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This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Laurie Dusko, the Product Owner of Salescloud at Wiley, for the third and final episode recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. We learn how she balances immediate needs with longterm goals, and how she’s creating a team of super users to help her get her message out there.
Join us as we talk about why timing is so important when it comes to delivering functionality, how transparency about your decision making can help you, and how she’s recruiting super users to socialize her ideas.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Laurie Dusko.
It’s all in the timing.
“I work to help our users be more effective in everything they need to do that’s Salesforce-related,” Laurie says. She does this in a number of ways, but as of now, she doesn’t yet have her Admin certification. “I understand the practical applications of the things we need to do, I can go do it in a sandbox,” she says, “but I have a dev team that builds these things for me so I spend a lot of time writing user requirements and stories and just really wrapping everything up nice and tidy with a bow to make sure it works for our users.”
One of Laurie’s biggest jobs is working as the go-between from the technology to leadership. “I work really hard to translate what leadership thinks they want into what they actually need,” she says. One thing Laurie harps on that doesn’t get discussed enough is timing. “If something’s important right now but I miss that window, they might not need it for a full year,” she says, “and there are other things that really could help those users get to the end of their fiscal year or meet their quota that can move up in priority.” In short, the secret is to find a balance between where you’re working toward and what you need right now.
How Laurie gets executive buy-in.
Balancing priorities is a constant struggle, and that’s really come to the forefront as Laurie’s team as switched to an Agile development model. “If it’s a busy time of year, you don’t want to roll out too much change too quickly that could impact their ability to do their job,” she says. Instead, they’re borrowing from Salesforce to divide the changes they want to make into major releases where they can plan any training they need to do. They still make smaller changes more frequently, but they’re careful to make sure nothing is too disruptive.
When Laurie talks to executives, she tries to keep the conversation focused on what they want to get out of any Salesforce changes they’re requesting, rather than getting too much into checkboxes versus radio buttons. “Sometimes we’re really quick to solution and say what we need without really understanding what it is we’re trying to solve for,” she says. Laurie has taken the idea of SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around) to the next level by using it to get executive buy-in. If you can spend time with leadership to really understand their pain points and what they need, you don’t need to be such a mind reader.
Recruiting a team of super users.
Laurie’s team’s approach of bundling major changes into releases also meant that they created “release notes” to send out along with them. While that worked OK, they’ve made the decision to shift gears and take a more social approach. They’ve identified their super users both to gather feedback and help them as they roll out new features. To put together this group, they actually used an application process combined with working closely with their sales managers who know their users best.
The program also allows them to create the potential for cross-silo communication between super users who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise share ideas with each other. What’s more, it gives Laurie’s team the opportunity to train and possibly hire some of these super users in the future.
- Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns
- Evil Admin: @The_Evil_Admin
- Laurie: @SFDC_Laurie
- David Giller: @DavidGiller
- Mike: @MikeGerholdt
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Full Show Transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce admin. This week we are bringing our live series from World Tour New York to a close. I appreciate Janae being on the podcast last week. It was fun talking to her about papers and processes and things, oh my. And this week, holy cow, fresh from the breakout session we have Laurie Dusko joining us.
Laurie Dusko: Thank you for having me.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes, and she has a career in radio, so there’s only a little bit of a high bar for sound.
Laurie Dusko: A brief stint.
Mike Gerholdt: A brief stint, yes.
Laurie Dusko: I wouldn’t call it a career but brief stint.
Mike Gerholdt: All radio people are that way, aren’t they? Oh, they’re so humble.
Laurie Dusko: It was a good time, and now I found myself with Salesforce.
Mike Gerholdt: Yay. And in front of a microphone. See it’s 360, people. It happens everywhere.
Laurie Dusko: Perfect.
Mike Gerholdt: Laurie, what do you do in the Salesforce ecosystem?
Laurie Dusko: I am the product owner of sales cloud at Wiley and I work to help our users be more effective in everything that they need to do that Salesforce related.
Mike Gerholdt: Cool. All right, so before we got started, this is where I’m going to kick off our conversation, you said, “I just don’t feel like I’m an admin.”
Laurie Dusko: Right.
Mike Gerholdt: Let’s just start there, our therapy session of we don’t feel like we’re an admin.
Laurie Dusko: We just need a couch and we’re good to go.
Mike Gerholdt: Here we go.
Laurie Dusko: I do not have my admin certification.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay.
Laurie Dusko: Full disclosure, so some of you may want to stop listening.
Mike Gerholdt: No.
Laurie Dusko: But, I’m working on it. I’ve been a little busy, so it’s just something I haven’t gotten around to. But I have never been an admin, if there is a traditional sense of the word, and I’ve really moved into this product-owner role where I understand the practical application of the things we need to do, I can go do it in a sandbox. But I actually have a dev team that goes out and builds these things for me, so I spend a lot of time writing user requirements and stories and just really wrapping everything up nice and tidy with a bow to make sure it works right for our users with some of the, what I’ll call entry-level admin work with the reports and the dashboards and maybe some validation rules and field changes. But the more complex stuff is something I hope to get better at, but is not really in my skill set today. But something I work closely with the dev team to build out right now.
Mike Gerholdt: It’s interesting because I think often we associate admins as the thinkers and the doers, but you’re just the thinker. Which still makes you an admin because you have to know how to do it.
Laurie Dusko: Right.
Mike Gerholdt: And you get to do the doing things in a sandbox, right?
Laurie Dusko: Yes. We call them proofs of concept.
Mike Gerholdt: Proof of concept.
Laurie Dusko: And I work really hard to sell the ideas to our leadership or translate what leadership thinks they want into what they actually need.
Mike Gerholdt: Let’s start there. Because I feel a lot of admins… We’re World Tour, they’ve seen a billion breakout sessions, where hopefully the wifi works, and they know how to do the config change. Holy cow, Mike and Rebecca just showed me how to take a spreadsheet and turn it into an app with Salesforce Object Creator, but you’re kind of the brains behind that. Where does that start for you?
Laurie Dusko: Right. We are making quarterly roadmaps because the business can change over that period of time. And every quarter, we’re looking at what do we need? What will help to make our users more effective and what is the right time to deliver that? Just because something’s important right now, if I miss that window, they may not need it for a full year and there are other things that really can help those sales users get to the end of their fiscal year or meet their quota that quarter, whatever it might be, that can kind of move up in priority.
Laurie Dusko: I’m working with both our users to get feedback and then our leadership to help kind of find that balance between what is the future of Salesforce and what do we need today to be really effective, and how can we make sure what we’re building today will help us get to that desired end result. Not that there ever is an end with Salesforce, but as we’re moving towards-
Mike Gerholdt: That goal.
Laurie Dusko: … that future state, how can we make sure everybody’s kind of getting on the bus.
Mike Gerholdt: Quarterly roadmaps, I like this idea. Where do you decide the amount of change? What are the factors? Because I feel like I hear people say this and then they come up to me at World Tour and like, “But I don’t know how my users, how much change they can take.” How do you understand how much change your users can take?
Laurie Dusko: We’re struggling with this at the moment. We used to have a monthly release. We are agile now. We have three weeks sprints, but sometimes that is too much change too quickly for the users. Or if it’s a busy time of year, you don’t really want to roll out change that could impact their ability to do their job.
Mike Gerholdt: Close of quarter.
Laurie Dusko: Exactly.
Mike Gerholdt: The holidays, right?
Laurie Dusko: Yes. We are looking at some ideas now to borrow from Salesforce and have some major releases, if you will, where we make some of the bigger changes that might require some training and some more hand-holding for the users. And then smaller things that are really tangible to get them to the end of quarter or through a certain period of year, we’re rolling out at the end of those sprints. It’s become a balancing act to find that right balance of how much the users can ingest at point in time without having them all come back and kind of saying, “Is it your goal every day to-
Mike Gerholdt: To move this field.
Laurie Dusko: … torture me so that I can’t do my job?
Laurie Dusko: Which of course, no one wakes up every morning and thinks, “How can I make life more difficult for Jimmy or Nicole,” or whoever the user is. We always have their best interests at heart even though they may not always believe that.
Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. Or follow that evil Admin Twitter handle maybe. Yes, that’s my goal, Jimmy, was to get up on Tuesdays and move the fields so that you didn’t know what to populate.
Laurie Dusko: Exactly.
Mike Gerholdt: One, one thing you said in your intro was, “or what the executive things they want.” Help me unpack that because I feel like I talk to admins a lot and they’re like, “Well, but these are the requirements.” And the euphemism, you’ve heard it on the podcast, “10 check boxes on an opportunity.” How do you parse that out? What does it look like when Laurie has to go back to the executive and be like, “I know you said X. Here’s Y.”
Laurie Dusko: I come from a background in sales, which is really helpful because it allows me to kind of uncover and ask some of these questions. I think that that’s really helped me here. But I also kind of ask, “What are you trying to do?” Right? Maybe don’t tell me you need the check boxes, but what would you like to get out of this? How are you using this to shape coaching your users or track metrics or whatever it might be. And then, we’ll work backwards from there. Because sometimes we’re really quick to solution and say what we need without really understanding what it is we’re trying to solve for.
Laurie Dusko: Although I try to take things at face value, there are some questions that you just need to ask to make sure you’re getting it just right, and I also try to involve them. Now I know they’re really busy, so at times I’ll ask them to appoint a stakeholder, but we have adopted the sprint review piece of Agile to make sure that they’re buying into the changes we’re making and that they are along the lines of what they’re thinking. Because a lot of executives, I’m sure most of you have run into, think that you are psychic. They will say, “I would like this. Please go build it.” And you need to understand kind of the how’s and why’s in order to make that in the way that’ll be most impactful for them and the users that are going to have to use that new feature or field or whatever it might be.
Mike Gerholdt: What is one skill, and I know you said sales, but what is one skill or one thing that you fall back on when you know you have to go into an executive meeting and kind of sell your idea and you know some of the things you aren’t delivering or you chose not to deliver for a certain reason. Because I’m thinking that could be a sticking point for admins, right? Like I know how to do all the config things, but man, I don’t, I don’t know how to go in and tell that VP of sales, you’re not getting something. What is the skill you lie.
Laurie Dusko: This is a tough one because we have quite a backlog right now and everyone is not getting everything that they want. And balancing who gets what when, sure has made me some people’s best friends and some people’s worst enemies. But what I try to do is be really transparent. I can’t give you these three things you asked for because we are delivering these other things. Here’s where you’re falling on the roadmap right now. Here are the benefits and why these decisions were made.
Laurie Dusko: And I’m really fortunate in that my manager is supporting me and working with me on those decisions as well. I have her to thank for kind of backing me up if things ever go south. But I’m finding that the more transparent we’ve been about what we’re doing, where we’re going and why these decisions are being made is really helping. Because all of the leaders understand the goals that the different sales teams and users are trying to get to, and it’s really just about the right thing at the right time. And I’m hoping that they’re not too hurt when I tell them that we can’t deliver what they want. And in time, we’ll be able to either leverage something we built for someone else or be able to get to the items that they need.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. No, so I completely agree relying on your manager. Because I look back to when I had a career as an admin before these podcasts and stuff, having that manager be like, “No, no, no. Go in there and say this. I got your back.” Holy cow.
Laurie Dusko: It’s everything.
Mike Gerholdt: I mean, it’s just like the wind beneath my wings, you know?
Laurie Dusko: Yes. And getting that leadership buy-in, not just from my manager but our sales leaders as well-
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it’s huge.
Laurie Dusko: … has been huge for us in rolling out changes because it’s not something that I did, it’s something their management and I worked on together to help them and they’re really reinforcing it with our teams. And that has been really just life-changing for me because they’re able to go in and reinforce everything that’s been done.
Mike Gerholdt: We’re going to wax poetically about how great management buy-in is here, and everybody’s writing down, get management buy-in. How do we get management buy-in?
Laurie Dusko: Ooh, tough one.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, we’re going in deep for the hard questions. It’s 2020.
Laurie Dusko: I’ve used the Salesforce administration by walking around. I’ve just reversed it into leadership. I have tried to work with them as I just want to understand your needs and the pain points that you have, and I am here to be a partner for you. And I think that’s really helped me where there’s obviously some conversations that I’m not involved in. But when the right things are brought to me, I can handle them delicately and prepare those different changes as needed and we can move forward with them in the right… I lost my train of thought.
Mike Gerholdt: That’s okay. Leadership management by walking around. We need a vowel.
Laurie Dusko: It’s like SABWA.
Mike Gerholdt: It’s like SABWA, but-
Laurie Dusko: But with leaders.
Mike Gerholdt: … leadership. I don’t know. We need some sort of vowel in there. LABWA?
Laurie Dusko: It could be the participation part of our podcast where people can tweet in.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, Arrested Development fans immediately, I’m going to… That’s what it feels like LABWA. LABWA, that’s what we’re going to call it, LABWA.
Mike Gerholdt: Now that everybody stopped listening. We started about your career getting leadership and buy-in. I want to hit on a third thing that you brought up, which is socializing ideas. Because I feel like a lot of what we do is gathering those requirements, ironing out processes that are, who knows where they came up with them, and then building out the features and functionality. And then the third part is socializing those ideas. I mean, a hundred years ago, I put out you should do chatter posts and you should do monthly newspaper things, newsletters and stuff. What do you do to socialize your ideas?
Laurie Dusko: We were doing release notes.
Mike Gerholdt: Ooh, wow, you were writing release notes. That’s brave.
Laurie Dusko: Well there were PowerPoint presentations with pictures, right? We cut out a lot of the words. And my running joke in any presentation I gave was, “Please, please read my post.” We used a #releasenotes so everyone could find them.
Mike Gerholdt: Nice.
Laurie Dusko: That worked okay.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay.
Laurie Dusko: We are shifting gears. We have identified super users and we are actually going to start using those super users to both socialize ideas and gather feedback, but also help us as we roll out new initiatives so that they can really give users the perspective as their peer on how to do the different things that we are doing, the changes we’re making to the system. And this is a newer thing, we’ll be starting out in the beginning of 2020. We’ll have to report back on that one in a few months.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. We’ll come back in a year. How did you identify the super users?
Laurie Dusko: We had them apply and we are working with sales management to determine who should be a part of it. I am fortunate enough that I have some peers who are business leads and work specifically with different groups within the company. And they’ll know how a user is from kind of that day-to-day interaction with Salesforce, and then the sales managers understand if that person can really share that extra time commitment to be a part of what we’re doing. It’s a group effort to determine who will be, and we’ll have them do a one year term and see how it goes. And the really nice thing is we’ll use that to cross-collaborate our super users across different sales units so they can share ideas amongst each other where they may not have necessarily communicated about that before.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. I would borrow all of that. Save that part of the podcast, go back, take notes. And I’ve written about super users. I had super users at my org and they kind of self-identified, right? I wanted to do this. Finding them sometimes can be hard and then choosing them in the methodology and then get them excited to tell their peers about the stuff they’re doing or use cases.
Laurie Dusko: And on the other side of the fence, we could be training potential additions to our team for the future. I started out as a super user, or as the person that ran Salesforce at my company at that time said I was a bit of annoying user because I kept breaking things. But it’s worked out well for me, so I am grateful if that program could give somebody else the opportunities that I’ve had.
Mike Gerholdt: Super users, annoying users, there’s a chatter group for everybody. It’s 2020, let’s talk about, we can call it resolutions or goals. What is your kind of new year’s goal for yourself?
Laurie Dusko: Ooh, I’m going to put it out there.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Laurie Dusko: Got a pass admin cert. And if I’m feeling real fancy we could do Advanced Admin, right?
Mike Gerholdt: Once you’re there… I mean, you already started.
Laurie Dusko: See how it goes.
Mike Gerholdt: You’re off the launch pad, right?
Laurie Dusko: I’ve been putting it off for a long time and I know I’m ready. I just need to schedule it.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure, and let’s kind of turn it a little bit. For admins who are listening to the podcast, they’re just getting started, what would be a good, kind of first year goal as they’re working through their career?
Laurie Dusko: Join a user group.
Mike Gerholdt: Any suggestions?
Laurie Dusko: I think shoutout to the North Jersey user group. I recently have joined the group and it took me far too long to become a part of one and I’m grateful for that community that I have to reach out to. That I can put names and faces to as opposed to just posting something on the success community, which is also amazing and fabulous. This podcast is great. I also love Trailhead. And if you are fortunate enough to have a success manager, they are an amazing resource to help put you in touch with peers where a user group might not be available to you or it just doesn’t work with your schedule; so that you can start to come to talk to people that have similar issues as you and/or have resolved those issues and find ways to really work towards a better experience for your users.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. No, I couldn’t agree more. There’s quite a few user groups in the Midwest where I’ve been. There’s one that always sticks out in my head of doing roundtables where people were talking about questions that they had. And I can’t remember the names of the companies, but there was an admin for a garbage company and an admin for like a gutter company, and they solved each other’s problems. And I was like, where in the world would a gutter company and a sanitation talk to each other?
Laurie Dusko: It’s a beautiful thing about the Salesforce community. It just brings everyone together.
Mike Gerholdt: It was good. Thank you so much, Laurie, for being on the podcast. This is fabulous.
Laurie Dusko: It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
Mike Gerholdt: We’re going to have to come back in a year and see how those goals are going.
Laurie Dusko: Yeah. I might have to bring one of the super users with me.
Mike Gerholdt: There we go.
Mike Gerholdt: It was great to chat with Laurie after a wonderful World Tour New York, and thank you, Laurie, for participating in our breakout session as well. I also want to give a big shoutout to David Giller who connected me to all of the guests that you heard this month in January that I got to interview while I was in New York. Be sure to give David a follow on Twitter. He is @DavidGiller.
Mike Gerholdt: All right, so three things I learned from our discussion with Laurie today. One, Laurie makes quarterly roadmaps and thinks about the right time to deliver functionality. Amazing. Second, one skill she gave us to deliver your idea is to be transparent about what’s going on and especially be transparent about the decisions that were made. And of course, socializing ideas, this third item that I learned from her. Create a group of super users to help socialize your ideas and gather feedback. I’ve always been a fan of having super users. They can really help other users, and it can help you as a Salesforce admin really get features and functionality and get buy-in and get feedback back to you.
Mike Gerholdt: Now, Laurie had a new year’s resolution for herself to get the admin certification, so I would love to hear if that’s your new year’s resolution as well. And her resolution for Salesforce admins is to join a user group. I love that idea as well. And of course, I’d like to know what your new year’s resolution is, so be sure to tweet it out and use the #AwesomeAdmin. And be sure to tune in next week for another wonderful Lightning Champions Spotlight.
Mike Gerholdt: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns. No, i on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholt. And be sure to follow our guest this week, Laurie Dusko, who is @SFDC_lauri on Twitter. And with that, stay tuned for the next week’s episode and we’ll see you in the cloud.
On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jene Fuller, Salesforce Consultant for UPS. This is the next in a series of episodes recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. We learn how her developer and business analyst background have combined to make her into the awesome admin she is today.
Join us as we talk about how having a business analyst mindset, and the soft skills to figure what the real problem is, helps you build the right solution to help fix it.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jene Fuller.
How to have a BA mindset.
Jene brings her developer and business analyst (BA) background to everything that she does. “I’m all into requirements,” she says, “trying to figure out what is the big picture and how do we get there without all the over-architected processes and terms that nobody understands.” She brings her BA mindset to everything that she does, always starting out with the key questions: who are my users? What do they do? How do they do it? What are their obstacles?
Being able to take a step back is a crucial skill to have in order to be successful at understanding the task at hand. As Salesforce admin, being able to put on the BA hat to understand the whys behind what you’re trying to do makes a big difference, not just for your career but the people you’re helping as well. “I try to get who the people are and what are their exact needs,” Jene says, “and then build the solution around it.”
From faxes to Salesforce.
When Jene first encountered Salesforce, she was basically thrown in head-first. She was brought into the department through a connection, so she was the lowest person on the totem pole, so to speak. “I said to myself, ‘Let me do the thing that nobody wants to do—let me do all the user stuff.’” But as she started working on it, she realized that her BA experience gave her a unique perspective on things.
What Jene also realized as she was taking stock of the situation was that there were other departments in the company still doing key business processes on paper and through fax—in 2014. Things like getting signatures for SOW approvals required getting the right piece of paper to right person, which caused a lot of holdups. Jene started going to key stakeholders offering to digitize the process. “If you’re interested, I can teach you how to do it,” she would say, “if you’re not interested, I can do it for you.” She ended up integrated that electronic signature tool into Salesforce—eliminating the need for the fax machine and starting her Salesforce career.
When it comes to getting rid of those pesky spreadsheets and making things better for everyone, Jene has some important advice. “We need champions, people that see the vision and can market it on our behalf,” she says. That means getting someone to understand just how much time you can save them so they can really go to the mat for you.
The magic that is the Lightning Record Page.
Jene is a huge fan of the Lightning Record Page. It lets you tell whether your user is looking at the page on desktop or mobile, and lets you customize it accordingly. Someone checking something quickly on their phone is going to have far different needs than a person sitting down in front of their multi-monitor setup to get to work, and Form Factor helps you help them.
Getting a handle on what someone’s mindset can only come from spending time with your users and seeing how they go about their day. Jene calls this a “ride along,” but longtime listeners of the show already know what we call it. SABWA: Salesforce Administration By Walking Around. Spend the fifteen minutes a day checking in on your users—you’ll never know what’ll come up.
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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 a more awesome admin. We’re on week two of being live here at the New York City World Tour. It’s been an amazing stop. A little chilly, but that’s okay. Last week, we talked with Marciana, and she talked a lot about process. This week I am here talking with Janae Fuller. Janae, welcome to the podcast.
Janae Fuller: Hi, Mike. Thank you for having me.
Mike Gerholdt: You have a lovely red blazer on that nobody will get to see. Ironically, it’s not your favorite color.
Janae Fuller: No, it’s not my favorite color but it’s a cousin of my favorite color.
Mike Gerholdt: It’s in the family.
Janae Fuller: It’s in the family.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So Janae, you’re a Salesforce admin.
Janae Fuller: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: Tell the world a little bit about who Janae Fuller is.
Janae Fuller: Well, thank you Mike. So, I am an admin. I have a developer background experience, so I always approach things very in a detailed way. I also have BA skills.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I like BAs.
Janae Fuller: So, I ask those questions and I’m all into requirement and trying to figure out, what is the big picture and how do we get there without all the over-architected processes and stuff?
Mike Gerholdt: The terms that nobody understands.
Janae Fuller: Exactly. Why can’t it be English?
Mike Gerholdt: So, were you a BA before you were a Salesforce admin?
Janae Fuller: Oh, well thank you for asking. So actually, as a developer I’ve always had that BA mindset. Not just, “Hand me your requirements,” but ask, “Why does this make sense,” and, “How does this affect the person entering the data?” So, I kind of was but I didn’t know it, so I kind of had those BA skills throughout my entire career.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Tell me about this BA mindset. For the uninitiated, give me a BA mindset. We can take cooking dinner.
Janae Fuller: Okay, all right great.
Mike Gerholdt: How does a BA approach cooking dinner?
Janae Fuller: All right. So, where are my ingredients?
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, boy.
Janae Fuller: Who is my audience? Am I cooking for my vegetarians, am I cooking for my pescatarians? Who’s at my table?
Mike Gerholdt: Got you.
Janae Fuller: Are there any allergies? Do they like spice, and if there are any of those sensitivities, I start to look at sides so that there’s something for everyone. So, that’s how you factor that in, it’s a pepper. So then with that in mind, with your audience, the stakeholders, because you want that meal to be memorable. You’ve taken all those aspects and then as you’re cooking, you’re keeping those things in mind. Then you get this wonderful meal, and just make a little something for everyone.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow, okay. Well, that’s it for today. Cooking with Janae Fuller.
Janae Fuller: Yes, I do cooking too.
Mike Gerholdt: Thanks for listening. You should do a cooking show.
Janae Fuller: Thank you.
Mike Gerholdt: No, but that was a good explanation because I feel often I talk with Salesforce admins, and they’re kind of, “Oh, well this is a thing I have to do.” To hear the BA standpoint of it is, “Well, let’s take a step back and let’s think about this for a second. Who are we approaching, and what are we trying to accomplish?” As opposed to, and this is my favorite euphemism, “Let’s just add 10 check boxes to the opportunity page,” right?
