Salesforce Admins Podcast

On the Salesforce Admins Podcast this week, we’re bringing you another monthly retro. In this episode, we’ll cover all the great Salesforce product, community, and careers content from December that we may have missed over the holidays. We’re joined again by Laura Pelkey, Sr. Manager, Security Customer Engagement at Salesforce.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Laura.

Dreamforce NYC

New York in December is truly a magical sight—the lights, the decorations, and Dreamforce NYC, the first in-person event Salesforce has hosted in a while. We’re hoping for a future where we’re all able to get together in the same place again.

Podcast highlights from December

For Laura, the podcast highlight of the month was Ashley Sisti’s episode about translating your admin skills. One thing it’s really helpful for is how you can have tough conversations with your manager when you need extra support or something isn’t working. For Mike, it was his conversation with Joe Sterne about being neurodivergent and working with those folks on your team.

Blog highlights from December

Jen’s Flow automation resources roundup is a can’t-miss list. There are so many different ways to do something on the platform, so having a good map for all the information out there can help you make a plan. Laura points us to Christopher Marzilli’s post about how MFA can save your company money. Salesforce commissioned a new study to look into it, and the results are fascinating, to say the least.


Video highlights from December

One of the greatest mysteries in the Salesforce ecosystem was finally solved this month: why is there no “i” in @SalesforceAdmns? Spoiler alert, it’s NOT because there’s no “i” in “team.” For Mike, J.’s video about debugging was incredibly helpful and fun.


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Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the December Monthly Retro for 2021. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt and in this episode, we'll review the top product community career content, and get you caught up on really everything we want you to watch. Not to mention, don't leave early, we're going to tie a bow on this year and wrap up our discussion with some favorite things we discovered or rediscovered in 2021. And to help me do all of that is, joining me once again, Laura Pelkey. Hello, Laura.

Laura Pelkey: Hey Mike. Hi. Thank you for having me again. I'm really happy you're not sick of me yet.

Mike Gerholdt: No, you're a fan favorite on the Retro Podcast.

Laura Pelkey: I try, I try.

Mike Gerholdt: You do such a good job of wrapping things up.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, thank you. I'm going to add that as a skill on my LinkedIn.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Obscure skills listed on LinkedIn.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Wrapping things up on audible podcasts.

Laura Pelkey: Conclusions.

Mike Gerholdt: Not to mention how many minute, how many words per minute I can type, but put that at the top.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, definitely.

Mike Gerholdt: I'll kick off with, we had Dreamforce New York, formerly Dreamforce to you, but Dreamforce New York. And I saw on a tweet, in the Twitter bird, that you were headed to New York in December. I did not go. Leanna on my team went and so did Jennifer, but I thought New York in December is a pretty good place to kick off our December highlight episode. Laura, what were your New York December highlights?

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, well that's actually my favorite month to visit New York because I'm, I grew up on the east coast so we would go there from time to time every few years. And it's so beautiful with all the decorations and everything, I love going in December. It was awesome getting to be there, especially during the new Dreamforce New York event, got to chat with some of our customers, everyone was, there's tons of excitement going around that Salesforce was hosting an in-person event again. And it was really great to be there. It made me remember all of the awesome times that I've had meeting and chatting with customers about security at past Dreamforce's in San Francisco and at the world tour in New York and all the other times. It made me feel happy to be around all the excitement, but also nostalgic. And I'm hoping in the future that everyone, all of us, can do these things and get together for Dreamforce again, at some point.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's hard to wrap up a year if I feel I'm not slipping and sliding.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Hailing an Uber, trying to get out of the Javits Center at 5:30 on a Thursday.

Laura Pelkey: Right, right.

Mike Gerholdt: Cause it's, and it's always impeccably cold. It's always freezing cold. It's decent cold, you can deal with it cause I'm Midwesterner, most of the day. And then for some reason it's five o'clock, Dreamforce New York's over, and then it just cranks down as you go outside to wait.

Laura Pelkey: You're like "Oh, I'm in New York right now, it's so cold."

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yep.

Laura Pelkey: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, no, I, this is probably the coldest I've ever been in my life.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Well coming from California, now I'm a baby, I'm just so sensitive to the cold. And I brought the wrong... I used to do the things that I would laugh about people or laugh at people for. I brought a coat that was too light, I didn't bring the right shoes. I just did all the faux pas.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Well in California, it hits 69, you got to a puffy jacket on already.

Laura Pelkey: Oh yeah. Way too cold.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Laura Pelkey: No, I'm just kidding. I'm good with that temperature, but I'm not going to lie, and you have seen this, I know you've seen this. People actually do wear puffy coats when it's like 65 degrees out.

Mike Gerholdt: No, they do. I remember in February when I would go to the home office and I'm coming from February in Iowa where it's 10. You're excited that it hit double digits and I'm walking out of the tower, walking back to my hotel room and I'm in a short sleeve shirt, jeans, and I'm hot.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And standing next to me on the street corner is somebody, puffy coat zipped up to their nose, muffler around their eyes, big knit jacket, like their climbing Everest.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I'm not going to name names, but there are some people that are, that may or may not be on my team that may have been one of those.

Mike Gerholdt: That are cold all the time.

Laura Pelkey: How can I name names, but you know one of them very well.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Hold is relative. Okay. We promised podcast, blog, all kinds of content highlights. We'll kick off with podcast, because podcast, some people are listening to the podcast and I don't know, I get to choose. Laura, what was your podcast high for the month of December?

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I really liked Ashley's podcast Translating Your Admin Skills. She talks about something in this podcast that I actually hear a lot from other admins, that is a challenge, which is how do you have tough conversations with your manager when you need extra support for something or maybe something isn't working. And we know if you're an admin you know this, a lot of things just fall to you and you're kind of the gate for things and you're the one that, you're responsible for all of these different things. Even with the MFA requirement coming up in February, I'm hearing some admins say that they're having challenges getting their leaders on board with that, even though it's something that is a requirement. That's personally for me, even a skill that I'm trying to get better at. And I like that it's something that we can talk about and you're not, if you're feeling like this, it's something that a lot of admins find challenging. Yeah, I liked that, that resonated with me.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was a fun episode. And even the pre-call with Ashley was, I don't record the pre-calls, but I do for the most part, a call with most of the guests ahead of time. And Ashley and I had so many things to cover that I was like, okay, we've got to start narrowing this down, or it's going to be a six hour podcast.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Time of a Good podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Laura Pelkey: Let's talk about...

Mike Gerholdt: Here's the Titanic version of a podcast in six hours. I will jump ahead, I think it was actually the following week I had Joe Sterne on who is in our Salesforce organization. Helps build things about being neuro divergent. And this was actually a topic that came up internally in some of our admin discussion groups. And I thought it was really, first of all, I thought it was really fantastic that Joe took the time out to share that with us and was being very transparent.
I saw a lot of tweets on the Twitters, tweets on the Twitters, about Joe sharing that and his courage to do that. I want to thank Joe again for doing that. I think there was a few people that also called Joe out, but what I really loved about it was we got the time to dive into how do we have those discussions with coworkers? How do I, Mike, have that discussion with Joe in a compassionate manner, in a way that helps me understand how to work with them and bring the best out of them. And then also if I was a manager to Joe, how can I make sure that I'm inviting that open conversation with my employees? It was a really a little different podcast, but sometimes in December you do different things.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I love that. It's, I think it's first of all, so amazing when somebody's brave enough to share something that's personal like that. And, but it also just makes it okay for other people to talk about sort of their backgrounds and things.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Laura Pelkey: That's really cool.

Mike Gerholdt: We wrote a few blog posts and we managed to narrow those down for this one. I'll go first, Laura, I chose Jennifer's Top Flow Automation Resources. No surprise Jennifer Lee wrote an automation playlist, but the reason I really like this is if you've spent more than five minutes looking at the platform, you know that there's at least three different ways of doing something and there's at least two or three different tools to do that with. And that's because a lot of it is built around what you're trying to do, the skill that you have to accomplish it, you know what I mean? I think back to 10 years ago, the ability to do some of the things that Flow Builder can do now was only available if you could write code in a trigger. And I think of how inclusive it is now that we have a platform where the tool allows me to execute on business logic in the same way, as a developer can write a trigger.
And I understand there's differences, but I bring that up because what I like about this is Jennifer goes through different blog posts, what they cover and why she loved it. And to me, when there's a flood of content and you're trying to work through stuff, it's super helpful. She also covers some videos and of course covers podcasts. Anything that covers podcasts, a big fan of that, but that was a good way to kind of sort through. There's always a lot of information coming at you and much in the same way we do with this episode, we try to rise some cream to the top.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, that's really cool. Okay. Can I ask maybe a dumb question?

Mike Gerholdt: There's no silly questions on the podcast.

Laura Pelkey: No silly questions. You mentioned a trigger, can you explain what that is? I've never heard that before.

Mike Gerholdt: You've never heard of triggers in Salesforce.

Laura Pelkey: No.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's code that would execute... You would write a trigger as opposed to using the flow or a process.

Laura Pelkey: Oh.

Mike Gerholdt: Used to write triggers... You had to execute them, usually deploy through a sandbox.

Laura Pelkey: I see.

Mike Gerholdt: And yeah, so it was basically a way of executing on the platform, because there was before triggers, there was after triggers, there was before save triggers and after save triggers, right, it's a way of executing. And you can still write triggers on the platform. It's a code way of executing automation or executing actions before or after the fact on a record once it's been instantiated.

Laura Pelkey: Got it. Well, I was a no code...

Mike Gerholdt: And they were intimidating.

Laura Pelkey: Yes. I'm very much no code if there's any possible way to avoid it so I'm happy that now there's more automation stuff that can help with that. I'm very much the audience of no code, more... What is it? More clicks, no code? I'm saying it wrong.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Laura Pelkey: Sure. It can be that.

Mike Gerholdt: It can be that. At least make it up as we go.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Clicks, not code there's that too. I don't know. It doesn't have to be, right. I'm sure there's still stuff you can do with the trigger that flow builder doesn't do. And immediately after this podcast errors and somebody listens to it, I will be roasted on Twitter for not knowing it.

Laura Pelkey: I just opened a can of worms.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Laura Pelkey: Sorry about that.

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay.

Laura Pelkey: Hopefully people find it interesting, though.

Mike Gerholdt: Retweet you in everything.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Hopefully people find it entertaining. That's the goal.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Laura Pelkey: All right. My blog pick is, for December, 'How MFA Can Save Your Company Money While Reducing Risk' by our colleague Chris Marzilli. I actually helped a little bit with this blog post. This is, for those of you who don't know that are listening, Salesforce recently commissioned a new study from Forrester to explore if there are, if there's any monetary value for our customers in implementing MFA or multifactor authentication, if you're not familiar with that term. And the results of the study are super compelling. I won't go into the whole thing, but just a little bit of a spoiler. You can actually expect ROI from MFA, not only in terms of risk reduction, which is obviously the number one reason to do it, but also in cost savings with Salesforce's MFA solution, which is crazy. This report or this new study is great, we're trying to circulate it and really get it in front of our customers so that they can use it to kind of help build the business case for implementing MFA, especially to their leadership if they're running into any challenges when trying to make this implementation. Cause sometimes it's more complicated depending on the kind of business you're in or the industry you're in. This blog specifically will help you position that.

Mike Gerholdt: I was looking at it and I have a question because it's something I've never heard of. Is there cyber insurance premiums?

Laura Pelkey: There is a thing, such a thing as cybersecurity insurance.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay.

Laura Pelkey: I'm very far from an expert on what is going to make your premiums lower, but I do, I would venture to guess that most companies probably at this point do have some kind of cybersecurity insurance. I know it's crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I guess you can ensure everything, right.

Laura Pelkey: You can insure...

Mike Gerholdt: Lloyds of London, but.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: I just never heard of cyber insurance premiums.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Learn something new on this podcast every day.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. It's pretty crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: What triggers are...

Laura Pelkey: I know. Many new things. Yeah. But this blog is really great. I would definitely urge people to take a look at it if they're still trying to figure out how to get this, the MFA implementation ball rolling.

Mike Gerholdt: And we'll wrap up our content part, Laura, with video. I'll have you go first because I mean, I like the video you picked.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Spoiler alert.

Laura Pelkey: I know. I picked 'Why Is There No “i” in the Salesforce Admins Twitter Handle?' and if people haven't seen this... I know this is a little bit of a lighter topic, and usually we highlight content that is maybe a little bit more serious or something, but this is kind of one of my favorite speakers. Mike, I think his name is Mike Gerholdt. I don't know if you have heard of him or if you know him.

Mike Gerholdt: I've never heard of him. He must be new.

Laura Pelkey: He must be new, yeah. As somebody that... Back before I worked at Salesforce, I was a Salesforce customer and I've always been surprised, in a really good way, at the community that our customers have created once I came on board and sort of made the transition to a Salesforce employee. And we know this, that admins are really at the heart of any Salesforce implementation. And I remember back to my very first world tour in New York, I was very intimidated at the idea of running a security booth and standing there for, I don't know, we used to stand there for eight hours at a time or something.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, yeah. In this particular instance you were a machine.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Cause I think you staffed it solo.

