A modern guide to Salesforce managed services

Jovica Turcinovic Categories: Business Insights Date 12-Dec-2023 5 minutes to read
A Modern Guide To Salesforce Managed Services

Table of contents

    Salesforce expertise is in high demand. If you want to get started with a Salesforce implementation or customize the platform for more complex projects, finding the right people for the job can be difficult. Full-time employees are expensive and require a long-term commitment; individual consultants often don’t have domain expertise and lack the benefit of multiple skill sets (admin, developer, business analyst, etc.).

    Salesforce managed services are a “just right” alternative that captures the best of worlds while eliminating common drawbacks. They allow you to instantly tap into a wealth of knowledge and industry-specific experience without the need for in-house hiring and training. This helps you save money, scale your Salesforce team up or down as needed, and ensure you use the platform to its full potential.

    Salesforce managed services provide the perfect cost-to-outcome ratio, making them the best option for most businesses trying to improve their use of the platform. Vega IT is a reliable partner that understands your industry and what steps must be taken to get the desired results from the platform. Head over to our Salesforce service offerings page to learn how Vega IT can serve as a genuine extension of your team.

    What are Salesforce managed services?

    The term “Salesforce managed services" refers to the practice of outsourcing the administration, configuration, custom development, and/or engineering to a team of certified experts. A managed services provider serves as a trustworthy guide who makes sure you are taking the most efficient path to meet key business objectives while equipping you with the tools required to succeed.

    The “managed” aspect is especially important here — you can be as hands-on or hands-off as you’d like, as the managed services provider can handle every aspect of the project from start to finish. If you choose to establish a longer-term partnership, this can include Salesforce optimization, maintenance, and support for your evolving needs.

    Benefits and challenges of Salesforce managed services

    Of course, managed services fill skill or talent gaps, which is the benefit that is top of mind for most people in charge of Salesforce projects. Research shows that lack of appropriate internal skills is the number one challenge global organizations face when implementing Salesforce.

    Whether your current Salesforce team consists of several employees or one person who’s just starting to learn the platform, there are several additional ways in which managed services can benefit everyone involved. These include:

    • Cost-effectiveness: Bypass the high long-term costs of hiring full-time employees while acquiring experts who can optimize your platform and resolve issues for a better ROI.
    • Flexibility: Easily customize the size of your Salesforce team and type of services provided as your business needs evolve.
    • Faster time-to-value: Leverage the expertise of certified Salesforce professionals to unlock business, such as increased sales and customer retention, as fast as possible.
    • Collaboration: Learn how to facilitate the necessary teamwork among departments in your organization to ensure everyone benefits from Salesforce.
    • Knowledge transfer: Gain access to new ideas, best practices, and industry insights that you and your colleagues can use to improve key Salesforce skills and guide others.

    It’s also worth noting that, to unlock all of these benefits, you should remain prepared for potential challenges. These include:

    • Hiring in unfamiliar markets: Outsourcing services to other countries and territories can be risky if these professionals have not been thoroughly vetted and certified.
    • Aligning on workflows: You will likely encounter friction working with a managed services team that doesn’t have experience in your industry and specific project needs.
    • Integrating complex IT systems: Augmenting legacy IT infrastructure with Salesforce capabilities can be arduous unless your partner knows this area.
    • Choosing a bad-fit partner: Some partners lack appropriate domain expertise or may try to start executing a project without fully understanding your needs and objectives.

    Read this blog on Salesforce staff augmentation to learn more about the benefits and potential drawbacks of using outside resources to supplement your team.

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    Best practices to keep in mind when working with a partner

    Salesforce has been around for more than two decades, which means there is a wealth of information and documented guidance you can use to ensure your team is doing its part when working with a managed services provider. Some of the top best practices include:

    Define clear goals and objectives

    It’s best to enter a managed services engagement with an idea of what your business wants to get out of the Salesforce platform. This includes setting goals: high-level outcomes you are looking to achieve, with accompanying objectives: measurable actions that mark progress toward a goal. For example, you might set the goal: “enhance sales pipeline management” along with the objective: “optimize lead qualification to reduce sales cycle length by 15%.”

    Configure and customize the platform

    You must configure and customize Salesforce to get the most out of the platform. Configuration is setting up and modifying Salesforce (e.g., adding fields, building workflows, defining permission sets) using its built-in features and tools. Customization is extending the functionality of Salesforce beyond its out-of-the-box capabilities (adding custom data, building Lightning applications, designing custom APIs). Customization usually involves more technical skills, such as writing code.

