How Important is a Salesforce Roadmap?

Salesforce is now officially launched. What’s next?

Do you plan to utilize Salesforce simply as a CRM tool or do you want to impact your business by keeping connected to your customers, streamline processes and improve profitability?

If you answered “yes” to the second question then developing a Salesforce Roadmap will enable your organization to be successful, grow revenue and achieve elevated ROI. The capabilities of Salesforce can actually shorten business processes and further enhance business opportunities. It is critical to recognize where Salesforce can take the organization in the future by navigating the people, process, data and technology “on the road” to success.

A Salesforce Roadmap Allows Organizations To Visualize The Salesforce Journey

Organizations tend to omit a roadmap once Salesforce is launched. Others provide a skeleton of a substandard roadmap resulting in low end-user adoption, lower customer retention, and non-existent revenues. Visualizing the journey with a roadmap will provide your organization the complete technical landscape of all integrated systems. Pertinent details will be provided regarding the need for additional Salesforce configurations and customizations that will ensure that your organization maximizes its Salesforce investment.

The Objective of the Salesforce Roadmap

The Salesforce ecosystem can be overwhelming to many users which results in not taking full advantage of the entire platform capabilities to include the Salesforce AppExchange Store with over 5,000 solutions. Frustrated, most users typically view Salesforce simply as another “tool”. The objective of the roadmap is to provide the organization’s foresight that will allow end-users to realize the significance of Salesforce as well as maximizing the ROI.

By capturing the complete picture, the roadmap will provide your organization with a thorough understanding of the technical landscape and integrated systems. It also considers harmonizing your business requirements with Salesforce features and functions. Salesforce has proven to help companies succeed and stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability making the “analytics to business” processes easier and transparent.

The Salesforce Roadmap Requires:

  • A complete list of the essential business reasons for why you launched Salesforce
  • A detailed integration plan that includes data points and other internal and external systems
  • All reporting and analytical requirements that allows for effective organizational management
  • A specific plan to attain a complete and up to date customer profile 24/7/365

When Should the Salesforce Roadmap be Developed?

The roadmap should be developed early on in the process. Meet with your trusted Salesforce Partner regarding features and capabilities prior to implementation. By identifying solutions your organization requires the roadmap, defined with immediate and long term objectives that will put you on the path to success.

Once you receive the SOW you want to kick-off the project as soon as possible. This could add risks and leads to issues with the implementation. When detailed discovery is omitted, critical analysis can be missed. It is imperative at this stage to be proactive with a trusted consulting partner that shares the organization’s vision by having a complete and detailed discovery session. A quick implementation, without the foresight, results in poor adoption leading to additional costs and modifications.

Who “Owns” the Salesforce Roadmap?

The organization’s Salesforce Executive Project Leadership Team and a trusted Salesforce consulting partner can provide the strategic details for a winning roadmap. Such items include integration plans, timelines, costs, project needs, and technical landscape. The right team will back the roadmap and its ongoing iterations. Don’t think that once Salesforce is rolled-out that the roadmap work stops. The business will experience additional requirements and other priorities as well as a few new Salesforce releases each year.

Once Salesforce is kicked-off, the team needs to continue working towards process improvement and sustained end-user support. Keep in mind, when Salesforce needs to be expanded, you will need to gain buy-in from the top down. A complete and detailed Salesforce Roadmap will assist with that process.

Salesforce Roadmap and the Discovery Session

Conducting the Discovery Session: Make it Clear and Complete

The roadmap must be accepted by all parties involved: senior leaders, end users and trusted consulting partners in order to be successful. It starts with the clear and complete discovery of the organizations’ requirements and gaps in the process to determine the best resolutions for the business problems.

The discovery session will provide a clear and complete picture of the organization’s business processes, opportunities, and assumptions. A trusted Salesforce Partner discovers challenges with end-user adoption and locates inefficiencies that interfere with increasing revenue by getting to the root of these issues. The solutions will resolve all discovered issues and provide positive outcomes.

Documents for Salesforce custom development, integration and 3rd Party Apps that will maximize Salesforce, will be collected at this time. During the discovery session, organizations will quickly learn what is impacting end-user adoption, productivity, customer retention, revenue, and ROI.

Align the business strategy to people and process to maximize revenue and ROI. Lay the discovery session groundwork by clearly stating the problems you want to solve by getting to the root causes. Technology is enhanced by the team and processes working with it. When this is orchestrated correctly, the success that follows is impressive.

