Archives for September 2018

4 Talent Acquisition Strategies for Salesforce Customers

It’s Dreamforce week, and to state the obvious, Dreamforce is big. Nearly 200k people attending and more than 1M streaming. Over 3k sessions. And at least 400 partners and vendors.


Because people are doing amazing things on the Salesforce platform. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that every single attendee, whether you’re a customer, partner or prospect wants to do even more. More of everything – from content to commerce, nurturing to AI. And while the platform may not currently be able to do absolutely everything imaginable, the limiting factor typically comes down to talent.

The challenge of finding the right talent to help you achieve your objectives with Salesforce is very real. Research that was highlighted in our 2018 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, released last week, found that demand for Salesforce jobs is growing 1.3x faster than the overall job market (which is even more meaningful when you remember we’re in a booming economy with “full employment”). The talent crunch is real. So how do customers and partners find the talent they need need squeeze everything you can out of the platform?

As a company that connects customers and talent in the Salesforce ecosystem, we see four choices for finding talent to apply to your Salesforce needs:

Hire full time employees. This can be a great strategy for building your core team if you need someone who understands the platform and can keep your house in order and users supported. However, when it comes to finding specialized skills and scaling capacity, there are challenges and potential drawbacks. With the breadth and depth of Salesforce use cases and responsibilities, it can be difficult to hire a comprehensive team that can do it all. Are you in need of generalists who know a little about a lot of Salesforce things? Or are you looking for specialists who fit the precise needs of the moment? Will this FTE need to manage people or projects? Or just crank out config and code? Even if you can cobble together that list of requirements, vetting the skills of your applicants is difficult, and it will change over time. But let’s say you navigate all of those pitfalls and find a few Salesforce rockstars, which according the our research will cost you somewhere between $95,000 and $150,000+ for technical roles. Once you get them onboard you need to keep them, which is challenging in a hot market where recruiters will certainly be seeking to lure them away. In fact, if your recruit leaves for greener pastures within one or two years, you’ve actually sunk over $67,000 into recruiting and onboarding ($22,237 and $45,000 respectively) only to be right back at square one again.

Engage with a large consulting company. Another alternative is to work with an outside partner, perhaps one of the top 30 large consulting companies that employ a full two-thirds of the certified professionals in the partner ecosystem. If you know what you want, and can find the right partner that fits your budget and your organizational culture, this might be a viable option. However, unless you are ready to commit to a large spend with these consultants, expect it to be hard to get their best resources staffed on your project. In addition, these large consulting firms have to afford their own overhead of recruiting and retaining talent, which means those costs are often passed to their customers (expect to pay $125-$300 per hour). Because of this expense and the inflexibility of how these consulting companies engage, many customers end up treating their Salesforce implementation as a single project instead of an ongoing program. And while this might give them a short term solution, if it’s not maintained and nurtured, those customers will never get the full value of the platform as it evolves.  

Find Boutiques or Independent Contractors. There is another segment of the Salesforce partner ecosystem that is both vibrant and growing rapidly – small boutiques and independent contractors. In fact, we found 972 smaller consultancies that are home to 33% of all certified Salesforce professionals. Many of these boutiques and independents are made up of extraordinary talent who appreciate the balance and focus of an independent firm. The challenge with this approach is finding and vetting what can essentially be a needle in a haystack. And even after finding a firm or individual that meets one or more of your needs, it’s likely you’ll have to continue to search as your needs change and you need to different skill sets or additional capacity to achieve your goals. As with any other consulting partner, customers will need a tight scope of work with clear deliverables, lest scope and costs get out of hand.

