Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Wendy Braid, Senior Manager of Trailhead Delivery at Salesforce. In this special Halloween episode, we’ll go over all the tricks—and treats—to pass those certification exams.

Join us as we talk about why it’s so important to know your learning style, what we can learn from failure, and how to take advantage of feedback from your last certification to pass the enxt one.

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

Why it’s so important to know your learning style.

Wendy’s journey through the Salesforce ecosystem including a stop as an admin. “That was a marvelous and very difficult job,” she says, “that actually prepared me for many conversations I had as a Salesforce consultant.” Moving into consulting gave her a wide variety of experience on implementations large and small, which eventually got her into end-user training and teaching classes for Salesforce (where she actually taught Mike back in 2011). Today, she manages a team of instructors who deliver courses on everything from Salesforce core to Pardot.

“One of the things I loved about teaching classes is that, as a learner, you get to meet so many other awesome admins just like yourself,” Wendy says, “you can learn from others, you can share your experiences, and you can find your configuration buddies.” She was also able to observe what worked for people in her classes, and one big tip she has is to understand really think about your learning style. Are you a visual learner? Do you learn more easily from just reading? Auditory? Knowing what helps you learn best will help you study more effectively.

Awesome admins or angry admins?

When we asked Wendy for another trick for studying for certifications, she had this to say: “Very Awesome Admins Work Pretty Efficiently.” What? It’s mnemonic to help you remember the order of execution: Validation Rules, Assignment Rules, Auto-Response Rules, Workflow, Process, and Escalation Rules. You also say, “Very Angry Admins Work Pretty Efficiently,” but we like to keep things positive on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. The lesson here is to get creative, and Wendy has seen everything from a Salesforce security rap to some educational choreography.

The other thing about certification exams is that sometimes you need to shift your perspective on what success means. “Not passing a certification exam is actually a very big treat that you can give yourself,” Wendy says, “you’re really providing yourself with a really amazing learning opportunity and learning journey to continue on.” You can take the opportunity to dig deeper into the product and identify your knowledge gaps, which ultimately makes you a better admin.

Using feedback from one exam to work towards the next one.

Most importantly, in technology, you need to always be learning. “I was just working on a process with Process Builder last week, and I was making some mistakes in my process,” Wendy says, “and it just took a little bit of extra learning and now my process is functioning and all is working really well.” Even if you think you really know the product, there are always extra nuances to master.

Finally, “the biggest treat right now that everybody has when they’re taking their certification exams is the section-level feedback that’s provided at the end of your exam,” Wendy says. You get everything broken down by section, which helps you figure out how to best budget your prep time. Even if you pass, this information can help you prep for the next certification you have your eye on so you can take your career to the next level.

This episode features a bunch of great Halloween treats as well, from Wendy’s love of candy to how Mike would go through hundreds of dollars of candy in a single Halloween in his old neighborhood, so be sure to take a listen.



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Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Ines Garcia, Agile coach and Salesforce Guru at get: Agile and another Lightning Champion. This episode is part two of a six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelley 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 new Lightning features can make it easier than ever to work in an Agile framework, and how she got help from and gives back to the community.

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

 Giving back to the community.

Ines comes from a business transformation background, originally specializing in PR and marketing. “For me, I really enjoy to learn how things work,” she says, “so I quickly found myself with a fundamentals workbook. I’m a pre-Trailhead oldie.” She went on to become a Salesforce MVP so she could focus on giving back to the community. “It really blew my mind, how some people will go above and beyond to help me to solve my business problem,” she says, “so every day that’s one of the places I spend a little time to help others as others helped me.”

Ines supports multiple user groups to take giving back even further, with a focus especially on mentorship. She also works with the Mentorship Center to help connect people who need guidance with those who are willing to give it. She generates content in Salesforce Weekly and Salesforce Ben and, “because I clearly have too much time on my hands,” she organizes dreamOlé, a roving conference to help the Spanish-speaking community to learn and network around Salesforce ecosystem.

How Lightning and Agile go hand-in-hand.

“It’s really important to stay on top of the innovation that Salesforce brings. It’s one of the differentiators when you have major releases in any of the products,” Ines says. That means that for her, Lighting was a natural thing to get involved with and passionate about. One of the keys to getting the most out of it is getting the chance to get hands-on with new features, so Ines has her own Developer Edition so she can get that practice in.

Ines had the opportunity to present at Dreamforce ‘17 with Mike Gill and Chris Edwards, in a talk entitled, “Make the Jump to Lightning… and Get It Right the First Time.” “It’s not only the UI, it’s the tech underneath,” Ines says, “it helps you to be much more modular in the way you can enhance and get things to the market quicker.” This helps you go to market earlier, release earlier, and get that feedback that is key to an Agile process.

Ines’ favorite Lightning features.

Ines couldn’t pick just one favorite Lightning feature, so she went with three. “Kanban is really dear to my heart because it’s a word used in the Agile world,” she says, “it means having a visual representation of the work in progress.” Her second favorite feature is In-App Guidance. “I think it’s brilliant,” she says, “I’ve seen many way more convoluted solutions for something similar in the past so you can let your users know that something new is coming up.” Finally, she loves Generate Reports From List Views, which really helps you have the visuals you need to support your work.

The Lightning Experience is coming, are you ready?

Salesforce is turning on Lightning Experience on a rolling basis in Winter ‘20, and while you’ll still have access to Salesforce Classic, Lightning Experience is the future when it comes to 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. To help you out, we’ve put together a short video, Understand How the Lightning Experience Critical Update Affects My Users.

If you want to catch Ines in person, she’ll be at Dreamforce and next year at DreamLA 2020.



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Direct download: Lightning_Champions_Spotlight__Ines_Garcia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re checking in with Kate Elliot, Principal Success Specialist at Salesforce, discuss strategies and best practices for expanding into marketing cloud. 

Join us as we talk about how why is the most important question we can ask, how to get your sales and marketing departments talking, and the unique challenges of working in Marketing Cloud.

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

Why you need to understand the question behind the requirements.

Kate works in the wing helping nonprofits, K-12s, and higher ed organizations get the most out of Marketing Cloud. “I come in to provide strategic guidance, best practices, training. It kind of depends on what the customer needs and oftentimes it’s a blend of all three,” she says.

If you’re an admin looking to get more involved in marketing using Salesforce, Kate recommends that your first stop should be marketing automation tools. However, Kate says, “I think a big conversation has to begin with what’s the overall purpose of your Sales Cloud CRM?” There are tools like Pardot where you keep leads outside of Salesforce until you’re ready for them to keep your data cleaner, so you need to really think deeply about how your marketing will impact your funnel on the Sales Cloud side.

“In my experience, especially working on the Marketing Cloud side, a lot of what I try to ask customers is what are your KPIs? What are you responsible for tracking on the marketing side?” They often get answers about some specific metric like opens, but it’s clear that there hasn’t been a conversation around why that metric is so important to a stakeholder. It’s important to have clarity about what your metrics are telling you because as Kate says, “When you bring in this layer of email marketing automation it can get tricky because it can make your funnel giant and a lot of times it can create a lot of inflation.”

The key questions to ask your marketing team.

When it comes to making strides with operations, Kate likes to focus in on one simple question: What takes up a lot of your day? This can help you identify places where tools like content blocks, dynamic content, and automation can score big wins for people. “Another question I like to ask,” Kate says, “is could you go on vacation tomorrow?” Most people say, “Sure, but I’d need to check my email at least a couple times,” but they can’t even consider a world where they step entirely away for a couple of weeks and everything is still running smoothly when they come back.

The final question Kate uses to get marketing teams thinking about how they can do better is to ask for an analysis of how their marketing programs have done. “A lot of times they have some data that doesn’t necessarily show what they think it shows,” Kate says. This can sometimes get a bit combative, so Kate tends to lean on the first two questions, but all three are useful when it comes to shaking up someone’s view about what makes for a smoothly running marketing operation.

Why it’s not good enough to do what everyone else is doing.

When it comes to working with organizations to revamp their communications channels, Kate’s work is generally customer-driven. With the Marketing Cloud Journey Builder, it’s become easier for customers to see what their technology is building up to and how they want to implement that in their own organizations.

“Where I see people coming up to me and asking if they’re ready to go on to the next step,” Kate says, “a lot of times they’re trying to replicate what they’ve done before.” When an organization is fixated on one specific feature or capability, Kate says, “the biggest question an admin can ask is why? What value is it adding?” You have to be crystal clear on the purpose of a text versus an email, for example—how you store that data and how people can opt in or out. Ultimately, any functionality you add needs to be a step towards the bigger aspirational vision of where your marketing is going, instead of something you’re doing because everyone else has it. “While you are directly competing with other people in your industry,” Kate says, “at the end of the day, you are ultimately competing against everyone in your inbox.”



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Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt and today we are talking about strategy and best practices for expanding into marketing cloud.

Mike Gerholdt: It was a super, super requested subject, and I am here to try and bring you the best people. So we are talking with principal success specialist, Kate Elliot. Without further ado, let's get Kate on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So Kate, welcome to the podcast.

Kate Elliot: Thanks. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Kate, we were connected through another guest of the podcast, Jay Stedman. Can you tell us a little bit about your role and kind of what you do at Salesforce to get us started?

Kate Elliot: Sure. I work in our wing and that's with our nonprofits, our K-12, and our higher ed customers. Right now, I work on our marketing cloud team and as a principal success specialist. That means that I come in and I help customers on limited engagements. I don't perform services anymore.

Kate Elliot: I'm not support, not break fix, but I come in to provide strategic guidance, best practices, training, a little bit, it kind of depends on whatever the customer needs. Oftentimes, it's a blend of all three, to help customers kind of get from whatever stair-step they're on to move up.

Kate Elliot: Whether that's help with the strategy of, "I don't actually know where to go from here" or whether that's, "I think I know how to delete contacts, but I'm not really sure and I just want to make sure that I'm doing this correctly." I tend to help a lot of the marketing cloud admins on the .org side.

Mike Gerholdt: Sweet. You mentioned a couple of my favorite words, strategy and best practice. I want to kind of level set us there because I think, and we talked about this earlier, I think a lot of admins and for a lot of people, when they get started, Salesforce is a sales tool.

Mike Gerholdt: I know for me, in my career, it was brought in as a sales tool. And the next evolution in that is as the Salesforce admin, I need to go and I need to make friends in marketing. Those are often an entirely different group.

Mike Gerholdt: Sometimes it feels like the sales team operates one way and marketing operates another way. I would love to jump in with you and kind of have that conversation and help our Salesforce admins really understand strategy best practice for, "Hey, we're doing great with Sales cloud and my team loves the automation."

Mike Gerholdt: I'm able build things out and the executives are starting to knock at my door of how do we get marketing involved, so I'm going to pitch that to you. Executive just knocked on my door and the Salesforce admin and "Hey, I want to get marketing involved with Salesforce.

Kate Elliot: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: "What do I do next?"

Kate Elliot: Yes, I think from there, first of all, there are different marketing automation tools that are possible to use, but I think a big conversation has to begin with what's the overall purpose of your Sales cloud CRM? Because we have marketing automation tools like Pardot where you keep leads outside of your Sales cloud CRM until you're ready for them.

Kate Elliot: You're able to perhaps keep your data a little bit cleaner or do some data hygiene. As marketing is generating these leads that hopefully are getting warmed up through their marketing program, to be handed off to sales, and then experience that beautiful automation that you've just built.

Kate Elliot: There becomes a question of how soon should they enter this beautiful automation that you just built? I actually used to work in sales operations and a little bit of marketing operations and that was a question that we wrestled with so much, with just the marketing metrics, that the director of marketing had, versus the metrics that the VP of sales wanted.

Kate Elliot: And oftentimes they ended up being a little bit, not quite in opposition, but they were often contrasting each other, when you're starting to look at how your funnel converts. I think a big question that needs to be answered and asked to the executives is when you start adding the marketing piece on, so that very top of the funnel, that lead generation, how will that impact the rest of the metrics that you have on the Sales cloud side?

Kate Elliot: And then if you decide that you want to keep leads that are cold or you don't know much about them or you're still doing progressive profiling or something like that separate and held out, that could be a different product. That could be completely different processes.

Kate Elliot: There's potential gotchas there. But that's a huge strategy question that I think is really key to nail down before you start engaging with the marketing department. Someone who did that to soon.

Mike Gerholdt: Let me play devil's advocate. Should I just assume that strategy conversation's going on between those executives or do I need to tease that out?

Kate Elliot: Oh, good question. I never would assume that strategy conversations were happening between departments. In my experience, and especially in working on the marketing cloud side, a lot of what I try to ask our customers is, "Well, what are your KPIs? What are you responsible for tracking on the marketing side?"

Kate Elliot: And a lot of times we get answers such as, "Well, I need opens." And we go, "Well, what do those prove?" They say, "Well, so and so likes to see the opens because it proves a hypothesis that they have," or someone else cares about a different KPI and they never actually talk to see how those are connected.

