How to choose the right Salesforce partner for complex use cases

Critical Factors to Consider when Choosing a Salesforce Partner for Complex Use Cases

More than 100,000 companies worldwide have chosen Salesforce as their preferred CRM, thereby crowning it one of the most trusted CRMs in the market today. However, it is critical that while availing optimal use of Salesforce potential and its plethora of tools, an organization needs to have a rich experience, deep understanding, and the right workforce to implement it.

Additionally, client organizations are often on a tight deadline, demanding a speedy implementation that will have their processes up and running within record time. Paucity of time and a perpetual lights-on environment pose additional challenges. Yet, every Salesforce implementation will differ from the next, considering various aspects such as the product ecosystem, unique requirements and the expectations or impact an organization is trying to achieve.

With a broad ecosystem and many available Salesforce consultants, organizations need to carefully evaluate their Salesforce implementation partners before zeroing in on the right one.

In this blog, we will discuss the factors to consider before you select your Salesforce implementation partner.

Understanding the Salesforce and MuleSoft Ecosystem

In 2018, Salesforce acquired MuleSoft, and since then, MuleSoft has been the leading integration platform of Salesforce.

Every organization will have its systems, apps or third-party databases that need to be integrated with Salesforce. To facilitate a seamless integration, a Salesforce partner needs to understand the MuleSoft assets in detail. This includes the integration templates, API designs, connectors, and the overall ecosystem to achieve the desired impact. While implementing Salesforce, organizations aim at simplifying the process such that two or more systems should perform effectively and efficiently, but without the right MuleSoft expertise, it will always be challenging to achieve this simplification.

As enterprises grow, they may begin to use many applications to solve or ease function-specific issues. Although this solves problems of a specific function, it introduces a new problem —disintegrated systems that will pose a challenge in the future. Most business processes usually end up with multiple systems, that eventually requires a robust application integration. Moreover, for a holistic experience, different functions need access to data from all systems. Hence, data integration is another critical influencer. MuleSoft helps in such scenarios and makes the business process work seamlessly across multiple software systems.

Consider this: A salesperson at a device manufacturing company can place orders in Salesforce, which can then check in the ERP system for availability or ETA for the item to be manufactured. Based on the schedule and orders in the queue, the salesperson can then provide an accurate ETA to the customer. Integrating this with the logistics system can help automate and track its status. Now, payment system integrations can help in processing payments too. The production team can get real-time data about orders in queue and plan their resources, raw material supplies and warehouse as well as their logistics accordingly. Process leaders and managers can view the order pipeline, inventory status, production\plan and payment status managed by different systems in a single-view system using these integrations.

Custom Development Expertise on Associated Technologies

Global organizations are embracing emerging technologies like 5G, IoT, Blockchain and data science, and it is imperative that a partner should have a keen understanding of these technologies and a rich hands-on working experience.

The Salesforce ecosystem is gigantic, with multiple clouds like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Financial, Manufacturing, Education cloud and more. Also, Salesforce Platform provides many different options for configurations, automation tools and multiple technologies for customizations. Salesforce Lightning Platform provides options to provide great user experience by designing user interfaces meeting the overall organization UX theme. An efficient partner needs to understand the cloud that aligns with the organization’s needs, identify right tools and technologies on Salesforce Platform, strong understanding of UX and the integration processes with current systems. Custom development using best fit and emerging technologies is the need of the hour.

A partner should have a thorough in-depth knowledge of the latest technologies in the IT space, and how they can be leveraged for businesses. For example, Salesforce provides a highly customizable platform that can be used to develop entirely new functionalities on the platform or to integrate other systems with Salesforce to achieve the desired functionality. Having a strong engineering product development experience in different domains can help optimize the Salesforce platform.

Balancing Build Vs Buy Decisions

Salesforce aims to stay ahead of the competition by partnering with the right products and services to boost the customer experience using key integrations. The list of Salesforce’s partners is a massive one, and it’s only increasing. To stand out, a partner has to be updated on Salesforce’s latest ecosystems.

A comprehensive knowledge of the Salesforce ecosystem and AppExchange applications can reduce the development turnaround time and costs to achieve additional functionality on the Salesforce platform. This also enables integration with different Salesforce partner applications with few configurations. It could be as small as getting a document signed using a digital signing application like DocuSign, creating email and document templates, or could be fully functional of CLM or ERP application running on top of a Salesforce platform. A partner needs to understand the objectives of Salesforce’s partnerships and the product thereof to leverage the same so that they can align with a client organization’s requirements.

How to Determine the Right Salesforce implementation Partner for Your Business

Organizations should explore and study their options before zeroing in on a partner. Here’s what you should be looking for:

  • Study your partner options well – The AppExchange and official community forums are a great source to find the aggregated customer ratings (CSAT) of every certified partner. Conduct a quick check on listing sites like Clutch, Gartner, CRM Consulting and few others. Organizations should get a thorough understanding of the partner’s previous projects, customer ratings, reviews and all the certifications a partner owns.
  • Pick the one who asks questions – Don’t just go with the flow, but onboard a partner who offers something beyond the current solution. Avoid a partner who will nod to every requirement, and pick the one who will try to understand the entire ecosystem and suggest the best route, even if it is a more difficult one. Ensure you check your partner’s credibility for associated technologies as well.
  • Look for long term associations – The ever-changing face of technology will always demand something more. An organization should choose a partner whom they can trust for a longer time, whether it is for consulting, integration, implementation or simply support.
  • Define roles, costs and deadlines – While implementing Salesforce, an organization should define a complete strategy — who does what, when and how. Precision and clarity among all stakeholders set the expectations for both the client and the implementation partner.
Reaping Business Benefits with the Right Partner

Salesforce customization and implementation is a challenging and time-consuming task, but with the right Salesforce implementation partner, it becomes an effortless endeavor. Organizations need to check the factors that will impact their unique requirements of the Salesforce implementation, and how a partner can execute them in a timely and streamlined manner. A Salesforce partner with a rich experience, vast domain knowledge and consistent efforts can deliver the best desired outcome and tangible business benefits in your organization.

Author
Rajesh Dhekne | Customer Success Director at GS Lab

Rajesh Dhekne serves as Customer Success Director at GS Lab for Salesforce and MuleSoft Practice. He leads the business growth and customer success charter for Salesforce & MuleSoft practice. In his 28 years of experience, he has successfully delivered business transformation solutions to Fortune 500 clients by leveraging ERP, CRM, and Supply Chain solutions. Over the years, he has built and led practices in CRM, Supply Chain, and Aftermarket Service domains