Choosing the right Salesforce implementation partner is a daunting process – especially if you haven’t gone through service procurement processes before. And with CRM at the core of most businesses’ infrastructure, there is a lot at stake to get it right. What should you look out for? What should be on your checklist?
I want to give you a few tips to focus your decision-making processes. Here are the top 5 factors to consider to help you choose a Salesforce implementation partner:
1. Track record
First and foremost, you want to know you’re in safe hands. Start by asking for the number of projects a prospective partner has completed and check out their CSAT (customer satisfaction) score on Salesforce’s AppExchange. If you go with less experienced partners they may offer cheaper day rates but you will likely pay more in the long run as it will take longer for them to navigate the project. A false economy.
What are some other good ways to check a partner’s track record? Ask for references and case studies, and talk to their previous clients if you have the chance. This can be really insightful and help you get the most accurate picture of your partner’s past work.
2. Specific experience
Has the partner worked in your industry or can they point to specific projects that are similar to yours? No partner will know your business from the word ‘go’, but if they have experience in your industry then they will have experience of similar pain points and challenges businesses like yours might face.
This sort of experience is a real value-add from partners and can avoid common pitfalls in projects. So, make sure to ask them about previous similar projects and existing clients from your industry – hopefully they will have a case study (or anonymised ‘project overview’ for sensitive accounts) that they can provide you with.
Can the partner scale quickly? How swiftly can the partner staff your project? Agility should definitely be one of the things in your checklist. What’s more, I don’t just mean in terms of the initial kickoff but also when the project is underway. If you want to move more quickly, how easily and responsively can your potential partner add resources to the team?
Something else worth considering: are the team members permanent employees of the partner or do they have to contract additional resources to meet demand? Basically, the overall message here is: make sure you’re confident in your partner’s ability to provide both the scale and the depth of expertise necessary for your project, as and when it’s needed.
This is one of the most tricky areas to tackle when choosing the right Salesforce implementation partner. While cost estimates are important to understand the scale of a project, most partners will not know or commit to an accurate figure until after a paid discovery period.
Because of this, it’s usually more important to understand and be comfortable with the partner’s delivery approach to a solution, their cost per day/hour of each resource and their proposed team structure. These are usually more simple to compare between partners than extensive, complex estimates that will usually come with lots of assumptions at the early stages of procurement. If estimates do differ greatly between partners then interrogate this with the partners to understand why. One partner may have noticed some particular complexity that the other hasn’t.
Remember: partners will want to “partner” with you. They will need time from your team and you will likely be working with them on a daily basis. So, having a good relationship with someone you feel comfortable working with often becomes the deciding factor.
As well as rapport, it’s also crucial to consider the logistical aspects of your collaboration. If they’re based abroad, how compatible are your time-zones? Does your partner have local/nearshore customer-facing points of contact? Consider this when you’re evaluating whether you’ll be able to work together well.
We hope this helps you in choosing the right Salesforce implementation partner
Hopefully this gives you some areas to focus on if you are about to embark on a procurement process for a Salesforce implementation – or any other technology implementation, as these factors should be considered in all kinds of projects.
If you’re looking for a skilled, seasoned and capable Salesforce Partner for your implementation, we at VRP Consulting would like to help. With more than 2,000 projects completed for clients across the spectrum of industries, and with offices around the world, we can deliver the proven expertise, scale and professional experience you need. Just reach out to us and we can explore the possibilities together.
About the Author
Solution Architect, VRP Consulting UK
Dan is a Solution Architect and Senior Consultant within VRP Consulting’s UK team. He has more than ten years’ experience implementing the Salesforce platform as well as end-to-end knowledge of Salesforce roadmap management and project delivery.