Why Salesforce.com Projects Fail – Top 5 lessons

Salesforce.com Projects can fail! Yes, irrespective of whether, they are small simple projects or large complex Salesforce CRM projects – they can fail if precautionary measures are not taken before and during implementation. Invariably we blame system (i.e. Salesforce.com) and not how it was implemented. It is surprising, that despite Salesforce.com being such a flexible and exhaustive tool – we hear stories of Salesforce projects not being successful.

Why Salesforce.com projects Fail

At Dhruvsoft we had privilage of working with several clients, where we not only helped them nail the reasons for failure of their Salesforce.com projects; we also helped them turn around. Based on our experience with such projects, in this post we have identified Top 5 reasons for failure of Salesforce.com Projects.


Losing focus from core users & their requirements

When implementing Salesforce.com CRM the topmost priority should be the requirements of core users. In many implementations, clients lose focus from the requirements of the core users. By wrongly focussing on requirements of non-core users they miss the core requirements and projects tend to fail.

While working with a contract manufacturing company, we realized that although the core users were a sales team of 15 persons, client has involved everyone from finance, production, materials, quality to be part of the implementation team (they even bought licenses for everyone). While it is good to have everyone involved – it is always better to deliver what core users need. The sales team suffered because other teams pushed their requirements in a project that was for Sales team. Finally it resulted in poor buy-in from Sales team, and they never really adopted it completely.

Design for core users – meet the core requirements

Not selecting the right Salesforce.com edition

Many Clients settle for Professional Edition (PE) of Salesforce.com even when their need is Enterprise Edition (EE) of Salesforce.com. While clients do that to save on license cost – it has large hidden cost of poor usability.

In a recent assignment – while working with a manufacturing company, we realized many of the areas identified for poor adoption are merely limitations of the Professional Edition they are using. Sometime to make the life simple for your users you have to tweak the system and do customizations that not only save time, but increase effectiveness. To achieve this Enterprise Edition will be required. Compromising on Salesforce.com Edition when you are investing in Salesforce for a longer term is foolishness.

Cut costs elsewhere – select the right Salesforce.com Edition.

Making system too complex

Some clients tend to make system too complex. One of the common pitfall is to make it complex by making it do exactly same as existing processes. While Salesforce.com is a very flexible tool and can be implemented in the way you need. However making system too complex reduces its usability.

There is always a tradeoff. One of the clients who started well initially with a robust Salesforce.com implementation – over the period of time have made it very complex. Of course Salesforce.com can handle any complexity – it was the client’s executives who started feeling the pinch. Extreme complexity made system more rigid and before making any new changes they had to evaluate hundreds of variables. Also since they have introduced the complexity over a period of time – there were many patches as system was not envisaged for that. Any new user joining was finding it difficult to get hand of system due to its complexity.

Keep you system simple – that is the mantra for Salesforce.com success.

Not training your users extensively

Even if you have a great system – and your users are not equipped to use it – you will be losing the plot. It is by extensive training of end users success of Salesforce.com project is achived.

Consider this – Salesforce releases 3 major changes in their app each year. With each release tons of new features are released. You users need to be trained on new features, customizations – to make the project a grand success. Sometimes in organizations new persons join the team and they as well should be trained to use the system effectively.

In one of the recent audit of a 5 year old Salesforce implementation, we have found that out of 30 users almost 26 users are not trained as they have joined the organization after the initial implementation. There are no provision in the team for the formal training of new users. Hence the project was in bad shape and most of the users did not make any sense out of the customizations.

Empower your users by training them effectively – make each of your user a Salesforce.com Power User.

Not having a full time Salesforce.com administrator

Continued support of your Salesforce.com CRM application is more important than initial implementation. After spending thousands of dollars in buying licenses and hiring a consultant to implement, if you cut corners by not hiring a Salesforce.com administrator – your project is on the path of failure.

While working with a large manufacturing company to identify what is wrong with their implementation – we have noticed that the client does not have a full time administrator – neither internal not external. Despite having over 140 users the client was cutting cost by making one of the VPs of the sales team part time administrator. It is advisable that any implementation of Salesforce.com having more than 30 users should have a full time admin. On our recommendations client has hired an external administrator – and within 3 months has seen benefits of adoption by users, and increased effectiveness of system.

A full time administrator ensures that your und users are properly supported, trained and coached. It ensures that new features are rolled out effectively. Administrators ensure that you get the desired value out of your CRM.

Dedicate a full time Salesforce.com administrator to ensure Salesforce.com success!

Speak Your Mind