?

When you need a reliable partner, our certified Salesforce consultants provide verifiable expertise and experience. No matter how extensive your project is, we have the team to handle it. Our team consists of diversely qualified professionals ready to help you identify and tackle challenges. 

Book a call to see how we can help you implement your CRM platform. 

Step One: Project Timeline

When you want to establish a project timeline, it’s important to consider your dependencies. What other initiatives are ongoing? Ensure no other major projects overlap with the plan you develop from this Salesforce implementation guide. 

Make note of when key members of your team are available. Moreover, think through an optimal timeline that minimizes business disruptions. 

Once you have a set timeline, map out milestones. These include mapping business processes, alpha testing, beta testing, pilot, and launch. When you work with a consultant, we help you determine the deliverable upfront to keep things moving smoothly. 

Step Two: Establish Metrics

There are numerous ways to define goals for an implementation project. As an example for this Salesforce implementation guide, perhaps your goal is to reduce issue resolution for customers by 30%. 

Alternatively, maybe your goal is to elevate the dollar amount of your deals. Perhaps you want to make your lead flow 20% more efficient. 

When you define your goals as well as metrics, you establish a tangible measurement for the success of your project. 

Step Three: Communication Channels

With a certified Salesforce consultant, you have someone to oversee your implementation, identify and address concerns, and maintain your timeline. Even with a Salesforce implementation guide and consultant, this is a team effort. 

Moreover, it requires clear communication between your internal team and your constituents. Additionally, it’s important to establish clear communication within your team. Ask yourself the following questions. 

  • How do we document changes based on testing feedback?
  • Do we have an efficient schedule that recognizes what tasks take longer? 
  • How do we identify hurdles and address them?

When you focus on questions like this, you establish stronger communication. In turn, you have a more efficient and effective team. 

Step Four: The Implementation Team

This is a vital step in the Salesforce implementation guide. A certified Salesforce consultant is an essential member when you elect to partner up. However, there are other key members to identify. 

Each member plays an important role in your implementation project. 

Executive Sponsor

Your executive sponsor is the champion of your team. Their focus is on the success of the project. Your sponsor advocates to the stakeholders, ensures alignment with the direction, chairs the steering committee, and motivates your team. Oftentimes, they are a senior executive. 

Project Owner

Typically, this person is the team leader. They define the scope of the project and see it through to completion. Occasionally, they are the head of the unit, division, or team receiving the implementation of Salesforce. 

Project Manager

Your project manager’s role varies with the scale of the project. In this role, they hold people accountable and keep the project on track. When you partner with a Salesforce consultant, the project manager is the main point of contact between us and your organization. They provide us with key insight into your organization. 

System Administrator

This team member manages the day-to-day operation of the system and develops new functionality. This person comes from any department so long as they have an in-depth understanding of the business processes. Ideally, they are familiar with the organizational structure of your business and are excellent communicators. 

Power User

Your power user tests your implementation and provides feedback. They ensure the system meets the expectations of both management and end-users. Additionally, this role requires a tech-savvy person able to identify challenges. 

Step Five: Constituents

Throughout this Salesforce implementation guide, we reiterate this. The success of your project depends on your end-users. As a CRM platform, Salesforce is a powerful tool. It has the potential to change your business at every level. 

However, that requires people to use it. Managing change goes a long way to ensure user adoption. That’s why it’s essential to build a tool your teams want to use. 

At the core of any implementation project, you have to determine who it’s for. 

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Project Managers
  • Operations 
  • Finance
  • Customer Service
  • Developers

Step Six: Define Roles

Once you determine your team members and constituents, the next step is to determine who uses Salesforce. Oftentimes, this depends on the size of your business and how segmented your departments are. 

This exercise helps you understand which implementation tactics meet the needs of your end-users. 

Step Seven: Process Requirements

After you define roles, interview a subset of your team to gain a better understanding of the current pain points. These interviews provide insight into what these teams want from Salesforce. A major point of this Salesforce implementation guide is to ensure you identify and address the right challenges. 

When you understand the challenges, it helps you identify features and functionality that improve efficiency. Conduct these interviews at every level of the business. Gather insight from management and stakeholders and end-users alike.

For instance, say you interview your sales team and learn they struggle with lead qualification. Their problem is a lack of insight into each potential customer. As a result, they put too much effort into low-quality leads. This wastes time and resources. 

After this conversation, there’s an opportunity to identify the challenge and find a solution. With proper data management and access, you have the ability to provide a comprehensive view of your leads. 

Through these interviews, you establish a simple but effective method to identify your focus areas. This goes a long way in ensuring user adoption. 

Step Eight: Select Salesforce Cloud(s)

As you put together your project plan, select the Salesforce modules that best suit your needs. While we don’t dive into them into this Salesforce implementation guide, we have additional posts that cover different modules. 

From Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud to Heroku and CPQ, each module has unique benefits. Moreover, each has its own limitations. That’s why it’s important to understand your needs.

