If you’re looking for an effective way to manage customer records or streamline sales processes, chances are you’ve heard of a little something called the Salesforce platform.
It’s a powerful, cloud-based tool that gives companies access to data quickly and effectively. However, the most advanced technology often is the most confusing—and making the right decision when it comes to who will manage your Salesforce solution is more than crucial, it will determine the success of your system and how well it grows along with your business, which means, when you get down to brass tacks—it’s about time, money and your future potential as a business.
You don’t want to take this decision with too much levity, but on the other hand, it’s also not as hard as you might think it will be to solve the riddle of what’s right for your business.
Whether you choose to add a whiz in-house Salesforce admin or work with a Salesforce consultant as a trusted partner, the difference, as always, shows up in the details.
The decision can make all the difference when it comes to making Salesforce work for you and not the other way around (working around Salesforce’s seemingly opaque, black box nature to extract out of it what you need to, or what we refer to as “just-in-time development” which doesn’t or can’t scale to suit your future needs).
In this blog post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of having a trustworthy Salesforce consultant who knows your business inside and out and hiring an in-house administrator for all things Salesforce-related. Read on as we compare these two possible options!
The In-House Salesforce Admin
Generally speaking, a Salesforce administrator is someone who you will hire, that will live on in your team, and who will report to a CTO or perhaps directly to your CEO. As part of your organization, you will have the benefit of having someone in-house who you can rely on to be there when you need them, and for this benefit, you will usually pay a generous salary (for the right kind of admin, that is). Keep that part in mind when reading on.
What kind of person will you get, though? And how do you find the right person for your organization? These are good questions to ask yourself as you decide whether it’s worth it financially to bring someone on full-time or to hire a Salesforce consultant, which can be much cheaper than having someone in-house on W2, with benefits, paid time off, a 401K and so on. (Consultants, on the other hand, are by nature contractors, so you have to deal with none of that, no paying any taxes, none of it. But of course, you already know this. )
Let’s tackle the first question first. How do you know what kind of Salesforce admin you’ll be getting at the outset, before seeing them in action? This question can be reframed in several ways, but the most pertinent rendering is: How do you test the skills of a Salesforce admin before bringing them on?
Well, if you are well-versed in Salesforce yourself, you could conduct a technical interview of course, but what if you aren’t? There’s really no telling the actual experience and viability of a candidate unless they are certified in certain areas of Salesforce; that’s going to be your best bet in finding a good candidate for hire.
The more Salesforce certifications, the more you can be sure that the person you’re hiring knows more than a thing or two about the platform.
Now onto the second question: How do you know they’ll be the right fit for your organization?
Oftentimes a good fit goes well beyond technical proficiency, certifications, and the like. A good fit means that they understand the problems and issues that you face currently as well as in the future, it means that not only can they anticipate and conceptualize these problems, but have the ability to solve them without taking up a lot of time in the process.
As well, the question of return on investment is one to keep in mind, whether or not having an in-house Salesforce admin is worth the cost of keeping them on the payroll.
You might have a person in mind that could be a Salesforce administrator, who may know a little (as they say, “enough to be dangerous”) about creating dashboards, page layouts, record types, and custom fields, but who may not have much experience overall and definitely does not have any certifications.
These are sometimes called “accidental admins” and should be avoided at all costs. If you feel you have someone already on your team that could manage your Salesforce implementation, and they’re eager to jump into the role, but you’re just not sure: trust your gut, you’re probably unsure for good reason.
And how many admins will you actually need? Salesforce has a helpful chart to help you discern what you’ll need based on your specific account:
The Salesforce Consultant
When choosing the Salesforce consultant route, the best part is that you have many, many options in choosing a consultancy or agency that fits your exact needs. Good consultants have seen it all, from fixing shoddy Salesforce implementations to tackling very abstruse technical issues that prevent proper functionality and everything in-between.
Not only can they maintain your implementation, but the right consultancy should also have rigorously trained and field-tested, certified developers that have the experience to
- fix technical bugs,
- install AppExchange apps,
- CREATE complex integrations,
- write custom code,
- have up-to-the-minute knowledge of Salesforce releases,
- can handle large, complicated Salesforce projects,
- guide projects through User-Acceptance-Testing,
- advise on realistic timelines based on project scope, and
- strategize on a future Salesforce roadmap.
Bonus points if your Salesforce consultant doubles as an excellent project manager.
When experiencing extraordinary problems, you need out-of-the-box solutions, customized and tailor-made pieces to fit your exact needs, and a Salesforce consultant checks these boxes.
Not only will they have a blueprint for what your org needs based on previous contract jobs, but they will be able to leverage this experience and knowledge to scope out solutions to problems with swift certainty.
You can rely on a Salesforce consultant to do what they say they are going to do, in the time they say they are going to do it–in fact contracts are in place to ensure just this takes place.
With an in-house admin, you’re relying on one person’s skill in scoping, solving, and customizing code, which can be very limiting. With a Salesforce consultancy, you have a dedicated team that has your back in any scenario–they’ve seen and done it all.
Also, there’s no training required, no learning curves to work around, and no delays in getting straight to work. Once up to speed on the scope of the project, consultancies are ready to rigorously solve your most complex issues while also understanding Salesforce’s latest patches or system updates–that’s their job after all.
The old adage, knowledge is power applies here in spades.
The Third Option: Outsourced Salesforce Admin-as-a-Service
One option we haven’t yet mentioned is the outsourced Salesforce admin. This means hiring an agency or Salesforce consultancy long term to handle your Salesforce implementation as you grow, as work either increases or decreases, an option that allows you to scale, an ongoing partnership that lasts as long as you need it to.
After the heavy lifting of fixing another agency’s or admin’s shoddy, problem-riddled work, you may require maintenance of your database and system, as well as write custom solutions for your business as it matures, or skillfully and with agility, integrate other platforms with Salesforce as you add them.
A Salesforce consultant partnership can also offer much more than just Salesforce as well, oftentimes agencies have content, copywriting, pay-per-click (PPC), email strategy, and much more to their list of bona fide services, they can become an integral part of your business’s thriving growth, a trusted partner to lean on both for the technical side of things as well as high-level strategy and execution.
Much like having an in-house Salesforce admin, this means being on call at all times, it’s the best of both worlds: you get the experience and cost savings of a consultant and the time and dedication to your company’s goals that an in-house admin would bring.
Having a Salesforce consultant or an in-house administrator is up to the individual organization’s preferences. Depending on the size, scope, and resources of your business, one may make more sense than the other.
Ultimately, working with an experienced Salesforce consultancy can give organizations additional flexibility and expertise that may be difficult to match in-house. It can also help reduce overall costs associated with hiring a permanent position.
If you are considering hiring a Salesforce consultant for your organization’s needs, there are many out there who specialize in different areas of Salesforce implementation and maintenance. Take the time to research who could best serve you and your business’s specific needs.
If you want an experienced consultancy with certified developers that has seen and done it all, and on top of that–you’re looking for a free consultation on your Salesforce implementation, issues, or future roadmap, contact Parquet Development today.