Laura Pelkey: I might have been by myself, which was hard. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Totally a bad decision, but you got to make him early.

Laura Pelkey: It was a crash course and yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It was.

Laura Pelkey: I was intimidated and I was worried that customers weren't going to like me or that they weren't really going to want to talk or, but I was so happy. What I found actually was such an amazingly warm community of people who really genuinely wanted to learn. And they also wanted to give feedback to us on our products and how we could make our products better. And just collectively, it was never about me, me, me, it's oh, I think this feature's really helpful to all admins or have you ever thought of doing something like this? This would be helpful to more people. And I just love that kind of just the ethos of Salesforce admins. That was why I picked this particular video.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And that's, that was a fun time because that's also when we were setting up the admin Twitter. And I remember being on a conference call with Sarah and Jillian and our Twitter representative and they were adamant at that time you could not have admin in a handle. I don't care what kind to handle you were setting up, it would not say admin or administrator. We couldn't get around it, so that's why it didn't have a, spoiler alert, in case you watch the video.

Laura Pelkey: Have we gotten past the statute of limitations where you could possibly get in trouble for this?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, actually a few years ago they... I think they might have relaxed it or something, but we chose to stick with the MNS.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Because Jillian pointed out in the meeting, she's like, there's no i in admin and I think that just relates right back to the story that you told.

Laura Pelkey: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And I do remember that world tour, you were a machine, you worked the entire time. I was like, I'm going to go get you this glass of water.

Laura Pelkey: Oh man.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe go stand at the booth for a while or Starbucks or something.

Laura Pelkey: I do miss those days though, to be honest, which is funny looking back on it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I mean, in case you're wondering, almost every Salesforce employee at Dreamforce New York runs off of Starbucks that day. That's it, that's all we get to eat. We drink coffee all day and whatever pastries or food they'll throw in an oven.

Laura Pelkey: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what we eat. I've never had more Starbucks in my life than when I do Dreamforce New York.

Laura Pelkey: Yep. Or more of the like Rice Krispy Treats from Starbucks.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Those are pretty good, too.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Those go quick.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I picked the Demystify Flow Limits by Debugging from J who is on my admin EV team. And I love it because... Well, first of all, J, really great on camera. They really have a great personality and very approachable way of explaining things. But I also feel as we talk through automation, we sometimes forget that you're going to hit a wall. And when you hit that wall, it's good to understand how to get around that wall or why you hit that wall. And you can hit limits and users can get errors, and it's important to understand that. And it's also important to be able to kind of work through that or debug it. Fun video.

Laura Pelkey: Very fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Should look up the history of why it's called bugs in coding. It's cause they actually found a bug on a circuit board that was ruining something.

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh, really?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yep. That's where bugging came from.

Laura Pelkey: That is an, that is a great fun fact.

Mike Gerholdt: Fun fact, it's an actual bug.

Laura Pelkey: That is a great fun fact.

Mike Gerholdt: All right. Last podcast of the year. Tomorrow's New Year's Eve, champagne, three, two, one, ball drops. Do you watch Ryan Seacrest? I watch Ryan Seacrest because I'm old.

Laura Pelkey: I don't really...

Mike Gerholdt: You don't have to admit to it. You've already admitted to a lot of things.

Laura Pelkey: I know, yeah. This is, I'll just keep the admissions to [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: But I figured, so I looked up what we did in 2020 and Jillian and I ended the year on a fun holiday kind of wrap up addition. And I thought I'd carry that through this year, Laura, with you. Just to keep things in... What we found, things that made us happy this year, and I threw in a few categories, the first category just to keep it generic is pop culture. I don't know if you want to go first, but anything that you found maybe this year, that in the pop culture realm made you happy or I don't know, you liked?

Laura Pelkey: For pop culture, I will say I've been watching a lot more television since the pandemic started. I think as probably many of us have. This is embarrassing, this is very embarrassing to say. I invite anybody who wants to, to judge me for this, but I've been actually recently started watching the show Love Island UK. And I hate to admit that, but I love it.

Mike Gerholdt: Because there's a US version too, right?

Laura Pelkey: There's a US version, but I actually feel more... I feel like the UK version, you don't, they sound more intelligent.

Mike Gerholdt: They do?

Laura Pelkey: Because I'm learning all of these new British words, so all their slang. I feel it's educational for me in a way.

Mike Gerholdt: It's actually work prep for the next time you go to Dreamforce London.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Just log all these hours as work prep.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if anyone else listening watches Love Island UK, but... I mean, I hate to admit it, but I really, I do enjoy it.

Mike Gerholdt: Guilty pleasure.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Guilty pleasure.

Mike Gerholdt: I... Well, first of all, I was, I think last year I talked about binge watching M*A*S*H. I finished that, I am contemplating starting it all over again. I watched every episode in order once a day, not...

Laura Pelkey: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: One, let me clarify, one episode in order every single day. It took a while, but I got through every episode of M*A*S*H and I just so enjoyed that show growing up. But I finished that, went through a few other binge watchy stuff. I feel like it's interesting because some of these, you're kind of noticing like, oh this is clearly when they went back filming and stuff feels different, but I did find, and I know it's on the third season, so I'm catching up. But I found You on Netflix.

Laura Pelkey: Oh yeah. That show.

Mike Gerholdt: It's also funny because when you bring it up, it totally sounds like a really weird sentence.

Laura Pelkey: It does.

Mike Gerholdt: No, no. Laura, I found You on Netflix.

Laura Pelkey: It sounds, yeah. I think you should just say it around everyone and see what their reaction is.

Mike Gerholdt: Not Laura, I found You.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. It's a little creepy.

Laura Pelkey: I've heard that. Yeah. I haven't seen it, but I've heard that. But it's a good show.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that it's narrated in, you get their inner thoughts. That's 90% of the show.

Laura Pelkey: Oh interesting.

Mike Gerholdt: 90% of the show is their inner dialogue that they have with themselves.

Laura Pelkey: Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: I have a lot of inner dialogue.

Laura Pelkey: I don't ever want anyone to be hearing mine.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my God. It'd be a hot mess.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. That would just be a mess.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing that we could, there's no transition to that. None.

Laura Pelkey: No.

Mike Gerholdt: How do you transition off of inner dialogue? Hey, let's talk about Salesforce features. Oh, that's an obvious transition.

Laura Pelkey: Well, we're building the fee... No, I'm just, I'm not even going to joke about that. Not even.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I was like "One thing you'll hear me talking about all the time is Salesforce feature in my head." I did look up, did you find what Salesforce feature that came out in 2021 that you liked? Excited about? Favorite?

Laura Pelkey: I will say my... I think the feature that I'm probably proudest of and that I think is the most useful for our customers at this point in time, and from my perspective as a security person, is the MFA assistant.

Mike Gerholdt: Imagine that.

Laura Pelkey: I know. I'm, I threw in the Love Island UK reference just so I would be less predictive.

Mike Gerholdt: Tried to throw everybody off the scent. It didn't work

Laura Pelkey: Everything comes back to MFA or security work to me. But yeah, I'm super proud of that feature. I mean, this is a tool that we built. I did not build it, but a very talented team worked on it and built it to be native across all of the products built on the Salesforce platform to really enable our customers with a step by step process to implement multifactor authentication. Which as you know, it's not just one click and done there's a rolling out, there's some change management aspects. It can be... It can take some time, but I'm super proud of this feature and I think it's really helpful at the end of the day.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well you'll be pleased to know that I chose a feature that I've, I feel is in the same ballpark as yours. It's security-esque minded, to be a security minded admin. In summer, we came out with expirations on perm set.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, yeah. That's a good one.

Mike Gerholdt: I just like that... Hello, now I don't have to set a calendar expiration or just forget completely.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I just think it's so cool.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I love stuff that I can set a date on or a timer. If you knew how many things in my house were Google-ified or timered, I love to just be in my house and things turn on at the right time.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. You just feel like the...

Mike Gerholdt: It's weird. Not as weird as watching Love Island UK, but it's weird. But, and expiration dates on perm sets feel that way, right? I can set this thing up, I can be in the moment, I can do the thing, and then, oh, by the way, this needs to end on December 15th. Boop, don't have to worry about it.

Laura Pelkey: That's awesome. Right, and you're already setting it up and so now your work is condensed to that one moment versus [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Laura Pelkey: It's such a time saver. And also just ensures that, ensures security.

Mike Gerholdt: Ensures that if you take time off on December 15th, that you don't have to log in.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. That's incredible.

Mike Gerholdt: Because you could be on Love Island.

Laura Pelkey: Right? You might be, you mean, you never know.

Mike Gerholdt: And they'll probably take your phone.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, they do.

Mike Gerholdt: And you're like, no, you don't understand. I'm a Salesforce admin and I have to revoke this perm set.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, they take your phone. You can't talk to anyone outside the island. Actually it sounds a little extreme, but yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: A lot extreme.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Very extreme.

Mike Gerholdt: They must have a filter. What if somebody calls?

Laura Pelkey: I don't... Yeah. I'm sure there's, you have to talk to a producer or something.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Also how would you like to be that person?

Laura Pelkey: No. No, thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Hey your brother just called. What's going on? Oh, nothing just broke his toe.

Laura Pelkey: I like to be, I just, I like to be the viewer. A viewer, just a viewer.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Third thing... I mean in 2020, it was very much cooking. I did not give up cooking in 2021. I still cook a lot.

Laura Pelkey: Good.

Mike Gerholdt: Even though it's the Home Chef... I love those make your own meal stuff like the Hello Fresh and whatever.

Laura Pelkey: Oh yeah. What's the other one? Blue Apron, is that still around?

Mike Gerholdt: I've done that. It's hard.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, is it? Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: It's hard. We do Hello Fresh and Home Chef.

Laura Pelkey: Okay. Those are cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Home Chef is based in Chicago, so it's pow at my front door right away.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: We did the Blue Apron one. I like that they've got different meals for different skillsets. I don't know if they're sitting at a computer, a hot monitor all day, slaving over a keyboard.

Laura Pelkey: I know.

Mike Gerholdt: Sometimes I just couldn't bring myself to make some of those meal kits.

Laura Pelkey: Right. It's hard enough just to get, just to move to the couch to turn on Love Island.

Mike Gerholdt: Right? Exactly. You understand the struggle.

Laura Pelkey: I get it. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: My food find for this year is kind of a rediscovery. And it's a rediscovery because in 2020, I didn't make it to really any events, outdoor events like car shows or the fair or things like that. 2021, my house everybody's vaccinated. We've got the boosters, all the shots. And we actually made it to, I want to say four or five different car shows and a national show as well.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, that's awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing that I forgot I, how much I loved about all of those events is the vendors. And in particular, one of them where they make the homemade lemonade and they chopped two or three lemons, they put them in some sort of medieval press, some sort of cup of sugar and a few chunks of ice and they throw in some water and then they shake the living daylights out of it. And then they hand it to you in some sort of sippy cup. I kid you not, at one car show, I bought so much lemonade from this one vendor that I walked up and she was like, "You've been great to us."

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh.

Mike Gerholdt: "Give me your cup and I will fill it."

Laura Pelkey: Aw.

Mike Gerholdt: I was like, "Thank you." And she goes, "No, you've bought a lot of lemonade from us." And to be fair, it was 98 degrees. It was the hottest show I'd ever been at, just, you were melting.

Laura Pelkey: Lemonade is great for something like that, for a day like that.

Mike Gerholdt: It's perfect. It was perfect.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I know it feels very simple, but that... It's like, Lemonade's a sandwich. It's better when somebody else makes it.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Now that sounds good. Now I feel thirsty.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. And it goes all year. You can have lemonade in the winter. It's not bad.

Laura Pelkey: No. I need to get some after this.

Mike Gerholdt: You feel kind of sunshine-y.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it is nice. I mean, it's delicious.

Mike Gerholdt: Laura, what did you find for food this year? Not to distract you from my lemonade.

Laura Pelkey: I know, I'm just thinking about lemonade now. Well, let's see.

Mike Gerholdt: It's really good.

Laura Pelkey: There... Actually on my recent trip to New York, this is just a New York themed podcast, I guess, for some reason.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I mean, we did Dreamforce New York

Laura Pelkey: Right. Oh, that makes sense. Not for some reason, actually for a very logical reason.

Mike Gerholdt: Also New York in the holiday season is beautiful.

Laura Pelkey: It's fun. It's beautiful. Yeah. I went to the best Italian restaurant I've ever been to in New York, run by a family that's from Rome, so very authentic Italian. And I had a pasta carbonara, which is, it's the very creamy, lots of cheese, I think there's panchetta in it. The best carbonara I've ever had in my whole life. And I've had a lot and I've even tried to make it. And this was worlds beyond what I've ever had. And it's just, now it's just ruined forever because I will only want it from that Italian restaurant in New York.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Laura Pelkey: Oh it was so good. It was so good, though.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Fresh, I've had fresh carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Not by somebody from Rome, but we... Two years ago, I feel, two or three years ago we were in New York and the team got together and we went to this really fun Italian restaurant, Jillian and a few of us. And we had a really great dish, but yeah. Fresh carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh. And they make the pasta.

