top of page

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation Factors

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Factors that Matter the Most!

An implementation or conversion over to Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SMC) can be a huge endeavor for any organization. It can be a painful, costly, and stressful exercise if there isn’t a clear, agreed-upon action plan. At Celerity, we have been implementing Marketing Automation platforms for the past 17 years. Over that time, we have helped many organizations do that quickly and with great success by utilizing a structured implementation methodology called ENABLE to ensure that the project comes in on time and on budget.

We know there are many activities and key decisions that need to be made to make certain all Salesforce Marketing Cloud projects are a success; we've outlined several of them below!

1. Know the contract details between your organization and Salesforce inside and out

In particular:

  • How many super messages have you contracted for?

  • Is there a mutual understanding between your company and Salesforce of what super messages are (e.g., can be used for emails, landing pages, and SMS)?

  • How many SAPs (sender authentication packages) are included in your contract?

  • How many SAPs do you need?

  • Do you have a use case for a private domain?

  • How many contacts did you contract for?

  • What’s the cost per contact?

  • What’s the cost for overage?

  • Is there a mutual definition between your company and Salesforce on what is a contact and when a subscriber is counted as a contact?

  • Which support level of service will you be purchasing from Salesforce?

  • Does your contract include a sandbox or lower environment (e.g., QA, Dev)?

2. Familiarize yourself with the SMC language

Understand what is meant by:

  • Data Extensions (DE).

  • Send logging.

  • Content blocks.

  • Content builder.

  • AMPscript.

  • Tagging.

  • Journey builder.

  • Interactions.

  • Business Units (BU).

  • Parent/Child business unit relationship.

  • All subscribers list.

  • Custom activities.

  • Stack 6, Stack 7, or Stack 10.

  • MID.

Learning the language will help in the long term to have a good connection with your Salesforce team and implementation partner.

3. Partner up with an implementation partner

To foolproof your Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementation, reach out to a certified SMC implementation organization. Drill into their domain awareness, similar-scale projects in their portfolio, and their number of relevant certifications. It’s also a good sign if your potential partner is experienced in multiple Salesforce products (Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud) so that they can easily assist in any integration processes.

4. Be prepared to build out your own internal team

Your resources are best at understanding your company’s values, so it’s critical to build out your own squad consisting of a project owner, project manager, system administrator, etc. This will demonstrate a clear, action-oriented vision to rally around and ensure you are in the best support position once the implementation is completed.

5. Confirm & then document key account configuration decisions

  • Account Roles/Permissions: We know that not everyone will need to have the same access privileges in your Salesforce Marketing Cloud environment. So, SMC has provided the ability to configure permissions at the group level (i.e., Admin, Analyst, or Reporting) or at the user level (i.e., User can have Admin level permissions but not have access to delete a data extension). If the off-the-shelf roles do not meet your requirements, you can create Custom Roles. This allows you to define what permissions should be allowed, and which permissions should be denied for all areas of the marketing cloud.

  • Business Units: At the start of the implementation you will want to define how many business units you will want to set up, what to name them, and how they differ from each other. You should also consider if you need to set up a business unit for production and another one for testing.

  • Naming Convention for Assets (folders, data extensions, images): This is also a good chance to standardize your naming conventions for various SMC components so that you can set the pace and structure for your team going forward. This will make it easier to find things as your environment grows and help to onboard new members to your team to get them up to speed quickly.

  • Sender profiles and delivery profiles: It’s important to define the difference between sender and delivery profiles, and lay out how you want to use them for transactional and commercial emails.

6. Ensure your team understands your current data model

And more importantly, that it’s documented! If needed, you may want to make additions to your current model to support the implementation of SMC and your ability to execute new marketing campaign types.

7. Create or edit your campaign testing processes

If your prior marketing automation platform didn’t make it easy to do testing and create what-if scenarios, this is your chance to change that. Salesforce Marketing Cloud has great functionality to support various levels of simple to complex campaign testing, which can help your team understand what is working and what is financially profitable.

8. Pick the right SMC Administrator

Make sure you appoint an experienced administrator that you can always rely on. With one person who has ultimate responsibility, Marketing Cloud stays nicely organized and it greatly reduces the potential for problems.

9. Crawl, walk, jog, run, fly

Resist the temptation to set it all up at once. Create a roadmap of how you can roll out more and more functionality over time.

10. Ensure you're set up to gain knowledge about your customers

Think about ways you can use Salesforce Marketing Cloud to set up campaigns to obtain customer feedback, such as focus groups and listening to their service complaints and requests. With the SMC platform, campaigns/surveys are easily created and executed, giving you critical information to create campaign branches and personalized messaging.

11. Determine what system/activity alerts should be set up

Have you registered your account in to receive platform alerts? What about alerts if an automation fails? Have you identified who from your team will receive platform notifications? Do you have an internal escalation plan?

12. Decide if your IPs need to be warmed up

You won't want to start your normal sending routine unless the IPs are warmed up. Your implementation partner can help you decide which campaign you want to use to warm those friendly IPs.

13. Encourage your team to keep your old ESP on for 30 days

While you are migrating to SFMC, you will continue to collect opt-outs from emails sent on their old ESP. Determine if you can keep your current ESP for 30 days after implementation so the platforms overlap before completely shutting down the old ESP. That gives you time to collect all subscription preference updates and bring this data into your new ESP.

14. Conduct multiple layers of training

Make sure to assemble an approach for onboarding all new users. Who is going to conduct the training session? Do you need to create branded training materials? Did you investigate the training sessions offered by Salesforce?

15. Create your documentation

Document everything and we mean everything about the implementation (i.e., Data model/data flow, API calls, business unit hierarchy, approval process, etc.) before it becomes a memory. Seems like the obvious thing to do but a lot of organizations skip this important step. This should be a living document that your team always keep current.


Mastering Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementations has been a key focus of Celerity and our parent company DCX. Using our proprietary methodology, along with best practices learned over the past decade, we can ensure the solution we deliver for you is robust and adaptable in an ever-evolving landscape. Stay tuned for more insights on achieving SMC implementation success! If you would like more information, please feel free to reach out to Dan Spigarolo at

14 views0 comments


bottom of page