It’s been almost 10 years ago to the day that I began my journey with Salesforce. In reflecting back at that time I realized many new Salesforce Admins are starting their journey today. Rather than waxing poetic about how things have changed and what I didn’t have available to me- because let’s be honest- that sounds like your parents telling you they had to walk uphill to school both ways when they were a child. No, I’d like to take a look at the 4 (maybe 5) things I would do if I started my Salesforce career today.
1. Meet with my business leaders
The goal of these meetings is to discuss their vision of Salesforce for the company- how it will help us accomplish our goals, align to our core values, and the support the organization is willing to provide to meet those goals. I didn’t do this when I started my career. Instead I assumed that had already been done, or was being done, or would just magically happen- by the way, none of those things magically happen.
With goals in hand, I would begin my learning journey. Back in my day, this was clicking the help text. Gah, there I go waxing poetic- sorry. Today, that means getting started with Trailhead. Before tackling a tool you need to learn how to use it. With 26 trails and superbadges you might not know where to start- here is how I would tackle trailhead.
That’s about 20 hours worth of learning and getting hands on. Now, by no means is that the end of your journey. But this gets us up and running in the first week so that we can be productive.
3. Community- Twitter and Success
Really this is in conjunction with number 2, but it’s worth calling it out as a separate point. At Salesforce we have an entire community of Admins, Developers, Solution Architects, Partners, and Users who are collaborating everyday in our community. And it’s not all “inside baseball” stuff, it’s a very approachable community where you can ask questions and not be judged. Our community is free and you can login to it using your Salesforce credentials.
Since you will be new to the community- here are a couple tips to help your experience be amazing the first time. When you first login, take a moment to update your profile- add a picture, add a little something in the about me section. Think of it like taking a moment to introduce yourself at a party. Next, see what people are taking about and find groups relevant to you. Again, back to the party analogy- you wouldn’t just walk into a party and start asking questions without finding out the topic of conversation first. But do more than just ask questions. Offer resources, or connect people. The value in our community is that everyone gives advice and asks for advice- because together we all want to succeed.
Now, I love twitter, its where I connect with other Salesforce friends, and stay up to date on the news. And maybe twitter isn’t your jam- totally. But like the Salesforce Success community, create a profile, add a picture, and start following some awesome Salesforce people. In fact, to get you started I’ve made a twitter list of over 795 people for you.
4. User Groups
With a few badges under our belt, and our social profiles in hand it’s time to start planning to regularly attend a Salesforce User Group meeting. Image the Salesforce Success community coming to life- that’s a Salesforce User Group meeting. I remember back to the first time I attended a user group meeting, I left thinking “they were dealing with many of the same issues I was”. There I go waxing poetic again. But seriously, find a user group near you by clicking on this link. Then show up early, introduce yourself and I promise within minutes you will feel among friends.
So by now we are a few weeks in to our position- which still feels like we are getting started. But we have our Trailhead badges, probably asked some questions on the success community, and maybe even got to a user group meeting. It’s almost starting to feel like that comfy chair is getting broke in. It’s time now to have a conversation with our business leaders about investing in our education and training. For some people, classroom training is a great way to learn even more about Salesforce by immersing yourself in the product. It’s also a great way to prepare for the certification exam.
Our discussion with our business leaders is to invest in us, the same way they have invested in Salesforce. By providing us with a certification, along with our Trailhead badges we are able to stand confidently in front of our users and proudly display our credentials. This gives our users the confidence in our skills as we deploy new functionality.
Salesforce has come a long way since I began using the product 10 years ago. The number of resources at your disposal today far outnumbers what was available back in 2006. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the drive of Salesforce Admins to succeed and learn. If you are passionate about learning Salesforce and investing in yourself the sky is the limit. Who knows, maybe one day you will be the one writing a blog post waxing poetic about “back in the day all we had was Trailhead”.