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    How and when to leave Salesforce CRM

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    So, you’ve come to the conclusion that Salesforce is no longer the right tool for your team. It’s too big, too complex, too cumbersome, too expensive, too messy. Or you’ve simply decided that you’re ready for something that will truly enable your team to achieve world-class sales effectiveness.

    You want a sales enablement platform, not just a database with a bunch of plug-ins that sort of do what you bought them to do, but mostly create app-switching, unreliable forecasts, a graveyard of information, and a heavy cost burden.

    You know something better is out there, but the idea of leaving Salesforce is daunting. How will you get all that data transferred? How much pain will the implementation cause and how long will it take and how much will it cost? Who will train everyone in the new software?

    And, in the end, will your people hate you for it?

    It’s no secret that I believe most sales teams engaged in complex b2b sales can do better than Salesforce. Salesforce IS the Hydra in most organizations, and the cause of a substantial quantity of point pollution. Salesforce might have been the right choice when you selected it, but it's time to cut your losses.

    Until now, I’ve never really talked about WHEN is the right time to make the switch and HOW to do it so that it doesn’t blow up your entire organization–and your budget–in the process. So, here we are.

    When to leave Salesforce

    As Membrain has been designed to be a superior alternative to Salesforce - for companies involved in B2B sales - we obviously think any time is a good time to make the switch. But here are some times when it is especially timely and relatively simple.

    1. You’re considering switching to Lightning
      In 2014, Salesforce rolled out a new version called Lightning. It promised to do a lot of things for sales organizations, but six years later, many organizations continue to operate on the Classic platform. There’s a good reason for that: Switching to Lightning can be as difficult as switching to another CRM altogether.

      The prospect of taking all of your data, all of your plugins, all of your custom coding and updates and work-arounds, and transferring them all into a whole new set of technologies is daunting. It can be a costly and disruptive project.

      If upgrading your CRM platform is on the radar for you, this is the perfect time to switch to something more streamlined and custom-built specifically for the way you sell. Bonus: Membrain’s Clearpath Promise means that it will be easier, cheaper, and faster than switching to Lightning would be. We set a fixed price and promise to deliver on time.

      Nobody got fired for buying Salesforce CRM. But maybe they should?
      George Brontén

      Plus, once it’s set up, you won’t have to hire developers to customize it for you. We’ve made it possible for you to manage your customizations yourself, so it can operate exactly the way you want it to.

    2. You’re sick of Salesforce increasing your prices
      I’ve heard from a number of Salesforce customers that after a certain amount of time, if your team and usage hasn’t grown, your price for Salesforce licenses nevertheless does. Your price goes up, as a penalty for not growing. There are even lawyers specialized in helping companies negotiate to reduce the cost of Salesforce licenses. Here’s an interesting blog post on how Salesforce negotiates.

      It would be hard for me to express just how wrong I think this is. This is no way to treat loyal customers, to penalize them because your product hasn’t helped them grow. I believe it is downright abusive.

      If this is happening to you, this is a great time to consider leaving the abusive relationship for something better. How about a platform that not only doesn’t penalize you for low usage, but actually offers pricing so that you pay less for users who need less functionality? That would be Membrain.

    3. You’re reviewing your tech stack to control costs and improve productivity
      If it’s tech stack review time, you may be looking particularly hard at cost control and productivity. The current pandemic has all of us looking for ways to do more with less.

      And if you’re like most sales teams, the CRM is probably sitting at the foundation of your tech stack. If it’s Salesforce, there’s a good chance that having it as your foundation has forced the rest of your tech stack to grow and expand in order to get all the functionality you need. This is because their business idea is to be a platform, not a solution to increase sales effectiveness. For every plugin you buy (Salesforce offer many plugins themselves, see this price list), every customization you make, Salesforce makes money. It’s a money-making machine - for Salesforce, not necessarily for your company, or your employees.

      This is probably costing you a lot of money while simultaneously forcing your salespeople and managers to task-hop, ignore best practices, or just not get what they need in order to be effective. 

      Now is the perfect time to take a look at how a simple, flexible, tailor-made platform like Membrain can replace not only your CRM, but also a lot of the plugins and customizations and additional software that cost your organization a lot of money every year. It’s the perfect foundation for doing more with less.

