7 Criteria to consider when selecting a Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud Consulting Partner

7 Criteria to Consider when Selecting a Salesforce Consulting Partner

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The recent announcement of Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud for Programs is creating a buzz across the ecosystem. Navigating Salesforce Solutions for nonprofit and social sector organizations can be both exciting and daunting. Choosing the right Salesforce Implementation Consulting Partner is essential to ensure the solution is set up to meet your digital transformation goals, ensure success, and avoid costly mistakes. The right partner will know all about both the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) and what the launch of Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud for Programs can mean for your organization and your solution.

Having played an advisory role in the product’s early development, we have some key takeaways on how organizations can continue to drive efficiencies using existing tried and true Salesforce solutions like NPSP and Amp Impact, as well as where Nonprofit Cloud may be able to add value.

While it may be tempting to just go with the newest, flashiest, cheapest, or quickest option, taking a one-dimensional approach can lead to greater expenses and setbacks down the line. In this blog post, we’ll explore seven essential criteria to consider when selecting a Salesforce implementation partner.

Don’t take any chances – read on for expert advice on finding your perfect partner!

1. Does the Salesforce Consultant have your best interests at heart?

When selecting a Salesforce Consulting Partner, it’s important to choose a partner who shares the same values you do, and who cares about your organization and its mission. Look for a consultant who takes the time to get to know you, your team, and your goals. They should bring both expertise and curiosity – being willing to answer all of your questions and provide personalized recommendations based on your unique needs.

A good Salesforce Consultant will also be transparent about pricing and timelines. They should not try to upsell you on product licenses or services that you don’t need, or pressure you into making decisions before you’re ready. Instead, they should work with you to develop a plan that fits within your budget and timeline.

Another element to look for is an experienced Certified Salesforce Consulting partner that will be able to guide you through every step of the process, from planning and configuration to implementation, training, and ongoing support. They’ll have a deep understanding of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, program management, grant management, and impact measurement.

Ultimately, choosing an implementation partner comes down to trust. You want someone who will listen carefully, communicate clearly, and act as a true partner throughout the entire journey. By keeping this in mind when selecting an implementation partner, you can rest assured that you’ve made an informed decision that will benefit both your organization and those it serves.

2. Does the Salesforce Implementation Consulting Partner have
experience in implementing similar projects?

Another key predictor of success is a consulting partner’s level of expertise in the nonprofit sector and in delivering similar solutions. Look for consultants who have experience working with nonprofit clients similar in size and scope to yours. This can help ensure they understand the challenges facing nonprofits today and are equipped with the knowledge needed to guide you through the implementation process.

A consulting partner with prior experience in implementing similar projects will be better equipped to understand your organization’s requirements and tailor the solution accordingly. They’ll also be aware of potential roadblocks ahead of time, ensuring seamless integration with your existing systems.

Experience is key when it comes to choosing an implementation partner for Salesforce for Nonprofits solutions. You don’t want someone who is learning on the job or treating your nonprofit as a guinea pig. Instead, you need a team that knows what works and what doesn’t, so they can deliver the best possible results for your nonprofit.

By following these guidelines, you will not only choose the best Salesforce implementation partner but also increase your chances of having a successful project outcome. Remember that investing time into finding the right consultant is crucial for long-term success with Salesforce, whether you’re using NPSP, Nonprofit Cloud, or other solutions on the Platform!

3. Does the Salesforce Consulting Partner have relevant Salesforce
Cloud expertise?

When selecting a Salesforce implementation partner, it’s important to consider their level of expertise with the relevant product(s) you’ll be using. Look for their Salesforce certifications and accreditations, such as innovation awards, Navigator levels, and length of the partnership.

You want to work with a Certified Consulting Partner who not only knows Salesforce in general but also has extensive experience working with nonprofits and understands their unique needs. They will be familiar with the features and functions that are most relevant to your organization and will know how best to tailor the platform to meet your needs.

Has the partner been working with Salesforce products that you are seeking to implement? (such as NPSP, Experience Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, or the new Nonprofit Cloud products)? Do they have experience aligning product functionality and features to organizations with similar requirements? Can they explain these in detail to you?

We’ve been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for 12+ years, and have a deep understanding of Salesforce’s product set for nonprofit and social sector organizations. From reviews on the then ‘new’ Salesforce.org Program Management Module to today’s announcement of Nonprofit Cloud for Programs, we understand how to extend Nonprofit Cloud for Programs when looking at specific requirements, such as measuring impact to make evidence-based decisions.

Nonprofit Cloud for Programs is the new kid on the block, though has been in the making for a while. A few Salesforce Consulting Partners were invited to be advisors during design and development. As one of these Design Partners, we have a deeper understanding, are aware of the product roadmap, and can ensure these insights are built into your implementation strategy.

