If you’re on any kind of Salesforce journey – whether you’re already using it or thinking about purchasing it – you may be considering who to partner with to achieve the results you want. A Salesforce consulting partner can walk alongside you, identifying problems and working out solutions as you go.
This guide should help you decide if you need a consulting partner and how to choose one, regardless of where you currently are in your journey.
What is a Salesforce consulting partner?
A Salesforce consulting partner is a company Salesforce has authorized to implement projects, create custom solutions, and help you take your platform to the next level. They can be much more affordable than hiring an internal admin (full-time employee) and work with you on an hourly or contractual basis. They’re confident in their role and will provide the guidance and expertise your team needs.
A Salesforce partner is a certified administrator who can problem solve and design new solutions based on your company’s needs and goals. They aren’t internal to Salesforce and can interact with your team as much or as little as you want – based on the contract or project on deck. They can also present new perspectives and innovative ideas to help your business stand out and flourish.
Why can you trust a Salesforce consulting partner?
To become a Salesforce-certified partner, applicants must meet specific criteria and provide the information Salesforce requests. Applicants must first agree to the Salesforce Consulting Partner Program terms to qualify. Next, they must apply to join the Salesforce Partner Community and review the minimum requirements for acceptance into the program.
Once they prove they can meet the requirements, they become a provisional partner. They must meet additional conditions – including paying fees and obtaining certifications – to become a non-provisional partner. After this phase is complete, the partner is admitted into the “Base” level of the official program.
What are the different Salesforce consulting partner levels?
The Salesforce Consulting Partner Program is structured into tiers based on something called a “Trailblazer Score.” This score is measured by a partner’s innovation, growth, customer success, and impact (previously called “lead”).
Partners that score highly in these key areas have proven their ability to help customers succeed. They are passionate about sales and marketing growth and know how to think outside the box to solve challenging problems. They also value inclusion, diversity, and community impact.
There are four tiers to categorize consulting partners: Base, Ridge, Crest, and Summit. Each partner is assessed in the first month after a Salesforce fiscal quarter ends and given a score of 0-1,000. Those in higher tiers gain access to additional high-value resources, empowering them to take their customers to the next level in Salesforce.
Who needs Salesforce consulting?
Generally, two main groups need Salesforce (or CRM) consulting: 1) those thinking about purchasing Salesforce and 2) current Salesforce users.
1. Businesses Considering Purchasing Salesforce
If your business is considering adopting Salesforce for customer relationship management (CRM), a consulting partner could be crucial for your success. A Salesforce consultant will help you understand if and how Salesforce can help your business grow. They can help you weigh the pros and cons and identify if the platform will help your company reach its goals.
You can get a head start on brainstorming for your first consultation by answering the following questions:
- Will Salesforce help your company reach its goals?
- What are the top three actions you can take to achieve success with a CRM investment?
- What are the main gaps hindering your sales and revenue goals?
Once you’ve thought through these questions and shared them with your Salesforce consulting partner, they can help you decide if Salesforce is right for you. If it is, your partner will help you make headway on the following action items:
- Equip executive leadership with critical, strategic decision support.
- Gain operational efficiency and reduce costs through innovative recommendations to enhance your tech stack.
- Set up your company for long-term success by laying a solid foundation and accelerated on-ramp for solution implementation.
2. Current Salesforce Customers
Businesses that already use Salesforce but need expert help using it to its full potential should also consider partnering with a consultant. A Salesforce partner can help you migrate and organize data, implement new technology, update old systems or processes, and identify effective, innovative solutions to longstanding problems.
In this case, your Salesforce consulting partner should help you with the following tasks:
- Identify the most critical gaps hindering the achievement of your sales and revenue goals.
- Develop a custom roadmap for your org that highlights the top three actions you can take immediately to achieve quick wins.
- Set your company up for long-term success by laying a strong foundation and accelerated on-ramp for ongoing enablement.
- Equip your executive leadership with critical, strategic decision support.
- Resolve bugs and defects preventing your team from fully leveraging your Salesforce investment.
- Achieve operational efficiency and cost reduction via innovative recommendations to simplify your tech stack.
Taking these steps will set your Salesforce system up for maximum success and help you get the most out of your investment.
How to Choose the Right Salesforce Consulting Partner
Do they understand your industry? What experience do they have working with other businesses? Are they continually learning to stay up to speed with current trends and technology? Ask for case studies and testimonials to know what past customers thought about their experience with the company. You can often find reviews on business websites or independent platforms like Google, Facebook, and G2.
Ask about your potential partner’s current certifications and specific Salesforce experience. What types of solutions do they suggest for your business? How is implementing Salesforce going to help you hit your goals? Do they have the basic and advanced knowledge your business needs to move forward?
Can your potential partner develop new ideas and strategies to reach your goals in innovative ways? Can they tailor solutions to solve your business’s unique problems and challenges? Do they know what integrations and functionality to add to make your CRM system work for you?
Does your Salesforce consulting partner already have processes in place to implement the CRM effectively and train your team to use it well? Are they good communicators and teachers? Are they helpful and friendly?
Once you’ve deployed your CRM software, what’s next? If you don’t find a partner that offers ongoing support, you could face significant problems after implementation. Salesforce should scale with your company. That means you will eventually need additional features, functionality, and integrations to support your growing customer base and business.
A Salesforce partner that offers ongoing support can help you make updates, troubleshoot problems as they arise, and offer training for new tools and features.
Does the consulting cost fit your budget? While it’s important to choose a consultant that offers fair pricing, keep in mind that not hiring a consultant or internal admin can be more costly than hiring one. If you try to implement Salesforce on your own – or already have – you may fall into the same category as 70% of CRM projects that fail.
A failed Salesforce implementation can be very costly to your business in time and money. Hiring a consulting partner can help you avoid common pitfalls underprepared companies face. Your partner can help you set the right priorities, build a foundation for success, integrate technology correctly, and enhance the user experience.
When it comes to cost, also consider the size of the team you’re partnering with. With fewer Salesforce experts onboard, you may face longer project timelines (and higher costs). Weigh all the pros and cons when considering the value of your potential partner.
Does the consulting partner have other skills besides Salesforce that they can lend to your business? Look for a partner with related skillsets that complement Salesforce implementation, training, and support. For example, a partner with digital marketing and sales experience could help your team build a more holistic solution that better connects your business with customers.
Partner with Port & Starboard for Salesforce Consulting
Port & Starboard is proud to be a Salesforce Consulting Partner, and we’d love to work with you! Just let us know where you are on your Salesforce journey and how we can step in to make your life easier.
We can facilitate a successful CRM implementation or pick up the pieces of your current Salesforce system and make them work for you. If you already have a business website and want to connect to Salesforce, we can do it for you seamlessly using forms. Contact us to learn more!