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Salesforce End-to-End Implementation Handbook

By Kristian Margaryan Jørgensen
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  1. Free Chapter
    Chapter 1: Creating a Vision for Your Salesforce Project
About this book
With ever-growing digital transformation programs involving Salesforce, there is a greater need for a comprehensive overview of the phases and activities specific to Salesforce implementations. This book will act as a detailed guide for your Salesforce implementation journey, including common issues and pitfalls to mitigate and prevent errors. The Salesforce End-to-End Implementation Handbook starts with the pre-development phase. Here you’ll understand how to define the vision and nature of your project, determine your change management strategy and delivery methodology, learn to build a business case for your project, get insights on engaging with Salesforce and implementation partners, and learn to establish a governance framework. As you progress, you’ll gain insights on the necessary activities, milestones, and common issues faced in Salesforce implementation, along with strategies to mitigate them. At the end of each section, you’ll find evaluation checklists to assess the state of your Salesforce implementation. By the end of this book, you’ll be well-equipped to set up Salesforce projects and programs effectively and deliver maximum ROI.
Publication date:
March 2023
Publisher
Packt
Pages
302
ISBN
9781804613221

 

Creating a Vision for Your Salesforce Project

To start a journey, you need to determine where you want to go. This chapter guides you through methods of analysis to understand your company’s imperative for change, which will be the foundation for you to be able to create a vision for your Salesforce project.

After creating a vision for your Salesforce project, you’ll then be ready to move on to the next activities in the pre-development phase of your Salesforce implementation.

In this chapter, we’ll cover the following main topics:

  • Introducing the life cycle of Salesforce implementations
  • An overview of the pre-development phase of your Salesforce project
  • Understanding your company’s imperative for change
  • Defining the vision for your Salesforce project
  • Iterating in the pre-development phase

Let’s go!

 

Introducing the life cycle of Salesforce implementations

This book will provide a framework for approaching the entire implementation life cycle specific to Salesforce projects – from project inception in the pre-development phase to the continuous improvement phase. Here’s a brief overview of the phases involved:

Figure 1.1 – The project phases of a Salesforce implementation

Figure 1.1 – The project phases of a Salesforce implementation

In Figure 1.1, you can see each phase of a Salesforce project. Let’s briefly define each phase:

  • Pre-development phase: In this phase, you are creating a vision for your Salesforce project, defining its nature, determining how to deliver it, securing a budget for it, and engaging with Salesforce and implementation partners. In this phase, you will also be setting up the governance body, which will own and oversee the delivery of your Salesforce project.
  • Development phase: This phase begins with a project kick-off event, following which the project team will start delivering the project. There are different methodologies for delivering Salesforce projects, which we will cover later in Chapter 3, Determining How to Deliver Your Salesforce Project. Whichever methodology you choose, the development phase is where your Salesforce solution’s scope is detailed, designed, built, and tested to ensure quality.
  • Roll-out phase: In this phase, you are deploying your release, migrating data, training your users, providing support, and closely monitoring how users are adopting your solution and responding accordingly.
  • Continuous improvement phase: Finally, you will find yourself in a state of continuous improvement. Your ability to evolve your Salesforce org to changing business needs, as well as managing and leveraging your data, is your top activity in this phase.

Salesforce projects – especially greenfield implementations, where an organization sets up their Salesforce org for first-time use – do not start at the project kick-off event. Neither should Salesforce projects end directly after user training in the roll-out phase.

Now we have understood the overall phases of a Salesforce project. Let’s dive into the pre-development phase of your Salesforce project.

 

An overview of the pre-development phase of your Salesforce project

Each phase of a Salesforce project has its own set of key milestones, along with activities to reach the milestones.

Let’s get started with key milestones of the first phase of your Salesforce project.

Key milestones of the pre-development phase

The pre-development phase of your Salesforce project starts at inception. Inception is defined as the point where your company has made a choice of technology from a range of CRM providers, and Salesforce has been chosen as your future CRM platform. Deciding on a CRM provider is outside the scope of this book.

The key milestones of the pre-development phase are securing an initial budget for your Salesforce implementation and contracting with Salesforce Inc., and most often an implementation partner, to assist you in the development and roll-out of your solution.

