Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Yves Stewart, a Salesforce Consultant at Slalom. We learn how to get out of your own way and dig into your problem.

Join us as we talk about why you just need to get started, the importance of surrounding yourself with the platform, and the importance of having patience with yourself as you learn.

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

How Yves got started as an accidental admin.

“Before embarking on my Salesforce journey, I just never thought about me being this techy person,” Yves says, “I always felt that that wasn’t me, it was for everyone else. But I accidentally became an admin, and it was the best accident of my life.” She was working for a manufacturing company in the energy sector when she met a Salesforce dev and MVP who pushed her to take a serious look at the platform. When they had to leave the company, Yves stepped up to the plate to take over as an admin.

Yves’s first big “aha” moment dealt with approvals—they were in the middle of their annual sales meeting when the approval process went haywire. She took a deep dive into the process and sort things out, solidifying her role with the sales team and giving her the confidence to move forward on the platform. “I no longer had to think of myself as an accidental admin,” Yves says, “I actually was an admin who was knowledgeable.”

Jumping in and learning as you go.

Yves’s company had a major need to keep everyone in sync in the field, which lead to her developing a component that allowed her team to create tickets even if they didn’t have connectivity at their current location. They could put in a request and get all the information they needed as soon as they got a WiFi connection, eliminating what was previously a paper process. “It was very exciting because it allowed us to not work in segments but instead bring all the groups together,” she says, “it allowed everyone to get a complete view of the customer and have people coming from all different angles to make this a win-win situation all the way from the beginning to the end.”

The big problems can often be the most challenging to make headway on, and Yves’s advice is to get out of your own way and just start. “You have to start somewhere in order to make it happen,” she says, “actually lay down a roadmap and give yourself some steps to get there. You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to get started.”

The power of the Salesforce community.

Starting out is always tricky and for Yves, as a solo admin, the Salesforce community was a major help in guiding her on her journey. She went to a Houston user group meeting where she learned about the Salesforce Military program. As a military spouse herself, she was able to get connected with a community of people who could relate to what she was going through and help her out.

If you’re just starting out, Yves has some sage advice. “Learn about the product and the platform—it’s a phenomenal tool,” she says, “you don’t have to be an expert in everything, you just have to be able to understand the basics of how it works.” It takes time, but you can keep learning through Trailhead and other programs and continue to grow.

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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 Gillian Bruce.

Gillian Bruce:
Today on the podcast, we are joined by Yves Stewart, who is a Salesforce consultant at Slalom. She’s based out of Houston, Texas, and she has a great message to share with all of us about how you should just start digging in. You can find her on Twitter at @TheOriginalYves. And, without further ado, let’s get her on the podcast.

Gillian Bruce:
Yves, welcome to the podcast.

Yves Stewart:
Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce:
I’m very happy that you’re taking the time to join us. I am super excited for you to share a little bit of your incredible wisdom and expertise with our admin audience.

Gillian Bruce:
Before we get there, can you give us a little intro to who you are, what you do, how you got to Salesforce?

Yves Stewart:
Yes, of course. As you stated, I’m Yves Stewart, I’m currently a Salesforce consultant with Slalom. I’ve been in the Salesforce ecosystem for the past four years, and I absolutely love it.

Yves Stewart:
Before even embarking on my Salesforce journey, I just never thought about me being this techie person, I just always felt that wasn’t me, it was for everyone. But, I accidentally became an admin, and it was the best accident that has come forth in my life. I worked for a manufacturing company in the energy sector, and I was blessed and fortunate enough to be guided by a Salesforce MVP and very strong developer, and they would always tell me, “Yves, you should really take a serious look at Salesforce because some great things will come out of it.” But, I was like, “No, that’s more for you, not me.” Unfortunately, they left the company I was with within four months, but it allowed me, in that short amount of time, to have to step up to the plate and realize what power and magnitude this tool was in my hand.

Yves Stewart:
So, while everyone else was running around crazy, trying to figure out how we would make this work, I stepped up to the plate, and made some things happen. And realized that, wow, I could make this work.

Gillian Bruce:
That’s great. I think your story probably rings true with a lot of other admin experiences, of finding themselves in the admin role without expecting to or seeking it on their own, and then being like, “All right, I have this now, let’s figure out a way to make it work.”

Gillian Bruce:
Yves, I’d love to her a little bit from you about some of the things that helped you figure out Salesforce. Can you tell me about one of the things you built early on, that helped it really click for you?

Yves Stewart:
I would say, my big and first aha moment dealt with approvals. We were in the middle of our annual, big sales team, sales operation annual meeting, and some things were taking place. All of a sudden, the approval process was going haywire. Everyone was look like, oh, how can we handle this? Everyone was just frustrated.

