7 Critical Questions to Ask Your Salesforce Managed Services Provider
The most important questions to ask when outsourcing your Salesforce administration, development, enablement and strategy to a Salesforce Partner PLUS understand why each of these questions is so important in your evaluation.
Outsourcing your Salesforce administration, development, enablement and strategy to a Salesforce partner is an important decision for your organization. Choosing the wrong Salesforce partner can cause problems around security, cost overruns, chaos among your users and/or additional workload for your existing team.
From our years of experience, below is a collection of the most important questions you should be asking each of the Salesforce partners you interview. We also share with you why these questions are so important in your evaluation process.
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7. Does the Salesforce Managed Services team have experience with your Salesforce Clouds (Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, CPQ, Analytics, etc..)?
Salesforce is constantly evolving with a huge number of products under their umbrella. It’s critical that whichever partner you choose to support you has expertise with the core Salesforce products that your company makes use of every day. It’s equally important that they have a team of Salesforce Certified professionals on staff to address your unique business requirements.
6. Do they specialize in Salesforce?
With the proliferation of the Salesforce platform, many IT teams have jumped onto the Salesforce bandwagon. This means many large IT services companies may in reality only have 4 or 5 Salesforce resources with even fewer senior level experts. Their Salesforce team may be loaded with project managers and analysts that have little to no real Salesforce experience. Find out if they’re a team of Salesforce experts with a deep bench, or a generalist IT team that may have just picked up a few projects on the way. Don’t be someone else’s guinea pigs.
5. Do they offer competitive subscription pricing?
Many service providers will try to close a deal by offering a low starting rate with inexperienced resources then declare all other services to be “project work” which requires a high per hour rate to accomplish any real work. Always ensure the rate you’re being proposed covers both the strategic architect level advice and technical expertise that you need to keep Salesforce working and following best practices so you can stay in budget. Ask for the names and background of who they would assign to your account and get it in writing.
4. Does your agreement include anything beyond resource time/effort?
Many Salesforce Managed Services are just a prepaid block of technical resource time. You should ask if they include any other services/benefits to working with them beyond direct Salesforce technical support. Will they only blindly execute your request or will they advise you if your requests follow best practices? Does it include training services? Does it include strategic planning and tactical execution? Do they give you access to a suite of free software? Do they include any backup services? Ensure you’re comparing apples to apples when deciding between multiple Salesforce partners.
3. Are they deeply experienced in the Salesforce ecosystem/Salesforce alumni?
All Salesforce Managed Services teams have some form of technical resources. As they get to know your business, a team that not only knows how Salesforce works but can advise you on things like when to build vs buy, what’s the right license mix and how to buy from Salesforce are more able to make recommendations that can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars each month.
Ensure your primary contact is someone who deeply understands Salesforce in order to bring value to every call and can recommend holistic solutions that best meets your needs.
Working with a team of Salesforce alumni can also benefit you when issues arise because they will be able to leverage their network of past internal resources at Salesforce to help resolve your issues more efficiently.
2. Is their customer facing team easy to work with?
When you have an issue that needs to be resolved, can you talk with a human to get things resolved quickly and efficiently? There are companies that claim they have a 24/7/365 service desk, but they’re really just shunting your tickets offshore. This is even less beneficial than Salesforce support.
Ensure you can get a real expert on the line that knows your system, has overlap during your business hours and when you explain your issue or strategic goal they can come up with options from simple declarative changes to even advanced APEX/Lightning solutions.
1. Is the Salesforce Managed Services team the right size for your company and is your company the right size for the Salesforce Managed Services team?
When you call in will you be one of hundreds or thousands of nameless customers, or will your Salesforce Managed Services team get to know your team by name and vice versa? Do you want a small team that is flexible with a “get it done” attitude and less formal processes or do you need rigid processes, 24×7 support and a large pool of technical resources that get rotated in and out of your account.
The right sized partner will ensure that you’re both aligned and are getting the right type of service you need in the way that works best for you. Making sure they are the right fit for your business will ensure you receive the highest level of service for your investment.