Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have another Lightning Champion Spotlight episode. We talk with Martin Humpolec, a Salesforce Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. This episode is part five of a six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelly Walker, Senior Adoption Consultant at Salesforce. We talk to our amazing Lightning Champions to find out about their career journey, how it lead them to the Lightning Experience, advice on handling change management, and why Lightning Experience is so awesome.

Join us as we talk about how Martin uses Flow to make a big difference for his users, and how you can get started today.

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

Diving into the community.

When Martin was on paternal leave, he ended up with a little time on his hands. He kept on hearing about something called “Salesforce,” and since this was in the days before Trailhead he went over to to get a free developer instance to play around in and the documentation he needed to get started. “That was seven years ago, and those seven years passed really quickly,” he says. These days, he’s an active member of the community, writing blog posts, speaking at conferences, and getting involved any way he can.

Recently, Martin’s been discovering the magic that is Lightning. “In Classic, we weren’t really able to change the page layout,” Martin says, “but in Lightning with the Lightning App Builder, we are really able to change the screen as much as we want.” With dynamic options, tabs, and prettier reports, you can do so much more for your users without needing developer skills. This can help drive adoption and make a difference in your organization.

How to get started with Flow.

Flow is a powerful tool that can really transform people’s day-to-day experiences. “I use the ability to embed the Flow to the record page itself to show related data,” Martin says, making it easier to pull up key information when you’re working with a particular record or opportunity. For one client, they can display a sorted list of all notes they have about a particular customer on any opportunity that comes up, regardless of how it enters their database. “The client is so happy because it finally makes sense to them and it’s so easy to use and it brings new functionality that they didn’t have before,” Martin says.

If you’re a little intimidated by Flow, Martin’s advice is to dive in. “I hear quite often from people asking how they can start with Flow because it’s so complex,” he says, but the UI has gotten easier to work with and there are even templates you can use to understand everything more easily. Trailhead can also help, with modules specifically designed to help you get off the ground. For additional resources, Martin recommends Jen Lee’s Salesforce Blog and Rakesh Gupta’s Automation Champion blog. One big tip he has is to always draw out what you’re trying to achieve.

Why Lightning is just so darn cool.

Besides Flow, Martin loves a few other Lightning features. There’s Path, which helps you customize what your users see at each stage and helps them decide what to do next. He’s also a passionate fan of the Kanban view, which lets you see opportunities from a different perspective. “When I showed it to one customer he was like, ‘Now I suddenly understand my business because I can visually see how we should move the opportunities from left to right, from negotiation to win,’” Martin says. “That was the highlight of Lightning for him,” he says, “he didn’t need anything else, just the Kanban view.”

Dashboards can also be a big difference-maker if you’re trying to get executive buy-in to make the switch to Lightning. “It’s so sexy,” Martin says, “it might sound cheap but basically that’s the main difference to me.” In Classic, you’re constrained to just three columns with every component taking up the same amount of space. In Lightning, you can adjust the look of your dashboards to really make them pop. “I don’t need anything else,” he says, “it just looks good.”





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Full Show Transcript

Kelly Walker: Welcome to the Salesforce Lightning Champion Spotlight on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. My name is Kelly Walker and I am a senior adoption consultant here at Salesforce. I also have the amazing opportunity of working closely with the awesome trailblazers who are passionate about Lightning and have become Lightning champions to evangelize the power of Lightning. In this mini-series, we will be talking to six awesome Lightning champions to talk about their career journey, how it led them to the Lightning experience, advice on handling change management, and to focus on their stories of why Lightning experience is so awesome.

Direct download: Lightning_Champion_Spotlight__Martin_Humpolec.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:47pm PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Laurie Dusko, the Product Owner of Salescloud at Wiley, for the third and final episode recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. We learn how she balances immediate needs with longterm goals, and how she’s creating a team of super users to help her get her message out there.

Join us as we talk about why timing is so important when it comes to delivering functionality, how transparency about your decision making can help you, and how she’s recruiting super users to socialize her ideas.

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

 It’s all in the timing.

“I work to help our users be more effective in everything they need to do that’s Salesforce-related,” Laurie says. She does this in a number of ways, but as of now, she doesn’t yet have her Admin certification. “I understand the practical applications of the things we need to do, I can go do it in a sandbox,” she says, “but I have a dev team that builds these things for me so I spend a lot of time writing user requirements and stories and just really wrapping everything up nice and tidy with a bow to make sure it works for our users.”

One of Laurie’s biggest jobs is working as the go-between from the technology to leadership. “I work really hard to translate what leadership thinks they want into what they actually need,” she says. One thing Laurie harps on that doesn’t get discussed enough is timing. “If something’s important right now but I miss that window, they might not need it for a full year,” she says, “and there are other things that really could help those users get to the end of their fiscal year or meet their quota that can move up in priority.” In short, the secret is to find a balance between where you’re working toward and what you need right now.

How Laurie gets executive buy-in.

Balancing priorities is a constant struggle, and that’s really come to the forefront as Laurie’s team as switched to an Agile development model. “If it’s a busy time of year, you don’t want to roll out too much change too quickly that could impact their ability to do their job,” she says. Instead, they’re borrowing from Salesforce to divide the changes they want to make into major releases where they can plan any training they need to do. They still make smaller changes more frequently, but they’re careful to make sure nothing is too disruptive.

When Laurie talks to executives, she tries to keep the conversation focused on what they want to get out of any Salesforce changes they’re requesting, rather than getting too much into checkboxes versus radio buttons. “Sometimes we’re really quick to solution and say what we need without really understanding what it is we’re trying to solve for,” she says. Laurie has taken the idea of SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around) to the next level by using it to get executive buy-in. If you can spend time with leadership to really understand their pain points and what they need, you don’t need to be such a mind reader. 

Recruiting a team of super users.

Laurie’s team’s approach of bundling major changes into releases also meant that they created “release notes” to send out along with them. While that worked OK, they’ve made the decision to shift gears and take a more social approach. They’ve identified their super users both to gather feedback and help them as they roll out new features. To put together this group, they actually used an application process combined with working closely with their sales managers who know their users best.

The program also allows them to create the potential for cross-silo communication between super users who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise share ideas with each other. What’s more, it gives Laurie’s team the opportunity to train and possibly hire some of these super users in the future.




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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce admin. This week we are bringing our live series from World Tour New York to a close. I appreciate Janae being on the podcast last week. It was fun talking to her about papers and processes and things, oh my. And this week, holy cow, fresh from the breakout session we have Laurie Dusko joining us.

Laurie Dusko: Thank you for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, and she has a career in radio, so there's only a little bit of a high bar for sound.

Laurie Dusko: A brief stint.

Mike Gerholdt: A brief stint, yes.

Laurie Dusko: I wouldn't call it a career but brief stint.

Mike Gerholdt: All radio people are that way, aren't they? Oh, they're so humble.

Laurie Dusko: It was a good time, and now I found myself with Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Yay. And in front of a microphone. See it's 360, people. It happens everywhere.

Laurie Dusko: Perfect.

Mike Gerholdt: Laurie, what do you do in the Salesforce ecosystem?

Laurie Dusko: I am the product owner of sales cloud at Wiley and I work to help our users be more effective in everything that they need to do that Salesforce related.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool. All right, so before we got started, this is where I'm going to kick off our conversation, you said, "I just don't feel like I'm an admin."

Laurie Dusko: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: Let's just start there, our therapy session of we don't feel like we're an admin.

Laurie Dusko: We just need a couch and we're good to go.

Mike Gerholdt: Here we go.

Laurie Dusko: I do not have my admin certification.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Laurie Dusko: Full disclosure, so some of you may want to stop listening.

Mike Gerholdt: No.

Laurie Dusko: But, I'm working on it. I've been a little busy, so it's just something I haven't gotten around to. But I have never been an admin, if there is a traditional sense of the word, and I've really moved into this product-owner role where I understand the practical application of the things we need to do, I can go do it in a sandbox. But I actually have a dev team that goes out and builds these things for me, so I spend a lot of time writing user requirements and stories and just really wrapping everything up nice and tidy with a bow to make sure it works right for our users with some of the, what I'll call entry-level admin work with the reports and the dashboards and maybe some validation rules and field changes. But the more complex stuff is something I hope to get better at, but is not really in my skill set today. But something I work closely with the dev team to build out right now.

Mike Gerholdt: It's interesting because I think often we associate admins as the thinkers and the doers, but you're just the thinker. Which still makes you an admin because you have to know how to do it.

Laurie Dusko: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: And you get to do the doing things in a sandbox, right?

Laurie Dusko: Yes. We call them proofs of concept.

Mike Gerholdt: Proof of concept.

Laurie Dusko: And I work really hard to sell the ideas to our leadership or translate what leadership thinks they want into what they actually need.

Mike Gerholdt: Let's start there. Because I feel a lot of admins... We're World Tour, they've seen a billion breakout sessions, where hopefully the wifi works, and they know how to do the config change. Holy cow, Mike and Rebecca just showed me how to take a spreadsheet and turn it into an app with Salesforce Object Creator, but you're kind of the brains behind that. Where does that start for you?

Laurie Dusko: Right. We are making quarterly roadmaps because the business can change over that period of time. And every quarter, we're looking at what do we need? What will help to make our users more effective and what is the right time to deliver that? Just because something's important right now, if I miss that window, they may not need it for a full year and there are other things that really can help those sales users get to the end of their fiscal year or meet their quota that quarter, whatever it might be, that can kind of move up in priority.

Laurie Dusko: I'm working with both our users to get feedback and then our leadership to help kind of find that balance between what is the future of Salesforce and what do we need today to be really effective, and how can we make sure what we're building today will help us get to that desired end result. Not that there ever is an end with Salesforce, but as we're moving towards-

Mike Gerholdt: That goal.

Laurie Dusko: ... that future state, how can we make sure everybody's kind of getting on the bus.

Mike Gerholdt: Quarterly roadmaps, I like this idea. Where do you decide the amount of change? What are the factors? Because I feel like I hear people say this and then they come up to me at World Tour and like, "But I don't know how my users, how much change they can take." How do you understand how much change your users can take?

Laurie Dusko: We're struggling with this at the moment. We used to have a monthly release. We are agile now. We have three weeks sprints, but sometimes that is too much change too quickly for the users. Or if it's a busy time of year, you don't really want to roll out change that could impact their ability to do their job.

