This is the moment you have been planning and thinking about for the past 12/24/36 months. Your organization has finally made a decision and pulled the trigger. You chose Salesforce, signed with an awesome implementation partner who can translate your needs into technology, and you are extremely excited to get started. Wait… are you ready to start your Salesforce implementation? 

From my experience at Cloud for Good, many organizations want to start the implementation immediately after they chose their partner. Everyone wants to get up and running on the new system as soon as possible.

One of the best investments you can make in your Salesforce implementation success is to have a clear plan to:

  • Communicate with everyone
  • Do things in the right order
  • Identify key resources
  • Keep a clear end date in mind. 

To make sure that you and your organization are ready, you should review and answer the questions below.

1. Do you have an executive sponsor?

The executive sponsor lends his or her influence to the project by becoming its champion. Having that person’s full support and participation—from the planning stage until the go-live date and beyond—is absolutely critical.

2. Who will be the project manager?

The project manager (PM) will own the implementation process and will guide the project to successful completion. S/he should be a person who understands the relevant business process and can effectively communicate with both the implementation partner and the rest of the organization. The PM needs to have an authority, whether explicit or through influence to marshal resources. We’ve all run into situations where the project manager is committed and talented, but cannot influence the rest of the organization. This person should have at least 30% of their time available for the implementation.

3. Do you have a plan for managing the database after the implementation is over?

Who will be your system administrator? (Read this post to learn about the qualities of a good system administrator) Do you have a support package in place?

4. What is your timeline?

You should have answers for the below questions:

  • Project Start Date:_________________
  • Estimated Database Switch:________________
  • Database Go Live Date:_________________

5. Do you or other key users have any vacation, planned time off, or big events over the next few months?

6. Are you currently in the process of a major organizational transformation?

If your business processes are in flux, the implementation will reflect what was and partially of what may be. Our advice is to do a CRM implementation in a place of relative organizational stability; otherwise the risk is to use the implementation as a crutch rather than an enhancement.

7. Who should be involved?

First step: discovery. During the discovery phase your consultant will need to talk with key staff users within your organization to better understand your needs, business processes, and expectations from your new system. Who should be involved from your organization?

  • Remember, one of the best ways to get people on board is to get them involved.
  • The project manager should be involved in as many discovery conversations as possible.

8. Did you review the Scope of Work for the project one more time to make sure that everything is clear?

Careful preparation and planning will help make the remaining steps in implementing Salesforce go smoothly. Let’s get it started.

tal Salesforce MVPTal Frankfurt is the Founder and CEO of Cloud for Good and a certified Salesforce consultant and administrator.  He's also a Salesforce MVP and the leader of the Memphis nonprofit user group. Prior to his involvement with Salesforce, Tal was the director of resource development for a nonprofit organization that worked with at-risk immigrant youth. He was looking for tools to better manage his donors, participants, and volunteers. It was through this experience that Tal learned about Salesforce. The adoption of Salesforce into his everyday work was what sparked the inception of Cloud for Good, a Salesforce implementation partner working primarily with nonprofit and educational institutions to create and implement strategic solutions based on cloud technology.