When you think of implementing Salesforce, you may think that the biggest challenges will be technical. In fact, the mistakes that most often cause problems relate to planning and people issues. Here are five mistakes that you can avoid to have a more successful Salesforce implementation.

1. Failing to Obtain Support for the Project

You know that buy-in from the people in your organization is critical, but you can’t focus on users and overlook senior management. If you don’t have active support cascading down from the CEO, COO, and CFO level, you’ll find enthusiasm for the new system waning. Keep senior management involved by interviewing them about their goals and clearly explaining how the system will positively impact the business.

2. Failing to Document the Complete Sales Cycle

You may think that Salesforce is just for the sales department, but what you’ll find is that the entire sales process crosses many departmental lines. Salesforce enables you to satisfy the requirements of many departments, but only if you’ve identified and planned to support them before you start integrating the systems.

3. Failing to Clean Data Before Implementation

One major problem is that the data you’re bringing together isn’t consistent or complete. You’ll waste a lot of time and manpower fixing these types of issues. You can avoid the problem by cleaning the data before you start.

4. Failing to Implement the System in Phases

Salesforce has a wide range of capabilities, but if you try to implement them all at once, you will end up overwhelming the organization. If the users think the system is too complicated to learn, you could end up with a mutiny on your hands. Make sure the first phase of implementation creates a strong foundation. Get the database and the process in place and working well. Provide training to ensure that all employees understand the basics. You can always add the bells and whistles over time.

5. Failing to Appoint and Train an In-House Administrator

Salesforce offers training and support, but that can’t take the place of an in-house administrator. You’ll need a technical guru who knows the system inside and out and can troubleshoot problems. In addition, most companies customize the software over time to get the most benefit. The guru can make sure system customization goes smoothly without reducing the integrity of the data and existing processes.

Salesforce has a reputation for helping companies reach growth goals, increase revenue, foster teamwork and improve customer loyalty. A well-planned implementation will let your company see the same type of results.