Salesforce Implementation Costs: Factors to Consider and Average Expenses

According to the Total Cost of Ownership of Salesforce study, there are a few main factors regarding CRM adoption decisions. 

The financial sting of ongoing costs leads at 40%, followed closely by the quest for adaptable features at 39%. At the end of the list, integration challenges (38%) and customization needs (36%) add complexity. 

According to Future Market Insights, Salesforce services will be worth $33.5 billion by the end of 2029, growing at a CAGR of 14.4%. It was reported that 58% of average Salesforce customers documented project payback within a year, based on the same report. 

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What is Salesforce Implementation and How Does it Go?

Salesforce implementation is setting up and customizing the platform to meet a business's specific needs and requirements. It consists of the following steps: 

  1. Assessment and planning: You start with understanding your business's needs, current processes, and pain points. Further, you set clear goals and develop a detailed plan to guide the implementation.
  2. Customization:Then you choose how far you'd go with Salesforce's flexibility. You can create custom fields, objects, workflows, dashboards, templates, and page layouts aligned with your unique business processes. 
  3. Data migration: If you're transitioning from another CRM or managing data in spreadsheets, this step may require data cleansing and transformation to avoid data silos and irrelevant information filtering through your systems.
  4. Integration:If there are marketing and sales functions you would like to tie up to your Salesforce setup, there are almost any integrations possible with ready-made solutions already available and custom options. It can be a lengthy and complicated implementation step.
  5. Deployment: Following successful testing and validation, you deploy Salesforce to the production environment.

Factors Affecting Typical Salesforce Implementation Cost

Let's take a quick look at a few most commonly discussed factors that will be reflected in your implementation estimate. 

Factors Affecting Salesforce Implementation Costs

Factors Affecting Salesforce Implementation Costs 

  1. Data quality: If data requires cleansing, transformation, or integration from multiple sources, additional efforts may be needed, leading to increased costs.
  2. Project complexity: More complex projects may require extensive customization, configuration, and integration efforts, which can contribute to higher costs.
  3. Level of customization: Implementing custom objects, fields, workflows, or complex business logic may require additional time and resources, increasing costs.
  4. User adoption: Costs related to user training, change management, and ongoing support should be considered to drive adoption and maximize the return on investment.
  5. Number of users: Licensing fees, user training, and support requirements may scale with the number of users, influencing overall costs.
  6. Geographic location: Factors such as language requirements, regulatory compliance, and the need for localized support may incur additional expenses.
  7. Integration with other systems: The complexity of integration, the number of systems involved, and the need for custom API development can contribute to overall costs.


How Much Does a Salesforce Implementation Сost?

Salesforce is typically more expensive than its competition, but you pay for industry-leading software with years of experience and many add-ons and integrations. Many businesses use Salesforce at some point in their growth journey for various reasons. 

Implementation Consulting

Below are the primary Salesforce services you'll have to factor in when allocating your budget: 

The implementation consultant can assist you in choosing a suitable license, crafting an efficient implementation roadmap, and designing your solution. Collaborating with Salesforce partners mitigates implementation risks due to their profound platform expertise. 

Even with budget constraints, support remains viable. 

An implementation partner can divide responsibilities, handling simple configurations and training on your end while tackling the more technically challenging aspects. This approach not only saves nerves but also proves cost-effective. 

The duration of the consulting process varies, spanning from a few weeks to several months. The costs are based on the project's complexity and typically range between $5,000 to $20,000. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Salesforce consulting normally lasts from 2 weeks to several months 
  • Salesforce consulting costs range between $5,000 to $20,000. 

Data Migration and Cleansing

As mentioned, the data migration involves meticulous checks for accuracy, error cleanup, redundancy removal, and mapping data into Salesforce fields. In certain instances, custom tools for automated data transfer may be necessary. 

The cost of data migration can vary significantly, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 or more. 

This variance is influenced by factors such as the volume and quality of data, the systems involved, and the overall complexity. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Data will require thorough reworking and analysis before migration 
  • Salesforce data migration costs range between $5,000 to $50,000+ 

Customization and Configuration Requirements

There are three ways in which Salesforce is customizable: 

Firstly, the platform itself has loads of readily available point-and-click configurations. 

The next level is integration with other systems and apps. 

Finally, if this is not enough, you can opt to develop unique functionality specifically for your business needs. 

