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4 User Management Habits That Will Help Your Admin Career

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Editor’s note: As of January 2022, Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins has been refreshed and is now available as a Trailhead module. This blog post was updated in October 2022 to reflect the content changes. Learn more about the user management habits that will help you succeed in your role in the new Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins badge.


As Salesforce Admins, you do a lot of things. You drive results and deliver business value every day. You automate processes and make them more efficient. You build amazing reports and dashboards to drive insights and provide increased transparency. And, every time you customize Salesforce, you personalize the user experience and help your users and executives do their jobs better.

Salesforce would not be what it is today without your passion and dedication. That’s why, at Salesforce, we’re so dedicated to helping you be successful. One of the best ways to get started is by building strong habits that ensure your success from day one. In our five-part series, Essential Habits for New Admins, we start by defining the four core responsibilities every admin has—user management, data management, security, and actionable analytics—and the repeatable habits you can develop to make you and your organization successful.

Let’s begin with user management!

Why is user management so important?

As an admin, it’s your responsibility to provide access to the Salesforce applications, features, functionality, and data your users require. Even a short period of time without this access can have a huge impact on your business. Imagine an inside sales department unable to access leads—not a lot would get done until access was restored. That’s a lot of lost productivity!

There are four habits underlying the user management core responsibility. Let’s dive in and take a look at each one.

Four user management habits.

Essential habit 1: Observe your users

Before we jump into the first habit, let’s discuss why user observation is so critical in the first place.

Salesforce is a platform intended to be customized to fit the needs of your users. That means we need to observe our users and collect feedback to configure the most delightful user experience. Some of us call this observation a ride-along, or a Salesforce Administration by walking around.

And the good news is that you can observe your users no matter how or where you work. You could meet for a virtual coffee and do a screen share, or you could shadow someone using Salesforce in person.

No matter how you observe, you should look for opportunities to improve the daily workflow of your users. By observing our users, we’re better able to remove roadblocks and streamline their business processes. We’re more aware of parts of our configuration that may cause user friction and frustration. You can also use this time to document any changes you may need to adjust for user access.

Three tips for observing your users

To practice this habit, look at your entire user base. Find functional groups like inside sales or a call center. Then, look at the various roles within that group. For example, you may have a call center rep and a call center manager. Try to observe each functional group within your Salesforce instance as well as each individual role.

Ensure that you spend time with individual contributors as well as managers and business leaders. Map out any parts of your business process that you learn along the way.

Lastly, rotate the groups enrolled that you spend time with. By doing this, all of your users’ experiences will be represented in your configuration.

Now, if you’re new to observing your users, never fear—we’ve included some example questions here to kick-start your imagination.

Sample questions to ask your users

Remember to approach your observation with curiosity and a beginner’s mindset. During your conversations, stick to business processes and business value. Avoid speaking in Salesforce-specific terminology. And remember, you aren’t asking users about how they would solve any challenges on the platform. Instead, you’re trying to uncover areas for optimization or enhancement.

Sometimes this won’t reveal any new areas for optimization. And that’s totally okay! You’re free to decide what, if any, solution will best serve your stakeholders.

📅 Make it a habit: To get started observing your users, schedule 30 minutes each week. Doing this will require proactive communication. You don’t have to schedule this on the same day and time every week. As you schedule your observation sessions, remember, not every session will yield brand-new enhancements or optimization. These sessions still remain valuable though, as you’re interacting with stakeholders and strengthening your relationships with them!

Essential habit 2: Review and report adoption

Not familiar with adoption? Adoption is a method of measuring whether or not features are fully utilized.

In other words, to determine your adoption, you need to look at all of the features your users are currently expected to use within Salesforce. These may be standard features, such as those found in Sales Cloud. They may also include custom features that you’ve configured, such as custom objects, fields, and automation.

To measure your adoption, you’ll need to list all of these features and determine a method to report on each.

Reviewing adoption will give you a tangible indication of whether or not your configuration is being used by your org. By reviewing adoption regularly, you can catch any new trends while they’re still relatively new, which can inform your stakeholder communications or your user guide—more on that soon!

After you discover that the adoption of a feature needs improvement, you can meet and discuss with relevant stakeholders to better understand what may be preventing them from using the system.

By communicating this way, you’re involving users, which makes them feel empowered. And you’re also gathering useful information to improve your configuration.

Defining what it means to review and report on adoption

We also recommend performing user audits when you review adoption. There are a few steps to perform a user audit.

  • First, you need to ensure that your list of active users is current. You only want to give Salesforce access to people who should have it, and deactivate any users who don’t need it.
  • You also want to review your roles and profiles, permission sets, and permission set groups to see if any of them are unassigned or unused. Running the Salesforce Optimizer tool can quickly show these to you.
  • Finally, you want to ensure that your users’ access levels are aligned with their job functions. When you speak to your users, ensure that they can see and do everything their job requires. If they can’t, you’ll want to adjust their access, perhaps through profiles or permission sets.

📅 Make it a habit: To get started reviewing adoption, we recommend scheduling 60 minutes each week. Try to schedule this on the same day and time each week if possible. If 60 minutes is too much or too little for you, adjust as needed.

Essential habit 3: Communicate with stakeholders

We know communication preferences can vary a lot from business to business, so feel free to use the cadence and the channels that work best for your organization.

In general, we recommend a monthly business stakeholder meeting. In this case, stakeholders are people who lead a team that has their business process in Salesforce, like your sales manager if you use Sales Cloud or your fundraising manager if you use Nonprofit Cloud.

Create a recurring monthly meeting with those department leaders. During this time, you can also establish the communication preferences of everyone involved. And after the meeting, make sure to send a recap to all of the stakeholders.

Take a look below at a sample agenda for this meeting.

Sample stakeholder meeting agenda

📅 Make it a habit: To get started with stakeholder communication, we recommend scheduling a 60-minute meeting once a month. Remember to schedule prep time for yourself in advance of this meeting.

Essential habit 4: Create and maintain a user guide

The first step in adopting this habit is simple: Ensure that you actually have a user guide. If you don’t have a user guide, or you don’t know where it is, it’s your responsibility to create it for your organization.

You’ll want to have user guides for each job function. And you may also want to have an admin guide for other admins in your org.

You can create your user guide with a variety of tools, like Quip, Google Docs, or third-party AppExchange apps. And, of course, you can do some documentation within Salesforce itself. Find the solution that’s right for you!

Where possible, use some of our native features, like Help Text, Descriptions, and In-App Guidance, to direct your users on how to use the features you configure. And, of course, you’ll need to keep all of these documents up to date to stay aligned with your latest business processes and any configuration changes you make.

How to create and maintain a user guide

📅 Make it a habit: We recommend an hour a week for maintaining your user guide. It’s helpful to keep track of what you configure throughout the week, so we think it’s best to aim for the end of the week.

More essential habits

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of user management, the habits you need to succeed, and key takeaways for you to implement, you’re ready to roll! For a bird’s-eye view of all of the suggested habits and timelines for user management, check out our handy calendar below.

User management calendar

Want to dive deeper? Check out our new Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins badge.

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