Should You Outsource Your Company’s Salesforce Admin Functions?



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Whether choosing in-house or outsourced administration, there are many considerations to achieve the ultimate goal of efficiency

Salesforce® is the #1 CRM in the world—and for good reason. Some 150,000 companies use the platform across a variety of industries and business functions. Because Salesforce is so broad in its capabilities, companies often require consulting services to build out the platform to the unique needs of the business. This may happen at the outset during initial implementation of Salesforce or upon a need to make significant transformations to a company’s use of Salesforce.

The AppExchange is the leading marketplace for the Salesforce partner ecosystem. It’s where businesses using Salesforce or planning to use Salesforce go to find the help they need to implement, integrate, and optimize their platform with apps and consultancy services. (Full disclosure: Passage Technology is on the AppExchange as a full-service consultant, while also offering a portfolio of apps popular with both consultants and end-user businesses—many of PT’s apps are focused on Salesforce Admin productivity.)

However, in certain situations, a company may not need full service. Maybe your business needs aren’t too complex or your business already employs the experts needed. Or maybe a full-service consultant’s implementation and integration is complete—so the company is moving into a phase of Salesforce usage and maintenance. At that point, usually the in-house staff of Salesforce and IT experts take a more leading role.

Every Company Tailors Its Salesforce Team Based on Various Factors

The composition of the team can take many different forms. Obviously, company size, geographic spread, operational complexities, and revenues are important factors. Salesforce makes the following recommendations as a starting point for assessing the ideal composition of internal positions for Administrative roles:

  Number of users

  Administration resources

  1 – 30 users

  < 1 full-time administrator

  31 – 74 users

  1+ full-time administrator

  75 – 149 users

  1 senior administrator

  1 junior administrator

  150 – 499 users

  1 business analyst

  2–4 administrators

  500 – 750 users

  1–2 business analysts

  2–4 administrators

  > 750 users

  Depends on a variety of factors

These recommendations cover Admins and Analysts, who are the go-to people for day-to-day operations. Your organization may need other roles filled such as Sales Operation Manager, Architects, Developers, and/or a head of your Salesforce team(s). If your company used a full-service consultant to implement, migrate, and integrate your shiny new Salesforce org, it would be wise to get their recommendations for staffing. Ultimately, no matter what roles you invest in, you want to maximize your investment in the platform.

Using the right tools and apps also can help maximize the platform as well as the people running it. A whole category of “Admin Apps” found on the AppExchange can increase Admin productivity and boost downstream outcomes for the business users in many functions. (Rollup Helper and Lookup Helper are popular for increasing efficiency, and Milestones PM+ excels at managing projects of all kinds, not just Salesforce projects—all of the apps are Salesforce native.)

Companies Face Emerging Challenges with Salesforce Staffing

Worker shortages, skills gaps, and turnover have been relatively widespread within the Salesforce work pool. So finding the right Admin(s) for the team can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming. Competitive pressures are also driving up salaries. Adding to this, it can take up to six months to onboard new hires and get them up to speed on the specifics of your customized platform or business processes. Then after all of that time and investment, turnover may strike and the process starts over.

Some enterprises may have the size and revenue to absorb these challenges, building them into staffing retention contingency plans and/or paying more to Admins to slow the turnover. For others that can’t, all of these factors mean those companies are spending an inordinate amount of energy not actively managing the platform to its highest potential, but instead attracting and hiring talent.

Benefits of Outsourcing the Salesforce Admin Function

Many industries have discovered the advantages of moving some in-house functions to an outsourcing model. Given the challenges listed above, for some companies using Salesforce, outsourcing Admin duties may make sense in a number of ways:

  • Get the Admin expertise you need right away with no searching needed. The firm likely may have other non-Admin expertise that can be deployed on occasion.
  • No significant onboarding, training, and future certification investments are required.
  • Concerns and impacts over turnover and rising salaries are transferred to the outsource firm as well as the usual costs of having full-time employees with associated benefits packages.
  • Using the same firm over an extended period of time breeds familiarity—the firm knows your business now and what it wants for the future. This ensures the platform is set up for growth. It also reduces the need for re-work as using different firms in succession might lead to the current firm re-working the work of the previous firm. Using one firm over an extended engagement ensures continuity.
  • Scaling resources up and down becomes much easier, and replacing resources with higher skilled or different backgrounds becomes very simple. Internal management and business owners can focus on strategy and revenue growth, and not on HR or recruiting.

Businesses may believe using in-house staff offers more advantages by having more direct control, higher quality, adherence to process, or enhanced confidentiality (IP protection and security). However, choosing an experienced partner with a diversity of talent and flexibility can easily overcome these perceived obstacles.

The key is finding the right firm to handle your unique administration needs. Your business will want a firm efficient at creating deliverables and not unnecessarily billing you for hours you don’t need.

One sure sign of a quality firm: Are they using “Admin Apps” from the AppExchange as part of their engagements? If so, then they value your time and money.

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