4. Does the Consulting Partner have experience with relevant
AppExchange Apps?

An experienced Salesforce Consulting Partner can enhance your Salesforce investment by implementing solutions that leverage the advanced capabilities offered by Bolts, Components, or custom AppExchange Apps. By leveraging these tools, you can maximize the value you get from your Salesforce investment. The best Consulting Partners not only offer these solutions but have also developed their own AppExchange apps based on the recognition of common needs from working on numerous projects, be it Salesforce Platform, NPSP, or Nonprofit Cloud.

A great example here is when looking at planning programs or measuring program impact. Amp Impact is a solution many international NGOs use – it sits natively within Salesforce and offers an easy way to manage projects, frameworks, indicators, targets, and results across geographies and themes. Quantitative results can be automatically calculated or manually added, and viewed directly in the app or exported via reports. Data can also be analyzed through other data visualization tools such as Power BI or Tableau. Not only does this save time in generating impact reports, it also provides a comprehensive view of impact that can be shared with key stakeholders, such as governing bodies, grantmakers, and program participants.

5. Does the Consulting Partner have strong Salesforce relationships?

Another factor to consider when selecting a Salesforce Nonprofit implementation partner is their relationship with Salesforce. A good consulting partner should have strong connections and relationships with Salesforce Account Executives, VPs, Execs, and Solution Engineers, as well as other partners within the Salesforce ecosystem. You can check a Salesforce Consultant’s certifications and customer reviews on their AppExchange listing. They should also be able to demonstrate their partnership level, certifications, and any awards they have received.

A partner’s relationships can help your nonprofit in several ways. For one, it can give you access to more resources and advice from Salesforce that could be useful for your organization. It also means that the consulting partner will be up-to-date on new releases, upcoming events nearby, and other updates from Salesforce.

Another benefit of having a consultant with good Salesforce relationships is that they may be able to advocate for your nonprofit within the company.

It’s important to ask potential consulting partners about their relationship with Salesforce and how it might benefit your nonprofit. Don’t hesitate to ask for examples of how they’ve leveraged those relationships in the past.

6. Is the Consulting Partner aligned to your approach?

When choosing a Salesforce Consulting Partner, it’s crucial to evaluate if their delivery approach aligns with your own. Factors to consider include whether they prefer remote collaboration or on-site presence, their delivery methodology (waterfall, agile, or hybrid), and their understanding of local regulations and compliance requirements that could impact the implementation process. While it may seem like a small detail, having consultants who work in harmony with your organization can significantly improve project execution efficiency and success.

Additionally, it’s essential to consider whether the consulting partner offers managed services after the implementation. Can you augment your team with a managed support or managed admin service? These post-implementation services can help ensure the system operates efficiently, remains well adopted, and continues to meet your evolving organizational needs. A consulting partner aligned to your approach will be able to guide you on what managed services are and what type of support will best suit your needs.

While these criteria should not be the only factors considered when choosing a consulting partner for your Salesforce implementation, it is definitely worth taking into account as part of your decision-making process.

7. Can the Consulting Partner provide relevant customer success

Successful implementation requires the right Consulting Partner. A great way to evaluate their effectiveness is by looking at customer success stories. You can gather a lot of insight from these stories – not only about the consultant’s experience and expertise but also about other organizations’ use cases and solutions.

Learning about customer projects gives you an idea of how a Salesforce solution would fit in your current setup. It also may give a sense of the partner’s track record and what kind of working relationship you can expect in the future. Asking a prospective partner to provide customer success stories and/or references is a great starting point that should not be overlooked.

By assessing these seven criteria when selecting a Salesforce implementation partner, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that will likely lead to a successful project outcome.

Prioritize experience, expertise, approach, relationships with Salesforce, and customer references when choosing your consulting partner. With the right partner by your side, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success with Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud!

Why Choose Vera Solutions?

With over 12 years of experience working with nonprofits, Vera Solutions has been a leader in developing program management and impact measurement solutions on the Salesforce Platform.

Currently, over $9.5 billion of programs, grants, and projects advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals are managed using Vera’s flagship product, Amp Impact. Our team has both extensive knowledge of the nonprofit sector and deep experience in delivering the right solutions for a wide range of clients.

• A large pool of highly skilled and experienced Salesforce Consultants, with over 300+ active Salesforce certifications and counting

• Experience successfully delivering over 1,000 projects in the social sector

• Over 420 customers globally

• A dedicated team located across 5 continents, covering more than 12 languages

As a long-time Salesforce International Impact Partner, and a 2023 Salesforce Summit Consulting Partner, we’ve been dedicated to the Salesforce ecosystem for more than 12 years. With the growth of Amp Impact, Vera Solutions has also been recognized twice as Salesforce.org Product Partner of the Year (2019, 2022) and with a Partner Innovation Award (2021). As such, we are constantly evaluating the Salesforce platform’s latest features and enhancements and how they can be leveraged to support our clients’ missions.

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