There’s no doubt that Salesforce is a powerful CRM that can create countless opportunities for businesses. It’s even been named the #1 CRM for six years in a row! This alone may seem like the perfect reason to use it at your company, but there’s a big question – how much?
As with any system, it’s important to understand the investment necessary in order to budget and plan for success. Sure, the pricing guide on the Salesforce website covers the basics, but every successful Salesforce instance requires additional expenses. In this article, we will explore some of the hidden expenses associated with bringing Salesforce to your company. Be aware that not all expenses may be necessary for your organization, but they should be considered when evaluating this system.
Implementation costs are one of the largest costs that companies endure at the beginning of their Salesforce journeys. This is because setting up Salesforce is not as simple as flipping a switch and forgetting about it. A proper Salesforce implementation requires a project team and dedicated resources. When planning for your Salesforce implementation, some costs to think about are:
- Project team salaries – project manager, business analysts. Salesforce admins, developers, training staff, etc.
- Third-party consultant fees – consulting for setup, configuration, custom development, etc.
- User training time investment – developing training materials, training general staff, training or hiring admins
- Customization expenditures – application development, layout customization, mobile configuration
- Additional Salesforce applications – cost of AppExchange apps or custom development
Implementing Salesforce in a vacuum rarely benefits anyone, so many companies opt to integrate their other systems. By implementing these third-party systems and processes, Salesforce becomes a hub that tracks all company data in a centralized location. But this doesn’t come without its costs. Implementations can be highly technical and may require long analysis, research, and implementation phases. And while the end results can be worthwhile, the costs are not something to be overlooked:
- Due diligence analysis – time investment for requirements gathering, time from integration team as well as stakeholder interviews/surveys/focus groups, etc.
- Third-party consultant fees – paying a consultant to complete the integrations themselves
- Application fees – additional fees for AppExchange downloads
- Implementation team salaries – if not outsourced to a third party: project manager, developers, business analysts, admins, etc.
- Error-handling and continuous monitoring – release management, troubleshooting, service desk time, additional development to keep up with other updates, etc.
Another great way for companies to customize their Salesforce experiences is to develop custom applications. While there are countless great premade applications available on AppExchange, many companies use custom solutions or systems where integrations are not readily available. In this case, they have to dedicate resources to developing their own solutions. Some costs that may present themselves during this process are:
- Development team salaries – project manager, developers, testers, etc.
- Third-party consultant fees – outsourcing to a Salesforce partner
- Application support and troubleshooting – service desk training, regression testing, etc.
Maintenance and Upkeep
After Salesforce is implemented and employees are using the platform, the costs do not end there. Maintenance and upkeep costs are tricky to plan for because they occur indefinitely. And while many systems benefit from the support of an IT help desk, Salesforce requires special knowledge to maintain. Many companies actually outsource this to a third-party or keep an internal Salesforce team for these reasons. And because Salesforce pushes mandatory seasonal releases, some of these costs are unavoidable:
- Staffing (internal or third-party) costs – admins, service desk, developers, business analysts, etc.
- Ongoing user training – developing training materials, new employee onboarding
- Additional licenses – new employee licenses
- Release management – change management, regression testing, sandbox deployment, production deployment
- Further development or integrations – adding additional features as the become necessary
The last major hidden cost associated with using Salesforce is the cost of refactoring. If your company is growing and thriving, chances are that your initial Salesforce setup will soon become obsolete. When this happens, you will need to reevaluate your use cases and implement new customizations to keep up with growth. And although this may be great news for your company, you should still budget and be aware of the costs:
- Refactoring team salaries – project manager, business analysts, developers, admins, testers, etc.
- Third-party consultant fees – staffing fees for outsourced refactoring
- Time spent interviewing users for use cases – general users, power users, admins, executive-level interviews for metrics, etc.
- Implementing updated configurations – development, configuration, testing in sandbox environment, change management, etc.
- Continuous refactoring evaluation – repeating all of the above when necessary
Need Help Managing Your Costs?
There are many other costs associated with using Salesforce as well, and managing them correctly can often be the difference between success and failure. If you’d like assistance from a company that has helped others with managing Salesforce costs, Ntegro is here to help. We can provide insight into other hidden costs or even manage an implementation or refactoring effort if you need assistance. Contact us online for a free consultation, and learn how we can impact your business.
Have you experienced any other hidden expenses that we’ve missed? Comment below to share your experiences!