Thu, 3 March 2022
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Kate Elliott, Senior Manager of Success Strategy and Global Programs at Salesforce.
Join us as we talk about her perspective on being a multi-cloud Salesforce Administrator.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Kate Elliott.
How Kate became a multi-cloud expert
As time goes on and businesses continue to expand and explore new products, the likelihood that you may be the Admin for multiple clouds increases, so we wanted to talk to Kate. She’s 10 times certified, a five-time 5-star ranger who started in the education field, jumped to a consulting firm where she learned how to implement Marketing Cloud, and then became an accidental Admin. She learned everything she knows from Trailhead and eventually worked as a Success Guide to help Salesforce.org customers with Marketing Cloud, the majority of them being multi-cloud customers.
When J. met Kate, she was the only Salesforce.org nearby, and also the only Marketing Cloud expert. “Every time I think about a career advancement, a lot of it was from learning what other people do and truly taking an interest,” Kate says.
Why terminology gets confusing in multi-cloud
Marketing Cloud is very different from other platforms. “When I went from an end-user of CRM to implementing Marketing Cloud I remember being shocked,” Kate says, “there are a lot of terms that are the same word but mean something completely different in each cloud.”
Thinking about her end users and who she was building things for helped ground Kate. “I thought about what they wanted and how they wanted to do their jobs,” she says, “at the end of the day, my end users that I’m building for on both platforms want to be able to see what they need to do clearly, understand the steps as simply as possible, and make sure that they don’t do anything that will harm their relationship with their end-users.”
Take a step back from the technology
While Kate would build her priority list from what she was hearing from end-users, her best piece of advice is to make sure you’re translating from what they’re asking for to what they actually need. You run into this even more in cross-cloud work because many different industries use the same terms but they mean different things, especially with regards to reporting.
“What you are hearing from end-users or leadership or both, potentially, requires so much translation and parsing back what these terms mean in this context from the person who’s telling you it,” Kate says. Even more problematically, you can end up with solutions one cloud platform but not the others. By stepping away from the technology and prioritizing business operations, you can better implement and configure the technology.
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Full show transcript
Jay: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are talking with Kate Elliott, senior manager of success strategy and programs at Salesforce, about being a multi-cloud admin. But before we jump into that, I have some exciting news. Available now on Trailhead is a new module for the essential habits for admin success. That's right. The webinar/Trailhead Live/presentation, you have all loved and listened to is now a learning module on Trailhead. The link is in the show notes. So after this episode, head on over to Trailhead and be one of the first admins to get the new essential habits Trailhead badge. Now let's chat with Kate.
Kate Elliott: Sure. Thanks, Jay, and thanks for having me. It's nice to meet you all, meet you wonderful admin. My name is Kate Elliot, as Jay said. I'm based in Indianapolis. I currently work for the salesforce.org success strategy and program team. I am 10 times certified. I'm a five time, five star ranger. So big fan of all of our enablement here at Salesforce. I actually started my Salesforce career as an end user in the education field and then I jumped to a consulting firm, so to a partner, where I learned how to implement Marketing Cloud. From there, because I had been an end user for CRM, I became the accidental admin for this partner and I learned CRM all through Sales Cloud CRM, all through doing Trailhead. That's the entire way that I learned how to do it. I have a lot of experience with doing marketing cloud implementations, being the CRM admin, helping cross-cloud folks kind of get their bearings. And where I met Jay, at first, was working as a success guide, so helping our Salesforce.org customers with Marketing Cloud and the majority of them being cross-cloud admins. So I guess the high level overview of who I am and why I'm here.
Jay: That is part of who you are and you are so much more, just like all human beings. You are your job and a million. You contain multitudes. That's what I'm saying here. Okay. So you brought up a really good point, I think, in where you and I started to interact with one another. We talk a lot with Salesforce admins specifically about the power of Salesforce administration by walking around. It's a little acronym that we call SABWA. Mike [Gerholdt] coined the term a number of years ago, and this idea of interacting with the people that are using the system that you are administrating. And in our case, we were colleagues that were sitting on the same floor, but we were kind of in different functional groups. If I recall correctly, you were the only salesforce.org individual that was sitting in the [clumps] nearby. It was also true that you were the only marketing cloud expert in the clumps that were nearby. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems right. Yeah?
