Cloudy illustration with the text overlay "Getting Started as a Salesforce Admin."

Getting Started as a Salesforce Admin

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If you’re new to the Salesforce Admin community, this blog post will outline several resources on getting started in understanding core responsibilities! Whether you’re just getting started, you’ve recently found yourself taking over more admin responsibilities, or you earned your admin certification years ago (or something in between those things), you’ve come to the right place!

In this post we’ll break down what new Salesforce Admins need to know: the #AwesomeAdmin story, core admin responsibilities, and free resources you can use to get started today.

At the end of the post, you will also find links to additional articles, resources, videos, and podcast episodes, for whatever stage you’re at in your admin journey.

The story of #AwesomeAdmins

Before we dive into the core responsibilities, it’s important to take a quick look at the admin role itself, the history, and why it matters so much. The best place to hear all of those stories? The Salesforce Admins Podcast!

The Salesforce Admins Podcast is equal parts educational and entertaining; plus it’s a great place to start if you’re new to the Salesforce platform. These three podcast episodes are a great way to gain familiarity with some of the content, themes, and information you’ll continually see in our blog posts and videos, on social, and in demos. These episodes are just to get you started, and to give you a bit of background; make sure to subscribe to see all of the episodes and topics!

  1. The Awesome Admin Story with Gillian Bruce and Mike Gerholdt
  2. A Brief History of Salesforce Characters (shout-out to Cloudy!) with Domenique Buxton
  3. Why Admins Matter with Brian Millham

The four core responsibilities of a Salesforce Admin

Now that you have a bit of the background on the admin role journey at Salesforce, let’s dive into what makes admins successful.

The professional possibilities for someone with Salesforce Admin expertise are nearly limitless. Outlined below, we’ll dig into each of the core responsibilities, and explore the ways you can build a solid foundation in each of them.

At a high level, the four core responsibilities of Salesforce Admins are User Management, Data Management, Security, and Actionable Analytics. This Trailhead module will give you an overview of all four core responsibilities, and we’ll also explore each one more below.

User Management

In addition to tasks like setting up users and providing correct access, a Salesforce Admin serves as a subject matter expert (SME) for their teams and for their organization. Admins design a Salesforce solution that is customized based on their organization’s needs, and ensures a good user experience. As part of the overall User Management responsibility, admins are the point-person for observing how their users are using the platform, and make changes to fit with user needs.

In many cases, an admin can observe their users casually, in what we lovingly refer to as SABWA, or Salesforce Administration by Walking Around (or SABZA, for virtual/Zoom call admins!). Admins are always finding opportunities to improve user experiences, and learning directly from users in real time!

Data Management

Salesforce Admins use their expertise to ensure the data in their platform is high quality (that is, there aren’t any duplicates in the data), that the data can be reported on for key business decisions (more on that below), and that their users can easily access the information they need. Putting the right fields in a record and ensuring all the right information is being captured is just a start.

The unique thing about an admin’s core responsibilities is the ways in which they’re connected. Building on the above responsibility of User Management, you can start to see how having clean, high-quality data helps your users engage with the platform in a more effective and enjoyable way.

Security

Admins collaborate with their company’s IT and security teams to ensure their Salesforce solution aligns with an organization’s compliance needs and policies.

Connecting to the above responsibility of Data Management, just as users need to trust that the data is accurate, an organization needs to trust that their data is secure. At a basic level, Salesforce Admins ensure that their Salesforce platform is configured so that users see only what they need to see. But there are so many critical areas where an admin is responsible for leading and maintaining security efforts, such as stewarding the implementation of the recent MFA requirement within their organization.

Actionable Analytics

As mentioned above, having access to clean data is critical, but making it actionable is what truly makes #AwesomeAdmins unique in their roles. The Salesforce platform helps to make building reports simple and straightforward. The Salesforce Admin makes it actionable by ensuring the reports and dashboards built for their company are easy to read and that users can make critical decisions based on the information they’re seeing. Admins are directly involved with delivering success within their organizations, as they help ensure the analytics align with company goals.

