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Get to Know Prompt Builder with Marissa Scalercio

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Marissa Scalercio, VP of Sales Operations at Carnegie Learning. Join us as we chat about Prompt Builder, why it will be a game changer, and how her Salesforce Admin skills help her be a better sales leader.

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

A Sales VP and a Salesforce Admin

Marissa is the VP of Sales Operations at Carnegie Learning, an ed-tech company that was founded 26 years ago with a product created on AI. “That’s why I’m really excited to start including AI in our sales processes,” she says.

Marissa is also a Salesforce Admin, which is why I was so excited to bring her on the pod. She’s not afraid to crack open her org and help build things for her team so she knows how it will actually work. She’s also involved in a pilot program for the new Prompt Builder feature and, of course, I wanted to hear all about it.

What’s coming with Prompt Builder

The pilot only gave access to a couple of features, but they demonstrated the power and potential of Prompt Builder in a big way. The first was the ability to create sales emails. It can instantly generate a sales email to your specifications, incorporating web pages for products and events, and personalizing it with CRM information. Even better, anyone else on your team can use that prompt to scale your work and generate as many emails as needed.

The other thing Marissa and her team got to play with were field summaries. This feature can take all of the information on an object and summarize it. This is great for getting a new hire up to speed with their accounts, or to prep before a meeting with a client and check up on past action items or key bullet points.

“Once I really got to learn and understand how to create a prompt, I just started thinking about how I’m going to implement this everywhere,” Marissa says. Prompting AI is a skill that everyone needs to practice, so take advantage of the free tools out there to learn the ins and outs. Prompt Builder is coming soon™, but you want to be ready to hit the ground running.

How to talk to executives about new tools

As a VP herself, Marissa has some practical advice for any admin who needs to persuade executives to add new tools. She urges you to make your case in terms of ROI. Have numbers ready for how much time you’ll save, for how many people, and how that translates into total dollars saved.

There’s so much more in this episode about Marissa’s career path, what the future holds for AI in Salesforce, and what you can do to get ready, so be sure to take a listen.

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Full show transcript

Mike:
Prompt Builder is the first low-code, prompt management tool that allows you, Salesforce Admins, to build, test, and fine-tune trusted AI prompts within the Einstein Trust Layer, ground AI prompts with dynamic CRM data via merge fields and flow, and enable prompted actions across the Salesforce customer 360.

And today on The Salesforce Admins Podcast, we are talking with Marissa Scalercio, VP Sales Operations at Carnegie Learning, and she was part of the Prompt Builder pilot for customers, and she’s a VP admin. She was in configuring prompts, testing out the pilot in her sandbox, doing all kinds of stuff that us Salesforce admins can’t wait to get our hands on.

So we’re going to talk to her about her experience in the Prompt Builder pilot, some of the stuff that she worked on. And I’m also going to dig into how she went from being in sales, sales operations, to VP to having an admin license like the admins at Carnegie Learning let her in, set up menu. She’s configuring shoulder to shoulder with them, which I think is awesome.

Now before we get into that episode, I want to make sure you’re following The Salesforce Admins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast. That way when an awesome new episode like this one drops on a Thursday, it’s immediately on your phone. So all you got to do is press play when you wake up to go walk the dog or hit the gym or get on the bus to go to work. So with that, let’s get to our fun conversation with Marissa. So Marissa, welcome to the podcast.

Marissa Scalercio:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.

Mike:
Well, I’m excited to talk about our newest Coming Soon product that you’ve actually got your hands on, which is Prompt Builder. So before we get into that, because the tease to get everybody to listen, tell me a little bit about what you do and where you’re at.

Marissa Scalercio:
Of course. So I am the Vice President of Sales Operations at Carnegie Learning, and we are an EdTech company that actually was founded about 26 years ago with a product created on AI. So I’m really excited to be including AI in our sales processes and was really excited to be able to pilot Prompt Builder.