Talent marketplaces. Marketplaces are getting their fair share time in the spotlight – however they operate very differently from each other and customers have to know what they are signing up for. The biggest problem with most is that the burden of success is placed squarely on the customer. Try to buy a car on Craigslist and you may encounter wildly over inflated car descriptions or the uncertainty of a rushed transaction for a ride you hope is a good deal but didn’t have time to check out. Sell a car and you’ll have to vet “money-order” scammers and waste time on appointment no-shows. Uncertainty abounds. Contrast that with the curated experience of renting a house on Airbnb. They handle validation of people and spaces, reviews reveal pros and cons, the payments are smooth and trustworthy, and there is an escalation process if something goes wrong. Imagine that smooth experience applied to a marketplace that connects Salesforce customers with the talent they need, when they need it. Unlike existing freelancer platforms, 10K Advisors is a full-service talent marketplace that plays the role of both platform and partner, taking on the burden of sourcing the right team for a particular client need, validating the skills and work experience of that talent, and helping ensure customers get the quality of work and outcome they expect.

A few days from now, when your bag is full of schwag and you board a flight home from Dreamforce with more ideas than you have talent to execute them, it will be time to decide which model is right for you.

Introducing 10K Advisors’ First Annual Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report

Introducing 10K Advisors’ First Annual Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report

The Salesforce talent ecosystem is one of the most vibrant and dynamic in the world. Not surprising considering it is built around one of the world’s most innovative companies, a rocket ship that’s not showing signs of slowing even as it’s achieving massive global scale.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses depend on Salesforce to run their marketing, sales, service and operations, and there are now more than 1,000 Salesforce consulting partners competing to help those customers be successful. Hundreds of third party software vendors are also betting their businesses on the Salesforce platform, and vying for the nearly 6 million installs generated via Salesforce’s AppExchange.

The opportunities are massive.

But if you’re one of those customers or partners, what are the challenges and opportunities when it comes to sourcing the talent you need to grow your business using Salesforce?

And what is it like to be one of the administrators, developers, architects, or consultants who are supporting these customers and vendors, or who are looking to form a career in the ecosystem?

We’ve begun investigating some of these questions in our first Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report that was released today. This is the first in a series of reports that we will be releasing to help customers, partners, and Salesforce professionals navigate this rapidly evolving market.

Click here to download a free copy of 10K Advisors’ 2018 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report.

Why conduct this research?

10K Advisors has a pretty simple model. We connect Salesforce customers and partners to proven Salesforce talent, acting as a broker and advisor between the people who need Salesforce skills and the people who provide them. As part of our model we also give both groups the support they need to be successful and the freedom they need to excel at the work they love (learn more about how we do that here). In order to do this well, we have to keep a pulse on the data and trends that affect both our customers and our community of experts.

We also conducted this research for current and prospective Salesforce professionals, to help them identify potential career paths and navigate the opportunities and obstacles they may face.

This research is for our current and prospective customers — the heads of sales, service, marketing or IT who are searching for the skills and support they need to make sure their Salesforce investments ultimately pay off.

Finally, it is for all those investors and partners who are entrenched in the Salesforce ecosystem, who want to know what is happening and how things are trending.

What did our research show?

Some of the research findings served to confirm what we already knew, but there were some surprises as well. We knew that Salesforce skills were in high demand. Customers and partners are finding it difficult to find and keep the talent they need. What surprised us though was just how in demand certain roles were within the ecosystem.

In North America, openings for Salesforce Developer jobs outpace available talent by more than 4:1 and Technical Architect jobs outpace available talent by an astounding 10:1. That imbalance between supply and demand is happening across almost every role and market.

We also knew gender diversity is a problem in the tech sector, and even with Salesforce’s push around gender equality, we expected it to be a problem in this ecosystem as well. However, there was more parity than we expected in some roles and some markets, while the gender asymmetry was much higher than we expected in other roles.

An analysis of LinkedIn profiles indicates those currently holding a Salesforce Administrator position are on average 48% female and 52% male in North America. This is higher than average for these types of roles when you compare it to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor. However, when it comes to higher paying technical roles like Developer and Technical Architect, that disparity is much more stark. In established markets, Technical Architects, the highest paying role, are 91% male and Developers, the second highest paying role, are 80% male.

