Sometimes, a job title is really self-explanatory. If you’re a farmer, you farm crops. If you are an accountant, you keep the books. But if you’re a Salesforce Consultant, well…that depends on who you ask. As pretty much anyone who’s worked for more than one company will tell you, consulting (and Salesforce work in general) can be a vastly different experience at any given firm. The complexities and nuances of the various roles that we hire for at Kicksaw inspired us to publish a series of posts on what it’s like to work in these positions. Today, we’re looking at the Salesforce Consultant role!
The team at Kicksaw takes pride in our ability to offer richer, more fulfilling experiences than your average consulting firm. This ability comes from the simple fact that we do business differently, and those are not empty words designed to get you to check us out — our Fractional Operations business model is truly unique, radical, and (in our opinion) the better way to work. This video gives you a look at what we mean by Fractional Operations, and walks you through how this strategy creates a better product for clients while also taking care of our employees.
With the Fractional Operations business model as our guide, we create the Salesforce Consultant experience from there, starting by assigning them to a Pod.
Pods are the internal consulting teams at Kicksaw. Each Pod is made up of a Salesforce Consultant, a Solution Architect, and the Salesforce Admin. The Pods manage their own books of business and typically work with two to four clients at a time, depending on the size and complexity of the client.
Each Pod member has unique responsibilities and duties that correspond to their job titles, but they are a closely-knit team. The Salesforce Consultant works closely with the client to understand their business needs, the Solution Architect designs the best solution to meet those needs, and the Salesforce Admin puts in the hands-on-keyboard work to create the solution. Collaboration is an integral part of the process — Pods are teams. They communicate with and lean on each other to create excellent solutions for their clients. One of Kicksaw’s four core values (you’ll hear more about these later) is Work Together, and we’re serious about that. You’ll get your “stay away — I’m plotting out a user story” time, but you’ll also have dedicated teammates at your side to help you meet and exceed your goals.
My Pod trusts each other, and we are able to apply our interests and strengths to good effect in order to be efficient. We each have our "lane," but we also understand that we each bring our own unique experience and insights to the table, even in situations that don't necessarily fall under our individual role. — Jonathan Bunford, Kicksaw Sr Salesforce Consultant
What sets the Salesforce Consultant role apart?
What sets the Salesforce Consultant (we’ll just call them SC going forward) apart from the Solution Architect (SA) and Salesforce Administrator (Admin) is that the SC is the primary point of contact for the client. You are the face of Kicksaw from our customers’ point of view.
Once a client is handed off to the Pod, the SC takes charge of setting up and running meetings with the client, coordinating with the client to ensure that the Pod has everything they need to create the right solution, and keeping the entire project on track. Their role requires frequent face time with the client via video calls (Kicksaw is 100% remote), as well as availability over email and Slack, should the client want to reach out with questions or concerns.
Internally, the SC works closely with the SA to understand the clients’ business problems, create a plan that will address those problems, and communicate everything to the Admin to ensure that the plan is executed correctly. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys advising clients on Salesforce implementation strategies, as well as business processes, while working behind the scenes to keep the entire project on track, this might be the role for you.
Remember that Fractional Operations model we walked you through at the beginning of this post? Well, one major perk of Fractional Ops for Consultants (as well as the rest of the Kicksaw team) is that, with incentivization off the table, burnout isn’t really a thing here. Yes, you’ll track time spent on certain tasks, and you’ll have a full plate and multiple clients to juggle, but you aren’t just a cog in the machine — it’s about more than the numbers. It’s about the end results. We just don’t do utilization around here. It doesn’t fit our culture.
