If you are considering purchasing any of Salesforce's large family of products such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Pardot (Marketing Cloud Account Engagement), CPQ or Communities, Salesforce will tell you that you should use a Salesforce partner. If you are having any doubts whatsoever about that, I would strongly urge you to read my other posts on common implementation mistakes , why you should use a Salesforce partner and Six Steps to Salesforce Success.
Assuming that have chosen the path of best practices and decided to use a Salesforce partner, how do you decide which one to use? Salesforce may have given you a list of several, you may have found some others from the App Exchange or Google, but which one should you go with? Although it might be tempting to simply request quotes from any or all of them and choose based on price, we believe that although price is an important consideration, there are a number of other critical and important factors that should also be looked at.
If your organization is in the US, we strongly recommend US-based based implementation teams. Why? Although teams based in another hemisphere might be less expensive, implementation involves a significant amount of communication, and working with different time zones, difficult to understand consultants and bad audio and video connections can create a frustrating and time consuming experience that is not worth the savings.
Read the online reviews. For example, my company, Summit Technologies has a perfect 5 star rating and 10.0 customer satisfaction score from the Salesforce App Exchange.
Ensure they are a Salesforce partner and all the resources working on your project are Salesforce certified. Salesforce will not allow just anyone to be a partner, and their certification process is rigorous- I should know as I presently have earned nine certifications as a Salesforce certified architect. At Summit, we require that all of our consultants and developers be certified.
Working with a local partner has some advantages, but maybe not quite as many as you might think. We have dozens of clients local to us, but more often than not, we are working remotely. This is more efficient and helps us keep our costs down. That said, we are always happy to visit our clients, especially for training and discovery meetings.
Industry experience is also very nice to have but not always a critical requirement. Why? Because we have learned from over 60 implementations that they have more in common than they are different. It is certainly helpful to know the industry jargon, but we are quick learners!
At the end of the day, the implementation partner is someone you should be spending a lot of time with, so it is important that you feel comfortable with the company and the team. You may want to ask to speak with the consultant who will be working with you before you sign any agreement to ensure it is someone you can easily communicate with. A botched implementation is often harder to fix than doing a new implementation from scratch, so take some care with this important decision, and let us know if you have any questions.