Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Eddie Cliff, Senior Director of Product Management for Salesforce Easy. Join us as we chat about what Salesforce Easy is and what it means for admins.

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

What is Salesforce Easy?

Eddie has had a varied career that has taken him all over the world. He’s lived and worked everywhere from NYC to Singapore to Sydney. Nowadays, he’s based in New Orleans, which means he can say he’s from the Big Easy and works on Salesforce Easy. Eddie leads the team of product managers working on it and that’s exactly why we brought him on the pod.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Salesforce Easy aims to help companies of all sizes get started on Salesforce faster and, yes, easier than ever before. As Eddie says, they’ve adopted a mantra of “Easy by default, and advanced by choice.” In practice, it means you can get set up on the critical aspects of a deployment first, and then expand your functionality as you go. You can think of it as a new front door for Salesforce.

An Innovation Center for everyone

On the top floor of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, there’s something called the SIC: the Salesforce Innovation Center. Here, we bring together Salesforce customers with leaders from the Salesforce team to share best practices, case studies, and more, with a focus on digital transformation.

“The unfortunate thing about the SIC is there’s only one top floor of the Salesforce Tower,” Eddie says, “so they don’t scale very well.” Salesforce Easy aims to bring all of those learnings and best practices to everyone, with an onboarding process that helps every company implement them right away, without the commute to San Francisco.

Salesforce Easy asks you questions as you’re setting up in order to recommend out-of-the-box sales processes that are tried and true, and start closing more deals—fast. This includes declarative defaults across Sales and Service processes, reports and dashboards that work from jump, consistent record page layouts with best-practice information architecture, a simplified import experience, and so much more. 

Elevating the admin

So what does this all mean for admins? The benefit of a streamlined setup that implements so many best practices is that the more technical, repetitive, and support tasks are already taken care of for you. That frees up admins to be more strategic and focus on integrating Salesforce with their organization to improve business processes and support business objectives.

Most importantly, Salesforce Easy expands on existing platform capabilities and solutions that admins can leverage to help their users. You can take advantage of features like in-app guidance and in-app learning that make it, well, easy to onboard users who are new to Salesforce or changing roles.

Eddie also shares some exciting ideas they’re working on rolling out soon, including smart guidance and spotlighting to help users do their jobs better every time they log in. Go ahead and sign up now—it’s free and takes three clicks—and Eddie would love to hear your feedback.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, I’m talking with Eddie Cliff, who is the senior director of product management for Salesforce Easy. He also lives down in the Big Easy. So, of course, we got to work some Big Easy food into that. But it’s a really cool podcast and I ask him that tough question, what does Salesforce Easy mean for admins? To hear that, let’s get Eddie on the podcast. Welcome to the podcast, Eddie.

Eddie Cliff: Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it’s very easy to talk with you, and I think our admins are going to find it very easy to listen to this podcast. Not that I’m giving it away, but I feel like it’s one of those times where we’re going to count how many times we say easy. But Eddie, let’s start with where you started and how you came to Salesforce, and then we can dive into all of the fun stuff that you’re working on at Salesforce.

Eddie Cliff: Yeah, it sounds great. Well, I’d say that my journey isn’t a traditional one, which hopefully will resonate with all the admins listening. I know many of you didn’t grow up thinking that you wanted to be a Salesforce admin when you grew up. I didn’t know that I wanted to work for Salesforce or even be a product manager.

When I was growing up, I did like computers. I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina. I was born and raised there. I attended the University of Tennessee and studied computer science. Actually, after I graduated is right after the dot com bubble burst. My first job was doing customer support for some accounting software at a local software company in Charleston. Did that for a little while, bounced around some other places, and then found an opportunity for a company called Buddy Media in New York City. So, relocated to New York to join them. About a year later, I had an opportunity to move to Singapore to help them expand into the Asia-Pacific region. I was the headquarters delegate to go out and help get that office up and running. Not too long after that, a few months later, we were acquired by Salesforce, which was really exciting. Always had a lot of respect for Salesforce and the innovations they had done in cloud computing. We used it as a company, so I was quite familiar with the software.