To achieve success for our clients using the Fractional Operations business model, our Pod put together our own internal RACI so that everyone knows what responsibilities fall within their lane, and what tasks can flex between roles if bandwidth is tight, and when we need help with things that wouldn't traditionally fall under our own responsibility — Hannah Oanca, Kicksaw Salesforce Consultant
So, what does the day-to-day look like? Aside from those blocks of time reserved for client and internal meetings (and you can expect around five to eight hours of client meetings per week and less than that for internal meetings), you set your own schedule and determine the best way to spend your time in order to finish the work that you’ve been given. A typical work week for an SC might look like this:
You'll start the day by reviewing your Pod’s hours to goal for current projects, as well as client strategy for the week. Based on what you see, you'll adjust the team's workload to align to those goals, and follow up with those clients who need to finish some homework or have pending decisions.
At midday, you take a break from your heads-down work to attend the daily Pod standup meeting. Here, you discuss client work, problem-solve, and connect on issues that are important to the Pod, the clients, and Kicksaw.
Today’s your big client call day, and you spend some quality time prepping for them all — prep can include reviewing a demo with your SA, ensuring that you’ve documented the action items you need from the client, and prepping new discovery questions for future work so that your Pod can keep the engagement on track.
One of your clients sent you an email asking for more work than you have time to deliver this month or next. You'll need to pull in your Delivery Manager and discuss upgrading the account to a different tier to improve both the client experience and our project’s success. You may even draft a deck to discuss options with the client during your next call.
Also on the docket for today: the biweekly All Hands meeting with the entire Kicksaw team! These meetings are always a treat, but today promises to be extra special because leadership is announcing the four winners of Kicksaw’s quarterly North Star awards. These awards are part of the employee recognition program, and they honor those employees who exhibit outstanding commitment to their respective core value. We’ll go over those core values in more detail at the end of this post.
After you wrap up your final client meetings for the week, you go over your notes and double-check that every client has follow-up tasks as a result of this week's meeting, and that they clearly understand where their projects are headed over the course of the next two to four weeks. Any risks you identify are escalated to client stakeholders and your boss as needed.
The workday may be over, but you don’t log off just yet. Today you’ve chosen to spend some of your non-work time with your Kicksaw coworkers during a virtual “fireside chat,” where our team enjoys the chance to bond and relax with one another. Most fireside chats have a loose agenda item, such as learning more about one of our coworker’s passion side projects, while others are more freeform, but they all have two important elements in common: they’re fun, and there is no work talk!
It’s finally Friday! Your Pod is intentional about not scheduling any client meetings on Fridays, freeing you up for heads-down work and giving you time to begin planning out the next week. Maybe today, this looks like crafting business process diagrams in Lucidcharts, writing up acceptance criteria for stories, and finally running a retro meeting with your Pod to review the past two weeks and validate that everyone on your team is happy and feels the Pod is performing optimally. Ideally, you'll spend the last two hours of your day studying up — maybe there's a new solution out there you want to learn more about, or your Architect mentioned an interesting workaround you want to become more familiar with. Or, maybe you're chasing another cert! Whatever this looks like for you, it's important to keep your skills sharp.
Every day and every client is different and will require different work from an SC. The important thing to remember about the Salesforce Consultant role is that you are the one primarily responsible for creating a smooth, positive experience for the client that results in a top-tier product that is delivered on time and solves the client’s business problems. Project management for your Pod is another crucial responsibility — your Pod mates are there to support you, but you’re at the helm. If this excites and inspires you, we could be a great fit.
To succeed in this role, you need to be a self-starter who is comfortable working with ambiguity as you lead a client through defining the required outcomes, and then work collaboratively with your team to identify how to get from point A to point B. Equally important is not being afraid to ask for help and tapping into the extensive network of expertise within the organization! — Brian Bepple, Kicksaw Salesforce Consultant
What does career growth look like for a Salesforce Consultant?
There are four tiers for SCs at Kicksaw, and we like to break them down this way:
- Tier 1: Associate — Can tie a knot, and participates when others tie complex knots.
