Truth be told, migrating to Salesforce is NOT a piece of cake. It usually means revamping the sales-CRM relationship and making some pretty big changes. At the outset, Salesforce migration will seem like just doing away with the old CRM and deploying a robust system that comes with a promise of driving your business’ growth and revenue goals.  

But, before you can say “Revenue”, you might find yourself knee-deep in trouble. The unfamiliarity with the new tool will remind you of your first day at a new job- unacquainted turf, a stranger to the new processes, and just all-in-all an overwhelming ordeal.

Research shows that 30-60% of CRM projects fail which deteriorates the demand and revenue generation. These dismal numbers might be discouraging and scary. But, that doesn’t mean your migration to Salesforce should fail. Many organizations have escaped these pitfalls by having a strong Salesforce Migration plan.

Getting Started With Salesforce Migration

Migrating to Salesforce isn’t an “implement and we’re done” process. For such a project to work, your salespeople need to realize the complete potential of Salesforce.

80% of high-performing sales teams rely on training to help them perform better. Why?

Exhaustive training of the platform empowers the sales teams to understand how to use it, ultimately leading to successful Salesforce adoption within your organization.

The purpose of this guide is to take you through all the right steps of a Salesforce Migration roadmap including pre-implementation processes, sanity checks along the way, implementation plan, going live with Salesforce, training programs, and measuring the implementation results.

Let’s get started!

Build An Effective Salesforce Migration Plan

Here’s how you can create an effective Salesforce migration plan

1. Identify your organization’s goals

Every successful Salesforce migration needs a clear vision of what your organization as a whole wants to achieve from the new system. This means involving your sales, marketing, and customer success teams before you even begin with the migration to create a collated set of goals. Salesforce should be able to support the way your organization works, markets, and sells. So, start with the big picture.

  • Chalk out the expectations of the organization as a whole and map out a plan for how you’re going to make it happen with Salesforce.
  • There will be several reasons you decided to ditch your previous CRM. What are those reasons? List down the pain points that you are trying to solve and the processes are you trying to improve.
  • Get down to the team-specific pain points and goals. The different teams involved will definitely have different answers to these questions. For instance, sales managers want better visibility into their sales reps’ activities so they can track the status of all the deals in one place, while sales reps want a platform with better visibility and management of sales cycle, help in easy collaboration, and give easy access to sales materials. On the other hand, a customer success manager will want a 360-degree view of all cases, record every customer interaction, and ultimately resolve the tickets faster.
  • Make sure to get inputs from a cross-section of all the stakeholders from your executives to team leads and consider what each group typically cares about most. It helps to break down the Salesforce Migration journey into smaller manageable steps.
  • Early “wins” are essential! So, start easy and then build up your Salesforce slowly.

2. Setting up your team

You need to build a team to help you drive the Salesforce migration in your organization. Especially in such projects, there will be multiple departments involved, each with a different set of priorities to focus on.

Your team or internal champions are those who will be able to drive the salesforce migration in their respective departments parallelly.
While building your team, here are a few key roles that you must have:

  • Executive Sponsor

The entire Salesforce migration project gets a lot easier when you have someone at the top who is both using and advocating the CRM strongly.

The support and alignment from an executive help foster interest and support the Salesforce migration will help you overcome any cross-departmental hurdles.
Make sure that this person leads by example and is visible throughout the project to the entire organization.

  • Dedicated Project owner

This person will be spearheading the migration process. To do that, he/she should know your organization’s sales processes and expectations from Salesforce in and out. The project owner needs to have an in-depth knowledge of how the teams think and work so that he/she has all the information to aid, support, and train the teams during the migration.

  • Administrators

The Admins will know all the CRM processes in and out and will be managing Salesforce every day, post-implementation. Your organization’s go-to guy for all questions about Salesforce.

  • Power Users

Your salespeople might already be excited to move to Salesforce. Identify different user groups in your organization, could be a sales rep, a field agent, sales managers, etc. Get into their shoes and figure out how they work and what they need. These conversations will help you build your “power users” who will be your first group on Salesforce when you finally roll it out.
Essentially, the poster boy/girl for Salesforce usage so you can say “When John started using Salesforce, his productivity tripled!”

