You’ve decided to make the move away from your legacy CRM platform to Salesforce. There are two possible reasons for this change:
- You’re being proactive. The company is growing and it’s an exciting time to be there. You want to find better ways to best equip your Sales team with the right tools to sell as best they can.
- You’re trying to keep up. Your competitors, partners, vendors, and even customers are moving their core business processes to the cloud. You find yourself wanting to take advantage of the flexibility, security, and agility provided by SaaS applications too.
Whatever the case may be, you’ve identified a change that needs to be made in the organization – what’s next? Knowing that change needs to be made is one thing, but getting your solution in place to execute actionable steps is another challenge. Not only do you want to successfully implement a new piece of software for your company, you also want high adoption from your team to truly receive any benefit from it. How do you go about achieving all of this? Follow these 3 simple steps to effectively execute your Salesforce CRM implementation plan internally.
Step 1: Get Buy-In From the Right People
You need to identify the internal stakeholders that can greatly impact whether your project moves forward. To start with, you can’t do this alone – put together a team that believes in this change as much as you. Have them well-versed in Salesforce and the implementation plan so they can help influence others to get on-board.
For the best possible outcome, address internal stakeholder concerns from the get-go, and have solutions ready that will ease their resistance. There are two major stakeholder groups:
Executives: This is the decision-making group; executives get the final say on whether your project will be approved.
The executive group will want to know a number of things before making a big business process change:
- What is the ROI on implementing Salesforce?
- How can we ensure efficient reporting and analytics from Salesforce?
- Who at our company has the experience to be a Salesforce Admin?
Do your homework; there are countless resources available to calculate ROI on a Salesforce implementation. You will also want to get in touch with Salesforce and make contact with someone who can help you with the process. Your contact at Salesforce can also help you find and setup reporting and tracking that best fit your company’s needs.
If you don’t already have one, you will want to look into investing into a Salesforce Admin. You can also send someone from your team to become Salesforce certified. There are great programs available to help prepare aspiring Admins for the big test. You can see what the journey looks like to becoming certified and some great tools to help you get there.
Department Managers: This group includes managers for: Sales, IT, Marketing, Finance, and Operations. Each of these departments will be impacted with a change to the CRM platform and can be either your biggest advocate or biggest adversary.
Department Managers look out for their teams and as such, their biggest concerns will revolve around how their teams’ time is spent.
- Will there be an added workload?
- How long will it take to learn this new tool?
- How can we ensure adoption of Salesforce by team members?
With every new tool comes some amount of a learning curve. You can ease those learning curves by implementing X-Author by Apttus. X-Author allows the user to use the familiar Excel user interface while working in Salesforce. Within X-Author, Apps can be built for any department: Sales can generate forecasts and track, update, and manage opportunities; Marketing can manage campaigns and budgets; IT can migrate and load data with ease; and Finance can create budgets, forecasts, and run complex calculations all in the Excel interface.
Not only does this lessen the workload and minimize the learning curve, X-Author helps ensure adoption of Salesforce by allowing users to work in a familiar user interface.
Step 2: Implementation
Congratulations! You made it to implementation. That means you got sign-off from the key decision makers, have a solid implementation plan to move forward with, and have plans to address the concerns of the key stakeholders.
At this point, the change management team you put together should be well-versed in Salesforce and well-equipped to help fix any glitches. They’ll be your linemen (for lack of better word) and can also help ease the concerns of any individuals that might be feeling wary about the change.
Step 3: Have a Post-Implementation Plan
Don’t get too excited; after a successful implementation, you might think it’s over, but it’s not. It’s time to take post-implementation action. There are a few things you’ll want to make happen:
- Constant improvement: While using Salesforce, you’ll find new issues arise all the time – the best thing to do is adjust Salesforce to make it more efficient and address any new issue that comes up.
- Set up a FAQ section: Give users resources that they can refer to instead of emailing you with every question that pops into their mind.
- Training: Make sure you have regular training sessions setup so users can approach you with questions, comments, and concerns on a regular basis and you can handle those questions at one time instead of answering countless emails.
- Post-install survey: get feedback from the users after they’ve used Salesforce for a while. This will help you gauge where improvements need to be made and where you may need to focus more training on.
If you follow this three step process, I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll handle the internal hurdles that come with executing a change management project.
About Shailla Chand
Shailla is a Marketing Program Manager at Apttus where she manages various marketing campaigns to support the X-Author for Excel tool. She enjoys learning about all things technology, volunteering at local charities, and watching sports.