Salesforce Admins Podcast

Gillian Bruce and Mike Gerholdt

Learn about product, community, and careers to help you become a more Awesome Salesforce Admin. The Salesforce Admins podcast features real-life Salesforce Admins, product managers, and community leaders who transform businesses, careers, and community with clicks, not code. This 20min (sometimes a bit more) weekly podcast hosted by Gillian Bruce and Mike Gerholdt feature episodes to empower Salesforce Admins who are implementing Enterprise CRM solutions. There may be some (digital) confetti.

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This is the Salesforce Admins Podcast!
Feb 12 2021
This is the Salesforce Admins Podcast!
This is the Salesforce Admins Podcast! A show for Salesforce Admins where we talk about Product, Community, and Career to help you become an awesome admin!We are Salesforce Admins just like you, and we have a ton of experience on the Salesforce platform. We love learning about all the new features and capabilities that enable us, as Admins, to do awesome things with Salesforce to transform our organizations, communities, and careers. Every week on the podcast we talk to product managers at Salesforce about what they are building and to Salesforce Admins just like you about the problems they are solving, giving you tips and advice on how to be an Awesome Admin. What you said about us As a current job seeker in the Salesforce Ecosystem I am really encouraged by these podcasts. As my goal is to remain revelant and plugged-in the knowledge shared by Admins and others is invaluable to gaining confidence and skills. By building knowlege via Trailhead badges and then demonstrating undersramding & assessment of those skills by conquering the Superbadges I am inspired to keep going and constantly learn more each and every day. Keep up the Great Work! – Chad Kleve I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this podcast! As a new “Accidental Admin" all things salesforce can be quite intimidating! There is so much to learn but this podcast helps me stay on top of the important things to look out for and newest features to check out. I also LOVE that it is not a boring stuffy podcast! I find myself learning, laughing and sometimes crying (happy tears) while listening to the episodes on my daily walks. – TrishainOmaha I love listening to this podcast in the mornings when I’m getting ready for work. Each episode contains something new that I didn’t know about salesforce, and a new view on someone’s journey into the salesforce ecosystem. Loved the accessibility series on making your orgs more user friendly for everyone. – ibbyanne You can find our show on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, and Spotify or by searching "Salesforce'' wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. And, you can find even more great content at Admin.Salesforce.com.
Growing your Admin Role with Stuart Mills
3d ago
Growing your Admin Role with Stuart Mills
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Stuart Mills, VP Trailhead EMEA and Ecosystems at Salesforce.   Join us as we talk about why Admins are so important, future roles and career paths, as well as the best way to keep learning.   You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Stuart Mills. Essential Habits for Admin Success is now on Trailhead That's right, the webinar/trailhead live/presentation you have all loved and listened to is now a learning module on Trailhead, so head on over and be one of the first admins to get the new Essential Habits Trailhead Badge. Why tech is only as valuable as the people behind it Like a lot of people we talk to on the pod, Stuart got his start as an accidental admin. “We found Salesforce as a colorful version of a CRM technology,” he says, “ever since then it’s been this thing that’s grown with me—I’ve grown with it and it’s grown on its own.” He was actually originally an aeronautical engineer, and Salesforce stuck out as a platform where he could understand what he was looking at and solve his business’s needs.   Stuart sees the Admin role as critical for any organization that wants to succeed with Salesforce. “Understanding how you administer and use a technology like Salesforce is how it has value,” he says, “tech is only as valuable as the human solutions it solves for.”  The power skills are transferable skills A truth in this industry is that many of the most important jobs people will do in the future don’t exist yet. For example, for many of you reading this today, the Salesforce Admin role probably didn’t exist when you graduated from college.   Stuart points out that the growth in technologies like AI is going to necessitate people learning new things and taking on new roles that they can’t even imagine, and so that means you need to focus on the “Power Skills” you bring with you to into that new career path or new function. Transferable skills won’t necessarily show up in your badges and certifications, but they’re just as important to show as anything else on your resume.  Different approaches to learning In his role as leading Trailhead Academy EMEA, Stuart gets to see so many different people go through their learning experiences and he has a few observations. While it’s true that almost everyone at one point or another needs a teacher, you also need a peer. Someone to push you and help you engage with problems and with whom you can grow together.   Of course, the more diverse your peer group the stronger you are for it, and one of the biggest leaps they’ve taken forward in recent years is improving the accessibility of Trailhead. One of the guiding principles they stick to is the idea of “Ethical by Design,” meaning that accessibility is deeply thought about from the ground up. As Stuart puts it, “you can’t be what you can’t see.”   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more: Being Neurodivergent in the Salesforce Ecosystem with Joe Sterne   Social Stuart: @PracticalActsSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!
Architect Courses for Admins with Amit Malik
Aug 4 2022
Architect Courses for Admins with Amit Malik
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Amit Malik, Senior Manager, Global Architect Program. Join us as we talk about the Architect courses on Trailhead and why all Admins should think about taking them. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Amit Malik. Why Admins are already Architecting We wanted to bring Amit on the pod because he’s the only Architect Trailhead Instructor, and we wanted to find out more about what’s on offer and if they make sense for Admins. One thing he loves about his current role is that he can see “how Administrators, Developers, and Architects are having a similar thought process in terms of how to see Salesforce from different perspectives and how we can add value by sharing the perspective of different personas with each other and expand our mind horizons,” he says. One message he has for Admins out there is that a lot of the work you’re doing is already giving you the context to upskill into an Architect role, or otherwise expand your knowledge of the Salesforce ecosystem as a whole. If you already know Marketing Cloud, it’s a lot easier to learn Experience Cloud, for example. As Amit puts it, you can look to grow both horizontally (between products) and vertically (in terms of depth of knowledge on a platform) as you advance your career. The three-step learning process When you’re looking to learn something new, Amit encourages you to think about it as a three-step process: KnowledgeExperienceExposure Knowledge comes when you read about something, watch a video about it, hear about it at a conference, etc. Experience is applying that knowledge to specific situations in a real-world setting. Finally, exposure comes from conversations with experienced people who may have gained a completely different perspective than they had when they started. It’s that three-dimensional view you get from understanding how something works in conjunction with everything else. Architect courses on Trailhead Amit wants you to know that Architect courses aren’t just for Architects. “We all are Salesforce professionals,” he says, “Administrators, Developers, Solution Architects, Technical Architects: we all are Salesforce professionals.” If you’re discussing integration in your meetings, or large data volume, or single sign-on—anything that involves multiple Salesforce products talking together—you have a lot to gain sitting in on an Architect course or two. The 101 course is there to provide a broad, big-picture overview of what being an Architect is all about. As Amit puts it, the goal is to point you in the direction of what there is to learn about so you can fill in the details in whatever way is most helpful to you. “The challenge of the learner is that they don’t know where to start,” he says, “the moment that they know where to start they can keep on learning faster than I can teach them.” From there, the next level courses are more specialized, after you’ve completed some basic Architect certifications. “Join these courses to discover yourself so you can make the right decision for your career,” he says, “if you don’t know we will help you see the path because we’ve already walked through these journeys.”   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Social Amit: @amitmalikusSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!
July Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
Jul 28 2022
July Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for July.   Join us as we talk about the latest and the greatest Salesforce content from July and the wide variety of midwest-specific treats we tried at Midwest Dreamin.   You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro. Live Events   Dreamforce is just around the corner, but we’ve been busy visiting in-person events. We recently stopped by Midwest Dreamin and WITness Sucess, where Mike introduced Gillian to the wonders of puppy chow and scotcheroos. We’re also including a link to a letter that can help you convince your boss to help you get to Dreamforce.   Here’s why I can’t miss Dreamforce 2022 Blog highlights from July Cheryl Feldman’s comprehensive guide on the User Access and Permissions Assistant was a standout post from July. There’s a lot of cool features to play around with, particularly with reports, so make sure to take a look.   Analyze, Report, and Manage Permissions with the User Access and Permissions Assistant Video highlights from July We’re really excited to relaunch How I Solved It on Salesforce+. Jennifer Lee and Marc Baizman team up to solve real Admins’ real problems. The first episode with Andrew Russo is up now, but keep a close eye as more are on the way soon.   How I Solved It: Managing User Requests with Andrew Russo Podcast highlights from July While we’ve had some really cool people on the pod over the years this month we had our first Olympic medalist, Christine Magnuson. She’s now a Solution Engineering Manager at Salesforce, and    From Olympian to Solution Engineer with Christine Magnuson   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store   Social Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full show transcript Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the July monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host, Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we'll review the top product, community and careers content for the month of July. Imagine that. To help me do that is the very familiar and keynoting voice of Gillian Bruce. Hi Gillian. Gillian Bruce: Hello there, Mike. Nice to be here with you. Mike Gerholdt: It's good to be back on a pod with you. It's been a month. Gillian Bruce: It's been a month. It's been a busy month. Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Quite a few things that we have done and it's been hot all over the world. Just hot everywhere. Gillian Bruce: Except for where I am. Mike Gerholdt: Right. Gillian Bruce: I am still wearing a sweatshirt. Mike Gerholdt: Don't tell anybody. Gillian Bruce: Our heat has been on for the last couple weeks. Mike Gerholdt: Oh my God. Gillian Bruce: Because if any of you don't know this, for most of San Francisco, June/July is some of our colder months because we are covered in fog and we don't get to see the sun. So it's about 55 to 60 degrees. It's foggy. So if you want to break from the sun and the heat, come on over to San Francisco. Mike Gerholdt: People are going to be flocking to San Francisco now. Gillian Bruce: But you got to hurry because it's about to change. Our summer starts the end of August and goes through November. Then we get sunshine and gorgeous weather, but it never gets 100 degrees. That's just craziness. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So it's going to be gorgeous weather for Dreamforce, which we'll talk about later. Teaser. Gillian Bruce: Sure is. Mike Gerholdt: But let's talk about blog content. So we had some really cool, again, ton of blog posts that went out this month. But the one that I want to highlight is the one that Cheryl Feldman wrote on Analyze, Report and Manage Permissions with User Access and Permission Assistant. Not a short title. Gillian Bruce: But you're permitted to use as many words as you'd like in your title. Mike Gerholdt: Yes, at some point. But this is really cool. So user access and permission assistant. She details everything that basically admins have been wanting for, I don't even know how long. She even tells a story of when I first joined Salesforce almost a year ago and it took on permission sets, and how do you work with the permission assistant and what can you do with it? The coolest thing down is the third one, report by user permission sets and permission set groups to understand who has what. If you need a moment to sit down, I completely understand. Gillian Bruce: Game changer. Mike Gerholdt: I got goosebumps just reading that sentence. Gillian Bruce: Yeah, if you're an admin and you don't use this, I don't know what to say. Mike Gerholdt: Well, your days are very long, that's what I would say, while you troubleshoot things. So yeah, this is really cool. There's also a video. And then of course, a link to the app exchange listing. Get all over this because just to sound old, it was a lot different when I was an admin. You had profiles and page layouts and you didn't have to troubleshoot things. We didn't have the tools to be as granular as you can now, and it's just amazing. But with that you need the ability to report on stuff and this is so cool. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. The technology's come far long ways since your old, early admin days. Mike Gerholdt: Since back in the day. I walked uphill both ways in the snow just to do a page layout. Gillian Bruce: Barefoot. Mike Gerholdt: Barefoot. Gillian Bruce: Well, Mike, we also have some pretty incredible video content. You mentioned a video in the last post, but we have some videos that I am very fond of and feel so excited to release out on the wild, that have just been released, or at least the first episode has been released this month. That is How I Solved It on Salesforce. Plus we have taken the incredible show that Marc Baizman and then Jennifer Lee have been doing with admins showing how they've solved real actual problems in their orgs. We gave it a little extra production love and shined it up and put it on Salesforce+, which is our free online streaming platform. It's really exciting. We have five episodes that we're going to be releasing over the next few weeks. But the first one came out and it's all about Andrew Russo, who is an incredible, awesome admin, expanding on that blog post he was featured in many months ago about managing users and really getting into a demo and showing us some of the things that he's built. Man, it is awesome. It is super fun. Watch it. We had a lot of fun making it. Mike Gerholdt: It shows. You're now a streaming star, Gillian. You could watch stuff on Hulu and Netflix. Gillian Bruce: I got to say, I feel really special that I'm on the same platform as one of my idols, Kara Swisher. So I feel special about that because they do clips from Kara Swisher's podcast that she does with Scott Galloway, Pivot, on the Salesforce+. So the fact that I get to be a part of the same platform that she is, makes me really excited. Mike Gerholdt: Kara Swisher, future guest of the Salesforce Admins Podcast. Gillian Bruce: I am working podcast all my angles there to try and make that happen. So we're just going to put that out there. Kara, we want you on the podcast. Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Because Kara, listen, so many people do. So you could spend the weekend and watch some Stranger Things or How I Solved It on Salesforce+. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's not a huge time commitment. The last few episodes of Stranger things, which I still haven't watched because there's an hour and then a two hour episode. Mike Gerholdt: Seriously? That's like a plane ride. Gillian Bruce: By the time I get the kids to bed, I have about 30 minutes before I fall asleep. So it's really tough. It's tough. Mike Gerholdt: But you could watch your Salesforce+ video in those 30 minutes. Gillian Bruce: Sure could, because I think they're 10 minutes-ish, if that. Mike Gerholdt: They're consumable. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. There are really actual hands-on tips that you can start using yourself that you can play with, with your own Dev org or Sandbox. Every single one of these episodes, you're going to be able to get something very tangible that you can put to use. Mike Gerholdt: Your own non-production org. Gillian Bruce: Yes. Don't do it in production. Mike Gerholdt: No. We did a bunch of podcasts, July was fun for pods. But one that stood out, Gillian, I actually listened to this on the way to a car show, so I'm a listener of our own podcast. But you did this great interview with Christine Magnuson. Can you tell us about it? Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, it was really exciting because she's not only the first Olympian that I've talked to, but the first two time silver medalist Olympian. She competed in Rio and Beijing and she's a swimmer, and now she is got an amazing career. She's a manager of solution engineers here at Salesforce, which means she manages a very technical team. So I wanted to get Christine on the podcast because as you'll listen to her episode, if you have not, go listen to it as soon as you're done with this episode, because- Mike Gerholdt: It's really good. Gillian Bruce: It's so good. She talks about the idea of transferable skills. How she really evaluated how she could take the skills that she had as an Olympic athlete and transfer those into another career. How she really had a very detailed strategy behind that. She explains the story. Then she also talks about in her role, she works with a lot of admins. So what things she has seen that makes a very successful admin, and how you get your admin team. Because again, she comes at it from a solutions engineer perspective. So she has seen a lot. In fact, her team supports the largest Salesforce implementation that exists. So they have a lot of knowledge. Anyway, listen to Christine's episode. It's awesome. It's an uplifting one. It'll put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Oh, for sure. There were so many things like, I was driving, I wanted to take notes. Gillian Bruce: Maybe you can listen to it again. Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Absolutely. Then just to round out our discussion of, I feel like it's one of the last few months of summer, but we have Dreamforce coming up. We also have some community events that are happening. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Mike, you and I and Jennifer Lee actually got to go to a community event, I guess it was a duo community event this month, Midwest Dreamin and WITness Success. I got to go because, well, you were the MC of the whole event. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I popped up on the stage for a few highlights and Midwest-isms Midwest Dreamin. Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah. Actually, can you share one of those Midwest-isms because they're pretty amazing. Mike Gerholdt: So people in the Midwest use weird terms, one of them is op. Usually we say that as an excuse me or oh, I'm sorry, op. And I op a ton. Man, you go grocery shopping with me because the cart always leaves the aisle before and you're going to run in somebody, op I'm sorry. But so I said, what if we took a whole bunch of Midwest terms and made them into Salesforce features. One of them is op, which I said is clearly a validation rule. Because if Salesforce could be very Midwestern it wouldn't fire the validation rule, it would just say, op. I believe that was one of them. I did put it out there. So for those of you that live in the Midwest or visited the Midwest, you know we like to eat puppy chow, which is actually Chex Mix covered in chocolate with confectioner's sugar all over it. Gillian, you and I kicked around what that feature would be. Adam Olshansky actually came out on Twitter and said puppy chow is really like custom metadata because it's wonderful and you can use it anywhere. I felt that's very apropos because the second you get puppy chow out, it's everywhere. That confectioner's sugar, I swear it finds every nook and cranny of your life to be. Gillian Bruce: It's so uniquely a Midwest thing. I remember growing up as a kid, occasionally some kid would bring some to school and I'd be like, what is this magical craziness? Mike Gerholdt: I know. Yeah. You go to our gas stations, everywhere. You walk into a Casey's and there're cups of puppy chow for you to buy right by the register, along with with scotcheroos. I don't feel like scotcheroos are very Midwestern. Gillian Bruce: I have no idea what that is. So it's clearly- Mike Gerholdt: Oh, a scotcheroo is basically like a rice crispy treat, but made with a lot of butter scotch and then covered in chocolate. Gillian Bruce: Oh. So it's like a healthier rice crispy treat. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Gillian Bruce: I'm kidding. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. But it's so good. Gillian Bruce: It sounds delicious. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's so good. Gillian Bruce: Okay. All right. Yeah. So those were great and there were lots more. So if you were there, you had lot more. Mike Gerholdt: Or check Twitter for some people tweet them out, hot dish. What do you think that is as a feature? It was fun. Little time filler before Gillian gets up on stage and wows the crowd with admin skills. I think a few people even tweet about the heels you were in. Gillian Bruce: Well you always got to have a good pair of heels to deliver a talk properly, at least for me. Maybe not the same for you, Mike. But yeah, I had the honor of giving a keynote and it was really great to get back up on stage in front of actual people. It was exhilarating to do it, and it felt really fun to share very important content about skills and transferable skills and how to really discover your skills, hone them, and then find ways to use them to help make you shine. So, really amazing experience. Then Jennifer Lee stayed for WITness Success and presented a session about Flow, which I also saw all kinds of Twitter love for. The reason I wanted to bring up these community events is because Dreamforce is coming and we would love you to come to Dreamforce. If there's some reason that you can't swing it, there are community events happening near you all of the time. So whether that's your local user group or there's a Dreamin event in your region, you can find out all about that on the Trailblazer community. I highly encourage you to go, especially now that people are coming back together in person, it's really incredibly valuable and powerful. I had so many amazing talks with folks. I had some people coming up to me with tears because of just the meaningfulness of being connected again. Especially in the Salesforce community, there's so much you can get by being in person with each other. So I highly encourage you to check out your local community gatherings. Mike Gerholdt: I agree. To be honest with you, I showed up, I wore a mask for a while. Gillian Bruce: So did I, until I got on stage. Mike Gerholdt: So we're past that now. Yeah. There were times that I actually checked out of some areas because I'm not too comfortable with this many people. That's okay, it's up to you. But it was great. So many people that I hadn't seen in person in forever. Gillian Bruce: It felt good. Mike Gerholdt: You mentioned Dreamforce. I will include a link in the show notes to the convince your boss letter, which is on the homepage. If you haven't registered for this little event that we're doing in September. I have actually used versions of this letter when I was a customer, rewrote it, changed some things around. I will say it's effective. It's super easy to customize. It'll be great. We're going to have session content up, so you can start talking to your boss about the sessions you're going to go to and the keynotes you're going to see. There's that unspoken just ability to connect with people that doesn't happen anywhere else. You're sitting in a session and you're both there to learn Flow or something, next thing you know, you leave with a new best friend that helps you solve that problem. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's people that you never would've probably connected with, either virtually or in your own local community. Also, it's just going to be great. We're going to have so much fun at Dreamforce. We talk about it being the ultimate family reunion and gosh, aren't we all ready for that. So it's going to be really magical, really fun. I know our team is planning all kinds of really fun, exciting things for admins. Mike Gerholdt: A few things in the works. Gillian Bruce: Just a few. Mike Gerholdt: Stay tuned. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Can't tell you anything yet. It's top secret. Mike Gerholdt: Nope. Not yet. Gillian, you said it's going to be nice weather because it'll be past the cold. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. San Francisco summer is late August through early November. I grew up here and every year I forget, and then I'm like, all right, we're going to have summer. It's just three months later than everybody else. Mike Gerholdt: It just comes at a different time. Good. Gillian Bruce: Late bloomers out here on the west coast. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. All right. Well, if you want to learn more about all things we talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. Of course, Gillian is on Twitter. She is @GillianKBruce, and I am @MikeGerholdt. Give us a follow. You can read about puppy chow or other Midwest-isms, more so on my Twitter feed. But with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud. Gillian Bruce: Roar. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Gillian Bruce: Is that the first thing that's going to be on the recording, roar? Mike Gerholdt: I don't know if that's a lion or is that a cat? Gillian Bruce: It's like a lion cub.
