How to Successfully Switch to Salesforce Lightning

June 23, 2020



The heavy development is done (or mostly done). Features examined, customizations converted, new components built. Everything tested, tested, tested, and tested again. 


Your team is ready to switch from Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience. Because of the size of your organization, you’ve worked with leadership to determine that a rolling approach is the best way to introduce such a big change. 


Great! Now what?


Switching to Salesforce Lightning at a large organization is a big deal, and we’ll need a plan if it’s going to happen successfully.

Identify the Salesforce Champions



“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” - Pat Riley


Businesses are complex. The people and their processes that make up the humanity driving the success of your Salesforce instance need communication. Because of this complexity, there needs to be:


  • A defined beginning and end.

  • Clearly articulated communication from all points to the end users who will be affected by the changes you’re about to roll out. 

They’ll need to know what’s happening, and they’ll need to know there is a plan. 


You, your immediate team, your consulting team, and your primary stakeholders will need to work together to identify a group of user champions. They’ll be on the front lines driving the success of the conversion to Salesforce Lightning. This can be anyone from the CEO to the director of marketing to the power user who helps other users when they have quick questions.


Communicate the Mission

With our champions now in the room, it’s time to communicate the mission


You should discuss:

  • What’s changing

  • Features that are going away

  • New features that are making their workday more efficient 

Ask questions and listen to their concerns. Make sure they understand how absolutely important they are to the process. Your champions will need to be involved and feel ownership of the success of the entire rollout. The information that you’ll get from your champions will help all of you plan a timeline for your Salesforce Lightning rollout.



Plan Your Salesforce Lightning Implementation Timeline


“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin


What are your key dates? There was a motivation for making this switch. Is your company releasing a major product in Q3 and you have to have your efforts completed by mid Q2? Knowing your key dates will help you and any consulting partners to start plotting the schedule and structure of your rollout.


Your teams will find a cadence for the rollout. No matter how you separate your efforts, each portion should start to have a similar structure to it, and every portion should have a defined start, end, and length. When you gather them all together, you’ll see a good representation of what your timeline really looks like. It’s ok to have things overlap as well. 


Gantt charts work wonders to help you visualize what the process will look like. As a bonus, you can include these charts in your communications to help everyone else in the organization understand and get excited for things to come.



Identify the Phases of Your Rollout

This is going to be one of the most complex tasks, and Salesforce consulting partners are great resources to help you understand the intricacies of your company’s processes and structure so you can tailor the phases to your organization and maximize success. 


Make sure to communicate with the team — the stakeholders, and the champions — so everyone involved in planning is considering the current state of the Salesforce Lightning Experience (LEX) migration efforts, the existing company processes for large scale changes, and considerations for the experience your end users will have throughout this process. 


Some questions to ask yourself:


  • Is everything 100% ready to go?

  • Do we need time for additional development between phases?

  • Do any departments/divisions/user groups have large initiatives planned that will be disrupted by Salesforce Lightning rollout activities?

  • Do you have a system in place for addressing feedback, suggestions, and bugs?


Plan for Lightning Experience Training


With dates locked in, now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start planning on how you’ll train everyone. Some popular training techniques are:


Training the Trainer Models




The end users will dedicate time to specifically learning how to use LEX and the customizations that you’ve built. 


Both training techniques are very effective and each has its pros and cons. No matter which method you choose, the CRM Science team has extensive experience in training end users and can lead the effort. Remember, constant communication and feedback are the keys to success here.



Document your Transition to Salesforce Lightning Experience

Documentation, documentation, documentation!


Great software means great documentation. Don’t just rely on training to make sure your rollout ends with good adoption numbers. Instead, rely on documentation and your Salesforce consulting team to help create it. 


Salesforce consultants can help you create clear and concise technical documentation so you (and the next Salesforce admins) can easily track bugs or change requests.


Create Cheat Sheets
Cheat sheets for your end users designed specifically around their departments and general job duties will help to alleviate any wasted time or frustration for end users while they’re learning their new UI. 


Provide Reference Materials
Reference materials will help users get a better understanding of their new world, Salesforce  documentation, release notes, and especially Trailhead are great places to source from for this task.


Collect Feedback
Once your work is in the hands of the users, both the beta testers and the final users, it’s extremely critical to have an organized mechanism for collecting feedback from the users. As administrators and developers, it’s easy to miss something during testing. 


When we test, we may miss situations an end user will run into simply because we have a more nuanced understanding of how something was built or how something works. User feedback, and having an organized way to manage and address it, is absolutely critical. No matter how pretty or efficient a process is, no one can get anything done with it if there’s a rogue validation rule stopping them from updating a record!


