Salesforce Consultants specialise in implementing Salesforce’s products in the most effective and scalable way. This is the services arm of the Salesforce partner ecosystem – you could say that their ‘product’ is their expertise, sold to clients as time and advice. They could work for a Salesforce Consulting Partner (aka. Solution Integrator), an agency, or independently (as a ‘one-(wo)man-band’).
Becoming a Salesforce Consultant is a desirable career choice, a common transition that Salesforce Admins working for end-users make, or those working with other technologies. The work is more varied but comes with additional expectations to deliver quality work and maintain project profitability. These reasons, along with others covered in this guide, are why Salesforce Consultant salaries are worth discussing apart from other Salesforce roles.
Personally, I have been working in the Consulting Partner ecosystem for a number of years now, in a variety of roles, types of projects, and across multiple regions. Using my own observations, commentary from other experienced consultants, and survey data from the Mason Frank Salary Survey, this guide will share pretty much everything you need to know about Salesforce Consultant salaries in 2020.
Who are Salesforce Consultants? – Roles and Responsibilities
‘Consultant’ is a loose term, and often overused in multiple contexts. As I have already said, Salesforce Consultants specialise in implementing Salesforce’s products in the most effective and scalable way, in line with an organisation’s bespoke needs. Factors such as seniority and accountability aside, on the whole, Salesforce Consultants have the following responsibilities:
- Scope out projects/gather client requirements.
- Form, or assist with forming, a project plan.
- Configuring objects, building automation.
- Overseeing UAT (user acceptance testing).
- Document solutions implemented.
- Training users/super users.
- Advise clients on best practice implementation, and how to further maximise Salesforce (usually by recommending AppExchange applications).
- Utilise Salesforce’s declarative functionality as far as possible (and briefing Developers when requirements go beyond).
Common job titles you may hear used for consultants that outline different accountabilities include:
- Functional Consultants
- Technical Consultants
- Business Analyst
- Junior Consultant
- Technical Leads
- Pre-sales Consultant
Salesforce Consultant Average Salary
So let’s dive into Salesforce Consultant average salary for a few locations based on the largest Salesforce survey, the Mason Frank Salary Survey.
The salary data below gives only a snapshot of the whole (complex, multi-factor) picture. The figures are based on the salaries of ‘Functional Consultant’ salaries, who understand how business objectives and challenges can be addressed with Salesforce solutions and create roadmaps to enable these opportunities. As this was the job role common across all geographies in the survey, it serves as the ideal baseline.
United States & Canada
Figures in ($ / C$)
|Junior (Permanent)||Senior (Permanent)||Contract Range (per hour)|
|US - Overall||U$120,000||U$141,000||U$110|
Figures in (£)
|Junior (Permanent)||Senior (Permanent)||Contract Range (per day)|
|UK - Overall||£52,750||£68,000||£612.50|
Figures in (€)
|Junior (Permanent)||Senior (Permanent)||Contract Range (per day)|
Figures in (AU$ / ¥ / S$)
|Junior (Permanent)||Senior (Permanent)||Contract Range (per day)|
* Excluding superannuation
Salesforce Consultants Salary Factors
Time to step away from the numbers. As I said, these figures give only a snapshot of the whole picture, based on ‘Functional Consultants, and masking the multiple factors that affect your salary.
Don’t be instantly demotivated if yours doesn’t match up to the average. It’s worth investigating the factors that may be influencing these salary figures, and if you feel the numbers still don’t ‘add up’, then you could consider the ways that you could look to increase your salary. The remainder of this guide will do just that – read on for more.
I have summarised the factors that affect your salary are:
- The Consultancy
There are minor factors, such as if the role requires you to travel to onsite projects, however, misc. factors like these have been left out because it applies to a small minority, and the impact on salary is negligible.
Experience & Seniority
Consulting is an art, a profession that is part knowledge and part intuitiveness. Experience on projects (better if they are ‘multi-cloud’) will trump any other factors, which is how you will earn your seniority. You will be asked questions about your project experience in any interview for a Salesforce Consultant role, which will demonstrate your tenacity and expertise more than your resume.
Recommended reading: 30 Salesforce Consultant Interview Questions & Answers
The tables showed the potential salary jumps you could make between junior and senior level. Here’s a quick overview:
- Junior: in a supporting role, executing tasks delegated by other team members. Observing, learning and questioning everything.
- Mid-level: lead small projects, design solutions and lead requirements gathering sessions/client workshops.
- Senior: the subject matter experts, Lead complex projects with integrations. Influence the system architecture, control the data model, release management, but are not ‘hands-on’ with configuration.
