Did you decide to take the plunge and implement Salesforce? Or, are you still deciding, wondering what would you be getting yourself into? (If that’s the case, check out our Salesforce Cloud Review).
Getting started on Salesforce is like taking your first step on a long hike through unfamiliar woods. There are many factors to consider, but at the end of the path, you’ll have a system that organizes your lead and customer records and facilitates sales and account management (which is way more exciting than it sounds!).
1. Getting the conversation started
When getting started on a Salesforce implementation, it’s really critical to build from requirements that were collected from colleagues across the organization. A common pitfall of Salesforce is fighting low adoption (read some others here). By listening to your team members’ needs, they will feel more invested in the new platform. They’ll see how it will help them alleviate day-to-day headaches (like manually updating spreadsheets…ick).
A requirements document will help guide your implementation. It will help you determine which fields to create, which user roles and permissions to configure, which systems to integrate and which reports to build.
2. Identifying objects and custom fields
Which objects should we use? This is helpful to ask in your early discussions.
Salesforce is broken into a series of objects: Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities, Products, Quotes, Contracts, Campaigns, Activities, Events, etc. The foundational objects are Leads, Contacts, Accounts and Opportunities. These are included in the Essentials pricing tier (the rest require Professional and above).
When setting up each object, you can add custom fields specific to your business. You might create a Product Interest picklist field on the Lead object or a Favorite Dance Song field on the Contact (wait…that might not be necessary). Some standard fields might need to be adjusted as well (e.g., the Industry picklist).
It can be helpful to build a spreadsheet documenting the standard and custom fields in each object. You can use this for easier collaboration with your team prior to beginning the actual configuration (measure twice, cut once, at all that). You can also use this sheet as a reference when, one day in the not-too-distant future, you’re scratching your head and wondering, do we already have a field for that?
3. Beginning with a solid foundation
When migrating data from another system, you run the risk of carrying poor data management practices into your new system (but hopefully, that’s not the case). Your previous system may contain duplicates, outdated info or historical leads and contacts that have long since moved on. There are also common mix-ups like last names in the first name field (hi, Smith Mary!) or data entered in the shipping address field instead of the billing address (or vice versa).
By securely deleting the records you no longer need, removing duplicates and cleaning up data entry mistakes, you set yourself up for success in your new system. You’ll end up with more accurate reporting and save time for your users.
Configuring all of your needed fields in Salesforce before you import means you’ll have a home for your data. With your custom and standard fields all in place, you can simply fill in the blanks with your import file. Easy peasy!
4. Mapping out your process
Once a lead submits a form on your site, where will they go? Who will follow up? These are important questions to consider before going live with Salesforce.
As a marketer, you might want to take some time to consider how leads will be created in Salesforce. Using Salesforce web-to-lead forms, you can automatically create a new lead when someone submits a form on your site. If you’re using a marketing automation tool like HubSpot, Pardot or Marketo, you can sync these platforms with Salesforce through an integration.
In early discussions with team members, define a hand-off point and follow-up process with your friends in sales. Should leads be assigned by territory or distributed evenly across the team? This type of collaboration will set the direction for configuring Lead Assignment Rules, Lead Statuses and Opportunity Stages: the core steps that make up your sales process.
5. Getting started with Salesforce Campaigns
Campaigns let you track the results of all the wonderful things you do in marketing. Here’s a quick crash course on Campaigns: in Salesforce, Leads and Contacts can be associated with campaigns manually or through automation. The same Lead or Contact can be assigned to multiple Campaigns (a one-to-many relationship). Opportunities and associated revenue can be attributed to Campaigns for ROI reporting. The default attribution model gives credit to the last-touch Campaign. (You may want to review your auto-association and campaign influence settings before your go-live date.)
You can use Campaigns to view the conversions and opportunities generated by all of your hard work. This can help you determine how to dedicate time and resources going forward. (Zero conversions on the Best Practices for Choosing Ice Cream ebook? Whelp, not doing that again.)
Getting started on Salesforce goes beyond adding custom fields and tweaking page layouts. There are many factors to consider to help your team get the most out of the tool. A helpful resource from Salesforce, The Getting Started with Sales Cloud Implementation Guide, provides a useful starting point, guiding you through the essential items to cover in your implementation. Just remember, you don’t have to hike the mountain alone. (All right, enough of the cheesy metaphors.)
I’m a Midwesterner who enjoys a great book, an afternoon in the woods and a delicious Indian dish. I’m also a music lover. Music is often my pick-me-up on a difficult day. Lately, I’ve been jamming to Fleet Foxes and Blind Pilot. Aside from writing about marketing tech, I’m a freelance Pardot consultant. I write about marketing automation tech features and strategy, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, often about Salesforce.