Mike Gerholdt: Close of quarter.

Laurie Dusko: Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: The holidays, right?

Laurie Dusko: Yes. We are looking at some ideas now to borrow from Salesforce and have some major releases, if you will, where we make some of the bigger changes that might require some training and some more hand-holding for the users. And then smaller things that are really tangible to get them to the end of quarter or through a certain period of year, we're rolling out at the end of those sprints. It's become a balancing act to find that right balance of how much the users can ingest at point in time without having them all come back and kind of saying, "Is it your goal every day to-

Mike Gerholdt: To move this field.

Laurie Dusko: ... torture me so that I can't do my job?

Laurie Dusko: Which of course, no one wakes up every morning and thinks, "How can I make life more difficult for Jimmy or Nicole," or whoever the user is. We always have their best interests at heart even though they may not always believe that.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. Or follow that evil Admin Twitter handle maybe. Yes, that's my goal, Jimmy, was to get up on Tuesdays and move the fields so that you didn't know what to populate.

Laurie Dusko: Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: One, one thing you said in your intro was, "or what the executive things they want." Help me unpack that because I feel like I talk to admins a lot and they're like, "Well, but these are the requirements." And the euphemism, you've heard it on the podcast, "10 check boxes on an opportunity." How do you parse that out? What does it look like when Laurie has to go back to the executive and be like, "I know you said X. Here's Y."

Laurie Dusko: I come from a background in sales, which is really helpful because it allows me to kind of uncover and ask some of these questions. I think that that's really helped me here. But I also kind of ask, "What are you trying to do?" Right? Maybe don't tell me you need the check boxes, but what would you like to get out of this? How are you using this to shape coaching your users or track metrics or whatever it might be. And then, we'll work backwards from there. Because sometimes we're really quick to solution and say what we need without really understanding what it is we're trying to solve for.

Laurie Dusko: Although I try to take things at face value, there are some questions that you just need to ask to make sure you're getting it just right, and I also try to involve them. Now I know they're really busy, so at times I'll ask them to appoint a stakeholder, but we have adopted the sprint review piece of Agile to make sure that they're buying into the changes we're making and that they are along the lines of what they're thinking. Because a lot of executives, I'm sure most of you have run into, think that you are psychic. They will say, "I would like this. Please go build it." And you need to understand kind of the how's and why's in order to make that in the way that'll be most impactful for them and the users that are going to have to use that new feature or field or whatever it might be.

Mike Gerholdt: What is one skill, and I know you said sales, but what is one skill or one thing that you fall back on when you know you have to go into an executive meeting and kind of sell your idea and you know some of the things you aren't delivering or you chose not to deliver for a certain reason. Because I'm thinking that could be a sticking point for admins, right? Like I know how to do all the config things, but man, I don't, I don't know how to go in and tell that VP of sales, you're not getting something. What is the skill you lie.

Laurie Dusko: This is a tough one because we have quite a backlog right now and everyone is not getting everything that they want. And balancing who gets what when, sure has made me some people's best friends and some people's worst enemies. But what I try to do is be really transparent. I can't give you these three things you asked for because we are delivering these other things. Here's where you're falling on the roadmap right now. Here are the benefits and why these decisions were made.

Laurie Dusko: And I'm really fortunate in that my manager is supporting me and working with me on those decisions as well. I have her to thank for kind of backing me up if things ever go south. But I'm finding that the more transparent we've been about what we're doing, where we're going and why these decisions are being made is really helping. Because all of the leaders understand the goals that the different sales teams and users are trying to get to, and it's really just about the right thing at the right time. And I'm hoping that they're not too hurt when I tell them that we can't deliver what they want. And in time, we'll be able to either leverage something we built for someone else or be able to get to the items that they need.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. No, so I completely agree relying on your manager. Because I look back to when I had a career as an admin before these podcasts and stuff, having that manager be like, "No, no, no. Go in there and say this. I got your back." Holy cow.

Laurie Dusko: It's everything.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, it's just like the wind beneath my wings, you know?

Laurie Dusko: Yes. And getting that leadership buy-in, not just from my manager but our sales leaders as well-

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's huge.

Laurie Dusko: ... has been huge for us in rolling out changes because it's not something that I did, it's something their management and I worked on together to help them and they're really reinforcing it with our teams. And that has been really just life-changing for me because they're able to go in and reinforce everything that's been done.

Mike Gerholdt: We're going to wax poetically about how great management buy-in is here, and everybody's writing down, get management buy-in. How do we get management buy-in?

Laurie Dusko: Ooh, tough one.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, we're going in deep for the hard questions. It's 2020.

Laurie Dusko: I've used the Salesforce administration by walking around. I've just reversed it into leadership. I have tried to work with them as I just want to understand your needs and the pain points that you have, and I am here to be a partner for you. And I think that's really helped me where there's obviously some conversations that I'm not involved in. But when the right things are brought to me, I can handle them delicately and prepare those different changes as needed and we can move forward with them in the right... I lost my train of thought.

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay. Leadership management by walking around. We need a vowel.

Laurie Dusko: It's like SABWA.

Mike Gerholdt: It's like SABWA, but-

Laurie Dusko: But with leaders.

Mike Gerholdt: ... leadership. I don't know. We need some sort of vowel in there. LABWA?

Laurie Dusko: It could be the participation part of our podcast where people can tweet in.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, Arrested Development fans immediately, I'm going to... That's what it feels like LABWA. LABWA, that's what we're going to call it, LABWA.

Mike Gerholdt: Now that everybody stopped listening. We started about your career getting leadership and buy-in. I want to hit on a third thing that you brought up, which is socializing ideas. Because I feel like a lot of what we do is gathering those requirements, ironing out processes that are, who knows where they came up with them, and then building out the features and functionality. And then the third part is socializing those ideas. I mean, a hundred years ago, I put out you should do chatter posts and you should do monthly newspaper things, newsletters and stuff. What do you do to socialize your ideas?

Laurie Dusko: We were doing release notes.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh, wow, you were writing release notes. That's brave.

Laurie Dusko: Well there were PowerPoint presentations with pictures, right? We cut out a lot of the words. And my running joke in any presentation I gave was, "Please, please read my post." We used a #releasenotes so everyone could find them.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice.

Laurie Dusko: That worked okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Laurie Dusko: We are shifting gears. We have identified super users and we are actually going to start using those super users to both socialize ideas and gather feedback, but also help us as we roll out new initiatives so that they can really give users the perspective as their peer on how to do the different things that we are doing, the changes we're making to the system. And this is a newer thing, we'll be starting out in the beginning of 2020. We'll have to report back on that one in a few months.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. We'll come back in a year. How did you identify the super users?

Laurie Dusko: We had them apply and we are working with sales management to determine who should be a part of it. I am fortunate enough that I have some peers who are business leads and work specifically with different groups within the company. And they'll know how a user is from kind of that day-to-day interaction with Salesforce, and then the sales managers understand if that person can really share that extra time commitment to be a part of what we're doing. It's a group effort to determine who will be, and we'll have them do a one year term and see how it goes. And the really nice thing is we'll use that to cross-collaborate our super users across different sales units so they can share ideas amongst each other where they may not have necessarily communicated about that before.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. I would borrow all of that. Save that part of the podcast, go back, take notes. And I've written about super users. I had super users at my org and they kind of self-identified, right? I wanted to do this. Finding them sometimes can be hard and then choosing them in the methodology and then get them excited to tell their peers about the stuff they're doing or use cases.

Laurie Dusko: And on the other side of the fence, we could be training potential additions to our team for the future. I started out as a super user, or as the person that ran Salesforce at my company at that time said I was a bit of annoying user because I kept breaking things. But it's worked out well for me, so I am grateful if that program could give somebody else the opportunities that I've had.

Mike Gerholdt: Super users, annoying users, there's a chatter group for everybody. It's 2020, let's talk about, we can call it resolutions or goals. What is your kind of new year's goal for yourself?

Laurie Dusko: Ooh, I'm going to put it out there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Laurie Dusko: Got a pass admin cert. And if I'm feeling real fancy we could do Advanced Admin, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Once you're there... I mean, you already started.

Laurie Dusko: See how it goes.

Mike Gerholdt: You're off the launch pad, right?

Laurie Dusko: I've been putting it off for a long time and I know I'm ready. I just need to schedule it.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, and let's kind of turn it a little bit. For admins who are listening to the podcast, they're just getting started, what would be a good, kind of first year goal as they're working through their career?

Laurie Dusko: Join a user group.

Mike Gerholdt: Any suggestions?

Laurie Dusko: I think shoutout to the North Jersey user group. I recently have joined the group and it took me far too long to become a part of one and I'm grateful for that community that I have to reach out to. That I can put names and faces to as opposed to just posting something on the success community, which is also amazing and fabulous. This podcast is great. I also love Trailhead. And if you are fortunate enough to have a success manager, they are an amazing resource to help put you in touch with peers where a user group might not be available to you or it just doesn't work with your schedule; so that you can start to come to talk to people that have similar issues as you and/or have resolved those issues and find ways to really work towards a better experience for your users.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. No, I couldn't agree more. There's quite a few user groups in the Midwest where I've been. There's one that always sticks out in my head of doing roundtables where people were talking about questions that they had. And I can't remember the names of the companies, but there was an admin for a garbage company and an admin for like a gutter company, and they solved each other's problems. And I was like, where in the world would a gutter company and a sanitation talk to each other?

Laurie Dusko: It's a beautiful thing about the Salesforce community. It just brings everyone together.

Mike Gerholdt: It was good. Thank you so much, Laurie, for being on the podcast. This is fabulous.

Laurie Dusko: It's my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: We're going to have to come back in a year and see how those goals are going.

Laurie Dusko: Yeah. I might have to bring one of the super users with me.

Mike Gerholdt: There we go.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great to chat with Laurie after a wonderful World Tour New York, and thank you, Laurie, for participating in our breakout session as well. I also want to give a big shoutout to David Giller who connected me to all of the guests that you heard this month in January that I got to interview while I was in New York. Be sure to give David a follow on Twitter. He is @DavidGiller.

