The Salesforce Consultant position is a logical step for admins wanting to climb the career ladder, or for seasoned IT professionals who are looking to transfer their skills over to a high-growth industry.
Within this post, we’ve tried to mirror the variety of questions you would get in a real-life interview, these would include both technical and also softer skilled questions. As some of these answers can include a wide range of answers, we will give you a selection of possible responses.
1. What advice would you give to a customer (with little to no SF experience) who is planning to self-implement?
As a consultant, you could be faced with this question if a customer is dubious about paying a high day-rate to deal with a consultancy. There are a few different angles to take with this question:
- Salesforce is a fairly complex system with all its interlinking components. Without knowing how all of the elements should be used, and how they can be extended with custom features, you can almost guarantee that something will not be set up correctly. This has two main knock-on effects; the system will not be used correctly, and therefore you may need to pay more money in the future to unpick the work to ensure its best practice.
- Consulting partners earn their living by knowing Salesforce inside out. However, in addition, they have also built up years of experience working with similar customers. This means that as well as getting someone that knows Salesforce, you have someone that can advise on your business processes and precisely the best way to implement based on years of experience.
- As well as feature and implementation experience, a Salesforce project will also include requirements gathering, training, and optimization for adoption. Without these three core areas, how well Salesforce is setup becomes redundant.
2. What are your top 3 tips to improve user adoption?
Adoption is one of the most important aspects towards the end of a project. Developing a proper roll-out and training plan is essential to ensure users as fully equipped to apply the system in the correct way, here are a few examples of tips to improve adoption:
Training – Training is your biggest chance to show off the system to users and demonstrate how to use the system in the most effective way. Training should not just be a one-off event; there should be various follow-ups in different mediums to ensure users have truly understood the system.
Ongoing Support – Developing a plan for ongoing support is essential to ensure adoption and make sure that users don’t feel lost with the system. This can be in the form of power users, system administrators, or using a consultancy to support users.
Project Involvement – Involving users right at the start of a project will ensure that they feel their opinion is valued. After all, to some extent, they will be shaping the system. Involving users early on will also demonstrate to them the importance of a CRM and the importance of their particular project.
Feature Development – You should listen to your users and constantly be striving to improve the system. Opening a channel of communication between users, managers, and system administrators will mean that their voice is heard, and changes to the system will happen.
3. In your opinion, what are the fundamental differences in skills between a Salesforce Admin and Salesforce Consultant?
A Salesforce admin’s primary responsibilities involve administering the Salesforce system, ensuring that the system is maintained, new features are implemented, users are managed, and any queries about the system are answered. While on the other hand, a consultant will often be involved in projects to solve complex business problems that have arisen.
Whilst there are a lot of overlaps in both of the roles, a consultant should generally be more involved in business analysis than an admin. That is not to say that an admin should not use business analysis skills in their role, but this is usually solely why a consultant has been brought into a project. Depending on the “kind” of consultant we are talking about (Business vs Functional), they may need to have a stronger technical knowledge of Salesforce due to the nature of the projects they will be working on.
4. How would you support a client that was very resistant to change (i.e. a Salesforce implementation)?
A common problem among implementations is that some users or managers like the way they work, and don’t see any need to change the way they are working (The old idiom “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” comes to mind.) These types of people can be initially frustrating when you come across them, and as a consultant, you should know the benefit that a new system will bring them. However, getting them on board is key for a successful project.
- Have empathy towards people that may dislike an external party coming in and telling them alternative, improved methods. This is often an uncomfortable situation to be in.
- Learn more about the way they are working and what you can do to help them in a non-intrusive manner.
- Involve them very early on in the project so that they feel like they are a part of this new system.
- Never focus on the direct solution, but talk about the benefits it will bring to them and the time saving that will apply.
5. List 3 critical success factors for a new implementation and why they matter.
There are many critical aspects to projects that must be perfected in order to ensure the best rollout and implementation possible. Here are some examples:
User & Management Buy-In – Getting user and management buy-in from the start ensures that the system has been designed specifically for the people that are going to use it. Neglecting either one of these user groups (or executives) can result in a low adoption rate due to either the system not being fit for purpose, or the users not realizing the implications of the system.
Training – Another critical success factor is the training. Training is one of the most important parts of the project following a proper implementation. It ensures that users have all the information and the tools to do their job. For some, Salesforce is a daunting system, and although should always be designed with the user in mind, training is still key to ensure adoption.
Reporting – Salesforce has a fantastically powerful reporting and dashboard system, and this should never be forgotten to implement. Reports & Dashboards give both users and management alike, insights into what is happening in their Org. This is one of the only ways to ensure that the system and user’s behaviors can be improved.