- Tier 2: Mid/Developing — Ties complex knots, calculates rope strength, and knows a lot about knots of all sorts
- Tier 3: Senior — Creates their own knots, teaches others how to tie these new knots, and uses these new knots strategically
- Tier 4: Principal — Uses their extensive knowledge of knots to solve complicated problems that affect their Pod/department and result in positive change for Kicksaw
Employees and managers keep in touch using a user-friendly performance-management platform, and performance reviews happen on a biannual basis. If employees want to know where they stand at Kicksaw, there’s no need to reach out to HR or schedule any meetings — an internal rubric for measuring tiers within each role is within easy reach, as are salary ranges for the various roles and tiers.
Every role at Kicksaw has a documented career progression track. There are tracks for those who want to pursue a management role, of course, but also for those who do not want to go that route. We call the non-management track the “individual contributor track.” Both tracks are equally weighted — you don’t have to become a manager to experience career success at Kicksaw.
Self-improvement is heavily encouraged here — we provide support for employees who want to take classes to improve their skill sets, attend conferences (such as Dreamforce or other Salesforce events), or otherwise expand their professional abilities. Support includes reimbursement (there is a cap), an annual tech stipend, access to internal resources to help you find classes, etc, and more.
All that to say, you can go as far as you see fit as an SC at Kicksaw!
A lot of the consulting organizations I’ve worked for in the past have been more focused on running up billable hours versus actually providing value. As an example, once an engagement is underway, we often uncover gaps and areas for improvement, but at prior firms that I’ve worked at, the engagement doesn't allow for us to even discuss things that are "out of scope." What I love about Kicksaw is that there is no "fixed" scope. We're encouraged to put on our thinking caps, ask questions, and spend time with the client to help them achieve their long-term goals, instead of feeling uncomfortable for not “sticking to what they paid for." — Geethan Nava, Kicksaw Salesforce Consultant
How should I prepare for an interview for the Salesforce Consultant role?
Our People Operations team considers a variety of factors when looking at your resumé, but a long list of certs isn’t necessarily one of them. Yes, you definitely should have your foundational certifications, as well as Salesforce Certified Administrator and Business Analyst. The Project Management Professional or Certified Scrum Master certs are a big plus, as they will inform the project management aspects of the Salesforce Consultant role — make sure to highlight any of these on your application.
But what we’re really looking for is time in the saddle. You need to have a fair amount of Salesforce experience, as well as project management chops.
Once you’ve gone through an initial screening, if we feel like this might be a good fit, you will meet with one of our Delivery Managers, and likely also a peer panel as well, to give us an opportunity to get to know you and understand your approach to solving our customers’ business problems using Salesforce and complementary solutions. You will also meet with our Director of Delivery, as well as select leadership figures, over the course of your interviews with us. This might seem like a long list of potentially nerve-wracking interviews, but it’s more like a long list of surprisingly relaxing conversations with folks who want to see you succeed — trust us there. We’ve heard this from many, many of the people we interview.
Preparing for an interview for the Salesforce Consultant role at Kicksaw really boils down to this: just be you. We mentioned our Work Together core value earlier in this post, but the interview process is all about another one of our core values: Be You. Seriously, please just be you. We know that we’re hiring people, not resources. And people, unlike resources, have personalities that influence the way they work and the effect they have on their workplace and teammates. Our core values are integral to our identity and community as a company, and it’s important that you embody all four of our core values: Work Together, Be You, Own It, and Keep It Simple.
We are very aware that Kicksaw owes its success to the people on our team. We’ve worked really hard to create a culture that truly puts people first, and not just the people who are paying us — we put our people first as well. It’s why we started our profit sharing program, and why we work so hard to add additional employee benefits and programs at every opportunity. And it’s why it is so important to us that we hire folks who align with our core values and who will contribute to that culture by bringing their own unique talents, energy, and passions to their role.
So, what are you waiting for? Send us your resumé! We know it can feel overwhelming to apply for a new role, but we promise you — real people are going to read your application, and we take every submission under consideration. The Salesforce Consultant role is an exciting opportunity for folks who love to wow clients with excellent solutions, enjoy leading a team of talented problem solvers, get nerdy about user stories and adoption rates, and are hungry for an opportunity to grow their career at a truly unique consulting firm.
We look forward to hearing from you!