SFA Implementation Health Check - Doing it the Right Way

September 13, 2022

An SFA implementation is a two way street. Its success requires the commitment of both the client and the solution provider. The right solution provider will not just sell the solution but take meaningful steps to ensure success of implementation. In a recent post, we wrote about selecting the right SFA partner. Training, on-boarding and initial hand-holding are the common norms of an SFA implementation. Beyond that, one of the things that a good SFA partner does for its partner client is regular monitoring of the health of implementation.

Now, what is a health check in implementation? While different SFA providers have different approaches to health check, it broadly involves regular monitoring of system usage and reviews with clients based on identifiable usage trends.

HealthCheck 1.0 – The Common Approach

A Salesforce automation solution generally has two components – a mobile app for the field sales rep/merchandizer to input data (stock, sales, campaigns, share of shelf etc) and a web platform for accessing reports and analytics. The most prevalent method to monitor implementation health is to monitor the field app usage.

The adoption and regular usage of the SFA app by the field team is arguably the most important driver of implementation success. The significance of this is not lost on the client management and hence this aspect of implementation is generally of great focus for the client. The Field Usage metric is also the most tangible to identify and measure, and easily customizable according to the business of the client. E.g. for an FMCG company interested in capturing secondary sales, a basic measure could be that of number of calls (visits) made versus the number of productive calls reported on a daily basis. On the other hand, for a hypermarket chain interested in capturing visual merchandizing, the measure could be that of number of campaigns completed in a day or over a defined period. The ease of measuring makes Field Team Usage a common metric of Salesforce automation players for monitoring the health of implementation.

The parameters to monitor field team usage could also evolve with the age of the implementation. E.g. in a sales implementation, a basic metric in the early stage could involve attendance reporting and sales reporting frequency, whereas at a later stage it could drill down to number of calls and productive calls reported and time spent in the market.

The benchmarks for different parameters within field usage could be set by the client or developed by the SFA provider based on its own understanding from having worked with similar clients in the past.

HealthCheck 2.0 – A more holistic approach

A lot many SFA solution providers do not go beyond monitoring Field Team Usage. While monitoring Field Usage has its own benefits, it does not give the complete picture. A holistic health check should also involve monitoring how the other component of the SFA solution – the web based portal – is being used by the client.

Management usage monitoring could involve one or more of the following:

  1. How frequently reports and analytical dashboards are being accessed by client
  2. Time being spent on the web portal
  3. Identifying who are the client stakeholders accessing the dashboards
  4. Type of reports/dashboards being used

Here are 3 key benefits to be realized from including Management Usage in a health check:

Direct correlation with Field Usage

While monitoring field usage helps identify when there is a noticeable dip in usage, we have generally found a direct correlation between the dip in field usage and the dip in management usage. Instead of looking at field usage in isolation, monitoring management usage helps identify whether it is actually a lack of focus from the client management that has contributed to a dip in field team usage.

Identify stakeholders actively involved

A successful implementation is usually one in which multiple stakeholders in the client organization are invested into the SFA initiative. E.g. in addition to the field user and the top management, sales managers along the sales hierarchy are regularly involved in monitoring the performance of their teams through the dashboards generated by the SFA solution.

Monitoring management usage helps identify whether all the stakeholders expected to use the web portal are doing so – the active users, the dormant users. This information can be the foundation for identifying the reasons for lack of usage by some users and how the same may be addressed to ensure a robust implementation.

Find ways to add value

Monitoring management usage can also help identify the types of dashboards or reports being used more frequently. This helps identify the type of data that is more relevant for the client. This understanding can be leveraged to build more insightful dashboards relevant to the client’s business. It can also be used to identify whether multiple reports are being used to compile data into one customized format by the client. If that is the case, the same may well be automated by the solution provider, saving precious time!

The capability to monitor and analyse management usage is a key differentiator among SFA providers. It enables an SFA provider to carry out a thorough implementation health check, that can be leveraged to have more productive implementation reviews with clients, add more value and plug gaps in implementation, if any.