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Crawl, Walk, Run: A Guide to Salesforce Implementation

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Developing a successful CRM strategy takes thoughtful analysis, a clear timeline, and a dedicated team that is hungry for success. The crawl, walk, run strategy helps you build a simple framework to implement Salesforce education technology, or reevaluate your existing CRM strategy.

Things to consider before implementation

Start by taking a step back and assessing your landscape. Get a clear picture of your resource availability and your team’s knowledge base. Is your team already using Salesforce in some capacity? Are you already working with a partner like Enrollment Rx? Consider how you are currently using your CRM and how you would like it to look in the future.

Identify internal versus external goals. Internal goals involve getting everything into Salesforce, becoming more efficient, and improving your staff’s day-to-day work experience. External goals focus on anything that relates to your target audience. How can the user experience be improved, and what strategies can you employ to encourage them to engage with you more?

CRAWL: How to Get Started With Your CRM

Prioritize: Before you embark on your Salesforce journey, identify your team’s priorities, their pain points, and their wishlist of elements in a new system. Identify any skill or knowledge gaps that need to be addressed before you begin.

Organize: Figure out a simple data model. First, identify all the data that should be living in Salesforce. From there, learn the options for how you can store your data, such as using the Education Data Architecture (EDA).

Prepare the team: Set the stage for non-Salesforce users and prioritize learning essential Salesforce skills. Focus on the basics of the platform such as understanding user management, creating simple reports, and the fundamentals of communication and tracking. Introduce your team to Trailhead, the free online platform for learning Salesforce at any level. Make Trailhead modules a priority and learn hands-on.

Secure: Understand user management and review your organization’s institutional security policies. You may find that you want to reevaluate and make updates to your existing security structure.

Standardize and Strategize: All of your data should now be captured in Salesforce. It’s time to get rid of spreadsheets and start tracking your phone calls and emails with constituents in the place where they belong — your CRM. Determine what views, reports, and dashboards can be created to make your staff’s jobs easier in following up on these communications.

Communicate: Establish a simple communication strategy with your external constituents. Continue to ask what purpose your communications serve. Are you generating and maintaining interest, eliciting a call to action, or merely trying to inform and update?

WALK: How to Evaluate Your Progress

Reassess: Use every anniversary of your go-live to identify how things are running. Do a temperature check on your org. Review your initial “getting started” documents and identify if there are gaps between what you hoped to achieve versus where you are today.

Engage and Track: Utilize different channels of communication for different purposes, such as text messaging, updates within constituent portals, social media, and more. Consider using a communication tool such as Marketing Cloud to build communication plans and track engagement.

Integrate: Define your integration strategy. Is all the necessary information from your CRM moving to your other enterprise systems? Are there more advanced integrations that you wish to implement?

Appreciate and congratulate: Continue to tap into the Salesforce and partner communities. Learn new skills, enforce best practices, and find new tools to help your team succeed. Take time to congratulate and celebrate your milestones along the way.

Run: How to assess and fine-tune your CRM

Focus: Assess your gaps, act on areas of opportunity, and continue to build on what you’ve done. With your team’s growing expertise, are there specific processes that can be improved or automations that can be added?

Certify: Use Trailhead to gain new skills and work toward certifications for your platform, data model, or your industry specifically.

Get the most out of your CRM: Look for additional functionality out of Salesforce and products like Enrollment Rx. Are you using the tools to their fullest? Both Salesforce and Enrollment Rx are constantly upgrading with new features and functionality.

Attend: Salesforce holds many conferences throughout the year including the global user conference, Dreamforce, as well as the upcoming education-specific conference, Education Summit. Also consider attending partner conferences such as Enrollment Rx’s Building on the Best. These events are a great way to network with and learn from your Salesforce peers.

Show them the money: Stockpile your ROI arsenal to show management how your investment is producing results. Don’t forget the intangibles and the quality of life enhancements that may not show up in the data. Consider documenting any positive feedback from your team that is a direct result of your CRM implementation.

Scale: Strategize about whether or not you want to expand the use of Salesforce to other parts of your organization. Can you do this with internal resources or will you need outside help?

Getting started, but never finished

While there is no one-size-fits-all plan for a Salesforce implementation, these tips and best practices are meant to help you create and structure your own crawl, walk, run strategy. Whether you’re at the beginning of your CRM search, or you’re celebrating multiple years on Salesforce, we hope this assists you on your path to a successful CRM implementation.

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