Janae Fuller: Well you know what Mike? I used to be that person. How many check boxes? They have to be check boxes, they can’t be option boxes, they can’t be radio buttons, but then I realized I did not have a business mindset. I was totally disconnected from my users because I didn’t know what they wanted. I didn’t know who they were. What were their obstacles? That’s how you wind up becoming a dinosaur.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, boy.
Janae Fuller: Because if you can only do one thing and you can’t think differently, you wind up getting dated and eventually phased out of things. So, I did have that ideology at one point, but then I learned from it. So any task it’s like, hold on. Let’s take a step back. The best people will appreciate that, and the worst people won’t because they’re like, “It’s already overdue.” I’m like, “Well, then you’re coming to me too late. I can’t really help you best because you’re coming to me at the tail end of something. Unless I know how the parts plug into the whole, I’m really not the best person to help you because this is just how I think.”
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Janae Fuller: That’s just being upfront.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. Curious, I immediately think of T. rex when you say dinosaur. I’d be curious what other people think of. I don’t know why that comes to mind. Little arms, right? You’re immediately dated. “Ah, I’ve got these little arms. I can’t send a fax.”
Janae Fuller: “I’ve got these big teeth and I’m fast.”
Mike Gerholdt: Right, exactly. I know. So, it’s interesting. Before we started pressing record, we were chatting. I think this is the third time this week that fax machines have come up in conversation. All of us asking, “So, do they still exist?” I think that’s what you said, but let’s talk about going from a fax machine at an organization you used to work at, to Salesforce.
Janae Fuller: Okay, great. So.
Mike Gerholdt: So, it was a dark and stormy night.
Janae Fuller: Yes. Clouds.
Mike Gerholdt: I had to cook a meal.
Janae Fuller: I had all kinds of people at the table.
Mike Gerholdt: Exactly.
Janae Fuller: And none of them spoke English.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. Oh my gosh.
Janae Fuller: No, I’m joking, but about the fax and the world when there was such a thing.
Mike Gerholdt: Which I think some people still use, no offense to the people that still use fax machines.
Janae Fuller: Well, sure. Nothing wrong with it.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure.
Janae Fuller: They just haven’t used their cell phone much. It’s all right. It’s okay. We’ve got room for everyone.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Janae Fuller: So, that was when I first broke into Salesforce. I started my Salesforce journey back in 2014, and remember, I was telling you I had the dev background.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Janae Fuller: I worked with a lot of other platforms. So, I had this awesome manager and he moved into a team that had Salesforce, and he remembered me. He was like, “Janae, I want you to join my team.” So I was like, “Okay. I’ve heard of Salesforce. I have no idea what it is.” So he’s like, “Okay. Here you go, here’s the keys.” I’m like, “Oh no. What do I do?” So, I was on a team. They had other people, and so everyone had their allocated spaces of, “I do this, I do that.” Then I’m like, “Well, wow. I’m the new guy. The low man on the totem pole, or woman. The low person on the totem pole. How do I fit in here?” So I’m like, “Okay. Let me do the thing that nobody wants to do. Let me do all the user stuff,” but as I was learning I’m like, “Wait. I’m really understanding this user stuff,” because you really do need an account. There’s certain attributes you need to have that kind of help you to navigate. Right?
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Janae Fuller: Like log in. So, I got really good at that, but I didn’t want to be a one trick pony, so then I started doing other things with the user experience. Again, trying to find a way to live without bumping into anybody else, but trying to get a space that no one else was using. So, there was an app that was integrated in our Salesforce instance. It already had a life, it already had its personality, but I realized that there were other departments within our company that were doing paper based things.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh my.
Janae Fuller: So, yes.
Mike Gerholdt: In 2014?
Janae Fuller: 2014, yeah. Yeah, so they were still-
Mike Gerholdt: That’s why we don’t have jet cars, people.
Janae Fuller: Eventually maybe.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Janae Fuller: Or maybe they’ll just be hovercrafts.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure, I’ll take that. It’s a first step.
Janae Fuller: Exactly. Baby steps. So, departments. Think about SOWs. You get requirements, you know, okay, we want to hire contractor X and it’s going to cost this many millions, and we need approvals because it’s in the high budget need. The decision makers are usually on planes somewhere.
Mike Gerholdt: Always.
Janae Fuller: I’m in New York. How do I get this person who’s just flew to Tokyo to sign this thing? All right, well I guess we’re going to have to sit on this contract for three weeks, and now we have to backdate everything because we had no signatures. So then I’m like, “Wait, hold on. I know we have an app that kind of does this. Maybe I can get in touch with people who have these needs and talk to them about it.” So, that’s what I did. I was like, “Hi, listen. You guys are doing SOWs and I know that obtaining signatures are a hard thing to do because people are everywhere. Can we just maybe take a few minutes and talk about what it is that you want signed, and issues like date, name, signature, amount, things like that?” I’m like, “Okay. Well, with this tool, we could just tag these things so that we can take these fields and make them readable and electronic. It’s a really simple thing to do. If you’re interested, I could teach you how to do it. If you’re not interested, I can do it for you.”
Janae Fuller: So, the relationship began. I worked with one person, and then it started working, and they were showing people like, “Look. Hey, look. We can get these and we can send this through email now. We don’t have to go and touch people, and wait for them to sign it, and get the black ink pen versus the red ink. Then fax.” Yeah, I said it again. “Fax it to so and so, let them approve it. Oh wait, we have a new edit. Now we have to go through this process again.” We don’t have to do that anymore. We can use electronic signature, and then eventually I started working with that tool with our Salesforce integration and extending that. So, that was the way I got into my groove within the Salesforce team, because again, we already had people doing other things. I used just simple soft skills. Tell me what it is that you do? Why does it hurt, and how can I help? Then just used the tech to fill those gaps.
Mike Gerholdt: So I feel like, and you said something in there I want to come back to, but you touched on yes, fax and here’s the thing we have to do, and some people still use it, but I think we’re at World Tour, there’s a lot of presentations that show you, “Here’s how you do the config changes.” The config changes are easy. What I hear in your story is yes, config changes are easy, and let me talk about all of the other things that come with that.
Janae Fuller: Right, right.
Mike Gerholdt: Right? So in your roles that you’ve had as an admin at various companies, what’s your mindset approach to that? Because, I believe you had a story of paper everywhere, right?
Janae Fuller: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: I would love to know, because I feel like part B or part C of that is you come to a World Tour, you see how easy it is to do this, you watch an admin webinar, you see how easy it is to do that. What I hear from you is you’re really good at knocking on doors and saying, “I’ve found these five faxes, and you all are crazy. We can do this in Salesforce.” What does that look like for you?
Janae Fuller: Okay, very good question, Mike. So first, well, what I have used, I don’t want to say you have to, but what’s worked best for me is being concerned with that person that has to do this dirty thing all the time, because they have a personality. They want to do what they can in eight hours, but this stuff is really mundane and it could be done so much better with three minutes as opposed to a whole working day. So, I try to get to know who the people are, and what are their exact needs? Then build a solution around it, but that takes conversation, asking questions. “Who is this person? All right, I see you have this request, but is there anybody who does this? Can I sit with them to see how they use it?” Because most of the time when requirements come, people have an idea, but is that all? Is there more?
Janae Fuller: Because the last thing you want to do is take the time to build something and miss an entire aspect that may lead to a rewrite, because that’s painful, and it’s a waste. So, I try to work from the ground and then the other way. From the ground up, so to speak. I try to connect with people because at the end of the day, you can build this wonderful thing but if no one is going to use it, it was for nothing. So then you find out who the people are and keep them in mind with you, and use them with the acceptance testings, now all of a sudden you have adoption. So, that’s how it goes. I’m at this place now, as we all are. I’m at a company and we’re doing processes that are extremely painful, and they’re very mundane, and I almost hate to say it but we’re using, wait for it, spreadsheets.
Mike Gerholdt: Ah, well you know, people love them.
Janae Fuller: They love them because they’re so easy to use.
Mike Gerholdt: Because it’s an immediate output. That’s what I think of. When people build a spreadsheet, they almost build the report that they want to be honest with you. That’s-
Janae Fuller: They’re building databases, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, well. They’re clunky, but they are, yeah.
Janae Fuller: Then there’s sheets that should be attached to other sheets, and so now all of a sudden we can’t live without this, but we never should have had it. My thing is, is that these have been in use. People like it. They know where to go. Other people know where to go. There’s no really sharing access, you could just check out the file, make your updates, check it back in and now everybody sees it. It’s instant.
Mike Gerholdt: I did my job, check.
Janae Fuller: Exactly, check. Onto the rest of my life.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep, yep.
Janae Fuller: Right? The thing is, is that that data is critical data, and it only lives within the spreadsheet. How can other people see it? How do they know it exists? Then what if someone forgets to do something and now weeks later or down the road, you found out but everyone is caught off guard? So really, that’s a great candidate for a Salesforce app, but people don’t know Salesforce. Some do, some don’t. So my job now, they don’t really know it yet, what I’m doing is laying the groundwork for this to be a Salesforce application. It’s a key candidate.
Mike Gerholdt: Got you.
Janae Fuller: The reason why is because it’ll be accessible, we can report on the data, we can share it, we can have email alerts, and all kinds of metrics that don’t exist within spreadsheets.
Mike Gerholdt: So, you can stitch together what that looks like from the customer’s perspective.
Janae Fuller: Correct.
Mike Gerholdt: Because really what you’re doing is, and I love this idea, is looking at the paper. Looking at the spreadsheets. Going around and saying, “So maybe from the customer perspective, they think we have everything but there’s no one way for me to look and see what happens here.”
Janae Fuller: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: Right?
Janae Fuller: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: To the spreadsheet thing, what if somebody forgets to check it out that day?
Janae Fuller: That’s right, or they don’t check it in.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Janae Fuller: So now they’ve got all these great changes, but no one could see it but them, but we have to keep going. So then we override, and now we have a version issue. That doesn’t happen in Salesforce. You know?
Mike Gerholdt: Right. I know some people struggle with the word expert. I think the perspective you brought up earlier of, “I sit down with a person because there’s somebody that has to deal with this process that’s the expert,” that can help you become the expert in that. What’s your take, or what’s your approach look like after you do that on the ground information gathering, and you’re stitching it together to roll it up to executives? Because I really want to elevate admins to say, “Look. I put all this together, and here’s my vision.” What’s advice Janae has for presenting that admin vision to executives? What are some good things you’ve done.
Janae Fuller: That’s a wonderful question, Mike. So, oftentimes admins don’t really have that kind of access. So, we need partners, champions, people that see the vision and they can market it on our behalf.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I like that.
Janae Fuller: Yes. Like friends, right?
Mike Gerholdt: Yes.
Janae Fuller: Manager, next level manager, but when you have the buy in, and this is why you take people with you. So, as I’m looking at all these processes that exist in spreadsheets and trying to figure out, do I have a complete picture or is some of it still missing? Because you never want to say, “Okay, well we’re ready to take this now on the road,” but then it’s like, “Well, you forgot this other piece.” It’ll never work. Back to the drawing board. So, before getting to that, “We’re going to market this,” thing, this vision, we want to make sure that we have all the pieces.
Janae Fuller: It gets a little tricky because you don’t want it to be so big that it has to have everything, but it needs to have the right pieces before we can start to roll it up and to market it. Definitely keeping management involved, or at least one manager that sees the pain of having to fill out these spreadsheets, knowing that it’s a better way to do it, and it’ll save time. “Wait, hold on. I have my one resource that spends six out of eight hours doing this thing? Now it’ll take a half an hour? Tell me more.” So, one of the things is what’s the return on investment? What’s the so what factor? Why do I care about this? Because, that’s how management looks at it. How much does it cost, how much time is it going to save, and how are people going to use this? That’s something to keep in mind when making these assessments and wanting to market it to others.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, because it’s one thing to have somebody tell you, “Well, it only takes me a minute or two to check out that, make that update.” Right, but if you do that five times a day and you do that five days a week, so I’m doing quick math, 25 minutes.
Janae Fuller: Exactly, per person.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Then you start compounding that. Now all of a sudden you’re like, “We’re actually paying for an entire other human at this point that I could save you.” It just is a record update that Process Builder sends an alert.
Janae Fuller: That’s right.
Mike Gerholdt: Right?
Janae Fuller: Right.
Mike Gerholdt: I like that. Okay, it’s very good. I love the idea of really marketing your idea around too, because when you’re pushing big change, you’ve got to have the air force behind you.
Janae Fuller: Yes, for sure.
Mike Gerholdt: Pushing that around. We were talking about things you enjoy, features you’re exited about. You said Lightning record pages.
Janae Fuller: Yes, yes, yes. The capabilities of the Lightning record page. So, I was blazing some trails.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah.
Janae Fuller: Yes, and I came across the Lightning record page. The reason why I really got into it is because of the form factor. Because of this feature, you can tell how your user is accessing your page. Whether they’re on their desk or if they’re on a mobile, and you can make differences so that the desktop could have a separate experience from the mobile. So now think about this. Most of us use three inch, five inch phones, right?
Mike Gerholdt: Phones, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Janae Fuller: We’re not using that size computer. We have 24 inches and up.
Mike Gerholdt: Massive.
Janae Fuller: Massive.
Mike Gerholdt: The monitors anymore, it’s the size of this wall now. Really?
Janae Fuller: It’s so true.
Mike Gerholdt: You’re reading Facebook on a monitor that’s bigger than your television that you had as a kid. I digress.
Janae Fuller: Yes, and of course we have the side by sides, right?
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah.
Janae Fuller: So, it’s even more [crosstalk 00:19:53].
Mike Gerholdt: Who has one monitor? Come on now, seriously.
Janae Fuller: No, no. That’s so 2015.
Mike Gerholdt: Right?
Janae Fuller: So, we have these mega monitors. We could churn out a bunch of things, right?
Mike Gerholdt: Sure, yeah.
Janae Fuller: You don’t have that experience on the mobile. So, the fact that we can use the form factor and now customize even more what we want to put. [inaudible 00:20:18] all the immediate data, just a few fields, then if we need more then maybe we can have a separate tab that has the rest of it. Or, maybe they could just do more when they get back into home office.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure, yeah.
Janae Fuller: The fact is, is because we have form factor now on the Lightning record pages, we can do that.
Mike Gerholdt: I like that. I like where you’re thinking because you’re not only thinking back to the first question of, “Give me the BA mindset,” you’re thinking, “So, if somebody is walking out of a meeting or in a rideshare and they need to do something quick, they’re probably going to do it on their phone. We don’t have to surface the 300 fields on the phone. What are the two or five that you’re going to get while you’re sitting down with the user?” Which, I’m a big fan of. You might have heard of it, it’s called SABWA. Salesforce administration by walking around.
Janae Fuller: Oh, okay.
Mike Gerholdt: Sitting down with the user and just seeing what kind of world they live in. You know?
Janae Fuller: Yes. I call those ride alongs.
Mike Gerholdt: Ride along, yes. Do a ride along. It’s very different going into a call center and seeing your page layout on the screen when they use a chrome theme that’s My Little Pony, and their desk is super busy and crazy, as opposed to when you’re in your very zen space and you’re creating that page layout. You had this perfect music and the door was shut, and it was kind of quiet. You’re like, “Wow. I need to rethink this page layout based on the environment or the ride along that they’re in.”
Janae Fuller: Exactly, yes. I like that too, the fact that you mentioned even a ride along, or how did you-
Mike Gerholdt: SABWA. Salesforce administration by walking around.
Janae Fuller: Wow.
Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Janae Fuller: That’s cool.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, 15 minutes a day. I love doing it.
Janae Fuller: Wow.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it’s super fun.
Janae Fuller: See, the point is, is taking the user with you. Keeping them in mind so that we give them just what they need the way they’re using it. Because we have the Salesforce features, it’s customizable.
Mike Gerholdt: So, we’ll wrap things up. It’s 2020, so happy New Year. Saw the ball drop and all that stuff, got to bring it up because you’re in New York. Two questions. One, do you have a Salesforce New Years resolution for yourself?
Janae Fuller: Well, I don’t like to say resolutions because that’s the whole start stop thing.
Mike Gerholdt: I know, it’s a big thing.
Janae Fuller: Yeah, but I do have goals.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay.
Janae Fuller: So, I’m working on two more certifications in my line of sight, immediate ones. I’m almost at my ranger status, almost. So, I want to just hurry up and get there.
Mike Gerholdt: 100 badges.
Janae Fuller: Yes, and keep going. Thank you for the translation because it’s like, “What is that?”
Mike Gerholdt: I know, ranger. 100 badges, yeah.
Janae Fuller: Just to say that I’ve done it and then to keep going, because there’s just so much coming to Trailhead. Even with Dreamforce they mentioned Trailhead GO is coming.
Mike Gerholdt: Trailhead GO is out right now? We can do it.
Janae Fuller: You’re right, it’s out. Well, you know what? I’m on Android so to me, it’s still coming out.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah. I’m sorry. It’s all right.
Janae Fuller: Yeah well, you know.
Mike Gerholdt: We’ll talk to Reid Carlberg about that. So, that’s great resolutions, goals.
Janae Fuller: Thank you.
Mike Gerholdt: Let me pivot, and second question. For the admin community, what is your 2020 admin goal for the community?
Janae Fuller: Well, definitely keeping in touch with the community. Attending events with the New York City user group. They had a great pre-tour event last night.
Mike Gerholdt: It was. Every time I’ve come to World Tour, they always have a great user group.
Janae Fuller: They’re always hands down.
Mike Gerholdt: Always great. Packed, packed. Seriously.
Janae Fuller: Last night I think might have been the biggest. We had more than 100.
Mike Gerholdt: There was a lot of people.
Janae Fuller: There was a lot there last night.
Mike Gerholdt: A lot of people there.
Janae Fuller: A lot of new faces, and I’m happy to say I was able to moderate the event for them.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep. You did a very good job, very good job.
Janae Fuller: Thank you, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes.
Janae Fuller: We’re glad that you could join us.
Mike Gerholdt: It was great, yes.
Janae Fuller: Thank you, and we had four amazing panelists. I think it’s live streamed. Parts of that is on Twitter.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, good. Good.
Janae Fuller: I want to do more with Women in Tech, catching their groups, and WEI has come on the horizon for Women Empowerment Institute. So, they’re actually affiliated with PepUp Tech.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, cool.
Janae Fuller: Gina Avila.
Mike Gerholdt: All right.
Janae Fuller: So, definitely want to do more there, and just keep supporting the community.
Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well Janae, thanks for being on the podcast. It was great talking to you.
Janae Fuller: Thank you Mike, so much.
Mike Gerholdt: I can’t wait to catch up this time next year, see how those goals went.
Janae Fuller: Thank you.
Mike Gerholdt: Maybe you’ll be double ranger by then.
Janae Fuller: I know, I hope so. Thanks so much Mike, it was a pleasure.
Mike Gerholdt: You bet, thank you.
Mike Gerholdt: It’s always great to connect with the New York community on the podcast, and I’m glad we got to sit down with Janae Fuller and talk about how the business analyst mindset and having soft skills to figure out what the problem is so that you can help yourself accomplish what your users are looking for. Of course, having that technology mindset to build that solution. As we’ve said many times on the podcast, and Janae brought it up, that when you hear the talk of spreadsheets come up, it’s really just an app begging to be made. So if your organization lives and breathes off spreadsheets, you have an open door to build a lot of really cool Salesforce apps. Of course, Janae is all about Lightning. So, she brought up the new form factor which allows you to view how your users would be accessing that page whether it’s mobile or desktop, and so you can create a custom record page for your users for either. I love that.
Mike Gerholdt: If this is your first time hearing about Lightning record pages, head on over to Admin.Salesforce.com to stay up to date with current products and tools, and lots of other resources. Now, Janae told us about her New Years resolution, and I would like to know what your New Years resolution is. So, make sure you Tweet it out and use the hashtag AwesomeAdmin. Of course, soft skills was a big part of our discussion today, so be sure to join us next week when I chat with Laurie Dusko about Salesforce admins and how she grew her career. Now if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to Admin.Salesforce.com to find tons of resources. You can also stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I. You can find me on Twitter as well. I am @MikeGerholdt, and of course, I want to thank Janae again for being our guest on the podcast. You can find her on Twitter @SalesforceJanae. With that, I’m Mike Gerholdt. Thank you for listening to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. We’ll see you next time in the cloud.
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve brought Marciana Davis back to the podcast. One thing that’s happened since the last time we spoke is that she’s started working at a new position, as Salesforce Administrator at Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. For the next 3 weeks, we have episodes recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. Marciana was last on the show about a year ago, so it’s fun to hear how 2019 went for her and what she’s looking forward to in 2020.
Join us as we talk about how volunteering can help you stay current, why the new year is a great opportunity to set some goals, and what her resolution is for Salesforce admins.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Marciana Davis.
From breaking things to fixing things.
The last time we had Marciana on the show, the episode was titled, “I Do QA (I Break Things).” So what’s changed since last we spoke? “I fix things now,” she says, “being the Salesforce awesome admin I’ve always dreamed of.” She works to resolve all manner of issues that may come up in her org, and she’s been loving every minute of it. She’s gotten her seventh Superbadge this year, as well as a certification as a Marketing Cloud Email Specialist.
Marciana is, as one friend puts it, “the Evangelist of Newcomers” at PepUp Tech. “I help students with badges, Superbadges, and it keeps my awesome admin skills sharp,” she says. You always have to learn more when you’re a teacher, so she gets back just as much as she gives in the process.
New year, new you.
Looking back on 2019, Marciana’s advice for her past self would come down to three words: trust the process. “You’re not going to know everything, and that’s OK,” she says, “it’s a learning process, you’re going to bump your head a little bit.” The key is stick through it and trust that you’ll learn and grow and, eventually, be in the right place at the right time. The best thing to do is to keep learning, so that way when you get an opportunity you’ll be able to step up.
To look ahead to 2020, Marciana is planning to do a lot more speaking events. She’s set her sights on South Florida Dreaming, so hopefully, you catch her there where she’ll share her approach to getting the most out of the learning resources available to admins. She also has a 2020 resolution to travel more, so you’ll be able to find her at Midwest Dreamin’, WITness Success, TrailheaDX, DC Worldtour, and Dreamforce. So, basically everything. “I love Salesforce so much that I can’t help it, Marciana says.
If you’re having trouble thinking of your own New Year’s resolution, Marciana can help you out. “Find a senior admin and have them mentor you,” she says, “with more experience, you’ll learn a heck of a lot more than just getting certified.” Training is one thing, but getting more acquainted with the business processes she’s responsible for has been so valuable in learning how to apply her knowledge.
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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 a more awesome Salesforce Admin. I’m Mike Gerholdt and for the next few weeks we are going to be recording live at the Salesforce World Tour here in New York city. So outside of our normal comfort zone and catching up in some instances like today with Marciana Davis who used to be at another company in the beginning of this year, not to give you a spoiler, but has moved onto a new professional career and so it’s a fun time. We’re doing a followup with her on this episode, but there are more episodes coming up from amazing Salesforce Admins, that we are recording here in the New York city. So without further ado, please welcome Marciana Davis back to the podcast.
Marciana Davis: Thank you for having me. This is so much fun.
Mike Gerholdt: So Marciana in full disclosure was on the podcast in January of last year, which was recorded the same time this year. So I think it’s fun. You’re probably one of our first follow up guests from a year ago and we were chatting before. The title of your episode is I Do QA-I Break Things, Marciana or what do you do now?
Marciana Davis: I fix things now.
Mike Gerholdt: I love it. A year later we’re gone from breaking to fixing things. So what do you, what do you do to fix things?
Marciana Davis: I try to trouble shoot errors and I’m working with my supervisor at my new company and just being a Salesforce awesome admin like I’ve always wanted and dreamed of.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes, marciana has the title of Salesforce Administrator, which I’m a huge fan of, because it’s right in the title, the things I do. So Marciana, last we talked to you, your job was to Q and A and break things. Now you fix things. Let’s talk about something you fixed in this last year and really catch us up. So we heard you in January. It’s been a year, which in the Salesforce ecosystem is like five years.
Marciana Davis: An amazing life changing year.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Tell me what’s changed in your life in that year.
Marciana Davis: So I’ve still volunteered with PepUp Tech. I’m helping students as a good friend of mine put it. I am the evangelist of newcomers, apparently.
Mike Gerholdt: Nice.
Marciana Davis: I help students with badges, super badges and it’s been so incredible just to work with them and it keeps my awesome admin skills sharp. So I’m very excited about that.
Mike Gerholdt: And as a teacher you always have to learn more. I know for me it’s a real gut check.
Marciana Davis: You have to stay current.
