Don't Go it Alone: The Case for Hiring a Salesforce Consultant

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By: Kirsten Kippen | 7.3.14

So, you’ve made the decision to adopt Salesforce and you’re making a go of it on your own - good for you! As a nonprofit or socially responsible business, this makes sense at first - maybe you got free licenses and want to see how far you can take it. I am here to make a case for calling a consultant before you hit a wall. Here are some of the arguments we hear for “going it alone,” and our reasons for saving yourself a whole lot of grief by engaging a consulting partner.

“We’ve got smart, young staff - can’t they just figure it out through Google?”

Sure - to a point. However:

  • You have to know what questions to ask. This can be much more complicated when you’re dealing with a CRM than when you’re just trying to, say, teach yourself how to properly use hashtags or make pickles.
  • There will be opportunity cost. If you give up internal staff time to database configuration, some other core business function undoubtedly suffers.
  • Finally, with great power comes great responsibility: point and click technology makes many CRM functions seem easy, but if put in the wrong hands this power can inadvertently create massive inefficiencies and gaps.

 

“We’ve got a Salesforce expert on staff already.”

Lucky you! But, I’m guessing bottlenecks may be an issue. Here are some of the advantages to having both an internal staff expert plus a consultant:

  • Tactics vs. Strategy: Staff experts are great for tactics (like knowing how to change a field value) but consultants are often better for strategic decisions like knowing which applications will play best with your business process. It’s much easier to have strategic perspective on this when you’re not immersed in office politics.
  • We know CRM just like you know your business: This includes staying up to date with the best applications on the AppExchange, staying on top of relevant Hub and Success Community conversations and Salesforce updates, learning from the successes and failures of past clients. We’ve got processes in place for elements like data migration and mass communication integration that will take much less time for us to apply.
  • We use train-the-trainer methodology to encourage user adoption and maximize the impact of your investment.

 

“We don’t have budget to spend on consultants.”

Many organizations make the mistake of spending their full CRM budget on licenses or a couple powerful apps, and absorb the painful costs of time wasted trying to figure out how to use it. Here’s how an upfront investment can often save money in the long run:

  • Consultants know how to “think like a database” and accept that no one (truly, no one) can use Salesforce “out of the box” with no customization.
  • We also know the sneaky truth that the littlest things (looking at you, data migration) can account for the majority of CRM-related costs.
  • As we have seen with healthcare.gov, it is vastly more expensive to fix a broken database later rather than doing it right the first time and paying to configure a working database.

 

“We can’t prove the ROI of Salesforce, so why should we invest even more?”

This is a somewhat circular argument, but it’s a tough challenge to break down. Many organizations do not see the ROI of CRM adoption for several years, which is usually due to two factors:

  1. Your organization doesn’t have identifiable goals (this is more common than you might think). We will ask you what do you need to know in order to measure success at your company, and are your current systems tracking this well? If not, we can change that.
  2. You don’t know how to build reports that show progress.  Part of most implementations is setting up custom reports. Tracking relationships and transactions is what Salesforce does best and this will show ROI for all levels of your organization.

 

“We don’t use external or remote resources.”

Remote teams do not equal offshore teams. Our Salesforce consultants are all based in North and South America making time zone differences minimal. We have presences in many major cities, but we keep costs down for you partially by having consultants based in places with great quality of life, but lower cost of living. We’re happy to meet locally whenever necessary, but it’s often not.

 

And the big one...“No one at our company likes Salesforce.”

More often than not, this is the result of rolling out a system to users that hasn’t been properly configured and is modified on an ad-hoc basis. It’s a steep uphill climb to regain users’ trust once you’ve lost it - why not start out on the right foot instead?

Finally...consultants are not above “rescues”. If you didn’t initially engage a consultant or chose one that didn’t fit your needs, don’t give up. We have probably seen worse and although it may be a bit more painful than if we had talked earlier on, we can very likely help. Join our Accidental Admin webinar August 6-7 for basic training on Salesforce, or contact us anytime to discuss how we can help you.




 

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