Kate Elliot: And you're not getting to the rates or you're not getting to, if you don't open you can't click and things like that. In my experience, I think, at least asking the question and it's a bonus if they've already had that discussion and then they can fill you in on it.

Kate Elliot: But when you're thinking about how to run an operation from the top of the funnel all the way through your sales cycle and when you bring in this layer of email marketing automation, it can get tricky because it can make your funnel giant and a lot of times that can add to a lot of inflation.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm thinking so far and we're only a few minutes in, we've painted a blue sky green field in that the marketing team's been receptive to my emails and they're probably not unhappy with the tools that they have. In your experience, when you go in with customers and you're helping present this vision, work through best practices and strategy, there inevitably has to be somebody with arms folded, across the table, that's just listening because their boss told them to be there.

Mike Gerholdt: What would you advise as an admin who's trying to work through the business of bringing expanded platform to their organization and presenting a vision or working through some of those ideas from marketing, but meeting the resistance?

Kate Elliot: Yeah, I can definitely picture the people across the table with the arms folded. And I would say a couple of approaches have worked for me and especially in my role now, where I'm trying to help.

Kate Elliot: A lot of times it is a grassroots movement that's trying to move operations forward, so they kind of need some momentum. One thing that I tend to ask is "What just takes up a lot of your day?" And from that, in the marketing department, a lot of times you hear things like, "Well, I have to collate these lists," or you know, "Every week I send this newsletter and this newsletter takes me three of the five days of the week before in order to get it ready to send out."

Kate Elliot: And those are really good points where, especially marketing cloud, Pardot has some of the tools as well. Can be really helpful with content blocks or dynamic content or helping with just general automation on some of those easier tasks to automate something like that.

Kate Elliot: Another question that I like to ask as a push is I go, "Okay, great. I'm so happy that you guys' marketing department is well functioning and you guys feel like there's nothing that takes too much time. Could you go on vacation tomorrow?"

Kate Elliot: And a lot of times the answer is, "Well, yeah, I could go on vacation. I just check my email at least a couple times a day." I go, "Okay, well, what happens if you decide to take your family on a cruise and you're in international waters and you don't have access to your phone for seven days? What will happen to your marketing operations?"

Kate Elliot: And oftentimes the same people that are very proud of the operations that they have and truly are really using the tools that they have to the best of their ability. They kind of go a little pale and they go, "I don't really know what would happen. I can't conceive of that."

Kate Elliot: That tends to be the two questions where I can kind of help get someone out of the mindset that they're in, to to be a little bit more receptive to the idea that a marketing automation tool could help them go on vacation or could help them maybe take that newsletter creation from three days down to one day or something like that. Because they get the templates that they could really use.

Kate Elliot: Those are two questions I tend to use a lot. I would say the third question that I sometimes bring into the mix is I will ask them for an analysis of how their marketing programs have done. And a lot of times they have some data that doesn't necessarily show what they think it shows.

Kate Elliot: That one can be a little bit more combative. I try to avoid that one if I can, but I think the first two questions tend to help people get a little bit out of their comfort zone and ready to listen.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. I feel like, and help me through this. We started that initial conversation. Of course, I'm going to have more conversations as an admin, but you know I'm feeling pretty good like I've got maybe some flows or processes built.

Mike Gerholdt: I've done some lightning layouts in Sales cloud. We've got an opportunity process. It's humming along. As I transition over and I'm looking to add functionality with marketing cloud and I'm looking to understand more nomenclature. What are some of the gaps that I'm going to run into that you see working with customers that maybe they didn't anticipate, as an admin?

Kate Elliot: Yeah, yeah. I think one of the biggest ones is the concept of a sandbox. In Sales cloud, as an admin, you develop everything in your sandbox or that's the best practice that we talk about all the time. Where you build it, you make sure it's not going to break anything. You can do potentially even some progression testing.

Kate Elliot: Then you're able to move it into production when it's gone through more of a rigorous governance testing or whatever your internal process is. In marketing cloud, there is not a sandbox. Everything is in production. There are some ways that some orgs, you know, they perhaps purchased an additional business unit, so that it functions like a sandbox where they use it for testing or things like that.

Kate Elliot: But they're, let's say in my sandbox org, if I decided to buy one and have it function that way, I build out in automation and I'm really happy with it. It's an automation studio. I test it, it works. There's no way for me to push that into what I'm considering my production business unit.

Kate Elliot: To have the same level of rigorous testing before it goes to production is different. There's different workarounds you have to do. There's perhaps some yet, yeah, you're going to have to probably work with support or your account team if you truly want to make a business unit a sandbox.

Kate Elliot: And it's just a little bit of a different philosophy, in terms of the testing, where you know it is happening in your production org with your live data. That requires a lot more. It's a lot more thought behind how you organize things. It requires a lot more thought in your training because someone can accidentally send to your entire list where they're testing. If the right permissions aren't turned on and things like that.

Kate Elliot: I think that's the number one biggest concept that I find Salesforce sales cloud admins, when they move over to marketing cloud, rightly have a ton of questions on, because it is very much a shift in the development process.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like I should know that.

Kate Elliot: I would say it's not, well, it's something you typically learn when you're in implementation.

Mike Gerholdt: So as the plane's on the runway ready to take off.

Kate Elliot: Yes. That's my experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, good. As we talked through this, I come back to some of it's strategy, the other part is best practice. I'd love to know, from your perspective, because you meet with a lot more customers than probably most Salesforce admins do. What are the categories of best practices that seem to come up on your radar the most?

Kate Elliot: Oh goodness. I never thought about it in categories. I would, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, topics. I was trying to give you something broad, so you didn't have to answer like "Well, in general it's the subject line for," because I feel like, especially when I worked in sales, people always want to know exactly what someone else exactly like them is doing. Generally so they can copy it.

Kate Elliot: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Right? Tell me who's figured this out so that I can act like I've figured it out.

Kate Elliot: Yes. I would say there is some of that, in terms of high end, not high end, high level campaigns. I do get a lot of campaign specific sorts of best practice questions. Things like "Who's done a preference center really well?" Or "How many emails do you typically see in a welcome journey" Things like that.

Kate Elliot: And those, especially for marketing, are a little bit harder to answer, because there's so many variables to kind of factor in to an answer like that. Especially if you're trying to, and in the nonprofit higher ed space too, there's also different sizes of nonprofits. There's global or regional or whatever it is. That gets interesting.

Kate Elliot: I would say there's the campaigns specific ones. I would say there's marketing specific best practices. Things like, "Do you track opens? Do you track clicks? Are those valuable metrics anymore? Are you doing just single channel email? Are you bringing in multichannel or omni-channel, those sorts of approaches to your marketing?"

Kate Elliot: I would say that's a big series of best practices that I tend to get asked about. And then another is the product specifics of marketing cloud. Questions like "I want to set up my data so that my end users don't need to worry about writing a SQL query. What should I do?" Or, "In Sales cloud, I have these beautiful dashboards built and I want to add a component for email marketing. How can I get that back over to Sales cloud? What's the best practice there?"

Kate Elliot: They tend to fall into, I would say those kind of three high level buckets. Of course, the marketing cloud product one, you could probably split into data, implementation, governance and training.

Mike Gerholdt: Training always being a huge, huge factor. I'm thinking back through the discussion and I'm trying to work us through the implementation, right? We started off with the conversation. We've asked for best practices. I think, at least in my experience, sometimes when you onboard other departments, you kind of have to go back and have that gut check with the first department or original department that you brought in.

Mike Gerholdt: What tends to be next steps for admins after maybe they bring in marketing cloud and now they have marketing and sales in Salesforce. Is it "Am I going after service or am I going after that next level functionality?" What do you see with customers as they're working with you on best practices and strategy?

Kate Elliot: Right. I would say what I typically tend to see is you start off implementing core marketing cloud. That's maybe some marketing automation, that might be the connector, if you have sales cloud. You have kind of that loop between your sales cloud and your marketing cloud.

Kate Elliot: The next step that I tend to see is sometimes bringing in different channels. Bringing in texting. We have mobile connect. Sometimes bringing in social or ad studio to kind of build on some of the work that you're doing in marketing cloud.

Kate Elliot: For example, we have a product in marketing cloud called journey builder. We are able to have dynamic decisions, splits and things like that. But you're also able to bring in other channels. You might start in your implementation, it might even just be an automation in automation studio and then it moves to a journey where you can get a little bit more one to one segmentation.

Kate Elliot: And then the next level is, "Okay, well, now I want to bring in direct mail or I want to bring in texting or I want to bring in paid ads that all factor into these campaigns that I'm building. That's where I tend to see the kind of next step is bringing in some of these other products.

Kate Elliot: Sometimes it's bringing in more reporting. Something like a data-rama or even like perhaps a Tableau, so you're able to see what is my year over year, quarter over quarter with my engagement rates? Sometimes we have Einstein, some Einstein features and marketing cloud, too, where you could bring in and say a really popular one is Einstein frequency where you can say, "Okay, now that I've been sending for six or 12 months," whatever it is, "I can see that I have a bucket of people that I on average every month touch five times."

Kate Elliot: And I have another bucket where I send them 10 emails. I have another bucket where I'm sending them 20 emails and then I can see who's performing better. I think it's kind of that optimal. "How often should I be interacting with our customers?"

Kate Elliot: Sometimes it's Google analytics, so I tend to see more of the marketing level integrations as the next step, just to bring in other data sources or other channels and try to make a little bit more of a full cohesive campaign that could be multichannel with some more complex reporting.

Mike Gerholdt: Do you find, so kind of, I guess, abstract of our conversation of guiding an admin through. I'd love to know, as I heard you talk through that adding other channels, right? Like texting and some of the other stuff.

Mike Gerholdt: Do you find, in your role, which obviously this answer's going to influence what I ask next, but that it's often the company coming to you saying, "Okay, so we've been doing email, we feel we've got email down solid. For example, we know it's five times a month, right? Then we've got to email people and now we want to text." Or is it you coming to the organization saying, "You've got email down, right. Are you exploring these other options?"

Kate Elliot: I tend to work a little bit more with the first, but a lot of times it's presented more as aspirational, where it is "We feel like we are probably good on email. We'd love for you to take a look because really our goal is that we need to text."

Kate Elliot: Especially in the nonprofit space, it'll be, "We have this one annual campaign and we feel like we finally have an email program that's pretty good. We might be able to be a little more dynamic, but this has been working for us. Now we need to get texting in for this campaign."

Kate Elliot: So it tends to be a little bit more customer driven, in my experience. Occasionally, I'll get an account executive, or someone that has no really deep relationship with an account, reaching out to say like, "Hey, I think we should prod them along."

Kate Elliot: But with marketing cloud, especially with the journey builder product, it is I think a lot easier to see kind of the, if we're thinking crawl, walk, run, the vision of running, than ever before in marketing clouds. I think it's a little easier for customers to say, "You know, I really want to be able to drag over this activity because I can see where I could split off here."

Mike Gerholdt: Right. The reason I asked that is, I know myself included, when I was a customer and even now, you would go to Salesforce events, you go to dream force, you see this. Right?

Mike Gerholdt: And immediately you start plugging in, "Wow this would be great if my company did that." Because clearly you know they don't. You know they don't have texting for example or you wish they would do social customer service.

Mike Gerholdt: And you have to come back and present that vision. And I guess that's where I was going with that was I would love to know when you come in to those customers that you want to prod along. Because for some, in sales, I know what works, I know how to put numbers up on the board and they're the numbers everybody wants.

Mike Gerholdt: And if I keep things aspirational, then we can always aspire to do that. But at least then I don't fail putting it out there and I know sometimes, as an admin you're coming with, "Yes, but Salesforce can do this now. And it's not that hard for us to do it."

Mike Gerholdt: I would love to know some tips maybe that you could pass along to admins to help push that aspiration through and drive it to something that we can implement and move through and show a win.

Kate Elliot: Yeah, absolutely. I think passion marketing cloud, where I tend to see people coming up to me and asking if they're ready to go on to the next step or they want to. A lot of times what they're trying to do is replicate what they did before. What I see is, again or that example of the nonprofit that just has to have texting for their event. The biggest question that I think an admin can ask is "Why? What value is it adding?"

Kate Elliot: There is a lot wanting to keep up with the Jones's and that sort of thing. And especially with marketing, especially when you want to do realtime communications, you have to be crystal clear on your strategy then, of the purpose of a text, versus an email. And how people can opt in and opt out and where you're going to store all that data.

Kate Elliot: I think pushing on the strategy behind the new innovations or the strategy behind moving to dynamic content instead of building on HTML or something. To be able to show how it's a building block towards the bigger picture of where the marketing team has their aspirational vision can be very powerful.

