Salesforce today is a much different company than it was when I first entered the ecosystem in 2005. I was what they call an “accidental admin” within a small nonprofit organization trying to self-implement a CRM that would manage donors and volunteers. At the time, the Salesforce Admin certification had only just been introduced and was beginning to gain momentum, there wasn’t a Trailblazer Community (we had a few “community boards” and Google groups), and it was nearly impossible to find training materials.
In 2020, Gartner ranked Salesforce the #1 CRM for the 8th year in a row, with greater market share than the next nine competitors combined. Salesforce is projecting $26.01 billion in revenue for FY 2022 and more than 150,000 companies and 40,000 nonprofits currently use the platform to create value. Salesforce’s economic impact is even greater. According to IDC, Salesforce is expected to create 4.2 million jobs worldwide and $1.2 trillion in new business revenue by 2024. Furthermore, because most Salesforce clients spend on related ISVs and services, the ecosystem will soon become six times bigger than Salesforce itself.
With the growth of the Salesforce ecosystem, you won’t be surprised to learn that demand for Salesforce talent has skyrocketed. According to a recent report, the number of certified experts within the Salesforce partner ecosystem has grown 60% YoY to nearly 67,000 compared to only 9% the year before. In a Forbes article published last year, Ryan Craig asked an important question: “America’s businesses are running on Salesforce. Why aren’t we training new workers on it?” Salesforce was prescient on this point and invested more and earlier than other tech giants in workforce development solutions such as Trailhead, Pathfinder, and the Talent Alliance. The Trailblazers Community sets Salesforce apart from many other cloud technologies as a way to connect with other Salesforce community members and often open doors to new job opportunities.
But we also know it’s going to take more than training. Most job seekers know it, too. Few employers are interested in hiring a candidate who’s just completed a training program, even one as well designed as Trailhead. They’re looking for relevant work experience. Indeed a report by Mason Frank showed most candidates don’t find that Trailhead badges increase their chances of gaining future employment. It’s experience that matters most of all.
So how do we close the skills gap in the Salesforce ecosystem?
Cloud for Good has experienced substantial growth over the last few years and we continue to grow and innovate. Our own growth and need for talent, combined with our clients who struggle to find and retain top Salesforce talent, encouraged us to think outside the box. How much longer can we continue complaining about the lack of applicants?
Last month, we announced the investment of Achieve Partners in Cloud for Good. Together, we are launching Talent for Good, the first large-scale, consulting partner-led talent solution in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Talent for Good will allow us to “enlarge the pie” and bring new talent into the Salesforce ecosystem. In tandem with a group of college partners (more info coming soon), we will onboard graduates to Cloud for Good as employees and they will be paid from day one before they actually begin working with our clients. Talent for Good apprentices will undergo an immersive training program and, upon completion, will be embedded into Cloud for Good projects for the remainder of their 2-year apprenticeship, during which they will receive ongoing mentorship and training.
After projects go live, Cloud for Good clients will be able to hire the apprentices that have been working for them, perhaps to support this specific internal Salesforce instance, or perhaps in another Salesforce role. Starting in January, each Talent for Good cohort will purpose train high-potential talent on specific Salesforce roles, from BAs and data experts to developers and Marketing Cloud consultants. Talent for Good will allow us to ensure that our clients are not only up and running with the #1 CRM, but also have the talent and support for their solutions from day one.
Finally, I am excited about the potential for Talent for Good to drive economic change and increase diversity in the Salesforce ecosystem. This is not the first time Achieve has deployed “Last Mile Training.” I recently met with a CEO of a market leader in another tech sector. He shared with me that 62% of their new apprentices are underrepresented minorities, compared to the 15% average in the tech industry.
I hope you’ll stay tuned as we share more details on Talent for Good and the benefits for our organization and clients. Thank you for supporting our vision for a more diverse and effective Salesforce ecosystem. We can’t wait to do even more good.