Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’ve got David Ries, Salesforce Administrator at TELUS and Salesforce World Tour Toronto’s golden hoodie winner, to hear his amazing journey through Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about how Dave transferred his love of building into a career as a Salesforce Admin with a few important stops working in sales along the way, and how those experiences have helped him create a more effective org.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with David Ries.

From computer science to sales.

“When I was a kid I was really interested in science and technology,” Dave says, but even though he’s grown up to work in the tech industry, “it was not a straight, A to B path.” Coming out of college with a computer science degree, Dave started his own software company that made physics tutorials for high school students. “Unfortunately, schools don’t have a lot of money so I ended up going into sales and sales management for the next 20 years,” he says.

“As more years ticked by I figured I’d missed the boat on what I really wanted to do,” Dave says, “but one day our sales team started using this platform called Salesforce. It was a game changer for us— not only did it make the sales reps more effective but it made me a more effective sales manager because I could see in real time what was going on in the field.” A couple of years later, an opportunity came up for a Salesforce System Administrator at his company and he jumped at the chance.

Learning by building.

Before Dave was even an Admin, “I was a power creator of reports and dashboards to analyze all the various data,” he says, and as a manager of the sales team, he was already working closely with the team supporting the platform. He would need to make changes to the business requirements and was impressed with how easily the platform could keep pace.

The admin team also pointed Dave to the online training available at the time (this was in the Pre-Trailhead Era), which gave him admin access to his very own org and the ability to play around and experiment. By the time an opportunity to be an admin came up in his company, he was able to go to the hiring manager and make the case for getting the position. “I was able to show them things that I built, proof of concepts for how I could help the business today,” he says.

Creating a more effective org.

“When I joined the team it was an older org that had changed hands a couple times,” Dave says, “so for a while, I felt a bit like a solo admin. I realized there wasn’t a whole lot of structure around the business processes for how we support the users— there wasn’t a method to the madness.” He set about trying to automate and clean up his own team’s workflow.

Dave’s org had a high turnover of users— they were doing upwards of 200 activations and deactivations a month. The first thing he did was create a flow to guide sales managers through the process of collecting information and creating a user record, which the admin then just needs to review and activate.

“At first, our process was just a giant whiteboard that sat behind my desk,” Dave says, with incoming requests going up on the board and getting crossed off when they were accomplished. “That wasn’t very sustainable,” he says, so he implemented cases. Emails would go out to update people on the status of their case, and they also created a dashboard that was visible to all users so they could see where their request ranked amongst everything else in the organization.

Onward to Lightning!

The next goal for Dave and his team is to transition to Lightning. It’s a legacy org, so getting it ready to go is a slow process, but they’ve already started onboarding some teams. These groups are new and don’t interact with other user groups, so they were a great opportunity to test out the org’s Lightning readiness. “For the users, Lightning has been a game changer for their ability to work and consume information,” he says.

Resources

  • Automate Your Business Processes with Lightning Flow Trail on Trailhead: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/trails/automate_business_processes
  • Create a Process for Managing Support Cases Project on Trailhead: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/projects/create-a-process-for-managing-support-cases
  • Make the Move to Lightning Experience Trail on Trailhead: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/trails/lex_admin_migration

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