Replay: Hiring an Admin with Lissa Smith
Jul 21 2022
Replay: Hiring an Admin with Lissa Smith
Today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re replaying our episode with Lissa Smith, Senior Manager of Business Architecture at Salesforce. In the context of the launch of the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit, we wanted to revisit our conversation about how she hired a team of Salesforce Admins, what she looks for in the interview, and important advice for anyone hiring a Salesforce Administrator. Join us as we talk about how to stand out when you’re applying for a job, and what makes the difference between and junior and senior Admin candidate. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Lissa Smith. Why you should listen to Lissa’s advice Lissa started out as a Salesforce Admin. “I’m obsessed with improving processes and solving problems,” she says, “so I’ve been happy in this space for 15 years.” One thing she did a lot of in previous positions was hiring Salesforce Admins. It’s something we know that many of our listeners are curious about, so we thought we would take the time to hear about her process. The first step is to get a new headcount approved, and Lissa was able to hire both junior and senior-level Admins. She’s interviewed candidates with backgrounds only in Trailhead or a program like PepUp Tech, as well as more experienced folks who had been in the space for years. “Overall, what I was always looking for was someone who was motivated and excited,” she says, “regardless of if they were brand new to the ecosystem or had been doing it for a long time, I wanted someone who could identify and look for problems and then come up with ways to solve them.” The difference between Admin roles When looking at someone for those junior-level positions, where a candidate didn’t necessarily have any paid experience on the platform, there were a few things that Lissa looked for. She wanted to see apps that they had built, even if it was simply to track their job applications and interviews or books they had read. Anything that used the platform to show her that they understood what it was capable of doing. Another thing that could make a less experienced candidate stand out was someone who had experience as a user on the platform. Understanding and empathizing with the customer experience as a salesperson or customer sales rep is a really important skill because you’ll know where your users are coming from. For more senior positions, you could get by with less experience building things on the platform if you understood something key about business analysis, whether that was documentation or process analysis. For principal admins, she was looking for a thorough understanding of the platform and advanced certifications. Tell a good story The important thing to realize about hiring for these roles and something that comes up time and time again on this podcast is that even though Lissa was hiring Salesforce Admins, the roles she was hiring for were often not called that explicitly. They could be business analysts or system admins, but those roles need those Salesforce Admin skills. No matter what, make sure that you’re telling a story that shows you can identify a problem and build a solution that makes everyone’s lives easier. “It’s the story that sells your skills,” Lissa says, “when you tell a good story it’s showing off your communication skills, it shows that you understand the why.” Podcast swag: Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more: The Salesforce Admin Skills Kit Create Your Own Salesforce Experience with Gordon Lee It’s Possible: The Story of Zac Otero Social: Lissa Smith: @indianapolissaSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full Show Transcript Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we’re talking with Lissa Smith, Senior Manager, Business Architecture here at Salesforce about her strategy for hiring a Salesforce Admin. That’s right. We’re kicking off 2022 by putting our best foot forward and helping you get the information that you have been talking about in the community and on social, around finding and landing that perfect admin career. So let’s not waste any time and let’s get Lissa on the podcast. So, Lissa, welcome to the podcast. Lissa Smith: Awesome. Thank you. I’m excited to be here. Mike Gerholdt: Well, it’s good to kick off the new year, talking about starting your career, getting hiring on as a Salesforce Admin. And I think you are one of the most perfect guests to have on to talk about that. So let’s dive right in, because I know everybody’s interested. How did you get started in the Salesforce ecosystem? Lissa Smith: Yeah, I’ve been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for about 15 years now. And most of that was as a Salesforce admin. I actually started on a sales team and moved into an admin role shortly after that because I really liked building reports and that just kind of took off from there. I’m obsessed with improving processes and solving problems and I just love the Salesforce platform. So I have been happy in this space for 15 years. Mike Gerholdt: 15 years, that’s a veteran level. Lissa Smith: Yeah. Mike Gerholdt: Long time. Now, one of the important things that kicked off our conversation internally here at Salesforce was you told me, you were in charge in previous careers prior to joining Salesforce for hiring Salesforce admins. And as I say that, I can feel everybody’s earbuds just tighten up a little bit more, as they listen to the podcast. Because I will tell you as somebody that pays attention to the community and everything that’s on social, that is probably the number one question of I’m doing Trailhead. I’m getting my certification. Now, how do I get hired as a Salesforce admin? So tell me a little bit about what you did to hire admins and kind of what that position was for you? Lissa Smith: Awesome. Sure. So, yep, before working at Salesforce, I actually led a team of 13 Salesforce admins and business analysts. And it was a team of, I mean, they were definitely hashtag awesome admins. They’re a really great team. And eight of them, I hired myself and of the five that I kind of inherited when I got promoted into that role. Three of those five, I was involved in their hiring process as well. So I participated in their interviews. And so of those 13 at 11 of them, I was involved in the hiring of- Mike Gerholdt: So most? Lissa Smith: … most of them. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Mike Gerholdt: I was… You lost me on the math. Lissa Smith: Yeah. Mike Gerholdt: Everybody’s hiring process is going to be a little bit different. Let’s start at the beginning, you had a baker’s dozen admins on your team when a spot opened up, what was kind of those initial first steps that you did as a hiring manager? Lissa Smith: Yep. So I actually had several different levels of positions that I opened up and so I had to get headcount approved to get those positions. I saw a need, developed a business case internally to get that headcount approved. And so I was able to get headcount for some junior admins and some senior and principal level admins as well. So I was kind of hiring all different skill levels, which made it also interesting when I was reviewing resumes and going through the interview process because some of those admins had only the Trailhead background or had gone through Pathfinder, PEP and tech programs like that, which are amazing programs. And that was their background, the Trailhead and those programs. And then I also hired other admins who had been working in the space for quite a while and were more senior. So different mindset going into those interviews and different approach when looking at those resumes. But, overall, what I was always looking for was someone who was motivated and excited. I really love the Salesforce platform. I really love my job and really love what I do. I don’t think everyone has to love their job a 100% of the time, but you don’t have to settle. And so I wanted to look for people who also were motivated and excited and passionate, and really those passionate and proactive problem solvers, regardless of if they were brand new to the ecosystem or if they’d been doing it for a long time. I wanted somebody who could identify problems and look for problems and then come up with solutions and come up with, or just identify those problems and then come up with ways to potentially solve those problems. And I think that’s what every hiring manager is looking for like, how can you help me solve my business problems? Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I want to go back. You mentioned junior admin, senior principal. And I know those levels are different at different categories, as somebody that’s hired admins and you’re thinking, “Okay, I need a junior Salesforce admin.” What was a junior Salesforce admin for you? Lissa Smith: To me, it was somebody who really didn’t have experience on the platform, paid experience on the platform. Mike Gerholdt: Oh, that’s important. I’ve never heard that term paid experience. I think that’s a good callout. Lissa Smith: Yeah, it’s a good differentiator because, I mean, I did want somebody who had gone through Trailhead modules, had built out their own apps. As I was talking to candidates, there were candidates who had built apps to track their interview and application process. And they were excited to share that with me. So maybe they hadn’t been paid to do admin work, but they had built cool apps and tracking even, just all sorts of apps that they had built. It could be the books that they’re reading or genres and author. Just something that they had done using the platform to show me that they understood the capabilities because they hadn’t had that paid experience, or maybe they had experience as a user on the platform. So maybe they weren’t ever an actual admin, but I interviewed several candidates who had been Salesforce users. So they understood and could empathize with the customer experience. So as, like a salesperson or as a customer support rep or they had used the platform. And I just think that’s a really important skill to have somebody who has been a user on the platform. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I’ve got friends that start off as users and they make for the best admins. Just plain and simple. Lissa Smith: Absolutely. And then there’s so much out there now on Trailhead and with these different programs that you can take different training and go through these different programs and do all the Trailhead and do the super badges and earn your certifications. That’s all available now to anyone. But the people who were going out there and proactively figuring out, how they can solve a problem. I have a bunch of house plans. I keep thinking, it would be really great if I had some sort of automated app in Salesforce that reminded me when I need to water my plants because some of them are on, in every two-week cycle and some of them are more frequently. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Lissa Smith: And just that could be something that someone could build for themselves. And then it gets them that experience using the platform. Mike Gerholdt: And you could capture pictures so you could see if the [inaudible]- Lissa Smith: It’s so true, right? Mike Gerholdt: … yeah. Don’t get us started. So junior admin, I like your definition paid… really the differentiator is they have a lot of knowledge. They have a lot of curiosity. I inferred that. Lissa Smith: Huge. Mike Gerholdt: Huge. Lissa Smith: Yes. Huge. Mike Gerholdt: Big problem solvers, but really didn’t have that paid experience. So was paid experience the differentiator for you in junior admin versus senior admin? I think that’s the term you used. Lissa Smith: Yeah. I think that would be probably the biggest. So the senior admins that I was hiring for that I interviewed, they had been working as an admin. They were a system admin in their org and understood platform capabilities. They may not be super experts, but they had been doing it for one, three years, just depending on that. Also, there were business analysts that I was hiring too. So all of it, the titles were actually business analysts. So some were even more senior from a business analysis perspective and maybe had less experience building on the Salesforce platform. But they really understood documentation and analysis and process analysis and had been doing that for a long time, so they could still come in. And with that experience and the help of me and other members of the team and Trailhead could build on that experience and be a more senior admin. And then the principal admins are the ones who come in. They already understand flow and when to use flow and they are, and this was a few years ago. So that now flow is everywhere. But a few years ago, it was a little harder to find some of those candidates, or they have several certifications and understand when to use a feature, when not to use a feature, when some of those more advanced topics too, that when you’re thinking about even just admin certification, some of the security and sharing rules and that it’s important for all admins to know, but they’ve been there, done that- Mike Gerholdt: Sure. Lissa Smith: … and really get it. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Little more org-wide implications to different things as opposed to the features. Got it. Lissa Smith: Yep. Mike Gerholdt: Got it. No, that’s often. And I think one big thing that I heard was rarely were you hiring Salesforce admin. And we had just done a podcast on this in December with Leanne and Jay and I. Salesforce admin is that strong identity that we have, but rarely is it in our job title. And even your job title, senior manager, business architecture. Sometimes our job titles isn’t what we are. Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, for sure. I don’t know that. And I have said, 15 years, I’ve been in this ecosystem, most of those as a Salesforce admin. And I don’t think my title has ever been Salesforce admin, so that’s very true. Mike Gerholdt: And that’s something that we see a lot in, not only our ecosystem, but other ecosystems too. Is rarely does the persona or the identity of the person also be the job title because companies have different naming conventions. So I know in a lot of the programs that we speak at, there, I was on LinkedIn. I couldn’t find Salesforce admin. Well, it may be, as you mentioned, you were hiring a lot for business analyst. Lissa Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mike Gerholdt: So- Lissa Smith: Yep. Mike Gerholdt: … that’s great. Lissa Smith: Yeah. And then what they ended up being were business analysts who were system admins in Salesforce and they were writing requirements, but also doing some of the config and building and, or a lot of the config, all of the config. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Lissa Smith: And actually working with users to solve those problems, so- Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Had that responsibility. Lissa Smith: … Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That’s key. So junior admin, senior principal, I keep kind of anchoring on those because the next part is, you mentioned, they had showed apps that they had built. I did this great podcast with Gordon Lee, which I’ll link to in the show notes where we talk about as new admins, there’s this trust gap. And I think you talked about it or inferred it actually in the junior admins is, they built apps, they showed me, they did all the learning, they just didn’t have that paid experience. And I think there’s that trust gap of, you haven’t been paid to do this. So you have to span kind of that gap with me, I would love to know, what were some of the questions? I’m a, put on my hat, I’m a Salesforce admin, and maybe one of these roles looking to apply, and I’m getting ready to walk into an interview with Lissa Smith. What are some of the things she’s going to ask me? Lissa Smith: So I really like the, tell me about a time when questions. Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with people, maybe you disagreed with, or tell me about a time where you had to manage a project. Are you responsible for a project or a program? And this doesn’t have to be even Salesforce related. I think it’s really important for candidates to come to an interview prepared with maybe a repository of stories that their success stories, these don’t have to be on your resume, these don’t have to be anywhere. But if you were writing your success stories in work and just life, I mean, I had, I heard about Eagle Scout Projects. It doesn’t have to be work. But your success stories, problems you identified, ways that you solve those problems, how you collaborated with others while solving those problems, how you prioritized, how you influenced others, how you communicated, how you learned, how you asked questions. Come up with a list of those stories, of those problems that you solved and run through those stories out loud with a friend or family, out loud run through those stories. So that when someone like me comes in and says, “Tell me about a time that you collaborated with multiple stakeholders or when you proactively identified a flawed or inefficient process.” You can come in and say, “Oh, well, which one of my stories can I tell?” Like, come up with… And then tell those stories in a meaningful way too. It shouldn’t just be like I could say, “Well, I built a way for sales people to register their customers and prospects for a training that we offered.” Well, that doesn’t really tell me anything. But if I come in and say, “You know, I got an out-of-office response from someone on the training team that told me how many seats were left in the training.” And I realized, why are they managing that? And this is a true story, in an out-of-office response, why are they telling sales people? There are only six seats left in this training in the San Francisco training for July 15th, if you want to register, write me back. Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Lissa Smith: So I worked with the training team to develop a solution for this in Salesforce, right on the contact record that allowed the salespeople to enroll from the contact and they could see how many people will… How many seats were left in each training. And then the training team could see the actual revenue impact of adding these contacts to their training. I mean, it’s a much better story than just, I made this way for sales people to register people in training and automated it and even getting too much into the details. It’s the story I think that sells your skills and makes it more meaningful to the hiring manager too. Mike Gerholdt: It’s a richer story- Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Mike Gerholdt: … you’re walking through those two. I’m thinking it’s comparable to, it was a sunny day. I went for a walk. Okay. I don’t have much visualization to that. But the second story that you told was, it was a sunny day and my parents ware coming to town and you’re adding context and you’re adding depth. Right. And you’re also, to me, showing something that I feel is very important for [Edmonds], you’re showing your critical thinking skills, you’re showing how you, not only saw an out-of-office, you saw an out-of-office with an opportunity. Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, 100%. Mike Gerholdt: Love that. I love that. Lissa Smith: Yeah. And I think that everyone, I mean, there, like I said, Eagle Scout Project. I mean, there’s these transferable skills that you have, that all, everyone has. And I think it’s just, you really have to sit down and focus and how can I translate these skills into this job description? And I think it’s also pretty job description specific too, you’ll want to look at the job description and see what is this role asking for? Are they asking for that someone with strong process automation skills? Okay, well, then let me look through my list of stories, my role at expert repository of stories, and see which ones might relate to process automation. It might be this, my out-of-office story here, or is there a lot of mention of collaboration in the job description? Is there a lot of a mention of working with stakeholders? Okay. Well, let me think of my past experience and make sure that I’m coming prepared to this interview with examples of how I’ve done that. And good stories too. Like you said, you can give numbers, you can give the facts, but when you tell a good story, I mean, it’s also showing off your communication skills. It’s showing off that you understand the why, which is really important. And it feeds into a little of that passion too, that you can hear the passion in someone’s story. You don’t really hear a passion in facts. Mike Gerholdt: Right. That’s true. How would you… So I’m listening to this and I’m lack of a better term, playing devil’s advocate. And thinking, “Boy, if I was a new admin and I’m applying for that junior role, and maybe I don’t have the paid experience, maybe I’m fresh out of Pathfinders, or I’m fresh out of college, and I’ve got two Salesforce certifications or 120 Trailhead badges. I don’t have those relatable stories. Were the interview questions for junior admins maybe a little bit different, or were the answers or way that I should be thinking about answering as a junior admin, a little bit different? Lissa Smith: I think a little both. The questions are pretty much the same for me. I mean, in thinking of past skills, if you were a bartender, you could figure out how to translate the skills that you used as a bartender to managing projects, prioritizing, there’s collaborating with others. There’s still a lot of those transferable skills. And being able to tell that story, I think is part of this that’s huge. So it’s a lot of the same questions. Mike Gerholdt: I think you absolutely 100% nailed it because I’m thinking of the college student. And you’re like, “Well, the time that I really had to collaborate, well, I don’t have a time in the workplace. But let me tell you about this project I was on in advanced biochemistry where I had a difficult teammate. You could walk through a scenario there, and it’s showing you the same principles and skills. It’s just a different environment that they were used in. Lissa Smith: Absolutely. I also, personally, I mean, even, I think certification can be a story in itself and it was for some of the candidates that I hired. Mike Gerholdt: Oh, how so? Lissa Smith: I heard stories of, it took me five times to pass my certification exam, is what a candidate told me. And they told me that kind of slumping, shoulders down, disappointed in themselves. I would reframe that story. I was so persistent, I went back and I know that content inside and out, it wasn’t just guessing to pass that exam. I know that content inside and out, it took me five tries and I passed, that’s, it’s, it can all be a story. It can all be something that sells you. And so even certification can be a story. It’s all in how you frame it. Mike Gerholdt: One thing I wanted to touch on in this point was I shared with you prior to the call, kind of that admin skills that we’d rolled out. Rebecca showed us in the admin Keynote at Dreamforce. And I know it was the first time you’d seen it. So I kind of blindsided you with it. But of those 14 skills, was there one that stood out for you? Lissa Smith: Problem solving stands out the most for me. I mean, when I come in, me, personally, into an interview, I am selling myself as a passionate, proactive problem solver. That’s what I am. I’m enthusiastic. I love finding problems. I love helping connect dots to figure out how to solve those problems. I think that’s the heart of an admin, they’re problem solvers and excited to find ways. So for me, personally, I hate saying, “No, that’s not possible on the Salesforce platform.” Because I can pretty much always figure out a way to do it. And so I feel that’s the heart of an admin. But the learner’s mindset, piece, I think that’s another huge one. When you are looking for roles, admins who are looking for roles, I think it’s important to connect with a company that thinks that this is important too, that failing is okay, that trying new things is okay, innovating is okay. And gives you time to learn and to go to the new release readiness training, to do Trailhead to continue to learn. I think that’s really important when looking for a role. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I would agree 100%. You need to interview that company for culture. And the one thing I always tell people is, the person you’re sitting across the table from, are you enjoy sitting across the table from them? Because that’s going to be your job. Do you enjoy? If it’s an in person interview, do you enjoy the atmosphere? Do you enjoy just kind of that culture, that feeling that you have there? Because that’s something that’s really hard to change. Lissa Smith: So important. Before I joined Salesforce, I was a leader of a Salesforce Trailblazer community group here in Indianapolis. And I was very involved in the community, in the Trailblazer community, at the women in tech meetings, at the admin meetings, at the developer meetings, still I am. Although now, everything’s different and virtual. Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Lissa Smith: I can participate in meetings all over the world there. Mike Gerholdt: Everywhere. Lissa Smith: Yeah. But having a hiring manager who participates in those meetings, I think is, or having a manager, not even a hiring manager, a manager who participates in those meetings is huge. Because they, first of all, the hiring managers, if you’re listening here, go to those meetings because you will find all the excited, passionate candidates you’re looking for. A large majority of the admins that I hired were already very active within the community. And I already knew them and they already knew me. And I was somebody that they wanted to work for because they knew I was excited about the community and participated in it. And they knew, I would give them time to go to those meetings during lunch, back when they were always in person at lunchtime. It was- Mike Gerholdt: In the Midwest, those meetings are always over lunch so that we could have meatloaf or lasagna or [inaudible] very ridiculously heavy, Midwestern, a hot dish. Lissa Smith: Right. Yeah. And I know that that’s not something that’s consistent. But not all hiring managers even know that this exists or even managers know that this community exists. So I think it’s really important for managers to get involved in the Trailblazer community. And there’s a lot of… A ton of great talent. I mean, it’s just packed full of amazing talent. People who are motivated and excited and then have this big network of people to connect with if they run into issues or if they need help, especially for those junior admins, that it’s something they haven’t done before. But they have this huge network of people that they can connect with. Now, all over the world. Thanks to… I mean, it was already all over the world, but even more so now that everything’s so virtual, they have this network. Mike Gerholdt: No, I’m with you. And I actually was thinking about that because the number of stories, you go back a few years on the pod, we told the Zac Otero story of how Zac got his certifications and was relentless of going to user groups and introducing himself. There’s a lot of stories where that’s a great place to meet people, if you’re looking to get hired because they share the same interests. And I think it’s something you pointed out early on in our discussions was hiring managers should be at this. It may be called a user group, but hiring managers are users too. Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Mike Gerholdt: So- Lissa Smith: Yep. Mike Gerholdt: … I love that point. And it’s also, if I was thinking about it, would I want to interview with a hiring manager that I’ve seen at user groups, or would I want to interview with a hiring major where I have to explain user groups? Lissa Smith: Yes. It’s such a good point. Yes, exactly. Mike Gerholdt: Very different. So one thing, I think it’s, in common talk about because I feel you’ve run the gamut. I hope we’ve given everybody kind of a good insight into hiring admins and being the hiring manager. But I’d love to know a little bit about what you do at Salesforce because your title’s intriguing. Lissa Smith: Yeah. So senior manager of business architecture here at Salesforce. I’m responsible for our internal Salesforce instance for sales people. So processes, tools, governance, user experience, within our internal Salesforce instance and within Slack. And I’ve been working a lot on the Slack for sales project for- Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Lissa Smith: … the past year and the rollout of Slack now. So it’s very fun and very exciting. Mike Gerholdt: I will tell you, it’s always been a personal goal of mine when we started the podcast to have on as many Salesforce admins as possible. And I mean, Salesforce, Salesforce admins. But I say that a little tongue in cheek because I think it’s important. And I just did a talk with Pathfinders recently, the reason I bring that up and I say that is, your title, senior manager, business architecture isn’t something that I might search for on LinkedIn as a job- Lissa Smith: Right. Mike Gerholdt: … as a Salesforce admin. Right. And I think it’s important that we understand the identity and persona is called that, but the job title and the job descriptions may be very different. Lissa Smith: So true. And I was lucky with this role that the word or the phrase, Salesforce admin, was included in the description that they were looking for somebody that had previous Salesforce admin experience. And so it showed up in a… This was a 10-year-old job search that I don’t even know how to turn off. It comes into my- Mike Gerholdt: No. Lissa Smith: … and it’s fine because I can see the landscape, especially when I was hiring admins, I could see who else is hiring here in Indianapolis. And I could see those other job descriptions and… But this one came through. And like you said, it was senior manager, business architecture. What’s that? And why did this even show up in the job search? I’m not even looking for a job and dug into that. And it’s really cool. And it’s Salesforce uses Salesforce to sell Salesforce, SuperMeta. There’s got to be a team that’s responsible for that. And- Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Lissa Smith: … it’s pretty exciting to be on that team. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I mean, I think in The Matrix, it’s taking the red pill, but for some reason taking the blue pill, right? So, I mean, you don’t have to give us details. But what kind of projects do you work on that I think… And the reason I ask that is, I want to be clear, not digging into your work-life, but I’m digging into analogous to what Salesforce admins would be doing. So what are, if somebody’s listening to this and thinking, “Hey, maybe I’ll become a Salesforce admin.” What’s kind of your everyday look like? Lissa Smith: Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, we’re looking at new features. We often get them very early, as customer zero we get them first. So we’re looking at those new features. We also want dynamic forms on standard objects. So we want to be able to have that and make our user experience better. So we’re evaluating new features, we’re looking at how can we make user experience better. We’re collecting feedback from users. We’re governing our objects as well and our processes. We’re making sure that- Mike Gerholdt: That’s a whole podcast in of itself. Lissa Smith: … yeah, absolutely it is. We’re now looking at our digital HQ at Slack and how do we incorporate Slack into our processes. Make it Slack first, make Slack the platform of engagement for our users and ultimately, improve and make their processes more efficient. So it’s a day-to-day talking to users, understanding what users are doing and then making things better for them. Mike Gerholdt: Sounds all the stuff we talk about in the central habits, which just makes me happy. It’s very good. Well, Lissa, this has been a very fun podcast. You are welcome back, anytime. If you have an idea, top of mind that you want to talk about, I will be super excited to see what Twitter has to say about this episode because I know it was one of the very first things that always pops into my inbox. Every time I check the community is, people asking for hiring or interview or questions or just anything around getting a job as being a Salesforce admin. And I thought it was a great way to kick off 2022. So thank you for helping me kick off 2022 on the podcast. Lissa Smith: You’re welcome. Happy new year. I’m very excited to be here. I’m excited for the future of all of the new Salesforce admins and I’m rooting for you. And, yeah, excited. Mike Gerholdt: So as I write, that was an amazing episode with Lissa. We literally probably could have talked for another hour, so I’m going to have to have Lissa back on the podcast. But to do that, you got to tweet me and tell me, what did I forget to ask Lissa on this episode? And then I’ll start compiling and we’ll get her back as soon as possible. What would you love to know about a hiring manager and asking questions to get that perfect admin job? So be sure to tweet at us. And if you’d like to learn more about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including all of the links that I mentioned in this episode, as well as a full transcript. Now, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are at @SalesforceAdmns, no “I” on Twitter. Gillian is @gilliankbruce and, of course, I am @mikegerholdt. So with that, welcome to 2022 and stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for that next episode. We’ll see you in the cloud.