Basic customization, like adding custom fields and workflows, usually costs between $10,000 to $20,000. On the other hand, more advanced customizations, such as building special applications or connecting with other systems, might go beyond $50,000. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • You can go custom or stick with out-of-the-box features 
  • Salesforce customization costs usually start from $10,000+ 

Training and Change Management

Salesforce is at its best when every user knows the platform like the back of their hand. 

Training costs depend mainly on the number of participants and departments in your business. While self-training is significantly cheaper than instructor-led training, there are more efficient ways to become proficient in the system. 

One of the most significant obstacles to a successful Salesforce implementation is poor buy-in from your team after launch. Companies conduct end-user training that familiarizes all stakeholders with your CRM functionality and ensures their team can leverage the platform for maximum ROI. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Poor buy-in from your team means less than ideal future performance 
  • Training costs depend solely on your organization and team structure and the employee's prior involvement with Salesforce 

Ongoing Support and Maintenance

When implementation is wrapped up, but the anticipated results are nowhere in sight, it can be a lack of user engagement or automation causing more hindrance than help. Post-launch issues can surface unexpectedly. Planning for addressing these challenges is essential. 

Having post-deployment support is a wise precaution to prevent potential headaches down the road. The pricing for this support is based on the duration of usage. 

The expense for continuous support can vary, ranging from $10,000 to $45,000 per year. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • You can go custom or stick with out-of-box features 
  • Salesforce ongoing support expenses usually start from $10,000+ 

Size of the Organization and User Base

Salesforce recurring edition costs depend on the number of users and products you go for. 

A large corporation with thousands of employees might face higher costs due to the complexity of the setup. 

On the other hand, a small business, such as a local NPO organization with a limited workforce, could spend less on a more straightforward process. 

Recognizing this connection between company size, user base, and costs is crucial. 

Imagine a tech giant versus a local bakery — their Salesforce needs and associated expenses would likely differ significantly. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Keep in mind how many users you want to have for your Salesforce license 
  • There are no fixed or easily predictable rates on Salesforce adoption 

Average Cost for Salesforce Implementation: Expert Opinion

To clear the air on the loaded topic of implementation costs and guide organizations towards successful implementations, we asked a few questions to Serge Koczanowski, Twistellar's CTO. 

Below, Serge reflects on the nuances of cost considerations and hidden expenses as well as the importance of strategic decision-making expertise. 

Is there an average check in the industry? Has it changed in any way in the last few years? 

There is no average industry standard when it comes to pricing. It heavily depends on the scope of work required for implementing specific solutions. 

Every client is unique, and even with Salesforce licenses that include certain functionalities, they are not always fully utilized by clients as often as necessary. For calculating the cost of basic implementations, we rely on specialized estimation templates based on our own expertise. 

Serge Koczanowski, CTO at Twistellar 

Q: Is there an average check in the industry? Has it changed in any way in the last few years? 

A: However, the cost expands as companies grow or allocate a larger budget for automation. There is no limit to perfection. 

Here are a few examples of Salesforce budgeting discrepancies from Serge: 

  • In Sales Cloud, Opportunity pipelines, Quote management, and even pricebooks may not be used. 
  • In Service Cloud, inbound Case flows, knowledge base and solutions may not be used. 
  • In Experience Cloud, CMS and predefined templates may not be used. 
  • In Marketing Cloud Engagement, content management, ETL capabilities, and Einstein reporting & discovery functionality may not be used. 
  • In Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (previously Pardot), prospect management flows, landing pages and forms may not be used, turning the system into a mass email delivery tool. 

Regarding solution costs, there has been a shift in recent years towards allocating funds from CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) to OPEX (Operational Expenditure). It means clients spend more money on licenses instead of investing in tailored solutions. This shift is driven by Salesforce offering a broader range of ready-made products that encompass functionalities previously only available through custom development. 

Serge Koczanowski, CTO at Twistellar 

Q: What are the hidden expenses during Salesforce implementation that most organizations are initially unaware of? 

A: There are a few common patterns that may cause bottlenecks and influence Salesforce implementation costs for your business: 

  • Clients don't always know what they want, and a poorly conducted discovery phase may not reveal the functionality that the client assumes is obvious. 
  • Clients don't always understand that custom development tailored to their needs is not included in the cost of Salesforce licenses, which provide access to the platform's products but not their configuration. 
  • Suboptimal license selection sometimes forces clients to spend on features that won't be used (previous point). This is due to the lack of technical consultancy during product selection, so it's crucial to involve real experts like us. 

