It’s a fine Sunday morning. Ralph is out for a walk when he bumped into his old friend from college – Rupert. Ralph tagged along with Rupert to sit down for a nice cup of coffee and catch up on all those lost years.
Ralph: So Rupert, long time. How have you been? What are you up to these days?
Rupert: Yes Ralph, long time indeed. I am now a Salesforce Consultant. What about you?
Ralph: Man what do I say? Been a rough couple of years. No stability in my job, in fact, I am looking for new opportunities. What did you say you were into..?
Rupert: That’s terrible mate. Well yes, Salesforce. I run a company and we are partners with Salesforce. We provide consultancy services and B2B solutions to clients.
Ralph: Sounds interesting Rupert, can you tell me more about it?
Rupert: Sure! So to start with, let me tell you what Salesforce is. They are the world’s premier CRM platform and solution providers. You can carry on all your operations on the cloud – without any infrastructure or huge investment on various acquisitions. All you need is a computer and a strong internet connection and voila – office at home. Great interactions and simplified actions which all employees can access over the internet.
Ralph: Sounds amazing Rupert. Do you think I can build a career for myself with Salesforce?
Rupert: Of course! Just a little bit of focus and hard work and you too can be a successful Salesforce Partner and Consultant.
Ralph: Oh mate thank you for encouraging me. This sounds great. So..where do I start?
Rupert: Sure I’ll guide you. I’ll give you a brief idea of how to go about it. One of your your goals must be to get certified with Salesforce. To start with, you need to identify your area of focus – which is your preferred field of practice, what expertise you already posses. Because there is always a replacement for any service, what we need to focus is on giving differentiated services to your customers. You can identify your area of practice by analyzing the industry you belong to. For instance, Salesforce has developed various applications for different sectors like the Marketing Cloud or Financial Services Cloud or Health Cloud. You could align your practice as per industry by analyzing which industry most of your clientele belong to or identify if you have domain expertise in a particular industry.
Ralph: Alright. How else can I identify my focus areas?
Rupert: Another easy way is to understand which are the most appropriate Salesforce products that could help you build a successful practice. For newer partners, it is easier to understand the product and determine your field of expertise. Or if you already have existing certifications on a focused area (for example, if you work in the field of health), then you can focus on the Health Cloud and get a certification in that.
Ralph: Health Cloud? Is that a product? What are the other products available?
Rupert: Yes. Salesforce offers many differentiated and innovative products. It is clearly listed in www.salesforce.com (http://www.salesforce.com/). Once you start practicing as a consultant you need to keep up with those innovations. Salesforce puts out an update three times in a year. So you got to stay updated.
Another way to understand your practice focus is to consider differentiating the units in terms of region or sector of business like a commercial business unit, emerging & small, small & medium, enterprise business unit – the business sector your clientele is inclined towards. If you are an explorer you may find prospective opportunities with emerging technologies like for instance – you can play around and be innovative with Salesforce Lightning Base Platform.
Ralph: Okay so I am a marketing post-graduate from XYZ University. Are you suggesting that I involve myself with Marketing Cloud operations?
Rupert: Absolutely yes, you may. You can attach your existing certifications and put that to use by focusing on familiar areas of practice. However, you can also get training from Salesforce in other fields. You can get out of your comfort zone and aspire for more. Salesforce training is conducted online. Once that is completed you can move on to getting certified. You can certify your resources through certification.salesforce.com, which doesn’t require any log in or any other details as such. Anyone can access it and read about the services and different products by Salesforce.
Ralph: Sounds wonderful. This is not at all complicated! So I understand my relevant field of practice, get myself and my team trained, and get certified?
Rupert: Yes, that’s the way to go. But it doesn’t end there. There are other things you need to pay attention to become a successful Salesforce Consultant.
Creating customer success stories can be easily identified as a primary objective of Salesforce. You need to constantly track your successful implementations – your success record which can help you with future prospects.
Ralph: How would that help me?
Rupert: Well, Salesforce always lets their customer success speak louder than any other marketing strategy by putting them in the spotlight. As its all connected, Salesforce also keeps a record of your activity and customer success history. So when an appropriate client in your field of interest is identified, being a partner, Salesforce directs them towards you.
Ralph: Great! That’s one thing sorted. So marketing is pretty much dealt with.
Rupert: Don’t be such a do-less Ralph! Effort must be put in no matter what job it is. Salesforce uses customers as a marketing tool, but that is not enough. Here you can be creative with respect to your company or services. Arrange various campaigns and marketing events to get the word out about your company. Likewise, you need to get yourself out there and create a large partner ecosystem with Salesforce. It will help you measure demand generation and drive growth and scalability.
Ralph: Yes, Yes. Understood. Now I am really starting to think about Salesforce. Sounds very lucrative! What other things do you practice for optimum results Rupert?
Rupert: So much free advice, I’m going to charge you at the end of all this.
Ralph: HA HA HA. I believe it is completely worth it! Now go on!
Rupert: *chuckles* Alright, I’ve pretty much laid down all the rudimentary elements. You can also pay attention to things like defining your sales strategy and plan to build a pipeline of activities. Always be extremely updated. Like I said Salesforce put out a new innovation thrice annually – stay up to date on those releases. Salesforce also measures their partner. As a partner, you need to keep in touch with Salesforce. Let them know your achievements. They measure partner program tiers based on ACV, expertise and customer service.
Ralph: What is ACV?
Rupert: Glad you asked! ACV is nothing but Annual Contract Value. Partner success is measured by their ability to close or capture an opportunity. It basically ranks you on your performance and Salesforce can identify which are the prominent partners who drive most growth and generate income.
They also gauge your partnership by your expertise – its nothing but certification – your technical qualification basically.
Another way is on the basis of customers. Salesforce collects customer feedback and references as well as customer success stories from partners to analyze your performance. Your entire operations and practice will be evaluated to understand your rank among other partners.
Ralph: So if I perform well and bring in customers to Salesforce, how am I benefited?
Rupert: When you’re out in the market place and you’re leveraging your public relations, driving Salesforce deals or sourcing it or co-selling it with a Salesforce AEs, make sure to register your leads in the partner community. It will help Salesforce to reward your contribution and recognize as a valuable partner.
Another very rewarding way of conducting this business is identifying a local presence where you already have a network established and extracting prospective clients out of it. These are a few things that can be extremely fruitful if you pay attention to them.
Basically – to give you an overview – join the Partner Community, plan your practice properly, build a practice, sell your services, market them and manage your business promptly.
Trust is the underpinning factor at Salesforce. Just work ethically and you will be rewarded as you deserve.
Ralph: Oh mate! This was such an insightful conversation. I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to Salesforce. I’m really looking forward to this. Who knows maybe we will also work together as partners in the future.
Rupert: Oh don’t be silly. Anything for an old pal. Alright, guess I need to get going. Hope I helped you enough. All the best mate. Hope to see you soon sometime.
Ralph: Same here mate. See you soon.