Choosing a Salesforce Implementation Partner: The Ultimate Guide
Selecting the right partner for your Salesforce implementation is crucial to its success — yet it’s no easy feat. With thousands of Salesforce consultants to choose from and a mountain of information online, where does one even begin their search? To help narrow it down, we have compiled a list of key considerations to keep in mind during the process. Read on to set your project up for success from the outset.
1 — Read Between the Lines
A good consultant asks extensive, probing questions — which may lead you to revisit the logic of your business processes. After all, they have seen various scenarios unfold and encountered many flawed data models and strategies. Those who simply take orders and offer little input are likely failing to uncover underlying issues and ignoring problems at the basic level. A consultant that considers all elements of your business model and understands it from the ground up will provide better service and bring more value to your organization.
2 — Due Diligence is Critical
Rather than relying on fancy proposals and carefully crafted sales pitches, look into the work your implementation candidate has actually carried out. Reading case studies, demos, and studying proof of concepts can give tremendous insight into the organization and its capabilities. Another option is to ask the company for a few references for projects similar to yours.
Salesforce itself is also an excellent resource to help you narrow down your quest. Salesforce’s AppExchange displays aggregated customer ratings of every Salesforce-certified consultant (and they are updated every 18 months). To add, your Salesforce account executive can match you with potential partners best suited for your unique case and industry.
3 — Choose a True Salesforce Expert
You have likely noticed the extensive list of SaaS products on the market. Plenty of implementation providers advertise Salesforce consulting services — but not all are specialists in the platform. Often, organizations hold a few Salesforce certifications, but their primary expertise lies with competing platforms. Some believe cross-functional experience is a benefit; they presume a consultant who can navigate multiple SaaS platforms has nailed down best practices. However, this is typically the exception — not the rule.
Every platform has unique challenges and capabilities, so choosing a partner that lives and breathes Salesforce increases your chances of implementation excellence.
4 — Consider Your Partner's Capacity
Depending on the size of your business and scope of work, you may need a partner with advanced infrastructure and robust team strength. A small-scale team of several people is unlikely to solve the complex problems of a sizable enterprise — it may lack the personnel and time to do so. On the other hand, a partner specializing in modest technical solutions with tighter budgets would be a better fit for a small organization.
Asking about a candidate’s team size and the roles/responsibilities of its staff is generally good practice; these details can tell you if the partner is handling too many projects with insufficient staff.
5 — Gauge Salesforce Certifications
A Salesforce certification is a bona fide stamp of expertise. It tells you the professionals working on your implementation have the know-how to bring your vision to life. Certifications are based on specific learning requirements, and different levels are associated with distinct skills (e.g. an architect has different capabilities than a developer does). Understanding what each certification means and which are required for your implementation will help you find the right partner. A diverse pool of certifications typically means a partner can offer better solutions.
6 — Create a Budget
It is important to discuss your budget with your implementation partner to ensure you are aligned and expectations are clear. Your budget should be flexible, as your needs will continue to change as you learn and evolve. As you put together a budget, consider the following questions:
- Will third-party add-ons be required?
- Do you plan on using Salesforce’s out-of-the-box solutions or customizing them?
- Are you willing to realign your business processes to harmonize with Salesforce? Or do you plan to mold the platform to meet your needs?
- Do you require integrations?
7 — Ensure Comprehensive Support
Salesforce is known for innovation. It proudly delivers its clients hundreds of new updates three times a year: in the spring, summer, and winter. These updates are delivered automatically, ensuring your company is up to date with its technology. Clients appreciate access to the newest features, but often have a slew of questions about how they will impact their company’s processes. A partner that can provide 24/7 support helps your organization evolve with Salesforce — seamlessly.
8 — Evaluate the Implementation Approach
When looking for your Salesforce consulting partner, it is essential to consider their proposed approach. Agile, incremental delivery accounts for phases and iterations, which helps ensure your project is delivered on time and within your budget. This method also allows for a high degree of collaboration — which typically produces better results. Ask about the specific tools your candidates use for flowcharting and prototypes; it is best to choose an organized, transparent partner that can provide such details.
9 — Assess Industry-Specific Expertise
Selecting a consultant with a rich background in your industry or sector will make your implementation go smoothly. A glance at an implementation partner’s website should give you a good idea about which verticals they service and how they execute various implementations in your space. Choose a partner that knows your business domain and has experience with guiding other businesses in similar situations.
Working with a Salesforce implementation partner goes beyond entering a business agreement, you are entrusting them to facilitate the transformation of your entire organization. Comprehensively evaluating your candidates — from their vision to their approach — is central to your implementation’s success. To learn how we can help your company thrive in its digital transformation journey with Salesforce, contact us today!