With 10+ years' experience building more than 70 enterprise Salesforce experiences, we've seen successful implementations transform our clients' day-to-day - empowering sales, marketing, and customer service teams with better performance data, customer insights, team alignment, and service efficiency.
We've also heard our fair share of criticism. Typical Salesforce frustrations are it's inflexible, labor-intensive, and expensive.
Out of the box, the platform might feel generic and not tailored to your business's preferred way of working, resulting in lagging adoption, wasted hours, or simply, an expensive tool that you're only using a fraction of its features.
Fortunately, we can customize Salesforce to work how your work.
Highly versatile, Salesforce can be tailored to streamline workflows, automate manual tasks, improve reporting, enhance collaboration, and deliver an elevated customer experience - much like your favorite websites, portals, and mobile apps.
Would you gain better adoption, efficiency, and ROI if you customized Salesforce?
Our helpful guide weighs the pros and cons of Salesforce customization, with an actionable checklist to help you decide what's best for your business needs and budget.
Table of Contents
- Should You Customize Salesforce?
- When You Shouldn't Customize Salesforce
- Salesforce Transformation Decision Checklist
- Tips and Tricks for a Successful Salesforce Development Process
Should You Customize Salesforce?
Building or moving your platform to Salesforce is a major investment decision. You can customize Salesforce through small, one-off configurations, overhaul the platform and build it from scratch, or anything in between.
Ask yourself the questions below to determine whether a Salesforce customization is right for your organization.
Data, Workflows, and Reporting
As an enterprise platform, Salesforce is generic to work with widespread, popular business models.
This approach works for many organizations, but equal numbers feel stifled and boxed in.
If generic Salesforce processes, data sets, reports, validations, fields, or objects don’t mimic your preferred way of doing business or accommodate your organization’s needs – it’s time to make Salesforce accommodate you.
When customizing Salesforce, how do you decide between “minor renovations” and a full, fresh rebuild?
Depending on your teams' current processes, frustrations, timelines, and goals it may be faster and more cost-effective to rebuild a custom Salesforce experience rather than try to force a round peg in a square hole.
- Is Salesforce completely solving our intended business problems?
- Is the platform a core component of our overall customer experience? Will our brand suffer if the experience is lacking?
- Do our business processes have the flexibility to work around a system?
- Will the new platform maintain and support current processes and workflows as-is?
- Would our team be more productive with additional functionality, not included in off-the-shelf Salesforce?
- Is Salesforce making our employees more or less efficient? Are they relying on workarounds?
- Are we gaining greater visibility, data, and reporting across our organization?
If the answers to these questions are a resounding "Yes", you may be pigeonholed by out-of-the-box Salesforce. Your team will benefit from Salesforce customization to make it easier to complete tasks, gain better visibility and reporting, and deliver a better customer experience.
Skip ahead for tips and considerations for a smooth Salesforce customization project.
In the next chapter, we'll get into scenarios when it might be a good idea to hold off on a Salesforce customization.
You Shouldn't Customize Salesforce
Deciding to customize Salesforce is a tradeoff between needs, goals, budget, and process.
Here are three instances when customizing Salesforce might be a bad idea.
Your Organization is Going Through a Change
Perhaps, you are a new organization or your company is in transition – acquiring or being acquired. Maybe, you’ve opened a new product line or are radically changing your processes.
If you’re unclear about how your organization will use or integrate Salesforce within a current or evolving IT infrastructure, we recommend taking a step back and letting the dust settle before making the investment.
That custom report or Lightning app that seemed like the best way to measure success and improve customer loyalty may suddenly not be necessary.
If you can’t yet nail down a business process due to a major change within your organization – first, focus on your business goals and consider how existing technology infrastructure can best serve those goals to avoid redundant efforts.
Changing Business Processes Would be Easier
Frequently, it's easier to change a business process than a technical modification
Assessing the organizational value of the customization effort against the cost is a critical step.
We work with clients to calculate that value - whether it’s increased process efficiency, aggregated time savings, or increased customer retention.
But, if small changes to your business processes would solve your challenges, we recommend holding off on a customization effort.
Every organization is constantly changing and improving to keep up with their industry and support customers' evolving needs. In light of that, we recommend -
- Keep a log of changes you wish to make to Salesforce for a future phase.