Celebrating Admins with Belinda Wong
Jul 14 2022
Celebrating Admins with Belinda Wong
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Belinda Wong, VP, Product Platform Management at Salesforce. Join us as we talk about why sometimes Admins who are doing the best job go unnoticed and everything user access policy. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Belinda Wong. Thank you, Admins Belinda is a Salesforce veteran in the midst of her 16th year with the organization. She actually got her start as an Admin way back when. She knows what it’s like to be asked over and over again to “just make it work” when so much more goes into understanding the problem and coming up with a solution that makes sense. She feels like often all you’ll get is a thanks for sorting things out without a deeper appreciation of what you’ve actually pulled off, so to everyone out there who’s been in that situation: she says thanks. “Some of the best Admins I’ve talked to know how to anticipate,” Belinda says, they’re doing the research before a new Release drops to ensure everything goes smoothly. It can often feel like you get recognition only when you put out a big fire when things going smoothly on the other 364 days of the year is actually the bigger achievement. What the Login Access Policy will mean for you One thing Belinda and her team are working on to improve productivity for Admins is adding the ability to better group together Permissions and find ways for Salesforce to help with that out of the box. “We’ve had standard profiles for 20 years—they haven’t really come along,” she says, which is why they’ve been moving into creating standard permission sets and permission set groups to help. Belinda and her team are working on Login Access Policy to really tackle those problems and help you manage everything. It’ll not only include permissions sets but also things that are currently a little more peripheral, like record level access controls, public groups, and more. Look out for an early pilot of that later this year (safe harbor) and hopefully, try it out and give Belinda your feedback. Be sure to listen to the whole episode for what Belinda’s up to with video games and knitting, and what you should wear to Dreamforce. Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Social Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full show transcript Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week I'm talking with Belinda Wong, who's the VP of product management at Salesforce. Now, before we get into the conversation with Belinda, she has been at Salesforce for 16 years. That's a long time. And she is actually heading up... I'm sure you're familiar with the name Cheryl Feldman. If not, Cheryl's working on all of the user access and permission policy things. So Belinda heads up that area. She has a really interesting take on some of the things that we do as admins I look at it as kind of celebrating zero. And so that's going to make more sense when you listen to the podcast, but really doing those things where we're being preventative and working ahead. Belinda even gives some advice on how to coach that up to your manager and make a big deal of being proactive. So with that, let's get Belinda on the podcast. So Belinda, welcome to the podcast. Belinda Wong: Thank you, Mike. I am so excited. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, it's your first podcast, which is hard to believe because I feel like I have spoken to Belinda Wong quite a bit in my career, but maybe just not on the podcast. So welcome to your first podcast. Belinda Wong: Thank you. Thank you. I'm excited. Mike Gerholdt: Now, you have a really cool title, VP product management at Salesforce. So hey, you've done some things. I would love to start off by you kind of introducing yourself to what are some of the products that perhaps you've managed that admins have used? Belinda Wong: So I am nearly at my 16th year. Mike Gerholdt: Oh, congrats. Belinda Wong: Finishing my 16th year at Salesforce. So I have done a lot of different things here. But from a product perspective, I moved into product management probably about halfway through that stint. I started off with owning our licensing and provisioning framework basically. I call it our digital delivery. This is how we play the role of the FedEx and UPS for all the products that Salesforce sells. So that was my first product. Then I expanded into some of our authorization space. And it was originally called admin, but it's really authorization, meaning how do you entitle your users. And think profiles, permission sets and all the goodness around that. So those are my two main areas. I started off doing the direct management. And then now I have a team of PMs. You guys will know that I recently brought Cheryl Feldman to take over that authorization space and she's been amazing. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, rockstar. Rockstar. Belinda Wong: Yeah, absolutely rockstar. So that's my space. I affectionately call it entitlement services. So it's basically all the capabilities and services to entitle your system as well entitling your end users. Is that helpful? Mike Gerholdt: Gotcha. Yeah. I mean, you are part of the delivery and now you're the person that keeps the doors locked or unlocked and gives admins the ability to hand out permissions. I like it. Belinda Wong: That's great. I'm going to steal that. Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Use it. So it feels like last year, but it was actually just April, if you can believe, that we did TrailblazerDX in San Francisco and we were crossing paths in the setup area. And I will joke, we found the most splinterable picnic table, I think, available on the planet to sit down and have a chat. One of the topics that you brought up, which was really keen and why I wanted to have you on the podcast, was you said sometimes tasks that admins do are undervalued. And I'd really love for you to elaborate more on that. Belinda Wong: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, my personal history with Salesforce started as an admin. I mean, before I joined Salesforce as an employee, my first introduction to Salesforce was administering an org for a startup. So one of the things that I figured out that, I mean, it was a great learning and it was also the reason why I fell in love with Salesforce as a product to start with is all the flexibility, all the things that you can figure out, but at the same time, people don't necessarily appreciate it, right? I remember being on the receiving end of, "Just make it work," you know? Mike Gerholdt: Right. Belinda Wong: "Just give me the... Look, he could do something that I can't. Just make it so that it works." Since then, I've talked to a lot of administrators that's come up to me either in conference shows or I've reached out and talked to that that said the same thing. It's like, my users just want it to work, so they don't necessarily appreciate how much time the administrator has to go and understand what happened, have to go figure out what is or isn't set up right. And at the end of the day, all they get appreciated for is, "Okay, you fix the problem. Great!" Not that you spent 20 hours figuring out how to do it. And that's the part that I think we need to really highlight and just give that thanks. And I want to thank every administrator, everybody out there that's had that experience, even if it's only once in a while. But it's like, thank you. Thank you for persevering and staying with us. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I think there's... And I'll paraphrase. I read a note somewhere that kind of summarizes what you said, which was, a pipe in a house is clogged and person calls the plumber. Plumber comes over and says, "It'll be $400 to fix it." "Well, how, long's it going to take you to fix it?" "Oh, it'll be fixed in five minutes. You're not paying me for my time. You're paying me for the fact that I know how to fix this in five minutes." I think that's what you're saying, right? It's a little bit of the reverse of that, but it's like, "Thank you for doing the thing I asked. However, I lacked to gain the insight into the amount of time that it took for you to get that correct." I mean, I have auto bill set up on how many of my home bills and cell bills and stuff like that. When the money just comes out of your account and you pay the bill and the service always works, you have a really hard time finding fault with the service. It's when the thing doesn't work that you're like, "Yeah, this company's horrible," right? Belinda Wong: Exactly. Exactly. And that's the other part, is talking about another underappreciate, is that anticipation. Some of the best admins that I've talked to anticipates, right? They're the ones doing all the research on, "Hey, I hear a release is coming. Let's go learn about what's going to change. How's that going to impact me? I'm going to go figure it out before it actually impacts my end users." And again, they're doing it naturally. They just know that's the best way for them to get ahead of what might be problems. But I don't see that as appreciated by all the companies and the managers out there so we should advertise that that is important work. Mike Gerholdt: Right. So let's talk about that because I feel like there's always one part and I listen to other podcasts and like, "Yeah, that's a problem." It's really easy to point out problems, but I think the second part of that is like, "So what's a solution?" I mean think of it from, I'll put it very astutely right into your seat, you're a manager of people and if you have somebody that does anticipate problems and does it very well and somebody that doesn't, what are things that you do to try and coach the other person and reward one of them for doing that and kind of help the other person not? Or conversely, what should that admin think of them out there, learning all the release notes, proactively putting out, "Here's what's coming. Here's things we need to think about," but feeling that undervalue from their manager? What should they do to communicate that to their manager? What would you want communicated to you? Belinda Wong: I'm going to tell you a story. One of the things that I say especially for about my licensing and provisioning area is we are an enormous success when there are no incidents, right? Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Belinda Wong: But reporting zero incidents is not normally what people do. Although, I do. Now that I think about it, I don't know if they have them around anymore but I remember days when I would go into the office, this was like my pre Salesforce days, I worked at an environmental engineering firm. You would walk into the office in the kitchen and there would be a poster that says, "Number of days with no OSHA violations." Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah. There's a construction site I go past to take my dog to daycare and they have a sign that's similar to that. Belinda Wong: Right. But you notice that the metric they're reporting is a number that goes up, right? Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm. Belinda Wong: And we seem to have a natural tendency towards the bigger the number, the more vanity the better it is to have. But the reality is, what we want to measure is no incident. We actually want a zero. Mike Gerholdt: Right. Belinda Wong: But in that particular story, they had to represent it with a number that goes up so that people recognize the importance, like bigger is better. So maybe that's what we need to do is to say, "Let's figure out how to celebrate that. A no incident is not just, 'Okay nothing happened,' but that there's greatness in that. There's a metric what we should come up with to celebrate that." I don't know if that answers the question. Mike Gerholdt: No, I do think... Yeah, it is funny. I didn't realize that, but I drive past that construction site and you notice the double or triple digit number. And then sometimes you drive by and you're like, "Oh, it's at five. Something must have happened, right? Belinda Wong: Right. Mike Gerholdt: And it's similar to like that auto bill that I have set up on some of my accounts. When they just bill me and my cell phone service works and I don't have issues, it's kind of cool. But man, you can get me flaming mad if I get out in the middle of nowhere and my cell service drops or something happens and it's like, "Wait a minute, I forgot about the 364 other days that boring was not even celebrated, but it totally meant they were doing their job." Belinda Wong: Exactly. Yeah. I think that's what I would... I think your question was about how I would coach the people into, "Okay, you're not anticipating" because they got attention for the incidents that happened, right? Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Belinda Wong: We always jump on escalations. So the person's name had recognition because there was an escalation. I mean, you could say there's a small negative connotation to that, but it's still, there was recognition. Whereas the other person who was doing the job, like doing their job well, was not getting recognized, right? So my coaching or my job as a manager would be, okay, let's find a way to celebrate that. And like I said, let's find a way that people understand it's important and that they see that big number or that big recognition. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I think a lot of what we talk about in admin relations and putting together sample dashboards is, "Look at all of the stories or the case tickets that I've burned down over the month." Like, "Look at all the things I've solved." I think the reverse of that is also... And I apologize I can't remember the year, but I know at Dreamforce one year we had a presentation that an individual in the community did. It was like dashboard of zeros is what I remember. Belinda Wong: Right. Mike Gerholdt: It's almost like celebrating that, right? Thinking through, "I know we want to talk about here's all the big stuff that's happened, but let's talk about how this dashboard month over month is still zero." And that could be number of incidences because we've anticipated problems that were coming up and proactively worked on solutions. So thinking that through, I can hear admins in my ear. They want to know like, "So Belinda, you manage Cheryl and you got this whole team of people. What's some of the stuff that you're proactively working on to make admins life easier?" Belinda Wong: There's a couple of efforts that in our authorization space that we're looking at. One upcoming is something called user access policies. So one of the things that we know will improve our administrators productivity is to be able to better group together permissions, and maybe even to have Salesforce be much better at providing the prescriptive out of the box representation. I mean, the reality is we've had standard profiles for 20 years. They haven't really come along. Mike Gerholdt: [inaudible]. Belinda Wong: We've started moving into a space we call permission sets and permission set groups. We've slowly started to put out standard permission sets, but usually along with incremental add on features, things like Einstein or maybe Health Cloud coming out with, "Hey, this is how you can configure a Health Cloud person." But we need to get a better way to do that in a standardized across all of our features and services. And that's what user access policy is intended to be, is a way for us to create a grouping that not only includes the permission sets, but also things that are a little more peripheral, like the record level access controls, like public groups and things like that. So look out for that. That is definitely on Cheryl's roadmap, user access policies. We're looking to do that, a pilot, an early pilot of that this year, so safe harbor. And then really get more feedback and iterate on that over the next year or so. Mike Gerholdt: So is that feature functionality just a result of technology changing or the granularity of Salesforce needing to be even tighter? I guess the question I'm poking at is really for kind of newer admins. What about the profile doesn't work? And I say that because I've got a profile on Twitter and I've got a profile on Facebook and I've got a profile on other things that I log into. And I think maybe the new admin looks at that as like why are we splitting this up a little bit more? Belinda Wong: The main aspect of it is definitely the growth of different types of functionality in the platform. I mean, when we first started 20 years ago or over 20 years ago, we only had sales, right? Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm. Belinda Wong: So profiles were set up to say, "Okay, you're a standard sales user. You do a little bit of contract management, or you just need read-only access to the sales objects." Mike Gerholdt: Right. Belinda Wong: We've since grown into service cloud. We've grown into experience communities, portals. And our enormous app exchange ecosystem has added a lot more ISV partner solutions that sometimes play with the same objects, but often are their own set of entities, right?It's kind of like that bolt on. You start putting all this stuff onto the one item, it's like, "Oh, let me put on an extra pocket on this jacket. Let me put this badge or this pin." So now you've got this really heavyweight jacket that you have to put on. And you actually have to change it completely when something needs to be tweaked. Mike Gerholdt: Right. Belinda Wong: So what we've said is, "You know what? We need to redesign that jacket so that it is more like the type of jacket where there's an inner lining that you can take off, or the sleeves comes off and you can actually be able to use this in a much more flexible way." That's kind of where that thought process, that design was coming from. Mike Gerholdt: No, that's good. That's a really good analogy. I never really thought of that. I can only say, to me, I see it akin to a lot of the changes that we saw with Apple products. Like if you remember when the iPod came out, well, we synced it with iTunes, right? Belinda Wong: Mm-hmm. Mike Gerholdt: And then the phone came out, except now the phone has apps. But you get apps through iTunes, right?It kind of felt weird. They really had to figure out a way to kind of like, this one thing can't do everything anymore, you know? Belinda Wong: Right. Mike Gerholdt: I like your analogy of pins and buttons. You end up with this huge, massive jacket that isn't as functional because you've just kept adding to it as opposed to being able to scope out that vision. So it's a great analogy. Belinda, one of the things that I love to ask and feel free to answer however you wish. We've had a few PMs on and we'll probably see you at Dreamforce. Admins will be walking around. What is something you love to do in your spare time when you're not making user access policy products awesome for Salesforce admins? Belinda Wong: So my two favorite hobbies, they're actually very different, but my two favorite hobbies, my first favorite hobby really the time sync one is video games. Mike Gerholdt: Ooh. Belinda Wong: It's actually a way for me to get connected with my own family, because my husband's a big video gamer. Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Belinda Wong: The two of us from even before we had children, we would sit side by side and play Final Fantasy in Co Op mode together. It was a great way for us to learn from each other and really connect and be together, because I was always the puzzle solver while he was the one who was like the fighter. He was much more dextrous than me, but we would get to a portion of the game where he is like, "I can't figure out where to go from here anymore." And it's like, "No, you just need to solve that little... Move those boxes around and then you'll be able to get to that extra passage way." And we started doing that with our kids too. It's like we would play the Lego. I mean, Lego is big French. They take all of these different movies and then turn them into games with the Lego characters. So we just love those. We just love those. Our time sync is family time, video gaming. Although we also do occasionally board games when we're like, "Okay, maybe we're a little over indexed on the screen time now." But the other thing that I do for me, which is more of a personal thing is knitting. Mike Gerholdt: Ooh. Belinda Wong: Because I just love being able to produce something. I'm not as talented as other crafters that we have at Salesforce. I am just totally envious of what Chris Duarte can do with the [inaudible] machine. But I've been trying to figure out how do I want designing, knitting a cap with the cloud on it and stuff like that. I'm working on it. Maybe I'll figure it out by Dreamforce and get you in. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I will take anything knitted. I love knitted stuff. It's so cool. That's so neat. I think you probably tapped into a lot of the things that I see our community do. I know there's a lot of video game people out there. Josh who hosts the Dev Podcast is a big video gamer. I think they're also on Twitch. I don't know if you Twitch stream your video games. That's a whole thing I just figured out, but you can watch a channel where you watch people play video games. One of my friends' kids told me about it. And I remember thinking to myself, "That's got to be incredibly boring." And then later that night I found myself two hours in watching somebody play a video game on Twitch. And I was like, "Okay. Note taken." So, yeah. Interesting. Belinda Wong: Yeah. I haven't quite gotten into that yet. Although my daughters do. My younger daughter loves Roblox. Mike Gerholdt: Oh. Belinda Wong: I mean, that is the video game of choice for at least my 11 year old. Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Belinda Wong: And she's watched people do... That and Minecraft, because she's loves the building aspect, being able to just make giant towers and things like that. Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes. Belinda Wong: So I've seen her do watch a Twitch channel on Roblox or Minecraft. Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. Belinda Wong: I haven't gotten into it myself yet. Mike Gerholdt: I did the Minecraft Creative mode for a while. I totally got into it. And then I built this huge house thing. I think it's Creative mode or something, Design mode, you can fly around. And I was flying around and I got lost. I couldn't find my way back to this big house that I had built. And I was just so devastated that I was like, "Oh." And so I just never picked it up again. Belinda Wong: No. Mike Gerholdt: That, and then I made the mistake of going online and seeing other stuff that people had built. And I was like, "Oh my thing's not even close to that." So hey, there we go. But yeah, video games and knitting. Belinda, thanks for taking time out of the day and talking about some of the stuff you're working on at Salesforce and recognizing that some of the things our admins do that we've always realized are things that they should talk a little bit more about. Belinda Wong: Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for everything. I want to just say again, thank you to all the admins and everything they do in making Salesforce easy to use. Mike Gerholdt: So it was great talking with Belinda. We can always go down host different alleys. I'd love to know if there's video game players or knitters out there. I see that all over my Twitter feed quite a bit. And holy cow, if you're coming to Dreamforce this year, it's going to be warm, but bring something knitted because that's going to be super cool. I truly wish I could knit. I have not picked it up. I played some video games, but it was neat to see some of the hobbies that Belinda has. I really enjoyed her advice that she gave us as admins about thinking about some of those tasks that we do and the time we put into it and celebrating ourselves and also paying attention, being ahead of the curve and anticipating new features, new releases or maybe new issues. It's always worth bringing those up to our managers as well as we work through those things. So of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, just go to admin.salesforce.com to find resources including any of the links that we mentioned in today's episode as well as a full transcript. Of course you can stay up to date with us on social, we are @SalesforceAdmins. No I on Twitter. Gillian is on Twitter. She is @gilliankbruce. And of course, I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt. And with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.
From Olympian to Solution Engineer with Christine Magnuson
Jul 7 2022
From Olympian to Solution Engineer with Christine Magnuson
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Christine Magnuson, a Solution Engineering Manager at Salesforce and 2008 Olympic swimmer and two-time silver medalist. Join us as we talk about what skills transferred from being a top athlete to working in the Salesforce ecosystem, why you shouldn’t sell yourself short, and why Admins are great partners in Solution Engineering. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Christine Magnuson. Transitioning into a Salesforce career Christine is officially the first Olympic medalist we’ve had on the pod. “You have to constantly check yourself that you’re in reality,” she says, “you’re just among the best of the best in what they do and it’s an honor to be in that community.” So we know how she got her start, but how did Christine wind up in Solution Engineering? She started with a master's in Public Administration and hit the pavement to network. Almost anyone was willing to give 30 minutes to an Olympian asking about their lives. “Actually,” she says, “I don’t think you need to be an Olympian to call somebody up to ask about what they do and what they like and what they don’t—everyone says yes because they like talking about themselves.” How Sales was the perfect jumping-off point for Christine The overwhelming advice was to start in Sales because it applies to so many different things. “I came to realize that it was really about me believing in the product I was selling,” Christine says, “and as long as I believed in the product I was doing everybody else a favor by telling them about it and not them doing a favor for me.” The business she was working for had started leveraging Salesforce and, since she was the youngest person on the team, she was the de facto accidental Admin. Christine found herself working at Quip soon after they were acquired. She worked in Sales for a year “but I nerded out on the product so much and working with the PMs and the marketing team and having that cross-functional view was really fun for me,” she says, so when they decided to build out the Solution Engineering team she volunteered. From there it was a transition to the core team working with key Salesforce clients like Amazon, Dell, and BMWare. Why Admins are visionaries Admins are particularly helpful in this work because they know their user base inside and out: what they want to do, where their pain points are, and what needs automating. “Some of the Admins I work with are so innovative about not just thinking about what is a small step forward, but what are five steps forwards and should we be taking those big leaps forward,” Christine says. One of the secret powers that good Admins have is the ability to use the tools already in Salesforce to the max. As the old saying goes, when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, and sometimes in these large organizations, Devs jump straight to coding and customizing when there might already be a tool you can use in your org.  Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Salesforce Admins Skills Kit Social Christine: @CMagsFlyerSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full Show Transcript Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I am your host, Gillian Bruce. And today, we have a first, listeners. We are joined by a two-time Olympic silver medalist and solution engineering manager at Salesforce, Christine Magnuson. She has so much great knowledge and experience to share. I asked her about all of the things, everything from what's it like to build a team of Salesforce professionals to how do you transfer skills from being an elite athlete to working in the Salesforce ecosystem, and so much more. So without further ado, let's welcome Christine on the pod. Christine, welcome to the podcast. Christine Magnuson: Thanks so much for having me. Gillian Bruce: Okay. So it is official. You are the first official Olympian and medal winner to appear on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. I just have to lead with that because it's pretty amazing. Tell me, what was it like to win a silver medal at the Olympics? Two of them. Christine Magnuson: Two of them. Well, I am happy to be your first. I have a feeling I won't be your last, but very excited to be the trailblazer here on that front. Yes. My Olympic career was so fun. I mean, I highly suggest becoming an Olympian if you have the chance to. Gillian Bruce: Totally on my list. Christine Magnuson: Yes. Exactly. Sign yourself up. It's a really amazing community to be a part of, and to stand up and represent your country in that form is just such an honor. It takes your breath away. You have to constantly check yourself that you're in reality. And just to be in that space with so many amazing competitors from not just Team USA, but around the world. It's so such a hard feeling to describe because you're just amongst the best of the best in what they do. And it's an honor. It's an honor to be amongst that community. And it's something that it never leaves you. Once you're an Olympian, you're always an Olympian. There's never former Olympians. There's just Olympians. And so it's definitely a club that you're part of for your entire life once you're there once, and that's pretty incredible. Gillian Bruce: So it's like being part of Salesforce ecosystem, right? I mean, once you're a part of it. Christine Magnuson: It's like being a ranger. Once you're a ranger, they don't take it away. You get to be a ranger for life. Now you can always do more, but yes, it's 100%. It doesn't leave you. You can always come back. I mean, how many boomerangs do we know in this Salesforce... Well, Salesforce is a company. Of course, there's boomerangs, but then also just in the ecosystem as well. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Once you get in, you can't really get out because it's a good place to be. So speaking of that, talk to me a little bit about your transition from being an amazing Olympic athlete to now being... I mean, you work with solution engineers here at Salesforce. Tell me a little bit about that journey. Christine Magnuson: Oh, man. I have the best job. At least I think so. So when I retired in 2013, I had just finished up my master's program from the University of Arizona. I have a master's in public administration. I thought I wanted to go into non-profits or athletic governances, and then through that experience, really felt like I wanted to actually go into the corporate world and get more experience before applying those things potentially back to those communities. And so I networked with really anyone who talked me. Good news was that pretty much everybody was willing to give 30 minutes to an Olympian who was just asking them about their lives. Actually, I don't think you'd need to be an Olympian to call somebody up and say, "Can you tell me about what you do and what you like and what you don't?" Everyone says yes. They love talking about themselves, which is great. And so I net networked my way and everybody said, "Sales is a great place to start. You'll never regret it. You can apply it to so many different ways even if you end up not liking sales." It took me a while to realize that that was the case. When you think about sales, you think about that used car salesman and people selling, pushing things on you that you don't want. And I came to realize that it was really about me believing in the product I was selling. And as long as I believed in the product, I was doing everybody else a favor by telling them about it and not them doing a favor for me. And so- Gillian Bruce: That shift. Yeah. Christine Magnuson: Total shift in mindset. And so I joined a great small company out of Chicago that was placing consultants into life science companies and learned full life cycle sales from them. And they were also doing a lot with their Salesforce implementation during that time. And of course, I was one of the younger ones in the company and new to sales, and they were like, "Christine can figure this out. What should the experience be?" And so I was the super user. And then towards my end, I was actually part-time admin with no qualification whatsoever other than I could pick it up. That's I think the amazing thing about the product itself is that you can pick it up without going and learning how to code. And so I really fell in love with the technology. I had moved to San Francisco because I was in Chicago and Chicago's really cold. Growing up there, I knew what it meant. And I spent a couple of adult years there and just decided to get out. So I moved to San Francisco, wanted to get into tech, and there was this little company called Quip that had just been acquired. They were ramping things up. I joined their sales team, did sales for a year, but felt I was basically... I nerded out on the product so much and working with the PMs and the marketing team, and having that cross-functional view was really fun for me, that when they decided to build out the solution engineering team, I raised my hand and everybody around me was really supportive. And so I moved to the new role, was immediately put on some of our top accounts, which was mind-blowing to see how these really complex accounts worked. And a few years later, I was leading the SE team and helping expand my knowledge across the US with our [inaudible] based team. And now, about six or nine months ago, I came over to what we call core, which is thinking about the whole Salesforce portfolio for particular customer bases. And I have the honor of leading some really elite SEs who cover companies like Amazon and Dell and VMware and a few others. And they're just some of the sharpest individuals that I've ever met. And I get the honor of managing them and then meeting with our customers and seeing what they're doing and trying to help them through a lot of really complex issues. And so I'm never bored. I'm always using my brain. And it's a really fun job, and all because I just nerded out on the Salesforce products. Gillian Bruce: Well, you're preaching to the choir here because admins are the ultimate Salesforce nerds. We're very proud of our nerdom. Christine Magnuson: I love it. Gillian Bruce: And I think what's so interesting is you interact with admins and customers at these very complex companies and these complex implementations. I want to touch more on how you transferred some of your skills as an Olympian to your skills in the Salesforce ecosystem. But before we get there, can you talk to me about some of the things that you see make an admin at one of these very complex implementations successful? Christine Magnuson: Yeah. I think when they really understand their user base, that helps an extreme amount because they understand what their user base is trying to do, where they can automate, where they're struggling. And so the more they can understand their end user, the better. And then it comes down to, okay, understanding the actual implementation, pros and cons. Let's be real. No implementation out there is perfect. Gillian Bruce: What? What are you talking about? Christine Magnuson: Well, if somebody knows of one, please call me and let me know how it went and how you got there. But it's just because things change. Companies grow and you can't predict the future when you're implementing. And so hindsight is 20-20. But some of the admins I work with are so innovative of not just thinking about what is a small step forward, but what are five step forward? Should we be doing five steps instead of one in certain