Building a diverse talent pipeline of Salesforce professionals

For one large global Salesforce end user in the Financial Services sector, utilizing cloud talent creation firm Revolent has proven to be the solution they need to create their own Center of Excellence.

This firm boasts a large in-house development team that spans many locations. Thanks to its size and the ceaseless forward march of technological development, finding and retaining staff is a constant challenge. It struggled, as many businesses do, to find and keep Salesforce talent in a demanding marketplace.

As a result, its permanent team was heavily supplemented by contractors and consultants; a less than ideal situation that meant the team was losing valuable knowledge when its transient staff moved on. This lack of foundational know-how made it difficult for the business to advance its systems and achieve true ROI. Running an understaffed team and bridging the gaps with high-cost contract professionals was also proving costly. But with every single unit of the business powered by Salesforce, the company was looking for a way to bring in, and keep, Salesforce talent and develop an outstanding and consistent internal team.

The trial and error of building talent pipelines

Having struggled to find Salesforce talent in the market, the company decided to try a new strategy; building its own talent pipeline. They doubled down on campus recruiting, onboarding a large number of computer science majors and Java engineers, but were losing new hires rapidly, retaining just 30%. The business spent time and money upskilling and developing these recruits, only to lose that investment shortly after.

“These graduates were largely Full Stack Engineers and as new entrants to the tech world, many of them wanted to do the shiny thing in industry—machine learning, or A.I., for example,” says Paul Shepherd, VP of Salesforce Engineering at a Fortune 500 financial services corporation.

“If you’re taking this kind of wide approach to hiring Salesforce professionals from other broad computer science backgrounds, you have to be a little wary,” advises Paul. “There are a lot of candidates out there who are Java professionals; they can do a Salesforce course to up their market value, but they aren’t invested in the point and click aspects of Salesforce. They might apply for your Salesforce job, but they’re Java people. Those candidates who don’t have a passion for the platform don’t tend to stick around.”

The company also tried creating pipelines from other large companies, taking on candidates referred to them from peer businesses; professionals who were ready to move into a new role. They took contractors from other companies too, but few converted into permanent employees, making it unscalable.

“They were happy to be employed for a couple of years, and try as we might to convince them to stick with Salesforce, they just didn’t want to dedicate themselves to the technology and pigeonhole themselves so early in their careers. We invested time, money, blood, sweat, and tears into these graduates, and 70% of them just didn’t stick around.”
Seeking a scalable solution

This lack of a scalable pipeline was impacting the firm’s ability to reach its staffing goals, having committed to inverting its team structure from around 40% permanent employees to 65%. Since they’d founded their Salesforce Center of Excellence, the platform had grown significantly. Demand for professionals was greater than ever, and competition was fierce. That’s when they decided to try an alternative method of generating their talent pipeline; outsourcing it entirely.

The firm worked with Revolent to develop a custom program that would deliver the certified Salesforce consultants they had always needed but had previously been unable to source or create internally. These consultants, affectionately known as Revols, are not graduates but career tech professionals with proven work experience who are cross-training into the Salesforce space.

Revolent designed a three-year program to build a permanent team of onshore developers based on the company’s unique needs. The plan would see the firm take on four to five Admin and Platform Dev I certified Salesforce consultants per quarter, scaling down to one to two new hires per quarter in the third year. Because Revolent’s professionals are employed on a minimum two-year contract, it was able to deliver all important service continuity that enabled the firm to create an internal knowledge base.

Bringing Salesforce talent to your doorstep

The Revolent model is highly mobile too; if a business has a hub in a candidate-scarce location and needs talent created in that specific area, Revolent can create a localized program to address those geographical requirements. So, what has Paul learned during his time building his own Salesforce Center of Excellence? “It’s all about striking a balance,” he says. “If you can find that unicorn and can afford to pay them what they’re worth, then do. Combine these seasoned professionals with keen new blood, people who are fervent about Salesforce, and let them set the standard for all the great fresh talent that’s coming up in programs like Revolent. Find that blend, and you’ll have an outstanding team.”

A continuous approach to development

This flexible partnership means consultants become fully integrated members of the team, functioning as permanent employees while also receiving continued training and mentoring from Revolent to gain further certifications. Training includes modules tailored to the firm’s requirements, based on feedback gathered throughout the partnership. These custom learning paths can cover anything from learning how to use their preferred project management software to working on specific integrations.

“Coaching people internally takes up so much time and resource, including the time of our senior employees. Outsourcing that training means our whole team is free to get on with their jobs,” explains Paul. After two years, the company decides whether they want to retain their consultants as permanent employees on a case-by-case basis, at no fee.

“Yes, the professionals we take on are at a junior level, but they’re equipped with the right knowledge, and they’re constantly being upskilled. They’re adding value, and they’re on a path to being converted into long-term members of the team.”

A continuous approach to development

This flexible partnership means consultants become fully integrated members of the team, functioning as permanent employees while also receiving continued training and mentoring from Revolent to gain further certifications. Training includes modules tailored to the firm’s requirements, based on feedback gathered throughout the partnership. These custom learning paths can cover anything from learning how to use their preferred project management software to working on specific integrations.

“Coaching people internally takes up so much time and resource, including the time of our senior employees. Outsourcing that training means our whole team is free to get on with their jobs,” explains Paul. After two years, the company decides whether they want to retain their consultants as permanent employees on a case-by-case basis, at no fee.

“Yes, the professionals we take on are at a junior level, but they’re equipped with the right knowledge, and they’re constantly being upskilled. They’re adding value, and they’re on a path to being converted into long-term members of the team.”

The impact

Revolent has been working with this firm to build its future Salesforce talent pipeline for the past two years, and the results are clear. The accommodating partnership has meant that as the company’s needs have changed, Revolent has been able to adapt with them to help them meet their goals.

“We had targets to help us convert our team members from contract to perm employees sooner earlier—our Revols are in practice permanent members of the team, but on paper they’re contractors. We wanted to get them over that line faster, and Revolent has worked with us so that we can achieve that. It’s an elastic relationship; Revolent is there to support our success and the success of the candidates.”
Looking to build you Salesforce Centre of Excellence?
Read our white paper to compare talent acquisition strategies

Diversifying the talent pipeline

Revolent’s commitment to diversifying the Salesforce talent pool and removing barriers to great tech careers also helped the company meet their diversity and inclusion goals.  They had been trying to hire more diverse talent for several years, but had struggled. Previous approaches stalled and targets were missed.

With minority ethnic and racial groups making up just 8% of computer science graduates in the US, the company found it difficult to attract talent from this small group, particularly in a demanding, candidate-scarce marketplace.

They wanted to provide opportunities to the best talent from all walks of life; candidates that would lean in, work hard, and that were also reflective of the society we live in.

Revolent’s inclusive model has enabled the firm to build a diverse team from a wide range of backgrounds who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the business, and help them achieve their D&I goals.

Flexible talent, scalable excellence

“What Revolent gives us is people who are passionate about Salesforce, people who are trainable and have the soft skills we need as a business. The quality of the candidates and the work they do is fantastic, and there’s zero risk for us as everything is flexible. We’re not tied to a candidate if our needs change.”

“The return on investment has been great too; with Revolent, we can hire two people for the price of one. It’s almost too good to be true.”

What this business got was experienced, passionate Salesforce professionals at half the cost of contract resource—certified Salesforce talent with the skills to deliver immediate value to a team at graduate rates, and with all their training and development taken care of. And what’s more, that model of talent acquisition is infinitely scalable: Revolent can deliver new candidates that fit the required profile fast, meaning businesses can flex their teams in nearreal-time as and when they need to, without having to pay high contractor fees.