Our CEO, Garry Polmateer was recently interviewed by WizardCast, a podcast dedicated to all things Salesforce. While the focus of the interview was around becoming a Salesforce partner, the show also touched on finding, selecting and working with a partner and we thought it was worth summarizing for you.
Please note this blog summarizes and expands on key concepts discussed on the Podcast. It is not a word for word dictation.
Defining Your Partner Needs
Garry highlighted the importance of understanding why you need a Salesforce partner before you go looking for one. A few questions to consider:
- Do you need a partner to help you define a process and how best to leverage and align Salesforce or are you just looking to hand a partner tech specs so that they can start building?
- Are you looking to augment an in-house admin for additional throughput or do you need additional skills and expertise?
- Do you need a partner to help you get the most out of a particular Salesforce Cloud (say the Sales Cloud) or one with deep vertical knowledge to help you bring industry best practices to how you should craft and implement your Salesforce solution?
Take the time to outline and be willing to share with your prospective partners the following:
- Goals and Objectives for hiring a partner and for the relationship.
- What you want to accomplish with the partner and how it will impact your business.
- What value you are hoping the relationship will bring you.
- What you need from the partnership and for how long you expect to be leveraging the partner that brings value.
This really helps drive the initial conversation and more quickly get to quality answers.
Where to find a Salesforce Partner
Ok so Garry, where do we find good Salesforce partners?
- Talk with your industry peers about who they use
- Start in your backyard to see what someone local might be able to offer. They have a vested interest in your success so they will help you where they can even if this means introducing you to the right partner.
- Talk with your Salesforce Account Executive they know who is doing great and don’t be afraid to ask them for a list of a few partners.
- Check out the AppExchange and be sure to play around in there for a while. Lots of ways to sort and look them up.
Vetting A Salesforce Partner
Now that you have a list of partners how does Garry suggest you vet them?
- Decide ahead of time how you are going to evaluate the partners you talk to. Create a rubric so that when all is said and done you have a consistent way of evaluating them that aligns to your needs.
- What insurances do you need them to carry?
- Are you heavily regulated and so you need a partner that understands compliance?
- Do you have expectations around how and when they communicate with you?
- Listen to questions the prospective partner is asking you. Are they truly looking to understand your business and your needs? Are they trying to dig into the why you need help and why you want this solution?
- Can they meet your quality expectations and timeframes?
- Are they interested in helping you leverage all aspects of your salesforce relationship include premier support and the salesforce accelerator programs?
All of these things help you ask each partner similar questions so that you can quickly evaluate what they bring to the table and how it might be to work with them.
How to Budget for a Partner
This is one of the hardest questions and while Garry did give the proverbial consultant answer…”it depends” but he did note a few things that you should consider that will help drive perspective.
- The industry tends to push quickstarts and accelerators. This is a great way to get moving but budgets noted for these types of limited engagements are not good indicators for future costs.
- Think about what it might cost you to insource the solution. Do you have the correct people and skills, do they have the time and what would the opportunity costs around doing these yourselves be. Is time to value important?
- Understand that the work is not, say, just writing a workflow rule. It is understanding the need, determining if a workflow rule is the correct approach, creating the rule, testing the rule, if needed regression testing the solution for the impact the rule might have on things, deploying the rule to production, assisting with change management as needed and finally documenting the rule to leave behind the correct artifacts for future admins.
Finally, Garry said something that we all forget from time to time around budgeting, “with Salesforce we can do 10 times the work we could do 10 years ago for the same cost.” The platform allows us to go much faster and with much higher quality than we could have done years ago.
Finding a Salesforce partner is actually a two-way street. A good partner is also interviewing you. This is a good thing for everyone and is something you should be looking for. A good partner knows where they offer the most value and is looking for clients it knows that can do good work for.
Bringing it All Together
Garry said it best, we all love the Salesforce ecosystem. Salesforce has done a good job of bringing on partners. The good ones have been around for some time now. No one Salesforce partner can do everything, the ecosystem knows this and each of the partners in the community do their part to support the ecosystem. This means if you put together a thoughtful approach to finding and selecting a partner you find one.
In the end, Garry noted that Red Argyle just wants to “be kind and do good work.” Which we think is what most people want in a partner. Contact us to see if we could be a good fit for your implementation.
Check out Red Argyle’s CEO, Garry Polmateer’s view on Salesforce Partners on WizardCast’s podcast here
About the Podcast – The WizardCast podcast is hosted by Brian Kwong – the Salesforce Wizard and Mark Ross – the Salesforce Yoda. It’s a podcast focused on Salesforce Products, Features, and Best Practices all with a sense of humor. Learn about Salesforce Careers, Salesforce Releases, Salesforce features and tips and tricks surrounded by bad jokes and puns. WizardCast will put a smile on your face.