Mike Gerholdt: All right, so three things I learned from our discussion with Laurie today. One, Laurie makes quarterly roadmaps and thinks about the right time to deliver functionality. Amazing. Second, one skill she gave us to deliver your idea is to be transparent about what's going on and especially be transparent about the decisions that were made. And of course, socializing ideas, this third item that I learned from her. Create a group of super users to help socialize your ideas and gather feedback. I've always been a fan of having super users. They can really help other users, and it can help you as a Salesforce admin really get features and functionality and get buy-in and get feedback back to you.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, Laurie had a new year's resolution for herself to get the admin certification, so I would love to hear if that's your new year's resolution as well. And her resolution for Salesforce admins is to join a user group. I love that idea as well. And of course, I'd like to know what your new year's resolution is, so be sure to tweet it out and use the #AwesomeAdmin. And be sure to tune in next week for another wonderful Lightning Champions Spotlight.

Mike Gerholdt: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns. No, i on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholt. And be sure to follow our guest this week, Laurie Dusko, who is @SFDC_lauri on Twitter. And with that, stay tuned for the next week's episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Socializing_Your_Ideas_with_Laurie_Dusko_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jene Fuller, Salesforce Consultant for UPS. This is the next in a series of episodes recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. We learn how her developer and business analyst background have combined to make her into the awesome admin she is today.

Join us as we talk about how having a business analyst mindset, and the soft skills to figure what the real problem is, helps you build the right solution to help fix it.

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

How to have a BA mindset.

Jene brings her developer and business analyst (BA) background to everything that she does. “I’m all into requirements,” she says, “trying to figure out what is the big picture and how do we get there without all the over-architected processes and terms that nobody understands.” She brings her BA mindset to everything that she does, always starting out with the key questions: who are my users? What do they do? How do they do it? What are their obstacles?

Being able to take a step back is a crucial skill to have in order to be successful at understanding the task at hand. As Salesforce admin, being able to put on the BA hat to understand the whys behind what you’re trying to do makes a big difference, not just for your career but the people you’re helping as well. “I try to get who the people are and what are their exact needs,” Jene says, “and then build the solution around it.”

From faxes to Salesforce.

When Jene first encountered Salesforce, she was basically thrown in head-first. She was brought into the department through a connection, so she was the lowest person on the totem pole, so to speak. “I said to myself, ‘Let me do the thing that nobody wants to do—let me do all the user stuff.’” But as she started working on it, she realized that her BA experience gave her a unique perspective on things.

What Jene also realized as she was taking stock of the situation was that there were other departments in the company still doing key business processes on paper and through fax—in 2014. Things like getting signatures for SOW approvals required getting the right piece of paper to right person, which caused a lot of holdups. Jene started going to key stakeholders offering to digitize the process. “If you’re interested, I can teach you how to do it,” she would say, “if you’re not interested, I can do it for you.” She ended up integrated that electronic signature tool into Salesforce—eliminating the need for the fax machine and starting her Salesforce career.

When it comes to getting rid of those pesky spreadsheets and making things better for everyone, Jene has some important advice. “We need champions, people that see the vision and can market it on our behalf,” she says. That means getting someone to understand just how much time you can save them so they can really go to the mat for you.

The magic that is the Lightning Record Page.

Jene is a huge fan of the Lightning Record Page. It lets you tell whether your user is looking at the page on desktop or mobile, and lets you customize it accordingly. Someone checking something quickly on their phone is going to have far different needs than a person sitting down in front of their multi-monitor setup to get to work, and Form Factor helps you help them.

Getting a handle on what someone’s mindset can only come from spending time with your users and seeing how they go about their day. Jene calls this a “ride along,” but longtime listeners of the show already know what we call it. SABWA: Salesforce Administration By Walking Around. Spend the fifteen minutes a day checking in on your users—you’ll never know what’ll come up.




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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become a more awesome admin. We're on week two of being live here at the New York City World Tour. It's been an amazing stop. A little chilly, but that's okay. Last week, we talked with Marciana, and she talked a lot about process. This week I am here talking with Janae Fuller. Janae, welcome to the podcast.

Janae Fuller: Hi, Mike. Thank you for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: You have a lovely red blazer on that nobody will get to see. Ironically, it's not your favorite color.

Janae Fuller: No, it's not my favorite color but it's a cousin of my favorite color.

Mike Gerholdt: It's in the family.

Janae Fuller: It's in the family.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So Janae, you're a Salesforce admin.

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Tell the world a little bit about who Janae Fuller is.

Janae Fuller: Well, thank you Mike. So, I am an admin. I have a developer background experience, so I always approach things very in a detailed way. I also have BA skills.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I like BAs.

Janae Fuller: So, I ask those questions and I'm all into requirement and trying to figure out, what is the big picture and how do we get there without all the over-architected processes and stuff?

Mike Gerholdt: The terms that nobody understands.

Janae Fuller: Exactly. Why can't it be English?

Mike Gerholdt: So, were you a BA before you were a Salesforce admin?

Janae Fuller: Oh, well thank you for asking. So actually, as a developer I've always had that BA mindset. Not just, "Hand me your requirements," but ask, "Why does this make sense," and, "How does this affect the person entering the data?" So, I kind of was but I didn't know it, so I kind of had those BA skills throughout my entire career.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Tell me about this BA mindset. For the uninitiated, give me a BA mindset. We can take cooking dinner.

Janae Fuller: Okay, all right great.

Mike Gerholdt: How does a BA approach cooking dinner?

Janae Fuller: All right. So, where are my ingredients?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, boy.

Janae Fuller: Who is my audience? Am I cooking for my vegetarians, am I cooking for my pescatarians? Who's at my table?

Mike Gerholdt: Got you.

Janae Fuller: Are there any allergies? Do they like spice, and if there are any of those sensitivities, I start to look at sides so that there's something for everyone. So, that's how you factor that in, it's a pepper. So then with that in mind, with your audience, the stakeholders, because you want that meal to be memorable. You've taken all those aspects and then as you're cooking, you're keeping those things in mind. Then you get this wonderful meal, and just make a little something for everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow, okay. Well, that's it for today. Cooking with Janae Fuller.

Janae Fuller: Yes, I do cooking too.

Mike Gerholdt: Thanks for listening. You should do a cooking show.

Janae Fuller: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: No, but that was a good explanation because I feel often I talk with Salesforce admins, and they're kind of, "Oh, well this is a thing I have to do." To hear the BA standpoint of it is, "Well, let's take a step back and let's think about this for a second. Who are we approaching, and what are we trying to accomplish?" As opposed to, and this is my favorite euphemism, "Let's just add 10 check boxes to the opportunity page," right?

Janae Fuller: Well you know what Mike? I used to be that person. How many check boxes? They have to be check boxes, they can't be option boxes, they can't be radio buttons, but then I realized I did not have a business mindset. I was totally disconnected from my users because I didn't know what they wanted. I didn't know who they were. What were their obstacles? That's how you wind up becoming a dinosaur.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, boy.

Janae Fuller: Because if you can only do one thing and you can't think differently, you wind up getting dated and eventually phased out of things. So, I did have that ideology at one point, but then I learned from it. So any task it's like, hold on. Let's take a step back. The best people will appreciate that, and the worst people won't because they're like, "It's already overdue." I'm like, "Well, then you're coming to me too late. I can't really help you best because you're coming to me at the tail end of something. Unless I know how the parts plug into the whole, I'm really not the best person to help you because this is just how I think."

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: That's just being upfront.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Curious, I immediately think of T. rex when you say dinosaur. I'd be curious what other people think of. I don't know why that comes to mind. Little arms, right? You're immediately dated. "Ah, I've got these little arms. I can't send a fax."

Janae Fuller: "I've got these big teeth and I'm fast."

Mike Gerholdt: Right, exactly. I know. So, it's interesting. Before we started pressing record, we were chatting. I think this is the third time this week that fax machines have come up in conversation. All of us asking, "So, do they still exist?" I think that's what you said, but let's talk about going from a fax machine at an organization you used to work at, to Salesforce.

Janae Fuller: Okay, great. So.

Mike Gerholdt: So, it was a dark and stormy night.

Janae Fuller: Yes. Clouds.

Mike Gerholdt: I had to cook a meal.

Janae Fuller: I had all kinds of people at the table.

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly.

Janae Fuller: And none of them spoke English.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Oh my gosh.

Janae Fuller: No, I'm joking, but about the fax and the world when there was such a thing.

Mike Gerholdt: Which I think some people still use, no offense to the people that still use fax machines.

Janae Fuller: Well, sure. Nothing wrong with it.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Janae Fuller: They just haven't used their cell phone much. It's all right. It's okay. We've got room for everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: So, that was when I first broke into Salesforce. I started my Salesforce journey back in 2014, and remember, I was telling you I had the dev background.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Janae Fuller: I worked with a lot of other platforms. So, I had this awesome manager and he moved into a team that had Salesforce, and he remembered me. He was like, "Janae, I want you to join my team." So I was like, "Okay. I've heard of Salesforce. I have no idea what it is." So he's like, "Okay. Here you go, here's the keys." I'm like, "Oh no. What do I do?" So, I was on a team. They had other people, and so everyone had their allocated spaces of, "I do this, I do that." Then I'm like, "Well, wow. I'm the new guy. The low man on the totem pole, or woman. The low person on the totem pole. How do I fit in here?" So I'm like, "Okay. Let me do the thing that nobody wants to do. Let me do all the user stuff," but as I was learning I'm like, "Wait. I'm really understanding this user stuff," because you really do need an account. There's certain attributes you need to have that kind of help you to navigate. Right?

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: Like log in. So, I got really good at that, but I didn't want to be a one trick pony, so then I started doing other things with the user experience. Again, trying to find a way to live without bumping into anybody else, but trying to get a space that no one else was using. So, there was an app that was integrated in our Salesforce instance. It already had a life, it already had its personality, but I realized that there were other departments within our company that were doing paper based things.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my.

Janae Fuller: So, yes.

Mike Gerholdt: In 2014?

Janae Fuller: 2014, yeah. Yeah, so they were still-

Mike Gerholdt: That's why we don't have jet cars, people.

Janae Fuller: Eventually maybe.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: Or maybe they'll just be hovercrafts.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, I'll take that. It's a first step.