Also, while I was in Singapore, I met my now wife who was there teaching English as a second language. She’s not from Singapore. She’s from New Orleans. We always joked that I had to move halfway around the world to meet a nice southern girl. But shortly thereafter, I had an opportunity to relocate to Sydney, Australia, with Salesforce. I was there for a couple years and doing a few different roles, which I’ll talk about, and then was in San Francisco for five years. So, moved to the headquarters.

About two years ago, my wife and I decided that we should move to New Orleans to be a little bit closer to family as the pandemic kind of kicked off and remote work was really settling in. It’s a little weird now that I live in the Big Easy and work on Salesforce Easy, but I don’t really believe in coincidences and everything happens for a reason.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Eddie Cliff: Throughout my time at Salesforce, I’ve also done a bunch of different roles. I started in customer success, and then did some solution engineering for the Marketing Cloud, and then was an account executive for a little while doing some sales, and then had the opportunity to move into product management with the Service Cloud, focused on our social customer service and chat, formally known as Live Agent Solutions, and then had the opportunity to start leading a team of product managers, which is now involved into our Salesforce Easy product.

Mike Gerholdt: You’ve been a few places. Fun fact, I bet you didn’t know this about me. I was the second customer to ever implement live agent and I worked with the PM.

Eddie Cliff: There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: It was so nuts. It was so cool. I just remember, every time I hear that I’m like, oh yeah, that’s right. That was a thing for a while. Super fun. I’ve been to Sydney a few times. Sydney’s fun down there. I like it.

Eddie Cliff: Yeah, it’s a beautiful city. Really nice people. I love, love, love Australia. The people are amazing. It’s a different pace of life and it’s just a wonderful place. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit, I strongly encourage everybody to do so at some point in their life.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, well we have a world tour down there, so that’s going to be right around the same time as TDX. Kind of a fun time to get down there. But you mentioned you are now on Salesforce Easy. For anybody that’s listening and they haven’t heard of Salesforce Easy, what is Salesforce Easy?

Eddie Cliff: Yeah. Salesforce Easy is a really exciting new offering that we’ve been working on for a little over a year now. What’s really cool about it is you think about the current situation, efficiency has never really been more important, not only for our customers but for us as a company as well. It’s really critical that companies are able to get up and running with the technology they choose, but also be able to use that very efficiently and effectively to drive continual impact within their businesses.

That’s the whole mission that Salesforce Easy is looking to deliver on, is providing a new and simplified experience for businesses of all sizes to get started with Salesforce more quickly than ever before. We’ve incorporated the entire Customer 360 into this unified experience across sales, service, and marketing. We have this ethos of easy by default and advanced by choice. We’re really trying to just surface the most important and critical pieces of the experience right away for new customers and allow them to expand into the amazing set of solutions that we offer underneath the covers.

Longer term, we’re looking at this as creating a new front door for Salesforce where new customers can get started in a self-service way. They’re greeted by this nice and easy-to-use experience on day one and can grow as they need to across the Customer 360. We’ve taken a lot of the best practice that we’ve built up over the years as a company and built that into a very intuitive and prescriptive out-of-the-box experience that new customers can start using right away, and then also provide those flexible growth paths to the other areas of the whole 360.

We’re also doing things a little bit differently and shipping progress every two weeks within Salesforce Easy, which is really exciting as a product manager, as it allows us to be a lot more agile and data-driven and we can experiment. So, we can see what’s working and we can change the experience and evolve it very quickly to optimize that for new users and the jobs and tasks that they’re trying to accomplish.

Mike Gerholdt: A point of clarification, you say shipping progress every two weeks. Is that like a minor release? Because Salesforce has three big releases every year.

