If you are a Salesforce admin or developer, there is always a question or decision which you face after some years on your career. Should I join a consulting company and start a consulting career or not and if so what should I be preparing for now? This post would help you to answer your doubts and help you to make the right decision.
1. Differences between SFDC admin role and consulting role
2. Expectations in consulting role
3. What to do now to prepare for it.
Differences between an Admin role and consulting role
Before you answer the question on whether to join a consulting company, you should understand the difference between consulting role and admin role.
1. As a Salesforce admin, your stake holders are mostly confined to your team and the business leadership teams you report to or your work impacts. In consulting your stake holders mostly are your clients with whom you work on projects, your consulting team members whom you would collaborate on issues, opportunities and Salesforce community for your brand. So, what this means is that you would be judged as a consultant from your deliverables on time and budget, how well you sell which is your relationship with Salesforce community ecosystem and finally your knowledge which is your certifications.
2. Time awareness is a critical difference between your admin role and consulting role. As consultants, you would always be sensitive to how much time your solution would take and look for options to save time for yourself and your clients.
3. Since most of consulting involves working with complex problems, be prepared to work more than your regular 40 hours of work and flexibility to communicate based on your client’s time preference. This should not scare you as there are ways to manage work life balance and consulting companies tend to focus on it for their long-term sustainability.
4. Consulting tends to earn more income compared to the typical admin role.
Expectations of consulting companies.
1. Ability of the candidate to solve complex problems.
Consultants are hired to solve complex problems and that is why you are paid the big money. So, prior to joining a consulting company, I would advise you to prepare 2 or 3 scenarios where you have solved a complex problem in your current job, explain why it is complex and what impact it had on the business after your solution.
2. Ability of the candidate to measure business impact
At the end of the day most of consulting is to bring results to clients. So, you want to prepare for 2 or 3 metrics which improved based on your current job or previous jobs. For marketing, metrics like campaign ROI, lead conversion, opportunities from marketing channels are common examples. So, prepare for this in advance.
3. Ability of the candidate to work as a team member
Most of the time in consulting, you will not have all the answers. So, you would have to reach out to your team members and work with them to get it done. Please prepare for 2 or 3 scenarios on how you leveraged team work or how you contributed to a team to deliver results.
4. Ability to sell services
Most of consulting work is ability to sell services and build relationship with clients. So if you had any sales experience or ability to influence your management on decisions, you should add it to your resume.
5. Your brand
This is an important factor for a consultant. It is your brand. This means your knowledge, your certifications, your relationships, your passion for learning and your passion to always help others. This is a factor which most of the consultants fail to do and ultimately get burned out. So, prepare 2 or 3 points on why you should be hired and what value you bring to the consulting company. For this, you should say your certifications, knowledge and your community relationship. You should project your answers in the community and relationship with existing users which can bring more leads to your clients.
Consulting career choices
Most of the consulting companies have the following programs which you can choose to adapt to your needs.
1. Consultant to Partner or Principal path
If you love to sell, demonstrate your knowledge and want to be a client facing person, the goal is to become a partner in the consulting firm. You can start as a consultant, manager, director and finally this role if you love the company and want to be part of it when you retire as well.
2. Consultant to Architect path
If you feel that you are a very hands-on person and shun being an extrovert and sell, you can become a technical architect or a solution architect as your destination. These roles are very hands-on roles and you are expected to solve complex problems. Most developers tend to take these roles and suits people who just want to be hands-on and code or configure.
How to decide on consulting is fit for me or not.
1. If you feel that you have these characteristics and willing to build the skills, then the decision to be a consultant is easy for you.
1. Passion to solve complex problems- If you are always curious to learn and always want to solve complex needs, consulting is right on your alley.
2. Willing to learn new things – Consulting is about value you provide and this comes from knowledge you acquire. If you have a passion to learn new skills like a marketing automation product, bi product or some apps, it adds to your skill set making you more marketable.
3. Passion to help – Consulting is about service and at the end of the day, you need to have empathy with your clients. So, the more patience you have on your work, communicate and navigate around your client organization internal politics, it makes it easy fit for you.
2. Never get to consulting just by money alone. Even though the pay rates are higher, if you deliver a bad service for your client and do not learn new skills nor do you not market yourselves on the community on your knowledge, you would end up in frustration!!! 😳 .
What to do now to prepare for it.
Once you made the choice to be a consultant, here are things you need to do now which would help you to transition easily. Look at the below image as an example.
Gone are the days where you can just send a word resume and float it to all people asking for opportunities.
a. Get your own salesforce developer account if you don’t and update it with your trailhead badges, certifications and all your knowledge assets.
b. Update your linked in and twitter profile with right skills, get endorsements on linked in from your colleagues and reach out to your contacts on your career choices and next steps.
c. Start answering a few questions on the salesforce community and stack exchange if you are a developer to get some community credentials
2. Complete any pending certification exams which you wanted to do and take the exams and see if you can pass them.
3. Listen to podcasts on consulting and improve soft skills like communication, written communication, business process thinking which would really be handy when you get to requirement meetings.
I hope this blog has been of value to you. As always feel free to share your thoughts and comments and feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further questions. As for me, I always love consulting and would always choose it as a career if I am given one more chance to be reborn again!! 😀