areas and taking those big leaps forward? And how does global changes affect us? Not just scale and a global distributed user base, but also data residency requirements. And oh my goodness, how do we push changes if we're going to have multi-org? And what does hyper force look like? And all of these things, they're a part of the conversation. And that is one, really fulfilling, I think for everybody involved because we're getting the full picture, but it helps us break down what is realistic for this customer moving forward and what's their timeline? It's all about being in sync. But some just really great work being done out there by our admins. Gillian Bruce: I love that. Knowing your user base, knowing what your users are trying to do, and then really that forward visionary thinking of what the product can do and the direction that things are going. I think very, very important skills and traits of every successful admin. So it's great hearing it from you because you really work with some of the most complex. Christine Magnuson: Yeah. I'll add in one more because I know a lot of our admins work with IT groups. I'm renovating my house right now. I was talking to you about that earlier. When you talk to somebody who's a builder, they always want to build. And if you're talking to somebody who is a woodworker, they're just like, "Oh. Do this." And it's always in their frame of reference. And when we talk to customers, if we're talking to a highly IT-oriented or builder-oriented customer, they're like, "Oh. We'll just customize it. We'll just build it." And I think one of the powers that admins can come in is saying, "That's out-of-the-box. Stop building. Stop wasting our time and stop doing over-customized things that are going to hurt us down the road because again, we can't predict the future. Let's do as much out-of-the-box as possible. And then we can apply our own flavor to it if need be. And the customer or the user base should tell us if we actually need to do that or not." And so that's the third one I would put in is they're so valuable with saving their company's time by not developing things that are already just there for them. Gillian Bruce: You hit the nail in my head with that. That is something that is just... It comes up time and time again. And often it's like you mentioned, working with IT. There's also sometimes that conflict when you're a developer mindset versus an admin mindset because they'll go straight to like, "Oh. I can build this really, really cool thing that's super complex and blah, blah, blah." And the admin's like, "Hold up a second. You realize that we already have this in Salesforce." Christine Magnuson: Totally. We already own it. Gillian Bruce: Why don't you spend your time customizing something on top of that? Let's start with this base first. Christine Magnuson: I know. And some of these larger customers, they have a lot in their contracts that they should be using. It's just use it. You've already paid for it. So if you use more of it, it's kind of free because you've already put that- Gillian Bruce: It's included. Christine Magnuson: Yeah. It's included. You've already made the investment. So get more value out of it. And so stepping back and making sure that they're using that full value is something that the admins can do so much for their companies on. Gillian Bruce: Oh. I love that because that's such... I mean, again, talk about not only driving efficiency for the users and the user base and helping people get their jobs done, but you're saving the company resources and time as [inaudible]- Christine Magnuson: It's huge. The ROI behind it is huge. Gillian Bruce: I love those three really, really great points. So I want to dive back into the story of Christine for a second. So we have been talking a lot about the admin skills kit, which we just launched at TrailblazerDX a few months ago, and it's all about helping identify those business skills that help admins be successful. So on top of the product knowledge, these are things like communication and problem-solving, designer's mindset that really make an admin successful. And one element of that is we have language in there about how to represent these skills in the context of the Salesforce ecosystem. So this is how it might look like on your resume. This is how it might look like in a job posting you create to hire someone with that skill. How do you think about transferable skills? Because clearly you transferred a very unique skillset from being a very high level competitive athlete, an Olympian, to now the technology sector and the Salesforce ecosystem. So can you talk to me a little bit about how you managed transferring your skillset? Christine Magnuson: Yeah. Well, especially from the athletic world... and we're talking to the Team USA athletes about this right now... is what are those athlete skillsets that we probably took for granted, frankly? When you're in an elite level of whatever it is, but in my case, athleticism, you are surrounded by other people in that environment. And so you just start to take those skills for granted because they're normalized. And so how do you actually step away from that normalization and say, "Actually, that wasn't normal. That was special. And how do I articulate that it is special?" And so when it comes to the athletic population, we're very good at time management. When you're going from practice to school or work back to practice and you have to... I mean, even fitting in meals and strategic rest, all of that goes into just having really good time management. And especially now in a remote workforce world with distractions all around us and family coming in and out, my dogs were just here, it can get a little crazy. And so being able to focus on time management is huge. So that would, I would say, is an obvious number one. Two, coachability. Oh, my goodness. We're always constantly going to be learning new technology and picking up new skills and we should be getting feedback about how we're doing and what more should we be doing? And being able to... And athletes, believe me, we tend to be confident people. Takes a lot to stand up in front of a lot of people with a bathing suit on. Gillian Bruce: Sure does. Christine Magnuson: Most athletes don't lack in confidence, but I will say we know when to check our egos at the door because somebody's about to make us better. And that translates really well to a workforce where you have to actually invite feedback. Not everybody is good at giving or receiving feedback, and we can all get better by doing it. When somebody gives me feedback, it's such a compliment to me. They have just invested in me. They took the time to think something through, invest in me, and make me better. What a compliment, even if the feedback is harsh. And athletes are so used to that. Gillian Bruce: Feedback is a gift, right? Isn't that what we were saying? Yeah. Christine Magnuson: Exactly. All feedback is good feedback, even if it's- Gillian Bruce: It doesn't feel good. Christine Magnuson: It doesn't feel good. Exactly. And so the feedback loop is huge for athletes. The other, which I think we definitely take for granted, is attention to detail. Attention to detail, but still flexibility. So when I was swimming, I was talking to my coach about moving my arm a slightly different way at a slightly different angle. It was maybe an inch difference, and then doing that thousands, tens of thousands of times perfectly. And so that attention to detail is huge. But also knowing that you're working within a rule of constraints, and sometimes you need to be flexible. My first job, I remember coming in and working with somebody who's in operations, and they were extremely rule-oriented. There was no breaking her rules. And I had a situation where I was like, "Hey. I think we need to break this... We're going to have to do this differently," is how I phrased it. And she was like, "Absolutely not." And it shocked me because I had the logical argument. I had all of my data. I had backed it up and I said, "This is why this is different." And she said, "Nope, too bad." And I was just like, "I've never encountered someone like you before. I have to change the way I communicate." And all of it was really interesting lessons learned, but I think athletes can stay pretty fluid in these really changing dynamic environments. Still know what rules are important, but then apply details to them like, "Well, do we even make a shift here or shift there?" So that's kind of two in one with the flexibility and detail. But I would say that's another big one. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And I like the way that you paired those two together because especially as I think about admins specifically, the attention to detail is critical because you got to dot all the I's and cross all the Ts and make sure everything is locked down or assigned correctly or every single workflow is thought of. But at the same time, you do. You have to remain flexible because you may have to adjust that solution and adjust it for this specific user type or adjust it for this specific situation and... Yeah. Christine Magnuson: Oh, my goodness. Yes. I mean, how many companies do we see right now holistically changing their business models? Moving to subscription. I mean, what a huge difference and what an impact on their Salesforce instances. Totally complex. You need to be very into the details, but you also need to be flexible because we're going to change a lot. And we're probably not going to predict everything on day one no matter how good we are planning. Gillian Bruce: We can't see the future. What are you talking about? Come on. Christine Magnuson: Oh, man. Well, maybe some of them out there can. I've never been good at it. Gillian Bruce: No. I mean, I think that's really interesting. One of the things that I hear a lot from admins who are either transferring from another industry into the Salesforce ecosystem is really that idea of not throwing away all that experience they had let's say if they worked in a warehouse for 15 years or worked as a teacher. And it can feel like you have to start at ground zero a little bit because everything sounds different. It looks different. But I really like how you identify those skills that you were able to take from something that's very seemingly different from the technology space, but then rethink about them and apply them in a way that has made you successful in a completely different industry. What tips and advice do you have for someone who's maybe in that moment of like, "Oh, my gosh. I'm switching my career and I feel like I don't know what I can pull from."? Christine Magnuson: Yeah. My advice is actually... and I've done this with a couple of my direct reports... is step back and take your titles away. Have literally a pen and paper. Go old school. Sit down away from all technology and think to yourself, "What do I love to do on a day-to-day basis? What skills do I love and want to develop more? And where are my strengths?" Almost a strength finder type exercise, and just write them down. And then we are like, "Okay. What are the skills do I think I need for this new career?" And then cross-reference and don't forget that a lot of them transfer, but maybe just the verbiage is different. And so here's a great example. I did swim clinics all the time when I was swimming professionally, which meant I had anywhere between 30 and 100 kids, ages between 6 and 18 for four hours in a day where I was teaching them something and taking photos with them and telling them about life as a professional swimmer, as an Olympian. My storytelling and presentation skills and public speaking skills were pretty well-honed because if you can hold the attention of a bunch of eight-year-olds, guess what? A room of business people who are supposed to pay attention to you, a lot less intimidating and probably more on topic. And so I was thinking, "Oh, yeah. I'm good at public speaking." Well, no. I'm good at storytelling. Do you know what every job in corporate America needs, is more storytellers? And how do I fit this into a really logical timeline and personas and make it interesting to people? Well, okay. I was just using the wrong verbiage. And so you'll find a lot of that, I think, no matter what careers you're talking about. Both my parents were teachers. Oh, my goodness. The things that I learned from them that I apply now today, there's a long, long list. And so take that time and make that list for yourself. And then if you're not sure how it translates to the other side of things, you can have conversations with people who are already there and maybe show them the list. Heck, use your thesaurus. Sometimes, it's as simple as that. You're like, "I didn't think that. That was kind of similar." And so it's just a translation exercise. But really step back and think about the skills you probably take for granted because those are the ones that you'll end up keeping into your job that will stay with you and still be of real high value to your employer. Gillian Bruce: Great advice. Well, and we've got the admin skills kit to help elucidate at least 14 of them that [inaudible]- Christine Magnuson: There you go. Gillian Bruce: ... help you see some connections there. Christine Magnuson: Exactly. Gillian Bruce: One other thing I wanted to talk to you about, Christine, is I mean, I could just keep you on the podcast for hours and hours and hours, I'm sure. But you've got an actual job to do. But before we get to wrapping, I wanted to ask you, in the context of the Salesforce admin skills kit, I know that you actually pulled me a while ago like, "Hey. I'm going to send this to one of my customers." From a customer who is hiring an admin or... I'm sure you talk to your customers all the time who are trying to figure out how to properly build a team to administer Salesforce. Could you maybe share what are the common issues that they usually face? What are some things that an admin listening to this who's either hiring someone or wanting to hire someone or be that next best person who can get hired, what kind of advice can you share from being in your role and what you've seen? Christine Magnuson: Well, the war for talent is real. So I'll talk about Amazon for a second. And this is all public knowledge. You can go on their website and just do your own search and find this yourself. If you search AWS and Salesforce... I did this the other week... there were over 440 jobs listed. That's just AWS. And Amazon is big. They have a lot of Salesforce instances. They are hunting for talent and they're hunting for talent at all levels. And I think that's where we sometimes forget is everyone thinks like, "Oh. To go work at a company like Amazon, oh, my goodness. I need to be so senior." And that's just not the case. They need people of all levels. And sometimes they need the doers who are in on the details more than the strategic thinkers. They got a bunch of strategic thinkers. They need the doers. And so when you go look at their websites and then have conversations with them, they're willing to invest in somebody who's sharp and has the basics and is willing to just learn with them and continue to upscale as they're with the employer. And so I think don't count yourself out. If you're looking for the job, apply to a job you might not think you're qualified for. And whether they put you in that position or a different position, it starts the conversation, and I think it's really good for everyone. So definitely don't undersell your skills. They're needed out there right now. There's a lot of companies. I cited one, which is probably extreme example, just because the volume of people they have. But every company out there that I talk to is concerned about more talent in-house, in their tools, and Salesforce is a go-to tool. For those hiring admins, I would say take a little bit of the DEI approach, diversity, equity, and inclusion. It doesn't need to be somebody who checks all your boxes for every role. Talk to people. Be a little bit more flexible. Tell your recruiters to be more flexible. I mean, I have found some of the best people on my team who were not either in the Salesforce ecosystem or where they weren't SEs. And they're amazing because they come with such transferable skills and they maybe had a basis in one or the other. And so working with your recruiters to be really flexible and take that diversity, equity, and inclusion approach of, "I don't need somebody who checks all the boxes. I need the right person for the job." And that's a different mindset. Gillian Bruce: I love that. That is great advice. It's very rare that we talk about the employer, the hiring manager perspective on the podcast. So I think that is really, really excellent advice. Christine, oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for everything you- Christine Magnuson: Thanks for having me. Gillian Bruce: ... [inaudible] with us today. I feel so lucky. You're my first also Olympic medalist that I've ever gotten to speak to. So it's a double whammy. You're the first one on the pod. It's my first time getting to talk to an elite Olympian. So thank you so much. And also, thank you for all you do at Salesforce. I mean, you have clearly done a lot already, and I know you're going to do more. And thanks for being a great advocate for admins and advocate for athletes and people transferring skills, and we'll have to have you back on at some point. Christine Magnuson: I would love to come back on. Thank you so much for having me. I love the admin community. They make such a difference. And when we find really good ones to work with, it's so much more fun for me and my team. So thank you. We appreciate you. Keep doing what you're doing. And of course, give some love to your SEs out there at Salesforce and other ISV customers. We're a good crew. We love working with you. Gillian Bruce: Hey. A good SE makes every admin happy too, I got to tell you. Christine Magnuson: It's a partnership. It's a partnership. Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, Christine. And thank you for joining us on the podcast, and we will have you back. Christine Magnuson: Love it. Gillian Bruce: Wow. That was an amazing conversation. Christine has so much great knowledge to share. Everything that she shared about identifying those skills that she had for being an elite athlete and how to transfer them into her Salesforce career, I mean, everyone can identify with that. I love that. Take time. Turn off all the devices. Get out a pen and paper and really think about what your skills are, and then map them. And then I also really appreciated hearing about how you should strategize when you build a team of admins, about thinking about diversity, equality, inclusion, and thinking about maybe applying for that job that you aren't necessarily ticking all the boxes for. Working with admins at those really big implementations who have hundreds and hundreds of people who work with Salesforce, you don't have to be an expert to apply for those jobs. I thought that was a really interesting perspective. So I hope you got something out of this episode. I got a ton. And wow, I got to talk to an Olympic medalist. Amazing. Anyway, thank you so much for joining us today. If you want to learn more about anything we chatted about, go to admin.salesforce.com. You'll find the skills kit there to identify some of your transferable skills. And as always, you can follow all of the fun on Twitter using #AwesomeAdmin and following Salesforce admins, no I. If you want to follow our amazing Olympian we just heard from, Christine Magnuson, you can find her on Twitter @CMagsFlyer. She is a swimmer. So put that together. You can follow me on Twitter @GillianKBruce and my amazing co-host Mike Gerholdt @MikeGerholdt. I really hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you're inspired to go out there and reach for a medal. And with that, I'll catch you next time in the cloud.
June Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
Jun 30 2022
June Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for June. Join us as we talk about all the can’t-miss Salesforce content from June and why you should submit a presentation for the Admin Track at this year’s Dreamforce. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro. Live Events We just got back from World Tour London which was a blast, and the NYC version just wrapped. There were tons of great presentations and it was so great to see everyone in person again, so make sure you catch up on all the action. World Tour London on Salesforce+ World Tour NYC on Salesforce+ Blog highlights from June LeeAnne and Mike put together a great roundup about what CDP is and how it will make our lives as admins that much easier. There are a lot of fun use cases and it can help you get a handle on how CDP will turn your rich customer data into action. Introduction to Salesforce CDP for Admins Video highlights from June Another month, another great batch of video content from Jennifer Lee. This time, she’s on the hunt for how to stop unwanted changes to reports you thought were good to go. There’s also a throwback to the old Salesforce UI for those in know. How I Solved It: Monitor Unwanted Changes to Reports Podcast highlights from June “Skills pay the bills,” as they say, and we’ve spent a lot of June highlighting our new Salesforce Admin Skills Kit. We think you should listen to our episode with David Nava, where we catch up on all the amazing things he’s been doing since the last time he was on the pod in 2019 and how he helps other veterans make the transition to the ecosystem. Transferrable Skills with David Nava CDP for Admins with James Richter Dreamforce 2022 Admin Track Call for Presentations Dreamforce is coming up soon, and submissions are officially open for Admin Track presentations, which are due by July 8th. Make sure to read through this handy blog post to label your submission correctly and, hopefully, we’ll see you soon! Dreamforce 2022 Admin Track Call for Presentations Is Open!   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Social Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full show transcript Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the June monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we're going to review the top product, community and careers content for June. And of course, helping me do that in a bright yellow Jersey, I don't know why, is the familiar voice of Gillian Bruce. Hello, Gillian. Gillian Bruce: Go warriors. Mike Gerholdt: Oh, is that why it is? The basketball is over. You know what's crazy along those lines, I think I heard ESPN talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs. Gillian Bruce: Those are also happening now. Yes. Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So if we didn't have artificial ice, where would we have these playoffs, because it's hot everywhere. It's like a hundred or something in Iowa. Gillian Bruce: Well, if they really wanted hockey to be seasonal, it would all be in the fall in the winter. Right? Mike Gerholdt: As it should be, yes. We'd also be done playing basketball by now, because summer's just for messing around and going to pools and vacations. Gillian Bruce: To be fair, everyone has been done playing basketball for about a month. It's just the Warriors who managed to win the finals, play into June. Mike Gerholdt: I see. Gillian Bruce: The fourth time in recent history. Mike Gerholdt: Who did they play this year? Gillian Bruce: Oh, we just beat Boston. Mike Gerholdt: Boston. Okay. Gillian Bruce: The Celtics. Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah. Gillian Bruce: Bye Boston. Mike Gerholdt: I just saw the winning time on that, where the Lakers beat Boston. Gillian Bruce: Boston Celtics have a very rich history of winning a lot, but now the Warriors have a dynasty themselves. So there you go. There you go. Mike Gerholdt: We just lost all our Celtic's fans. Gillian Bruce: Oh, don't worry. Celtics fans love to hear people hate on them. This is kind of what feeds the Boston [inaudible]. Mike Gerholdt: It's a thing? Gillian Bruce: Yeah. They thrive on the hate. So it's not even hate, it's respect. Good job Celtics. But Steph Clay, [inaudible] Andre are back. All right. Enough of that. It's not a sport's podcast. That's what my husband does. Mike Gerholdt: Not yet anyway. Gillian Bruce: We're going to be talking about all the great Salesforce admin content from June. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. But first we had people on planes traveling. Gillian Bruce: Oh gosh, that's right. Planes, trains, and automobiles. Happening. Mike Gerholdt: Jumping the pond, as they call it. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. We had some of our team members over in London, not too long ago for the World Tour, which by all things appearing on the social medias looked amazing. Mike Gerholdt: So shout out to the London admin user group. We love you guys. Thank you for hosting and having Ella and Leanne join. It's always fun presenting there. Gillian, I think all of us have presented there. It's like a right of passage, right? Gillian Bruce: It really is. It really is. The London admin user group is ... will always hold a special place in my heart, because I feel like it was one of the first admin user groups. And it's just full of just some amazing people who are doing a lot to help each other out and their career growth. And it's just ... yeah, I think that was my first trip to London was ... Mike Gerholdt: Could be. We did a live podcast there. Gillian Bruce: We sure did. We sure did. Mike Gerholdt: That was fun. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Mike Gerholdt: And exciting. Jumping ahead to the tour, the pictures that Ella and Leanne ... Ella and London sent back, all of London sent pictures back to me on my Slack channel. Gillian Bruce: Ella, Leanne, London. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. The theaters look really packed. So everybody really showed up. It's always fun doing stuff at the Excel Center. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. People are clearly excited to be back in person and to connect and learn and have fun. And that's what it's all about. So it's great to get that vibe and we're just going to carry that vibe right on into the next tour, because Mike, I am literally stepping out the door to go to New York City to go to the New York World Tour. Mike Gerholdt: Great segue. Gillian Bruce: Great segue. Mike Gerholdt: It's going to be awesome. Gillian Bruce: It's going to be amazing. It's going to be great to connect with the very vibrant, all of the community groups that are in the New York area are going to be representing in full force. We are doing quite a few sessions in both the Trailblazer Theater and we've got a whole breakout session we've got together. Jennifer Lee is presenting a whole bunch, because that's what she does. Mike Gerholdt: Right. Gillian Bruce: So it's going to be a really great chance to see everybody and yeah, just meeting some new trailblazers, which is always fun. Mike Gerholdt: Is there any food that you get in New York that you look forward to? Gillian Bruce: Oh God, it's been so long since I was there. Mike Gerholdt: I know, that's why I asked. Gillian Bruce: I think actually the last time I was in New York was before my first born was born. Mike Gerholdt: Oh boy. Gillian Bruce: So I do remember there's a steak place that Damon, my husband is obsessed with called Peter Luger's, which is actually across the bridge. It's not in Manhattan and it's ... Mike, next time you and I are there together, we will go. Mike Gerholdt: Steak. Yes. The Midwest in me wants steak. Gillian Bruce: It's one of the most famous steakhouses in the world. So that's fun. I don't know if I'm going to hit that up, but I am going to get to go to hopefully a show on Broadway, which will be really fun. Mike Gerholdt: Oh fun. Gillian Bruce: So I looking forward to that. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Pre-pandemic, my last trip to New York was in December and a few of us got to go see a lived tape of Stephen Colbert. Gillian Bruce: Nice. Nice. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Super fun. Oh man. That was blast. All right. So we can talk more food. Gillian Bruce: Food. I will say of my- Mike Gerholdt: It's the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we cover sports and food. Totally makes sense. Right? Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I'm going to sprinkle in a little bit of trashy TV, because I also say that I have been trying to get tickets to go to a live taping of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. Needless to say, I've gotten nowhere. It's one of the hardest things to get into. But if anybody on this podcast who's listening right now has a trick of how to do that, I will specifically go back to New York to get in on that taping. So any Bravo diehards or anyone with a connection, let me know. Mike Gerholdt: That's filmed in New York? I always saw it was filmed in LA. Andy Cohen always comes off to me as very LA. Gillian Bruce: He's very New York. Mike Gerholdt: Oh, interesting. I judged that one wrong. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Mike Gerholdt: So top content. First thing I want to point out is the Introduction To Salesforce CDP For Admins, which Leanne wrote. I helped write, but we only get one author. So I chose Leanne. This is a fun little article to dig into. We've heard CDP. Gillian, you were in New York. CDP was everywhere in New York. I'd say as an admin, for sure, jump in. This was really insightful for me to understand how CDP, which is customer data platform, what it means for admins, how we can do it. And really what are the actual fun cases of sitting around, talking with different parts of our organization, understanding market segmentation, owners, what the business case is for it. To me, it's a good way to really drive that next level engagement with Salesforce. So I enjoyed writing it, check it out. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's a great article. Good job, Mike. I also will say listeners, stay tuned, because we have James Richter, who's going to be joining us on the podcast in a future episode to talk all about CDP for admins. And talking about what he has seen help admins be successful with CDP, how you talk about the strategy of one to implement a CDP, and how to set yourself up for success. So stay tuned. We got more CDP goodness coming your way. Mike Gerholdt: More CDP. James Richter. Is he any relation to Andy Richter, speaking of Late Night? Gillian Bruce: I didn't ask. I don't think so. Mike Gerholdt: Well, there's your first question. Gillian Bruce: We've already had this conversation, but maybe on Twitter when we release it, we can pile on announcing that. Mike Gerholdt: "Are you related to Andy Richter." "No, I get asked that all the time though. Thanks." The next thing I wanted to point out was a video that Jennifer Lee put out. A part of The How I solved It series, Monitor Unwanted Changes To Reports. The title says it all, right? Gillian Bruce: Who doesn't want that? Mike Gerholdt: Oh my. Come on. Gillian Bruce: Stop changing my reports, people. Mike Gerholdt: It's like, it just ... so it was really good how she worked through it. I really enjoyed watching her talk with Cassie. The screenshots, walking you through everything, for those of us in the know, there's even some throwback days to the old field layout properties, where you get to see the old Salesforce interface. But man, let me tell you. The number of times that I've put reports out into the world and then a few months later come back and reran it. It's like, what did you do? How is it possible for you to have tangled up and changed things this bad? So I really appreciate this post. I'm sure admins will too. Gillian Bruce: It's a must view. It's a must view. Mike Gerholdt: It is. And Gillian and tee you up for the trifecta of the content that we put out in June. You did a podcast with David on transferable skills, because you're the skills person. Gillian Bruce: Hey skills pay the bills, as they say. Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Gillian Bruce: Or do they say that? I don't know. Mike Gerholdt: They do now. Gillian Bruce: I'm just saying that. So yes. I had a fantastic conversation with David Nava, who is a repeat guest on the podcast, but he's done a lot since the first time he was on in 2019. That's when he was just starting to make his transition from the military to working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Now not only is he working in the Salesforce ecosystem, but he's on his second kind of Salesforce ecosystem company and that happens to be Salesforce. So, and he's a now not just making his own transition from military to Salesforce, he's helping hundreds and hundreds of other people in the military community make the same transition. So really great to catch up with him, talk really about kind of how that admin skills kit can play into helping folks figure out which skills they can transfer from their previous or current industries into the Salesforce ecosystem. So give it a listen, if you haven't already. David is fantastic. So many great things. I mean, hey, who doesn't want to hear from a Naval flight officer who is- Mike Gerholdt: Oh, seriously. Gillian Bruce: An amazing Salesforce professional. And he's got such a passion for giving back and helping other people make similar transitions. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Must listen. Mike Gerholdt: What I fear or what I'm happy to announce will be a new segment on the pod, that we will wrap things up with is, hey, it's just about Dreamforce time. Gillian Bruce: It's beginning to feel a lot like Dreamforce. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Gillian Bruce: Coming back this year. Mike Gerholdt: In person in San Francisco, where they have a winning basketball team. Gillian Bruce: Yeah, we do. Dynasty. Mike Gerholdt: See, I worked that in there. Gillian Bruce: Dynasty. Mike Gerholdt: Want to remind everybody and the link will be in the show notes, you have until July 8th to submit to the admin track call for presentations. Please take a second, read that blog post. And I mean read it, not skim it and like, "Oh cool. It's open. Here's the link." But actually read through it. There's some fields we want you to fill out, because this is open for all of Salesforce. So all of Salesforce is collecting submissions through the CFP, not just Admin developer and Architect Track and want to make sure that you label your submission correctly, so that we can adequately review it, because we have a tight little turnaround. It's going to be Dreamforce before we know it. So if you have an idea, start sketching it down. As soon as you're done listening to the podcast, which it's almost over, I promise, maybe another block and a half to home and then we're done. But think through, submit early, don't wait till July 8th, because I promise you're going to wake up and you're going to be like, "Oh it's July 8th. Oh it closed." Or the tab died, or your internet goes out, or something. It's going to happen. Get it in early. There's no reward for being last in the door. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Get it in early. Make sure that you really kind of think about why this belongs at Dreamforce. Again, read the posts. It's all in there about how to put it together. What kind of content we're looking to feature at Dreamforce. So, it's a great opportunity. If you've never thought about presenting a Dreamforce, here is your opportunity. And if you're a little nervous, partner with somebody who has presented before. There are a lot of people who presented before, who would love to have a collaborator. So great opportunity to develop some content, share it and get a really cool experience. Mike Gerholdt: Yep. I would agree. If you want to learn more about anything that we talked about on today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and resources, including the one to the CFP. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are at Salesforceadmns, no eye on Twitter. I'm on Twitter at MikeGerholdt and Gillian is at GillianKBruce. So that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.
