Do I really need a Certified Consultant to implement Salesforce.com?
In short, yes. Salesforce.com’s complexity is growing at an amazing rate. Thier agile development model allows them to release huge amounts of new features with each seasonal release. The changes can be so significant release to release that it is not uncommon that Salesforce.com certified professionals have to pass release exams to maintain their certification. For example, Salesforce.com Certified Professional who have the Administrator or Developer certification have to pass three tests a year to stay certified.
This statistic might put the above into perspective. The Winter 08 User’s Guide (a downloadable pdf found in the Help section) was 1,545 pages long. The User’s Guide for Winter 10 (2 years later) is a staggering 2,428 pages! That’s a 63% increase in just two years! Summer 10’s "How to be Successful with Salesforce" by the way is 2,708 pages. Heck, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is only 1,440 in paperback! 😉
You can jump in reading Saleforce.com for Dummies, but that honestly is just scratching the surface – it’s just not comprehensive enough.
What does a Certified Consultant bring to the table?
What a good consultant SHOULD be able to provide is the experience to best configure the tool to meet your company’s needs and maximize the toolkit to gain the most efficiency from your workforce. Experience begets Best Practices, tips and tricks, and avoiding costly configuration mistakes. Clunky configurations won’t drive user adoption and setting up the basic data framework and getting data into your Salesforce.com is just the beginning. All the other tweaks to help with usability, efficiency and adoption is where a Consultant adds additional value.
Good Consultants should also know when custom development makes sense and when it doesn’t. A member of the Dallas Salesforce.com User’s Group shared her story when a consultant’s custom code went too far and handcuffed her ability to grow and move her configuration forward.
Can I deploy Salesforce.com now and use a consultant later?
It has been done! If you self implemented, you might engage a consultant to learn some best practices or to make sure your using the platform to it’s fullest potential.
Would I advise this self-implmenting today? Probably not. Even a couple of hours with a Certified Consultant can be worth it if only to verify a configuration prior to go-live and recommend some easy to implement high value enhancements. I think a Salesforce sales rep would agree. Self-implementing, unless in an extremely limited setting, is almost unthinkable today.
What should I look for in a Salesforce.com Certified Consultant?
- People skills and experience working with business owners, executives and department heads
- Real world business knowledge across multiple industries on how companies market, sell and support customers
- Multiple successful implementations of Salesforce.com and years of experience working with the platform
- A network of resources at his or her disposal – especially developers
- Salesforce Certification!
- Experience training both end users and administrators
- Experience managing data migrations and integration efforts
- Relationships with Salesforce.com
- References from local user groups
Get started today
If you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth area and would like assistance implementing or optimizing Salesforce.com from a certified professional, please contact one of our consultants.
If we’re unable to assist you, I can probably recommend someone who can. Help is available – just ask!