Mike Gerholdt: Fresh pasta.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Handmade pasta. Oh my God. It's so good, I'm so hungry now, also.

Mike Gerholdt: For carbonara and lemonade.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Right. That would be kind of a weird, maybe a great combo. Have never tried it.

Mike Gerholdt: I don't know. It could. I mean the lemonade's very acidic, would help break up the creaminess of the carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. If anyone's still listening to this and you would like to try that, please let us know how it goes.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah. We'll totally set up a lemonade and carbonara dinner at our next event.

Laura Pelkey: Yes. Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what we should do.

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh. That's what we're going to serve at the security booth at our next event.

Mike Gerholdt: Lemonade and carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Only your true...

Mike Gerholdt: I could just see you standing there, "Can I scan in your badge for a little cup of carbonara?"

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I would do it, I have no shame. Anything to get somebody to come over to talk to me, are you kidding? No shame. I would absolutely give away lemonade and carbonara.

Mike Gerholdt: What was that thing that you did at Trailhead DX? Chase the flag, is that what it's called?

Laura Pelkey: Oh, capture the flag. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Capture the flag. Yeah.

Laura Pelkey: Capture the flag.

Mike Gerholdt: She's got to rename that.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.
Capture the lemonade..

Mike Gerholdt: Carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Capture the carbonara.

Mike Gerholdt: Capture the carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: I bet you we probably get some people with that.

Mike Gerholdt: You have equally excited people who don't have carbonara and then a whole area of people just napping.

Laura Pelkey: Yep. Yeah. Then there's just the nap area.

Mike Gerholdt: Carb loaded on carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: They show up for carbonara, then we spring it on them that they're actually participating in a hackathon. They want the carbonara, but I bet you, they try.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, that's a cruel, that would be a cruel trick. Have a 24 hour hackathon with all you can eat carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Yes, my gosh. You have to fight sleep and you're...

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's... I mean, come on.

Laura Pelkey: A double edge sword.

Mike Gerholdt: It's Survivor, right?

Laura Pelkey: Survivor. It's developer Survivor.

Mike Gerholdt: Do you have anything with caffeine? Nope. We got this fresh glass of lemonade.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Nope, sorry. Just some herbal tea though if you would like to have some tea. Camomile.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice warm herbal tea.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: We're mean.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. You're right now.

Mike Gerholdt: Guess who's never going to hire us to do a hackathon?

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Everyone.

Laura Pelkey: Anyone, right? I was going to say. Yeah, I don't know who does that, but definitely we won't be on their sure list.

Mike Gerholdt: No. "Hey we should do a hackathon. Well, I know who not to hire." It's those crazy people over on the admins podcast.

Laura Pelkey: Yep. Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, to tie a bow on this last podcast for 2021, if you'd like to learn more about all the things we just talked about, minus lemonade and the carbonara, please go to to find those links and a few more or resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmns. No I on Twitter. I am, of course @mikegerholdt on Twitter and Jillian, my co-host who is currently on leave right now, is @jilliankbruce. Of course, my guest host today was LauraPelkey. If you want to send carbonara to her or follow her on Twitter, you can follow her @laurapelkey1 because the original Laura Pelkey is off.

Laura Pelkey: Somebody beat me to it.

Mike Gerholdt: Probably. Maybe she's on Love Island.

Laura Pelkey: She's probably on Love Island. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Not UK.

Laura Pelkey: No.

Mike Gerholdt: Anyway, with that last podcast for 2021. Stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned. We will see you in the new year.


Direct download: December_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Laura_Pelkey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring on Principal Admin Evangelist LeeAnne Rimel and Lead Admin Evangelist J. Steadman to discuss identifying as a Salesforce Admin.

Join us as we talk about what it means to identify as a Salesforce Admin. 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel and J. Steadman.

Becoming a Salesforce Admin

The title of Salesforce admin can often be hard-earned. LeeAnne had to lobby for the title to make sure her instance got the support it needed. “At that point in my career, I really didn’t know that there were other names that the people who managed the Salesforce instances were called,” she says. Even today, “a lot of employers don’t know how to ask for a Salesforce Administrator and a lot of Salesforce Administrators don’t know if people know what they do”

“I printed out the certificate I got after my cert and hung it on the outside of my cube,” J. says, “and I got a lot of really strange looks.” But he was so proud of getting his certification that he would tell anyone who listened. There was a lot of pride around being a Salesforce admin, but also a lot of ambiguity around what that title actually meant.

Hybrid Titles and How the Ecosystem Is Changing

Some admins used hybrid titles like “declarative developer” or “citizen developer” or even “admineloper.” The desire is to express that admins do things above and beyond what people think a typical system administrator is capable of. You’re building Flows and custom objects and fields, but you’re still the Salesforce administrator.

“There was a point in time when we had to make modifications and additions to how we talked about Salesforce administrators in order to translate it to the type of work that was happening in the technology hiring ecosystem,” LeeAnne says. But now, the unique skillset that admins have calls for a greater sense of community around the role, and a larger view of what admins do in general.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we're switching it up a little bit. I am talking with principal admin evangelist, LeeAnne Rimel, and lead admin evangelist, J. Steadman about identifying as a Salesforce admin, really putting that in your job title, assuming that identity and all the different variations and terms that seem to be out there. So, it's a fun podcast, I love our discussion. Let's get LeeAnne and J on the podcast. So LeeAnne and J, welcome to the podcast.

LeeAnne Rimel: Thanks so much for having us.

J. Steadman: Yeah, thank you.

Mike: It's been a while since we've chatted, J, I feel like it's been an episode.

J. Steadman: That's probably true.

Mike: Probably true. One thing to talk about, so we've delved deep into a few different topics in the month of December, and I'm hoping everybody enjoys these podcasts while they put up some holiday decorations or something, maybe make some party mix. But one thing that I had always come up on my radar and I know LeeAnne it's come up on your radar and J as well, because you do a lot of volunteering with Pathfinders is the term Salesforce admin, and how we see it pop up in different pieces of content. So I know the term has always been pretty close to me. I've always identified that way and never really chose to use a different nomenclature, but I would love to get your thoughts on that as we kick off this discussion.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah. That's a big question, right? What does Salesforce admin mean? I know my own personal history with the name. I became a Salesforce admin, that was something I really aspired to. About 14 years ago, I was working for Kaiser Permanente and I was doing database work, and I was really trying to take over our Salesforce instance basically. And I had to lobby to get my title changed, to be the Salesforce admin, so I owned our Salesforce instance and I could guide it and make decisions about it and advocate for budget that we needed to fix it. And so it was interesting for me when I joined Salesforce because I didn't really know that there was other names that people called the people who manage Salesforce instances at that point in my career.
And so I feel like one of the things when we work with the admin community is we really spend a lot of time sometimes sifting through the different names and the different language that people use to talk about the job duties and the role and the individuals who manage and implement Salesforce, right? So that's a little bit of my, I guess, background with that job title or label or whatever we want to call it. And to me it's always been a little bit interesting, I think, probably because part of my own history was that I really wanted that role, and I really was so proud to build that into my career. So I was a little surprised and had to understand more when I saw that, that's... I think a lot of employers don't know how to ask for a Salesforce administrator and a lot of people out there don't know if they say Salesforce administrator, if people will know what they do.
And so Mike, and I know we've spent a lot of time talking and working on this, how do we help everyone know what Salesforce admins do and how do we help people understand what the job does both on the hiring and the job candidate side?

J. Steadman: Yeah, on my side of things, I had a very similar experience to you, LeeAnne, when I became a Salesforce admin, this would be, I think, 2012 I accidentally admin-ed myself, and I really fell in love with it. I really sought out that title of Salesforce administrator and surprised people at work by going out and getting my credential. And I printed out the certificate that I got after I passed my cert and I hung it on the outside of my cube, not the inside of my cube, and I got a lot of really strange looks. Very small company and people were like, "What are you doing?" And I was like, "Well, let me tell you," and I would explain it to them. And it was really, really exciting, right?
I think as I consider the title, Salesforce administrator and our awesome admin community, and I think through other terms that I've seen float around in various places, what I think I often see is people or the intent... We see phrases like declarative developer or Mike, I think you were telling me about you saw a portmanteau of admin and developer that was admineloper or something like that.

Mike: Yeah. I've seen that pop up in a few presentations, admineloper.

J. Steadman: Yeah, I think the intention is less about... And this is just my gut, right? I don't have any hard data on this, but I think... my gut tells me that system administrator is a title that has existed for a very long time before Salesforce came around, right? And I think people are... they want to differentiate themselves and they want to indicate that the skillset that they have may go deeper than what a traditional system administrator does.
And so some of these other terms pop up here and there, but I think what's unique about Salesforce and Salesforce administration is that a Salesforce administrator is an individual who is doing declarative development. That's the thing that you're doing, building flows, right? But you're still the Salesforce administrator. You're building custom objects in fields, but you're still the Salesforce administrator. You are meeting with the business and gathering requirements, but you are still the Salesforce administrator. And it makes me consider what is a Salesforce administrator and why do we like this title? Why do we hold onto this title? And for me, at least being a person who has only recently joined the team about six months ago here in the evangelist group, there's community, Salesforce administrators unite. If I were to say that, the Power Rangers Voltron around a bunch of people would suddenly rush into the room and we'd be able to solve an awesome problem. But if I were to say admineloper unite, I'm not sure that I'd have that same community that would respond.
So for me at least, I have talked about things like declarative development in the past to differentiate the way in which I develop business logic, which is through declarative tools, and yet I remain a Salesforce administrator. And I think that the power of our community and the breadth of what we do, that's what defines us as Salesforce admins.

LeeAnne Rimel: So two things jump out to me from that J, one, I had to look up what portmanteau was. Thank you for adding a new word for [crosstalk].

J. Steadman: It is a combination of two words. Yeah.

LeeAnne Rimel: Well, I now know this because I it really quick. And from what you're covering, is how that importance of having that common shared language. And it almost feels like sometimes there was a point in time when we had to make modifications and additions to how we talked about Salesforce administrators in order to translate it to the type of work that was happening out in the technology hiring ecosystem. I think we felt like we had to add things maybe to our resume or to our title or how we described ourselves to maybe when there wasn't as big of a Salesforce ecosystem, there wasn't as many admins, there wasn't as many customer companies. And then now on the flip side of that, it becomes more important to use that common language so that we can leverage the power of the community and connecting with others, and accessing those best practices, those recommendations, that community element of what are those duties in my job? What are those things that I should be doing? What are those skills I should be developing? What type of roles should I be looking for?
Where language should change as the landscape changes, and so maybe where it did at times make sense 10 years ago to say, "Yes, I do a lot of declarative development or I'm a citizen developer on Salesforce," or whatever language you're using, it's like now employers know what they're looking for, for the most part with Salesforce admins. They know what a Salesforce admin is for the most part, they know what that job is, so now it becomes more important to rationalize and update our language.

J. Steadman: Yeah, I agree. And I think it's interesting when we look at the work that admins do, right? We build reports and dashboards, we can modify the objects and fields, again, the schema, we build business logic, we maintain pages, we manage users, we make sure that our data is clean. And most of the time when I see folks starting to waffle around the title admin, it's usually when we're playing around with that business logic piece. And it feels to me like there's this implicit belief out there perhaps that if I'm touching business logic, that must mean that I am thinking like a developer or I am doing developer work. And while configuration in this way is in fact development, it's well within the purview of the Salesforce administrator. And to anyone who's listening that has strong feelings about things being done in an org, I'm talking about doing things the right way, of course. There is a right way and a right solution to choose, and declarative solutions are not always the right tool to choose, but it is possible to have well built, well configured, declarative business logic.

LeeAnne Rimel: Well, and I would say actually that should always be evaluated first.

J. Steadman: Yes, of course. Upfront you want to say, "Hey, we have this business challenge or this business objective or this requirement." And then hopefully at our business, we have established what we would consider to be our design standards. And we have determined which solutions are appropriate, given the requirements. And then we go ahead and we design and we build those solutions and then of course they get deployed. And yet no one that I'm aware of is really concerned about calling themselves a data scientist or an analyst if they're building reports and dashboards. This name differentiation that I tend to see usually orients itself around folks that are touching business logic.
And it's interesting because one of the things that I've been most drawn to is I've grown through the past nine or 10 years on the platform is this ability to bridge communication and organizations between Salesforce admins and Salesforce developers. Realizing that we're all part of the same larger team, or we're all on the spectrum or the rainbow of doing stuff on the platform together. And I'm curious if either you or Mike, have thoughts about this. What feels to me like an implied division where, "Yes, I can modify the data structure. Yes, I can design solutions. Yes, I can modify pages and give a better user experience and design things well for my users, but if I touch logic, then I have to make sure I'm telling people that I'm doing something different." Where do you think that comes from? Is that something that you see as well? Is that something that I'm finding just in my own anecdotal experience?