CDP for Admins with James Richter
Jun 23 2022
CDP for Admins with James Richter
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to James Richter, Director, Cloud Success & CSG Global Program Lead, Salesforce Customer Data Platform (CDP). Join us as we talk about what CDP is, how it will be the single source of truth across all platforms, and how to get your org ready. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with James Richter. What is CDP? If you’ve been puzzling over CDP and what it could do for your org, you’re not alone. “My team is focused on getting CDP into the market, so you’re not the only one wondering what it is,” James says. So what is it? “Have you ever read Dr. Seuss’s I Wish That I Had Duck Feet?” James asks. In the book, a kid wants to have duck feet to splash around and not have to keep them dry. However, he soon realizes there are some downsides to duck feet. For example, he can’t wear shoes. “What we’ve found is marketers and admins are the same way,” James says, you get all these shiny new tools but end up with a bunch of extra data you don’t know what to do with. CDP is being built to help you manage all that data so you can play with the fun stuff and not worry about wearing shoes. The Single Source of Truth You can do so much with all of the tools out there for the platform, but the data is really hard to deal with. CDP aims to segment and manage everything for you. For now, they’re building it to help with Marketing Cloud, but in the near future CDP will be the single source of truth across all the different Salesforce platforms for everything that a customer has done. A lot of the stuff that CDP does is possible with tools like SQL, but CDP will make it possible with a lot less code and effort. Getting Ready for CDP So how do you get ready? The first thing is to make sure you have someone in the room who understands each of your systems. Before you start building, you need to understand what you’re building with. You need to know what data is the same across each platform so you can harmonize it, but that means you need someone to translate for you and explain what you’re looking at. Once you’re able to show just how easy it is to get any piece of data you’re after with clicks, not code, the power of CDP will speak for itself. “It makes everybody’s life easier,” James says, “and that’s an easy thing to advocate for.” Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Introduction to Salesforce CDP for AdminsTrailhead: Customer Data Platform for Admins module Social James Richter on LinkedInSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt   Full show transcript Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers, to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we are talking about CDP. You might be saying, "Gillian, what is CDP?" Well, don't worry, we're going to get into it, because it is a big deal, and it is an amazing thing for all admins to think about, because it really truly brings the single source of truth to your Salesforce platform. To talk about that today, we have James Richter joining us, he's a director, cloud success, and CSG global program lead at Salesforce. He is doing all things CDP with customers, so he's the right person to come on and explain what it is. Without further ado, let's get James on the pod. James, welcome to the podcast. James Richter: Thank you so much, thanks for having me. Gillian Bruce: It's so great to have you, and I'm very looking forward to our conversation, because we're going to talk about something that I don't know much about, and that is CDP. Before we get into all of that, can you tell us a little bit about what you do at Salesforce? James Richter: Yeah, absolutely, so I am part of our shared success team, my team is focused on getting CDP into the market. It's new for everybody, so you're not the only one wondering what it is. We've been trying to teach people and also learn from everybody, so we're out there working with our customers and partners to get CDP stood up in their environments, and just learn alongside them, and also, teach them as we go, and share that knowledge across to everybody else. Gillian Bruce: All right, I like it. Okay, so here you are on the podcast, you got a whole audience of admins to talk to about CDP. Let's get right into it, what is CDP? What does it stand for? James Richter: What a great question. Yeah, so CDP is a customer data platform, and I think if you go out in Google, you will find a lot of answers as to what a CDP is. I'll give you my take on it, and then we can talk later about how that checks out with your understanding. I don't know, you've you've got kids, have you ever read Dr. Seuss' I Wish That I Had Duck Feet? Gillian Bruce: Okay, my kids are a little too young for that yet, but I do remember that book, yes. This is the greatest leading off explanation I think we've ever had on the pod, so please, take me from Dr. Seuss to CDP? James Richter: Yeah, so Dr. Seuss, there's a kid that says, "I Wish that I had duck feet, I can tell you why, I can splash around, I don't have to keep them dry." But then he realizes like, "Hey, if I had duck feet, I couldn't have any shoes," and he says, "I wish I had an elephant nose, so I could put out fires. He's like, "But then they'd make me wash the windows." What we've found is marketers and admins, we're the same way, we see all these cool, shiny tools and we're like, "Hey, I want to go out and get that," and we get it. We realize like, "Hey, we had a consequence to that, the consequence is usually I got a bunch of data. I've got a bunch of different records of people, I've got all this data out there." What we've tried to do with CDP is say, "Hey, bring us all that data. Let's let you have all the cool things, and let's be the platform where you can bring the data ,and hopefully we can give it to you in a way that you can use it. You can have all the fun with it, and not have to suffer the consequence," that's the goal. Gillian Bruce: I love this. Okay, data is like admin love language kind of. Let's dig into a little bit... CDP is not unique to Salesforce, and so tell us a little bit about why now Salesforce is in the CDP space? What does that look like? James Richter: Yeah, so I obviously we have been in the data space for a very long time, and everybody has come to this conclusion at the same time that we've got to have a way to start leveraging all these systems. We've got all these great companies out there that are offering so many great tools, but as admins, you get overwhelmed by them. We saw the writing on the wall that we were going to have to have something that would allow people to take full advantage of them, and so I think that's why we've landed here. Gillian Bruce: Okay, so you mentioned we have a lot of tools, which is very true. Admins are at the crux of all of the tools, and especially the last few years. It's not just what we used to think of as core Salesforce tools, but now we've got MuleSoft, we've got Slack, we've got Tableau, how does CDP sit in the context of this expanded one Salesforce platform? James Richter: Yeah, so right now, a lot of the use cases that we're talking about are for marketers. We look at marketing cloud as our primary recipient of the data at the moment, and so you're in CDP, you're running these segments, you're building these audiences, you're finding all the different versions of Gillian. You're saying, "Hey, tell me all the things she's done across all these different tools that I have?" Then I want to be able to send her a message that's the right message for her. At the moment, we're seeing it sit within our core platform, that's where we're doing all the segmentation. That's where we're bringing all the data, we're storing the data, we're doing the segmentation. Then we're sending that over to marketing cloud for action via email, via SMS, whatever it may be. Long-term though, what we're saying is we want to bring those segments back into core, we want to bring them into CRM and say, "Hey, when somebody calls our call center, I want to be able to look Gillian up, I want to be able to see all the times I've known Gillian, I want to see what's local to this system that I'm in, what's local to this CRM that I'm in. Then let's also pull in all our other ones." We're multi-tenant we want to be able to bring all those back in and say, "I know what you have done on each one of these platforms, and that makes me better able to help you, and better able to serve your needs." Gillian Bruce: We're talking about a real true single source of truth for a customer within the context of all of the systems, which is pretty exciting. James Richter: It's awesome. Yeah, it's finding the harmonization across all those different records and saying you can finally reference all of them. You can finally look at all these instances of the customers, all the things we've been talking about, and that's the goal, that's the dream, and that's the need that the market has, and so that's what we're after. Gillian Bruce: I mean, I'm already just building dashboards in my head of all of the incredible things that you could now display, thinking of how you can connect all of those interactions into one beautiful thing that we can look at. That's a really descriptive word, but so what are some of the... You mentioned you've got some use cases, can you talk to us a little bit more about maybe one or two examples of initial CDP use cases, that maybe some customers are working on right now? James Richter: Sure, a lot of them aren't new, a lot of these are use cases that we've talked about forever. It's I want to be able to see all the customers that I have that have bought a pair of red shoes, and we've always been able to do it, we've always talked about it, but we've done it with SQL. We've done it with different tools and we've done it sort of inefficiently, because I can find all the times that I've bought red shoes, but maybe, I don't know that it's me all three times that you found me. What we're saying now is, as we build this segment, I want to know all the people who have bought red shoes, or blue shoes, or green shoes. I might fit one of those or all three of those across all of my different records. That's what we're after is bringing that back in and being able to say, "We can do it better than what we used to," it's not necessarily new. We're not necessarily unlocking anything that we haven't talked about before, but now we're able to do it hopefully with a lot less code, and hopefully in a way more efficient manner. Gillian Bruce: Hooray, I'm cheering for admins everywhere. Let's talk a little bit about some of the specific things that maybe admins should think about when we're toying with the idea of making use of the CDP. What are some initial things that you should think about from an admin perspective in terms of strategy, when you're talking about basically implementing CDP or starting to use it? James Richter: Sure, so the main thing that we should worry about is how do I take all of these systems and make sure I have all of the people in the room that understand each one of them? The first task that we're after is harmonizing the data, and that means looking at all the different ways that we've stored it, and all of the systems and saying, "I know that field first name is the same as field F name is the same as field F," and making sure that you've got the people in the room that represent those tools, so that they can translate that for you, and you can get the data ready. Because, like I said, we're harmonizing it, but we can't do that without the influence of the people who are responsible for those tools, and so that's really step one. Gillian Bruce: Really important. Hey, before you start building anything, let's make sure that we understand what we're building with. James Richter: Yeah, for sure. Gillian Bruce: Okay, so we start that strategy, we're talking about how we're going to harmonize the data, getting the right people in the room, understanding how to translate these different, maybe similar activities, across different systems and now that we're going to pull them into one place. What are some of the cool initial wins or things that an admin might be able to look for to start saying, "Hey, look at this, this is a successful thing," what are some initial things that maybe might help get more people on board in the process of trying to put this together? James Richter: Yeah, so I think it is going back to those use cases and showing people just how easy it is to find those records, just how easy it is to search, just how easy it is to build the segment. Just how quickly you can get the insight into what it is that you've been after for so long, and not having to go check 10 systems, and export all of that, to bring it to another place, to have to export it again, to have to get it to somewhere that you can actually do something with it. I think once you start to show off the power of, hey, I did this through clicks and not code, hey, I did this through something that's been saved and you can repeat it, that's what's getting people excited. Gillian Bruce: Okay, so I think that's the... You just tapped into the major admin superpower right there. Because here's the thing, if you're as an admin able to save all of those steps, and all of that time, and all of that processing, I mean, that puts you in an incredible position. I mean, CDP seems like this could be a really powerful thing for an admin to use. James Richter: For sure. Yeah, once we get that data in, and once we've had a chance to harmonize it, once we've got this thing up and running, it's really impressive. I think it makes it so that everybody's life gets easier, and that's an easy thing to advocate for. It's an easy thing to go and show off and say, "Hey, I know that you've been wanting to do this, watch," and you can actually get a feel for just how quickly it comes together. Then once you get past that, you can start to expand the use cases. We can start to get into calculating lifetime value, we can take all that data across everything and say, "I can now see how many times Gillian's made a purchase, and I don't have to wonder do I have all the records of her. If I've got that harmonization, I can actually go in and calculate that and show people the data that you've been after or the data that we've had for so long, now we can actually start to do something with it." Gillian Bruce: I love that. Okay, so I am imagining that there might be a listener or two out there who's now saying, "Great, I am super interested in trying to figure out how I can bring this to my organization," what resources or what is out there to help an admin as they begin to basically put the business case forward for making CDP a thing for their organization? James Richter: For sure. Yeah, so you can go out and there's a lot of great resources that we've got, a lot of blogs. I think you've got one that's recently come out that breaks down some of the content, and some of the things that we have available to work through, to figure out what is next for CDP? How do I get started? We also have a lot of great content out on Trailhead, so you can go out and take a look, and take some of those certifications, and get an idea for just exactly what it is that you're getting yourself into, and what those first steps look like. Then obviously, the marketing cloud account executive is the one that represents this at the moment, and so they can help you connect those dots. They can get the demo for you, they can show you what the tool looks like in person, and start to show you all the power that's really there. Gillian Bruce: I love it. Yeah, you mentioned the resources that we just put out. Just actually last week we put out a CDP for admins blog post, and so yes, it does list all those resources. We'll, of course, also put those in the show notes here, there's an implementation guide, there's all kinds of great stuff. Of course, hey, Trailhead, we always love more great Trailhead content. James Richter: The Trailhead content is really great, actually, it's been put together in a way that's a lot easier to understand. 18 months ago, I didn't know what a CDP was, and I started [inaudible] Trailhead. It definitely gets you started in a way that makes sense, and I definitely recommend checking it out. Gillian Bruce: Awesome, I love it. Okay, so since now that you are an 18 month expert on CDP, can you talk to us a little bit about maybe are there any roadmap or fun next things you see in the CDT space for Salesforce? Anything that you can give us a little what future looking, safe harbor, forward looking statement, anything in the pipeline? James Richter: Absolutely, you have to love the safe harbor. It's not a complete meeting if you don't mention the safe harbor. Yeah, so right now, as I mentioned, we've got a lot of use cases that we've been focused on that are marketing cloud specific. We've taught a little bit about some of the core use cases that's out there, right now, we're really focused on integrating it out, so that we can get it to more use cases. There's a lot of work being done with our partners, with our activation channels, to make sure that you can take the data from CBP and use it in lots of different app exchange packages. We want to be able to leverage that data, not just for Salesforce, but for all the different channels. I think that's where a lot of the work is being put in is how do we better orchestrate where you can go with the data? Gillian Bruce: I love that. Hey, bringing it to the app exchange, those are other notes of music to an admin's ears, so that's fantastic. James, before I let you go, we're very happy to now have you as one of our experts in the Awesome Admin realm here. What things have you seen? You've been talking to admins, you've been talking to people working with the Salesforce platform for a while. Do you have any overall top tips that you've seen from people who have been successful in implementing either CDP, or just successful from your perspective as an admin implementing Salesforce? James Richter: Yeah, I think it sounds silly, but I heard somebody say it at Connections last week and I love it. It's the slow is smooth and smooth is fast. As you get ready for CDP, we always buy new shiny tools and we're like, "Hey, let's go, we got to start using it right away, we got to just go." It comes down to, we got to plan. We have to plan, we have to get our data aligned, we have to get ready to go. Then once we have that understanding of the data, we can really get in there and take off. That's the biggest advice I have for anybody is plan for that time of we got to figure this thing out, and then once you get it figured out and off and running, life gets better in a hurry. Gillian Bruce: I love that, slow is smooth and smooth is fast, that's fantastic. James Richter: I liked it a lot, too. I didn't come up with it, obviously, but I heard it last week and I was like, "This is the highlight of Connections, I love it." Gillian Bruce: Hey, marketers know how to make everything sound good, I mean- James Richter: Right. Gillian Bruce: Awesome, well, James, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and helping demystify CDP for admins. I am very excited to see what our admin community is going to start doing with it. I envision so many admins basically harnessing this technology, and really propelling not only their organizations, but their own careers forward pretty quickly, so this is great. Thank you so much. James Richter: Yeah, thanks for having me, I really appreciate it. Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, James, for joining us and demystifying CDP. Wow, it is a powerful, powerful way to bring all of your customers' data and interactions to one single place. Hey, you talk about the ultimate awesome admin tool, I don't know about you, but I cannot wait to start playing with that and seeing it in action. CDP is great, now I love some of the points that James made about how you get ready to set yourself up for CDP. Slow is smooth and smooth as fast, words of wisdom from James. Make sure that as you get into the planning process for CDP, or even exploring if this is something that you and your organization want to do, take the time to really understand the data. Get the right people in the room to understand where the data is sitting, what it all means, and what it might look like to pull it all together, because then you'll be really set up for success when you roll out CDP. Wow, the powerful tool it is. Check it out. Okay, as James said, there's lots of resources to help you learn more about CDP. I'll put a link to the blog post that we talked about in the show notes, as well as some great Trailhead content on CDP. Now, if you want to learn more about anything else that we mentioned today on the podcast, or anything else about how you can be an awesome admin, make sure you go to my favorite website in the whole entire world, and that is admin.salesforce.com. You'll find great blogs, videos, and some more podcasts on there. If you would like to follow my guest today, James Richter, he is very active on LinkedIn, so I'll put his LinkedIn in the show notes. You can follow all things Awesome Admin at Salesforce admin's [inaudible] on Twitter. You can follow me at Gillian K. Bruce and my co-host, Mike Gerholdt, at Mike Gerholdt. With that, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day, thank you for tuning in, and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.
Transferrable Skills with David Nava
Jun 16 2022
Transferrable Skills with David Nava
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to David Nava, Lead Solution Engineer at Salesforce, Host of Military Trailblazer Office Hours, and 20-year Navy veteran. Join us as we talk about what to do after you pass the Admin cert, how to decide what role in the Salesforce ecosystem is right for you, and how David used the apps he built for his personal life to make an impact at a job interview. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with David Nava. How David transitioned from the Navy to a Salesforce career When last we spoke to David, he was wrapping up his career with the Navy with an eye toward transitioning into a role in the Salesforce ecosystem. On the day that he retired, he jumped right into his new career feet-first as a Junior Solution Architect at a consultancy on one of their largest projects to date. David was recruited by Salesforce, but the story doesn’t quite go like you think it might. They turned him down at the end of the process, citing his lack of experience. However, they offered him a different role as a Solution Consultant after he pulled out his org during the interview and showed them the apps he had been creating. Most of all, they were impressed by his passion for the platform and were willing to give him a shot. “Building apps in a dev org helps you focus on all the fundamentals,” David says, “but it also helps you really apply what you’re learning in Trailhead to specific business challenges.” He built apps to manage his workouts, track his finances from the road, and manage his tasks. He built them and rebuilt them to make something he liked, and they really made an impact when he showed them off in the interview. Paying it forward 8 months later he was recruited internally for his current role, as a Lead Solution Engineer to replace legacy systems for the Navy and Marine Corps. He’s now in a position where he can draw on his years of experience as an officer and replace all the systems he didn’t like using. David’s always been serious about mentorship, and now he’s in a place where he can give back. He teamed up with Bill Kuehler and Resource Hero to be a part of Military Trailblazer Office Hours focused on career and branding. Since then, he’s helped almost 2,000 people earn certifications, choose career paths, and get hired with his live sessions and YouTube videos. How to test-drive career paths So once you get your Admin certification, now what? David advises several people in exactly this position. He recommends you start by “test driving” the career path options by conducting informational interviews with professionals in those roles. “You need to learn about the role’s requirements, responsibilities, challenges, and joys so that you get a sense for what it’s like to work in that role,” he says. David’s also a big fan of the Salesforce Admins Skills Kit. It gives you a framework for how to think about your skills beyond just the technical aspects. “You can apply your different work experience in the context of these skills to demonstrate its relevance to the Salesforce Admin role,” he says. Be sure to listen to the full episode for all of David’s great insights, and especially make sure to catch his five tips to help people transition into a new Salesforce career. Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Military Trailblazer Office HoursThe Salesforce Admin Skills Kit Social David: @NavaForceSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!
Summer '22 Release with Jennifer Lee
Jun 9 2022
Summer '22 Release with Jennifer Lee
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jennifer Lee, Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and the host of Automation Hour. Join us as we talk about everything in the Summer ‘22 Release, what Jennifer does to prep for an upcoming release,  You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jennifer Lee. Summer ‘22 highlights The Summer ‘22 Release is out, and we’re here to help you get caught up on all the action. To help us, we’ve brought legendary blogger and automation expert Jennifer Lee on the pod to go over all the highlights. There are a lot of changes to Picklists that are going to make them better than ever. You can bulk update several Picklists at once and it finally tells you which one is a duplicate without you having to guess. Dynamic Related Lists have been added to App Builder beta, which gives you the ability to filter unrelated lists. Flow Trigger Explorer changes, Screen Flows in Slack, and automated Flow testing are other bright spots in a jampacked release. Tips for release readiness Jennifer’s been known for a long time in the community for her comprehensive release posts. So how does she prepare for a new release? Stay motivated: There are a lot of release notes to read, and you need to stay committed to getting through everything so you’re prepared.Dive into a pre-release org: “It’s on thing to just read the little blurb,” Jen says, “but when you actually get to see it and touch it, that’s when it really comes to life.”Make what you’ve learned shareable: Jen uses animated GIFs to bring the changes to life in her blog, which you are free to steal or iterate on in your own release readiness prep. Release Readiness Live Jennifer is the host of Admin Release Readiness Live, where all the product experts at Salesforce come on the show to present their features and get you ready for what’s coming. You also get to see a roadmap of what’s coming next and the vision of where everything is going. Or at least some forward-looking statements. Most importantly, you can tune in and ask the experts any questions you may have, live. It’s the best way to get the admin-specific updates you want to hear. Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Learn MOARWhat Jen thinks of when she thinks of Loops   Social Jen: @JenWLeeSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!
Admin Skills Kit with Nana Gregg
Jun 2 2022
Admin Skills Kit with Nana Gregg
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Nana Gregg, Solution Architect and Learning and Development Manager at VFP Consulting. Join us as we talk about the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit, why your background matters much more than you think when you’re trying to be an Admin, and why the Skills Kit helps employers looking to hire Admins, too. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Nana Gregg. Nana’s EASY Methodology You might recognize Nana from her stint as an Admin Keynote speaker at Dreamforce ‘18. “What I said to Parker is that it’s actually easy to be an Awesome Admin,” she says, but that’s an acronym for her EASY Methodology: E: Embrace change. Everything changes in tech every single day, and you need to embrace that and go with it.A: Always be learning. There are three new releases a year, not to mention what’s happening in your business and org.S: Show and tell. As Nana says, “When you build it, they will come.” Show what you’re working on and tell them about it!Y: You got this, and if you need help, you have the power of the community behind you. Your background is just as valuable as your tech skills With the recent launch of the Admins Skills Kit, we wanted to talk to Nana about how that squares with her EASY Methodology. It’s a recipe for success for Admins and also a guide to help employers figure out what to look for when they’re hiring. As an accidental Admin, Nana can relate to just how many skills you need to bring to your job that aren’t necessarily technology-facing. No matter your background, there are skills you’ve picked up along your journey that can help you to succeed as an Admin and now you can name them and market them. She sees how things like learner’s mindset, change management, and project management fits into the framework she laid out at Dreamforce four years ago. Why the Skills Kit matters to employers As someone who now is in the position to hire Admins, Nana also appreciates how helpful the Admin Skills Kit is as a framework for people making that job posting. When you’re sitting on the other side of it, you might see “Salesforce” and throw in every developer buzz word you can think of hoping you’re saying the right thing, or you might see “Administrator” and go with that. The Skills Kit not only lists out everything that goes into being an Admin and doing it well, it also gives concrete examples to let both Admins and employers know exactly what they’re looking for. And if you need help, each skill also has resources to help you Always be learning. Be sure to listen to the full episode for all the great insights, including why S should maybe stand for Showcase your skills, and how the community helped Nana rebuild after a tornado hit her house. Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Salesforce Admin Skills KitNana’s Dreamforce ‘18 Admin Keynote Social Nana: @nanahg3Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!
May Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
May 26 2022
May Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for May. Join us as we talk about the latest and greatest Salesforce content from May and reflect on an amazing, in-person TrailheaDX. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro. TrailblazerDX The April Retro dropped in the midst of TDX, so we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the amazing experience of being in person again. Many selfies were taken. We also launched the Salesforce Admins Skills Kit, a blueprint for the skills that help make a successful Salesforce Admin. It brings together all the skills beyond technical training that you need to succeed. There were so many great things going on at TDX so be sure to consult the wrap-up and listen to Mike and Gillian’s reflections on this episode. 6 TrailblazerDX ’22 Takeaways for Salesforce Admins Blog highlights from May As we talk about all the skills that go into being an Admin that aren’t necessarily all about the technical side. This post highlights what goes into Business Analysis, and why it’s an essential skill for any Admin to cultivate. The Importance of Business Analysis as a Salesforce Admin Video highlights from May Jennifer Lee has been a force of nature on the Admin Evangelist team. She’s doing a Youtube Live series where she uses automation and Flow to solve problems right in front of your very eyes. She stops and answers questions, too, so make sure to tune in and don’t miss this unique learning opportunity. Also, if you haven’t yet caught up on Release Readiness for Summer ‘22, make sure you get the low-down. Automate This! — Migrate Workflow Rules and Processes to FlowRelease Readiness Summer '22 Podcast highlights from May Gillian wanted to highlight two great pods from May. We got to meet Andrew Russo, a true Awesome Admin who broke down how he created a user management super app that does all that and a bag of chips. We also had Khushwant Singh on to demystify Experience Cloud. His team is up to all sorts of great work bringing dynamic forms to standard objects and improving performance all over the platform. Create a User Management Super App with Andrew Russo Experience Cloud with Khushwant Singh   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Social Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!