Mike:
Yeah, and you are a VP that does admin work.

Marissa Scalercio:
I am an accidental admin. As my colleagues will call me. I am very involved in how the sales team specifically, but really how everybody in our company works, how we can make things more efficient, and I really like to test things out and build them so I can see how it’s actually going to work. So yeah, I’m an accidental admin.

Mike:
Yeah, we need more of you, but we’ll get into that in the second part because Prompt Builder… So Carnegie Learning built on AI, now you’re excited to use some AI. What was some of the things that you were trying out with Prompt Builder? What were you doing?

Marissa Scalercio:
Yeah, so the best part of Prompt Builder was that once I really got to learn and understand how to create a prompt, I just started thinking about how I’m going to implement this everywhere. But the two pieces of Prompt Builder that you could do in the pilot, the first one was create emails, sales emails specifically. You could tell it to include a webpage or include an event page, and it would include an email that is specific and grabs CRM information along with whatever information you provide it and builds this great email that would take me 10, 15 minutes at least to create and it probably wouldn’t be as good. And it is that easy just to create that, have it ready to go, and it already takes in the information about the account and the person that you’re delivering it to.

Mike:
Now you created that prompt and then anybody could use it. So it was 10 or 15 minutes for you to write it.

Marissa Scalercio:
Yes.

Mike:
But if you have a hundred salespeople, that’s 1,500 minutes of email writing time.

Marissa Scalercio:
It’s lot of time savings. Yes.

Mike:
And that’s if you’re good at writing emails, which I’m not.

Marissa Scalercio:
Exactly, and I mean these emails that came out were better than I can write them. Absolutely. And I started as a salesperson and just being able to click a button and it create an email that was better than I used to create was amazing. It is so exciting to actually come out… what comes out next month or a couple days.

Mike:
A while. A forward-looking statement. Soon-ish or now. Maybe. That’s what I always say. But so help me walk through this because what level of approval and kind of demos did you do? Because as an admin, I love to sit down, I configure stuff all day long and then I’m like boom, click, boom, it works, and then I run the flow twice. But then you unleash it on the users and they find, how did you make it do that? How would you turn your screen pink? I’ve had users do all kinds of stuff. What kind of process did you go through when you were starting to create some of these to be like, “No, no, no, people, this will generate stuff consistently and it’s something we need to use.” What was that rollout like?

Marissa Scalercio:
So we haven’t rolled it out to the teams yet. We had Prompt Builder in our sandbox, but I did experiment with several of our account executives where I would ask them for emails that they’re typically writing. I would create a prompt for it and send them back what came out and they were thrilled. So they are really excited to implement this.

Mike:
Okay. How do you feel… So I think prompt building, you go back five years ago for the rest of us, maybe not you guys. Prompt building’s a new word, right?

Marissa Scalercio:
Yeah.

Mike:
Something we’re just getting. I remember, this is a funny story. When we rolled out Chatter, I rolled it out internally at an organization and I had to explain hashtags as like it’s the pound sign and my user base was super… It was up there in years and they go, “Well, it’s the pound sign from the phone.” And I was like, “Right.” So if you were selling something to a sand and gravel company, you could put hashtag sand, which is like pound sand, and I thought it was really funny.

Marissa Scalercio:
I remember having to use that.

Mike:
Yeah. But Prompt Builder, this is a new term for us, too. How do you feel configuring working in Prompt Builder has made you a better prompt builder? Do you feel you use AI better now?

Marissa Scalercio:
Yes. I think it made me a prompt builder. I did not know what I was doing prior to this pilot. I kind of just played around with several of the ChatGPT, but I really feel like you can add tone and you can kind of ask it to change the email. So if it’s too long, it’s too short. If you want to add something specific, I mean, it really helped me understand what… Well, start to understand what all it can do and the power behind it, which is just phenomenal. I mean, everything around being able to edit and change on the fly, it did take me a while to create my first prompt to get it right because I was testing all of those things. But then once you have it, you really can build the prompts themselves fast.

Mike:
So knowing what you know now, when Prompt Builder rolls out for other admins, if you were to have a time machine, which I’m sure is just in the near future to be created at this point and go back and tell yourself, what would be some things that you’re like, “Oh, I wish I’d gone back and done these three things first.”

Marissa Scalercio:
So how far are we going back? Are we going back to just the sandbox?

Mike:
Yeah. I mean pre Prompt Builder days. Like, “I wish I would’ve got ready for Prompt Builder by…”

Marissa Scalercio:
Yeah, honestly, I wish in general, I had used AI more to feel more comfortable with using it in a daily basis. I started using it last year, which already was behind the bandwagon, and I am already behind, and I can see how other people, even in my organization and other people outside of the organization are using it on a daily basis. I would tell myself to start learning and using AI every single day years ago. It is just so much of an efficiency boosting tool that is going to change the way we all work.

Mike:
Yeah, I mean, there are times when I watch a TikTok from somebody and it’s like, wow, they have three paragraphs of a prompt that they’re putting in the ChatGPT, and I’m like, “Draw an apple with a kitten next to it.”

Marissa Scalercio:
Exactly. So building the prompting out was hard.

Mike:
I feel like I’m in kindergarten sometimes. Yeah. How did that… So in your pilot, I think it was pilot, right, of Prompt Builder, how much did you experiment with different templates or different prompts? You said you used it for sales emails, right?

Marissa Scalercio:
Yep. So we did sales emails and we also did field summaries, which also was really exciting.

Mike:
Oh, tell me about those.

Marissa Scalercio:
The field summaries allow you to take all of the information on an object, an account, a case, a opportunity, and summarize it, which I’m just seeing a world of possibilities with that as an efficiency piece to our new hires, especially, whenever they come on and have to inherit territory and understand accounts. Whenever you’re going into a meeting and understanding meeting notes that have taken place, any action items that were supposed to be accomplished, and even after a meeting or a phone call, understanding what can be grabbed out of there. So those field summaries are really going to be important along with all of the other AI tools that are coming out from Salesforce to really help with every salesperson and it’s really going to be a true assistant to them.

Mike:
Yeah. You think about it, how many times, I don’t know if you reassigned territories, but that seemed to be like a quarterly thing for me. As an admin I get new sales territories that I got to put into Salesforce, and how much do you have to spend for those salespeople getting those different accounts up to speed?

Marissa Scalercio:
Exactly. I mean, it is really hard to take over a territory or even just one customer and understand what has happened prior to you coming on board.

Mike:
Yeah, a hundred percent. When you were building the prompts, you said you were pulling in data, which I think is what we expect from when we look at other AIs, but Prompt Builder in specific, when you’re building those sales templates where actually you tell it what data to look for, is that correct? Or help give a sneak peek to some admins?

Marissa Scalercio:
Yeah, you can add some grounding data into all of your prompts, which really I was experimenting with of course names, accounts, titles, states, and then adding in, of course outside information into that as well. But I imagine whenever it comes out, and I wasn’t able to pilot this part of it, but I imagine that you can grab pretty much anything in Salesforce. You can throw it into a flow, so it can actually ask different questions based on what type of customer it is, and you really can get down to a specific email based on everything that’s in your CRM plus any outside information you push into it. So is the world of possibilities are endless with it.

Mike:
Yeah, no, that’s good. That also speaks to data cleanliness because-

Marissa Scalercio:
It does.

Mike:
If the contact’s first name spelled wrong and it’s grabbing that field, it probably spelled it wrong because doing what it’s told.

Marissa Scalercio:
Exactly. So definitely data cleanliness is going to be a big issue. If it isn’t clean, but hopefully we will figure it out as we go and hopefully our data’s clean enough that it’ll work.

Mike:
Right. Well, if not, it will be. You start off by saying VP of sales operations. You’re also an admin and you called yourself an accidental admin. So I would love, first of all, to have more VP admins on, but how did you kind of get into that role, but yet still stay so connected with the setup menu?

Marissa Scalercio:
Oh, that’s a good question. So we started with Salesforce, I want to say 2016 I believe. And honestly, I really like to learn new things and build new things. So I was asked… actually, I might have volunteered myself to be part of the sales side of implementing Salesforce. So for two years I just kind of embedded myself into those meetings and made sure that I was part of the conversation, part of the implementation. We then rolled out CPQ was the next one, and I was really part of that piece, but at the same time, I was still a salesperson actually at Carnegie Learning. So really trying to do my full-time job, which was a salesperson and this side job, which was really helping with the flow of how sales was going to be more efficient. So I started doing it kind of half-and-half until I really had to make the decision in 2018 and no questions asked. I was all on board with sales operations. So you can kind of say that Salesforce has kind of crafted where my career path went.

Mike:
It’s done that for a lot of people.

Marissa Scalercio:
Mm-hmm. And since then, I mean, it’s just been so exciting to learn, and I wasn’t an admin at that point, but as I kept trying to learn new pieces of Salesforce and how it could be more efficient, they gave me an admin sandbox license so that I was able to really start building and using Trailhead to learn everything I could learn, and now they gave me a production license so I can now build within our production instance. So accidental admin.

Mike:
Yeah, but also good because I mean, to be honest with you, I was an admin for eight years. I’ve been at Salesforce for a long time. There seems to be a point at which a lot of executives, rightfully so, there’s just so much on their plate that they can’t get into that backend part of it, and sometimes adoption and usage really hurts because of it, because they’re connected to the process, but they’re not connected to the technology or vice versa. When it’s both.

Marissa Scalercio:
Yes, it can absolutely be a struggle when I want to build something, but I also have those responsibilities of strategy or just sales operations as a whole. So I do still struggle with that, but building in Salesforce and understanding what it can do helps me be a VP of sales operations. So it really does impact everything that we are doing as a sales team, and my entire goal in sales operations is to improve the efficiency and productivity of them. How can you do that if you don’t know the tool that they’re using 80% of the time?

Mike:
Couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t agree more. If you don’t know how to run the report on the tool that you’re holding people accountable for, then that’s kind of also on you.

So being in both roles, as advice for other admins maybe looking to grow their career and get more into a C-suite role like that, but also as somebody that’s pitching ideas, like admins are going to have to go out and talk about Prompt Builder and they’re going to have to do it to other VPs or probably Ps or maybe a whole board. There was a time when I had a governance board. What would your advice be? Because I feel like you’re in such a unique position to help admins both craft that executive message, but also understand the backend part. As Prompt Builder goes GA, and as some of these AI tools go GA, how are you pushing that messaging through that isn’t overwhelming to other executives?

Marissa Scalercio:
I think the first thing to understand about a new tool is how will this help the business? What are the use cases? What is the ROI? What’s the business value? If you can start answering those questions as you are an admin or as you are a builder, those are the questions that you’re going to be asked by the board, the CEO. They’re going to want to know why and what impact this is going to have. So really being able to understand the product, really understanding what values it brings and what… Especially ROI, and being able to show and prove that, that is the number one way to talk to an executive board. I mean, bringing them where they can save money is what they’re looking for. Either save money or really innovate and improve the lives of their employees.

Mike:
Yeah, no, I couldn’t agree. Was there anything, and this is kind of specific to Prompt Builder, in your case with emails, how did you get some of that data on? Was it just like a simple poll of your salespeople like, “Hey, how long do you on average spend writing emails?” And did you collect a handful of emails to get a before and after example? Because I guess in my head, what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to gather that case for the ROI specific around your Prompt Builder.

Marissa Scalercio:
So we didn’t grab that information then. But being a salesperson and knowing this has been kind of our job since 2018, our team’s job, is knowing how long things take to do in the sales department. Writing an email, scouring the account to understand what’s going on with the account. So we already kind of had a baseline of how long that takes. And then being able to write that prompt and have it come out with a similar or better outcome in seconds is really a huge value add. Being able to increase the amount of time that a salesperson actually is selling and decrease that administrative burden, that’s where I am seeing the best ROI. If I can prove that I can give time back to the sales team because of these processes, you can then extrapolate that into what their salaries are and add in all of the costs that you have for that sales team into, well, 10% more selling time would equal X amount.

Mike:
Right. Yeah, no, I mean it’s always how much time can you save a salesperson so they can sell more?

Marissa Scalercio:
Exactly.

Mike:
I used to sell things and I used to be like, “Great, Matt, thank you for the 10% more quota. I appreciate that.”

Marissa Scalercio:
Also that.

Mike:
Because you also modulate your time as a salesperson, too. None of us do that. None of them. They all, foot on the gas all the time, I promise you. So as you look forward to this year, I also think rate of change. There are… and I went through this where I had to merge a couple orgs together and bring two companies together, and there was also a lot of organizational change going on. We’re at the beginning of the year. I know you’ve got your plans. There’s new products and features and services from Salesforce coming. As a VP, as an admin, how do you think through the amount of change that you push on your users throughout the year? What does your planning cycle feel like?

Marissa Scalercio:
We are usually very thoughtful about large changes within the organization and making sure we’re rolling them out slowly where we get some of our best or worst people to really get on board with what we’re doing first and then roll it out in that process where we have a smaller group rollout and then a larger group.

So we really are thoughtful about having those people that have already tested and like the tools that we’re rolling out. This year is going to be a lot of change, though. I am really excited by it, but the tools that are coming out are game changers for our organization. I’m really lucky that we are embracing change and the AI era. We even have a department that is called CL Next that their sole mission is innovation, and they have developed a project drive where they are asking every single department to bring artificial intelligence into their area and show that it can be used on a daily basis.

So I’m very lucky that I am in an organization that really is embracing it, so it is easier for me to implement these AI products and tools, but rolling them out, the best thing you can do is get people on board with it that will talk to their peers about how useful it’s been or how useful it’s going to be.

Mike:
Yeah. That made me think of something. I don’t know if you did this, and maybe you can answer, but when you were piloting this, did you set up a Chatter group or anything to kind of gather that information? Or when it goes GA, do you plan to do something like that or do you do that for other features?

Marissa Scalercio:
I plan to do it for pretty much any feature that we roll out. We always bring in somebody. It is so much easier to have a better adoption if you have people, their peers that they look up to, on board with it. So I always try to roll it out or at least show what’s coming, have them test it, really play around with new tools, because that is the best way to get adoption throughout the entire sales org.

Mike:
Yeah, nothing like a group of people asking questions to see what everyone else is asking. I’m telling you.

Marissa Scalercio:
Exactly.

Mike:
It sounds scary, but that’s the best part of rolling out a new feature because to some degree kind of helps everybody feel like, “Oh, I had that question too. I’m not alone.” And like, yep, we’re all in this together kind of situation.

As you’re using AI and different tools for admins, you mentioned you wish you would’ve gotten up to speed. Are there things that you are doing or trying, trying to incorporate more? For instance, I am trying to use different AI tools and just write different prompts to try to almost… We did this in third grade. It was really weird. My teacher who apparently was kind of ahead of the game, she’s like, “I need you to pretend that you’re an alien and you have to tell another human how to pick up the phone.” And we played this game called telephone. And it sounds crazy because you’re like in third grade, you’re like, “Well, I know how to pick up the phone.” And you pick up the phone. She goes, “No, that’s wrong because you’re picking up the receiver.” And she’s like, “Pick up the phone.”

And I find there’s a huge correlation between that and what you tell AI because when you tell AI, “Pick up the phone,” it doesn’t understand a receiver or just the headset part of a phone. It would pick up the entire phone. That’s just a funny story, only to make this question longer, but are there things that you are doing personally in using AI that you feel are making you understand it or build better prompts?

Marissa Scalercio:
Yeah. I mean, I’m using it in my personal life. I’m using it with my personal email. I’m trying my best to use it every single day, whether that is new products that I’m seeing that are coming out, the new tools that Salesforce is rolling out, the new tools that… Outlook’s rolling out some stuff. Google’s rolling out a lot of different AI tools. So really being able to test those throughout your personal and professional life. That’s really what I’ve been trying to do. I also am asking a lot of questions of my peers as to how they’re using it, and even my friends, just to make sure that if they have something really cool that they are using on a daily basis and it’s making them more efficient, I want it. So I want to make sure that I am trying to find what is going to help me personally be more efficient and then help what is going to help our entire organization or sales organization.

Mike:
That’s smart. I mean, much like the last few podcasts that I’ve done, it’s practice, practice, practice and use, use, use. Right?

Marissa Scalercio:
Yes.

Mike:
I have a friend that told me, he’s like, “Writer’s write.” Yep. They sure do. That’s how you get better at it. So we’ll end on a fun note. Is there anything funny you could share that you’ve asked AI to do that you just kind of thought was an interesting response?

Marissa Scalercio:
I mean, funny pictures. Putting me in some interesting pictures, like basketball photos, which I don’t play basketball. I’m very short. So I mean, there are some really fun things that you can do with AI as well. So those are some of the fun things I’ve been doing.

Mike:
Yeah. I asked AI to make a Pixar version of myself, and that was a hilarious outcome.

Marissa Scalercio:
Yeah, exactly. It’s just fun to play around with it.

Mike:
Yeah. Well, and it’s fun for me, I think, to try and repeat different things and see what the different, especially with images, response was. I did have a coworker. I thought this was really interesting. She’s like, “I didn’t know what to make for dinner. So I plugged some of the stuff that I had in the fridge, in the cupboard, into AI and asked it for a recipe.” I was like, oh, it’s like Iron Chef Kitchen AI.

Marissa Scalercio:
How smart.

Mike:
I know, right?

Marissa Scalercio:
I love that. Oh, I’m absolutely going to use that.

Mike:
Yeah, you’re going to end up with a tuna noodle, taco shell, Dorito, rice and beans. I don’t know. Kind of…

Marissa Scalercio:
Sounds delicious.

Mike:
Yeah, well, AI said it was good. Yeah, well, AI is not eating it.
Marissa, thanks so much for being on the podcast. I can’t wait to see everything else that you guys are working on. I’m sure we’ll see you elsewhere. You’re going to be at TrailblazerDx and Dreamforce and all those fun events.

Marissa Scalercio:
Absolutely.

Mike:
Yeah.

Marissa Scalercio:
Thank you so much for having me. It was so nice to meet you and I’m honored to be here.

Mike:
So it was a great conversation with Marissa. I learned a lot. I feel like I can’t wait to see all of the stuff that we can configure with Prompt Builder. I know she was very specific in emails, but it’s one thing that we’re improving constantly over user’s time and building better emails for salespeople. They always need a better email. And I also loved her insight into being a Salesforce admin as a VP, helping us understand going across to other VPs, communication and also up and down within organizations. It’s very important that we pay attention to that, especially as some of these new features come out and we plan our roadmaps for this year.

Now, if you enjoyed this episode, which I bet you did because I did, and you’re listening on iTunes, I want you to share it. All you got to do is tap the three dots and click Share Episode. Then you can post it socially, you can text it to a friend. And of course, if you’re looking for more great resources, Everything Admin is at admin.salesforce.com, including links to learn about AI and Trailhead and a full transcript of the show.

And of course, you can join our conversation, The Admin Trailblazer Group in the Trailblazer community. The link is also in the show notes. So with that, until next week, I’ll see you in the cloud.

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