3. Define Your Sales Process

One of the biggest possible pitfalls during the Salesforce migration process is that organizations typically try to replicate their previous CRM system into Salesforce – “How did we do things before?” the answer to which is usually a tool-centric one. The whole point of migrating from your old CRM tool is to improve the way you work.

Every organization has its own unique sales process. The way an eCommerce company works out its sales process monumentally differs from say a healthcare company or a retail company with field agents. It’s not just about the nomenclature, but mainly about the sales activities and workflows.

Your sales process is a series of steps involving several activities like prospecting, understanding customer requirements, sales forecasts, and sales methodologies aimed at achieving your sales objectives. Defining a concrete sales process specific to Salesforce plays a vital role when you actually step into the world of customizations during your migration process. Only when you define your sales process, you can customize your Salesforce for fields, objects, sales stages, page layouts, reports, dashboards, and more.

Let’s say, your sales team is used to a basic view where all you see is your sales pipeline. But, in Salesforce, the Sales Console can be a complex layout with a split view where sales reps can see their workspace, their go-to Objects and features (like campaigns, tasks, reports), work on multiple records, and more at the same time. This can be quite overwhelming- like being dropped in the middle of an ocean not knowing what to do, where, and how to wade through it.

There will be a spectrum of such changes end-users will face once they start using Salesforce. So, communicating all the current processes in the Salesforce jargon prior to the migration to the teams will give them an understanding of how everything fits together in Salesforce.

Salesforce Adoption

4. Data Migration

Data migration is a crucial step for successful Salesforce implementation. In the US alone, bad data costs businesses more than $611 billion each year. It’s not the couch cushions that are hiding your money, it’s dirty data.

Regardless of where your data is coming from, it requires careful planning and testing. Clean data has a direct impact on your revenue and conversions. Research shows that 66% of the organizations with clean data saw a boost in their revenue. So, this Salesforce migration project is an excellent opportunity for you to clean up your data and get ahead of the competition.

  • Even though moving your data into Salesforce is one of the last steps, it helps to get started on this early. You can begin by cleaning up your data so you can identify and restructure it ahead of time.
  • Data migration in Salesforce is going to take a big chunk of your time and resources. So, make sure that you have established maximum data accuracy at the end of this project.
  • Look into the structure of your existing data to know how it’ll reflect in Salesforce. With this information, you can figure out if you need to create or modify objects, data fields, validations, and workflows on Salesforce.
  • Test the migration in a sandbox environment to verify the results. This will put you in a better position to resolve any issues that might creep up when you go live with it. Once you’re live, you’ll want to double-check your data to make sure everything is working the way it should.

Check out these data migration apps like JitterbitCloudingoImport2 and more that are available on AppExchange.

5. Sanity Checks

Consider the entire Salesforce migration process as a boxing match. You need to train yourself to handle whatever punch, uppercut, jab, and hook that may come your way.  

Salesforce migration problems that will come your way can be because of the absence of clear goals, lack of end-user involvement, dirty data, overlooking end-user training, and adoption issues. Here’s where you do sanity checks for everything we’ve talked about till now to ensure your plan hasn’t skipped anything because the next step is getting right into the meat of Salesforce migration.  

6. Rollout Plan

Salesforce is that it’s designed to be customized to meet your sales team’s needs. The platform itself offers a gamut of customization options and you also have access to the massive ecosystem of Salesforce extensions on AppExchange. So, figuring out your rollout plan can be as difficult as ordering from a 10-page restaurant menu!

By the time you are at the rollout plan stage, you’d have listed everything that you need from Salesforce and everything you need to do before you go live. Depending on the size of your user base and the complexities of the migration, you can decide if you want to go with a phased rollout or the all-in org-wide rollout.

A phased rollout is advantageous in helping you learn and fine-tune your Salesforce migration.

