Insight: Best Practices for Being a Productive Admin

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’ve got Mike Gerholdt, back again to look at best practices around what it takes to help you be productive as an Admin.

More about this Insights session: how you can be more productive as an Admin by sharing your successes, prioritizing user requests, and new tools in the app that can help you understand how your processes are running.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mike Gerholdt and Gillian Bruce.

Share your successes.

“The first thing about being productive in your role is letting people know that you’re doing things,” Mike says. When he was first getting started, Mike had a manager point out to him that, “I don’t know what you do every day.” The truth is that managers are a little in the dark about what you’re working on, so Mike would post in Chatter each week the number of requests, changes, or improvements that he’d done in Salesforce.

With all the things that an Admin has to do, how do you make time to not just do your job but also talk about doing your job? For Mike, it’s about blocking the time out on your calendar: “If you don’t block the time and you don’t make the time then it’s really easy to just not do it and let someone else prioritize your calendar.”

Is it nice to have or need to have?

For prioritizing user requests, Mike’s simple advice is to “look at your user requests and understand how much you can accomplish.” You’ll get simple requests like password resets, and complicated things like creating a contract management application, so you can use that to help figure out how you can prioritize them. The other thing you can do is go back to your users and ask, “When do you need this by (and ‘now’ isn’t an answer)?” If you understand why a user needs something, you can figure out how urgent it is to address.

The second thing to help you figure what to get done first is to tie it to your actual business goals. The question Mike always asks is, “Is it nice to have or is it need to have?” When you ask about a timeline, your users should be able to tell you that business goal and why it’s important. There’s a difference between charting data differently versus reporting on new metrics that impact critical decision making. That’s why as an Admin, understanding how the business works and how technology fits in with the business goals is key.

Build a system to track requests.

“Email is not the way you request features in Salesforce,” Mike says, “if that’s how you’re getting requests, we need to sit down and create a system because it’s death by a thousand paper cuts.” Take advantage of Service Cloud and make a record type for internal cases so you can manage those and know you’ve got reportability for them. If you’re comfortable building an app, you can mirror a ticket management system

“You have to give users a funnel for them to push ideas and requests to you to relieve pressure,” Mike says, and this helps with adoption “because if they don’t feel there’s a way to communicate with you then pressure builds up and they’re more reluctant to use the app.” If they have a way to get in touch it makes them feel like they can make a difference, and it helps you be productive by being able to report on what you’re doing with ticket statistics. “I have yet to see how you can run a report on emails,” Mike says.

Even more reasons to switch to Lightning.

“We have a lot of really cool built-in apps that show you how much your team is using,” Mike says, “if you’re burning a lot of calories building record types and fields that aren’t get populated, you need to have a conversation about why they aren’t getting used.” Productivity isn’t just about Admins— the goal is to make the business more productive as well.

Tools like Lightning Optimizer to see how your org is running, and dashboard packs you can get on the app exchange to track adoption are incredibly useful and can make you more effective. If you’re still hovering between Classic and Lightning, these key features should make you want to make the switch. Your job is to “tell the executive what the dashboard isn’t saying.”

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