This Dreamforce was special for me, there was a video and some slides during the keynote that had me featured. Also, the VP Admin Marketing, Sarah Franklin told the story of how I started this #awesome Salesforce path. Before getting into a brief career recap of how I made it to Dreamforce, here is the part of the Dreamforce Keynote with me on it (oh yes, I dance Salsa):
You can also check the complete video here.
My Salesforce Origins: An erratic and rocky beginning
I started working with Salesforce because I didn’t understand my former boss’s style of management was, for sake of argument – nonexistent.
His revenue tracking, division of work, project management and overall financial reporting was affecting every aspect of the company. I decided to take charge of the problem, facing several difficulties when trying to implement multiplicity of systems that could unify all the areas of the film-making facility. Long story short, I failed.
During my research I began to understand the nuances of the different layers of business data. For me it became a need to solve a puzzle, in which all the pieces had different shapes and flavors (Note to Self: don’t eat puzzle pieces).
That rabbit hole led me to start my own company, implementing marketing automation tools, Google Analytics, and developing best practices to maintain data integrity and business processes aligned to different organizations. Yes, this was a plug for my company’s services.
At that time, I was very naïve; I believed that the tools and technology would be the panacea for all companies. After two failed implementations of Salesforce I began to discover how little the technology meant – but how important was to understand the logic & the particular business practices – that knowledge could be extrapolated to mostly any automation tool.
My feature during Dreamforce’s Admin Keynote meant that my, somehow empirical approach to business systems, paid off: no technology or system applies to all organizations – and that’s where Salesforce success resides, you can customize the business logic of the system to match your business practices.
As a free piece of advice for all of you thinking to convert to Salesforce: YES, YOU NEED AN ADMIN!
Besides an #awesome team of Admin Marketing from Salesforce that believed in my story and the support of KQED – I have five key pointers that might have helped me when I was building my career as a Salesforce expert.
Help yourself out
Don’t be shy to be part of Success communities and User Groups, they are going to be your source of knowledge and you will find them extremely friendly and willing to help.
If you don’t know where to start, there are thousands of sites that can help you figure outSalesforce Two of my all-time favorites for when I was starting, and even now:
I would suggest than even before attempting your first Admin Cert, try your own org (for free) and give it a run. You’ll get a better understanding of all the literature you’ll read when going through the study guides.
With Salesforce, it is true that you don’t need a technical background to work with the system. The power of the Admin is that we can have so many different abilities that would make us successful. In my case it had to do with my willingness to consult on business processes and understand reporting capability.
Of course being a Digital Marketer, trying to measure every aspect of a company, and a strong focus on KPI’s and Entrepreneurial Marketing was a big incentive to look at Salesforce as the center of all the information processing needs for my endeavors. Try all the features your free org has to offer.
3. Get certified
Both the Admin and the Developer (now App Builder) certifications are both valuable and useful to advance and proof your career. I would advice 3 to 6 months of preparation before taking the actual test, but if you search Google you’ll find different opinions.
Stony Point helped me get certified, it is a good option.
There are a lot of Non-Profits that require help managing their orgs. It is a great way to get experience and also to give back!
I’ve volunteered through Volunteermatch, and besides having that rewarding feeling of accomplishment, I’ve learned a lot about business practices.
5. Listen to all your users
From managers to new users, listening to everyone and anyone will help you to map your organization’s unique customization of Salesforce.
Me during Dreamforce 2015 (Thanks Kathy Tian!)
As a final note I would say that working as a Salesforce Administrator has increased my Data Analytics expertise, has made me a better marketer, and it has led me to a world in which you could measure mostly anything (I have developed Salesforce Apps to track my Job search, my client’s progress, my Marketing Campaigns, and even my workouts), all of that without needing to write code.
Full disclosure – I now do write Apex, because I enjoy it, not because I need it….and my Admin background has made it soooo much easier.
If you decide going the Salesforce road, I would like you to remember a very strong point made by the VP Admin Marketing, Sarah Franklin’s keynote presentation: every Salesforce admin is a Chief Information Officer (CIO) in training. You will be faced with data integrity problems, business process nightmares, financial black holes, and many hours of user training – but it’s totally worth it.
P.S. If you are starting your Salesforce roadmap check Trailhead – your badges will help you improve you skills.