Data Migration – A data migration for any implementation is very much a critical success factor. This can always be a stressful exercise, but it’s one that should be executed with particular care. If the data from the old system is in a bad place, importing this will just serve to confuse and frustrate users, as well as mess up reporting.
6. What information would you say should always be captured on a working lead, regardless of industry?
Leads coming into your Salesforce Org often will only have the basic required information, so it’s important that as a consultant you advise on certain fields which should always be included on the Leads object. This also links back to the section on keeping data clean.
7. How do stay on top of new Salesforce Features/Products/Apps?
It is imperative that as a consultant (Or any Salesforce professional for that matter), you stay on top of Salesforce as a platform. This includes staying on top of releases, features, new products (Or acquisitions), and of course knowing about the AppExchange. It is best to get your information from varied sources so that you get a well-rounded knowledge base. Here are a few ways to stay on top of the platform:
Salesforce Release Notes – This is where all Salesforce professionals need to spend a good amount of their time at each release, looking through the areas that apply to them and their area of expertise. Knowing about the release notes can unlock a variety of features for you to implement for your customers. Not only that, it can lift previous limits that might make previous solutions that didn’t work, logistically possible now!
Salesforce Blogs – There are a lot of blogs out there, where authors spend their time writing up helpful articles for Salesforce professionals. These are a great way to get targeted content about summarised topics on a daily or weekly basis. Make sure you check out our ultimate blogs list to see some of the best.
Events – Attending Salesforce events, whether they are community-hosted or official, are a great way to network with fellow Salesforce professionals, and also to hear from fantastic speakers about a broad range of related topics. Similar to blog posts but with deeper content, these will be entertaining and provide you with a great deal of value for a particular topic.
8. Scenario Question
Question – A client has a customer support team and a sales team who both use the Account object. All records are completely private but contain fields that indicate the commission a sales rep will earn, therefore management doesn’t want this field to be visible to the customer support users. What solution would you put in place that would achieve this?
Answer – There are a couple of options that come to mind as soon as you have to hide a field from a particular set of users…
Page Layouts – A common solution to an issue where two sets of users are using the same object, is to create a separate page layout. This has the huge advantage of giving them both independent personalization of the same object. The field in question could be removed from the Page Layout and voila! However, this would not remove the field from reports, still giving them access to it still.
Field Level Security (FLS) – To ensure that the field is removed completely from the support users across the whole of Salesforce, we need to use FLS. Field Level Security is a great way to quickly remove the ability for a certain profile to see a field. We can simply turn this field for the support users and there we go!
9. What are 3 metrics/reports every Sales Manager should have set up in their Salesforce org?
Reports should be able to show the sales manager not only how the business is performing, but actually give them insights into the business, to understand what they are doing well or could be doing better in.
Lead Win/Loss Ratio – Yes your sales rep might be hitting their ‘number of new leads target’ each month, but how many of these are they actually converting? And if they aren’t, why not? Is this because their leads target is too high and they aren’t focussing on quality? Is it a training issue and the sales rep isn’t properly qualifying? Or is it because the territory/sector they work in is not currently a viable market? Who knows until you look at the numbers!
Lead and Opportunity Loss Reasons- Even more powerful is showing the potential revenue amount per reason. Imagine if you had lost £1m over the last year as your product was missing a certain feature – this provides you with a business case to go back to the product team (and senior exec team to try and get this on the roadmap – which will also motivate your sales team as it is good to know that the product/service they are selling due to market needs – this makes their job far easier).
Last Activity Reports – In particular for customers. It is a really powerful report and a great talking point in a meeting to be able to highlight how a sales rep has not spoken to their top customer in 3 months (albeit they might not have logged in Salesforce…) but this really holds the sales rep accountable for their customers, and as a sales manager you can easily identify customers that need to be reached out to.
10. Can you explain the three types of object relationships in Salesforce?
There are three main relationship types in Salesforce…
Lookup Relationship – This can be used to link two objects together. It is the most basic type of relationship that creates a child-parent relationship between two objects.
Master-Detail Relationship – This can also be used to link two objects together. A master-detail relationship creates a tight relationship between the parent and the child. The child record inherits the security of the parent, and if the parent is deleted, all associated child records will also be deleted. Master-detail relationships created some extra functionality such as roll-up summary fields that allow you to calculate data on the parent from the children.
Many-to-many relationship – Also referred to as a junction object, allows you to create a relationship between two objects that need to model a many-to-many relationship. These are created with an object that has two master-detail relationships to two parent objects.
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