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Should You Embrace a Crawl, Walk, Run Salesforce Rollout Plan?

Should You Embrace a Crawl, Walk, Run Salesforce Rollout Plan?

It’s hard to understate the impact your organization’s rollout plan will have on the overall success of your Salesforce adoption. That’s because your rollout plan determines how quickly your team is onboarded to and using Salesforce. 

The sooner that happens, the sooner your organization will start enjoying all the bottom-line benefits you’re counting on Salesforce to deliver. 

Given the importance of speed, many organizations want to launch every Salesforce feature on day one. What we’ve found, however, is that a more effective Salesforce rollout plan takes a “crawl, walk, run” approach with each phase planned at the outset so all stakeholders know when the next set of capabilities will drop. Here’s a look at why.

Running – Literally or Metaphorically – Is Hard

Even if you’re not a runner, you may have heard of the “Couch to 5K” training plan. It’s a nine-week program designed to give non-runners everything they need to complete a 5K race (that’s 3.1 miles for my US readers).

This program is wildly successful (England’s National Health Service has adopted it), largely because it takes an almost literal crawl, walk, run approach. Each week, adherents do a specific combination of walking and running until they’re running five consecutive kilometers at the end.

Salesforce adoption has a similar learning curve.

Just as running regularly can have tremendous benefits on the health of sedentary people, adopting Salesforce can have tremendous bottom-line benefits for organizations whose data is currently siloed and whose processes are too manual.

But transitioning an organization’s way of operating isn’t easy or instinctive. It requires lots of people to change their daily behaviors, which means it will cause discomfort in the short term. But it’s essential that everyone in an organization commit to the rollout, just as it’s essential for a would-be runner to commit to the training plan. 

I can’t emphasize this point enough: if you don’t train as prescribed, you won’t be able to finish a 5K. If you don’t engage fully with every phase of your organization’s Salesforce rollout, you won’t be positioned to enjoy the benefits a full implementation has to offer.

Just as important as individual engagement is the vision of an organization’s leaders. If they’ve never led a Salesforce adoption before, they may not know whether they’re doing enough on any given day to achieve the results they hoped for – i.e., the results they’ll get with full adoption.

That brings me to my next point.

The Key Ingredient to a Successful Salesforce Rollout is the Plan

Uncertainty among leaders charged with their first Salesforce rollout is why it’s so important to have a detailed rollout plan. Just as the Couch to 5K plan was developed by experts with experience in distance running and training, your Salesforce rollout plan should be developed by people experienced in guiding organizations like yours throughout their Salesforce journey.

When we’re working with clients, we build a crawl, walk, run rollout plan based on the prioritization matrix in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Salesforce crawl, walk, run rollout plan prioritization matrix

We work with our clients to determine the following:

  • Which Salesforce functions and features require a low effort to implement but have a high business value? These become your minimum viable product (MVP) and the features we launch during the crawl phase. Agreeing on “high business value” is hugely important here – and can be difficult. Again, this is why partnering with an experienced guide can make your rollout much more successful.
  • Which functions and features have a high business value but might take more effort to implement? Those make up the walk phase.
  • Which functions and features have a low business value but also don’t require much effort to implement? Those happen in the run phase, at which point your team is up and – you guessed it – running with its Salesforce rollout.

Note that there are some things that shouldn’t ever make it into Salesforce – the things in the lower-right-hand quadrant of the matrix, which have a low business value but would take a lot of effort to implement. Items in this quadrant are not, quite frankly, worth the effort.

The key takeaway here is that rolling out Salesforce shouldn’t be something that happens all at once.

Essential to the success of phased rollout is being picky about what constitutes “minimum” in your MVP. Companies that do best with an MVP know that there are a handful of must-have capabilities that will drive the business forward. Staying focused – in the crawl phase – on these capabilities gets a first release out quickly and sets a foundation to build on.

Spending weeks noodling on what makes the cut wastes precious time. It’s much more effective to choose features that constitute a true minimum and launch, knowing the next release is coming soon.

When you partner with someone who’s experienced in Salesforce implementations, you can be much more confident in your definition of MVP – and therefore that your crawl, walk, run approach will succeed. With expert guidance, you’ll know that you have a well-defined plan in place for achieving full implementation and realizing the bottom-line goals Salesforce promises. 

While this phased rollout may feel unfamiliar, it’s actually an important way to prepare a team for the reality of working with Salesforce.

Salesforce Will Keep Evolving

Three times per year, Salesforce releases updates to its platform. While some of those are barely noticeable to end users, others may require users to adapt their practices and adopt new workflows.

Teams that embrace a crawl, walk, run rollout will be well prepared for these adjustments because they’ll be used to engaging with Salesforce in an evolving way. That’s crucial for ensuring that Salesforce is delivering as high an ROI as is possible.

Enjoy the Benefits of Salesforce Faster with Expert Guidance

Without a detailed Salesforce rollout plan, many leaders mistakenly think they have to bring every capability online on launch day, which can be overwhelming for the teams being asked to adapt to entirely new software and ways of operating.

With a crawl, walk, run plan in place, though, adoption can happen faster and more smoothly. If you’ve never led a Salesforce implementation before and would like guidance developing such a plan, get in touch

Our team has led dozens of implementations, and we’d love to help your organization realize the benefits Salesforce can offer as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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