Eddie Cliff: Yeah, that’s right. We do the three major releases every four months, summer, and winter, and spring that everybody’s very familiar with. There’s other mechanisms that we have. At a high level, what we’re leveraging is the patch schedule to push out new updates for our customers to take advantage of, which is a little bit more in line with what users are used to from consumer grade software. There’s a really good reason that we ship our major updates every four months to help enterprises manage the change management that comes along with new functionality rolling out for their users. But we’re taking a little bit of a different approach here with Salesforce Easy in an attempt to get new functionality into our users’ hands more quickly so that we can learn what’s working and what isn’t, so that we can optimize that experience as quickly as possible.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, I see. I just wanted to make sure I understood, because I know… What was it? Heroku also does kind of a little bit more accelerated. One of them does.
Anyway, let’s talk about why. Why did we do this? It seems like it should be easy to get going with Salesforce, but we made it easier. So, why did we make Salesforce Easy?

Eddie Cliff: Yeah. Talking with customers, that’s what I really like to start with is deep research and understanding of what our users and our customers are going through. We recognized that there was a need to reimagine how customers got started with Salesforce. I always like to talk about, as many of you probably know, we have at Salesforce the SIC, which stands for the Salesforce Innovation Center. What this is, is the top floor of the Salesforce Tower is our Innovation Center and we invite big customers from all around the world to come in and we have all the top people from across the business come in and share best practices on how our customers can digitally transform their businesses using the power of Salesforce. A lot of times, that’s case studies, it could be how we at Salesforce do it, whatever is most informational for that customer. We kind of share that with them in a very conversational way.
But the unfortunate thing about the SIC is that there’s only one top floor of the Salesforce Tower, so they don’t scale very well and they’re not available to everyone. What we wanted to do here is really bring all of the learnings and best practices that we share in the SIC and that we’ve accumulated over the last 23 years at Salesforce and put those directly into the product so that new customers can take advantage of them right away.

We’ve created these new experiences for new customers that leverages all these best practices and we deliver those right out of the box so they can take advantage of them immediately. A few examples of these.
We’ve added an onboarding and survey. We’ve paired that, based on the responses that the user gives us, with very prescriptive guidance and out-of-the-box experiences that are specific to that user’s and company’s key needs. We’ve also provided out-of-the-box declarative defaults across sales and service processes. We’ve really simplified, say, the sales stages and what fields are available so that a new customer can get up and running really quickly. New reports and dashboards right out of the box that work, real fast time to value there. Consistent record page layouts with an information architecture that we think is best practice and most usable for all users across all objects, and even put in a new import experience to help new customers get a CSV or sync their email and get their data into Salesforce very rapidly. We’ve also defaulted the list views to all. If there isn’t any data in Salesforce, which you wouldn’t see when you first log in, we also provided an empty state graphic that has a call to action for new users to start adding their data.

The whole point here is helping new users onboard so they can have a best practice implementation of Salesforce that we provide out of the box and help them answer this question of, okay, now what? Which is something that we hear a lot from new users as they get into Salesforce and they’re like, okay, now what do I do? We want to hold their hand and help them onboard and learn how to get around and accomplish their job.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that list view part. You’d be surprised how many times you have to create a list view for somebody and you’re like, why? I’m doing this once. You all have access to it. because the number of times users create these rabbit hole versions of a list view and you’re like, everybody needs this. It’s nuts.

Eddie Cliff: Exactly. Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: The ears are burning already in my headphones because I can hear people saying, “I’m a Salesforce administration, and what does this mean for Salesforce admins?”

Eddie Cliff: Yeah, it’s a great question and it’s something that we’ve leaned into quite a lot. The main idea here is what we really want to elevate the role of the Salesforce admin. What we’ve seen, the value that the admins can add to a business is when they’re able to be more strategic and it allows them to get out of the more tactical and repetitive and support-like tasks that stand in their way and really work with the business to influence the direction that they’re going and how they can best utilize Salesforce to drive their business objectives.