Kate Elliott: Yeah. Yeah. That's absolutely correct. When I first joined Salesforce, speaking of us containing multitudes, what was really funny is my daughter was six months old, so everyone thought I had just come back from maternity leave. So they were like, "How did I miss you before?" I was like, "I'm brand new." I was the only salesforce.org success person who was office-based in Indianapolis. We had, I think, a couple people in various roles that were remote, but yeah, I was the one who came into the office and it was so amazing. Honestly, I love that acronym. That is, I would say, probably how I have advanced, every time I think about a career advancement. A lot of it, even before Salesforce, was just because of that, of learning what other people do and truly taking an interest. You just learn so much about yourself and about them and how you can help. It's always just led to really cool things for me.
Jay: Yeah. We talk a lot with our admins about this idea of having a learner's mindset and being curious and spending time with the people that are around you. What I like about the story between you and I and the other folks that we worked with, I'm now in Chicago, I'm no longer in Indianapolis, and the same is true for a number of the people that we used to work with, but I remain in touch with many of my former colleagues from the success guide group, what I enjoyed was, there was no functional reason for you and I to have a conversation. There was nothing related to the work that I was doing, or the work that you were doing, that necessitated either of us having a conversation with one another about anything professional whatsoever. But we got into this mode of like, Hey, here's a new employee.
Kate Elliott: That's a great question. For learning Marketing Cloud, I read everything I could get my hands on. So Marketing Cloud and learning it is quite different from learning CRM. I think if you start with CRM and you start as a CRM admin, I actually think there's a little bit of a disadvantage when you're trying to learn Marketing Cloud because it's governed so differently that it's shifting the mindset, really. How I really approached it when I went from an end user of CRM and then when I got to the job, when I was suddenly implementing Marketing Cloud, I remember being shocked because the first day, when I was looking at Marketing Cloud, I was reading all the documents that they'd given me and I was expecting it to look just like CRM or the core product.
Jay: Yeah, I think it does. You've explained that there are some common fundamentals. There are two things that I kind of want to expand on in what I've heard you say. The first is, I'd love to know a little bit more about these common fundamentals. You had mentioned this idea of taking the preconceived notions that you had about one tech stack and just leaving it over there so that you can really understand what this thing is over here and then you started to make connections between them. So what were some things that you found to be fundamentals or some common skills that were necessary between CRM and marketing, for example?
Kate Elliott: So one big common theme, I suppose, that really drove me when I was learning both platforms and trying to make the connections was that in both platforms... So I guess background about me in terms of we all contain multitudes, I started my career in education and I was a teacher. So that's the context for of this, as being an admin and being in charge of both of these tech stacks. When I was thinking about the end users, when I was thinking about the systems that I was setting up, it was so clear to me that in both systems, what everyone wanted was it to be simple. Everyone wanted to know exactly who they were reaching out to. In both systems, having duplicates is not a great thing, but we handle them very differently. So it was a lot of what the similarities were to me were thinking about my end users, thinking about who I was building this for and really what they wanted in terms of how they wanted to live their lives and do their jobs.
Jay: Yeah. I love this. So what I'm hearing is that you've got these kind of functional blocks to focus on, like data quality is what I consider a functional block or a concept. The users of CRM. Again, we have to think about purpose. This is a conversation that I have with admins very frequently and the internal team here and audience relations and admin evangelism. I'm really purpose driven. Why are people using the systems? Customer relationship management or CRM sales or service, it's all about knowing who your customer is, the behavior that they've taken, so that you're able to either sell to them or serve them and make sure that you're resolving their issues. Same thing is true for the platform, for the most part. If you're making custom platform apps, typically you've got some kind of customer component you're going to be interacting with.
