“I see you have three contacts named Brandon Donovan. Is that…right?” I ask suspiciously, eyeing her account on the screenshare.
“Oh, yeah, that’s just Kevin in sales,” she says with a chuckle. “He creates a new contact record every time a client calls him. It helps him stay organized.”
“Ahhh…” I reply, increasingly concerned. Note to self: Follow up with Kevin.
Some all-too-common (and avoidable) Salesforce pitfalls can destroy your return on investment. Licensing the software is costly, and then adding an implementation partner (if you choose that route) can be a significant additional expense — although it’s one that can really pay off. Avoiding these dangers will help foster success and drive ROI long after your implementation.
Beginning from a solid foundation, organizing roles and permissions and building adoption are key strategies for addressing these pitfalls that lead to positive results. Let’s take a look at the things to avoid so you can end up in the right place.
1. Not getting off to a good start
A successful implementation leads to a healthy CRM. But a faulty setup will leave you on shaky ground. Poor data management can often develop and accumulate over time in a dangerous snowball that leaves you with inaccurate reports and tons of clutter (and a big melty snowball).
But beginnings are the time to start fresh! You have an opportunity to nurture healthy habits around data entry and management before your team dives in. You can configure validation rules and require certain fields on objects. You can also document protocols (yay, protocols!) for data entry and share them with your team during their Salesforce training.
Another important aspect is building consensus around your use of Leads and Contacts. In Salesforce, you have two objects available for storing information about the people who interact with your company: Leads and Contacts. (There are also Person Accounts, but that’s a whole other discussion.)
Often, a Lead is created when someone expresses interest by submitting a form on your site or by calling a general sales line. Once they become qualified, they’re converted into a Contact.
But questions come up, such as, what determines when a lead is qualified? If someone who was a Contact drops off for a year and then reengages, should they be added as a new Lead? If there isn’t consensus here, it will affect the quality of your data. Duplicate records are a serious PITA that could impact reporting. For example, when attempting to view all conversions generated by your stellar campaign, you may not have an accurate number of converted Leads.
When the time comes to create your definitions for Lead stages, be sure to include your sales team in the conversation. They need to help drive the decisions, and have full buy-in on the resulting process. Sales and marketing alignment is important, kids!
2. Disorganized user roles and permissions
In Salesforce, user roles and permission sets can be configured to limit users’ access to data in the CRM. User access can be adjusted at the object level, for certain record types, and all the way down to specific fields, giving you granular control (great for compliance and security).
But when there are lots of custom roles and permission sets, keeping track of the levels of access associated with each can be a challenge. So when the CEO inherits a role already in the system, she might not see all of the fields on a Contact, and it can be time-consuming to figure out why and fix it.
Documenting the objects and fields accessible for each role can help you stay organized. In addition, being intentional with each custom role and permission set you create (and clearly labeling each one) can help you avoid confusion in the future.
Hiring a full-time admin or working with a consulting partner can make it easier to build a data-access strategy that can be maintained and managed going forward.
3. Low adoption: Where are all my peeps?
After a few months of hard work, you and your team are ready to go live! All fields are in place. All workflows are built and tested. All users are configured. But just a few months later, you find that only two colleagues from sales have actually logged in. Whomp, whomp.
Low adoption can destroy the value you actually gain from Salesforce. While it seems like a simple problem to avoid, low adoption is really hard to control, as it depends on other people. After investing time and money, it can be disappointing to see your colleagues still pecking away at spreadsheets or only using one-tenth of the functionality.
Making your implementation as collaborative as possible can eliminate adoption problems. In the requirements-gathering phase, get input from team members across the organization, at all levels, to help them feel heard and invested in the solution. (Felicia, what if I told you we could automatically populate the billing address from the shipping address…?)
Another important step is incorporating tailored end-user training. Your team members are more likely to use the tool if they know how to navigate it for their particular role. Your training should be broken into separate sessions for different roles to make it as relevant as possible.
Adoption can also be helped by choosing the right CRM for your needs. Salesforce offers extensive functionality for managing leads and opportunities, building automation, creating quotes and more. Determining the functionality required by your team and using that to guide your CRM selection process is critical. (If you need more on this, check out our post, How to Choose the Right Martech).
If you don’t have a Salesforce expert on your team, working with a consulting partner or agency can help you navigate the wide array of features and depth of customization. It’s an effective way to sidestep these common Salesforce pitfalls. If you start to feel overwhelmed, you can always enable the confetti-celebration feature to help lighten the mood.
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.