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Top 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Salesforce Implementation Partner

We’ve all heard horror stories about botched Salesforce projects that leave end users high and dry and drain the budget. You may have even been the main character in one.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to happen to you. By vetting your partners, you can ensure a smooth, successful project.

But how exactly should you vet a potential Salesforce partner? What questions should you ask in a vendor evaluation? How do you know if they truly have the skills and experience to help with your specific project?

Keep reading — we’re covering all that and more. But first, let’s review the basics: when to hire a Salesforce partner and where to find the good ones.

Why and when should you hire a Salesforce implementation partner?

Many organizations hire a Salesforce implementation partner when they have a business challenge but don’t have the bandwidth or internal expertise to address it.

Those challenges are extremely common. In our Project to Program research report, only 6% of respondents said they don’t work with a consultant or contractor. 

If you’re working on a Salesforce project, you should have a partner involved — even if they serve as a second set of expert eyes. They can start by assessing existing org structure and limitations, point out edge cases, and spot problems in your implementation plan from a mile away.

Where to find a top-notch Salesforce implementation partner

I’ll give you a hint: don’t start with Google. The results will be overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time.

Save yourself some time and conduct a more targeted search instead. Here’s where to start:


Pull out your virtual Rolodex and contact folks at other companies in your industry who have done Salesforce projects.

Did they work with a partner? Who did they evaluate, and who did they end up using? Were they satisfied with the results? You’ll get a headstart on sourcing potential partners and honest feedback from people you trust.

An elite talent network

According to our 2023 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, the number of certified experts across all partners doubled to nearly 173,000. But not all of those experts will be a fit for your project in your industry or can meet your time constraints and your budget. Additionally, it’s becoming harder and harder to find and engage exceptional talent exactly when you need it.

A network of flexible, independent consultants like 10K can help you move your project in days—not months. Our matching engine quickly identifies the Salesforce expert you’ll need based on your specific and unique project requirements. The best part? 10K Experts are as excited to get your Salesforce project across the finish line as you are.

Learn more about how we vet Salesforce experts here.

5 screening questions to ask Salesforce partners during an intro call

With your list of potential partners finalized, it’s time to dig deeper into their credentials, services, and experience.

1. Can you describe your delivery methodology?

Salesforce projects fall apart without robust business analysis and strong project management.

To evaluate a partner’s level of operational excellence, make sure they highlight:

  • The deliverables that will come out of the project, such as documentation, training, and infrastructure maps.
  • Whether they take an agile, waterfall, or blended approach. Agile projects tend to be completed faster, allowing you to intervene if the preliminary results aren’t hitting the right notes.
  • Where they track requirements, bugs, and enhancement requests.
  • How and when they communicate with you, in standups, over email, with messaging tools, etc.
  • What their testing process is like — does it involve end user testing? How do they handle bug fixes?

2. What would a team for our project look like?

Every project is unique, and you need the right team with the right roles to complete it properly and on time.

For example, if you’re implementing CPQ, you’ll need certified CPQ specialists who’ve implemented CPQ successfully. You’ll also need other supporting roles, like Business Analysts, Developers, and Quality Assurance. They are probably not a good fit if they don’t have these roles on their team.

3. Can you share a few customers you’ve worked with lately?

This question is less about getting references — they won’t give you the contact info of any unhappy customers — and more about their level of industry knowledge and experience: have they served customers in your industry or customer segment or with similar challenges in the past?

Make sure their answers align with your company profile. Also, poke around each partner’s website and LinkedIn to see if they’re publicizing other customer wins.

You should also consider whether the partner is a mid-market or SMB firm that’s trying to move upmarket or a partner that solely works with enterprise clients. If it’s the latter, they may not give you the time of day if you’re not a big enough fish, or you may get less experienced consultants who haven’t been staffed on larger, strategic accounts. 

4. What happens if we go over budget or out of scope?

Scope changes can and will happen, so it’s critical to understand how those changes will impact the project timeline and budget.

Bonus points if the partner can give specific examples of how they handled scope changes on a recent project. Ask to connect with those customers to understand how the situation went.

5. Will you provide training and ongoing support?

The partner may have already mentioned this in #1, but it’s worth getting a separate answer to this question for two reasons:

  1. You want end users to understand what was built and how to integrate it into their workflow. It’s also important to know whether or not you have the resources to support that kind of training.
  2. Your Salesforce Admin is busy and may not have the time or energy to dig into the details months after the project ends when something goes wrong. Right after (or even during) the project, the partner should communicate what they did, how they did it, and how to update it. Otherwise, you may need to engage with the consultants again, which comes at a cost.

This conversation starter may also raise the question of whether you need to pay extra for in-depth training and support. This add-on might be worth it depending on your budget and the experience your resources have.

What is an instant red flag for a Salesforce partner? Delays.

Even if you feel the partner fits your org’s ethos, experience, and process requirements, there’s one more way your project can fail: delays.

The bigger Salesforce consulting firms tend to have long, drawn-out scoping and contracting processes, adding each change as a line item on their final estimate. Why waste four months creating an SOW only to change it during the kickoff call?

In the weeks wasted, you could have:

    • Hired an on-demand Salesforce Architect to assess the current state of your Salesforce org and determine the best path forward.  
    • Onboarded several partner team members and reviewed requirements in detail.
    • Started the change management process, notifying employees that their day-to-day might change, sourcing champions, and blocking off calendars for UAT.

Get your projects off the ground faster with vetted, on-demand Salesforce experts.

Speed to deployment can mean getting an extra edge over a competitor or being the first to enter into a new market. The only way to get started quickly is to work with a flexible Salesforce partner who prioritizes accelerating innovation as much as you do.

Enter 10K. Our on-demand consultants kick off your project 50% faster than a traditional consultancy — without sacrificing quality. All the consultants in our network are excited by technical challenges and go through a rigorous vetting process covering: 

  • Salesforce and Technical expertise
  • Business acumen
  • Communication style
  • Past customer feedback
  • Project management skills
  • Previous consulting and in-house experience

Accelerate your time-to-value with Salesforce, and reach out to us today.


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