Implementing a customer relationship management solution (CRM) such as Salesforce is a big change for businesses. Customers will have to call on special expertise to configure and integrate CRM with the existing IT system, train employees, etc.

To do this, Salesforce is based on a partner network : consulting partners and freelancers. Freelance partners are small organizations, most often consisting of a single consultant working for himself.

It is not always easy to dare become independent. This is why we have selected for you 5 important steps and some risks to have in mind.

Choose your specialization

In the field of Salesforce, there are generally 3 types of consultants: technical, functional and technico-functional.
To be freelance, it is better to be multi-skilled, so technico-functional, to be on both implementation and configuration projects. But nothing is impossible …

Technical consultants are mostly developers. They integrate Salesforce into the existing IS using APIs in particular. This specialization requires special knowledge in computer science (JAVA, SOQL, etc.) and the ability to code in APEX (a Salesforce specific language, similar to JavaScript).

Functional consultants modify CRM standards to align the solution with customer expectations and business processes. Indeed, the CRM is highly customizable but delivered as standard. The functional consultant will then have to modify these standards (accessibility of users, sales process, lead capture solution ...) only with click.

It is not enough to choose your specialization. It is also necessary to keep training to follow Salesforce updates. Moreover, you will have to pass certifications, linked to your specialization and expertises. Note that Salesforce requires the partner (including freelance) to have passed at least 2 consultant Salesforce certifications.

Choose your legal framework

For the choice of legal status, you can consider the following forms of society:

  • EIRL: If you can not join in the future.
  • EURL: If you have considered joining later.
  • Auto-entrepreneur: If you are not sure if you want to continue freelancing.

Beware of this key step. Consequences are important and the legal framework choice should not be taken lightly. Ask for advice, read articles, make up your mind and identify your ideal status according to your ambition.

Define your availability

You have to be organized and aware of your potential.
As a consultant you are at the customer service. The world of Salesforce is “small” and if you want to keep a good reputation, it is in your interest to carry out the projects correctly or you will not be recommended anymore.

For example, do not sign for a mission that will require a 3-hours additional work per day when you have only 2 hours available. It is better to refuse the mission rather than accumulate to much work and take the risk of not having social life and/or making poor quality projects.

Define your offer

Your price will depend on several factors, including:

  • your skills
  • your certifications
  • your experience

The more expertise you have, the easier it will be to increase your rates. However, if you have just started, do not put the bar too high. Start at a reasonable price, the time to build your network and upgrade your skills.
If you have just started as a Salesforce freelance consultant, an average daily rate of $600 to $700 remains reasonable according to your expertise.

If you have doubts about your positioning, you can make a clearer idea by being attentive to the job market and asking for advice on social networks, forums or the Salesforce community.

Market yourself to sell

You have chosen a specialization and have your certifications “in the pocket”.
You have defined your rates in line with the job market.
You have chosen a legal status to carry out your activity.

You can also focus on a specific field industry (Agribusiness, Chemistry, Banking and Insurance ...) that you particularly like. This helps narrow the search when the prospecting stage is coming and you will be more comfortable getting started.

You must make yourself known in the Salesforce world. You will need to build your network for future recommendations. For that you will have to work your referencing.
Start by creating a public site to be present on the web and registering on the referencing sites (www.integrateurs-salesforce.com, AppExchange, ...).
Be active on LinkedIn, the social/professional network is full of opportunities.

Be aware of risks

To become a freelancer is to embark on an adventure and, like any adventure, there are risks.
You have to be aware of those risks in order to anticipate the obstacles that can restrain your business plan. Also, it is good to have in mind these few risks that any freelance consultant can meet :

  • Loneliness ... Even if you go to the client buildings, you are alone in your decisions.
  • Growth revenues will inevitably be limited by your available time
  • Cash flow issues and payment delays can hurt any business, even the most profitable ones in theory
  • To be on all fronts: Prospecting, Sales, Administration, Marketing, etc.

In short you have to work hard, be patient, be convinced of your offer but do not hesitate to rework, take a step back and especially dare!
(Good luck!)