11 Salesforce Best Practices For Startups

Zoe Hartsfield

March 23, 2023
you notice your sales data is out of date
you feel like you lack clarity on current pipeline
you want to see reports on booked and forecasted revenue but can’t
you missed an important action item for a potential customer
you expanded your sales team and it’s hard to see who owns what account
you’re seeing duplicates in the data
What does “CRM set up” mean/involve?
When is the best time to set up your CRM and why?
What are the costs if you wait?
What are the benefits if you move quickly?
How do most companies implement their CRM?
Should you get Salesforce or another CRM?

So you work at a startup, eh? Congrats. Working at a startup can be an incredibly rewarding and challenging job. Being on the ground floor of something allows for impact and influence. It affords you the chance to make a difference, and the opportunity to develop new skills.

One of the major pitfalls early stage companies fall into is waiting too long to put the proper systems in place to track growth and revenue. One of those systems is a CRM. Spreadsheets might work for a while and smaller CRMs like Hubspot could get the job done for a time - but if your company has any plans of scaling, Salesforce is your best bet. 

Salesforce isn’t just a “set it and forget it” tool, however. You need to continually improve, assess, and refine your Salesforce setup to enhance the user experience and ensure the data is working FOR you.

From prioritizing data security to finding a Salesforce implementation partner, here are 11 best practices all startups should consider...

1. Focus on Data Security

Being a responsible business owner means protecting your stakeholders from cyberattacks, especially if you have Salesforce, because it’s a popular and attractive target for hackers. You can keep your Salesforce platform secure and maintain customer trust by staying vigilant and using safe and updated software. 

2. Prioritize Data Quality

Salesforce implementation partners state that maintaining quality data is crucial to keep your customer relationship management (CRM) system organized. You can remain efficient and competitive by implementing good data hygiene processes. 

You can also use tools like data cleaning, address validation apps, naming conventions, duplicate record checks, and quality metrics. (Reach out to our team if you need help with these, we’ve got you covered!)

3. Make Your Processes More Efficient

Streamlining means making systems more accessible and efficient for administrators and users. You can ensure everyone performs well and your organization runs smoothly by using Salesforce Knowledge. It also helps everyone store information in one place and talk to users to identify points for improvement. 

4. Differentiate Needs from Wants

Salesforce allows clients to customize the platform to their needs and to enjoy different features. While it’s an excellent investment, you should be patient when learning how to use it, especially if it’s your first time. You could build forever in SFDC. It’s important to have a hierarchy of projects and a clear set of priorities as you build. How does this serve the business? Will it make a difference if I build this today or can it wait? What will make a greater impact sooner? All questions to consider.

5. Understand Your Internal Processes Better

Most Salesforce implementation partners will tell you that you can’t use a platform until you know YOUR businesses instance and use case. Before using Salesforce, you have to define your own processes. That way, you can ensure the new features or functions you add to your Salesforce solution best fits your existing workflows. Otherwise you end up with tech debt. 

6. Test, Retest, and Document 

Before implementing your new Salesforce processes, you should test them because there is a lot of complexity in the system and your new flows might not function as expected (unless you’re using Swantide of course:)). This step will also help you catch costly errors. Never rush this procedure because it can risk user data and essential business information. 

Also, document everything. Jot down the “why and how” you built your Salesforce processes. This step must provide clear instructions for other admins, leaders and even end users to understand. You never know when that documentation will come in handy as you scale!

7. Invest in Automation, AI, and Machine Learning

Automating daily tasks can help create a more efficient and reliable organization. Begin by identifying tasks you can automate and breaking down the process to decide which tasks need automation tools. That way, your team can focus more on complex and strategic work.

That’s exactly why we built Swantide. Our platform automates some of the more tedious Salesforce development work so that you and your team can focus on revenue generating activities. 

8. Always Consider the End User

You can make end users’ lives easier by involving them in the process, updating them, and prioritizing their needs to create a platform that will promise optimal outcomes for your business. This is WHO you are building it  for. Keeping your instance clean and simple to use will mean the difference between folks adopting it or having a massively expensive digital paperweight sitting in your tech stack.

9. Assign a Product Owner

A designated product owner is a trained professional that will serve as your company’s “Salesforce guru.” They can answer questions and help with issues and updates. Your Salesforce expert can be an internal stakeholder or an external administrator. 

Or ya know, use Swantide! Then you don’t have to be an expert at all:)

10. Adopt a Change Management Strategy

Implementing this strategy means involving all departments to ensure beneficial, low-risk changes and lead to more innovation and collaboration. This one goes back to documentation and takes it a step further. Be thinking about how you roll out these internal changes and the communication you need in order to get stakeholders and end users on board and up to speed.

11. Seek Professional Help

You can get the most out of Salesforce by knowing who to contact for help and choosing the right Salesforce implementation partner. 

(Our platform does this in a matter of minutes once we know what you need at a fraction of the cost of a traditional consultant - so we’ve got you.)


Salesforce is a worthwhile investment for early stage startups. Integrating these best practices and working with a professional Salesforce implementation partner can help you focus on growth and efficiency in your business. 

If you’re looking for a Salesforce implementation partner, we’re happy to help! We’re committed to helping the fastest-growing companies set up, iterate, and manage their CRM. Don’t be a stranger and reach out if you have any questions.

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