There comes a point in any business’ lifecycle where they’re faced with the dilemma of whether or not to outsource certain services or projects. From Mobile App Development, to Creative Direction, Salesforce Implementation to Paid Marketing, some are praised for taking on the challenge themselves, while others swear by seeking help of professionals externally. In this case we’re talking Salesforce, should you outsource your Salesforce Implementation to a Salesforce Consulting Partner or handle within?
Do you need to outsource your Salesforce Implementation? A pros and cons list.
Every decision should have the pros and cons weighed up, to give you a for and against for going internal or calling in the professionals.
Benefits of Engaging a Salesforce Implementation Partner
- Expertise. Salesforce Implementations are their bread and butter, Salesforce Partners are professionals in their field and are well versed in Implementing Salesforce. Some partners have worked on hundreds of implementation projects and fully understand the challenges and solutions. No matter what industry your business operates in, or which stage of development it’s at, there will be a partner who has implemented projects at companies just like yours. Not only do you get specialised expertise and knowledge, it will most likely take the partner less time in implementing.
- Best Practice. Tying into the previous point, since Salesforce Implementation partners often have areas of expertise with proven experience and certificates to show for, you’ll be placed in best hands for ensuring your state of the art solution is implemented with best practice in mind. Whether you need Sales Cloud, Pardot or a Multi-Cloud implementation further down the line, seeing the Partner’s certifications will give you an idea of their skilled areas.
- Skill Transfer. After the technical set up is taken care of, you can be trained in best practice techniques by the partner so that you can become self-reliant with your Salesforce instance in the future.Time to focus on your business. Rather than shifting internal focus to allow for a large project such as a Salesforce Implementation, let the specialists take care of it for you so that you can focus on what matters most for your business.
- Agility. Instead of hiring someone in for the long haul, calling a Salesforce Partner in for your Salesforce Implementation is a much smaller commitment, however if done right, the benefits should be long lasting.
On the other hand..
- Scope. When phases and sprints draw to a close and proposals have been delivered, help is only available to you as is agreed in the statement of work. Unless you have an ongoing contract in place such as a Managed Services type deal, you’re left on your own two feet to handle it from here on out.
It can often be the case that unforeseen things that are out of project scope, can enter the mix. Beforehand, try to make sure your RFP is as detailed as possible. If it does so happen that unforeseen items enter the project, either call in your Project and Account Managers on both sides to re-evaluate the project scope, or simply add on some extra hours. Most Salesforce Implementation partners offer Managed Services deals, whereby you can purchase a set amount of hours for the upkeep of your instance if needs be.
- Collaboration and Communication. When outsourcing work externally, it is vital that you agree on a level of communication so that nothing slips between the cracks, since the bulk of the work is often being conducted outside your office.
If engaging a Salesforce Consulting Partner, make sure you are explicit with just how involved with your day to day business as you would like in order to avoid misunderstanding. You can also work into the project statement some hours for weekly or biweekly check ups. Your partner should establish timelines and be held to these. It’s also important that you are building your Salesforce knowledge within your company. While partners will provide guidance and expertise, some level of direction of innovation should come from within.
- Culture. While Consulting Partners will strive to fully understand your business and its processes before designing and developing a solution, they may not necessarily have bought into your company culture or values.
While for most this may not be a big issue, it can cause complexities nonetheless. If you are speaking with a Salesforce Partner, try to gauge their values and company culture to see if it will align before signing anything. Since you’ll be working pretty closely with these people, it’s highly beneficial knowing that you can meet on the same level. In our experience we tend to only work with clients if this alignment exists, and we’ve gone on to harness ongoing relationships with the people we’ve done business with.
Benefits of handling your Salesforce Implementation in-house
Long Term. If you are considering using Salesforce as your core business system aligning it fully with your product or service, it might be worth be hiring some Salesforce professionals to handle the administration side of things long term. If you just require a CRM, economically speaking, it might make more sense to open a long term partnership with a Salesforce Partner.
Learning Curve. Throwing yourself into the deep end is a great way to learn organically and can be useful for personal development of your team. While you may face setbacks, long term you will create a Salesforce knowledge base internally.
Cost. If you already have Salesforce professionals on your payroll and decide for them to configure your solution, you won’t experience the costs involved with engaging a Salesforce consulting partner. However, underestimating the implementation could end up derailing your Salesforce Implementation and cost you more in the long term. Make sure you are fully aware of what you can achieve with your internal Salesforce resources before carrying out the project.
Negatives of handling your Salesforce Implementation in-house
Slowed productivity. Time is money. Depending on the skillset of your internal resources, handling a Salesforce Implementation internally could end up taking much longer than if a Salesforce Partner were to do it. The size of your team is also vital, letting a smaller team take care of the implementation could run up costs in the long term versus getting access to numerous Admins, Developers and Architects at a Salesforce Partner.
Underestimating Projects. More often than not, focus can diverge when setting out the roadmap in Salesforce Implementations. Your team may be keen to make use of Salesforce’s latest developments and products, but can sometimes leave data migration or integration as an afterthought. It can be costly nearing the end of your scheduled sprint, only to hit a large hurdle that you didn’t properly consider beforehand. Integrations and data migrations specifically, often require a high level of experience and expertise.
Experience or lack of. While your team may boast some Salesforce experience and have some Salesforce certifications to show, do they possess implementation experience in your market or industry?
While both inhouse and outsource options each pose pros and cons, it’s vital that you understand your needs and resources before making a decision. Drawing up a business case with factors for and against inhouse or external can be useful. On the other hand, more and more companies today are making use of a hybrid approach, taking advantage of both internal and external resources to drive business growth. Growing your Salesforce knowledge base internally, while working alongside experienced professionals to troubleshoot problems or to take care of more complex solutions, while transferring knowledge to your team, has its advantages in the Salesforce space.