Salesforce has the potential to transform your business. However, SaaS can sometimes be misunderstood as simple — fast to set up and easy to manage and maintain. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Misunderstanding the complexity of a SaaS platform as powerful as Salesforce can lead to a lower ROI than expected.
After all the effort put into the initial implementation of Salesforce, what happens post implementation is usually an afterthought for many organizations. Internal Salesforce teams often find themselves drinking from a fire hose of requests from end users and stakeholders, while trying to keep up with the latest and greatest from Salesforce and aligning the platform with larger organizational goals. That leaves organizations only getting a fraction of the capabilities available, taking a strictly reactive approach of only fixing what’s broken because of resource constraints — time, budget, and skills gaps. The bottom-line impact of missed sales, inefficient processes, growing backlogs, and stalled customer experience enhancements often goes unnoticed.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the most common roadblocks Salesforce customers face as they build out the platform — and how to unblock them.
Roadblock 1 – Salesforce Skills Gaps
The ideal answer: Go hire some Salesforce pros — well, not so fast. A study from Mason Frank finds that nearly 22% of Salesforce professionals expect to leave their employer within 12 months. And job postings for Salesforce administrators have risen as much as 103% with tens of thousands of Salesforce job requisitions currently listed across the globe. According to a recent IDC study, the Salesforce economy is set to create 9.3 million jobs and $1.6 trillion USD in new business revenues by 2026.
Once upon a time, there was only Sales Cloud. Today, there’s a Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Cloud, Analytics Cloud, Integration Cloud, and several industry clouds. As the Salesforce platform continues to evolve with new products and features, so does the need for different Salesforce skillsets to manage, maintain, and enhance the platform. Salesforce teams now require expertise in architecture, integration, data, security, analytics, and more to enable them to connect data and systems and take full advantage of Salesforce’s evolving capabilities.
The most common example is the need for ad-hoc development to enhance the platform’s capabilities. In the current labor market, it’s even more difficult to find a single resource able to optimize the entire platform. And if you do, the challenge becomes to quickly retain that talent and allocate budget for the salary premium that is required by those skills. To continue enhancing the Salesforce platform, some organizations turn to costly contractors or consultants to augment internal resources — adding pressure to already tight budgets. As many organizations are discovering, this is not a sustainable model. When demand for innovation increases, the price tag goes up along with the need to demonstrate solid ROI.
With a dedicated team that is experienced with your specific Salesforce product needs, roadmap, and overall platform strategy, you don’t have to bear the burden of recruiting and retaining scarce, expensive Salesforce expertise. You’ll have the Salesforce skillsets you need to customize the platform around your strategic goals and to drive operational efficiencies.
Roadblock 2 – Growing Salesforce Backlogs
The day-to-day care and feeding of the Salesforce environment leaves little time for strategic projects, innovative work, and alignment of the platform with the organization’s goals. Teams have to choose between innovating or operating — and because of resource constraints, they can’t do both.
Salesforce usually has three major releases per year. Each release is packed with new features. But how do resource-constrained teams find the time to analyze release notes that can be more than 500 pages long? Often, they don’t. Teams struggle to understand what is in the latest release and how, or if, it’s valuable for their strategic goals. Implementing the updates requires time and resources to prepare, test, and deploy amid all the other team priorities.
At the same time, as a SaaS platform, Salesforce is considered an agile application. Users assume enhancements can be done easily and quickly. With the complexity of the Salesforce platform and keeping up with releases, it isn’t always so easy to make what seems like simple updates. It can take weeks to add a field to a form, impacting users’ ability to do their jobs and often creating frustration with the platform.
Without the right support services model, teams quickly become inundated with and buried under a backlog of user requests. As frustration grows around long lead times for enhancements, users start questioning both the value of Salesforce and the capabilities of the IT team. To get what they need, users are likely to go rogue with shadow IT solutions that may satisfy an immediate need but put the organization at risk for productivity inefficiencies, and hidden costs.
Eliminate the need to choose between innovate or operate. Access 170+ Salesforce administrative services mapped directly from the Salesforce setup menu and delivered in an unlimited usage model, including full-capacity operational services matched with proactive, consultative services.
Roadblock 3 – Unpredictable Costs
The cost of Salesforce talent — employee, contract, or partner-based — is high relative to traditional CRM solutions. According to Mason Frank, certified Salesforce professionals make 26% more after becoming certified. This adds yet another layer of complexity to running Salesforce — the ability to afford the advanced expertise you need to get the most out of the platform.