Case Study: Database Cleansing and Migration from HubSpot 

Gexcon, a world-leading safety and risk management company in the field, faced a challenge in streamlining marketing activities across departments. Only one department of many adopted Salesforce CRM. This resulted in disjointed data and incomplete customer views, as other teams used different tools. 

Together with Twistellar, MCAE was implemented successfully, including database migration from HubSpot, customization, content migration, database cleansing, preference center setup, and Zoom integration. It improved marketing-sales team sync with new assignment rules and custom Web2Case solutions. 

Q: Is there any area where cost savings can be achieved during implementation, or are there some aspects where cutting costs is strongly discouraged? 

A: Any attempt to cut costs usually leads to a degradation of the expected results for the client. 

If you save on licenses, conflicts will arise when multiple users or groups use the system. 

If you save on consulting and development fees, the result will be so poor that you'll end up paying twice. 

The well-known quote perfectly describes what we often encounter when we finish solutions for other companies: 'If you think good architecture is expensive, try bad architecture.' 

The main recommendation for those who want to save money is to divide releases into stages. You can spend less on creating a working MVP and then enhance it in multiple phases as needed. In the long run, this will be a better solution than trying to do everything at once, which would result in nothing working and the company's processes suffering. 

Salesforce Implementation Partners and Consulting Rates

When considering implementation costs for Salesforce, industry standards indicate an average range of $75,000 to $200,000 for mid-sized businesses. 

For instance, you own a mid-size business with a good enough sales department. 

If you have three C-level executives, one Sales Admin, five Field Sales Executives, 15 in-house Sales representatives, one Service Manager, up to ten Customer service agents, and three to five Marketing managers, 

Enterprise edition for both Sales and Service Cloud will be a fit for you. Additionally, you can opt for an add-on, such as Salesforce Field Service. 

The total annual fee for this comprehensive setup is $62,000+, comprising $60,000 for Sales and Service Cloud and $3,000 for the Field Service add-on. Importantly, this amount exclusively covers the annual subscription cost. 

Additionally, expenses may arise for extra licenses or users, especially if not negotiated in the initial contract. Most companies allocate at least one paid employee for CRM and technology support, with costs contingent on the martech stack's complexity. It's vital to anticipate additional user fees unless explicitly covered in the initial contract negotiations. 

If you decide to hire a Salesforce service provider for implementation, the overall cost will likely increase, depending on the selected engagement model. 

For reference, at Twistellar, we offer two—fixed (project-based) and dedicated (time and material), each with specific conditions and requirements. The engagement model is up to you, but as a certified Salesforce partner, we would advise you on the one that would bring you the most tangible value by the time you need it. 

The main recommendation for those who want to save money is to divide releases into stages. You can spend less on creating a working MVP and then enhance it in multiple phases as needed. In the long run, this will be a better solution than trying to do everything at once, which would result in nothing working and the company's processes suffering. 

If you've made peace with the implementation bills, what can you expect regarding ROI? 

It is estimated that Salesforce can generate an average return on investment of 300 to 500% over four years, according to a 2021 IDC report on its economic impact. 

Advanced Features: Apex supports triggers, batch jobs, and scheduled tasks. These capabilities enable developers to create and implement automation scenarios of varying complexity, from straightforward tasks to intricate operations triggered by specific events.

Salesforce also reduces IT costs by 43%, emails by 26%, and personal meetings by 25%, so you can focus on the bigger picture to grow your business. 

dont miss out iconCheck out another amazing blog by Twistellar: What is Pardot in Salesforce and Does Your Business Need it in 2024?

How Much Should You Spend on Salesforce?

A Salesforce implementation doesn't have to be huge. Start small, think big. An out-of-the-box solution has minimal pricing and low overhead for your license; you can continually expand it. 

You can cut costs on Salesforce if you think about what you need first. Here are some tips to remember: 

  • Only pay for the features you need: Start with the essentials and scale accordingly from there. 
  • Track how much you use Salesforce: it can help you cut down on unnecessary users and licenses. 
  • Check out available add-ons: If you need extra functionality, explore options on AppExchange. Hunt for free apps on the AppExchange. You might find gems that match or beat the paid versions. 

Still Not Sure Whether to Implement Salesforce? 

Our consultants will be happy to provide you with a Salesforce demo, an assessment of your needs, and an honest and detailed estimate of the cost of implementation. 

Quick-start packages are available for those who want to start with Salesforce immediately. 

This article was originally published at 


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