The Shortcomings of the Discovery Session

The objective of the discovery session is to create a roadmap and generate excitement for the business. However, it is sometimes overlooked or insufficient. A dynamic partner will fully understand your organization, not theorize, which could direct you to the “wrong road”, wasting a considerable amount of time and money.

It was previously discussed how you want to kick-off Salesforce as soon as possible to begin maximizing revenue and ROI. Completing due diligence first will assist with avoiding technology issues and decreased end-user adoption rates.

The amount of time the discovery session can take is dependent on:

  • The number of gaps in business process
  • The depth and breadth of the gaps
  • The integration requirements

Anything else that can potentially be a showstopper.

Revisiting the Discovery Session: Post Implementation

Keep in mind a thorough discovery session needs to take place prior to the implementation. Revisiting the discovery session post-implementation, with a trusted partner, may be required if Salesforce is not meeting your expectations and/or business needs. Your organization will appreciate the benefits and capabilities of Salesforce sooner as gaps are determined and Salesforce customizations are implemented.

Once in production, return to the roadmap twice a year in order to review end-user adoption, productivity, customer retention, revenue impacts, and ROI in order to achieve the next milestones of the roadmap. At this point, you should speak with a trusted partner regarding customs and apps that can transform business outcomes. It is important to communicate recent opportunities, irregularities and developments to transfer appropriate guidance. Don’t forget, the roadmap is fluid and adjustments can be made as the business transforms. New releases of Salesforce products and apps require roadmap updates ongoing.

Accompanying the Salesforce Roadmap: The System Requirements Document

Building a systems requirements document will assist with the rollout in addition to post-implementation releases. This will contain configurations, business objectives and strategies, additional opportunities and time frames. Organizations should detail all requirements as “nice to have and must have” in order to determine best in class solutions meeting your business objectives, financial allocations, and project plans.

Project failure is often attributed to substandard system requirements. Ensuring the rollout meets or exceeds the organization’s objectives and foresight is determined by the outputs of the system requirements document. This validates the importance of retaining a trusted consulting partner with this process.

Why Do Projects Fail?

  1. The scope of the project not being clearly communicated
  2. Lack of relevant specifics and missing analysis
  3. Failure to communicate
  4. The wrong stakeholders
  5. Unmanageable requirements

Readapting The Strategy of the Salesforce Roadmap

Your organization envisions exactly how Salesforce needs to work. Once an insightful discovery document is communicated, the value that Salesforce allows this to be realized. Through discovery, you can readapt the Salesforce Roadmap. The business can fully anticipate how and when you expand the platform to create added value.

By readapting, the organization is igniting creativity and discovers opportunities to gain an edge over the competition. Why not leverage integration to provide automated invoices and custom workflows? Or develop a contracting app for sales reps that will issue contracts across customers based on prior purchases? Designing, costing and planning needs to be documented to enhance the Salesforce experience.

The Salesforce Roadmap: People, Process, Data, and Technology

When there is a requirement to accomplish business objectives, it is critical that timelines are initiated for support of people, process, data, and technology. Will you need to bring on resources? How much time and effort with it take? Always remember to plan by priority, “nice to have and must have” when thinking about implementation.

As previously mentioned, in order to create an insightful business impact you must maximize Salesforce. Many customers use Salesforce across their business while others simply a CRM tool. Customers that leverage Salesforce across their business consistently writes a comprehensive roadmap. It is still beneficial to develop a roadmap that coordinates technology and business process despite how extensive your implementation might be. With the right roadmap, organizations can consider integration points to areas outside of Salesforce, especially with mid-to-enterprise organizations.

Salesforce integration clarity provides robust roadmap benefits. End-user adoption, inaccurate reporting as a result of missing data, conflicting customer details from multiple databases often results in duplicate and ongoing efforts. If your organization is looking to gain a substantial ROI from Salesforce, integration is critical taking into account the quantity of data, diverse locations, and numerous databases.

The Business Impact Delivered by the Salesforce Roadmap

In order to create an insightful business impact, you must maximize Salesforce. Organizations often battle with multiple software packages and databases companywide, even globally. Today email, Excel and home-grown systems are utilized to conduct daily business activities. This eventually leads to missing data, incorrect reporting, uninformed business decisions, lost business, and revenues.

The Salesforce Roadmap can promote departmental growth across the organization and eliminate duplicate business processes. In order to realize success with Salesforce, it is imperative you have the correct number of people and the right people in these roles. Ongoing, provide the users with the right training and tools so that they perform successfully.

As you can see there are many benefits for creating and maintaining a Salesforce Roadmap. If you want to achieve successful end-user adoption, higher revenues and maximize ROI, a Salesforce Roadmap will provide you with the “right direction”.

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