Successful Salesforce® Optimization Starts with Discovery and Planning
The best chefs in the world know a great meal starts with mise en place. It’s a French term for having all of your ingredients prepped and your equipment at hand. The same is true when undergoing a Salesforce data migration, org migration, or app integration.
No matter how complex your Salesforce optimization project is, it’s crucial to understand what you need for a successful initiative first. What kind of a business outcome are you looking to achieve? Is your goal to increase sales, reduce costs, improve profitability, or are your business outcomes more qualitative? For example, do your goals include improving usability, adoption, or performance in Salesforce?
Once you begin analyzing and planning your project, you’ll gain a better understanding of your project “recipe”—the project plan and milestones. After the business outcomes are known, and you have a project sponsor to communicate the businesses transformational needs onboard, you’re ready to begin the discovery phase.
Running a discovery process for a Salesforce improvement project requires a commitment to planning things before you know exactly what all the problems are or how to solve them. With each session, you learn more about what you know or don’t know. During this process, the scope of the project expands or contracts based on your understanding of what work you can achieve now vs what can be done later.
Oftentimes, project scope needs to increase not just for what’s going to be implemented or changed, but for a requirements analysis to be conducted. While this may seem counterintuitive and a waste of time until you actually build working software, the most important step in the discovery process is ensuring that work aligns with the project outcomes. Part of this is making sure you have the right people involved and that they have a shared understanding of the project’s scope.
Research shows that the number one failure point of technology projects is poorly understood or misunderstood business and software requirements. Since an org, data, or app integration project is more or less just another type of technology project, it’s critical that you don’t de-emphasize or shortcut a discovery process. Doing so is like printing a recipe and then diving into cooking without reading it or taking inventory of what ingredients you have on hand.
There’s a Famous Saying that Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail
In the world of Salesforce, planning means assessing the current state of the org, its data model, security, and overall readiness to undergo a major change. It also means drilling deep into how your org needs to be upgraded to achieve business outcomes or address business pain points. At the end of the discovery process, you’ll be in a position to say that your org is ready for change. Then it’s time for the work to begin—whether that means migrating data, app functionality, or integration with third party systems.
Let's say you’re doing a data migration project. During discovery you learned that you have data in multiple locations. So before you start to migrate this data, it will likely need to be refined, whether it’s in Salesforce or Excel, then made accurate across the board. You can’t load bad data into Salesforce, and if you have no other way around that, you need to account for a way of cleaning it up operationally.
Refining your data usually means making sure that your data field type and sizes are standardized and mapped between the source systems and a target system. Further refinement is also needed once it’s loaded into Salesforce. Ultimately, this may mean lots of staged changes for new fields, changed fields, and inevitably, pretty extensive Salesforce configuration, change control, and change management.
After your team properly configures your Salesforce environment and loads the data, you’re ready to extend your Salesforce platform and leverage that new data with enhancements. For example, we often find that clients want to implement various analytics and alerts embedded within Salesforce based on their newly migrated data.
Low inventory notifications, big order/deal alerts, quote approval reminders, real-time tracking dashboards, and rollup fields are common enhancements that can take your Salesforce adoption to the next level. Doing data and org migrations can be very tricky, so it may be best to find a knowledgeable Salesforce SI partner that has the development chops to deliver. The benefit is that they’ll know the questions to ask, know what has worked in the past, and have templates and knowledge to avoid rework.
Following are examples of enhancements we’ve designed and implemented to help clients optimize their Salesforce orgs.
Automatically Creating and Syncing Order Details with an Opportunity Use Case
If you’re delivering orders to your customers, you’ll need functionality in Salesforce to create an order from an Opportunity. While there are many ways to do this with clicks and not code, in some situations the requirements for order automation and orchestration far exceed most of the recommended declarative solutions on the platform. As a result, we developed a templated solution that allows our clients to easily create orders from a button in Salesforce on the Opportunity.
- Create the order, if it did not exist, therefore avoiding unnecessary deduplication
- Validating and ensuring that Opportunity line items have the correct price book and other specific information needed
- Given a field mapping between Opportunity and Order, update the order if a field on the opportunity changed
The templated solution is a huge time-saver. “Now all the client needs to do is click a "Sync To Order" button to initiate this process, saving their users tons of time,” explains Mitchell Machor of Passage Technology’s Development Services.
Our development services team also created command centers for employees consisting of a variety of analytics components. The command center allows them to see their information in a client and industry specific way that was not possible with Salesforce out of the box reports and dashboards.
“This is one of the most common extension use cases in Salesforce,” explains Jerry Reid, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Passage Technology. “We help our clients with what has to happen post deal closing, since once the sales rep brings a deal across the finish line is when the work is just beginning.”
Reid explains, “You have limited time to make a great first impression with your client to show them how organized and ready you are at fulfilling their needs. Having end-users clicking around in Salesforce to keep data in sync or creating records manually, doesn’t help get work done and wastes time.”
Internal Sales Process Integration Use Case
When the British energy company, nPower, began using Salesforce, their initial implementation was to transition their Desk Sales and Field Sales teams from Excel and Access Database software to a configurable CRM cloud-based system.
They needed one project management solution across multiple work streams to manage the integration of all internal sales processes, so our team helped them by implementing our project management platform, Milestones PM+.
“Milestones PM+ has really helped us to apply structure and rigor to our Salesforce development processes,” said Wayne Brooks. “Due to Milestones configurability, we have been able to take a controlled, iterative approach to improving program governance that has allowed us to develop our project management processes as we grow in output—without loss of performance or quality.”
Let’s Explore Your Needs
Planning a Salesforce data migration, org migration, enhancement, or back office app integration project? We’re ready to earn your trust and help deliver on your vision quickly and with scale and performance. The first step to engage us is to set up a free 30-minute consultation. This allows us to gain insight into your project vision and business outcomes, so you can achieve customer delivery success.
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