Kate Elliot: I think it can be really easy to get caught in the trap of "Well, we have to do texting because that's what everyone's doing." Or "We need to get on Facebook because that's where this audience is." But if you don't have a strategy around it or if you're sending the same thing on a tweet that you're putting in your email, that you're putting on Instagram, that you're texting someone. If someone's very engaged, they're getting that same message then from you five times.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kate Elliot: Then they start becoming unengaged on channels. I think when you're presenting your vision and when you're trying to push forward on more functionality, really trying to explain the strategy on why it is different, to be able to text someone this information, versus send them an email.

Kate Elliot: And how you can be more responsive and really think about the customer first in that sense. Because it can be very tempting for people that I speak with to want to send things because they think it will look good for their metrics.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Kate Elliot: But the customer doesn't care about your metrics. At the end of the day to really put yourself in the shoes of the customer and really be able to present and say, "If I was a member of this campaign, it'd be really powerful if I was able to sign up for text messages, opt out of emails, so that when I'm at this event, I can learn more about all the stories of the people here that I'm trying to help."

Kate Elliot: I just think being able to really speak to the strategy and really speak to the actual customer experience with all these channels can really help move the needle and really get that executive buy-in.

Mike Gerholdt: If I could be laying on the floor, I would be doing that right now, because your answer is amazing. Relentless focus on exactly what the customer experience is and what the vision is. And executing through strategy and learning best practice. If I had to sum everything up that you've said, I think I've probably asked you four or five different questions and all of those are the fundamental answers, which is just something that I feel everybody needs to be reminded of. It's great.

Kate Elliot: I used to be a Salesforce sales cloud admin, too. And I think there's a big difference when you're thinking about your internal users and the focus on, perhaps reporting and it's part of how someone does their job and yes, you need to think about their experience. But it can be a little bit harder to kind of go a step out, for the customer, because there is this whole team kind of in between that does a lot of things off platform.

Kate Elliot: With marketing, that's so much different because everything that I configure is going to our customers.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kate Elliot: I personally get, I will say I do get a little frustrated sometimes when I am speaking with customers and they get so tied to a process that they're doing because they want to prove something like the value of email.

Kate Elliot: And when you start doing that, you're doing something because it's the metric that your manager likes to see. I guarantee you it's not what your customer wants to see. That's just such a, for a customer, is such a confusing experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kate Elliot: Because if you don't know why when you sign up for newsletters, you're getting donation requests, it's confusing. You don't know why, if you sign up for a particular brand, then suddenly you're getting sister brands because you don't know that they're owned by the same company.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kate Elliot: It just gets very confusing. And then when you start adding in these other channels, that's when people start thinking it's creepy that I looked up something on my phone and now suddenly I'm getting an email about it.

Kate Elliot: And now you're texting me about visiting this store and all of a sudden it starts becoming just this overwhelming, in a bad way, experience because you're starting to get the same message from so many different channels. And you're starting to, as a customer, feel like, "Do these people really know me or are they just trying to bombard me?" And that causes a lot of disengagement.

Kate Elliot: I think with marketing, as an admin, that's just one of the huge differences. There isn't that buffer layer. Everything that you're setting up is going live. If someone can't tell you the strategy or if you can't understand, if I'm a customer and I'm just trying to do this one thing and along the way I'm going to get hit by all these other asks or messages or campaigns or what have you. If you don't understand it, your customer doesn't.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kate Elliot: That's the big thing. And I think that's a big push, that I like to push back on, is I guess maybe another question I had to ask the marketing department on this. "Have you signed up for all the emails that you're sending your customer?"

Kate Elliot: "And if not, sign up for them as an admin and count them in a day."

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kate Elliot: Especially if they're asking for other channels or other things like that. But I think it's just definitely a different mindset from being a internal admin to an admin setting up a team for external. Because at the end of the day, you could be the person that helps the sales and the marketing team talk to each other, to know that they're sending almost identical sends to the same group of people.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Kate Elliot: And no one else might be able to see that, but you.

Mike Gerholdt: And all of that needs to be in a manifesto because you're spot on with everything that you said and in addition, it's also the perspective I would challenge everybody to make when they're setting up sales processes.

Mike Gerholdt: Think through what the sales processes that's going to be guiding this person as the customer comes through your organization, so that it compliments what marketing's doing. But also is thinking through what is the perspective on the other side of the table?

Mike Gerholdt: Because it's not always pushing emails every five or 10 minutes because they haven't made decision. This is great. You should do a whole session about this at dream force, if you haven't, I'm going to encourage you to do so.

Kate Elliot: We do a lot of round tables where we talk about this and they call them circle of success for more of the retail and other industry focused and we call them The Power of Us Live. It's really interesting to hear different customers talk about their perspective. It's fun to see the light bulbs go off, but I haven't done a session yet, so maybe I'll sign up for one.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm going to challenge you to do a session, that and I would also say I think your perspective is a perspective that other admins should have. Getting out and hearing what other companies are doing in different spaces. The power of joining the user group and hearing. I'll never forget being in a Wisconsin user group and having two very different companies talk about leads and watching the two admins look at each other like, "I had no idea I could do something like that." And getting that perspective is just huge.

Kate Elliot: I will just, I know we're wrapping, but just one note on that.

Mike Gerholdt: Please do.

Kate Elliot: Another thing to think about when you're a marketing admin and we actually talk a lot to our universities about this is, while you are directly competing with other people in your industry, perhaps whoever's going to buy your shirt, at the end of the day you are also competing against everyone in your inbox.

Kate Elliot: You really limit yourself if you are just looking at the same industry. Because I think a good example in my own experience is there are a lot of retail giants that are very responsive, so they know what you like, they're able to give you good recommendations, they're able to contact you at the right time, things like that.

Kate Elliot: And then when I go and get my car fixed, I get what looks like a newsletter that should be printed out in my inbox. And that's not what I'm expecting anymore from a professional email campaign, because the people that are doing it very well, they are setting the standard for everyone in the inbox.

Kate Elliot: That's also something just to think about is yes, when you're going against within your industry, it may impact your sales or your conversions and that's absolutely a competitive view you need to have. But also the people that are leading the pack just in general in this space are setting the standard for the entire inbox.

Mike Gerholdt: That's such a cool perspective. Thank you for sharing that. And is something to think about. Wow, I learned a lot today. That was great.

Kate Elliot: Well, happy to help. Happy to-

Mike Gerholdt: That was great.

Kate Elliot: I had a lot of fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, thanks so much for being on the episode. I definitely want to have you back. Not right away, but continue our conversation, dive deeper. Think about other things about marketing cloud. This is definitely one of those strategy best practices. You can't get enough of them. And I appreciate you taking time out and dropping some knowledge on us.

Kate Elliot: Anytime. Happy to do so.

Mike Gerholdt: Will do. Thanks Kate.

Mike Gerholdt: I am so thankful we could have Kate here to talk about strategies and best practices to expand into marketing cloud. She had some really fantastic strategies and best practices that she could share with us.

Mike Gerholdt: And I think, as a Salesforce admin, the biggest question we can ask is why. And we did a podcast on this with Kevin Richardson. It's phenomenal, but really we want to make sure that as we're driving further functionality into our organizations, they're always making sure to bring in the why, so that we understand the metrics.

Mike Gerholdt: And also, as we're expanding now into marketing cloud, that we're having our sales department and our marketing department talking together. As admins, it's up to us to facilitate those conversations across departments, so that really marketing can bring some of that data back to sales and sales can help be more productive and help marketing be more productive. We want everybody pulling in the same direction.

Mike Gerholdt: Kate brought up a lot of great information such as there's no sandbox in marketing cloud and so you want to make sure that you have a lot of training scheduled and that you're ready to move forward with that. I thought that was a great reminder.

Mike Gerholdt: And of course, there's a lot of time that I could spend talking with Kate about strategies and best practices, I think, wow, she knows so much and I'm so thankful we could have her on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Now I want to remind you that Salesforce admins is on Twitter. You can find us at Salesforce admins. No I, and of course, your one stop shop. I wake up every morning. That's the first page I go to

Mike Gerholdt: We have tons and tons of blog posts there. Some that I've published, some that other evangelists have published within Salesforce. It's really a breadth of information. We also have webinars posted there. You can listen to additional podcast episodes. With that, I want to thank you for tuning in and we'll see you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Expanding_to_Marketing_Cloud_With_Kate_Elliot.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12pm PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Kyle Husni, Salesforce Innovation Lead at W.L. Gore & Associates. We discuss the Agile mindset and the steps admins can take to make their days and lives easier to deal with.

Join us as we talk about how Kyle gathers requirements for his Agile development process, why you need to work backward in order to build the right tool, and how to measure the success you’ve created for your business.

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

Starting on Salesforce early.

Kyle started with Salesforce from a relatively young age—his sophomore year of college. After working with one too many spreadsheets, he quickly identified that Salesforce was the future and found himself an internship to learn more about it. He became an admin and grew his skills, eventually switching to a financial services company shifting to a business analyst and product owner role. Long story short, that’s how Kyle got started working in an Agile framework.

Gathering requirements the Agile way.

When it comes to Agile, “It’s really a framework and a mentality,” Kyle says, “it’s the idea that we’re not going to spend months and months trying to get detailed requirements but we’re going to be proactive and reactive at the same time,” he says, “it’s a philosophy of constant change.” That begins with how you gather requirements. “The key is to ask what the end goal is for something—what are we trying to actually achieve?”

Like with so many requirement gathering processes, it’s about reverse-engineering that Why so you can figure out the best way to build it. “I want them to really think about the experience they’re going to have for the users,” Kyle says. Essentially, you need to work with your stakeholders to develop the ideas they have in their head and get a clearer picture of what an ideal world would look like. That helps you understand if there are any big UX requirements, and how success is measured for a particular project.

How Kyle uses rapid prototyping to see what works.

“I’m a big rapid prototyping fan,” Kyle says. Even in his role as a product owner, it’s important to him to be able to jump into a developer sandbox and scratch something out as an example of what they’re trying to build. That might even mean going as far as jumping on a developer org during the requirement gathering process to show a little bit about how things work. “That’s where Lightning has helped me a ton, is just being able to jump in on the Lightning record pages and do a lot more enhanced customization on the front-end side,” he says. You can make someone’s instance change before their eyes so they can better understand what Kyle can do to change their workflow.

“When we look at a maturity level of what kind of features are we rolling out, I try not to overtake things,” Kyle says. You want to deliver an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that accomplishes the key goals as you understand them from your requirements gathering process, without building out other things before you need them. “MVP is such a hard term because so many folks want it to be the entire experience,” Kyle says, “but my focus is always on how I can rapidly create value for the business.”

Keeping up to date with release notes.

“When release notes come out, we try to do a quick peel of our backlog to see if any new features that are coming will address any of those,” Kyle says. They also try to divvy up release notes so it’s not so crazy and details aren’t missed. That also means relying on the resources of the community, including podcasts and just what people are talking about to make sure that no new features are overlooked.



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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: (Music). Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become a more awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt and today Kyle Husni is joining us to talk about the Agile mindset and the steps admins can take to make their days and lives a little bit easier to deal with. So I can't wait this amazing discussion. Let's get Kyle on the podcast. So Kyle, welcome to the podcast.

Kyle Husni: Thanks for having me Mike. Appreciate the time today.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, you bet. Well, I'm interested to dive into our topic, but let's get to know a little bit more about you. So Kyle, kind of how did you get into the Salesforce ecosystem and what do you do right now?

Kyle Husni: So right now I actually work as a Innovation Work Stream Lead for W.L. Gore and Associates based in Elkton, Maryland. But been a long journey to get here. So I actually started with Salesforce, is my sophomore year of college. I won't reveal how long ago that was, because it was not that long ago. But I actually worked as a inside sales rep at a bank in Wilmington, Delaware and struggled a lot as a college student who was studying Finance and Information Systems.

Kyle Husni: I kind of knew what was out there and what we were capable of in terms of getting information. And we just had to rely on weekly spreadsheets. So I obviously wanted to make sure I could go study, go hang out with my friends and I had to really prioritize the time that I could get to making sure I got all my work done. It really didn't help me to get that on a weekly basis.

Kyle Husni: So I got pretty curious and started figuring out, could we go and invest in something? Could I maybe help my managers find a better way to do this? And I stumbled upon Salesforce. I obviously realized that to convince a billion dollar company, "We should go by Salesforce," might be a little bit outside of my efforts. So I started to get a little bit more intrigued of could I go find an opportunity, an internship for my junior year of college where I could actually start to use Salesforce myself and get a little bit more interest.

Kyle Husni: So I was lucky enough, I found an internship my junior year and kind of took it more as a sales operations role, really starting to get into more of the analytics side. And luckily enough they started to ask me to build reports, build dashboards, and slowly became a Salesforce administrator for a small inside sales team. And lucky enough from there I just kept growing responsibilities, taking on a global sales team, adding in a service team, doing a service cloud cut-over, a lot of different fun stuff that I was able to grow on that side.

