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  • Writer's pictureRoss Bright

How much does a Salesforce Implementation cost in 2024? - A Complete Guide

Updated: Jan 10

Everyone has heard of massive Salesforce implementation cost over-runs. This should be a key factor in your evaluation of not only the implementation strategy, but the tool itself. Whether you’re building a new platform from scratch, or simply rolling out new functionality, you’re likely going to have to pay someone to help you implement Salesforce.

How much does Salesforce cost to implement? What are some factors involved in the cost of deploying Salesforce within your organization? What are some of your options for Salesforce implementation?

At Smartcost, we're experts in software costs. For instance, I have sold implementations at a Salesforce consulting partner for the last 4 years.

In this blog post, we'll provide you with a complete guide on how your firm can find the best path, and minimize your Salesforce implementation cost.

What are Salesforce Implementation Costs?

Salesforce implementation costs refer to the adjacent costs involved in deploying and maintaining Salesforce within your organization.

The cost to implement Salesforce can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of your organization, the number of users, the level of customization required, and the modules and services that need to be integrated.

Some of the main factors that can impact the cost of a Salesforce implementation include:

  1. Licensing: Salesforce offers several pricing plans that vary based on the number of users and the modules required. The cost of licensing can be a significant portion of the overall implementation cost.

  2. Customization and Integration: Customizing Salesforce to meet the specific needs of your organization can also add to the overall cost. Integration with other systems, such as accounting software or marketing automation tools, can also add to the implementation cost.

  3. Professional Services: Hiring a professional services team to help with the implementation, including design, configuration, and testing, can also add to the overall cost.

  4. Training and Support: Providing training for users and ongoing support for the Salesforce platform can also add to the overall cost.

Overall, the cost of a Salesforce implementation can range from a few thousand dollars for a small organization to over $1m for a large enterprise with complex requirements.

Why do you need to optimize your Salesforce Implementation Costs?

As you may know, Salesforce license costs can get pricey, to begin with, but it's the implementation costs that can bulk up the cost of switching to Salesforce as your CRM solution.

This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses as the Salesforce implementation cost can come as a shock at 0.5x-2x what your annual license fees may be, and that’s before maintenance. However, this required customization can also be a strategic benefit to your firm, as the system is configured around your specific business needs.

Let's take a look at an example in action to demonstrate what the Salesforce implementation cost looks like in the real world.

Sample Case:

  • 50-person team with a fairly standard B2B business model, limited integrations, and data migration.

Salesforce License Cost:

  • 50 users of Sales Cloud Enterprise Edition ($150 x 50) = $7500/month. $90,000/year list cost

  • Contact our team to understand the exact lowest possible discount you should receive, and we’ll get it for you

What are your options for Salesforce Implementations?

Depending on the needs of your business and the complexity of your Salesforce deployment, there are a few approaches you can take for getting started.

The main options are:

  • Do it yourself/train existing employee

  • Hire someone/a team internally

  • Contractor or number of contractors

  • Certified Salesforce Partner (Salesforce Consulting Company)

Salesforce Implementation Costs At A Glance



1. Do it yourself/train existing employees

You could always handle the necessary implementation activities yourself or train in-house talent to do it for you.

What are the costs involved in this approach? If you, as a business owner, are handling the implementation there is a clear opportunity cost for taking your time away from other crucial business activities. Let's face it, the hours you spend drawing up training documents for your staff could better be used growing your business.

This problem occurs when training up existing employees too. There are also some training costs associated with it. Salesforce offers a first-party training course platform, Trailhead, for free - but for more complex implementations, you'll probably need a more involved certification, which can set you back $1000s.

Want to explore the real cost of Salesforce training and certification? Read our blog post on the topic here.

Pros:

  • Least expensive (but consider the cost of your team's reduced time to do their main roles!)

  • Enable someone who truly understands your business, with some form of Salesforce knowledge

  • Not restricted by 3rd party fees (hourly rate, etc.)

Cons:

  • Ramp time it will take for yourself/your team to learn the skills required could slow down an implementation (there are however tons of great resources)

  • There exists an opportunity cost for the time taken away from other tasks, like growing your business and meeting with clients.

  • Not the same skillset as someone who has years of experience with Salesforce as a career, and thus you’ll run into challenges you can’t overcome, or worse make critical mistakes which have to be corrected (sometimes more expensive)

  • Lack of diversified skillset

Estimated Cost:

  • $0 - $10k total (high end being professional trainer/exam fees for Admin Certification etc.)

  • Tips: Use Salesforce Trailhead as a free resource to learn the platform, you can become very skilled from just this. (Ask us how!).

2. Hire full-time internal employee/s

Organizations that use Salesforce heavily may prefer to hire a full-time Salesforce consultant/manager to oversee the implementation and maintenance of the CRM.

We only recommend this if the time and cost associated with hiring a contractor or working with a consultancy agency will exceed the full-time salary of a permanent staff member. For an enterprise with over 10,000 seats, this may be the case. For an SMB with less than 100 users? Perhaps not.

