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How to align your Salesforce solution to your business case



When deciding to rollout Salesforce, you probably went through the typical business case or business planning process.  This included looking at factors like the political, economic, financial and social ramifications of the move to a cloud platform with incredible capabilities to transform your business.  That said, when you’ve reached the final rollout, how closely aligned is your vision and the supporting details to the finished product?  The below four points attempt to demystify some of the peculiar differences we often find between a company’s business case for change, their vision for Salesforce and what is ultimately achieved.

Understanding the Value Drivers

Initially when looking at your business case you will have covered the four main value drivers for change:

  • Political – what is the vision and overwhelming need for change and how long will the effort take to create this necessary change?
  • Economic – what are the key performance indicators that need to be achieved or the monetary drivers for change?
  • Financial – what is the budget to achieve this change and what is the structure around the budget (i.e. how the budget can be spent)?
  • Social – what is the plan for ensuring successful user adoption and adaptation to new working practices?

Achieving Success with Salesforce

Having covered these areas in sufficient enough detail to give your project the best chance to succeed and match your vision, Salesforce implementations can still fall short.  The following areas have the highest potential for project success or failure, so here are four ways to set your Salesforce project up for success:

  • Aligning with a vision – implementing Salesforce requires a keen vision for the future, regardless of the solution (Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, etc.) and whether it is a new implementation or a migration from another platform. That vision needs to be actively communicated to the entire project team.  The team needs to understand their role in the success of that vision and how business value will be derived.
  • Staying on budget – knowing projects can go over budget for many reasons, should allow you to track back to a reasonable financial case for change with awareness on all parts of the team. When reasonable budgets are provided with staff who understand their role in fulfilling those budgets, cost overruns are less likely.
  • Achieving measurable results – setting goals that everyone can feel that they are helping to attain is important for achieving success with Salesforce. Metrics including user adoption rates, increases in leads, or decreases in cases are all quick measures of success throughout the first year of an effective Salesforce implementation.
  • Planning for success – Planning early regardless of a pure waterfall or agile approach (or something in between) will ensure you have achieved the desired outcomes. Unlike other systems, Salesforce implementations can go quickly with benefits driven early, so project managers need to plan for this while being ready for any normal changes in timeline due to external factors (e.g. system integrations, data migration, etc.)

The key piece of advice to take away is to bring your team in early, including your consulting team who are implementing or advising on the solution, and share the business case or business planning that was agreed.  Salesforce projects should be approached with the same rigor as any other major IT or building project, even if the outcomes are quicker and potentially greater.  Getting the team involved early allows clear buy-in and will help you align your vision with the future business outcomes.

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Marc Pulverman

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