Salesforce Best Practices

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.”

Methodology

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 www.10kview.com or by following 10K on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3 Keys to Retaining Salesforce Talent

It’s time for the quarterly board meeting, and you need to pull some additional sales statistics from Salesforce to round out your report. Unfortunately, your go-to person for helping you with these types of requests left last week to take a similar position at another company, and now you’re stuck and unable to deliver the impactful data you need for the meeting.

Situations like this are all too common with businesses who rely on the expertise of Salesforce professionals, many times because they don’t understand how expansive the Salesforce ecosystem has become, how many opportunities there are for Salesforce experts, and what those experts need to feel valued, supported, and challenged.

Each day more and more companies are joining the war for Salesforce talent. Whether it be companies new to the Salesforce platform, companies expanding their usage of Salesforce, or consulting firms looking to meet the demands of a rapidly growing ecosystem, there is no shortage of opportunity for well-rounded experts who have experience with Salesforce technology.

So, in relation to the scenario mentioned above, what could have been done differently to retain the employee and avoid this situation? Well, in addition to the things that all employees typically want, like a great work culture, fair compensation, and opportunities for growth, there are a few things specific to the Salesforce ecosystem that will help ensure that once you find that talented Salesforce expert, you can keep her on board for the long haul.

Support Ongoing Education

With Salesforce continuing to rapidly expand their platform with new features, and in some cases entirely new applications, “knowing it all” is harder than ever for Salesforce professionals. Fortunately, Salesforce has made it easier than ever to learn about different areas of its application with the introduction of Trailhead, an adventurous journey into learning all things Salesforce where you can complete challenges and earn badges. Certifications are also an important aspect of perfecting your craft and gaining more experience. These are often much deeper and more time consuming to achieve than a Trailhead badge.

Both Trailhead and Certifications play important roles for Salesforce experts in expanding their knowledge and experience as well as providing a tangible and valuable path for career growth. Some Salesforce Admins want to become Developers. Some Salesforce Developers want to become Architects. These learning tools help give structure to common Salesforce career paths and keep experts up to speed.

Instead of leaving it up your Salesforce staff to tackle this on their own, first learn more about how these tools could be valuable to your team and organization. Once you understand how to harness the power of Trailhead and Certifications, incentivize your team to achieve specific time-boxed targets. This could be something like $X per Trailhead badge achieved this quarter, a promotion if they pass the next certification up from their highest one currently held, or for larger teams a challenge to see who can best apply their learnings to a problem that your company needs to solve.

Encourage In-Person Community Engagement

One of the unique aspects of the Salesforce ecosystem is the strength of its community of experts. Over the years, many ways to connect and share knowledge and experiences have blossomed, both virtually and physically. In many instances connections are created via virtual channels such as Twitter or the Answers Community, where there are lots of folks out there helping each other and sharing their experiences. But the power of these connections can be strengthened tremendously, and new ones created, by connecting in-person with other community members.

If you know anything about Salesforce, you’re very likely familiar with their annual Dreamforce conference, which has become the world’s largest technology conference. For many in the Salesforce community, this is their best chance to connect with other community members from around the globe, attend informative technical or customer-focused presentations, and get important roadmap details from Salesforce product managers and executives. If you’re a Salesforce professional, this is like the Super Bowl of Salesforce events. Salesforce also hosts World Tour events in major cities around the world, taking some of the aspects of Dreamforce on the road. They’ve also recently started TrailheaDX, a conference specifically geared toward the more technical aspects of the Salesforce platform.

In addition to official Salesforce events, some community members have taken it upon themselves to start their own community events, the number of which has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. These events are typically more intimate and are a great opportunity for Salesforce experts to connect with both local and international community members and create deeper bonds. Community events are kind of like larger and more robust User Group meetings, which are also a great way to connect with local Salesforce experts on a more frequent basis.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t fully understand the value their staff gets from participation at these events, and they don’t fund the travel and/or allow the time off for attendance. This is discouraging to the Salesforce experts and signals that their company doesn’t understand the value of attending or doesn’t care.

Do Cool Stuff with Salesforce!

One of the quickest ways to lose a talented Salesforce professional is to have them working on a stagnant, basic implementation of the application. Compare it to handing the keys to a Model T to a talented Formula One driver — the level of interest is going fall pretty quickly.

Top talent wants to be challenged, and the best way for experts to grow their knowledge and sharpen their skills is to solve real business problems. In the context of Salesforce, that could span the common areas of sales, service, or marketing, or it could be any other business process that would benefit from better data tracking or automation.