Step Nine: Establish Solutions

Next up is the design phase. After you establish process requirements, map them out to determine conflicts. If you see conflicts that inhibit the success of your project, bring them to the team’s attention. 

In any Salesforce implementation guide, you’ll find that collaboration is key. Together, you determine how to proceed. Once you establish the project parameters, it’s time to identify solutions. 

This step requires the assistance of a Salesforce expert. Additionally, it’s important to bring in your internal IT team to address any policy concerns. 

Step Ten: Permissions and User Access

Your ideal testing team covers multiple departments. Essentially, you want to identify potential end-users at different levels. This prompts collaboration between teams and breaks people out of their silos. 

Because so many people gave access to the system, it’s crucial to define user access and permissions to protect security. 

The security model in the Salesforce platform is complex. When you work with a certified Salesforce consultant, ensure they have an approach to permissions that focuses on constituents. Ideally, they lock down your organization at a common level and open things up as necessary to specific users. 

This ensures everyone has access to the tools or information they need. However, it also protects your organization from faulty data or misaligned changes. 

Step Eleven: Data Model Design

Data models align with features and functionality. Even with this Salesforce implementation guide, it’s difficult for a Salesforce administrator to implement automation with a user-friendly design. 

System architecture requires a balance between standard and custom development. This helps your organization manage data while providing a comprehensive view to users. 

For instance, when you use Salesforce for customer service, your data model should follow Cases. A Leads object may be unnecessary. Luckily, Salesforce allows administrators to build out data models with clicks not code. 

Still, it’s essential to design your data model after an investigation into the various relationship types for data. Moreover, ask yourself whether a data point belongs as a field within an object or a child object related to a parent. 

When you define these paradigms, you ensure your data model grows alongside your organization. A great way to build out a data model is to literally map it out. 

When you work with a Salesforce partner, we happily establish strong data models on your behalf. 

Step Twelve: The Prototype

Users can’t provide feedback when there’s nothing in front of them. The prototype gives your testers something to look at and work through. When you have a Salesforce partner, we build and execute preliminary architecture. 

Once complete, we develop custom objects to manage additional data. This includes deliverables, invoices, etc. With test data in these fields, we invite constituents to help refine these requirements. 

An essential aspect of this step is ensuring that you pay careful attention to any and all feedback. See what makes sense to them and what doesn’t. 

With a prototype, you limit the amount of downtime between engaging your constituents and gathering requirements. Moreover, it keeps users engaged and shows progress to stakeholders. 

Everyone sees that time is well-spent. Oftentimes, companies have their own terms for prototypes. Some refer to it as user testing. Others break it down into alpha and beta testing. 

Regardless, it’s important to make consistent adjustments. Add in more functionality over time and tweak what’s there to meet the needs of the users. 

Step Thirteen: Define the Level of Customization

As part of this Salesforce implementation guide, it’s important to understand that the unique needs of a company often require custom development. While out-of-the-box configurations address some challenges, others require customization. 

Balance is the key. For instance, perhaps your business requires a custom homepage or dashboard. This is a custom experience that requires wireframes and mockups. With custom development, there’s a process of data-driven design and quality assurance that ensures functionality. 

With out-of-the-box features, they require less labor. However, they require additional maintenance. Salesforce releases updates regularly. At times, these updates resolve common or unique issues without the need for customization. 

Still, enhancements to the platform are essential for an effective implementation process. 

Step Fourteen: Prepare for Launch

Once the team feels confident about the solutions and architecture and your users like the platform, it’s time to prepare for launch. While some projects face budget or time constraints, there are a couple of optional steps to consider. 

Move your prototype configuration into a larger environment. This helps you understand how it processes larger volumes of data. You simulate the configuration in a production environment and identify potential issues. 

Build a launch checklist. This list includes everything you put together as well as any integrations that need to be built in the production environment. 

Step Fifteen: User Adoption Strategy and Change Management

By now, various end-users see the value of the platform. However, others might feel hesitant about change. User adoption and change management are essential for success. 

For instance, when you upgrade an existing Salesforce platform, let users know it will be down briefly. Establish a plan for how to track data during any downtime. 

When deploying Salesforce for the first time, explain to end-users how they benefit from the new system. Additionally, provide training to departments that help them understand the platform. 

Your executive sponsor plays a strong role here. By showing the company-wide benefits and explaining how integral every role is, they bring more people on board with the change. 

The Nuage Group: Certified Salesforce Consultants

Throughout this Salesforce implementation guide, we detailed key aspects of the project plan. However, it may all be too overwhelming. When you don’t know how to start, a Salesforce partner helps you map out your process and guide it from start to launch. 

Our team consists of top developers and leading Salesforce experts. Together, we have the capacity to handle any Salesforce implementation project. 

Are you ready to embark on your Salesforce journey? Book a call with our team today. Let us show you how we unlock the potential of the platform. 

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