How do I set up and get started on Salesforce.com?
It is not unusual for our clients to consider setting up Salesforce.com by themselves. Often the IT department wants to get involved since they typically don’t want to lose control or relevance within their realm. In that scenario, here is a great place to get started: Getting Started with Salesforce CRM.
However, in our experience in doing over 100 of these projects, that it is much better to let a Certified Salesforce Consulting Partner optimize the system and the data structure from the beginning and then hand off the system to the IT department, rather than doing it in the reverse. Without experienced guidance, a new administrator will spend a lot of time getting up to speed on Salesforce.com, and they will find it challenging to set it up with best practices from the beginning. It will likely cost more time and money in the long run to fix their errors. Even worse, the time spent on getting up to speed without guidance may result in lost opportunities and revenue. The primary reason for the existence of a consultant is to shorten the learning curve for the client and provide advice from years of experience with hundreds of companies on how to design and implement optimized business processes using the best available tools.
In a similar vein, there is no requirement for a continuing support arrangement of some kind, however our clients have found that they either never fully realize the intended ROI of Salesforce.com or they run into data and process issues without consulting support, regular maintenance, and ongoing training and coaching (i.e. how to use the system effectively and methodically). These functions can be brought in-house if there is a dedicated staff member that can be dedicated to becoming trained and current on Salesforce.com, knows all of the associated applications and products, and is very experienced with building optimized business processes. With a recurring support plan, a senior-level consultant enables much-improved ROI on a Salesforce.com investment for less than 1/5 the cost of an administrator.
Keep in mind that Salesforce.com is not just a piece of software. It is a tool that if leveraged correctly can remove bottlenecks to growth for business and unlock scalable revenue with less effort. But there are three elements that are required for success with Salesforce.com – People, Process, and Technology. The role of a consultant is to bring all three of those forces together to maximize the ROI for Salesforce.com.
What are the benefits of self-implementing Salesforce.com? Eventually a new administrator will know Salesforce inside-and-out and will (eventually) be able to maintain it professionally. Your time is your most valuable commodity. How do you want to spend your time: Trial and error with your new investment or actually leveraging the power of the most advanced tool that your business will ever encounter to grow your business exponentially?