Salesforce has such a large universe of products and users that it's possible to study in detail the many professionals that make a living off the technology.
For example, a vast majority of these professionals believe it's unnecessary to earn a college degree to have a career in Salesforce. Maybe that's because once professionals obtain one or more Salesforce certifications of expertise in one of eight technical and product categories, they're all but guaranteed work at high pay -- as high as $181,801 per year for technical architects working in the San Francisco area.
Those observations and more are confirmed in the 2018 Mason Frank International Salesforce Salary Survey, the recruitment agency's annual review of Salesforce certification salary data and numerous other market trends. This year's survey was taken between August and October 2017, and assembled more than 28,000 data points, including more than 3,700 survey responses.
Certified Salesforce pros hold the cards
The survey and the day-in and day-out recruiting work by Mason Frank confirm that it's an employee's market right now, according to the agency's chief marketing officer, Kashif Naqshbandi. That never seemed truer than when a company recently asked Mason Frank to place 25 Salesforce pros "tomorrow," he recalled. The company had to temper its expectations and started with a small group of freelancers.
Demand for trained and experienced Salesforce professionals is high because demand for the product itself continues to grow. The number of Salesforce-supported projects increased by 68% from 2016 to 2017, according to the survey. More than 70% of Salesforce users that participated in the survey said they expect their Salesforce-driven projects to increase this year. The top three Salesforce products used by those organizations were, in descending order, Sales Cloud, Lightning and Service Cloud.
Naqshbandi predicts Salesforce will keep expanding, particularly outside of the U.S. "I think Marketing Cloud is going to be enormous," he said. This growth is also an opportunity for organizations to find talent, he added. (Mason Frank is a customer, with 1,500 licenses in its London office.)
Why companies migrate to Salesforce
Survey respondents cited product functionality (79%) and a desire to shift to the cloud (48%) as the top two reasons why they implemented a Salesforce product. Lack of confidence in their previous CRM offering (37%) was the third-most cited reason, and those respondents said they migrated from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Siebel and SAP CRM.
Denis Pombriant, principal analyst at Beagle Research, said Salesforce has become so applicable in sales, marketing, CRM and other functions that the company could never "write another line of code" and it would still have widespread use for the rest of the century. "It's like life insurance," he said. "You could never sell another policy but still do quite well with the revenue from existing policies."
But Salesforce has no intention of resting on its laurels. "We know the company has a goal of $20 billion in revenue and they're around $10 billion now," Pombriant said. "The way to get there is creating new groups of consumers, and you do that by teaching people how to use the app development product and enhance the ecosystem."
One in three certified SFDC pros on the move
Aside from breaking down the use of Salesforce products, Mason Frank's latest report also pulls a curtain back on those professionals who enhance the ecosystem. For instance, Mason Frank asked these professionals about their jobs with questions that were unrelated to Salesforce certification salary data. At a time when society as a whole is reviewing gender equality, the survey found that 44% of female respondents believe men receive a greater salary than women of equal skill and experience. And in an open-ended survey question, respondents said women need to be more visible in executive and managerial positions in Salesforce teams.
According to the report, one out of every three Salesforce professionals claims he or she will find a new job by year's end, a higher number than the last survey. Naqshbandi said that while those people revealed that intent in a survey, "in reality it doesn't mean it's always so."
That's partly because the market is strong and workers can expect to be paid well by their employers, he said. The report doesn't show whether specific salaries of Salesforce professionals have increased or decreased, but Naqshbandi said they largely continue to increase year after year.
The report details Salesforce certification salary data for 21 Salesforce positions, including consultant, development manager, sales director, support and email marketing specialist. Salaries are shown for the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia.
Location matters in the U.S. For example, a junior level administrator in Austin, Texas, earns, on average, $90,529, while the same position can fetch $107,607 in San Francisco. Of course, the cost of living is higher in the Bay Area. If an administrator in Austin wanted to maintain the same standard of living in San Francisco, he would have to make $167,714 at the new job, according to NerdWallet. Sometimes the grass is greener on the side you're on.