As the global workforce becomes increasingly more remote and digitized, Salesforce employees are in higher demand than ever before. Maybe you already have one working in your IT department, or you’re currently in the hiring process and searching for that perfect fit.
Now, when it comes to Salesforce, the reality is that more often than not you don’t want an individual… you want a team. That being said, taking a kind of “guru” strategy where an IT team brings on a single Salesforce Administrator or Salesforce Developer to manage Salesforce for their organization is still extremely common. This is definitely a standard practice and definitely not a best practice. You wouldn’t hire a construction contractor to “figure out” the renovations for your house, would you? That’s the architect and interior designer’s job. Don’t hire an administrator or developer to “figure out” Salesforce for your business. If you do, best case scenario, you waste your money and time while burning out a valuable employee. Worst case scenario, the metaphorical roof caves in on your customer management and sales processes.
Employee burnout and tech debt are common side effects of unreasonable expectations for Salesforce employees. That’s not to say that Salesforce is limited, because as far as CRMs go, it’s the most reactive, nimble, and flexible platform on the market. Most of the time, when Salesforce isn’t working for you, you don’t have a Salesforce problem, you have an implementation problem. These implementation problems can stem from misconceptions about who Salesforce employees are, what they can do, and how they actually work.
Hiring qualified Salesforce resources can be difficult. According to Mason Frank, at least 52% of people seeking Salesforce-related jobs have only 1-2 years of experience. You can take a shot on one of these beginners, or you pay top dollar for a long-seasoned pro, but most companies want to hire someone with around 3 years of experience.
If you have yet to scope the goals for your Salesforce org, then you need to work with a Salesforce Partner first before you hire someone to do a job that neither of you understand. Understanding your goals will better determine the type of people you should hire and the expectations you should have for them.
So now that we have established the business goals and you’ve decided on hiring an administrator or developer, let’s look at what you can reasonably expect from your Salesforce employee...
1) Salesforce Employees Can Only Contribute Once They Understand Your Business and Org
No matter who you hire within the Salesforce ecosystem, onboarding them will take time. And they are going to need lots of it to learn your system before they’re able to make real contributions. For simpler systems, that can take a month. For more complex systems, you’re looking at more like 3-4 months… and that’s only if you have a clear training path for acclimating your new employee. Salesforce is complex, but layer on the complexity of your company’s business logic, and you will find most employees overwhelmed. All employees need time, but grasping the ins and outs of your Salesforce org, may take more time for your new Salesforce employee than you are used to providing.
2) Salesforce Administrators Should Not Be Writing Code
Salesforce Administrators can do minor automations, but they can’t code. The main benefit of an administrator is that they understand core Salesforce features and can interface with business users, distill their needs into actionable Salesforce solutions, then build out basic apps and automation. They’re a great one-stop-shop for a small company which doesn’t need (or doesn’t think they need) custom coding.
3) Salesforce Developers Need Ample Time to Code Well
You may think hiring a developer will cover you. They are more qualified and they can write custom code, but they’re not Salesforce superheroes. When looking for a developer, bare minimum you’ll want someone with at least 3 years of experience and a Salesforce Platform Developer 1 certification. Even then, the most you can reasonably expect in any given week is between 50-100 lines of very efficient code. You can push for more, but writing quality code takes time, focus, and direction - so you run the risk of both diluting the quality of your code and burning out your resource if they are pushed much beyond this limit.
4) Salesforce Employees Need to Have Good Work Life Balance
Whether you’re working with a developer or an administrator, burnout is a big problem, and it doesn’t just hurt the employee. Like we said above, Salesforce resources are in extremely high demand in today’s job market. If you’re overworking your resource, placing unrealistic expectations on their throughput and exceeding 50 hour workweeks - they’re going to move on.
5) No Salesforce Employee Knows it All
Salesforce is a highly sophisticated product with over 1000 different applications in its suite, countless third-party applications, and multiple programmatic frameworks to build in. There’s core Salesforce, which includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Experience Cloud - but many business orgs incorporate third-party apps like Pardot, Marketing Cloud, Conga, DocuSign, Tableau… and more. You may think of these as simple plugins, but they’re not. Some of the most sophisticated apps even come with their own certification programs to help mitigate the learning curve.
Unless it’s explicitly stated otherwise, all you should expect from a Salesforce employee with standard certifications is an operational knowledge of core Salesforce, and a willingness to learn. Some resources will have mastery of one or two third-party apps, but never ALL of the apps. Getting up to speed on any new app will take time. If you are short on time, you need a consultant.
6) Most Salesforce Developers have Not Worked with Every Salesforce Framework
Salesforce has three coding frameworks, including Visualforce, Aura, and LWC. When it comes to developers, you have to consider the programming languages and frameworks that will be used to build your org. Every Salesforce Developer will know Apex, but LWC is the latest and greatest component framework for building custom lightning components, and it’s definitely not in every Salesforce Developer’s skill set.
Realistically, you can expect your solo developer to spend 5-10 hours per week interfacing with business users, then 10-20 hours per week working on actual configuration and development. Each Salesforce resource, working on their own, can support a user base of around 20-50 people, depending on the complexity of the org. If your needs exceed any of these numbers, then you’re going to need to either hire more Salesforce employees, or supplement your team with a supportive consulting firm.
7) Salesforce Employees Will Need Support
Having a Salesforce Partner to support your Salesforce solution is going to improve your outcomes:
If you’ve hired a Salesforce “guru” who’s not meeting your expectations, a team of Salesforce consultants can offer nuanced support that fills in the inevitable gaps of a single employee’s knowledge.
If you’re getting ready to hire a Salesforce resource, a Salesforce Partner can help you set that future employee up for success by framing your goals with Salesforce experience, building a profile of the kind of resource you’ll need, and designing a clear training path for that person to acquire the necessary experience and certifications on a reasonable timeline.
If, after reading this, you’re convinced hiring a full-time Salesforce employee isn’t right for your business, then a part-time support relationship with a Salesforce Partner team is probably just what you need.
Hopefully, this blog wasn’t too harsh. In our many years helping clients optimize their Salesforce orgs, we’ve noticed that their problems often come from the same kinds of misguided employee expectations. The goal here is to dispel bad expectations before they result in more burned out employees, broken implementations, wasted time, and tech debt. We’re trying to turn the best practice into the standard.
Interested in learning more about how a Cloud Pacific’s team of Salesforce experts can exceed your expectations? Contact us here.