LeeAnne Rimel: I don't know that I've seen... I don't know that I've seen as much of that, as much of the hesitation to embrace the business analysis piece as an admin. I feel like what I encounter or in my experience working with admins more often is that... Well, I'm thinking about these experiences with admins and this compulsion to feel like they need to sometimes adjust their title in order to feel legitimate in the work that they're doing. To me, I feel like that's what it boils down to, right? No matter what the subject matter area is, it feels like sometimes there's times that Salesforce administrators feel like they need to add a lot of asterisks or a lot of addendums to their title in order to feel comfortable occupying the space that a Salesforce administrator occupies.
And I don't know if those pressures come from... There's rampant, toxic elitism in the tech industry, there just is. It's just reality, it's not unique to Salesforce, it's not unique to developers, it's not unique to... It's just there. And we talk a lot about imposter syndrome and toxic elitism. And so I don't know what those forces are that make people feel sometimes like they need to claim some different language in order to feel valid or comfortable doing that work. To me, it comes down to feeling empowered to do the work that you're doing and to not feel like you have to. Because also at the end of the day, a title's a title. It's to embrace the work that you're doing, to embrace the community that you're a part of.
And I always found the admin... And people used to talk about admin to developer, admineloper and all of that. And I was an admin who coded, but personally, I never had any interest in becoming a full-time developer. My personal opinion is that the declarative platform is just incredibly, incredibly important for Salesforce and for the community. And you can be a really, really good admin without knowing how to code. I think you cannot be a good developer without knowing how to do declarative work. I've seen a lot of really messy orgs when people tried to go code first. It's like, "Oh."

J. Steadman: Cosigned. Yeah, me too.

LeeAnne Rimel: "Tell me more about your entirely custom built forecasting platform because you didn't know we had a forecasting..." I don't know, so I think some of it is just leaning... It's that comfort. How do we remove some of that or mitigate some of that toxic elitism that comes with the language that we use and who deserves to be in what space, and where do Salesforce admins belong?

Mike: I think one of the things running LeeAnne off of what I heard from you, there's a few things that I took from what you and J said. I think the name differentiations seem to be caught up in the admin world often around the task that the admin does or tasks, right? And so I was trying to think of another industry where more than one word exists for... And I think title's different than identity, but for an identity.
And we say adminelopers like, "Well, I'm really an admin that writes some code." So you're an admin, right? Or J, you said build a lot. You could call yourself a builder, but it's often encompassing. So often I have to identify myself as a Salesforce admin first and then also attach all of the tasks that I do. I'm a Salesforce admin business intelligence analyst, I have to tack on all of the things that I have to do, whereas I'm sitting back and I'm thinking like, "So why don't airplane pilots do that?" Because you walk up, go to an airport, talk to somebody, they could introduce themselves, "I'm an airplane pilot." They don't tack on all of the tasks that they do.

J. Steadman: And I also navigate.

Mike: Yeah, and I also...

LeeAnne Rimel: I like to land.

Mike: Yeah. Well that's exactly what I was... LeeAnne you took my example, but-

LeeAnne Rimel: I'm sorry.

Mike: ... nobody says, "I'm an airplane pilot takeoff specialist." No, they just, "I'm a pilot." There's tasks that I do, and I'm wondering if it's because it's such a new identity in the space because we don't talk about developers in the same manner.

J. Steadman: I think it's important too to... You have introduced a new concept here in the conversation. Not only is it a new identity, but the technology that we work with, the Salesforce platform is something that is continually evolving, growing and changing in ways that are unique. So you could be a Salesforce administrator and the stuff you could be using, maybe messaging like Slack, integrations like MuleSoft, data analytics like Tableau or Tableau CRM, or core platform where you're making custom applications, a mobile application. You could be an admin, that's only doing reporting. You could be an admin that's only doing user management. I've met admins that are doing all of these things or any combination thereof, not to even begin... What about the various clouds that we have? Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Experience Cloud, right? There's so much stuff and that hasn't always been the case.
I think maybe I'm suddenly like chaining us to a really heavy load to lift, but it makes sense then that sometimes people would feel a little bit... If what we have to do is communicate what it is that we do with our title, which we often do in short conversations with folks, and communicate to them that they can trust us. We have to establish trust with the people that we talk to in our business, our stakeholders, our users, it can be important to convey to them the things that they need to hear. And so it falls to folks like us, Mike you, LeeAnne you, and myself and Jen and the rest of the broader admins relations team. Part of the burden is we got to make sure that it's really nice and easy to convey some of those things, which excites me about some of the work that has been done recently on the team.
We previewed some of this content at Dreamforce where we talked about admin skills and the responsibilities. We've got the great Essential Habit series that has been around for a very long time, Mike, with the work that you've done. And I think in the way that I'm sitting and looking at it, it's important for us to make sure that admins understand very clearly that, "Hey, if you write some code, great, you can still be an admin. Hey, are you using Flow Builder all the time? Great. You can still be an admin." The idea that you're using a developer's mind as opposed to a builder's like, "Yo, you're doing business logic [crosstalk] in the platform, that to me sounds like admin, good job." And that one should be proud of those things.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah. I think you gave a really S overview there, J, and something that really sticks out to me is that sense of you're not using a developer's mind or you're not using... this is encompassing of the role of Salesforce admin, of the identity of Salesforce admin. And I think, I know I'm a broken record with this stuff, but I feel like a lot of it comes... To me, I feel like a lot of it comes back to some of the forces out there around tech language and around the language of who is technical that's... If you want me to go off on a total rant, someone will say that someone isn't technical because they don't code, because what does technical mean? It means you use a tool to accomplish a task. That's what it means. And so when we gatekeep words like that, I think some of the residual effects is that it makes people second guess some of the titles out there, second guess themselves and their legitimacy in claiming some of those titles and what it means for them.
Whereas I feel very strongly like if you can build something with a tool, then you are technical. You might be a marketing expert in building a complex email campaign. You might be building out a bunch of automation for your social channels as a social media professional, that means you're technical. And so I think the more that we move away from gatekeeping some of the words that are out there, I think that makes it feel safer for people to really embrace and feel like, J you said pride, and I feel that really deeply, feel pride around their accomplishments as a Salesforce admin, for example.

J. Steadman: I imagine these bubbles floating above all admins, right? And they are the various responsibilities that they have at work. And everyone has different bubbles colored in. One bubble is reports and dashboards, one bubble is data cleansing, one bubble is integration specialist. You can go on and on and on about the various core responsibilities they may have in a day-to-day. But when I look back at my previous work life as an admin and the various titles that businesses can give to that role, but I was working as an admin. I had a peer who had full access to production and who was entirely responsible for interacting with our users there, but I was his peer and I didn't even have access to production. My entire life was in our low environments and doing discovery and building things, using Flow Builder, using Process Builder at the time.
And those are two very different things. If somebody at that org had asked me to build a report for them, I would've had to scratch my head and be like, "Can you tell me more about what you're trying to do?" And I bring this up to say, no matter how many bubbles you have filled in, no matter what your core responsibilities are, no matter what cloud you might be working in, you are a Salesforce admin. Our platform, it's like an ocean of stuff. And maybe when we're trying to differentiate ourselves, we focus more on the conversation about what our, "Hey, this is a responsibility I have. I'm a Salesforce admin at X, and I am in charge of A, B, C and D."

Mike: I like that. LeeAnne, your concept of technology and the level of technology in terms of the tool that we use, I think is very interesting because I love to equate things. And I'm thinking back to when the printing press was invented. And if you look at probably most of the history books throughout the world, it's referred to as a technological advance. But if I were to give somebody a printing press, somebody a typewriter, and somebody a computer, who's the most technical? And it depends on the decade or the era that they're in, but all of them arguably, you could have somebody behind it, who's an editor. And it doesn't change the fact that they know how to edit. The way they edit changes, but all of them are proficient in the tool and the capability of the tool to use it.
And I bring that up because they're extreme examples, right? You go back 10 years ago with Salesforce and to automate something, you had workflows on the declarative side. On the code side, of course you could have wrote triggers. I forget when S-Controls were finally put to rest, but you had different tools.

LeeAnne Rimel: RIP S-Controls.

Mike: Yeah, but that doesn't change the fact that you knew how to do something, right? The way that an editor edits a document meant and prints it doesn't change that they're an editor.

LeeAnne Rimel: I agree. And I think a way language changes and we have to... The purpose of language is for us to be able to communicate with one another and have shared understanding. And I feel like a good barometer or a good self test because there might be people out there that are like, "Well, I'm going to be out here talking about admins and I'm not sure the right language to use, or I want to talk to the entire technical community and what's the language that I should use?" And a lot of my opinion on this or I would say, where I feel like I learned a lot was... Actually there's a woman named April Wensel and she's on Twitter. We'll make sure to include her Twitter link in the show notes.
And she founded this organization called Compassionate Coding. And so she's out here talking a ton about just building compassion into our practice as technologists and everything that we do. And what does that look like? What does that look like in presentations? What does that look like in the communities that we seek to create? And what does that look like in language?
And this was years ago, I'll try to find the thread, I honestly don't know if I'll be able to find it, but she actually did a thread talking about the gate keeping around the language, when we say who's technical. And it was really interesting because I think a good gut check is always, "Why am I modifying language in this way? Why am I using this language? Am I using it to call people into this conversation and to include them to participate or to help them feel like they belong or to notify them that they're in the right place. You found your technical community, because I'm talking about Flow Builder for example, right? Are we choosing our words to call people in and to be compassionate or are we not doing that? Are we doing it for... Maybe we're being absent-minded and we're not really thinking about, we're not being intentional with our language or maybe we're doing it to make sure another community feels special quote unquote.
I think it's just important if you're out here and maybe you write about Salesforce admins or you create content for Salesforce admins, I think, thinking through that exercise of compassion of, am I using, and am I making conscious decisions to include members of the community or am I... And I think what's tough is there's a lot of unintentional and the intent is not malicious, the intent is often just absent-mindedness or just ingrained toxic elitism. But a lot of times, if we don't think about it consciously, we do create exclusive language that doesn't call people in.
And so, I don't know, that's a lot of... I highly recommend looking up April, but I think that we can, as Salesforce admins, think about how we build that into our language. Are we seeking to include people, to help people find a language for their job, for their duties, for their identity, for their community? Or are we creating language that might make people feel like they don't belong?

J. Steadman: LeeAnne, are you familiar with crabs in a bucket?

LeeAnne Rimel: I have seen crabs in a bucket in real life because I'm from the San Juan, but I feel like you're talking about something else.

J. Steadman: Just in general, the idea of throwing the crabs in-

LeeAnne Rimel: I have put crabs into a bucket before, but I feel like you're talking about something more specific than that.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So I ask because I certainly don't want to explain something or review a concept that's already been discussed. So there are two things based on what you're saying, LeeAnne that really occurred to me as being important. The first is we've mentioned technical a number of times, so I dictionary-ed technical because I just want to make sure that we're all drawing from the same definition. And this is mostly for folks in the audience, let's demystify the word technical for a minute, because you'll get people saying, "Hey, are you technical?" Or you'll hear in passing, that person is slash is not technical. So when we say, "Hey, I'm technical," the definition of the word technical is relating to a particular subject, art, or craft or its techniques requiring special knowledge to be understood. That's where it ends. So there's nothing in the definition that's like must be able to use the command line.

LeeAnne Rimel: It's just passion.

J. Steadman: Knowing how stuff works and being able to use it or explain it well. That's the definition of the word technical. When I bring up crabs in a bucket, I think that this is really important because it pertains to some of the gatekeeping or the toxic elitism that you've you've raised here.
So there's a natural behavior, and I haven't actually tested this because it sounds cruel to me, but to my understanding or at least the legend or the myth goes, if you take a crab and you put it in a bucket and it tries to get out, and if it can hook a leg over the edge, it'll get out. There won't be any problems. If you put a couple of crabs in a bucket, and one of them tries to get out, if the first crab that's in the bucket has previously failed, it will actually grab the second crab and pull it back from getting out of the bucket. This behavior will continue if you add more crabs to the point where people like crabs will actually yank each other's legs off. And what they do is they enforce everyone to stay inside the bucket. You can't get out because I tried to get out and I couldn't.
This is apparently a thing that really happens in life, and I think it's a great metaphor for people that have experienced difficulty, challenges or adversity where they believe, "Well, I had to go through A, B and C to get where I am today. Therefore, other people must as well, or it is not valid." And I empathize deeply with that point of view. I went to college and I stupidly racked up way too much college loan debt. If somebody else were to tell me that they got to go to college for free, the initial response that I used to have was like, "Oh really?" That isn't right. But the fact of the matter is if somebody could go through college and not have to pay any dollars at all, that's great for them. And just because it didn't happen to me, that's all right.
And I think that this applies to our jobs as well. And I think we need to be really, really cautious about saying, "10 years ago, this is a thing that could only be done by writing code." Therefore, if it's done in a different way, now it is somehow intrinsically less valuable. I just don't think that's true, and I think we have to challenge ourselves to find those moments and ask ourselves, "Am I actually responding to this situation, because I went through adversity in the past, and I think that one must go through adversity in order to thrive? Can I actually celebrate? Or can we totally flip the model on its head, and can we be a crab that helps other crabs out of the bucket?" Because at the end of the day, I don't think the crabs really want to be in the bucket. I don't think the bucket ends up... That's not good outcome for the crabs. I think the finale is probably a pot somewhere and then someone's belly-

Mike: And [crosstalk].