Mike Gerholdt: if you have to keep something. Yeah, absolutely. Cause the questions are hard, kids ask hard questions now.
Marciana Davis: Yes. Especially with the good old data importing. I know, I get so excited to see a spreadsheet now. Like it’s a spreadsheet.
Mike Gerholdt: And turn that into an app.
Marciana Davis: Exactly.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Salesforce object creator. Somebody might’ve demo that at the admin keynote at dream force this year. I don’t know who.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So you’ve gone on from fixing for from breaking things to fixing things, helping with PepUp Tech, which is awesome. New super badges, I’m guessing or any new certifications for you this year?
Marciana Davis: I’ve gotten my seventh super badge.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow, Seventh holy cow. Is that like all of them?
Marciana Davis: No, not yet.
Mike Gerholdt: No. Okay. All right.
Marciana Davis: Half way through.
Mike Gerholdt: maybe this time next year.
Marciana Davis: And I also got certified in marketing cloud email specialists, during Thanksgiving weekend. So I was very thankful for that one.
Mike Gerholdt: That’s cool. Very cool. Okay. And then we talked about, so one of the neat things that you’ve done at the company you’re at with now, which you know in a year in the ecosystem is, it’s as a rising star, people are going to scoop you up. You, it sounds like you helped corral leads from going to never, never land into Salesforce. Right?
Marciana Davis: I like that. Never, neverland. Yeah. I came in with the Peter pan effect ,integrated WordPress within Salesforce. I successfully connected the two and now leads are in Salesforce being our single source of truth.
Mike Gerholdt: Nice, that’s always fun. I like deploying a good, thing that saves people. It’s like, where do you go? You go to the website and fill out the thing, boom. It’s in Salesforce, especially the first time you’d demo that, and it works.
Marciana Davis: Yes. It’s for a new product that my company just launched last week.
Mike Gerholdt: Great, great, great. Okay, so a year ago, let’s rewind the tape. You were sitting here and I’m thinking of admins that are listening to this or maybe admins that are out right now at breakout sessions. We have a packed admin theater sitting here. What is something you wish you would’ve known past Marciana to tell future Marciana or vice versa? I think I switched that. So you talking to your past self from a year ago, what advice would you give yourself?
Marciana Davis: I would tell myself to trust the process.
Mike Gerholdt: Trust the process.
Marciana Davis: You’re not going to know everything and that’s okay.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep.
Marciana Davis: It’s a learning process. You’re gonna bump your head a little bit, it’s gonna be tough and there’s gonna be days where you just don’t want to do it. You’re just like, you just want to push it away and hopefully it goes away. But you know you have a responsibility and a duty as an awesome admin to fulfill your role. So I tell myself every day that it’s going to get better. And I tell my friends all the time, trust the process. Things happen for a reason. And you know when it’s your time, it’s your time.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Marciana Davis: And I’m here with you. So it’s my time to be on the track.
Mike Gerholdt: There you go, and inspire others.
Marciana Davis: Yes, and I love talking to people and telling them my story and just telling them, listen, I literally came from absolutely nothing into something and I’m now making an impact, not only in my company, but also in the community. Like when I came to my company, no one knew anything about a user group meetings or certifications. Now they’re so excited, they wanted to go to a user group meeting and they wanna go to all these events with Salesforce like, TD yaks and Dreamforce and Midwest dreaming. And just to see that impact has been so heartfelt for me and I appreciate everyone that’s been a part of this journey for the last year.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. And also tinkering. It’s something that my team talks about a lot too is sometimes if you’re not feeling like learning, just tinker with something, right? Cause it can be very rewarding just to see how something works in a completely safe developer environment where you’re not eating, you don’t tinker in production, but just try something out to learn something. You’ve got a marketing cloud specialist, you don’t get that without tinkering, so that’s great. I think that’s great advice. Trust the process. So yes, future Marciano would have told past Marciana trust the process. Now let’s look ahead. What is, what is a new year’s resolution that you have for yourself? Because we’re airing this in 2020 so we’ve made it all the way to a year that repeats itself hasn’t, happened since 1919.
Marciana Davis: No, I am super excited for 2020 because I am planning on doing a lot more to us speaking events. I put a proposal for South Florida Dreaming, so I’m hoping to speak there about the admin resources that I’ve used and how I use them. It’s gonna be a little bit different from what people have heard, so I’m not going to spoil anything, but it seems like it’s going to be really great. And I’m also going to talk about my proposal to get marketing cloud for executives. I tried to do that at my current company, so hopefully that works out for others as well. I’m definitely going to take 2020 I’m going to not get as many certs as I did in 20 in 2019 and I’m definitely going to travel more. So just go into different sales force events. Hopefully I’ll be at Midwest dreaming. Witness success. Tell her the XN dream force again.
Mike Gerholdt: Just a few.
Marciana Davis: Yeah, just a few. Just kind of the summertime. Get out there and travel. Definitely want to check out. World tour NBC. I love DC. It’s so nice.
Mike Gerholdt: Usually it’s right around when the cherry blossoms are out, so you get to see all of that.
Marciana Davis: I definitely want to try and go there.
Mike Gerholdt: Do the Monuments tour. Go around and see all. Lots of things to see in DC, fantastic. Well I’m excited for Midwest dreaming as well. It’s going to be in Minneapolis I saw. So I guess I got no more deep dish pizza. Get a Juicy Lucy. You don’t know what that is. Google it carefully Juicy Lucy hamburger. I’ll spoil that, but it’s amazing. I’ve had one, it’s always good to come back. Okay. So I would say also, so you’re going to travel more. Is there any, anywhere that it’s not hold as hosting a Salesforce event that you want to travel to?
Mike Gerholdt: I guess you mentioned everywhere that’s hosting the Salesforce event. Is there somebody you’d like,
Marciana Davis: I mean cause I love Salesforce so much I can’t help it.
Mike Gerholdt: are you planning to travel and you might be going to Southeast Florida too, right?
Marciana Davis: Fort Lauderdale.
Mike Gerholdt: I’ve been down to Fort Lauderdale to, yeah, it’s nice that side of the, it’s warmer than it is here in New York. Just be careful that it’s going to be great. Is there a new year’s resolution that you would set forward for other admins?
Marciana Davis: I would tell other admins to find someone that is, you know, find a senior admin and have them mentor you. It’s all about the experience and I feel with more experience you’ll learn a lot, a heck of a lot more than just getting certified.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Marciana Davis: And I realized that once I joined my current company that I’m with now, you know I have the basics down, but I just need to think along the way of business process, like getting used to how a business runs.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure.
Marciana Davis: In modern time.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes.
Marciana Davis: So that’s one thing I would tell. Awesome admins out there.
Mike Gerholdt: Process is a big part of your life. Trust the process, learn the process, submit for speaking two different processes. I like it. It’s good. Marciana, thank you for taking time out of your day. I wanna make sure that you can enjoy everything. Lovely at World tour. I’m glad we had a chance to catch up a year later.
Marciana Davis: Yes thank you for having me.
Mike Gerholdt: I think this is actually the first time we’ve done that on the podcast,
Marciana Davis: I’m making history already.
Mike Gerholdt: It could be we should do this again next year.
Marciana Davis: Oh yes definitely, I’m for it.
Mike Gerholdt: See where things are. We will pull up the resolution, see if you’ve met all the resolutions. Careful it’s on tape now and then it’ll be on the internet, which means it lasts forever.
Marciana Davis: And then people will hold me accountable.
Mike Gerholdt: and they’ll hold you accountable to it. Marciana if they wanted to follow you on Twitter, your Twitter handle is-
Marciana Davis: At traveling underscore dev.
Mike Gerholdt: I saw that yes.
Marciana Davis: Instagram is just traveling dev.
Mike Gerholdt: Is there a reason to follow you on Instagram? Is it fun?
Marciana Davis: I post a lot of pictures of Salesforce events. I recently went to these Salesforce holiday party.
Mike Gerholdt: Ooh, In New York here?
Marciana Davis: Salesforce tower, yes. It was so much fun.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, and if we follow you on Instagram, we’ll get to see all the places you’re going to travel.
Marciana Davis: Exactly, exactly. Because Twitter has a four picture limit and I’m a photographer, I’m a mini photographer so I need at least 20 pictures of each place.
Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. I Love it. Perfect. Well thanks so much for g on the podcast.
Marciana Davis: Thank you so much for having me.
Mike Gerholdt: and we’ll catch up with you next year. Absolutely.
Marciana Davis: I cannot wait for next year.
Mike Gerholdt: It’s going to be great.
Marciana Davis: It is.
Mike Gerholdt: See you then. Bye.
Mike Gerholdt: It was great catching up with Marciana one year later after she was on the podcast. Here are three things I learned from our discussion with Marciana. One, she stays current by volunteering and teaching with PepUp Tech. I think that’s really a great way as a forcing function for you to stay current and learn more while helping others. She challenges herself by learning and she earned seven super badges along with a marketing email specialist. I think that’s a great thing to head into the new year. Think about what you’re going to earn for super badges and what certifications you’re going to get. And then the third thing I learned from Marciana is to trust the process. Hey, some days it will be difficult, but things happen for a reason and her new year’s resolution for herself is to do more speaking events. I like that. And for Salesforce admins, her resolution is to find someone to mentor you because as Marciana says, it’s all about the experience.
Mike Gerholdt: Now I’d like to know what your new year’s resolution is, so tweet it out and use the hashtag awesome admin. Now process was a big part of our discussion today, so be sure to join us next week when I chat with Janae fuller about Salesforce admins and business process. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforce admins. No, I on Twitter. And of course you can find me on Twitter as well. I am at Mike Gerholdt. Be sure to stay tuned for the next episode and we’ll see you in the cloud.
The Salesforce Admins Podcast is back with another episode of our mini-series, Salesforce for Good, hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. For this episode, we’re talking to Jason Wurtz, Pro Bono Content Specialist at Salesforce.org, who helps nonprofit and education customers get assistance from a Salesforce employee.
Join us as we talk about how you can best approach volunteering, and what Jason and his team has come up with to help you dive into the nonprofit world.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jason Wurtz.
The Pro Bono Program at Salesforce.
“Nonprofit and education customers can get stuck in their journey with Salesforce. They may have implemented Salesforce, it’s going great, but they may need a little more hands-on assistance from somebody that has real expertise with the platform,” Jason says. Getting involved is as easy as filling out an application at salesforce.org/probono, which helps the Pro Bono team connect applicants with the right Salesforce employee to help them.
Jason’s role is to help develop content that helps volunteers translate their skills more effectively to the nonprofit world. If you’re a Salesforce employee looking to make a difference, simply log onto Volunteerforce to browse opportunities
How volunteering changed Jason’s life.
Like a lot of people we have on the pod, Jason’s path to his current role was nothing if not meandering. He started off in finance working for big banks, then in marketing for a large consumer packaged goods company. “While I was working in marketing, I was also volunteering with an organization that matches tutors with homeless children,” he says, “and as I was volunteering, I could see first-hand all the challenges—some of them very much systemic—that were facing homeless families, and that transformed my outlook on the world.”
Jason switched careers to a grassroots nonprofit, Families Forward Learning Center, and eventually got his masters in social work. Of course, when he came back to the nonprofit world, he immediately went into fundraising and marketing. At one of these jobs, he became an “also admin,” figuring out the job along the way with no formal training. Eventually, this trajectory landed him in his current role at Salesforce.
How you can get involved.
If you’re a nonprofit looking for pro bono assistance, Jason has some advice to give about how to best fill out your application. For one thing, “be very clear on what you want to accomplish,” Jason says, “the clearer and more discrete a project you can request assistance on, the better the outcome.” Projects like building reports and dashboards, automating discrete business process, implementing a standard configuration, or a Lightning migration are very easy for volunteers to pick up and run with.
On the other side of things, it’s important to think about what is truly going to motivate you. We all have so many demands on our time, so you need to find something you’re passionate about that will help you follow through. “Pro bono projects tend to take time and they tend to unfold over several months,” Jason says, “so you need to find a project and an organization you’re excited about so when push comes to shove you can find the time.”
Nonprofits and education customers often are strapped for resources, and if a volunteer comes in and screws something up, they don’t necessarily have the ability to easily fix what went wrong. “If you’re thinking about volunteering, that is something that you really need to hold front and center,” Jason says. So if you’re looking to use volunteering as an opportunity to build your experience and skills, you need to be cautious about how you go about it. Jason and his team have developed Trailheads to help prep you for volunteering, so you can get your head around nonprofit specific things like the Nonprofit Success Pack and really hit the ground running and even find new organizations to help.
Pro Bono Intermediaries:
Pro Bono Reading:
- Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns
- Marc: @mbaizman
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Full Show Transcript
Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce For Good mini series on the Salesforce Admins podcast. My name is Marc Baizman and I’m a senior admin evangelist here at Salesforce. Before I was an evangelist, I worked at Salesforce.org and in the nonprofit world, and I made many incredible connections with people doing amazing things with Salesforce technology and nonprofits and I really want to share some of them with you. In this podcast mini series, we’ll be talking to a variety of folks in the Salesforce nonprofit ecosystem, including admins, architects, consultants, and Salesforce.org employees. By the end of the series, you’ll learn what makes the nonprofit sector special, how Salesforce technology supports the missions of some amazing organizations that are making a huge impact, and you’ll learn about the fantastic community of people that are making it happen. Hi, Jason.
Jason Wurtz: Hello, Marc.
Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast.
Jason Wurtz: Glad to be here. Thank you for having me.
Marc Baizman: You bet. Jason, can you tell us about what you do at Salesforce.org?
Jason Wurtz: Sure. I work on the pro bono team. To give you a little bit of background on the pro bono team, at Salesforce.org we have a program, it’s about six years old, in which nonprofit and education customers can request pro bono assistance from a Salesforce employee. You can find that on Salesforce.org’s website, Salesforce.org/probono. Customers, nonprofit and education customers, that get stuck kind of in their journey with Salesforce, so they may have implemented Salesforce, it’s going great, but they need a little bit more hands on assistance from somebody that has real expertise with a platform, it’s kind of the perfect solution for those kinds of issues that nonprofits and education customers quite often face.
Jason Wurtz: They can submit a request online. That goes to my team. We vet the application, clarify the scope, and then post that for Salesforce employees to apply to support that project. My role on the team is really to develop content to enable Salesforce employees to translate the skills they use in a commercial setting with nonprofit and education customers. That’s my primary role. I also do a lot of internal marketing, so raising awareness of the program, getting our employees excited to volunteer for the program, and also sharing success stories.
Marc Baizman: Fantastic. That is a lot of stuff. When I am thinking … I’m a Salesforce employee and I’m interested in volunteering in my local community. What do I do internally?
Jason Wurtz: Internally, it’s pretty easy. We have an internal app called Volunteerforce where all volunteer opportunities live. When a nonprofit or an education customer applies through our website, like I said, that application goes through our team, it gets vetted and then we publish it to that internal app.
Marc Baizman: We’re managing that in Salesforce, right?
Jason Wurtz: We are managing that in Salesforce, yes.
Marc Baizman: Cool.
Jason Wurtz: That appears as a volunteer opportunity and then any employee with the right skillset can sign up to help.
Marc Baizman: Cool. I want to dig into the skillset question in a little bit, but first I’d love to know how did you come to Salesforce, and what is a little bit about your background? Because I feel like you have some nonprofit in your background and I’d love to hear more about that.
Jason Wurtz: I do. I have a meandering background. I actually started off in finance.
Marc Baizman: Sure.
Jason Wurtz: I worked in the commercial sector, worked for a couple of big banks, then made the switch to a large consumer packaged goods company and worked there in marketing for a little bit. While I was kind of working in marketing, I was also volunteering with an organization that matches tutors with homeless children.
Jason Wurtz: As I was volunteering, I could see firsthand all the challenges, and some of them very much systemic, that were facing homeless families. That transformed my outlook on the world and inspired me to switch careers. Leaving a more traditional marketing role at a large company, I made the switch, worked for a grassroots nonprofit running volunteer programs.
Marc Baizman: That sounds great. Do you want to share the name of the organization?
Jason Wurtz: Yeah. It’s called Families Forward Learning Center.
Marc Baizman: Families Forward Learning Center.
Jason Wurtz: Yes.
Marc Baizman: Cool.
Jason Wurtz: Yes, based in Pasadena, California, not a Salesforce customer, but …
Marc Baizman: That’s okay. That’s okay.
Jason Wurtz: I worked there for a few years, then went to graduate school at UC Berkeley, got a master of social work degree, and promptly went into fundraising and marketing, because that’s what you do when you get a master of social work degree.
Marc Baizman: That’s right. That’s right.
Jason Wurtz: I’ve worked for a couple of nonprofits in the Bay Area before making the switch to Salesforce.
Marc Baizman: Fantastic. How did you find out about Salesforce, other than obviously the building of the giant tower? I’m curious as to how you sort of found your way from fundraising into Salesforce directly.
Jason Wurtz: Sure. My first nonprofit job after graduate school was at Mission Asset Fund. They’re a Salesforce customer.
Marc Baizman: They are.
Jason Wurtz: That’s when I was introduced to Salesforce, Salesforce Classic. This was a few years ago.
Marc Baizman: Sure.
Jason Wurtz: Didn’t have many opportunities to get in the system, but I became familiar with it, was a user, and then fast forward to my most recent job at the National Center for Youth Law, they had a very old fundraising database that needed to be replaced.
Marc Baizman: Sure.
Jason Wurtz: Given my background, given that I’d used Salesforce, we did do an RFP and finally settled on Salesforce and implemented with Exponent Partners.
Marc Baizman: Fantastic.
Jason Wurtz: Yeah, I became an also admin, so actually had no training really as an admin. I kind of figured it out along the way.
Marc Baizman: Very common scenario is someone is tasked with administering Salesforce and doesn’t necessarily have a background in it and has probably three other full time jobs and now you’re given Salesforce also to manage.
Jason Wurtz: Exactly. Yeah. My job was fundraising, so I was managing kind of individual donors. That was kind of my … I was also doing marketing and doing some communications, and then suddenly I was implementing Salesforce for the entire organization, not just the fundraising department.
Marc Baizman: Fantastic. Cool. Would you say that your implementation was successful? Have you gone back and seen it?
Jason Wurtz: Well, I do know that they bought a lot of new licenses and their utilization rate is pretty high.
Marc Baizman: Great.
Jason Wurtz: I think it is successful, yes.
Marc Baizman: Cool. That’s great. Congratulations.
Jason Wurtz: Thank you.
Marc Baizman: That’s a big deal. It’s a nice legacy to leave. You went from that organization, you obviously learned a lot about Salesforce, and your story is, I think, very similar to many of admins that are out there. How did you find your way to the mothership from there?
Jason Wurtz: Sure. Yeah. Actually it was through my network. My current boss, Cheryl Timoney, also used to work at Mission Asset Fund. I did not work with her. She had moved on before I joined Mission Asset Fund, but she was a close acquaintance with my former boss at Mission Asset Fund.
Marc Baizman: [inaudible 00:07:39].
Jason Wurtz: When Cheryl posted this job opportunity, she kind of communicated that with her network, including my former boss at Mission Asset Fund who said, “Hey Jason, this would be perfect for you. I think you should apply,” and I did.
Marc Baizman: That’s awesome. Oh, congratulations.
Jason Wurtz: Yes.
Marc Baizman: Well, we are so lucky to have you. I’m so glad that you have the background of being an admin at a nonprofit organization because you can really put yourself in the shoes of folks at nonprofits who don’t have training, maybe don’t have resources, have three other jobs that they’re trying to accomplish, and are really reaching out for help when they apply for pro bono assistance from Salesforce. I’d love to hear your thoughts maybe on the nonprofit side of the house and on the skill-building side of the house, so on the kind of employees who are determined to give their skills back. For organizations that are requesting pro bono assistance, is there specific advice that you might give them?
Jason Wurtz: Yes. I’d say the kind of first piece of advice I would give is to be very clear on what you want to accomplish. At least through the Salesforce.org pro bono program, the clearer and more discrete a project you can request assistance on, the better the outcome, is what we’ve seen.
Marc Baizman: Right.
Jason Wurtz: I can give you some examples of good projects.
Marc Baizman: That’d be great.
Jason Wurtz: If you’re struggling to build reports and dashboards, that’s a perfect project because many Salesforce employees have those kind of skills and they’re in their toolbox. Things like reports and dashboards, if you are thinking about automating some discrete business processes in Salesforce, don’t know how to do that, that makes for a great process. Even some kind of standard configuration, if you are trying to capture new data points or a new data set and you need some help configuring standard objects, that’s another really great project because it’s very discrete and it’s something that’s very easy for a volunteer to pick up and run with.
Marc Baizman: How about a Lightning migration?
Jason Wurtz: Ooh, that’s actually a very popular project as of late. We have a bunch of Salesforce employees who are Lightning ambassadors, Lightning champions. We have a special arrangement with them to take on these Lightning transition projects.
Marc Baizman: Cool.
Jason Wurtz: Yes, that’s another very discrete, something that has a very specific goal, that can be done in 15 to 20 hours.
Marc Baizman: That’s great. That’s great. For admins, not necessarily Salesforce employees, but for admins who are listening, if they want to give back, what’s the first thing that they should do?
Jason Wurtz: Well, I think the first thing that admins should do, or anybody really, is to figure out what you’re passionate about. What is going to motivate you? Because if you think about it, we all have very busy lives, whether it’s a demanding job or juggling, kind of raising a family, other interests that you have, you have to figure out, what am I passionate about, what am I going to commit to and what am I going to follow through on, right? I think that’s very important.
Jason Wurtz: In particular, if you’re interested in doing pro bono, because it’s not necessarily a signup for a two hour volunteership to help like at a homeless shelter or something, pro bono projects tend to take time and they tend to unfold over several months. You need to find a project and an organization that you’re excited about so that when push comes to shove and you have all these other demands on your time, you can figure out how to make it a priority and actually follow through on the project and get it done.
Marc Baizman: That’s great. Being passionate about the organization or the cause is key.
Jason Wurtz: Yes.
Marc Baizman: I would like to talk a little bit about kind of advice around folks who are maybe just getting started in the ecosystem, and maybe they’re given advice to volunteer and they don’t necessarily have a super strong Salesforce background. I’d love your thoughts on that.
Jason Wurtz: Sure, yeah, definitely. Definitely have a few thoughts on that. I would … For folks that are kind of new to the ecosystem, I think one thing you need to understand is how nonprofit and educational organizations that are using Salesforce are fundamentally different from a lot of commercial companies.
Marc Baizman: For sure.
Jason Wurtz: Really what that comes down to is a couple of things. Number one, resources, especially nonprofits, are very resource-strapped. What that means is technology is always under-funded. They often don’t have staff that have a lot of technology expertise, and therefore they have to use resources like Trailhead to scale up really quickly. It can be very challenging when you lack resources to hire a consultant, or you have an administrator who doesn’t have a technology background, who’s new to the role. If a volunteer comes in and quite frankly screws something up or messes up their org, they don’t have the resources to undo that.
Marc Baizman: Right. Right.
Jason Wurtz: That is something, if you’re thinking about volunteering, that you really need to hold front and center. I definitely appreciate and understand people that are new to the ecosystem who want to build their experience and skills. You just have to be very careful because when you volunteer for a nonprofit and this nonprofit is doing a lot of good for their community and they’re really relying on Salesforce to support their mission, if you come in as somebody who doesn’t have a lot of experience and you mess something up that you can’t fix, the chances are that nonprofit won’t be able to fix it themselves and that could have a ripple effect across their mission.
Marc Baizman: Right. Right. That’s great advice, and definitely good things to keep in mind for folks who are volunteering. In terms of people who are interested in volunteering, are there specific Trailhead trails or modules that we might recommend folks to take?
Jason Wurtz: Yes. We just launched a brand new trail called Volunteer Your Salesforce Expertise, so very kind of straightforward they make it there.
Marc Baizman: Terrific.
Jason Wurtz: That’s where I would start because what that trail does is a couple of things. It, number one, introduces you to the nonprofit and education sector. Some of what I’ve talked about, nonprofits having limited resources, et cetera, that is explained in that trail. It gives you an introduction to those sectors, which is really important. It gives you some context. It also introduces you to Salesforce.org, which is the social impact team within Salesforce that develops products and services specifically for the nonprofit and education sectors. This is really critical because we have … Salesforce.org offers a whole set of products and services that are specifically designed for nonprofit and education customers. These products often work quite differently than what most folks are used to in a commercial setting.
