07 Mar 4 ways to pick the perfect implementation partner
by Ryan Christensen
You’ve done your diligence in scouting for the best customer-focused SaaS (software as a service) provider for your business and decided to go with Salesforce. You’re excited by the virtually limitless potential and tools the framework has to offer, but for all your enthusiasm, it’s easy and understandable to feel overwhelmed. More so, it’s not unusual to feel pressured to get the system up and running as soon as possible to leverage the full extent of its capabilities for your unique needs.
That’s where implementation partners serve an invaluable role: helping to merge the parts and pieces into a single, streamlined product to make your company run like a well-oiled machine. But, with more than 1,000 Salesforce consultants at the ready, where do you even begin?
Let’s explore four crucial factors that will help you choose the correct Salesforce partner to unleash the return on your recent investment:
1. Use a provider with Salesforce-focused expertise
In your quest for the best SaaS platform, you likely discovered the many other SaaS products on the market. There are plenty of implementation providers who market Salesforce consulting—but aren’t necessarily specialists in that platform. They oftentimes hold a certification or two, but primarily function in competing platforms. You might be tempted to think the cross-functional experience would be a benefit; that a consultant who knows the ins-and-outs of different SaaS platforms could be at an advantage when it comes to best practices. Make no mistake: This is typically the exception, not the rule. Every SaaS offering involves its own intricacies, processes, and capabilities. Salesforce is no exception, and what’s more, its unique ecosystem of partners lend to its dynamic evolution and improvements, meaning that it’s constantly changing for the better. It’s best to stick with a consultancy with laser-focus on Salesforce—a company whose main source of revenue is Salesforce—when you’re dealing with a Salesforce implementation.
2. Base talent on project requirements, not geography
What you need from your implementation partner is far more important than where they are located. Salesforce is decentralized, offering solutions in the cloud as opposed to the traditional in-house IT management approach. Implementation partners operate in a parallel and complementary fashion. By means of remote access to your Salesforce platform, consultants/partners can structure solutions and facilitate your needs with convenience and efficiency in mind.
Categories within Salesforce’s AppExchange help narrow your options in terms of what you’re hoping to achieve with the platform. Under the ‘Home’ tab, you will find ‘Salesforce Professionals,’ including the ‘Consulting Partners’ category. From there, you can filter through more than 1,000 providers by a host of options, including industry, customer rating, and programming language.
3. Pick a partner who specializes in long-term strategy
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, the next step is to start your due diligence processes. Your immediate objective is to get your Salesforce purchase optimally configured and off the ground.
Warning: Don’t confuse immediate urgency with long-term outcome!
For the most part, free consultations are the industry standard. You need to go in with the right questions to ferret out the smooth sellers from the smart, success-focused strategists. You’ve invested in Salesforce for a reason—to position your company for the seamless cultivation of customer relationships. But have you considered what could happen if you explode in growth? What if you find a new niche and want to expand your product or service offerings? How about a situation in which you buy out a competitor and need to merge their data system into your configuration without losing vital information?
You’ll want to ask about the consultancy’s specialized focus and what services they offer to support or augment that focus. Do they offer ongoing managed services support? Do they offer advisory services for changes that are beyond the horizon? Any hypotheticals you can think of, and all things in between, are fair game here. Which brings me to the next and most important point…
4. Choose a partner that invests in excellence
It’s in your best interest to do your homework on the number and types of certifications the consultancy holds, and the training that goes into those credentials. Beyond in-house creds, you’ll want to gravitate toward companies who are willing to form partnerships with other Salesforce specialists whose products optimize service deliveries, and consultancies that are investing in cutting-edge product initiatives such as billing and bolt solutions. As a rule of thumb, the quality of a consultancy’s services will match its research and development efforts. The more invested they are in improving their best offerings, the more invested they are in your success.
These factors go a long way in paring down the field of hundreds to a shortlist of prime integration candidates: the people with the power to set your business on the course for success. After all, isn’t that what brought you here in the first place?
Ready to tackle your process and build a better tool? Contact Simplus for your implementation and advisory services today.
Ryan Christensen is the Director of Vertical Sales at Simplus. He has over 12 years of technology sales experience and a diverse background ranging from start-ups to industry-leading enterprise organizations specializing in SaaS and its services. Ryan recently participated in the CEO keynote at Dreamforce 2017, focusing on the success Adidas is having using Salesforce globally. He is travel-obsessed, fearless on the dance floor, and bilingual in English and Italian.