How to Best Support Salesforce: In-House or Partner?

March 8, 2019 Stefano Iacono

Digital transformation is no longer a concept reserved for companies at the forefront of technology. Digital-first has become a customer and employee expectation, and IT teams around the world are struggling to keep up with their users’ fast-changing demands. 

With this challenge, we’ve seen Salesforce emerge as a leader in Platform as a Service (PaaS), enabling customers not only to digitally transform their companies, but also to provide scalable, usable, and adaptable solutions that meet their business needs. Whether streamlining customer service, creating connected sales and marketing experiences, or something altogether more adventurous (saving lives anyone?), more and more organizations are turning to Salesforce to solve business needs beyond CRM.

With the growth of the platform comes growth in the Salesforce job market. An IDC Study estimates the creation of a staggering 3.3 million new Salesforce jobs by 2022. Pretty impressive stuff! However, with growth comes competition, and the talent pool is falling short. A low supply of skilled Salesforce workers is driving up salaries. For instance, an administrator makes an average yearly salary of  $95,000 (€83,500). With salaries and competition rising, IT teams are not only struggling to keep up with market demands, they’re struggling to recruit and retain talent.

So how can businesses find and retain the right Salesforce talent when demand is only going to grow? Here, we look at how you can ensure you’re either recruiting and keeping the best people or engaging a top-tier Salesforce partner to manage your ongoing needs.

First, let’s address the challenges of recruiting and retaining top Salesforce talent: Is it really that hard?

Short answer: yes and yes, plus there are risks associated with losing in-house talent.

If you’ve been challenged to recruit for Salesforce talent, you probably already know that accredited individuals have been in high demand since at least 2010. And the demand for talent has only continued to grow as more organizations move to Salesforce.

Finding skilled Salesforce developers and admins is difficult enough, but retention is also a big issue. In fact, in 2015, Anthony Chaine, a payroll executive, reported that Salesforce 
median turnover is 23%, a number expected to rise as demand rises. Companies are spending months finding Salesforce talent, weeks onboarding them, and hundreds of $£€ training them only to have top performers leave six to twelve months later. 

As if losing that energy, time, and money wasn’t risky enough, the risk grows when you realize they’ve left behind a great big knowledge gap, grinding enhancements and even maintenance to a halt. Failing to benefit from new features and enhancements can be annoying, but the lack of maintenance will cause the biggest headache for you. 

If you have maintenance issues and the system breaks, your employees can't use it properly. This leads to adoption issues because if they can't use the system properly, they will stop using it. And if the system isn't used, you face return on investment issues because you’re struggling to achieve anticipated benefits.

Secondly, let’s talk about recruiting and retaining internal talent.

Recruiting tips
The first step is to hire the best people, a step that requires taking care to ask the right questions when you’re interviewing Salesforce developers. You can use this list, which we’ve compiled based on our decades of experience in providing companies with Salesforce support, maintenance, and enhancement services:

  • When would you use a Profile versus a Permission Set?
  • How and when do Large Data Volumes become a problem? And how would you mitigate against issues within Salesforce?
  • Compare and contrast OAuth2, OpenID and SAML. Give specific use cases (related to Salesforce) for each.
  • What trigger framework philosophy do you follow?
  • What is the most frustrating Salesforce limitation you've encountered, and how did you resolve or mitigate for it?

Retention tips
The key to retaining in-house talent -- any talented workers, not just those with Salesforce skills -- is: Culture. Culture. Culture. Empower your people with process and technology and a commitment to work/life balance, and you create an environment that’s not only hard to leave but one in which employees are excited to come to work. Culture is a huge cornerstone to Appirio’s success, and we have even won Mira’s Culture of the Year award. 

If you’d like to learn more about improving the worker experience at your organization, check out these articles at our Resource Hub

Lastly, let’s dig into external partnership opportunities for supporting and maintaining Salesforce.

The average company should expect to staff a three-member team to support 75-149 Salesforce users. That adds up to about $315,000 (€277,000) in annual salaries, not including benefits. That’s a lot of money. And cost isn’t the only concern when staffing internally. Although internal staff can be experts on a company’s business processes, they’re often heads down on maintenance and specific company needs, which makes keeping up with technology advancements even more difficult.

If the in-house management costs and innovation demands are stressors for your team, partnering with expert Salesforce consultants could help stretch your budget and your technology. Consulting firms often come with the reputation of high costs, but did you know there’s an affordable, scalable option that gets you ongoing Salesforce Support, the expertise of thousands of certified Salesforce professionals, AND access to hundreds of Salesforce accelerators?

You read that right: affordable and scalable with all the expertise of a global Salesforce partner.

We offer Appirio Thrive, the highest rated ongoing managed service in the market with an average 9.3/10 customer NPS. Appirio Thrive provides a one-contact, modular approach to managed services to maximize your budget. Rather than weighing your engagement down with expensive phone calls and meetings, we’ve created an efficient request workflow and single-contact system that allows our team to spend more time on impactful work and less time on engagement management. 

Moreover, Appirio Thrive’s modular options allow customers to pick and choose what support they need to build a cost-efficient engagement. From a variety of service levels and support options (including Technical Support, Salesforce Administration, Business Analyst Services, Technical Lead Services, and Platform Integration Services), companies can mix and match to build custom engagements that meet their needs.

Next, customers are partnered with a dedicated engineer or engagement manager who understands your organization’s use of Salesforce. This person serves as your single point of contact to keep your engagement efficient. But behind this person, you get access to some of the world’s top Salesforce engineers, Business Analysts, and accelerators. Your engineer acts as an extension to your internal teams and provides ongoing break fixes and enhancements, including version updates and support for custom code. 

Ultimately, Appirio Thrive eliminates the cost of recruiting and its associated risks. To learn more about how our managed support services can help you, get in touch with an Appirio Thrive expert via our contact us page

Thank you for reading

Hopefully this article provides some context for you in your endeavors to find a Salesforce solution that works. Remember, whether in-house or external, the workers who maintain your Salesforce system provide mission-critical services to your business. Make sure you’re working with the best!

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