Finally, we looked at the talent within the Salesforce partner ecosystem. While we weren’t surprised at the breadth and depth of the partner ecosystem, we were surprised at the consolidation of talent and the number of small firms and freelancers cropping up to serve this growing market. According to an AppExchange analysis, the top 10 consulting partners account for 55% of Salesforce professionals in the partner ecosystem, scattering the remaining 45% across smaller firms. More than 700 firms list less than 10 professionals, and 558 list less than 5 professionals.

Add to that the 5,000+ Salesforce-specific freelancers who are embracing the gig economy, and it’s clear that there is a growing opportunity for businesses at the long tail of the market. However, for customers who lack the time, resources or expertise to navigate across these smaller firms and untested freelancers, finding the right fit can be difficult.  

What does this mean for the Salesforce ecosystem?

There are a few implications.

First, the imbalance between supply and demand, especially in the area of hard-to-find talent like Technical Architects and Developers, could spell problems for Salesforce customers and even Salesforce itself if left unchecked. Without the appropriate knowledge and guidance, large and more advanced Salesforce programs are more likely to accumulate technical debt, require future rework, and never realize their full potential. This could hurt customer satisfaction and the uptake of new features, which could ultimately cause customers to look elsewhere.

None of this is likely news to Salesforce. They understand the importance of having an adequate and diverse supply of skilled resources for their ever expanding set of applications, which is why Trailhead will continue to be a big area of investment for the company. Trailhead is already making big strides in training up more resources. In 2018, Salesforce reported its community had earned 8 million trailhead badges. Not bad for a program that was launched less than four years earlier.

The high demand for technical roles, and the lack of diversity, can be seen as both an opportunity and a challenge for those in the ecosystem. There are lucrative and fast-growing career opportunities for those who can acquire the skills, earning average salaries of $125,000 (for Developers) and $150,000+ (for Technical Architects). However, getting certified in these roles is not easy. Salesforce is already making it a point to address gender diversity, however they and partners throughout the ecosystem need to step up to grow the ranks of these critical roles across regions and across genders, or we (and Salesforce customers) will end up paying the price.

Finally, there are some implications to the partner ecosystem. Large companies and the big 10 consultancies will likely experience a new set of dynamics when competing for talent as more and more employees are choosing the flexibility of the “gig economy” over the stability of full time employment. This isn’t just junior employees. A recent Deloitte study showed that 7 in 10 millennials who are members of senior management teams or on boards would consider taking on short-term contracts or freelance work as an alternative to full-time employment.

The rise of small consultancies and freelancers may provide customers with a relatively untapped source of talent, however, distinguishing which individuals are right for a specific job or company culture is not easy. As buyers are forced to tap into Salesforce skills outside of the traditional consultancies or full-time employment, expect a new breed of full-service talent brokers to become a meaningful partner in helping organizations win the war for Salesforce talent.

For more talent trends and predictions, I’d encourage you to read the full report and would welcome any thoughts or feedback for our next report, which we expect out in Q1 2019.

Press Release: Salesforce Ecosystem May Be Innovating Faster Than Talent Can Keep Pace

2018 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report from 10K Advisors finds number of technical jobs requiring Salesforce skills outpacing the talent pool by 10:1, roles still dominated by men

Louisville, KY – Sept. 18, 2018 10K Advisors today released its first annual Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report to better understand the state of supply and demand for Salesforce-related jobs in established markets such as North America, Europe and Australia, as well as emerging markets like South America, China and Africa. In analyzing data for the four most common Salesforce-specific roles (Administrator, Consultant, Developer and Technical Architect), 10K Advisors’ research identifies a growing divide between the number of available jobs that require a Salesforce skill set and the talent needed to fill those roles.

Technical Skills are in High Demand — And Command Higher Pay

The report found that Salesforce Developer job openings outpace available talent by 4:1, meaning there are 4 job listings for every self-identified Salesforce Developer. For Technical Architects, the highest paid and most in demand role, that ratio jumps to an astounding 10:1.

