In our most recent #SalesforceQA, we caught up with Sandeesh Phulkar, Founder & CEO at Saleon Consulting.
Sandeesh talks about what he has learned going through the process of becoming a Salesforce Partner and offers his advice for others looking to start their own player in the ecosystem. Sandeesh also mentions what it means to be an Einstein Analytics (Tableau CRM) Champion.
Salesforce Republic (SR): To kick off, could you tell us a bit about what inspired you to pursue a career in the ecosystem?
Sandeesh Phulkar (SP): I was introduced to Salesforce by the first company that I started my tech career with. Stepping out of college and kick-starting your career with a Salesforce project was like a blessing for me. It was exciting to begin working with such an evolving and promising technology (Cloud-based technologies were considered as cutting edge and niche technology at the time). Working on this platform has given me a lot of joy and satisfaction and since then there has been no looking back.
SR: What are the benefits (and challenges) of founding your own company within the ecosystem?
SP: To be working and consulting for a leading SFDC partner in the US and then returning to your home country to start your own company would sound surprising and risk-prone to anybody. But that was the risk I am glad I took. I was very inspired and motivated by the startup structure that was shaping up in India. I had heard so many success stories where so many young people are self-driven and prepared to take up the challenge and have succeeded in making a name for themselves.
To start your own company is full of challenges, a few of my friends and colleagues even told me not to quit such a good job and come back. But there were others including my family members who encouraged me to listen to my heart and supported me and I am so glad I took their valuable advice.
I get to speak and engage with new people every day, build new relationships, discuss their pain points, and suggest approaches to solve them. In this way, personally, I get to learn so many new things and build experience. Also, building your team is like having an extended family of your own. To talk with them and mutually build a work culture that we all enjoy working in are some of the other benefits.
SR: What advice would you give to others who are looking to start their own player within the Salesforce ecosystem?
SP: The Salesforce ecosystem is growing rapidly and looks very promising. Therefore, it is never too late to start your venture for anybody who is aspiring for such a thing. Emerging markets are expected to show a huge demand for Salesforce developers in the next few years. We need more and more people with strong leadership qualities and decision-making capabilities to build new companies with a new mindset and new ideas. This will keep all the other players on their toes and keep the market competitive.
Setting up short- and long-term company goals and then planning out approaches to achieve them would be the first step, to begin with. Build contacts, preserve relationships, and leave a strong impact on people you work with. This helps the most when you need referrals and recommendations. Try to find people with a similar mindset whom you can partner with because sometimes doing everything on your own can become challenging.
SR: Saleon Consulting is a Salesforce Partner, how did you find the process to becoming a partner, was there anything in particular that you learned by going through the process?
SP: Having worked for a platinum consulting partner before, I was aware of the program and its benefits. Enrolling was straightforward, you must specify your companies short- and long-term goals, focus areas and core segments, industries you will target, hiring plans, etc. Basically, provide your Go to Market strategy.
This year, Salesforce has introduced a new point allocation system where they have points reserved for companies who are making efforts towards driving social responsibility by aligning themselves to a few of the Sustainable Development Goals and introducing Equality in their workforce and leadership.
SR: One of the biggest challenges within Salesforce is sourcing and engaging the right talent. How are you tackling this at Saleon Consulting?
SP: To be honest, I have had my share of struggle in hiring talent as many of us do, we are still a small company today. We tend to mostly rely on employee referrals and tie-ups with consultancies for experienced and skilled hiring.
SR: What advice would you give to Salesforce Architects looking to stand out during the interview process?
SP: Salesforce Architect is one of the key roles that help you deliver successful projects. It is a very critical position and demands individuals to not just be an expert in a specific cloud but to have solid multi-cloud and cross-cloud knowledge. There is some excellent learning content on the Partner Learning Camp specifically created for Architect roles which is must-read.
Calling out a few of your design approaches to solve a complex use case, highlighting examples where you built a scalable and extendible solution that was widely adopted, etc. should be some of the things that you may want to share with your interviewer.
SR: You are an Einstein Analytics (Tableau CRM) Champion could you talk a bit about this?
SP: I am an early adopter of Einstein Analytics now known as Tableau CRM. I have been working on this platform since its launch and have seen the platform grow and evolve every release. In 2019, Salesforce had introduced the Champions program for various clouds/platforms and encouraged storytellers, experts, and Salesforce advocates to enrol. I had signed up for the Analytics Champion segment and was shortlisted in the first batch.
As members of this esteemed group our job are to speak about the platform, its features, benefits and share our knowledge with the rest of the community who were interested to learn about it. I have spoken and demonstrated Einstein Analytics in a few conferences and developer meets. I also like to write blogs and share my findings.
SR: Finally, what is the best piece of advice you have received throughout your career?
SP: The best advice I have received to date is from my manager during my initial phase of the career which was to be a Lifelong Learner. No matter what stage you are in your career there is always something new to learn. I remember him saying – Continuous learning will help you be more adaptable and flexible.
If you’re a Salesforce professional and would like to join Sandeesh in our Q&A series, please get in touch with us today!