Maximising value from your Salesforce investment

/ Author: John Smith
Ian Goodwin, Managing Director

Recently I was speaking with a client who asked, “How do we ensure we get maximum value from a Salesforce solution?” She went on to say, “Many of the people I talk to who have implemented Salesforce are frustrated that, in spite of the platform’s great features, they are not getting the benefits they expect. How do we ensure we’re not one of these?”

These questions led me to reflect on a career spanning over two decades where I have worked on countless technology programs and projects across a range industries and led the delivery of CRM solutions into a range of organisations. You name it and I’ve seen it – the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve seen fantastic CRM technology well implemented yet not achieve any of the expected business outcomes.  

So what is the sweet spot in delivering a vibrant, viable and effective Salesforce CRM solution? What do organisations considering a CRM solution need to focus on to ensure objectives are met, desired outcomes are produced and expected value is delivered? Fundamentally, it’s about delivering an effective capability. And in my book, effective capability delivery is achieved through the synthesis of 3 elements – alignment, execution and managing change.  

The first element, alignment, reflects the criticality of ensuring the envisaged solution is positioned to achieve the results the organisation expects. It’s about clarifying objectives, outcomes and value expectations. To help establish this, ask “what does the solution need to do?”, “what does the organisation expect to get?” and “how will it be measured?”.

The second element, execution, is about ensuring not only that that the work defined in the project plan is completed, but that there is a coordinated focus on the People, Process and Technology dimensions that combine to deliver the CRM capability. At the end of the day, Salesforce, for all its brilliance, is a tool, so unless the other non-technology pieces of the puzzle are comprehensively addressed, the expected results of a CRM initiative will typically fail to be realised.

The third critical element is managing change to ensure effective user adoption of the CRM solution. This is about bringing users on the CRM journey and transitioning to a better way of operating by providing adequate levels of training and support to ensure the new CRM technology and related processes are adopted and that the change ‘sticks’.

Put these 3 elements together and you will have a viable and effective Salesforce CRM capability that hits the sweet spot and delivers expected business outcomes and benefits.
Obviously synthesising these elements is easier said than done, however with the right Salesforce delivery partner, you can start your journey with confidence.

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