“Don’t solve problems you don’t have.”
When it comes to tech implementations, truer words have never been spoken.
Today was the Salesforce World Tour, an annual expo-ish event hosted in several cities by the CRM powerhouse. There are product demos, keynote speakers, and mini-sessions all designed to leave attendees feeling curious and excited about what’s possible.
For current clients, it’s a chance to network & explore the different “clouds”. For those on the fence, it’s an accurate – if not dizzying – intro to the community you’re about to join. Plus, it’s free!
Unsurprisingly, this event moves FAST. Yet through the chaos, one session almost seemed to stop time: a talk on 5 Tips for Awesome Salesforce Implementations. Title aside, these lessons apply to any type of technical implementation. And “don’t solve problems you don’t have” was one of many aha-moments for the crowd during the 20 minutes.
Now onto the rest of them.
1. Data is a first impression.
Our instructor (sorry gang, thought I could commit his name to memory) spoke to the importance of data in setting the first impression for end users. Since data accuracy can “make or break” confidence in a new system, we really need to take time and ensure that data is trustworthy, consistent, and getting to the right people when they need it.
2. “Perfection can be the enemy of done”.
This tip was actually called “Socks, Then Shoes”, but same diff! The idea here is that as implementation managers, when we care too much about getting things right, we run the risk of being preoccupied with just that. This comes at the expense of progress, especially when we go down the rabbit hole of building solutions to problems we don’t have yet!
Focus on problems that are clearly defined, and trust that you can innovate along the way.
3. Leadership alignment is key.
All the experts agree…leadership needs to reap value from the tool and be engaged throughout the entire implementation process. That means everything from ideation to roll-out, to adoption. (The day my ED enters data into Salesforce is the day I sprout wings, because at that point I will have become a literal nonprofit unicorn.)
*Tip*: Our speaker cautioned against the “cold hand-off”, where leaders engage in initial conversations before gradually falling off. In a sector where time is of the essence and stuff needs to get done, I bet most of us know the feeling.
4. Be ready for change.
Implementing new tech is such a task-oriented undertaking that we often don’t even think about methodology, or the importance of adaptability. A good implementation isn’t a blueprint with rigid requirements. It’s a roadmap that allows for mechanisms to collect feedback, incorporate it and deliver in a flexible manner.
5. Build customer-centric (or constituent-centric) partnerships.
I love the idea of working around a “consensus vision” that prioritizes the constituents who are most important to our work. As our speaker mentioned, we need to get on the same page with our teams so that we can launch more frequently, measure the impact, and iterate as needed.
Thank you Salesforce, for both the free umbrella and the much needed reminders on how to implement the right way.
*Tip*: If the World Tour has you curious, check out the hashtag #salesforcetour on Twitter to see what others have to say. Once you’ve decided if you want to go, check to see if there are any coming up in your area!