Janae Fuller: Exactly. Baby steps. So, departments. Think about SOWs. You get requirements, you know, okay, we want to hire contractor X and it's going to cost this many millions, and we need approvals because it's in the high budget need. The decision makers are usually on planes somewhere.

Mike Gerholdt: Always.

Janae Fuller: I'm in New York. How do I get this person who's just flew to Tokyo to sign this thing? All right, well I guess we're going to have to sit on this contract for three weeks, and now we have to backdate everything because we had no signatures. So then I'm like, "Wait, hold on. I know we have an app that kind of does this. Maybe I can get in touch with people who have these needs and talk to them about it." So, that's what I did. I was like, "Hi, listen. You guys are doing SOWs and I know that obtaining signatures are a hard thing to do because people are everywhere. Can we just maybe take a few minutes and talk about what it is that you want signed, and issues like date, name, signature, amount, things like that?" I'm like, "Okay. Well, with this tool, we could just tag these things so that we can take these fields and make them readable and electronic. It's a really simple thing to do. If you're interested, I could teach you how to do it. If you're not interested, I can do it for you."

Janae Fuller: So, the relationship began. I worked with one person, and then it started working, and they were showing people like, "Look. Hey, look. We can get these and we can send this through email now. We don't have to go and touch people, and wait for them to sign it, and get the black ink pen versus the red ink. Then fax." Yeah, I said it again. "Fax it to so and so, let them approve it. Oh wait, we have a new edit. Now we have to go through this process again." We don't have to do that anymore. We can use electronic signature, and then eventually I started working with that tool with our Salesforce integration and extending that. So, that was the way I got into my groove within the Salesforce team, because again, we already had people doing other things. I used just simple soft skills. Tell me what it is that you do? Why does it hurt, and how can I help? Then just used the tech to fill those gaps.

Mike Gerholdt: So I feel like, and you said something in there I want to come back to, but you touched on yes, fax and here's the thing we have to do, and some people still use it, but I think we're at World Tour, there's a lot of presentations that show you, "Here's how you do the config changes." The config changes are easy. What I hear in your story is yes, config changes are easy, and let me talk about all of the other things that come with that.

Janae Fuller: Right, right.

Mike Gerholdt: Right? So in your roles that you've had as an admin at various companies, what's your mindset approach to that? Because, I believe you had a story of paper everywhere, right?

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I would love to know, because I feel like part B or part C of that is you come to a World Tour, you see how easy it is to do this, you watch an admin webinar, you see how easy it is to do that. What I hear from you is you're really good at knocking on doors and saying, "I've found these five faxes, and you all are crazy. We can do this in Salesforce." What does that look like for you?

Janae Fuller: Okay, very good question, Mike. So first, well, what I have used, I don't want to say you have to, but what's worked best for me is being concerned with that person that has to do this dirty thing all the time, because they have a personality. They want to do what they can in eight hours, but this stuff is really mundane and it could be done so much better with three minutes as opposed to a whole working day. So, I try to get to know who the people are, and what are their exact needs? Then build a solution around it, but that takes conversation, asking questions. "Who is this person? All right, I see you have this request, but is there anybody who does this? Can I sit with them to see how they use it?" Because most of the time when requirements come, people have an idea, but is that all? Is there more?

Janae Fuller: Because the last thing you want to do is take the time to build something and miss an entire aspect that may lead to a rewrite, because that's painful, and it's a waste. So, I try to work from the ground and then the other way. From the ground up, so to speak. I try to connect with people because at the end of the day, you can build this wonderful thing but if no one is going to use it, it was for nothing. So then you find out who the people are and keep them in mind with you, and use them with the acceptance testings, now all of a sudden you have adoption. So, that's how it goes. I'm at this place now, as we all are. I'm at a company and we're doing processes that are extremely painful, and they're very mundane, and I almost hate to say it but we're using, wait for it, spreadsheets.

Mike Gerholdt: Ah, well you know, people love them.

Janae Fuller: They love them because they're so easy to use.

Mike Gerholdt: Because it's an immediate output. That's what I think of. When people build a spreadsheet, they almost build the report that they want to be honest with you. That's-

Janae Fuller: They're building databases, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, well. They're clunky, but they are, yeah.

Janae Fuller: Then there's sheets that should be attached to other sheets, and so now all of a sudden we can't live without this, but we never should have had it. My thing is, is that these have been in use. People like it. They know where to go. Other people know where to go. There's no really sharing access, you could just check out the file, make your updates, check it back in and now everybody sees it. It's instant.

Mike Gerholdt: I did my job, check.

Janae Fuller: Exactly, check. Onto the rest of my life.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep, yep.

Janae Fuller: Right? The thing is, is that that data is critical data, and it only lives within the spreadsheet. How can other people see it? How do they know it exists? Then what if someone forgets to do something and now weeks later or down the road, you found out but everyone is caught off guard? So really, that's a great candidate for a Salesforce app, but people don't know Salesforce. Some do, some don't. So my job now, they don't really know it yet, what I'm doing is laying the groundwork for this to be a Salesforce application. It's a key candidate.

Mike Gerholdt: Got you.

Janae Fuller: The reason why is because it'll be accessible, we can report on the data, we can share it, we can have email alerts, and all kinds of metrics that don't exist within spreadsheets.

Mike Gerholdt: So, you can stitch together what that looks like from the customer's perspective.

Janae Fuller: Correct.

Mike Gerholdt: Because really what you're doing is, and I love this idea, is looking at the paper. Looking at the spreadsheets. Going around and saying, "So maybe from the customer perspective, they think we have everything but there's no one way for me to look and see what happens here."

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: To the spreadsheet thing, what if somebody forgets to check it out that day?

Janae Fuller: That's right, or they don't check it in.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: So now they've got all these great changes, but no one could see it but them, but we have to keep going. So then we override, and now we have a version issue. That doesn't happen in Salesforce. You know?

Mike Gerholdt: Right. I know some people struggle with the word expert. I think the perspective you brought up earlier of, "I sit down with a person because there's somebody that has to deal with this process that's the expert," that can help you become the expert in that. What's your take, or what's your approach look like after you do that on the ground information gathering, and you're stitching it together to roll it up to executives? Because I really want to elevate admins to say, "Look. I put all this together, and here's my vision." What's advice Janae has for presenting that admin vision to executives? What are some good things you've done.

Janae Fuller: That's a wonderful question, Mike. So, oftentimes admins don't really have that kind of access. So, we need partners, champions, people that see the vision and they can market it on our behalf.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I like that.

Janae Fuller: Yes. Like friends, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Janae Fuller: Manager, next level manager, but when you have the buy in, and this is why you take people with you. So, as I'm looking at all these processes that exist in spreadsheets and trying to figure out, do I have a complete picture or is some of it still missing? Because you never want to say, "Okay, well we're ready to take this now on the road," but then it's like, "Well, you forgot this other piece." It'll never work. Back to the drawing board. So, before getting to that, "We're going to market this," thing, this vision, we want to make sure that we have all the pieces.

Janae Fuller: It gets a little tricky because you don't want it to be so big that it has to have everything, but it needs to have the right pieces before we can start to roll it up and to market it. Definitely keeping management involved, or at least one manager that sees the pain of having to fill out these spreadsheets, knowing that it's a better way to do it, and it'll save time. "Wait, hold on. I have my one resource that spends six out of eight hours doing this thing? Now it'll take a half an hour? Tell me more." So, one of the things is what's the return on investment? What's the so what factor? Why do I care about this? Because, that's how management looks at it. How much does it cost, how much time is it going to save, and how are people going to use this? That's something to keep in mind when making these assessments and wanting to market it to others.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, because it's one thing to have somebody tell you, "Well, it only takes me a minute or two to check out that, make that update." Right, but if you do that five times a day and you do that five days a week, so I'm doing quick math, 25 minutes.

Janae Fuller: Exactly, per person.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Then you start compounding that. Now all of a sudden you're like, "We're actually paying for an entire other human at this point that I could save you." It just is a record update that Process Builder sends an alert.

Janae Fuller: That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Janae Fuller: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that. Okay, it's very good. I love the idea of really marketing your idea around too, because when you're pushing big change, you've got to have the air force behind you.

Janae Fuller: Yes, for sure.

Mike Gerholdt: Pushing that around. We were talking about things you enjoy, features you're exited about. You said Lightning record pages.

Janae Fuller: Yes, yes, yes. The capabilities of the Lightning record page. So, I was blazing some trails.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah.

Janae Fuller: Yes, and I came across the Lightning record page. The reason why I really got into it is because of the form factor. Because of this feature, you can tell how your user is accessing your page. Whether they're on their desk or if they're on a mobile, and you can make differences so that the desktop could have a separate experience from the mobile. So now think about this. Most of us use three inch, five inch phones, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Phones, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Janae Fuller: We're not using that size computer. We have 24 inches and up.

Mike Gerholdt: Massive.

Janae Fuller: Massive.

Mike Gerholdt: The monitors anymore, it's the size of this wall now. Really?

Janae Fuller: It's so true.

Mike Gerholdt: You're reading Facebook on a monitor that's bigger than your television that you had as a kid. I digress.

Janae Fuller: Yes, and of course we have the side by sides, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah.

Janae Fuller: So, it's even more [crosstalk 00:19:53].

Mike Gerholdt: Who has one monitor? Come on now, seriously.

Janae Fuller: No, no. That's so 2015.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Janae Fuller: So, we have these mega monitors. We could churn out a bunch of things, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, yeah.

Janae Fuller: You don't have that experience on the mobile. So, the fact that we can use the form factor and now customize even more what we want to put. [inaudible 00:20:18] all the immediate data, just a few fields, then if we need more then maybe we can have a separate tab that has the rest of it. Or, maybe they could just do more when they get back into home office.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, yeah.

Janae Fuller: The fact is, is because we have form factor now on the Lightning record pages, we can do that.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that. I like where you're thinking because you're not only thinking back to the first question of, "Give me the BA mindset," you're thinking, "So, if somebody is walking out of a meeting or in a rideshare and they need to do something quick, they're probably going to do it on their phone. We don't have to surface the 300 fields on the phone. What are the two or five that you're going to get while you're sitting down with the user?" Which, I'm a big fan of. You might have heard of it, it's called SABWA. Salesforce administration by walking around.

