Are you currently working with a Salesforce consulting company? If so, I hope it’s going well and all your Salesforce dreams are coming true. But if it’s not going well, you shouldn’t feel like you’re stuck. You can always seek out other partners. Or maybe it is going well but the current partner is restructuring or even closing. Unfortunately, that happens.
I’d like to give you some pointers on what to do and expect when you are looking for a new Salesforce consulting partner.
CHOOSING A PARTNER
It’s smart to not just look at one partner; give yourself options. You can find Salesforce consulting partners through the Salesforce AppExchange, word of mouth, or by searching the Internet. If the partner you’re leaving is closing, they should be willing to recommend some new partner options for you and introduce you to others they’ve worked with.
As you interview these new potential partners, have a thorough first meeting where you can get a full presentation about their company. During that presentation, make sure they are telling you about the following. And if they don’t offer it, make sure you ask.
- Years of Experience – How long has their team been working in Salesforce? Sometimes you’ll get the number of years their company has been operating. Other times, you’ll get combined experience for their team’s work in Salesforce. Either way is fine as long as you know what it is.
- Certifications – Is the company certified? There are different certification levels. If they are a certified Salesforce partner, that means they have individual certifications within their company and have proven their qualifications to Salesforce. Or, they may not be a Salesforce certified partner, but the company employees may hold individual Salesforce certifications. Certified Salesforce partners have taken the extra steps needed to prove their experience and qualifications to Salesforce which may be more appealing to you.
- Clients – Do they specialize in a certain industry and Salesforce product (e.g. Pardot, Sales Cloud, CPQ, etc.)? Or do they work with a wide range of clients and products? Both ways can be beneficial, and it’s more about what you’re comfortable with. In approximately how many Salesforce orgs has their team worked? This is good to know because being exposed to more orgs helps companies see more of what works and what doesn’t.
- Flexibility – Is the company flexible and able to switch gears swiftly if your needs change course? How quickly can they assign projects? This is an important question to ask because you may sign with a partner to then find out that it will be three or four weeks before your project can actually start. If you’re planning way ahead, this may be ok. But if not, it’s definitely good information to have before signing with a partner.
- Project Management – Salesforce consultants and developers are intelligent and talented people, but with all they have to do, they shouldn’t be expected to fully manage the projects they are working on. That should be handled by project managers. Ask the company if they will assign a dedicated project manager to your project or ongoing support. Insist on it! Also, make sure those project managers are educated and experienced in that area.
MAKING THE SWITCH
So once you’ve found a new partner that seems to be a good fit ,and you’ve signed with them, what should you expect the transition to look like? This can vary based on the Salesforce projects and support that you currently have. But at a minimum, your new partner should propose the following for transition.
- Knowledge Transfer – This is a critical step for the new partner to do a good job. They need to find out everything they can about your instance, projects, and what’s been happening. If possible, get your current or previous partner to participate in this meeting and ask them to share all their knowledge of your instance and its history with the new partner. If the previous partner can’t or won’t do this, you should make as many of your employees available who had a hand in the development and strategy for your Salesforce instance.
- Kick-Off/Expectations Meeting – Your new partner should meet with your technical and management teams to discuss concerns from the knowledge transfer and expectations of the system and end users from the management team. Also, during this meeting, your new partner should introduce you to your dedicated project manager.
- Salesforce Instance Review – After learning about the setup and history of your instance, and what the expectations for use are, your new partner should have their consultant independently walk through your entire instance to review setup and compare it to any information they’ve already received. Building this extra understanding of your instance early on will save time when providing support later.
- Recap Meeting – Knowledge has been transferred, the new partner knows the expectations, and they have reviewed your instance thoroughly. Now, they should meet with you to present a plan for moving forward with your project or support.
Change isn’t always easy, but when you’re prepared and know what to look for, it’s easier. I hope this makes your change a little easier. Good luck.