$CRM is a hot ticker symbol.  Everyone loves the fact that Salesforce has over 70% of Fortune 50 companies as customers.  But even with a large array of customers and thousands of users – does Salesforce really work?  It’s no doubt that the technology is there and if implemented correctly can automate a large percentage of the tasks companies usually contract out.  So why would Salesforce not work?

First, if there is no adoption of the tool by your employees, Salesforce will just be an extra monthly cost (a large one at that).  The main reason I’ve seen for the tool not being utilized is that employees don’t see the benefit of the tool.  Countless times, Company X will implement Salesforce by copying their old CRM.  They don’t want to push a massive change onto their employees right away.

This is ironic because in these instances, the change or improvement is critical to adoption.  If we’re changing a process or tool at my company, I better be able to see a clear benefit, otherwise, what’s the point?

This feeds right into the second reason Salesforce doesn’t always work: incorrect implementation.  The functionality of Salesforce can be overwhelming.  Yes it can do a lot, but setting this up takes significant time, and some companies find it hard to put in the hours of work up front to see the long term gains.  In essence, an hour worked on configuring may save users 5 minutes a week, but that gain isn’t noticed until further along.

So they play it safe.  They copy their old CRM.  But what’s the point?  To confuse your users and make them learn something new with minimal functionality?  No, customers of the CRM should be optimizing.  Learning from their past mistakes and improving processes.  This is not only good business practice, but will help significantly with adoption.  When users see reasons Salesforce is better than their legacy CRM every day, they’re more likely to champion the tool and utilize it.

Finally, the reason Salesforce doesn’t work is that companies don’t know what it can do.  They ask “can it do this” based on what they currently have.  Maybe they pry a bit further, but not in most cases.  This is problematic.  They should be delving into how they want their business to run, not how it currently does.

The problem with this is many times the salespeople who are trying to get someone to use their software.  They claim it can do many things (which usually is not untrue), but they say so in a way that makes these things sound like out-of-the-box functionality, when in reality it is a large undertaking.

So Salesforce, in many cases, doesn’t work.

But what about when Salesforce does work?  What does that look like?  How are companies successfully utilizing the tool?  What are they doing differently that makes it worth the monthly cost?

They’re optimizing.  They’re using Salesforce for what it was meant: automation.  They’re putting in the time up front to create a well-oiled, smart CRM that saves their users time, gives them the information they want, and allows them to complete all their tasks in a more efficient way.

My next post details how one can go about implementing Salesforce successfully, gaining adoption, and making it worth the cost.

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