Deel
Deel is a global payroll solution that helps businesses hire anyone, anywhere.
Industry
SaaS, HRTech
Location
Remote
Employees
775 employees

In 2021, Deel saw a jump in annual recurring revenue (ARR) from $4m to $50m as they accelerated headcount growth an astounding 404% YOY and expanded the team to 775 employees.
As a payroll and compliance platform, Deel has been rapidly expanding to accelerate progress towards accomplishing its mission — to remove geographic barriers to hiring and help businesses access a global hiring pool. Fresh off their $400m Series D funding round, Deel partnered with FoundHQ during this period of rapid growth to help fulfill its mission.

Who is Deel?

Deel automates staff onboarding, payroll, benefits, and compliance so businesses can get started with new hires in minutes no matter where in the world they’re operating in and hiring from. So, when the world shifted to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Deel became one of the most relevant offerings across virtually all industries and allowed the company to unlock incredible revenue growth and raise funds to fuel their expansion.

Challenges

Any startup that experiences this type of growth is bound to be faced with challenges, some of which will be standard to any organization and others will be unique to their specific business and operational processes.

A few elements of Deel's business that felt specific strain during this period of expansion and rapid customer growth, included:

  • The Partner Program where other companies can earn affiliate income in exchange for referring new customers to Deel
  • An Alliance program where companies resell the Deel platform

When FoundHQ began discussions with Deel, both processes were being managed via spreadsheets despite the fact that Salesforce was already implemented. This is a common issue when a company is growing so quickly but doesn't have a dedicated member of the team focused on Salesforce strategy and development - it's easy to lose sight of best practices.

You can imagine how cumbersome managing these relationships and properly attributing revenue to certain partnerships would be once Deel reached an excess of 100 Partners, which is where they are today.

Since Salesforce was already in place and being leveraged by other Sales and Customer Success teams, it was a no brainer to begin incorporating these business processes. Deel didn’t have sufficient Salesforce expertise in-house to strategize these changes, while simultaneously creating a longer term roadmap for the direction of Salesforce.

Around this time in any company's growth, you begin to outgrow the initial functionality available from your CRM. The team has grown, processes evolve, new products and pricing structures exist, territories have changed etc. and it's important to take a holistic look at how you're using Salesforce before just starting to blindly tack on changes to meet the immediate priorities.

Building out Salesforce reactively is an easy way to accumulate technical debt and process bloat, thus making it more difficult to customize the technology in future.

Facing a lack of resources, specifically a Salesforce Subject Matter Expert, and rapidly approaching inflection point, Deel had four options for managing the challenges of growth:

  • Hire full-time, internal Salesforce staff (FTEs)
  • Bring on a single Freelancer experienced across the full suite of Salesforce tools
  • Assemble a team of Salesforce Freelancers, each with a specialty
  • Engage a Salesforce Consulting Partner (an Agency)

The FoundHQ Approach

In partnership with, Deel’s Director of Revenue Operations and GM of International Go-to-Market, we started with an extensive discovery process to evaluate near-term needs, mid-term priorities, and long-term objectives for Salesforce.

Not all companies have the same appetite to invest in internal tools, so balancing long-term objectives with near-term needs is a critical first step. For example, a company with plans to move their entire stack over to Salesforce (Sales Cloud for Sales, Service Cloud for Support, Marketing Cloud for Marketing, Tableau for Analytics etc) is likely to need a large in-house Salesforce team and it's best to start that as early as possible if that's the direction you're headed. However, some companies just stick to Sales Cloud and use other platforms elsewhere, in which case you don't want to rush FTE hiring.

At this stage in company's growth, needs are evolving so quickly that Deel could easily have hired a Salesforce FTE and outgrown their skillset within 6-12 months. Not to mention, recruiting and on-boarding FTEs is at least a 90 day cycle, which would have taken too much time. These factors ruled out option 1: hiring an FTE.

