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Top 4 Tips for New Salesforce Admins

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Hi, fellow #AwesomeAdmins! I’m Kellie Allen, a Salesforce Admin for Scale Computing in Indianapolis. Being a native Hoosier, my interest in Salesforce was piqued after their acquisition of local company ExactTarget (now MarketingCloud) back in 2013. I knew the company I was working for at the time used Salesforce, so I asked for access to see what it was all about and was promptly given a Chatter-only account. Now that I know what I know, that was an appropriate response!

It took a few more years and my enrollment in a coding school bootcamp, Eleven Fifty Academy, until I next had the chance to interact with Salesforce. They were an early partner of the Salesforce Pathfinder Program, so it was there that I saw a presentation about it and instantly wanted in. I was accepted into the Spring 2020 cohort aka pandemic cohort #1. I can’t imagine how much work the Pathfinder team had to put into pivoting us to a 100% online program, but we forged ahead with remote learning, remote meetings, and remote mentorship.

I graduated from the Salesforce Pathfinder Program in May, got my admin certification in June, and started job hunting like it was my full-time job shortly after. If I wasn’t scouring job listings, I was applying, writing cover letters, and tweaking my resume. If I wasn’t specifically focused on the job hunt, I was back on Trailhead, trying to cram more Salesforce knowledge into my brain like I was studying for finals.

I took a real ‘throw spaghetti at the wall’ approach and applied for jobs shared by the job placement team at Pathfinder, anything local, and many positions that were remote-only. I’d think of companies or organizations that I admired and see if they were hiring Salesforce Admins.

Although I applied to 47 admin-specific jobs, I ended up getting my job through an opening passed along from my mentor in the Pathfinder program. That led me to Scale Computing, which was exactly what I’d hoped for — after working for a global public company with thousands of employees, I wanted a smaller, local company. I found that at Scale Computing.

Now that I have a year under my belt as a Salesforce Admin, here are a few tips from a still-relative newbie:

Tip 1: Ask early and often

As an admin just starting out, it probably feels like your focus has to be on knowing everything about Salesforce. But a big part of your job will actually be understanding how the company works: What is their lead to cash process? How does each team interact with others and how do they each use Salesforce? Who are the decision-makers, and whose buy-in do you need for Salesforce-related changes? It’s your job to understand these things. This is the time to ask all the questions! You may have to swallow some pride and feel like what you’re asking is silly, but you’re new to the company and not expected to know these things. So, ask early, ask often!

Tip 2: Watch your users in action

The best way to understand how your users are using Salesforce, and to understand any problems they are running into, is to actually see them in action. Sit next to them as they show you their screen or, in these remote-work times, schedule time for a quick screen share. Don’t assume they are clicking where you think they click. Watch them in action. This is also your chance to think about how Salesforce could be improved for them, whether it be an updated Lightning app, page layout change, or a brand new flow to automate manual work on their end.

Tip 3: Stay in touch with mentors and admins

In the spirit of asking questions, turn to more experienced people for tips, tricks, and advice. I was lucky enough to have an official Salesforce mentor, but you can also look to more tenured members of your team at work or admins in your local Salesforce meetup group. Ask them about their favorite extensions or AppExchange solutions. Keeping in touch with these pros is how I found out about the Chrome extension Salesforce Inspector, which has helped reduce time spent on our product imports, and Jen W Lee’s blog (now defunct because she has joined the Admin Evangelist team!). Soon, you’ll be in a position to offer your seasoned advice to admin newbies.

Tip 4: Volunteer your admin skills

If you’re in the job hunt for your first admin position, you can show some experience by volunteering for Salesforce work. That’s what put our most recent hire above and beyond the other applicants. He volunteered as an admin for a local city beautification project and a NYC food bank, both of which gave him real-world experience to share on his resume. You can find opportunities through your local Trailblazer Community Group or by searching beyond your home town. Here’s a helpful blog post about volunteering as an admin. Another great resource is VolunteerMatch — they have remote volunteering opportunities for admins.

I’m a sucker for learning favorite tips, tricks, and advice and will always click to read more. So, what’s yours? If you could go back in time and advise yourself on day one as an admin, what would you say? Share your answers on Twitter using #AwesomeAdmin. 

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