Provide Effective Communication During Salesforce Lightning Experience Implementation


“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw


Hopefully, you’ve recognized one recurring theme thus far — communication!


From the top down, there should be no surprises. Communicating the process, where you are within it, and what the expected results are, is the absolute most important part to successfully rolling out the Salesforce Lightning Experience User Interface (UI).

Be Transparent 

Surprises are for birthdays and presents. Clear management of expectations is what builds success. Make sure information is not only going out, but that the information is being received and digested, and especially, that there is information coming in. 

Take feedback, plan, and make changes based on it. Make sure to thank people for taking the time to give feedback, and let them know how valuable it is.

Celebrate Switching to Lightning Experience


Everybody loves a party! Take a page directly out of the Agile textbooks, and make each and every phase of your switch to Lightning Experience a celebration. Communicate well in advance, express your teams' excitement, and build excitement within the group you’re directly working with.


Your users will be more positive about their experience if they don’t view it as a chore, and they’ll be a lot more involved if they feel like they’re part of celebrating the success of the project.


 Don’t forget to do your due diligence too. Your teams need to be on-hand to provide support and encouragement. You don’t want your users to feel like you showed them a few screens, had a cake, and then abandoned them.


At the end of each successful phase, communicate that success. Let everyone know how well the training and implementation went, how much the users are enjoying the new Lightning Experience UI, and how much they enjoyed training, celebrating, and learning. Target your next group of users and get them excited!



Manage, Track, & Build on your Lightning Experience Success


“Numbers have life; they're not just symbols on paper.” - Shakuntala Devi


Back to the data! It’s easy to get mixed up in all of the excitement of a phased rollout process, but you need good reporting to keep you on track, get better, and give you hard metrics for how successfully the project is moving along.


You should be keeping track and measuring your success against user adoption. Salesforce makes this easy with their Lightning Usage App, which will give you great information about your users' habits and your overall user adoption. 


Here are a few of the information points the app provides:


  • Daily and monthly active users in Lightning Experience and the Salesforce app

  • Daily and monthly switches to Salesforce Classic (total number of switches and the number of unique users that switched)

  • Profiles and users who switch to Salesforce Classic the most

  • The standard pages in Lightning Experience that are viewed the most

  • Types of browsers used in Lightning Experience


Beyond specific user adoption metrics, you should keep track of the feedback, bug tickets, and feature requests, as well as plans for addressing those things. This information will help drive our continued development efforts and our iterative improvements.


You will have to communicate about and share your numbers, and your stakeholders will be happy to use the information for tracking return on investment (ROI). Your end users will be pleased to know you’re continually concerned with and making efforts toward addressing their needs.



Town Hall Meetings and Follow-up Initiatives


About a month after you’ve completed each phase of your switch to Lightning Experience, it’s important to head back to the users targeted in that phase to have a catchup chat. A great forum for this is a town hall meeting.


A town hall meeting gives your end users a chance to ask questions and deliver feedback in a direct and conversational manner. You’ll be able to have an immediate impact on the end users by answering their questions and listening to their needs. It’s also a great opportunity to hear how they’ve settled in and are living in LEX now that the excitement of the initial rollout has waned.


Treat these sessions as information gathering, just like the other parts of your switch to Lightning Experience, and make sure you have a plan to gather feedback and address it.




Michael Beswick

Technical Lead

CRM Science



Migrate to Lightning Experience with the Lab Coat Experts


CRM Science is a leader in Lightning Experience and recognized with the 2019 Salesforce Lightning Experience Master and the 2018 Lightning Leadership Salesforce Partner Innovation Award. The CRM Science lab coat team can move your existing org to Salesforce Lightning so you can gain access to enhanced Salesforce features.

At CRM Science, we use our Salesforce expertise to transform your enterprise. Partnering with our clients throughout the Salesforce journey, we strategize and optimize business processes, and develop solutions across every Salesforce cloud. CRM Science is an award-winning Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner and a Registered Partner
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At CRM Science, we use our Salesforce expertise to transform your enterprise. Partnering with our clients throughout the Salesforce journey, we work with leaders to strategize and optimize business processes, and design and develop solutions across every Salesforce cloud. We empower companies to innovate faster, better engage with customers, and improve bottom lines. 

CRM Science is a Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner and a Registered Partner. Our strategic consulting services were recognized by Salesforce in four consecutive Salesforce Partner Innovation Awards, an annual recognition for partners that deliver outstanding client success. 

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