How do you build a high-performing, cost-effective CRM technology team?

By Roman Dzvinka - November 3, 2020

Salesforce is a much bigger proposition than it used to be 5 or 10 years ago. It is no longer just an opportunity management application. Today, the Salesforce platform has the potential to quickly transform a business and radically simplify the architecture of an organization.

 

 

Here, Matt Baker, Director of Customertimes UK, discusses the skill and resource challenges faced by UK organizations looking to continue their long-term innovation on the Salesforce platform and how Customertimes can help solve them.

Traditional CRM Integration partners are a recommended starting point for any organization wishing to begin their Salesforce journey. Customertimes is a Salesforce Platinum Consulting Partner and has helped over 4,000 clients with their Salesforce implementation. However, at some point there comes a time when the business needs to take stock and come to terms with the changes that have been made as a result of the introduction of Salesforce.

Matt says,

Business teams need time to react and adapt to change. They need to assess the value they have achieved to this point and plan their next steps, which are often very different from what they initially envisioned. At this point, many organizations don’t see relationships with large CRM consultancies as a financially scalable solution. The push is to bring control of the technology in-house in order to reduce costs and regroup for the next big internal push. This a critical and challenging time for organizations and one that often leads to failure.”

The UK is Salesforce’s No. 1 market in Europe, so competition for the best skills is fierce with Big 4 Consultancies, systems integrators, and end customers all fighting it out in a limited candidate pool to find skilled help.  Building a permanent internal CRM technology team can be much more difficult than it initially appears, and often companies fail to build the right team.

Matt says,

There are some common questions that I am always asked when working with heads of technology who are looking to build a team to support their long-term digital transformation needs. 

  1. How do I build a team with the knowledge, experience, and skills my organization needs to get the most value from our Salesforce investment? What should this team look like? 
  2. How do I cost effectively recruit, retain, and maintain a quality team given the UKs highly competitive Salesforce market? 
  3. How do I guarantee my team has the right skills at the right time to support business demand? One quarter it could be Sales Cloud, the next Marketing Cloud, then Einstein, Heroku, Mulesoft, Service Cloud, or mobile application integration.

The overriding theme is one of timing, flexibility, and scalability. As an organization’s CRM platform grows, different skills are needed. Teams begin to grow, and costs dramatically escalate as what was once a small team of admins delivering business as usual services now contains Business Analysts, Solution Architects, Technical Architects, Developers, QA, and specific product specialists such as Einstein, Marketing Cloud etc.

 

Turning to the UK contractor market 

Building a team of technology professionals is difficult if you know you will only need them for a limited amount of time. If you are not careful, you build a team of top-notch Sales and Service Cloud professionals that are then expected to deliver on Marketing Cloud, Communities, or Einstein. This leads to retraining, potential loss of staff, delays, and sub-optimal delivery as your team comes to grips with unfamiliar technology. The alternative is to look to the contract market to fill gaps and bring in capability for these short periods.

Contract resources are valuable and certainly can be considered as an option to solve some technology challenges. However, in many cases the organizations fall into the trap of relying on contract resources to deliver change as they become addicted to the perceived flexibility and scalability, while attempting to ignore the ever-rising costs.

Matt has experienced this and the associated challenges first-hand many times.

It’s all but impossible to maintain standards when you don’t have a well-structured and established team. A constant revolving door of contractors means continual onboarding and knowledge transfer of both business and technology standards. Every architect, BA, and developer has their own style, standards, and opinions on how something should be delivered. When you add time limits into this equation, you end up with a mishmash of coding styles, quality, and a lack of documentation. Technical debt begins to grow at an exceptional rate, and your permanent team is left to deal with it. Innovation as well as motivation begin to decline.

 

Customertimes provides a better option – an option that focuses on delivering value, not hours. 

Customertimes provides a proven solution that is both scalable and cost effective. With a team of over 1,000 technology professionals spanning all aspects of the Salesforce platform and wider enterprise technologies such as SAP, AWS, Google Cloud, integration, and mobile application development, we are the perfect technology partner to support long term CRM initiatives.

Matt Baker has experience building technology partnerships such as this for large international organizations within FinServ and Transportation, along with numerous consulting engagements.

The key is aligning flexibility with good governance and consistency of development. I found that when budgets are limited, it is best to focus on building an internal team of technology professionals that can work with business stakeholders to understand their needs and communicate how technology such as Salesforce can meet them. These CRM Technology Leads need to focus on building relationships, becoming trusted advisors, and maintaining a good understanding of how Salesforce works, but they do not necessarily need an in-depth knowledge of every aspect of Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Mulesoft, Heroku, Einstein, Audience Studio, etc. 

“Working with Customertimes means sharing a CRM vision with a partner who is committed to delivering value, not delivering resources, hours, or short term boxed engagements. We ensure that while some resources may change as technologies change, high quality governance and technical standards remain in place. This gives your internal team confidence to innovate, trusting that they have a technology partner that can deliver against their ideas and not limit their solutions to only the technology they themselves can build on.

If the challenges discussed in this article resonate with you, we would be happy to talk. Customertimes currently offers a complimentary, no-strings-attached, two-hour consultation with one of our CRM experts.

During the consultation, we will help you identify the current state of your CRM and advise you on how a roadmap to achieve your business objectives could be built. Following on, we can conduct a more thorough prioritized gap analysis and map out a high-level CRM architecture for your ideal future state. Learn more about the CRM Value Assessment and Roadmap here, and do not miss the opportunity to gain expert insight into your CRM instance.

This post was originally posted on LinkedIn.

Roman Dzvinka

Roman Dzvinka is Sales Director EMEA at Customertimes and the leader of the regional account management group. Originally trained as a data scientist, Roman started his professional career as an analyst with ING Group before transitioning into a role in IT. He has 18 years of experience in the consulting and outsourcing industry, and he has helped more than 50 technology and enterprise clients take advantage of high performing nearshore tech teams in Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus.

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