Salesforce is constantly expanding existing features and releasing new ones, presenting lots of opportunity to improve your existing implementation or turn your focus to impacting other areas of the business not yet using the platform. The pace of business change is also a big factor in ensuring that your Salesforce application is always meeting the needs of your executives and end-users.

All too often, companies buy Salesforce to solve a specific problem, and once initially solved, they stop innovating. This can be frustrating for the Salesforce professional who sees nothing but opportunity to solve myriad problems in the business based on what they’ve seen their peers doing (see community engagement above) or experiences they have had with previous employers. If you want to keep the best experts solving problems for your business, be prepared to push the boundaries and challenge both your business stakeholders and your Salesforce team members to be innovative and really make an impact. Trust your team when they tell you about opportunities they see to use the platform to solve problems, and advocate for them when they are adamant about issues that are blocking them from reaching their full potential.

These tips are not everything…

You might do all of these things well and still lose some of your best Salesforce employees. That’s just the nature of a very hot market for talent. By applying these tips you’ll have your best chance at not only retaining your best experts, but you’ll also likely make them advocates for your company and attract other great talent as well.

Are you an employer with tips specific to nurturing Salesforce talent? Or are you a Salesforce expert with advice for Salesforce employers? Get in touch with us today.

Avoid These Mistakes When Working with an Overseas Development Partner

Working with consultants and developers in countries other than that of your own origin is not new, but it’s becoming increasingly common, especially in the world of Salesforce configuration and development. As the overseas Salesforce community continues to explode, keep these tips in mind as things to avoid in order to get the most out of your experience.

1: Chasing rates over experience It’s true, salaries are less expensive in countries like India, Russia, and Vietnam, than in the US, Europe, and Australia, but the old adage “cheaper isn’t necessarily better” still applies. If you search hard enough you can probably find Salesforce developers with hourly rates in the teens USD. What you’re really getting for that is 1) someone who hasn’t been working with Salesforce very long, and 2) someone that will take 2-3 longer to accomplish your needs, meaning you are effectively paying 2-3x the cheap rate you negotiated. You can also imagine the working environment at a company that is charging those types of rates (actually, you probably can’t). And what are they paying their employees? Surely you should see some greater value in the rate department over onshore partners, but for a specialized skill like Salesforce, expect to pay more than “traditional offshore”.

2: Only hiring “developers” Many companies who contract with overseas partners assume they only need developers, when in most cases they need much more. We wrote a post about the different technical roles needed in most Salesforce projects, and those roles need to be filled by someone on your team or your partner’s team. Another critical aspect of development that many companies tend to overlook, especially with Salesforce, is QA (Quality Assurance), which is much more than doing a walkthrough of the app and making sure no errors pop up. For larger projects and teams, you’ll also need to ensure there is adequate project management, both on your side AND the partner’s side. If you want to be more hands-off, make sure your partner has the right team allocated before you start the project, else you could end up disappointed and with a mess on your hands when your expectations aren’t met later down the road.

3: Giving a narrow view of requirements Always give as much context and detail as possible when assigning work to your developer or team. If you have suggested solutions, that’s also good detail to include, but you’re not getting as much value as you should be if you have to spell out every detail of what you need done. Another reason the overall project context is important is that your development partner should be guiding you and helping you avoid potential pitfalls that you may not have been aware of or considered. They can’t do that if they don’t have any broader knowledge about the project or environment. Always begin a new project with a kick-off where you explain the goals, success criteria, and business requirements. Include that same detail in any stories or requirements you assign to your team. You might be surprised by how much your team can save you from making bad decisions.

4: Not building personal relationships We are all humans, and regardless of nationality, sex, religion, or background, we all need the same things. We all want to be treated with respect, like to know when we’re doing a good job, want to learn and grow, and want to work with people who challenge and support us. Sometimes language barriers, timezones, or that person who cut us off in traffic on our way to work make us forget these things. Working with colleagues across the globe, it’s difficult to always express our true thoughts, feelings, and intentions via email, conference calls, and status updates. But it’s much more important and goes much further when we can do these things. Put yourself in the shoes of the people you work with, and remember, sometimes they are frustrated as well for some of the same reasons you are. Creating personal relationships with your overseas partners will help you get more out of your business relationship and will pay many dividends when you hit the rough patches of projects or go-lives.

Hopefully these tips will help you be more successful with your current overseas Salesforce partner or one that you work with in the future. Do you have additional do’s or don’ts? We’d love to hear your feedback.