J. Steadman: So that's crabs in a bucket.

LeeAnne Rimel: I appreciate that explanation. I definitely will always remember that now, and now I wish that when I had actually been crabbing and put crabs in a bucket, I paid closer attention, because I don't feel like I remember this, but I appreciate learning about it. And I think it's a really good point. I think it's thinking about how do we revisit, be in that growth mindset where we're constantly updating our knowledge of the platform, our knowledge of what's possible and a career path, our knowledge and our perception of what roles do. Because I think just as I've been in this ecosystem for 14 years and you both have been in this ecosystem a really long time as well, and the growth and the change in the ecosystem is just... and in the role is just massive. So we have to be constantly updating how we think about it.

Mike: I think so J, listening to your crabs in a bucket scenario, and LeeAnne you're familiar with this, what I heard was the hero's journey, which is really hard to unlearn. I'm not saying we can't unlearn it, I'm not poo-pooing on the idea, but to your example, J, of going to college and racking up a lot of debt versus somebody that went to college and didn't rack up a lot of debt, congrats for them. What's hard for the person that went to college, racked up a lot of debt, paid it off and has a great job is they feel they somehow earned it more. Have you ever heard that they paid their dues?

J. Steadman: Yep, hundred percent.

Mike: Paid your dues, right?

J. Steadman: A hundred percent.

Mike: And that is so ingrained into every storytelling system built, right? The hero goes on a journey, something happens, they have to go into the special world, they have to learn something and they have to come back. They have to-

J. Steadman: There must be conflict.

Mike: There's got to be conflict, they have to come back, they have to defeat that. And then they bring with them the solution. They had to earn that solution.

LeeAnne Rimel: This is where we come back to leading with compassion.

Mike: Yep.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

LeeAnne Rimel: Because I think that, for me reading about this compassionate coding was life changing because it really caused... I think examining, everyone has a different journey to get to where they are, everyone has a different breadth of expertise. Someone might be in their first year as an admin and they might have a huge amount of expertise in other areas, maybe they manage a restaurant. So maybe they know a ton about POS systems and different types of supply chain planning for food products. Everyone has... And I think that that whole leading them with compassion piece and respecting and honoring that we all have these really different backgrounds and different things that were probably difficult for us to learn, or to overcome. And trying to always center on that, I think, helps mitigate a lot of those complicated feelings around wondering who deserves to be where, because I think a lot of times it's what it boils down to is if we spend time thinking about who deserves to be where, who worked harder to be in this conference room that I'm in?

J. Steadman: And this is something... So I've got a kid and she's not even two, she'll be two in January. And when I look at her, and her experience might not be all experiences, and she's my only kid, so kid two might be different if we have kid two, but she certainly isn't sitting there going like, "How hard am I working compared to the person sitting over there?" She's just like, "Hey, can I have a good time? Hey, can you have a good time?" And I think this idea of like, I need to compare how hard I've worked to how hard you've worked, and then look at the outcomes of how hard we've worked, and is it the same? And if it's not the same, that's not right. I don't know. There's something in that that seems forced upon me.
If we're a part of a community, if you are successful, fantastic. If I am successful, fantastic. No matter how hard we've had to work to get there. I think sometimes because we've suffered, we look at somebody who hasn't, and we think, "I got dealt a really bad hand. And it really bums me out that that happened to me. And it would've been so much easier for me if I hadn't been dealt this bad hand." And so we start to become angry. And speaking as a person who's gone through my fair share of downs, I totally understand that point of view. And I think it's our responsibility to look at ourselves and say, "Hey, I'm having this reaction right now. What is this reaction?"
And I'm going to use a totally ludicrous example. I listen to a lot of music, and I used to be a musician professionally, and I listen to a lot of music that's coming out right now. Because one thing I never wanted to do was be a person that was stuck on the bands that I loved when I was in high school, which coincidentally, I still am, but I also want to love modern music. And I want that to be true forever, which means that I've got to face down trends. And sometimes, I'll hear a song and I won't just dislike it. It'll be doing something musically that just makes me angry like, "What is this?" And I make it a point to myself to stop and say, "What is it about this song that is grinding your gears?" And I'll actually take that song and put it on repeat over and over and over again for a day. I once listened to Corey Feldman's album-

Mike: Oh, wow.

J. Steadman: ... Angelic 2 the Core on repeat for an entire week.

LeeAnne Rimel: It's like auditory self-flagellation.

J. Steadman: Yeah, so I could understand. And I have to be honest with you, it truly is just a terrible, terrible album, but I did this for a week so that I could understand. And you know what? Sometimes you're right not to like something, but a lot of times, especially when it's new stuff or changes, it's because of this thing that you're bringing up the end, this idea of, "Well, I understand music to be," and then you insert your own definition. And the thing that makes me angry, calls itself music, but it's doing something different, and that's not right. And so I encourage everyone that's listening when you're looking at any term that defines anything in your reality, because we are going deep on this podcast. I think it's important to ask yourself, "What is it that's making me angry about this?" And rather than spending your time expressing the anger, hopping on social and talking about the differences between generations, which is a very common thing that I see, that's a good example of it. Instead of doing that, ask your self, why it is causing you discomfort or anger or frustration?
And I think in exploring that, I think that you'll find something more valuable than the expression of anger itself. I find anger or frustration, that's an opportunity to better understand yourself and hopefully come to a place of improvement.

Mike: I like that. That's really cool. I don't want to end on the subject of anger, but I feel like we're in that realm. I'll give you this. Can each of you share a final thought for Salesforce admins?

LeeAnne Rimel: Sure. I will say, having been in this ecosystem for a long time and being a Salesforce admin myself, I think this is a really amazing and growing role in ecosystem, and the job duties are expanding and growing and getting more interesting and more flexible. And I would encourage everyone out there to embrace it, to embrace their Salesforce admin role, and lean into that community. We love meeting new people in the community. So very selfishly, I love seeing more admins in the community, and seeing what they're working on, and seeing the things that they're sharing with other admins. And I'll just reiterate what I said before, if you're out there talking to admins, talking to the community, if you're someone in a role where you're helping create content and communications for admins, I would ask that you just think about, what does it mean to call people in? And how can we actively, with any role that we're working, with our developers, with our architects, with our trailblazers, with our admins, how are we really perpetuating this inclusive community and calling people in and really using thoughtful language with compassion?

J. Steadman: I think my final consideration following up after LeeAnne's amazing wisdom here is when you find yourself running to a different word, stop and explore, ask yourself why, and find the real reason, and if it's a good reason, great stick with it. And if it's not a great reason, then change. And I can promise too, that myself and the other folks that are here in the admin relations team, we are constantly examining the things that you're responsible for as admins. And we are trying to ensure that we are defining that role well in ways that employers and companies and other admins can see, and that definition will evolve and change over time. And we'll do our best work to try and support you and make sure that you don't have to go out of your way to justify the work that you do. And instead that the title can bring with it, the things that you do.

Mike: That was very cool. I'm glad both of you had the opportunity to spend the time with us today, so chat about the admin ever changing admin identity.

J. Steadman: Thank you, Mike.

LeeAnne Rimel: Thanks for having us. This was fun.

Mike: So I enjoyed that conversation with LeeAnne and J. We'll be sure to put the link to April's Twitter on the show notes. And of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. We've got some pod in the Trailhead store. Really cool swag, I like it. I drink my coffee every morning out of that podcast mug, of course we'll include the link in the show notes. You can stay up to date with us on Salesforce admins on social, we are at @salesforceadmns, no i on Twitter. Of course, you can follow my co-host Gillian, she is @gilliankbruce. I am @mikegerholdt and I will also put LeeAnne and J's Twitter on there as well so you can give them a follow.
And with that, I want to remind you next week is our admin retro episode for December so we're looking back at everything content-wise for December. Also, the last podcast for 2021 so we're going to bid 2021 adieu and get ready for 2022. So with that stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Admin_Identity_with_LeeAnne_Rimel_and_J._Steadman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we listen in on a conversation between Lead Admin Evangelist J. Steadman and Architect, Developer Relations, René Winkelmeyer as they discuss the importance of Governance within an organization.

Join us as we talk about why it’s a challenge, not a problem, why the people are the process, and how to recognize when it’s OK to start with an imperfect solution.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with J. Steadman and René Winkelmeyer.

Why Governance Is Important

As organizations across the globe are attempting to affect digital transformation, “moving things from paper and manual processes into systems that everyone can access wherever they’re working from,” as J. says, there are some challenges with coordinating around new platforms and other solutions. Everyone needs to know what everyone else is doing and understand what the goals of each piece of technology are.

Governance is the process to solve this collective challenge and help everyone get on the same page. Salesforce is actually a great example of Governance in action, with new people coming in from acquisitions all the time and the need to get everyone in an organization of 75,000 working together effectively. “Governance is really the focus on solving a collective challenge,” René says, “and a big portion of Governance should also be the people—not only the processes.” Governance allows all of our specialists within the organization—sales, service, etc.—to come together and be bigger than the sum of our parts.

Start With a Vision

There are some key principles behind Governance that make it work. The first thing is accountability, responsibility, fairness, and transparency. As René puts it, “who owns what? And can we make a fair share of everything for everyone?” What’s important is being clear about who owns what and giving them the autonomy they need to do it, but also following up with accountability. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

“It may be an overused term, but I think that everyone starts with a vision,” René says, “and it may be something simple—sometimes things are right in front of your face and you don’t see them.” Sometimes it’s as simple as comparing what your current challenges are with why the technology was purchased in the first place. The important conversation that doesn’t always happen is whether or not everyone is on board, and how to get people there if they’re not already.

Why It’s Ok to Get It Wrong

Getting everyone together means starting with a shared understanding of where you need a process and who the expert in that is. “You have to have the courage to let go of your own ego in these conversations to make sure that you are hearing everyone’s perspective,” J. says. Start with the challenge you’ve observed and then ask the team if there needs to be a process to help with it.

At the end of the day, the goal is to put a new system in place that helps you achieve what you’re trying to do. You want to expand ownership and help people be effective together. It’s a conversation, and you need to pay attention to when you should step back and when you should step forward. Sometimes, it’s about helping people gain a broader perspective of the context in which they’re working. Sometimes, it’s about accepting something that might not be ideal now and being ready to change it as things go forward. 

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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 an awesome admin. Hey, this week, we're joining in on a conversation with Lead Admin Evangelist, J. Steadman, and Architect Dev Evangelism, René Winkelmeyer, as they talk about the importance of governance in an organization. And let me tell you, they really cover a lot of things. I took a lot of notes during this. I'll include a lot of information in the show notes. It's a very cool conversation. And after they're done, I'll jump back in and give you some final thoughts and highlights. So with that, please welcome J and René to the podcast.

J. Steadman: Thank you, Mike. I'm super happy to be here. I am J. Steadman, Lead Admin Evangelist here at Salesforce. I am joined by René. René, would you like to introduce yourself to our audience of awesome admins?

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah, absolutely. So my name is René Winkelmeyer. I work at the same company that J does, surprise, surprise, and I'm an Architect in the Developer Relations team.

J. Steadman: And thank you so much for joining us, René. Folks out there that are listening, René and I recently started a series of meetings and we just kind of sit down and have coffee and talk about things that are on our minds. And we got into a little bit of a conversation around governance that I found really, really fascinating. And we had a chat with Mike to see whether or not it would be of interest to the admin community. And so, today, what we're going to do is we're just going to talk about the concept of governance, right? Especially in 2021, when Salesforce instances are starting to become really wide and deep technologies and organizations are really trying to kind of move forward with this idea, and we hear this a lot as a buzz word of digital transformation, right?
But really what that means is moving things from paper and manual processes, into systems that everyone can access wherever they're working from. And the challenge that these digital transformations can really cause is making sure that everyone knows what each other are doing. Everyone understands the objective of a given piece of technology, such as Salesforce. And ensuring that all of our valid stakeholders are all aware of that objective and are also contributing to enhancement requests, features, bugs that they might be encountering and making sure that we know what each and every system is doing in a greater context, right?
René, I think has a fantastic perspective on this. And this is a concept that we explore a lot here at Salesforce. Salesforce has grown in a really huge way in terms of the number of employees that we have. We're somewhere around 75,000 employees now. But when I joined the organization just a few years ago, we were around 50,000 employees, right? That's a massive increase. And when you consider the number of companies that Salesforce has acquired, like Slack, like Tableau, governance becomes this really incredibly important concept, right? It's not necessarily a technology skill, but it is really, really important that all of the 75,000 of us here at Salesforce have an understanding of what we're doing and why we're doing it.
René, you'd been talking about some of your experiences in our private conversations, specifically with working with some of these teams like over at MuleSoft, over at Tableau, and trying to get an understanding about what everyone was doing just from an audience relations perspective or an evangelist perspective. And I just thought it would be a great conversation to bring in front of our admins, right? I think sometimes governance gets this reputation of being an uncool word or kind of a dry topic. But what I found in our conversations, René, is that it was actually quite the opposite. I find it to be really engaging. So that's, I think a good intro to the concept that we wanted to discuss today. René, can you talk to us a little bit about how you're approaching this idea of various different stakeholders, all coming together to try and kind of steer the ship, even though we're controlling different parts of that ship?

