Have you implemented Salesforce and what's next? (Checklist)

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Implementing the Salesforce platform into your business is really the beginning of the adventure with the new system and the questions that need to be answered to fully improve your business. How to use the potential of this platform? What will be the greatest benefit given the type and structure of business operations? Such an implementation is never a simple and quick process. Therefore, it must be carefully thought out and geared towards simplifying and automating the work of our company as much as possible.

It is usually the case that if something benefits us in the short term, it is likely to be detrimental in the long term. Conversely, if something costs us effort and sacrifice in the short term, we are likely to benefit from it in the long term. Guided by this principle, I have prepared a short guide to maximize the post-implementation phase of your work with Salesforce. 

The following list is intended to walk you through the questions you should ask yourself in the early stages of working with Salesforce in an orderly fashion. 

Base CRM requirements:

  1. The first category is about sales automation:
    a. How does the current solution improve sales efficiency in your organization?
    b. Does the current implementation provide automation at an adequate level (reduces the need for manual completion of obvious data)?
    c. Does the system provide - have adequate mechanisms to prevent the creation of faulty data?
    d. At what level is the automation of the sales process? Are there areas for improvement?
  1. Another part is customer acquisition management :
    a. Does the current solution allow for automated handling of potential customers?
    b. How is the evaluation of the company's potential customers conducted? Is there an opportunity to automate or improve the current solution?
    c. What areas are covered by the functionality responsible for obtaining the necessary data from potential customers? Is it possible to expand this part so that the data is even more accurate?
  1. The third, equally important component of the organization is after-sales service:
    a. Does the current solution provide a comprehensive platform for agents so that they can fully handle service requests?
    b. How are requests prioritized, and does the system provide full automation in terms of communication and contact with the customer?
    c. Do you see areas where there is an opportunity to reduce the time required to handle a single request in the system?

Essential CRM functionalities:

  1. A very important CRM functionality is automation:
    a. The primary question that arises is whether the current system has automation?
    b. Do automated processes support the entire customer path, from customer acquisition to completion of post-sales service?
    c. Does the current solution provide flexibility and expandability?
    d. What areas can still be automated? 
  1. Undoubtedly, integrations are a key component of almost any system:
    a. How many integrations are present in the system?
    b. To what extent is the current structure dependent on external systems?
    c. Is the implementation open enough to allow modification or addition of new integrations?
  1. Other areas worth mentioning are the appearance and practicality of the system:
    a. Are the appearance and layout of the various elements of the system appropriate for the user?
    b. Is the user able to customize the visual elements?
    c. How much difference is there between the standard view and the mobile view?
  1. The last part of the system in this category is the "360 degree" relationship mechanism :
    a. The key question is, does the current structure allow you to easily connect all the necessary data, giving you the ability to minimize the time it takes to find the right information in the system?
    b. How complex is the process of creating relationships between different areas of the system?

The technical aspect of Salesforce:

  1. Implementation is the first element to look at:
    a. Does the state of the implementation enable scalability of our solutions?
    b. Has the code been implemented according to standards and good practices?
    c. Are current resources stored in a repository with the right structure?
  1. System versioning is an important element to establish at the very beginning of the Salesforce adventure:
    a. Is there a system for controlling system versions at this stage?
    b. To what extent are further implementations and subsequent versions of the system planned?
  1. Data security should be an important point to verify in the start-up stage of the system:
    a. Does the implementation meet all data security criteria?
    b. How have edge scenarios been secured from which a user could obtain information not available to him or her?

In addition to the list of questions to ask yourself, on the post-implementation horizon, a key element is to establish KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). This process should be done early on, before the start of operations. Determining the goals and how this will be verified is very important. In hindsight, KPIs provide essential information about what results the company is achieving and what, if any, needs to be improved. Salesforce is designed to streamline work and ease the burden on those using it. Therefore, a measure of whether our organization is moving in the right direction is essential. For more on KPIs, see the article What KPIs can you track with Salesforce?

The end of the implementation stage is when we become responsible for the transferred system. It is very important to hire a person or persons who will be able to handle our demand against a back-office background. Like any CRM platform, Salesforce requires proper management. It is necessary to manage access to the platform, configure views, or navigate the declarative tools that the administrator should be able to handle. 

Verification and development of functionality seems an obvious element that should occur immediately after the implementation of Salesforce system. Salesforce provides a very large array of tools that can increase work efficiency. At the stage of using the current functionality, there are always ideas on how to improve the current state or build something new. This element has been inherent throughout the entire time since Salesforce was implemented into our organization. 

Another important element is training. The KAIZEN approach is based on the motto: "Example comes from above, strength works from below." The aforementioned phrase suggests that as the person responsible for the implementation process, we should be a specialist, so to speak, and thus set an example of how to effectively use the implemented solution. The second part says that the results of the implementation will actually depend on how well we are able to impart knowledge and guidance on how to properly use the implemented system. This sounds trivial, but it is a very often overlooked issue that works both ways, because it is the people using the system who know the business processes best. Their knowledge is essential to achieving the perfect balance between what the process looks like in the system and how it realistically runs. 

The last issue worth mentioning is documentation. This is a very often downplayed topic. The post-implementation stage is the ideal time to take care of the proper structure of documentation and create a mechanism to keep it in proper shape so that it is of value to the company.

Probably most of the listed information may seem obvious, yet it is very often overlooked, which carries a smaller or larger cost - most often in the form of technological debt. The above article is a kind of map with tips so that we can improve the operation of the system and avoid unnecessary mistakes. Undoubtedly, conscientious execution of the various steps described in this guide, will allow us to properly develop the organization and avoid the moment when we are left with a system that is a burden or a neutral, unnecessary entity for anyone. A perfect system, in which every aspect is created and run perfectly, probably does not exist. However, this does not mean that the ideal is not worth pursuing.

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Jakub Kątny

Certified Salesforce specialist with Britenet for 3 years. His main tasks include overseeing the technical aspects of projects. He has had the opportunity to work for clients in sectors such as education, sales, finance and non-profit organizations. He has extensive technical knowledge and interpersonal skills, which he successfully applies in his daily work.