4 Salesforce Problems That Always Come Up Post-Implementation

You’ve been convinced. Salesforce can do everything that you need and it seems that you will get a ton of value out of the platform. But you’re still skeptical. When 40% of CRM Implementations fail, how do you keep your Salesforce Org out of the CRM graveyard?

As with any project there will be a lot of variables, but there are some common pitfalls that open up post-implementation for you to consider. Whether these are a result of improper planning or poor management isn’t important. You just need to know what they are before you get started.

In this post, I’ll cover 4 of the most common issues that keep a lot of companies from succeeding with their Salesforce implementation.

1. Salesforce User Adoption – Getting People to Enter Data

When Marc Benioff was getting ready to leave Oracle to start Salesforce he was, at only 26 years old, a Vice President making over 7 figures per year. Basically, Marc was REALLY good at selling Enterprise software. 

Well when it comes to selling enterprise software, who is making the decisions? Management. And as it turns out, sales managers and sales reps have very different needs of a CRM tool. 

With this in mind Salesforce focused on building really powerful reporting features – exactly what sales managers needed. With these tools Managers no longer had to spend time combing through individual reports to make sure they’re on track for the month.

On the other hand, for sales reps, this translated to more and more manual data input.

How new CRM users feel.

Here lies the problem. Salesforce has long been focused on the manager’s experience, not the primary user’s experience. 

This means you have to focus a lot of energy on getting your reps to adopt Salesforce as part of their workflow.  Otherwise, you’ll end up like most companies where “less than 37% of sales reps actually use their company’s CRM system” – CSO Insights.

To make the point clear, here’s a real-life example:

I recently spoke with an IT Executive at Fortune 500 company that does not have employees entering data correctly. They try to require fields and get answers like “9999” or in a picklist the users select the first option 90% of the time.

Their Sales team doesn’t want to “Waste time entering all this data”, and sales managers are reluctant to force this on their top-selling reps. The reps are even scared to enter data because they think the company will reassign their leads or other reps will try to work their deal.

So their reps are both a) not wanting to waste time, and b) afraid to provide data. But, management is still using this terrible quality of data to inform their decisions! The bottom line is organizations are complicated and you need to have a comprehensive user onboarding plan if you want to be successful. Salesforce is not a set-it and forget it system.

2) Future Proofing and a Lack of Communication.

Regardless of what stage your company is at, things will continue to change. Whether that’s restructuring your sales team, re-aligning territories, or just taking a new approach to qualifying leads.

This is one of the many reasons why having quality communication throughout your implementation (and after) is so important. Let’s say you’re currently qualifying leads through a simple process of A -> B -> C -> Qualified, and because you picked the right consulting partner they built your Salesforce org that way.

Now, a few weeks into your implementation you realize that B is unnecessary and you tell your sales reps to check factors A -> C -> Qualified. Well, if you aren’t in constant communication with your implementation partner, chances are you will get a fully-baked Org that doesn’t actually align with how you sell.

To avoid this altogether you should push to adopt agile communication methods that keep you on track throughout your project.

Future proofing

The odds of you changing your sales process in the middle of an implementation may be slim. But when it comes to managing change there is another piece you need to get right: future proofing.

By ‘future proofing’ I mean that your org is built in a way that can accommodate change. The easiest way to do this is to have your Salesforce org configured with clicks as often as possible, and customized with code as little as possible. This has two benefits: a) it’s a lot easier to reconfigure processes with clicks, and b) it’s a lot less expensive.

This way when your sales process is undergoing constant innovation, you can quickly (and inexpensively) keep Salesforce in line. A good Salesforce consultant will keep things simple and flexible, a bad Salesforce consultant will complicate things and charge you accordingly.

3) You thought you were getting more than you did.

Let’s be clear: Salesforce is not an ERP system, Salesforce does not handle document management, Salesforce does not handle your finances, and Salesforce definitely does not come with anything you need out of the box.

Basically, everything that you want to do with Salesforce needs to be bought, built, or configured, and none of this is free. This is the hardest pill to swallow for new Salesforce customers.

You’ve been drawn in by the high-quality videos and friendly Sales reps.

You watched this beautiful demo video:

You imagined what it would be like to automate your sales process.

Everything seems so powerful and easy to use. You’re not crazy, Salesforce can be beautiful, easy, and powerful. But most of these features need to be paid for.

So yes, Salesforce can be your ERP system if you rebuild your current ERP solution, integrate Salesforce with your current ERP solution, or download an AppExchange app that you pay license fees for. Not to mention, when you’re adding these new features to Salesforce they may not align with your current workflows.

This is not meant to scare you away. The flexibility of Salesforce is arguably its greatest strength. This is just something that factors into the cost of implementing, maintaining, and improving Salesforce.

4) The Desire to Get Everything Right the First Time

Deploying Salesforce on day one with every bell and whistle is the quickest way to a failed implementation. This is referred to as the waterfall method for software development – everything you think you need, built from the ground up, and deployed in full.

A better approach is to implement the core features that you couldn’t run your business without. These are things like a sales process, maybe a document management app, and a strict security/data model.

This will both allow you and your sales reps to get the basics down quickly without too many distracting features, and allow you to prioritize the next phase of your implementation. Too often companies spend hundreds of hours building out complex processes to realize they don’t actually need them – or at least not yet.

Still not convinced? Studies show that 43% of CRM customers use fewer than half the features they have on their CRM. So you should probably only spend resources on things that actually matter.

Worse yet, only ~50% of the CRM features paid for by businesses, are actually used.

Think of building Salesforce piece by piece, only adding new features when necessary and discovering your real pain points early. This will save you time, energy, and money in the long run.

You may be thinking that there is a lot that can cause an implementation to go poorly – and you’re right. That’s why Salesforce has amassed a large network of registered consulting partners that (if they’re good) will help you avoid making these mistakes.

If you’re looking for such a partner, we offer free 15-minute consultations regardless of what stage you’re at with Salesforce. Just reach out to us and we will be happy to answer any Salesforce related questions you may have.

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About Shane Rostad

Shane Rostad is a marketing manager for TriFin Labs that loves to share his knowledge and learnings about tech through writing. When he's not reading you can find him exploring Florida's parks or loitering in a local coffee shop.

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