René Winkelmeye...: Sure. I mean, funny that you meant that you joined with 50,000 when I joined with 19,000.

J. Steadman: Holy smokes.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah, it's a crazy train ride. It's a great train ride. So the first question is really to understand what is governance, right? And I think this is a term that is used often in different contexts. And so I want to define first what I see as governance and other people may have different opinions, especially also different countries or languages or cultures, what governance can be. I think governance is really, in my opinion, the focus on solving a collective problem, right? This is what we try to achieve. Or a challenge, I think is even the better word, because I don't like the word problem. Yeah. No, it's more a challenge, right? So is there something that is relevant to us as a group that we want to put in some form or shape, right? This is how I try to approach it at least.
And when we see this in our company, and you mentioned that before, we have quite a couple of companies, we have sibling teams, we have developer relations. It's like Mule and Tableau. And we're here at Salesforce and we're all catering our own audiences, right? Because someone who develops with MuleSoft, for example, it's totally different than, for example, a developer who works on the Salesforce org and develops with Apex and Lightning Web components, right? It's totally different use case. But at the same time, we are just talking to developers, right? And we try to make them successful in what we do.
So the really question is what is the best way on how we can come together, really? Right? And this is something that I feel falls really well under the realm of governance to actually look on what do we have, right? What are the principles? What are our procedures? What are the structures? What are the processes? People, right? Personally, I believe a big portion in governance should also be the people and not only the processes, right? I think this is something where, what you just meant, this negative sound of governance is always felt like, oh, we put a process in place for something. Yeah, but it's not everything, I believe. Right? Because I think that people, especially in our company make a huge portion on what really make governance, in my sense, successful. If that answers your question.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I think that's a really interesting and important thing to distinguish, right? This idea that governance is a thing that is done, right? We govern our technologies in the effort to achieve or solve a given problem or a challenge, right? Now you'd mentioned that you don't like the word problem. I really like that. So like we govern to solve a challenge. I was wondering, can you talk to us a little bit about why you don't like the word problem and why you prefer challenge over problem?

René Winkelmeye...: I just feel, it sounds negative.

J. Steadman: Sure.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? So when someone's like, I have a problem, it's just like this... No, I feel a challenge is something that I would love to approach always.

J. Steadman: Ah-ha.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? It's something that is really there like, okay, I can solve this and I can tackle this. And problem sounds always so negative to me. So I'm pretty sure whenever you find a recording, a video or just we have a chat, you will really rarely hear that I will say problem, right? I really try to avoid that because there is no such thing as a problem.

J. Steadman: I'm making a note to review everything that you've ever recorded, and I'm going to find every instance of the word problem that you've used.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah. You do that.

J. Steadman: I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.

René Winkelmeye...: Well, that'll be like, whatever. Binge watching René 200 hours sounds really amazing. Right? I would not do that to myself.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I love this idea, right, is we're working with various different stakeholder groups, which is what we're talking about when we're talking about how we govern. I think the cultural aspect of that is really, really important. You mentioned that it is people as well as processes that we follow. When you look at using Salesforce as an example, of course, there are those of us that may be on the Salesforce, like core side of things. There may be folks that are coming from Slack as you called out. And as we communicate with them using terms like challenge, instead of problem, what we're doing is crafting culture, right? We're creating a vocabulary to communicate with others that I think, it actually is powerful and it fosters this idea of collaboration. So I'm going to keep that in the back of my head, as we explore the rest of this conversation, like where can we make these little adjustments that can improve the way in which we're communicating across these little gaps between functional groups. I like that a lot.
You also called out something that I think is really important, where at any company, admins out there at your company here at Salesforce, employees that sit in a certain role, it is really likely that we specialize in something, right? As a Salesforce admin, you specialize in Salesforce. And it's likely that you may specialize just in core. Maybe you've got a lot larger footprint where you're using sales and service and marketing, or maybe you are using Slack. But nevertheless, we tend to specialize, right? But the entity of a company or a Salesforce customer, they don't specialize in one particular piece of their enterprise technology. They specialize in the product or the service that they sell, right?
So governance allows all of our specialists, our Salesforce specialists, our Tableau specialists, our Slack specialists to all come together and become a whole that is greater than our parts, right? And I think that that's a really important concept to highlight here. The reason that we're reaching out is because we want to make sure that we're benefiting from everyone's specializations and that we're coming together to create this cohesive whole. I really like that idea quite a bit.
So what do you think, René, when you're talking about the pieces that are important, you've mentioned that people are really, really important to this idea of governance, as you're considering the people that are involved in governing a piece of technology or several pieces of technology, what do you think the important things to consider are when we look at the concept of people in relation to governance?

René Winkelmeye...: So I think, from my perspective, there are a couple of principles what make governance, right? The first one that comes to my mind is accountability or responsibility and fairness and transparency, right? So these are things where I really look at, if we want to set up something that falls into, for example, building a service, working around a process, it's really coming together as a team and following these principles on who owns what, right? And can we make a fair share of everything for everyone, because at the end... I make a small segue.
In my history, in my career, I worked for a really long time in the financial sector. And it was highly regulated, not only on what the bank had to do, but also on what people had to do, right? Because everything was structured, everything was organized. You want to do A, no, here's a guide for that. You want to do B, here's a guide for that. And at that time, I really felt that it's good to have processes to ensure consistency and all the good stuff that comes with governance, but at the same time, it can also be overwhelming for people, right? And I think we can just win with all of that, especially when you want to ensure certain things like quality and processes and optimization and efficiency if you take the people on board and not only focus on the aspect of really the organizational process. If that makes sense in this case.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? It's really a conversation. It's really a conversation to figure out, we want to do A, okay, let's see how we can do that and who will own that, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm a big fan of saying, okay, I'm giving you a bit more leash, right? That's more how we say it in Germany. You have more freedom to do something, but you're also accountable and responsible for that, right?

J. Steadman: Sure.

René Winkelmeye...: Compared to, oh, I put more structure around you so that you can't move left and right. But that then just decreases the accountability and the responsibility. That's not fair to people. And also, that really prevents from growing great humans, right? So more freedom is great.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Growing great humans. I like that phrase a lot, growing great humans. Something that pops out to me, René, in the way that you're explaining this is, the way that you have explained process and procedure, in some cases sounds a little bit like a confinement, right? Whereas people coming together and collaborating with one another, having conversations about what it is that they want to do and how they want to do it, there is some freedom in that, right?Now with freedom comes responsibility, the old Spider-Man or Peter Parker adage, right? I am trusting you to go and do this thing. So now you're accountable to do that thing. So do it responsibly, do it safely and do it well.
But there's a thing there that's new to our conversation and for our listeners, how do we bring these various people together that can trust us to make these choices or to go and do a thing outside of process, outside of procedure? In other words, how do you assemble your Avengers? How do you get people to the table? Let's use a hypothetical situation where you are a developer, I am an admin, we've had a private conversation where we understand that our organization could benefit from coming together and kind of steering Salesforce together rather than apart. How do we get other people on board? How do we start conversations? How do we select who should be a part of those conversations? From your perspective, how do we get that people element kick started and humming along?

René Winkelmeye...: That's a big question to answer. It may be an overused term, but I think it really starts, everything, with a vision, right? You have to have this idea on what you want to achieve. And maybe it can be something super simple, right? Sometimes though things are just in front of your face and you don't see them, absolutely not. And I think the really important part is to have this compelling vision that must not be earth shaking, but really focusing on the challenge to solve. And that is just transparently meeting with people and figuring out if they would buy in or not, right?

J. Steadman: Yes. Yeah. Okay.

René Winkelmeye...: It's just simple that. And it's okay to receive a no, right, because then your idea or vision may be not that great, or they may be not the right people. And then that's fine, right? I think all of that belongs also into this, just because I think my idea is great, it doesn't mean that you have to find my idea great. Right?

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. I love this idea. In my life, as an admin working in my own Salesforce org, that was also in a highly-regulated industry, I found what you're talking about to be absolutely true in our experience. At my company, we needed to present the challenge that we were facing, right? So to be specific about my use case, I had many business units that each shared this one multi-tenant Salesforce org. And we had like 13 different companies that were all sharing this one org, they were all owned by the same parent company. And we weren't talking to each other at all. We were all just in an org and doing stuff, right? And it took people, an admin or two talking to a developer, maybe at the water cooler, maybe in the lunchroom identifying a challenge.
And then what we did is we actually went to an executive, right? And we said, "Hey, here is our challenge statement. This is something that we think is negatively impacting this technology that all of us are using. And when we compare that to the reason that the technology was purchased, there's a gap. Do you agree?" Right? And to your point, René, not everyone agrees with a hundred percent of what you're saying necessarily, but by shopping around this challenge that you have, you'll find people either start to say that they're not interested, which is fine, or they'll start to collaborate with you on that challenge statement, right? Because each of us specialize, for example, I'm an admin, you are a developer, well, you're an architect, but representing the developer persona, right, I think it's in important for us to remember that we need the perspective of other people that are sitting in different seats so that we can make the best choices possible, make the best solutions possible, and steer our technology in the right direction, right?
So when we went to the executive and we were like, "Yo, we think that this is the challenge. Do you agree," we received some modifications to our challenge, but we also got a lot of insight because this executive was privy to a bunch of business goals that we had never heard of before, right? And once we got them on board with this modified challenge statement, it was much easier for us to go to stakeholders in each of these business units and start to introduce the idea to them, right? And as we went to each different business unit one by one and had conversations and introduced this topic, suddenly we found it was becoming enriched. It was becoming a deeper conversation. And we started to find a lot of common issues that everyone was having in relation to this challenge that we observed, right?
So put another way or to summarize, by taking a challenge, shopping it around to various stakeholders and finding a business sponsor, somebody that's got some decision-making authority or some social clout at the organization, getting their buy-in and then bringing that to the rest of the people that we think could be interested in the conversation, suddenly we had our team of superheroes. They were all really interested in moving our platform in a direction that would benefit everybody, right?
And that leads to some of the things that you had previously called out. Things like optimization, things like efficiency, things like procedures and processes or shared services, right? But it took all of that conversation amongst people, which admittedly can be really messy, right? Not every conversation between these folks was super clear cut, right? Maybe you could talk about that a little bit, because we're starting our conversation at the people aspect. And I'd love for you to just call out some of the common challenges or obstacles that one could expect as you're trying to work through a challenge with a bunch of different human beings, because we want to grow good human beings, but human beings are messy, right? We don't always agree. We don't always see things the same way. So do you have any tips or tricks when you're having those person-to-person conversations? Like what are common pitfalls and how do you think you can avoid them?

René Winkelmeye...: Oh, that's also another big question. I feel this is a podcast of the big questions for René. You should prewarn me, I believe.

J. Steadman: Oh, I'm sorry. [crosstalk]. I just sent René a message on Slack and I was like, "Hi, I'm J, come do this podcast." And that's how we got here. That's how we're here right now.

René Winkelmeye...: Absolutely. I will pay you back once we're back in person, I hope. Really, the way that I approach it over time, and I had to learn that when I was a consultant back many, many, many, many years ago, it's really not trying to force, right? I think this is really the most important aspect that I try in everything that I do is not to force my idea, right? It's really, here's an idea. Here's something that I think we should solve, or here's an opportunity actually on how we can do things better. And it needs to be an open conversation without trying to press it. That's really what it is, right?
Often I have conversations that I start with, okay, here's the thing, if you want that, that's great, but it's purely optional if you want to, right? I want to give other people just the room to breathe and that they then can decide on their own and without feeling that they have to do it because it's my proposal or it's coming from a org or from the vendor or whatever. It's really about just giving them room to breathe and to figuring out on their own, do they want to do this or not just based on the facts that I'm showing, right? It's also facts, really important.

J. Steadman: This is really fascinating to me. I'm a very passionate person, right? Like I get an idea where I identify what I see as an obstacle. And one of the challenges that I have just as a human being is, I'm like, yo, here's this thing. We need to solve that. Yo, everyone, let's go and do that right now. Right? In other words, I get really passionate. It's hard for me not to force an idea. It's hard for me not to see this opportunity to improve and hope and push for a conclusion to that as I have my conversations, right? And like you, I'll highlight some facts and I'll bring it to the table.
I guess what I'm asking here is, how do you manage... Let's say that you've identified something that's super important, right? Using the hypothetical that I brought up, not hypothetical, but my past experience as an admin. We were identifying some really big risks to our instance, right? And it was really important that we solved those. Do you have any tips? That's a good way to phrase this. Do you have any tips to help keep those conversations open, unforced, full of ease and fact based? If you have any, what would your tips be for that?

René Winkelmeye...: Well, I wish I would have like the golden solution for that because it's always, as usual, not easy.

J. Steadman: Yeah, of course.

René Winkelmeye...: The way that I look at that when I, and not looking at the small things, because the small things can be solved pretty quickly, maybe it's because I'm German, right? So, prewarning for that. But I'm a big fan of having everything data driven, right, because then you have a solid, common understanding, which I think is the first really important part that everyone understands the problem, that it's not, oh, René had this assumption. No, it's like here are the facts, then enrich that eventually with assumptions, right? And this is what you mentioned really well before, J, is then getting feedback on those assumptions, potentially from those groups or other stakeholders, your people leader and refining that. And then laying that over with what are the challenges that we try to solve with that, that we see, maybe in your case, this instance, and here's your solution that we want to apply. But at the same time, also, highlighting the risk that may go along if you don't do that.