Marc Baizman: Right.
Jason Wurtz: The trail kind of gives you an overview of these products and services and also lays out your learning path so that you can learn these products before you actually volunteer. This is really important. You need to understand, volunteers need to understand something like the Nonprofit Success Pack, which is the standard solution used across nonprofits, which is an app that sits on top of the Salesforce platform. You really need to understand that product before you volunteer your time with a nonprofit. The Volunteer Your Salesforce Expertise trail will walk you through your learning path for those products.
Marc Baizman: Got it. I believe there’s also a new Trailhead project that helps you, that walks you through the process of installing the Nonprofit Success Pack into a Trailhead Playground org.
Jason Wurtz: Absolutely.
Marc Baizman: Another place to kind of test your knowledge and learn some more stuff. That’s great. Can you talk a little bit about maybe some success stories of some volunteering that you’ve heard about or folks have come back, either the volunteer or the nonprofit or ideally both have come back and said this was a really fulfilling experience?
Jason Wurtz: Yeah, definitely. I have one that comes to mind. I mentioned earlier one of our most popular projects for volunteers, to support our reports and dashboards. I think for many folks that have Salesforce expertise it’s like, well, reports and dashboards is like very basic stuff, but for many nonprofits it can be a bit of a struggle, especially if somebody, the admin is wearing many hats and has a lot of different jobs. It can be hard for them to kind of figure out exactly what kind of reporting they need.
Jason Wurtz: We have one customer, a nonprofit customer, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, they submitted a project and they needed just some basic assistance. What they were trying to do is they have all of these different, what they call resources that they keep track of. They have volunteers who are providing these kind of therapeutic riding experiences for the nonprofit’s customers, who the nonprofit’s customers or clients are folks that have a variety of different kind of like physical and kind of mental health challenges that they need some kind of support and healing from. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding provides this kind of equine therapy, which is essentially matching a client with a volunteer and a horse. It’s a really interesting and really effective therapy for a number of different reasons. In Salesforce, this organization was tracking not only the client, but the volunteer and the horse and all the equipment that the volunteer has to set up for the horse. They were tracking …
Marc Baizman: Was there a horse custom object?
Jason Wurtz: I believe so, yes.
Marc Baizman: That’s fantastic.
Jason Wurtz: Yes. Yes. They had this data, they were all in different objects. What they were having challenges with was bringing all that information into a consolidated daily schedule that they could pass along to the volunteer so the volunteer would know, “Okay, here’s the horse I’m using, here’s the equipment they need and here’s the client that I’ll be working with and here’s the time I’ll be doing it.”
Marc Baizman: Wow.
Jason Wurtz: They were really struggling with that. I think it went a little bit beyond that though. This was a fundamental need they had of the system that they could not get from it. They implemented Salesforce a couple of years ago, and this was something that was frustrating for not only the admin but for the rest of the staff. I think they were starting to question, “Did we make the right decision going with Salesforce?”
Marc Baizman: Right. Right.
Jason Wurtz: The admin applied for the Salesforce.org pro bono program. They were matched with a volunteer who loves reports and dashboards, that’s one of her favorite projects to work on, and magic happened. They worked on, I think the project was around 15 hours. The volunteer was able to not only put together the report the admin needed, but show her how to build the report herself so that she could continue building reports, building dashboards on her own, which for the organization has unlocked a lot of value, right? Before, they were thinking, “Okay, we have Salesforce, we have all this data in Salesforce, but how the heck do we make it useful and actionable for us?” Now the admin, because of the pro bono project, she was able to enable herself to do some of this reporting for the organization.
Marc Baizman: Oh, that’s fantastic. Very cool. I love a good horse custom object. I love equine stuff. That’s amazing. A couple of other questions. I am wondering, for the admins that are out there, if they want to give back, maybe they’re passionate about a particular social issue or they’re connected to an organization, or maybe they’re not and they want to do some discovery, where should I send them if they’re not Salesforce employees? Are there specific places that I could send these folks who are inspired to give back? Hopefully they’ve done the trail that you recommend and gone the learning path, they’ve learned the NPSP or the education data architecture, they have that set of skills. Now where do they go?
Jason Wurtz: Good question. There are organizations that we refer to as pro bono intermediaries. These are mostly nonprofit organizations that connect professionals that have skills they want to give with nonprofits that have a need for skills. They [crosstalk 00:20:49]-
Marc Baizman: Got it. Not Salesforce-specific, could be anything, right?
Jason Wurtz: It could be anything.
Marc Baizman: Marketing, legal, web design, right.
Jason Wurtz: Yes, website design, legal, communications, finance, HR and Salesforce as well.
Marc Baizman: Sure.
Jason Wurtz: In the trail, if you take the trail, the second module on the trail called Pro Bono Project Management, there is a unit that talks about where to go to find these pro bono intermediaries. There are organizations all around the world that kind of facilitate pro bono projects. Some of the popular ones in the US are Taproot Foundation and Catchafire. They actually match a lot of Salesforce professionals with nonprofits that need help with our technology.
Marc Baizman: Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Admins out there, we’ll share these links in the show notes for sure. Cool. I would love to close with maybe an organization that you’re passionate about, if you don’t mind sharing, if there’s an organization that you’re either doing a pro bono project with or that you just really like and … Just share that.
Jason Wurtz: That is a great question.
Marc Baizman: I’m putting you on the spot here.
Jason Wurtz: Putting me on the spot, so I have to choose my favorite.
Marc Baizman: That’s right. Choose your favorite child please.
Jason Wurtz: Well, I have to say right now, one of the nonprofits I’m most inspired by is Year Up. Year Up is an amazing organization that trains young people that may not have finished high school or kind of finished high school but aren’t sure what to do with their careers, and they might have challenges that have kind of stalled their career. What it does is it provides programs for young people to skill up, to essentially learn how to work in a kind of corporate setting, right? We’re talking folks that might work in a retail setting or might be doing odd jobs, that are kind of trying to figure out what they want to do with their career. It provides them an avenue to get a job at a company like Salesforce.
Jason Wurtz: Typically a job like Salesforce, you would think, wow, you must have … You need all these … this education and have a master’s degree and have all of this experience. That is a huge barrier to a lot of young people who just don’t have that yet. What Year Up does is it creates that path for folks. They go through, I think, a year-long training program, they learn specific skills, and then they have an internship with a company like Salesforce.
Jason Wurtz: I’ve seen firsthand, I’ve had Year Up interns on my team, and have seen them really transform. They take on challenges, they learn and grow, and oftentimes they get hired by Salesforce. Our Year Up intern that was on my team last year recently got hired by a team that I’ve worked really closely with and she’s doing really well.
Marc Baizman: That is fantastic. Well, now I can put in a plug for our podcast producer, [CC Belarde 00:23:55], who is in fact a graduate of the Year Up program and she’s fantastic. I know all about this organization and we are so fortunate to have CC as part of our team, so that’s great. Thanks for sharing that, Jason. Well, thank you so much for being on the Salesforce Admins podcast today. It has been just a pleasure to talk with you again.
Jason Wurtz: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Marc Baizman: Wow. Jason was a blast to talk to. He was full of useful volunteering information and amazing Salesforce pro bono stories. I love a good horse custom object. Jason hit the nail on the head when we talked about new people in the ecosystem volunteering. Nonprofit and educational organizations are fundamentally different than the organizations you might be used to, and they’re not equipped with the same resources, so it’s important to make sure that when you’re volunteering, you are knowledgeable about the products that you’re using and committed to the project you’re signing for. This episode is full of nonprofit organizations that you can volunteer your expertise with, like the Taproot Foundation and High Hopes. We’ve linked to those in the resources below. If you’re interested in learning more about pro bono volunteering, you can connect with Jason on LinkedIn. He is Jason Alan Wurtz with a Z, and you can also check out the Salesforce.org website at Salesforce.org/probono. I’m Marc Baizman, and don’t forget to tune in next month for another episode of Salesforce For Good.
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we continue our Lightning Champion Spotlight series with Benjamin Bratcher, a Salesforce Administrator at Masergy. This episode is part four of a six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelly Walker, Senior Adoption Consultant at Salesforce. We talk to our amazing Lightning Champions to find out about their career journey, how it lead them to the Lightning Experience, advice on handling change management, and why Lightning Experience is so awesome.
Join us as we talk about how he communicates with his users to get support for Lightning, the keys he found to make the transition, and how he gives back to his community as a Lightning Champion.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Benjamin Bratcher.
From stage to screen.
Benjamin has a bit of an unusual background for getting into Salesforce, even for this podcast where we talk to accidental admins all the time. He actually majored in Theatre in undergrad, but after graduating he found himself working in his alma mater’s admissions office in order to support himself. “About a month after I started working there they implemented Salesforce, and I took to it really quickly. I’ve always been an early adopter of technology, so it really interested me and I started to become a power user,” Benjamin says.
Eventually, Benjamin found himself promoted to a Salesforce administrator role. “At the time I had no idea that Salesforce had this huge ecosystem and was a great career opportunity,” he says, “I saw the potential and quickly jumped in.” Even with all the developments in his career, he’s still able to do some acting and fight choreography at night to get the best of both worlds. “Initially, I was worried that having a BFA in Theater would be looked down upon,” Benjamin says, “but what I’ve found is that having that experience in theater has given me a lot of skills that I’m able to use as an admin.”
Transitioning to Lightning when there’s baggage associated with it.
“When I transitioned my org to Lightning in my previous job it had already been implemented in the background,” Benjamin says, “I had been, as a business user, one of the initial test users who was asked to switch to Lightning and see what doesn’t work.” There weren’t any special customizations done for their business use cases, so it was a rather frustrating experience, and those feelings remained when Benjamin was looking really put his full energy into successfully making the switch.
“Lightning was already there but no one wanted to use it,” Benjamin says, but the director of one department, in particular, was very adamant about switching his users over to Lightning full-time. That gave him the executive support he needed to start making customizations that could have a real impact on users’ day-to-day, while also doing beta testing with a small group before doing a larger rollout.
Benjamin’s keys to adoption.
For Benjamin, adoption is all about identifying the easy wins that let you show users what Lightning is all about. One of his favorites is the Lightning App Builder. “The ability to customize the UI is just really exciting to me,” he says. Layouts are such a powerful way to make things more user-friendly and intuitive, particularly on busy pages where they need to find that one specific piece of information in order to move on with their work.
In the Lightning Champions program, Benjamin’s been able to give back to his local Dallas community. “I’ve been able to volunteer at different local events,” he says, “I got to be a helper in one of the hands-on Lightning sessions at Dallas World Tour.” He also frequently hears from the community for advice and suggestions as others make the transition to Lightning. Listen to more details about the Salesforce scavenger hunt he put together to make Salesforce training fun, and his German language skills.
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Kelly Walker: Welcome to the Salesforce Lightning Champion Spotlight on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. My name is Kelly Walker and I am a senior adoption consultant here at Salesforce. I also have the amazing opportunity of working closely with the awesome trailblazers who are passionate about Lightning and have become Lightning champions to evangelize the power of Lightning. In this mini series, we will be talking to six awesome Lightning champions to talk about their career journey, how it led them to the Lightning experience, advice on handling change management, and to focus on their stories of why Lightning experience is so awesome.
Kelly Walker: Now, Salesforce is turning on Lightning experience on a rolling basis in Winter ’20. Users still have access to Salesforce Classic after Lightning experience is turned on, but Lightning Experience is where you want to be for driving business growth and improved productivity. To get ready, verify your org’s existing features and customizations in the new interface and prepare your users with change management best practices. This update applies to users who had the Lightning Experience user permission, including all users with standard profiles and users with custom profiles or permission sets that have the Lightning Experience user permission enabled. For more information, check out the critical update and watch this short video titled, Understand How The Lightning Experience Critical Update Affects My Users, both of which are linked in the show notes.
Kelly Walker: All right, well today we’re talking to Benjamin Bratcher, another Lightning champion in the Dallas area. Benjamin, thank you so much for joining us.
Benjamin B.: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Kelly Walker: Well, I’m excited for everyone to learn a little bit more about you. I know your journey to Salesforce is a maybe not the norm, so let’s start there and help us understand really your background and how you came to be where you are with Salesforce.
Benjamin B.: Sure, yeah, I’d love to. I guess my journey started in 2015. I had just graduated with my bachelor’s degree. I got to be a BFA in theater. Once I graduated I kind of had an initial shock of not knowing what I was going to do to, you know, make money, make a living. Because as most people know, as an actor, it’s hard to do that as a full-time job, unfortunately. So I applied several places. Long story short, I ended up working for my alma mater as a graduate admissions advisor. Well, about a month after I started working there, they implemented Salesforce and I took to it really quickly. I’ve always been an early adopter of technology, so it really interested me and I quickly became a power user, started coming up with best practices on how to use Salesforce in the enrollment department and then also started leading Salesforce training.
Benjamin B.: That eventually, after about two years, morphed into the director and VP of enrollment asking if I would want to step into an official Salesforce administrator role. At the time I had no idea that Salesforce have this huge ecosystem and was a great career opportunity. I went home that evening, researched it, was pretty blown away with what was out there, what opportunities there are within Salesforce and so that was kind of a no brainer decision for me. I already enjoyed it, I saw the potential and decided to kind of go into that space.
Benjamin B.: So then I was a solo admin for a year and a half, accidental admin, although I think I kind of transitioned into being a purposeful admin because I decided that I wanted to pursue that as my career. But the first few months were very difficult and trying to figure out what’s going on, just learning the system. I had a lot of help from the consultant that worked with us and then of course Trailhead. Then once I started getting some certifications, that kind of changed and I started to become the subject matter experts. But that’s how I got started on the platform. So kind of … I think a lot of people have similar stories in terms of being accidental admins or kind of falling into it and that definitely was the case with me.
Kelly Walker: Awesome. Are you still acting?
Benjamin B.: Yes, yeah. That’s always been my first passion and I love being in the theater and acting. I also actually recently just opened a show where I was the fight choreographer, which was really exciting. It was really exciting getting to work on the creative side of show again. But yes, I do continue to act in the Dallas Fort Worth area, mostly as an actor and also mostly on stage, although I have done some voiceover work and also some student films, but mostly on stage. Thankfully, in Dallas, a lot of the theaters are set up so that they allow you to rehearse and perform in the evenings or on the weekends so you can balance that pretty well with a full-time job. So that’s allowed me to continue my work as an actor and then also as the Salesforce admin as well.
Kelly Walker: Would you say that there’s characteristics or different lessons that you’ve learned that you can bring into your role as an admin that you take away from your education in the theater as well as your continued role within the theater?
Benjamin B.: Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, I think that’s something that I’ve really learned a lot over the last four years of being out of my undergrad and kind of going into more of a corporate job. You know, initially I was really worried that having a BFA in theater would be kind of looked down upon. Well, what I’ve found is that having that training as an actor and then also the professional experience has really given me a lot of skills that I’ve been able to utilize as an admin.
Benjamin B.: For example, I would say communication skills are very important in a role as a Salesforce administrator and of course as an actor, that’s pretty much the number one skill that you have to have is being able to recite the lines and communicate well and connect with your other onstage, you know, among other things. So communication definitely has been a skill that’s that I’ve been able to transfer.
Benjamin B.: Along with that, creativity, I think, is also very useful as an admin. You get to be creative in designing your Lightning app pages for example, or different processes or kind of how you want to utilize Salesforce for your user group. I’ve been able to draw from the creativity that I’ve kind of fostered throughout my work in the theater and as an actor. I would say those are probably off the top of my head, the top two skills I would say that have been transferable, but I think generally, as a side note related to that, I think it’s incredible that so many people who are involved in Salesforce come from non-technical backgrounds. That has always stuck with me and I’ve always been impressed by what people can achieve without having gone to school studying IT or information systems. Of course if you’ve studied that, that’s incredible and you have a lot of background to draw from, but the fact that you can make a solid career and really advance without having that background is a really encouraging for me to see and also I think speaks a lot to kind of Salesforce’s community and the opportunities that the platform provides.
Kelly Walker: Yes, I cannot repeat or agree with you more on that because so many individuals who have come from such different backgrounds and have really made their home with Salesforce. So we’re so glad to have you. I want to dig into that communication piece because as you know, we work together very closely in the Lightning Champions program and moving to Lightning requires a lot of communication and training and overcoming feedback or just overall concerns. I’d love to understand how you embraced the transition, how you knew it was the right time, how you worked with your users and where you are today with regards to Lightning usage.
Benjamin B.: Yeah, definitely. When I transitioned my org to Lightning, that was actually at my previous job. In that environment, like I had mentioned earlier, I kind of took over as the admin and was kind of thrust into that position. Well, the person who had been in that position before me had already activated Lightning. It was already kind of just lingering in the background and I was actually as a business user, one of the initial individuals to go be a test user. I was asked to just kind of switch to Lightning and see what didn’t work and then report back, which as you can imagine, was kind of a difficult experience and very frustrating because there hadn’t been any customizations done at the time to allow for Lightning to be used for our business use cases. Unfortunately, in my situation there had already been kind of that initial wave of Lightning and so there was this negative connotation associated with it. So when I came in and Lightning was already kind of there but no one really wanted to use it, I definitely had an uphill battle to climb in order to convince people that Lightning is the way to go and that the UI allows for so many different use cases and business processes that Classic kind of doesn’t just natively because you aren’t able to customize the UI as much declaratively.
Benjamin B.: The way I approached it actually ended up being that one of the directors of the student services department was very adamant about his users switching to Lightning full-time. I took that as kind of my executive support that I needed, which I think is incredibly important if you’re making a transition, and started customizing Lightning to fit to the business processes of the student services department. That allowed me to already have a smaller user group that was my beta user group that I could kind of go to and test things out with, get feedback from pretty easily. That also made it very, very smooth or a lot smoother than if I had tried to do it for everyone all at once. Once that became successful and kind of the initial customizations had been done so that they could flawlessly go through their day to day work … of course enhancements always are continuing … but once that was completed, I could focus my intention more on other user groups and kind of transitioned those.
Benjamin B.: That was kind of my process. I think I have more of a unique experience. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are in a similar situation or have been, but it’s, I would certainly say that it’s not an ideal kind of set-up in terms of how the migration would have gone in a perfect world but I definitely tried to make the most of it and tried to capitalize on that director’s interested in investment in Lightning and then kind of move forward with that.
Benjamin B.: On that note, I think one of the biggest struggles is user adoption. I had that at my last job where I implemented Lightning and at my current job as an admin, which at this position, they use Lightning almost exclusively, although they do let people go to Classic. So there are certain users who have used Classic for so long and just don’t see the benefits in switching. I think even once you do migrate, if you don’t deactivate the ability to switch back to Classic, you’ll continue to face those obstacles and try to overcome them. So I think for that, it’s continuing to advocate for it and show them different small wins that they can utilize, so different Lightning-specific features that I know that have been covered at Dreamforce in different world tours, you know, the top 10 Lightning features is always one of the topics. Those are incredibly valuable to share with your users because there’s short productivity gains but in the long run that really enhances your productivity. A lot of times in my experience, sales reps don’t invest the time to really study Lightning and kind of go through all the material. So if you can focus more on one-on-one training or maybe even have a platform like WalkMe or something like that, that allows you to have training live within Salesforce, I think that is really valuable to also increase user adoption.
Kelly Walker: Awesome. Speaking of user adoption and kind of find that when … is there a feature that you would really highlight maybe as your favorite or one that is just a quick win across the board?
Benjamin B.: I would say my favorite Lightning feature would have to be the Lightning app builder, I mentioned it previously, and the reason for that is the ability to customize the UI is just really exciting to me. I love getting creative in redesigning the Lightning pages.
Benjamin B.: A few months ago, one of my bigger projects was redesigning our accounts pages, so that’s both the Classic page layouts, the compact layouts, the Lightning pages, among other things. I actually came up with a really cool layout that allowed me to kind of split up the detail page — which I would assume for most organizations ends up being pretty long because you just have a lot of fields — and breaking that out into different tabs and different sections. That allowed me to have an account page layout that was just one page on a monitor so you didn’t really have to scroll and you could go into different tabs to kind of find more information. That, I think, made it so much more user friendly and intuitive so I would say that’s my favorite Lightning feature for sure.
Kelly Walker: Well awesome. It definitely is a killer feature and empowers admins and developers, as you mentioned, to really give that a unique page or that specialized page based on users’ needs, wants, whatever it may be.
Kelly Walker: Now you’ve been a Lightning champion for a while and so I’d love to understand what drew you to the program and really how you’re giving back to the community as it relates to Lightning experience in your Dallas area.
Benjamin B.: Yeah, great question. What drew me to it initially, I found out about the program around the time I was working on the migration to Lightning. I thought that would be a really great way to kind of give back to the community in terms of what I’ve learned on the job already. Then also I figured it would be a really good way to kind of network and develop professionally and make some great connections.
Benjamin B.: I’ve loved being a part of it because of the connections you make. There’s a trailblazer group, for example, of Lightning champions. We kind of get updates every now and then from the product team in Lightning and also can kind of bounce ideas off each other or get some help. But then of course, giving back is a huge part of that. In Dallas, I’ve been able to volunteer at different local events. Latest for example was the Dallas world tour; I was a helper and one of the hands on lightening sessions.
Benjamin B.: Then of course more inofficially, I would say just being an advocate for Lightning, talking to people, maybe supporting them as they go through the migration. I’ve had several people reach out to me and just ask for advice and suggestions as they embark on that journey. So yeah, that’s kind of how I’ve been involved. I’d really … my plan is to start writing some more blog posts. I’m mentioning this now in the podcast to keep me honest, but I would love to write some more content on Lightning among other Salesforce-related topics.
Kelly Walker: Well, very cool. Hopefully one of your blog posts relates to the Salesforce scavenger hunt. Can you dive into that idea a little bit? I just love it and want others to know more about it.
Benjamin B.: Yeah, that’s great. In my last position, being a solo admin, I had a lot of freedom on how to kind of design the training and user adoption and all of that within our company for Salesforce. What I ended up doing as kind of one of the stages was creating a Salesforce scavenger hunt. At the time, I made it fairly basic. I just used a Google form and kind of broke it down in different steps and had them either answer questions like multiple choice or free text, write in the answer, or maybe even upload a screenshot. But I would ask them to complete a certain task within Salesforce. Maybe that was creating a lead or favoriting your dashboard that you’re supposed to access all the time, or updating this test record that I had created to a certain status, or … different things like that.
Benjamin B.: That would kind of start to get them a little more familiar with the system, give them a little more ownership on how to navigate it. Of course, this comes after my training videos and then the bigger training session as well. So that way, my idea for it was at least to make it a fun activity. Have them go through, get hands on, maybe … well, honestly kind of like Trailhead, I guess maybe I modeled it after that if I think about it, but that was kind of my idea with the Salesforce scavenger hunt. Another reason is because Trailhead is very kind of generic and people customize their orgs however they want. This was very specific to our org and the way we used it so I thought that would be a good way to familiarize themselves with our Salesforce org. So yeah, that’s what that was.
Kelly Walker: I love it. Definitely bringing in that creative aspect of your background and just you as a person. Well Benjamin, it has been an absolute blast talking to you and I would love to end with some advice that you would give to those in the community. I know that you speak other languages other than English, so I would open it up for you to say something in German and then really highlight or speak to the German trailblazers that we have out there in terms of some advice that you would give.
Benjamin B.: All right, putting me on the spot, that’s great. [foreign language 00:21:32] Salesforce community [foreign language 00:21:51] Lightning migration [foreign language 00:22:18] Salesforce [foreign language 00:22:26]
Kelly Walker: All right, I understood Lightning transition.
Benjamin B.: Yeah. The funny thing is since most of my Salesforce experience has been in English, the technical terms are things that I find very difficult saying in German. Yeah, I definitely used a lot of English terms in there, but hopefully I got the gist across.
Kelly Walker: Awesome. Do you mind translating that into English?
Benjamin B.: Yes. I was letting them know that, just encouraging them to continue on their Salesforce journey and in their career and empowering them to make the move to migrate to Lightning and also just letting them know that there are so many people within the Salesforce community that are willing and able to share their knowledge with them and help them as they migrate. So please reach out to individuals in the community and please write me, reach out to me if you have any questions about a Lightning migration. But yeah, just encouraging them on their move to Lightning and also in their Salesforce career in general. Yeah, I wished them good luck on their journey.
Kelly Walker: All right, well we want to wish you the best of luck on your journey. It’s been a pleasure working with you through the Lightning Champions Program and I can’t wait to see what amazing things you do in the upcoming years, both in your Salesforce career and on stage. So thank you again, Benjamin, and best of luck.
