After working in the Salesforce world for a while, one of the main questions I hear from new Salesforce Consultants is, “How do I gather requirements?!”. They just don’t understand the process or the steps that this stage in a project requires. It’s a very normal concern, I remember when I first started running discovery sessions, I was afraid that I would ask the wrong questions, or run out of questions to ask. I decided to write a post to help clear up this process and hopefully inform those that find this stage in a project confusing.
To start, please note that each requirements gathering stage will differ greatly depending on a few factors.
- Project type (Sales, Service, Platform, Community, Marketing)
- Project Size
For this post, we are going to be following the scenario of a Sales Cloud project. We’re assuming that the company we are running the requirements gathering for is a typical medium-sized company, and the goal here is to implement a sales project to help them with their commercial process. The roles that could typically be involved in a project like this would be the CEO, IT Manager, Sales Manager, Project Sponsor.
Of course, I cannot cover every scenario with the post, but the fundamentals are in here and you can adapt to suit your own project. We will be looking at this from a high-level, but at the end of the post, I will list some documentation regarding the different information that can help you.
Requirements gathering always have 3 core stages.
Pre-Game – Preparation time where you should prepare the information you have available to you in a structured format to ensure you make the best of the session
Game Day – The discovery days where you will meet and chat with the different users and stakeholders in the business
After Game – The day after the session
Before the game day, there is a checklist of items you should run through to ensure that you are fully prepared.
- Review the project scope and have a clear understanding of the initial reasons why this project came about. Was it the lack of proper sales tool? No reporting visibility? Always keep this in mind when you are talking with the different teams.
- Study the company and the industry, be prepared to chat in their own lingo and make sure they know you did your homework. Use the companies website, white papers, LinkedIn and any other sources you find.
- Check who is attending beforehand. It’s important that if you come across the company CEO you know who they are.
- Review previous projects or Salesforce demos for similar use cases related to the one you are going to start. Previous experience means a lot in the consulting world.
- Prepare a set of questions (Use them as a guideline, not as examination questions)
- Build an agenda and send it across prior to the meeting. The agenda should respect a logical order such as process or department. E.g…
- Project Sponsor (Understanding the project goals)
- Sales Manager & Users (Understand the sales process and the current pains they have)
- IT (Discuss Integrations and sources of data)
- CEO (Understand relevant KPI’s and the company goals)
- Project Sponsor (Review)
This will be different from project to project, but make sure you have a logical agenda, and if possible, always involve the Project Sponsor and IT in different sessions.
The day has finally arrived! Relax and enjoy the day, you have done the hard work of preparing, now its time to dive into someone’s business. Always keep the following in mind…
- Be punctual
- Always be looking to build a relationship with the stakeholders. People trust people that they can relate to.
- Show your value, you are the specialist and you should lead the conversation.
- Stick to a plan, always try and stick with your plan and agenda to ensure you cover every base.
- Question everything, you cannot find out all you need to know unless you ask questions. Ensure you ask questions until you find out the whole process.
- Be critical and disruptive, this company has hired you to ensure they have the best process and systems.
- Draw, make sure you draw the process (Use a whiteboard or large paper)
- Lingo, start drawing parallels between Salesforce lingo and their lingo (It will help later on)
Here are some ideas for topics and questions you need to be asking for each stakeholder group.
- Company – Let them introduce the company
- Structure – Understand how the organisation is structured
- Goals – Understand what the overall project goals are
- Achievements – What is the project trying to achieve
- Pain – Understand the pain points that drive the project need
Sales Manager / Sales Teams
- Team – “How is your team structured?”
- Accounts – “Who are your customers and what type of relationship you have with them?”
- Process – “Please describe the current Sales process, from the lead to actual sale. Please state where you find the most difficulties with the current process or platforms”
- Products – “What are you selling and who is your target market?”
- Tools – “Which tools (excel / online platform / internal tools) are you currently using to perform the sales activity?”
- Data – “Which fields are relevant to keep information regarding the different stage of the sales process (Lead – Account – Contact – Opportunity)?”
- Privacy and Visibility – “If there any restriction of visibility between the teams please state which one?”
Reporting / Metrics – “What metrics do you use to measure your business?”
- Pains – “Where do you feel the difficulties with the current process?”
- Vision – “What are the executive’s teams goals with this project”
- Metrics – “Which metrics do you need to see come out of this project?”
- Success KPI – “Which KPI will make this implementation a successful one?”
- Databases – “Where is the current information stored?”
- Dimension and Quality – “What is the size of the current database and how is the quality (Duplicates, incorrect data)?”
- Integrations (if they will exist) – “What other systems need to integrate into Salesforce? Are there any current integrations that we need to be aware of?”
- (Make sure you check the systems and understand how they might interact with Salesforce)
- Review – Review all the processes that were gathered and clarify some doubts
- Plan – Plan the next steps
You’ve made it! That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Now it’s the easy part, after the session you should always send an email where you list items you might have missed, let them know their time was appreciated, and explain next steps. The game day can be a bit hectic, therefore it’s important to ensure all your notes are kept well to ensure you can access them easily later. Ensure that you store them in a logical way, grouped by department or process (Such as, Sales Process, To be Sales process, integrations, metrics, goals etc…). You might need to do additional discovery sessions in order to make the best out of your project.
Final note- Be create, be disruptive, be a critic, be organised, and Enjoy!
Thanks a lot to my team at Step Ahead Consulting that supported me with this post.
Here some articles to help you: