I’m just sitting at San Francisco airport reminiscing on Dreamforce this year. I was thinking of all the questions myself and fellow MVPs have been asked over the week and one that sticks out is: “How do I find a Salesforce Partner?“. Its a great question as it can be a bit of a potential minefield. There are so many partners around and more appearing all the time and it can be hard to find the good from the bad. At the moment I do not work for a partner.
1. Do you want the partner to be based locally?
Its becoming easier to work with companies outside of your own country/state, especially with cloud technologies. Salesforce makes it very easy to do implementation work remotely very easily. But be careful, do your homework on the companies. If you are going to do your project with a remote partner it does help if you have a good internal ability to map your business processes that will be implemented in Salesforce. I usually find that Salesforce projects that don’t go as well as expected, are not because of Salesforce, but either by mis-interpreted lacking requirements/business processes, or not realising the amount of work required to clean up data before its uploaded or integrated to Salesforce etc.
2. Checkout the Salesforce partner list for your country/state:
The AppExchange Salesforce site is a great place to start, it allows you to get a list of all partners in your local area. It also allows you to see which partners have been reviewed and what partner level they have. Just start typing your country/location in the search box and select “Consulting Partners”. There are three levels Silver, Gold & Platinum. To get platinum status the partner usually must have at least one Certified Technical Architect on its books but this is still quite a rare certification.
3. How many Certified staff does the partner have?
Ask the partners how many certified staff they have and if the certified staff would be working on your project in the following areas:
- Salesforce certified consultants; If your implementing the Sales Cloud check if they have Certified Sales Consultants and the same for the Service Cloud.
- Salesforce certified developers; There are two types the standard certified developer (click configuration experts) and “Advanced Developer” (code developers), there are not to many advanced certified developers around but always good if they do have some especially if your project will involve coding.
- Salesforce certified technical architects; They are still few and far between (only two in the UK at the moment) but a great sign if a partner has a certified technical architect.
4. Do their client projects match your own?
Ask the partners for at least 3 case studies from their clients on projects that match the work you want done. If the partner has done similar work before this is a great sign they know what they are doing especially if their customer is willing to provide/agree to a case study.
5. How big is the partner?
Whenever I look for any partners I tend to try and find partners that are of a similar size to your company. This is really only personal preference as a much larger company may not care so much for the project as its considered “small fry” or a smaller company just doesn’t have the same resources to put on the project if it suddenly needs it. Saying this even with a big blue chip consultancy ask the same questions. I know one global blue chip consultancy only had 10 Salesforce staff.
Happy partner hunting!