Salesforce has undoubtedly been one of the major tech success stories of the past decade. As organisations seek to better understand their customers, to communicate with them more effectively, to learn their needs, likes and preferences, they have turned to Salesforce in droves.
This is because Salesforce helps track customers and prospects at all stages of their relationship with a brand, providing a ‘360-degree view’ of every single one of them. Salesforce has further evolved its offering so that it and its partners now offer a range of additional integrated point solutions, for everything from workforce coordination through talent acquisition. This has meant that Salesforce is now one of the hottest technology firms on the planet, and also that many firms have come to truly depend on it.
But in turn, this has led to Salesforce being viewed as a panacea, something to not only help understand customers better, but to streamline and improve any number of other business processes. Senior executives think that by investing in Salesforce, business issues can be rapidly addressed. While this does occur, what we are also seeing is a number of companies spending out on Salesforce, but then not being able to manage it effectively.
For some companies, Salesforce has become something of a white elephant – expensive but not delivering the desired value. Here’s how to rejuvenate a flagging Salesforce roll-out.
Do Not Ignore Legacy System Integration
Salesforce is a technology that can be rolled-out within an afternoon. Perhaps this is actually too quick and easy though, as it can mean that many companies do not properly factor in the preparation needed to integrate with legacy systems.
Integration is arguably the most important element of any Salesforce roll-out. As powerful a tool as Salesforce can be, it does not work in isolation and it has to integrate with a variety of legacy systems and use data from a number of different sources.
Every channel requires a different set of technical skills, and running on unintegrated platforms means customer information will exist in many different systems. If this is happening in an organisation, the business must indicate which systems are most important so that integration is managed accordingly. Salesforce and its partners offer a range of connectors and programming interfaces that should meet most integration needs, but it is a cost and resource requirement that should never be ignored.
Be Clear About Deployment
What’s also important is identifying just what Salesforce was intended to achieve in an organisation. Research has shown that more than three-quarters of business executives think their company could be doing more with its Salesforce investment, a significantly high figure brought about in no small part by a lack of initial scoping.
But this can still be streamlined after the point of purchase. A plan to move deployment forward is essential, and this should comprise a methodology that reduces risk, accelerates deployments, and aligns stakeholders all across the business.
Be Aware Of Flawed Processes
Another common problem when organisations are not getting the desired return on their Salesforce is the replication of flawed processes, and the migration of complex data and reporting structures into the new working environment. Just because processes have been used before, it does not mean that they should be used again with Salesforce, and doing so can make a big difference to the value accrued from Salesforce.
This is not straightforward of course and can be costly too, with any measures required to address failing implementations coming above and beyond the license costs. Add-on costs brought about by the use of Salesforce consultants can be constrained by a combination of effective program management and attention to detail, mapping out as-is and to-be processes, business data structures and unified reporting requirements, before embarking on intensive implementation.
There is a reason that Salesforce has become such a powerful technology firm. Its core proposition is strong and managed properly it can offer enormous value to a brand in many different areas of the business. But all too frequently, the initial investment is not followed-up on, and Salesforce is used to barely half its potential. Address this and Salesforce can be a business’ greatest asset – let it drift even further and Salesforce becomes an expensive investment that leaves people wondering what the fuss is about.