J. Steadman: The cost of doing nothing.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah. I would say I disagree, because there is not a cost of doing nothing. I think it needs to be a good... You have to understand where is the higher risk, right, if you don't do something or if you do something, which I think is really important, right? If you have the status quo, which you don't like in your case, right, you think the status quo is to change, then you have to assess the risk, right? What is my risk tolerance for not doing it and leaving as is, or what is the risk when we do that and which risk is higher and which risk do I want as the person or the group or the organization that owns that actually to take, right? Because sometimes it's totally fine to take a certain risk by not doing anything.

J. Steadman: This is I think, really important information for admins out there, right? So I just want to summarize what I've heard and, René, please correct me if I'm getting any of this wrong-

René Winkelmeye...: Wrong, wrong, wrong.

J. Steadman: But as we think about having conversations where we're trying to introduce the challenges that we may face, it's really important to start those conversations with our understanding of the facts and the data and share those facts and those data with other stakeholders that we think would be important to the conversation. We want to enrich those observations with some assumptions, which we can also introduce in these conversations that we have with various stakeholders. Then we want to see what they have to say about it, which is going to refine our observations and assumptions. And hopefully, at that point, we're getting people together, they're having conversations. And that's where we're starting to take a look at potential solutions and also assess the risks of doing something different or not doing something different. Is that a pretty fair representation of the way that you just explained things?

René Winkelmeye...: That was perfect. I couldn't have done it better.

J. Steadman: Well-

René Winkelmeye...: Maybe you can do it next time.

J. Steadman: I love being told I'm perfect. I want to be very clear. You're free to ask me questions too. If you've got questions for me, I'll answer those questions to the best of my human ability.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm totally fine with that. And on purpose, I avoided the word perfect, which you potentially recognized. Right? There are a couple of words that I try to avoid, which is problem and perfect, because none of that should exist.

J. Steadman: Yeah. No, absolutely. Perfection is a fiction, right? So this is great, right? What you've introduced to us is a way that we can... Like that's a framework that we can use if, like me, admins out there are really passionate about trying to improve things. And sometimes that passion can actually get in the way and cause some noise in our conversations, right?
So I just want to reiterate to admins out there, especially if you're approaching this cross-functional governance, where we're going and talking to a bunch of different people to get them on board with an idea, make sure that you prepare before you go into those conversations. And by preparation, I mean, bring the data that you need, right? If it's from the org, great. If it's from some other system that you're using, great. But bring the data that you need to support this challenge that you have observed.
Second, be prepared to encounter people who may not agree with you and be prepared to give that plenty of space and room, right? To René's suggestion, what we're saying here is I have observed this challenge. Here's the data that kind of brought me to that. And based on that, here are some assumptions that I've made. What do you think? And if somebody says, hey, I disagree and I'm not interested, sometimes we just have to accept that. There may be somebody else who's willing to gear those things, right? And sometimes getting that rejection of an idea or that disagreement, which I think I like better than rejection, it will inform whether or not that challenge statement is solid, right? Your challenge statement needs to survive these various conversations.
So we've talked about the people aspect. We've talked about how we prepare for conversations between stakeholders that have different perspectives. And I think I'd like to move, René, from the people part of the conversation into some of the other things that you've called out, efficiencies, processes, optimizations. Once we start growing good humans, having good conversations, and we've got people on board, we've got a bunch of people in a room now, how do you approach this idea of optimization or efficiency with a cross-functional group? How do you make a process, for example? What is a framework that you look to, if you have one, that can help you along with that?

René Winkelmeye...: Another big question. Thank you, J. Thank you.

J. Steadman: You're welcome.

René Winkelmeye...: I hope I have a radio voice. Yeah. Yeah. So I would say the biggest question that I always ask myself, do we actually need a process, right? And I say that as a German, do we need actually a process? Or do we need a regulation around that? When you bring the different people together, you actually have the opportunity to shape your original idea and potentially realize it or make it something totally different. But when you bring those people together, it's really taking those different perspectives, as you mentioned, not only from the, I would say socializing and scoping phase, but also then in the relation phase on what do we really want to do, right? What is the business benefit if we really take this? Because often when we try to implement something, it is first that we have this idea. We define the value. We potentially have some ideas on ROI. I think this needs all to be on the table to figure that out, if this really comes together, like the assumption that we made, the solution that we potentially already provided is the real thing.
And what I want to say now with many words is actually I don't have a good framework. I really try to approach this in a conversational approach and sit together with those humans who hopefully are all smarter than I am in this specific problem... Sorry, challenge area. Yeah. Okay. You got me, but this is actually a real word. [inaudible] does not exist as a word. It happens when you're not native. Yeah. That's actually how I approach it, right? Because I hope always that people are smarter than I am and have the potentially better idea on how to approach that. And also, often I'm not the subject matter expert transparently, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: I have maybe a good idea on that, but there is then that person who actually does that day by day, right? And those who will be affected by some governance that we may implement. And I feel those should have a big say. Coming back to what I said in the introduction, it's about humans, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: We don't want to create bad processes for good people. It should be that we create good frameworks for good people. And it's really important to have those always on board and have a good say. Definitely. Right? So not top down, it's not a top down approach.

J. Steadman: René, you're a genius. I'm sitting here and writing a lot of notes just to make sure that I can actually summarize. What's brilliant, I think about the way that you just explained that is, you laid out this amazing framework and then you're like, I don't really have this framework to work from, but... So there are a few things that I want to highlight about what you said, and then I want to try and summarize it. And again, you tell me if I get anything wrong, right?
But there's one concept that you discussed in your answer that I think is really important to Salesforce admins, but I also think to people in the world in general, no matter what it is that you do, and it's this idea of vulnerability. You said several times that you're not the subject matter expert. You hope that the people in the room are smarter than you. I mean, frankly, I share this with you, right? All the time I walk into a room and there are just these brilliant people that I'm working with, right? I think sometimes as we're working through problems, it can [crosstalk].

René Winkelmeye...: Challenges, challenges. Sorry, challenges.

J. Steadman: Thank you. Thank you, René. Thank you. I love it. We should have like a sound effect, like... As I'm working with challenges with a group, we can start to get really possessive of our ideas or possessive of being the person to solve. And oftentimes that can come from being afraid that maybe we don't know the right answer. So first I'd say, as we're approaching the idea of having conversations around, do we need a process, et cetera, be vulnerable. Walk into the room, recognizing the amazing people that you're working with, whether or not you get along with them personally. There are brilliant people that you are interacting with and you have to have the courage to kind of let go of your own ego in these conversations to make sure that you are hearing everyone's perspective, right?
So I'd say first we start with vulnerability. Then we ask the question, hey, everyone, here is a challenge that we've observed. Do we need a process for this? And the ensuing conversation, where hopefully everyone is vulnerable in letting subject matter experts do their thing, that starts to shape the idea, right? We're socializing the idea to a number of really great people. Getting their perspective, gives us a scope for what this potential solution could be. We want to make sure that there's actually a business benefit to solving a problem or putting a process in. And that depends on actually defining what the business value is and defining what the business ROI might be. And just to be fair to those folks out there who are not acronymic... We have like a million acronyms here at Salesforce. But return on investment, right? If we're going to invest the time and resources to do this thing, will we get a benefit back? And what is that benefit? And does this actually solve our problem, right? Now you said you don't have a framework, but this to me sounds like a great framework, René.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm not sure if it's a framework, right? There needs to be a structural... I feel a lot that comes back to the time when I was a business process consultant, where it was really about... That's like, what, 12, 30 years ago, where I was organizing loan departments and service centers and banks, and really trying to make those people who worked there and, also, the companies transparently successful and efficient and effective. That was not only like, oh, here's a consultant. Here's my predefined concept. That's how you're going to do that. Right? It was really sitting together with those people and doing what you really do, right? You interview people, you do the on-the-job observations, all that stuff that you do to really understand on how it goes. And then workshop with them for often weeks on really, how could the new shape look like, right? This is really the common approach to say... I had no idea about some of their business, period. Right? But I had to know how to steer the group to actually come to a hopefully good result, right?
And this is maybe also a question on what you actually want to achieve with whatever you want to govern, right? Do you just want to spark the idea and hopefully have some ownership in that and bring those people who would be affected together? Or are you really part of the process, right? Because I think this, also, can be a totally different approach, right? Currently, I'm having a project internally, where I'm super excited about, right? I have a good part of ownership. I'm not the SME in many areas and that's great, right? Another area I am also really invested because it affects my own work and this can be a totally different approach that you will take on that. It still needs to be this open conversation and bring those who will do the work together. That's what it is, if you have the opportunity transparently, right? Because sometimes you have to fulfill some compliance, right, that ends in some governance and you just don't have a chance also.

J. Steadman: Sure. Sure. There is so many ideas that you've touched on in that response, right? So this idea that you've just introduced, sometimes you are involved actively, right? You've actually got a hand in things and sometimes you're just there to kind of help facilitate conversation, right? Facilitator as opposed to doer or being the glue of a conversation, trying to help connect people together so that a problem can be solved versus being a subject matter expert who may actually be hands on in crafting what the solution is, that speaks to this idea of flexibility, right? Being open enough to know when you can step back, when you can step forward, hearing when there is an opportunity for you to be the subject matter expert, hearing when there is an opportunity for you to step back and listen a little bit more and connect somebody, who's a subject matter expert with somebody else who might be able to assist in crafting the solution.
I think that this speaks to a kind of approach toward work. There's a lot of wisdom in that, right? And I think that Salesforce admins can really take advantage of this kind of conversation approach as well, right? We are very often subject matter experts, but we're in a lot of conversations where we might just need to connect people together or facilitate some conversations. We're not always in a place where we have the most power in the room, for example, in terms of decision-making authority. But that doesn't mean that we can't positively impact a solution that's chosen or introduce some considerations. I really like this idea of letting your role in a room shift based on what our mutual objective is in the room. I think that that's a really great perspective and a really great way to think about how we overcome these challenges that we're facing. I do have a question for you. In terms of the... You introduced this idea that I love and something that we're talking a lot about here on the admin EV team. We talk a lot about-

René Winkelmeye...: EV team? EV? EV-

J. Steadman: Evangelists. Evangelists.

René Winkelmeye...: No acronyms. We just learned that. Thank you.

J. Steadman: Thank you. Thank you.

René Winkelmeye...: We don't say problem.

J. Steadman: René, thank you. I really appreciate you highlighting these things and bringing them to my attention. That's very kind of you.

René Winkelmeye...: You're welcome.

J. Steadman: There's that sound effect again. We talk about the idea of observation, right? Like user observation, so that we can ride along with our users, understand what they're trying to do day by day, week by week, so that we can use that information that we gather in order to maintain, enhance our Salesforce instance. And you brought up the idea that, as a consultant, you could ride along with a stakeholder for sometimes weeks, right? And as a consultant, I found myself in a similar situation, right?
Like the whole purpose is, let's come in, let's observe. And after the observation, then we can start to put together a solution. But that observation, it costs time. It costs money. How do you balance that, right? Because the business very frequently is like, yo, we don't have all the time in the world. We have our business priorities. We really need this next month or next week or tomorrow. So how do you manage that expectation in terms of delivery versus taking the time that you need to discover the things that you need to know so that you can even make a solution that solves the problem or the challenge?

René Winkelmeye...: I love this sound on my mobile phone.

J. Steadman: I'll send you an audio clip.

René Winkelmeye...: Amazing. Thank you. I'm not sure if I have a really good answer on that transparently. I think it really comes to the point on where I feel that I have enough information or I have the room for that. It also comes up to being open and transparent and to say, okay, if we do this, we will do that with less information than we should have to make an educated decision. Right? If you're grown up, you should be able to do that, definitely. Even if you sometime think you should not, depending who has requests, but I always felt empowered for whom and who I worked with to say, yeah, but we can do this, but we should not. And potentially just wait, which is sometimes not an option also, right? And then we just have to juggle along.
I think there's no perfect formula on how to solve this, but if you feel strongly that it is not the right thing to do at this point in time and you will need three more days or two weeks to actually be able to provide a real good solution, I know it's something that is hand wavy, then you should speak up. Right? I think this is what everyone appreciates, right? Because sometimes those who demand change, they may not have the whole picture, right? It's like, oh, we've got to do this. And sometimes it's also fine just to juggle along, right? And just to do it tomorrow with it back in your head that you will change it and format anyway, right? It's like sometimes in software development or in general is, you accept technical debt because you will know it will change in a certain time.

J. Steadman: Yes.

René Winkelmeye...: Right?

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: That's also buying in the risk, right? It's like, okay, we've got to do it now. And then we have a better business outcome and we're going to change it for even better in four month. Right? So it's an interim solution and that's totally fine.