Benjamin B.: Thank you so very much for having me, Kelly. It was truly an honor and yeah, I appreciate it.
Kelly Walker: It was so great to be able to spotlight Benjamin on the podcast this week. I love that we can use this platform to show all the different ways our awesome admins use their creativity in Lightening to get to the best productivity and end results for their use cases.
Kelly Walker: A huge part of being an admin is having the creative skills to effectively communicate with your users and your stakeholders really how Lightning is the right decision for your org and of course then build out new and exciting things for your users, like designing new app pages with Lightning app builder, creating different processes, with process builder or flow, or even how to utilize Salesforce for your user groups.
Kelly Walker: For admins who conduct training sessions, there are plenty of opportunities to make the experience fun. Our Lightning champions are the biggest advocates for Lightning. Each and every single one of them is here to help give back to their communities so do not be afraid to reach out for help. We have shared our social handles down in the show notes, and if you’re not part of the Trailblazer community yet, join. There are so many others out there ready to help you succeed.
Kelly Walker: Thank you for listening and tune in to find out who we will feature in our next Lightning Champion Spotlight.
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Julie Workman, Technical Credential Developer at Salesforce, who shares the joys of building, growing, and maintaining Superbadges and the potential they have for the community.
Join us as we talk about Superbadges’ important role a credentialing tool to prove to not just future employers but yourself that you have the hands-on experience you need to succeed.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Julie Workman.
A Salesforce nerd at heart.
Everything is super on today’s podcast, and that includes Julie, literally. “As a longtime Salesforce nerd, to work on the Trailhead team is really exciting. I’m responsible for the care and feeding of Superbadges and developing new ones for the admin space,” she says.
In a story that may sound familiar if you’ve spent any time listening to the Salesforce Admin Podcast, Julie started out in Salesforce as an accidental admin. She was on the leadership team of a nonprofit serving families in a severely distressed community, and she needed to see all of their data in one place. Julie was trying to answer the question, “How can we get all of these different spreadsheets to tell us a more cohesive picture about how we’re serving our community and what our outcomes look like?” She couldn’t do that with the tools we had, and that’s when someone recommended she take a look at Salesforce.
Julie started on the platform before Trailhead, so she really appreciates how different things are now and what it does for the community. Things snowballed from that first role and eleven certifications later (plus another that’s been retired), she found herself on Team Trailhead.
Why Superbadges are an assessment tool and what that means.
“Superbadges are not a learning tool,” Julie says, “they’re for assessing.” They’re part of the Salesforce credentialing program, which means they’re on the testing side of Trailhead. This is vital because it gets to the heart of how the Trailhead team assesses and measures how good of a job they’re doing at teaching the material. In short, there’s a method to the madness.
The result of this methodology is that Superbadges are a key part of how you know you’re ready for the next step. “95% percent of the people who complete a Superbadge say they agree that that Superbadge has prepared them for a Salesforce certification credential,” Julie says, and most importantly, “99% agree that completing the Superbadge proved to themselves that they have mastered the concepts through that hands-on experience.”
Where to get started with Superbadges.
If you’re trying to figure out where to get started with Superbadges, Julie recommends starting with the Admin Super Set. “It’s a grouping of meaningful and relevant Superbadges to help you prepare you to demonstrate your hands-on ability as a Salesforce admin,” she says. If you’re relatively early in your career, you can start with the helpful prework listed under the Super Set to get what you need to take the next steps. If you’re further along, pick out the first Superbadge you want to begin with and dive into the prerequisites in order to unlock it.
“Superbadges are an aspirational goal—they’re not done in one sitting,” Julie says, “they’re really something to put on your professional and development plan, as an admin or aspiring admin, to work towards.” The difference between a Superbadge and a certification is that Superbadges are really hands-on. “They are skill-based, domain-level credentials and they’re very real world,” Julie says. Team Trailhead is constantly talking to hiring managers and the Trailblazer community to get a feel for what stands out, and the bottom line is both certifications and Superbadges are keys to growth. Both go hand in hand to help you stand out in a crowd and show that you have the wide range of skills businesses are looking for.
- Trailhead Superbadges:
- Become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and contribute to credential development: application form
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Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. I’m Mike Gerholdt, and today we have a super podcast for you. That’s right. It’s all about SuperBadges and boy, I have to tell you, I learned a ton on this episode. This week we are talking with Julie Workman who is a Technical Credential Developer on Team Trailhead. She works on building, growing and maintaining SuperBadges. Julie has an awesome background and is super passionate about SuperBadges and the potential it has for our community. So let’s get Julia on the podcast. Everything is super on today’s podcast and help me welcome Julie to the podcast. Julie, we’re going to talk about SuperBadges, but first I want to get started. What do you do at Salesforce?
Julie Workman: Hi, thanks. This is great to be here. I am a Technical Credential Developer on the Trailhead team, which is definitely best job ever, fantastic team. As a long time as a Salesforce nerd [inaudible 00:01:26] someone who’s really excited about Salesforce to work on the Trailhead team is really exciting. So, that is what I do. I am responsible for the care and feeding of SuperBadges and developing new ones for the admin space.
Mike Gerholdt: I mean like you walked me right into that joke. So I have to ask, do you not care and feed them after midnight like [crosstalk 00:01:47]?
Julie Workman: Yeah, that’s a really good question. Typically, unless we’ve got a really difficult situation though, no care and feeding after midnight.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay, good. So before you joined Salesforce, you talked about being a Salesforce nerd. What did you do before you took care of our SuperBadges?
Julie Workman: Well, I became an accidental admin in 2013, I was in leadership of a nonprofit serving families in a severely distressed community, and I needed to see all my data in one place. So I began using Salesforce so that I could see our data from multiple advocacy programs in one place. So are the kids who are in our summer camp, are their families… do their parents know about the GED program and do the teenagers know about our mobile health clinic, and how can we get all of these different spreadsheets to tell us a more cohesive picture about how we’re serving our community and what our outcomes look like. And I couldn’t do it with the tools I have. So someone said, “Oh, why don’t you try Salesforce?” WHich made no sense to me at the time until I realized not only are we selling, in a sense where we’re selling these programs, even if they’re free and we’re need those important metrics, but really the program impact and the outcomes were impossible to track with anything else.
Julie Workman: So it was really, really exciting. And I dove in head first and all of this was pre-trail hood. So I definitely appreciate the value Trailhead brings. And from there I just dove head first into all things Salesforce, all things Trailhead and I have really embraced the platform, the community and everything about it. So since then I have been a member of a partner, an SEI partner team as well as leading a technology team for another enterprise nonprofit. And now here we are today, 11 certifications later, 12 if you count one of the retired original developer certs, and several SuperBadges and part of the Trailhead team. Super excited to be here.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow, that’s really neat. So boy, you touched on a lot and I think you should count retired certifications because I do. I had that one as well. And I had a moment in a breakout presentation at Dreamforce where I mentioned pre-trail head and the pop up box of 400 by 400 pixels. And the looks I got from audience was like, if I had that moment where I felt like I was telling people what it was like to go to school and walk uphill both ways in the snow.
Julie Workman: It’s so true. It’s so true. And hopefully we still have some good habits like reading all the release notes, but that was really a very different world.
Mike Gerholdt: IT was. I read release notes once on a drive to Chicago. I was not driving.
Julie Workman: I was going to say, yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: It was also in the release notes were a little shorter. So you mentioned kind of having learning moments and jumping headfirst and SuperBadges are really all about learning. So what was your big first learning moment at Salesforce?
Julie Workman: Well, before we dive in, I got to say actually SuperBadges are not, they’re not learning, they’re not a learning tool.
Mike Gerholdt: Well please educate me.
Julie Workman: They’re assessing. So that is something we hear actually quite a bit is this idea about how we’re going to use SuperBadges to learn, but actually we’re using SuperBadges to assess. SuperBadges are credentials. They’re part of the Salesforce credentialing program and the vast majority of Trailhead is the go to place for gamified, engaging, very fun, free, go at your own pace learning. And so we know that the majority of Trailhead then is for teaching. SuperBadges are for testing. So it’s a really different concept when we switch gears from all of that rich learning content, into assessment content. And that’s actually why SuperBadges are even housed in a slightly different space on Trailhead. They’re under the credentialing tab. So if you are looking for SuperBadges, they live with credentials, so right next door to certifications and so that’s one of the really… that is a learning moment for sure to communicate that.
Julie Workman: But the learning moment for me, when I joined the Trailhead team, it was a wonderful learning moment. I mentioned that my background was in family advocacy and actually my degrees are in psychology and applied psychology. And part of that is tests and measures and assessments and how do we assess, how do we test, how do we teach, how do we know whether learning is taking place? That’s part of my background and my academic background. So when I began to understand more about how the Trailhead team and the credentialing team builds supervisors and certifications, I was absolutely blown away that we’re following this really rigorous and complex credentialing methodology. And so it lends a really, really important structure to what our assessments, what our credentials are.
Julie Workman: So it’s a really a very high bar that Trailhead sets, no surprise there. There is a really high bar that we’re using this credentialing methodology. We’re not just sitting around kind of making stuff up and writing exam questions and sketching out a SuperBadge on the back of a paper napkin. But that it’s really methodological. It’s really a very high bar.
Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I just assumed we were sitting around trying to write the hardest questions possible. When I first took my certification, I was like, “You’re trying to write the hardest question possible.” Somebody had like an Amazon gift card on their desk for this question. That was what was going through my head.
Julie Workman: I think I might’ve thought the same thing when I went for my first consultant certification. I think I probably had the same idea in mind. But rightly so, they’re rigorous and they’re challenging, but they follow a credentialing methodology. So, that’s a real learning moment. Well, it’s a learning moment for me that we have a job task assessment and that we have subject matter experts or [inaudible 00:08:44] engaged throughout the entire process that we’re using these tools like Bloom’s taxonomy and we’re paying attention to what level of cognitive complexity and we have all of this structure and it’s not just willy nilly. It’s really really quite thoughtful.
Mike Gerholdt: It’s willy nilly with some thought behind it. I love that and I love understanding that the SuperBadges are… have that credentialing mindset behind them. So I’m sitting back and I’m listening to this podcast and I’m learning a lot so far except I want to learn Salesforce and you’re telling me SuperBadges are kind of that testing part. Why should I take time to do a SuperBadge then?
Julie Workman: That’s a really good question because they’re not easy and they’re not quick to finish, they’re not done, I don’t think ever in one sitting. They really do take some dedication and really carving them out as a goal, just like your other professional development goals. So it’s definitely something to work towards. And so the reasons, the why we can really look actually at our community and we in a sense ask our community, “Is this meaningful, are SuperBadges meaningful?” And part of the way that we do that is through a popup or a modal that you will see when you finish a SuperBadge and it says, “Tell us your thoughts.” And I was really blown away and really excited to see what our community is telling us about our SuperBadges. And that is 95% of the people who complete a SuperBadge say they agree or strongly agree that that SuperBadge has prepared them for a Salesforce certification credential.
Julie Workman: And 99%, 99% agree that completing the SuperBadge proved to themselves that they have mastered the concepts through that hands on experience. So those are just really hard to argue with those numbers that these SuperBadges have meaning to our trailblazers and they’re meaningful for getting ready for certifications or having them in conjunction with a certification are a great example of that is that we have the CPQ specialist, and now billing specialist and advanced billing specialist. And when you combine all of those, so the Superset, with the building super set which is new, we can talk about, but the billing Superset and the CPQ specialist, when you have those credentials combined, it’s really showing that you are a Salesforce quote to cash solution specialists. Because you have that hands on expertise that you’ve demonstrated with the super badge set and you’ve got your certification through the multiple choice exam that you take in those testing conditions. So there’s a pretty strong value proposition behind completing SuperBadges.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I mean you’re two things. You’re operating in that dentist level, like recommendation area of nine out of 10 dentists recommended, like you’re at nine 9.5-9.9 if you were to nail that down. So maybe the next SuperBadges on toothpaste. 9 out of ten dentist degree, this SuperBadge that I don’t know. That, and you should say CPQ Salesforce certified specialists, I don’t know. You should put that into a tongue twister or make people stay at five times fast. You have two choices. Take the certification SuperBadge or say this five times fast without messing it up.
Julie Workman: You know, you’ve got my mind spinning, we could have [inaudible 00:12:41], you could get your enabled toothbrush and we could have this SuperBadge [crosstalk 00:12:47]-
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, talk to [inaudible 00:12:48].
Julie Workman: Yeah. I can see it.
Mike Gerholdt: I can quickly get us off topic. So, you start thinking of fun things do as SuperBadges. The first thing I’m thinking is, so if people are in Trailhead and they’re doing badges and they’re learning, I’ve now know the difference, where do I start with SuperBadges or where do I even… I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m over here brushing my teeth.
Julie Workman: Sure. So one great thing that you can do is identify your SuperBadge as your goal, and then work backwards. So if you were to go to Trailhead and look at which SuperBadge you wanted to complete, for example, I would highly recommend the admin Super set. Super sets are groupings of SuperBadges where we sort of package because there’s so much continental head, we want to make sure that we have really clear paths. So the Ironman Super set is a grouping of meaningful and relevant SuperBadges to help prepare you to demonstrate your hands on ability as a Salesforce Admin. So, if you’re looking at that Admin Super set, you’ll see a couple really cool things about it. One is you can see that it’s designated for the career of Salesforce administrator. It has helpful pre-work, which is really fantastic, if you are just starting out on your admin pass.
Julie Workman: And you aren’t quite yet ready for that SuperBadge, you can start with the helpful pre-work and then beginner. And then you can also see that the Super Set is designed to be preparation for your administrator certification. So this meaningful grouping of SuperBadges with that additional context is a Super Set, which is super new. And you can dive right in. Within each of those SuperBadges, there’s three in the admin Super set. You would identify which one you wanted to start with. Let’s say one of my favorites security specialists. I think you’re familiar with it.
Mike Gerholdt: A little bit.
Julie Workman: Dive right into that SuperBadge and you’ll see that there are actually prerequisites for the supervisor itself. So before you can take the security specialist SuperBadge, you need to have completed data security, identity basics and user authentication modules. And so each SuperBadge will have modules or projects you have to complete to unlock the SuperBadge. And that’s because we want it to be really meaningful for our Trailblazers who are attempting these SuperBadges. Again, they’re an aspirational goal, they’re not done in one setting or sitting, they’re really something to put on your professional development plan as an admin or aspiring admin to work towards. And so it’s a big chunk of time. It’s a commitment and the credential itself is the reward, but also the recognition you receive.
Julie Workman: So we talked a little bit about the admin Super set as being a great place to start and how to start towards that SuperBadge with the helpful pre-work. But if you are coming from a user or a super user perspective, not necessarily from an admin perspective, a really great place to start for a first SuperBadge would be our brand new selling what Salesforce call specialist SuperBadge. That super badge was released just before Dreamforce and is a really great way to see what a super badge is and demonstrate your ability as a sales cloud super user.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Start with the goal in mind, I like it. And I also like that it’s not a quick thing because if it was like going to the gym, we’d all go to the gym once on January 1st and be set for the rest of the year. Right?
Julie Workman: I try that.
Mike Gerholdt: I could usually make it a month. But you mentioned a good point of SuperBadges and certifications and I know my team, if you’re on a hangout with me, I’ve got my certifications hanging behind me framed, what’s the difference between a SuperBadge and a certification?
Julie Workman: The difference is that SuperBadges are really hands on. They are those skill-based domain level credentials and they’re very real world. So I mentioned that I had been on a team and SEI partner team, and if you’re a business analyst or you’re on a consulting team, you’re seeing these business scenarios and nobody’s going to tell you how to solve the problem. You have a problem and you have to gather requirements, in the SuperBadges the requirements are given to you, but they’re very real world. They’re saying this is what the sales team needs to see, this is who should be able to see information and who shouldn’t be able to see information. Our managers want to be able to receive this information at a glance. And so the requirements are provided to you in the SuperBadge scenario, but the solutions, the how to, that’s the part you figure out.
Julie Workman: So that’s very different from our certifications. And certifications are those testing center or online testing, multiple choice exams that are really diving into your domain knowledge as an admin or advanced admin. And so we don’t see it as an either or in the marketplace where we’re constantly talking to hiring managers and the Trailblazer community and asking what everybody is seeing, we’re seeing two things. One is our certification growth is really on fire. It is doubling every two years, which is really astounding. But our SuperBadge growth is experiencing a 400 person grow.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow.
Julie Workman: Right? So it’s not going to be an either or, it’s really a both. And so if you are trying to stand out in the crowd where we’ve all heard those amazing metrics about the number of new Salesforce economy jobs, the number that blew me away was 4.2 million new jobs by 2025 those are net new. So how are you going to stand apart in the crowd if you have these great admin skills and there’s maybe now hundreds of other trailblazers who have these wonderful skills as well, how do you stand out in the crowd? And the answer is really certifications and SuperBadges. So, together we call them credentials, they really go hand in hand to show that you have that wide range of skills.
Mike Gerholdt: I never thought of it that way and that’s a great explanation. Wow. And I also… Did you call it domain level expertise for a SuperBadge?
Julie Workman: Yes, exactly.
Mike Gerholdt: That is a really great way to explain it. Right? Versus a sitting down and taking a test.
Julie Workman: Exactly, yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. You’ve taught me a lot even though it was about SuperBadges. I’ve learned a lot on this episode. I’d love to know what are the parts of the job that you just really nerd out about?
Julie Workman: Well, I love everything about it. I work with the best teams, just really, really brilliant and dedicated team. So what I love is, I mentioned we have that credentialing methodology and so we have a blueprint or roadmap that we follow. I love seeing it come to life because it’s really amazing. In the beginning of our development process we have a job task analysis and that’s basically a set of requirements for what should this SuperBadge assess. And so we start out with this set of requirements and then we build backwards. We build out the scenario which is that fun story that you read that has this business requirements, and we build out the challenges. So, how are we going to check to see if the trailblazer has configured a solution that meets the requirements so to speak.
Julie Workman: So I love seeing that come to life and as we move through the project and start building out the challenges and we engage our community as testers and we really start to get that feedback. And it really is such impressive feedback when we get those. Like we were talking about the number of people who are saying this really shows that I know this domain level, I have this domain level expertise. I’m really can show that I’m a subject matter expert by completing the SuperBadge. So it’s really amazing to see it come to life and actually there’s a way that people can participate as subject matter experts and I can send you that link and if people are interested they can submit a quick form and potentially be a part of a future SuperBadge.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah, absolutely. We’ll include that link in the show notes. That was great. Julie, thank you so much for being on the podcast. We could sit around probably for another half hour and talk even more SuperBadge stuff because I’m glad to know that you don’t feed them after midnight.
Julie Workman: We don’t but they’re wonderful. It’s great to be a part of the Trailhead team and be a part of the SuperBadge team. One last quick note, I’ll send you this one as well. We really want to cheer on our trailblazers who are completing SuperBadges, and so we have a brand new hashtag. It’s SuperBadge success and I’ll send that to you as well. It’s #SuperBadge success and we really want to cheer you on. We want to see the people who are completing those SuperBadges and really be a part of the energy and enthusiasm that people feel when they get these goals accomplished.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I love it. Hashtag SuperBadge success. Thanks so much Julie for being on the podcast.
Julie Workman: Thank you. It was my pleasure.
Mike Gerholdt: It was super great to have Julie on the podcast. By the way, did anybody keep track of a number of times we said super? If you did, I’d like for you to tweet me that number because I’d be curious. So three things I learned from our discussion with Julie. One SuperBadges are an assessing tool. They’re part of the credentialing program on Trailhead. They take dedication, but 95% of the people that take SuperBadges say it’s preparing them for a credential, and an amazing 99% agree that completing the SuperBadge proved to themselves that they have mastered the concepts through the hands on. Wow, SuperBadges are a great way to get started in Trailhead and get hands on experience. If you aren’t sure where to start looking at a SuperBadge requirement, and then use that as your starting point for your learning journey.
Mike Gerholdt: I like to think of it as starting with the goal in mind. And then last SuperBadges are domain based credentials with business scenarios, and you should share your SuperBadge success using the hashtag #SuperBadgeSuccess. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I on Twitter, and of course you can find me on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdlt. And with that have a fantastic rest of your day and stay tuned for the next episode. We’ll see you in the cloud.
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re live from Dreamforce with Laura Walker, Salesforce Admin Consultant and Solution Architect. We caught up with her just as she stepped off the Salesforce Admin keynote stage.
Join us as we talk about how far Salesforce has come, how to be your own PR, and the trick to getting champions in every department you work with.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Laura Walker.
How far Salesforce has come.
At Dreamforce 2019, Laura got to hit the stage twice, to appear in a breakout session and to introduce Parker Harris. “To be next to someone who is looking at the whole foreseeable future of future and know that it’s all in his brain—it’s so exciting to be so close to the people who really make it happen,” she says.
Getting to this point wasn’t always easy, especially as an admin who started in 2006, back in the days of S-Controls. If you didn’t have to go through them when they were a thing, just know that Trailhead has taken the community leagues further than what even seemed possible at the time. “It’s transformed the way anybody can go and learn,” Laura says, “there’s now no reason not to be up to date as long as you invest in yourself and invest that time.”
A community that supports each other through thick and thin.
“I’ve had a rough year,” Laura says, “and the emotional support I’ve received from the community, not just the tech, kept me going for months.” The platform and tech might the thing that everyone has in common and brings us together, but we’re all human. You don’t have to know everything and you probably can’t know everything. In fact, Laura says, “If you meet someone who says they know everything about Salesforce, run in the opposite direction—it’s not possible.”
Nowhere is that more on display than at Dreamforce. “We’ve had some amazing people talk about how to get the best from someone,” Laura says, and that perspective on leadership has been inspiring going forward. Another important concept that Mike discussed on the Admin Keynote stage is the idea of embracing your own success and being your own PR. “If you are passionate about what you’re doing, it’s infectious,” Laura says. Identify your champions on each team, use them to test new ideas, and ultimately to get understand how game-changing your work can be.
Finding the champions you need.
Identifying your champions can be tricky, but Laura has some good advice for what you’re looking for, and the answer is a little surprising. Chat with the people having a rough time, the people who keep saying how much they hate Salesforce, or maybe who you’ve identified through data as struggling with specific tasks. Then see if you can make a change to make their life easier, and get the conversation started about how they can get more involved. Laura herself ran into two of her former bosses at Dreamforce who she struggled to convince to give up their spreadsheets—they both now work at Salesforce.
“When I got asked to be an admin, I’d worked for two years in sales,” Laura says, “I was one of those people who did OK but I didn’t exactly hit the target every month either.” When she moved over the platform, she found out about all sorts of things that could have helped her be a better salesperson. She felt she had to share them, not just with her team but with all of the sales teams.
“I tapped into people’s competitive nature and said, ‘Look, you can be so much better at your job, you can work so much smarter if I can give you five minutes training on something,’” Laura says. There are so many great insights about how you can make change at your organization and in your career, so make sure you listen to the full episode.
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Full Show Transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast and we’re here live at Dreamforce. I am with Laura Walker who’s a Salesforce admin consultant, and we just got off a stage doing a breakout session. Laura also just got off the stage last night from the Salesforce admin keynote where she got to introduce Parker Harris. So Laura, let’s talk about all of the things you’ve been doing at Dreamforce 2019 this year.
Laura Walker: Hi Mike. I have had an amazing Dreamforce, the honor of introducing Parker Harris. What a great guy he is, and to be next to someone who’s looking at the whole foreseeable future of Salesforce and know that it’s all in his brain. Oh, it’s so exciting to be so close to the people who really make it happen. The breakout session, so honored to be able to bring a little of my experience as an admin and consultant since 2006, and an end user, and bring those experiences and a little bit of knowledge to new admins to make a difference to what they’re going to do on Monday when they get back to the office.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow, so let’s talk about that. So you’ve been a Salesforce admin before I became a Salesforce admin.
Laura Walker: Heavens.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, that’s good. Let’s talk about your experience leading up to this point. How has the platform, how has the community evolved as you’ve seen it?
Laura Walker: It’s evolved beyond recognition. When I started using Salesforce, S-controls were still around.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah, I remember those. S-controls.
Laura Walker: S-controls.
Mike Gerholdt: Never forget.
