How To Choose A Salesforce Consulting Partner

Choosing_Salesforce_Consulting_Partner
Dave Averill, Customer Success Manager at the Salesforce.com Foundation posted about selecting the right partner for a journey toward CRM. Below are some of the highlights from his post that give some great food for thought when starting down the CRM road. For the full post and all of Dave’s advice, jump over to the original here on the always relevant Salesforce Foundation blog.

Over the years I, Dave Averill, have talked to many customers on their journey toward Salesforce and CRM “nirvana”. Choosing the right partner to walk this road with you can be difficult. Below are some strategies that I recommend when you are trying to select a partner.

Learn Before You Buy

Be an informed buyer. You are stepping into a framework with amazing capabilities out of the box and limitless possibilities when you consider additional applications. Watch the free demo videos on both the salesforce.com and the Salesforce.com Foundation website to get a sense of what’s possible.

Set A Goal To Find Two To Three Finalists

Here are a few ways:

  • Use the App Exchange to find a certified partner – Find reviews of partners, their products and learn where they are.
  • Use your Network to Find a Recommended Partner – Look for someone who is in an organization with your similar size and needs.
  • Look for an Expert not an Order Taker – Experts are more expensive, ask probing questions that you might not like, and take the lead in your project. Additionally, find a partner who is an expert at your type of organizational model if you can.
  • Have a Budget – If you don’t have a budget, then you are not looking for a consultant, you are looking for a pro-bono volunteer.
  • Beware of Data Migration Costs – Do not underestimate the value and the difficulty of bringing your legacy data into Salesforce. Salesforce isn’t hard, but data is, especially when you are merging data from your outlook contacts, multiple excel spreadsheets, Evite, Microsoft Access, your email newsletter database, etc.
  • Project Management Methodologies – Understand the project management methodology of your consultant and be sure you feel good about the amount of input you will have on the project throughout. Ask to have completed work demoed early and often so you can learn how your new system works and guide it to success along the way.
  • Phase your Engagements – Trust your consultant and let that trust build by doing phased approaches to your project.
  • Ongoing Support and Long Term Relationship – Talk about what happens after you complete your project and think clearly about what happens next. If you are implementing a deep and wide implementation you need to find a partner who has a clear support and account management program as you consider future improvements.

Consider These Important Roles

Here are some of the more important roles you may need filled internally and by your partner. Be clear on who will be taking on which roles this before you start your project:

  • Strategic Consultant
  • Data or Requirements Architect
  • Change Management Consultant
  • Technical Project Management
  • Organizational Project Management
  • Project Sponsor/Administrator(s)
  • Consultant Management

My final bit of advice is find a partner you are planning to trust. If possible meet all the players who will be on your project. Consulting is a people business. Find the best your money can buy.
For additional tips, a more in depth description of each role and how to choose the right consultant, see the full post by Dave Averill on Salesforce.com.

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One comment

  1. Susan Kenna Wright

    Also consider what collateral material you’d like at the end of your implementation. This could include process documentation, configuration notes and rationale, training materials, etc. These deliverables will effect the budget, knowing your needs will help you choose wisely.

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