Best Recipes for Salesforce Consulting Estimates

You’ve walked into the new Salesforce restaurant, but your menu of Salesforce consulting estimates is bewildering. With Software as a Service, what do you really need for a tasty meal?

Marisa LopezMarisa Lopez helps foundations and philanthropic organizations achieve their missions with innovative Salesforce solutions. As an Account Manager at Exponent Partners, she translates clients’ needs into actionable estimates for a complete solution. We sat down in our virtual restaurant to help you navigate this menu:

Good cooks know preparation is essential; what should a client bring for a productive consulting estimate?

Great question! Clients are experts at how their organizations operate. They need to be prepared to explain the purpose, mission, and strategy of their organization. Basically, how their organization works. I also need to understand their pain-points, and why they want a new system. We save everyone’s time when a client is forthright about timeline and budget.

The dinner budget can be a touchy subject in a new relationship. Why is budget so important to a correct estimate, and how do you address it?

Budget can seem like a touchy subject, but it doesn’t need to be! With Salesforce technology in particular, there are many ways to alleviate the same pain. You can use car shopping as an analogy. Both Honda and BMW will get you there, but budget, needs, and wants determine the car for you. There’s no need to look at Mercedes if you can’t afford it. Software projects are the same. We can only propose an appropriate solution knowing your budget.

Software as a Service is often just the appetizer for a bigger feast. What else is usually in the recipe for a project?

As a SaaS product, Salesforce.com must be customized through design, build, and adopt phases. Design starts with discovery, estimation, and architecture. Build can include configuration, coding, deployment, and leveraging Salesforce AppExchange apps. Adopt trains and supports your team. The design and adopt phases are just as important as the build phase for success.

Every project is different and requirements always evolve. How do you include the right basic ingredients and stay open to substitutions?

All non-profit Salesforce projects begin with constituent relationship management (CRM). Then we address clients’ highest priorities and biggest pain points. Phasing implementations with agile or waterfall has many benefits. Phasing lets you adopt a new system in steps, quickly address high priorities, and spread costs over time. Shorter phases allow more changes and substitutions.

Foodies all have their own ways of measuring a meal. What makes a client satisfied with their estimate and project?

Clients are satisfied when their project is on-time, under-budget, and successfully adopted. High satisfaction comes when client expectations align with what we can deliver.  It’s critical to set realistic expectations early and prepare for a successful adoption at every step from the first call. Successful adoption is how foundations and philanthropic organizations ultimately achieve their missions.

Bon Appetit!

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