Salesforce Implementation

Strategies for a Successful Salesforce Implementation

June 5, 2024



Implementing Salesforce can be tricky - according to The Salesforce Hub Blog, around 30-70% of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms fail to meet expectations after initial setup. However, Salesforce offers invaluable tools to help organizations streamline processes and manage relationships. Why, then, do so many implementations fall short?

This is because companies often get lost in Salesforce’s vast range of features and functionality for sales, marketing, customer service, and more. Organizations often want to leverage all the latest tools right away. However, this frequently leads to overcomplicated solutions, low user adoption, and heavy tech debt.

However, with meticulous planning, patience, and sustained commitment to driving adoption, Salesforce can deliver immense value. Keep reading as we help you do this by discussing seven best practices that will help you successfully implement Salesforce in your organization.

What is a Salesforce Implementation?

Salesforce implementation refers to configuring, customizing, and deploying Salesforce to meet an organization's specific business and functional needs. It involves collaboration between the client organization, its stakeholders, and the implementation consultant/partners at each phase of the implementation to guarantee the designed solution and rollout meet the expected business objectives.

The key aspects of a typical Salesforce implementation include:

  • Business Analysis & Requirements Gathering: Determining organizational needs, objectives, processes, data requirements, etc., that will inform and guide the Salesforce setup.
  • Configuration: Setting up Salesforce based on the standard functionality available - for example, configuring security settings, creating objects and fields, building out hierarchies for territories or roles, setting up workflow, and approval processes.
  • Customization: Using tools like Process Builder, Flows, Apex, and Visualforce coding to develop custom apps, components, objects, fields, tabs, logic, and integrations for business scenarios not handled by the standard Salesforce platform.
  • Data Migration: Importing and mapping existing data from legacy systems into Salesforce using appropriate tools and techniques.
  • Integration: Using APIs, connectors, or platforms to build connections and links between Salesforce and other systems like email, calendars, HR, billing, and more.
  • Testing: Validating that the implemented Salesforce solution meets all documented requirements and end-user testing.
  • Training: Educating administrators and end-users on how to use and manage Salesforce through formal training programs.
  • Deployment: The rollout or ‘go live’ event when Salesforce is officially launched and adopted organization-wide.

Why is a Successful Salesforce Implementation Important?

Salesforce offers a suite of products including Sales Cloud for sales force automation, Service Cloud for customer service and support, and Marketing Cloud for marketing automation and engagement. Each item is precisely built to fulfill the unique requirements of each department — sales, customer service and marketing. In fact, a successful Salesforce implementation can result in a 37% average revenue rise and a 44% productivity boost. 

With a successful Salesforce CRM deployment, you can gain a 360-degree view of customer data and actionable insights. These easy-to-digest insights enable you to make informed decisions that lead to business growth.

Furthermore, integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with Salesforce has created new opportunities for productivity. With AI capabilities, you and your team can do more while doing less in less time. 

7 Strategies for Successfully Implementing Salesforce

A successful Salesforce deployment necessitates meticulous preparation, smart execution, and an emphasis on user adoption. Here are seven best practices to follow when implementing Salesforce software in your organization: 

Pre-Implementation Planning

Proper planning and preparation sets the foundation for Salesforce adoption across the organization. Start by thoroughly documenting detailed requirements and existing processes that Salesforce will impact. Assess current systems, infrastructure, and overall data quality, as this will need to migrate or integrate with Salesforce.

Moreover, the project team should define clear goals and key performance indicators that tie back to the core business objectives outlined in the planning phase. It is also essential to secure executive buy-in early to garner support for the necessary budget, resources, and timelines to realize the full vision.

Customization and Configuration

The customization process requires a delicate balance between leveraging out-of-the-box features versus deep platform customizations. Organizations should iterate based on essential use cases rather than exhaustive wish lists, focusing on must-have versus nice-to-have capabilities.

You can also conduct a gap analysis between desired versus standard features and weigh the costs of custom-coding certain functionalities that may become native to the platform in future releases. Build a minimum viable product (MVP) focused on critical workflows and provide room to expand scope after gauging initial adoption.

User Training and Adoption

Driving user adoption relies heavily on properly equipping employees to utilize Salesforce through role-based training programs. Assign departmental admins and champions that become the local Salesforce evangelists and the first level of support. Create customized training manuals, online courses, and tutorials tailored to different lines of business.

