End-User vs. Consultancy: Which Should You Choose? Part One

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When you work in the world of Salesforce there are a lot of choices to make; should you take on contract or permanent opportunities, should you work towards your certifications, should you go down the technical or the business-facing route. The list never ends – and will probably keep growing, bearing in mind how quickly the ecosystem is developing.

But, one of the biggest decisions that most Salesforce professionals will make is whether they should work for an end-user or a consultancy. Both offer lucrative career opportunities, and I’m definitely not here to say that once you do one you cannot do the other, but as with any decision about your career there are always two sides to consider.

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In this two-part series, we’ll take a look at some potential pros and cons that you might want to consider when looking at making a move to an end-user or consultancy. First up…end-users.

End User Pros

Much like taking on a permanent role at a company, a position in an end-user client is generally in a fixed location with set working hours. Because of this, one of the major benefits working for an end-user confers is the ability to strike a pretty good work-life balance. With the exception of extenuating circumstances, you’re able to take control of your own workload, clocking in and out as and when you need, which means that working for a Salesforce end-user could provide you with a greater sense of freedom and autonomy. So, if you’re someone who likes the idea of controlling your working life then this is definitely a reason to put the end-user role in in the ‘yes’ checklist.

It is also important to consider the progression and career growth that comes hand-in-hand with working for an end-user.  It’s simple logic; companies want to invest in those who are with them for the long haul and will do more to ensure that those individuals stick around by promoting them along the way. It is important to consider that you may hit a ceiling in an end-user; particularly if you are working in a small business who are not looking to expand their Salesforce capabilities in the near future – but in that instance, you will gain a lot of hands-on experience that you can then use to take a step up on the career ladder in another business. So, it’s a tale of two sides: either you join an end-user where you have a huge amount of growth and progression opportunities, or you join an end-user where you’re working pretty solo and – by proxy – gaining an amazing amount of hands-on experience that you can use to progress when you next move roles. In either instance, working in an end-user environment can provide you with ample opportunities to grow.

In line with this, it is highly likely that an end-user will be more willing to send you to the likes of Salesforce World Tour and other conferences, as they are investing in you as a permanent employee and, by extension, in their business and their own capabilities.

One final thing that is important to consider when you are working for an end-user is that – by nature of the fact you will be contributing to the progression of a product and company on a daily basis – it might be easier to feel an emotional connection with your work. You will be working on challenges and solutions that truly affect you and your organisation, so if you’re someone who is driven by being part of something bigger then working for an end-user is an appealing way to gain that sense of pride and belonging.

End User Cons

When you lay it all out like that, choosing to take on a role with an end-user sounds easy; it clearly has its perks. But that doesn’t mean it’s all rosy in the world of end-user organisations and there aren’t potential disadvantages that you should consider…

Namely, although the sense of belonging might be just what you are after when you’re in the same job, and the same company, for the long haul there is always the possibility that you could get a little…bored. End-user roles can certainly have less variety than consultancy roles – although that’s not to say that’s always the case – but, you do need to consider whether you’re willing to swap in diversity for potential monotony.

And, with the Salesforce ecosystem developing as quickly as it is, and with new technologies and capabilities constantly advancing, you have to consider whether working for an end-user might prevent you from getting the opportunity to work with more advanced technologies. Compared to consultancies, end-users will tend to have a much more structured plan as to how they are going to use Salesforce, and there is always the chance that you won’t get your hands on the new tech if it isn’t in their plan. That being said, you can, of course, use other means keep yourself up to date – be it Trailhead or attending MeetUps to stay in the know – but you should consider whether you would be happy potentially being hands-off from the latest gadgets.

In line with this, whilst end-users wouldn’t actively discourage you from completing certifications, they certainly wouldn’t push you to do it either. That’s not to say that you couldn’t – and shouldn’t – get certified of your own volition, but it is more likely that you will end up doing so in your spare time. Of course, there may be some end-users who would love for their employees to get certified and will build in into your development plan, but from a subjective perspective, an end-user wouldn’t gain a lot more value from someone who already works for them getting further certified. In comparison, a consultancy would love their employees to continue gaining certifications as those accolades will continue to draw in potential clients and will make you a more marketable asset (more on this in next week’s instalment!).

When it comes down to it, the choice to work for a Salesforce end-user or not is all down to personal preference and your individual circumstances, but it can always help to have an unbiased view to help you weigh up your choices. If you’re looking for some of that advice, or to find out more about the latest end-user roles, get in touch with our specialist consultants for a chat!

5 thoughts on “End-User vs. Consultancy: Which Should You Choose? Part One

  1. Avatar

    Being both in Consultancy and End-User, this is spot on. I am keeping up certifications in my spare time as an end user analyst! Consultancy will push for certifications as the more certified strength in a company, the more possible to be a gold or platinum SF preferred vendor. Just to share, it also depends on downline and opportunity centric. If the role is directly revenue powered by sales team, and if sales tend to cut corners just to make the sale, it will trickledown to less profit and affect development for consultants. As consultants are exposed to numerous software lifecycles, might be foregoing chances of implementation of knowledge of how to make the best value of data – which is kind of what CRM is all about. Consultancy firm that values technical and soft skills > end user in a company that stays stagnant. Whereas end user with mgt tt values and stratagise changes > consultancy firm mainly chasing for sales and neglect development and reward for staff. Having expertise in both helps to rise to the occasion when the right opportunity comes!

    1. Lucy Mazalon

      Love it! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the topic – I’m sure the readers will find it helpful hearing your experience.

  2. Avatar

    Something people should consider is the role itself – I ended up leaving consulting because I was sold as a BA but my strengths were in testing and development not design either. At an End User you can choose what role you’re hired for.

    1. Ben McCarthy

      Great point. I think to add, while this is your own experience, it won’t be everyones. However I agree this does happen in a consultancy environment due to lack of resources in certain areas.

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