Janae Fuller: Oh, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Sitting down with the user and just seeing what kind of world they live in. You know?

Janae Fuller: Yes. I call those ride alongs.

Mike Gerholdt: Ride along, yes. Do a ride along. It's very different going into a call center and seeing your page layout on the screen when they use a chrome theme that's My Little Pony, and their desk is super busy and crazy, as opposed to when you're in your very zen space and you're creating that page layout. You had this perfect music and the door was shut, and it was kind of quiet. You're like, "Wow. I need to rethink this page layout based on the environment or the ride along that they're in."

Janae Fuller: Exactly, yes. I like that too, the fact that you mentioned even a ride along, or how did you-

Mike Gerholdt: SABWA. Salesforce administration by walking around.

Janae Fuller: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Janae Fuller: That's cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, 15 minutes a day. I love doing it.

Janae Fuller: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it's super fun.

Janae Fuller: See, the point is, is taking the user with you. Keeping them in mind so that we give them just what they need the way they're using it. Because we have the Salesforce features, it's customizable.

Mike Gerholdt: So, we'll wrap things up. It's 2020, so happy New Year. Saw the ball drop and all that stuff, got to bring it up because you're in New York. Two questions. One, do you have a Salesforce New Years resolution for yourself?

Janae Fuller: Well, I don't like to say resolutions because that's the whole start stop thing.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, it's a big thing.

Janae Fuller: Yeah, but I do have goals.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Janae Fuller: So, I'm working on two more certifications in my line of sight, immediate ones. I'm almost at my ranger status, almost. So, I want to just hurry up and get there.

Mike Gerholdt: 100 badges.

Janae Fuller: Yes, and keep going. Thank you for the translation because it's like, "What is that?"

Mike Gerholdt: I know, ranger. 100 badges, yeah.

Janae Fuller: Just to say that I've done it and then to keep going, because there's just so much coming to Trailhead. Even with Dreamforce they mentioned Trailhead GO is coming.

Mike Gerholdt: Trailhead GO is out right now? We can do it.

Janae Fuller: You're right, it's out. Well, you know what? I'm on Android so to me, it's still coming out.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. It's all right.

Janae Fuller: Yeah well, you know.

Mike Gerholdt: We'll talk to Reid Carlberg about that. So, that's great resolutions, goals.

Janae Fuller: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Let me pivot, and second question. For the admin community, what is your 2020 admin goal for the community?

Janae Fuller: Well, definitely keeping in touch with the community. Attending events with the New York City user group. They had a great pre-tour event last night.

Mike Gerholdt: It was. Every time I've come to World Tour, they always have a great user group.

Janae Fuller: They're always hands down.

Mike Gerholdt: Always great. Packed, packed. Seriously.

Janae Fuller: Last night I think might have been the biggest. We had more than 100.

Mike Gerholdt: There was a lot of people.

Janae Fuller: There was a lot there last night.

Mike Gerholdt: A lot of people there.

Janae Fuller: A lot of new faces, and I'm happy to say I was able to moderate the event for them.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. You did a very good job, very good job.

Janae Fuller: Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Janae Fuller: We're glad that you could join us.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great, yes.

Janae Fuller: Thank you, and we had four amazing panelists. I think it's live streamed. Parts of that is on Twitter.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, good. Good.

Janae Fuller: I want to do more with Women in Tech, catching their groups, and WEI has come on the horizon for Women Empowerment Institute. So, they're actually affiliated with PepUp Tech.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, cool.

Janae Fuller: Gina Avila.

Mike Gerholdt: All right.

Janae Fuller: So, definitely want to do more there, and just keep supporting the community.

Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well Janae, thanks for being on the podcast. It was great talking to you.

Janae Fuller: Thank you Mike, so much.

Mike Gerholdt: I can't wait to catch up this time next year, see how those goals went.

Janae Fuller: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe you'll be double ranger by then.

Janae Fuller: I know, I hope so. Thanks so much Mike, it was a pleasure.

Mike Gerholdt: You bet, thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: It's always great to connect with the New York community on the podcast, and I'm glad we got to sit down with Janae Fuller and talk about how the business analyst mindset and having soft skills to figure out what the problem is so that you can help yourself accomplish what your users are looking for. Of course, having that technology mindset to build that solution. As we've said many times on the podcast, and Janae brought it up, that when you hear the talk of spreadsheets come up, it's really just an app begging to be made. So if your organization lives and breathes off spreadsheets, you have an open door to build a lot of really cool Salesforce apps. Of course, Janae is all about Lightning. So, she brought up the new form factor which allows you to view how your users would be accessing that page whether it's mobile or desktop, and so you can create a custom record page for your users for either. I love that.

Mike Gerholdt: If this is your first time hearing about Lightning record pages, head on over to to stay up to date with current products and tools, and lots of other resources. Now, Janae told us about her New Years resolution, and I would like to know what your New Years resolution is. So, make sure you Tweet it out and use the hashtag AwesomeAdmin. Of course, soft skills was a big part of our discussion today, so be sure to join us next week when I chat with Laurie Dusko about Salesforce admins and how she grew her career. Now if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find tons of resources. You can also stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I. You can find me on Twitter as well. I am @MikeGerholdt, and of course, I want to thank Janae again for being our guest on the podcast. You can find her on Twitter @SalesforceJanae. With that, I'm Mike Gerholdt. Thank you for listening to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. We'll see you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Into_a_Consultants_Mindset_with_Jene_Fuller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve brought Marciana Davis back to the podcast. One thing that’s happened since the last time we spoke is that she’s started working at a new position, as Salesforce Administrator at Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. For the next 3 weeks, we have episodes recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. Marciana was last on the show about a year ago, so it’s fun to hear how 2019 went for her and what she’s looking forward to in 2020.

Join us as we talk about how volunteering can help you stay current, why the new year is a great opportunity to set some goals, and what her resolution is for Salesforce admins.

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

From breaking things to fixing things.

The last time we had Marciana on the show, the episode was titled, “I Do QA (I Break Things).” So what’s changed since last we spoke? “I fix things now,” she says, “being the Salesforce awesome admin I’ve always dreamed of.” She works to resolve all manner of issues that may come up in her org, and she’s been loving every minute of it. She’s gotten her seventh Superbadge this year, as well as a certification as a Marketing Cloud Email Specialist. 

Marciana is, as one friend puts it, “the Evangelist of Newcomers” at PepUp Tech. “I help students with badges, Superbadges, and it keeps my awesome admin skills sharp,” she says. You always have to learn more when you’re a teacher, so she gets back just as much as she gives in the process.

New year, new you.

Looking back on 2019, Marciana’s advice for her past self would come down to three words: trust the process. “You’re not going to know everything, and that’s OK,” she says, “it’s a learning process, you’re going to bump your head a little bit.” The key is stick through it and trust that you’ll learn and grow and, eventually, be in the right place at the right time. The best thing to do is to keep learning, so that way when you get an opportunity you’ll be able to step up.

To look ahead to 2020, Marciana is planning to do a lot more speaking events. She’s set her sights on South Florida Dreaming, so hopefully, you catch her there where she’ll share her approach to getting the most out of the learning resources available to admins. She also has a 2020 resolution to travel more, so you’ll be able to find her at Midwest Dreamin’, WITness Success, TrailheaDX, DC Worldtour, and Dreamforce. So, basically everything. “I love Salesforce so much that I can’t help it, Marciana says.

If you’re having trouble thinking of your own New Year’s resolution, Marciana can help you out. “Find a senior admin and have them mentor you,” she says, “with more experience, you’ll learn a heck of a lot more than just getting certified.” Training is one thing, but getting more acquainted with the business processes she’s responsible for has been so valuable in learning how to apply her knowledge.


Trailhead: Admin Super Set


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Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become a more awesome Salesforce Admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt and for the next few weeks we are going to be recording live at the Salesforce World Tour here in New York city. So outside of our normal comfort zone and catching up in some instances like today with Marciana Davis who used to be at another company in the beginning of this year, not to give you a spoiler, but has moved onto a new professional career and so it's a fun time. We're doing a followup with her on this episode, but there are more episodes coming up from amazing Salesforce Admins, that we are recording here in the New York city. So without further ado, please welcome Marciana Davis back to the podcast.

Marciana Davis: Thank you for having me. This is so much fun.

Mike Gerholdt: So Marciana in full disclosure was on the podcast in January of last year, which was recorded the same time this year. So I think it's fun. You're probably one of our first follow up guests from a year ago and we were chatting before. The title of your episode is I Do QA-I Break Things, Marciana or what do you do now?

Marciana Davis: I fix things now.

Mike Gerholdt: I love it. A year later we're gone from breaking to fixing things. So what do you, what do you do to fix things?

Marciana Davis: I try to trouble shoot errors and I'm working with my supervisor at my new company and just being a Salesforce awesome admin like I've always wanted and dreamed of.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, marciana has the title of Salesforce Administrator, which I'm a huge fan of, because it's right in the title, the things I do. So Marciana, last we talked to you, your job was to Q and A and break things. Now you fix things. Let's talk about something you fixed in this last year and really catch us up. So we heard you in January. It's been a year, which in the Salesforce ecosystem is like five years.

Marciana Davis: An amazing life changing year.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Tell me what's changed in your life in that year.

Marciana Davis: So I've still volunteered with PepUp Tech. I'm helping students as a good friend of mine put it. I am the evangelist of newcomers, apparently.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice.

Marciana Davis: I help students with badges, super badges and it's been so incredible just to work with them and it keeps my awesome admin skills sharp. So I'm very excited about that.

Mike Gerholdt: And as a teacher you always have to learn more. I know for me it's a real gut check.

Marciana Davis: You have to stay current.

Mike Gerholdt: if you have to keep something. Yeah, absolutely. Cause the questions are hard, kids ask hard questions now.

Marciana Davis: Yes. Especially with the good old data importing. I know, I get so excited to see a spreadsheet now. Like it's a spreadsheet.

Mike Gerholdt: And turn that into an app.

Marciana Davis: Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Salesforce object creator. Somebody might've demo that at the admin keynote at dream force this year. I don't know who.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So you've gone on from fixing for from breaking things to fixing things, helping with PepUp Tech, which is awesome. New super badges, I'm guessing or any new certifications for you this year?