Kyle Husni: And then I think my role started to change a little bit more as I got more experienced and started to look, I think more at the business value of where Salesforce could really help a business grow and mature and add new capabilities. I had joined another financial service company in Baltimore, T. Rowe Price, and took a little bit more of a business analyst and a product owner role to really help them implement financial service cloud and Lightning. Really, really exciting stuff. And I think that grew my love not only for Salesforce but I think the Agile process, seeing how that could help relate an enterprise level scale, knowing that I had done this at such small scale, but then I got to just really take that at just kind of the next level.

Kyle Husni: So now I'm taking some of those experiences that I had before and now working with W.L. Gore, really trying to ramp up our Salesforce maturity and really thinking about how we use Salesforce in a different way. So definitely something I'm really excited about. I've been here about a year now and we're in the middle of kind of revamping our entire Sales Cloud instance while also having e-commerce projects with CloudCraze and some other pieces of Service Cloud also taking off as well.

Kyle Husni: So a lot of fun Salesforce stuff going on around here these days.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. I would say, I mean we could do, look, I'd love to do a whole other podcast on just the luck of, getting in and having a company that's really driven to kind of grow their instance because I feel like that's super accelerator for an admin. And you're very fortunate, right?

Kyle Husni: Oh absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: That you've been with companies. So when we started talking, I think one of the topics that came up in our discussion was around Agile. And I will profess this and get it out of the way. For a while when I was a Salesforce administrator back in '06, I would just make a change in production. And I realize the error of my ways now. But, listening to you and listening to the amount of complexity that you're working in, and I don't think it's necessarily dependent on complexity, but understanding change management for an admin, I think Agile is really key. And I know we've done previous episodes on Agile, so I'd love to kind of have our discussion begin there with, from an Agile perspective, if you hop in an elevator and somebody's like, "Hey, I heard the word Agile," how would you explain that?

Kyle Husni: That's a wonderful question. So I think if I look at Agile, as a whole really, I think you'll hear some people say, "Oh, you develop an Agile." And I kind of stop people there and go, "No, it's really a framework and a mentality," right? It's the idea that we're not going to spend months and months trying to get detailed requirements, but that we're going to be proactive and reactive at the same time of trying to understand how do we bring someone along for a journey?

Kyle Husni: I think if anyone hasn't had the chance to read the Agile manifesto and understand on that side, it really lays out that it is a philosophy of constant collaboration. Being able to respond to that kind of change and really making sure that folks can get hands on with the work that they're actually interacting with. To me, the collaboration piece I think is the biggest difference in Agile than any traditional waterfall type project I've been in. Everything is constantly moving. Folks are constantly involved. There's never that, "Hey what's going on?" Kind of mentality.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. So thinking through because learning a methodology and a delivery mechanism can sound intimidating I guess. What was your approach?

Kyle Husni: So for me, it was I think a pretty typical for I think a solo admin. I really remember when I started. But I'll say as gathering requirements, I had an Evernote notebook that I think was famously joked as the Bible of Salesforce. Because that's where all of my ideas were. All of our kind of mockups ended up staying at, I would just kind of scratch things up there.

Kyle Husni: So I was already doing Agile, to a perspective there. But I think I had to start to understand to some degree like what were the little things that could make my life easier. I knew where my biggest struggle was, was I didn't really have a consistent way of going through and making sure I understand what our user requirements were, having them formatted in a way that if someone, my boss, one of our other developers that would come in every once in a while could help us out, I didn't have a really consistent way of going about that.

Kyle Husni: So starting off with user stories for me was a really good way to just, as I looked at all the things that Agile had in scope, that made it really easy for me to go, "Here's the problem I have and here's how I can go to solve it." There's so much, I think content wise was kind of where Agile covers. It can be really, really difficult I think to try and grab everything.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kyle Husni: So for me it was, just writing up kind of a retrospective of here's what I'm having trouble with, can I go take this methodology that everyone's telling me works so great and I've learned a little bit about. Can I go find somebody that's going to help me out with that problem and use that and kind of start there.

Mike Gerholdt: So you mentioned gathering requirements. And I think everybody does it a little differently. I'm always afraid of what I... I love the term of order-taker admin, right? Somebody comes in and says, "Well we need this box on our account or we need this on an opportunity." What's your approach to gathering requirements? Right? I want to start there, because that's the phase we're in.

Kyle Husni: Yeah. So if I look at that, and it's funny you call it the order-taker. I mean I kind of had this term of a, I had a really wonderful sales manager, I think one of the sharpest guys I've ever worked with.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Kyle Husni: And he was famous for coming over and banging on our desk going, "I need this today. It's the most critical thing in the world." And it was like, "Drop everything you're doing and go do this for me right now."

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Kyle Husni: And the first few times I'd do it, because I was like, super important manager.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kyle Husni: I got to make sure I get this done, I got to be on his good side. And then it would come back that it was only just he had a bad Tuesday morning about a sales call and he thought he needed this.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kyle Husni: So I think the big thing for me is always kind of asking the, "Hey, so what's the end goal with this? What are we trying to actually achieve?" Because usually if it's just, "Hey, I just want to put a flag on there so I can check that," then that's, I kind of have to dig a little bit further, but if I can kind of pull that out of someone and going, "Hey, well I need a better way to get this kind of insight. Or we need to enable this process that allows me to get a better retrospective and kind of work backwards to say, okay, great. Now who's going to be involved in this process?" And I don't tell them that I'm going through that kind of requirements gathering, but I'm in essence trying to help them develop what this looks like in their head.

Kyle Husni: And usually for me, I think I've gotten lucky enough that as admins you start to get more experienced and you'll start to hear things that go, boom, I know the solution. Boom, I know the solution. But we know there's so many kinds of got yous [inaudible 00:09:57] that lay in there.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Kyle Husni: That I do want the user to feel like they're kind of giving me that feedback, that they're kind of crafting the plan in their head. And typically I will even start like even just pulling up a Salesforce org and just go, "Okay, great well it's not there yet today. But explain to me how this would kind of work for you." Right? Because it's so hard sometimes. I think if we were to put our requirements head on and tell them, "Don't look at the solution, don't look at the solution." It's very hard, especially if someone's a visual thinker, they need to kind of express themselves and getting on a screen going, if I want to click a button over here, I would need it to do something like that.

Kyle Husni: And in my head that's where I can start thinking through, "Hey, what kind of sharing requirements do we have?" I kind of have that all stored in my back pocket. But I want them to really think about the experience they're going to have for the users. We all know as admins, there's going to be the little things we have to go back and kind of track on, but if I can get them to tell me really what they're going for from a business objective outcome and kind of what that looks and feels like for a user perspective, we're going to be able to craft that story right away. Those are my two big focuses that I try and drive on.

Mike Gerholdt: You mentioned you took notes in Evernote. What would be some tips for an admin on taking notes around requirements or kind of managing all of their intake?

Kyle Husni: Yeah. So I think the big thing for me is I try to always... Now what I do a little bit, is I try not to write my falsely [inaudible 00:11:22] requirements. I try not to go as my typical user story format right away. So people will see, and I kind of joke that I think in basically as a, so that, kind of mentality around how we write requirements. But I do like a little bit of just kind of shifting a couple of different pieces.

Kyle Husni: So I will call out like UX. If there's a really big UX component to this that, hey, there's got to be a report to this and the report has to look like that, I want to make sure I know that that's a critical success factor. The other big thing I try and do as well as with every user story, we always say we have to have acceptance criteria. That's a big measure for us in terms of just, "Can I make sure that I deliver the business exactly what they're asking for?" But I think the even bigger thing that I try and do is say, "Hey, what's going to make us successful? Or how are we going to measure that this is successful?"

Kyle Husni: Because if we can't do that, it's going to be really hard for me at the end of my year when we have those conversations around did I contribute to the business? What kind of value are we providing as a Salesforce platform back to the organization? It gets really hard to just tell everyone, "Okay, that's great. We developed a lot of user stories. I gave you a ton of new features and functionality," but great examples of, "Hey, if we're able to produce a document or an easy way to say, look, we cut down your time that you don't have to put together this manual report now." I can go back to all the user stories I delivered and just start to take those notes of like, look, this is something that's going to save us on cost.

Kyle Husni: And I try and have that in my mind. So I know that as I'm going to push this to my development team or as I was developing this myself, that I kind of kept that in mind, of, look guys, if we can't do this or we can't do that, it's going to have us lose a bit of that success factor. Or maybe if we do have to go out and put something in different kind of a sequenced way, right? We might not be able to deliver everything in one big shot, we at least have an idea of how to control that message of saying, look, it's going to be manual right now, but here's our product roadmap. We know we're going to get you that feature in three months. So we're not far away from it, but hey, right now we're not there.

Kyle Husni: And I think that's a really important thing as well as I look through those requirements. If I know there's stuff like we had a great conversation when we had our Lightning rollout, we knew we couldn't do 10 column related lists, but we knew that that was coming at some point.

Kyle Husni: So we kept that item in our backlog because I think the transparency that came up as we were taking notes going, look, we got to let people know that they feel comfortable. It's OK to tell people that something's not generally available. It's not out of the box. I think there's always this fear of, well even if we don't tell them, they won't notice that it's not there. I think that level of transparency, I try and always let people know upfront of, hey, it's not there yet, but that doesn't mean there's not an AppExchange that can do it. Not a custom component we can't go use, there's always a way, right? It's jokingly, Salesforce basically has that [inaudible 00:14:07] solution almost.

Kyle Husni: So we try and get that up front visibility. But yeah, I think making sure you focus on those big areas of kind of the UX. If there's reporting things that need to be out there, any kind of critical success factor, but really making sure that you have a way to measure that success I think is always key. I joked a little bit with my girlfriend one day about that, that... She even jokes, she's like, "So how are you measuring all that cool stuff you're pulling out there?" She's like, "You're building a lot. But like how does everyone know that you're going to be successful?" I'm like, "You're right." That's a good way to think about that. We'd have to go back and make sure we can find that really well.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. This a point that, I mean again, multiple topics we could do a whole episode on proving your value too for Salesforce. And we got started into that talking about requirements, you mentioned AppExchange, you mentioned, hey, we know this, we don't know this. I think sometimes you forget the benefit of what you do know and don't know as possible solutions. I would love to know, kind of moving through the phases of working a project or working, getting requirements, next phases, building or researching a solution. I'm going to guess, right? I'd love to know what your approach is to that, right? How do you know if there's an AppExchange app to it or if you got to build something. Or what your approach to kind of taking this ideal vision that they have and turning it into functionality.

Kyle Husni: Right. So I've been very fortunate, I think in my career, as I started with a solo admin, not really knowing how to do Apex, but I think I've found all the limits of Process Builder Flow and everything that's out there. But even now as I work through this, as more of a product owner and in my role, I've got some wonderful solution architects, but they're nice enough I'll say. And I think, trust me enough that I'm a big rapid prototyping fan. I think everywhere I've gone, I've been like, can I please have a dev sandbox? And I promise I won't promote anything into our actual environments. But I've always been a big fan of working with my team or taking on the effort myself with like, hey guys, I'm going to go scratch something up really quick and let me get a quick prototype out there and let's see how that works, right?

Kyle Husni: And there could be something as simple as we create a new object. I throw some process builders together and workflow rules with the validations that they like. And just get them the example. And that's where I think as I start to kind of show that, it's a lot easier for folks, I think in our business to get that kind of comprehension. We can have some really quick conversations. I think internally between our solution architecture, our business analysts, and I think we start to get a good gut feel of, "Hey, we know we need a custom object here. We know we're going to have to write some Apex." Yeah, we used to write this as a hard-coded thing, but "Hey, solution architect, I don't like hard coding stuff. Can you go look at this new custom metadata and see what we can do with that setting to alleviate that. For the demo purpose, I'm going to hard code it just so people can get an idea of does that functionally work for everyone?

Kyle Husni: And I think we've seen a lot of success for that, right? Because I know for my development team, if I have to go send them off to go write Apex and go make new... I think an example is Apex managed sharing rules to go out and do something like that, it's going to require a lot of ask for them to even take the time to go figure out how we want to get those requirements. But I think improving our relationship with the business and having them get upfront feedback on some of that solutioning. I mean, we've done prototypes in, I'll say like 15 minutes. I'm a big fan of even just jumping onto a Dev Org while I'm kind of grabbing requirements to a degree of they're far enough along. And just saying, "Look, let me show you kind of behind the scenes a little bit. And I can maybe build some just really quick."

Kyle Husni: I think personally that's where Lightning has helped me a ton. It's just being able to jump in on some of the Lightning record pages and do a lot more enhanced customization on the front end side that we couldn't really do before with Classic. And I think people having that look and feel and being able to see their instance changing before their eyes, that's been a huge value effort. That, I'll even say I can't tell people how many times I ask for something.

Kyle Husni: And it could be a very simple report. And being able to show them just something so quickly, it's easier than Excel or it looks just like an Excel workbook for them as they're trying to move out of that, I can start to give them that comfort of, look, if you are using this object and creating it in Salesforce, your report that used to take you four hours to run macros on, now it's just click run, but you do have to put the data in the system and here's how we're going to do that. I can really bring them along for the full ride.

