Can you provide a brief description of your company, and the role that you play there?
Our company name is the Kadence Collective. We’re a Salesforce consulting agency. We have developers, and we have consulters here. I’m one of the architects that works here at Kadence. All we do is the Salesforce development. We’re certified partners with Salesforce.
How long have you worked with Salesforce, and for readers who don’t know, can you describe the relationship Kadence has with Salesforce as a partner or otherwise?
We’re a certified implementation partner, so we’re certified partners with Salesforce. We have different certifications here within the company, the admin certification to the developer certification to Pardot certification here at Kadence. We work with Salesforce directly mostly for implementation so that people that are just getting the Salesforce platform, Salesforce will basically contact us and we will help the client set up or implement their Salesforce environment.
Are you familiar with, or do you partner with any other RAD platforms? What are the key differentiators between these systems?
Most of the systems that we have as competitors is because Salesforce was initially set up as a CRM. What we usually get is we get people who are on a different platform, but it’s another CRM site, so it could be SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics, anyone like that. As far as rapid application, the Salesforce platform is awesome for that. You don’t see that in a lot of the other applications. That’s where I find Salesforce being unique.
Initially, like I said, it was set up to be a CRM tool. As it is today, you’ll see a lot of people switching over from SugarCRM, like I said. There’s a bunch of them out there. Different CRM systems are switching over to Salesforce. Honestly, a lot of the people don’t even know that it’s customizable. They think, at first, that it’s just a CRM system, but once we get in there and we start doing development, then they realize, “Oh, wow, you can do that?” and they say, “Oh, that’s cool,” because it’s totally customizable. That’s, I guess, the advantage to me, working with Salesforce directly. Not only is it just a CRM tool, but it’s a total application that you can use and develop anything that you want.
What type of clients are ideal candidates for Salesforce?
I’d say that anybody who is looking for a custom application in the cloud, it would be a good fit for Salesforce. Like I said, there’s just so many different things that you can do within Salesforce, especially when you’re doing custom development like Force.com. Anything is possible within there. If you were working on a job application, it’s real similar to that. The code is structured similarly to Java. We use Apex in Salesforce. As far as a customer goes, it’s anybody who would be looking to have a custom user interface, this would probably be a good fit for. If you don’t want to maintain any servers, it’s cloud-based, so you don’t have to worry about that either.
What type of candidates should avoid Salesforce?
If we’re talking specifically about the app cloud, that’s all on the Force.com platform, and it can, at times, get a little pricey depending on how customized you want it. If there’s a smaller company out there that is wanting to get something totally customized, it could be a little pricey for a smaller company like that. Then the flip side to it is you can have it totally customized to exactly what you want. It’s not just like you’re getting your out-of-the-box functionality; we’re building it to your exact standards that you want.
What cost factors should clients keep in mind when considering whether they should work with Salesforce?
Salesforce’s pricing structure is based on a monthly basis, and you pay per user. There are different license types that you can purchase. If you’re looking for a CRM tool, then there’s a certain license type that you might want to go with because that’ll come with your core components like leads and opportunities, accounts, and those things, which is standard for a CRM tool. If you’re looking at the Force.com or the app cloud side of it, then that one, again, is just totally customized. On those, you can build out your own objects; they call them objects in Salesforce. Most people would just know them as a database table. That’s probably one of the benefits.
The chief benefits about going custom, you can build it however you want, design the architecture the way that you want. As far as pricewise goes, like I said, the Force.com licenses are a lot cheaper than the regular CRM licenses, so if you don’t need the CRM side of it and you just want to build a custom application, then in that case, your licenses will be fairly inexpensive. If you needed a partner or somebody to build it out, then that’s when you would add your cost on to just how customized that you wanted it to be.
Is it popular to use a vendor in conjunction with the Salesforce App cloud, or do the majority of its companies using Salesforce develop their apps in-house?
I’ve seen so many different companies come to us, and I’d say the majority of the time, for people that try to self-implement, they’ve tried to do it on their own, and they get to a certain point where they don’t understand the technology as well as they thought they did. So they come to us basically to customize the system now, and by the time we get it, it’s a little bit of a mess. Now it takes us a little bit more time to fix some of the things that they did because they didn’t do it correctly. It would’ve cost them a lot less money if they would’ve called us upfront versus waiting. If you try to do it on your own, that’s when it gets a little messy. I’ve seen a couple times where people have been able to do it, but those developers had Salesforce experience in the past.
What are the features or tools of the platform that have most impressed you?
There’s a couple of different things. There’s one new tool that’s up-and-coming. It’s out there now. It’s called Salesforce Lightning. Basically, there’s some Lightning components that you can drag and drop in, and it’s a mobile interface that you get, so it doesn’t require any code or anything. You can just drag and drop that stuff. That part of it, I think, is really cool.
There’s also the Salesforce1 application. That’s an awesome experience for mobile device, as well. There is also Heroku, which is another feature that’s in Salesforce. It allows you to write applications in other native languages and have it connected and work within Salesforce. That’s a pretty cool one that they have.
The other cool thing for customers who are looking into Salesforce is the AppExchange. The AppExchange is kind of like your iPhone iOS app store, but it’s for Salesforce application. A lot of people have developed applications in there, and it’s an easy way for you to get certain functionality. If you didn’t have a developer to do this, you can pay a small monthly fee to buy this service that does whatever it is. Maybe it helps you do mass emails or it helps you de-duplicate some of your leads or your prospects. That’s a pretty cool feature, too, because there’s just so many applications out there that are beneficial for a lot of businesses.
Are there any areas of the software that could be added or improved upon?
I can’t really think of a lot of negatives with it. Maybe I’m biased. I don’t see the negative side, I guess. Maybe, if I had to pick one, say your internet connection went down, or you’re in an airplane, or something, then you wouldn’t have access to the data because it’s in the cloud. There are some apps from the AppExchange that you can get that would alleviate that problem, but I think that’s the only thing that I see. There are some ways to get around it.
Have you had a positive or negative experience utilizing the platform’s support resources?
The support that Salesforce gives, I haven’t had a really good experience with them yet. Most of the time it’s just because when you call you get different people. You explain your issue, and they might tell you to go to support tier two now, and you go to that person, and it’s almost like they didn’t know what you were doing or what you talked to the other persona about, so you’re talking to them and explaining the problem. I just never have received a good resolution from them. They’re interested in closing the [13:21] out right away. Not that I’m just a consultant, but it just makes sense to me, if I were a business owner, to hire a consultant rather than mess with the support because I haven’t had a really good experience with them in the past. I’ve called them a bunch of times, and it’s just never a great experience, I’ll say.
Do you have any recommendations for a company who is considering using Salesforce?
Even though you’re looking at maybe some smaller requirements at the time, always think of the bigger picture so you design it correctly initially, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing rework or a new design later on. If you think you might end up doing something in the future, but you’re not sure when, just start preparing for that, whether it’s building out new custom objects just to get ready for that, or whatever it is. That way, you don’t have to redesign later on and spend more money.
To sum up: We have a few quick questions, and for each question we ask you to rate the software on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best.
What would you give the software for functionality of the features available?
Five. I would give it a five. I really like it a lot.
What would you give the software for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?
Five. To me, I would say it’s a five. That might be because I’m a consultant, so I’m used to it, but to me, it’s a five.
For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?
Four. Responsiveness is awesome. They’ll get back to you right away. As far as what they’re able to help you out with and their recommendations, it sometimes is not on par. I’d probably give that a four because we’re just talking about Salesforce support, not if you were to hire a consultant.
Overall, satisfaction with the platform?
Five. I definitely would give it a five. I love the platform a lot.
How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?