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5 Common Salesforce Implementation Mistakes

1. Thinking you can do it alone

Salesforce is often sold as an easy to implement, get started out-of-the-box CRM, and for some companies it may be. However, implementing Salesforce with the precision, speed and thoughtfulness needed to make it a productivity enhancing business tool often comes with experience – and usually a lot of it. The last thing you want it for your investment to go unused or underused because the right questions weren’t asked to the right stakeholders, or assuming the out of the box features or settings would be applicable for your organization.

2. Lack of focus and vision

Implementing any changes in your company without first having a clear vision and specific goals can be a recipe for disaster. You should be asking what you want to get out of Salesforce, and clearly articulate what processes or procedures you’re hoping to improve. What do you want to get out of Salesforce? How can it fit in with and help to improve your specific business goals? Don’t rush the initial planning stages as this is where the foundation is laid for a successful implementation.

The better your vision for Salesforce the more likely you’ll have success with the implementation, customizations and user adoption.

3. Lack of Data Clean Up and Migration

While it’s important to move your data to Salesforce as quickly as possible, you do need to be sure you’ve selected the right information, be sure to do a little clean up of the data. While it may be instinctive to cling to old documents, now is the time to transfer only useful and up to date data. Salesforce apps can help you store, manage, and analyze huge amounts of customer data that can be used in a variety of different ways. But if you have data that’s “dirty”–incomplete or inaccurate–it’s of no use to anyone. Dirty data can include anything from blank fields to outdated information to typos and spelling errors. Fortunately, Salesforce’s data cleansing tools can help get your information back on track.

And don’t forget to do a test migration in order to prepare yourself and your team for any possible challenges that could arise during migration.

4. Thinking you won’t need customizations

Salesforce is a robust CRM application, don’t get me wrong.  However as we all know, no two businesses are the same. If you go into your implementation project thinking you won’t need customizations, you’ll probably have a pretty rude awakening.

While the out-of-the-box features and setting of Salesforce do cover a wide array of business scenarios, often developed with best practices in mind, they may not match up exactly with the way your business currently operates. If customizations weren’t part of your plan you’ll either have to conform your business’ processes to match Salesforce, probably not something you want to do, or make the leap into the work of integrations and customizations. If you opt to start tweaking Salesforce it’s probably fair to assume that the new time and costs were not included in the original scope of the project.

Better to save the time, energy and money and set realistic expectations from the beginning. Mapping out your processes and prioritizing customizations will only help alleviate future headaches.

5. Lack of Training

One of the most important elements of successful implementation is training. Sadly, it’s also the most overlooked. Salesforce provides one of the best CRM tools available. But the solutions it provides are of no help to someone who doesn’t know how to use them. When implementing Salesforce, make sure your employees are familiar with Salesforce’s features, connected 3rd party applications and how everything relates to their particular day-to-day tasks.

As with all company, you will experience employee turnover.  Use this opportunity to keep up with training by ensuring that all new people using the system are familiar with it from the start, also a nice way to offer refresher training to existing employees.

Sofia Wiseman