To reach these milestones, several activities are required. We will go over these activities in the next section.

Activities in the pre-development phase

The activities in the pre-development phase of your Salesforce project are illustrated in the following figure:

Figure 1.2 – Activities in the pre-development phase

Figure 1.2 – Activities in the pre-development phase

There are two key points to note from Figure 1.2:

  • Each activity in the pre-development phase is covered by a chapter in this book, so you can easily navigate to the part you want to dive into.
  • There are no arrows in the diagram. While the order of the activities generally means you should go clockwise through the process, it is not always the case. We will come back to this point in the Iterating in the pre-development phase section of this chapter.

Now that we have established what the overall activities consist of in the pre-development phase, let’s look at who will be performing the activities.

Introducing the Salesforce taskforce

To carry out the activities in the pre-development phase, the executive sponsor of the Salesforce implementation should create a Salesforce taskforce.

The Salesforce taskforce should consist of three key roles, with representatives from the business organization, the IT organization, and your Project Management Office (PMO). Finally, the Salesforce taskforce must have an executive sponsor.

The roles and responsibilities of each member are described in Table 1.1:

Taskforce member role

Taskforce member responsibilities

Business owner

  • Lead the analysis of the company’s strategic situation
  • Determine required business capabilities
  • Determine business KPIs to measure the success of the project

Tech owner

  • Based on the required business capabilities, determine high-level target technical scope
  • Ensure target technical scope aligns with enterprise architecture principles and plans

PMO representative

  • Taskforce project management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Set meetings with internal and external stakeholders, capturing minutes and actions
  • Set and schedule taskforce meeting cadence, and report to the executive sponsor
  • Escalate issues and decisions not able to be taken by the taskforce

Executive sponsor

  • Support and coach taskforce
  • Act as an escalation point

Table 1.1 – The responsibilities of taskforce member roles

Duration of the pre-development phase

During the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, some companies realized their imperative to change was urgent and turned around all the activities in the pre-development phase in a matter of a few weeks. While it may have rescued small- and medium-sized businesses in exposed industries, you should not rush through this phase.

The solid preparation and organizational alignment work done in the pre-development phase will make your Salesforce project more robust and have a greater chance for success, compared to a rushed pre-development phase.

Let’s continue to the next section where we will uncover your company’s need for change.

 

Understanding your company’s imperative for change

In this section, we will analyze your company’s situation through various methods to be able to determine the vision for your Salesforce project.

To help exemplify the methods used, let us first introduce the scenario company that we’ll follow throughout this book.

Introducing our scenario company – Packt Manufacturing Equipment (PME)

Let’s look at some initial facts about the scenario company:

  • Company name: Packt Manufacturing Equipment (PME)
  • Industry: Manufacturing
  • Annual revenue: 300 million USD
  • Number of employees: 2,000 FTEs
  • Geography: Operating and selling globally; direct in mature PME markets, and through distributors in emerging PME markets

Meet the PME Salesforce taskforce charged with shaping the project in the pre-development phase:

  • The business owner: Kalinda Keen. Kalinda is a manufacturing industry veteran. She has held multiple roles, in many functions, within PME. Currently, she is working in the global commercial excellence department, responsible for building capabilities for local marketing, sales, and customer service organizations. Kalinda is closely aware of the market trends and forces affecting PME.
  • The tech owner: Cary Sharp. Cary is a rising star in the global IT department. Cary is a solution architect transitioning to an enterprise architect position and is extremely interested in cloud computing. He has worked at PME for 4 years and is well aware of the PME system landscape.
  • The PMO representative: Alicia Fast. Alicia is new to PME, having joined recently from another industry. She has lots of project management experience, and her recent job involved managing a Salesforce implementation.
  • The executive sponsor: Diane General. Diane is a Senior Vice President (SVP) of global commercial excellence, reporting to the CEO of PME. Kalinda reports to Diane. Diane has been with PME for over 10 years, in multiple managerial positions ranging from country leadership to functional management roles. She is well liked and trusted within the organization and has been part of PME’s board committee on digital transformation strategies.

After getting to know the scenario company, PME, let’s return to your company.

