In conversation with … Jamie de Sousa, Silver Softworks

Silver Softworks have good experience and strong credentials as a Salesforce system implementer working with private sector customers, so why are you looking to work more within the third sector?

We want to provide that experience to more third sector organisations so that they can benefit from the direct experience we already have in Lead Management, Event Management, Marketing & Communications, Fundraising, Volunteer Engagement, Grant Making, Membership, Donations and Banking, and Impact Measuring – we can bring lessons learnt, provide a knowledge exchange and best practices to help charities, social enterprises and non-profits to excel quicker and more cost-effectively.

Some charity fundraisers and membership bodies will potentially be put off by the hype around Salesforce as being “a great tool for sales” and dismiss it as not being appropriate for charitable organisations. How would you explain to them the benefits they could receive?

Investing in technology is an important step for any organisation, especially for charities and non-profits. Salesforce is the CRM (customer relationship management) system to over 32,000 charities and educational organisations globally. There are over 2,000 charities using Salesforce in the UK alone. It’s a robust system that can provide the right solution currently and grow as an organisation’s requirements change. The benefits are using an ultra-modern, cloud-based platform and the largest CRM provider that offers relevant solutions with the highest data integrity and security.

What’s the proposition for membership bodies? We know that Salesforce has a Nonprofit Success Pack which includes great core features for charities but does it really address the needs of a professional membership body or trade association?

In our experience, whilst professional membership bodies and trade associations do differ, there are certain similar key functions they all have in common, for example :
contact management, membership engagement & management (from profile setting, relevant interests, to discounts), sales & leads management (from subscriptions, to events), automated workflow & task management, training, qualification selection, awarding body management, documentation management (from awards to white-papers), and streamlined reporting on all the above .. and more.

Salesforce is a world-leading Relationship Management system and a great development platform, but most of our clients in the sector want to see a configurable solution and to engage in an implementation project, not a product development project. How are you balancing the need to be flexible, bespoke and configurable within the platform with the market demands for a solution tailored to the niche requirements of a professional membership organisation or charity?

You’re absolutely right, Salesforce is a powerful and robust development platform, but the features of the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) already have numerous out of the box configured solutions that professional membership organisations or charities are looking for.

In a world where CRM needs to be a working practice, rather than a software solution, smooth integration between a back office CRM system and digital platforms is critical to the efficient delivery of appropriate information and services to members, supporters and all audiences. What approaches does your CRM delivery allow/support with respect to web integration and mobile apps?

Salesforce has a fully featured REST API which allows both inbound and outbound integration with pretty much any other piece of software. Integration with other platforms is a very common user case, and Salesforce’s API-first approach to development means that any functionality or data in Salesforce can be exposed to any other platform. The REST API has a lightweight request and response framework and is easy to use, it’s great for writing mobile and web apps. We have worked with digital agencies in the past to deliver projects seamlessly.

Salesforce has a great range of functionality and flexibility as standard. It’s a powerful product that you can do pretty much anything with. How does Silver Softworks keep Salesforce implementation projects focused and on track?

Part of our project delivery is to have an in-depth discovery workshop with as many key individuals from the client’s organisation. We recommend a project team is created and that they are provided with time to focus on the project delivery. At the discovery workshop we will have a senior lead consultant and our head of delivery in attendance, they will work together with the client’s project team to document all requirements and prioritise them subject to urgency, budget, and time. We can offer a phased roll-out approach and produce a roadmap. The delivery team will then document a statement of work as well as a solution design. Part of the documentation will include a project plan with a timeline, once that is signed off by the client – that is the project plan that both teams will work from and share visibility. We go into a fair amount of detail, for example, factor in annual leave of the teams. There are scheduled weekly status update calls and a RAG indicator. Our head of delivery is ultimately responsible for ensuring projects are delivered on time and within budget.

We’ve seen a few CRM solution suppliers enter and leave the market in the past 18 months, with others merging or being taken over. Are you here to stay? What do you think you offer the sector that other suppliers have been unable to?

We are here to stay – we have been trading for 4 years with steady, sensible growth plans for our future. We have delivered 50% year-on-year growth and are planning to do that again now in our new financial year.
Our team come from a very technical enterprise background having worked with high profile companies such as Royce Rolls, The Guardian, Bank of Montreal, Bloomsbury Publishing, and the FCA. We believe that this technical foundation gives us a unique perspective on the modern challenges that nonprofits must overcome. We do all this in a collaborative working partnership with our clients.

If you would like to find out more about Silver Softworks and how they can help your Nonprofit organisation, why not get in touch here today to start your Salesforce journey.