Moreover, hands-on access via training sandbox instances ensures comfortability with real-world usage scenarios. Encourage peer coaching forums for advice sharing as users get accustomed to new processes enabled by capabilities they control directly.

Testing and Quality Assurance

Comprehensive testing and Quality Assurance (QA) verifies that the solution performs as designed while meeting the standards for user experience. The QA team develops detailed test scripts spanning various usage scenarios, edge cases, failovers, load testing, etc.

Start by conducting integration testing between Salesforce and touching enterprise systems such as billing, inventory, and human resources information systems (HRIS). Once testing formalities pass service level expectations, plan user acceptance testing cycles to capture final feedback on enhancements required before full solution rollout.

Deployment and Go-Live

The critical deployment phase is when the months of implementation culminate into live production use across the entire employee base. Some prefer a “big bang” strategy with universal turn-on, while others recommend a phased rollout beginning with a smaller pilot group for minimum viable deployment.

This allows testing at scale while reducing risk impact if immediate issues emerge. You should also have dedicated floor walkers available during the initial weeks to assist employees with questions as comfort with the new solution increases over time.

Change Management and Communication

Do not underestimate the importance of change management and communication throughout implementation and beyond go-live. Continuously gather candid feedback from users at all levels and address concerns in a timely fashion. Reiterate benefits realized by various groups as their workflows transform to boost productivity thanks to Salesforce automation.

Moreover, celebrating wins large and small while sharing success stories to reinforce commitment during the transformation journey. This further motivates user adoption in driving outcomes that fulfill the original business case.

Post-Implementation Optimization

Since Salesforce implementation initiatives extend beyond the product itself, you should develop a post-implementation plan that includes the following:

  • Resource center: Fortunately, there is no need to generate instructional materials to obtain knowledge about CRM program usage. You can find everything online, including outstanding knowledge, techniques, and recommendations to improve your team’s customer experience.
  • Performance comparison: Comparing the performance of your Salesforce platform to other organization’s performance provides ideas and insights into how you may improve. You can conduct this analysis through the Salesforce Success Community, access research on the Salesforce website, and ask questions in user groups.
  • Usability test: Users may encounter difficulties interacting with the Salesforce CRM software. So, you should interview them to understand more about their experience. Then, make the necessary changes to make Salesforce solutions as efficient as feasible.
  • Feedback system: Enables users to communicate with people in charge of post-implementation operations. Gaining insights from people frequently using new processes and technology can be extremely beneficial.

With these post-implementation steps, you can ensure that Salesforce becomes a dynamic asset that enhances your team’s efficiency, productivity, and success.


Implementing Salesforce as your CRM system is a strategic decision to dramatically improve customer relationship management. Setting clear goals, understanding and efficiently using data, planning for problems, educating your team, and integrating AI technologies can all help you develop a successful CRM strategy. Remember, however, that personalization, integration, ongoing adaptation, cooperation, and success measurement are critical components of a successful Salesforce installation.


How long does a Salesforce implementation typically take?

Salesforce implementations can take 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the scope, integrations required, and customizations needed. On the other hand, complex systems with various customizations may take a few months.

What are the key factors to consider before starting a Salesforce implementation?

The key factors to consider before implementing Salesforce are determining business requirements and objectives, setting a budget, analyzing existing workflows and processes, assessing data quality and integrity, choosing the right edition and licenses, planning integrations, security considerations, and end-user adoption planning.

How can user training improve Salesforce adoption?

Proper end-user training via sessions, online tutorials, and tip sheets can familiarize users with Salesforce functionality more quickly. Appointing power users across departments can also provide daily support. This improves adoption instead of a lack of knowledge hindering the use of the platform.

What are some best practices for optimizing Salesforce post-implementation?

The best practices for optimizing Salesforce include establishing an admin team for maintenance and upgrades, continuously optimizing workflows, regularly backing up data, enforcing security policies and access controls, creating adoption goals and metrics, surveying users for feedback, and budgeting for ongoing AppExchange add-ons or consulting needs.

How often should organizations update their Salesforce implementation?

Salesforce releases three major updates per year, and organizations should review each release and evaluate relevant new features and capabilities that could optimize their platform. Though full updates depend on scope, every 1-2 years is optimal for significant revamps to align with business or industry changes.

Salesforce Implementation

Benefits of Salesforce Implementation

Sign up for weekly updates

Get blog posts delivered to your inbox