Experience Cloud with Khushwant Singh
May 19 2022
Experience Cloud with Khushwant Singh
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Khushwant Singh, SVP, Product Management at Salesforce.   Join us as we talk about his role heading up all things Experience—not just Experience Cloud but Experience Services, too.   You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Khushwant Singh. The Experience dream team Khushwant, AKA “Khush”, heads up Experience at Salesforce. If that term is a little nebulous to you, you’re not alone, but Khush breaks it down for us. Experience Services brings a few teams together: the UI Platform team, the Experience Cloud team, the Mobile team, and the Mobify team. “We’re responsible for all things Experience, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board,” Khush says, “whether you’re building an experience for an employee, a customer, or partner.”   Lightning Experience has really changed the game for Admins in terms of stepping up in their thinking about design, but Khush points out there’s also a bit of a divide there. “If you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder,” he says, “but as a Salesforce Admin or Developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints.” Re-architecting to improve scaling, performance, and customizability Experience Cloud is a very flexible tool that you should really look into if you haven’t yet. You can use it build out a simple marketing website, a self-service destination like a help center or account management site, or even a channel reselling portal or commerce storefront.   While Lightning and Aura have done a lot to enable Admins to build out things they never thought possible with low code and fast time to market, Khush admits we seem to have hit a wall from a performance, scale, and customizability point of view. To address that, they’ve been re-architecting to let you build new things more easily at a consumer-grade scale. What’s next for Experience Cloud One thing that will be going live soon (forward looking statement) is a major performance boost to public-facing apps and sites. They’ve revamped the out-of-the-box CDN (Content Delivery Network) to allow public aspects of your site and mobile apps to be cached at endpoints closer to the consumer, enabling much faster delivery. One other change is adding dynamic image resizing so the same image looks equally good on mobile, desktop, and tablet. The best part is these and many more improvements are enabled by default, so you get the performance boost without having to lift a finger.   Looking forward, Khush and his team are revamping the Salesforce Content Management System (CMS) to make it more robust, powerful, and responsive. They’re breaking down the barriers and rolling out the advanced version of Salesforce CMS to all customers for free, and you can get access to the new-and-improved JSON-based CMS 2.0 beta with an opt-in.   Khush also gives a preview into what he and his team are working on to make improvements to data to, for example, bring Dynamic Forms to all standard objects, and even more goodies for desktop, mobile, and everything in between. Make sure you listen to the full episode to hear what’s coming your way soon.     Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Community Group: ​​Lightning Now! Community Group: Experience Cloud   Social Khushwant: @Khush_SingSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full show transcript Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we have a really fun episode lined up for you. We are talking with Khushwant Singh, AKA Kush, who's SVP of Product Management here at Salesforce, in charge of all things experience. And I mean all things experience, not just experience cloud, but Experience Services. And if you're wondering what all that means, don't worry, he's going to answer that for you. So without further ado, let's get Kush on the pod. Kush, welcome to the podcast. Khushwant Singh: Thank you, Gillian. Gillian Bruce: It's wonderful to have you on. I am very much looking forward to our discussion because we are talking about something that might be a little nebulous to some of us, especially if you've been in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while. We have experience cloud, Experience Services, experience all the things. Kush, clarify for us what all of that means. Khushwant Singh: Well, Gillian, I wish I got that question, or rather I wish I had proactively answered that question at the recent TDX. So just a bit of a sidetrack, a little, for those of you who attended the recent TDX, we had a true to the call session where a few of us were up on stage and I introduced myself as, "My name's Kush, I'm a product manager and I work on all things experiences." Now, I honestly thought that I would be inundated with questions, but I realized that I actually got zero questions, and I realized that people just probably didn't get what all things experience means. So I'm going to learn from that, and be very clear in our conversation over here. So taking a step back, when we say, we just recently realigned some of our teams internally, and we've created this group internally called Experience Services. And what Experience Services is, is that it brings together a few teams together. First and foremost, we have our UI platform team. And so from a UI platform perspective, think of it as all things web runtime, whether it's Aura, Lightning Web Runtime, LWC or Lightning Web Components. It includes things that all of the good components you have in Lex, so the record forms, lists, performance, et cetera, so that's the UI platform team. Then we also brought the experience cloud team, which really is, takes all the goodness that we have in Lex, and manifests it to customers and partners, external facing customers and partners. We do have instances where it's also facing employees as employee intranets, but it takes all of that goodness. We also brought together our mobile teams. So whether that's the Salesforce Flagship mobile app, whether that's our mobile SDK, whether that's taking an experience cloud side and creating a hybrid mobile app out of it through Mobile Publisher, we brought the mobile team together as well. And then finally, we brought the MobiFi team, which some of you may know as the managed runtime offering to build out these progressive web apps for commercial use cases. So in a nutshell, this Experience Services team brings together the UI platform, brings together experience cloud, brings together the mobile teams and brings MobiFi together. So what we can do now is collectively, we are responsible for all things experiences, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board, whether you're building an experience for an employee, a customer, or a partner for that matter. Gillian Bruce: So that was really helpful, it helped me understand this because again, experience is one of those words that, especially as a Salesforce admin, we're always thinking about our end users experience. That's our whole goal is to make it seamless and make it really useful. But as you just described, experiences is so many things. And I really appreciate that you have explained how the teams are uniting under this umbrella, to really think about the holistic picture when it comes to these different experiences pieces. UI, designers' mindset, is one of the core admin skills that we have because it's always thinking about how is my user experience in this? How can I maximize that experience, make it more efficient? And when you talk about Lightning experience that, God, talk about something that changed the game for admins. Khushwant Singh: I know, it did. It did entirely. It changed the game, but it also in full transparency, we added a bit of a divide as well. So if you take examples where you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder. You have a set of record components that look gloriously well on Lex, but they may not surface all of the capabilities, the actions don't surface in the Experience Builder or vice versa, the branding, the themeing, the mobile web responsiveness aspect of things that show up on Experience Builder, don't show up in the App Builder side of things. And so we have introduced this divide, which actually has made our... Well, each team has done a phenomenal job in going deep in their use cases, it's been at an expense of a divide where, as a Salesforce admin, as a Salesforce developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints. You might be a Salesforce admin for a company that is using Salesforce for their employee experience. For example, the service agents. Similarly, within your same company, you may have an endpoint, a customer help center, which is customer facing, or you might be selling products through channels, which is also partner facing, and you want your investments to be able to run across ideally. So again, all teams have done great in their specific areas, but by bringing us together, we are really hopeful that we can deliver more value for our Salesforce admins and our developers as they manage all of these various endpoints. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think as a company, for someone who's maybe been in the ecosystem for a long time, this is a familiar road, is that we develop something really close. One team goes down and develops this new way of doing something and then we have shadow examples of it happening all separately within the company. And then, hey, let's bring everybody together, let's make this a more cohesive, holistic experience for our admins, for our developers. And it's exciting to bring all those really smart brains together to work together versus everyone working in a silo. Khushwant Singh: Indeed. And I think it's also indicative of trying to complete what we start. I think we've heard from admins, just this recent TDX, I mean, and at every TDX or any Dreamforce we do, any through the core session or any feedback we get from our MVPs and our admins out there, developers. They'll give us feedback, which is actually quite true. We start something, but we don't complete it. We say something that we will deliver something, but we, at times, don't deliver it. And so I think by bringing all of our teams together, that manage experience, I think it really... Organizational differences should not be the reason why we are not able to complete what we start or deliver what we say we will deliver. And so we are really hopeful that we'll be able to actually address those two key areas. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've always heard the joke. We don't want to let our org chart show. Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Across both desktop and mobile for that matter. Gillian Bruce: Totally. Yeah. So Kush, before we get a little bit further, I mean, clearly you've got a big undertaking that you and your teams are doing. Can you tell me a little bit about you and how you got here? How long have you been at Salesforce because all of these works have been in progress for a long time. You mentioned when we released Lightning experience. Tell me a little bit about your background. Khushwant Singh: Oh yeah, sure. So I've been at Salesforce, I think, May sometime this month is my seventh year anniversary. Gillian Bruce: Congratulations. Khushwant Singh: Thank you. And I have truly enjoyed every single day of my time here at Salesforce. If you look at my background, I rarely spend more than five to six years in a company. And the fact that I'm here for the seventh year and still super challenged, just speaks towards what Salesforce offers from a challenge, point of view. There's always something new, there's always a new challenge for us to work on. And I've actually spent probably six and a half or six and three quarters of that seven years working on Experience Cloud. And so most of my background is from a B2C side of things. I spend some time at eBay, at Microsoft, at a startup called Mozi, working on a number of B2C oriented products. And I wanted to build products in an enterprise setting for enterprise, but I didn't want to veer too far away from the consumer side of things, the B2C side of things. And Experience Cloud really helped me walk that fine line where you're building these digital experience products that are used by enterprises for their customers, for their partners. So it really gave me a good middle ground. That said, Experience Cloud is a, it's a platform upon the overall Salesforce platform. And so over the last six and a half years or so, I've had the opportunity to work with some immensely dedicated individuals on the platform side of things as well. And so that bring a lot of the goodness that we see in Lex and Experience Cloud and Mobile to life. And so bringing the teams together was like bringing a group of old friends together. Gillian Bruce: I love that, getting the band back together, that's good. Khushwant Singh: There you go. Gillian Bruce: Okay. So let's talk a little bit about what's currently going on in Experience Cloud. So I know there were some good announcements at Dreamforce last year, at DBX this year. Can you talk a little bit about where we're currently at with Experience Cloud and why maybe an admin who hasn't yet dabbled in Experience Cloud might consider it? Khushwant Singh: Sure. So again, just to level set, one more time, a customer uses Experience Cloud for a number of use cases. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a simple marketing website, corporate website. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a self-service destination, so that self-service destination could be a help center, where you want to surface your knowledge base articles, where you wish to surface chat bots, where you wish to, for example, give your customers the ability to log in and manage their account, manage their profile for that matter. Similarly, you could use Experience Cloud to build out a channel reseller portal, where you may not be selling direct or you may be selling direct, but you also sell through your various channels and you need a way to manage your channels. You could use Experience Cloud to build a commerce storefront, whether it's a B2B commerce storefront, a B2C commerce storefront, et cetera. So Experience Cloud, you can use it for a variety of different customer facing, partner facing use cases. In fact, I should also mention employee facing use cases. You could build out a company intranet for that very matter as well. And so over the last years, last few years with introduction of Lightning and Aura, for that matter, it really revolutionized the ability for our customers to build all of this out in a very low code, fast time to market aspect of things. And we've seen phenomenal adoption, super humbled, by the adoption, we've gotten North of 70,000 odd sites. I think our MAU is around, our monthly active usage is maybe about 40 to 50 million. We have a daily active usage of about five to 6 million. And so, I mean, again, super thankful to all of the customers and the admins and the developers out there who have invested so much of their time in Experience Cloud. That said, as with every technology, there comes a time where you've hit a bit of a wall and we hit a wall with Aura, from a performance, from a scale, from a customizability point of view. Where you can see that as you are trying to build out these next generation consumer grade experiences like storefronts, like websites, even these consumer grade portals, where you expect an iPhone like Experience, whether it's employee facing or customer facing experience. So we hit a bit of a wall with Aura. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we've been, for lack of a better way to put it, somewhat silent in terms of our feature deliverables. Sure, we've been delivering a few features here and there, but like our MVP, we have a really passionate and amazing MVP out there. His name is Phil Weinmeister- Gillian Bruce: Yes. We know Phil very well. Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so I think many of you must have seen his post where he's actually tracking the number of features that Experience Cloud launches. And he showed this bar graph, that showed the decreasing number of features over the last 18 months. And I replied to him and again, huge respect for Phil. And the fact of the matter is that we've had to go under the hood and rebuild from ground up using Lightning Web Runtime, using Lightning Web Components, so that we can actually deliver this consumer grade scale and performance and customizability, whether it's a B2B, B2C or B2E type of use case. And so we've been "silent for a while" but I'm super excited at what's coming in this summer release, and what's going to go. A lot of it going to go generally available this winter release. So again, long story short, we have been re-architecting for consumer grade across the entire customer journey. So whether you're looking at an awareness use case, whether you're looking for an acquisition use case, a service use case, a loyalty use case, you want to deliver consumer grade across the board. And with Lightning Web Runtime, with Lightning Web Components, we do believe that we've got the right foundation upon which we can actually deliver these experiences. So that's the overarching area where we're headed. Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's impressive. I mean, we talk, especially even as admins, we have our own technical that we accrue over many years of admining a specific org. And sometimes you do, you got to just go back, peel back the covers and go in and make sure everything, the foundations are updated and running better. And hey, if you got a system that's not working for you, you got to invest the time and pause on the new stuff for a minute. Let's make the core stuff really work and function so that we can continue to build. So I love that transparency. I think it's really useful to help our admins and everybody understand what all of the hard work that your team is doing. And yeah, I mean, hey, now that we talked about all the hard work that you've all been doing, let's talk about some of the shiny new fun things that you have coming down the page. Khushwant Singh: Yeah, of course. So now I think on that note, I do also want to underscore that we have so many, all of that adoption stats that I talked about, they're all visual force or mostly Aura investments. And I want to underscore that we're not just leaving Aura or VF behind. And so there are many aspects that customers on Aura or customers on VF would also be able to benefit from. So let's dive into those shiny aspects of things. So I think if we think of this as maybe a stack diagram, maybe we'll start at the lowest level of infrastructure. What are we doing from an infrastructure point of view to help deliver that consumer grade type of experiences? So, first and foremost, we've invested a fair amount of time and effort to deliver performance. And so, one of the things you'll start to notice is, our out of the box CDN, so behind the scenes we work with Akamai, and what that does is that it allows, it just provides customers an out of the box CDN that they can actually choose to use. Gillian Bruce: So Kush, before we go forward, what is a CDN? Let's break down that. Khushwant Singh: Sure. It's a content delivery network. What that does is it allows your public aspects of your site, of your mobile app to be cashed on these endpoints, which are closer to the consumer, and so that allows for faster delivery. And if it doesn't change, if that public information doesn't change very much, it's served out of cash versus another round hub back. So again, at the end of the day, it's about better delivery of, faster delivery of the experience. Now this used to be a bit of an opt in thing and so what we have done now is as of spring and summer and winter, what we're doing is behind the scenes, we are rolling out as part of the secure domains effort, as secure domains is being enabled across all net new sites and existing sites. We are just enabling the default CDN by default, so it's an opt out versus an opt in. So from that perspective, we are trying to ensure that everyone gets a phenomenal performance from the get go. Now, similarly, another thing that we are really excited about is, and the teams working on it, is as part of the out the box, CDN from an infrastructure point of view is being able to get more capabilities out of that, out of CDN. Now, have you gone to a site where the images look really weird, wonky, feels like this is a desktop site they're trying to throw onto a mobile or a tablet? Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Everything's out of perspective. And you got to try and scroll weird ways. Yeah. Khushwant Singh: Exactly. So another thing that if you use the out of the box CDN, another thing that our customers can look forward to is dynamic image resizing. So when you are the same image renders well on a mobile, a tablet, a desktop, and similarly, if you are an admin, you may inadvertently upload a, I don't know what? 20 MB file, image, and then say, "Look, why is my site loading so slowly?" And so what we're trying to do is also correct that, where you may upload a 20MB file, please don't, but what we'll do on our side, on the CDN side of things, we'll resize that and ensure that we are delivering a more optimized image to the customer. So that's another thing that we are really excited about, from an infrastructure point of view. So lots of good work happening from a perf point of view. Now, then there is scale. So from a scale point of view, we have aspects like concurrency. So concurrent user scale, so how many users can you support on that portal? Concurrent read scale, so how many requests are coming in concurrently? And before the site just says, "Look I can't handle this." And concurrent rights. So for example, you may be running a promotion and that promotion, you may advertise that on Twitter or on Instagram, and then you suddenly have this massive surge of folks coming to your site and they all want to sign up to know when it's going to be made available. How do we ensure that those rights don't kneel over and just fall over? So again, a lot of the work that we are doing around infrastructure, whether it's performance and scale, are things that we have been rolling out slowly over the last few releases. And then we really look to bring it home over the course of the summer and the winter releases, so that's from an infrastructure point of view. Gillian Bruce: Nice. Khushwant Singh: Now, as we move up the stack, we can talk about things like data and content. Now, let's start off with content Salesforce in general, has had a bit of a content management gap for a little while. And we have customers using third party content management systems, et cetera, to compliment the data investments that they have in Salesforce. Now, probably I would say 24 months back, we introduced Salesforce CMS, which was, for the very first time a content management system from Salesforce. Now, what we've come to realize over the 24 months is that boy, do we need a lot more improvements to it. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we have been actually re-architecting the content management system from ground up. It is going to be JSON based. So very standard point of view. JSON also would allow our customers to model many different types of content, whether that content is a blog, an email et cetera. Very extensible, so from that point of view, if we don't offer something out of the box, you can add a sidebar extension that allows you, like Grammarly that would say, "Hey, look," while you're typing this thing, it's telling you, you should add X, Y, and Z, et cetera. We also, 24 months back introduced two versions of the content management system. One was a free version, included version I would say, I shouldn't say free, the included version, and the other one was the paid version. What we realized really was, you know what, it's just artificial. Our customers really, they're coming to Salesforce for a variety of different use cases and content really should be something that supports and brings those use cases to life. And so what we have done is as of the summer release, we have basically provided the paid CMS, which we have gotten rid of, and just given it, included it as part of all experienced cloud licenses. In fact there are so many licenses out there at Salesforce that use Experienced Cloud licenses. And so as of this summer, all of our customers will get the advanced version of content management. And at the same time, they will get access to the beta version of this new, what we call CMS 2.0 internally, we call that the JSON based. They'll get beta access to that as well, without any sort of opt-in, there's a check box, they have to check and they'll be able to take it for a spin. But we look to make that CMS 2.0, our next version of CMS generally available in the winter timeframe as well. So that's another massive uplift and improvement that we're doing from a content management point of view. And democratizing content altogether. Gillian Bruce: That's great. I mean, I know admins are going to be very excited to be able to access that great capability without having to jump through any additional hoops to get it. So thank you. Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Now, let's talk about data. Now, when we think about the data side of things, this is where a lot of our investments, at least from an Experience services point of view is that we have teams that are experts in records, Dynamic Forms, lists, and they're doing a lot of good work to expand. For example, Dynamic Forms today it's only available in custom objects, why? It should go across all standard objects. That's something that the team is working on. I'm really glad that we are going to stay really true to the fact that when we start something, we are going to end it and we are going to go all the way, at the same time this team is also working to bring all of that goodness across to not just employee facing experiences in Lex but also to customer facing, partner facing experiences via Experience Cloud. And so that's one example where, as one unit Experience Services, it really brings benefit across all of the various endpoints, whether it's Lexio Experience Cloud or mobile for that matter. So that's something that we are really looking forward to. And then over on top of that, the ability to surface that data, but represent it in different visualizations. So you may want to show a list view in the form of a grid or in the form of a certain set of tiles. Because again, you want to do that because it's customer facing, it's partner facing, you have to apply your style guide on it, et cetera. So that's all the goodness that you can expect to see over the course of the next two releases from a data point of view. Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's major stuff. I know that Dynamic Forms is one of the top favorite admin feature overall. And so being able to bring that to standard objects will be huge. So thank you. Thank you on behalf of all admins everywhere. Khushwant Singh: It's a shout out to all of the good teams that are working on that front. So we touched about infra, we touched about content, we touched about data. Now, let's touch about the UI run time itself, which is Lightning Web Runtime and Lightning Web Components. Clearly the degree of, out of the box components for Aura, there are a lot more out of the box components for Aura than they are for LWCs, no doubt about it. And so what we're trying to do is we are trying to catch up to a certain degree, but catch up in a way that is addressing the most important use cases from out the box component point of view, but at the same time, not sacrificing customizability. And so from an LWR point of view, a few things to call out. One is, I'll start off first with, when you build a site with Experience Cloud and with LWR and LWCs, search is always a use case that comes up. And by search, we tend to just think maybe at times CRM search, but really our customers are thinking of it as site search. They want to be able to cut across whether it's a CRM, whether it's site meta information, like the page title, the site title, or something that's in a text, a rich text component, whether that's CMS content, whether those are products or any other objects, they want to be able to search the entire site. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. They don't know the differences between that, they just want to find what they need. Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so for them, this is complexity that we should abstract from them. And so again, this is something that our customers can expect to see in beta, in the summer timeframe. And all goes, well, we're going to take the hood off and generally make it available in the winter timeframe, starting with site meta information and CMS content as part of the index. And then we're going to expand that to CRM and to other objects for that matter. Gillian Bruce: All right. So just a reminder to all listeners, forward looking statement applies to everything that Kush just said, this is what happens when we get excited in product information. Yeah. Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And that too, as well. Yes. So I think, again from an LWR point of view, there's just so much more maturity that customers can expect to see with LWR and Experience Cloud. Because whether it's out of the box components for content, for data, whether it's search, whether it is even the ability to deliver these dynamic experiences. So one of the things that our customers really appreciate in Aura is the ability to personalize the experience using CRM information. So show me this content, this data, if user.account equals to X, Y, Z, et cetera. And so the ability to deliver that type of personalization is key, but at the same time, they want to be able to do things like real time personalization. So using, for example, Evergage or interaction studio for that matter. So as you're browsing the site or portal, you're able to get relevant information that's on the fly generated. So those are another aspects of LWR that we are investing in very heavily. So whether it's infrastructure, whether it's data, whether it's content, whether it's the UI framework and the various personalization aspects of things, lots of investment happening. Now, all of this has to translate and manifest on mobile. And so that's the other dimension that we are heavily investing in. So whether you are customizing the experience in design time, as an admin, to say, "Hey, look, you know what? I want to show this image on desktop, but another image on mobile, or I want to have this font you applied in mobile versus on desktop. I want to be able to take my LWR site and use Mobile Publisher to create a mobile app that I can deploy via the app stores." Those are all areas that we are working on over the course of the next two releases as well. So again, lots of excitement as we work across this entire site. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Lots coming. Well, Kush I so appreciate you taking the time to chat with us here on the podcast about all things, Experience Services, Experience Cloud. I know I got a lot of questions answered. I'm sure a lot of people listening are very happy to hear all of the things that you and your team are working on. And I'm sure they will have many more questions. So I'll include links to some of the great trailblazer community groups that you have set up for Lightning Experience and for Experience Cloud, for people to submit feedback. And thanks again for all of the work that you and your team do. And I look forward to checking back in with you after a couple releases here and coming back to what you all have done and hearing about what is even next from then on. Khushwant Singh: For sure Gillian. I mean, I truly appreciate the opportunity. And again, to all our Salesforce admins, you are our eyes and ears out there. Feedback is a gift, please keep it coming. And we're so appreciative of all that you do for us. Gillian Bruce: Huge, thanks to coach for taking the time to chat with us. He and his team have been so busy working on really important foundational improvements to both Experience Cloud and Experience Services. And it's so great to now understand what Experience Services mean because for us admins, it means a lot of the stuff that we use every day. So, hey, I don't know about you, but I'm excited about Dynamic Lightning pages coming for standard objects. Woo, woo. Again, forward looking statement, but I look forward to getting Kush back on the podcast to ask him about that once it has been released in a few releases. So if you want to learn more or you have more feedback about anything, Experience Cloud or Experience Services, Kush, and his team pay close attention to the trailblazer community. So go to the Lightning Experience group or the Experience Cloud group on the trailblazer community and put your feedback in there, put your questions in there. He's got an amazing team of very talented people. And if you want to learn anything else about how you can be a successful Salesforce admin, go to my favorite website, admin.salesforce.com. There you can find other great podcasts, blogs, and videos to help you in your Salesforce admin journey. I also encourage you to check out the new Salesforce admin skills kit, which we just launched last month. And it is right there on the admin@salesforce.com webpage. Check it out, let me know what you think, we're going to do some great podcast episodes about that, coming up here real soon. If you want to follow my guest today, Kush, you can find him @Kush_singh. You can follow me @Gilliankbruce. And you can follow Mike, my amazing co-host @Mikegerholdt. You can follow everything awesome admin related @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. With that, I hope you have a great rest of your day and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.
