Salesforce - Self-Implement or Use a Partner?

  • 13th March 2017

Many companies are using Salesforce to sell more, provide better customer service, market better and even run their entire business!

When evaluating to implement Salesforce, there is another decision to be made – Self-Implement or use a Salesforce, implementation partner?

7 years ago I led Customer Service and Operations for a startup company in the Silicon Valley. We were in the same situation; we made the decision to use Salesforce and right after we needed to make another decision – self-implement or use an implementation partner.

Initially, we decided to Self-implement, as a young company with relatively straight-forward processes, someone with the right skillset (me…) and limited budget – it all made sense.

As you can imagine, the result was a complete failure. Here is why -

  1. 1. Despite the fact, we had that person (yes, me…) with the right skillset I had no experience in implementing a CRM.
  2. 2. We didn’t outline our business processes nor desired system architecture
  3. 3. Many key features were missed (which made us unsatisfied with our investment)
  4. 4. It took us a lot more time than we estimated
  5. 5. Poor user adoption
  6. 6. The day-to-day tasks started to take over and the project never actually reached the finish line

When we realized that the implementation is a failure we decided to bring an implementation partner.

3.5 years later, The Company continued to grow, and we had 75 Salesforce users. We used Salesforce for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Operations. We integrated it with our ERP system and Google Maps, added customer and partner portals (communities) and Salesforce Dashboards was a big part of every management meeting.

Salesforce became the heart of the company.

None of it would happen if we didn’t end up using an implementation partner.

5 things to keep in mind when implementing Salesforce –

1. Cost - It is more expensive to self-implement; Do the math – The time it will take and the distraction from focusing on the business.

2. Time - The Implementation Partner Consultant will act as the project manager; someone else is going to drive while you can enjoy the view (or read emails…)

3. Efficiency – Having a professional do the job dramatically increase the chances to a successful delivery. You could have built that backyard deck yourself but look outside…

4. Adoption – Using a project methodology ensures your team will share their requirements and needs and appropriately trained.

5. Quality – It is not enough to implement business processes in Salesforce, but also share additional capabilities to use Salesforce full potential; Automation like push reports, workflow notifications, Data accuracy and more

5 Things you can do to ensure a successful implementation –

A. Know your business processes – If you have a business processes flow – great, if not – whiteboard (and take a pic). This will help you to cover all

B. Know your challenges – Write down current pain-points and manual tasks so Salesforce can help address it

C. Review Project progress on a weekly basis (at least) – Don’t just wait to see the result, look at what is being built on a weekly basis and provide your feedback.

D. Unknowns - Make sure every SOW you sign will allow you to add unknowns (Revised process or requirement) without any additional cost

E. Crawl, Walk, Run – Implementation should not be more than a few weeks. If there are other significant requirements like integrations for example – wait with it for phase 2.

Disclaimer – WiserSpread is a Proud Salesforce Implementation Partner

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