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When NOT to Implement Salesforce

You can find a million and one reasons on the internet why your organization should switch to Salesforce, but have you ever wondered when NOT to implement Salesforce? CRM migrations are a major undertaking for any organization and it is wise to consider what it will take. Here are six obstacles to consider when determining if the time is right for your organization to start the move to Salesforce.

1. No Executive Sponsorship
Support from the highest levels of leadership is essential for a successful Salesforce implementation. Executive buy-in ensures adequate designation of resources and promotes user adoption. Without it, you may have difficulty securing the financial and staff resources to complete a successful implementation, and may have an uphill battle in getting departments to fully adopt a new system.

If you have an executive who still needs convincing, help them understand the restrictions on growth caused by your current system and the growth possibilities with Salesforce. Let them know the Total Cost of Ownership, potential pitfalls, and missed opportunities your current system forces on you, and how Salesforce can address each of those issues.

2. Organizational Transition
Is your organization about to begin a major restructuring or rebranding initiative? Do you plan to hire a new CEO or Development Director in the near future? All of these scenarios should be red flags for beginning a Salesforce implementation. If key players will be missing or joining half way through an implementation you run the risk of a “wandering project” where the goals and requirements constantly change during an implementation. This can kill your implementation (and drive you crazy in the process).

No one can predict the future, but don’t start out on the wrong foot if you already know your organization will be going through a time of major transition. Research what Salesforce can do for your organization before the transition, and use that information to influence your organization to move in a direction that will be able to take full advantage of Salesforce’s capabilities.

3. I Like Shiny Things
Does your existing CRM work just fine for your organization? Don’t implement Salesforce simply because it’s new and shiny. The hundreds of other CRM systems out there were designed for a purpose, and if that purpose still meets the operational needs and growth trajectory of your organization, why go through the pain of a migration?

No doubt almost every nonprofit organization could receive some benefit from Salesforce, but an implementation is a major endeavor that will take a significant amount of time and resources to be successful. Consider the costs in comparison to the potential benefits before taking the plunge.

4. Bad Timing
For many organizations the calendar year end is a critical time to meet fundraising goals. If you are one of those organizations, December is not the time to begin, or end, a fresh Salesforce implementation. Time your project so you will have at least 3 months for your staff to familiarize themselves with Salesforce before your busiest season begins.

5. Salesforce Ignorance
One of the most common regrets at the end of a Salesforce implementation is “I wish I had known _____ about Salesforce before we began our implementation!“ Even the best implementation partner in the world can’t read your mind – learn about Salesforce and research the AppExchange directory of products yourself before you begin an implementation. Educating yourself about Salesforce before you begin will allow you to take full advantage of the CRM’s capabilities as you design a solution.

You have multiple nonprofit package options to choose from when implementing Salesforce for your organization. The Salesforce Foundation offers both the free Nonprofit Starter Pack and the paid NGO Connect product. Third party companies also offer paid packages such as Cloud for Good’s Congregation Connect and Causeview’s nonprofit package.

6. Dirty Data
Does your organization use database fields in inconsistent ways? Do you have outdated or incorrect information interspersed with correct data? Unclean data can overwhelm even the most carefully planned implementations and can quickly erode user confidence and adoption. If you know you have dirty data, clean it up before you begin an implementation. If you don’t have the staff resources to clean up your data, that may be a sign your organization does not currently have the bandwidth to successfully take on a CRM migration either!

If I still haven’t talked you out of a Salesforce implementation, you may be in the perfect position to begin! In the end, only you can decide when it is the right time for a Salesforce implementation. You may never get all the stars to align, but hopefully after reading this post you will at least be educated about the risks and be prepared for the challenges before they have a chance to derail your implementation.

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