The next section in this guide will discuss ways you can accelerate your salary increases – so, at risk of repeating myself, I will leave how to jump from one level to the next until later; however, it’s worth bearing in mind that time is a key factor.
Generalist vs. Specialist? It’s a common question that pretty much any consultant has to ask themselves: will you pursue broad, cross-platform knowledge, or hone in on deep knowledge in one aspect of the Salesforce platform?
One option will lead you to become a versatile consultant, useful to any Salesforce Consultancy – however, the other can place you in a league of your own, where there are fewer professionals with your niche skill-set. Being a specialist, you can earn a higher salary, but you need to be tactful with market supply vs. demand and be in the right place at the right time.
Examples of Generalists and Specialists:
- Generalist: is an Advanced-level Admin, is Sales Cloud certified, has some knowledge of Service Cloud or Pardot.
- Specialist: for Service Cloud, for example, the Consultant would know the Cloud inside out: knowledge of Omnichannel, Live Chat, CTI integrations, SLA’s, Knowledge Base.
Certifications are a factor here too. One factor in the Partner Scoring is based on the number of certified professionals in the organisation, how many certifications they have, and the composition of certifications. Not all certifications are created equal – in terms of points, ‘Consultant’ certifications are x3 more valuable than ‘Expanded Knowledge’ certifications, whereas ‘Architect certifications’ are x25 more valuable!
partners want to increase their Partner tier (Registered, Silver, Gold, Platinum) to attract more business and referrals from Salesforce Account Executives.
What type of consultancy you work for and what your salary will be is not a strict correlation – but certainly a factor. The size of the company, the day rate they charge their clients, and their target market* all contribute to how they set their salary benchmarks.
(*For example, a consultancy targeting Financial Services clients in London is likely to set their rates higher than other industries in other regions).
As we touched on before, Salesforce Consulting Partners are sorted into Partner tiers (Registered, Silver, Gold, Platinum). A crude way to put it is, the higher the partner tier, the more business they are generating*, the more they are able to pay their consultants. This causes a snowball effect of successful growth for the consultancy, where they are attracting the best talent (and then roles in that organisation become competitive).
(*it’s worth saying there are outliers to this, cases where organisations opt out of a higher partner tier because of the costs associated, so take this with a pinch of salt).
Location/Job Market Supply
Location is important to highlight separate from the consultancy itself – it goes without saying that a consultancy with different locations will base salaries on the local economy of the office, but also consultancies can share resources in a near-shore/off-shore model….
How established is your market? An established market is one where Salesforce’s market penetration happened some time ago, or where they have gained a significant share of the CRM/enterprise technology market in-country. The longer established the market, the more certified, experienced professionals there are – which can make it harder to stand out from a large talent pool. David Lu (Salesforce MVP) has spotted this trend in Admin saturation and gives some good tips to stand out.
Increasing your Salary
Certifications & Qualifications
In my opinion, the first step to increasing your salary is to make a decision on the ‘generalist vs specialist’ question (covered in the ‘Specialisation’ section). This will give you direction for pursuing certifications and further upskill in the most impactful way.
Certifications are designed to test your knowledge of Salesforce best practice – not just knowing the features, but how to apply them optimally. We already know that certifications add points to a consulting partner’s tier, and some consultancies set targets, or are keen on incentivising; in one anecdote, a consultant told us that her salary increased by $1k for every certification she earned during her probation period.
If the consultancy you work for doesn’t have such a generous compensation scheme, consider which certifications are going to contribute to their partner status. The consultancy will gain 3 points for:
- Sales Cloud Consultant
- Service Cloud Consultant
- Platform Developer I
- Community Cloud Consultant
- Heroku Architect Designer
- Einstein Analytics & Discovery Consultant
- Marketing Cloud Consultant
- Marketing Cloud Developer
- Pardot Consultant
- B2C Commerce Developer
- Nonprofit Cloud Consultant
- Education Cloud Consultant
And 25 points for:
- Certified Technical Architect
- Certified Application Architect
- Certified System Architect
You could explore other qualifications in the areas of project management (Prince2), business analysis, project management, change management. Do check in with management in case they will fund these courses and exams.
Continue Upskilling – Trailhead
Consultants love Trailhead for a number of reasons. Firstly, the badges are informal credentials, and are less of a commitment than certifications, that can be fit around busy project schedules. Secondly, keep an eye on new products and features, and you may end up being the only knowledgeable one in your organisation! Finally, it proves your interest in the Salesforce platform, and your motivation to upskill independently. All of these are visible to your employer, and could increase your chance of a salary bump-up.
