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Salesforce Admins - Hire or Outsource? | YouDigital Insights

In 2020, it was estimated that CRM software will be worth $80 billion in four years' time and as the workforce becomes more and more digital, CRM software will become an essential part of day-to-day business. Salesforce can claim a hefty chunk of that digital pie, owning around 20% of the market share. Frequently described as one of the world's “most innovative companies” by Forbes, businesses from small nonprofits to large multinationals are looking to Salesforce to increase business efficiency and to optimize their operations. If a company is using Salesforce, then they have already made the decision to invest heavily in their business. To do this successfully, they need to focus on their goals for implementing a CRM, as well as how they will measure their results. Salesforce Administrators are crucial to achieving these goals and productivity improvements by making sure that users understand how to use the system effectively, resulting in improvements in KPI areas.

What is a Salesforce Administrator position?

A Salesforce Administrator in its simplest terms is defined as the person responsible for administering a company's Salesforce CRM system. This role includes but is not limited to:

  • overall maintenance of the Salesforce CRM platform
  • managing Salesforce roles, groups, and importing of data
  • fixing issues that arise within the system including diagnostic testing
  • fully understanding users' requirements 
  • customizing the platform to best suit an organization's needs and goals
  • creating regular reports and building dashboards
  • keeping abreast of system updates and new Salesforce apps/technologies released
  • training users within the organization (best practices, updates, etc.)
  • ensuring optimal performance of the Salesforce CRM

However, each company will have its own specific set of needs, organizational structure, and business processes. A Salesforce Administrator will need to familiarise themselves with these in order to configure the powerful functionalities and features within the Salesforce CRM to their full advantage. Combining their technical and communications skills, Administrators have been described as “the oil to make the business machine run more smoothly”.

Do you need a Salesforce Administrator?

The short answer is 'Yes, you do'. (But there are options).

A company CEO will have taken the strategic decision to invest in a Salesforce CRM after lengthy research and analysis at a time when the business has reached a critical point in its growth. The commitment is not only a financial one, however. System adoption and integration are of equal importance and both of which should take priority from the outset once the deployment is complete. 

After an initial financial outlay, companies want to ensure this powerful resource is not underutilized, workflows are streamlined and business productivity begins to increase as soon as possible.

Prior planning with Salesforce consultancies through, for example, Business Workshops and Requirement Engineering will set processes in place to a certain degree, but potential pain points through the ongoing implementation, customization, and management processes should not be disregarded. 

As a certain Mr. Gates observed: automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. But the reverse is also true: automation applied to an inefficient system will magnify the inefficiency.

Frequent grievances include:

  • adopting the new Salesforce CRM successfully across the whole team
  • full systems integration
  • guaranteeing the continued integrity of data

Employing a Salesforce Administrator to solve these grievances will result in:

  • a person dedicated to the Salesforce CRM creates confidence within the work environment 
  • assuring all stakeholders are using the system effectively for optimal benefits
  • all amendments/problem-solving can be applied as and when required
  • the 3 yearly Salesforce updates can be integrated immediately ensuring no negative impact for users in terms of functionality
  • stakeholders/users will have access to an expert for advice and training, support, and forward-thinking for better future solutions and realignment

What are the options when considering a Salesforce Administrator?

Requirements for the number of Salesforce Administrators necessary to successfully manage an organization's Salesforce CRM are relative to the size of the business and Salesforce has published recommended ratios per number of users (below). Different or separate business units within an organization may benefit from employing individual Administrators to best support each solution.

However, there are alternatives as to how an organization establishes a Salesforce Administration role – either on an internal or an external basis. There are three options when considering such a requirement each with differing criteria:

A part-time role for a current employee

In smaller organizations, there may not be a necessity for a fully dedicated Salesforce Administrator, more particularly once the system is live. Designating an employee who is the main CRM user nevertheless means investing in training to ensure system integrity and user confidence is maintained. Some considerations include:

  • cost-efficient and the employee is a known quantity
  • splitting the employee's division of time. (Where do their priorities lie? How much time do they dedicate to it?)
  • training costs for Salesforce certifications can be high (although there are vast online resources dedicated to all aspects of Salesforce Administration)
  • there is a risk that data integrity is disrupted if updates and changes are not regularly attended to

cost benefit analysis of hiring part-time Salesforce admin

Full-time role

A full-time Salesforce Administrator is a key resource in any organization. Acquiring a deep understanding of an organization's processes and culture, they become an integral part of how a Salesforce CRM evolves with a company's ongoing strategic goals. Some considerations include:

  • + recruiting an administrator with knowledge in a specific sector has strategic benefits
  • + a full-time administrator will be available at all times to make necessary changes and to train and support Salesforce CRM users when required
  • cost to the company in terms of salaries
  • is there enough work to fill a full-time role?

Cost-benefit analysis of hiring a full-time Salesforce admin

Outsourcing the role

Gauging an organization's Salesforce Administration needs and infrastructure can be daunting in the first instance. A Salesforce Consultancy offers bespoke solutions from one-off projects to ongoing managed services. These can include Salesforce implementation and development across the full range of Salesforce solutions and products (Salesforce Sales Cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud, Pardot.....) to user training and custom development. Some considerations include:

  • use of a reputable digital agency that can provide bespoke services gives flexibility and confidence 
  • ongoing work can establish solid partnerships with trusted agencies or consultancies
  • consultancies can offer a broader expertise
  • how to find a reputable agency?
  • difficult to manage budgets if working on an hourly/daily basis

cost-benefit analysis of outsourcing a Salesforce admin

How to decide if you should hire or outsource?

When you need to decide, if you should hire a Salesforce administrator or use the services of an agency, you first need to assess your requirements. Do you need somebody in a full-time position, or part-time would be sufficient? What are your future plans with Salesforce? Do you have enough technical expertise in your company?

In general, if somebody is in-house he/she understands business processes better, can easily introduce smaller changes, and train people on regular basis. If the workload is varying or/and technical expertise is needed then is better to go to a trusted SF partner. 

After successful Salesforce implementation

The day-to-day life of a Salesforce Administrator role is extremely varied depending on the industry sector, the size of the organization, and their unique needs (sales and marketing, commerce, services, etc.) Their role and input into a company's business advancement cannot be underestimated. Successful Salesforce implementation should ideally be followed up with regular ongoing maintenance, updating, and realignment to guarantee this core function is used to its fullest potential. Additionally, and in conjunction with the organization's leadership team, implementation failure can be avoided through an inclusive process of onboarding team members and managing cultural change through employee training and establishing support processes, all of which can be provided by a Salesforce Administrator. 


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