- Talk to your people - they are often the best sources for ideas on how your systems could be better - and in our opinion, enhancements that originate from the user community are categorically more likely to gain adoption.
Eventually, your organization may hit a tipping point where the value of the changes and the costs are better in balance - the ROI will be clear.
Your Salesforce Build is Just Right
Sometimes, your needs and Salesforce's functionality matches up perfectly – and that’s great! We’re big fans of not fixing what isn't broken.
Other times, the features or changes you're seeking are scheduled to be released in a forthcoming update. If that’s the case, ask yourself if you can wait, or modify your business processes temporarily to bridge the gap.
If you’re not sure if Salesforce is planning a release that solves your problems, contact us. We keep our finger on the pulse of all-things Salesforce to keep our clients and partners up-to-date.
Salesforce Transformation Decision Checklist
Prior to completing this checklist, it is important to determine what business processes and/or workflows need to be documented in or facilitated by Salesforce.
Can you answer "yes" to any of these statements?
- Salesforce does not have the out-of-the-box functionality I need to accomplish my goals.
- I’m not willing to compromise my current business processes to fit the generic Salesforce system.
- It is important for Salesforce to embody my company’s branding/aesthetic.
- My employees use workarounds to avoid using Salesforce.
- Salesforce is too manual and labor-intensive.
- I feel like our reports are lacking.
- The onboarding process for Salesforce is extensive.
If you said "yes" to any of these statements, it's time to optimize Salesforce to get the full value out of your investment.
However, if you say "yes" to any of the statements below, then you might hold off on any major Salesforce customization efforts until a later date.
- My company is in the process of acquiring or being acquired.
- We anticipate an upcoming Salesforce release will resolve our current challenge(s)
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Salesforce experts.
Tips for a Successful Salesforce Development Process
The backbone of a successful Salesforce implementation (and any development project) is setting business and technical goals and analyzing your data.
You’ll thank yourself and realize time and cost savings later.
Salesforce Modification or Blank Slate
It’s critical to know, upfront, if developers are working on an existing system and customization.
Sometimes, a blank slate is easier, because they're not interacting with the complexities of an existing system. Other times, a pre-existing system leads devs directly to one solution by the process of elimination.
Audit Your Data
Reports, charts, graphs, and automation are useless without good data.
If you put spoiled food into a great recipe, the end result is still garbage. At the heart of your Salesforce customization effort should be the ultimate goal of having pristine and helpful data.
Audit your data to understand -
- What data do you currently have?
- What data do you want?
- What information do you need from your data?
- How is your data collected?
- How clean is your data?
- What is the best way to present your data?
- How will your data be created/input?
- What stakeholders need access?
- How will your data be used?
What Are Your Goals?
Clean data is only as useful as its presentation. The same data, visualized in two different ways, could help make key business decisions or create intense confusion.
Other goal questions to consider:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Can you tie those goals to specific business outcomes?
- What KPIs are most critical to the success of your organization?
- What is the ideal end state for your business and how can data help move you in that direction?
Whereoware Can Audit, Optimize, and Customize Salesforce
As a full-service digital experience agency, we have developers, designers, UX experts, data specialists, marketers, and more, working together to deliver meaningful value for our clients.
What makes us different and pleasantly surprises our clients is how we engage clients to thoroughly understand your industry, business challenge, and end-goals prior to initiating a solution.
This ensures our digital solutions not only look great, but really deliver on actual business needs.
Our Salesforce experience spans key sectors and some seriously complicated solutions.
We help clients use their technologies more intuitively and innovatively since long before “Digital Transformation” was a thing. We sink our teeth into your impactful challenges and in turn, deliver solutions that rocket you forward.
At the end of the day, a successful solution isn’t about how cool it looks, how much it costs, or how slick (or even what) the technology is. A successful solution achieves a goal that you didn’t realize you had or didn’t think you could accomplish - until we worked with you to make it possible.
Interested in learning more about our Salesforce work? Connect with a Salesforce or custom development expert.
Let's Talk About How to Elevate Your Salesforce Strategy
Let's Talk About How to Elevate Your Salesforce Strategy
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