You have decided to upgrade your CRM system, move it to the cloud or implement one for the first time. Your research has indicated that Salesforce has the best reputation and the most robust platform. You believe that you have found the perfect solution, but still, there is a nagging question that keeps popping up: Is Salesforce right for you? A better question would be to ask if you are right for Salesforce.
- Are you willing to commit to your decision? Your users will need at least some training to use Salesforce for their tasks. You will probably need to budget for some custom apps or additional development. Furthermore, it is not all that easy to return to an in-house solution after moving to the cloud. Unless you have an unlimited budget, nothing better to do and a desire to create chaos repeatedly in your organization, you need to make sure that you are willing — and able — to commit to a Salesforce solution.
- Are you willing to turn a deaf ear to unjustified user complaints? No software has ever been deployed that met with universal enthusiasm. There will always be malcontents, employees who see no reason for the change or users who feel that their old method of completing tasks was faster or easier. For example, you might have a sales rep who has always used a word-processing program to submit his activity reports or another rep who complains entering a new lead in Salesforce requires three additional mouse clicks. If you do not insist that they embrace the new solution, the rebellion could spread so wide that almost none of your employees are making the most of the opportunity you have provided them. This is not to imply that you should not address any and all legitimate complaints, just that you may need to force users to adapt.
- Are you moving to the cloud merely because “everyone else is doing it” or do you have a true business need? A cloud-based solution offers scalability, enhanced collaboration, streamlined processes and freedom from costly and time-consuming software upgrades. All of these benefits carry certain (limited) risks, however. Minimizing these risks can require some extra effort on your part. In 2012, for example, a severe storm in the Washington, D.C., area left approximately 1.3 million people without power. Several high-profile sites, including Netflix, Amazon’s East Coast cloud — and, yes, even Salesforce — were brought down by the outage. Ensuring that your business would not suffer if such an outage happened again requires that you make sure that you provide safety features, such as automated failover, data warehouse redundancy or other protections. If you will not receive a return on your investment that justifies the expense — either in tangible or intangible benefits — you might not be ready to embrace the cloud. At the same time, you need to realize that in all probability, you may never be ready to move to the cloud if you keep delaying your decision. It is a little like having a baby — there is no such thing as the “perfect” time, and there will be stressful times, expenses and possibly a few temper tantrums to deal with.
- Can you clearly state what you expect Salesforce to do for you? Salesforce is an amazingly customizable platform, offering a full range of “bells and whistles” for users, and it costs can escalate quickly if you start adding options without justifying their selection. Even if there is no additional expense involved, having too many features can result in a system that is so complex and difficult to use that your employees come to hate it. Initially, you might realize that all you really need are three reports and a contact database. Even thoughSalesforce is much more than a mere contact database, the additional functionality might not be needed, at least at the present time. However, you must be able to define — in detail — what you expect to achieve from a Salesforce implementation so that you can decide which options will give you the most value.
If you are ready to make the move to a cloud-based CRM solution, then Salesforce is probably the right choice for you, right now. Keep in mind that even if you are not yet right for Salesforce, you may be ready in the future — perhaps even sooner than you expect.