Local, Regional or Global: Salesforce Org Rollout Strategies

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When it comes to implementing Salesforce, don't aim to make one big splash. Instead, ride some waves.

When it comes to implementing Salesforce, don’t aim to make one big splash. Instead, ride some waves.

What’s the best way to deploy Salesforce, in terms of territories, regions, and business units? I get that question quite a bit from organizations that are investigating–or ready–to adopt the CRM software.

First: Count Orgs

The first question you should ask, however, is often overlooked: How many Salesforce instances will you need? Because, much like building a website, with Salesforce you’ll have an instance–or in salesforce.com-speak, an “org”–that offers a sandbox (for development, testing, training), as well as your production (live) environment. So the question is, should you have one org, or multiple orgs for different business units?

Here are the pros and cons of each approach:

Default: Single Org

In general, using a single org will deliver more advantages (and almost every small organization should simply select this approach). Because there’s a clear, global definition of processes, for example, management can see everything at a glance, making it easy to report on data, connect the entire enterprise using Chatter, align marketing, sales, and service processes across the company, and target rapid growth.

One drawback to this approach, however, is that it can take longer to implement any custom Salesforce changes.

Optional: Multiple Orgs

Alternately, a business can use multiple Salesforce orgs for different business units or countries. This approach offers greater flexibility, especially if different business groups handle customers or contacts in very different ways.

But managing multiple organizations begs logistical questions: who will own and govern the different instances, manage training (with Salesforce pushing three updates per year), and handle additional users or requests for functionality? Meaning, will IT or the business handle these requirements, or will you train a help desk? New processes will have to be put in place. Also consider that it’s much easier to split one org into multiple orgs later, if required, than it is to consolidate multiple orgs into one.

Org Strategy: How To Choose

Answer the “which org strategy is best?” question by listing the pros and cons of each, for your particular organization. For example, one of Cloud Sherpas’ customers, a medical device manufacturer with operations in numerous countries, uses nearly identical business processes in every country. Accordingly, a single Salesforce org for its entire business made the most sense.

But a different Innoveer customer–a global manufacturer with multiple business units–opted for a multi-org approach. That’s because while its different business units approach selling in the same manner, using sales stages, what each group does to advance a deal at any given point in these stages is vastly different, because each business group offers markedly different products and services, and they don’t need to cross-communicate. What’s important is communication and consistency within each business group. To best support these requirements, the business opted to implement multiple Salesforce orgs.

Ready To Implement?

Once you’ve selected your org strategy, decide which territories, business groups, and regions should see Salesforce first. For an optimal approach, weigh the importance of your business units, employees’ CRM savvy, as well as their willingness to adopt new technology. With that in mind, pursue each or every org implementation in three waves:

1. Start With Willing Adopters

One of the most important accomplishments of your initial project rollout will be to build enthusiasm and excitement for the new software, to sweep up new users in subsequent implementation phases. The reason is simple: you can implement any software you want, but if users don’t adopt it en masse, your project may be dead in the water.

Working backwards, then, start by catering to your power users. If you already use CRM software in-house, you’ll know who they are. Otherwise, look to people–or specific sales managers and their direct reports–who have the tech-savvy and wherewithal to want to adopt the new platform, and to make it an integral part of how they do business.

Expect learning curves and potential hiccups. That’s why it’s best to start with power users, who will have a high level of tolerance for any challenges encountered, willingly help you smooth rough edges, and more often than not, subsequently serve as evangelists for the new software.

2. Target Business-Critical Groups

In the second wave of implementation, target your most important business groups. They may–or may not–be CRM experts already. Sell these users using round-one success stories: How sales teams are selling more in less time, how a self-service knowledgebase has made the calls that come into service less frequent and more interesting, and how marketing can see the real effect of campaigns on sales. Capitalizing on the success of the first round will build excitement, and that’s infectious.

Why not target your most important business groups in round one? Because you’re changing business processes, and even if the project goes perfectly, you’ll still have to get users to adopt–and learn–these new processes. Accordingly, it makes good business sense to not begin with sales teams that are already bringing in the biggest bucks.

3. Add Less CRM-Important Groups

For the third wave, target your less important territories, regions, and business units. Building on the excitement of earlier project waves, you can rapidly bring these groups into your Salesforce program. In every implementation wave, including the last, keep selling users on how the new software will make their jobs easier to accomplish in less time, thus increasing their efficiency and productivity.

Remember: Selling CRM requires give (making employees’ lives easier) as well as take (supporting management desires). Sell at the start, and keep selling, to help your Salesforce rollout succeed.

Learn More

Want to build a more effective CRM program? Then identify the next, best step for your marketing, sales or service program, by benchmarking your current program against the best practices we’ve assembled through our experience with more than 5,000 CRM projects. Once you’ve identified what to improve, then find the best tools and technology for the job.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Mike Baird.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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