Salesforce Consultant vs Developer

The biggest challenge for companies that have recently implemented Salesforce is understanding the skill sets they need to get the most out of the tool - we start with highlighting the difference between a Salesforce Consultant vs. Developer.

Updated
April 12, 2022

The biggest challenge for companies that have recently implemented Salesforce is understanding the skill sets they need within their organization to get the most out of the investment. There are tons of different skill sets within Salesforce, so immediately after implementation, you should start figuring out how to build an internal team.

What is a Salesforce Consultant?

Job titles in the world of Salesforce can be confusing, so let's start with defining the role of a Salesforce Consultant.
This is a bit of a catch-all term referring to a Salesforce Professional that helps companies implement and optimize the Salesforce platform. By definition, a Salesforce Consultant does not work as an employee of your organization - they are either employed full-time by a Salesforce Consulting Partner or they are an Independent Salesforce Contractor (i.e. a Freelancer).

An individual with the official job title of Salesforce Consultant includes a range of skill sets, though. A Salesforce Administrator can still be called a Salesforce Consultant. Same goes for Salesforce Developers or Architects - as long as they are an external resource focused on Salesforce projects then this job title is applicable.

When to hire a Salesforce Consultant

In our opinion, the only time it makes sense to hire a Salesforce Consultant or Implementation Partner is during the initial deployment of Salesforce within your organization.

Even in those instances, if the project isn't large enough to require a team of 10+ Salesforce Consultants, you are better off engaging a team of Independent Contractors.

Salesforce Freelancers offer a range of benefits, so it's worth rethinking when to hire a Salesforce Implementation Partner.

What is a Salesforce Developer?

This is a more specific descriptor of a particular set of Salesforce experience.

A Salesforce Developer is focused on customizing the Salesforce platform, adding additional features, building workflows with code, and helping to integrate the tool with other applications used across your organization.

Within this job title, there are several skills that are unique to a Salesforce Developer, including:

Apex

This is the proprietary programming language used for customizing Salesforce.

It is an object oriented programming language, similar to Java, and is the language a Developer uses for all back-end custom development in Salesforce.

Lightning Web Components (LWC)

This is the front-end framework used to build custom UI within Salesforce.

The original front-end language in Salesforce was called Visualforce, which was also used for customizing the look and feel of the platform but didn't offer nearly as much flexibility in what you could do with it. Next came Aura Components, which are most similar to LWC but not nearly as powerful.

You will often see the use of LWC to build richer experiences in Experience Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Field Service Lightning, and other elements of the Salesforce platform that are used by an external user base.

When to hire a Salesforce Developer

There are a number of internal Salesforce projects that will require a Salesforce Developer.

The first question to ask is whether you need a full-time Developer or a Salesforce Freelancer to work with you on a part-time basis. This question is answered by how much work you need to get done and what your plans are for investing in an internal Salesforce team.

Many companies think they need a Salesforce Developer when the correct skill set for them to hire is an Administrator. Both skill sets can help build new features and enhance functionality but an Admin works a bit more closely with leadership and Salesforce users to assist in their day-to-day needs and setting a longer-term strategy for how to use the platform.

Do I need a Salesforce Administrator or Developer?

This is a common question for companies that are new to Salesforce.

Chances are you need a Salesforce Administrator as the first hire to your internal team. There are a ton of modifications and enhancements you can make to your Salesforce instance without the use of code. In fact, the no-code power of Salesforce is what has made it the #1 CRM for over 2 decades.

Previously, the main tool used by Salesforce Admins to create new automations was process builder. The release of flows offered Salesforce Administrators a new set of tools to build powerful workflow automations without the use of Apex code.

It is strongly encouraged that you avoid the use of Apex code for as long as possibly, leveraging flows and out-of-the box integrations with AppExchange products until you identify areas that are simply not possible with these user-friendly tools. For custom application development, complex integrations with the API, and other larger scale projects, you might need a Salesforce Developer.

Contact FoundHQ to discuss hiring Salesforce Consultants or with help evaluating the type of Salesforce hires to make for your org.

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