Asking for a Promotion/Career Progression
Asking for a promotion can be nerve-racking. First, consider if a promotion is possible in your consultancy? Is there a natural step up, or would you have to craft your own role to propose to your management?
Progressing to the next step in a consulting career could be laid out like this:
|Newbie||Junior Consultant||- Every consultant has a different style, so observe and see what works for you.
- Add value with your core Salesforce Knowledge whenever you can.
- Understand the mechanics of a Salesforce project - the checkpoints, the items in scope, how to act hen client-facing.
- Becoming a Salesforce Consultant – The Next Step in Your Career Path
- Salesforce Admin2Consultant Blog Pack – All You Need To Know!
|Junior Consultant||Mid-level Consultant||- Find a mentor internally that you can support, and in turn, learn from.
- Question everything to learn consultant intuitiveness (you are aiming to progress into a decision-making role, after all).
- Gain a solid understanding of the Project Manager’s role (or the concepts of Project Management)
- Conduct project debriefs at the end of every client project to reflect on what went well, or how things went wrong.
|Mid-level Consultant||Senior Consultant|
(Lead Consultant/Delivery Director)
|- Become the subject matter expert
- Influence the system architecture, control
the data model.
- Lead complex projects with integrations.
- Controlling release management,
- Expect to build less, and be more ‘hands-off’ from configuration.
- Delegate well, being a leader.
|Consultant||Contractor||While the pay may be higher, the life of a contractor/freelance consultant may not be for you. Read these posts for more information:
- Contract vs. Permanent Roles: Which Is a Good Fit for Your Salesforce Career?
- Consultant2Contractor – Introduction to Salesforce Contracting
- Going Solo: Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Freelance Salesforce Consultant
Non-Salesforce Experience: don’t shy away from past work experience, even if the role was not Salesforce related. Clients much prefer talking to someone that can speak their language, who can add value to their process and can challenge it, too. An ex-Recruiter, now Salesforce Consultant I know springs to mind – he has worked on Salesforce implementations for Recruitment Consultancies where the clients have come back for Phase 2, 3 and long-term partnerships.
Understand Company Objectives
Consultancies can have relatively flat organisational hierarchies, which can foster transparency about business objectives. Of course, there are other ways these are broadcasted (featuring acronyms and code names) – ‘QBRs’, ‘SKOs’, ‘V2MOM’, ‘All-hands’. Listen carefully to where the business wants to head; is it to win more Pardot projects, expand in the Manufacturing sector? This is foresight for you to read up in advance and be able to talk the product/industry language when that time comes.
Taking on Additional Responsibilities
Team-work is a significant part of working in a consultancy, working in Agile project methodology, or in flat organisational hierarchies where self-management is encouraged.
The work of a consultant can rarely be condensed down into a job description, and there are opportunities to take on other accountabilities, such as holding lunch and learn sessions. Keep your ‘solution mindset’ turned on and look for ways you can make suggestions for improving internal processes for everyone’s benefit. Additional responsibilities like these increase your value as an employee and make salary negotiations smoother.
No Salesforceben.com salary guide would be complete without discussing soft skills.
I believe that soft skills are critical to increasing your salary, especially if experience is not on your side (yet). This reminds me of what I wrote in a previous post, reflecting on becoming a freelance consultant:
“Being self-aware means that you can be ‘elastic’ to new or unexpected situations, able to adapt without breaking. The assignments that make up your new work schedule may not be consistent* or as well structured as you’re used to.
Every new client is like starting a new job. If you don’t cope well with change, you may want to reconsider.”
Other qualities highlighted by one Delivery Director at a UK Consultancy are:
- Relationship building skills are so fundamental. Being personable.
- Being calm under pressure
- Resolving issues proactively
- Take command of a room, not appearing passive
- Think before you speak – juniors want to talk for the sake of it, you need to always be adding value.
Building a personal brand cannot be directly linked to salary increases but becoming more visible in the Trailblazer Community as an influencer practically turns you into a lead magnet for your consultancy. Being able to mark your name as the ‘Lead Source’ for that opportunity in your own instance of Salesforce? Sourced revenue is certain to get attention within your organisation.
On Being Patient
While this section has given you plenty of ideas to accelerate your salary increases, it’s worth repeating that experience is the key factor in determining your salary.
Consulting is an art, a profession that is part knowledge and part intuitiveness, therefore, time (and being open to different project opportunities) are the most reliable routes to increasing your salary.
There are some things in life that just take time – so, be patient, stay curious, and absorb all the experience you can get.