Your company’s environment, situation, and challenges

To lay out a path, in addition to knowing where you want to go, you also need to understand where you are coming from and, critically, why you need to move. Your first activity in the pre-development phase is, therefore, to analyze and establish your company’s situation.

In the following section, we will cover basic methods of understanding how your company is organized, who your customers are, and the products and services you sell.

Important note

Your role as part of the Salesforce taskforce should not be to produce the analysis output, but to consolidate and understand what over arching forces drive your company’s imperative for change.

Understanding how your company is organized

Before you endeavor to perform any strategy analysis, you should first seek to establish how your company is organized. The simplest way to achieve this is by looking at your company’s org charts. Charts is a plural intentionally, as there will be many layers.

You will want to understand the following regarding your company’s structure:

  • Your local organizations’ structure:
    • How many countries does your company directly operate in?
    • How are the countries or local organizations typically organized?
      • Does each country have its own leadership team or does each country’s sales, customer service, and marketing team report directly to group sales, customer service, and marketing management, respectively?
      • How much variation is there among the structures of your local organizations?
    • How many people are employed in each country or sales organization?
      • How many are employed per country or sales organization?
      • How many are employed in marketing, sales, and customer service functions, respectively?
      • Beyond sales, marketing, and customer service, which other functions do local country or sales organizations manage, and to what extent? This could be back-office sales support functions, local logistics, and local IT support.
  • Your group-level organization:
    • This would typically be an org chart of your company’s group management
    • Pay special attention to IT governance:
      • Is group IT responsible for setting guidelines and providing ad hoc advice, or do they firmly own the enterprise IT landscape and work to ensure compliance? It may be somewhere in the middle but be sure to get a good understanding.
  • Your partner, reseller, or distributor network:
    • If your company sells its product or services through partners, how are the relationships with those partners managed?
    • Are the partner relationships managed at the group level or by the local sales organization? Or at some intermediary level?
    • How many partners does your company have agreements with?
    • What countries do your partners cover?
    • Do your partners sell all your company’s products and/or services or only a subset?

Tip

Engage with your HR department to understand how your internal company is structured. Regarding your partner network, you may have to do some investigation internally to find out who manages those relationships.

Be aware that organizations are dynamic and that small organizational changes happen frequently, and larger changes also occur from time to time.

To understand how an org chart could look, let’s look at PME’s company structure in the following diagram:

Figure 1.3 – PME org chart

Figure 1.3 – PME org chart

In Figure 1.3, you see the CEO of PME at the top. Reporting directly to the CEO are the CFO, COO, and CIO. At PME, also reporting directly to the CEO are the SVPs of each of the three PME regions: AMER, APAC, and EMEA. Reporting to each regional SVP are the local country organizations of PME; some have a country leader responsible for multiple smaller countries. The regional SVPs at PME are also responsible for managing the relationships with the distributors operating in the regions.

You have now established how your company and partners are organized. Let’s move on to understand to whom your organization sells, and what you sell.

Understanding who your customers are

You should seek to understand the following key aspects of your customers:

  • How many customers do you have?
  • Do you have a few large customers that make up the bulk of your revenue or is revenue spread across many customers? Is there a change in this split?
  • How large are your customers typically in terms of revenue and number of employees? Seek to understand your median customer revenue.
  • What industries do your customers belong to?
  • Who are your customers’ end customers or consumers?

Understanding the products and services you sell

You should seek to understand the following key aspects of your products and services:

  • What challenges do your products help your customers overcome?
    • If you have many product categories and/or customer segments, you should attempt to consolidate the answers into three to four key groupings for clarity and comprehension
  • How many products do you have?
    • Do you have a few products that make up the bulk of your revenue or is revenue spread across many products?
  • Are your products and services finished, pre-packaged products and/or services, or are they highly configurable?
    • Ensure you also determine whether your company has any plans for making your products and services configurable in the future

Tip

Engage with sales and marketing leaders at both your company’s local and group levels to get an understanding of your customers and how your products and services add value to them. You may also request help from your finance or BI departments for data and insights about your customers.

Introducing the basics of strategy analysis

While the literature on business strategy is vast and growing, some fundamental analysis of your company is needed to understand its situation and the imperative for change. In this section, we will cover the most used methods of analysis.

