You might be able to afford it, you might have determined that you can't afford not to have it. But before you decide to take the plunge we recommend you look inward and assess whether or not your company is ready for it.
During your Salesforce readiness assessment we suggest you ask yourself the following 5 questions:
1. Do you have company buy in?
When not everyone is on-board with the idea of bringing Salesforce in-house, it can cause a lot of issues with user adoption. Before you go ahead with the decision, discuss it with your organization or at least with key stake holders. Help them to understand how it will help the organization and them personally with their jobs. One of the things that people often fear most when everything starts to be tracked, is that Salesforce will start to be like "Big Brother". Put these concerns to rest early on. Get your teams excited about how using Salesforce will make their lives easier and be more productive. It also couldn't hurt to have a change management plan in place. Don't hesitate to track user adoption and add incentives to ensure acceptance. Sometimes it just takes a little persuasion. Pretty soon they will wonder how they ever did their work without it.
2. Are you able to articulate your business process and needs?
Whether you plan to configure Salesforce yourself or bring in some external help, it goes a long way to ensure the success of your implementation if you are able to clearly articulate what your business needs are and how it works. You don't necessarily need to know how that translates into Salesforce. Your Salesforce Admin or Consultant will help you with that. But the better you are at articulating your needs the better they can help give you the functionality in Salesforce to accomplish your Goals.
3. Do you know the business rules for the items you're measuring?
This is somewhat of a subset of #2 but it bears mentioning as it's own point. Being able to report on all the data you collect in Salesforce is a huge bonus. People don't respect what you don't inspect. Reporting on your data is the best way to ensure accuracy of data entered. Working in Business Intelligence for almost 10 years has shown me that every one measures things differently. Determine what you want to measure and agree upon the business rules for that measurement. This gets everyone on the same page and prevents skepticism on the accuracy of the numbers.
4. Do you have the resources to manage the implementation and roll-out?
While Salesforce is pretty good right out-of-the-box, it's likely not going to work in the most optimal way based on your unique business needs. As such, you will need to ensure that you have the necessary resources to configure Salesforce.
You will need either in-house staff or a consultant to get Salesforce customized just the way you want it. Problem is, if you're a small company, you likely don't need a full-time resource for this. It wouldn't hurt to assign someone to learn how to do basic admin tasks, but you will benefit from hiring a team to handle the initial implementation in a fast and efficient manner. The sooner it is implemented, the sooner you are able to leverage Salesforce and reap its many benefits.
Also ensure that you have the time to work with your staff and/or your consultant to work out the details of your implementation. You need to set assign time for your staff to get trained. And then there is the on-going change management and inevitable learning curve, since using Salesforce means a new way of doing things. The Good news is, the latter is often short-lived, as Salesforce rapidly improves productivity once your staff is up-to-speed.
5. Is your data clean?
Accuracy and cleanliness of data is listed last for emphasis because it is arguably the most important of all the things you need to ensure for Salesforce to be successful. You will want to review and prepare your data for migration from your existing system into Salesforce. Remove bad data, clean-up formatting, strip out duplicate records, remove old useless data (not everything from your old world needs to be brought over into Salesforce). A lot of this can be done after the migration, but make sure to do it before the system is rolled out. Also develop your own methods to ensure data accuracy when entering new records into Salesforce. If your data isn't kept clean, Salesforce will become useless. This isn't a one time thing. You should implement "spring cleaning" at least twice a year, to keep things tidy.
Think you're ready? Give us a Call and see how we can help you get Salesforce implemented fast and to your exact specifications.
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