Four words to help choose a Salesforce partner



Adopting Salesforce into your organisation is a gamechanger, and it has the history and pedigree to back such a claim.

Salesforce is a pioneer of cloud systems and platforms, building these for over 20 years – well before many other big tech names. It’s a dominant player in the digital software services market—matched only by Microsoft—and the global leader in CRM (customer relationship management). Salesforce’s presence is also a driver for growth and prosperity – in South Africa, it anticipates the Salesforce ecosystem to create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in new revenue.

Yet Salesforce is much more than a CRM system. It’s a robust platform with numerous first- and third-party applications covering many different needs. When you bring Salesforce into your workplace, you open doors to the type of potential that will help you digitise and modernise your business operations.

So, you should implement Salesforce.

But many Salesforce implementations fail to deliver on expectations and value, says Riaan Bekker, thryve’s Force Solutions Manager:

“Salesforce can work out of the box, but the real difference happens when you adjust it to specific conditions. Turnaround times can be quick, especially for small projects, but it’s an intricate and multifaceted platform that can do many different things. You use it to solve immediate issues but you also want to keep prodding and shaping it to get long-term value. A lot of Salesforce systems don’t reach that point.”

Reasons he lists for this happening include:

  • box-dropping exercises where the system is installed and forgotten about;
  • projects where the business had to align with the software, and;
  • prohibitive hidden costs that can appear during the implementation (or when you try to expand the system)

All three scenarios relate to a single failure point: the wrong Salesforce partner.

As Salesforce expands its presence, it’s an opportunity like no other to upgrade your operations. Success relies heavily on choosing the right implementation partner. To help you make the right choice, there are four words to know:


Salesforce has many certified partners who know the system well. But they can lack specific domain experience. Do they know your industry and its processes? Will they understand your business? Can they collaborate with different stakeholders in your company? Do they have strong project management experience? Salesforce is not a blunt tool. You can fine-tune it to serve different verticals and scenarios. The right implementation partner unlocks that potential.

Research potential implementation partners. Look for partners that have done work for organisations similar to yours. Contact Salesforce to ask for recommendations or ask your industry peers about their experiences. You can also put a potential partner on the spot: ask for a proof of concept, use cases and other customer references. Salesforce partners don’t just talk. They demonstrate.


A Salesforce implementation isn’t necessarily inexpensive. Costs can depend on what you want to accomplish and how complex the change will be. Companies often see a low price for implementation but don’t recognise other costs, such as data migration. The requirements of your data can quickly balloon a budget if not planned adequately. Such projects also require considerable prepping and strategising, translating into billed hours. Check per-hour pricing, costs for discovery and strategy sessions, onboarding fees, and extra fees not covered by the hourly rate.

Salesforce projects vary according to many different factors. Be upfront about your budget and focus on partners that can operate within that range. You can use an RFP to start the conversation, then ask the pertinent questions.


You want an implementation partner who will push back. This advice can be obvious or highly unorthodox, depending on your perspective. But it’s a fact because Salesforce works best when it is tuned and aligned to your business. That doesn’t happen if you have a partner who just agrees to most requests.

The implementation partner’s purpose is to understand how you work and then use their Salesforce knowledge—and what they know about your industry or vertical—to create the best Salesforce environment most efficiently. They will likely disagree with some of your points or ideas. But this is precisely what you want and should expect. Let the partner demonstrate their knowledge and hold them to their observations.


Salesforce is not a short-term investment. If utilised and exploited correctly, it will bring long-term improvements and opportunities to your business. An implementation partner must do their homework on your operations and demonstrate a solid grasp of your industry. This also positions them to realise projects that can appear later as your organisation becomes more familiar with Salesforce’s potential.

Partners must demonstrate their effort to build relationships. Successful deployments require numerous roles, such as strategic consultant, data architect, change management consultant, and project manager. These will either arrive through the partner or exist inside your organisation. It’s up to the partner to build those relationships for the project and beyond.

Research, Budget, Pushback and Relationships: four words you need to adopt Salesforce successfully. They also apply if you already have a Salesforce investment but are unhappy with the results, says thryve’s Managing Director, Sean Pyott:

“A lot of companies buy into Salesforce for its potential. But then those projects fall short and eventually the momentum stalls. That’s a disaster, because while Salesforce is great for immediate needs, it’s literally a gamechanger if you can see it through for a total digital improvement of the company. It’s one of the great stepping stones for digital transformation. So if companies have stalled Salesforce projects, they should look at the partners they use. That is the key to creating faster, efficient and more creative companies.”

Salesforce provides a real strategic advantage, placing the customer at the centre of everything. A true pioneer of internet-age technologies, it was built from the ground up to provide access and integration with new and legacy systems alike. If your Salesforce implementation can sing your organisation’s tune, it’s an enabler of digitally-powered business. The wrong partner can undo all of that, but the right partner adds value you might not even anticipate.

thryve is a certified Salesforce implementation partner. We deliver solutions and new features to midsize and large enterprise customers, with expertise in several industries, including financial services, risk management, general and specialised insurance, and conglomerate management. Our customers include both primary users as well as service providers. At thryve, we combine our and our partners’ expertise in sales, project management, software development, data management, analytics, change management, systems integration and more, leveraging cloud platforms and services such as Salesforce, Riskonnect, Microsoft, Tableau and thryve’s proprietary innovations to deliver on value and expectations.

Contact thryve today at to learn more.