Tip

If your company has its own framework of strategy analysis, you should utilize insights from that strategy analysis to understand your company’s situation.

PESTLE analysis

The decade of the 2020s has begun with economic turmoil following the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain pressures, a new war in Europe, continuing wars in other parts of the world, and inflation. These are all macro-level phenomena that – in varying ways, depending on your industry and geography – impact your company’s situation.

Using PESTLE analysis, you categorize these impacts into six factors:

  • Political: Political factors include any potential or realized political decisions that are impacting or may impact your company, such as taxes, subsidies, and reforms. Your executive sponsor and senior management can quickly list the key current political trends they are keeping an eye on.
  • Economic: These factors are numerous; some key examples are inflation, interest rates, consumer confidence, business confidence, and GDP growth of the markets your company serves. Your CFO or finance business partner is your go-to source for input on economic factors influencing your company.
  • Social: Social factors cover the demographic makeup and trends of your markets’ populations, as well as their cultural preferences. Your marketing department should have great insights into shifting trends in your target demographic – consumer- or business-wise.
  • Technological: These factors include advances in technology that may enable you (and your competitors) to produce and deliver your products and services more efficiently at a lower production cost, as well as being able to market and sell your products and services more effectively. Common examples include automation in manufacturing, and more efficient truck engines or electric vehicles. Leveraging customer insights for better segmentation and targeting to market and selling more effectively are other examples of technological factors. Talk with your company CTO or head of innovation to gather these insights.
  • Legal: Legal factors include legal precedents relevant to your industry and operating geographies, as well as any specific legal issues and risks your company may be exposed to. The general counsel of your company, your CFO, or the head of risk management will be able to discuss the legal factors with you, though you will not be able to gain insights into all areas as some may be confidential.
  • Environmental: These environmental factors include key trends of the physical environment in the geographies your company operates in. Obvious examples are climate change and the direct and indirect effects of climate change. Although the direct impact of climate change may have less impact on your company, the indirect effects, such as political instability, change in consumer and business preference, and shifts in product and service demand may have a greater influence on your company’s situation. Your executive sponsor and senior management can tell you whether any environmental factors are particularly influential to your company.

Having established the macro factors influencing your company, let’s move on to understand the competitor situation of your company.

Porter’s five forces

This is a standard method created by Michael E. Porter, the renowned Harvard Business School professor of strategy and competition, for analyzing the forces that impact a business’s competitive situation.

Figure 1.4 – Porter’s five forces

Figure 1.4 – Porter’s five forces

Let’s go through each of the five forces:

  • Industry rivalry: You should seek to establish answers to these key questions when describing your company’s industry rivalry:
    • Nature of your industry’s rivalry: How are your company and your competitors competing? Examples include price cuts, guerilla marketing methods, and locking in customers with exclusivity contracts.
    • Competitive situation: Is your company a dominant player or one of many competitors in your operating markets? Who are the biggest competitors? Who is gaining and losing market share? Use the last reporting year versus the previous reporting year to see this trend.
  • Threat of new entrants: Are there any indications of or actual new entrants entering your industry? What is their operating model and means of differentiation?
  • Threat of new substitutes: Are customers using alternative products or substitute products in new ways to meet their needs?
  • Bargaining powers of suppliers: If your company (and general industry) is relying increasingly on a smaller number of suppliers, then they will have an increase in bargaining powers with the result being increased prices.
  • Bargaining powers of buyers: Similar to the bargaining powers of suppliers, if you sell to a highly concentrated group of customers, your company will have less bargaining power.

Market development

Determine whether the markets your company is operating in are growing, stagnant, or declining. Compare the market developments of your key markets. Also, note whether there are any cyclical patterns and seasonality in your market. Your CFO or finance business partner is your source of information here.

Company’s financial performance

You may easily have access to these key figures from your company’s latest annual report (for example, if your company is publicly traded). If not, work with your executive sponsor and their finance business partner to get a perspective on your company’s financial situation.

  • Top-line revenue growth: This tells you whether your company is growing or not. If it is growing, great! But seek to understand this in the context of the overall market growth. If your company is growing slower than the market, your company is losing market shares to the competition. You should then seek to understand the reason for this. The leaders of your sales and marketing organizations should be able to help you determine this.
    • Your finance business partner will be able to help you understand the drivers for revenue growth. Ask for a price-volume-mix (PVM) analysis for the revenue growth of last year versus the previous year to understand whether your revenue is primarily growing due to more products or services being sold, higher prices, or a change in the mix of the products and services sold.
  • Gross margin %: Determine whether your gross margin percentage is increasing or decreasing. This is a sign of your company’s viability. Compare your company’s gross margin % with your key competitors. If it is lower than your competitors, your competitors are either able to command higher prices for their products and services or are more efficient in producing their products at a lower cost, or both.
    • Your finance business partner will be able to help you understand the drivers for change in gross margin % using the same PVM analysis method
  • Operating profit %: Determine whether your company’s operating profit % is increasing or decreasing. This figure is the result of multiple factors in your company’s profit and loss statement. It is a sign of your company’s financial sustainability.
    • Request the help of your finance business partner to interpret – and put into perspective – your company’s operating profit %

Analysis of your company’s financial performance is the last component of your strategy analysis. Next, we will put all the analysis together.

Summarizing your company’s strategic situation

The last step of your strategy analysis is to consolidate and structure the key, most important, and influential facts, factors, and trends into an easily comprehensible overview. Let’s explore the classic Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis model:

  • Strengths: What are the key strengths of your company that make you stand out from the competition?
    • Review your findings in Porter’s five forces analysis as well as your company’s financial performance analysis for input on this
  • Weaknesses: What are the key weaknesses of your company that make you vulnerable to the competition?
    • Review your findings in Porter’s five forces analysis as well as your company’s financial performance analysis for input on this
  • Opportunities: What are the key opportunities present for your company to pursue?
    • Review your PESTLE analysis as well as your market development analysis for input on this
  • Threats: What are the key threats against your company that your company should actively mitigate?
    • Review your PESTLE analysis as well as your market development analysis for input on this

To understand what a SWOT could contain, let’s have look at the SWOT analysis of our scenario company, PME:

  • Strengths:
    • Trusted brand by existing customers
    • Large and experienced manufacturing capabilities to produce superior products versus competition
  • Weaknesses:
    • Company’s financial performance. Top-level revenue growth is slower than the competition – losing market share. PVM’s driver is simply volume
    • Lack of modern system support for a modern commercial organization
    • Declining customer experience and customer satisfaction (CSAT) compared to the competition
  • Opportunities:
    • Turning the service department into a profit center by commercializing service offerings
    • Several sub-segments in various geographies that are currently unserved
  • Threats:
    • Existing and new competitors are rapidly developing new ways to modernize their companies' go-to-market strategies, thus gaining more market shares. The competition is providing customers with automated and personalized marketing communication, seamless omnichannel buying experiences, digital self-service, and predictive maintenance solutions.
    • Some competitors are also leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide advanced predictive and prescriptive insights to enhance their customer’s experience.

Having gathered insights into your company’s strategic position, now it’s time to put the insights to use to create a vision for your Salesforce project.

 

Defining the vision for your Salesforce project

By consolidating your strategy analysis, you should have a good understanding of the potential purposes of your Salesforce project.

To make it crystal clear to yourself, the Salesforce taskforce, and eventually your wider organization, make sure you can explain why now is the right time for your Salesforce project.

Why now?

What is the main reason(s) why the Salesforce project is being considered now?

Common reasons for implementing the Salesforce CRM include the following:

  • Loss of competitive advantage:
    • Competitors are gaining market shares by providing a superior customer experience in the buying process and your current customers are demanding to be better served
      • Your market analysis, competitor analysis, and SWOT should indicate whether this is the main reason
  • Legacy CRM system reasons:
    • A home-grown CRM system is not maintainable/upgradable to support your company’s digital transformation ambitions
      • Your analysis (or your enterprise architect’s analysis) should have uncovered this
    • Legacy CRM system licenses and support expiring: this could either be due to a decision by your company to not continue with the existing CRM system, or it could mean your current provider decided your (on-premises) CRM system is reaching the end of its life
  • No system support:
    • Your company has no CRM system to support your business processes: your business users are using email and spreadsheets to manage their marketing, sales, and customer service operations

For our scenario company, PME, the main reason why now is the right time for the Salesforce project is that the current CRM system is not adequate for the digital transformation ambitions of PME's leadership. In addition to that, several smaller countries are not utilizing the CRM system provided by PME as they find it cumbersome and unsatisfactory, altogether. Instead, they are resorting to emails and spreadsheets, and some have even acquired licenses for other smaller CRM providers and email marketing providers (much to the dismay of the IT team). Finally, customer churn is increasing, CSAT scores are decreasing, and customer service is overwhelmed with customer calls and emails.