When you run a pilot and conduct user acceptance testing, you can gather feedback from your users and solidify your Salesforce migration plan before going all-in. Moreover, a phased approach can give you the benefit of getting some productivity out of all the hours, resources, and money spent on Salesforce. Once you have one set of users working well with Salesforce and all the data, fields, and customizations are running the way you hoped it would, it’ll make it easier to implement it for the other teams.

With an org-wide rollout, your entire organization is pushed into Salesforce at the same time. While this may seem easy because you’re getting done with the Salesforce migration process in one go, it might feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Managing, training, and supporting multiple teams can be quite a task. So, a phased rollout (especially for large organizations) can be more beneficial.

7. Measure The Success

At the end of the day, your CRM tool of choice should be useful to the end-users. Each team cares about different pain points and metrics. Map these pain points and measure the improvements in these areas, like growth in lead conversion rate, reduction in opportunities with no follow-up tasks etc. 

8. Salesforce Adoption

The D-Day has arrived and your organization is now on Salesforce! Hurray, you did it! The Salesforce Migration is complete.

Or has it? Yes…and no.

Organizations tend to focus all their energy and resources on the migration process that preparing for post-migration takes a back seat. It’s not your fault! There was a lot going on in the planning and executing the migration.

However, once Salesforce is live and your entire user base starts doing their tasks, a lot more can happen. Your team might even be a bunch of super excited users who just can’t wait to get started on Salesforce. But, there is a humongous difference between knowing what Salesforce is for and actually using it. Until your users are logging in and performing their daily tasks on Salesforce, they won’t know how exactly to use it. Support queries will start flowing in, productivity takes a hit, resistance to the big bad wolf of change, and adoption woes begin.

In fact, user adoption is one of the biggest problems of Salesforce usage.

“The number one adoption issue is: ‘I don’t know the system.’ It’s like giving your keys to a 10 year old.” says Micaiah Filkins, President & Co-founder, Force by Design.

So, what is the solution? A strong training plan.

  • You can get your users started on Trailhead even before you actually go live so that they are familiar with the look and feel as well as the jargon of Salesforce.
  • Create a communication strategy with weekly drip campaigns highlighting features most relevant to specific teams. Include use cases that show how these features are going to help them be more productive.
  • Build a repository of resources to help your end-users understand the platform better. You can use training tools to create quick GIFs, videos, and slideshows. There are Salesforce Integrations for Sales teams, Salesforce Integrations for Service teams, and Salesforce Tools to help boost end-user productivity.
  • Explore the Salesforce Trailblazer Community. There are Featured Groups, Questions, Chatter feed, and help documents that are a goldmine for everything Salesforce. You can find users and Salesforce influencers from all over the world discussing various Salesforce topics on the Community.

Developing Salesforce skills requires a lot of practice. It’s difficult to learn it by a “hear and do” method. One of the most effective ways to learn Salesforce is by practicing in its live environment i.e, in real-time, via the “learn by doing ” methodology.

Whatfix is one of the popular digital adoption platforms that help businesses in streamlining user adoption on Salesforce and other Enterprise platforms. Whatfix’s in-app guidance system has real-time interactive walkthroughs at its core which helps in onboarding, training, and providing contextual support to your users. They can navigate the live environment of Salesforce to learn and perform tasks in real-time. Users will be guided from the start to finish until successful completion of the task at hand.
Whatfix Salesforce Migration
These walkthroughs are auto-converted into multiple formats like videos, PDFs, slideshows, articles, and smart URLs. You can download and share these with your users. It’s like two birds, one stone situation where you’re creating training content once but it can be repurposed as training manuals and videos.

Let’s get this show on the road!

Congratulations! You now have everything in place to get started on your Salesforce Migration project. With proper planning and preparation, you’re definitely going to have a great show. Here’s a quick roundup –

A successful Salesforce migration plan starts at educating your entire organization on what Salesforce can do for each team.

  • Creating a clear roadmap.
  • Establishing a team to see the project through.
  • Ensuring that data is not left behind.
  • Constantly measuring the success of Salesforce.
  • Creating an effective Salesforce adoption strategy.

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