End User or Consultancy: Things to Consider

There are many things to consider when choosing a Salesforce job. One choice for admins and developers is whether to work in an ‘end user’ or ‘consultancy’. In fact, this is a common point of conversation with the mentees I have the pleasure of mentoring in Supermums

This can sometimes seem a daunting choice. However, it does not need to be if you focus on what matters to you. You need to balance the various pros and cons. 

Adam Lawrence and I recently talked about this very topic. Here’s what we came up with. We hope you find it useful!

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What is an End User Role?

An end user role means working for a business, who is a Salesforce customer. You could be an employee, or contractor. The role could be part of an internal team, working with third-parties, or even as the sole Salesforce professional in the org.  

Typically, your work will help identify opportunities and solve business challenges. This helps you gain in-depth understanding of the business and industry. 

Advantages

Time to explore
End user environments often provide more time to explore features. This can provide an opportunity to learn things in greater depth. 

Stability and work-life balance
Such roles usually have less need for travel. There may also be fewer conflicting deadlines. This can help with maintaining a healthier work-life balance.

Experience
Working in an end user allows you to gain a detailed understanding of a business’s (and industry’s) challenges. Depending on the role, you may also work with colleagues from other disciplines. Seeing the outcomes of your effort first hand is also satisfying. This can sometimes be harder to achieve in a consultancy role. 

Lastly, it is not uncommon for people starting in their careers to work in an end user, gain experience and then move onto consultancy. 

Disadvantages

Potentially less variety
Often, end user roles can provide less exposure to different Salesforce technologies. You may also encounter similar challenges. Depending on your role, this may reduce the variety of your work.

Possibilities for career growth
End user roles can have fewer opportunities for progression. However, this will depend on the role and business. For example, working as a solo-Admin probably has less opportunities for advancement. In contrast, working in a larger team may help with progression and specialisation. 

Less networking
End user roles often allow you to work with a team consistently. This can be rewarding. For example, developing a stronger, close-knit community with your peers. Whilst this is a positive, you may also have less exposure to a wider array of Salesforce professionals. This can be overcome by networking with others in the community. 

Consultancy

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Consultancies offer professional services. You will often work with multiple Salesforce customers. Depending on your role, you may be customer facing. For example, gathering requirements and running workshops. Alongside this, you may have some focus on billable time, budgeting, and account management. The extent of these will depend on the specifics of your role and responsibilities. 

Advantages

Fast paced environment
Consultancy roles can be fast paced. This is not to say end user roles are not. However, helping multiple clients can be both challenging, and rewarding.

Networking, Learning & Certification
Consultancies often provide many opportunities for learning and growth. For example, knowledge sharing with peers and on-the-job project learning. Moreover, if you are working with a Salesforce Partner, access to the Partner Learning Camp provides additional training resources and accreditations.

Travel / Adventure
Before Covid, most consultancies had a strong focus on face-to-face interactions with customers. Specifically, helping to build rapport, trust and understanding of the client’s needs. 

Depending on your preferences, being able to see different businesses, cities and sometimes countries can be an adventure!

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Disadvantages

Pressure
Consultancy roles can be more pressurised. For example, working with multiple clients with competing objectives and deadlines. This can provide an opportunity for soft-skill growth. However, you should consider if you will have the right support available for your needs. 

Expectations
There can sometimes be an expectation to perform immediately. Customers are paying for your expertise. If you are dealing with areas you are unfamiliar with, this can be more challenging. Depending on the consultancy, you may feel obligated to study more certifications. Equally, you may have an expectation to travel at short notice. Depending on your commitments, this can be challenging. 

Benching
Having resources ready to help clients is key for consultancies. However, projects can get cancelled or a consultancy may hire more people than needed in anticipation of future projects. In either case, this can result in being put ‘on the bench’. This can be a great opportunity for learning, but if for long periods, can be demotivating.

Be careful of generalising...

Despite the above, it is important not to generalise. No two businesses are the same. Equally, you must consider your own expectations and needs. For example, we recommend considering the following:

  • Salesforce Team. Do you know much about the team you will be working with? The team you’ll be working with will make a huge difference to your experience. Learn what you can
  • Culture. What is the culture of the business like? Is it fun, transparent, flexible, etc? Consider whether the environment will allow you to be at your best and thrive
  • Growth. Will the role allow you to grow? For example, learning soft and hard skills? Are you happy with the opportunities for career progression? 
  • Hours. What are the working hours? Are you expected to work overtime to ‘get the job done’?
  • Travel. Is the role remote or office based? Will you be required to spend a lot of time travelling? Be sure to consider your other commitments
  • Impact. Are you going to have an impact in your role or are you going to be one in the crowd?
  • Take-home pay. Consultancy roles tend to have higher salaries than end user roles. However, this may not always be the case. Be sure to look at what is on offer and consider what matters to you most

Over to you

No two people’s journeys within the Salesforce ecosystem are the same. We’d love to hear your thoughts too. Feel free to post in the comments or reach out via LinkedIn. It would be great to hear from you!

Summary

We have summarised some of the main differences between end user and consulting roles. Whilst some points apply to all end user and consulting roles, do not overgeneralise. Do your homework, understand the roles and reflect on what matters to you most. It is your career; be sure to make the most of it!

Thanks to Adam Lawrence for his contribution to this post!

I hope this post has been helpful. if it has, please join the SFDC Penguin LinkedIn Group for updates!

Bonus Penguin Fact

Penguins may seem clumsy on land, but they are amazing swimmers. Check out this first-person view of a Gentoo penguin, as it hunts for fish in Argentina. 

 

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