Where Salesforce Goes to Die

Salesforce: The Best New Features of Summer 2020 Release
July 1, 2020
CRMNinjas and HelloSign Sign Partnership
August 11, 2020

(or how to screw up your CRM implementation)

Many of our customers come to us as a last-ditch effort to make Salesforce work for them. They have invested thousands of dollars in Salesforce and many hours of their resources only to get on the brink of giving up.

Salesforce CRM platform is a valuable tool for companies to embrace new technology, and take on the challenges of digital transformation in the business world. For businesses that are unwilling or unable to take the leap into this ‘brave new world’ of cloud-based enterprise systems, the challenges ahead may be overwhelming and impossible to overcome. Implementing a new CRM is not for the faint of heart. There are many pitfalls, and surprisingly many are centered more around culture and human behavior than just new technology. Here are some of the most important barriers that we find that businesses face when implementing Salesforce as your enterprise CRM.

1. Failure to Embrace Change

Implementing Salesforce’s platform and a suite of tools requires significant changes to your digital sales & service processes. In companies where these processes have been long-established, it can be difficult to achieve buy-in from staff members responsible for the success of the implementation. Leadership buy-in is a must, and mid-level management must be deeply involved in communicating goals, objectives, and expectations of the new platform. Inspiring a degree of personal investment and anticipated benefits from staff is helpful in providing a sense of togetherness and making the journey a company-wide effort.

Remember: Everyone loves the idea of new software that promises to make their lives better; but also, everyone hates change. It’s easy to sell the former, and very hard to overcome the latter. 

2. Lack of Training

Your staff will require the right training to master Salesforce’s tools and capabilities. Finding ways to accommodate each employee’s unique learning style will speed up the training process and will help to drive buy-in and commitment. Offering re-training intervals is also very helpful to support the change process. As with everything else in life, comfort and familiarity come with repetition.

3. Sloppy Implementations

The axiom, “garbage in, garbage out” has long been held as true in the computing field. It is especially true for a platform that promises a 360-degree view of existing & prospective customers. This promise carries with it a strong amount of data discipline, and an implementation that is closely aligned with the organization’s culture, way of working, and also takes advantage of the excellent tools and features that Salesforce offers to ensure overall quality, security, and efficiency.

Too many clicks, too many interweaved tools, confusing page layouts, data overload, and convoluted processes are sure to sour your staff on your Salesforce implementation.

4. The Blame Game

Implementing or migrating to a new platform like Salesforce is not easy. Everyone is expected to participate in fleshing our requirements and help make the transition a success. Not everyone has the time, talent, or even interest to contribute. There will always be a contingent of staff that don’t want to change and may even actively attempt to sabotage the implementation. This is counterproductive at best and can lead to lost productivity and wasted money in the worst-case scenario. These voices then loudly blame the “system” for failing to achieve the company’s objectives. In reality, it’s often the human contingent that is either unable or unwilling to do what’s necessary to create success. Be aware when you start hearing the blame game. It’s a sign of impending doom!

5. Apps Overload

Another factor that can doom your Salesforce implementation is the use of apps meant to enhance Salesforce or add missing features. While there’s a great number of fantastic apps available on the Appexchange, care must be taken to not overwhelm the user community. It is hard enough to expect everyone to learn a new enterprise platform. It’s daunting to layer several other apps on top and expect users to embrace them all simultaneously. Design your implementation to roll-out a “version 1.0” that provides an MVP, or minimally viable product, to get your staff familiar and productive. Over the course of time, slowly layer in other apps as necessary to enhance and improve.

6. Work Outside or Around Salesforce’s Platform

Nothing will doom your implementation faster than allowing your staff to continue to “use the old way” of doing business. Given the choice, many will opt for the tried and true, no matter how annoying or slow it is. it’s the devil they know, and they prefer that to the devil you bring with you. 

This is primarily a leadership and management issue. Great care should be taken to ensure that managers and leaders will only accept sales deals that come through Salesforce. Conversely, service and success leaders should only reward staff based on metrics collected in Salesforce. 

C-level must set these expectations, and then model the proper behavior themselves to ensure compliance. Any weak link in this chain could derail the entire initiative. 

7. Complex Processes

We all get it. there’s SO much you can do with Salesforce, the possibilities seem endless. Automations, approvals, business process, you can really go wild!

Remember that your staff wants K.I.S.S. not overwhelming processes that make their lives a living hell. Don’t automate for the sake of automation. Don’t create 10 layers of approvals when 2 can do. Don’t enforce stringent rules if they bring your processes to a grinding halt. Don’t fill your pages with 55 fields that no one will ever look at when 15 will provide the information they need to take action.


8. Failure to Create One Source of Information

The greatest strength of Salesforce is its ability to provide your company with a “single source of truth” for all your current and prospective customers. By failing to make a one-source data policy a priority for your company, you are missing out on one of the primary benefits of Salesforce. 

Allowing your staff to continue to silo critical sales & service information on their laptops, or in spreadsheets that must be emailed around and endlessly edited will eventually lead to the death of Salesforce. There’s no way around it. Either embrace the new paradigm or die. Just say “no”. 

Don’t let your business become a place where Salesforce goes to die. Avoid these pitfalls and you will be rewarded with a highly successful Salesforce platform that drives innovation and customer intelligence.