Consultants / Users

Price Beyond the Product: Counting the Hidden Costs of Salesforce Implementations

By Danny Teng

Could your Salesforce implementation be costing your company more than you realize? In my time working as a Salesforce Consultant at Modelit, I’ve had the privilege of assisting clients in various Salesforce implementations. Throughout my career, I’ve observed a recurring mistake made by customers: underestimating the hidden costs associated with Salesforce implementation. These costs extend beyond the initial license purchase, and they can significantly impact the overall success of your implementation process.

In this article, I’ll uncover some of the most commonly overlooked Salesforce costs. I aim to equip businesses and decision-makers with a comprehensive understanding of the full financial implications involved in adopting Salesforce. By shedding light on these often unnoticed expenses, your journey from start to ‘go live’ can be aligned with your budget expectations. 

Cloud Extensions

So, you’ve worked hard to choose the right Salesforce Cloud to fit your needs and budget. What’s next?

You may not know that each Cloud comes with multiple editions for you to choose from. Many customers start with Sales Cloud Enterprise Edition, which is one of the most popular editions offered by Salesforce.

As you start using the Salesforce platform for your business operations, you will quickly find that many of the advanced options you seek are not included in the standard plan. You’ll need to start expanding to other clouds or apps available on the AppExchange

Let’s imagine that your sales team is in need of a more advanced quoting mechanism. You might go looking for CPQ – a solution under Salesforce Revenue Cloud. You may also consider adding the Experience Cloud if you want your partner or customers to log in through a custom portal, or Marketing Cloud if you find that your marketing team needs to develop the right segmentation, automation, and personalization. 

Other extensions might come in the form of specific solutions from the AppExchange, such as DocuSign eSignature for streamlining your customers’ digital signatures.

Incorporating these cloud extensions and app solutions can enhance the overall functionality and adaptability of your Salesforce implementation. That being said, it is vital to anticipate and budget for the extra costs associated with each of these tools.

Custom Tailoring and Fine-Tuning

As you continue your digital transformation, you may face a situation where neither Salesforce’s standard offerings nor the variety of AppExchange apps are enough to meet your evolving business needs.

Every organization operates within its own set of intricate processes. So, as a Salesforce customer, your business will probably require tailor-made solutions that go beyond the out-of-the-box functionalities. Whether your unique requirements stem from industry-specific regulations, complex workflows, specialized reporting needs, or integration with existing legacy systems, you’ll soon find yourself investing in Salesforce customization, configuration, and app development.

The Salesforce platform is extensive, and the development of custom apps or features involves additional considerations when it comes to time, resources, and expertise. You might try to go about it on your own, but collaborating with experienced Salesforce professionals or engaging a dedicated team is often crucial for successful tailored solutions.

Data Transfer and System Connectivity

Migrating data from your existing systems to Salesforce can be costly. To paint the full picture, let’s say that your manufacturing company is in the process of migrating customer and order data from an existing system to Salesforce. You hire a data migration specialist due to the size and complexity of your data. This costs you time and resources, but it’s necessary for proper execution of the Extract, Transform, and Load process – including data cleansing using scripts or Excel formulas.

Also note that Salesforce Professional Edition – and any lower versions – does not come with API capabilities. This means that free tools like Salesforce Data Loader cannot handle large, complicated data migrations and you’ll need to purchase an alternative solution like

As for integrating Salesforce with other systems, such as your website or QuickBooks accounting system, you must consider the level of intricacy involved. The good thing is that many systems come with the connector app, which can be installed via the AppExchange. Not only can this help to reduce your integration costs, but it can also expedite the overall process. If that app is not available, you may need to look into developing custom integrations using point-and-click middleware like Zapier, or you could even hire a software developer to create code-based integrations.

Sustaining a Successful Implementation

Achieving success with your Salesforce implementation is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing journey. Your organization is bound to evolve, so updates and changes are inevitable.

Imagine your retail company has recently implemented Salesforce to facilitate sales and customer management processes. Over time, your company introduces new product lines and modifies its sales strategies. Without a well-planned maintenance approach, delays in reflecting these changes within Salesforce lead to misalignment between the sales team and the system, causing inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

This can be avoided by maintaining a dedicated team of Salesforce experts – with key players like Salesforce Business Analysts, Administrators, Developers, Architects, etc. If your company does not already have this kind of talent in-house, you might consider outsourcing through a hiring platform like Modelit Bolt.

By forming this team, and incorporating ongoing maintenance costs into your budget, you ensure that your Salesforce remains a valuable asset that continually supports your retail company’s evolving needs.

User Adoption

To make the most of Salesforce, you need to equip all users with the necessary skills and knowledge to utilize the platform effectively. However, this training process adds yet another dimension to the total cost consideration.

If your financial services firm acquires Salesforce for client management without providing proper training for the employees, their struggles with navigating the system may lead your firm to data inaccuracies and inefficient operations. 

Investing in comprehensive user training or some kind of Learning Management System can empower your workforce to best leverage Salesforce’s capabilities. Employees can then become proficient in managing client relationships, tracking leads, and utilizing advanced reporting features – ultimately improving customer satisfaction and increasing revenue.

READ MORE: What Is Salesforce Adoption? 15+ Salesforce Adoption Strategies


By recognizing the necessity of Cloud extensions, custom tailored solutions, data transfer and integration, implementation maintenance, and user adoption in advance (and planning for each in your budget), you can minimize the surprise of additional Salesforce implementation costs.

The Author

Danny Teng

Danny Teng is the CEO and Co-Founder of Modelit, an official Salesforce Partner.


    Isn Gotts
    July 03, 2023 2:31 pm
    I am surprised that 4 major spend items have been missed that are critical to the running of Salesforce. - Backup - DevOps - Change Intelligence - Data Quality

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