Kyle Husni: And then luckily enough after I do that part, then we get to have some conversations internally with our BAs and our SAs to say, look, here's kind of the mockup we found, now you guys need to go scale this. But for them they're not as much trying to always having to figure out the how or the why or trying to get a lot of feedback from the business at that point. We've got that kind of directional, yes, now their focus is really on how do we make it scale.

Kyle Husni: And usually they're in these conversations, I'm not flying solo. But they've seen enough and heard enough that their challenge now is what's the best way to do this, not the what are we going to do, at that point.

Mike Gerholdt: And what, I mean a lot of Agile is, and you mentioned it, rapid prototyping. At what point are you rolling out features, functionality, kind of turning back and giving the business the solution for some of the requirements that they give you and what advice do you have for admins doing that?

Kyle Husni: So I think the biggest thing for me, I'll probably hit the second part first Mike. The biggest thing for me is probably the less is more type mentality. And I think it gets so hard. And I give an example of, you look at this really big piece of work and sometimes I do it too. I'll go and do a meeting and I'll listen to some of my business partners talking and my eyes light up. I'll see this massive scope of work that they're giving me. I see eight months of projects, I see all this cool stuff that we're talking about. But inside of that, there's this one little thing that they actually need.

Kyle Husni: I'll use the example of you need to get from point A to point B. I could absolutely give you a Ferrari today to do that and you get there super quick, but it's going to cost you $3 million. Or I could give you a bike and yeah, I mean you might get a little bit sweaty, but you're going to get to that point just the same way, maybe not as fast, but you can still accomplish the goal. To me, it's always trying to get our user story, trying to get our features. Trying to make sure they're as small as possible. And I can get them the value that they want as quickly as possible is big, right?

Kyle Husni: So the rapid prototyping is great because I think they get that idea of, "Hey, I can see it. Hey, I can touch it. Hey, I know it's going on." But if we can't get our users to use it in a live environment or they can't feel that value right away, it's a real struggle for me. So that's I think where me as a product owner, my preference is, how do I start to get that workout as quickly as possible?

Kyle Husni: And that I think is a real test of having conversations with, for myself, my business analyst, my tactical team, or when I was on a solo admin perspective, trying to be really thoughtful around what's the least I can get them out and it can be valuable to them? You'll hear the term a ton of what's our MVP? It's a really hard concept, right? I think that's where the prototyping for folks, maybe it's getting out a custom object with some really simple automation or it's just no automation. It's a manual process, but you've never had data that's reported that way before. That's typically where I'll kind of start on that perspective, but I think when we look at a maturity level of what kind of features are we rolling out, I try not to over bake things.

Kyle Husni: It can be so hard not to do it, but I think typically for me is when I get a good enough sense from our solution architect of how quickly can we get something out there and how big it really is, it's really going to dictate. But it also comes down to priority. But I know we touched on a little bit that drop everything development. That's where we have to really be critical of, our team's time is extremely valuable. And to deliver the business the right things that we need, it does take a level of kind of a gut check to say how big is the priority of this and how much is it going to move?

Kyle Husni: I was lucky enough that as I've had these conversations over and over again, you do learn a little bit and we can always tell when someone just, I think wants something. But I think now that we've put in a few places before, is where I put in those metrics to say, hey, how many people is this going to impact? And what kind of time are we going to save because of that? Can we have some kind of measurable outcome that allows us to understand that and okay, now that we look through some of our features, where maybe in our backlog refinement we can have the conversation of if I give you one and two and three, is that going to move the needle for you guys? We think so. Let's get agreement for that.

Kyle Husni: I think the biggest thing in terms of the, when we roll it out, technically, I think the tactical part is actually the easiest part sometimes. But having a good feeling of our change management, our training teams, our business. Making sure that they feel like when we give them that functionality one, they're ready for it. But I'll say two, that they're going to be able to feel the value by the what we give them. MVP is just such a hard term because I think so many folks want it to be the entire experience, but my focus is always just how can I rapidly create value for the business and really let them learn.

Kyle Husni: I mean we get no better feedback than when something goes into production. I will say that is unfortunately and fortunately our best way to see how things go.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Now, I guess touching on that, a lot of what we've discussed is really you taking the input, gathering the requirements, figuring out the solution. I am going to throw in the other component which is, Salesforce is three releases a year. Sometimes we're throwing solutions at you or new features and functionality. From your standpoint, how do you manage that? How do you, when some of the releases come out, there's things that are already on, right? Like the next day or the next Monday that a user comes in, there could be new functionality there because it's part of the release. What is your strategy for handling that?

Kyle Husni: So really, where I've seen this be successful is I think trying to be aware, that's the biggest thing for me. So I think every time I get a complaint or... I'll say a complaint, a suggested feedback of where Salesforce could be better, I think I try and take it on myself to go, okay, where can I go look in that? And thankfully Salesforce does a great job with the idea. With the community and throwing ideas out there that usually I can either find that, A a bunch of other people aren't happy with it too or B, that hey, we all noted that and guess what, we're going to fix it.

Kyle Husni: So I'm a big fan of just making sure one, if there's that noted area, I try and make sure that that's still inside of our backlog. And we usually do a pretty good tab of when release notes come out. We try and do a quick peel of our backlog and say hey, any new features coming out in this release that we know are going to address any of those. That for us kind of makes sure that as we're solutioning anything that's in progress or something that we're waiting for, that we don't miss, right? Because I think the worst thing in the world is you go out and build something and it's kind of the same with the AppExchange apps. I'm always kind of just looking through to say, is there anything new out there? Is there anyone developing a new component, a new way of doing this? So that we can kind of get that measured up.

Kyle Husni: That's kind of my first level. I think the other thing too, is as much as we can, trying to break up release notes. I am fortunate enough I think, in the last two companies I've been with, we have a pretty big team, so it's easy enough for us to divvy up release notes and say, guys, someone's got to go neck deep and make sure they get every part of one to two and I'll get three to four and you get five to six. Taking the time I think to put kind of a team effort. And then we've actually started doing release recaps internally. That way, I think all of our team members from the testing team, the business analysts, our application support, our training team, everyone kind of has that same language around what's coming out round the release.

Kyle Husni: That's something that again, like there's almost no reason to a degree of, we see that as a priority because it could solve one of those problems for us and we know that the problems are always going to keep coming up and the new user stories are going to keep coming. So being as educated as possible, I think on our end around that side, was really, really key.

Kyle Husni: And I think again, using every avenue that you can. And I think that's been the biggest thing, whether it's the Admin podcast. I've been a big fan of Salesforce. Ben has been someone I've followed on for a little bit. There's tons of people out there that are publishing information on Twitter over and over and over. I'm a big fan of the crowdsourcing is, there's a degree of that of where I kind of say is we want to put the time into, invest as a team and myself. That's how I did it as a solo admin. I knew I couldn't read all the thousands of pages, that's why I trusted the Salesforce community to help me out a little bit and tell us where to look to a degree, of what was exciting. But yeah, just constantly measuring. And again, the backlog I think was the big thing.

Kyle Husni: As long as we had those items in there, no matter which way I looked, I knew that I could understand those needs. But even if we saw something that was brand new, I forget, we put the Lightning on iPad beta. It is in our backlog right now, of something that we're still looking at in our own backlog to say, is it working? Is it not working? Where are we seeing it work well, where are we not seeing it work well? So we kind of have that critical success measure for ourselves, of something that we're still monitoring. I mean again, still I think something that as we learn and we get more enhanced with betas and try to get our hands on to be more early adopters and I think get ahead of some of those changes. We're working right now through the Lightning on mobile pilot as well.

Kyle Husni: So I mean both things that we've gotten our backlog that we're monitoring pretty heavily and trying to make sure that we have a good feel for.

Mike Gerholdt: As we kind of wrap up, just sitting back digesting everything you said. I'm really glad we had the chance to sit, talk. Again, three or four spin off series could come from this. I'm thinking, I always like to go back to the first question, the first answer and I'm really... We covered a lot. I'd love to know from you, kind of at what point, because you were very fortunate when you got started, I felt, to go through different jobs and have different experiences and companies push you for functionality and that forcing you to kind of grow.

Mike Gerholdt: I'd love to know, kind of looking back, which sounds like we're not going to look back very far, because your sophomore year in college, I might have some shoes that are older than that. But I'd love to know kind of what's one memorable moment that you feel was kind of your turning point so far, in your Salesforce career?

Kyle Husni: Oh wow, that's tough. It hasn't been that long. Admittedly, it's been, what? I'm trying to think now a little bit. I just graduated college officially four years ago, so not that long. But if I look back at it, I mean there's so many that I could pick from. But I think as I look at the... Probably the most transformational one for me was, I started a new job a year ago here too. And I left a company that I had only been at for about a year and had been driving back and forth between Delaware and Baltimore, Maryland, which if folks don't know that's about two hours in one direction. So it was about four hours of driving each day. But I came back after we rolled out Financial Service Cloud out to a brand new first time Salesforce implementation for that side of their business.

Kyle Husni: And I was lucky enough to go down to Tampa, Florida, but I was also lucky enough to be the one that found the critical defect, the honor go light day. So it was a really interesting night of, I think kind of a culmination of the years of experience that I had gained and just from working so hard and being up I think until like one o'clock the one night trying to figure out if we had everything in line to get this thing fixed out the next day.

Kyle Husni: And I think for me that was kind of that moment that I'll say like very humbling one to be. Thankful to be up that late and I think feel like I was in control. And I think that's really an interesting feeling. I think as admins you have those moments where you know that you did something right. And you know that you are able to contribute and go into work the next day and having people telling me, "Hey, great job. Thank you so much for staying up." And I had only been at that company I think for five months at that point.

Kyle Husni: But I think, to a degree, I could already hear people talking about, "Hey, now that this works," I'd never been able to see this and I'd never been able to do that. I will say I'm a lifelong lover of Salesforce, from my career start. Enough to paint my shoes for Dreamforce. But when I did that, when I kind of heard that comment for the first time, it was definitely really empowering. I think there's, I've always kind of made it my lifelong mission of, can I get people out of the office a little bit sooner? Can I get them to go spend time with their family, making their lives better, investing in themselves, not because we don't like working, but because there's always a need for that balance.

Kyle Husni: And I think when I fell in love with Salesforce is that I realized, yeah, I can take you two hours away from a spreadsheet and give you that in 10 minutes. That's time that you can be more efficient getting your work done, so you don't have to stay here to yourself in the o'clock at night. And starting to see people and feel like I was actually getting ready to enroll that enterprise wide, really large company. That was such a cool feeling. And just knowing Mike, kind of like you said, there were so many people that were important to get me to that point and that helped me push and that I had to push for more opportunities and they openly gave them to me. It was kind of that aha moment of I'm in the right place at the right time and I'm excited enough now that I'm still getting to do it.

Kyle Husni: Fortunately enough, if it wasn't for one Google search back in my sophomore year of college, I don't know if I'd be here. So it's definitely, it was a very humbling experience to sit there with a bunch of delicious sushi and realize that hey, maybe I did make a good choice a couple of years ago.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, that's very cool. Kyle thanks for coming by, being on the podcast. If people want to follow you on Twitter, what's your Twitter handle?

Kyle Husni: It is salesforcekyle. I kept it simple.

Mike Gerholdt: Huh? Smart. That's great. We'll add a link to that in the show notes-

Kyle Husni: I had to ahead of the game.

Mike Gerholdt: Of course. Well, let's either... I feel like all of the Twitter handles are either that or SFDC something.

Kyle Husni: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: All right. Well, Kyle, thanks so much for being on the podcast.

Kyle Husni: Awesome. Appreciate the time Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: (Music). The Agile method is always a hot topic. And I appreciate Kyle for showing us a different perspective on this episode. An important thing to remember is Agile is a framework and a specific mindset.

Mike Gerholdt: So in order to carry out a project successfully, you and your team need to be proactive. You need to know how to react fast, recover faster, always collaborate and be as transparent as possible. Transparency is a huge thing with me. I love it. Eliminating waste is a huge part of the Agile method. So when it comes to gathering requirements, try starting backwards. Your first leading question should be identifying what their desired end goal is. And then from there you can start getting feedback early and often allowing the user to feel and hear that you are creating their plan and that vision together.

Mike Gerholdt: Of course the last step is figuring out what is the critical success factor of this project, and then how to measure the success you've created for this business.

Mike Gerholdt: Rapid prototyping is an amazing idea for admins to do while you are gathering requirements. Spinning up at Developer Org start sketching out the ideas and solutions you're coming up with and live in the moment. The value of that instant gratification is huge. And maybe you get to the point of trying to find a solution that has not been created yet. Kyle and other admins or developers know that Salesforce always has a way and different ways of doing things, but don't be afraid to tell your users that just because it's not here yet, it doesn't mean it won't be there.

