Usually when companies make the decision to start using Salesforce.com (Salesforce), there is a bit of sticker shock. However, they quickly realize the efficiencies the tool provides to help their business and how great the reward can be. Then the shock subsides. But what about when it’s time to get the system up and running and customized to truly fit their needs? Chances are, if they’re new to Salesforce, they don’t have a system admin or developer just sitting around waiting for the opportunity to implement. They could hire someone with system admin or developer experience, but some questions arise with that:
- Will that person know enough to get us where we need to be?
- How much will that person cost?
- When the system is up and running, will that position really be full time?
- Even if that person can implement the system, will they be able to train others properly?
These questions often push companies to instead look at an implementation partner/consultant. Although not all consultants are the same, there are so many good ones out there. They’re easy to find through the Salesforce AppExchange. When working with a consultant, companies usually experience a bit of sticker shock again, but in the long run, consultants can save a company a lot of time and money. Here are just some of the benefits of working with a consultant.
- You can get up and running more quickly – Good consulting partners have a plan and a system in place for implementing Salesforce. They know what needs to be done and how to get there. Half the battle for new companies to implement Salesforce is just knowing where to start and designing a roadmap to get there. The other half of the battle consists of having the knowledge to carry out the customization of the tool, getting management on board, getting users to adopt the system, and properly training users. A good consultant will be able to handle all of that.
- Experienced consultants have seen it all (or most of it) – Every company has its unique set of requirements, but some might not be as unique as you think. Experienced consultants have likely come across your company’s requests or challenges, or something similar, and can provide guidance on how to accommodate those requests. Some of those requests may have simple solutions and others may involve more detailed, custom work.
- A partner will offer more hands on deck – Unless your company is very small, chances of only needing one person to handle the implementation are slim. When working with a partner, you benefit from the use of their multiple resources (system admins, developers, project managers, analysists, trainers, etc.). You get all this experience without having to hire all those individuals as employees. Although the hourly or project cost might be higher than what you would pay an employee, it will take less time for the consultant than assigning the work to employees who are trying to learn it themselves.
- A partner can continue to offer support – Once your Salesforce instance is up and running and users have been trained, you very well might not need that much support of the tool moving forward. So, if you’ve hired a Salesforce admin or developer to handle the implementation, they’re going to be swamped at first. But once everything is finished, their duties could diminish significantly. What then? When you work with a partner, they can be there for post go-live support and continue to support your occasional improvements/requests.
- Partners are up to date on the latest and greatest – Salesforce pushes out new releases three times each year. In these releases, new functionality is provided. So, something that may have been a limitation or an issue at one point, may no longer be an issue or limitation. Good consultants stay on top of each release and know which enhancements are available. They share those updates with clients who might be using workarounds to deal with the limitations.
If your company is lucky enough to have the resources for a full internal Salesforce team, way to go! However, that’s not the case for many companies. Working with a consultant may appear to have a high price tag but, in the end, you could really save a lot of time and money.