How to Staff a New Salesforce Implementation: Part 1

Implementing Salesforce at an organization can be one of the best business decisions you make. If you listen to your Salesforce Account Executive they may convince you it can boil the ocean (just kidding, love you AEs). BUT, before you get there the instance needs goal-setting, roll-out plans, configurations, training, adoption, and staffing.

A CRM needs to complement and enhance the business processes that already exist in your organization. The most important aspect of doing this right is putting together the right staff to manage it.

The Staffing Basics

First thing you need to do: assign an executive champion. A CRM system as powerful as Salesforce is going to touch several aspects of the business, someone needs both [1] the political muscle to get things done and [2] have the resources available to ensure success. It can live in whatever part of your business it most makes sense for, IT, Finance, Sales, Operations – we’ve seen it all. In truth, a well utilized Salesforce instance lives in its own department, usually called Sales Operations (or Marketing Operations if that’s your cup of tea).

The next item on the list, is finding an implementation partner. Salesforce has cultivated an awesome community of consultants who specialize in specific industries. Find one who is:

  1. Listed on Salesforce’s official partner list.
  2. Recommended by your Account Executive (see I really do love AEs).
  3. Has expertise in your industry.

I know talking about an implementation partner isn’t directly about staffing, but a good Partner will guide you on the staffing process and work with you to make a plan. If they’re really good, they’ll recommend you to a good staffing firm like TwentyPine. Eventually, as a Consulting Partner moves on to the next project, you need your CRM to perform long-term. That means having staff resources in place before going live with the implementation.

Recruiting Tip: This is an especially good time to do your recruiting. Top-candidates love being part of new projects and implementations from the ground up.

What Key Roles Do you Need?

There are three main types of Salesforce Professional you may need with a new implementation, Administrators, Developers, and Business Analysts. Each company has different needs based on size, customization needs, budget, location, growth potential, industry, and more. Let’s break these down by role:

Administrator

Do I need and Administrator? YES. You need one at a minimum to be your Product Owner/Lead Administrator. This person is the heart of Sales Operations with both technical skills and business skills and will act as point-person for everything Salesforce. They are so important we recommend hiring your Lead Administrator before implementation so they can help with roll-out.

If your company is big enough you should look into multiple Administrators. That number is somewhere around 50-75 users. Take a look page three of this guide Salesforce published a little while back.

Developer

Answering the question, “Do I need a Salesforce Developer?” is a bit harder to do. If you’re a smaller company looking for the basics and no plans for large customizations then just work with your implementation partner and skip the Developer.

However, if you plan on complex deployments it’s time to have a discussion about finances. How much money will you spend on your partner versus how much would you spend on a full time developer?

For many companies this can be decided until midway through roll-out and you have a good idea of what your Salesforce future holds. Just make sure your consulting partner has made clear documentation of their custom code. If you do hire a Developer they should inherit a nicely designed piece of software.

Business Analyst

This is another “depends” sort of answer. It depends on your needs. Salesforce recommends waiting to hire a business analyst until you hit ~140 users. I think it is much more variable and depends on how much your business plans on leveraging CRM data. If you are small and your business plan is locked in stone, it can wait. If you pivot every time good data comes your way, then an earlier Business Analyst hire makes sense.

In smaller organizations, Administrators can typically play this role as well. However if your Administrator has enough work to spend their whole day doing configuration and support work, it makes sense to hire a Business Analyst. The division of labor can help with synthesizing business processes, gathering requirements, and making recommendations for solutions your Administrator can then implement.

Make sure you get the right candidates

When we get into the nitty gritty with our clients, these are the sorts of questions we ask. Preparing yourself with these before looking can go a long way:

  1. Who is managing strategy versus ongoing support?
  2. How much custom development will be required in the immediate term vs. long term?
  3. What are the titles of the positions you’re hiring for? Are they appropriate to attract the candidates you’re targeting?
  4. What is the growth opportunity for each position in the long term as you build out usage and functionality within your instance?
  5. What are the most important initiatives related to Salesforce over the first 3-6 months?

Hiring an internal team to support a new Salesforce implementation is not an exact science. Often times teams will look relatively similar across instance size and industry, but there are always different structures given different use cases and customizations.

And if you need any help, we’ll be happy to do a free consultation with you.

Part 2 will be coming next week where we work through a few examples to illustrate what is discussed here.

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