7 Tips for Choosing the Best Salesforce Consulting Partner for Your Business

Salesforce is the juggernaut of CRM’s – and for good reason. The platform can help streamline many facets of your business from the sales process to product delivery and marketing. But while Salesforce is a great system out of the box, it truly shines—and can truly grow your business — when you allocate resources to fit it to your needs. Hiring the right Salesforce consultant is one of the single best things a business can do to get the most from the Salesforce CRM.

A Salesforce consulting partner has the skills and experience you need to implement best practices that will help you grow your business.

But how do you choose the best Salesforce consulting partner? With hundreds of official Salesforce Consulting Partners listed on AppExchange – all of whom obviously have knowledge of the platform – it can be difficult to decipher which consultant will best suit your needs. Below, we’ve created a list of the top things to look for in a consulting partner.

1. Well-Rounded Expertise

Hiring a Salesforce Consulting Partner with expertise in Salesforce is a given, but there are other critical skills that can help ensure a successful partnership.

  1. Sales – You’ll likely be working with your Salesforce Consulting Partner to implement automation that supports your sales process. As such, it’s important that your consultant has former sales managers or sales operation directors on their team. These individuals can provide critical, real-world insight and advice on sales strategies that are going to be effective for your organization.
  2. Project Management – The practices that are instituted within the Salesforce environment don’t just live online, they have real world implications across multiple departments and teams. A great Salesforce consulting partner has project management experience and can help you ensure your Salesforce implementation makes sense online and offline. They have experience running phases and iterations to ensure the project stays on course, delivery is executed, and post-implementation training is successful. The best Salesforce Consulting Partners have Project Management Professionals (PMPs) on staff to deliver on those initiatives.
  3. Related Technologies – One of the important reasons why companies hire Salesforce consultants is to assist with integrations and other LOBs. It is important that any team you choose has experience across a multitude of technologies that Salesforce integrates with, from custom software applications to Quickbooks and Gmail. Before hiring a consultant, ask yourself: Can they properly fit Salesforce solutions into my technology roadmap? If not, you may want to reconsider.

2. Implementation Methodology

When you are looking to hire the best Salesforce Consulting Partner, it is important you understand the partner’s implementation approach. Agile-based incremental delivery is the best practice as it accounts for phases and iterations, which help ensure that your project stays on time and within budget. This approach also ensures a high-degree of collaboration between your team and the Salesforce consultants—which often yields better results. Ask your partner for details such as what tools they use for prototypes and flowcharting. If they can’t provide specifics, it’s likely best to choose a different partner.

3. Ongoing Support

Before you sign on with a Salesforce consultant, talk to them about what happens after implementation is complete – how will they support your business moving forward? It’s best to work with a partner who keeps a laser focus on ongoing Salesforce updates so that your organization can stay ahead of the curve – and the competition. Make sure the partner will not de-prioritize your support needs over the needs of other larger projects. Certain partners, like KeyNode Solutions, offer designated Salesforce Managed Services that solely focus on clients ongoing support and maintenance. This is the best type of partner to have.

4. Budget

When it comes to Salesforce support, prices are all over the map! It’s important to discuss your budget from the very start of the process so you can focus on partners that are within your range. But don’t just agree on a number and choose the first partner that falls in that range. As with many things, the most expensive choice is not necessarily the best. Ask partners for proposals and compare their offerings. Even without a formal RFP, you can learn a great deal about the partner – including some informal learnings regarding their delivery and level of detail.

5. Pricing

You may think pricing qualifies under budget, but when it comes to ongoing support it actually differs. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the “per hour” pricing that will come through on your invoices. These three questions can go a long way toward keeping more of your hard earned money in your pocket.

  • Do you charge any extra fees above stated hourly rate? (or Do you add any charges for PM/other work automatically to per hour / total project cost?)
  • Do you charge for discovery sessions, initial meetings, presentations, etc.? (or Will you bill us for on-site meeting time after each iteration?)
  • Are there any onboarding fees?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, there will be no small fee for your business. Be aware of what’s in your contract and ask these questions upfront, before you’re too far down the line.

6. Passion

This particular quality can be hard to quantify, but it’s worth considering. As Salesforce is an integral part of your business, you and your team members will be spending considerable time working with it and with the consultants you ultimately choose. You want to make sure you’re doing business with a company that has a team passionate about technology and about your success.

7. Location

Despite the fact that technology has blurred borders, you may want to consider working with a Salesforce Consulting Partner that is geographically close to you. Not only will this eliminate the nuances of time zones, but it will give you the opportunity to work more closely with the consulting team. If you are in San Diego, Irvine or Los Angeles, it make sense to find a Salesforce Consulting Partner partner from Southern California. Face to face communication, even if only done on a quarterly basis, can help ensure all parties are more involved and are better aligned.

Searching for the right Salesforce Consulting Partner can be a daunting task, as consultants seem to be a dime-a-dozen, it can be difficult to decipher the best choice for your business. Keeping the seven qualities listed above in mind during your search can help ensure that you find the best Salesforce Consulting Partner for your needs.

These qualities came from our experience at KeyNode Solution – a full-service Salesforce Consulting Partner – where we are always happy to make Salesforce work best for your business.

Ready to hire a premier Salesforce Consulting Partner? Talk to Us! Drop us a line at hello@keynodesolutions.com or call us at 1-833-539-6633. We’ll be delighted to make sure that your Salesforce investment is working FOR YOU

Published originally on KeyNode Solutions Blog.