Mike Gerholdt: Use your resources wisely and of course never give up. Make your vision a reality. We have some great resources in the show notes for you this week, like the transform your business with mobile trail on Trailhead, which talks about how the Agile method can help you deliver and improve your building strategies. I would also go to to check out our Lightning on mobile content, starting with the set up Lightning experience on mobile by our own principal admin Evangelist, LeeAnne Rimel. Of course, you can always follow along with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I on Twitter. And you can find me on Twitter as well, I am @MikeGerholdt. And with that, have an amazing day and I'll see you next time in the Cloud.

Direct download: Agile_In_Action_with_Kyle_Husni.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41pm PDT

Salesforce For Good: Billy Daly


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. We’re peaking into another corner of the nonprofit world talking to Billy Daly, Director of Data, Technology, and Evaluation at Baltimore Corps. We discuss their unique implementation of Salesforce and how thinking creatively about their processes has helped them use the platform more effectively.


Join us as we talk about how to look differently at your own process to get the most out of Salesforce and the steps you can take to implement effective process discovery.


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


The three components of Billy’s work with Baltimore Corps.


Billy’s the Director of Data, Technology, and Evaluation at Baltimore Corps. “What we do is focus on building capacity in the social impact sector in Baltimore,” he says, “what that looks like, functionally, is helping place really talented individuals in nonprofit governing agencies and social enterprises in Baltimore city in roles where they have the most leverage to actually do and affect change.” So it’s about finding good people, finding the right jobs for them, and then developing their career to put them in a position to make a difference.


With such a long title, we asked Billy to break down what he does in a little more detail. As he explained, there are three core pillars to what he and his department do. Data, as in what information they need to do their work more effectively. Technology, which they may need to develop in order to capture that information. And finally, information, which is how they analyze the data they capture to assess and evaluate the impact they’ve had.


It all started with a spreadsheet . . .


As to how Billy got onto the Salesforce platform in the first place, “I was brought into this by a spreadsheet,” he says. Coming out of college, he had a real passion for data, but he didn’t know how to exactly apply it. “Most of the markets and the systems that we deal with have some sort of a digital component, so how do we actually understand the role that technology plays in creating those inequalities that we see in the world?” That lead him to Baltimore Corps, where he was tasked with working with a huge spreadsheet to track all their applicants. He started looking for a better way to track their work, and the rest was history.


“Not unlike a lot of nonprofits, we use Salesforce—and specifically the Nonprofit Success Pack—to do a lot of donation tracking,” Billy says, “but that wasn’t actually the real reason we were drawn to it initially.” Because they place so many people in so many different roles, they not only need a way to keep track of where they ended up but also where they’ve applied and what happened next. It ends up looking a lot like an Opportunities model.


They also use Salesforce Communities as a way of engaging candidates and their hiring managers in the last stage of the process. They’re doing simultaneous recruitment of both the candidates and the employers and trying to pair them, so it’s a useful way to allow those two pools to communicate allowing Baltimore Corps to get out of the way. “At that point, it wasn’t B2B or B2C, it was almost like C2C,” Billy says. They ended up presenting this use case at Dreamforce, where they were really able to connect with the broader nonprofit community and share knowledge.


How to avoid painting yourself into a corner in your Salesforce instance.


As far as advice for other admins, Billy recommends you start with the sandbox. “It’s easy enough when there aren’t a ton of people looking at your instance and you don’t have a ton of records, but very quickly you can develop bad habits,” he says. You want to understand and outline what you’re trying to do before you make changes. “It’s very easy to be reactive,” he says, “but you can wind up painting yourself into a corner within your Salesforce instance.” You start with a simple picklist, but then ten requests later it’s 24 options long and it quickly becomes unmanageable. “Don’t just solve the immediate challenge,” Billy says, “think about how this immediate challenge that we’re solving likely to evolve so that way it becomes a more generalized problem and you can create a more generalized solution to that problem.”


Another big thing for Billy is working on really trying to understand when it’s necessary to create something custom to solve your problem. “When do you adapt the tool to fit your process versus when do you adapt the process to fit your tool,” Billy says. Salesforce naturally invites you to adapt the tool to fit your need, but sometimes you need to think more creatively about your process, like how Baltimore Corps uses a sales process to manage its applications.



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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 and in the non-profit world and I made many incredible connections with people doing amazing things with Salesforce technology and non-profits. 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 employees. By the end of the series, you'll learn what makes the nonprofit sector special, how Salesforce Technology supports the mission 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. Get ready to get super nerdy and technical as we talk to Billy Daly, Director of Data, Technology, and Evaluation for Baltimore Corps. Let's welcome Billy to the podcast.Thanks so much for joining us today on the podcast, Billy.

Billy Daly: Thanks Marc. I really appreciate being on here.

Marc Baizman: Yeah, you bet. So glad to have you. So Billy, tell me a little bit about what you do and what Baltimore Corps' mission is?

Billy Daly: Sure. My name's Billy, obviously. My official title is the Director of Data, Technology, and Evaluation for Baltimore Corps, and Baltimore Corps is an organization. What we do is we focus on building capacity in the social impact sector in Baltimore. What that looks like functionally, is helping place really talented individuals in non-profit, government agencies, and social enterprises in Baltimore City. In roles where they have the most leverage to actually do and effect change in those organizations in the sector in Baltimore. That's really the focus of kind of what we do is help connect these individuals who are looking to actually have an impact in the sector with jobs where they can affect meaningful change and actually grow them into those roles. This way they're doing what they can to the best of their abilities.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. And your title was really long, could you expand on that a little bit?

Billy Daly: Yeah, sure.

Marc Baizman: Tell me about what does your day to day look like? Are we-

Billy Daly: I know, right? Most of the time I shorten it to DTE, but the reason for it is because there is three core pillars to what I do and what my department does. Those pillars are data, meaning what we work with the team on is figuring out what information do we need to actually do our role, do our work, and everything that we do at the organization more effectively? What technology do we need to develop in order to capture that information? And then ultimately, how do we use that information and the technology that we've built to capture it to actually assess and evaluate the impact that we've had as an organization and as a sector?

Marc Baizman: That sounds amazing. So, can you give me a little bit of background on what brought you into the non-profit world?

Billy Daly: Sure, yeah. The one thing I often say when I kind of talk about how I found Baltimore Corps and my work with Salesforce and data technology in general is that I was brought into this by a spreadsheet.

Marc Baizman: Like so many of us, right? Start with a spreadsheet.

Billy Daly: Exactly, right? Yeah, it's always a spreadsheet that draws you in. But essentially I was really, really lucky to be connected to this amazing individual named Lucas who had gone to the same college as someone I knew at my college, that was an admissions counselor. And she's like, "Hey you're really interested in data. You're interested in using data and technology for good, I think you would really get along with this person."
And so, she kind of made a connection and we grabbed coffee. I learned a little bit more about what it actually looked like to work in the data technology sector. He was a software developer and I was kind of interested in that. I was also interested in database administration, all that kind of stuff. But I didn't really know what it included. I was like, "Okay I know algorithms are a thing. I know databases and SQLs are a thing but what are they really?"

Marc Baizman: What's your background? Did you have a background in technology and this stuff? Give me a little more color on that.

Billy Daly: Yeah, absolutely. No, no, sorry, I should've lead with that. So, my background is primarily in environmental studies and econ, that was kind of what I studied and what I was really interested in.

Marc Baizman: Perfect.

Billy Daly: But particularly what I was interested in in relation to those things, is sort of how do in particular markets and people's interaction with markets wind up yielding either inequal outcomes, right? Some people are participating in these job markets and obviously there's widespread discrimination both intentional and unintentional as a result of bias. And the same is true for the housing market, for all these different markets that kind of make up society. What I was really interested in understanding is how is it that sort of people who are on hold trying to do good in the world, how does that actually wind up yielding outcomes that are disparately effecting certain individuals from different identities, backgrounds, races, classes, etc? And the reason I was interested in data technology is thinking that most of the markets and the systems that we deal with have some sort of a digital component to them. And so, how do we actually understand the role the technology plays in resulting in those inequalities that we see in the world?

Marc Baizman: Super, super fascinating. And certainly-

Billy Daly: Yeah.

Marc Baizman: As artificial intelligence and facial recognition become more and more popular, we're seeing institutions that are using these things in the same way, in biased ways and feeding, giving-

Billy Daly: Totally.

Marc Baizman: ... biased datasets and so on. So, anyway that's a different podcast, but [crosstalk 00:05:40]-

Billy Daly: I know, right? That's a [crosstalk 00:05:41] long hour.

Marc Baizman: Yeah, for sure. And it's a great, great topic. So, you had this kind of background in looking at markets and inequalities and that lead you into data and living with data, so that-

Billy Daly: Totally, yeah.

Marc Baizman: And you met with Lucas and had a coffee and you're like, "Hey I should do some database type things." So, take us from there.

Billy Daly: Totally, yeah, and so what he was sort of saying is like, "Hey it sounds like you got this amazing interest and it really lines with the work that my roommate does." And his roommate was, lo and behold, the CEO of Baltimore Corps. I did not know that at the time but I was just like, "Okay, cool. Sounds great. How can I help? I'd love to build my skills around some of this stuff." And he's like, "Okay, well, the main thing that we really need you to work on, that Baltimore Corps needs you to work on, is basically help them clean up a spreadsheet that they're using to actually use information about candidates to make better recommendations around who should get placed where." Right? So that was sort of my exposure to Baltimore Corps. It was this big, massive spreadsheet that had the output of all of our applications and it was from there that I was really was introduced to Salesforce. And at the time, I'd never heard of the word Salesforce before-

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Billy Daly: I was like, "Okay, here's this cool thing." I know that it spits out into a spreadsheet but it was kind of from the spreadsheet and the task that was, "How do you actually help this organization make better recommendations?" that I was then introduced to all these adjacent possible options and things to actually explore in terms of how to use information better. To do the work of the organization better and also to sort of improve hiring decisions that are made by all of the organizations then that are in our sector.

Marc Baizman: Outstanding. So, Salesforce existed at Baltimore Corps prior to your kind of working with it, is that right?

Billy Daly: Yes, very, very briefly. And as I'm sure you probably know well, Marc, but I think we only had it for about six months. But a lot can happen in that six months-

Marc Baizman: Yes, indeed.

Billy Daly: Of onboarding. And so, what I walked into when I was sort of getting onboard to this project was a ton of custom objects that through the course of sort of onboarding the system, a lot of the folks who were on our team who didn't quite have as much of a technical background... Not that I was coming with much more expertise or experience. They had sort of gone the route of, as I'm sure many people have which is like, "Oh you know what, we need this thing and I don't see something that is named exactly this in Salesforce-"

Marc Baizman: Right.

Billy Daly: "Let's create it." Right?

Marc Baizman: Yup.

Billy Daly: Which is awesome. I think it was great, the enthusiasm with which they approached the project but obviously there was, as we all know well, Salesforce, can be so flexible that it can almost come back to bite us at the end of the day. [crosstalk 00:08:18].

Marc Baizman: Right. Right. It's sort of a classic new admin thing to do, right?

Billy Daly: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marc Baizman: Which is like, "Oh, I can build a thing to do that? Great I'm going to do that."

Billy Daly: Yes. And like-

Marc Baizman: We were so busy building it, we didn't think if we should.

Billy Daly: Totally, yes, and also the idea of sandbox, was like, "What? There's a thing that you can do before you push stuff into production?" No, why do that? [crosstalk 00:08:37].

Marc Baizman: "That's a waste of time." [crosstalk 00:08:38].

Billy Daly: Exactly. But yeah, so totally. That was the context in which I joined the team and was first exposed to Salesforce.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. Can you give us a time frame of when this was year wise approximately?

Billy Daly: Yeah. I joined the team in fall of 2015, I want to say? Which was about, like I said, probably six months after Baltimore Corps had adopted and kind of implemented Salesforce. And so, in that time it's been amazing to sort of see both like, how much I've learned about Salesforce and the amazing community that's there and just how much Salesforce itself has changed, which is really cool. Things that we wanted to do that weren't possible in 2015 are now out of the box and standard, which is really, really cool.

Marc Baizman: Very cool. So, can you give us a little bit more info about what Baltimore Corps is actually doing with Salesforce? So, go ahead and get technical. The nerds out there are going to love it.

Billy Daly: All right, definitely. So I'd say probably not unlike a lot of non-profits, we use Salesforce and specifically NPSP to do a lot of donation attracting-

Marc Baizman: And NPSP is the Non-Profit Success Pack for-

Billy Daly: Yes, thank you for [crosstalk 00:09:51]-

Marc Baizman: [crosstalk 00:09:51] Our avid listeners.

Billy Daly: For translating that for me.

Marc Baizman: That's okay.

