How to Grow a Salesforce Unicorn
There are those who believe in unicorns… and then there are the rest of us. But let’s pause for a minute and talk about metaphorical unicorns – something rare and resplendent and sought after that fills your life with magic. You may already have unicorns in your life: a dear friend who always know just what to say, an out-of-this-world mentor who always gives the best advice, or that one neighbor who says “hello,” shares home-baked goodies, AND keeps their front yard well-manicured.
Now, let me introduce you to the elusive Salesforce Unicorn. The Salesforce Unicorn can fulfill 3-4 roles at a time and breathe new life into your company, elevating your Salesforce solution to enable continuous innovation at your company. While this unicorn may not actually exist, I have good news: you can grow your own Salesforce Unicorn. It doesn’t take a magic wand or a Fairy Godmother. You do it through developing and inspiring the employees you already have and hiring growth-focused talent. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it and it will be rewarding.
Many Pacific Point clients come to us for help with major Salesforce implementations, but they don’t want to be entirely dependent on a consulting firm to sustain their Salesforce solution (who doesn’t want the independence, right?). Our clients commonly look to us for guidance on how to staff and enable their internal Salesforce team. The main thing I like to emphasize is that Salesforce is an investment, and the return is huge. The difficulty is that Salesforce is CONSTANTLY innovating: they have THREE releases per year!! Meanwhile, business needs and speed to market require your Salesforce solution to keep pace. Keeping up with the business and taking advantage of the latest technology is challenging. To keep up with the amazing Salesforce products and support your business needs, you must also invest in your Salesforce talent so that you can maximize the business benefits of your Salesforce investment.
Now, take a deep breath and imagine growing your Salesforce Unicorn. Is it beautiful? Does is make your heart soar? Did it move you to tears?? Ok, probably not, but here’s how to grow a Salesforce Unicorn anyway:
- Training and Certification. Don’t be tricked by a magic bean, or egg, or whatever unicorns are supposed to sprout from. Passing a certification exam (or several of them) doesn’t mean someone knows EVERYTHING there is to know about Salesforce – like I mentioned earlier, Salesforce is constantly growing and evolving. But certification is a great foundational step. Think of it like feeding your baby unicorn so it can grow big and strong (and smart). Create a certification plan and set goals with your internal Salesforce team.
- Blended Teams. Pacific Point has a few models we offer clients during post implementation support. The goal is to enable our clients through a blended team of experienced consultants and new-to-Salesforce client administrators and developers. The scope of these engagements varies, but generally starts with the consulting team carrying the bulk of the workload and gradually transitioning work to the client. Salesforce enablement typically starts with our clients taking on administrative tasks and working up to architecture work as the last transitional step. Additionally, code reviews and a regular cadence of knowledge transfer sessions is built into our enablement models. That is how our team can help your unicorns grow.
- Recruit Experience. It can be helpful to remember that you don’t have to grow your Salesforce Unicorn from scratch. When recruiting experienced Salesforce talent, it’s important to understand what the best talent is looking for. Most future Salesforce Unicorns are looking for a company that fits them culturally as well as an opportunity to grow their own Salesforce skills. They are interested in up-skilling and doing new and interesting things on the platform. So be sure to talk to your candidate about how you will enable them to reach their full unicorn potential. As for what specific type of Salesforce talent to recruit for, in a recent podcast, Sam Smeaton, founder of nVision, says that companies who work with an implementation partner have the most success knowing what exactly they should recruit for by asking their Salesforce consulting partner.
Remember, Salesforce Unicorns are indeed rare, highly sought after, and a magical addition to any company, but you don’t have to exhaust yourselves finding one. The best way to add one of these to your employee roster, is to nurture and grow one from within your own company.