Why Staffing Your CRM Team Matters

By Salesforce.org | June 14, 2018 | Higher Education, K-12 Education & Youth Development, Nonprofit, User Tips and Tricks

By: Sam Dorman and Chris Zezza, The Build Tank

Quick quiz: what’s the most important ingredient for Salesforce to become a game-changer in your organization?

A strong implementation partner? Executive enthusiasm? Clean page layouts? Beautiful dashboards?

Those are all important, no question.

Supporting a healthy CRM requires balancing a surprisingly wide range of responsibilities.But the real key to success is your organization’s internal capacity. And we’re not talking about just any internal capacity here. We’re talking about consistent, detailed, strategic ownership, and leadership. Inside your organization’s walls. That will determine whether Salesforce becomes an organizational game-changer, or whether it sags its way into the bin of half-realized tech debacles.

Of course, knowing you need to resource your system and knowing how to do so are two different things. Over the years we’ve worked with organizations to not just implement Salesforce, but to also build and incubate internal teams who are ready to take full ownership of their system’s and organization’s success.

So we’ve just released a white paper called Resourcing Your Salesforce CRM “Product Team”. It’s all about why you need dedicated staff focused on your Salesforce CRM, what they should be doing, and how to set up their roles — from an individual admin up to a large-scale CRM team.

There’s capacity and there’s capacity

There’s capacity and there’s capacityIf there is a key underlying principle to grasp, it is that the types of work required to maintain a healthy, effective technology system — whether small, simple, and constrained or large, complex, and ambitious — cover a much broader range of responsibilities than often expected, from leadership to technical to human.

The technical piece tends to be the first — and sometimes only — piece people think of when they think about managing their CRM. And no question it’s important. But equally if not more important are all of the human factors that influence and support adoption, such as an ongoing training program, robust support of users, and an intake/triage process to address issues and take advantage of new ideas and opportunities. As the staffing models we show in the white paper grow, each of those sides of the coin are backed by staff with dedicated emphasis and skills in that area.

Finally, leadership is probably the most critical — and often the most overlooked — area of responsibility. This includes the critical responsibilities associated with steering the ship of the CRM through ever-changing waters and nearly unlimited potential destinations. It includes creating and managing a ‘roadmap’ for the development and maintenance of the product, and many other critical diplomacy and communication responsibilities.

Do we really need a CRM team?

You invest in dedicated CRM staff because of the strategic and tactical advantages it brings to your organization, and to everyone working inside of it.

It’s easy to take new efficiencies for granted once they are implemented. But remember that the job of CRM staff is to find and make the most impactful targeted system improvements for your organization — again and again — out of a world of limitless possibilities. If the system can be fixed to remove a time-wasting redundant step that the rest of your staff has to undertake multiple times a day, or to give people quick access to data and intelligence that makes their subsequent work more informed and effective, that becomes an incredibly high leverage investment.

On the other hand, if your CRM’s improvement cycle is bottlenecked due to your capacity being under-resourced, it’s the entire rest of the organization’s work that suffers. A strong CRM staffer or team whose job is problem-solving and work-enhancing is not a charitable endeavor. It is a strategic necessity for a modern, responsible, and data-driven organization. The efforts of every member of your CRM team are leveraged into the work of every other member of your organization.

Dive deeper

For a deeper dive into the specifics of resourcing your Salesforce Product Team, feel free to download the white paper where we explore and explain these principles in three sections:

  • Part I: Essential areas of work describes the varied areas of coverage required to successfully build and maintain a thriving, complex system like Salesforce.

  • Part II: What you can and can’t outsource explains how most organizations tend to inadvertently flip this dynamic backwards, and how it can be straightened out.

  • Part III: Roles and team evolution illustrates several sample models for roles and org charts to handle the workload as scale and ambitions grow.

Naturally some pieces of these models may need some tweaking in your organizational context. But you will be starting from a position of advantage if you can be realistic about breadth of work required and the range of skills needed to support and execute it. That will enable you to allocate a realistic level of capacity, and divide the work up between well-trained, focused staff with clear roles and responsibilities. And in turn, to help you push your organization to a new level of effectiveness.

Want to learn more about building an awesome internal Salesforce Product Team? Keep reading for tips on CRM governance and how to create a center of excellence.

About the Authors
Sam Dorman and Chris Zezza of The Build Tank help incubate great technology into the fabric of forward-thinking organizations. While helping organizations deliver high-quality products like Salesforce CRMs, they also focus on building and incubating internal teams who are ready to take full ownership of their system’s and organization’s technology success.