Easy delivers this experience that helps all customers get started without needing to be experts on Salesforce. Then, of course, as their needs expand, so can the experience. They can grow on their own terms. This allows our customers within Easy to then start leveraging the awesome admin community as they grow.

I want to also share really quickly just a couple of stories from Dreamforce. We’ve done a lot of in-person feedback sessions and we really focused on the admin community when we were doing these at Dreamforce just a few months ago. We know that the admin community loves Salesforce swag. As we were thinking about, nobody knows what Salesforce Easy is, how can we drive some attendance to this session? We knew we needed a good giveaway. We remembered that we had some Koa plushies. I don’t know if everybody knows who Koa is or what Koa is, but Koa was Mark’s beloved golden retriever that was our first Chief Love Officer, CLO. We had a lot of these laying around, and we thought it’d be a good idea to send out a tweet to get everybody excited about Easy and about coming to our feedback session at Dreamforce. I sent out a tweet, and overnight it took off a little bit more than we really ever anticipated.

Once we got over 50 retweets, we started scratching our heads and saying, “You know what? We might need to add a second session based on the demand that we’re seeing from the admin community.” It also made us realize that, you know what? We really better deliver on these Koas. Everybody’s coming. We’ve been talking about it. It’s out there. We need to find these Koas and get them over to Moscone Center.

Traditionally at Salesforce, many of you might not know this, we have storage closets in the tower where we keep all the swag and everything that you see at a lot of the events. But with the pandemic, a lot of that space was cleared out and we put it into storage around the Bay Area. Our marketing team had to track down those boxes of Koas. They found the right storage facility, but the person told them that, “Hey, none of the boxes are labeled, so you’ll have to figure out which ones you need.” They ended up sending all these boxes into the tower. Lo and behold, they were labeled. Luckily, they didn’t have to open them all up. But then they had to bring these huge bags of Koas from the Salesforce Tower, down Mission Street, over to Moscone Center, which was pretty funny.

There we were. The room’s now full and we’re given a preview of Easy and how the guidance center works, that kind of prescriptive set of onboarding steps for a new user to take to learn about one of the features or tools. One of the admins shared this really compelling story with us about how they had recently trained a hundred new salespeople within their organization, give or take. They did a week-long kind of onboarding to new sales folks. Salesforce was a big part of that. Then Monday morning comes around, these new salespeople all log into Salesforce for the first time and they’re sitting there looking at it and they’re going, “Okay, now what do I do?” Sound familiar? The really cool thing is, is that he looked at the guidance center and he was like, “This is amazing. I could have used this with my users to help them onboard and navigate around Salesforce for the first time and put in their first opportunity.”
A lot of the things that we’re trying to do in Easy is expanding on existing platform capabilities and solutions that admins can leverage for their users. In the same way that we’re onboarding users to Easy, you might be onboarding new users to your Salesforce [inaudible]. These things around in-app guidance and in-app learning that we’re leveraging are actually capabilities that you can leverage and build on top of and deploy to your users. Our mission here is to continue to extend those capabilities and ultimately make them available for our awesome admin community to take advantage of with their users.

Mike Gerholdt: All I got to say is, the demand for plushies is legit. You’ve got to deliver on the plushy.

Eddie Cliff: Oh yeah, totally. I was flying home and the number of people in the plane that were holding their Astro dolls and their Codeys that they had picked up from the admin campground was just astounding.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Eddie Cliff: Yeah, we had to deliver on the goods on that one for sure.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I’m also jealous. I would take a Koa.
Let’s talk about the future as we kind of wrap up. Where’s the future of Salesforce Easy from here?

Eddie Cliff: The future is bright. We’re really excited about the mission that we’re on and the progress that we’ve seen thus far and the feedback that we’ve received. Everything is really glowing. The team’s really fired up about the future and where Salesforce Easy is going to be going.

