Hiring a Salesforce Contractor vs FTE

June 27, 2023
Companies should be evaluating their Salesforce resourcing strategy every step of the journey with the ultimate goal of remaining proactive in your decision making and nimble in your delivery approach.
You need work done; we can match you with a Consultant who's done it before.
You need work done; we can match you with a Consultant who's done it before.

A blended Salesforce hiring strategy: Consultants and FTEs

We have previously detailed that Salesforce Customers have 3 primary resourcing methods to maximize their Salesforce ROI: hiring FTEs, Consulting Partners, and Contractors.
As soon as you begin implementing Salesforce, your org will want to start planning how you will support & train your users, maintain the instance, and continue expanding the functionality and what you are getting out of Salesforce - this includes building additional features & workflow automations, integrating it to other systems, deploying Salesforce to additional business units etc.

The most effective way to achieve these broad goals is either through hiring a full-time, internal Salesforce team (this may just be a team of 1 for small Customers) or engaging an Independent Salesforce Contractor (i.e. Salesforce Freelancer).
It’s critical to identify the strategy you plan to use prior to your go-live - you will want this individual involved in the final stages of your rollout, getting acclimated with your users, helping them through change management, and participating in knowledge transfer from the implementation team, so they can take the reigns of your Salesforce instance on day 1.

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Hiring a Full-time Salesforce Team

he primary benefit to hiring a dedicated, Salesforce team employed by your organization is that you’re building out a core competency in-house. You will no longer be reliant on outside opinions (from Salesforce, Consulting Partners, or other vendors) to help you assess how best to invest in Salesforce and get the work done.
These employees will gain intimate knowledge of your business specifically - the domain, the unique challenges of your org, the appetite for investment in business systems - and enable proactive decision making.

Depending on the size of your instance, you may simply need a Salesforce Administrator to handle the bulk of these responsibilities. The larger the user base and greater the budget to invest in building a high-powered tool across Sales, Marketing, CS, Support, and other Digital teams, the more resources you’ll want to consider.

This Salesforce team will deliver a key competitive advantage, which is your organization’s ability to proactively devise technical solutions that meet the evolving needs of your business - rather than reactively building features or deploying products to solve problems or friction within the business as you scale, you will have forward thinking, Salesforce specialists focused on maximizing the tool’s impact on productivity.

A major consideration prior to hiring full-time is ensuring that your organization has the willingness and desire to continue investing in your Salesforce instance. The #1 reason for turnover on in-house Salesforce teams is a feeling of stagnation - many Salesforce Developers join a company to work on exciting, new projects. In some instances, these projects last for 12 months, the company stops investing in new project work, and much of the focus is ‘maintenance mode’ and supporting existing functionality. This leads to a lack of new challenges, particularly for Developers, in turn motivating them to think about new opportunities.
You don’t need to have a 5 year CRM product roadmap scoped out but it’s best to broadly determine that you have work to keep these individuals busy for the long-term. If you have several project priorities but aren’t sure what you’ll plan to do after that work is done, you may want to think about a temporary Salesforce Contractor for now.

The key downside to hiring full-time Salesforce professionals is that it’s hard. Period.
There is a significant shortage in talent across the Salesforce ecosystem - from SFDC Administrators & Developers up to SFDC Architects - so these positions can easily take 90-120 days to fill.

Hiring a Salesforce Consultant (or Freelancer)

The lifespan of a Salesforce Customer truly falls on a spectrum, starting with the initial implementation of the product, carrying through various phases of maturity & sophistication of how you’re leveraging it, and striving for full adoption and integration with every business system and tool that touches Salesforce.
Regardless of where you are on the Salesforce journey, it can be a struggle to pinpoint the exact hiring needs of your org for that particular stage.
Your top priority should be to ensure you have the Salesforce Administrators needed on staff to support your users.

A Consulting Partner likely helped your organization to deploy Salesforce initially. Based on the way Consulting Partners are designed to function, much of the work the Partner did was likely executed offsite by their team and ‘handed off’ to your team. This is meant to minimize the burden on your internal team, which makes perfect sense and is what the Partner was hired to do, but then means your org is in possession of an application without necessarily having the knowledge to support it.

This Salesforce go-live process can be a shock to the system. Change management and initial user training is only the first piece of the equation - how do you assess the ongoing resource needs to effectively support, maintain, and continue evolving your Salesforce instance?
The best way to test the need is through Freelancers - these are project-based Independent Salesforce Consultants that you can engage on open-ended (no minimum commitment), hourly-based (no upfront fee) assignments.
You can simply identify the needs of your business over the next 1-2 months without having to worry about what you’ll need in the long term. Over the course of this initial several months with a Contractor, ensure part of what you’re using the Salesforce Contractor for is to help you create a long-term resource plan.
How much support do your users need on an ongoing basis and when will that subside? Based on what you want to do with the Salesforce instance, how much custom development will be required on an ongoing basis? If your company has certain OKRs to hit over the next 12 months, what type of work will be needed within Salesforce to contribute to those goals?

90% of a Contractors time should be spent on the near-term project execution, ensuring you are seeing a tangible ROI on their time; however, the remaining 10% is for you to set the organization up for the future.
The most successful Salesforce Customers invest in their internal resource strategy, rather than relying on a Consulting Partner indefinitely.

Salesforce Consultants as a bridge to full-time hires

Based on the time it can take to fill full-time roles (3-4+ months), Salesforce Customers frequently look to Salesforce Contractors as a stopgap. This decision comes down to 1 factor: What’s the cost of not having internal Salesforce resources you’ve determined you need? The impact can be far reaching and under-resourced Salesforce Customers will experience lower adoption rates as the first symptom. This could result from a lack of training, subpar change management as new features are released, or a general misunderstanding from internal users about how they can and should be using the tool.

Low adoption will directly impact productivity gains you were striving for when selecting Salesforce initially and indirectly impact your ability to make decisions, particularly within Sales Operations & Revenue Operations. The lower the CRM adoption, the lower your data visibility, hindering the ability of Sales Leadership to create a scalable, repeatable revenue engine.
Ultimately, if you’ve determined that hiring a full-time Salesforce Developer or Salesforce Administrator is going to be ROI positive then losing 3-5 months of productivity struggling to fill that role makes little sense for your business. Instead, as soon as you determine the hire makes sense, engage a Salesforce Contractor that can immediately make an impact and get your instance in a better position for the individual that will step into the full-time role, decreasing their ramp time along the way.

Hire Salesforce Consultants, Salesforce FTEs, or Both

There are no wrong answers here (other than hiring nobody to support your Salesforce investment). Whether you choose to hire a Salesforce Contractor or an internal Salesforce team / individual, you will be in a better position to self-sufficiently drive the strategy, project execution, and support forward as an organization. We always recommend that Customers proactively build a network of Salesforce professionals within their industry, so you have relationships with knowledgeable individuals that can be a sounding board as you think through decisions - this is a business community where people are genuinely eager to help.

Build a Salesforce Network through FoundHQ

FoundHQ is a Salesforce Hiring Marketplace built specifically to connect Salesforce Customers with highly skilled, relevant, available Salesforce Contractors in the ecosystem.

Whether Customers are looking for a specialized Marketing Cloud Developer for an 8 week project or just need a Salesforce Administrator for 5 hours per week, our network is flexible and available on-demand.

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