Yves Stewart:
I was like, “Give me five minutes, let me take a look at it, figure out what’s going on.” This was my first time actually taking a look at approval processes. But, when I deep dived into it, I was able to figure out what was going on, realized that some approvals were going out to people who were no longer in the system. So, I was able to remove them, add the correct people, make some changes, send out the right template, and it was just a big breakthrough.

Yves Stewart:
It was a breakthrough, for one, it had solidified my role and my knowledge with the company, along with the sales operations team, and just the organization as a whole. And, it allowed me to build my confidence that, Yves, you did know what was going on, and that I no longer had to think of myself as an accidental admin, I actually was an admin who was knowledgeable.

Gillian Bruce:
Yes, I love that. I love that.

Gillian Bruce:
So, tell me a little bit about how you tackled that problem. You said, “Hey, there was something not going right here with the way the approvals were working.” How did you approach figuring out how to break that down?

Yves Stewart:
So, I just first, had to take a couple of woo-sa moments, and some deep breaths, since I was under pressure with everyone looking. But, I just thought about it, I was like, “Hey, let me go into this back office, let me type in approval process. We know this has to deal with something with the product being created, so let me find the process that deals with that.” Once I just started taking those little steps, and getting to where I needed to go, and just opened up, it allowed me to see everything. And then realize, oh, this is where the issue is.

Yves Stewart:
It allowed me to go step by step, and take myself through that process, so that way I can recreate that issue, and resolve it quickly and fast, but more importantly effectively, knowing that I tackled the right issue.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah, I think taking that time to say, “all right, I need a minute, here. I’m going to go back into that back room, and really look at all the details here.” I think that’s a really important moment, and I love how you described your woo-sa moment, being like okay, I can look at this. This is a little overwhelming, but you need to talk yourself off the ledge a little bit, for some of these big problems, right?

Yves Stewart:
Absolutely. Sometimes you just need to take a step back, and see the overall picture, so that way you can find that needle in the haystack.

Gillian Bruce:
Well okay, that was your first aha moment with Salesforce. But, you then built some pretty amazing things. I mean, that was your first, okay, I’m owning this, admin moment. Now, you’re doing a lot more complex work, and have been doing this for, you said, four years in the ecosystem now.

Gillian Bruce:
Tell me about a cool, maybe more complex project, something you’ve built?

Yves Stewart:
Okay. Well, with the previous company, in manufacturing we send out a lot of field techs onsite. Many of them don’t have mobile capability, and of course they’re not walking around with everything about the client, but they need to be able to address issues quickly. More importantly, it needs to get back to the home office, so that way they can ensure that things are taken care of properly.

Yves Stewart:
So, we wanted to put something in place that would allow them to get this information and have it at their fingertips, but at the same time, everyone can get a 360 view of what was taking place. So, I was able to create a component which assisted with them creating tickets, which allowed them to get this information. And at the same time, even though they may not have mobility capabilities at that present time, that information, once they are in a position where they can access WiFi or internet, can sync over and that information can go directly over to the people that need it. It worked, effortlessly.

Yves Stewart:
It was very exciting, because it allowed us to not work in segments, but to bring all the groups together. Because now, the tech’s life was easier, now they can have some information about the customer site, and what’s actually going on. It allowed billing and accounting to handle things and invoices quickly. It allowed the sales rep … because one of the big issues that they would run into was that something would go on, on the client’s site, and they didn’t know anything about. They thought that the install was going great, and then all of a sudden they would get a complaint call, or maybe something didn’t work out on their behalf. Now, they were able to get information quickly, so that way, as the sales rep, they could address it, and resolve any issues. Even if it wasn’t an issue, be able to follow back up immediately with the customer, and let them know they heard the install went good.

Yves Stewart:
It allowed everyone to get a complete view of the customer, have people coming from all different angles to make this a win-win situation, all the way from the beginning to the end.

Gillian Bruce:
So, what exactly was it that you built? How were the techs accessing this information, when they’re not necessarily online all the time? You said that it would sync up when they get back online, but what was the actual tool that you built?

Yves Stewart:
I built a component which will allow them that, whenever the ticket was created and that it was initially sent out to them, now they actually have a ticket in their log. They were doing a lot of stuff paper, but now they had something electronic. So, even though they were all mobile, when they logged into their mobile account, they could see the tickets right then and there, for what was assigned to them. At least they had some information, so they had the account name, the customer name, who they needed to reach with, what exactly they needed to be able to do, what were some potential hiccups that they may encounter.

Yves Stewart:
They were no longer going in blind, they were no longer going in with sheets of paper that could easily get lost, they could actually take their mobile. Even though they were offline, they were able to have this information at their fingertip.

Gillian Bruce:
From paper to app, that’s pretty good.