Billy Daly: Yeah, so we use a Nonprofit Success Pack for a lot of donation tracking but that wasn't actually the real reason we were drawn to Salesforce initially. What we were initially drawn to it for was almost as an application tracking system in ATS. Because the main thing as I mentioned that we do, is we place people into roles across the nonprofit sector and government agencies. And so, our main program, especially at the time that allowed us to do that, was our fellowship program. What we were presented with at the time was, prior to bringing on Salesforce, we were mainly just using Google Forms and trying to manage all the applications that were coming in through Google Forms. Which was okay our first year because I think at the time Baltimore Corps had 20 to 30 applications, maybe. But then as soon as we hit over 100, it became very clear that it was unmanageable in a Google Spreadsheet, right?
And so, that was when we started to see the value of having people actually have contact records and being able to sort of create something like an application, right? And track it through its stage. What was cool was that the traditional sales pipeline of Salesforce, at least as a mental model, fits that notion of moving application through a pipeline really well as well.

Marc Baizman: To lead [crosstalk 00:11:08] to contacts kind of thing?

Billy Daly: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Totally, yeah. Right? So, your lead generation is the start. That's basically just us going out to recruitment fairs and saying, "Hey would you be interested in applying?" Lead conversion is then when we actually get someone to sign up and start an application. And then, really their application isn't converted as a... So, we don't quite use these objects because we decided we wanted to keep them for donations. But it's very similar, and as a mental model or in theory to opportunities. Because someone's application is an opportunity that you're sort of moving along this pipeline. And at a certain point, that opportunity's either won or canceled or whatever, right? And that's whether someone's submitted the application or is placed, stuff like that. So, we're kind of trying to kind of lean as we were building out the system. We were trying to lean on those existing models and frameworks as much as possible. Just because they've been tried and true and tested really well which is great. So, we wanted to make sure to use all the things that have been proven really well in normal Salesforce but then adapt it to our specific needs.

Marc Baizman: Got it. When in doubt go with standard objects rather than build your own custom stuff, right?

Billy Daly: Definitely.

Marc Baizman: Yup.

Billy Daly: Yeah, you really want to be intentional about when you create each one because like we were saying before, just because something doesn't have the name that you want it to say exactly doesn't mean that it doesn't do 100% of what you need it to do.

Marc Baizman: Right. So, correct me if I'm wrong here, so two kind of major functions is the fundraising aspect using the NPSP and your applicant tracking system using sounds like a bunch of custom objects?

Billy Daly: Yeah. Yeah. And the other thing that we did, this was a little bit of a later edition but it has been super helpful is using Salesforce communities as a way of engaging candidates and their hiring managers in that last stages of the process. Because basically at that point, that's when we sort of have screened all the applicants and they've sort of gone through the process. And we've have said, "Hey you all are finalists, we'd be happy with anyone who got placed into a role to actually join our fellowship program." And then we do the same sort of thing for employers. We do a bunch of recruitment for them, try to get opportunities like placement opportunities, jobs, internships, stuff like that. And then sort of do a similar screening which is like, is this role a good fit for the people that we have in the finalist pool, is it also something that would be aligned with our values as an organization?
And then really that's where we want to step out of the equation as much as possible other than providing some guidance and some recommendations. But really allow at that point, employers and candidates to actually express interest in one another. So candidates can say, "Hey, I'm interested in applying for this job specifically in the fellowship" and then we'll go through and make some recommendations and say, "These applicants are actually a really good fit for the role." And then hiring manages can then look at applicants. And so, what we decided to do for that because it was such a... At that point it wasn't B to C or B to B, it was almost like C to C, right?

Marc Baizman: Right.

Billy Daly: We were trying to connect hiring mangers who are clients to potential fellows who are clients. We decided, hey a really great way to do this is to leverage communities because it sort of provides that natural space where individuals can interact with each other on a platform that is built on Salesforce, which is great.

Marc Baizman: That's fantastic. That's awesome. A great community [inaudible 00:14:18] case. So, you mentioned the community a little bit earlier. I'd love to hear maybe a little bit more about the community and how that's played into your Salesforce journey?

Billy Daly: Yeah. So I would say honestly, the tool is phenomenal. Salesforce is an amazing tool. But the thing that by and far has made it hold the place in our organization that it holds is because of all the amazing people that are around it. And so I would say my first exposure to that community was probably through Dreamforce. We were really, really lucky, myself and my supervisor at the time Liz Gomez, we were lucky enough to be able to go to Dreamforce and actually present on our used case of Salesforce and specifically Salesforce communities. And through that experience, I was able to see, wow, we're not the only nonprofit using Salesforce and more importantly we're not the only nonprofit using Salesforce in this kind of unique way, right. During the presentation, a bunch of people came up to us and they were like, "Hey we're also running a fellowship program through Salesforce. We haven't really thought about using communities or we really like how you're using [inaudible 00:15:22] to do this." You know, blah blah blah. All these different tools. So sometimes the connection was on a tool specific level.
Other times, it was, "Hey we're using a totally different stack of technology here. In terms of which Salesforce apps and extensions were using. But we have a super similar use case, can there be any kind of knowledge exchange that happens there?" But the few people that really stand out and actually one of them wound up becoming a good friend of mine and a partner that we work with, that we've worked with on a regular basis is Katie [Mcfadden 00:15:51].

Marc Baizman: Spoiler alert, we will be talking with her later in the pod.

Billy Daly: Oh, nice. That's awesome. Yes, Katie is the best. But really what's great about Katie, is that she's also such a good connection to all the other amazing people that are doing great work in the community. But Katie in particular really helped us think through our data model. So kind of going back a little bit, like I mentioned when I first inherited Salesforce, there were just so many custom objects there and I think I was still learning the way that Baltimore Corp functioned a little bit. What our business model was.
And we were also still grappling with sort of the technical debt of our implementation or translation of that business model into our data architecture. And so, getting a chance to sit down with her and really work through, what is it that we're trying to represent in our data schema and how do we do that in a way that leverages as many, as you were saying Marc, as many standard objects as possible but also doesn't force those standard objects into things that they're not designed to do, right? And so, really bouncing those two things together. She was instrumental in helping us think through that stuff. And what was great, it wasn't just about her knowledge, it was also if she ever reached, if we were ever stumbling onto something and she's like, "You know, I don't know if I've seen this use case before." She could go and tap this amazing network of other nonprofit users in other organizations she worked with.
So, she was sort of also the door into which I met a lot of the other amazing people like you actually, Marc, who are doing great work both on the Salesforce side and on the client, customer, user side as well as the partner side. Sort of this great three pronged tool of amazing partner network, people who know how to use Salesforce really well and can help you implement it. Salesforce itself, which is like how do we actually build technology that makes a partner community and a customer community excited to use these tools, and then also the customer community which is hey, we know these tools are designed this way and we know our partners are helping us implement them this way but here's how we're actually putting the technology that we've built and adapted into use in real life instances like on the ground doing the work.

Marc Baizman: Sounds like the community has really been integral to your journey and to your growth. I'm curious, what was the hardest part of your path here? So you kind of came in, you had an org that was super built out. Maybe just some thoughts on what was challenging for you over the process of working with Baltimore Corp? It could be anything, could be humans. Could be tech, some mixture of both.

Billy Daly: Yeah, I think the mixture of both is always probably the answer there, right? I think for me, one of the hardest parts was there were kind of three core challenges. So one was even just conceptually wrapping your head around it. I think the one thing that I often, since I've gotten a little more familiar with Salesforce, I've gotten a chance to talk to a lot of organizations that are considering adopting it or they're in the early stages of implementing it. And I think there's sort of this, there's often this assumption that I think is really important to dispel and a lot of the best partners and the folks at Salesforce that I've talked to are really good and quick to dispel this myth. Which is that, because you have a tool that's so flexible, the thought is, oh now that I have this tool it'll just do everything for me. But in reality, most of the hard work that happens in terms of building out an instance is actually the work that happens internally which is it forces you to interrogate what business practices are actually core to our mission versus what things are just a result of ad hoc practices that we built up over time. It forces you to clarify what is the actual process and journey that someone who that we're working with that actually travels, when they interact with our organization.
And it also sort of forces you to sort of answer if we have to codify some business practices, which of those are the most important and where do we sort of allow for there to be flexibility but have flexibility in process rather than in the structure of the technology. So I think, that's sort of the first challenge. Figuring out internally what is the most important to replicate in our system. The second then is really more like you were saying around the technology which is once you've codified and outlined what that process looks like, then the challenge is like how do I actually implement it? And that's really more of a, sometimes can be a limitation around knowledge which is if you don't really know the difference between a Master Detail relationship and a Lookup relationship and what the implications of each of those things are, it can be really difficult to pick the right... And not necessarily in each instance is there a right or a wrong answer.

Marc Baizman: True.

Billy Daly: But it's hard to know the consequences-

Marc Baizman: Right.

Billy Daly: ...of the decision that you're making. And that's really where-

Marc Baizman: Maybe a report that you might be able to generate or won't be able to generate because of an architectural choice that you make early on.

Billy Daly: Totally. The big one is also always security access, right?

Marc Baizman: Of course.

Billy Daly: If you choose to meet, use a Master Detail relationship, you then lose the ability to specify security or visibility access on those two objects separately.

Marc Baizman: Right. Only the Master object, not the Detail, right?

Billy Daly: Yeah, exactly. And what's great about that is that if you understand those rules well enough, you can actually leverage the Master Detail relationship to your advantage but if not, they can actually become these huge constraints upon your data models and your governance strategy and stuff like that. And this is really where I think having, either talking to people who have already done it before is really helpful or talking to a partner is really helpful because the thing that Katie and I would always talk about is when you're first getting started you can probably figure out a lot of this stuff yourself. Because Salesforce has amazing documentation but the challenge is the roadblock that it might take me a week or two weeks to get and the dead end that I'll eventually hit if I make this architectural decision because I don't know and I've never done it before. She could see as soon as we get to the fork in the road.
And so she could say, "Hey if you go down this path you're going to hit this dead end." And not be able to make the decision for me but at least tell me, this is what's down the road and then based on that information, you can make the choice of which one is actually better. But yeah, that was sort of the second challenge and I think the third challenge which is probably the one that people feel most acutely is even if you have all the other variables fixed. You've got the process outlined in a way that everyone is happy with, you have the knowledge and you know okay, this is the design, here's the architects were going to use, here's the governance strategy. Here are the security settings that we're going to use.

Marc Baizman: Right.

Billy Daly: Then the question is, how do you do that while also flying the plane? And it's super, super hard because I can't tell you how many of the major migrations we've done have been happening at like 10:00 at night on winter break.

Marc Baizman: Right.

Billy Daly: Because it's like, okay, what is the time that we can do this and have minimal potential overflow of effects on the people who are actually using this on a day to day basis? And that's always the hardest part and I think that's really where it just comes... It's a matter of communicating with your team and saying, "Look", managing expectations. "There's going to be some bugs as we're switching things over. We're going to do it in pieces. We can't do it all at once." But it's those three things get together and I think that's why the community is so beneficial because they can help. Most of the time you can find someone in the community who has a similar business case. So, you can leverage their models that they put together and adapt them to fit your needs.
You can find people who have the expertise to help you correct or fix that delta between what you know now and what you need to know to implement this stuff. And then ultimately the community I think is most useful in terms of helping you figure out how do you actually roll this out in a real life project setting? Because that's the hard part is once you have everything figured out, how do you do it in a way that meets timelines and deadlines, doesn't cause a disruption but also gets you what you need in terms of the system that at the end of the day you really want to use?

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. All right. So tell us about some of the cool things that you've built, some of the problems that you've had to solve for. So, you've overcome these challenges obviously. Baltimore Corp is kind of using Salesforce wall to wall. Tell us about some of the cool things that you're really proud of. I know we've heard about the community. But are there any particularly thorny challenges that you're psyched that you got through?

Billy Daly: Yeah, that's a good question. I think the one other tool, a lot of times I think about this in terms of tools because that's obviously the power of Salesforce is there's this great amazing platform and then you can stack so many other things on top of it. And I think the biggest one that comes to mind initially is how we approach doing reviews within the context of our Salesforce instance. So just a little bit of background for this, when I first came on as I mentioned, that was right when we had shifted to using Salesforce to run our application process. And so, what we had done is basically shifted from a Google form to instead using FormAssembly as a way of intaking applications. FormAssembly is basically a really, really awesome form building tool. There's so many other great ones out there too but I've gotten the chance to know the FormAssembly community really well and that's the tool that we really love. But basically it just allows you to create a process where you can basically build something like a Google form, intake information, and then have that information get pushed to Salesforce and then you can also pull stuff out of Salesforce too which is critical to sort of the solution we had to this problem.
But the challenge that we were facing was once we got this information into Salesforce, we needed some way for staff at the time at least to be able to look through and actually review peoples' applications and then make recommendations. This way someone could then go back through and say, "Okay these five people said they wanted to move this person on." I should say, these two people said they wanted to move this person on and this one person said they didn't and then be able to actually make that decision around whether or not someone gets moved to the next stage of the problem, I'm sorry, the process. The problem with that though was as I mentioned, one of the things we're really committed to as an organization is effectiveness of an organization and also reducing the role of bias and discrimination in a process.

