Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of a Salesforce Implementation Partner

We sat down with Caravel’s Director of Salesforce Practice, Kevin Dimond, and Senior Salesforce Consultant, Kelsey Rafac, to get an insider’s perspective on the responsibilities, challenges, and successes of a Salesforce implementation partner. Discover what they had to say and how you can apply this valuable insight into your due diligence for a CRM implementation partner. 

What is a Salesforce Implementation Partner, and why do you need one?

A Salesforce implementation partner is there to guide you through best practices for optimal use of the software. From gathering your business requirements to turning them into the best solutions for your business, as well as optimizing them, your partner should be giving you recommendations on how Salesforce will help operate your business. In addition to the technical aspect, they should be reviewing your process—something that is vastly overlooked in CRM implementations. “Your Salesforce implementation partner not only provides you with technical help, but they offer you best practices with the software, which goes a long way to utilizing it properly,” says Kelsey Rafac, Senior Salesforce Consultant at Caravel. “They help with sales process, and finance process. Salesforce is a complicated ecosystem with many moving parts, and it’s difficult to know how to tailor it to your business and make it as efficient as possible.”


Kevin Dimond, Director of Salesforce Practice at Caravel, agreed with Rafac. He adds that a Salesforce Implementation Partner “should be your trusted advisor in the Salesforce ecosystem. They should be impartial to what Salesforce pushes and focus on the right choices for your organization. He continues by iterating, “Your partner will be your hands-on keyboard that will be helping your organization configure it to your needs. For instance, take Pardot. Many organizations choose to integrate the marketing automation system into Salesforce, but what they do not know is that if they ever decide to change systems, Pardot can never be removed. It can be turned off but can never be removed.” It’s use cases like these that he has seen throughout his career, where users make grave mistakes trying to configure Salesforce without knowing specific implications, that can leave you with technical debt.


salesforce implementation partner


What can a Salesforce implementation partner do for an organization as a whole?

Salesforce should be about adding business value to organizations. Many organizations are siloed in the way they track their business; therefore, having a Salesforce implementation partner come in and establish it as a single source of truth is tantamount. Rafac says, “It should be built out so all users can go into one place and see how the company is performing, whether it’s in the opportunity pipeline or how many cases need to be worked. Having everything in one place makes operations more effective and efficient and really gives back to the business.” Implementing Salesforce can potentially add to more revenue growth and quicker case closure.


Your Salesforce consultant may also collaborate with leadership to develop strategies and roadmaps to leverage the software to drive growth, improve customer experience, and achieve other KPIs. They can also assist in ensuring that Salesforce helps to comply with regulatory requirements and security standards that mitigate risk and protect sensitive information.


What are the challenges you can face with implementing Salesforce on your own?

Some in-house implementations can be successful, but it must be done with someone who has previously implemented Salesforce and succeeded. “The last thing you want is to accumulate technical debt…sometimes, when you’re implementing, you don’t see the forest through the trees. You stay focused on the one problem you’re trying to solve without taking a step back and thinking about the implications. And unfortunately, in the Salesforce ecosystem, there are many implications,” says Dimond.


Although Salesforce can be set up “out of the box”, not being aware of best practices and optimal usage can cause some issues down the line. Organizations can incur technical debt, which results from taking shortcuts instead of implementing tasks the right way the first time. By doing this, Salesforce is not being utilized optimally, and elements like unused workflows lingering in the background and other underutilized features can take up unnecessary space.


Another thing to consider is improper data migration. Transferring data from other systems into Salesforce is complicated, and without a proper understanding of data structures and mapping, you’re taking unnecessary risks. Going at it alone can also lead to incomplete customization, as some aren’t aware of Salesforce’s full capabilities, which may lead to using a system that doesn’t fully meet the needs of the business. Without a Salesforce consultant, you will lack adequate training and ongoing support, and you can take security risks that can otherwise be avoided.


salesforce crm


What are the strategic steps you take to ensure that CRM implementation goes smoothly?

Beginning with a structured plan is first and foremost. A Salesforce implementation partner must have a solid methodology. Some partners will utilize agile methodology to see quick turnarounds with the work they’re doing for an organization. The process typically begins with requirements gathering and scoping, which is distilled into a business requirements document. It’s important that your partner hones in on your business challenges and finds ways in Salesforce to optimize those challenges. Rafac explains that their goal should be to relieve “any pain points you’re having.”


Once requirements gathering is complete, the partner should walk through everything to make sure you’re still on the same page. This time is a great opportunity for organizations to truly commit or adjust what they want and need. Things that should be discussed include any integrations with existing systems, customization, and data migration.


Once there’s an agreement, your partner should start configuring Salesforce in a “sandbox” to demonstrate and show you and your team what it will look like live. From there, you can make more adjustments. Your partner should maintain constant check-ins with you.


Project timelines are dependent on customization and what the organization is looking to accomplish. They can take anywhere from 3–6 months, if the organization is truly on top of what they’re doing. Pilot testing with a small group of users is also part of the process that identifies any issues or areas for improvement before rolling out to the entire organization. Performance monitoring and optimization are continuous during this phase, and here, you’re still gathering additional feedback to ensure you’re always improving efficiency and effectiveness.


