Bluewolf has announced a new program, Bluewolf Go. It helps customers complete a Salesforce implementation within 30 days at a fixed price. There are four options in the program. One is aimed at companies with little or no knowledge of Salesforce. This takes approximately 60 days and costs €40,000. The solution is only available for Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, CPQ Cloud or Field Service Lightning. It is aimed at the SMB market and could become a major revenue stream.
Companies with existing experience of Salesforce have two options. There is a fixed contract for 30 days that sees Sales Cloud for one department implemented. Alternatively they can have two to three departmental solutions implemented over 60 days, again in Sales cloud. These cost €35,000.and €75,000 respectively. The final option sees Bluewolf implement Salesforce Pardot projects in 60 days. It enables companies to rapidly implement the B2B marketing automation solution for only €25,000. Bluewolf Go is available globally where the company has a presence. In Europe this means the UK, the Czech Republic and France.
In the channel keynote at Dreamforce last year the message from Salesforce was clear. It wants partners to sell Salesforce licenses rather than their solutions on the back of Salesforce deals. With this announcement Bluewolf has opened up a new market not just for itself but also to Salesforce. Some SMB companies see the cost of Salesforce as a CRM solution too high given the costs in configuring it for their business.
Vera Loftis at Bluewolf talks about Bluewolf Go
We spoke briefly with Vera Loftis, the UK Bluewolf MD about the new initiative. She commented that with the acquisition by IBM they are looking to expand both geographically and across the business spectrum. Loftis commented: “Our mission as a company is to be the No. 1 Salesforce consultancy across the board.” We asked her what the barriers to SMB adoption of Salesforce are.
Loftis replied: “A lot of time you are looking at 20-50 licences where people are dipping a toe into Salesforce, They have tight timelines to show value, understanding the product and understanding how it can impact their business. We are taking years of best practice and bottling it into a very tight timeframe and deliverables so that they can see the rationale of Salesforce and get it up and running.
SMB market definitions vary enormously, this is something that Loftis recognizes herself and she commented: “We are actually following the Salesforce’s definition. We are looking European wide. That definition sometimes changes country to country depending upon the maturity of the market for Salesforce specifically. For us the target is anywhere between 20-50 users which usually equates to a company size from 100 to 500 max.”.
If successful Bluewolf will have a lot of customers knocking on their door wanting to implement a Salesforce solution quickly. SMB companies do not have the internal resource or expertise to deliver Salesforce and often turn to smaller cheaper alternatives because of this.
What about after sales
Once Bluewolf has installed the system there is still the issue of “after care”. Bluewolf Beyond is the chosen after care solution for Bluewolf but this seems to be aimed at larger organisations. We asked Loftis to confirm whether Bluewolf Beyond included the administrative function.
Loftis replied: “Depending upon the nature of the organisation, most of the time what they are hiring the Bluewolf Beyond function for is a bigger piece of innovation. The admin function while we could do it, you are probably better servicing it internally and using us as guidance, for more complex initiatives.
“Bluewolf Beyond brings a governance structure, a toolset , and a methodology that helps educate your internal folks about how to get more out of the Salesforce platform, What kind of release cadence do we need to think about? How to train people to understand that. What is the change management component? To provide feedback and understand what’s coming and what’s being built as a result of that feedback. We are the guiding principle behind it and it is usually a hybrid of our folks and an internal resource for some of those administrative functions.”
This seems like a missed opportunity. Though it may be an area that Bluewolf is unwilling to go, most companies using Salesforce have an administrator. For an SMB if might not be a full-time position. If Bluewolf manages to penetrate the SMB market there is a place for an outsourced Salesforce administration function. This seems a missed opportunity for Bluewolf. It would enable them to keep in touch with clients as new initiatives develop.
The challenge of growth
If the program is successful Bluewolf will also need to consider how to scale quickly. Bluewolf is now part of a much larger company, IBM. We asked Loftis how they would scale quickly. Loftis answered: “We are leveraging a couple of different strategies. Like everyone else we are actively hiring. We are also reskilling. The nice thing about the IBM acquisition is that it gives us access to a large number of very skilled and talented resources that we can start to train on the Salesforce platform. There are a lot of internal initiatives to provide people with that education and that training. We are looking at our existing teams and train them on this methodology. Our Bluewolf Beyond folks as an example, are used to dealing with large scale. We are looking at how we mold some of those existing teams into a packaged SMB team”
Where is that resource coming from in IBM. Loftis commented: “We are looking across the board. Salesforce for IBM is a platform that is an intro into the cloud. A new skill set for a lot of the folks who are used to working on Siebel and SAP and some of the more legacy solutions. We are gathering interest so it’s not necessarily taking whole teams and saying hey SAP teams lets train you in Salesforce. There is an energy and willingness to learn new platforms. So we are trying to channel that into scaling our business on the Salesforce side.”
What is interesting is that even if IBM are not seeing a reduction in SAP work, their employees understand the need to reskill. If the same question is asked in a survey of IBM employees it would be interesting to see the changing dynamic in terms of skill set.
Organisational structure changes
We also challenged Loftis to explain how they were restructuring to meet this new market. The approach that Bluewolf is taking is sensible. They recognize that there is a threat that delivery teams will get distracted from major projects. Loftis commented that as demand grows they will reconfigure the business into separate business units to support the three sectors. Those sectors are already reflected in a new sales structure at Bluewolf. The traditional mid-market sales teams are now supplemented by two others in Bluewolf. The first is IBM large enterprise customers and the second a new dedicated SMB team.
Bluewolf also has plans to expand geographically. These plans are in the last stages of finalization. Although Bluewolf vice president Glen Stofel has just moved to Madrid. So it is likely that they will open an office in Spain soon. What Loftis did make clear is that Bluewolf Go is a fundamental piece of the sales strategy and will be present on day one of any expansion in Europe.
Bluewolf could find they have a monster on their hands with this announcement. Bluewolf Go is attractive both to companies looking to expand their Salesforce implementation and those starting out with Salesforce. Shrink wrapping specific implementation packages is clever. There are some caveats within the programs but this could be a big seller. The one miss in my opinion is the Salesforce administrator position. Many companies will not have the expertise or resource to fulfill this full time. If they train up an individual to become their part-time Salesforce administrator, that person may leave the company for a better salaried full-time position.
As both Eric Berridge, (CEO at Bluewolf ) in a recent interview and Loftis commented, these are exciting times for Bluewolf. The dust is settling after the acquisition and sometimes it feels that the tail (Bluewolf) is wagging the dog (IBM). Bluewolf is growing, sometimes with IBM staff and this initiative alone could see Bluewolf significantly increase in size. With a successful Bluewolf Go and large enterprise team they may achieve their objective by the end of the year. This is only possible because of the IBM acquisition, that has given Bluewolf the ability to scale rapidly.