Personas and Your Salesforce Project

How a Short Exercise Can Change the Direction of Your Project Completely

A Salesforce implementation project, when done right, will provide you and your team with more than just a shiny new system to run your organisation.

By the end of the implementation stage of your Salesforce journey,  you should expect to have a deeper insight into how you operate as an organisation. As well as ways to improve how you will operate going forward…with the bonus of a powerful, flexible, cloud-based CRM to drive these strategies home.

But to get to that point and ensure your Salesforce solution lines up with your wants and future goals, you need to focus on who this is all for.

One tool we use to ensure we are designing the best possible solution for your organisation is the persona.


Persona; Putting People First

A persona is a fictional profile meant to represent a larger consumer / end user group. It provides a snapshot of the wants, goals and experiences that will influence your constituents’ behaviors and provide insight on how they may interact with your organisation. Personas are key in building processes and services that will comfortably meet the needs of those your organisation seeks to serve. They might not sound like much, but personas ensure that as you work with our specialists and consultants, real humans are constantly at the centre of the solution. Everything is done with users in mind.

To help guide this vision, AlphaSys focuses on two key ‘types’ of persona; Internal and External.


Internal Personas

Internal personas will focus on your staff, those actually using your Salesforce systems. Though easily neglected for the shinier world of donor or member profiles, your internal personas are crucial as they will most directly dictate what your solution will look like to your staff. What you find to be pain-points and the ‘wants’ of these profiles can be used to better target operational procedures that will change your organisation’s back end for the better. With results ranging from freeing up resources to improving staff satisfaction, meaning more ‘bang for your buck.’  It’s vitally important executives don’t assume they know the areas most in need of change, but check with the team – the personas exercise is a great chance to do this.

Internal personas will also come in handy when determining the types of functions your solution will have, shaping the solution, budget and timeline of the project.

Most importantly, they will help you keep the usability of your system in mind, as many see ‘usability’ as a direct sign of project success. There is no point building an entire system only for your supporter care team to sit down, and realise it’s far too complex to even touch. Having internal staff in mind through personas will help you work towards a human-centered, intuitive system and encourages user adoption.


External Personas

External personas of course refer to individuals outside of your organisation who you interact with. This can be donors, members, partners, volunteers, clients and those you care for. External personas can vary greatly, but regardless of your organisations’ goals we can assume you want your constituents across the board to have a positive experience.

Your external personas will help you build empathy, and give insight into how you should progress with your outward-facing tech. For example should you implement a client portal? Would they even use it? Would users prefer to be filling in fields on a record, or would a simple form be better to populate information?

Understanding who you’re serving also helps your team consolidate which services are crucial to your organisation, which means you can make sure your Salesforce solution bolsters these capabilities.

Knowing on what level your constituents want to be met helps mould the CRM’s focus, whether that be enhancing your ability to run events, or which payment options you need to offer donors. Personas drive positive user experience which in turn builds loyalty – meaning your solution, if designed right, should help sustain and grow your relationships.


Beyond the CRM

Your internal and external personas may feel separate, but it is important to remember they all feed into the same system design. Whatever bells and whistles are added to meet your external needs will have to be managed internally. Personas are a great way to spot these conflicts and make compromises or sacrifices early in your design phase workshops so there are no nasty surprises later.

The key to a successful Salesforce implementation is understanding that this is not an isolated project, instead it is part of a bigger business transformation. The tools your team gains throughout their journey can be extended to your wider business strategies, and personas are a perfect example. Not only are they crucial in guiding how you plan, design and use your CRM, they can be used to help shape your marketing plan, website design, for training and on-boarding, and any future programs or campaigns your may create.

Your personas are your people, and what’s more important than that?