Marciana Davis: I've gotten my seventh super badge.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow, Seventh holy cow. Is that like all of them?

Marciana Davis: No, not yet.

Mike Gerholdt: No. Okay. All right.

Marciana Davis: Half way through.

Mike Gerholdt: maybe this time next year.

Marciana Davis: And I also got certified in marketing cloud email specialists, during Thanksgiving weekend. So I was very thankful for that one.

Mike Gerholdt: That's cool. Very cool. Okay. And then we talked about, so one of the neat things that you've done at the company you're at with now, which you know in a year in the ecosystem is, it's as a rising star, people are going to scoop you up. You, it sounds like you helped corral leads from going to never, never land into Salesforce. Right?

Marciana Davis: I like that. Never, neverland. Yeah. I came in with the Peter pan effect ,integrated WordPress within Salesforce. I successfully connected the two and now leads are in Salesforce being our single source of truth.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice, that's always fun. I like deploying a good, thing that saves people. It's like, where do you go? You go to the website and fill out the thing, boom. It's in Salesforce, especially the first time you'd demo that, and it works.

Marciana Davis: Yes. It's for a new product that my company just launched last week.

Mike Gerholdt: Great, great, great. Okay, so a year ago, let's rewind the tape. You were sitting here and I'm thinking of admins that are listening to this or maybe admins that are out right now at breakout sessions. We have a packed admin theater sitting here. What is something you wish you would've known past Marciana to tell future Marciana or vice versa? I think I switched that. So you talking to your past self from a year ago, what advice would you give yourself?

Marciana Davis: I would tell myself to trust the process.

Mike Gerholdt: Trust the process.

Marciana Davis: You're not going to know everything and that's okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Marciana Davis: It's a learning process. You're gonna bump your head a little bit, it's gonna be tough and there's gonna be days where you just don't want to do it. You're just like, you just want to push it away and hopefully it goes away. But you know you have a responsibility and a duty as an awesome admin to fulfill your role. So I tell myself every day that it's going to get better. And I tell my friends all the time, trust the process. Things happen for a reason. And you know when it's your time, it's your time.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Marciana Davis: And I'm here with you. So it's my time to be on the track.

Mike Gerholdt: There you go, and inspire others.

Marciana Davis: Yes, and I love talking to people and telling them my story and just telling them, listen, I literally came from absolutely nothing into something and I'm now making an impact, not only in my company, but also in the community. Like when I came to my company, no one knew anything about a user group meetings or certifications. Now they're so excited, they wanted to go to a user group meeting and they wanna go to all these events with Salesforce like, TD yaks and Dreamforce and Midwest dreaming. And just to see that impact has been so heartfelt for me and I appreciate everyone that's been a part of this journey for the last year.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I couldn't agree more. And also tinkering. It's something that my team talks about a lot too is sometimes if you're not feeling like learning, just tinker with something, right? Cause it can be very rewarding just to see how something works in a completely safe developer environment where you're not eating, you don't tinker in production, but just try something out to learn something. You've got a marketing cloud specialist, you don't get that without tinkering, so that's great. I think that's great advice. Trust the process. So yes, future Marciano would have told past Marciana trust the process. Now let's look ahead. What is, what is a new year's resolution that you have for yourself? Because we're airing this in 2020 so we've made it all the way to a year that repeats itself hasn't, happened since 1919.

Marciana Davis: No, I am super excited for 2020 because I am planning on doing a lot more to us speaking events. I put a proposal for South Florida Dreaming, so I'm hoping to speak there about the admin resources that I've used and how I use them. It's gonna be a little bit different from what people have heard, so I'm not going to spoil anything, but it seems like it's going to be really great. And I'm also going to talk about my proposal to get marketing cloud for executives. I tried to do that at my current company, so hopefully that works out for others as well. I'm definitely going to take 2020 I'm going to not get as many certs as I did in 20 in 2019 and I'm definitely going to travel more. So just go into different sales force events. Hopefully I'll be at Midwest dreaming. Witness success. Tell her the XN dream force again.

Mike Gerholdt: Just a few.

Marciana Davis: Yeah, just a few. Just kind of the summertime. Get out there and travel. Definitely want to check out. World tour NBC. I love DC. It's so nice.

Mike Gerholdt: Usually it's right around when the cherry blossoms are out, so you get to see all of that.

Marciana Davis: I definitely want to try and go there.

Mike Gerholdt: Do the Monuments tour. Go around and see all. Lots of things to see in DC, fantastic. Well I'm excited for Midwest dreaming as well. It's going to be in Minneapolis I saw. So I guess I got no more deep dish pizza. Get a Juicy Lucy. You don't know what that is. Google it carefully Juicy Lucy hamburger. I'll spoil that, but it's amazing. I've had one, it's always good to come back. Okay. So I would say also, so you're going to travel more. Is there any, anywhere that it's not hold as hosting a Salesforce event that you want to travel to?

Mike Gerholdt: I guess you mentioned everywhere that's hosting the Salesforce event. Is there somebody you'd like,

Marciana Davis: I mean cause I love Salesforce so much I can't help it.

Mike Gerholdt: are you planning to travel and you might be going to Southeast Florida too, right?

Marciana Davis: Fort Lauderdale.

Mike Gerholdt: I've been down to Fort Lauderdale to, yeah, it's nice that side of the, it's warmer than it is here in New York. Just be careful that it's going to be great. Is there a new year's resolution that you would set forward for other admins?

Marciana Davis: I would tell other admins to find someone that is, you know, find a senior admin and have them mentor you. It's all about the experience and I feel with more experience you'll learn a lot, a heck of a lot more than just getting certified.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Marciana Davis: And I realized that once I joined my current company that I'm with now, you know I have the basics down, but I just need to think along the way of business process, like getting used to how a business runs.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Marciana Davis: In modern time.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Marciana Davis: So that's one thing I would tell. Awesome admins out there.

Mike Gerholdt: Process is a big part of your life. Trust the process, learn the process, submit for speaking two different processes. I like it. It's good. Marciana, thank you for taking time out of your day. I wanna make sure that you can enjoy everything. Lovely at World tour. I'm glad we had a chance to catch up a year later.

Marciana Davis: Yes thank you for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: I think this is actually the first time we've done that on the podcast,

Marciana Davis: I'm making history already.

Mike Gerholdt: It could be we should do this again next year.

Marciana Davis: Oh yes definitely, I'm for it.

Mike Gerholdt: See where things are. We will pull up the resolution, see if you've met all the resolutions. Careful it's on tape now and then it'll be on the internet, which means it lasts forever.

Marciana Davis: And then people will hold me accountable.

Mike Gerholdt: and they'll hold you accountable to it. Marciana if they wanted to follow you on Twitter, your Twitter handle is-

Marciana Davis: At traveling underscore dev.

Mike Gerholdt: I saw that yes.

Marciana Davis: Instagram is just traveling dev.

Mike Gerholdt: Is there a reason to follow you on Instagram? Is it fun?

Marciana Davis: I post a lot of pictures of Salesforce events. I recently went to these Salesforce holiday party.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh, In New York here?

Marciana Davis: Salesforce tower, yes. It was so much fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, and if we follow you on Instagram, we'll get to see all the places you're going to travel.

Marciana Davis: Exactly, exactly. Because Twitter has a four picture limit and I'm a photographer, I'm a mini photographer so I need at least 20 pictures of each place.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. I Love it. Perfect. Well thanks so much for g on the podcast.

Marciana Davis: Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: and we'll catch up with you next year. Absolutely.

Marciana Davis: I cannot wait for next year.

Mike Gerholdt: It's going to be great.

Marciana Davis: It is.

Mike Gerholdt: See you then. Bye.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great catching up with Marciana one year later after she was on the podcast. Here are three things I learned from our discussion with Marciana. One, she stays current by volunteering and teaching with PepUp Tech. I think that's really a great way as a forcing function for you to stay current and learn more while helping others. She challenges herself by learning and she earned seven super badges along with a marketing email specialist. I think that's a great thing to head into the new year. Think about what you're going to earn for super badges and what certifications you're going to get. And then the third thing I learned from Marciana is to trust the process. Hey, some days it will be difficult, but things happen for a reason and her new year's resolution for herself is to do more speaking events. I like that. And for Salesforce admins, her resolution is to find someone to mentor you because as Marciana says, it's all about the experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Now I'd like to know what your new year's resolution is, so tweet it out and use the hashtag awesome admin. Now process was a big part of our discussion today, so be sure to join us next week when I chat with Janae fuller about Salesforce admins and business process. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforce admins. No, I on Twitter. And of course you can find me on Twitter as well. I am at Mike Gerholdt. Be sure to stay tuned for the next episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

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

The Salesforce Admins Podcast is back with another episode of our mini-series, Salesforce for Good, hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. For this episode, we’re talking to Jason Wurtz, Pro Bono Content Specialist at, who helps nonprofit and education customers get assistance from a Salesforce employee. 

Join us as we talk about how you can best approach volunteering, and what Jason and his team has come up with to help you dive into the nonprofit world.

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

 The Pro Bono program at Salesforce.

“Nonprofit and education customers can get stuck in their journey with Salesforce. They may have implemented Salesforce, it’s going great, but they may need a little more hands-on assistance from somebody that has real expertise with the platform,” Jason says. Getting involved is as easy as filling out an application at, which helps the Pro Bono team connect applicants with the right Salesforce employee to help them.

Jason’s role is to help develop content that helps volunteers translate their skills more effectively to the nonprofit world. If you’re a Salesforce employee looking to make a difference, simply log onto Volunteerforce to browse opportunities 

How volunteering changed Jason’s life.

Like a lot of people we have on the pod, Jason’s path to his current role was nothing if not meandering. He started off in finance working for big banks, then in marketing for a large consumer packaged goods company. “While I was working in marketing, I was also volunteering with an organization that matches tutors with homeless children,” he says, “and as I was volunteering, I could see first-hand all the challenges—some of them very much systemic—that were facing homeless families, and that transformed my outlook on the world.”

Jason switched careers to a grassroots nonprofit, Families Forward Learning Center, and eventually got his masters in social work. Of course, when he came back to the nonprofit world, he immediately went into fundraising and marketing. At one of these jobs, he became an “also admin,” figuring out the job along the way with no formal training. Eventually, this trajectory landed him in his current role at Salesforce.

