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How to choose a Salesforce implementation partner

Let’s assume you have already decided that you need a new CRM system. You have even selected a supplier from which you will buy licenses for your employees. Now you need support with moving the existing processes to the new system (usually, it starts with sales or client service related processes). Of course, you need a Salesforce implementation partner.

Salesforce implementation partner: what you should bear in mind

If the scope of the planned implementation is complex due to the size of the business, you will probably send RFI and RFP to selected vendors.  If your business is not that big, the vendor selection process is likely to be less formal.  In both cases, there are several issues you should bear in mind:

  • Salesforce partnership level. For industrial specialists, this criterion is fairly obvious. The higher the partnership level, the more certified experts, performed projects and technological experience.  There are several levels, beginning from registered Salesforce implementation partners, all the way through silver, golden and platinum partners, and the few strategic, global partner companies.
  • Local implementation resources. Want to implement the system on a few markets? Make sure the selected firm has sufficient resources and competencies to manage the desirable scale implementation.  Operating in Poland only?  Check whether the firm is planning to use outsourcing, as not everyone likes the approach.
  • Competencies of key team members. What industry is your business operating in? If it is highly specific, the entire implementation process may speed up with assistance of specialists who used to participate in similar engagements. Even a single specialist is a benefit for the entire implementation team, helping to avoid misunderstandings or dead-end solutions.
  • References are most important. Well, this point does not require extra explanation. Happy clients and successful projects are the best references for any firm.  Ask your target implementation partner for references regarding engagements of similar scale, industry and technology.  Firms with excellent references regarding Sales Cloud implementation may not be as dexterous with Pardot or Salesforce Marketing Cloud, so it seems reasonable to check achievements of your Salesforce implementation partner. Demo, i.e. presentation of a customized system, provides a great opportunity for such check.  Prepare well for this meeting, as this is a good moment to ask some key questions and observe how the vendor replies: Are your questions being appropriately responded? Is the system presentation clear? Do you feel overwhelmed with knowledge you cannot understand? Has your implementation partner correctly understood your business profile?  People who come to such meetings to deliver a demo are often the ones you will cooperate with at later stages of the project.  This is a good opportunity to get to know them better.  If possible, invite other team members to the demo meeting and let them express their views afterwards.
  • Communication. So, the meeting is over. You have been promised additional answers and a proposal.  Yes, your schedule is tight and you get loads of e-mail messages, but take time and check whether the promised information accompanied with the meeting summary reaches you a day or a week after the meeting.  Observe whether the firm representative is trying to stay in regular touch with you and whether the additional information provided by him/her has actually added any value.
  • Consulting. Usually during a purchase or vendor selection process the buyer presents requirements, and the potential vendor assures the buyer that the specified scope can be implemented at the specified price. Is your potential implementation partner able to get out of this scheme?  Have you been just suggested a better solution?  You may find it hard to accept that there are better ways to meet your requirements than what you have thought up yourself, but advisory support provided when you prepare a list of your requirements is a proof of substantial practical experience.  Take a closer look at vendors who freely share the knowledge of their experts.

Catching up with the rest of the world

The presented points, important when you select a Salesforce implementation partner, are applicable to any technology.  The world is accelerating; CRM implementation projects tend to take months, not years.  Anyway, it is worth your time and effort to thoroughly check a firm before signing a cooperation agreement.  For most companies, service costs are of key importance, but managerial staff tends to pay more attention to quality, effectiveness and fast implementation,  as these factors allow organizations to catch up with the rapidly changing market.  Technology development and growing competition are clear signs that quick transformation is the decisive factor for the future of your business.

 

Joanna Świercz

Senior Consultant

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