End-user training is also part of the strategic steps taken to ensure a successful implementation. Your Salesforce consultant should train SMEs and sometimes all end users and provide documentation as well. Your Salesforce consultant should take this time to answer questions and provide further training, if necessary.


What should you look for in a Salesforce implementation partner?

According to Kevin Dimond, “A Salesforce partner should be one that understands the end-to-end process and the lead-to-cash process.” They should be helping their client service their customers as fast as possible before their competition does. They should be examined by their effectiveness, turnaround time, structured methodology, and knowledgeable consultants. Your partner should be going above and beyond with communication to your organization and be available when you need them to answer questions.


salesforce CRM implementation


What defines a successful implementation of Salesforce?

A successful implementation means that value has been added to the business; they should be operating better, more efficiently with optimized processes and performance. “Simply put, return on investment; showing the work you put into it is generating revenue on day one,”  reveals Dimond.  He explains that a CRM should never be a cost center, it should be a revenue center; you should be generating money from it. User adoption is another important aspect of a successful implementation.  

Part of a successful implementation means that employees are trained and ready to work the system. if users are not effectively using the platform, it will not deliver on its full potential benefits. Ongoing support is crucial as well, as continuous improvement and optimization cannot happen in a vacuum.

Success should be measurable, and the impact on KPIs should be regularly monitored and evaluated. Some metrics can include sales productivity, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth, as mentioned above.


Overall, a Salesforce implementation partner plays a crucial role in in aiding an organization to maximize the benefits of Salesforce, driving efficiency, innovation, and growth across the organization. It is with this hands-on experience and approach that organizations can truly benefit from Salesforce.

If you’re looking for help to either implement or optimize your Salesforce ecosystem, please get in touch with the experts at Caravel below.

Salesforce Migrates from Workflow Rules and Process Builder to Flow Builder

If you’re an avid Salesforce user, you probably heard that the software giant will be removing Process Builder and Workflow Rules at the end of 2025. What are the implications, and what does this mean for you? While change is inevitable as software innovates, we are here to help you advance alongside it.



Salesforce recommends migrating automation to the new Flow Builder. Although Workflow Rules and Processes will continue to work, they won’t be offering support or bug fixes for them. The newly created Flow Builder will allow for more complex logic compared to its predecessor and will allow its users to create multistep processes with conditional branching, loops, and screen elements for user interaction. It will also offer increased flexibility with data manipulation, allowing you to perform more difficult data transformations, create records, and more—with a single flow. Compared to Workflow Rules and Process Builder, the new Flow Builder will offer more robust debugging and testing capabilities that users can troubleshoot more easily. Flow Builder will also integrate with APIs and external systems more seamlessly, for even more sophisticated automation scenarios.



The migration to Flow Builder will take some time, so we suggest you start as soon as possible to allow time for testing. Salesforce has a Migrate to Flow tool and, along with that, Caravel will be offering support to its Salesforce customers.  



Users currently heavily rely on these automation tools for lead routing, task assignments, and email notifications; the new alternative will work just as well, but it will require an adjustment period.



Caravel will help you with understanding and familiarizing yourself and other users with Flow Builder. We will start by helping you assess your current workflows and processes and determining which ones will need to be migrated. We can also help you recreate the logic, criteria, and actions of each workflow and process.



Once these steps have been taken, we will work with you to test out your new workflows in various scenarios and cases, validate the new functionality, and identify any potential issues. We can also help train current users on the new Flow Builder to ensure they understand the differences between new and existing processes.



Contact us below if you’re new to Caravel and want some help migrating to Flow Builder. If you’re a current customer, please reach out to your customer support manager.  

What Does a CRM Do? An Effective Guide to Enhancing Customer Experience

According to WebFX, 87% of businesses use cloud-based CRM platforms, and 73% of customers express that their experience is a vital factor in purchasing decisions. A positive customer experience leads to repeat business, positive referrals, and an increased lifetime value. These experiences also influence the perception of an organization and can have long-term effects on its success. Investing in a solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help make or break an organization’s customer experience, thereby affecting revenue and profits.


A good CRM is a powerful tool used to engage customers, track and analyze their interactions with your organization, automate campaigns, manage your sales leads, and boost relationships. When implemented correctly, an effective CRM will improve your sales and retain customers by enhancing their experience with your organization.


Now that we are fully aware of how powerful a CRM is, let’s examine and answer some common questions circulating the customer experience and what a CRM can do to help.


CRM for Customer Data Management

 

Customer data management is the process of collecting, managing, and analyzing customer data. With complete and consistent data within a cloud-based CRM, organizations can learn more about their individual customers and can better provide relevant information that leads to customer retention. “Given that a CRM [such as Salesforce] is cloud-based, it allows users to access that data from anywhere, even on the go on their phone,” says Max Holton, Salesforce Solutions Architect at Caravel. He adds, “It’s all being stored and updated in real-time. So, wherever you are, you always have the most updated information on your customer.”