Kate Elliott: Absolutely. And just to build on it a bit more, I think what data quality sometimes is, definitely, I think very admin focused, admin centric sort of language, but to your example with having the wrong first name, what it really means to the people that you admin are serving, your customers, what it really means is that you know who they are. I can't tell you, and I notice it more because I work in email marketing, so I notice all the various email things, but it is very frustrating when you feel like you have a relationship with someone or a brand or a company or an institution, then they communicate with you as if they don't know who you are, especially if that's something that you feel is very important to you. It can be incredibly frustrating to not have your wishes or your needs or who you are respected.
Jay: I think you covered that really well in saying that for you, whether or not you were trying to put a feature into Sales or Service Cloud, or if you were trying to bring some value on Marketing Cloud, it was the business prioritization of the business value of that feature that would really determine what you were going to deliver. You were connected to the needs of your end users and that is what created your burn list in order. A number one feature for your end users is the number one feature that you are going to try and build into the system, whether that is Sales Cloud or Service Cloud or any other cloud.
Kate Elliott: Yeah. So much of it is also interpreting what people really mean when they say things because so many-
Jay: Ooh, talk more about that. Talk about translation.
Kate Elliott: Yeah. I think, as a cross-cloud admin, that becomes your number one skill to develop is the translation, because I will talk to cross-cloud admins, especially in my previous role, I've talked to them all day, and it would be questions like, "Oh, my end user says that they want this campaign, but I built it in core and it's not reporting in Marketing Cloud," is a very specific example, "So I must be doing something wrong in all these things." What it came down to is, well, that's not how that feature works in Marketing Cloud. When they said campaign, what they really meant was that they want to understand how this particular initiative is doing over time. They were using the word campaign because that is what marketers use. That's how marketers talk and speak, especially in particular industries. And we have technical features that are called campaigns, but they're not necessarily the same thing.
Jay: It feels to me like, I'm taking a couple of notes here on the side, and this idea of what you're talking about is a time investment. To translate is to sit down with someone, understand what they mean, maybe take that back to your desk, think about it, consider it, and then that starts to form into a new idea that you can use and apply to technology. All of that costs time. As our admins out in the ecosystem can tell you, and as you know from your own experience, spending time, that is often our most restricted commodity. The resource that we have the least of is time. If we had infinite time, we could give everyone everything. But what I love that you've laid down here is that the value of spending that translation time, it is directly correlated to the quality of the solutions that you are configuring, and that gives you end user value. So that time in translation directly contributes to the impact that your marketing journey or your lead management in CRM, those things become more valuable because you're spending time translating. Is that accurate?
Kate Elliott: Yeah, I think absolutely. Just to build on it, what you run into with cross-cloud admining in terms of the translation and it being worth the time spent, there are some situations that you run into that honestly are a little bit counterintuitive with just how the platforms can work together. Without kind of taking that time and taking a step back, I've worked with cross-cloud admins who have heard feedback from various end users about a particular topic, and they were like, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We handled it, we handled it, we handled it," and then it was like six or eight months later and as it turns out, they handled it in one platform and not the other, so they were actually sending emails to the wrong group of people because of this.
Jay: Ooh, interesting. Yeah, because it's downstream, right?
Kate Elliott: Yeah.
Jay: So folks, the issue here is, if we've got an integration between Sales Cloud or Service Cloud... Well, let me go simpler. If we've got Sales Cloud and we're trying to do lead generation or we're trying to manage conversions, getting people to purchase, we'll have data in Sales Cloud that will then move over to Marketing Cloud. If somebody's purchased, we might kick information back over to Service Cloud. We might even have email communication that goes out based on those service experiences, so we could go back to Marketing Cloud again. So when I'm hearing this idea of the expression of CRM, we have this phrase, garbage in, garbage out. If CRM sales is full of garbage, then you are automating and marketing that garbage in Marketing, which might put more garbage back in Service, which might put more garbage back in Marketing, which sounds like a whole lot of garbage.