    4. You’re implementing new customer-focused sales strategies, processes, and/or methodologies
      Perhaps you’re on a mission to become more effective. Perhaps you’re responding to changing conditions in the marketplace. Whatever your reason, if you’re rolling out a new strategy, process, and methodology, you should also take a look at how your technology supports the new approaches.

      There is often a huge gap between a new strategy, process, and its execution in the field. Even with solid process, methodology, and training, getting widespread user adoption can take months, years, or not happen at all. It can be extremely frustrating.

      The right technology should close the gap and reduce your implementation time while making execution more effective. It needs to guide salespeople through the new process right inside their workflows, serve training resources on-demand, provide content in context, and give them checklists to hold them accountable and reinforce new skills and habits.

      This is a great time to evaluate whether your current Salesforce instance can serve these needs, and how much it would cost to customize it to do so. Membrain was created to quickly and easily make your strategy and process executable in the field. And salespeople love it, which means they’ll use it.

    5. You're still waiting for the  ROI that never happened
      You were promised a return of investment from a "single source of truth," and "a 360-degree view of your customer," but that ROI hasn't materialized. Instead, your employees feel like data-entry clerks and have stopped using the system. The reason for this is that traditional CRM systems were built to house data and track activities, not to increase sales effectiveness. How your sales leaders, managers, and salespeople should align with your strategy to achieve their targets, that's entirely up to them. "Just log what you've done."

      That's not good enough in 2020 - when how you sell may be your last differentiator. Use our sales enablement ROI calculator to determine how much money you can make by improving win rates, deal sizes, and onboarding new hires faster.  

    6. You’re ready for something better
      I would be remiss not to point out that Membrain is tailored for complex b2b sales, which Salesforce is not, and that, in some cases, that alone is enough of a reason to make the switch. Especially once you see how easy it can be.

    How to leave Salesforce

    Even if you know the time is right, you may hesitate to make the switch. You’ve invested so much in Salesforce, in customizations, plugins, and integrations. There’s so much data in there, and your people have gotten used to it.

    Plus, new technology implementations are notoriously time-consuming, complex, frustrating, and often fail.

    You are right to be cautious. But you are wrong about the process of switching to Membrain. Our Clearpath Promise makes it remarkably painless to make the change. Here’s how.

    1. Our team works with your team to define your needs
      We take the initiative to get in close with your team and understand how you work–and how you want to work. We’ll help you define success metrics, establish KPIs, and define the timeline and scope to ensure a successful migration and transition.
    2. We do the heavy lifting
      Based on the discovery process and ongoing collaboration, we design your sales process, transfer your data, and set up your system to enable your sales team. We partner with top sales development experts to ensure your process and training will accomplish what you want to accomplish. If you don’t have a detailed sales process and methodology you currently use, we work with our partners to match you up with one of our built-in process editions that meets your needs, or with a partner who helps you design your unique way of selling and build it into Membrain.
    3. We train your leadership, salespeople, and at least one superuser
      Training in how to get the most out of Membrain is built into our Clearpath Promise. We’ll teach your leadership how to get the most out of analytics and insights. We’ll teach your salespeople how to navigate and use the process, training, content, coaching, and other tools. And we’ll make sure you have at least one superuser on your team (internally, or at your partner) who can make changes and customize the interface on an ongoing basis to continue to flexibly serve your needs–eliminating the need for technical development every time you want to make a change.
    4. We make sure you and your salespeople love it–and then we help you optimize it
      Once you’re up and running on Membrain, we check in to review your KPIs and other metrics to ensure it’s performing as expected. We also make sure that you and your team and your salespeople all love using the system, and make tweaks for anything that isn’t working for them. Then we work with you to optimize the system to serve you best.

      With the Clearpath Promise, all of this is included in your once-and-done implementation price, so you know exactly what it will cost to get to the finish line, with no surprise or hidden fees.

    We’d love to show you in person how much Membrain can do for your team, and how easily. Contact us today for a demonstration.

    George Brontén
    Published May 27, 2020
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn