Small businesses have the same challenges as large enterprises when it comes to managing customer relationships. Whether its contacts, interactions to track and manage, or new customers to pursue – it is good to know there are solutions to help keep customers happy and help you to win and grow your business.
Dean Evitt, principal consultant with Salesforce.com partner Fronde, explains that with their less complex and less change resistant environments, small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) can be at a great advantage to roll-out new technology.
Most SMBs can typically ‘get on with it’ without the burden of project bureaucracy that large enterprises face. With this in mind, Fronde has developed five tips to help ensure every SMB implementation is a success.
1. It’s all about discovery
Discovery is a must-do for most, if not all, software projects. (Yes, even the small ones!) The good news is that it doesn’t need to be a costly or time consuming exercise for SMBs. The discovery process generally consists of workshops and other research to understand your needs and desired outcomes, the processes to be enabled with your new CRM and the all important costings for the configuration and roll-out.
2. Define your future state
This is pretty simple really; define and agree what your business processes and customer interactions need to look like for you to achieve your desired outcomes.
This will give you a clear way forward for the project and for your stakeholders, and will provide a reference point to manage your investment as you progress.
3. Agile is king
Agile methods are based on iterative, incremental development delivering “just enough” analysis, build, demo, improve, repeat. Agile suits less complex and fast moving environments, and is the perfect way to deliver the benefits of a CRM.
You will get just what you need to achieve your objectives in the most efficient and cost effective way and stakeholders and users are involved in the process giving ownership to the business earlier and improved adoption and user experience.
4. Simple is good
Off-the-shelf Salesforce Sales and Service Cloud applications typically meet 80 percent of requirements with a small amount of configuration. Try to make it 100 percent!
Don’t be tempted to stray down the path of customisations unless there’s a really good reason and pay-off. Remember too, it’s not just the up-front cost of development that you will avoid, but future maintenance and changes will be easier and cheaper. Leaving out unnecessary change can pay-off big.
5. Leverage your investment in the cloud
Welcome to the cloud. Get what you pay for by leveraging other cloud applications to enable other parts of your business.
Increase your exposure to the benefits of the cloud such as agility, capex not opex, multi-tenancy, high availability, and free yourself from managing infrastructure and applications.
There are hundreds of apps on the Salesforce.com AppExchange or you could build your own. Also consider using other features such as Case Management, Knowledge, Chatter Free, Work.com and Communities.
SMBs often have the opportunity to move to the cloud in ways enterprises can only dream about – why not make the most of that opportunity? With a small amount of discovery and planning, plus some clever decisions along the way, you can get up and running in no time.
A version of this post was first published on the Salesforce.com/au blog and was written by Daniel Lund, principal consultant at Fronde. It is part of the Future of Work series sponsored by Salesforce.com.