Salesforce for NPOs

Top Mistakes to Avoid While Implementing Salesforce for NPOs

September 14, 2023

Much like any other CRM tool, there are common mistakes that any user can make when implementing Salesforce. While Salesforce is an incredibly helpful tool to incorporate into your nonprofit, it is still prudent to be careful when implementing new software, especially considering all the features Salesforce can provide you with. Making mistakes is just a natural part of growing and learning, but that doesn’t mean that you always need to start with the basics. Here are common mistakes to avoid when implementing Salesforce for NPOs.

How Can You Learn from Common Mistakes Others Have Made? 
1. Never Underestimate Salesforce Implementation. 
If you’ve decided to make the shift to Salesforce, chances are that you’ve done your research into all the features that the platform can provide to make your life easier. Going into Salesforce, having a clear goal and vision on how you want your nonprofit to succeed using the platform will help you succeed faster. But, sometimes, it can be easy to dismiss certain requirements that you need by saying ‘no, that’s way too complex for Salesforce to accomplish.’ Salesforce offers so many features, many of which are customizable so that you will never have to worry about things not going your way. With scalability, integration capabilities, mobile access, and its’ vast community of support you never need to think twice about if Salesforce can do something for you! 
2. Prioritize Data Cleanup. 
Salesforce implementation teams often focus on brand-new features and make the mistake of thinking that integration and data cleanup are low priorities as it’s exciting to discover new features. However, it is important to keep in mind that the inclusion of dirty or incorrect/incomplete data will lead to incorrect insights and forecasting. Prioritizing data management allows you to make sure there is no duplicate data, and even includes segmentation and categorization of your existing data into relevant groups so that you can make analysis and reporting even easier.  
3. Provide Rigorous Training. 
Salesforce may not be a difficult tool to grasp, but there are so many different features that it offers that sometimes it can be overwhelming to learn and use all by yourself. Your nonprofit cannot benefit from the features if users don’t know how to use the system efficiently. This also ensures a smooth transition into the platform and allows you to keep in compliance with ensuring compliance and security. Make sure that your users know how to perform basic functions so that you can make sure that you’re making the most out of the platform and all the benefits it can provide for you.
4. Make Sure You Have a Post-Implementation Procedure. 
A common mistake that organizations make is thinking that once a solution has been implemented, they never need to have a post-implementation plan. Sometimes things run seamlessly, and sometimes they don’t, but the truth is, even if things do run perfectly, you may find yourself thinking that more can be done or added, and it can be difficult to accommodate these changes unless you have a plan. It is important to allocate a budget to plan for anything you may want to include post the initial implementation. Sometimes, this can include keeping a Salesforce admin on staff even after the project is complete just in case there is a fire that needs to be put out or even just someone who knows about the project so that they can help you add onto the completed org.
5. Have A Fully Planned Budget Before Implementing Salesforce.
Many organizations believe they can perform full customization and implementation of Salesforce independently with no help or training from outside sources. This may be true if you have a full-time Salesforce admin on hand, but it may not always be the case. It can be more expensive if you try to implement everything yourself and things don’t work out as well as you hope, and then you would have to start from scratch with outside help. Planning for a Salesforce admin from the beginning may be more efficient. As mentioned before, keeping a Salesforce admin on staff even after the project is done can also be a good idea so you must account for those costs too.
6. Don’t Rush the Customization Process. 
Trying to do everything at once when it comes to a platform like Salesforce can be overwhelming and may lead to mistakes. Trying to do too much too quickly leads to pushing the limits and boundaries and may lead to issues when scaling your system in the future. One of the biggest issues of rushing the customization process is that it may work for now, but if the functionality isn’t designed to scale, you may face problems with rebuilding pieces of the functionality in the future. 
7. Focus On the Process, Not the Technology. 
Aligning technology to your processes only works if you are clear on the process, this means that even if you know what your system can do, and how to make it work for you, you may find it difficult to align to your process if you don’t have a clear view on what your organization’s core business processes are. It’s not even uncommon to change your processes once you start looking into what your system can do, but even changing the processes is ok, if you have a proper plan in place, it will be easy to scale the program in the future. Salesforce is highly configurable, which is one of its greatest advantages, but to take advantage of this feature make sure that you have a comprehensive view of the entire project.
8. Make Sure You Have Standard Processes and Understand Details with a Wider Picture. 
Salesforce works for unique processes because it is highly customizable and can do just about anything. However, this can create limitations in how it integrates with other applications and can even make it difficult to work with going forward. As mentioned before, focusing on the technology and the customizable features can be fun but it is also important to remember that you may want to move forward with adding features to your org which can be difficult to do if all your configurations are complicated. Having standard processes allows you to make sure that your projects will be scalable in the future. Organizations with complex workflows should consider breaking up the project into smaller phases so that it is easier to focus on the details as well as the big picture so that your organization does not overlook something in the process. 

Any CRM implementation comes with challenges but that does not mean that it provides any less value to your organization. If your organization needs help with planning or implementing Salesforce for your nonprofit, Prudent is here to help! Whether you need answers to the problems mentioned in this blog or just any general questions you may have, schedule a call or contact us to find out how you can avoid any major Salesforce mistakes! 

userPublished by Sobha Rani , Chandrik
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