Create a User Management Super App with Andrew Russo
May 12 2022
Create a User Management Super App with Andrew Russo
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Andrew Russo, Salesforce Architect at BACA Systems.   Join us as we talk about the amazing app user management super app he built and how you can approach building apps to be an even more awesome Admin.   You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Andrew Russo. Ramping up a Salesforce org Andrew, like so many people we interview on the show, started out as an accidental Admin. He started out needing to pull more and more things from Salesforce to support his company’s email marketing efforts, which put him in the position to get his Admin cert when they wanted to roll out Service Cloud. Now, the entire business is run on a massive org, and Andrew’s main challenge is making sure it’s scalable to handle everything that might come down the pipe.   Now that they’ve brought their entire manufacturing department onto Salesforce, they needed to take a second look at how they handle user requests. “Before it was as simple as sending an email or a text and we could have a quick chat,” Andrew says, “now, we have to manage a lot of users and also document it so people can do their jobs well and also make requests for features to help them do their jobs even better.” Managing user requests and scaling up When the user requests started flooding in, they knew they needed a plan to handle the large increase in volume. The first step was switching over to cases, but they needed to do a lot of customization to account for the different ways they handle internal vs. external cases. The biggest bottleneck they identified was when they had to ask for more details, so creating a structure for both the person filling out the request and the team member looking at it helped immensely.   Specificity around requests is really important because you need to understand the business need that’s driving it. For example, they could be asking for a checkbox because they want to run a report when there’s an easier way to do that. Instead, Andrew and his team send users a link to fill out a user story. “Then when we go back in a year and are trying to figure out why we made something, we have a record of why it was created,” Andrew says, so they’ve built in their documentation process.   At the end of every Flow they build there’s a sub-flow that runs at the end. It tracks every time the Flow runs and compares it to how long it took them to build and how long the previous process took. What they end up with is a lot of specificity around how their team is saving everyone time throughout the organization which is a powerful and effective way to prove RoI. Andrew’s tips for user management Andrew’s main tips for improving user management in your org are pretty simple to understand but hard to master. For one thing, learn when to say no. Some user requests are going to be unreasonable and learning how to work with them to uncover the real business need can help you find a solution that fits.   For another, if you can find core Salesforce functionality that gets you 90% of the way to a solution, it’s far better than building everything from scratch. “Custom equals it’s yours and you own it,” Andrew explains, “not only do you own the development of it—you own the problems could have in the future with it that you can’t foresee.” Less is more.   Finally, keep curious. Always keep learning and follow your curiosity because you never know where it will lead you. Salesforce has so many amazing resources and you never know when something you were browsing or an issue you helped someone with will suddenly give you your next great idea.   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Best Practices for Building a User Request Management App from the Community   Social Andrew: @_AndrewRussoSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full show transcript Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we are going to talk about how to create a user management super app. So, a few weeks ago, you may have seen a blog post that we put out on the Admin site talking all about how you can create an app to manage your users. Well, one of the amazing, awesome admins that I met in that process is Andrew Russo. He's a Salesforce architect at BACA Systems. I wanted to have him on the podcast because the app he built is just next level. It's awesome. There are so many elements of it that I think we could all use at different parts of what we're building as admins at our own organizations. So I wanted to get him on the podcast to share a little bit about his overall strategy of how he approaches building apps like that, and in general, how to be an awesome admin. So without further ado, let's welcome Andrew on the podcast. Andrew, welcome to the podcast. Andrew Russo: Yeah. I'm happy to be here. I think this will be awesome, to be able to talk about some of the stuff we've built for our company and see how other admins can learn from what we've done. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about you first, before we get into some of the app building advice and great strategy that you have to share. Tell us a little bit about what you do and a little bit about your Salesforce journey. Andrew Russo: Yeah, so I started doing Salesforce stuff as an accidental admin. So in college I was working for a company and I started helping with some of the website stuff. And then that transitioned into email marketing, which involved getting email lists from Salesforce. And it slowly kind of climbed into working more and more on Salesforce stuff. So that was about 2016. And then in 2017 and '18, we started looking at rolling out Service Cloud, which is really when I started to go into learning a lot more about Salesforce. And then once we did the Service Cloud, I really took over as the main admin and started learning more and more and I got my first Salesforce certification, I think it was about 2019. And then I have grown more. Now we have a massive org where we have an entire business that's fully on the Salesforce platform, which became really challenging to learn from. We have a small, just very basic, standard, out of the box org to now having to manage complex user requests, documenting stuff, and really creating something that's scalable since the entire business depends on everything running properly. Gillian Bruce: So, how many users do you support? Andrew Russo: Right now, we have about 70 users inside of our Salesforce org. If you asked that same question in Fall of last year, we had about 30. So we brought on our entire manufacturing, which is really where we started to have to look at, how do we handle user requests? Because before it was as simple as an email or just sending a text and we could have a quick chat. Now we have to manage a lot of users and also document stuff properly so people can do it, do their jobs and make requests for features to help them do their jobs easier. Gillian Bruce: Well, okay. So, clearly you are an awesome admin plus. I think it's really interesting that you only got your first start a couple years ago, I guess three years ago, 2019 seems like forever ago, but it's not, and how you've been able to grow so much in your knowledge and your abilities within Salesforce. I mean it sounds like a lot of it was kind of hands-on experience, any other external sources or what kind of things really helped you hone that skill so that you can really build, I mean the massive growth that your organization has had just within the last six months? Andrew Russo: Yeah. I think that really where the big thing, and it's really weird to say, but I think becoming a Master Googler has really helped. And I think that's a skill that's almost vital because there's so many resources out there. You've got the Trailhead community, which there's a lot of questions that get answered on there. There's a lot of information with even guides. There's thousands of different admins who have blogs that have stuff generally who joined the Salesforce team with all of her flow blogs. There's all the different resources out there. So becoming a Master Googler to think, "Okay, how do I want a Google link to get the response of what I'm looking for?" And you can get a lot of different resources, that really helped. I think though Trailhead was the other thing. I've done a lot of trails in Trailhead, the super badges are super helpful. And then really when I go to try and look at taking another certification exam, Focus on Force is pretty helpful for that last little bit of studying and thinking, "Okay, where do I need to focus some effort towards?" To see where you're lacking, because you don't really know what you're lacking until you take a test, but the Trailhead's really where I do it and hands on, I think where I've learned most of this stuff is trial and error in a sandbox of our current org. If it doesn't work, start over and try another way. Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, that's great. We want everyone to use sandboxes. So let's talk a little bit more about specifically some of the solutions that you've built. Now, I know you, thankfully, helped me out with a blog post we did not too long ago about how to build a kick ass management app, which you demoed some of what you've built and shared some of that in our blog post. Can you talk to us a little bit about your approach to building that app and how you think about how to best structure it? Because you got a lot going on there. There's a lot of complexity and clearly, I mean it kind of blew my mind when you were sharing all of the details that you had involved in that, but it also sounds like it is incredibly helpful to you and your team as you're building. So talk to us a little bit about an overview of that app and then how you approached building it. Andrew Russo: Yeah. So it was something that we had thought about earlier this year of, we need a better way to handle internal user requests because they started off as emails and then we would lose track of emails. If it doesn't hit your inbox for the day, you kind of forget about the request, even though you might have needed to do something. So that started throughout the year and we're like, "We really want to look at cases." And then I posted on the Trailhead screen, has anyone done... Actually it was on Reddit I posted and I just asked if anyone's done cases internally, just to get an idea of it. People responded, "Okay. Think about record types." And I was like, "Okay." So I let a couple weeks go by and I started to think about it more. And then really once we started to get an inbound rush of emails with different requests that we needed to handle, we're like, "We need cases to do it." So we refreshed one of our full sandboxes so we had everything that was in production. And then we really built out in a matter of a week, we changed all of our current processes that were based on our external service that we use Service Cloud for our customers, we had to customize all of the processes and automations we already had to not apply to our internal cases because it's two different ways that we handle internal cases versus external. There's different fields that we want to track. But we also want some similar things like the status or the case type that are default fields, we want to keep those as the same so we don't have two status fields to report on inside of Salesforce because that doesn't feel right. So customizing that and really separating it out was that first step. And then we looked at, how do we want to help our users? And what are the different things that we want to track from a reporting standpoint later? Because you can't report on stuff that you don't actually capture. So the first thing that we rolled out was just pretty simple, we're going to use Email-to-Case and we're going to use cases with record types and we added some different fields, like steps to reproduce and expected outcome, actual outcome, things that were helpful for us to right away be able to troubleshoot without having to ask for more details, because that was the biggest thing that we would have through email is they would send one request, not give enough detail because there's no structure to it. So giving that structure for them to record their request and guide them through, it was really helpful just for that initial problem. Versus we really, in the beginning, we keep it as just, "What do you want?" We don't distinguish. There's an area that they can choose if it's a new feature versus a support case, but past that, it's the same stuff that they're recording and then we can handle the case once we start to look at it. Gillian Bruce: So, let's pause right there for a second. So you said putting some structure around the ask. What do you mean by that? Because a lot of people will be like, "Oh, can you just add a checkbox to this page?" And I'm sure you have a little bit more structure to help coach them out of that kind of ask. Can you talk a little bit more about that? Andrew Russo: Yeah. So we used the case initially to gather the, "Hey, I want a check box," because a user just looks as it as, "I want a check box to record this," because they got some type of request from their boss and they need to show something, but then once we are able to review it, it might be, "Oh, that's already there." Or, "Oh no, that's something that's new. We need to gather the requirements. What is the business case supporting it? Why are we trying to do this?" To make sure it's not overlapping with something else or it's not a one-time thing where they want to go make a check box on records and then run a report of the check boxes, because seen that recently a few times where it's like, "Oh, we want to see all accounts with this so let's add a check box," which is not the right way for us to handle that. So, gathering those type of things, we created a flow that's called a user story and we're able to send out a link from Email-to-Case to the user. When they click on that link, it actually launches the flow in Salesforce and they're able to, it'll kind of prompt them, "Hey, here's a trail you can go take from Trailhead if you don't know what a user story is." It's not required, but it's recommended. Then they're able to go through the steps and do the as a role, I want to, blank, so that I can, blank. And then we also have another field of, how do you know that this is there and successful? So we can measure the actual outcome of it and say, "Yes, this is successful. No, we were not able to meet what the requirement was." And we like to get that for a single field from really anyone who that touches, not just the person requesting it in their role. So if accounting wants a field, we also might want to look at having sales do a user story that if it impacts the sales or the service side of it to get a full picture, because then when we go back and we look at why did we make this in a year? We have something to support why it was created. Gillian Bruce: You built in the documentation. Yeah. Andrew Russo: Exactly. So we have documentation gathered right away while we're building, which is super helpful. Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So I mean, what I really like about this is you built it so that it helps you be successful as things are being built, right? You built documentation into the process, you built the coaching of like, "Hey, this is how you properly make a request. This is what a user story is." And I love the promotion of Trailhead in there, I think that's great. But what are some of the other things that you've built into the app that help you and your team be successful? I know one of the things that you had mentioned to me before is having some metrics of the impact of some of the apps and some of the features that you've built. Can you talk to us a little bit more about that? Andrew Russo: Yes. There's actually two really awesome things that we have done with it. So one of which is for measuring the impact of automations, we have a couple different objects that run. So inside of any of the flows that we build, we add a sub flow that runs at the end and what it does, it tracks every time that the flow runs and then there's a master record that's created that we're able to see, "Okay, this is how many times it ran." We can put in how many hours it took us to build and how many minutes the previous process that was getting used is, so it actually calculates how many hours and minutes are saved by users running it. So if it used to take 10 minutes to do a process and it took us three hours to build it, we can see at what point has the breakeven been met that, "Hey, we've actually just saved the company time?" And then in the future we can say, "This is how much time we've saved with the automation on an ongoing basis." So that's one of the things that we did to track really the ROI that we bring to the company for our performance. So when you go to look at, Hey, what did I do the last quarter? How did I perform? Yeah, this is the money that we've actually brought and saved the company. So I think that's one of the things. And the other is about tracking the time on cases, because we started to realize, a lot of these cases for internal people make it, then they get busy, they stop responding, and it doesn't look good on us if we want to report on our metrics of, "Hey, how long did it take for this issue to get resolved?" So we actually built out a custom object called Case Time and every time that a case changes status, it records how long it was in that status. So when a case enters a new status, it creates a new record for that status with a start time. And when it leaves, it puts the end time and it creates the new record for the next status that it's in. So we can go back on any case and look at how much time it spent in statuses. So we can say how much is waiting for the customer, our internal customer, and how much is us working on it, which really is helpful for reporting on our metrics. Gillian Bruce: Okay. So those two ideas are amazing and I feel like every admin is going to want to implement those in their own org. I mean the fact that you have real, tangible hard metrics on the ROI that you bring to the organization in terms of time saved, I mean you can directly link that to basically money saved. That's awesome. And then the second one about like, "Hey, a lot of people track how long it takes to resolve a case, but it's not always on us." It's actually, "Hey, you make this request, we're waiting for you most of the time on this." So I think that's really, really amazing tips for how to break down and really put hard data and metrics behind the work that you do as an admin or building apps. So talk to me, I want to learn how to think like Andrew. Because you have come in and clearly, very quickly learned about how to master lots of parts of the Salesforce platform, how to really take that mastery and use it in a very effective way in your organization. What are some overall strategies that you think have really helped you and that maybe some other admins can glean from what you've done and what you've learned? Andrew Russo: Yeah. I think that really, it's a couple things. One of the things that I think is really important and some people really have a hard time doing is learning to say no, because there's some requests that you get that you just have to say no, and put your foot in the sand and say, "I'm not going to do this. This does not make sense. It's not best practice." Really implementing a strong governance. It doesn't have to be a written governance over Salesforce, but having this ability and empowerment to say no to some request, to say, "No, that doesn't make sense." Having that, I think is really one of the important things, because I do have to tell users, "No, we cannot do that. No." Today even, I've had a user request to get the ability to modify the homepage layouts on apps and I say, "No, if you'd like to, we can do a working session and in a sandbox we can make the changes to push to production, but I can't just give you access to change the home pages," because that comes with a lot of other access that they don't need to have as an end user. So really learning to say no and be willing to say no is one of the things. The other is thinking about less is more, I think is one thing. And maybe it's kind of that architect mindset that architects are supposed to have where thinking, does this already exist somewhere in Salesforce that's core functionality? It might not be 100% exactly what I want, but if it gets to 98% and it's already standard functionality, use that rather than trying to build something that's perfect custom fit, but custom equals it's yours and you own it, so not only do you own the development of it, you own the problems that you could have in the future with something that you don't foresee. So just thinking about less is more, being willing and able to say no, and also spending time researching different Salesforce stuff that you're just curious and interested in. That's where I started to learn different things, that just go build some fun stuff, might be related, might not even bring value, just on your own learning Salesforce has been super helpful for that. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So those are three great tips. The ability to say no and hold the line. And then less is more, I think that architect mindset is super important. And then I think that last one you talked about, researching and just basically playing with Salesforce is really important. And it's that learner's mindset idea, right? Is that there's always something to learn. And so, "Hey, if you're curious, go try it out, go build it, go build an app for some one-off use case that isn't necessarily part of your job." I think that's one of the things I've seen be very successful in the community is folks that are especially looking to demonstrate their skills to maybe even get their first Salesforce job or demonstrate that they have a higher level of mastery to catapult themselves into a different more senior role, building an app that they purely have built to demo to potential employers or to show off what they know. I think that is one of the strongest things you can do. It's like the ultimate Salesforce admin resume, right? "Cool, so I can write all these words, but look what I can show you. This is what I built. This is why and this is how it works." Andrew Russo: Yeah. Building on that too, one of the things that I think is super helpful is because in my org, I see what I see. We don't use, for example, CPQ at all. We don't use other... We don't use Marketing Cloud. We have Pardot, but we don't have full Marketing Cloud, so thinking about some of these different areas that we don't really use, but understanding them is really helpful. So one thing that I think really helped open my eyes to see different areas is going on the answers and actually helping other users because it exposes you and you can look at a question someone else has that could come to you in the future and you can help answer their question. You might even have to research. You might not know the answer, but being able to see different use cases in other orgs from other people, answering their questions helps to expose you to new ideas and things that you've never looked at, but now when you come across it in the future, you already have an idea of it. Because like me, I learned from experience, really that is the best way. So if I can go and do that, the amount of flows I've built for other users that want to see stuff, and then I actually have implemented some of those internally after I saw that on the thing of, "Hey, I want to do this. When an inbound email comes in on a case, I want to change the case status," I helped someone build that and then I was like, "We want that." So I built that for our org after. So, those kind of things really help to open your eyes and see different things. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Okay. I mean, so now I'm also going to out you for something you told me that you were doing and I know that you are in the midst of it, you had a goal of becoming one of the top answerers in the answers community, I believe. And tell me a little bit more about that. Clearly, I understand why, you've learned about things that then you're putting into your own org, but what is it about doing that that drives you? Or why do you want to do that? Andrew Russo: I think it's just fun, honestly. So during COVID I got bored and I started answering stuff when I was working from home doing it. And that was 2020 March and I did a good amount of questions and answer stuff, and it was kind of fun doing it. And then two weeks ago I just got bored and I just was like, "You know what? I'm going to go answer them." And then it's kind of addicting because people reply to them and then it draws you back, you go and you help while you answer the questions. The amount of things that... It's a satisfaction you get. It took me 15 minutes to respond to someone, but they would've spent an entire day trying to learn that thing. So, for me to give 15 minutes and it's going to make their day or their week, it's an awesome feeling doing that, but it also helps me learn more. So it's a mix of both and I ended up in a matter of probably about 20 days moving somewhat high up from not having answered a question over a year or two in the top five in the answer community, so... Gillian Bruce: That's awesome, Andrew. Okay. So that's the vibe that I love about the admin communities. Everyone just loves to give back and help each other. And here's the thing, clearly you are passionate about solving problems and helping other people solve problems, both in your actual day job, and then clearly this is just part of who you are, because you're doing it externally out of your normal day job for the broader community as well, which is so great, so awesome. You're inspiring me. I'm like, "Maybe I should go try and answer some questions." Don't worry, I'm not going to threaten your leaderboard status, I promise. I have a long ways to go, but that's great. So Andrew, before we kind of wrap up, I would love to hear if you have any overall tips for someone who's really looking to flex their admin skills or get a little bit more experience under the belt. We heard already some great stuff from you about strategies when you're building apps, about governance, about less is more, about going and tinkering and researching different parts of the platform. Talk to us a little bit more about maybe some of the things that you would tell someone who's maybe a brand new admin or looking for their first admin job. What is the number one or two things that you'd recommend to them to help them beef up their skills and get prepared so they can get that awesome role? Andrew Russo: Yeah, I think that really some of it, I think there's two different parts of it. There's that new admin and then there's that current accidental admin who works at a company that became the accidental admin. For a new admin, I think really Trailhead is a really great place to start, and then moving over to trying to apply to jobs where they might be a small org with Salesforce that doesn't really have an admin and come in as not an admin, but become the accidental admin. Because I think the accidental admin is a really great place to start because you start to learn a lot of little different things that help you grow. And then for someone who becomes an accidental admin, I think one of the biggest things, which is actually where I started during COVID and I got experience was, go on different platforms that you can do some small just freelancing stuff after hours at night, stuff that exposes you to other companies, orgs in different areas. I know I've done a big project for a nonprofit that does acupuncture for low-income senior citizens. And we built out an entire community in six different languages. So I did that during COVID. That was massive with a lot of flows in six languages. It was crazy, but now that's really where I became a flownatic, I guess, having massive flow. So doing that and just getting some experience. It doesn't have to be big projects. Sometimes companies just need help with reporting and being able to help them with reporting, you could make someone on the side do it, but it opens your eyes to see more stuff, because if you don't see stuff or have experience, sometimes it's hard to understand the different things that you don't even know exist. I learned new stuff in Salesforce exists I've never seen almost on a daily basis. Like, "Oh, that's there?" For example, 15,000 character limit for formulas. No one realized it was there, but overnight we all found out on Twitter that it was there. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Oh gosh, Andrew, this is great. I so appreciate your time. I think it's so cool that you are so generous with sharing what you know and what you've built. I will, for sure, put a link in the show notes to that great blog post that you contributed a lot to and showing some of the different elements of the part of your user management app. And I really appreciate you imparting your wisdom with the admin community and answering so many questions. I can't wait to see you on the top of the leaderboard. Let's just be clear, we'll have a little celebratory "Andrew made it" and then the next person will try and dethrone you. It'll be great. Andrew Russo: It'll be Steve Mo who comes to dethrone. We already know it. Gillian Bruce: I mean he does have a very long history of answering most of the questions. Andrew Russo: The second that it's a formula question, I'm always hesitant because I know that he's going to step in and he's going to have a better formula way. And it's also cool to see, "Okay, this is how I would've answered and done it. Oh, this is what Steve Mo thinks about it." And generally Steve Mo comes with pretty clean formulas that are really well thought out and work super well, so... Gillian Bruce: Well, and that's the advantage of participating in the community, right? Is you see all these different ways of attacking the same problem. So I love that. That's great. Well, Andrew, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and I appreciate everything you do to give back and thank you again for sharing all of these amazing pieces of wisdom with the community. Andrew Russo: Yeah. Thank you. I think this was really fun. Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Andrew for taking the time to chat with me. I don't know about you, but I am definitely inspired to go tinker a little bit more and maybe go answer some questions of my own on the answers community. Now, some of the top takeaways from my chat with Andrew, I hope that you heard these as well, but first of all, it's always good to say no, have some kind of governance strategy when you are building apps. You got to set some boundaries, you got to set up some structures that enable you to actually build something that is effective instead of just building everything that people ask you for. Next, less is more. I love that he talked about that architect thinking, right? Let's use the existing functionality before we create something super custom because it's a lot easier to maintain something that is on core functionality, because if you build it yourself, then you are also responsible for making sure that it works for the rest of its life. So, let's take some of the load off there. And then finally, tinkering, researching. Go play with the platform, build something. I think that is one of the best ways to learn and there's an easy way to do that, as Andrew pointed out, by answering all those questions on the community. So if you have not delved into the answers community, do it. It's trailhead.com. You can access all of it there. If nothing else, it's a really good place to hang out and just see what people are asking so that you get a sense of the breadth of the platform and the kind of problems that people are solving using Salesforce. All right. Well, if you want more great content, you can always find that at admin.salesforce.com where we've got blogs, videos, and more podcasts. You can find our guest today, Andrew Russo, on Twitter @_andrewrusso. You can find me @gilliankbruce, and my co-host, Mike Gerholdt, @mikegerholdt. Hope you enjoyed this episode, stay tuned and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.
Live from TrailblazerDX
May 5 2022
Live from TrailblazerDX