I think top of mind for us is that we want to continue delivering the best and fastest way for new customers to get started and start using Salesforce. We want to continue to expand and build upon all the amazing things that we put in today, but start to incorporate even more of that Customer 360 for everyone to take advantage of.
A few examples of some of the things that we’ve just recently released and that are coming and really excited about is we have a new home experience. Within this home experience, we have this idea of a spotlight where we’re centralizing the entire value of the Customer 360 across sales, service, and marketing, and we’re calling action to specific areas within Salesforce that, that user can start to explore to realize more and more value. Again, kind of continuing to answer that question of, okay, now what? What else can Salesforce help me with? We’re going to have front and center guidance of other areas for that user to check out and explore and invite other users within their organization to utilize as well.

Also, within that homepage, we have a centralized view of all the most important elements of the Salesforce experience for that user. Think about a user logging in. They’ve been using Salesforce for a few weeks. They got their cup of coffee, they’re kicking off their day, they land on the homepage, and they can very quickly get a glance of all of the most important insights and things that need their attention and it allows them to very quickly start their day and get them to where they need to go, see what needs their attention, and continue that experience based on their usage patterns and things that are doing within Salesforce.

We also want to continue iterating, continue learning. We take a very data-driven approach, as I mentioned here. We’re looking at the usage patterns and what’s working and what isn’t. We want to continue to experiment and iterate on that experience. We have this mentality I describe as, better, better, never best, is that there’s always work to do to improve that experience, to make it better and easier for new and existing customers alike to get the most out of Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, that’s really cool. I want to end on a fun question. You mentioned the Big Easy. I’ve certainly been down to New Orleans myself. But when I was in eighth grade, I had a teacher that came from Louisiana and I think he indoctrinated the whole class with the importance of French cuisine and some of the food that’s served down there. I personally became a huge fan of red beans and rice in the eighth grade, but I’d love to know what your favorite kind of New Orleans dish is.

Eddie Cliff: Yeah. I’ve only been here two years, so I still can’t pronounce all of the French street names accurately, which drives my wife a little crazy, but I’m working on it. I’m trying. I really leaned in. The food here is just phenomenal. I really, really love the food. I really like the crawfish. I’m a big fan of seafood. If you’ve never had boiled crawfish, it doesn’t look the most appetizing, but those mud bugs, they are delicious. When they’re in season, I try to eat them as much as I possibly can.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I have not. You put them in a big pot, right? Then you kind of dump them out on [inaudible] –

Eddie Cliff: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. A big pot and you boil up like corn and potatoes and a ton of seasoning. They got to be spicy. You put some sausage in there and you drop the crawfish in and boil them up and then you strain the water out and you dump them out on the table and everybody goes to town.

Mike Gerholdt: Just have at it.

Eddie Cliff: Yeah, it’s always a party and a good time.

Mike Gerholdt: I won’t say I wouldn’t try one, it’s just immediately that term, mud bug, hmm. All right. Got to get past that [inaudible].

Eddie Cliff: We wash the mud. We wash the [inaudible] off.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. Well, Eddie, this is a fun conversation. Thanks for being on the podcast.

Eddie Cliff: Thanks for having me. I would like to invite everybody to check out Salesforce Easy. You can go to You can sign up for free. Check it out. Just takes three clicks to get up and running. I would love to hear your feedback. My email is That’s Cliff, like a mountain cliff. I would love to hear what you think and we’ll definitely share any feedback I receive with the rest of the team. Yeah, thanks for listening and thanks in advance for providing your feedback.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, you bet. I’ll put that link in the show notes. Thanks, Eddie.

It was a fun podcast. Were you keeping track of how many times we said easy? I just wondered. Maybe you should tweet me and let me know. I’m sure I said easy quite a few times. But if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources, including all the links that we mentioned in this episode, as well as a full transcript. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns. No I on Twitter. Gillian is on Twitter. She is @GillianKBruce. I’m on Twitter as well, @ MikeGerholdt. With that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We’ll see you in the cloud.

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