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What We Learned from T-Mobile’s Lightning Migration

If you’re like anyone who has seen the Salesforce Spring 2018 Release, you’re probably closer to upgrading and migrating to Lightning. But, despite the 214 improvements to Lightning, you might not be there yet. You’re not alone.

The decision to move from more basic CRM platforms like Visualforce or Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience can be a daunting one because the upgrade is not fire-and-forget. Even with our new Transitioning to Lightning training by Jamie Grettum, we understand the feeling of uncertainty.

It’s a rare sales team where everyone is immediately on board with adopting a new system. Similarly, we’re sure your devs are really excited about making the switch. Ultimately, your transition to Salesforce will touch sales, service, marketing and IT, and that means you need to be fully prepared for integration and migration.

There are some big companies that use Salesforce. Admittedly, not many have made the switch, though Here are a few of the lessons that we gleaned from the Dreamforce 2016 coverage about T-Mobile making the transition to Salesforce Lightning.

Get buy-in from the top first

The real beauty of Salesforce Lightning is its holistic integration with the many moving parts of a company’s sales and operation. Its integration is double-edged. When something changes there’s potential to disrupt normal operating procedures and habits, so top-cover is a necessity.  Management will have to champion the idea that habits may change, processes may need to be updated, and the status quo will get shaken up.

The managing director of a consulting firm that helped T-Mobile make its migration from Salesforce Classic to Salesforce Lightning said that from the start of the experience, “There was lots of top-down pressure.” He and his team were being told, “Hey, you need to move the needle on sales productivity in a big way, particularly when the customer is ready to buy.”

Salesforce Lightning not only improves the lives of your employees in your sales, service, and marketing teams – but it also changes them. So energize the top with Salesforce Lightning’s capabilities before moving on to integrating.

You need to view obstacles as opportunities

Salesforce Lightning is a different and separate platform from its earlier iterations. While it does make development for mobile and custom applications far more user-friendly, there are liabilities.

The Senior Manager of Operations at T-Mobile, Bob Bird, said of Salesforce Lightning, “Not everything worked on Lightning as you would think it would… If you have custom buttons, custom email templates, those things tend to break with Lightning.”

That can be bad news for a team looking forward to a smooth transition. But T-Mobile’s success came from adopting a different perspective: During the migration, if a process or system broke, rather than look at Salesforce Lightning and ask, “Why won’t it work how my team expects it to?” they instead looked inward and asked, “Why is our team doing it that way in the first place?”

Bird said, “We started asking, ‘Why do you guys do this and do that?’ …When you transition to the new UI, it’s a great opportunity to ask, ‘Why are we doing this, and do we need to?’ I don’t need a bunch of custom buttons to streamline because we redesigned the sales process.’”

If you’re the type of person who might roll your eyes at buzzword-sounding platitudes like “perspective” and “opportunities for improvement” – take note: T-Mobile implemented Lightning over five months and reduced the number of clicks a sales rep makes on a UI to create a pricing quote from 104 to 8. That was not solely because of Salesforce Lightning, it’s because they also viewed obstacles while migrating as opportunities for growth.

Partner with the right training program

To be clear, T-Mobile didn’t use CBT Nuggets training for their transition, but many other companies have. Quoted five months after the completion of the migration to Salesforce Lightning, Bob Bird said, “We’re still doing refresher trainings. We’re not done yet. I feel like I’m going to be in constant retraining mode for the next six months.”

Everything comes with a cost, and one of Salesforce Lightning’s long-term costs is the need for excellent training. It is a robust, complex and powerful tool – and like any tool with such diversity and capacity, superb training is needed.

Final thoughts

Salesforce Lightning is a huge change for the CRM world, and for all sales-oriented companies, but that change comes with complications and challenges. Imagine a company in the 1930s being tepid about using electricity or training their employees in how to make full use of the world-changing technology.

As Bob Bird said, “Everything that’s coming out is based on Lightning. If you aren’t on Lightning, you are going to be left behind, and are going to have to play catch-up.”

CBT Nuggets’ Salesforce Lightning training will help make sure you and your company aren’t left behind.


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