How you can get involved.

If you’re looking for help from the Pro Bono program, Jason has some advice to give about how to best fill out your application. For one thing, “be very clear on what you want to accomplish,” Jason says, “the clearer and more discrete a project you can request assistance on, the better the outcome.” Projects like building reports and dashboards, automating discrete business process, implementing a standard configuration, or a Lightning migration are very easy for volunteers to pick up and run with.

On the other side of things, it’s important to think about what is truly going to motivate you. We all have so many demands on our time, so you need to find something you’re passionate about that will help you follow through. “Pro bono projects tend to take time and they tend to unfold over several months,” Jason says, “so you need to find a project and an organization you’re excited about so when push comes to shove you can find the time.”

Nonprofits and education customers often are strapped for resources, and if a volunteer comes in and screws something up, they don’t necessarily have the ability to easily fix what went wrong. “If you’re thinking about volunteering, that is something that you really need to hold front and center,” Jason says. So if you’re looking to use volunteering as an opportunity to build your experience and skills, you need to be cautious about how you go about it. Jason and his team have developed Trailheads to help prep you for volunteering, so you can get your head around nonprofit specific things like the Nonprofit Success Pack and really hit the ground running and even find new organizations to help.




Pro Bono Intermediaries: 


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Full Show Transcript

Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce For Good mini series on the Salesforce Admins podcast. My name is Marc Baizman and I'm a senior admin evangelist here at Salesforce. Before I was an evangelist, I worked at and in the nonprofit world, and I made many incredible connections with people doing amazing things with Salesforce technology and nonprofits and I really want to share some of them with you. In this podcast mini series, we'll be talking to a variety of folks in the Salesforce nonprofit ecosystem, including admins, architects, consultants, and employees. By the end of the series, you'll learn what makes the nonprofit sector special, how Salesforce technology supports the missions of some amazing organizations that are making a huge impact, and you'll learn about the fantastic community of people that are making it happen. Hi, Jason.

Jason Wurtz: Hello, Marc.

Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast.

Jason Wurtz: Glad to be here. Thank you for having me.

Marc Baizman: You bet. Jason, can you tell us about what you do at

Jason Wurtz: Sure. I work on the pro bono team. To give you a little bit of background on the pro bono team, at we have a program, it's about six years old, in which nonprofit and education customers can request pro bono assistance from a Salesforce employee. You can find that on's website, Customers, nonprofit and education customers, that get stuck kind of in their journey with Salesforce, so they may have implemented Salesforce, it's going great, but they need a little bit more hands on assistance from somebody that has real expertise with a platform, it's kind of the perfect solution for those kinds of issues that nonprofits and education customers quite often face.

Jason Wurtz: They can submit a request online. That goes to my team. We vet the application, clarify the scope, and then post that for Salesforce employees to apply to support that project. My role on the team is really to develop content to enable Salesforce employees to translate the skills they use in a commercial setting with nonprofit and education customers. That's my primary role. I also do a lot of internal marketing, so raising awareness of the program, getting our employees excited to volunteer for the program, and also sharing success stories.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. That is a lot of stuff. When I am thinking ... I'm a Salesforce employee and I'm interested in volunteering in my local community. What do I do internally?

Jason Wurtz: Internally, it's pretty easy. We have an internal app called Volunteerforce where all volunteer opportunities live. When a nonprofit or an education customer applies through our website, like I said, that application goes through our team, it gets vetted and then we publish it to that internal app.

Marc Baizman: We're managing that in Salesforce, right?

Jason Wurtz: We are managing that in Salesforce, yes.

Marc Baizman: Cool.

Jason Wurtz: That appears as a volunteer opportunity and then any employee with the right skillset can sign up to help.

Marc Baizman: Cool. I want to dig into the skillset question in a little bit, but first I'd love to know how did you come to Salesforce, and what is a little bit about your background? Because I feel like you have some nonprofit in your background and I'd love to hear more about that.

Jason Wurtz: I do. I have a meandering background. I actually started off in finance.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: I worked in the commercial sector, worked for a couple of big banks, then made the switch to a large consumer packaged goods company and worked there in marketing for a little bit. While I was kind of working in marketing, I was also volunteering with an organization that matches tutors with homeless children.

Jason Wurtz: As I was volunteering, I could see firsthand all the challenges, and some of them very much systemic, that were facing homeless families. That transformed my outlook on the world and inspired me to switch careers. Leaving a more traditional marketing role at a large company, I made the switch, worked for a grassroots nonprofit running volunteer programs.

Marc Baizman: That sounds great. Do you want to share the name of the organization?

Jason Wurtz: Yeah. It's called Families Forward Learning Center.

Marc Baizman: Families Forward Learning Center.

Jason Wurtz: Yes.

Marc Baizman: Cool.

Jason Wurtz: Yes, based in Pasadena, California, not a Salesforce customer, but ...

Marc Baizman: That's okay. That's okay.

Jason Wurtz: I worked there for a few years, then went to graduate school at UC Berkeley, got a master of social work degree, and promptly went into fundraising and marketing, because that's what you do when you get a master of social work degree.

Marc Baizman: That's right. That's right.

Jason Wurtz: I've worked for a couple of nonprofits in the Bay Area before making the switch to Salesforce.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. How did you find out about Salesforce, other than obviously the building of the giant tower? I'm curious as to how you sort of found your way from fundraising into Salesforce directly.

Jason Wurtz: Sure. My first nonprofit job after graduate school was at Mission Asset Fund. They're a Salesforce customer.

Marc Baizman: They are.

Jason Wurtz: That's when I was introduced to Salesforce, Salesforce Classic. This was a few years ago.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: Didn't have many opportunities to get in the system, but I became familiar with it, was a user, and then fast forward to my most recent job at the National Center for Youth Law, they had a very old fundraising database that needed to be replaced.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: Given my background, given that I'd used Salesforce, we did do an RFP and finally settled on Salesforce and implemented with Exponent Partners.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic.

Jason Wurtz: Yeah, I became an also admin, so actually had no training really as an admin. I kind of figured it out along the way.

Marc Baizman: Very common scenario is someone is tasked with administering Salesforce and doesn't necessarily have a background in it and has probably three other full time jobs and now you're given Salesforce also to manage.

Jason Wurtz: Exactly. Yeah. My job was fundraising, so I was managing kind of individual donors. That was kind of my ... I was also doing marketing and doing some communications, and then suddenly I was implementing Salesforce for the entire organization, not just the fundraising department.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. Cool. Would you say that your implementation was successful? Have you gone back and seen it?

Jason Wurtz: Well, I do know that they bought a lot of new licenses and their utilization rate is pretty high.

Marc Baizman: Great.

Jason Wurtz: I think it is successful, yes.

Marc Baizman: Cool. That's great. Congratulations.

Jason Wurtz: Thank you.

Marc Baizman: That's a big deal. It's a nice legacy to leave. You went from that organization, you obviously learned a lot about Salesforce, and your story is, I think, very similar to many of admins that are out there. How did you find your way to the mothership from there?

Jason Wurtz: Sure. Yeah. Actually it was through my network. My current boss, Cheryl Timoney, also used to work at Mission Asset Fund. I did not work with her. She had moved on before I joined Mission Asset Fund, but she was a close acquaintance with my former boss at Mission Asset Fund.

Marc Baizman: [inaudible 00:07:39].

Jason Wurtz: When Cheryl posted this job opportunity, she kind of communicated that with her network, including my former boss at Mission Asset Fund who said, "Hey Jason, this would be perfect for you. I think you should apply," and I did.

Marc Baizman: That's awesome. Oh, congratulations.

Jason Wurtz: Yes.

Marc Baizman: Well, we are so lucky to have you. I'm so glad that you have the background of being an admin at a nonprofit organization because you can really put yourself in the shoes of folks at nonprofits who don't have training, maybe don't have resources, have three other jobs that they're trying to accomplish, and are really reaching out for help when they apply for pro bono assistance from Salesforce. I'd love to hear your thoughts maybe on the nonprofit side of the house and on the skill-building side of the house, so on the kind of employees who are determined to give their skills back. For organizations that are requesting pro bono assistance, is there specific advice that you might give them?

Jason Wurtz: Yes. I'd say the kind of first piece of advice I would give is to be very clear on what you want to accomplish. At least through the pro bono program, the clearer and more discrete a project you can request assistance on, the better the outcome, is what we've seen.

Marc Baizman: Right.

Jason Wurtz: I can give you some examples of good projects.

Marc Baizman: That'd be great.

Jason Wurtz: If you're struggling to build reports and dashboards, that's a perfect project because many Salesforce employees have those kind of skills and they're in their toolbox. Things like reports and dashboards, if you are thinking about automating some discrete business processes in Salesforce, don't know how to do that, that makes for a great process. Even some kind of standard configuration, if you are trying to capture new data points or a new data set and you need some help configuring standard objects, that's another really great project because it's very discrete and it's something that's very easy for a volunteer to pick up and run with.

Marc Baizman: How about a Lightning migration?

Jason Wurtz: Ooh, that's actually a very popular project as of late. We have a bunch of Salesforce employees who are Lightning ambassadors, Lightning champions. We have a special arrangement with them to take on these Lightning transition projects.

Marc Baizman: Cool.

Jason Wurtz: Yes, that's another very discrete, something that has a very specific goal, that can be done in 15 to 20 hours.

Marc Baizman: That's great. That's great. For admins, not necessarily Salesforce employees, but for admins who are listening, if they want to give back, what's the first thing that they should do?

Jason Wurtz: Well, I think the first thing that admins should do, or anybody really, is to figure out what you're passionate about. What is going to motivate you? Because if you think about it, we all have very busy lives, whether it's a demanding job or juggling, kind of raising a family, other interests that you have, you have to figure out, what am I passionate about, what am I going to commit to and what am I going to follow through on, right? I think that's very important.

Jason Wurtz: In particular, if you're interested in doing pro bono, because it's not necessarily a signup for a two hour volunteership to help like at a homeless shelter or something, pro bono projects tend to take time and they tend to unfold over several months. You need to find a project and an organization that you're excited about so that when push comes to shove and you have all these other demands on your time, you can figure out how to make it a priority and actually follow through on the project and get it done.