    Leverage automation and AI

    Automation and AI are powerful tools for producing the desired outcomes while improving resource utilization. The latest Salesforce State of IT Report notes that 87% of IT leaders expect their organizations to invest more in automation over the next 18 months, and 86% expect generative AI to play a prominent role in the near future. Top benefits of Salesforce automation and AI include productivity gains, enhanced lead scoring, and a more personalized customer experience.

    Focus on data security

    While some may assume that Salesforce handles all security measures, the company states that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. This means you must implement proper security controls to secure sensitive information. Best practices for Salesforce security include enforcing strong authentication methods, implementing access restrictions, and setting up alerts for suspicious activity.

    Concerned about your team’s ability to adhere to all of the best practices discussed above? An experienced managed service provider like Vega IT offers access to technical experts who understand your industry, possess development capabilities for custom applications, and can offer continuous support for your evolving needs.

    Take a deep dive into more details about best practices and how a Salesforce managed services partner can help.

    A Modern Guide To Salesforce Managed Services

    Choosing the right metrics to track

    Key performance indicators (KPIs) are data points that you select that will serve as a compass to guide decision-making. Measuring KPIs allows sales, marketing, and customer service to better understand their performance and hold themselves accountable to meeting department goals.

    Examples of metrics you might choose as KPIs include:

    • Lead generation and acquisition metrics such as new leads in pipeline, lead source effectiveness, and cost per lead.
    • Sales performance metrics such as win rate, average deal size, and pipeline velocity.
    • Customer retention metrics such as churn rate, customer satisfaction score, and net promoter score.
    • Marketing engagement metrics such as email open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.
      Customer service metrics such as first response time, first contact resolution rate, and average handle time.

    Having a well-curated list of KPIs is vital, as leaving out valuable metrics or choosing the wrong metrics can quickly lead your organization astray. As management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “​​What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organization to do so.”

    An experienced Salesforce partner can help you choose KPIs that align with specific business objectives so you can gain actionable insights into the efficacy of your lead generation, customer retention, and revenue growth strategies and devise a plan to improve them if needed.

    The importance of Salesforce reporting

    Reporting goes hand in hand with metric selection to help you make decisions that yield a strong ROI on the platform. Salesforce reports aggregate and visualize data so users can easily track KPIs, understand progress toward goals and objectives, and identify valuable trends or patterns.

    There are four main types of reports you can choose from in Salesforce:

    • Tabular: The simplest report, these look like traditional spreadsheets that display records in each row.
    • Summary: Group records based on particular conditions so users can see subtotals and report charts, which is ideal for dashboard creation.
    • Matrix: Group records by row and column to identify correlative data, which is ideal for dashboards as well as bucket fields and formulas.
    • Joined reports: Allow you to create multiple reports to compare data and identify data that shares a relationship with one or more objects.

    Salesforce reporting can also come with challenges such as missing data, connecting context across reports, and difficulty insights into the right hands in a timely manner. This is another area where a managed services provider can offer immense value, helping you design, implement, and maintain an architecture for optimal measurement.

    Check out our blog on understanding Salesforce report types for more information on the fundamentals of effective reporting.

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    Salesforce managed services to consider

    If you are thinking about tapping a managed services provider to outsource some or all of your Salesforce strategy and execution, it’s important to consider which service(s) will provide the most value to your organization. They can be grouped into three buckets:

    • Salesforce administration: Embedding certified Salesforce admins into your platform so they can automate complex processes, create reports, train users, and more.
    • Salesforce customization: Involves tailoring the platform and accompanying software solution to your unique business needs.
    • Salesforce consultation: Bring in expert advisors who offer strategic guidance, optimization recommendations, and best practices to drive Salesforce ROI.

    Vega IT has significant experience in all aspects of Salesforce managed services. Whether you need help in just one category or all three, we possess the winning combination of technical expertise, deep domain knowledge, and unmatched passion for continuous improvement that help you maximize your use of the platform.

    Read our overview of Salesforce outsourcing to discover how different types of managed services can help you maximize your business potential.

    A reliable partner for Salesforce managed services

    Salesforce managed services provide the perfect cost-to-outcome ratio, making them the best option for most businesses trying to improve their use of the platform. Vega IT is a reliable partner that understands your industry and what steps must be taken to get the desired results from the platform. Head over to our Salesforce service offerings page to learn how Vega IT can serve as a genuine extension of your team.

    Jovica Turcinovic Partner & Salesforce Lead

    Coach. Divergent thinker. Passionate about digitalisation. Firmly believes that all starts and ends with good interpersonal relationships.

    Real People. Real Pros.

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