We hear the term “roadmap” and easily relate that to the folded map that was in the glove compartment of the car, or the GPS directions that appear on a smartphone with interactive features. Either way, we arrive at our destination, on time and safely.

It’s actually very simple, this roadmap. It’s like driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco on three different routes: Interstate 5 (quickest, most congested), Highway 101 (less traffic) or Highway 1 (longest but most scenic). The route you choose depends on the journey you’d like to make.

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But what does having a really mean for a business? How do you, in Salesforce-speak,”unlock customer insights and build an actionable roadmap for amazing customer experiences on Salesforce and the principles of design thinking?”

Salesforce recommends three key elements to get there:

  • Align your stakeholders (get everyone on the same page)
  • Build a customer-focused culture (via design thinking)
  • Bring ideas to market faster (rapid iteration to differentiate)

our take on the essential steps in the roadmap process, integrating the Salesforce guidance above.

Understand Your Business Deeply and Thoroughly.

As you look at designing your roadmap to success with Salesforce, take a step back to really think about what it is that your organization does. How would you explain it to someone unfamiliar with you or your industry? How well can you articulate what you do? Can you get into the nitty gritty? As a business owner you probably think that you’re intimately familiar with what your business is doing day-to-day but if you’re a step or two away from where the work is happening, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the company. Other consulting firms have observed that preparation is the most critical phase in a Salesforce project. Without the groundwork it’s all too easy for your implementation to run off the rails, resulting in a Salesforce instance that doesn’t serve your needs, a lack of employee adoption, or worse, a potentially loss of time and money. Take an airport for example. The pilots fly the plane, but they don’t determine when they land or take off. The control tower handles that because the control tower has a full 360 degree view of the conditions, versus the pilots’ 180-degree view in the constraint of the cockpit.Connect with all of your stakeholders for your roadmap, not just the end users. Talk to employees (especially line employees), vendors, strategic partners, and anyone who will be affected by your roadmap. Once you know your business deeply, you will understand the technology tools you will need.

Align the Salesforce Tools to the Business (vs Business to the Tool)

As business owners, we are deeply vested and invested in our company, because it is usually based on a personal passion, a deep subject matter expertise, or the long hours we spend on it, or all three.One of the strengths of the Salesforce ecosystem is the fact that it’s a tool that can grow with your company and really stretch itself to fit into the space you occupy. Salesforce is open to other vendors and developers that can build apps that layer onto your Salesforce instance. Need territory management? Salesforce Maps can help you handle that. Want to reduce your environmental impact and go paperless? Docusign can integrate seamlessly.It’s easy to get tech-centric and want to have everything immediately but there’s value in taking your implementation step-by-step to explore the options available to you and make educated decisions that will enhance your Salesforce platform rather than detract from or clutter it.When it comes to this, consider working with a trusted advisor that has been down this road before such as a consultancy. Consultants can help you understand the known universe of use cases and help you develop use cases that align with your objectives. And in some instances, create brand new use cases!

Think Long-Term With Scalable Progression

Scale smartly! We may want to drive away in the Lamborghini, with tons of horsepower at your disposal but that should be your long-term goal.. If your first set of four wheels was a skateboard, think of your new implementation like that: it’s your minimum viable product, a lean iteration to get you standing up and working with your new tool. Work up to the Lamborghini, in an progressive fashion, upgrading where and when you need to. Really consider what you realistically need today, but do that with an eye to what you need next quarter and then next year. The bells and whistles are great and have many practical uses but they shine best when they’re used in a way that makes sense, not just to have sitting in your org underutilized.

Along the way make sure to celebrate each milestone with your team, your Salesforce org is growing and maturing because your time and resources have paid off: you’ve given your team a tool that helps them be efficient and organized. Recognizing the small wins as you go will only help cement your long-term success

If these ideas and approaches for a Salesforce roadmap resonate with you, please reach out to us and we can schedule a time soon to discuss your goals in depth. We can’t wait to work with you!

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