You have decided that the time has come to invest in a CRM software solution that will enable you to manage your business and position it for growth, and you have determined that Salesforce is the software of choice. Great! Now you need to find the right Salesforce partner to guide you through the process of deploying the chosen Salesforce packages and avoid all the potential hazards—a partner that aligns with your needs and compliments your strengths and weaknesses, making the journey a pleasant one and avoiding potential chaos.
Salesforce is an advanced enterprise software platform for CRM, and its extensive capabilities can be matched in the complexity of its design and configuration options, aligned with best practices. Understanding Salesforce and optimizing its design for your business requires deep expertise and experience. For that reason, Salesforce has developed an extensive Salesforce Partner Program to support clients in deploying and maintaining their Salesforce portfolio.
In this blog series, we will take you through the areas you need to consider in selecting a Salesforce partner and positioning your deployment project for success. While Salesforce is a platform with a portfolio of integrated software components, the criteria we will review can be universally applied to any packages (e.g., Service Cloud, Field Service Management, Customer Experience).
In this series, we will discuss:
Risk comes in many shapes and sizes, and the risk that turns real can be expected or come as a complete surprise. That is why managing risk is as much about planning and preparing for it as it is how you handle the unexpected when it arrives. Risk assessment in the partner selection process should help identify and rate the potential for budget overruns, missed deadlines and failure to achieve the desired outcome. See more.
Resources and Salesforce expertise
With hundreds of partners and thousands of certified consultants, the Salesforce Partner Program ranges from the one-person consultancy for a specific Salesforce product in a mom and pop operation to global mega-consultancies with hundreds of consultants at work with Fortune 100 companies. Finding the partner with the right balance of consultants and Salesforce expertise can help ensure that you get the guidance you need for your current Salesforce product and the other areas you may need as you grow your Salesforce portfolio. See more.
Understanding your business and industry
Businesses can have varying levels of uniqueness and complexity, from a relatively generic one-size-fits-all business model to a company or industry with little similarity to any other. Your business type will determine what your partner needs to know about your business and industry. See more.
A critical aspect of successful projects is the project methodology. It is the plan, the roadmap, the glue and the hugely important alarm when something does not go as planned. Project methodologies can range from a generic one that a software consultancy may use across all their projects, regardless of software type, to ones who utilize a methodology optimized for specific software (e.g., Salesforce). A well-tuned methodology can significantly reduce risk, help ensure a smooth-running project and maximize the overall success of the project.
Client responsibilities and contributions
Projects can and should be a partnership between you and your service consultancy, with shared responsibility and contributions. There are various opportunities for clients to participate in the project from the beginning at pre-discovery questionnaires to data cleansing, user testing, change management and other areas. There are many opportunities to contribute, often determined by your available resources and timelines. A well-defined project plan with roles, responsibilities and timeline is essential to avoid chaos and meet deadlines.
There are many steps in determining the cost of your project, starting at your initial planning stages and progressing through the estimating and scope-of-work process with the Salesforce partner. The completeness and accuracy of the project plan and estimates, through final discovery, will directly impact the financial outcome and can help avoid those uncomfortable budget overruns. The Salesforce partner should have refined processes and tools, optimized by many past projects, to arrive at accurate estimates.
Nothing is a better indicator of a Salesforce partner’s ability to deliver a successful project then the testimonies and ratings of past clients and their projects. The picture of customer satisfaction should begin in the project methodology (e.g., Net Promoter Score), enabling ongoing feedback throughout the project, and then reflected in the post-project ratings collected by Salesforce and other third-party review sites. The ratings and narratives will help build an overall picture of what to expect in your project.
Making the final decision
Determining the Salesforce partner that you are handing your project over to, and spending the next few weeks to months working side-by-side with, should not be taken lightly. Whether you are evaluating a single partner or comparing multiple partners, you should have a pre-defined method to gather the required information and a process to assess each. Having a packaged and complete assessment can help speed-up and organize the process when the final decision includes multiple parties. A thorough evaluation and selection should also include the soft aspects of the partner, providing guidance, best practices and design options. Watch for the upcoming blog articles going into more depth in each of the above criteria in selecting your Salesforce partner. In the meantime, feel free to contact us and allow us to guide you through your Salesforce journey.