Yves Stewart:
Yes.

Gillian Bruce:
That’s awesome. Did you build this component … Components, I know, are an amazing feature of Lightning. Especially as an admin background, how did you build it? Was it mostly declarative, did you work with some developers? Tell us a little bit more about the detail there.

Yves Stewart:
It was mainly declarative, but I did have a couple of developers that helped, inputted some code, to be able to do some of the stuff, because I just couldn’t do some of the triggers, or any of that information. But, they were able to take that, and bridge that gap which made it seamless.

Yves Stewart:
Plus, we had another tool, an outside tool, that accounting was using, so we were able to link that with Salesforce, so that way we can make sure that information was being uploaded in both areas.

Gillian Bruce:
That’s great. I mean, what I hear in that, Yves, is that you had a true vision for how to improve a massively broken process, in terms of paper, and different system, and people not communicating, and understand what’s going on. Now, it’s just, boom, in their hand, done, everybody can see everything they need to go.

Gillian Bruce:
So, tell us a little bit about how you’re able to … We talked a little bit about how you realized you needed that woo-sa moment, to go in that back room and break down the problem. Tell us a little bit about how you have the strategy of, okay, I can go figure this out. How do you overcome those barriers? Because a lot of people get overwhelmed, really quickly. “Oh my God, this is a huge problem, I can’t even deal with it.” Then, you put it off, and you procrastinate, and it gets bigger and all that. Tell us a little bit about how you strategize around these big problems.

Yves Stewart:
One of the things that I like to do is just tell myself, “Just start.” You have to start somewhere in order to make it happen, so I would sit down, talk to the key stakeholders regarding what the issue or problem lies. Then, try to figure it out, break it down into tangible pieces. The mistake that we often make is that we see this big thing, and then we’re like, “Oh, how can I overcome this?” But actually, lay down a ground road, and give yourself some steps to get there.

Yves Stewart:
You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to get started to take yourself down that path. One small action today, a couple of things that you may do, sit down and try to figure out. Okay, what’s the process going to be? Are there going to be any type of approvals needed along the way? Who all needs to be able to have access to this? When you start breaking it down in those different sections, it makes it easier for you to address, and more importantly see the whole big picture in regards to what needs to take place, so that way you can handle it effectively.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah. I know one of the things that I’m hearing from this is I remember you saying you didn’t feel like you were techy enough before, really, getting into your admin ownership. And, I think a lot of that for folks, you say, “Just start somewhere, just do something.” Is that one of the lessons that you learned, just start somewhere, just do it even if I don’t think I’m techy, let’s try and do this? Tell us a little bit more about that.

Yves Stewart:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I was the person that we would get a new gadget in the house, and the kids knew how to work it and not me. I was just like, “That’s your thing.” For me to come into this mindset of don’t worry about what you don’t know, use your skills, and knowledge, and your strengths, to address what you do know. And then, bring the right people along that can assist you, and bridge that gap for what you don’t know.

Yves Stewart:
That just made it easier for me, because I knew I didn’t know how to code, and I didn’t know how to write triggers, but I knew what I wanted that trigger to do. Or, what I would like that code to be able to do for me, and let me get the right people who can make it happen. It’s really about you just understanding your skillset, and have your base knowledge, and improving upon that. And realizing that you do know something, and that your knowledge is of value.

Gillian Bruce:
Absolutely. One of the things I heard you say there is, “bring the right people along, and know how to ask for what you need.” Are there specific parts of your Salesforce training, or learning, joining the Salesforce community? Tell me a little bit about some of the ways that you learned some of those people, or the role that those people can play in helping you grow your knowledge, and become the truly awesome admin? And now, here you are four years later, building really cool, complex things on the platform.

Yves Stewart:
Yeah, absolutely. As I stated, I was by myself, as an accidental admin. I was a solo admin, so I didn’t know where to turn to. Then, I found out about the Salesforce community, and I saw all these great posts, and questions being asked, and leaders stepping up and resolving them. And, I started to play plugged into what was taking place, and I went to a Houston user group meeting.

Yves Stewart:
There, that’s when I heard someone stand up and talk about the Salesforce military program, formally known as Vetforce. The young lady who was talking was sharing about how she was able to get all these different certifications, and she was a military spouse. I remember sitting there saying, “Hey, I’m a military spouse. What is this program, again?” I left that day, and I went to the website, signed up, and realized, “Oh my God, this is it. I now have a community of other individuals who can relate to what I’m going through. And, more importantly, now even though they may not work with me at my current employer, I have access to 10s of 1000s of people who are willing to help me resolve some of my issues and problems.”

