Making a move? Negotiation Tips from Salesforce Ohana

You might remember that iconic scene from the Jerry Maguire movie where the character was negotiating his salary, and said the now iconic phrase:


It was a great laugh (and great GIF), but when you work in the Salesforce ecosystem, salary is only one part of what gets negotiated. I turned to some friends in the Ohana, and asked for their input on navigating getting your best offer. Here is what they had to say:

Most advice regarding salary negotiations is to ALWAYS negotiate the initial offer. Is this true? Are there instances where you may accept the first offer? What factors go into your decision to negotiate or accept right away?

Yes and No…. Let me explain. Be very clear about what your needs are. There is more to negotiating than just your salary. Decide what items in priority order are most important. If salary is the first great. Sometimes it is about events to attend, volunteer time in the community, training and certifications or investment in the company you are joining. My most recent opportunity came back with exactly what I asked for. I was shocked at first, but then realized that I had done a good job of explaining what was important and in what order. I still went back to the table with a counter on start date and stock options as my negotiation.  — Jean Velonis, Salesforce MVP, 12 years in Industry
I always tell the women in this ecosystem to negotiate.. ALWAYS! A man would instinctually. If you’re more than happy with the financial offer, then negotiate attending community events, certification compensation, more PTO,etc. Show them that you value yourself and your time. I KNOW it can be hard and feel slightly ungrateful but it’s business and if your new potential boss gets bent out of shape by a negotiation, you may want to reconsider your choice. — Melinda Smith, Salesforce MVP, 6 years in Industry

Working in this industry often means attending/speaking at industry specific events like Dreamforce or the Dreamin events. Do you get these items in writing, and if so, how do you negotiate these? How do you handle a company not wanting to put these details in writing?

I think you have to get a sense of there culture and be up front about this and also be open in that you do these things. Working for a partner is probably easier to have that conversation with then working for an end user. A partner in the ecosystem can hopefully see the value in these events. — Chris Whitehead, Salesforce MVP, 8 years in Industry
This is a verbal conversation for me. Writing isn’t necessary for me. I strive to create strong relationships based on trust and philanthropy. My presence and desire to speak at community led events; as well as Dreamforce are supporting mechanisms for my career growth. The conversation surrounding my desire and vested interest to these sorts of events tends to be more associated with available bandwidth and corresponding priority in tandem with work commitments and obligations. — Justice Sikakane, 7 years in Industry
I do put them in writing. I’m very detailed as to what events are a must and what are a nice to have. Dreamforce and TrailheaDX are the most important and then I list out the other events that I will be attending for the year with cost and what my ask is. Majority of the time I’m asking for the 2 major events to be covered by the employer and the smaller events at my own cost but not to have to take PTO. I also provide business cases for each event. — Jean Velonis

There are good ways and bad ways to negotiate your salary. What are some things NOT to say when negotiating your offer?

“I demand”, “I expect” – Refrain from an authoritative tone. This will not aide you in your pursuits to negotiate effectively and desirably. — Justice Sikakane 
In my opinion…anything that conveys you are ‘owed’ a certain amount or what bills you gotta pay. It is hoped that your employer will care about you as a person but at this stage, they do not care about your mortgage or student loan payments. State your value by industry standards, experience, work ethic, etc.– Melinda Smith

Sometimes your counter offer is declined. How do you move forward from that?

Assess it the offer on the table is what you can live with. Ask if there is a 60/90 review for adjustments. — Jean Velonis
It depends. Ask for the reason. The counter offer might have just not been realistic.– Chris Whitehead,
Treating the decline as an opportunity to circle back and level-set on the role, responsibilities. If aligned, seek to better understand if the decline is coming from a place of “We don’t have the budget at this time” or “We don’t see or value the role at that salary range”. Seeking to further understand will birth a conversation. At this point, you’ll be objectively positioned to navigate to a mutual outcome with your prospective employer.– Justice Sikakane 
Hey, you tried right!? Here’s where you ask yourself if the job experience, culture, colleagues and/or career trajectory are worth taking the offer. Sometimes stepping back a small step can launch your further. — Melinda Smith

We all see the salary surveys published by various sources, and these numbers can often be inflated. What tips do you have for negotiating your best offer?

Think about your region. Is there a high need for the skill set that you have? Do your research for your region. Attend your Community Group and network with the other admins. How does your skill set and salary compare? Do you get other perks with your job? Being paid $5,000 less but you get to attend multiple events that are covered by your employer is just a different way of compensation. — Jean Velonis
Know the ranges for your location and level of experience. — Chris Whitehead,
Be true to yourself and what you desire to in order to live a comfortable lifestyle. Only you know what will help you from a salary compensation perspective lead your best life! Do not overshoot for the sake of overshooting and do not under sell yourself or your value! Good Luck! — Justice Sikakane 
List out the top 5 things that are important to you. Often salary can be near the bottom of the list. Will you get those 5 things from them? For the salary part, i would say to at least increase by $10k/yr or more in every new role. The salary surveys are a great starting point. List our your accomplishments & certifications as well. — Melinda Smith

I hope these tips help you on your next journey, and would love to hear from you some of your best negotiation tips. Please comment below, or tweet me! 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s