Laura Walker: The training was beautifully, wonderfully crafted presentations. Someone really put a lot of effort into those, but they were deathly boring to watch and listen to. I would always read them faster than I listened, so I would turn off the volume and just whip through and hope for the best. To migrate from that through to Trailhead, wow, whoever thought that up is not earning enough. Whatever it is, it’s not enough. To really transform the way anybody can go and learn. Because the presentations, you had to be a user, you had to be part of … and it was paid for.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: Now for Trailhead to be free and accessible, thank you for setting me such a great target to get to 400 badges.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure, absolutely.
Laura Walker: I’m proud and honored to have made it.
Mike Gerholdt: I can give you another target of 500.
Laura Walker: Yeah, I’m sure you will and I’m sure I’ll get there, because there’s new badges all the time for all the new features and there’s now no reason not to be up to date. As long as you invest in yourself, you invest in that time, because everyone benefits. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day and and go, “No, I’m too busy.”
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: Sometimes to take a breather, take a step back from the coalface and go, “What’s the bigger picture?” I was given advice from a director a very long time ago and he said, “Many people look at the immediate future.” He said, “But leaders take a step back and they look wider and they look longer, and they see what’s coming and they see what we need to do next.”
Laura Walker: As admins, we can look at the platform and we can look at the latest release and go, “Wow, that thing that people have been asking for that we said wasn’t possible, it’s going to be possible. Wow, how exciting it’s going to be when I can tell them, that report type that we could never do cross object reporting, well, it’s now possible and we can bring all that together.”
Laura Walker: I’ve been lucky enough to have those kind of light bulb moments. As an admin, it’s like, yeah, and that’s how I got my Twitter handle, SFLozenge.
Mike Gerholdt: Nice.
Laura Walker: So, I was a pain solver that day.
Mike Gerholdt: A pain solver.
Laura Walker: So as a true admin at heart, I solve pain, and I can see pain sometimes before they realize that they’re in a painful place. It ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: I mean, yeah, but it could be better and it could be better to such a degree that there are significant savings in time, energy, effort, emotion. Then you have the community. So, I’ve had a rough year and the emotional support I’ve had from my community, not just the tech, I mean, the leader … one of the co-founders of the London admin user group, Matt Morris, put out a tweet, said, “We’re not just here for the tech, people need people.”
Laura Walker: The emotional outpouring of support during a really rough time, kept me going for months. I was fortunate enough to go back to them and thank them and remind them, because they wouldn’t have known what an impact they have on each other. Don’t stop, do that for the next person along and then feed it forward.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. No, I think and we were talking right before I pressed record, the tech is the thing that we have in common that binds us, but we’re also human and we can so relate to each other and the tech is what brought us together. So Dreamforce is a big family reunion, we often call it. For those listening, maybe they attended, maybe they didn’t attend. What were some of the things you brought out of Dreamforce or some of the things that you’re going to pay forward as you head into your next week and you head into the holidays, and you head into this time of things you’ve learned while you were here?
Laura Walker: There is so much here. There is so much. My poor feet, I don’t think they’ll ever forgive me. But the monastic section, everyone knows, “Oh, it’s all about the tech and everything.” The monastic section of learning to breathe. I advocate taking that time out, that take a step back, come and look at something with fresh eyes, and to actually concentrate on your breathing and center yourself is a great excuse if you need one, to go and take that time.
Laura Walker: Some of the leadership sessions where we’ve had some amazing people talk about how to look at your team and get the best from them. Then Obama to actually … I was so honored that one of his mantras was one that I have used for years, which is if you want to be excellent, surround yourself with excellence. Bring that together and feed off each other and you don’t have to know everything.
Laura Walker: But knowing where to look or who to ask was great advice I was given a long time ago by my chemistry master, a mad, mad man. But I loved him to bits and he was so empowering to a group of girls in a chemistry laboratory, and I was fortunate enough to be on the end of that. You can’t know everything. If anyone runs up to you and says they know everything about Salesforce, run in the opposite direction, it’s not possible.
Laura Walker: But as an admin, if we know enough about a wide range of subjects. I’ve been in a situation where I knew I needed a flow to fix what I needed to fix. I knew at the time they were new when I couldn’t do it myself. So I reached out to the community and someone said, “Well, it’s Friday morning over here in Massachusetts, I think, I’ll give you a hand.” He spent 45 minutes and I was in the UK and he set up my flow for the not-for-profit I was working with and we got it working. It was like, “Wow, I don’t know anything else that would generate that kind of generosity.” But everyone has an interest in making it happen.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. So along the lines of making it happen, you said something in our breakout that really struck me and it was also something I talked about in our keynote, which is embracing your own success. You’re your own get out there and be your own PR, right? And talk to your users and show them the stuff that you did. I mean, if I had a table in that breakout, you would have been banging that table like, “This is the thing you need to do.” I mean, obviously I think that’s something you’ve done. Is that something that you’ve seen in the user groups that really is the differentiator for people?
Laura Walker: Yep. If you are passionate about what you’re doing, it’s infectious.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep.
Laura Walker: If you are sat at someone’s desk and you are watching them do something because you’re absorbing and you’re seeing where the pain points are in your business and they feel empowered because you’re taking time out with them, and you go, “Gosh, that looks really painful. What can I do to make that different?”
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: Dreamforce has been great to let us know what’s coming and how we can use those features to make a difference to someone’s immediate day. Because if you can make that change, they feel empowered, because, “Hey, I said that was a problem and now it’s fixed,” and they share it with their team. It’s really easy to identify with the teams who are going to be your champions. You can target them and create a good relationship and you go, “If I have something new, would you test it for me in a sandbox?”
Laura Walker: Which is what they did for me. That’s how I began to be noticed as a person who could be a good admin, it was recognized in me from a mentor. So to be able to target those people, empower them, your passion then becomes infectious and grows throughout your community, then you gain credibility. Especially for new admins, it’s hard because you think, “Oh, I don’t know anything.” But you can. You can make those little differences and grow and you’re doing Trailhead at the same time and you’re making changes.
Laura Walker: Then you talk to a manager and you go, “Look, I did this and it made this difference to you. I’d like to do this for you, because I’ve noticed that you do reports. What reports up do you do? How can I make that better for you? How can I make that easy? Oh, you take it out into a spreadsheet. What does that spreadsheet do for you that the system doesn’t? Oh, we can do that in Lightning now.” You can get them to have an amazing experience.
Laura Walker: There are two managers who now work for Salesforce in London, who I had to fight tooth and nail to get them to use the dashboard. I got them to use it and I trained them how to use it for their teams and they empowered their teams and they became high functioning teams. I bumped into them at Salesforce Tower and I go, “Hey, what are you doing here?” And they go, “We work here.” It’s like, “Really? Are you sure?”
Mike Gerholdt: Would you like me to show you a dashboard?
Laura Walker: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: So I love that topic and I want to dig deeper into it, because I identified champions when I was an admin. You were identified by, you said a mentor, but I think you’ve also identified users when you’ve gone to other places. I’m a new admin, I just heard Laura talk about identifying champions. What am I looking for? How do I identify one person from another? What are those things that you find in people?
Laura Walker: I think if you’re chatting with someone about what they’re doing in the platform and they go and you ask them, “So what’s painful for you? What don’t you like doing?” Or you have done a little bit of data digging and you notice that that particular person isn’t good at doing that particular data, and you go and talk to them and they go, “Oh, I hate Salesforce. Oh, I hate it.” And you make a change and all of a sudden they go, “Do you know what? That’s made my life so much easier. I can now do this. Because I now put all my tasks into Salesforce and because you showed me how to manipulate a list view, I can now go and look at all the people who have not been contacted for three months and I’ve got all these leads coming to me and I’m using the data.”
Laura Walker: You suddenly begin to hear that little bit of passion creeping into what they’re saying. Nurture that, use that and go, “Okay, if I make a change, how interested would you be in coming on that journey with me and helping the people around you come on board? Because you know people in your team, they’re not so great at doing this and I want to make it better for everybody.” You will soon hear the people who are on board and who want to be part of that.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: Who knows, as your company grows and you need more in your team, they may become your colleagues in your team, and that’s how you grow. I listened to someone last night who said, “As you get a promotion, it leaves a gap for someone else. Bring someone with you.”
Mike Gerholdt: Yep.
Laura Walker: It’s always bringing the next person on. How can we all move together, moving forward and striding ahead? That’s not just making money for your company, it’s making everyone’s daily lives better at work. We’re all at work far too long to not enjoy it.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: So put a path on a case and invoke the confetti. Although a friend of mine did put it in and her company never noticed, I really don’t know how.
Mike Gerholdt: I love celebrations like that.
Laura Walker: I think it’s great.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Laura Walker: It’s such fun and you can bring fun into the office.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep.
Laura Walker: My mantra is to make someone smile every day.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep.
Laura Walker: That might be a really bad joke, that they have no option but to smile because it’s so bad. But, hey, what the hell?
Mike Gerholdt: I like that. So thinking ahead, as I listened to you talk, the word passion comes up more often than not. Working through your day, are there parts of the platform that you’re more passionate about?
Laura Walker: There are. I just want to touch on why I’m passionate.
Mike Gerholdt: Please do.
Laura Walker: So when I got asked to be an admin, I’d worked for two years in sales and I was one of those salespeople that did okay. I wasn’t terrible, but I didn’t sort of hit target every month either.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay.
Laura Walker: I moved over to the platform and I suddenly realized that there was a whole heap of stuff that, if I had known how to do this, I would have been a better salesperson. I just felt compelled to share that with my old sales team. But I had several sales teams and everyone worked in competition with one another and I had to be fair.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: But it was like, “Wow.” I was able to tap into people’s competitive nature as salespeople and go, “Look, you can be so much better at your job. You can work so much smarter, if I can give you five minutes tuition in something, trust me.” So that passion grows from there. But my first job was, it was a service team, so my heart is in service cloud.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay.
Laura Walker: I’m in a project now where I’m bringing multiple record types together to streamline a process and make reporting easier and give exec insights that they’ve never had before. At the moment, the way it’s set up, they’re making decisions on bad data and we really have to stop doing that. So to be able to make that transformation and affect that change, it makes my day. I turn into Tigger, I just bounce my way into work.
Mike Gerholdt: I like that. It’s a good visual, good visual. So let’s fast forward a year from now, where do you want admins to be? Where do you want admins thinking, in terms of their career, in terms of the platform, in terms of their passion?
Laura Walker: Wow, that’s a tough one. Everything is changing at such a crazy rate. I would want any admin out there to understand that we are all just normal people. We have all come on this journey, we have all started from nothing and knowing nothing and we have all moved forward in many different ways. So be a sponge, absorb knowledge from wherever it comes from, listen to everything. Forget what you don’t need to know and all of a sudden you go, “Ah, someone said, but I don’t know how to do that.” Go on Trailhead, set your next target. If you’re at no badges, set at 20. Make realistic targets and hit them. As soon as you’ve hit them, hit your next one.
Mike Gerholdt: Sure.
Laura Walker: People say, “Oh, go for the next promotion.” Well, I worked as a Salesforce admin for four years and there was no promotion, there was nothing above me. But I was told that one day I would build a team underneath me, because the data would grow. It didn’t pan out, I was made redundant and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I became a consultant with a consulting firm and I got exposure to many different verticals that, had I stayed in that one company, I never would’ve had exposure to.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Laura Walker: So embrace everything that happens. Sometimes things may seem catastrophic, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Just because a door shuts, doesn’t mean to say another door, window, trapdoor in the floor, or hole … Look all around, because you don’t know what’s going to open, where it’s going to take you and what fun you’re going to have along the way.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow, I can’t think of a better note to end on. Laura, you’re on Twitter. If people want to follow you and soak up some of your passion, what’s your Twitter address?
Laura Walker: My Twitter handle is @SFLozenge, L-O-Z-E-N-G-E.
Mike Gerholdt: Perfect. Fabulous. Well, I want to thank you, and who you didn’t hear from was her lovely husband who’s been taking pictures with us the whole time. Silent, quiet as a mouse.
Laura Walker: That’s a rarity.
Mike Gerholdt: I know. But thank you for being on the podcast, Laura. Thank you. It was a great pleasure to have you at Dreamforce.
Laura Walker: I’m deeply honored to have been part of it and thank you for organizing everything, Mike, you’re an absolute star.
Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. Thank you, Laura. Have a great time at Dreamforce.
Laura Walker: See you soon.
Mike Gerholdt: This episode was filled with so much passion and encouragement. Laura has all this positive energy just flowing through her and I’m sure you can feel that in this episode. Her passion for learning stems all the way back to the days of S-controls, long before we had this thing called Trailhead, which is amazing.
Mike Gerholdt: So a good reminder from Laura. No matter what stage of your career you’re in, it’s always important to take time to invest in yourself, your education, and to make it happen. Remember, I love her line about being your own PR. Embrace your own success and don’t forget to bring others right along with you. I mean, a lot of it is in the work that we do, and you see that when you’re talking with other people in the community, you can help them find different solutions to the problems and you can help everyone get to that “Aha” moment. That’s really when the passion and excitement grows and it just spreads.
Mike Gerholdt: Now Laura’s been in this community for quite some time and I highly recommend that you reach out to her, connect with her on the trailblazer community or on Twitter, where she is @SFLozenge. Don’t worry, we’ll put the link in the show notes. Of course, we’re also on Twitter. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I. You can connect with other Salesforce admins on Twitter using the hashtag AwesomeAdmin. You can connect with me on Twitter, I’m @MikeGerholdt.
Mike Gerholdt: With that, I wanted to remind you, go to admin.salesforce.com for even more incredible resources, webinars, podcasts like the one that you heard today. It is chockfull of information to help you be an even more awesome admin. With that, I’m Mike Gerholdt, and I’ll see you next time in the cloud.
The Salesforce Admins Podcast is back with another episode of our mini-series, Salesforce for Good, hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. For this episode, we’re talking to Katie McFadden, Co-Founder of Common Voyage, to learn more about the unique ways nonprofits use Salesforce and how you can get involved.
Join us as we talk about how consultants create a vision for technology that supports an organization’s vision and then turn that vision into reality.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Katie McFadden.
The complexities of a nonprofit organization.
Katie is a Salesforce Consultant for Common Voyage, a company she co-founded that works with nonprofits to help them implement Salesforce. “It’s fun working with nonprofits,” Katie says, “I personally feel like it’s as if you’re running multiple businesses under one roof because they’re managing fundraising, they’re managing programs, maybe they have events or volunteers that they’re managing, so it’s a bit of a crazy world with lots of things to track.”
With so many different business processes happening, it can be a lot for one executive director or leadership team to both create vision and execute that vision. On top of that, there are often more resource constraints involved. As Katie says, “with nonprofits, every penny matters.”
How Katie made her first pitch.
Katie first came into contact with Salesforce as a pet project at her first job, a student exchange nonprofit. “I realized after a while that there were so many good ideas for how to run the program,” she says, “but almost all of the conversations ended in, ‘Yeah, but how are we going to do that?’” So she started researching what tools are out there to help organizations get things done, which is how she came across Salesforce. “I did a whole PowerPoint pitch to my boss—it was my first time making a pitch—and she approved it,” Katie says, “and then I started learning everything I could about Salesforce and working with some consultants to build it out.”
All of this happened in the days before Trailhead was a thing. “I like to say I put myself through Salesforce nightschool,” Katie says. “I googled everything but I had a bunch of usecases and needs at this nonprofit, so I used that as an excuse to learn all this stuff.”
The Nonprofit Success Pack.
One of the big differences between the way nonprofits use Salesforce and what you might find in most implementations is the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). “If we think of Salesforce as the platform, the fundamental tools you get to build out a system, then the Nonprofit Success Pack is a layer on top of that that already understands and knows the types of things that nonprofits need,” Katie says, “I say it wrangles the way the business world uses Salesforce to fit those needs.” That includes more detailed tracking for all the types of fundraising-specific a nonprofit uses to see, for example, who is in the same household and what their relationships are.
It’s not as simple as logging onto the AppExchange and adding the Nonprofit Success Pack to your org. There’s an application process you need to go through, but on the other end of it you can qualify for a free license.
Another crazy story from Dreamforce.
Today, Katie runs her own consultancy helping nonprofits. She got the push she needed thanks to a chance meeting at Dreamforce 2013 headed to the Green Day concert that ended in him offering to put her up in Cape Town, South Africa and learn more about consulting. In her first year, she learned a big lesson: “How do you get comfortable without knowing the answers all the time?”
These days, Katie’s a big advocate of the community as a lifeline for anyone out there who needs help. “There used to be a time when one person could know everything about Salesforce,” Katie says, “but now it’s grown to such an extent that nobody does, so we become reliant on each other to figure out what we need to know.” To give back, she helped create the NPSP Videography Community to create NPSP-specific help videos to share knowledge more effectively. Listen to the full episode to hear more about all the amazing things she’s built, her favorite Salesforce features, and more.
- Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns
- Katie: @katiesmcfadden
- Marc: @mbaizman
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Full Show Transcript
Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce For Good miniseries on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. My name is Marc Baizman and I’m a senior admin evangelist here at Salesforce. Before I was an evangelist, I worked at salesforce.org and in the nonprofit world, and I made many incredible connections with people doing amazing things with Salesforce technology and nonprofits, and I really want to share some of them with you.
Marc Baizman: In this podcast miniseries, we’ll be talking to a variety of folks in the Salesforce nonprofit ecosystem, including admins, architects, consultants, and salesforce.org employees. By the end of the series, you’ll learn what makes the nonprofit sector special, how Salesforce technology supports the missions of some amazing organizations that are making a huge impact, and you’ll learn about the fantastic community of people that are making it happen.
Marc Baizman: This week we have the inspiring Katie McFadden here with us to talk about her journey through the Salesforce ecosystem and how she became the cofounder of Common Voyage, a Salesforce consulting firm. Let’s hear from Katie now.
Marc Baizman: Hello Katie. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Katie McFadden: Thank you. Great to be here.
Marc Baizman: You betcha. So Katie McFadden, what do you do?
Katie McFadden: I’m a Salesforce consultant. I work at a company called Common Voyage that I cofounded and we work with nonprofit customers and we help them implement Salesforce.
Marc Baizman: Pretty cool. Sounds great. Tell me about working with nonprofit customers. I want to hear more.
Katie McFadden: Yeah, so it’s fun working with nonprofits. I think there’s a lot of misconceptions out there about how complex the lives are of a nonprofit. So sometimes people think that, “Oh, nonprofit, it must be easier or simpler than the for profit world.” But nonprofit space is pretty complicated, and I personally feel like it’s as if you’re running multiple businesses under one roof, because they’re managing fundraising, they’re managing programs, maybe they have events or volunteers that they’re managing. So it is a bit of a crazy world with lots of things to track.
Marc Baizman: Sounds pretty cool. Pretty crazy. So what brought you into this world of nonprofits before you started consulting?
Katie McFadden: Originally, I graduated college, I came out to San Francisco, and I found a job working at a student exchange organization, and I’d studied abroad a few times. I had one of those degrees that doesn’t really shoehorn you into any particular job, so I started at this exchange organization, and yeah, it was a nonprofit. I didn’t really know what that meant, or what the differences were between regular businesses and nonprofits at the time. We didn’t do much fundraising, actually. This is an unusual nonprofit, and that’s where I got my start, kind of intro to the nonprofit world.
Marc Baizman: Cool. And you kind of indicated that you went to college for something that was not necessarily funneling you into a job. Was this a technical degree, or do you have a technical background? Tell me a little more about it.
Katie McFadden: Sure. So I actually don’t have a technical background. I studied international relations, which is politics, economics, history, and I did minor in math. So I guess that’s somewhat technical, but I actually went to an engineering school which had a great computer science program. And in hindsight, I wish I had studied that, but at the time that wasn’t my forte.
Marc Baizman: That’s okay. You’ve landed in it anyway, which is great.
Katie McFadden: Absolutely. I remember when I moved to San Francisco, in fact, I didn’t know the city well, and I realized very quickly that it’s a tech hub. And I remember thinking to myself, “I’m never going to make it in this city because I’m so not a tech person.”
Marc Baizman: So you are a cofounder of a Salesforce consulting firm, is that right?
Katie McFadden: That’s correct.
Marc Baizman: Okay, great. So I’m going to go ahead and say you’ve made it.
Katie McFadden: Thank you.
Marc Baizman: You’re doing it. You’re welcome. So maybe tell me a little bit more about consulting to nonprofits and how maybe that’s different. You’ve mentioned that nonprofits is like having multiple businesses under one roof. I’d love to hear a little bit more about what kind of work that you do and how it differs.
Katie McFadden: Sure. So the consulting work is interesting with nonprofits, because there are so many different simultaneous business units or processes happening. It’s really a lot for one executive director or one leadership team, especially at a small or medium nonprofit, to be creating vision for how to execute a mission, and executing, implementing and executing that. So a lot of what we do as consultants is around that. “How do we help people envision how they can run their programs, or how they can manage their fundraising?” And then, “How do we build it out in a system so that you can execute that vision?”
Marc Baizman: And would you say that nonprofits … I should just ask, nonprofits generally have resource constraints, right? So maybe they don’t have an unlimited budget and tons of people. How does that affect the kind of work that you do?
Katie McFadden: That’s a great question. Yeah. You can actually feel that on consulting calls and engagements with nonprofits. With for profits, and I have consulted for a few for profits, they dilly dally more. They’ll get on a call, tell me about their kids, this and that. With nonprofits, every penny matters so much more, I would say. Or maybe budgets are smaller, so they get on a call and they’re like, “Okay, let’s do it.” They’re usually very engaged. They want to learn as much as they can to become autonomous and empowered. And so there’s some effects, I think. The budget constraint is maybe tricky and not ideal, but some of the effects of that dynamic are actually great, because I think the people tend to be very engaged and appreciate what they’re learning.
Marc Baizman: That’s great. That’s great. There’s nothing better than working with clients that actually appreciate the service that you offer. Right?
Katie McFadden: Exactly.
Marc Baizman: Cool. So I want to talk to you a little more about you. How did you encounter Salesforce? It sounds like you worked at the student exchange nonprofit. When and how did Salesforce come into your life?
Katie McFadden: Yeah. So I got involved with Salesforce sort of on a pet project in my old job. So I worked at this nonprofit, it was an entry level position. I was a program manager and there was a lot of turnover, so I got to see a lot of people come and go in this role. And I realized after a while that there were so many good ideas. People would come in fresh out of college and they’re like, “Hey, we could run it this way,” or, “We should do this with our students, make a passport program,” or all these great ideas, and almost all the conversations ended in, “Yeah, but how are we going to do that?” Right? “We have no way to track that or get that done.”
Katie McFadden: And it became this very discouraging culture of, “Oh, here comes another good idea. Just hush up with your ideas, friend. We can only do so much.” And that really frustrated me after I recognized the pattern, and so I started researching, “There must be tools. We’re not the only people trying to do stuff, right? So what’s out there that can help?” And I found Salesforce. I did a whole pitch, a PowerPoint pitch. I remember it was the first time making a pitch to my boss, and she approved it. She said, “This sounds great. I’m so happy you found it.” And then I started learning everything I could about Salesforce and working with some consultants to build it out.
Marc Baizman: Oh, this is great. Can you timestamp that for us? How long ago was this?
Katie McFadden: I started at that nonprofit at 2010, and maybe about a year, in 2011 or so, is when we started the Salesforce project.
Marc Baizman: Got it. So this predates Trailhead, in fact.
Katie McFadden: Oh yes. Because everything I learned about Salesforce during my big kind of a vamp up or ramp up to learn everything, this was all just Google searching. It was the Wild West. There was no formal curated content. I just had to find forum.
Marc Baizman: Yeah, let’s get into that. How did you learn about Salesforce back then, in those old days?
Katie McFadden: In those wild days. Yeah. Well, I remember my boss allowed me to learn some of this stuff, but mostly we were working with consultants, so my involvement was limited, but I wanted to so much more involved than what was formally required in this position. So I like to say I put myself through a Salesforce night school-
Marc Baizman: Great.
Katie McFadden: … and I remember that my fingers were in pain from being on the track pad for so many hours a day. It actually kind of scared me. I thought, “My fingers shouldn’t be in pain. This feels really weird.”
Marc Baizman: Yeah. That’s not great.
Katie McFadden: I know. So I would do my day job nine to five, and then all evening long I would just kind of voraciously eat up everything I could online about, “What’s a contact? What’s an account? How do you import data? How do you architect objects?” And all this stuff. So yeah, I Googled everything and I had a bunch of use cases and needs at this nonprofit, so I used that as an excuse to learn all this stuff.
