What is Your Salesforce Resolution?

It’s that time of year again. Almost 60% of Americans make some kind of New Year’s resolution, whether it’s learning a new skill, finding balance, or shedding those few extra pounds. There is something about a brand new year that makes us want to start fresh.

If you run a Salesforce program, perhaps it’s time for a resolution of your own.

That could be implementing new platform features like Einstein or CPQ to improve the performance of your sales and marketing teams. Or shedding some of that technical debt that’s been weighing down the effectiveness of your system (and your budget). Or maybe it’s something in between. No matter what your resolution is, putting focus and effort into your existing Salesforce investment can set you on the right path this year.

Making Your Resolution a Reality

Before you jump into execution mode, it helps to clarify what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are a few simple questions to start:

  • What are the specific business outcomes I am trying to achieve?
  • Is this a long term need or a short term one?
  • Where does this rank among other priorities?
  • How does this fit into my existing Salesforce roadmap (assuming you have one)?

Once you’ve got the business rationale locked in, the next set of questions lie around how your resolution fits into your or your team’s existing workload and skill set.

  • How does this new initiative fit within your existing team structure — will you be driving the initiative directly or will it fall to one of your team members?
  • What skills will this new initiative require — do you have those on the team or do you need to find them?
  • How does this fit in with other priorities — does it replace something or is it one more thing to add to the list?

Most companies find they either have a skills gap or a capacity gap when it comes to doing more with their Salesforce system. The roles you need to hire or contract out will depend on what that gap is.

What Role is Right for Your Resolution?

There are four primary roles in the Salesforce talent ecosystem to consider (while titles may vary, the job duties generally fall into these main categories.)

Administrator: This role provides everything from system configuration to end-user support for a Salesforce system, acting as the go-to person for BU-level users, keeping data clean, creating dashboards and reports, and communicating system changes and updates.

Developer: This role helps implement more advanced platform functionality, coding custom apps and extensions to the platform not possible through point and click configuration alone.

Analyst: Also called a functional lead, consultant or business analyst, this role works cross-functionally to translate business requirements into delivery-ready solutions. These roles work closely with business owners to identify inefficiencies and opportunities for automation, and in many cases they manage and run project work independently.

Architect: This role guides the architectural and design strategy for an overall Salesforce implementation, articulating, gathering, and/or reviewing business, functional and technical requirements for long-term system health. For more complex implementations with custom code, integrations, or specialized Salesforce products, this role is critical to help you avoid the pitfalls that can knock your project off track.

I’ll be diving deeper into each of these roles in a future blog series.

To hire or contract?

If your initiative requires ongoing support and/or deep knowledge of proprietary systems and processes, you may want to invest in a full time employee (FTE).  However, if it’s a short-term need, or you’re looking for a specialized or hard-to-find skillset, it’s worth considering contracting. While every company and situation is unique, here are some guiding principles when deciding between FTEs and contracting.

First, never outsource user creation and disablement. Everyday admin tasks like these are always best served by an internal employee or team who has the authority, access, and business connections to make timely decisions. A Salesforce administrator can play a crucial cohesive role across all your Salesforce initiatives, ensuring that consultants, contractors, and internal employees all follow the same set of standards for long-term system health.

Admins and analysts can also act as a hub between business stakeholders and the application itself, becoming a champion for the platform and what it can do to support the business. The right person in these roles will have a pulse on what’s coming next with Salesforce, and can help uncover opportunities to make a business run smoother or help teams make more customer-focused decisions. Depending on the size and maturity of your business, and your investment in the platform, you might even require a team of admins or analysts.

Common roles that companies typically outsource are those that do not require people dedicated to a task for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Take technical architects for example. While critical for the long-term health of a Salesforce system, especially complex ones, an architect is one of the most in-demand and expensive roles to hire. And while most implementations could benefit from an architect’s help, not all of them need one in a full time capacity.

Roles that are specialized and hard to hire are also ones to consider contracting. These may include developers, integration experts, or specialists who bring new skills like Einstein, CPQ, Lightning, Heroku, Communities, or one of the many AppExchange apps that extend the Salesforce platform. If you just need to implement new features for a project here and there, it would make more sense to outsource these roles to someone who can deliver exactly what you need in short bursts. Tapping into a combined onshore and offshore model, where you can take advantage of a 24-hour work cycle because of time zones, is also something to consider.

So, with all that in mind, what will your Salesforce resolution be this year?