Salesforce Admin or Salesforce Consultant?

Salesforce Admin or Salesforce Consultant?
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Ben McCarthy

Last updated August 17, 2017


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Salesforce is a tool that can literally revolutionize your business. For salespeople, it’s  a turbocharged tool that manages the entire process from lead to closed won, while management can use powerful reporting and forecasting features to stay on top of things. Marketing can integrate powerful automation rules to take users on a personalized journey, while support users can solve customer issues in the smoothest fashion.

The above descriptions are familiar to anyone with a well-configured Salesforce system, and one key component to keeping everything running smoothly is your Salesforce expert.

There are a few options for organizations to choose from when it comes to selecting a Salesforce expert: there’s the  friendly local Salesforce consultant,, the “accidental” in-house Salesforce admin, and there’s the experienced outside hire. Let’s look at what each option entails.

Salesforce Consultant

Organizations tend to use a Salesforce consultant from an agency to manage their Salesforce onboarding process initially after they’ve launched the program, or on a long-term basis if they are fairly small. These services are very common for an agency to offer, and are very attractive for small businesses that need the power of Salesforce, but can’t justify the expense of a full-time employee.

Businesses  typically have the option of purchasing a set amount of hours each month, and then can use them how they please. One huge advantage of an agency is that the provide the vast knowledge  of Salesforce admins, developers and even technical architects.

As ar business grows however, its reliance on an agency may become large, and more expensive. At this point a business may choose to switch to an in-house admin that’s more cost effective.

Accidental Admin

"Accidental Admin” is a term that refers to a Salesforce Administrator that has fallen into the job by chance. This is a common scenario that a lot of us can relate to in the Salesforce industry. Selecting an Accidental Admin may happen when an employee is eager to learn about Salesforce and is looking for a career change. Or someone might have previous experience managing similar CRM’s in the past, making them the most likely candidate for the role.

Whatever the reason is, businesses should be careful to ensure that this individual knows what they are doing. To let someone loose on the system can be dangerous and potentially cause harm to the business.

Salesforce training courses and certifications are a great way to train someone who is eager to learn about the Salesforce platform. The entry level Certified Salesforce Administrator exam is the perfect place to start.

Salesforce Admin

A Salesforce Administrator is generally considered to be someone who knows the core Salesforce platform inside out. They take on a multitude of roles including general administration, business analysis, project management, and a trainer.

If a business is looking to hire a solo Salesforce Admin, they will generally be looking for someone who has around two years experience, and has worked in a similar position before. Salesforce certifications are a great way to ensure that someone really knows what they’re talking about. Salesforce.com even offers a site so recruiters and hiring managers can verify a professional’s certifications.

If a professional doesn’t have any certifications, this isn’t a reason to turn them down. There are plenty of people out there that may have a great knowledge of Salesforce but simply haven’t yet taken the exam. In this instance, it’s is still worth encouraging them to get the certification—it’s even worth factoring into the job offer as an added incentive if the business is willing to make the investment in the training and certification cost.

Preparing for your Salesforce Certification? Take this Practice Test to learn where you stand.

Conclusion

So there you have it, a few different options that businesses should consider when evaluating who their Salesforce expert should be. Every company is different, of course, and one of the things they need to consider is their timeline. An accidental admin will require time to get trained and up to speed, while a new hire that’s already trained in Salesforce will be a clean slate that needs to learn the ins and outs of the company before they’re fully acclimated. What those timelines look like will vary from one company to another and one employee to another.

Some companies will even have a complete spread of the above roles, which again all depends on the company size, budget, the complexity of their Salesforce system, and their plans for the future.

About the Author

During his years as a Salesforce professional, Ben McCarthy has achieved 7 certifications including Administrator, Developer, and Platform App Builder. In June 2015, he was awarded the coveted Salesforce MVP award by his peers and Salesforce.


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