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  • Writer's pictureSara Millis

Salesforce and M365 Integration: How to roll it out safely across your small business

Rolling out the Salesforce and M365 integration across your small business requires a thoughtful strategy and execution. It's not just about the technology but how well it aligns with your business goals and secures your valuable data.

Let's look at how to do that safely across your small business and its key departments.

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Understanding the basics of Salesforce and M365

Before we dive headfirst into the integration of Salesforce and Microsoft 365 (M365), it's essential to have a solid grasp of what each of these platforms brings to the table.

Salesforce: Your CRM Powerhouse

Salesforce is a renowned Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that serves as a centralised hub for managing your business's interactions with customers and potential clients.

With Salesforce, you can:

  • Manage customer information

  • Streamline sales processes

  • Enhance customer support

  • And make data-driven decisions.

Microsoft 365: Your productivity suite

Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, is a comprehensive suite of productivity tools designed to improve communication, collaboration, and document management.

With M365, you can:

  • Empower collaboration

  • Enhance productivity

  • Secure data

  • And streamline team communication.

Why Integrate Salesforce and M365

Integrating Salesforce and Microsoft 365 gives you a lot of bang for your buck as a small business. You'll be able to:

  • Avoid data silos - meaning your team works with the most up-to-date information.

  • Improve contextual collaboration - meaning your team understands how to implement real customer cases into your project work.

  • Improve data quality - no more manual entries or miscommunication between departments.

  • Create personalised services - quick access to real-time data can help your team provide more personalised and efficient customer experiences.

  • Allow for adaptive growth.

What to do before you integrate Salesforce and M365 across your business

Determining your integration goals is the first step to any successful tech integration. What do you aim to achieve by integrating Salesforce and M365? Are you primarily looking to enhance customer relationship management, improve team collaboration, or streamline your sales processes? Be clear about your objectives, as they will guide the integration process.

Once you have this, then consider how to:

  1. Understand your departments - Sales teams may benefit from seamless data sharing between Salesforce and Outlook, while your marketing team could improve collaboration by integrating Salesforce with Teams and SharePoint.

  2. Recognise your pain points - Do you currently face problems with data duplication, inconsistent customer information, or cumbersome document sharing? Identifying these pain points is vital to determining an implementation strategy.

  3. Budget considerations vs. plans - No tech integration is without cost. Determine the funds you can allocate to the integration process. This includes the cost of software, tools and the time and effort your team (or your IT guys - hello!) can commit.

  4. Employee feedback - Your employees are on the front lines of using these tools daily. Their input is invaluable. Discuss your integration plans with your team members, gather feedback, and address any concerns they might have. Involving them early can foster a smoother transition and higher adoption.

  5. Assemble the right team - Can you handle data migration and software implementation in-house, or do you need a third party to do this for you?

  6. Create a detailed integration plan - Your plan should address timelines, milestones, and responsible team members. Consider potential roadblocks and create contingency plans. A clear roadmap will keep the integration process on track, particularly if you need to roll out in phases.

  7. Training and change management - Provide training to ensure your employees can effectively use the integrated system. Communicate the benefits of integration and how it will improve their daily workflows. Address any concerns they might have and involve them in the transition process.

Okay, so how do you integrate Salesforce and M365 successfully?

You start with data cleanup and migration. Remove duplicate records, update outdated information, and provide data consistency between Salesforce and M365. Data migration can be complex, so consider seeking professional assistance.

Thoroughly test the integration before rolling it out across your business. Check for data sync, user access, and potential issues. Testing should ensure the integrated system meets your predefined goals and works as expected.

Document the integration process, including configurations, settings, and workflows. This documentation is valuable for future reference and onboarding new team members. Once integrated, establish a system for continuous monitoring and maintenance to address any issues promptly.

Ensuring data security

As you integrate Salesforce and M365, safeguarding your valuable business data should be a top priority. Security is not just a feature; it's a fundamental necessity. Here's how you can ensure data security during the integration process:

  • Data encryption - Ensure that all data transferred between Salesforce and M365 is encrypted. Encryption technology protects your data by converting it into a code that authorised users can only read. This encryption should extend to both data at rest and data in transit.

  • Role-based access control - Implement role-based access control (RBAC) to restrict data access based on users' roles and responsibilities. It will mean employees only have the access they need (and you avoid Insider Threats). Review and update access permissions regularly.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) - Require multi-factor authentication for all users. MFA adds extra security by asking users to verify their identity through multiple means.

  • Data backup and recovery - Regularly back up your data, including Salesforce and M365. Secure backups ensure you can recover your data in case of unexpected data loss, such as accidental deletions or cyberattacks.

  • Security audits - Conduct regular audits to identify vulnerabilities and areas for improvement. Consider hiring external experts to perform penetration testing and security assessments. Address any identified issues promptly.

  • Compliance and regulations - Be aware of industry-specific compliance requirements and regulations that may apply to your business. Ensure that your integration process complies with these standards.

  • Update your incident response and data loss prevention plans.

At IT Soho, we support small businesses with integrations like Salesforce and M365 through our IT services

We specialise in IT services and integration solutions for small businesses like yours. Our team will assess your needs, help you select the right tools, and ensure data security.

Contact us today to learn how our expert support can make your Salesforce and M365 integration a seamless and successful experience for your small business.


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