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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kolodner

Things You Don’t Need: Premier Success

Updated: Mar 9


Freebie as a Used Car Salesman

I don’t think you should pay for Premier Success.


Look, this is no AppleCare. When you open a case with Salesforce Support you’re not going to get the kind of fast, knowledgeable, and personal service that we expect from the best consumer brands.


You’re also not going to get an experience as bad as some support we’ve all experienced. (I’m looking at you, Internet Service Provider monopolies. 😠)


And credit where credit is due: Salesforce Support has gotten better in the last several years. Nonetheless. You don't need Premier Success.


Premier Success is something that AEs suggest because they’ll make a fat commission on the sale. Even more, they use premier support to try to sell you Unlimited Edition (which you definitely don’t need.)


The Cost

You can purchase Premier support a la carte, it costs 30% of the net licensing cost of your org.


For the purposes of that calculation, your free licenses count at their normal price ($495), not as zero dollars. So that means the minimum cost of Premier Success is $1,485. If you have more than the P10 licenses, it goes up from there.


The Features

The .Org pricing sheet lists features of Premier Success as, “Additional Expert Help, Adoption Guidance, Coaching and Live Support.” It doesn’t explain what they actually mean! So I asked around a bit.


Accelerators, which are a menu of specific engagements regarding particular features. Some are live coaching and others are webinars. There are some nonprofit specific topics available.

  • These could be very useful if you are new and would like help learning to do a particular thing. Because some include access to a live person, you can ask questions and perhaps learn in a different way than just through Trailhead or videos.

  • On the other hand, I’ve heard those described as Trailhead modules that someone guided you through. Plus the person assigned to you might not have real world experience to back up their assistance. Accelerators surely aren’t going to be worthwhile if you have an experienced admin around, but they might help speed you along the learning curve.

Developer Support, which the standard support tier does not include. You need to pair this support with your own developer (or at least experienced admin) resource, though. I don’t think the support agent is going to rewrite your code, much less deploy the fixed code for you. They can help debug and suggest solutions, but you still need someone that will understand what they’re saying and be able to implement those solutions.


Faster Response Time and Priority. This is perhaps the main selling point. I think Premier gets you responses within 24 hours and you’ll be escalated to a higher tier of agent, plus they’re available 24/7/365. So once you go to the trouble of opening the case, at least you get some movement quickly and should get more knowledgeable responses. Premier Success customers are prioritized when backlogs are high and also have access to chat.


25% discount for Trailhead Academy trainings. Those live trainings are expensive! If your org is actually going to take advantage of them, this discount alone could be worth the cost of admission. But very few small nonprofits are going to send someone to a multi-day live course. (Most organizations of the size I work with barely manage to allocate professional development budgets at all. Just registration and the day off to go to a community conference can be a struggle.)


But I've Already Got It

If you're reading this and realize that your org has already paid for Premier Support a la carte or as part of Unlimited Edition, I feel your pain. You are not going to be able to modify your contract mid year, so that cost is sunk. (Remember to request to remove it when Salesforce sends your your next invoice.)


So while you're paying for it, take advantage of the benefits!


As I said above, I hear Accelerators can be useful. Access as many of them as you can. (The rules on how many you can use or how frequently have shifted over time, so I'm not sure what they are right now.) Look especially for the ones that are listed as Individual Sessions. You can use those like mini consulting engagements without additional cost.


If you can swing it, sign up for a Trailhead Academy course. Spend a week getting live instructor-led training and emerge ready to take your admin certification.


A Case Is Still No Fun

Case response time is improved, but nothing happens from Support until you actually open a Case. That’s already a heavy lift. The case creation flow is detailed and time-consuming. And it’s strongly centered around the idea of writing out the Steps to Reproduce, like you’re detailing a bug or trying to figure out automations that are doing unexpected things.


Opening a Case is not the right route to learn new areas of functionality or get advice about the best ways to do things. This is where the amazing Salesforce Community is your superpower. Post a question to the Trailblazer community, ask in Ohana Slack, go to a user group meeting, or find a knowledgeable volunteer. You’ll get much faster responses.


Not Personalized

Here’s the thing, too: the support agents don’t know your org. You could have all kinds of customizations, from page layouts to automation—not to mention policies, procedures, and terminology—that they know nothing about. So the support they’re going to be equipped to give will fall into two categories:

  1. They can point you to general resources. I’m pretty sure that’s all you would get in the “adoption guidance” and “coaching” categories.

  2. They can help troubleshoot a specific issue, at least to narrow it down to the source. But you need someone that knows the context to make the final fix.

This is the major difference between having faster access to Support and having a skilled internal Salesforce admin or a trusted consultant that you can call. Your internal admin or a consultant is going to get to know your org and will give you support in that context.


And don’t even get me started on getting routed to a support agent that understands the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) or new Nonprofit Cloud, or even the nonprofit industry in the first place…


What is Support For?

I don’t mean to bash Salesforce Support at all. As I said above, I have been pleasantly impressed with improvements over the last couple of years. Every so often I still have to open a case to try to figure out something obscure and I’ve found agents to be helpful and (usually) knowledgeable.

Freebie waiting at a desk

But I don’t open a case until it’s absolutely unavoidable. And when I do so, I am extremely careful to document complete steps to reproduce the issue, include screenshots, link to specific records, and generally snow them under with detail in the initial description so that I won’t have to waste time answering questions. (I still sometimes get a first response that indicates they didn’t read what I’ve written, but then I can politely point them back to my description to try to move things along.)


What I do not use a case for is to try to figure out how a feature works or to get advice about best practices. That’s not in the support wheelhouse. I consider support cases to be only for things a relatively-seasoned Salesforce admin can’t solve even after raising the issue to other smart people in the community.


Basically, when I open a case, I suspect there might be an honest-to-goodness bug. 🪲


Bottom Line

You probably do not need Premier Success. Faster response times are nice, but not worth the cost. As a clever friend of mine said, “Premier support will still ask you what the issue is without reading your case—they'll just ask it sooner than the regular support queue would.”

Freebie and a pile of cash

Take the money you would spend on Premier Success and put it toward your admin going to one or more Dreamin’ events!

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