Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can be effective tools for most businesses when implemented correctly. The most well-known CRM solution is Salesforce, a cloud-based system. Unlike some tools you cannot just purchase Salesforce for your business and expect to integrate it seamlessly without planning ahead. This article will walk you through some of the key areas you need to address in a Salesforce implementation plan.
What Salesforce Can Be Used For
The first thing you must do before planning any integration with your business is understand what Salesforce offers. Just because there is a feature available doesn’t mean that it fits well with your business.
First and foremost Salesforce has a great user interface that begins with Sales Cloud. This allows a sales team to focus on managing contacts, leads, prospects and opportunities. In sales, we refer to this as "pipeline management", a classic CRM requirement of most sales organizations.
Another product from Salesforce is Chatter, which is a Facebook-like collaboration system. This allows employees, customers and partners to interface with one another in a social networking environment.
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Determining a Salesforce Implementation Plan
The main people who will be affected by any CRM system are your sales staff. It is critical to get them involved early on in the planning process to determine their needs. The goal of any CRM system should be to make the sales team more efficient, more productive and therefore generate more sales. All too often, an IT department will roll out a solution to its users without taking their needs into consideration. This results in lack of adoption by the users, not to mention a waste of precious time and money. Remember that your users are the most important element in a successful implementation.
Figuring out What's Right for Your Team
You will want to make sure you're giving your users the right tools to tackle the job, and by this I mean making sure you picked the right Salesforce product. One of the initial products you are most likely going to consider is Sales Cloud.
Coming From Another CRM Platform
If your business is migrating from another CRM platform, make sure that all your CRM data is exported from your legacy system and then seamlessly imported into Salesforce. This will require that you take time to map the data fields between the two systems in advance.
Salesforce is a very immersive system that can sync many aspects of information together from employees, prospects, customers and partners. However, realize that implementing Saleforce will require a cultural shift in your organization and will take careful planning to be successful. It may be best to roll out different features in phases. This will give everyone time to adapt to each new feature and provide feedback before other features are implemented. As long as you discuss your implementation ideas openly with the affected users, you stand a better chance of successfully integrating Saleforce into your business.