Looking for a Salesforce Consultant? Evaluate These 3 Areas.

March 11, 2016 mmodmarketing

Are your Pardot and Salesforce systems dormant at your organization? Maybe they were never implemented. Maybe training didn’t stick. Maybe the work processes changed, but the system didn’t. Whatever the reason, you’re now looking for a consultant to help put your teams, and your investment, back on track. But choosing the right partner can be tough. Going with the big guys doesn’t always guarantee success. Here are three key areas you should review when evaluating Salesforce consultants.

1. Are they Salesforce and Pardot experts?

Your consultant should have the technical knowledge to make changes in Pardot and Salesforce, and they should have the certifications to prove it. Salesforce offers certification in various areas including Sales, Service, Administration, Development and Pardot. The exams are created to recognize experience and theory.

Check their street cred

Salesforce is constantly updating their software and consultants (and users) must keep their credentials up-to-date to maintain certification. Salesforce also provides a site where you can verify the Salesforce credentials of any consultant by entering their email address or full name: http://certification.salesforce.com/verification.

Check to see if your consultant is listed on the Salesforce AppExchange. Only registered partners are listed. No listing may mean they don't meet the partner qualifications in regards to certification or experience. Make sure you select Consultant from the navigation bar to the right of the AppExchange logo to search consultants.

2. Have they ever walked the sales and marketing walk?

Find a consultant with experience doing the job. Have they ever successfully carried a bag or managed a campaign? Real-life process experience is essential for setting realistic expectations on how the system will work. These platforms are built by engineers who may not always have a full understanding of the real world workflow. Yes, I’ve said it. Sometimes the system design makes no sense. An experienced consultant can help manage the gaps and set the right expectations.

Bonus: Industry expertise

Hiring a consultant who understands your industry is great. They know the operating environment, all the terms, and lingo, and can bring relevant examples to the table. What should you do with a consultant who has experience in the role but not the industry, or vice versa? I would treat it the way you would evaluate a company hire -- hire for things you can’t teach, or would be much harder to teach. It might be easier to teach someone about your industry rather than teach them how to sell or market.

3. Do they have personality?

Personality is vital. Many an implementation have been shipwrecked because the training was too dry and users could not relate to the consultant. There are parts of an implementation that will be tedious, and complicated, and not exciting, but working with someone who isn’t a complete bore will help make the process easier.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you understand what they’re saying, or do they speak “Salesforce-ese”? Make sure your consultant can explain concepts in everyday English.
  • Are they able to relate to your teams? One of the toughest teams to train is Sales. They tend to respect other sales people. If you can find someone who speaks their language and understands them, then you’ll experience greater implementation success.
  • Is their ultimate goal to help your business? A good consultant should be able to evaluate the impact of the implementation and training on real business outcomes. At the end of the day, you should be able to measure the results of the work and hold them accountable.
  • Do you like them? Don’t dismiss your gut reaction. An implementation is typically longer and costlier than expected. They’re not easy and could stretch over weeks, months and even years. Finding someone you like can make the process easier.

Don’t forget to ask for references. When users evaluate a consultant, they usually include all of the above in their critique. If there are specific areas of knowledge, you need to investigate, reach out to these reference accounts for answers, to round out the answer from the consultant.