Marc Baizman: That’s pretty cool. So tell me about how Salesforce is different for nonprofits. That’s obviously a leading question, but you can … Maybe not necessarily the technology itself, but maybe there’s an application or two that might be unique to nonprofits.
Katie McFadden: Yeah, there might be an application out there.
Marc Baizman: I’ve heard.
Katie McFadden: Yeah. The application for nonprofits is called The Nonprofit Success Pack. And if we think of Salesforce as the platform, so it’s the fundamental, all the tools that you get to build out a system, then The Nonprofit Success Pack is a layer on top of that, that basically it already understands and knows the types of things that nonprofits need, like households, donations, the things that we all share as nonprofits. And I say it kind of wrangles the way that salesforce.com or the business world uses Salesforce to fit those needs.
Marc Baizman: Awesome. Are there any kind of key distinctions that The Nonprofit Success Pack does that maybe stands out as opposed to the way that native Salesforce operates?
Katie McFadden: Sure. So yeah, a lot of The Nonprofit Success Pack functionality is fundraising focused, so we’ve got contacts, accounts, and households, and then we’ve got grants, in kind gifts, matching gifts, all these things that nonprofits do. And then there’s also marketing tools that are maybe less nonprofit specific, and there’s also talk about doing some program management, so things that are less consistent from nonprofit to nonprofit aren’t in the application right now, but they’re trying to get in as much as possible.
Marc Baizman: Sounds great. And you mentioned households, so that’s a record type on the account, object to track information about where people live, right?
Katie McFadden: Correct. Yep. So we can track people in these groupings and know these children are part of this household. We can also track relationships within households, which one’s the spouse, which one’s the brother, the sister, all that.
Marc Baizman: Got it. Sounds good. So we’ve talked a little bit about consulting to nonprofits and how it differs from maybe working with other types of customers. Can you talk a little bit more about those different functional areas? So fundraising, program management, and then the volunteer management piece. I know that salesforce.org also provides an app to help with that as well.
Katie McFadden: Right. So as part of The Nonprofit Success Pack, there’s the Volunteers for Salesforce app, and that helps nonprofits manage just their fleet of volunteers, right? So you’ve got to have applications, you’ve got to have online signups, people updating the shifts that they want to be part of. So all of that is managed by this app called Volunteers for Salesforce.
Marc Baizman: And is that an app on the App Exchange if somebody just wanted to install it?
Katie McFadden: It is, yeah. And it’s also part of the core Nonprofit Success Pack. So whether you’re using the NPSP, I’ll call it just for short, whether you’re using NPSP or you want the Volunteers app separately, you can get it either way.
Marc Baizman: Great. And if folks want the NPSP, there’s a whole separate installer process to get that thing, right? That’s not just an App Exchange install.
Katie McFadden: Correct. Yep. There’s a whole application process for nonprofits to say, “Hey, I’m a nonprofit. I’d like to get the free donated licenses,” and that’ll set you up with The Nonprofit Success Pack if you wish, right out of the gates.
Marc Baizman: Fantastic. That’s great. I’d love to know maybe a little more about you and what role folks have played in your career growth over time. It sounds like you kind of started in this nonprofit, maybe worked for some other nonprofits, and you’re now the co-owner of a consulting company. So your career has grown quite a bit. What role did folks play in that?
Katie McFadden: Sure. So I would say I would give major props to my friend Sam Foss. He played probably the most important role in my whole growth spurt here. So after I was working at the student exchange organization, just found out that I loved doing this sort of work, finding out requirements and building things in Salesforce, I had this thought of, “You know, maybe I want to be in consulting, because then I can do this all day long.” And at the time I was counseling teenagers studying in the US, so I love exchange students, but they can be very difficult when they have issues.
Marc Baizman: Sure.
Katie McFadden: I didn’t really want to go back to that, so I was thinking about that. And then I went to Dreamforce that year, and I was going to the Green Day concert. Every Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce conference has-
Marc Baizman: It’s also the annual Salesforce concert, by the way.
Katie McFadden: True. Some people focus on the concert.
Marc Baizman: Yeah. Apparently there’s a conference that goes on.
Katie McFadden: Apparently.
Marc Baizman: But we’re there for the concert.
Katie McFadden: Exactly. So this year is Green Day. They always have big headliner bands, and I was waiting in line to take a bus to AT&T Park to see this concert, and the person behind me, there was this man behind me who just said kind of casually, “So how’s your Dreamforce going?” And it turns out he’s from abroad, which as someone who works in student exchange and has traveled quite a bit, was quite exciting. He’s from Cape Town, South Africa, and he works at a nonprofit consulting firm in Cape Town doing exactly what I wanted to do. So we ended up chatting. We chatted a bunch that evening, because we were both going on the same concert. And after a while he said, “Well, if you ever want to come out to Cape Town and learn how to do consulting, let us know. You can come live with my family, and we’d put you up and everything.” So a few months afterwards I-
Marc Baizman: That’s amazing.
Katie McFadden: I know.
Marc Baizman: Let’s pause for a minute. That’s amazing. That’s pretty cool.
Katie McFadden: I know. It was such luck that we were in the line and right next to each other, and in a conference with literally thousands and thousands, tens and thousands of people that we connected. So months later, I was ready to make the switch to consulting, and I basically called them up and I said, “Hey, does that offer still stand? Can I ask you a bit?” Got to vet this guy, make sure that he is who he says he is. But I went through that whole process and I did exactly what he proposed. I lived with this family. I’m good friends with his kids, and I went and worked at their consultancy, and it was neat because I didn’t know much about consulting, but I knew a fair amount about Salesforce, and they had consultants but they didn’t know much about Salesforce. So I was able to offer a lot, and they threw me straight into projects, and that’s how I learned how to consult.
Marc Baizman: That’s fantastic. And you did this from their offices in South Africa?
Katie McFadden: Yep. I was in Cape Town for two months, and then I worked for them remotely when I came back to the US.
Marc Baizman: Very, very cool. So what an amazing introduction, and thank you Sam, for all the you that you did to get Katie on board. And it sounds like you were also able to provide a lot of value back to them. Super cool. So what was the hardest part of that and maybe just of your journey generally?
Katie McFadden: Yeah. Let’s say there were two parts in all of this that were hardest for me. One was learning about Salesforce in the Wild West days, so not so much a challenge … Well, a different type of challenge for people now. There’s almost too many resources now. Back then there weren’t enough. That was tricky, to really figure out what I needed and qualify the knowledge that I was able to find and just try things out. So that was one of the challenging phases.
Katie McFadden: And then another challenging phase was my first year of consulting. So when I came back from Cape Town, I ended up working at another firm here based in the US, and the first year was tough. There’s just so much nuance to consulting that’s not just technical. I remember being on a call, and setting up my calls, and thinking, “What headphones do I wear?” You know, even the simplest things, they seem-
Marc Baizman: It’s the perennial consulting challenge, by the way.
Katie McFadden: Absolutely. So there were just so many little things I had to figure out before I could feel comfortable. And how do you get comfortable with not knowing the answers all the time? I felt like I had to know every answer at that stage, and so there were a lot of lessons learned in that first year.
Marc Baizman: That’s great. That’s great. So I’d love to hear maybe, what’s your kind of role in the community? And I’m using community pretty generally, because I know there are a couple of different communities that you’re active in. So I’d love to maybe hear about that a little bit, too.
Katie McFadden: Sure. So I’ve been a big advocate and lover of the Salesforce community, because I do think it is a lifeline in this space. I remember someone told me a long time ago, they said, “You know, Katie, there used to be a time when one person could know everything about Salesforce.” And that just blew my mind. How is that even possible? But back in the day it was that simple. But now it’s grown to such an extent, I mean, Mark Benioff, the CEO, he doesn’t know everything about Salesforce. Literally no one does. And so we’ve become pretty reliant on each other to figure out what we need to know, and that’s what got me into the community. I just needed to ask questions and connect. And so since then I’ve been involved in certainly the local user group. I found them online, and made a lot of friends through that community. I’ve also been involved in community led open source aspects of The Nonprofit Success Pack.
Marc Baizman: Oh, say more about that. That sounds really interesting.
Katie McFadden: Yeah. So The Nonprofit Success Pack is actually an open source package or app. And that means that they’re very open to receiving feedback from the community, and even contributions. And the neat thing about that is that we can get together as a community and define our needs, and actually put together, “What’s most useful?” And say, “Here, this is what we want. Can you include it?” So that’s something that I’ve been part of in terms of documentation. So a bunch of us identified, “We really need some more videos to document the different features, because it’s hard to tell what things do just by reading these long knowledge articles.” And so we started what’s called the NPSP videography committee, and we put together a bunch of videos with Salesforce’s help, salesforce.org, and now that’s a thriving committee. There’s a bunch of members and we go through creating videos on a quarterly basis.
Marc Baizman: That is amazing. How many videos are there?
Katie McFadden: At this point, probably 30 to 40.
Marc Baizman: Wow. That’s amazing.
Katie McFadden: Yeah.
Marc Baizman: That is really, really cool.
Katie McFadden: Yeah. So that was just a blending of talents. I had some videography background and people would offer their voices for our videos, and we all came together to make that happen, and it’s still going on now.
Marc Baizman: Oh. That is so cool. That that leads me to my next question, which is, what are some cool things that you built, or maybe some other cool things that you built in addition to these videos?
Katie McFadden: Sure. There’s so many fun projects over the years. One thing that I love about being a nonprofit consultant is that I get to learn about all these missions, that a lot of them, I don’t know anything about, and they’re very diverse. So just a few that come to mind. I worked with an organic farming certification, actually still work with them, and I put together this whole online community for their farmers, their producers to log in and submit their organic farming requirements, and in the process learned how strict and rigid all the government regulations are for the organic certifications. That was exciting. Yeah, so that was a neat project. Also, the nonprofit I used to work with, we also had a community and we built some really slick kind of forms and ways for people to log in and view information about host families and students and their assignments. So that was probably still to date, even though I’ve been consulting for years, probably one of the most complex Salesforce instances I’ve ever worked on.
Marc Baizman: Is it because you built it and it’s the best?
Katie McFadden: Well, we did work with consultants. I can’t take all the credit.
Marc Baizman: Oh, okay. Fair enough. Fair enough. What are some of your favorite Salesforce or Nonprofit Success Pack or Volunteers for Salesforce features that you like?
Katie McFadden: Oh, there’s so many. So Salesforce features, these days, I’m really getting into these front end features, the features that interface with the users. So a lot of building Salesforce is getting the foundation right and having the right records and fields and all that, but something that we often don’t spend as much time on because it’s not as critical, but it has such a big impact, is the user side. So making beautiful pages. We’re all kind of UX designers, user experience designers now with the tools that we have from recent releases, and so I’m really having a fun time designing pages that are intuitive for users, and then also building flows, which is a Salesforce tool to build a wizard so you can walk a user through a multistep process.
Marc Baizman: That is great. We even did a whole little flow campaign, so definitely check that out. So I’d love for you to give advice to maybe other admins or even other consultants out there who don’t work with nonprofits and maybe want to, and other admins. Again, could be nonprofit admins, could be for profit admins. Just any advice that you have.
Katie McFadden: Sure. Well, my overall advice to folks living and navigating the Salesforce world is to keep asking questions. In my experience, there’s a lot to understand, which can feel daunting, but once you’ve gotten connected to the community through various channels, user groups, community sprints, we have NPSP days, or even online in the Power of Us hub or the Trailblazer community, once you really connect with other people, I think that’s when your Salesforce career kind of comes alive. And so just keep figuring out what you want and asking people, and everyone will sort of usher you in the right direction. For profit folks interested in the nonprofit community, I think that it’s a tricky transition, and so it’s another one where I’d say ask around, collect experience, because I think some people think … The transition’s easier than they think. There’s lots of opportunities for being involved in pro bono projects and having guidance from people who do know the nonprofit space and learning that way. So I always recommend that people check those opportunities out.
Marc Baizman: Got it. Maybe partner up with somebody who does have experience before jumping in.
Katie McFadden: Exactly right.
Marc Baizman: Got it. And then one final question for you, which is, what’s a fun thing that you do when maybe you’re not doing Salesforce consulting? Just something fun that you do on the side?
Katie McFadden: Well, timely question. I’m actually in the process of getting my scuba diving certification right now.
Marc Baizman: Wow, that’s pretty cool.
Katie McFadden: It’s pretty cool. So I’m the daughter of astronomers, and I figure scuba diving is the closest to being in space that I might ever get to in my lifetime. Who knows? I’m relatively young, so I shouldn’t say, but breathing underwater where I can turn in 360 degrees in any direction is going to be a pretty trippy experience. And I haven’t taken my first breath underwater yet. That’s happening this weekend.
Marc Baizman: Oh my goodness. Well congratulations, and daughter of astronomers. I have to ask, are there any stars or galaxies or nebulae that are named after your parents, that they discovered?
Katie McFadden: That’s such a good question. Yes. Both of my parents have a star named after them.
Marc Baizman: What?
Katie McFadden: It’s my mom and my stepdad, and my mom actually has an asteroid named after her.
Marc Baizman: That is amazing. I guess we’ll get the link to those in the show notes.
Katie McFadden: If anyone’s interested, you can also Google my mom, Lucy McFadden. She’s kind of a big deal.
Marc Baizman: Wow. That is really cool. How about that, Katie? I did not know that about you. That’s cool. Well, I think that’s about all the time we have for today, but thank you so much for joining me and enlightening all of us on the role of the Salesforce consultant, and just a delight to talk to you. Thank you.
Katie McFadden: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Marc Baizman: You bet.
Marc Baizman: I’m so glad we were able to talk with Katie today. She had a ton of great insight into the nonprofit world. Most nonprofits have complex business processes just like Katie talked about. The goal of the consultant is to help create that vision for the technology that supports the organization’s mission and then help turn that vision into a reality. Of course, that takes time and a lot of learning and experience. When Katie pitched her first Salesforce solution to her boss at student exchange back in those pre-Trailhead days, Google was our main resource, along with using her own use cases and needs and getting hands on with how she learned.
Marc Baizman: And from there she really dug deeper into helping others answer that, but how do we do that? Critical question. Katie says the community is our lifeline, and she is so totally right. Gathering together and making connections in the community is, as you all know, hugely important in this ecosystem. If you’re a nonprofit, then you have access to the Power of Us hub, and even if you’re not a nonprofit, you can join the Nonprofits Using Salesforce Group in the Trailblazer community. As The Nonprofit Success Pack is an open source solution, it allows the community to get together, exchange ideas, and give feedback. And Katie, along with others, created some amazing videos to help people learn the NPSP, and we’ve shared that link below here.
Marc Baizman: Thanks so much, Katie. We can’t wait to hear about all the other amazing things you’ll do.
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got another Lightning Champion, Zoe Lai, a Salesforce Consultant at SalesFix. This episode is part three of a six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelly Walker, Senior Adoption Consultant at Salesforce. We talk to our amazing Lightning Champions to find out about their career journey, how it lead them to the Lightning Experience, advice on handling change management, and why Lightning Experience is so awesome.
Join us as we talk about how Zoe’s been able to move up in the Salesforce ecosystem, what it means to be a Lightning Champion, and how she took her first org into Lightning.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Zoe Lai.
Another accidental admin.
Before “falling into Salesforce,” as Zoe puts it, she was a digital marketing and project management specialist. She became an accidental admin, then product owner, and that lead her to her current role as a Salesforce Consultant at SalesFix in Melbourne, Australia.
When Zoe implemented her first Salesforce pilot they were on Classic, but when she went to World Tour Sydney she encountered Lightning for the first time. “It was totally a wow situation for me, so after I came back I started learning more about Lightning and tried to put together a business case to transition our pilot into Lightning,” Zoe says.
How to drive adoption by showing off Lightning.
As far as Zoe’s favorite Lightning features go, Path is definitely up there. “It provides an easy, visual way show where a record is located and for a user to update its status easily,” she says, which makes it easier for users if they can get the hang of it. One of the main ways she drives adoption is by simply showing off how much easier the process is.
Driving adoption and getting people to change what they’re doing isn’t always easy. “After a few implementations and transitions, I found that the first step when it comes to change management, I think you need to stop and listen to the customer and identify their current pain points when it comes to change,” Zoe says, “what are the normal, usual obstacles and understand how the team is using and why.” That gives you the information you need to come with a plan to address whatever issues your team has. It comes down to understanding that “what’s in it for me” mentality.
Why the community is key.
A Lightning Champion is a customer or a partner in the Ohana that is passionate about the LIghtning Experience, and looking to evangelize the power of the platform in terms how it’s transformed their organization and their career. “I always try to find ways to give back the community,” Zoe says, “the reason I became a Lightning Champion is because I’m passionate about the Lightning experience, and I want the community to have the same ‘wow” experience.”
When it comes to how to get active in your community, Zoe’s advice is to “keep learning and keep giving back.” For starters, you can join the Trailblazer Community and your local user group and get involved there. You can start going to community events and take your networking to the next level. Remember that everyone going to these events is just like you, or used to sit in your shoes, so don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.
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Full Show Transcript
Kelly Walker: Welcome to the Salesforce Lightning Champion Spotlight on The Salesforce Admins podcast. My name is Kelly Walker and I am a Senior Adoption Consultant here at Salesforce. I also have the amazing opportunity of working closely with the awesome trailblazers who are passionate about Lightning and have become Lightning Champions to evangelize the power of lightning. In this mini series, we will be talking to six awesome lightning champions to talk about their career journey, how it led them to the lightning experience, advice on handling change management, and to focus on their stories of why lightning experience is so awesome.
Kelly Walker: Now, Salesforce is turning on lightning experience on a rolling basis in winter 20. Users still have access to Salesforce Classic after lightning experiences turned on, but lightning experience is where you want to be for driving business growth and improved productivity. To get ready, verify your orgs existing features and customizations in the new interface and prepare your users with change management best practices. This update applies to users who have the lightning experience user permission, including all users with standard profiles and users with custom profiles or permission sets that have the lightning experience user permission enabled. For more information, check out the critical update and watch this short video titled, “Understand How the Lightning Experience Critical Update Affects My Users,” both of which are linked in the show notes.
Kelly Walker: This week on the Lightning Champion Spotlight, we have Zoe Lai, a Salesforce Consultant from Melbourne, Australia here with us and we have the amazing opportunity to talk to Zoe today about her transition to Salesforce, to lightning, to all things that come with that. Zoe, I just want to be the first to welcome you on the Admins podcast.
Zoe Lai: Thank you, Kelly. Hi, everyone.
Kelly Walker: All right. Well, without further ado, I say we jump right into it and tell us a little bit about how you came to Salesforce.
Zoe Lai: Before falling into Salesforce where I was a digital marketing and program management specialist. Then I had an opportunity to help my team implement a Salesforce pilot and then one thing led to another. I became an assistant with [inaudible 00:02:33], the product owner. Then, now, I’m a consultant at SalesFix.
Kelly Walker: Well, that’s awesome. As it relates to lightning, because you are one of our amazing Lightning Champions, how did you come across that? Was it something that you were told to learn or you just saw the future of Salesforce headed that way? Tell us a little bit more about that journey.
Zoe Lai: Yeah. When I implement my very first Salesforce pilot, we were on plastic. A few months after that, I was sent to work to Sydney. There, that was the first time I saw how … Well, I learned about lightning platform and then it was totally a wow situation for me. After I came back, I start learning more about lightning and then try to put together a business case to migrate our pilot into lightning. That’s the start of my lighting journey. Ever after that, I just keep on learning on the lightning features and just amazed at the beautiful interface and how much more you can do with it.
Kelly Walker: Right. Now, for features, what is your favorite lightning feature?
Zoe Lai: There are many, but if I have to pick one on top of my head, I think, definitely path. Path provide an easy visual way to show where a record is at and for the user to update easily, and status or other pick this field that you choose. Then I found it really easy instead of just trying to find the fill status and then change status from that field, pick that field. It is way more easy to just click one of the status you want to change into and then make it a current status on the Path.
Kelly Walker: Awesome. How are your users adjusting to the Path, because that’s something that they never had before? Is that new for them or a tool that they can no longer live without? What’s the response then around that?
Zoe Lai: At first, they don’t understand what Path does. At the beginning, they still try to find a status. They got used to it after I show them … Actually, you can just do it from there. Just show it on their computer and then they were like “Wow, that’s much easier.” That just make it easier for them to update the status for their sales record.
Kelly Walker: Have you introduced that awesome new feature, the confetti at the end, to celebrate something won or closed?
Zoe Lai: I haven’t got a chance to do that yet. I look forward to do that one. Well, one of my customers in the future.
Kelly Walker: Yeah. I would be interested to see or hear about their reaction when the digital confetti falls on their screen.
Zoe Lai: Yeah.
Kelly Walker: Awesome. If we think about where your customers were in classic and you having the enormous responsibility of transitioning them to lightning, and I only say enormous as it relates to the change management aspect. Can you dive into that a little bit to help us understand how you help other customers and users become comfortable with this change and maybe some best practices that you’ve learned along the way or some things that you’ve found to be hard at first and really come together at the end?
Zoe Lai: Sure. Change management is not always easy. I had a few examples and after some implementation, the “Oh, Zoe, I need to have a plan first.” After a few implementation and transition, I found that the first step when it comes to change management, I think, we should stop and then just listen to the customer and identify their current pain point when it comes to change, what’s the normal usual obstacles and then understand how the team is using the platform and why or is there any resistance. After I understand and identified this, then we can come up a better plan for the customer addressing those pain points. A plan can be perfect and/or designed perfect with clear outcomes, address and resource plan, but if you don’t understand, try to understand the customer’s pain point first, you will experience more resistance during the process.
Kelly Walker: Yeah. That’s always one of the things that we find too, talking to customers. You need to find, “What’s in it for me” or “What’s in it for them” to really sell the new experience, the new page layouts, whatever it may be. How is it going to make me more efficient or help me sell faster, make more money or whatever my goals may be.
Zoe Lai: Exactly.
Kelly Walker: The community may have heard of this term, “Lightning Champion,” but not necessarily know what it means or who is a Lightning Champion. Just explain it a little bit. A Lightning Champion is a customer or a partner in the Ohana that is passionate about lightning experience and really looking to evangelize the power of the platform when it’s done for his or her career. Just, really, talk to the benefits that they’ve seen in making the move from classic to lightning or from building apps on lightning experience. For you, Zoe, I would love to understand why you became a Lightning Champion and really, what it means to you.
Zoe Lai: I always try to find ways to give back to the community, whatever I learn or share with the community, the resource that I know. The reason why I joined Lightning Champion is because I am passionate about the lightning experience and I want the community to have that same wow spirits and learn more about the lightning platform and the features, so that it make their day-to-day business process easier, faster and drive more positive outcome for their business.
Kelly Walker: Awesome. Are there a few things that you’re doing within your community that you’d like to share as it relates to your role as a Lightning Champion?
Zoe Lai: I did a flow presentation in one of our Melbourne user group. I was so nervous. To be honest, I can’t say that I’m a master of the latest lightning flow. In that session, I share what I’ve learned from the old version of the flow to the lightning flow. Surprisingly, after the session, a lot of people came to me and then say that, “Wow, I saw that flow. It’s a thing that I’ll never want to touch.” After the session, they understand that they can actually try and start to use it. I was quite happy to hear that.
Kelly Walker: That’s amazing, because flow is one of those things, I will admit, myself included, that seems very intimidating. I try to stick with process builder or at least, I use to as much as possible, but really, all that’s happening with the new flow builder and how you can use flow within lightning. It really is changing the game. I love that you really are talking about flow and getting other customers comfortable. Now, the other thing about flow, and I always bring this up, is that we’ve moved into making templates available. Even if you don’t want to start net new, there may be a template out there that’s at least a great starting point for you to build upon. Anyone out there who has not seen Zoe’s presentation but wants to start with flow but not something that you’ve built yourself, I would definitely check out on the AppExchange, what flow templates our partners are building.
Zoe Lai: Right. One thing I want to add on top of that is, like you said, flow seems intimidating, but how I’m learning is to look for the examples on the internet or from my colleague. I’ve got a colleague who is very good at building flow. He built for like within … he can have it done within 20 minutes and complicated flow. What I do is, as part of myself learning, I would just go into those flow that he built and try to make sense and then, “Oh wow, so this is how you do this when you want to achieve that.” That’s how I learned, try to improve. There’s, still, a lot for me to learn. I can’t say that I’m mastering it yet, but yeah, that’s a good way. I found that it’s easy to improve your skills in building flow.