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we take the show on the road, live from TrailblazerDX. Join us as we talk about how we put on events like these, what it’s like to go to a live event for the first time, and tips from a vet about why networking is so important. You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversations. The man behind the Trailblazer magic First, we caught up with Kavindra Patel, VP, Trailblazer Events & Digital Experiences at Salesforce. In short, he runs the show, putting together TrailblazerDX as well as Trailblazer events at Dreamforce and all the World Tours. If you spot someone at an event sporting a cool ranger hat, come say hi to KP. An admin’s first time at TDX Next, Mike bumped into Grace Villier, an Admin and sales and marketing specialist at her very first TrailblazerDX. One takeaway she has from the event is to make sure to block out time each week to re-up on your knowledge and keep up with all the content coming out on Trailhead. While she looked at the schedule ahead of time, Grace urges you to really focus in on what will maximize value because these events are always shorter than you think they are going into them. Tips from a Salesforce veteran The great thing about a live event like TrailblazerDX is that you have a chance to talk to folks with a wide range of experience and backgrounds. Mike went from talking to a first-time attendee to a real vet when he met up with Lauren Dunne Bolopue, Lead Salesforce Evangelist at DocuSign. She’s super psyched for the upcoming Slack integrations and how that will transform the way we work. She also emphasized just how important the networking you do at events is, and how the people you meet can help you grow and get through roadblocks you might run into along the way.   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Catch all the big moments of TrailblazerDX 2022   Social Kavindra Patel: @KavindraPatelLauren Dunne Bolopue: @LaurenDunne__CSalesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full show transcript Speaker 1: Welcome to the Salesforce Admin's podcast. And we are live, here today, at TrailblazerDX. So, I'm going to walk around the event and get some audio snippets, in case the audio's a little bit different. But I want to kick off our TrailblazerDX special episode with Kavindra Patel or KP, as I know. Kavindra is, kind of, my go-to person for the events. KP, what do you do at Salesforce? Speaker 2: Well, I run Trailblazer events for Salesforce. We do TrailblazerDX. Trailblazer is a Dream Force, as well as, Trailblazers, and all the world tours. Speaker 1: So, trailblazers are your thing. Speaker 2: They are my thing, and I love trailblazers. Speaker 1: So, let's talk about TrailblazerDX. What is an exciting thing that you brought this week, or that you got to plan, or be a part of? Speaker 2: So, the exciting part is bringing the Slack, Tableau, Mulesoft, as well as all the Salesforce developers, Admins and architects, all together under one umbrella. So, they can learn from each other, connect with each other, and take themselves to another level. Speaker 1: Cool. If somebody were to see you at an event, you're kind of hard to miss. Where did the hat come from? Speaker 2: Yeah, I try to hide myself, but it doesn't work really. I've got my signature hat from the old days of Trailhead, when we really brought Trailhead experience, which is the vibe we have, the fun outdoor vibe, and bringing that into events. And at that time, I bought myself an amazing hat, and you will see me on Twitter all the time, with my hat on. And so, that's where it came from. And it has a ranger, a pin, because I am a ranger. Speaker 1: Because you're a ranger. Speaker 2: Because I earned it. And so, that's where it comes from. And people find me, and I love talking to the Trailblazers, and just seeing how I can help them. Speaker 1: So Kavindra, you're on Twitter, people can see your picture. What's your Twitter handle? Speaker 2: My Twitter handle is @kavindrapatel. Speaker 1: Perfect. I'll put a link in the show notes. So, we're going to walk the floor and see who else I can run into. Kavindra, thank you for being our first guest. Speaker 2: You're welcome. Have a nice day, Mike. Speaker 1: All right. So, we just finished up our interview with Kavindra. We found out cool things that are happening at the event, but I am standing here with Grace, who's a first-time attendee. Grace, can you introduce yourself? Speaker 3: Yes, my name's Grace Villier. I work for a Construction Aggregate company, and I am our Sales and Marketing Specialist. Speaker 1: And Grace, I think this is your first TrailblazerDX. Speaker 3: It is, yes. Speaker 1: Okay, so tell me what you're taking notes on, because you've been in a ton of sessions. Speaker 3: So I, like you said, I've been in quite a few sessions. I've been trying to go to as many Admin sessions that I can go to, as well. Because that is my focus, at my job, is being the best Admin I can be for our users, but I've also gone to a couple sessions on the developer side. So, learning more about Apex, just because, as an Admin, we are involved with Flows, and automation. So, I thought the apex could be helpful too. So, trying to get in as many different areas, and sessions, that I can learn about, throughout these couple of days. Speaker 1: So, you're on your second day, how many notes pages have you filled? Speaker 3: I actually counted, and it is up to about eight now. Speaker 1: Wow, eight. Speaker 3: They're all the sessions. Speaker 1: That's a lot. That's a lot. What session stood out to you, as like, "Wow. I had no idea I was going to learn that." Speaker 3: I think the Admin Best Practices, because one of the things I learned about, was this podcast. Because I didn't realize that it had existed before. Speaker 1: And now you're on it. Speaker 3: Exactly. So, I think, little things like that, and learning about best practices, and what you can do on a routine basis, as far as getting feedback from your users. What's working, what's not, because I do ride-along's with our users, every so often. So, just to reinforce that... And it was talked about, coffee hours. So, I think, kind of, combining those because when I do my ride-alongs, it's a whole day, which is awesome. But also combining that with coffee sessions, and just reaching out to people on a more regular basis, I think could be good too. Speaker 1: So, how long have you been in Admin? Speaker 3: So, I started my Salesforce journey, let's see, January 2020. So, about- Speaker 1: That whole time period is a little fuzzy for all of us. Speaker 3: Yes, or excuse me, 21. About a year and a half ago. Speaker 1: Oh, good. Speaker 3: Excuse me. Yes. Speaker 1: In the pandemic. Speaker 3: '21, yes. Yes, so, and I went through a training program in sales, and then the opportunity, got to be our Project Lead for implementing Salesforce in December 2020, and then actually started with that in January 2021. So, hadn't seen Salesforce before. And I actually got my Admin certification last October. So I've learned a lot, in that period of time. Speaker 1: Congrats. Congrats. Speaker 3: Thank you. Speaker 1: What is one thing you're going to do different, when you get back to your desk? Speaker 3: I think getting back to my desk, specifically, I think adding blocks to my calendar, and because I think it's always important to keep learning. And as I was studying for my Admin certification, I was so focused on Trailhead, and doing modules, and realizing that those modules, more and more come out, and they're updated. For example, with Flows, that's the way things are going now with automation. So, just to continue those modules, I think we'll be good in blocking out an hour or two each week, just to stay up-to-date on things throughout Trailhead. Speaker 1: Now, one of the cool things is, since yesterday, when I saw you in a session, you've also built your entourage, which I think is very cool. So, you've also networked with other people at this event. What was the common factor, for you finding someone else to hang out with at TrailblazerDX? Speaker 3: So, we're actually in the same general area of the country. Within the Southeast, which was cool. And- Speaker 1: Oh, you're not from England. I thought I heard an accent there. I was going to say Wales, maybe. Speaker 3: I know, I sound very, very British, yeah. Speaker 1: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. New Zealand maybe, right? Speaker 3: Yes. Yes. So, that was a common factor. And just, having been fairly new to Salesforce, within the past year and a half, it was good to meet somebody new. Like you said, make those connections. Speaker 1: Okay. So, what is one thing, as we kind of wrap up, what is one thing you'll do different the next time you go to a Salesforce event? Speaker 3: That's a good question. Because I did look through all the sessions before, and kind of, factored in what will bring the most value. And I think, honing in more on that, just because it is only a two day conference. Really looking into what sessions are going to bring the most value. What can I learn the most from? So like I said, I try to combine some of the Admin sessions, and developer sessions, to learn more about that, too. So, I think, just continuing to do that. And then also, networking more, just because there are so many people here. Working on networking, even more next time, to grow my Salesforce community, people that I know. Speaker 1: Your eco-system, yeah. Well, you have one now, you have two more with us. Thank you, Grace, for being on the podcast. Speaker 3: Thank you, I appreciate it. Speaker 1: Best of luck. I'm sure we'll connect, maybe at Dreamforce. Speaker 3: Yes. Thank you very much. Speaker 1: Okay. So, we just came off that fun interview with Grace, who is a first time event TDX. And I happened to run into... You walk around TDX, and you run into friends and family you know. So, I found a veteran, we'll say veteran. Speaker 4: Oh, I like that term better. Speaker 1: Okay, veteran, TDX attendee Lauren, can you introduce yourself? Speaker 4: I'm Lauren Dunvalvue. I'm lead Salesforce Evangelist at DocuSign. And this is my second TDX, but my eighth Salesforce big conference. Speaker 1: Wow. You keep track of the big conference. Okay. Speaker 4: I do, like my life depends on it. Speaker 1: But first back, it feels like we're starting all over again. Speaker 4: Yeah, I've missed people. I'm a people person. And just being able to see people that I see, on a tiny little screen, every week, or every month, at Meetups, and stuff like that, it's just, I'm like, "Oh my God, you're tall." Like people I've met for the first time in the lockdown. And now they're... I'm meeting them in person. I'm like, "I didn't think you were not tall. Okay, I feel really short now." It's just nice to be able to have that, in-person connection. That is something I have definitely missed, definitely missed. Speaker 1: Yeah. So, now that we're back in person, what was something that surprised you at TDX this year? Speaker 4: I am loving the Slack API Integration thing. My ears, straight away went off, as soon as it was announced in the keynote. And I was like, "I need to know more." So, as soon as I was able to get to the Slack area, I was like talking to people. I was like, "Tell me more, how do I get involved? How do I get information?" And I was like a little too excited, I think I scared them just a little. But I was like, "I have these people now, in front of me, that can't run away or you know, mute me." I'm like, "I get to talk to people and tell me all this stuff." So, that's something I'm definitely excited to play with, is that API connection. Because Slack is... We all live and work on Slack, like there's the Ohana Slack, just- Speaker 1: Or we will. Speaker 4: Well, yeah, true. Speaker 1: If you're not already. Speaker 4: Well, if you're not already, there's Ohana Slack, there's the Ohana Coffee Slack, there obviously Work Slack. There's so many different Slack channels now, for the community. And it's just, I'm looking at it in terms of being able to implement it into work, and how I can boost more productivity. And even for the DocuSign side of things, being able to have that product evolve. Because we have an integration, but I'm like, as soon as I saw it, I was like messaging. I was Slack messaging, believe or not, our Product Manager. And I was like, "We need to get on this. We need to do this. Here's our information we need." He is like, "Okay, you need to calm down." I'm just so super excited about it. Speaker 1: So, it's interesting you bring up connections. It seems to be a theme. Kind of, this podcast, because we just talked with Grace, who made a connection with somebody that was attending first time solo, just like her solo. She was solo, person she met was solo. And we were just talking, before I pressed record, about how you were taking pictures of people's badges, and connecting with somebody. Can you go more into that? Speaker 4: Sure, there's so many people that are like, "I'm new to the ecosystem, or I don't know where to start." Or, "I've been here, I started Salesforce a couple years ago and I just... What should I do? Should I take my certification exam? Where should I go?" And on a personal level, people brought me into the Ohana and nurtured me, and grew me, and helped me. And I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to connect with you on LinkedIn. I'm going to follow you on Twitter." I'm like, "I want to help you. If I can't help you, I know people who can." And that's the whole point of the community, is helping people grow, and I've missed it. I've done it throughout the lockdown, but having this, like seeing people and go, "Oh my God, thank you so much." And it's, I just... I can't explain it. Having the in-person has really meant so much more than being on a screen. Speaker 1: So, I'll ask the question I think everybody's thinking about. I didn't make it to TrailblazerDX. Besides the in-person, and oh, by the way, your feet hurting. Speaker 4: Oh yeah. Speaker 1: Your feet. Speaker 4: I forgot. Speaker 1: That's a new thing. I haven't stood for more than, a little bit of time. I walk my dog, I do stuff, but standing on hard concrete floors. What is something you're surprised that you didn't realize you were missing, by showing up? Speaker 4: Well, I'm going to do you one better, actually wearing jeans. Speaker 1: Oh, yeah. Speaker 4: I lived in pajama pants for two years. Speaker 1: Yeah, I did those athletic, slicky things. Speaker 4: No, the jeans, I'm like, "I might need jeans." Speaker 1: I need jeans. Yeah. We all had to buy different sizes, by the way. Speaker 4: Yeah, same here. Speaker 1: None of the jeans fit. Speaker 4: Yeah. And like, I haven't walked around, the last two days. I think my jeans might be a little loose now, I'm hoping. Speaker 1: Yeah. Good. Good. Speaker 4: But one thing about... It's the Trail. Just seeing the excitement of people, and the learning, and you forget, because when you're doing the online stuff, you're not seeing all different areas. I saw the Flow Matics thing and I was like, "That looks really interesting." Whereas if I saw it on an agenda, I would've have been like, "Oh." Whereas I go over, and I'm learning more about that. I'm like, "That's cool." I've never touched Flow. My role, I don't get to play very much with Salesforce. But you know, I'm like, "Okay, I need to learn Flow. This is something I have to..." I'm feeling really encouraged, and inspired, to learn more. And I'm super excited to watch back stuff on Salesforce Plus, as well. Because, obviously, I can't clone myself. I haven't been to everything. Speaker 1: It could be everywhere. Speaker 4: I wish I could, but I couldn't. But being able to watch stuff back, that's what I'm excited for, to go back and learn even more. Speaker 1: So, as a veteran, long-time attendee of TDX. Speaker 4: That's me, yes. Speaker 1: As somebody looking ahead at future events, we've got some World Tours coming up, we have a Dreamforce coming up. What would you advise people to, kind of... How should they approach some of these online events, attending. I just talked to my boss. What should I set? Why should I go? Speaker 4: One thing is, I always tell people, Salesforce is constantly evolving, and you'll never know everything. And that's why having a network is so important. So, going to these events and I'm not a part of specialist, I'm now getting into the marketing cloud side of things, and I don't know where to start. So, I've actually put it out on Twitter and I bumped it to a few people and I'm like, "Where do I start?" And being able to have that person go, "Oh yeah, I was in the same boat. Here's what you need to know." So if I was to say to my boss, or anyone else trying to say, "Hey, I need to go to an event." It's the connection. So, networking is super, super, important in this environment, especially because we're such a big community. But also, the learning. Roadmaps are talked about in these events, and they're not published anywhere. And it's so important to know where Salesforce is going, in your learning, in the career, what interests you. And I said, "I'm going to go back to it, the Slack API. Learning all these new tools and being, like, "I was in to True to the Core. True to The Core, oh my God. Speaker 1: Tell me about it. Speaker 4: If you have, that's the only session. If I couldn't do any others, I was so glad I did True to the Core. Speaker 1: Why? If I'm new to the platform, why, what is True to the Core? Speaker 4: I don't want to say it, but it's all the Product Manager's and Parker Harris, are held hostage. They can't squirm out of, "Oh, I'll get back to you on that." They're sitting on a platform, and it's not rehearsed. It's random people coming up from the audience, and asking them pointed questions. And it's like, they're in the hot seat. And, there's nothing terrible. It's like, "Hey, we need accountability for this, and we need this." And it's nice to have that access to Product Managers, to executives, to people who work in Salesforce. That's another selling point for going to these events is having someone... Being able to walk up to someone in the Trailblazer Certification Program and go, "Here's where I'm at, where should I go? Should I go down the developer route? Should I go down the consultant route? I don't know where I want to..." And having that conversation of, "Well, what you want to be when you grow up?" You can have those kind of conversations, but having a real in-depth, I have no idea what I want to do. Here's what interests me? What would you advise? Having that connection, more than just an email, or a tweet, or a back-and-forth online. So, that's another thing I'd encourage anyone, if you do get to go, the Salesforce events, the Dreaming events, World Tours, I'm excited for World Tours. Just being able to have the access to Salesforce employees is huge. Speaker 1: So, maybe you've already answered it, but I've been to all this stuff. I can just watch it on Salesforce Plus. Speaker 4: No, it's a different experience. Speaker 1: You've been to a bunch of these events. Why do you still keep coming? Speaker 4: People. The learning, as I said, it's constantly evolving. You don't know what you don't know, until you walk around. And you're like, "Oh, that looks kind of cool." Or, "Oh, I know nothing about this subject, so I'm going to sit there and listen." And having developers who are giving presentations, like in the Parker Harris keynote, there was Stephan Garcia-Chandler. He was demoing his stuff. And then I got to sit at one of his talks and I'm like, "This is a guy who is demoing at a Salesforce keynote. Teaching me his stuff, his knowledge." And I'm like, "This is amazing." Being able to see the experts, and learn from the experts. So, that's what keeps me coming back, is seeing the people, learning from the people, and the excitement, you recharge your batteries when you're talking to the people. Sorry. I'm all about the people. I love people. Speaker 1: That's good. It's good. Speaker 4: I miss the people, the last couple years. Speaker 1: Speaking of people, if people want to follow you on the Twitters. Speaker 4: Yup. On the Twitter verse, I'm @laurendon__c. Yeah. You get it. Speaker 1: Double underscore. Speaker 4: Double underscore. Yeah. Speaker 1: Because you're a custom object, gotcha. Speaker 4: Oh, I'm very custom. I'm unique. Speaker 1: I like that. Thank you Lauren, for being on the podcast. Speaker 4: Thanks you very much. Very, very, very welcome. Thank you for including me. Speaker 1: So, we just heard from Lauren on, what it's like to be at TrailblazerDX, as an expert, or a long-time attendee. To wrap up our podcast, I got Gillian, the co-host, back, because she had so many hosting duties at TrailblazerDX. Gillian, why don't you, kind of, put a bow on this episode, in the event for us? Speaker 5: Sure. So, this was really special. This is our seventh ever TDX. And it's amazing that the first one was back in 2016, both our product and our community have exponentially grown and changed in so many ways. It's been amazing to reconnect in-person for the first time, and meet so many new people. I would say almost everyone that I met at this event was a brand new Salesforce person. Has first event, first time exposed to Salesforce, or very earlier in their Admin career. So all of you who are listening, who are wondering, 'Hey, what should I do to amplify my career, grow your career?" Connect with your local community group, go to a local Dream In event, try and come to Dreamforce, if you can. There is no replacement for being in an in-person event and meeting Trailblazers, face-to-face. That's the magic of our community, and advents. It's the reason the awesome Admin community is so special. It's the reason that so many Admins are successful, by giving back, connecting with each other, trying to enable and mentor others. If you've got something to help somebody else with, I'm full. All the Trail Hard is real, right now. Speaker 1: No, it's good. Because when we talked with KP, the goal of this was to make people connect, get people back together. We talked with Grace and she had tons of notes, tons of notes, eight pages. And found a new friend, and Lauren said the same thing, too. And we saw this when we did a ton of sessions too, it's cool to just present, and see people get excited for something. Speaker 5: Oh, my gosh. Speaker 1: And clap. Speaker 5: Yeah. And to get the actual instantaneous feedback of, "That was useful, or, 'I've used that," or, "Hey, I can see how that could be used." Or "Hey, have you thought about this?" I mean, it's so invaluable. Speaker 1: And I love the... So, one thing Lauren said, was just the unintentionality. Just walking around, seeing vendor booths, running into people, and being like, "Oh, I never would've stopped here if it was on my schedule, but I'm here now. And maybe I can explore this." So, another reason to come back. Speaker 5: Learning about a new product, a new cloud. Maybe you're like, "Oh, you'll stop Composer. There's somebody right here I could talk to about that. That's great." Speaker 1: I have a question. Speaker 5: Yeah, what is this? And how can I use it? Speaker 1: Exactly. Well, this was a fun TrailblazerDX. We tried to do some kind of different episodes. So, we won't do this all the time, but hopefully we caught some of the energy, and some of the reason, for coming to an event like this. Of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including any of the links that I mentioned. I don't think I mentioned any links. Speaker 5: I think salesforce.com is a link. Speaker 1: Yeah, I'll mention that link. How's that? We'll also have a full transcript there, too. Of course, you can say up-to-date with us on social. I'm sure you've seen some of the picks from TrailblazerDX. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. Gillian is @gilliankbruce. And of course, I am @MikeGerholdt on Twitter. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.
April Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
Apr 28 2022
April Monthly Retro with Mike and Gillian
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for April.   Join us as we talk about all the great Salesforce content from April, including some World Tour travel content and we have to say: we’re really excited to see people again.   You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro. Salesforce World Tour Mike and Gillian recap all of the exciting World Tour stops that have been happening this month, including Sydney and DC. If you haven’t yet been to an in-person Salesforce event, now is the time, especially with Dreamforce coming up in September. Blog highlights from April “The Salesforce Admins Skills Kit is basically a way for us to put really concrete data and language behind the nontechnical skills that make a Salesforce Admin successful,” Gillian says, things like problem solving, business analysis, and communication. While we’re really good at telling you all of the parts of the product you need to understand to be a good Admin, we’re looking at how we can help you build those soft skills that create that legendary Admin magic. We also wanted to highlight an article Gillian wrote about how different Admins have built to better manage user requests.   Introducing the New Salesforce Admin Skills Kit Best Practices for Building a User Request Management App from the Community Video highlights from April As Mike says, this might be the coolest thing we’ve done since starting the podcast. Jennifer Lee is now doing a live session on YouTube we like to call Automate This. “It’s like a cooking show, but for building Flows,” Gillian says.   Automate This LIVE | Assign and Remove Permission Sets Podcast highlights from April   We think you should check out our episode with Antoine Cabot, who is in charge of building Orchestrator. It’s the Flow of Flows. Multi-user workflows started as a dream a few years ago and to see everything that we’re able to do is truly thrilling.   Road to TDX: Multiuser Workflows with Antoine Cabot   Podcast swag Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store Learn more Salesforce Admins Podcast Episode:   Social Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns Gillian: @GillianKBruceMike: @MikeGerholdt Love our podcasts? Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!   Full show transcript Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the April monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt and in this episode, we're going to review the top product community, careers content. Hey, you know what? Just going to make a quick edit and say world tour travel content too, that we did in April, because we're so excited to say that. And of course to help me do that, the very familiar voice of Gillian, Bruce. Hello, Gillian. Gillian Bruce: Hey Mike, happy to join, it's good to be back with you again. It's fun getting back in the swing things because we actually have been able to see people as you hinted with the world tour teaser in your opening. Mike Gerholdt: I know, seriously, I got a plane and took a cab somewhere and ate at a restaurant and saw humans. Gillian Bruce: I get to stay at a hotel away from my family, it was awesome. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Oh, when they bring back room service. I've never been more excited for room service. Gillian Bruce: So my hotel didn't have room service. It was modified room service. There was a dropped it at the door kind of thing. Mike Gerholdt: Fine. Actually that's better as an introvert, that's even the perfect room service. Just "Knock, knock, knock. Your food is at your door." Oh, perfect. I don't have to interact with you. "Nope, have a nice day." Gillian Bruce: Anyway, we're back. Everyone's coming back slowly. It's really exciting and gosh, well it really was a world tour, because the first stop was not even on this continent that we are both on right now. Mike Gerholdt: And neither of us went. Gillian Bruce: Nope. But that's okay. Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Down under. Gillian Bruce: Down under. Mike Gerholdt: So World Tour Sydney happened and shout out to Judy Fang who you've seen at Trailblazers Innovate back in 2020. Gillian Bruce: Yeah, Judy's awesome. Mike Gerholdt: She was, it's a shame I didn't get down there. And Philip for presenting admin content in the Trailblazer theater down there in Sydney. We would love to hear your thoughts if you went. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. We want to hear everyone's thoughts from of any of the events that are happening, especially the event that's happening right now as you're probably listening to this because TrailblazerDX is happening right now, today. Mike Gerholdt: You could be listening to this as you're walking up Market Street, headed to Moscone West. Gillian Bruce: There you go. Yep. To see people so exciting. But then our next stop on the tour was one of my favorite cities, D.C. And Mike, you and I got to be there together, it was so fun, Mike Gerholdt: And present, I got to get a badge. A credential to hang around your neck. It sounds weird but virtual events we didn't get the little thing and it was dangling and it felt important. Gillian Bruce: I had to think about what to wear on the bottom half of my body, because it wasn't just from the chest up. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Shoes, oh man, shoes. Break your shoes in. Hey, you know what I forgot to do? Break my shoes in. Broke my feet in. Let me tell you. Gillian Bruce: D.C. was amazing. Not only did we get to physically be in person at an event, but we got to see community members there. There is a very vibrant D.C., Maryland, Virginia community. I think there were five community groups that were all presenting big time there, so it was great to reconnect with folks. And what was really great, Mike, is that not only did we get to present three times in the Trailblazer theater with great, amazing admin content, but we also got to feature local Trailblazers and part of our presentations. Mike Gerholdt: And who were they Gillian? Because you found them. Gillian Bruce: I did. I feel like I struck gold. It was great. We literally and I did. Brittany Charles, she joined us. She's been working with the Salesforce platform for a long time but she's just now getting involved in the community and she has a lot to share in terms of how you can really hone your awesome admin skills, about the different kinds of instances that she's worked with. Keep an eye on her, follow her. She's got a lot to offer the community. And then, we also featured Carmel James and when I say I struck gold, so Brittany well for sure, she's a golden, amazing, wonderful member of our community and she's got a lot to offer. But Carmel literally was award in the Golden Hoodie. She has lot to share, she's turned into a consultant so she's working with many different kinds of Salesforce instances, but she is an admin at heart and has so many great things to share. In fact, you are going to hear her or you have heard her on the Podcast. Mike Gerholdt: You've already heard her, she was last week. Yeah, April 21st. I just had to look that up because we wrangled the Golden Hoodie. Gillian Bruce: We wrangled her, yes. Mike Gerholdt: Onto a Podcast. Gillian Bruce: Yes. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was cool. We also had in addition to the theater sessions... Which by the way I thought I had presented in, I've done stuff in front of the camera and whatever. Oh no, it's standing up again, clicking a clicker. Gillian Bruce: The energy is back. Mike Gerholdt: Whole different new realm of like, and people are looking at you and you say something then they laugh at your joke and you're like, "Oh my God,"- Gillian Bruce: Or they don't, Mike Gerholdt: "This is great." Or they don't, that's fine. I'm used to that too. We had demo station, I want to thank Nick, Justin Anne and Morgan for staffing that. That was amazing. And hopefully you had a chance to stop by the demo station. I saw there was a lot of people hanging around, questions all the time. Gillian Bruce: We did hand out a bunch of stickers and pins, there's always that swag. Mike Gerholdt: You did. Yeah. If you were at world tour D.C, you could have got a Salesforce admin podcast sticker. Gillian Bruce: Those are hot items people. Mike Gerholdt: I bet if you're listening this now and you find us at TrailblazerDX, you could probably get something too. Gillian Bruce: I'm pretty sure it's not the way it's going to happen. Mike Gerholdt: Probably walk around with stuff in our pockets. I wrote down another thing that was fun. I got to do a selfie at World Tour D.C. Gillian Bruce: Selfies are back. Mike Gerholdt: I just remember somebody was like, "Oh, I don't know how..." I like, "Just give me the phone, I know how to do it. it's like riding in a bicycle." Gillian Bruce: Just came right back to you. Mike Gerholdt: Just came right back to me. So yeah, I got selfies. I Get selfies with a podcast listener too. I tweeted it out. Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it was really great. I think what's really fun about these Salesforce tours is that they're very localized, right? So it's like, a specific community, they're free, so you can come. You get a lot of people who have never been to a Salesforce event before, especially given the last couple years at these events. And so I met so many new people and we're like, "Hey, welcome. Welcome to this really fun community. And I am so happy that this is your first event and I get to talk to you and I get to welcome you in." And there were so many people that made connections at the event. Listener, if you're picking up what I'm putting down, go to a Salesforce event because it is such a valuable way to make connections, to learn, to get stickers, because that's also really important. But yeah, come to an event, there's plenty of opportunities. The tour is going to all kinds of different cities in the next few months. And then we have a little something called Dreamforce that's happening in September. Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's going to be awesome. Yeah. Gillian Bruce: It's epic. Okay. There's more than just, this amazing vibe of we're going to see people in person, events are back. Mike Gerholdt: But we are really excited for that. Gillian Bruce: We are very excited, but we also did a lot of other really cool things this month for the community. So Mike, can you give it's a little recap of some the cool things. Mike Gerholdt: So when you say we, we really mean the Royal we of admin [inaudible] Gillian Bruce: Very Royal, Mike Gerholdt: The Royal we, if you know me, you know that joke. So the one thing I want to highlight that I think is just one of the coolest things we've launched since maybe the Podcast, Genly now doesn't automate this session. It's a live video on YouTube. Gillian Bruce: Live, Mike Gerholdt: Live. You're sitting around and you're like, "Man, wonder how Genly would build this flow. Let's just watch it live. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Mike Gerholdt: I'll just give you a moment to gather your head, has it exploded. Because all of the amazingness, and so we'll link to a blog post where you can watch the recorded version of the live. Gillian Bruce: Replay. Mike Gerholdt: Butthat Blog post has all the information, so you can tune in and watch all the automated this. It's so exciting. This is such a neat idea. Gillian Bruce: It's so cool. It's like a cooking show, but for building flows and automations you're watching it happen in real time, you can follow along, you can watch the replay, so you can go replicate it and follow along in your own pace. But just getting that live brilliance directly from Genly is just chef's kiss to continue the metaphor. Mike Gerholdt: That also gives me a really fun idea for Dreamforce. It'd be fun to do live flow building and then have Genly on the side commentary. You ever watched that food network where like, "He's shaving the radishes, which will give a- Gillian Bruce: Like Iron chef. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, like that kind of thing, that'd be fun to watch. Gillian Bruce: She could be the, what is it? The Alton Brown? Mike Gerholdt: Alton Brown. Yeah. Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And you could be the sideline reporter in the kitchen being like- Mike Gerholdt: I'd just be the guy that's relief. That sounds really cool. Gillian Bruce: "Looks we're retiring a workflow here and," Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. All this stuff you'll see at TDX today, I promise you're going to see how to turn a workflow into a flow at TDX today, if you're listening this on April 28th. Gillian Bruce: Guaranteed. Yes. Mike Gerholdt: Like you should. We'll do a full TDX wrap up next month because it's literally happening right now. Oh, it's like multiverse, you could be listening to this Podcast now and then standing across from me or you. And we wouldn't even know it. It's like, "Whoa," wonder what that's going to say. Gillian Bruce: Really in the Salesforce matrix there. Mike Gerholdt: I just thought of that, makes no sense. Gillian Bruce: But yeah. Well, I'm launching a little something right now at TDX. Mike Gerholdt: A lot of something. Gillian Bruce: A lot of something. We've been working as a team on a really big project for the last year and it's super important and it's very timely. And we are launching the Salesforce admin skills kit at TDX. And you may be saying, what is the skills kit you think of? Well, the skills kit is basically a way for us to put really concrete in data and language behind the non-technical skills that make a Salesforce admin successful. We're talking about things problem solving, business analysis, communication. We've done so much work over the last year between serving actual admins in the community, talking to workforce development organizations, employers, experienced admins, job seekers about how we can really help, beef up. We're really good at telling you all of the different parts of the product that you need to know to be a really good Salesforce admin, but we've been lacking in that business skillset that you also need. To me, that's the admin magic, right? That's what makes so amazing. So we have this amazing, very robust skills kit that goes through all of these different skills that you will absolutely benefit from. If you are looking to grow your Salesforce admin career, if you're looking for your first Salesforce admin role or if you're looking to hire a Salesforce admin. It's huge, it's awesome. You can go to admin.salesforce.com/skills kit, and you can find all of the great resources there. We've got expertise from different community members that we're talking about each different skill, showing you examples of how you represent this on a resume, how you would represent this in a job out description and then also resources for how you learn, how to develop that skill further. So I could go on and on about it. I got a whole session at TDX about it. I will be talking about this for probably the rest of my tenure at Salesforce. This is really important stuff. And I cannot wait to see what the community does with it, because it's a great resource. Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And more to come when you join us at Dreamforce this year. Gillian Bruce: Ooh. So much more. This is just the beginning, everybody. There's a little much more. Mike Gerholdt: Just the smidge, just the corner. You think you know, you have no idea. A couple pieces of content I want to point out and then we'll wrap up so that you can get on your way, on the road to TDX. Should we say [inaudible] Gillian Bruce: On the road from TDX? Is it the last Mike Gerholdt: Maybe they're taking a car, rail car. Why can't I think trolley? Gillian Bruce: A cable car. Mike Gerholdt: Cable car. Why is that such a thing? Gillian Bruce: Well it's- Mike Gerholdt: The Mr. Rogers neighborhood thing came to mind. Gillian Bruce: That was technically a trolley, that was not a cable car. It's different. Mike Gerholdt: Okay. No. Yeah. There we go. Now nobody's listening. Two things to point out, one, there's an amazing Podcast. Gillian, you did this Podcast with Antoine Calvet, who is the PM for Flow. Is he? Gillian Bruce: Yeah. He and his team are basically the ones who build orchestrator, which is the Flow of Flows thing. I love talking to Antoine because also I'm getting back up to speed with everything that happened while I was on parental leave, and talking to him was so fun because it's like we had this concept a year ago, two years ago, and now it's really happening where you can really take those multi-user workflows, all these processes that involve different departments, maybe external internal users and you can put all of that into one beautiful process automation using orchestrator. You don't have to rebuild each individual Flow, you don't have to link them together and external things, you have one beautiful representation. It was really great to talk to him about what he and his team have built, where it's going, what they're excited to share at TDX, which is happening now. Yeah, it was a really fun episode to record if you haven't listened to it. Go listen it. Mike Gerholdt: Go back and listen. And Gillian you highlighted an article that you wrote too. Gillian Bruce: Oh, okay. I can't take full credit for this article. This is really like I put a question out on Twitter and got overwhelmingly awesome responses from the community. I was talking to a colleague like a month ago and I was like, "Hey, don't we have a good example of an app that someone's built to manage users?" And for some reason I thought that this content already existed, I couldn't find it. So what do I do? I just post on Twitter, "Hey, does anyone have a good example of how they've built an app to manage user requests?" Okay. The responses I got were incredible. I got some amazing examples of really robust and really powerful apps that people have built to better manage user requests and go read the posts. There's actual screenshots in there and actual outlines of different parts and features of these apps that people have built, so many great things you can learn and incorporate. Things like how to really get real data on your ROI of the things that you have built to really track the time to some best practices in terms of capturing requests, in terms of forcing people to fit into the structure of a user request. It's great. Check out the post. I'm sure you're going to get something out of it that will help you as an admin, be more efficient and help you and your team deliver more powerful results and just show how amazing you are. So read it. And huge shout out to all the collaborators that contributed to it. Because let me tell you, I just put the quest out there and then just put all of their great info in there. Mike Gerholdt: You just put the legos together, you didn't build the bricks. Gillian Bruce: Exactly. Mike Gerholdt: Right. Cool. Well that was great. We will do a wrap up of TDX in May, hang out for that because we've also got some stuff that we're going to try and record live there. We'll see how that turns out. But if you want to learn more about all the things that we just talked about, the Podcast and that really cool article, go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are at Salesforce admins. No I on Twitter. I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt and of course Gillian is @Gilliankbruce. I bet there's a few selfies going on our Twitter right now. Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah. Mike Gerholdt: Just because it's TDX. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.