Implementing Salesforce: Do it RIGHT the First Time

Written by: Saurajit Kanungo, President, CG Infinity Inc.

Many people in my/our network already know that for the last two years, CG Infinity has increased the focus on our Salesforce practice.  It has been a fun and rewarding journey so far, but it also feels like we are just getting started.  I can brag about how we have close to 100 certifications that our employees have raked in.  We have close to 10 Rangers, two Salesforce Technical Architects, so on and so forth.  But I want to talk about a distinct trend I am noticing.

Out of the 50+ projects we have completed in the last two years, over two-thirds of them have been re-implementation projects.  We have made it a good business to always get a project rescue call either from our customers.  It is good business for us because our engagements are typically 20-30% larger because of two things;

  • We must undo a portion of what has been done incorrectly
  • We will then implement Salesforce the right way

The popular picture below shows very well the emotional and financial roller coaster our customers are going through this drawn-out implementation.

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  • The question that comes to my mind is, what are the reasons behind why such a high percentage of Salesforce implementations are not going right?  
  • Does the problem lie with the Salesforce platform?  

Let me start with answering the second question first.  The Salesforce platform is the most powerful and flexible platform for businesses to retain and attract customers.  We feel proud to promote this platform in our network. So, the problem DOES NOT lie with the platform.  We see three main reasons why customers have to reimplement Salesforce;

1.     Sales staff are not using the tool

2.     Customer service staff still has to log in to many systems to serve the customer

3.     Lead generation, customer acquisition, and customer service processes are fragmented

I am not suggesting that CG Infinity has a magic wand.  One of the core beliefs that helps us in this process is to “think simple”.  It’s probably counterintuitive, but someone wiser said it right “it is simple to be difficult but difficult to be simple.”  We leverage this philosophy to drive the vision, plan, and outcome of every Salesforce implementation.  We take long-term, multi-month goals and break them down to either bi-weekly or monthly short-term goals, tying the output of every bite-size chunk into tangible business outcomes.