January is the time that many organizations are buzzing with new plans, putting the finishing touches on budgets and forecasts, or locking down project priorities.
Do you have a Salesforce roadmap in place for the year? While many IT and Sales Operations teams put together an annual plan, rolling out new Salesforce functionality isn’t always incorporated into the list.
We recommend that you always keep an eye on the horizon so that you’re positioned to generate long term value on your Salesforce investment. As you’re planning for 2017, we recommend you consider 10 things for your Salesforce future:
1. Assess your current performance
Take a step back and size up how you’re doing. A good old fashioned SWOT analysis may be a fit here. Evaluate your performance in categories such as:
- Executive support & buy-in
- Data quality
- User adoption
- Usability & process efficiency
- Change management
- System integrations
- Staying on top of releases/changes
You probably have a feeling in your gut about how things are going in each of these areas. If you’d like some benchmarking data, we have a standing offer for Free Health Checks.
2. Quantify what success looks like
What does a successful Salesforce implementation look like in your company? If you could wave a magic wand and wish your ideal outcome into existence, what would that look like?
This is a great question to ask yourself, but more importantly, to ask your senior executive team and your naysayers. Do you have a few holdouts that are skeptical about the value that Salesforce brings or that flippantly declare “no one uses it”? Negotiate a vision of success that you can measure and chart your results against.
3. See what’s new
If it’s been awhile since you’ve read the thrice annual release notes, pour yourself a cup of coffee and hunker down. There have been some incredible features rolled out over the last 12 months that you won’t want to miss.
Here are quick links to the most recent releases, with notes on things you might consider incorporating into your Salesforce Roadmap:
4. Find the pain
As you prioritize projects for the coming year, go right to the front line and talk to your users. From their perspective in the trenches, what processes are time consuming and frustrating?
Interview them to get feedback on what’s working and not working. Are three “quick wins” or “low hanging fruit” you can address to make their lives easier?
5. Where there’s a spreadsheet, there’s a use case
Wherever there’s manual, time consuming, or redundant processes — there’s usually a use case for Salesforce.
Are there opportunities to use custom objects or apps and include more data in the system, freeing you up to leverage things like reports and dashboards, workflow rules, and other features made possible by the platform’s metadata driven architecture? Is there a system that should be integrated to mitigate any “double work”?
Integration projects may seem daunting, but customers are often pleasantly surprised to discover what’s possible without breaking the bank.
6. Align with business goals & grow your reach
Customers who are extracting the greatest value from Salesforce are leveraging it as a true platform. They use it to streamline processes beyond just sales and marketing — and integrate HR, accounting, service delivery, operations, and more.
What are the biggest priorities for your business, and how might Salesforce help facilitate those goals? Put it on your Salesforce Roadmap!
7. Be real about time constraints — and what you can outsource
Many of us Salesforce geeks could whiteboard all day on the things we’d love to do on the platform if time and budget allowed. But time and budget are unavoidable constraints in every organization. So what’s realistic for you and your team to take on? What can you outsource?
If you can move the mundane, day-to-day things off your plate, would you have more capacity to focus on strategic items? Or if the day-to-day is under control, could you benefit from a partner that helps you push the boundaries?
Think through the opportunity costs associated with where you invest your time, and get creative about the resources available to amplify your efforts.
8. Balance the urgent and the important
The famous “Eisenhower Matrix” should be emblazoned on the office wall of every Salesforce admin.
Balancing your role as a firefighter that is tackling the urgent (this user needs to be set up, this data needs to be cleaned up for this particular report, this manager wants this dashboard by tomorrow) and looking forward to what’s truly important is critical for success.
9. Set meaningful project goals
If you could only do 3 things to improve in your Salesforce org in 2017, what might those be? Put down the fire extinguisher for a moment. What meaningful goals do you want to move the ball on?
I’m a big fan of setting quarterly goals. It’s a big enough timeframe to give you some leeway when things start getting busy, but short enough to keep you focused on what matters most.
10. Chart your course and write it down
Whatever plans you lay, WRITE. THEM. DOWN. Even if you write it in your super secret diary and throw away the key, there’s something incredibly powerful about putting words to paper.
A written Salesforce Roadmap could include things like:
- Current state assessment
- Key stakeholders & internal champions
- Workflow & process maps
- Problems that need to be addressed
- New functionality you plan to take advantage of
- Quarterly priorities — “nice-to-haves” & “need-to-haves”
- KPIs and success metrics
What’s your Salesforce Roadmap for 2017?
There’s so much potential on the Salesforce platform. I hope you’re as excited as I am about what’s coming next, and making plans for how your organization can take advantage of it.
What plans are you putting into place for 2017? What are your biggest challenges? What are you most excited about?
Let us know if the comments — or better yet, partner with Configero for a free 2017 Salesforce Roadmap Development Session and fill us in!