10K Advisors found that self-identified Technical Architects make up less than 2 percent of the Salesforce-related profiles on LinkedIn in established markets. In emerging markets that are key to future growth, that number drops to less than one percent. Salesforce reported that the number of Technical Architect jobs has grown by more than 40 percent annually over the last 4 years, indicating that while growth within this crucial role is significant it may still not be enough to keep pace with demand.  

Market research has shown that jobs requiring Salesforce skills are growing faster than the overall market and that they pay more than jobs that don’t require the Salesforce skill set. Furthermore, deep technical skills are in greatest demand and command the highest salaries — more than $150,000 annually in some markets.

Gender Gap Still High in Technical Roles

Evaluating the skills gap through the gender lens reveals a more stark picture. 10K Advisors’ analysis indicates that while there is near parity in less technical roles, higher paying technical roles such as Developer and Technical Architect are still overwhelmingly male. In established markets, only 20 percent of Developers are female and that figure drops to 10 percent for Technical Architects. This gap demonstrates an opportunity for women to learn more technical skill sets and capitalize on the higher-paying Salesforce roles that are in greater demand. With Salesforce’s free Trailhead learning platform, individuals can develop many of the Salesforce technical skills that will help advance their career.

Significant Portion of Salesforce Professionals Working at Smaller Consultancies

In response to the high demand for talent, a growing number of small consultancies and freelancers are cropping up, but these constitute hard-to-reach sources of Salesforce talent. The Salesforce ecosystem now boasts more than 1,000 consulting partners, representing more than 28,000 certified Salesforce professionals. While the number of partners is broad, talent is much more consolidated. The top 10 partners account for 55 percent of Salesforce professionals in the partner ecosystem, scattering the remaining 45 percent across smaller firms, including more than 700 with fewer than 10 Salesforce professionals.

These numbers don’t take into account the more than 5,000 Salesforce-specific freelancers in various online marketplaces who are embracing the “gig economy.” For small to medium-sized businesses who lack the time and resources, navigating through all of the available options to find the right fit can be both time consuming and costly.

“The perfect storm of low unemployment, high turnover in tech jobs and Salesforce’s seemingly unstoppable growth is making it increasingly difficult for customers and partners to find and keep the talent they need to effectively execute their Salesforce initiatives,” said Nick Hamm, chief executive officer of 10K Advisors. “As Salesforce continues their spree of acquisitions and adds more advanced features, businesses are going to require even more specialized and technical roles to realize the full benefits of the Salesforce platform. Given that the talent gap already exists, this could put Salesforce projects at risk for many businesses.”


10K Advisors’ first annual Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report combined and analyzed existing third party research and primary research conducted by 10K Advisors using publicly available data sources, such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, PayScale, Salesforce AppExchange and Salesforce Trailhead. All third party data used in the report has been cited. The report focuses on four of the most common roles used in Salesforce programs: Administrator, Developer, Technical Architect and Consultant. While this does not encompass all roles, it gives a broad perspective on the different types of skill sets needed to meet the current and emerging demand.

About 10K Advisors

10K Advisors is a modern consultancy that provides mid-to-large size companies with on-demand access to proven Salesforce talent. Its unique model is flexible, easy to manage and delivers the results business leaders need without the headaches and over-promises they’ve come to expect from technology consultancies. With a mission to give people the freedom to excel at the work they love,10K prides itself on creating a trusted community of experienced Salesforce architects, admins, developers and industry experts who get to focus on what they love and deliver great results. More information about 10K can be found at or by following 10K on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Episode 7: Insights from Salesforce Community Veteran Katie Brown

Welcome to Episode 7 of 10K Launch – brought to you by 10K Advisors. We are very excited to produce this podcast to share 10K’s best practices for Salesforce consulting, professional development, and tips to go from salesforce admin to entrepreneur. In this episode, we speak with Salesforce Community veteran Katie Brown about her introduction to Salesforce, how she climbed the consultant ranks, and we listen to her best practices and actionable advice regarding project delivery and methodology. We finish with another Consultant Hack from Joshua Hoskins! Cheers!