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Salesforce Implementation Partners: Missing Link in the Picture?

This blog answers some of the most common questions that people often have about working with a Salesforce implementation partner.

By Alok KhandelwalPublished about a month ago 6 min read
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Salesforce is a powerful platform with amazing features and endless capabilities. Businesses, regardless of the industry verticals, look forward to implementing Salesforce to strengthen their relationship with customers. Though it might sound simple and easy, starting an implementation without diligent preparation and planning often results in poor outcomes, which can require time-consuming and costly rework—this is where Salesforce implementation partners come to your rescue.

This blog answers some of the most common questions that people often have about working with a Salesforce implementation partner. In addition, it also tells you how to make the most of this strategic collaboration.

In response to changes in customer behaviors, businesses of varying sizes and scopes are accelerating their digital transformation initiatives. A majority of them are interested in employing integrated, access-from-anywhere kind of solutions such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software/platform— just like the ones offered by Salesforce.

Here is what the statistics have to say about one of the fastest-growing categories of enterprise software: the global spending on Salesforce is projected to be around 675 billion U.S. dollars in the current year. In the previous year, Salesforce took approximately 24% market share of the global CRM applications market.

Going forward, exploring a Salesforce CRM solution is one aspect; knowing what applications, products, as well as configurations best suit your business-specific needs is totally another matter. Perhaps, this is why a majority of Salesforce customers resort to accredited experts to ease their entry into the world of Salesforce. These dedicated experts are your implementation partners. There is a wide network of Salesforce implementation partners that assist businesses to achieve their CRM goals quickly and effectively.

What is an Implementation Partner?

To put it in simple words, an implementation partner is a company that has been approved by Salesforce after reviewing it to implement Salesforce CRM solutions on its behalf where each implementation partner specializes in some specific areas, applications, or industries. This implies that there is a partner that caters to every business need, challenge, product, industry vertical, region, etc., and assists us along the entire Salesforce journey.

Why do Businesses Need an Implementation Partner?

Salesforce CRM solutions are known to cover the entire spectrum of business operations, which include marketing, sales, service, as well as sustainability. Each of its products can be bolstered via platform-to-platform integrations and add-on applications.

In other words, the entire Salesforce ecosystem offers endless capabilities—where the main challenge is to select the right product with the integrations and configurations that best fit your business-specific needs. Consider the case in point, a big organization might already be working with multiple technological solutions. They want to figure out how a Salesforce product, for example, Marketing Cloud, can be integrated with their existing workflows without causing friction, and are looking for assistance for the same.

Take another case in point, a smaller company might be scaling upwards quickly. They also know that continuing to work with spreadsheets would not support their growth. Amidst this, they realize that they must automate their processes—or it is time to develop more streamlined and personalized customer experiences.

Implementing a CRM solution for the first time can be daunting for a majority of companies. It is a challenging task for internal teams or employees with no experience in Salesforce to take into consideration all the variables as well as implement a new and highly configurable CRM solution. Besides, hiring a full-time employee to look after the CRM implementation process can also be a costly avenue.

These were some of the situation-specific reasons that a significant chunk of Salesforce customers resort to partner applications and experts.

When is the Right Time to Engage with Implementation Companies?

As early as possible would be apt if it were to be answered in a nutshell.

You need to do your due diligence, just like you do with any significant investment. First of all, figure out what needs have to be met, gaps that have to be closed, or issues that need to be addressed. Talking of the Salesforce implementation case, you must formulate a vision of what you want to achieve that is the ‘what.’ After this, determine the ‘how,’ which is often the most complicated part for any business.

It is time to bring in a partner as soon as you figure out your goals. The right implementation partner will not just facilitate the ‘how,’ but they’ll also help you crystallize the ‘what’. They will assist you to clarify your success metrics, understanding what is realistic, as well as advise on appropriate products. Accordingly, the experts will lay out a logistically sound timeline for your implementation journey to finish it off.

It is important to note that bringing in a partner late in the game usually results in missed opportunities—in terms of understanding and scope. As the relationship between a partner and a customer is close and collaborative, the only secured way to ensure seamless implementation is when the journey begins together.

How to Figure Out the Right Implementation Partner?

Some of the implementation partners have generalized Salesforce capabilities. More often than not, these companies specialize in particular functions or areas of the CRM solution. While some might specialize in customer data platforms (CDP) or Marketing Cloud, others might specialize in harnessing the combined powers of Einstein and Sales Cloud.

Another factor is value alignment, which has come to the forefront in recent years. People want to work with companies that share their values. What we mean here is that people prefer to work with an organization that prioritizes sustainability or champions diversity and equality.

Shopping around is a good practice irrespective of whether or not these things are top-of-mind for you. Interact with different Salesforce partners, get a feel of who they are, know the way they work, and so on. As this is an important relationship, we would recommend you not settle for anything less than the right fit for your business.

Salesforce AppExchange is the best as well as a most comprehensive resource for both partners and products. There are plenty of experts and numerous applications at your fingertips where one can also browse specializations, certifications, and customer reviews.

In short, certifications, as well as credentials come into play as does the specific expertise of that implementation company.

What Challenges Might a Business Encounter During Implementation?

It has already been stressed enough that bringing in a partner as early as possible decreases the chances of challenges that might be emerging down the line.

What is also important apart from this is to be clear on what you want to solve, plus how you measure success over time. Most instances of dissatisfaction or confusion emerge from a lack of understanding on the part of the partner or the customer. Fault assumptions can be made and misunderstandings on capabilities and timelines can arise if both the parties, partner and customer are not on the same page. This makes goals, objectives, and success benchmarks harder to be reached.

As a customer, you need to be as transparent as you want your Salesforce implementation partner to be. Genuine advice is that you should never be afraid to ask questions more than once and it is better to clear all the doubts that you have got—the implementation process is highly technical in nature and seeking clarification in this is quite natural.

Just as stakeholders place the customer at the center of their business, Salesforce implementation partners place them at the center of theirs. Also, they measure their success by aligning the outcomes to your business-specific needs; in other words, by delivering exactly what you need. For dedicated Salesforce implementation companies customer success equals partner success.

Last but not the least, every successful relationship in life thrives on honest, open communication from the outset; and the Salesforce implementation partnership is no exception to this rule.

Final Thoughts

To achieve exceptional results and maximize license usage, it is important to ensure that your Salesforce solution is fully tuned to business-specific needs and well-adopted by your organization. To maximize the success of Salesforce implementation, you need to engage with a Salesforce implementation partner.

You might be missing out on the potential opportunities in terms of scope and understanding, due to insufficient resources or skill gaps. Besides, the relationship between an implementation partner and a customer is collaborative and close. So, the only way to ensure a successful implementation is when the journey begins together.

The next step is to meet and network with different partners to get a feel of who they are, what is their way of working, and so on—this is an important relationship, so you must not settle for anything less than the best fit for your business. Now that you know what is right for you, it is time to make the move.

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About the Creator

Alok Khandelwal

Alok heads Damco’s Salesforce Practice as Vice President and has over 18 years of rich experience in setting up practice teams, designing enterprise scale products/ solutions and sustained business growth of Business Units.

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