Kate Elliott: It really is true. That's exactly what can happen. That's where it is very hard when you have that burn list, when you have all these things to develop and you have these different platforms, because if you get to the point where you're like, "Oh. No. I did whatever, a contact cleanup in Marketing Cloud yesterday. We should all be fine." Well, with the sync, unless if you fix some things on the other side, that may all be wiped out 20 minutes after you did it. That's where you start getting into these issues with, again, translating what people are really saying, trying to understand what they're seeing on the reports and how they're interpreting it, because I have worked with admins who have built entire reporting suites to try to solve the kind of quote unquote, reporting problem, but it was really a data problem and the report were actually right. Because the numbers were skewed, they thought that they had to be wrong. It wasn't. It was a problem with how the two platforms were working together and some of the fixes that they made on one didn't translate to the other. So that's where it can be very helpful to just read all the signals.
Jay: Something that I'm hearing in the way that you're describing this, I think, is perhaps a really valuable approach or piece of advice for the admin who's listening in right now. We're talking about technology, which is true. Salesforce makes Sales Cloud, we make Marketing Cloud, that's technology. But we're also talking about truly business workflow. And when we say business workflow, that's agnostic of technology. Business workflow is, as a sales rep, I need to receive a number of warm leads from marketing. I then need to touch those leads by sending emails, phone calls, in-person appointments, in the hopes of selling them something. We map all of those things into technology with a variety of tools. What I'm hearing you explain is, by prioritizing the business workflow or the way in which people do things, operations, I am better able to understand what I should do in the technology. So taking a step away from the technology can actually help you better implement and configure the technology.
Kate Elliott: Yeah, that's exactly it. I think, with cross-cloud, it's just especially important to do, because you are touching different technologies that work in different ways, that work in concert in some ways and in other ways there's tweaks you have to do on either side. You really have to understand what you want that business process to do to ensure that it's happening everywhere it needs to happen. I can't tell you how many panicked calls or emails I've gotten from admins because all of a sudden they realized a new technology feature and they're not sure how it fits into the business process because they're not actually sure what the business process is.
Jay: Yeah. What is actually happening, right?
Kate Elliott: Yeah. Yeah.
Jay: That's a huge distinction, as well. What do you want to happen and where do you want it to happen? Do you think it's happening right now? And is it actually happening right now? I love that. And I love that it's true, regardless of cloud. I have a question, as we're approaching the end of our time here, to those that say, "Eh, learning more than one technology is just too demanding and I don't think that it's possible," what do you say?
Kate Elliott: I say that it is demanding. I will not deny that learning multiple technology platforms is demanding. But it is certainly not impossible. I think everyone can do it. I graduated college a political science major. I taught in K12, I did college recruiting and then I ended up doing implementation, and then I ended up being a CRM admin, and then I ended up working at Salesforce. I think we all take such interesting career paths to get to where we are. But more than that, I think learning other platforms helps you understand the first platform, because it helps you understand where their capabilities or functionality that I really wish this platform had, and for me, it just increased my curiosity. It increased my curiosity to understand why I could maybe do something here and not there. And then I'd understand, "Well, how do people do it over here? And how do people do it over here?"
Jay: I love that. If I were to put bullets of most important things, using multi-cloud exploration as a way to deepen your empathy for end users, to me, feels like a great thing for admins to consider. That's something that I think we can all sit down and think about a little bit. Is there a way that I can explore this technology that I've been tasked with or that I have the opportunity to investigate and how can that deepen my understanding of what my users need and what their user experience is? And that's particular compelling to me because I've interviewed a number of the most recent guests that've been on the pod. Almost all of them have brought up this moment where they could opt into doing something at an implementation moment or not.
Kate Elliott: Sure, sure, absolutely. Yeah. There's a lot of really great marketing cloud resources out there. As I said earlier, some of it looks different, it feels a little different in terms of the content and the approach, but there's a lot of really cool resources out there.
Jay: Awesome. Well, thanks again, Kate. Really appreciate you coming onto the pod and can't wait to talk to you sometime soon. Maybe we'll I'll give you another invite to have you come back and talk about another brilliant idea.
Kate Elliott: Anytime, Jay. Anytime.
Jay: All right, we'll see you.
Kate Elliott: Thanks.
Jay: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including all the links we mentioned in this podcast, as well as a full transcript. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. Gillian is @Gilliankbruce. Mike is @MikeGerholdt. I am @Jay__mdt. Stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.
Direct download: On_Multi-Cloud_Administration_with_Kate_Elliott.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT