Whether you have invested in Sales Cloud because you are upgrading your current method of tracking sales or because you need to scale up from a non-cloud version of sales tracking, you want to make sure your project is a success. This drive for success will ensure better returns on investment, better future decision making, and a more devoted workforce who can achieve immediate benefits from Salesforce. In this blog we will look at the key features of a great Sales Cloud project utilizing a Wagile or Waterfall approach (although many of these themes are good for those using an Agile methodology as well). Specifically we will look at the typical IT project stages and explain why these stages are directly relevant to Sales Cloud and how the benefits of the stage can be maximized.
Plan a Tight Discovery and Design with Confidence
At the start of every Salesforce project there needs to be a discovery process which leads the key stakeholders through every aspect of the solution. This process should include a set of questions based on “user stories”. User stories should explain requirements the team has for Sales Cloud based on a “day in the life” scenario. This allows the project team to understand the current processes and begin planning for future ones.
Whatever size your company is, you should plan for the discovery to be done quickly but to be as exhaustive as possible. A good rule of thumb is:
- Small size, not complex – 1 day
- Medium size, not complex – 3 days
- Medium size, complex – 5 days
- Large size, complex – 5-10 days
The duration for the larger, complex project is based on whether there are specific geographies at play and whether there are currently different sales processes across the business verticals.
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Once a discovery is completed, the team should be able to start on the design immediately. This design should be confidently created, as the team will have a clear picture of the requirements and have good understanding of the future processes.
Iterate the Build to Gain Buy-in and Test the Solution
When implementing Sales Cloud, the build portion should be done iteratively, in conjunction with your sales staff. This iterative process will create trust and support amongst the sales staff, by taking them through each part of the solution and improving it based on their specific suggestions.
Once you have built your solution through iterations, it is time to perform system testing and user acceptance testing. Both system tests and UAT are essential for a Sales Cloud, especially one with large complexity, as there may be integrations to back office ERP systems or to service desk systems (even if Salesforce Service Cloud is used). The testing will ensure that when your sales team is ready to take on the solution that it works and gets senior executives the level of reporting they need to manage the business.
Ready Your Sales Team
One element that can often be missed in a Sales Cloud project is in the change management of the final deployment. Since it is a cloud-based system, Salesforce comes with a wealth of advantages for your sales team. However there can be roadblocks interfering with a team’s success if they aren’t identified early. Potential roadblocks include:
- Lack of familiarity with cloud-based technologies –sales staff may not be regular users of emerging technology solutions, and may struggle to acquiesce to new tools.
- Exposing pipelines or contacts to the wider group – sales staff are often reticent about sharing their opportunities or contacts outside of their vertical group if they haven’t had to do so in the past.
- Lack of confidence with new processes – sales staff can be notoriously difficult to adopt a new process, even those that will benefit their future earnings.
Getting you sales team ready for the Sales Cloud means you need to coordinate the communications and make sure the messages are consistent and clear. Consider the following:
- Send an email heads-up with specific advice to sales staff at least 2 months before go live
- Have a training schedule that includes both group training and follow-up individual training
- Use consistent reports and dashboards so that teams who are pursuing new business know immediately what is expected of them and how they are being monitored
- Commit to gathering feedback and implementing continuous improvement so teams know their ideas and enhancements are being considered
When considering your next Sales Cloud project you should consider these crucial steps. Make sure you are focused on getting the right details from the team and designing a solution that matches your future process. From there you need to iterate your build and get buy-in through testing. And lastly, you need to communicate the future changes so your teams are ready for success.
 More information on different methodologies can be found in our white paper, “Waterfall, Agile, or “Wagile” for Salesforce Implementations?”