Businesses invest in Salesforce’s game-changing software to streamline operations, enhance customer relationships and unlock new growth opportunities.
Yet, they often underestimate the complexities of implementation, leading to inadequate training and poor user adoption. The hurry-up-and-go mentality prevents businesses from leveraging the full potential of the software, stifling growth and limiting the platform’s ability to deliver optimal results.
“Salesforce is a very customizable platform,” says Mike Parrott, Director of Marketing & Operations at KBF CPAs in Oregon. “In a way, it’s similar to a Lego set. They give you the raw materials, and you get to build whatever you want.”
Parrott worked with an integration partner to lead the Salesforce implementation at KBF. He shares some key learnings for adopting the software—and pitfalls he faced along the way—along with tips for hiring and working with a Salesforce consultant.
Budget Extra Time and Resources for Implementation
Parrot says he initially downplayed the Salesforce implementation process. He thought he could achieve business goals using out-of-the box features and tried to quickly launch the software without thinking through the data migration and architecture.
“We made the big mistake of trying to build it out on the fly,” Parrott says. “We bought it and we didn’t know what all it could do. As we started to learn about the capabilities, we realized it would take several more months and thousands of dollars to implement.”
Parrott hired Everpeak Partners to help him understand Salesforce’s full capabilities, manage the architecture and devise a multi-phase plan to implement additional modules—a process he wishes he started from the get-go.
“You have to budget for implementation, both in time and money. If I buy a fighter jet, I better budget to have a pilot,” Parrott says. “Not anybody can just sit in that seat and fly it, and the same goes with Salesforce. You have to hire somebody who actually knows Salesforce, whether it’s an integration partner or an employee—and you need to budget for it.”
Parrott recommends spending a minimum of 50 percent of your time and budget working with a consulting partner to build out the architecture and understand how the software can achieve business goals.
“If I could go back in time, instead of building it on the fly, I’d spend a lot more time upfront having the consultant get to know my business, figure out what I’m trying to accomplish for sales, marketing and operations, and determine who’s going to run the software. Again, you have to budget for all of this both in time and money.”
Find a Power-User to Drive Adoption
Beyond planning for the implementation, businesses need to consider not only how their employees will learn to use the software, but who will lead the charge.
“Any company that uses Salesforce better have their power-user. It could be the consulting firm you hire or an employee, but you need somebody who’s the go-to person that everybody else can come to with questions,” Parrott says. “Otherwise, it’s not going to get adopted and you just wasted all your money.”
Businesses also must ensure they roll out a powerful software like Salesforce in stages, otherwise employees will quickly become overwhelmed.
“You have to start at phase one and show employees the basics,” Parrott says. “Once they’re living in Salesforce and using it every day, you can begin to introduce additional modules.”
Hire a Salesforce Integration Partner
Parrott mistakenly thought he could implement Salesforce on his own using in-house resources. He says everything changed when he hired Everpeak Partners to lead the Salesforce implementation.
An integration partner not only serves as your trusted advisor for the implementation but provides ongoing consultancy as you grow your business and add additional Salesforce modules.
“You want a partner who consults from a commercial standpoint, helps you understand what automations Salesforce brings to the table and can map out development in a series of phases,” Parrott says.
There’s a process for implementing Salesforce, and Parrott says a great consultant brings real-world experience and understands the nuances and roadblocks to make it as seamless as possible.
“It’s important to find somebody that lives in this software and can clearly communicate all the capabilities and how they apply to my business,” Parrott says. “They might have great technical knowledge, but if they’re unable to effectively communicate and live with you every day as you build this out, it’s not going to work.”
Beyond ensuring excellent communication skills, Parrott says business should seek recommendations and check online reviews, and also ensure the consultant employs enough architects and engineers to manage the project.
Stick with Your Integration Partner
Once a business finds a Salesforce integration partner they like, Parrott recommends sticking with them for the long-haul. He compares switching consultants to changing a doctor or lawyer, as it’s difficult to provide the best care or representation when starting from scratch.
A long-term partnership allows the Salesforce consultant to get to know your business, so they can construct the Salesforce development to align with your business needs and goals.
“The minute all of the tribal knowledge is no longer part of the package, you lose,” Parrott says. “Whether you work with an integration partner like Everpeak or hire a Salesforce developer, make sure to spend enough time to find the right person and then stick with them. It will save so much time and budget on the backend.”
Everpeak Partners was founded in 2017 and has helped more than 200 companies implement and optimize Salesforce, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud. Contact us today for a free 3-hour discovery session to see how we can help accelerate your business.