Salesforce Project Managers salaries are a hot topic, and for good reason! The Salesforce Economy is growing at such a rate that Salesforce Project Managers find themselves in a favourable position, with higher average salaries than equivalent project management roles in other industries.
Our Salesforce Project Manager Salary guide brings context to what your salary should be (or could be) with information to back up that figure.
Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: how you can increase your earning potential! Let’s see what practical steps you can take to climb the ladder, based on commentary from Salesforce Project Managers with first-hand experience running a wide range of Salesforce projects.
Maximizing your Experience
Project Managers oversee Salesforce implementation projects end-to-end. Their priority is to ensure the project is successful – delivered on time, and within budget.
Categorising project managers at different seniority levels isn’t easy. In our Salesforce Project Manager Salary Guide we based our definitions on the year of experience a PM has and the project value they would typically work on.
The aim here is to outline what experience you should seek and skills to nurture in order for you to progress to the next level:
Become an Entry-level Salesforce project manager:
- Transition from outside the Salesforce ecosystem bringing transferable skills or be a seasoned Salesforce Consultants that want to make the transition to a leadership role.
- Have an understanding around the deliverables of a typical Sales Cloud project (this is likely the cloud you will start with, as the majority of Salesforce projects involve this core ‘cloud’).
- Attend as many client-facing interactions as possible, such as requirements gathering, project kick-off meetings, and training sessions. Each consultancy will work differently, so it is important to pick up on the nuances.
- Gain a solid understanding of the Salesforce Consultant’s role (the differences between functional consultants, technical consultants, Salesforce Architects, and developers)
- Find a mentor internally that you can support, and in turn, learn from.
- Conduct project debriefs at the end of every client project (more detail later)
Go from Entry-level → Mid-level Salesforce project manager:
- Get comfortable with leading client-facing interactions, such as project kick-off meetings. When leading meetings, be prepared to steer the discussion (keeping it on track) and allow the consultants attending to have a voice (in case clients try to hijack the meeting agenda!)
- Risk management: can identify risks, capture them within the respective risk log, and reviews with the team regularly (more detail later),
- Take one or more of the baseline Salesforce certifications (Admin, Advanced Admin, App Builder, Sales Cloud Consultant and Service Cloud Consultant).
Go from Mid-level → Senior Salesforce project manager:
- Participate in/observe projects that include integrations with other platforms (external to Salesforce), multiple business units or play a significant part in the client’s digital transformation.
- Proactive risk management (more detail later)
1. Know Your Team Roles
We’ve already highlighted that gaining a solid understanding of the Salesforce Consultant’s role is important, after all, you need to know what you can expect from these key team members, and what you should delegate to other specialists.
Then, there are other project resources you need to get familiar with:
- The differences between Functional Salesforce Consultants and Technical Salesforce Consultants,
- Where Salesforce Architects fit into the picture,
- Which requirements developers should take on, where the solution cannot be delivered with declarative (point-and-click) functionality.
2. Proactive Risk Management
Risk management plays a key part in how project managers keep control of projects so that they are delivered on time, and within budget. It’s all about anticipating what could go wrong, and knowing how to deal with issues appropriately when they arise, and get the project back on track.
Projects will have risk logs where PMs will record risks they’ve identified and review them with the consultancy-side team, and the client-side stakeholders regularly. The difference in risk management between an entry-level PM and a more experienced one is a) at what point they are able to identify the risk, and b) how to reach a resolution.
Proactive risk management involves putting measures in place to mitigate risk – in other words, to prevent the risks from happening before they’ve even happened.
This future-looking view will come with experience, as a senior PM will be able to call upon their own past experience (and others) to make these risk predictions. In addition, they have a comprehensive risk management strategy, and understand what to prioritise when a project heads ‘into the red’. Overall, they are aware of when and matters should be escalated, and how (who should be notified).
When starting out as a PM, there will be plenty of risks you would not have encountered previously, especially when you start working on projects that involve a greater number of Salesforce products.
3. Hold Project Debriefs
On a similar note, a PM can scale-up their experience by reflecting on what went well (and what did not) when a project completes. Risks and how the risks were managed is one part of that. It’s a great opportunity to learn from the consultants ‘on the ground’, and hear about tensions you perhaps didn’t hear about when the project was in full-swing.
In addition, you can analyse past project logs and pull reports from your project management tool to see what went well in other projects – think of it like learning case law!
4. Observe Complex Salesforce Projects
Projects can be classified as complex for a number of reasons, including (but not restricted to) integrations with other platforms (external to Salesforce), multiple business units (a cross-departmental client project), or play a significant part in the client’s digital transformation (high stakes!)
Participation, such as listening in on meetings, will enable you to one day lead projects at this scale and scope. When observing, question the choices senior Project Managers made to understand why they took a specific action in certain scenarios; this will help you develop your own independent thinking.
5. Get Salesforce Certified
Salesforce certifications may not always be required ‘on paper’ (eg. Salesforce Project Manager job descriptions), they are beneficial when looking to increase your earning potential.
At a basic level, certifications prove you have a certain level of knowledge of the Salesforce platform. A project manager who is proficient in the Salesforce platform is likely to earn more when starting out than a project manager with agnostic knowledge. Management teams at Salesforce consultancies are likely to feel more confident in your ability to lead projects.
Furthermore, sealing your knowledge with a certification will give you a confidence boost and will help you to become more self-sufficient without having to rely on the consultants as much to answer Salesforce related questions. Let’s not lose sight that a project management role is a leadership role.
There’s no doubt that Salesforce Project Managers are deserving of their compensation – they oversee Salesforce implementation projects end-to-end to ensure the project is successful – delivered on time, and within budget.
I hope these tips on how to increase your salary are useful to you in your career and personal development. Remember to check out the Salesforce Project Manager Salary guide which shares salary data collected from the largest salary survey, arming you with ammo when asking for a raise, or applying for a new role.