Next, we explored the challenges associated with trying to find a single Salesforce Consultant who had all the skills they needed — this was a multi-faceted project for Deel. Not only building the core functionality needed to bring Partnerships and Alliances workstreams into Salesforce but also in devising a long-term roadmap to begin building.

Very few Consultants excel in all the areas Deel needed expertise, so they’d be hiring someone who was mediocre across many, rather than several Experts uniquely suited to work on specific projects within the bigger picture.

This left them with the remaining options: a Salesforce Freelance Consultant or a Salesforce Consulting Partner. While both would provide a team-based approach, Consulting Partners are typically more rigid in how they work and look for pre-scoped, fixed-cost engagements. This can be a difficult structure of startups that have needs changing on a Quarterly basis. For that reason alone, we recommended the flexibility a team of Salesforce Freelancers can provide - no upfront commitment, ability to work on small projects on an ad hoc basis, and a more cost effective cost structure.

Next, we had to put together the resource plan and begin identifying a flexible team of freelancers who could build, maintain and optimize their Sales and Marketing systems infrastructure.

We knew the Deel team needed Salesforce Consultants who could quickly adapt to rapidly shifting needs, had specific knowledge of high-growth SaaS ors, and the ability to work on this type of Sales Cloud optimization work. As a result, FoundHQ set up a team of 4 Freelance Consultants consisting of the following roles:

  • Salesforce Technical Architect
  • Revenue Operations Consultant
  • Salesforce Developer
  • Sr. Salesforce Administrator

Together, these Consultants had the skills to plan, develop and administer a robust Salesforce implementation that will continue to evolve and grow with Deel as their operations expand and shift to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of work that we currently live in. Our pre-vetted Salesforce Freelance team came ready to make a positive impact and execute projects efficiently and effectively. The team immediately got to work identifying and implementing a roadmap and blueprint for high-impact Salesforce projects that set Deel up for success.

Uncovering New Opportunities

As the partnership between Deel and FoundHQ progressed, a major opportunity to effectively manage and capitalize on Deel’s Partner and Alliance network was uncovered. With around 100 members in the network at that point, we recognized further opportunities for growth and worked to formalize the partner network and boost visibility of its effectiveness so the Deel team could better leverage it for even more growth. Throughout this process, the Salesforce Consultants we assembled gave the Deel team the ability to:

  1. Accurately measure and track the revenue generated by each partner and alliance, on autopilot, so they know where their revenue is coming from and can identify partnerships and alliances to build on. They can now ‘double-down’ on high-performing partners and alliances to generate more income, more efficiently.
  2. Develop deeper insights into the performance of their partner and alliance programs for better decision-making by reporting on, visualizing and synthesizing data they couldn’t previously access
  3. Make it easy for partners and alliance organizations to access the correct promotions and payment terms as well as contact the correct representatives, which means they’re incentivized to advertise and market Deel to even more businesses
  4. Pay partner and alliance rewards in a streamlined way, saving huge amounts of time and money and eliminating manual data processing errors
  5. Gain increased visibility into where leads are coming from leading to tactical sales insights that sales representatives can use to convert more leads into buyers (and convert them more quickly)
  6. More efficiently manage communications with partner and alliance organizations as well as the leads they generate, eliminating lost opportunities due to poor communication

Conclusion

Before FoundHQ, Deel was relying on cumbersome spreadsheets and a Salesforce implementation that was overlooked and undervalued. They were still using Professional Edition when our engagement with them started, which was severely limiting for a company with this scale! Through our diagnostic approach to resource strategy, Deel was able to quickly and efficiently build a team of four Freelance Salesforce Consultants with the expertise to streamline the organization's relationship with its rapidly growing customer base as well as revolutionize its referral and reseller programs. The result?

  • Systems architecture that efficiently supports its partners, alliances, all those new customers, and future growth
  • A significant reduction in manual data entry and the associated errors
  • Better insight into and data on where leads, sales, and revenue originate giving decision-makers the information they need to stimulate further growth

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