Customer data can include demographic information, work histories, email addresses, names, phone numbers, and more. The more organizations learn about the customer, the more thorough the data is and the better they can target that customer. This personalization strategy is what customers have come to expect in their purchasing journey. Personalizing communication can lead to an increase in conversion rate and business growth; it can improve analytics and the accuracy of forecasting and can, of course, enhance the customer experience. Holton also iterates, “CRM can be structured to collect data points that are not only important to your customer, but important to your business. You can create fields to collect important customer data or collect specific operational data points to report on Key Performance Indicators [KPIs].” This feature allows users to better extract information from the customer that becomes useful to them later in the purchase process and enables them to sell more efficiently.


CRM data management

 

CRM and Automated Processes

An effective CRM can automate certain processes for marketing, sales, and customer service efforts that can catapult engagement and communication. This smart function eliminates repetitive processes like manual data entry, saving time so they can focus on activities of higher value such as building relationships, generating and nurturing leads, and converting contacts into customers. These automated processes allow for more attentive customer service and support, allows the team to quickly respond to requests, and can help organizations communicate across multiple channels. This consistent and relevant communication leads to customer retention and a better customer experience.

“Automated processes enable faster time-to-value for the customer and for the business. The faster the business can service the customer, the greater the customer satisfaction. By eliminating manual processes, you’re minimizing human error, you’re expediting process, and removing bottlenecks so the whole process is more fluid, data is more accurate, and you’re getting the customer in the door, quoted, and delivering your product faster and more efficiently,” explains Holton.


CRM automation can also provide users with valuable insights that helps them better understand customer behavior, preferences, and trends. This enables more targeted and personalized campaigns, which result in a much-improved customer engagement rate and conversion rate. Automation in a CRM also helps to boost relationships with customers by tracking interactions, thereby enhancing the experience and empowering users to be more efficient, effective, and customer-centric in their efforts.


What Does a CRM do for Customer Segmentation?

A powerful CRM will allow its users to segment customers based on specific data points and provide more relevant messaging to those with diverse interests and needs. This will, in turn, improve sales and revenue, customer satisfaction, and the overall experience they have with your organization.


Targeting potential customers based on their preferences and behaviors is impactful. Segmenting lists augments the ability to create a more personalized campaign and creates a more effective way to track the effectiveness of a campaign or even a specific message. The organization can then re-focus its efforts based on results from testing these customer segments and establishing better and more meaningful relationships. “Companies only have a certain amount of salespeople or account managers, and with that, only a certain amount of bandwidth and human hours. By segmenting your customer, you can better allocate your internal resources and maximize that value. Avoid wasting internal resources on segments that are not generating value,” says Holton.


CRM customer segmentation

 

The Power of Customer Feedback Through a CRM

One of the most valuable tools an organization uses to improve and enhance processes is customer feedback. An effective CRM will help collect and analyze that feedback from numerous channels including surveys, reviews, and social media and provide insights into their preferences and needs. It can help identify trends and patterns and allow users to make more data-driven business decisions, improve products and services, and enhance the overall customer experience. Through dashboards and reports, organizations can better visualize the customer profile, and improve communication, satisfaction, and loyalty.

How a CRM Empowers Customer Service

What does a CRM do for customer service? A CRM offers immediate access to any and every interaction a customer has with a company. This includes any historical information, past and present purchases, as well as any communications. This valuable information allows for better customer service, as users can instantly retrieve what they need to help. Users will immediately know who they are communicating with, as the CRM can provide a complete view of the customer. This allows for a faster response time and results in better customer satisfaction.


The companies that we see that have a full front-to-end CRM application that do not have their business process and data spread out across multiple platforms – which leads to unclean, inaccurate, and duplicated data – are the most successful as it pertains to customer service. Salesforce, for instance, allows the user to have all data, sales, and customer experience efforts in one place in the cloud. This allows for one customer record being updated in real-time so when you do get to the point where you need to service that customer with a case, you have all that data in one place at your fingertips that is reportable and allows you to better service the customer,” explains Holton.


CRM customer service

 

How Does AI in CRM Help Boost the Customer Experience?

A strong CRM will adapt conversational AI into its platform to help users better understand company and customer data. AI empowers CRM users to quickly update information about customers from anywhere including their mobile devices, helps to surface answers about customers more swiftly, and allows cross-functional teams to collaborate better. Salesforce AI, for instance, allows companies to tailor promotions based on customer segments, which is powered by the company’s data. The AI is constantly learning based on the user’s intent, which helps to connect with customers faster, more efficiently, and more precisely. AI can help boost productivity and personalization, effectively making the customer experience more impactful.


When organizations implement a robust CRM into their daily activities, they’re committing to the customer. They’re collecting and managing customer data while automating their processes and personalizing communications. Effectively, these organizations are saving time and money while offering a better customer experience because they’re employing the right technology that will prove its worth as the brand grows and the customer remains loyal.


Caravel views CRM systems such as Salesforce as an enabler of better business and customer care. We advise our clients through a proven, successful implementation strategy that allows for flexibility and change. Through proper support and optimization, we help clients refine their Salesforce configuration and match it to their continuously evolving business model. Want to learn more? Contact us below.

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