Sales Cloud projects are the bread-and-butter of most consultancies\u2019 Salesforce.com work, so there probably isn\u2019t an issue of general competence and ability to execute.\u00a0 However, there is a huge range of business models and sales channels out there, and it is critical that the consultant understand how your sales function works, and the difference between one of your profit-driving deals and a break-even \u201csustainer.\u201d\u00a0 If the consultant doesn\u2019t get it, the system they build for you will be clunky or just get in the way.\n\n\nAlso in this series\u2026\n\nHow to choose the best Salesforce consultant: 25 key questions\n\nHow to choose a Service Cloud consultant\nHow to choose a Marketing Cloud consultant\nHow to choose a Platform Cloud consultant\nWorking with a Salesforce consultant: Understanding the process\n\n\n\nThis brief set of questions is designed to help you evaluate the suitability of a Salesforce.com (SFDC) consultancy. It is not meant to be delivered as a questionnaire for the consultancy to fill out in the RFP.\u00a0 Instead, use the questions conversationally so you can see their flinches and know where to probe.\nSince client requirements vary, there's no single "correct" set of answers to these questions. Instead, score the vendors on how closely they fit your organizational needs and corporate IT style\u2014and no firm is going to get a perfect score (be happy if you find a \u201csolid B+\u201d).\u00a0\nSales Cloud experience\n\nIf you are looking to have a call center for telesales or a virtual office environment, does the consultant have experience building and deploying these configurations?\u00a0 What third-party products do they recommend?\nIf you are looking for a solid mobile strategy (where the first CRM tool the rep reaches for is their phone), does the consultant have experience building and deploying SFDC for the smart phone models your reps use?\u00a0 What third-party products do they recommend?\nIf you are looking to have a web store (with transactions totally hands-free), what third party products do you recommend?\u00a0 How does the consultant recommend implementing \u201ctelesales intrudes on potential upsells\u201d for web-based customers?\nIf you sell to customers who are also your suppliers, how should those customers be represented in the system?\nIf you sell to large multinational (and multi-divisional) customers (such as Mitsubishi or Boeing), how should these customers be represented in the system?\nDoes the consultant plan to use Parent Accounts or Divisions?\u00a0 What are the issues with each of these?\u00a0 How many levels of parent account are practical?\nDoes the consultant plan to use Person Accounts? Why?\u00a0 What are the issues with this technology?\nIf you use the Named Account Model of selling, ask the consultant (1) what it means and (2) have they implemented it.\u00a0 What is the consultant\u2019s recommendation for using Leads vs Contacts?\nIf you use purely geographic territories, what is the consultant\u2019s recommendation for how to define\/specify the territories in the system?\nHow many fields on the Opportunity should be required and enforced by validation rules?\nWhat techniques can be used to improve the quality \/ fidelity of pipeline data?\nWhat should happen to an Opportunity once it is closed?\nWhat quote-to-cash system does the consultant recommend, and why?\nIf you have lots of bundles and short-term specials, what pricebook structure does the consultant recommend?\nWhat sort of \u201cscreen pops\u201d are effective for SFDC users? (Take points off if they don\u2019t mention CTI, qualification questions, or upsell prompts.)\nFor the sales rep, what is the appropriate level of access for the case management, licensing, and accounts receivable systems?\u00a0 What are the lessons learned from implementing this?\nWhat parts of the renewal process do you recommend for full vs partial automation?\nWhat dashboarding system do you recommend?\u00a0 Why?\u00a0\nCan you show an example of a sales dashboard you are particularly proud of?\nWhat scorecard system do you recommend?\u00a0 Why?\nCan you show an example of a sales scorecard system you are particularly proud of?\nIf you are planning to use a formal sales methodology, has the consultant ever worked with it?\u00a0 What third party products for sales and marketing process does the consultant have experience with?\nIf you are considering using gamification for the sales team, what is the consultant\u2019s experience implementing Work.com?\u00a0 What are the lessons learned about effective gamification?\u00a0 If the consultant is recommending something else, what are their reasons?\n\nSales Cloud deployment\n\nWhat should be the general deployment strategy for go-live?\nIf you have an international sales force, what strategy does the consultant recommend for:\n\nDiscovery of local requirements?\nImplementation of country-specific requirements?\nUAT of country-specific features?\nSequencing \/ prioritization of country roll-outs?\nUser training?\n\n\n\nMake no mistake about it, the biggest problem in Sales Cloud projects is adoption by the most senior and productive reps.\u00a0 Every one of them will have a good reason to not use the system correctly, so just expect a ton of noise from their direction.\u00a0 The more successful deployments start with the \u201cinside sales\u201d or telesales teams that are more (1) process-oriented, (2) intensely transactional, and (3) tightly managed.\u00a0 When done right, CRM will seem to them a more natural tool that actually makes their job easier.\u00a0 Once you get these folks on board, use them to pull in the more senior folks.