You’re ready to take your relationship management to the next level, solidify your business processes, establish a single source of data, and maximize efficiency within your organization. It’s time to start your Salesforce Implementation project! Before you dive in, you’ll want to know what to expect. Enter the BTH Blueprint, our comprehensive roadmap developed for each client that is unique to their needs and goals.
If you haven’t already read about the key team members needed for a successful implementation, we recommend reviewing that first. Ensuring that team members come together at each stage of the project to fulfill their roles is critical to a successful implementation. Now, let’s explore the elements of a BTH Blueprint together.
This phase is all about getting your team ready to begin. The Central Executive, Internal Coordinator and Technical Resource should connect to plan initial meetings with others who will be involved in the project and with the organization as a whole. Key areas to cover in this opening stage include divvying up project oversight responsibilities, communicating expectations and expected outcomes to the broader company, and [developing protocols to ensure smooth communication.
Key Checklist Items for Preparation Stage:
- Get Central Executive buy-in
- Designate an Internal Coordinator
- Internal Coordinator helps set regular meeting schedules (For each department team and for the Project Leadership Team)
- The Project Leadership Team sets internal expectations and open lines of communication
During the Discovery phase, the Implementation Consultant will meet with each team or department to dig into processes and identify pain points. You can expect questions such as, “What kind of data are you looking to track?”, “What frustrations do you run into in your day-to-day work?”, and “Is there any sensitive information that should only be visible to certain people?” While the Implementation Consultant brings some standard questions to the table, Discovery discussions are guided by both parties and tend to flow based on feedback. Discovery helps the Implementation Consultant learn about your organization’s unique needs and begin to think about what Salesforce solutions could best address them.
Key Checklist Items for Discovery Stage:
- Data Owner aggregates all data that will be imported into Salesforce and identify key data points
- Process Owner defines processes and pinpoint areas for improvement
- Internal Coordinator maintains a regular meeting schedule for internal meetings and meetings with the Implementation Consultant
- Create a team or department specific wishlists (‘In an ideal world, what would I like Salesforce to do for me?’)
The Requirements Review phase involves narrowing down all the information gathered during Discovery into deliverables and, well, reviewing them! Requirements will often be broken out by team, department or “functional area.” The entire Project Leadership Team, including the Central Executive, Internal Coordinator, and Technical Resource should review finalized requirements before they are locked in as project deliverables. If you notice that anything important is missing, now is the time to mention it.
Key Checklist Items for Requirements Review Stage:
- The Central Executive assists with prioritizing deliverables based on project scope
- Process Owner reviews processes for accuracy
- The Internal Coordinator sets a deadline for completing requirements review and communicate any outstanding items or questions to the Implementation Consultant
Development & Data Migration
During this phase the Implementation Consultant will dive in to Development, or the process of customizing your Salesforce org, or database, based on finalized requirements. Questions around specifics may come up that can be addressed by Process and Data Owners. For example, a consultant may request picklist values for a Lead Stage field (i.e. What are the specific stages a Lead goes through before it becomes a Contact?) or for a Donation Type field (i.e. What donation types are accepted; Online? Cash? Check?). During Data Migration, the Implementation Consultant will need access to all data that will be imported into the new org. The Data Migration process includes clean up, or formatting the data to match the Salesforce infrastructure so that it can be received by the system, and ensuring no duplicate records.
Key Checklist Items for Development & Data Migration Stage:
- Data Owner assists Implementation Consultant with all necessary data and provide feedback on field mapping
- Process Owner provides Implementation Consultant with process overviews and assist in developing new processes
- Internal Coordinator ensures data is provided and questions are answered in a timely manner
Testing & Quality Assurance (QA)
During Testing & QA, a select group of users get to test drive their new Salesforce instance, including customized infrastructure and historical data. The purpose of this period is to ensure that the architecture meets the requirements established in the Requirements Review phase, and that historical data has been accurately imported. The Implementation Consultants will usually write test scripts, or lists of steps for users to follow to ensure functionality works as anticipated. This project phase is critical to ensuring the resolution of data and architecture issues before all users have access to the system.
Key Checklist Items for Testing & QA Stage:
- Data Owner assess data via reports and spot-checks for accuracy, and report any identified issues
- Process Owner complete testing according to test scripts, and report any identified issues or gaps in functionality
This is the well anticipated final stage of an implementation project! During the Go-Live stage, end users are invited to use the new Salesforce org. This stage necessarily involves end user training. Depending on the client’s preference, Implementation Consultants will either train end users directly or train “Power Users” who will then serve as training resources for their peers.
Key Checklist Items for Go-Live Stage:
- The Internal Coordinator develops training schedules and help distribute any training documentation to end users
- The Central Executive helps encourage user adoption be creating incentives for system use
- Data and Process Owners are available to answer questions about their subject matter areas
Your Salesforce org is live and you’re enjoying a more efficient, productive and frustration-free work environment. Ongoing Administration refers to any support or further customization provided after the Go-Live stage. This assistance may be provided by the Implementation Consultant, by an internal Salesforce Administrator or by the Technical Resource. This phase also entails continued training and support for user adoption.
Key Checklist Items for Ongoing Administration:
- Regular check ins with end users to ensure user adoption and opportunities for users to provide feedback or ask questions
Written by: Lily Moseley
Lily is a certified Salesforce Administrator and Solution Consultant with 5+ years of experience in the nonprofit industry. Lily is a lifelong writer and has enjoyed writing and editing for publications such as the Northeastern University Political Review and Science Po’s La Gazelle.