What I learned from Girl Develop It this weekend

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This weekend I was fortunate enough to spend time with fellow evangelist Mary Scotton who was teaching a Girl Develop It class on Salesforce in Atlanta. Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives.

One request in particular stood out- it was from a person who was looking at making the job of being a Salesforce Admin a career. Their story is the reason for this post and why I believe this approach will make you more productive with Salesforce.

Observe first

As I mentioned this person really wanted to build their career and they saw the possibility that being a visionary Salesforce Admin could do for them. First, they had identified the key individuals in their organization, assessed their personalities as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Next, they knew that learning Salesforce was important so they took on the initiative themselves to enroll in the Girl Develop It class- taking responsibility for learning Salesforce is truly a differentiating factor and one that is often overlooked. But what they did next, and what they needed my help with is the one thing that many sales people and Salesforce Admins overlook.

Report

They knew understanding the behaviors outside of Salesforce was important, now they needed to know the data inside Salesforce. Here is where people stumble. They know that the sales reps were supposed to use Salesforce, but they didn’t. From their time at the company they saw that individuals within the company could perform, but often at the expense of a co-workers time. The next step is to objectively look and report on your Salesforce Org. Rather than going to individual Account records or Opportunities look at the data in aggregate.

Build reports to understand the following

  1. Get insight into the data– Rather than looking at individual records create reports to see populated fields in aggregate. Look for patterns.
  2. Look for gaps– Opportunity creation date should NOT be the day before an Opportunity closes. Huge red flag! That tells me you don’t have a Salesforce problem, you have a process problem!
  3. Faster familiarity– By reporting on Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts, Leads, you are able to familiarize yourself faster with how the system was originally built and designed.

Improve

We sat over lunch and talked about their processes and their organization. What they thought they had- a Salesforce problem, was quickly determined to be a process (or lack there of) problem. I made the following analogy which could apply to your organization as well.

Salesforce is like a nail gun. With it you can build many things- a bench, a bird feeder, or a house. If I gave each of you a nail gun and said “Go build me a house” in a few weeks you could come back with a completed house- which is both right and wrong. Because each of you would come back with a completed house as YOU saw it- not the house I asked for.

But if I gave you both a nail gun AND a set of blueprints you would both come back in a few weeks with a correctly completed house as outlined in the blueprints.

In short, Admins need to take the time to learn the platform and features- which is exactly what the Girl Develop It attendees did this weekend. What they can do now, is go back to their organizations armed with the knowledge of the platform and be business leaders by transforming organizational process through the use of technology.

Challenge

I want you to take action today. Here’s what you can do to get started in being a Salesforce Admin leader.

  1. Be responsible for your own learning- sign up for classes, watch videos, be unrelenting about improving your knowledge.
  2. Map your company’s processes. What is the path that data flows through your sales process? Map it! Then look for gaps- where does your sales process rely on Salesforce? Where should it?
  3. Create a Sandbox or an Admin Playground and create the future! If your sales people aren’t using Salesforce, and you know the Sales process, rebuild it in an Admin Playground
  4. Hone your presentation skills. Good Admins are Great Presenters!
  5. Put time on your executives calendar and present them with a vision of the future!

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