Kelly Walker: Yeah. I love that. Not just for flow but some other aspects in reverse engineering almost. You can start to see what the end result is and how we got there, and I think that’s a great way to learn those features that, maybe, aren’t as intuitive right off the bat. Well, Zoe, as we talk about flow, it really gets me thinking about building and building stuff specifically in lightning, maybe new processes, procedures. I would love to hear, maybe, something that you’ve built for one of your customers or maybe your own or that you’re really proud of and you’d like to brag about yourself a little bit.
Zoe Lai: Yes. I once helped a customer transform their case management process from the outlook inbox folder to Salesforce platform. They transformed from having to manually drag the email into different folder to automatically have the email comes into Salesforce with accounting counter identified and also, stage automated. Essentially, their service agents transform from spending tremendous hours per day to only need to look at the list view that we created for them and only look at the action require list view to process those inquiry from their customer and they were very happy.
Kelly Walker: That’s awesome because not only did you bring that 360 view of the customer into Salesforce, so that not just anyone who was in the email folders could see what was happening but bringing it into Salesforce so that everyone could understand the communications and the interactions that they were having. Then leveraging all of those amazing service cloud features, maybe, as it relates to macros or quick text or just productivity wins that you wouldn’t necessarily get with ancillary features, especially in that 360 degree view of the customer. All right, Zoe. Well, we’re doing something fun at the end of these conversations with Lightning Champions. I know you’re very active in your community. I would just love to understand any bit of advice that you may have.
Zoe Lai: Sure. My advice would be, keep learning and keep giving back. Join trailblazer community. User group is definitely a great way to start. You get to network with other people, learn new things and you may find your next job in these community events.
Kelly Walker: Awesome. I cannot agree with that more. I would not be where I am today without the amazing community that I plugged into as I got started. Thank you, Zoe, so much for joining us here. Thank you for being such an awesome Lightning Champion. It’s been a pleasure.
Zoe Lai: Thank you.
Kelly Walker: It was so great to have Zoe on the podcast this week. She has done so much for her Melbourne community during her four years of working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Being able to give back to the same community that has helped our champions get to where they are today is a huge theme that you’ll hear throughout this mini series, and that says a lot about this program. The reason Zoe wanted to be a Lightning Champion was to share the same excitement and appreciation she has for lightning with her community. You don’t have to be an expert to have an influence in your workplace or your community. As long as you are passionate and competent with what you know and share those experience with others, like Zoe did when she gave her flow presentation.
Kelly Walker: Before we end the episode, I want to reiterate that change management is not always easy. Your job as a Salesforce Admin is to make this transition easier for your users. You may have your idea of the perfect plan, but without identifying their pain points and how they use the platform, you might find resistance with your transition. Take a step back, listen to your users and hear what their needs are to make sure you’re getting to the heart of what’s in it for them. Thank you for listening and tune in to find out who we will feature in our next Lightning Champion Spotlight.
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Reid Carlberg, Vice President of Trailhead Mobile at Salesforce, to share how the partnership between Apple and Salesforce lead to Trailhead GO and what he learned through the process that is super relevant for admins.
Join us as we talk about the difference between product managers and project managers, how to think about delivering value to your users, and how to listen to feedback.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Reid Carlberg.
Launching Trailhead GO.
Reid was last on the podcast back in the early days of the ButtonClick Admin. These days, he’s working in product management and, specifically, on something new called Trailhead GO. It’s live right now, so if you haven’t already you should definitely pull it up on your iOS device so you can follow along. “If you were at Dreamforce last year,” Reid says, “you know that we’re kicking off a strategic partnership with Apple,” and he found himself in charge of making that vision a reality.
“One of the things that I found myself thinking about,” Reid says, “is an experience that I’ve heard a lot of admins relate to, where they were kind of handed something. They got to take this thing—a lot of times it’s Salesforce—and help understand what people really wanted out of it and try and figure out how they could launch it out and be successful for the group.”
How to use a “walking around deck.”
At Salesforce, if you’re working on something big you need to create a presentation that eventually becomes a “walking around deck.” It doesn’t necessarily describe what the product will be, but it shows you a lot of aspects of what it could be. For Reid, that meant showing what it would be like if people could get into Trailhead content wherever they happen to be. Obviously, this struck a chord with Mike and his concept of SABWA: Salesforce Administration By Walking Around.
“When you’re in a very collaborative environment,” Reid says, “you have to go broad and wide with whatever it is that you’re pitching so people can say, ‘Yes, I’ve heard about it, yes I know what the vision is, and yes, I agree with this vision.’” The thing is, as soon as you start talking to people about your vision, you’re going to get feedback about it. Some of it is going to encourage you and some of it is going to point out where you’re wrong. This discovery process is incredibly helpful because you can get your users to tell you directly what they want and don’t want before you build anything.
The difference between a product manager and a project manager.
Once you release something, you can spend a lot of energy fighting fires, as Mike says. A feature doesn’t work right, or something needs to be tweaked, for example. So how does Reid balance the need to maintain what he and his team has already rolled out with the need to keep an eye towards the future? “If I think about those things as fires, it can tend to get me worked up and have a sense of urgency,” he says, “or I can start to think about things not necessarily as fires but as opportunities.”
Changing your outlook gives you permission to take your time and perhaps group things together to see the broader picture and maybe make a bigger change down the road. For Reid, that’s the distinction between a product manager and a project manager. “When you’re a product manager, you have to do all these trade-offs and say, ‘Okay, how do I understand what value this can deliver and in what order should I deliver that value?’”
- Trailhead GO
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Full Show Transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk product, community, and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I’m Mike Gerholdt, and today we have Vice President of Trailhead Mobile, the one and only Reid Carlberg, here to tell us about how the partnership between Apple and Salesforce led to Trailhead GO, and what he learned through the process that I believe is very relevant for admins. I’m super excited to have Reid on the podcast, so let’s get him on the podcast.
Mike Gerholdt: So Reid, welcome to the podcast.
Reid Carlberg: Thanks Mike. It’s nice to be here.
Mike Gerholdt: I think it’s been a while, actually. The last time you were on it, was ye old days of the Button Click Admin Podcast, so let’s do a quick catch up on some of the stuff that you’re working on at Salesforce now.
Reid Carlberg: Sure. It has been a long time. Let’s see. What am I working on these days? So these days I’m largely out of the evangelism group, and instead of that, which is what I was working on last time I was here, but instead of that I’m working on product management, and I am bringing to life a new and exciting product called Trailhead GO.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, wow. So I think that’s something we should talk about. And on top of it, just being a new product, you are helping bring something to life, which is a lot of what admins do. They bring concepts to life, they bring new apps to users. I think this will tie in really nice and it gives us an opportunity to talk about something really fun that people have in their hands literally as we talk right now.
Reid Carlberg: Yeah. I’m hoping that everyone who’s listening has had a chance to install Trailhead GO on their iOS device, because it is a super cool app.
Mike Gerholdt: If not, we have a link in the show notes, so you can click it, because you’re right on your phone, and if you’re like me, you’re probably walking your dog doing it anyway. I do. I consume an incredible amount of podcasts walking my dog. I should be thinner because of it, but I’m not.
Reid Carlberg: You know, I listened to two episodes of the Salesforce Admins Podcast today while walking my dogs. One for each dog.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. Good. Apparently maybe I should take a poll of how many dogs people have so that we know how many episodes will be to release.
Reid Carlberg: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So let’s talk about Trailhead GO.
Reid Carlberg: Okay. What do you want to know about it?
Mike Gerholdt: Well, you said “bring to life.” Let’s start there.
Reid Carlberg: Okay. So when I talk about bringing it to life, what I really mean is this whole process that came about on Team Trailhead really starting at Dreamforce last year. So if you were at Dreamforce last year or you’ve watched any of the keynotes or you paid attention to any of the news, you know that we announced this great strategic partnership that we’re kicking off with Apple. Apple and Salesforce share a number of core values, including really putting the customer at the center of everything and making sure that we’re making a positive difference in people’s lives, and one of the things that we really wanted to do was we wanted to create a great mobile experience for people who wanted to skill up for the future, and that’s really where Trailhead GO started. So starting really right after Dreamforce last year, I got to kick off a team, kickoff an architecture, work on bringing all the pieces together that would actually result in the app that we announced earlier this week.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. There’s a lot to unpack just in that part there. If you were a Salesforce admin, you’re hearing this, Reid had a lot of moving parts at the very beginning of a project. What was the first thing you learned about a lot of moving parts and kicking off a project?
Reid Carlberg: Well, one of the things that I found myself thinking about as we were talking about you and I maybe getting together and sharing this story a little bit is an experience that I’ve heard a lot of admins relate, where they were kind of handed something, and they got to take this thing, in their case a lot of times at Salesforce, and help understand what people really wanted out of it, and try and figure out how they could launch it out and make it successful for the group. And for me, when Sarah Franklin came to me and said, “Hey, are you interested in helping us build this mobile app?” First of all, the answer was yes, but I really didn’t know what saying yes to that project would mean, and so I had to go and really unravel and figure out lots about what it would take to bring this app to life. Just like honestly I think a lot of admins, when they’re sort of given Salesforce and they’re kind of trying to figure out, “Okay, well how do I do this?” That’s what I had to do with the mobile app.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay. I think you’re spot on. Exactly. So you said yes, and there’s a lot of moving parts going. What’s kind of that next event horizon that you hit?
Reid Carlberg: So at Salesforce, the big thing that you have to do is you have to create a presentation, and this presentation becomes a walking around deck, and it doesn’t really show exactly what the product is going to be, but it will show you a lot of aspects of what the product could be. And so I created a short deck. I really like to have shorter decks. Some people have 20 slide decks or 30 slide decks, something like that, that go into a lot of detail. But for me, I really wanted to focus on the high level what success would look like if we put out a great app that people could use to really get into Trailhead content wherever they happen to be. And it was maybe eight, 10 slides, something like that, and it really focused around what difference we thought it could make if we were successful. And so I had to shop that around to a number of people. I had to get some executive buy-in, make sure that it was aligned with what Sarah was thinking, make sure it was aligned with what other leaders within the Trailhead team were thinking, presented at a couple of all hands, and along the way, I want to point out, I learned a ton about what people really expected from a mobile app with Trailhead just with inside Salesforce. So that was really step one for me.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. So you win because new buzzword for me is “walking around deck.” Like I’ve been shopping, I have been talking about Salesforce administration by walking around Saba. You remember that?
Reid Carlberg: Oh, yeah. Totally.
Mike Gerholdt: I like taking Saba to the next level by having a walking around deck like that. That to me, I love that term. I love what you said. I want to know, how did you figure out who to shop the deck to?
Reid Carlberg: I just really, I shared it to everybody. I think people got kind of sick of me, to be honest. But the thing is is when you’re in a very collaborative environment, and Salesforce is very collaborative, and when you’re also in an environment where a lot of times participation is … I don’t want to quite say voluntary, but really emotional engagement is totally voluntary, and that’s what I think pretty much every environment that knowledge workers are in today really is. You have to go broad and wide, really, with whatever it is that you’re pitching so that people can say, “Yes, I want. I’ve heard about it. Yes, I know what the vision is, and yes, I agree with this vision.” And if you can get those three things, maybe a talk to a few extra people, great. But if you leave a key person out, that can be a big problem.
Mike Gerholdt: Now you mentioned feedback, and I think I know I struggled in my early days at Salesforce gathering feedback, because I kind of just assumed what I put out there was awesome and everybody should just say it’s awesome and let me move on. I think you’re very thoughtful in the manner in which you gather feedback, and so I’d love to know how did you gather some of this feedback as you were walking around with that deck, and what would your advice be for admins as they’re making their walk around decks and gathering feedback?
Reid Carlberg: First of all, make sure you have a good breakfast. And I say that truthfully, because it can be kind of emotionally risky to take this thing that … I’m like you, Mike, where I’ll put something together and I fall in love with it, and I’m like, I’ve worked on this really hard. I know what this is. I understand exactly what we’re going to do. This is the vision. But as soon as you start talking to people about it, you’re going to get feedback about it, and of the feedback is going to be, “Yes, you’re spot on,” and some of the feedback is going to be, “You missed this thing,” and some of the feedback is going to be, “No, you’re wrong.” And I had all feedback across all of those ranges, and it’s fine, right? If you could accept that feedback and work it into the walking around deck or work it into your talk track or modify your plans honestly sometimes, that’s the best thing to do. But you do have to be ready for it, because it can feel a little risky to show this thing that you’ve been working on to people. But if you don’t, I mean if you don’t show it, you’re never going to be successful.
Mike Gerholdt: Right. I like the term “modify your plans.” I think once you’re headed down a path, much like traveling down the road, sometimes you hit road construction. You need to reroute. Was there ever a point in this process where you maybe hit some road construction and the reroute was actually something you didn’t think of or you had to kind of modify your plans?
Reid Carlberg: Yes, completely. The entire time I was developing it. Basically every day of every week.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, good. Okay. Great.
Reid Carlberg: If you look at this particular product actually touches every team at Team Trailhead. It touches content. It touches the people who work on your web front end. It touches the people who do TV ID, and I don’t want to get too much into the weeds, but this is the very definition of a cross-functional project. And so of course there’s going to be things which frankly I don’t know what the answer is to something. I don’t know the right way to do something, but then there are also times when I don’t even know that there is a right way to do something, and I haven’t asked, and I don’t know who the right people are, and so there’s a whole discovery process exactly like that. It’s been pretty fascinating.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. So there could be road construction every other block. That’s fine. That happens.
Reid Carlberg: Yeah. Think about it like Chicago in the summertime or the I-70 project that we have going on in Denver right now. It’s construction everywhere.
Mike Gerholdt: Perpetual. Perpetual, right?
Reid Carlberg: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: So we talked about having a walking around deck, which I’m super, super a fan of at this point now. I want to go back in time with my DeLorean and make a whole bunch of walking around decks for all the apps that I’ve failed at. But sometimes I would walk in two different departments that would ask me to quote-unquote “demo Salesforce” and I would have a blank sheet of paper because sometimes demoing the app isn’t what they’re asking for. And I guess what I’m getting at is user research, right? Like, how do you make sure that your sales person at 11:00 at night in Toledo, Ohio, eating a cold piece of pizza, isn’t struggling to fill out an opportunity before the quarter ends?
Reid Carlberg: So first of all, I’m going to do a shout out to Toledo. I haven’t been there in a while, but it is one of my favorite cities. It used to be a city that I had to stop in when I was a sales rep, way back in the day, believe it or not. But it’s a good question. How do you help people get an idea of what it is that they really want, and what does that process look like to you as a product owner?
Reid Carlberg: And I’ll tell you what we did. So we had that walking around deck where we basically aligned internally on what we thought the app should do. But at Salesforce, we really do want to make sure that we talk to customers as much as we can ahead of time, and so we took that walking around deck, we enhanced it a little bit, right? But we weren’t actually working on an app that we built. We were working on drawings of an app that we built, and then we put out a call to see if anybody might be interested in talking through some ideas that we had and sharing their opinions, and we had plenty of people step up, which was great, and we just talked to them. We talked to them for 15 or 20 minutes a piece. We had trailblazers at all different levels in their journey. Some people were rangers, some people were double rangers, some people had 10 badges, and we talked to some people that were still just very much getting started in terms of trying to understand what Salesforce is and what the Salesforce opportunity is.
Reid Carlberg: And what that gave us was that gave us evidence. And so if we spent 15 minutes talking to somebody about a drawing, we were able to then say, “Okay. We understand this is important and this is not important.” So for example, one of the conversations that’s been an ongoing thread for the entire time that we’ve been developing this app is, “What type of content can we show?”
Reid Carlberg: So if you’ve already installed the app, you already know that we focus on the ability to complete multiple choice quizzes, but we don’t have the ability to complete hands-on challenges. And that was a very conscious choice. You can’t really do a hands-on challenge within a mobile form factor, so that’s the easy part of the choice. But the harder part of the choice is the fact that we still show you the content that has the hands-on challenges, and that decision was a direct result of user research. What users told us, every user up and down, was that even if they couldn’t complete the challenge on the mobile device, they wanted to see all the content. And so that’s an example of where that user research early on helped us have some evidence for this decision, which we had to make over and over again as we developed the product.
Mike Gerholdt: Cool. So you had a walking around deck. We hit some road construction. I’m curious, because I run into this when I’m building apps. At what point did you actually start showing the app? Right? Because we had the demo and we kind of had working through different communication styles, which I’ll be honest with you, as an admin, going to different departments, they have different terms. You have to learn how they consume information. At what point did you start showing people the final product or a version of the final product to get their feedback?
Reid Carlberg: Really as soon as I could. As soon as there was anything that I could actually show to somebody, I tried to figure out who might be interested in it and go show it to them to try and get their feedback again. And so I think the first thing we actually showed was when we did some very basic work with TD ID. That’s how everybody logs in, and as soon as I could prove that we could log in and get something, I wanted to show that off to people so that they could see that we’re making progress on it. And so that process really started several months before we released it, and it continued on a very regular basis right up through when we released it earlier this week.
Mike Gerholdt: Oh wow. Okay. So we’ve hit a lot of event horizons throughout all of this process. I think pulling back and kind of thinking through for admins, as you work on an app and you run through different things, was there either something that you’re going to move as a value or something? “Hey, I always want to make sure I’m doing this in my next project,” that you’ve kind of gleamed out of doing this on the Trailhead GO project?
Reid Carlberg: That’s a good question. I think probably the biggest thing that I learned is how to think across different timescales. I spent a lot of my life as an evangelist, and I spent a lot of my life really thinking about, “Okay, how do I go to this event and show this demo and give this talk, and how do I do this for the next event and everything else?” And that’s great, but it tends to be a little bit more short term thinking. About as far ahead as we would think is we’d think towards kind of the next big event, whether that’s Dreamforce or TDX or something like that.
Reid Carlberg: One of the things that’s been very interesting for me as I get into the Trailhead product organization and the Trailhead team in general is moving that focus kind of outside of that shorter term thinking, and trying to make sure that I’m planning not just for this release, but what is coming up for the next release, and what’s coming up for the next release, so that I can have that longer term conversation and make sure that when there’s an opportunity to pick some low hanging fruit, maybe there’s an opportunity to update an API or maybe there’s an opportunity to update some content in a particular way, I can talk about that and I can socialize that opportunity early so it’s not something that we discover kind of at the end. That’s definitely something that has really stood out to me as important and is something that I’m going to take with me forever.
Mike Gerholdt: So let’s kind of pull off the highway a little bit and dig into that, because I think once you release something, and I’ve done this with roll-outs, you spend a lot of your energy kind of, I’ll call it fighting fires, right? Like the daily, “I can’t do this,” or, “I thought this field should be there.” And it can be hard to transition to that, “I got to think three months out. I got to think six months out.” How do you compartmentalize? What’s your advice for, how do I balance the everyday fires versus the, “I have to plan for this, because in six months this is going to happen”?
Reid Carlberg: So first of all, I really appreciate the car metaphor, so let’s keep those coming. That’s one of the things I enjoy about talking to you, is I feel like it brings out the metaphors in me. I actually like to think about … I like to choose some words carefully for my own sanity, right? So there are such things as fires which pop up that I have to put out, but if I think about those as fires, it can have a tendency to get me sort of worked up and have a sense of urgency, which may be merited, or I can start to think about things not necessarily as fires, but I can think about things as opportunities. So I get some feedback and then I can decide what to do with that feedback.
Reid Carlberg: And so maybe that piece of feedback is, “Oh my gosh. Everything is on fire, and you need to stop everything you’re doing right now and think about this.” Or maybe what I’m getting is I’m getting a piece of feedback that I can group together with other pieces of feedback, and then I can sit back and start to have a rational evaluation of where this feedback is kind of being grouped together and the relative importance of this.
Reid Carlberg: I think that’s actually a key trait of, I want to call it a product manager versus a project manager, right? Is when you’re a product manager you have to really do all these trade offs and say, “Okay, how do I understand what value this can deliver and what order I should deliver that value in?” And project managers I think have the same thing, but it’s a little bit different I think mindset, because you’re thinking, on a product, you’re thinking about this longterm time horizon. Like, “Where do we want to be with this in three years?” And a lot of times on a project you’re thinking about, “Okay, how do I get to the next milestone and how do I get to the next milestone after that?” Both are super useful. Both are super necessary. Slightly different lenses.
Mike Gerholdt: I never actually thought of it that way, and that’s valuable insight. So we’re, as this episode drops, in the heart of Dreamforce, right? And there’s a good group of people that are there, a good group of people that unfortunately didn’t make it. I want to dig into … This is obviously something on your radar of talking about the app that you released, and admins do that as well. What would your advice be for, much in the same way that you created a walking around deck, as this product has come to life, how did you shop it around and make sure that people were aware of, “Hey, I did more than just create a walking around deck”?
Reid Carlberg: So it’s transitioned from a walking around deck to a walking around product.
Mike Gerholdt: Well that’s good.
Reid Carlberg: Of course I have the product on my phone, and I can guarantee you I’ve shown everybody I’ve run into at Dreamforce about it, but I think the way to think about this is, having something that you’ve completed and worked on and that you’re releasing out into the wild doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get feedback on it, but you should definitely have a sense of pride in it. If you have a sense of pride in it and you’re really willing to go out and say, “Listen, we built this thing.”
Reid Carlberg: And I want to be clear, so you and I are talking about this today, but as I opened up with, this is really a cross cutting concern. It really touches almost every aspect of the Trailhead organization, and I am blown away by the quality of talent who has participated in this team. It is just absolutely amazing, and I love showing off their work. I absolutely love taking it out and showing it off to anybody, and whatever feedback they have is fantastic. Good, bad or otherwise, it’s great feedback for that kind of longer term feature horizon that I’m thinking about, but I just love showing it off. So for every admin out there who’s ever built an app, whether you’re customizing a page layout or whether you’re building something which is a really robust app automating a giant process, show it off, be proud of it, and when somebody has some feedback on it, take the feedback, take it with a smile and figure out you know how you’re going to incorporate that next. That would be my advice.
Mike Gerholdt: I like it. I like it. Well, Reid, this was fabulous. I think I gathered a whole bunch about product and project management. I know you’re on Twitter and I think your name changes about every other day. Do you do that on purpose?
Reid Carlberg: Yeah, my Twitter handle stays the same. You can always find me at @ReidCarlberg, but I do have some fun with changing what the description of that handle is. So I actually don’t even know what it is today, so you can always go up and find out, and if you have suggestions about what I should change my name to, you should let me know.
Mike Gerholdt: Okay, great. And we talked a lot about Trailhead GO and the amazing partnership between Salesforce and Apple. How do people get Trailhead GO on their phone?
Reid Carlberg: You can get Trailhead GO by going to the App Store and just searching for Trailhead GO.
Mike Gerholdt: Perfect. Thanks so much for being on the podcast, Reid.
Reid Carlberg: Yeah. Thanks for having me. This was great.
Mike Gerholdt: Congratulations to Reid and the entire Trailhead Mobile team. Trailhead GO is now alive, so don’t forget to check the show notes for the iOS link to get started right now. Let’s start by highlighting a good point that he made, in that product managers and project managers are often very similar but also very different in the way that they think about timelines, milestones, and success. Product managers need to start by understanding what value that product can deliver to the users and in what order they want to deliver those values. We want our products to last a lifetime as admins, so with that mindset of meeting those milestones can be stretched to think longterm, “What will this product be in three to five years?”
Mike Gerholdt: Now another thing. Feedback is also important and it can be a little bit of a bump in the road. The way that a product manager handles feedback is what will set off the project. You can take the feedback, apply it to your new amazing walk around decks and talk tracks. By the way, I love walk around decks. I love that idea. Don’t ever be nervous to talk to people about the product or app that you’re creating, and gather that user feedback at whatever stage, and of course, be like Reid and always show off that app. Be proud of what you’ve created and continue to keep learning and growing with your idea.
Mike Gerholdt: Now, if you want to learn more about Trailhead or Trailhead GO, make sure to go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can also stay up to date with us on social, as many of you do already. We are at @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can of course find me. I am at @MikeGerholdt, and Reid is also on Twitter. Who knows what his name will be, but you can find him at @ReidCarlberg. That’s R-E-I-D-C-A-R-L-B-E-R-G. Stay tuned for the next episode and we’ll see you in the cloud.
The post Trailhead GO: From Idea to App Store With Reid Carlberg appeared first on Salesforce Admins.
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