How Businesses Create Success  by Customizing Salesforce

No two companies have the same requirements and workflows. Learn why and how customizing Salesforce can empower success within any company.

February 16, 2017 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

No two companies have the same requirements and workflows. So it makes no sense for your company to use software that can't be customized to your particular needs. It's as if you paid money for software designed for another company entirely!

On the other hand, you'll consider it money well spent to invest in a software platform that fits your own unique workflows. That's partly why Salesforce leads the pack among customer relations management (CRM) platforms: with an almost extreme degree of customizability, Salesforce users can program their own workflows or purchase third party apps that provide the functionality they need.

Customized Salesforce implementations simply work, without sacrificing intuitiveness and impact – even for enterprises that don't have a “sales force” per se.

Customization and Configuration

WCustomizing Salesforce: Effective & Powerfule've discussed the drawbacks of off-the-shelf and the benefits of customizing Salesforce before; while a non-customized build might spare you some trouble at the beginning, you'll be handicapped down the road when your implementation can't be customized according to your company's existing or developing needs.

In response, Salesforce offers almost unlimited customization – from slight configuration that requires no coding, to intensive and in-depth customization.

Configuration utilizes declarative approaches that don't need software programming to execute; the user interface permits authorized users to modify objects, create workflows, and toggle settings with a few clicks of the mouse within the admin panel.

Customization requires actual coding to alter your platform's functionality at its deepest level, using markup language like JavaScript and HTML. The former can be done by average Salesforce users, while the latter should be left to experts.

Most Salesforce users can get plenty out of simply configuring their existing platform or purchasing an app from the App Exchange. “Configuration is easier to understand and maintain, is harder to make a mistake that causes real damage, and automatically makes use of updates made by Salesforce,” explains Jeff May, Partner at MTI Solutions & Consulting and Salesforce MVP.

“[For customization], you need special technical skills to write it, each customization is unique so only the author really understands it easily,” May explains. “When something goes wrong, it is really, really hard to know where the problem started.”

Why Consideration Should be Put Into Customization

Discussing Salesforce CustomizationCustomization for customization's sake will get you nowhere, says Hampus Jakobsson, founder and CEO of “The most important thing we have learned is to not think how you want it to be customized (and what is possible) - but what you actually want to achieve.”

For Jakobsson, customization should help do two things - “support your sales people in selling better [and] gather data needed to get insights about the market,” Jakobsson explains. “But not for its own sake…. [where] sales people spend more time on inputting data than selling.”

There's also some value to taking the conservative approach, or as Joe Mallek, president of Lookthink puts it, “We’re big fans of not fixing what ain’t broke… in some cases, an off-the-shelf, out-of-the-box iteration of Salesforce will be perfectly suitable to meet all of your business goals and support your current processes.”

If a cost-benefit analysis of your situation calls only for small tweaks via configuration, then so be it – same with a massive customization effort that requires an expert third party to execute. “Determining and assessing the organizational value of the customization effort to your organization against the cost is a critical step,” Mallek explains.

“If it turns out that small changes to your business processes can accommodate the need, we recommend holding off… keep things as simple as you can for as long as you can,” Mallek says. “At some point, your organization may hit a tipping point where the value of the changes and the cost are better in balance - the ROI will be clear.”

Making the Intelligent Decision

If you want to find out if either configuration or customization are right for you, call on All Covered – a qualified Salesforce partner. Consultants like All Covered can customize your CRM implementation in-depth, and come up with a solution to meet your very particular needs.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or migrating from other legacy platforms, All Covered’s people can customize Salesforce to adapt to your team's needs – not the other way around.