Salesforce implementation checklist: 9 ways to get the most out of your CRM 

Maya Rice-Boshi
By Maya Rice-Boshi
Updated February 14, 2023

Tools for success

Salesforce implementation is the best way to jumpstart your sellers’ productivity and efficiency, enabling them to take it to the next level. Salesforce and other CRM platforms are being utilized by businesses all over the world to collect, store, and amass huge amounts of sales data, which can then be precisely leveraged to increase targeted sales activity and boost revenue growth.

Common CRM challenges

The complex system of smart platforms such as Salesforce can result in a multitude of challenges, including onboarding problems, time-intensive tasks, and fractured workflows. These difficulties can compromise the productivity-boosting benefits of your CRM system, negatively impact your sellers, and decrease your sales velocity. But with the right strategic implementation, businesses can realize the full potential of their business goals and get the most out of valuable CRM software. 

Salesforce is an extremely complex and intricate platform, especially for businesses that are large in size and have no prior experience. It goes far beyond the initial purchase and requires weeks (if not months) of setup work to fully realize the benefits. 

The ultimate Salesforce implementation checklist

We have identified a 9-step Salesforce implementation checklist to help you get the most out of your  CRM. 

1. Define your goals 

The first thing you need to do when implementing Salesforce and CRM solutions is to understand why you are using them in the first place. The following questions will help you define specific, measurable goals: 

  • What do you want to accomplish with your Salesforce implementation and why? 
  • What are the specific problems that you hope to resolve with Salesforce? 
  • How can Salesforce specifically help to solve your issues? 

All of your goals should be practical, feasible, and easily quantifiable. The best way to achieve these goals is through the SMART framework, which helps you define specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals.

Following this framework is the best way to separate certain project goals into smaller chunks that can be easily implemented and measured cross-departmentally.  

2. Assess implementation risks

As with any CRM solution, there are certain risks associated with implementation. Not everything will be smooth sailing, and businesses should consider possible issues and work to avoid them at all costs. 

The core risks associated with Salesforce CRM implementation are: 

  • Wasting time on needless features that don’t support overall goals
  • Slow adoption
  • Unfriendly end-user solutions

3. Decide on your end user

Determining the correct Salesforce implementation end user is crucial to the ongoing success of your sales teams. 

Defining whether the sales team, marketing team, or the finance team will benefit most will help to streamline cross-functional team collaboration and will tie up any loose ends that could otherwise be overlooked. 

In most cases, Salesforce CRM solutions will need to be implemented for multiple departments and it’s important to determine their exact requirements.  

4. Establish a timeline 

Establishing a workable timeline for your Salesforce implementation process is crucial. It’s especially important because sales-based businesses have concurrent ongoing projects, so you’ll want to avoid overlapping or interference. 

A fully formulated timeline that takes into account the risks of associated projects will ensure that the Salesforce CRM implementation process causes the least amount of disruption to your business processes. 

5. Set specific, measurable metrics for your goals 

Once the initial implementation phases are out of the way, it’s time to measure the results and determine if the solution is effective or not. Performance metrics play a vital role in Salesforce implementation and need to be fully realized before any real changes can take place for primary users.

Not only do metrics help to establish sales targets, but they also enable organizations to manage and lead a successful deployment with little hassle. It also enables businesses to provide clarity, focus, and motivation to achieve goals related to CRM management. In the long run, technology silos are broken down and give businesses an overall view of customers that interact with your brand, products, and services.    

6. Build your team

Salesforce implementation teams should be organized into the following key members: 

  • Executive sponsor – Responsible for the overall success of the Salesforce project

  • Project owner – Responsible for leading the implementation team  

  • Project manager – Measures the success of the project and holds team members accountable 

  • System administrator – Responsible for managing and setup of overarching systems

  • Power user – Responsible for providing crucial feedback and highlighting issues regarding system demands of top management and end-users 

  • Salesforce consultant – Helps businesses meet sales targets and objectives by driving client-specific implementation and ongoing systems improvements 

7. Ensure adequate training

When implementing Salesforce, it’s easy to overlook crucial details that can result in a loss of efficiency and potential. This means that each team member needs to be sufficiently educated and undergo training before, during, and after implementation. 

Try not to rely solely on online resources and documentation. Instead, focus on high-quality employee training that equips teams with hands-on skills and an in-depth understanding of the complex systems within Salesforce. 

Additionally, utilizing the expertise of a Salesforce implementation partner and having them join your team is a great way to expedite the process and minimize potential risks. A Salesforce implementation partner can also help to maximize the effectiveness of your solution and streamline your particular business needs.

8. Systemize your data 

Another key success driver of your Salesforce CRM implementation checklist is the correct management of data resources. Without adequate quality data, it’ll be impossible for sales teams to increase user adoption, identify flaws and act quickly to resolve them. 

Follow the checklist below to make sure that you get the most out of your valuable data-driven resources: 

  • Determine whether the data sets you currently have match your long-term goals 
  • Evaluate the strength of your data and review it for errors and integrity needs 
  • Assess whether supplemental data needs to be collected and analyzed
  • Prioritize some data sets over others and disregard irrelevant information
  • Ensure effective data migration, preserving comprehensive data integrity


9. Communicate with end-users

The last point on our checklist highlights the importance of effective communication with valued end-users. After launching your Salesforce toolset, you should strive to constantly gather feedback in order to determine whether the current iteration is suited to your business needs. When issues arise, IT teams need to be available to support and address any concerns from end-users while ensuring that queries are reviewed quickly and efficiently. 

Final words of advice

Salesforce CRM implementation is difficult for any business to implement, even those large in size, resources, and scale. In fact, the bigger the business is and the more customers and employees they have, the harder it is to successfully implement an effective solution that increases user adoption and streamlines digital transformation.

As a general overview, following this Salesforce implementation checklist will push your company in the right direction and enable you to develop a structured approach to CRM implementation. It will offer your organization the best chance of increasing revenue, decreasing overheads, improving customer satisfaction, and gaining more promising data insights and analytics. 

Successful Salesforce implementation isn’t easy, but with the right systems in place, project managers and sales reps alike will be more in charge of critical processes that enable a successful launch. 

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Maya Rice-Boshi
By Maya Rice-Boshi
Maya is a Content Marketing Writer at WalkMe, specializing in storytelling and content strategy. She acquired a degree in Media & Communications in her home country of Australia, after which she moved to Israel and began her writing career as a ghostwriter for tech executives. When she's not writing, you can find her lost in a book or planning her next camping trip.