Yves Stewart:
I’ve made a lot of great friends, learned a lot, joined a lot of different programs, joined a lot of user groups, was able to participate in different things. It just took me from just being at point one, all the way to point 2000, by being around so many people who can give me this information. Now, I’m in a position that, hey, I may be an admin, but I have access to a coder, I have access to developers. I have people who may work on this other platform within Salesforce, maybe like non-profit, who can give me some insight on stuff.

Yves Stewart:
It’s just a horizon of information, and of people, and of resources at my fingertips.

Gillian Bruce:
Absolutely, that’s great. You talked about Salesforce Military, it’s a program that is near and dear to my heart, I’ve had some incredible people I’ve met through that program. Not that I am, in any way, associated with the military, but just in meeting people like you, Yves, and so many other amazing previous podcast guests as well. It’s an incredible program, and the people that I have met, like you, who have come out of it, are just doing some amazing stuff. The passion that you have for that community, it always makes me so happy, and so excited that the Salesforce military program exists, A, and then B, that I get to connect with you amazing people.

Yves Stewart:
Thank you.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah, thank you for being a part of that. I know a lot of it, too, a lot of that program is about paying it forward, and helping spread the ability to do, and learn on the Salesforce platform with others.

Gillian Bruce:
What kinds of things do you like to share with others who are maybe thinking about Salesforce, new to Salesforce, or maybe like you, they have Salesforce admin abilities, but they really don’t think they’re not techy enough for it, they don’t know that they can do it? What are some pieces of advice, and things that you’d like to share with folks in that position?

Yves Stewart:
Well, one of the things that I like to tell individuals is that learn about the product and the platform, it’s a phenomenal tool. You don’t have to be an expert in everything, you just have to be able to understand the basics of how it works. And, that it takes time to do this, Rome wasn’t built in a day, me becoming an awesome admin wasn’t done in a day. It just takes time, it takes knowledge, and application, and just going after it. Once you start to get better, and build up your confidence, and your knowledge, the rest just comes.

Yves Stewart:
Understand that you won’t know everything, because things continually evolve, but the beautiful thing is that Salesforce allows us, through Trailhead, and other programs, to be able to increase in skill ourselves up, and get more knowledgeable.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah, I think that message of you’re never going to know everything is so true. I struggle with that, because even working at Salesforce, oh my gosh, our platform is so robust I cannot keep up with everything that’s happening, and say that I’m an expert in any way. But, it is, it’s about tapping into the people, and knowing where to go to get the resources and the expertise for that particular part that, maybe, you aren’t super familiar with. But knowing how to approach it, knowing where to get it, knowing where the resources are, I think is really important.

Yves Stewart:
Yeah, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. See, I came from a background where, often times, you’re afraid that if you asked a question, it would show a weakness or as if you’re not knowledgeable. But here, it’s completely different because when you’re asking a question, you’re showing individuals that you truly are invested in honing in on your trade, and being able to deliver a product that your users will love. There are so many people who are willing to help, so ask the question because that question that you have is always the right question, because it’s helping you get better, and more importantly, it’s helping other get better.

Gillian Bruce:
Absolutely. What a great piece of advice. Yves, thank you so much for sharing your story with us, thank you for sharing the cool things that you’ve been building, and have built on the Salesforce platform, and with sharing your strategic advice for how to break down big problems, and how to not be afraid and just start digging in.

Yves Stewart:
Thank you for having me, and it was definitely a pleasure and a joy.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, thank you so much.

Gillian Bruce:
I had a great time talking with Yves about all things Salesforce, about how you should just start digging into your problem. A few of my top takeaways from our chat, three things that I learned is number one, just get out of your own way. Don’t get bogged down by thinking you’re not techy enough, or you’re not smart enough, or you don’t know enough, just start doing it.

Gillian Bruce:
In addition to that, once you start digging in, just surround yourself with the subject. Meet people, learn the content, use Trailhead, use the community to help surround yourself with all this great content, to help you learn the platform and start doing what you need to do.

Gillian Bruce:
Also, be patient. I love how she says, “Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day,” we’ve heard that a million times. But, it’s really important to be patient with yourself as you’re learning a new skill, as you’re learning a different part of the platform. There’s no such thing as being an expert on every single part of the platform, so just be patient with yourself, ask questions, and you will get there.

Gillian Bruce:
Huge thanks again to Yves, for joining us on the podcast, it was great to get to know her a little bit, and also hear another great Salesforce Military story. As always, you can find all kinds of great content on how you can become an awesome admin at admin.salesforce.com. Blogs, webinars, videos, all kinds of great content there for you. You can connect with me on Twitter at @GillianKBruce, and with us at @SalesforceAdmns, no I.

Gillian Bruce:
Thank you so much for listening to this episode, and we’ll catch you next time, in the cloud.

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