HIRING STRATEGY

How to Build a Salesforce Center of Excellence

Learn how world-class companies are scaling their internal Salesforce teams, best practices for building a Center of Excellence, and more.

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What is a Salesforce Center of Excellence?

A Salesforce CoE is a centralized division within a company that oversees and manages all aspects of the Salesforce instance, including projects, maintenance, and support. This group has direct relationships with stakeholders throughout the company - Sales, Marketing, Finance, Support etc - and funnels all decision making and product strategy through the Center of Excellence as a unified governing body.

The CoE is responsible for supporting the day-to-day needs of each stakeholder and their respective teams, minimizing redundant Salesforce Admin hires, while also devising a cohesive product roadmap for the future and owning the entire Salesforce program.

Why do you need a Salesforce Center of Excellence?

CoEs are an essential component to operational efficiency in how you manage Salesforce and your broader ecosystem of internal tools.
The alternative would be for each individual business unit or stakeholder to manage the support and strategy for their respective technology stack, which leads to both inefficient and ineffective resource allocation.
Without a Center of Excellence, the Salesforce decisions being made in the Sales org would be completely detached from decisions being made in the Support org, which creates challenges that compound as the business grows and leaves no one individual in charge of risk management.

Who should be involved in a Salesforce Center of Excellence?

A CoE should be comprised of specialized technologists at every level of the team with participation from both the business, key sponsors, and technical teams.

This is a central governing body that is effectively the steering committee with overall control of the business analysis, strategic direction, change management, implementation methodology, project management, and end-to-end Salesforce projects across all integrated systems in-house.
A CoE Head will have a direct line to individual stakeholders and is focused on managing their near-term support needs within Salesforce as well as in leading the long-term product vision for how Salesforce can add value to the users in that respective business unit.
The next layer down should include Program Managers, who also align with individual stakeholders but on a more tactical level - helping to scope individual projects and oversee the team of Salesforce Admins, Developers, and Business Analysts delivering the work.

Finally, we have the core engine that drives a Center of Excellence, which is the team actually doing the work. Depending on the size and complexity of a Salesforce org, the team will consist of Salesforce Administrators, Developers, Business Analysts, Product Owners, Project Managers, and Architects with some of the largest CoEs being 50+ members all focused on Salesforce.
Business stakeholders much be an active participant in the discussions that take place within a CoE.

What is the best way to start?

The term CoE is typically only used when you reach Enterprise Salesforce instances with a user base of 2,000+; however, even the smallest Salesforce implementation should have a dedicated internal team focused on it day-to-day.

An in-house Salesforce team that is only 3 members is still essentially a Center of Excellence.

You want to think in these terms as soon as you select Salesforce and even before you begin implementing the tool. How will you train and support users after go-live? How will you receive feedback and proactively take requests on how to improve the tool? What is the decision making hierarchy internally as you figure out resource allocation and new feature development? Most importantly, what kind of budget are you allocating toward full-time Salesforce hires and how are you approaching org design.

Salesforce Center of Excellence Best Practices

We highlight how companies like Michelin, Uber, DoorDash, and Zoom are building their Salesforce Center of Excellence.
No team looks like the same.

A CoE needs to be designed specifically to meet the needs of your organization and while there are some best practices to follow in terms of governance, structure, and resource allocation, it's unique to you. The Salesforce journey starts post-implementation but requires an ongoing assessment.

How FoundHQ can help build a CoE

We have worked with hundreds of companies ranging from early-stage startups just beginning to think about an internal Salesforce team up to publicly-traded orgs with 50+ Salesforce practitioners internally.

Through our network of 1,000+ Salesforce Consultants, we help customers identify the correct CoE Advisor to identify the unique needs of their organization and map out how to allocate internal resources, leverage external Consultants, and construct a project methodology that transforms the CoE into an innovation hub that can drive organizational change through Salesforce.