Your company may well have other valid reasons for why now is the right time to embark on a new CRM journey. Whatever the reason is, make sure you fully understand it and that your wider stakeholder group is aligned with them.

Having concluded why now is the right time for your Salesforce project, let’s move on to craft the vision for your Salesforce project.

Creating a vision for your Salesforce project

To make sure your vision statement will live up to its purpose, let’s first go through the characteristics of a Salesforce project vision statement.

A vision statement should fit the following criteria:

  • Is a short, single-sentence paragraph
  • Describes the essence and goal of your Salesforce project
  • Should not be technical
  • Should be easy to understand for your stakeholders
  • Is addressing your employees as the audience
  • Should create excitement about the future and the Salesforce project

You and your Salesforce taskforce may make several draft vision statements before settling on the right one.

Tip

Have sessions with your executive sponsor to ensure you get this right.

The Salesforce taskforce at PME has gone through several rounds of information gathering to create a consolidated view of PME’s situation, challenges, and reasons for why now is the right time for their Salesforce project. They have also come to the end of the first main activity in the pre-development phase: they have created a vision for their Salesforce project aligned with their stakeholders:

PME’s Salesforce CRM project will enable us to focus on value-adding, customer-facing activities across marketing, sales, and customer service, which are stimulating to us while delivering delightful experiences for our customers.

Let’s break down the anatomy of PME’s vision statement. Firstly, it makes it clear who the project is intended for, namely employees across marketing, sales, and customer service. It also explicitly states what the project will enable PME to do, that is, to focus on value-adding, customer-facing activities, as opposed to the current state of a cumbersome, manual CRM system. Finally, PME’s vision statement addresses why the project is happening: to stimulate PME employees and delight customers.

With a clear vision for your Salesforce project created, you are ready to move on to the next chapter of your Salesforce journey.

 

Iterating in the pre-development phase

So far, you have been engaging with internal stakeholders of your company to understand it and to create a vision for your Salesforce project. Internal stakeholders are essential when defining a Salesforce project. As mentioned earlier, as you progress through the activities of the pre-development phase, you will likely come back and revise your organizational overview and strategy analysis as you become more knowledgeable and uncover new insights about your company and its environment. You may also find yourself tweaking the vision statement of your Salesforce project, and that’s okay as long as it is not a 180-degree change.

Therefore, be mindful not to set things in stone as ultimate truths and holy decisions. Keep an open mind as you progress through the first iteration of the pre-development phase.

 

Summary

You have come a long way since starting this chapter. You first learned about the phases in the implementation life cycle of Salesforce projects. Next, you were introduced to the key milestones, outcomes, and activities in the pre-development phase of your Salesforce project. Then, you made the effort to understand and describe your company’s situation and imperative for change, enabling you to create a vision for your Salesforce project.

Having established a vision for your Salesforce project – the why – you are ready to move on to the next chapter of your Salesforce implementation, Chapter 2, Defining the Nature of Your Salesforce Project.

About the Author
  • Kristian Margaryan Jørgensen

    Kristian Margaryan Jørgensen is a Salesforce Solution Architect at Waeg, an IBM company, with nearly a decade of combined Salesforce end-user, consultant, and solution architect experience. His experience from both the customer-side and consulting-side of implementations enables him to empathize when advising and challenging enterprise customers on how to plan, orchestrate, and scale their Salesforce implementations with clear focus on usability, scalability, and adoption to succeed in unlocking value from their Salesforce investments. Kristian holds 14 Salesforce certifications including Strategy Designer, Development Lifecycle and Deployment Architect as well as Application Architect, and System Architect. He is a certified SAFe Agilist.

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