Marc Baizman: That's great. Being passionate about the organization or the cause is key.

Jason Wurtz: Yes.

Marc Baizman: I would like to talk a little bit about kind of advice around folks who are maybe just getting started in the ecosystem, and maybe they're given advice to volunteer and they don't necessarily have a super strong Salesforce background. I'd love your thoughts on that.

Jason Wurtz: Sure, yeah, definitely. Definitely have a few thoughts on that. I would ... For folks that are kind of new to the ecosystem, I think one thing you need to understand is how nonprofit and educational organizations that are using Salesforce are fundamentally different from a lot of commercial companies.

Marc Baizman: For sure.

Jason Wurtz: Really what that comes down to is a couple of things. Number one, resources, especially nonprofits, are very resource-strapped. What that means is technology is always under-funded. They often don't have staff that have a lot of technology expertise, and therefore they have to use resources like Trailhead to scale up really quickly. It can be very challenging when you lack resources to hire a consultant, or you have an administrator who doesn't have a technology background, who's new to the role. If a volunteer comes in and quite frankly screws something up or messes up their org, they don't have the resources to undo that.

Marc Baizman: Right. Right.

Jason Wurtz: That is something, if you're thinking about volunteering, that you really need to hold front and center. I definitely appreciate and understand people that are new to the ecosystem who want to build their experience and skills. You just have to be very careful because when you volunteer for a nonprofit and this nonprofit is doing a lot of good for their community and they're really relying on Salesforce to support their mission, if you come in as somebody who doesn't have a lot of experience and you mess something up that you can't fix, the chances are that nonprofit won't be able to fix it themselves and that could have a ripple effect across their mission.

Marc Baizman: Right. Right. That's great advice, and definitely good things to keep in mind for folks who are volunteering. In terms of people who are interested in volunteering, are there specific Trailhead trails or modules that we might recommend folks to take?

Jason Wurtz: Yes. We just launched a brand new trail called Volunteer Your Salesforce Expertise, so very kind of straightforward they make it there.

Marc Baizman: Terrific.

Jason Wurtz: That's where I would start because what that trail does is a couple of things. It, number one, introduces you to the nonprofit and education sector. Some of what I've talked about, nonprofits having limited resources, et cetera, that is explained in that trail. It gives you an introduction to those sectors, which is really important. It gives you some context. It also introduces you to, which is the social impact team within Salesforce that develops products and services specifically for the nonprofit and education sectors. This is really critical because we have ... offers a whole set of products and services that are specifically designed for nonprofit and education customers. These products often work quite differently than what most folks are used to in a commercial setting.

Marc Baizman: Right.

Jason Wurtz: The trail kind of gives you an overview of these products and services and also lays out your learning path so that you can learn these products before you actually volunteer. This is really important. You need to understand, volunteers need to understand something like the Nonprofit Success Pack, which is the standard solution used across nonprofits, which is an app that sits on top of the Salesforce platform. You really need to understand that product before you volunteer your time with a nonprofit. The Volunteer Your Salesforce Expertise trail will walk you through your learning path for those products.

Marc Baizman: Got it. I believe there's also a new Trailhead project that helps you, that walks you through the process of installing the Nonprofit Success Pack into a Trailhead Playground org.

Jason Wurtz: Absolutely.

Marc Baizman: Another place to kind of test your knowledge and learn some more stuff. That's great. Can you talk a little bit about maybe some success stories of some volunteering that you've heard about or folks have come back, either the volunteer or the nonprofit or ideally both have come back and said this was a really fulfilling experience?

Jason Wurtz: Yeah, definitely. I have one that comes to mind. I mentioned earlier one of our most popular projects for volunteers, to support our reports and dashboards. I think for many folks that have Salesforce expertise it's like, well, reports and dashboards is like very basic stuff, but for many nonprofits it can be a bit of a struggle, especially if somebody, the admin is wearing many hats and has a lot of different jobs. It can be hard for them to kind of figure out exactly what kind of reporting they need.

Jason Wurtz: We have one customer, a nonprofit customer, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, they submitted a project and they needed just some basic assistance. What they were trying to do is they have all of these different, what they call resources that they keep track of. They have volunteers who are providing these kind of therapeutic riding experiences for the nonprofit's customers, who the nonprofit's customers or clients are folks that have a variety of different kind of like physical and kind of mental health challenges that they need some kind of support and healing from. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding provides this kind of equine therapy, which is essentially matching a client with a volunteer and a horse. It's a really interesting and really effective therapy for a number of different reasons. In Salesforce, this organization was tracking not only the client, but the volunteer and the horse and all the equipment that the volunteer has to set up for the horse. They were tracking ...

Marc Baizman: Was there a horse custom object?

Jason Wurtz: I believe so, yes.

Marc Baizman: That's fantastic.

Jason Wurtz: Yes. Yes. They had this data, they were all in different objects. What they were having challenges with was bringing all that information into a consolidated daily schedule that they could pass along to the volunteer so the volunteer would know, "Okay, here's the horse I'm using, here's the equipment they need and here's the client that I'll be working with and here's the time I'll be doing it."

Marc Baizman: Wow.

Jason Wurtz: They were really struggling with that. I think it went a little bit beyond that though. This was a fundamental need they had of the system that they could not get from it. They implemented Salesforce a couple of years ago, and this was something that was frustrating for not only the admin but for the rest of the staff. I think they were starting to question, "Did we make the right decision going with Salesforce?"

Marc Baizman: Right. Right.

Jason Wurtz: The admin applied for the pro bono program. They were matched with a volunteer who loves reports and dashboards, that's one of her favorite projects to work on, and magic happened. They worked on, I think the project was around 15 hours. The volunteer was able to not only put together the report the admin needed, but show her how to build the report herself so that she could continue building reports, building dashboards on her own, which for the organization has unlocked a lot of value, right? Before, they were thinking, "Okay, we have Salesforce, we have all this data in Salesforce, but how the heck do we make it useful and actionable for us?" Now the admin, because of the pro bono project, she was able to enable herself to do some of this reporting for the organization.

Marc Baizman: Oh, that's fantastic. Very cool. I love a good horse custom object. I love equine stuff. That's amazing. A couple of other questions. I am wondering, for the admins that are out there, if they want to give back, maybe they're passionate about a particular social issue or they're connected to an organization, or maybe they're not and they want to do some discovery, where should I send them if they're not Salesforce employees? Are there specific places that I could send these folks who are inspired to give back? Hopefully they've done the trail that you recommend and gone the learning path, they've learned the NPSP or the education data architecture, they have that set of skills. Now where do they go?

Jason Wurtz: Good question. There are organizations that we refer to as pro bono intermediaries. These are mostly nonprofit organizations that connect professionals that have skills they want to give with nonprofits that have a need for skills. They [crosstalk 00:20:49]-

Marc Baizman: Got it. Not Salesforce-specific, could be anything, right?

Jason Wurtz: It could be anything.

Marc Baizman: Marketing, legal, web design, right.

Jason Wurtz: Yes, website design, legal, communications, finance, HR and Salesforce as well.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: In the trail, if you take the trail, the second module on the trail called Pro Bono Project Management, there is a unit that talks about where to go to find these pro bono intermediaries. There are organizations all around the world that kind of facilitate pro bono projects. Some of the popular ones in the US are Taproot Foundation and Catchafire. They actually match a lot of Salesforce professionals with nonprofits that need help with our technology.

Marc Baizman: Oh, that's great. That's great. Admins out there, we'll share these links in the show notes for sure. Cool. I would love to close with maybe an organization that you're passionate about, if you don't mind sharing, if there's an organization that you're either doing a pro bono project with or that you just really like and ... Just share that.

Jason Wurtz: That is a great question.

Marc Baizman: I'm putting you on the spot here.

Jason Wurtz: Putting me on the spot, so I have to choose my favorite.

Marc Baizman: That's right. Choose your favorite child please.

Jason Wurtz: Well, I have to say right now, one of the nonprofits I'm most inspired by is Year Up. Year Up is an amazing organization that trains young people that may not have finished high school or kind of finished high school but aren't sure what to do with their careers, and they might have challenges that have kind of stalled their career. What it does is it provides programs for young people to skill up, to essentially learn how to work in a kind of corporate setting, right? We're talking folks that might work in a retail setting or might be doing odd jobs, that are kind of trying to figure out what they want to do with their career. It provides them an avenue to get a job at a company like Salesforce.

Jason Wurtz: Typically a job like Salesforce, you would think, wow, you must have ... You need all these ... this education and have a master's degree and have all of this experience. That is a huge barrier to a lot of young people who just don't have that yet. What Year Up does is it creates that path for folks. They go through, I think, a year-long training program, they learn specific skills, and then they have an internship with a company like Salesforce.

Jason Wurtz: I've seen firsthand, I've had Year Up interns on my team, and have seen them really transform. They take on challenges, they learn and grow, and oftentimes they get hired by Salesforce. Our Year Up intern that was on my team last year recently got hired by a team that I've worked really closely with and she's doing really well.

Marc Baizman: That is fantastic. Well, now I can put in a plug for our podcast producer, [CC Belarde 00:23:55], who is in fact a graduate of the Year Up program and she's fantastic. I know all about this organization and we are so fortunate to have CC as part of our team, so that's great. Thanks for sharing that, Jason. Well, thank you so much for being on the Salesforce Admins podcast today. It has been just a pleasure to talk with you again.

Jason Wurtz: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Marc Baizman: Wow. Jason was a blast to talk to. He was full of useful volunteering information and amazing Salesforce pro bono stories. I love a good horse custom object. Jason hit the nail on the head when we talked about new people in the ecosystem volunteering. Nonprofit and educational organizations are fundamentally different than the organizations you might be used to, and they're not equipped with the same resources, so it's important to make sure that when you're volunteering, you are knowledgeable about the products that you're using and committed to the project you're signing for. This episode is full of nonprofit organizations that you can volunteer your expertise with, like the Taproot Foundation and High Hopes. We've linked to those in the resources below. If you're interested in learning more about pro bono volunteering, you can connect with Jason on LinkedIn. He is Jason Alan Wurtz with a Z, and you can also check out the website at I'm Marc Baizman, and don't forget to tune in next month for another episode of Salesforce For Good.

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