Marc Baizman: I bet applicant tracking is ripe for things like bias and discrimination.

Billy Daly: Oh yes, exactly. Totally, right? It's the perfect storm because what you have to do, is you have a lot of information. Some of it is really relevant to the decisions that you're making which is just when you're thinking about review, the decision is you move this person on or do you not. And some of it is totally extraneous like name, not really relevant to whether or not someone moves on. But also that can be really difficult to hide as only a step in the process, right? If we need someone internal to the organization to see the names sometimes, but we don't want them to see the name at this particular step of the process, that was really hard because you can't really use permission sets or security settings to conditionally hide or reveal. At least not at the time. I know there's been some cool things with the [inaudible 00:26:29] and stuff like that to work around some of the challenges in that sense but basically the problem was, we just had people who had to make these decisions, doing it for a lot of applicants at a time and had to literally just go into Salesforce, read through a record, and then basically go and create a new record that had their decision around whether this person should move on or shouldn't move on, etc.
So it became a lot of just hunting through Salesforce to find this information and having to sort of forcefully block out information that shouldn't be relevant. So, what we try to do instead was, okay well, how do we actually just extract the information that's needed and how do we make it so that way people don't have to think about... We want to take as much as the thought process into creating records out of the process, so this way they can just focus on the content and the decision around whether or not this person was a good fit for the fellowship or for the next stage of the process. So what we wound up doing was leveraging FormAssembly's prefill connector, which I was mentioning which is not only can you send information to Salesforce, you can actually also pull it back out which is really great. And that allowed us to basically accept information in one format, whatever the most natural way for people to input the information was, store in Salesforce in a totally different way. A way that allowed us to report on it most easily and then pull it back out and reformulate it in a way that made most sense for review.
So, obviously during the application process we need to know peoples; names. That's important to know in Salesforce as well, but we don't want the names to be visible when people are doing reviews. So, we could collect that information, store it in Salesforce but then filter it out when we were pulling it back into the report. And then we were also able to use Salesforce report self to actually generate a personalized cue for everyone of the reviews they had to do so this way they weren't going and trying to find each individual application and then going over the [inaudible 00:28:11] list and trying to find the create new review record, etc. We could just have a single report where people could have a hyperlink to a FormAssembly form. Fill that out, and then that would automatically do a lot of the record creation and updating peoples' statuses. And so, obviously that kind of described at a very high level but one of the cool things was, for me it felt like one of the best projects and challenges where we really got the chance to look at every single piece of Salesforce. Like there was security, access questions, there was using another form builder in connection questions. There was questions around data architecture, how does it make sense to translate the information that's put into this form into a way that stores the records most efficiently?
And so, it was kind of a cool culmination of all those different individual slices of knowledge that you learn through things like the Trailheads and stuff like that but applied in a really concrete way, solving an actual business challenge. So I don't know if I did a good job of articulating that.

Marc Baizman: Yeah, I think you did a great job. And if you'll allow me, it seems like it goes back to your original kind of background where you're trying to look at these systems and look at these markets if you will to reduce bias. You're actually applying a technology solution to try to do exactly that. Perhaps that's why it jumps out at you. There's the [crosstalk 00:29:32] piece but there's also the kind of mission piece too.

Billy Daly: Absolutely. Yeah. It definitely was one of the things that I was most interested in at that early stage. Because like you said, it's really sort of the... You can talk about reducing bias at a very theoretical level but on a day to day basis, how do you actually make someones job easier but also make it easier to do good as well which I think is really core.

Marc Baizman: Awesome. All right, well, we have only a couple more questions here. I'd love it if you could give some advice for other admins. Maybe advice to yourself way back in 2015 when you're walking into an org that has a million custom objects and you don't know where to start. But yeah, just any advice you might have for other admins.

Billy Daly: I definitely wish I could go back and give myself some advice. So there are also three things I think that pop out to me when I think about advice to share. So, the first one, maybe the first two... Well, the first one is really concrete. The first one is used sandboxes because I definitely... Even after I joined the team, I did not use sandboxes and I was like, "What's the point of a sandbox?" And I think it's easy enough when there aren't a ton of people looking at your instance and you don't have a ton of records but very quickly you can develop really bad habits. And let's say you implement something and you want to change it, it's much harder to go enroll back than if you just did it in an isolated environment. And it just introduces a much better work flow when you do something and test it out in a safe container and then you can selectively choose which of those changes you want to migrate over for production.

Marc Baizman: Sandboxes and change sets.

Billy Daly: Yes. Sandboxes and change sets, super, super helpful. And then sort of in part and parcel with that, so that's like the technological, that's a technology that allows for a certain type of work flow in terms of making changes to the work that you're doing. I think that sort of the process around that or the theory around that that is also really important that I would have loved to share with myself is, the importance of really... I think it goes a little bit both ways but the importance of understanding and outlining things before you make changes is so helpful because a lot of times it's really easy to be very reactive. Someone's like, "Oh, I don't see this... We need this field or this additional piece of information stored on this record." And the knee jerk reaction might be, great, we can go and create a field for that or we can add this option to a picklist. And the challenge is especially with the picklist one, I think this is a really good example, a very concrete example of this broader principle, is that when you are only responding to immediate needs or challenges reactively, you can wind up almost painting yourself in a corner metaphorically within your Salesforce instance.
Where at the end, with each request that comes in, it might just be a simple addition of an item to a picklist but then 10 requests later, you might have a picklist that's 24 options long and then on top of that you might need to store additional information so you might have picklist one and then picklist two. So one concrete example of this, maybe not with picklist but with this idea is when we were first translating our application into Salesforce and moving the process from Google Forms to FormAssembly and Salesforce, well, one of the things we were doing was we had people describe their past work experience. And it started off as just like, "Okay, tell us about an experience that was most relevant to the work that you want to do in the fellowship." And that was great because we could have just an open text box field. But then people were like, "Well, actually we'd really like to pull out" their title and the organization.
So we're like, great we can just add a title, a field, and we can add an organization field. So then what you have is like three new fields on the application object and that's fine. But then someone's like, 'What if we allowed them to do five experiences" and then what you start to do is, you're like, "Okay, then we'll have organization one, title one, and description one." And then organization two, title two, description two. And then what happens is-

Marc Baizman: I'm having flashbacks to some previous Salesforce orgs.

Billy Daly: Yeah.

Marc Baizman: I may have been an admin [inaudible 00:33:43]. Go on. Sorry.

Billy Daly: It is such a common thing though, right? And I remember actually the person I mentioned earlier Lucas, who kind of introduced me to Baltimore Corp. What was great was he was not coming from a Salesforce background but obviously database administration, whether you're talking about a CRM like Salesforce or a more robust MySQL database, is all really similar. And he was saying, a good design pattern... He called it like shallow and deep data, right? Or like a shallow way of storing that information is just continuously adding rows or fields to a particular record. But then the problem is as soon as you want to capture that same thing multiple times, you're going to start having... You start to lose sense of, okay well which of these records... I'm sorry, which of these fields corresponds to which other fields. You're almost entering this sort of metadata about these three records... I'm sorry, these three fields are actually almost a pseudo record together, right? So at that point, that was when he was like, "You actually want to start thinking about creating a new object where you can have multiple instances of that object that are then related to that parent application."
And so, obviously that's a super specific example of it but I think the broader trend or theory behind that is that you shouldn't just solve the immediate challenge, you should think about how is this immediate challenge that we're solving likely to evolve so that way it becomes a more generalized problem and what's a more generalized solution so that we can create to that problem. And a similar sort of one to that was like, at the time when I joined the team we only had one program. So we just had one object that was like, this is our application. But then as soon as we added a second program, we were like okay, well, which application is this actually in reference to? Because if you have an application for one program and an application for another program and you only have one application object, it becomes really difficult.
So there's couple different ways of solving that, you could have again like a picklist that has all the different programs listed under that picklist. But if there's other data about that program that you want to store, like the start and end date, like when does the application open and when does it close, then you can easily wind up painting yourself into the corner again and having the picklist that is the program and then the picklist that is the date field. Sorry, program start date, program end date. And you wind up going down the same path. So, I think that's at the broader trend. And I wish I could simplify it to a single thing but really thinking about how do you not solve the immediate need but come up with a solution that maybe solves the immediate need but also solves the more generalized case of that need I think is super, super important.
And then I think the last one is really just about really trying to understand when is the tool that you're building, or when is it necessary to create something that is custom or different from what exists already? Basically when do you adapt the tool to fit your process versus when do you adopt the process to fit the tool, right?
And I think that's a super difficult thing to figure out and there's not a right or wrong answer or a single rule that you can always use. But I think also with Salesforce, it sort of invites that kind of adaptation of the tool to fit the need. When in reality sometimes we were kind of talking about a little while ago, if you just rethink and think more creatively about your process and say, hey this is actually a sales process. Even though we don't call it that because we're a nonprofit and we don't sell to people. What we do is we form relationships, we navigate people through challenges. It's a journey, not a sales pipeline, right? But at the end of the day from a process and a system standpoint, they are really similar. Kind of leaning into that creativity a little bit more and saying, rather than trying to do it to adjust the tool to fit every single need, how do we actually use process to actually adapt what we're doing to fit the tool that we have available to us?

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. Wow. Well, three very concrete take aways there. Thanks, Billy. So my last question for you is what do you do when you are not at Baltimore Corp? What kind of fun stuff do you get up to in your regular life?

Billy Daly: Good question. I consider Salesforce and the work I do really fun.

Marc Baizman: Of course.

Billy Daly: But that is not the point of the question. I do a lot of biking and I do a lot of climbing, like rock climbing. And so that's really fun. I live in Baltimore City, so there's always a lot of really cool things to do in the area and there's a really, really strong biking community there. And probably my favorite thing to do in Baltimore is this thing called Bike Party. And it's the last Friday of every month and basically it's people from all walks of life in Baltimore City, from people who are really hardcore biking around in fixed gear bikes, like bike messengers, that kind of thing all the way down to people who may have just rented a bike for this one night, come together and it's like five to 800 people bike throughout the city and then end at like a brewery or like a parking lot that has a bunch of food trucks. And it's really just a really fun time where you see the whole vibrancy and diversity of the city in this one place and everyone is kind of doing their own thing but all have this shared goal which is to have fun and to bike and explore the city which is really cool.
So, that to me, biking is something I do both to get around the city, just commute. But it's also become a really big part of my identity and the community I'm a part of in Baltimore.

Marc Baizman: That's fantastic. Before we wrap up would you just give us a little bit of Baltimore slang?

Billy Daly: Oh man. Sort of the classically known one is hun. It is something that you refer to people as. You'll probably also notice and I might be called out by true Baltimore natives for adopting this but when you say Baltimore, if you're here long enough, you kind of start to drop the T a little bit. It becomes the D and then sometimes even just disappears all together. But I don't know if I'm quite an authority to speak on all of the Baltimore slang but yeah, those are the different ones. And the other thing too is you'll often hear if you ask someone where are you from in Baltimore, they won't tell you. They won't just name the city, they'll really name the neighborhood that they're from or that they live in because Baltimore is definitely a city of neighborhoods. So every single corner of the city has its own really rich vibe and history and it's one of the things I love most about the city because you can go a couple of blocks and be in what feels like a totally different place.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. Cool. And which neighborhood are you from?

Billy Daly: So I specifically live in Abell, which is a super, super small neighborhood but it's kind of part of a larger neighborhood called Charles Village.

Marc Baizman: Awesome. Well Billy, thank you so much for joining me today on Salesforce Admins podcast. I think there's just so many great nuggets of advice that you gave. So, just really appreciate your time today and for all the listeners out there, hope they got some great stuff from you. So thanks again, Billy.

Billy Daly: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was great talking and I'm really excited to hear some of the other people who are coming onto the show.

Marc Baizman: You bet, thanks. I love being able to geek out with Billy and there were a couple of highlights I wanted to pick out from our conversation. I loved how Billy brought up the assumption that since Salesforce has provided such a flexible tool, some people think it can just do everything. But actually most of the hard work is done looking at your own process. To start implementing, there are questions that need to be answered that you won't find by yourself, like what is the journey of the user's business process? Then to go on and apply the proper technology and knowledge, that's the perfect moment to connect with the community to see who's done similar projects and guide you to make the right decisions. We talked about a bunch of different process discovery steps and how to connect with your stakeholders, partners, and community to maintain a healthy implementation of the platform. I hope Billy was able to spark some ideas and drive some motivation to get out there, keep learning, and growing your career. Thanks again, Billy, and stay tuned for the next episode of the Salesforce for Good miniseries on the Salesforce Admins Podcast.


Direct download: Salesforce_For_Good__Billy_Daly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT