Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re speaking with Geoff Flynn, Salesforce Community MVP. Geoff is a prolific leader of the Salesforce Answers community, with expertise in cross filters and formulas.
Join us to hear about Geoff’s best practices and tips for conquering our fears about presenting — how he tackled it to go up twice (so far) on the Dreamforce stage. We talk about how he solves problems on the Answers community and look at how he’s using his developer’s edition to migrate to Lightning.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Geoff Flynn.
Breaking into Salesforce
Geoff’s first job was guiding his company’s implementation of Cognos from a business perspective, as opposed to an IT perspective, and from there he was quickly put in charge of implementing Salesforce.
As Geoff says, “I was always that bridge between the business users, who get paid to sell stuff, and the IT users. Those two don’t always talk well together, and I was the one who tried to bridge the gap and talk the common language.” Because of Geoff’s broad skillset and because finding the balance between business and IT is key, Salesforce made sense for him.
From Answers to Dreamforce Presenter
“Growing up, I was petrified of speaking,” Geoff says, but when his boss surprised him by putting him up in front of a town hall, he came to an important realization, “you’re a lot more nervous than you come off.” The bottom line is that practice makes perfect.
Another thing that helps is to make sure you’re talking about something you know well. If you go up there and talk about something you’ve just implemented or are really enthusiastic about, that passion and insight will come through.
Formulas in Salesforce
Geoff gravitated to formulas because of a need for more powerful reporting options, even importing data from other sources into the Salesforce dashboards to get the reports he needed. Spending a lot of time trying to get the reports to do what he needed them to do naturally lead Geoff to an expertise in cross filters and other formulas. Geoff explains that a key to getting formulas to add value is to figure out “how to make your data work for you.”
Solving Problems and Finding Answers
“You always want to try and break it down into little pieces, and really understand what the need is, and not what’s been put in front of you.” Geoff keeps focused by continually asking why someone is asking for something, and using those answers to pull the problem apart.
For complicated problems, Geoff looks at the documentation and pulls out his Swiss Army Knife full of developer editions: “I’ve got so many developer editions that I need a password manager just to manage my Salesforce passwords.” Another rich source of answers is the wide variety of blogs that are out there.
Using Developer Editions as a Scratch Pad
Another great use of multiple developer editions is as a scratch pad because it lets you show prototypes as you go. You don’t need to track all the changes that you make, which means that you can iterate faster and show the different ways that things can look, especially in Lightning versus Classic.
Each time Geoff gets started he makes an edition called “The Playground,” and on the homepage of that org he puts in big red text: “Do not expect this org to be right in any way, shape, or form.” Acknowledging that it should never be part of the development stream gives him the freedom to treat it as a whiteboarding session using the client’s own software. Being able to show, rather than tell, makes a big difference in finding the best solution to the problem at hand.
For more insights, make sure to follow Geoff on Twitter (@geoffreyflynn2).
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