Salesforce implementation: should you look for a partner or do it yourself?
Without a doubt, Salesforce is the largest and the best cloud CRM solution worldwide. According to the last official statistics from 2018, the company was boasting a market share of 19.5%, significantly outrunning its competitors. And for good reason. Apart from its excellent CRM services, Salesforce also enables businesses to develop their own add-on applications to further boost their marketing, sales productivity, and efficiency. Considering the decision to implement Salesforce, companies are faced with an important question. That is, should they look for a Salesforce implementation partner, or should they perform the implementation in-house? While it may be tempting to opt for the latter, the challenges, and costs that an in-house Salesforce implementation presents can outweigh its benefits. A careful assessment of the situation and your business’s needs may, more often than not, dictate that you work with professionals instead. Are you thinking about implementing Salesforce in your company? Here are a few factors you should consider when charting your course for success, and how an implementation partner may help you reach your goals.
What is Salesforce and how can it benefit you?
Implementing a CRM solution can be an important step to take for a business. Such a solution can help you modernize your sales and marketing, service and other operations processes. It can also vastly improve your customer experience.
Salesforce can help you do just that. As the first-ever cloud-based CRM solution, Salesforce has been at it for over 20 years. Their main service is their integrated CRM platform that helps teams, from marketing to sales and service to IT, to attract, nurture, and retain customers. This is possible because of the personalized experience that they can deliver with the platform.
- Scalability and customization
- Multi-tenant architecture
Due to its multi-tenant architecture, Salesforce is equally available to everyone at all times. This guarantees that businesses always have access to all of the core features of the platform. It also means that downtimes for updates or upgrades are eliminated as the platform is updated at the same time for everyone in a seamless way.
- Application development
Moreover, with the Salesforce Lightning platform, you can develop your own applications which you can then integrate into your CRM. These applications allow you to enhance your Salesforce experience further and create solutions that address your particular needs. Alternatively, you can also use the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace to obtain third-party applications developed by others — for free or for a fee.
As such, Salesforce provides a solution that every business can benefit from. It is no surprise then, that companies as big as Amazon Web Services, Spotify, Toyota, and others use Salesforce. At the same time, the platform is also available and adaptable to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses.
With that said, if you are considering a Salesforce implementation but are wondering whether to perform it within the company, there are several things to keep in mind.
Risks of implementing Salesforce on your own
There are several risks that companies frequently disregard or miss when vetting the decision of whether to perform their own implementations. At heart, these concern the realistic assessment of the situation which, for most companies, is unknown territory. Some of these risks include the following:
Insufficient internal preparation for the implementation
There are two dimensions to this problem. On the one hand, it is frequently hard to tell whether you have the required expertise to successfully realize an implementation on your own. Since this is not easy to determine, you may be running the risk of overextending your resources and burdening your staff with a difficult, if not impossible, task.
It’s also a good idea to check how Salesforce can resolve issues that your staff has reported with any previous CRM system you may have used. Failing to do this can result in flawed user adoption which can compromise any significant benefits that you stand to gain.
An extended implementation process
One of the major risks of self-implementation is the length of time it may take you to complete the process. Implementing in-house means that you need to set aside staff to take care of the process. If you are dealing with a complex project, this can result in a lengthy implementation that delivers benefits late and at a great cost — both in terms of time as well as resources.
Adopting more features than necessary
When assessing the multitude of functionalities and features that are available through Salesforce, companies will sometimes opt-in for more than they need. Due to not being familiar enough with the platform, they may think that more is necessarily better. This can result in paying for capabilities that are largely irrelevant to their specific business case.
So how, instead, could your implementation project work out if you have a Salesforce partner at hand? Here are some of the reasons why you should consider having a partner in this undertaking.
Why you should get help for your Salesforce implementation
Having a Salesforce partner is key in laying the groundwork for the significant improvements that are delivered by the platform in terms of customer experience, innovation, and performance. Getting help from a team of professionals is beneficial and important for several different reasons:
An oft-quoted study conducted by McKinsey found that on average large-scale IT projects have about 45% cost overruns, 7% schedule overruns, and deliver 56% less value than expected.
While the projects that were studied have very large budgets, a similar conclusion is to be made about DIY approaches to Salesforce implementations. When you factor in the hard costs, an in-house implementation may seem cheaper on the outside. However, self-led implementations frequently fail to consider the costs associated with project design errors, changes in scope, costs associated with unforeseen difficulties or hidden factors, etc. Hidden factors may include things such as migration and customization costs, Salesforce Lightning transition, user-training, or after-launch support.
Given the degree of expertise that’s required, having top Salesforce in-house specialists is also extremely cost-ineffective when compared to making use of the services of external specialists when needed.
From that point of view, having a Salesforce partner can prove to be much cheaper in the long run, as well as to create a greater ROI for your company.
When it comes to implementations, expertise encompasses a variety of skills — such as to craft customizations, perform 3rd-party integrations, or migrate data. But apart from the technical expertise that’s required, your partners are also guaranteed to have greater experience in objectively determining whether your project plan is realistic.
They will thus be able to consult you about the tools or apps you intend to pair with Salesforce, and how this will affect your processes, and data.
Lower time investment
Even if you do have experience with implementations and migrations, to perform a Salesforce implementation you will need to allocate time. Depending on the number of people that you assign to the task, you will effectively be sacrificing part of your manpower for the purpose. And, in the event that you don’t have enough experience with such processes, the time spent on studying and then performing the implementation can easily balloon out of control. By entrusting a partner with the implementation, you will have someone who is exclusively focused and engaged with the project. This will free you and your teams up to focus on other tasks, while still having plenty of input and oversight.
Higher success rate
Working with a partner is also certain to increase your implementation and migration success rate. With a company that has conducted hundreds of migrations, you are sure to avoid failures, such as data-quality issues, unaccountable project management, or unrealistic expectations. Before even beginning with the project, a partner can help you with clarifying your vision and setting the right goals.
Moreover, a successful implementation will also reflect on your CRM adoption and sales success. CRM user adoption and utilization is an important driver of ROI, as well as of sales success. For example, a 2018 study by CSO Insights demonstrated that there is a positive correlation between high CRM adoption and sales win rate and seller quota attainment rates.
Get help with your Salesforce implementation from Resolute Software
Your Salesforce implementation is an important step toward transforming your business in various ways. An experienced partner can help you significantly on that journey.
Resolute Software has helped over 200 companies across the globe to turn their Salesforce investment into an efficient and scalable implementation with long-term results. Our company has diverse cross-industry experience and boasts a team of seasoned experts. Each of our projects offers a solution that is tailored to the needs of our customers. By working with us, you can rely on transparency and professionalism at all times.
Get started with your modernization assessment to determine what your implementation needs are, and how to best proceed from there! Would you like to know more about our services, and how we can be of help to you? Get in touch with us.