You might have heard about Salesforce and are thinking about your business or nonprofit making the big move to the platform. You’ve decided you want Salesforce. That’s great. However, what do you want out of it? That’s the most important question you should have going into the evaluation process.
Salesforce is way more than a customer relationship management (CRM) system nowadays. It’s not just for managing all aspects of the sales process. It can also provide you with a platform for marketing, customer support, e-commerce. In fact, we’d be willing to wager that for almost everything your organization does technologically, Salesforce can play a role, if not provide everything you need.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
What do I want to do with it? As Istated above, Salesforce does a LOT of things. Research salesforce.com and see which of those many functions would enhance your operations. Imagine the information you and other employees would love to access on demand, or in reports each day. What would improve operations? Make a definitive wish list, and keep adding to it! Salesforce can likely make it all happen!
Who will use it? In many cases, everyone in an organization can take advantage of the power of Salesforce. Start thinking about who needs access to what information. This is a worthwhile exercise, because if you implement, you’ll want to define “user role” profiles that dictate what data each category of person can enter, edit and view on the system.
What state is your data in? One of the many cool aspects of Salesforce is that it can hold (and relate) all, or almost all, of the data your organization has collected over the years. Where is that data stored? How “clean” (free of errors and formatted in a standard, consistent way) is it? If you’re moving to Salesforce, you’re not going to want to move those errors to it along with your more accurate data.
What data do you want to collect, and what do you want to name each data field? Put together a list of every last bit of data you want to collect from customers, donors, prospects, partners, vendors. Then associate each of those data points with a field name you’d like to see on your screen. Salesforce comes with many standard fields, such as First Name, Last Name, etc., but you’ll likely need many custom fields that apply specifically to your organization. Again, make a list and check it twice. The cool thing is, after implementation, you can keep adding fields as your needs evolve over time.
Now, call a developer. I have implemented Salesforce solutions for hundreds of companies and nonprofits over the years. I know each implementation is unique. Yours will be too. Armed with all of the information you’ve assembled above, I’ll be able to get right down to business with you on developing a perfect solution for your organization.