How Much Should Custom Salesforce Development Cost?

How Much Should Custom Salesforce Development Cost?

Custom Salesforce design and development takes your desired sales process combined with your need for data to make data-driven decisions and maps it into a customized framework. Once implemented, your sales team can work and access your data and its process-driven approach from anywhere at any time, making your company’s Customer Service Management (CRM) faultless, increase in productivity and a cost-effective solution with scope for continued growth.

Did you know that Salesforce commands around 20% of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market share?

This means that Salesforce has dominated the sales industry for nearly a decade. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss several key factors to consider when gauging the cost of your custom Salesforce implementation, including the breakdown the development structure, the advantages and disadvantages of implementing a customized system, general questions and of course the cost involved in hiring a custom Salesforce developer. 

Let’s get started:

What is Salesforce Development?

The Salesforce platform attracts businesses and developers for a variety of reasons, but one of the most compelling benefits is found in the ability to extend the core platform via custom application development. 

App Development

The ability to develop standalone apps for Salesforce – apps that work on top of your existing Salesforce implementation – is what can allow you to scale. It enables you to improve existing applications, move other existing applications over to the Salesforce platform, and integrate features to establish even more robust solutions.

Salesforce App Integration & Robust Analytics

With the capability to integrate into your social media, website, ERP, Google Analytics, and other third-party applications, total versatility and flexibility are within reach. Salesforce can be a means of combining big data with business intelligence, allowing for more timely decision-making capabilities from management. 

A good platform is useless without an advanced analytics engine attached to it. And while there are plenty of good systems out there, Salesforce Wave Analytics Cloud (and other third-party analytics solutions) are among the best.

What are the Benefits?

The advantages are as diverse as the customization abilities. However, implementing a customized Salesforce by a experienced developer has some killer benefits, including; 

  • Easy to follow sales process
  • Bolstering the closure of more business opportunities 
  • Accurate predictions & forecasting on one centralized system
  • Increases your business operations productivity
  • Driver of steady overall sales growth
  • Streamline multiple business processes into a single platform and dashboard 

What are the Disadvantages?

The disadvantages only relate to companies who decide to take the project into their own hands and implement the structure in-house, rather than seeking Salesforce development experts.

However, there are a number of disadvantages should you decide to cut out the developer and do it alone, include:

  • It can be expensive to implement, especially if you’re not familiar with the process
  • You have to pay for add-ons to get the most out of the software
  • Configuration and setup can be complex and time-consuming
  • A cluttered interface can make navigation and simple tasks unnecessarily complex 
  • There is a seemingly never-ending learning curve 

How Much Should Custom Salesforce Development Cost?

If you consider Salesforce as an option to transform or set to rights your sales, marketing or customer service efforts, the total cost of a custom solution will be one of the factors determining your choice.

Salesforce implementation costs can range anywhere from $10,000 to well over $100,000. The difference in pricing is dependent on the level of required customization. 

To make an estimation, you’ll have to calculate how much you’ll spend on purchasing, deploying, tailoring and further maintaining your solution.

In doing so, you’ll also want to compare the cost of hiring a developer in-house, vs outsourcing. Having a custom in-house developer may increase the cost over the long term, but may be the right strategy for some organizations that maintain a heavy sales force.

State Average Annual Salesforce Developer Salary
Washington $122,167
California $129,059
New York $122,264
Colorado $123,373
Texas $104,394
Massachusetts $116,268

(These prices are from Salesforce – meaning they can vary from time to time, and that it does not mean it can cost you this amount.)

For example:

Sales Cloud Pricing

Salesforce has four Cloud options that vary in cost – it depends on what suits your company’s needs, let’s take a look:

  • Lightning Essentials ($25 per user/month) is suitable for companies with the need for basic CRM functionality (like lead, account, contact, opportunity and sales tasks management).
  • Lightning Professional ($75 per user/month) suits mid-sized businesses with one sales department.
  • Lightning Enterprise ($150 per user/month) will be a good choice for mid-sized and large businesses with multiple sales teams in need of numerous automated sales-related processes and advanced sales reporting and forecasting.
  • Lightning Unlimited ($300 per user/month) is the most feature-rich edition that provides huge opportunities for sales automation and unlimited access to 24/7 toll-free support.

Service Cloud pricing

Similar to Sales Cloud, Service Cloud has four options available that vary in cost, so it will depend on what you choose, is to the overall cost of your Salesforce custom development.

  • Lightning Essentials ($25 per user/month) provides the most basic customer service features, like omnichannel case routing, case escalation rules, web and email case capture for up to 10 users.
  • Lightning Professional ($75 per user/month) provides more extended functionality with features like the case milestone tracker, computer telephony integration and order management to any number of users.
  • Lightning Enterprise ($150 per user/month) with comprehensive functionality including service process automation, field service and advanced reporting with slight limitations.
  • Lightning Unlimited ($300 per user/month) provides the richest functionality for customer service needs with access to 24/7 toll-free support, configuration services, and unlimited user training opportunities.

Sales & Service Clouding price

If you need to provide sales and customer service agents with access to both Clouds, you could choose any of the four formats that combine Sales and Service Clouds’ functionalities, such as:

  • Lightning Essentials ($25 per user/month) with basic features for sales and customer service, suitable for small teams of no more than 10 people in total.
  • Lightning Professional ($100 per user/month) with substantial functionality for sales and customer service activities for any number of users.
  • Lightning Enterprise ($175 per user/month) is a highly customizable edition for covering comprehensive sales and customer service needs typical of a mid-sized or large organization.
  • Lightning Unlimited ($325 per user/month) provides ultimate functionality for sales and customer service along with unlimited support capabilities and access to premier Salesforce resources (Premier Toolkit, training templates, user adoption programs and more).

