Knowing what to communicate about your Salesforce implementation is as important as knowing how to communicate. Focusing on the “why,” demonstrating the benefits and sharing success metrics will help any implementation achieve your goals.
You’re ready to implement Salesforce. That’s great! You’ve done your research, found the best solution from the extensive Salesforce suite, and have leadership buy-in. Now the only thing to do is flip the switch and watch the magic happen, right? Wrong.
Many organizations fall into the trap of believing a well-thought-out plan is all you need to implement Salesforce. However, while documenting plans is critical to the implementation process, great plans alone do not guarantee great outcomes.
One key factor people often overlook during any implementation, or consider only as an afterthought, is the need for communication and education throughout the process. It’s important to ensure the stakeholders clearly understand why you need a Salesforce and its benefits to both the organization and individuals — as is sharing metrics that show their success.
In this blog, I will cover some best practices in educating your team to help ensure post-implementation success for Salesforce. Along the way, I hope you’ll see that managing your Salesforce implementation will help you manage any big change in your future.
“Successful organizations understand the importance of implementation, not just strategy, and, moreover, recognize the crucial role of their people in this process.” — Jeffrey Pfeffer, American business theorist and the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
Start with the “Why”
Change is inevitable in all aspects of life, including in business. Evolving customer needs, outdated technology or new competition require change for the continued growth of any business.
Unfortunately, as humans, we often fear change because it more than likely brings challenges as we struggle to adapt to new processes and systems. But as a leader, it’s your responsibility to mitigate this apprehension during any change implementation process, whether it’s implementing Salesforce or reimagining your digital strategy.
The best way to alleviate some of the fear is to explain why the change is necessary for your organizational and employee growth. Transparency and communicating the implementation’s goals and outcomes can help you minimize uncertainty.
Understanding the end goal and benefits will also help the team see the positive outcomes while working through the challenges of learning a new process or system. When you explain how Salesforce will help employees every day, from tracking leads to seeing the impact of their work, it can help them appreciate the change’s positive outcomes.
Demonstrate the Benefits of Your Salesforce Implementation
Without question, you did your due diligence to make sure implementing Salesforce will bring positive results to your organization and customers. Your research likely demonstrated an increased efficiency, less operational costs, higher customer satisfaction, and more.
While these metrics are great — and tend to drive leadership buy-in — they don’t necessarily have the same impact on motivating your employees. Even if the measures lead to direct positive outcomes for team members, they do not speak directly to the challenges and issues they might face during and after implementation.
To address this, make sure your metrics and outcomes relate directly to your team’s pain points. If your team says they spend too much time gathering and entering data into a system, show them how Salesforce will reduce manual data entry with automation and logic. If the team says they can’t find the information they need to solve customer problems, show them how it will give them better search functionality or add structure to their knowledge base.
And with any organizational change, make it a priority to get all team members on board and confident that it will help everyone involved, whether or not the team impacts the decision-making process.
Remember, you may execute the greatest plan ever created, but the plan itself does not complete the necessary changes — the people in the organization do. You can bet it will be more beneficial for everyone on the team to motivate and excite them for positive outcomes going forward.
Define and Communicate Success
Salesforce implementations consist of various stages, and many believe the process concludes with go-live to your team. However, although you may have implemented your plan and released it to your users, the post-implementation processes continue.
This stage in the implementation includes measuring the success of the new processes or systems. To accurately measure success, you should define and communicate the metrics and tools to your team before go-live.
For example, suppose your organization uses Salesforce to implement automated processes that allow you to close new customers faster. Leadership should start asking questions similar to:
- How do we define support processes to implement to ensure these new customers are supported?
- What does a successful average time-to-close look like for the organization now that you’ve implemented automation?
- How might these features affect employee goals and performance evaluations?
By defining and communicating how you will measure the success of the implementation, you allow your team members to understand what you require of them. Whether or not they have mastered the new process or system to this point is less important than ensuring the team clearly understands what success looks like post-implementation, from an organizational and individual perspective.
This helps the team understand the expectations and timeframe in which you measure the implementation for success, giving more clarity in their roles and responsibilities while navigating through the changes, small or large.
Big changes, like implementing Salesforce, are inevitable, and organizations and their members should embrace them. While that’s an easy statement to make, it’s often difficult to manage and convey during implementations and organizational changes.
Remember, your Salesforce implementation plan, or any change plan, can be correct in every way, but it’s the motivation and buy-in of the individuals who want to successfully execute and maintain growth post-implementation that drives an organization’s success.
Choosing a Salesforce partner that offers process-defining services, implementation, and change management are key to your success. Many clients choose a Salesforce partner that only implements Salesforce, but the business processes are just as important as the implementation. As you evaluate partners, ask them about these key areas and how they deliver. Make sure they are not using a third party and will maintain a consistent approach to your implementation.
If you would like to read more generally on organization change management (OCM) and our cohesive approach, read these four key OCM considerations before implementing change.