Why Salesforce Admins Should Build a Fanbase

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One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a Salesforce Admin, whether for your current project, your team, or your career, is to build support for what you are doing. This is particularly important for us and our careers since we work across so many different groups within our own company. We are the hub at the center of the organizational technology wheel. We need buy-in from our users, stakeholders, and executives as we build out solutions so we can get adoption and resources. It’s much easier to get this from folks who trust and support you.

Think about the US Women’s National Soccer Team. The whole country, if not world, was rooting for them to win their fourth World Cup title. Why were we all rooting for them? Because we believed in what they were doing on some level, whether it was making a stand for women’s rights to equal pay, advocating for LGBTQ visibility, or a multitude of other reasons. As a team, they built a fanbase that trusts and supports them by setting a goal, taking action, and rewarding those who support them. You can do the same for your project, team, or career and create your own fanbase. Below, I’m going to break it down for you into steps that you can set in motion today:

Set a Vision

The first and most important step of building your own fanbase is to set a vision. This can be scary because you are the only one who can set the goal that you want others to believe and invest in. You might already be shutting yourself down, thinking, “But that’s too big of a goal,” or “They’ll think I’m crazy,” but STOP. You must go big with this step. No one wants to chase a mediocre or easy goal because that’s not exciting or fun. Do you want to move the whole company to Lightning by the next release? Do you want to get all your sales reps on Salesforce mobile by spring? Don’t be scared—go for it!

Now that you have your vision, you need to state it and share it. This is how we make those seemingly huge goals real. By simply writing the goal down and sharing it with someone else, it suddenly comes to life. Going back to the US Women’s National Soccer Team, they shared a clear goal of winning the World Cup with the whole world. That made their vision real and enabled people to join in on what they were working toward. People want to be part of your process! Write your goal of moving everyone to Lightning on a Post-it and put it on your wall. Seeing that every day will help make it real, too.

If you’re thinking, “But my goal is really big and I’m worried it might scare people,” that’s okay because the next step is to use your inner circle to gather feedback. Use your trusted colleagues, friends, family, etc. to get feedback on your goal and iterate on it. You’ll find out if your vision is truly too big or audacious pretty quickly. Be careful of naysayers who will be scared and shut you down. Remind them of why you set this big goal. It’s healthy to consider other viewpoints, but collect their ideas and use them as data points, not reasons to quit before you even get started. By sharing with a few people early on, you’ll be able to fine-tune your vision and get more granular with your plan.

Start the Momentum

Now comes the hard part: DOING THE THING. As Yoda says, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The most important part of building a fanbase is to show action. You have to do the work to get others to believe in you. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and, in fact, your missteps can help build empathy from others. But you have to visibly show that you are putting effort into your vision. This can be very simple to start: send the email, make the call, share in the meeting. You need to start by letting people know what you are doing, and then keep them updated as you progress.

Communication is key in all stages but this one especially. You can’t build a fanbase unless you let them know what’s going on and how to be a part of it. The US Women’s National Soccer Team shares what they are doing in articles, on social media, and on national television. All of these appearances help you believe in their goal. You need to do the same: Share what’s going on with your goals by sending out regular updates.

Undoubtedly, the best tool for this is Chatter. Over many years using Salesforce, I’ve learned how to make Chatter posts like these more engaging. Below, I’ll share my Anatomy of a Great Chatter Update with you so that you can make sharing an effortless part of your process:

Headline (with relevant emoji!)
Sub-heading: 1-line overview summary

Point 1

  • Supporting detail/stat
  • Image, chart, or screenshot

Point 2

  • Supporting detail/stat
  • Image, chart, or screenshot

Call to Action: Clear & concise
Link to something to see for more info (I.e., a project plan), survey to submit feedback, meeting to join, etc.

‘Thank You’ to acknowledge others working on this project with @mentions

Once you start sharing this goal and your vision with more people, you’ll want a project plan to share. Whether you’re working on getting everyone to Lightning or making a personal career transition, you’ll need something to refer to and track as you work toward your goal. There are many resources for building project plans but I suggest starting with a simple slide deck or document. In it, concisely state your vision, why it’s important, what the desired outcome is, and how you plan to get there. This is very similar to how Salesforce uses the V2MOM.

All of these actions will turn you into a human billboard for your vision. Making your goal clear, taking action, and sharing your progress will make you the #1 fan for what you are doing—and you’ll be exploding with excitement to share it! Have your elevator pitch ready so that you can easily share it with anyone who will listen whenever you have an opening that makes sense. That kind of energy and passion inspires others to feel the same way. This is the key: You need to be the top advocate and believer of your vision in order to spread it amongst others and build your fanbase.

Invest in Others

So far, we’ve only talked about you: your vision and what you are doing. But it’s hard to get people invested in things that don’t impact them. Why would someone care about moving to Lightning if it only seems to impact you, not them? I bet if you told them how moving to Lightning would enable them to close deals faster or get the weekly reports they needed without asking someone for help, they’d care about your vision. You’ve got to invest in what others care about to build your fanbase.

The first step in investing in others is to learn about what matters to them. What are their goals? How do they measure success? By learning what they care about, you can align your vision in a way that helps them accomplish what they want. Why do I root for the US Women’s National Soccer Team? I want them to win because if they win, they demonstrate how important it is for women to get equal pay and the same respect as male athletes, which is something I care about. Why should your users support you moving everyone to Lightning? Because it will make it easier for them to close deals faster and get paid.

Fans also like to be rewarded. That means celebrating wins and losses. Celebrating wins is a great way to get—and keep—people excited about your vision. You don’t have to wait until the end to throw confetti; you can share weekly kudos or give prizes to users who you see working in Lightning, for example. That will encourage others to do the same, helping you get closer to your goal.

While no one likes to fail, losses are also a critical part of progress. When you encounter a failure, it’s an opportunity to celebrate lessons learned and refine your vision. There will be many points at which you’ll encounter a failure in any big goal, and it’s equally important to celebrate and share these moments. Let’s say you hear from users that a certain executive complains about Lightning, telling her team not to use it because Classic is easier to navigate. That’s when you set up some time with her, ask her why she feels this way, learn what she cares about, and then implement a plan to get her on board. Then, you can celebrate what you learned about making her experience better and reward her and her team with a great Chatter post, digital confetti, or maybe by ordering lunch for the team. Sharing that story with the rest of the company will help build empathy and get more supporters.

You might be wondering, “What if the whole thing completely fails and I can’t deliver anything?” There will be visions in life that you create, work toward, and realize just aren’t going to happen—and that’s okay. Think back to the first part of this process: Set a Vision. We call it a vision for a reason because it should be something big and hard and inspirational. That means sometimes, we’re not going to get there. When that happens, you can reward your fans with communication. When the Golden State Warriors lost the NBA Finals this year, as a fan, I was sad. But they immediately communicated about how many other successes they had as a team this year, acknowledged the incredible performances of the team members, and reflected on how to improve and iterate. Sharing that information kept me invested as a fan; it was my reward after following them all season. You can do the same for your fanbase, should you fail to reach your vision, by communicating what happened and why it matters. And don’t be afraid to get excited about what comes next! For the next phase or season, show your fanbase that you value their connection to your vision by including them in the next steps or iterations, too.

Build Your Fanbase

Whether you’re working on a small project or transitioning your entire career, having a group of supporters is the only way to succeed. Set a vision worth pursuing, start the momentum toward achieving that vision, and invest in others by rewarding and including them in your process. You’ll be unstoppable no matter what you choose to pursue!

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