Actionable Analytics equip leaders with relevant data in context so they can make thoughtful business decisions. While all of our essential habits are important, surfacing analytics is perhaps the one that can help drive positive business impact the fastest. By making sense of their organizations’ data, admins become leaders in making decisions, solving problems, and surfacing opportunities.

Success as a Salesforce Admin

The core responsibilities outlined above provide an overview of the foundations of the admin role. Admins describe themselves and their work in so many fun ways! But the one thing all #AwesomeAdmins have in common is a drive for ongoing learning and education to keep growing their skills and expertise. Listed below are the ways to take the core responsibilities to the next level, and the ways to incorporate other resources to be successful in your admin journey!

Core responsibilities ➡️ essential habits

You can translate these four core responsibilities into long-term success by creating habits around each of them. One valuable resource for helping you create those good habits is the Essential Habits Trailhead module.

Whether you’ve completed Essential Habits already or it’s going to be a shiny new badge for you, it’s a helpful, hands-on Trailhead module to ground you in creating habits around core responsibilities. By revisiting the content in the Trailhead module throughout the year, you can easily spot areas that may need more focus or identify habits you’re building well.

To be consistent and successful across all of the four core responsibilities, you need to create a framework that works for you. If you need some inspiration on getting started with a method to track your habits, we’ve created this template for reference. Be intentional about your habits! Repeating your behaviors each and every week with the intent of gaining expertise in each of the four core responsibilities is your key to success.

Three free resources to help you get started

Skill up on Trailhead

Trailhead is a the fun way to learn new skills from anywhere! We know there’s a lot of great content; if you’re not sure where to start with Trailhead, or need some tips on how to best navigate it, this is a great resource. The Trailhead team also created these videos to help you become more familiar with the basics of using the platform, and to point you in the right direction!

If you’re familiar with Trailhead and looking for more specific content related to the admin role, this is a great trail to follow and complete!

Release Readiness

Three times each year, Salesforce releases platform updates that improve the performance, security, logic, and usability of the platform. One critical role an admin plays is ensuring their organization is prepared for the release and understanding the timing of new functionality/updates. Being “release ready” means an admin is aware of the changes/updates within the release, what the updates mean for their organization, and how to implement them.

Admin release readiness ensures their organization can immediately adopt and use updates designed to improve user experiences. By reviewing and understanding those updates, admins lead the way for their company to get the most out of Salesforce.

With each release, our team creates an overview of the new features to break them down and provide examples of what you, as an admin, need to know and can implement. As of the publish date of this post, the Spring ’23 release cycle is underway, and you can access the timeline here.

With each release, there’s also a trailmix to help admins discover the highlights and earn a special community badge!

The Salesforce Admin Skills Kit

You’ve likely noticed that the above core responsibilities are related to the platform and are more technical in nature. But we know that a successful Salesforce Admin has a good mix of technical and business skills, which is where the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit comes in. Launched in 2022, the skills kit is a community-led blog series highlighting the skills that are relevant to driving immediate success at your organization.

All 14 blog posts were written for admins, by admins, to help both new and experienced Salesforce Admins understand and develop the business skills core to their roles. In addition to blog content, you can find this podcast episode about why your background and transferrable skills are so important as a Salesforce Admin.

Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.

The Salesforce ecosystem is a really special place, and we’re so glad you’re part of it! There’s a lot of information listed above, but there are three things you can do right now to get your journey started:

  1. One of the top ways to stay informed, motivated, and connected is by getting involved in the Admin Trailblazer Community. There are countless members of our community who have started exactly where you are today, and they can happily answer your questions and provide support!
  2. Sign up for the Admin Digest newsletter.
  3. Reach out to the Admin Relations team if you need additional resources; we’re always here to help! You can direct your questions to Lisa at ldick@salesforce.com.

Resources

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Awesome Admin Highlights from Dreamforce 2023.

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