Pros:

  • Not restricted by 3rd party fees due to this employee being on the payroll

  • Can overlap duties with other required tasks in the company

  • Constant line of communication to relay business requirements in detail to the Salesforce implementation, makes for easier iterations

Cons:

  • Very hard to find top-tier Salesforce talent

  • Very expensive to find top-tier Salesforce talent (competing with consulting companies etc.)

  • Your new hire is likely to not have a diversified skillset in the technical or Salesforce ecosystem which means for certain tasks you may have to hire external anyways

Estimated Cost:

  • $65k - $120k/year (Single FTE resource from Jr Salesforce Admin to Advanced Salesforce Admin USA/Canada)

  • Tips: Admins are excellent executors of standard tasks, workflows, app set up, data migration, reports and training users. However, they are not developers, consultants, digital marketers and or solution architects. You may require other resources depending on the size of your organization, or scale of the implementation. Any org with 50+ users can benefit from an internal Admin.

3. Hire a contractor, or multiple contractors

If you can't afford to hire a full-time consultant or business analyst for your Salesforce project, why not hire a contractor?

There are two primary types of Salesforce contractors:

  • Local contractors, who you'll primarily find using traditional job search methods or recruitment agencies. This talent usually comes at a premium and you'll probably end up hiring them full-time on a fixed-term contract for your project.

  • Offshore contractors, who can demand a significantly lower rate due to disparities in the cost of living. Experienced consultants may charge the same rate as onshore talent, however. You'll most likely discover these consultants on freelancing platforms like Fiverr, Upwork or through recruitment agencies.

Pros:

  • Can find offshore contractors and significantly reduced rates

  • Limit financial outlay by paying hourly or individual work item

  • Good for ad-hoc requirements and orgs that don’t require enterprise level architecture

  • Could combine DIY with contractors for a bootstrap implementation

Cons:

  • They work for the highest bidder, no accountability to your outcomes

  • May not have the long term strategic interests of your firms goals in mind

  • Communication and explaining business model may be very challenging and slow

  • Some onshore solo contractors may be expensive (however usually get what you pay for)

  • Lack of team synergy between both contractors and business, could lead to redo work

Estimated Costs:

  • $20-$200/hour (offshore admins - onshore consultants)

  • Total project range $10k-$50k

4. Certified Salesforce Partner (Consulting Company)

A certified Salesforce consulting company is the best way to access the skills required for seamless CRM integration - but it's by far the most expensive option.

These consulting companies are made up of experienced career consultants who are highly trained and in tight-knit teams. A Certified Salesforce Partner can get started straight away, and there are no training time or team cohesion concerns to be worried about.

Hiring a certified company is as close to a hand-off Salesforce implementation as you can get.

Pros:

  • Most experienced team of Salesforce career professionals

  • Usually have dedicated team capable of understanding both your business, and the capabilities of Salesforce

  • Held accountable not only to you, but also by Salesforce themselves sometimes

  • Usually have a team of diversified resources to solve wide range of challenges during implementation

  • Industry best practices and usually some kind of warranty/support after go-live

Cons:

  • Most expensive option

  • Changes in implementation scope or challenges can lead to delays, and cost over runs

  • Perhaps less engaged once implementation is complete

Estimated Costs:

  • $30k-$100k+

  • TIPS:

  • Ask to see hours breakdown of work items completed, to ensure visibility into work being done

  • Ask for favorable payment terms (we can help with this!) - ideally tied to project outcome

  • If possible try to secure fixed pricing, (sometimes variable pricing can be less cost, let us help you determine which !)

  • Engage Salesforce if you feel the implementation is not going well.

  • Get multiple quotes! (RFP)

What are the on-going maintenance costs of Salesforce?

But wait there’s more…

In a perfect world once set up your Salesforce organization, it would manage itself from simple user inputs, but that’s not realistic for an enterprise level system.

  • Salesforce is an interactive tool, although extremely effective when set up correctly, like your business, it has to adapt to changing needs.

  • For companies with under 50 users ideally you can have someone internally with admin level knowledge, and someone onshore/offshore for the heavier lifting who only charges you by the hour, deliverable, or perhaps a small retainer.

Sample Salesforce Maintenance Cost:

  • $0-$10k/month for our 50 user org running from internal “sudo” admins only, hired staff, to contractors, and then up to consultants on retainer”

Pro Tips to reduce Implementation Costs:

  • Phase it out! - you’ll never be able to build, or adopt an entire technical roadmap in one go. It will always have a better outcome (and time value of money) to phase out an implementation.

  • Leverage Salesforce sales/support team - training, demos, or issues with your consultants, Salesforce has some tools at their disposal.

  • Let procurement consultants such as smartcost.io (us!) lower both your implementation, maintenance and Salesforce license costs

  • Training! - Train the trainer. Have someone internally enabled who better understands your business, and some level of Salesforce. This way they can better articulate simple user journeys to your end users at less cost.

Optimize your Salesforce Implementation Cost with Smartcost.io

Ultimately the implementation cost you face will be based on the level of complexity of your business requirements and scope. There's no one size fits all.

Our experts at Smartcost can be an unbiased 3rd party to help you choose the best service, and secure competitive pricing for an implementation of any size. Please reach out as we are happy to help!


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