4 Salesforce Implementation Obstacles

Our Salesforce.com consulting clients vary in how they do business and with this comes implementation successes and obstacles in our many stories.  Though Salesforce.com is a system which can automate many processes, many things have to come together to make it successful in your business.

From our vantage point we have seen some obstacles to implementation that are worth noting as you are seeking to grow your business.  Consider the following:

1. Lack Of Salesforce.com Design

You can build your system field by field and keep throwing requirements together as you go along.  You may end up putting pieces on the board for the puzzle at the expense of truly building a complete picture.

Your Salesforce.com system should have an overarching strategy supported by its design.  The interdependencies of your system will reveal poor design over time.  Furthermore, as you add more complexity, you create more work for your team.  Now there are more fields that need to be filled out for every interaction.  The details should be considered for their merit and the design should reflect an integrated approach with the simplest path possible.  Good design does this.  There is such a thing as overengineering and creating a lack of adoption from a lack of motivation.

2. Loss Of Momentum

Launching Salesforce.com is a rigorous push towards a goal.  There is a lot of hard work to make it work in your organization.  When there are stop and go type of activities, then enthusiasm can wane and requirements can get lost quickly.  Momentum is critical for implementation.  Salesforce.com is as much a people and organizational management issue as it is technology which should bend to your processes.

Avoid momentum loss by being responsive to generating and delivering requirements.  Within the scope of work to make Salesforce.com work, it is important to keep accountability with everyone involved.  Anyone that does not do their part of customization, development, testing, validation and training can bottleneck the entire implementation process.

3. Fear Of Failure

Salesforce.com started a revolution.  Now instead of the old days of having to be perfect in our requirements, we can be flexible and fail quickly.  The reason is that Salesforce.com affords iteration quickly.  It is less about perfect software coding and more about clear business process thinking.  If you are unclear on your thinking, this shows up.  However, that is ok.  You can change things quickly.

It is amazing how many people are still focused on perfection.  It is costly in this age of speed.  It is better to put things into play and get feedback quickly.  You can change them in Salesforce.com to get to perfection after your plans meet reality.

A great way to do this is to launch and watch how users are working in the system within your process.  If they tend to not use features, have a different way of doing things or complain about how things work, then changing Salesforce.com with high responsiveness can bring delight, buy-in and eventual perfection.  Using Salesforce.com is the key issue.  Your users and your customers will help you shape it.  Having a talented implementation team will help you get perfect over time.

4. Complex Not Simple

Salesforce.com solves many problems.  If you presume one solution that is more complex than another, then you have embedded those options into your business.  For example, if you choose a route of custom developing a document merging system rather than using Conga Composer, then your team has to live with the results.  The choice is less than optimal.

Obstacles in a lack of sound advice or knowledge can take you down a pathway which is not only inefficient but cumbersome and a deterrent to adoption.

Simple means there is awareness of options and elegance in the design approach.  Instead of 4 fields, you opt for one that makes sense and gets to the goal.  If there are endless data trails you will never look at then the work over time of your users is for naught if there is not analysis and action behind their efforts.  Think simple.  There is likely a solution already built which integrates that can be easily plugged in or pulled if it doesn’t work.

Push Through The Obstacles

Salesforce success is not an elusive goal.  It is an obstacle which needs to be pushed through with determination, leadership and change management.  If you have weak leadership and management then the obstacles will be daunting.  However, if you are clear on the goal and collaborative then you can push through the various obstacles which inevitably come up when dealing with people, process and systems.

Think about thes 4 key obstacles and commit to leading through the changes in order to make Salesforce.com work in your organization.

What obstacles are you facing?


Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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