The result is high variable costs from working with contractors and consultants that exhaust budgets and require constant lobbying for more funding. Trying to set budgets to keep up with the Salesforce roadmap, ever-evolving business needs, and digitalization strains resources needed to invest in innovation, which can inhibit growth and reduce Salesforce ROI.
With an unlimited usage model, incidents and service requests are matched to a fixed annual price, enabling clients to adapt to evolving business priorities without the burden of high variable costs or lobbying for more funds.
Roadblock 4 – Low User Adoption
Growing backlogs mean that IT isn’t keeping up with internal customers, business end users, and stakeholders. Backlogged requests can have significant impacts on the business, including negative effects on revenue, diminished customer experience, inability to make data-driven decisions, and losses in process efficiency.
If the platform is not being utilized by end users, investments can fall flat because there’s no value derived for the business. Salesforce licenses have the same cost whether users consume 10% or 100% of the platform’s capabilities. Increasing adoption, consumption, and utilization of the platform with additional use cases increases the ROI of the system. For example, taking advantage of integrations and automation can reduce data entry tasks, and in turn, increase productivity, generate quantitative savings in man hours, and increase satisfaction by saving users time.
Taking the time to analyze and explore the root cause of low adoption allows you to implement best-practice strategies with a laser focus on turning the tide.
Roadblock 5 – Mounting Technical Debt
The continuous innovation of the Salesforce platform is attractive. However, it causes companies to reimplement much of their customizations to take advantage of the latest and greatest features. And that’s not all. Each release can also mean updating other systems to maintain integrations, training for users, and possibly increasing license costs. By hanging on to old features and customizations, organizations can miss out on business value available in new releases.
To get ahead of the release cycle and take advantage of the platform, internal teams need time to focus on addressing technical debt — such as refactoring code, replacing code with newer solutions, and updating test classes. As Salesforce continues to evolve as a platform, solutions that previously required custom code can now be achieved with declarative configurations. But without the time and resources to focus on untangling and retiring technical debt, teams can’t take advantage of the functionality in new releases and face more challenges associated with managing, maintaining, and scaling the platform. In addition to impacting user experience and ROI, being mired in technical debt also threatens platform stability and scalability.
Replace complex coded solutions with new best practice, declarative configuration solutions for ongoing monitoring and proactive protection. Enlist experienced advisors to help you build a best-of-breed Salesforce platform that enables increased agility, improved scalability, and maximum adoption.
A Faster Way to Tackle Your Salesforce Roadblocks
Rimini Street provides a managed services partner for responsive application support; a consulting partner for proactive, advisory services; and a best-of-breed critical production support services partner — under one roof.
“Now under Rimini Street AMS for Salesforce we have a partner who not only helps us get more out of our investment by increasing user adoption and productivity, but who also helps us leverage new Salesforce updates and functionality that we were previously not taking full advantage of. This enables our administrators to focus on more strategic Salesforce projects and better partner with the business.”
Jay Fisher, CIO, BrandSafway
You can quickly get the expertise you need to develop your ideal Salesforce environment — without recruiting or retraining your staff. We partner with you for ongoing post- implementation support and services to help maximize the value of your Salesforce investment. You’ll have access to deep platform-specific expertise to help you optimize utilization, employ best practices, drive adoption, and consume massive release notes. All to help you realize the promises of increased revenue and streamlined operations — the original reasons you invested in Salesforce.
Find out how you can start clearing your Salesforce roadblocks today:
- Salesforce solutions overview
- How Petco, NTT Data Centers, and more cleared Salesforce roadblocks
- Solving the Salesforce Resource Challenge
 Mason Frank International, “Mason Frank Salesforce Salary Survey – Extended Edition 2020/21 retrieved December 22, 2021 from https://trailhead.salesforce.com/trailblazer-community/files/0694S000001aYN1QAM?tab=overview
 Mason Frank International, “Are you underpaying your Salesforce staff?,” retrieved December 16, 2021 from https://www.masonfrank.com/insights/are-you-underpaying-your-salesforce-staff
 IDC, “The Salesforce Economic Impact,” retrieved December 16, 2021 from https://www.salesforce.com/news/press-releases/2021/09/20/idc-salesforce-economy-2021/
 Mason Frank International, “The Mason Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: 2021-22,” retrieved December 16, 2021 from https://www.masonfrank.com/insights/salesforce-careers-and-hiring-guide