How to pick a great Salesforce consultant by watching their bedside manner
Have you ever been rushed through a new doctor visit? If your experience was anything like mine, this scenario should sound familiar: the doctor briskly walks in, shakes your hand, glances at your sheet, briefly addresses your symptoms, and then sends you to the reception desk with a prescription. That’s it? Nothing resembling a conversation? They never even sat down! You’re probably left worried, wondering, “are they taking my concerns seriously enough?”
You don’t need an M.D. to figure out a doctor’s priorities from their bedside manner.
You’ll know a doctor cares about the patient experience when they set your expectations for the appointment, explain the rationale behind their questions and recommendations, and make sure they’ve addressed any lingering concerns. Most importantly, doctors who “get” the patient experience have a high level of empathy. They know that asking thorough questions is a powerful way to reassure an anxious patient. Doctors who focus on patient experience are also more likely to spend time building a lasting relationship.
A comforting experience will bring a better outcome
Doctors who focus on your experience and invest in the relationship are nice to work with, but there are two concrete reasons why these indicate a better outcome for your healthcare.
Thorough questions aren’t just reassuring - they can uncover information that helps prevent a disastrous misdiagnosis. If you think “that’ll never happen to me,” consider that 12 million Americans face misdiagnosis every year - 1 in 20 patients - often resulting in serious complications. You know that warm feeling you get when a healthcare practitioner truly cares about the context of your illness? It’s a nice side effect, but the main point of those questions is to determine proper treatment the first time.
Just like the patient experience, relationship building is more important than it seems on the surface. It’s not just an extra feel-good feature. Doctors who plan on earning your trust by helping you actually improve your health can afford to invest their scarce time into building the relationship. You won’t see that effort from a doctor whose endgame is just identifying symptoms and writing prescriptions - they probably don’t think they have time.
Caring about your Salesforce experience
If you’re able to look, listen, and feel for these qualities in a doctor, then you’re more than capable of picking the right Salesforce consultant for your project. You can safely bet that a Salesforce consultant has satisfied clients if they prioritize your experience and the relationship.
To dig a bit deeper, look for these clues before committing to a Salesforce consultant:
- They have an established diagnostic process. Doctors and lawyers achieve results by working through a process, and the best Salesforce partners do, too. Every organization is unique - good consultants will have a structured process to determine if you’re a good fit and how they can help. They won’t wing it.
If you’re like many leaders and you instinctively try to control the discovery meeting, they’ll explain that their process plays a core role in their clients’ success and gently insist on returning to the agenda. They’ll ask lots of prepared questions then dig into your responses to uncover what’s beneath the surface. At the end, you’ll believe they have a solid grasp of your organization, from the big picture down to the details.
- They look beyond deliverables and focus on the outcomes. They want to understand what a successful project means to you and your organization. They will try to determine the problem(s) that Salesforce is supposed to solve, beyond just your technical requirements. They won’t shy away from negative feedback or make excuses.
In fact, they’ll establish a tone of continuous upfront communication in order to course-correct and keep projects headed in the right direction. They demonstrate that your success is more important than just checking boxes on a scope of work.
- They’re upfront about the budget, timeline, and what’s required on your end. They know their value and don’t need to play games in order to earn business. They ask questions that could uncover a mismatch and disqualify your project, and they’ll give you direct feedback on how realistic your expectations are. If they do share a plan for working together, you won’t feel like you’re “being sold.” They’ll show you that finding a good fit is more important than trying to close every deal with every potential client.
- They work toward case studies, testimonials, and referrals. They see much more value in the client relationship than just billable hours. They want to tell stories about your success, and they know they have to earn those stories. They’ll likely be direct about their desire to write case studies and get introduced to your peers once a project is deemed a success.
- They look for clients who share their values. Impact-driven business has a different mindset than profit-driven business. If you can appreciate each other’s motivations for running a business in the first place, you’ll enjoy a more harmonious partnership and achieve better outcomes. Look for consultants who spend time getting to know you and identifying areas where your values and beliefs overlap.
- They have a strong reputation and track record. This is tough for a new Salesforce consultant trying to get established, but anybody with fiduciary responsibility needs to consider a consultant’s reputation. If a consultant truly understands organizations like yours and is truly committed to client success, then they’ll be able to point you to a list of happy clients with meaningful similarities to your organization.
Choosing a Salesforce consultant can feel intimidating
It’s a significant investment, and there’s a lot riding on a successful project. You’ve got this! Start by observing every Salesforce consultant's bedside manner, look for the indicators we covered, and always remember to trust your gut.
When you work with Idealist Consulting, we’re with you for the long haul. We’re always striving for the best experiences and outcomes for our clients. If you’re facing down a Salesforce project and not sure where to start, connect with us and we’ll make sure you’re equipped to make the best decision for your organization.
If you’re still exploring, check out our whitepaper “Be Prepared, Not Scared: Strategies for Technology Change” to help you navigate the organizational changes that come with a Salesforce project.