Marketing Cloud pricing

The Marketing Cloud’s functionality is divided into sets aimed to serve the different marketing goals of a company. For example; email marketing, social media marketing or B2B marketing computerization.

Set 1 is predominantly for Email, Mobile, and Web Marketing, and the price depends on the contact and message volume.

Set 2 for Social Media Marketing ranges from $1,000 per month for the basic edition up to $40,000 per month for the most advanced. It is mainly used for improving content marketing and customer engagement in social media.

Set 3 for B2B Marketing Automation ranges from $1,250 per month for its basic edition to $4,000 per month for the most advanced.

  • As mentioned earlier, these are average costs/prices and not exact – the overall cost for your own Salesforce development implementation will vary due to its customization. 

8+ Best Practices A Salesforce Customization Developer Should Implement

To execute a successful Salesforce customization, you need to follow certain practices. Here, we have outlined some of the best practices of Salesforce customization. Just follow these and you are good to go!

  1. Plan ahead.
  2. Organize and prioritize the customizations.
  3. Use a sandbox to create your Salesforce customizations in a safe place without affecting other users.
  4. Take help from the Salesforce Experts.
  5. Use other tools to help you with customization.
  6. Test and test again before finally deploying the customization.
  7. Use simple, concise and structured naming conventions for better communication.
  8. Add details about the feature to help other developers understand your customizations and prevent them from being changed or duplicated.

Interestingly enough, ensuring you use a Salesforce developer than trying to implement a customized solution yourself, helps greatly!

For example, did you know that with Salesforce’s ability to monitor performance in real-time with customized reports and dashboards, sales productivity rises by 44%?

Salesforce Customization vs. Salesforce Configuration: What’s the difference?

Customization? Configuration? What do they both mean, but more importantly what are the differences between them – let’s find out:

Salesforce customization refers to custom development and coding to add robust features to your CRM platform. These features can be integrated with your business to have a scalable impact. Usually, these are the actions that aren’t attainable with just your Salesforce and extend the functionality of your CRM, expanding the scope of your business tasks.

Salesforce Customization Examples:

Apex Classes, Apex triggers, Different third-party integrations, visual force emails, using CSS to alter the page layout and building visual force pages are some of the examples of Salesforce Customization.

Salesforce configuration is all you can do inside the CRM system. This means you can add a new field to your Salesforce, that uses a formula or a specific rule to achieve an outcome. In simple words, the configuration in Salesforce means that user-defined values will permit a certain module or feature to function. You can do most of this on your own but hiring a Salesforce administrator definitely helps in getting a higher return in lesser time.

Salesforce Configuration Examples:

The setting of an email is a Salesforce configuration. Moreover, with a Salesforce configuration, you can alter fields, make changes in workflows, create additional reports, customize the user interface and change page layouts, etc.

7+ Questions to Ask a Salesforce Developer

Deciding to implement a customized Salesforce solution is not cheap, and comes with a lot of homework and research before going ahead. Below we have listed a few example questions you should be asking a developer before making any bold decisions.

What is the difference between a role and a profile?

Profiles are both features that can be added to a user record in Salesforce. Roles are optionally added while Profiles are a basic requirement of setting up a user.

Profiles help to control object privileges such as CRED (Create, Read, Edit, Delete).

They also contain system permissions that a user can carry out such as exporting data.

Roles on the other hand help with sharing records across an organisation. They work in a hierarchical fashion, giving users access to records that are owned by people lower down in the hierarchy.

Can you name three types of object relationships available in Salesforce?

There are three main relationship types in Salesforce…

  • A lookup relationship can be used to link two objects together. It is the most basic type of relationship that creates a child-parent relationship between two objects.
  • A master-detail relationship can also be used to link two objects together. A master-detail relationship creates a tight relationship between the parent and the child. The child record inherits the security of the parent, and if the parent is deleted, all associated child records will also be deleted.

Master-detail relationships created some extra functionality such as roll-up summary fields that allow you to calculate data on the parent from the children.

  • A many-to-many relationship (Also referred to as a junction object), allows you to create a relationship between two objects that need to model a many-to-many relationship. These are created with an object that has two master-detail relationships to two parent objects.

What is SOQL used for?

SOQL stands for Salesforce Object Query Language. It is very similar to the widely used language SQL (Structured Query Language), to query databases. SOQL is specifically designed for Salesforce data and is used to query the Salesforce platform to retrieve data. SOQL is used within Apex & Visualforce to return sets of data.

What options are available to you for deploying from a Sandbox to Production?

There are various ways to deploy from Sandbox to Production. The main way is to use a Salesforce feature called Change Sets. These allow you to package up components and then deploying them to another Salesforce Org. There are various other methods including ANT Migration Tool, IDE and Unmanaged packages.

How are bucket fields used in Salesforce?

Bucket fields can be used in Salesforce reports grouping together field values. These fields are not created on the Salesforce platform and only exist in the report itself.

How are sharing rules used in Salesforce?

Sharing rules can be set up in order to extend sharing and to grant users access to a set of records depending on defined criteria. A sharing rule can be set up to extend sharing to a profile, role or public group depending on either the owner of a record or a field value. You can either assign Read-Only access to these users or Read/Write access.

Can you explain the use of custom settings?

Custom settings are similar to custom objects and enable application developers to create custom sets of data, as well as create and associate custom data for an organization, profile, or specific user. You can use custom settings to store a variety of information that can be accessed easily by other Salesforce tools.

If you’re still looking for extra guidance or support with your very own customized Salesforce development then contact us today!

Ryan is the VP of Operations for He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations--delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.
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Ryan Nead