Is it time to overhaul your Salesforce instance?

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By: Rob Jordan | 1.4.18

Every CRM has a tipping point, the point when technology features become difficult to add because the solution has been over-configured. Much like Jenga, the solution reaches its maximum expansion and begins to become unbalanced due to the decisions that were made in the beginning.

As Salesforce grows (it’s now over 16 years old!), we at Idealist Consulting have noticed that more and more instances have become over-configured and need an overhaul. This moment of decision is what we call the “configuration tipping point”. Typically there are three indicators that will help you confirm it’s time for an overhaul:

  1. You have used multiple configuration or architecture methodologies (this is common when you’ve had many Salesforce admins or multiple consultants working in your architecture).
  2. Your business process is particularly complex, varied, and have grown or changed over the years.
  3. You have integrated Salesforce with many different systems.

Read on to learn how you can self-diagnose and how, with help, you can begin to resolve these problems.


How can I tell when I need an overhaul?

This need for an overhaul typically reveals itself when an organization has three or more disparate business relationships are being facilitated within one database. For example, this occurs when a nonprofit is using Salesforce to manage their fundraising (much like B2B relationships for businesses), memberships (B2C) and e-commerce (B2C and B2B).

It is even more likely to occur if the development of these relationships are done iteratively over time, which is not uncommon for early adopters. For example, the company began building the CRM to accommodate e-commerce to sell to businesses, and then they decided to add the ability to manage events for individuals. Both are a commerce function but they require a different architecture when they are leveraged simultaneously rather than alone.

Like any ailment, you will notice symptoms that may indicate you have a bigger problem. Here are some of the symptoms you might notice:

  • Broken (or confusing) reports.
  • Multiple ways to view or enter data for the same contact.
  • An inability to configure a new process without breaking an existing process. (i.e. you want to use an event solution with your Salesforce instance but can’t without conflicting issues arising with your e-commerce solution).


So how did it reach this point?

Typically these symptoms build up over time. They caused by one or more of these sources:

  • A weak technical administrative staff within the organization.
  • You are facilitating B2B and B2C business processes simultaneously. For example, you use grants, peer-to-peer fundraising, and communities; or you are selling to businesses and individuals simultaneously.
  • Your organization has poor communication between departments.
  • You were an early adopter of the solution.
  • You utilized multiple consulting partners to implement the solution.
  • You have a large number of integrations of 3rd party solutions.

We also find these symptoms are typically more frequent for nonprofit organizations than businesses. This is largely because nonprofits tend to have more complex relationships with their constituencies. They are essentially “selling” to both organizations and individuals simultaneously.


Ok, now what?

When clients come to Idealist Consulting with some of these symptoms, we recommend several tactics to reconfigure your Salesforce instance and make it more dynamic for years to come.

  1. Adjust your business processes to accommodate what the existing architectural design can facilitate. In other words, you can adjust how you do your work to fit into the system you have. For example, you may decide that your existing configuration really only facilitates a B2C relationship. Since that makes up 85% of your revenue you may decide to stop facilitating B2B relationships.
  2. Rebuild your Salesforce instance to better conform to your existing business process.
  3. A hybrid of the two.

It is important to note that once you have noticed several of these symptoms it is necessary to get a professional opinion from a Salesforce consultant before doing massive re-architecture yourself. A consultant can help you do a more thorough diagnostic and provide a project plan of where to go from here.


Ready to see how you can begin to overhaul your Salesforce instance and resolve these problems?


Let’s Talk



Submitted by Oliver on Thu, 01/04/2018 - 16:12

Appreciate this read and I could't agree more. The concept of set it and forget it usually works for a year or two but then starts to fall apart as a organizations, employees and their roles change. Consultants play an important role in strategically approaching optimization projects.

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