Hiring a Salesforce Training Consultant vs Hiring an SFDC Administrator

As a Salesforce Training & Consulting firm, we believe that the right answer lies with a bit of both – ensure that you have someone on the inside as well as a consultant. Part of the goal is to get your consultant to transfer knowledge to your own person. Now, this person may not necessarily have to be a full time administrator, depending on the number of users you have working with you.  The general rule of thumb seems to be that for every 50 licences you have, you should have one full time Admin.  So, if you extrapolate, a team of 20, say, only needs an Admin 40% of the time.  Your in-house person should be able to do basic set-ups, customize fields, and create and run dashboards and reports for managers as needed.

One of the major benefits is that a consultant has done an implementation many times over and knows what they’re doing. In the end, this saves you time (and therefore, should save you money). An in-house administrator would have to learn how to implement Salesforce and will likely make some mistakes along the way.

Salesforce Training Consultants should have a broader experience of organizations, implementations, apps, SalesForce versions, and neat tricks used elsewhere. But before you decide to hire one, they should be 100% focussed on your project and work quickly because of their experience and knowledge. They should also consider the future when designing for today.

Your internal people know your processes and nuances but usually don’t have the exposure to SalesForce that might be beneficial. Internal people also usually have more pulls on their time and might not be 100% focussed and dedicated on the project. Selecting the internal candidate(s) is crucial – the wrong person without the overview of your processes and operations may inadequately brief your consultant. Keep management abreast of the entire project.

Getting Started with Salesforce Training

Make sure you brief your consultants well and get regular status reports. If they are poorly briefed, you might not get what you need and want. Also, make sure you get very detailed documentation from the consultant. And finally the end of your technical project is NOT the end – it’s the beginning. These things develop and evolve. Make sure a consultant will be there for you in the future, to support the internal resource that you have appointed.

We have worked with a number of clients, in which we have been the second firm that they have used. Our experience has been that Salesforce Training consultants usually do an OK job at implementing what you say you need or want. When you don’t have in-house expertise on the software, you’ll most benefit from a consultant who will not just take your order, but also guide you and sometimes challenge you in implementing a solution that not only meets your requirements but also sets you up for success down the road. The other thing to keep in mind, is that when Salesforce Training consultants roll off, it’ll be you and your team owning the product, so if it is at all possible, you’ll want some overlap between your system admin / developer and the consulting group.

Fixing Mistakes

The challenge comes when the Salesforce Training consultant doesn’t take the time to either fully understand the company’s business processes, or doesn’t ask the right questions up front to help you explain your processes well.
When we arrive on the scene after an initial outsourced Salesforce implementation does not go as well as planned, we often see holes in the implementation that stemmed from the client’s lack of knowledge and experience with Salesforce and the consultant’s lack of knowledge of their company. As a result, we do spend a significant amount time (and some $) reconfiguring the system.

I would make sure that whatever you do, plan for overlap. If you hire an admin or developer, make sure they spend sufficient time learning the company before the Salesforce implementation. If you hire a consultant, make sure they supply sufficient time after the implementation for the tweaks (big and little) that are necessary once you figure out what you really need.

What to Look for when Hiring

Regardless of whether or not you hire outside Salesforce Training help on contract basis, or go with your own internal admin, ensure that they have considerable sales (or marketing) experience. We have worked with many clients that have used external resources, only to have their sales people complain that they were too IT focused, and didn’t really ‘get’ the traditional role of the sales people.  The best consultants are ones that have actually managed sales teams before, and hence, truly understand what it is that the sales people do all day long, as well as understand what a proper CRM system needs to do to support sales managers.

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional coaching and training firm that specializes in helping companies navigate their way in a Salesforce.com environment. SalesForce Training is based in Toronto, with trainers in Boston and Chicago, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, Salesforce.com training and Salesforce.com Admin support, sales training and sales personnel assessments.

by   Mark Christie