J. Steadman: I'm hearing so many of the ideas that you're talking about interacting with one another, right? In full disclosure for everyone that is listening, when we came together for this conversation, A, all of the questions that are being posed here, they're totally spontaneous. And B, we don't have any answers written down. So when René is like, huh, I don't have an answer for that, that's because I've totally ambushed René with a variety of questions that I think are just interesting to explore. And I don't even have an answer in mind myself, right?
So I love that you started this part of the conversation out with like, hey, I don't know if there's a great answer for this. What we should do is approach these conversations with transparency, with honesty. And I actually want to call back some of the things that you've previously listed out, René. If we're going to go ahead and do a ride along, right, if we're doing our user observation, if we're talking to business leaders, it's really important that we stay data driven, we're collecting information so that we're better informing the challenge statement, right? And so if somebody comes to us and says, yo, time for observation is finished, we can then take whatever it is that we found at a certain point and we can say, yes, I agree, or I don't agree. And here's why, right?
And the benefit of having recorded that works both ways. If it's time to move, to actually designing and building your solution, you've got great documentation for what you need to get something built. If it isn't time and that's what you're representing back to whoever is making the decision and they tell you, well, thank you for presenting that. Too bad we need to move forward anyway, you've just documented, as René called out, the debt that you're going to have to pay off later, right? You've become aware of that thing, that down the line, you're going to have to go back to the risk that you have accepted. And I love this idea that really all you're doing is you're being a vessel for what you've discovered, right? And you're trying to interfere with that as little as possible. You want to enhance it and make it better, but you want to stay transparent. You want people around you to know the facts so that all of us are making the best decision.
I've really enjoyed this conversation and I'm taking a look at time and I feel like we're probably at a good point to end for the pod this time around. But, René, fair warning. I think that there's more to discuss around this topic sometime in the future. So you may find that I come knocking again, sometime in the very near future.

René Winkelmeye...: Only if you promise to never say the word problem again.

J. Steadman: I can promise to try my best, to raise my awareness, to abolish the word problem from my vocabulary.

René Winkelmeye...: It'll take time. I can tell you from my own experience, right? But yeah, I believe in you.

J. Steadman: Just being transparent with you. I can try. I'm just being transparent. I'll try.

René Winkelmeye...: Thank you. I believe in you.

J. Steadman: Well, admins, thank you so much for sitting through our conversation and joining us today. I always love the opportunity to sit down and chat with y'all. If you have any questions, thoughts, concerns, things that we missed, things that you think, please do reach out to us on social. We are on Twitter. I am on Twitter. René is on Twitter. And we want to hear from you. So please do reach out to us.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was great to have J and René on the podcast. Wasn't that a fun conversation? Boy, they know a lot. I took a lot from that conversation. I think a few things tongue in cheek, it's a challenge, not a problem. So let's look at things that way because problem does feel negative. And I think it's very important to consider governance is important, the people as the process. I really enjoyed that topic. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I thought it was neat. I'm trying to introduce different and unique content to the podcast. So let me know your opinions. Feel free to tweet us out. And of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources.
Hey, we got some podcast swag on the Trailhead Store. So be sure to pick that up. I've got the link in the show notes. And as Jay mentioned on the show, of course, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can give Gillian a follow. She is @gilliankbruce. And of course, I am @MikeGerholdt. I'll also include the links to J and René, who you can give them a follow on social as well. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Governance_with_J._Steadman_and_Rene_Winkelmeyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have Joe Sterne, Solutions Architect at Salesforce.


Join us as we talk about learning and becoming a Salesforce admin while neurodivergent, and how we can be compassionate and give space to each other when we work together.


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

Working with ADHD.


Joe is a Solution Architect at Salesforce in the Solution Consulting Group. “Long story short, I’m client-facing—I help clients either implement or fix their Salesforce instance,” he says. When Mike was looking for topics for the pod, Joe approached him with an idea to talk about being neurodivergent in the Salesforce ecosystem. Joe was diagnosed with ADHD in middle school, and he’s been managing it his entire life.


Everyone has an attention bandwidth: how many things you can pay attention to or how much you can focus on one thing. People with ADHD are very focused on managing their attention bandwidth, which can make some tasks and environment more difficult but also has advantages as well.

How to stay on task in Trailhead.

“The number one thing I tell people when they are signing up for Trailhead is to understand what you’re looking to get out of it and make sure that you are staying on topic when you’re trying to learn,” Joe says. With badge recommendations and the flow of the platform, it’s incredibly easy to go down a rabbit hole picking things that sound fun. “3 hours later, you realize that you’re trying to code in Apex when you were trying to learn about leadership,” he says.


Joe’s advice is to rely on Trailmixes and, honestly, tabs. Have the Trailmix in one tab and the badge in another and “as soon as you’re done with that badge, close it and open up a new tab with the next badge,” he says. Another effective strategy is timeboxing: giving yourself a deadline to complete what you’re trying to do.


This doesn’t mean you should never follow your fancy—it’s just about knowing when to put them on a list or favorite them so you can stay focused on the task at hand.

Working with neurodivergent team members.

One thing that’s important in these conversations is that everyone is different, and neurodivergent conditions don’t show up the same way in everybody. “Give people space to talk and grow without making assumptions about what they’re going through,” Joe says. That also could also mean creating internal groups to give people the space to talk about it and not feel alone.


Another practice that can be helpful is for each member of your team to fill out a “working with me” document that includes information like helpful ways to communicate, what to keep in mind, and how you can help them succeed. It’s a practice we do on the Admin Evangelist team that we’ve found very helpful whenever we add someone new.

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Direct download: Being_Neurodivergent_in_the_Salesforce_Ecosystem_with_Joe_Sterne.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Ashley Sisti, Sr. Manager of Business Strategy and Operations at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about translating your admin skills, career progression, and having honest conversations with your manager about your skillset.

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

An Admin origin story

Like a lot of folks we have on the pod, Ashley started out as a Salesforce admin. What began as customizing leads ended up as an opportunity to learn everything she could, and enabled her to make a career pivot into a position at a company that was migrating to Salesforce. She learned a ton about implementation and building things from scratch.

Later on, Ashley worked with a larger Salesforce team as a business analyst, where she got to put her work in context with a developer, project manager, and be an expert in specific parts of the business. Now at Salesforce, she works in business operations, working on systems, technology, and processes that support our customer-facing teams. Essentially, she works on how Salesforce uses Salesforce.

Why admin skills are transferable

“Learning to be a Salesforce admin is also really transferable to a lot of other parts of working in a business,” Ashley says, “it’s a really good way to learn about business and how businesses operate in a less scary way.” You’re solving problems, but you’re having a lot of conversations that are really about business transformation.

Half your job is asking questions to get to the why behind what they want you to do, and that can help you learn a lot. This translates directly to something like the five whys, a common tool business analysts use to get to the root causes of a problem and figure out how to fix them. (and you can check out a past podcast episode we did about that). 

Having hard conversations with your manager.

One thing that happened as Ashley grew her career is she started to encounter problems that couldn’t be solved just by tweaking something in Salesforce. Sometimes you need more people, or more budget, or a broader scope. “You have to start thinking about how does the company, overall, solve this problem and not just how do I go in and execute on it,” she says, “but when you get comfortable with thinking on things on a larger scale you can really start to grow your career.”

You also need to be able to talk honestly with your manager about your skill limitations. “A good manager will be happy when you come to them because they can help you identify how you can grow those skills,” Ashley says. But how do you know they’ll be supportive? Ashley runs through what to look for, and how to make the tough decisions to grow your career.

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ll hear from each member of the Admin Relations team with reflections on the year so far, hopes for the future, and even a poem. But most of all, we’re thankful for you. Thanks for listening, sharing your passion, and all the inspiring things that you do

Direct download: Thankful.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, it’s the monthly retro. In this episode, we’re grabbing a second helping of great Salesforce product, community, and careers content from November. We’re joined by Laura Pelkey, Sr. Manager, Security Customer Engagement at Salesforce.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Laura.

Podcast highlights from November.

We’re just a few months out from the MFA requirement start date on Feb 1st, 2022, and as things slow down around the holidays Laura thinks it’s the perfect time to plan your MFA rollout. “I would venture that cooking a turkey is a lot harder than rolling out MFA for a lot of our customers,” she says. You can get more info about MFA in Laura’s podcast appearance with Ian Glaser last week. She also wanted to highlight Cheryl Feldman’s episode on permissions.

Blog highlights from November.

  1. Steadman put together a great post about how to ask for help when you go to the community, which is especially important now that we have the newly-revamped Trailblazer Community. You can avoid some confusion and get straight to fixing things. Laura wanted to highlight Katie Moran’s piece about approaching Salesforce with a beginner’s mindset, which took her back to her days starting out as a Salesforce admin.

Video highlights from November.

Laura points out a super helpful video from How I Solved This on how to create an app to help manage onboarding and onboarding their users. “Deactivating users is really important when you’re talking about security,” she says. Mike was a fan of J.’s video for Did You Know about updating records with a simple Flow. “It’s like the first time you cook an easy meal and feel like a chef,” he says, “maybe you only had to cut up some potatoes and a few scallions but hey, you cooked.”

The Admin Kitchen with Mike and Laura

Stay for the whole episode to hear Mike and Laura’s twists on holiday recipes, turducken, and their favorite and least favorite dishes.

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On today’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re bringing on Ian Glazer, SVP Identity Product Management, and Laura Pelkey, Sr. Manager, Security Customer Engagement at Salesforce. We talk all things MFA, 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ian Glazer and Laura Pelkey.

Ian Knows Security

Ian is a new voice on the pod, though he’s been with Salesforce for 8 years. At Salesforce, he works on everything related to Identity Services, which encompasses everything from single sign-on to the next generation of identity services to multi-factor authentication (MFA). Before Salesforce, he spent many years in the identity industry and is the co-founder and a board member of IDPro, the professional organization for digital identity management.

Laura, a pod regular you may recognize from Salesforce Live, has been on the security team for five years and in the security industry for ten. She also was a Salesforce admin at the beginning of her career, “so I definitely empathize with all of our admins listening and the challenges that they face securing their Salesforce instance.”

MFA has been a hotly-discussed topic in the admin community recently, so this is the perfect pair of people to talk to about all the reasons to make the switch sooner than later. “It’s one of the most effective things you can do to increase protection against different kinds of threats, like phishing attacks—common things people face everyday that affect businesses everywhere,” Laura says.

The benefit outweighs the risk

“A lot of this stems from a basically and commonly-shared awareness that passwords are horrible,” Ian says, “because we’re busy people, there tends to be reuse of passwords and that’s known by the attackers.” This fact makes it relatively easy for someone trying to get access to your org to find the credentials they need from a breach somewhere else. It’s like they’ve found a key and now they’re trying it on every lock they can find. “The beauty of multi-factor authentication is it adds something else to the mix protecting you that really only you should have,” he adds.

While enabling MFA adds a little bit of friction to your login process, the returns you get in terms of massively improving your org’s security are well worth it. As the headlines fill up with news of high-profile data breaches and ransomware attacks, anything you can do to protect yourself will help you sleep a little more soundly. “You can think of MFA as a seatbelt for the internet—it’s just that effective,” Ian says.

MFA has never been more important, especially in our current hybrid work environment. “Security is a huge part of trust,” Laura says, “your brand reputation depends on trust, and there could be huge monetary implications if something like a breach occurs.” As Ian says, “you’re doing this for your customers’ sake, and that is 100% worth the effort.”

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For this week’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re catching up with Cheryl Feldman, Director of Product Management, Authorization Experience at Salesforce. She’s focused on profiles, permission sets, and perm set groups. Cheryl is a former Salesforce MVP, now driving product innovation.

Join us as we talk about Cheryl’s career, her passions, and who her hero is.

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

From Hairdresser to Director of Product Management


Cheryl started out, 20 years ago, working as a hairdresser. When she got injured, she ended up doing office work and turned out to be really good at it. The salon manager recommended her to a new job as an administrative assistant, where she started doing reporting. “I walked into my boss’s office one day and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if all this stuff was in one system?’” He put her on a new project they had just started in their office, something called “Salesforce,” and the rest is history.


As Cheryl grew in her Salesforce career, she went through a number of roles, from admin to BSA to product ownership. Before she came over to Salesforce, she was running core CRM from a product standpoint at one of the largest banks in the role. “I made a decision that I wanted to be a product manager at Salesforce, very specifically in platform, working on something I’m super passionate about,” she says, “which is around user permissioning, user access control, and making it a better and more streamlined experience for admins.”

Permissions Are Her Passion

Since most of her Salesforce experience came in a highly regulated industry, Cheryl is super passionate about how to help admins manage all the different security, regulatory, and compliance requirements they might encounter. “Every admin has to use it—you can’t use Salesforce without it,” she says, “whether you’re at a two-person company or one of the largest banks in the world, you have to use permissions, permission sets, permission set groups, profiles, so how can we make that experience better?”


In her first month on the job, Cheryl met with a lot of admins, and she wants to talk to more folks. Seriously, reach out! “Every single admin that I spoke with is managing some sort of spreadsheet to organize personas,” she says, “or partner solutions from the AppExchange, or other Salesforce products besides the core platform.” So she’s set about streamlining the process for creating a new user. She also has made it her mission to make it easier for admins to answer the ever-present question: “Why can Joe do this and I can’t?”

There are some great new features coming down the pipe to help make things easier for admins overwhelmed with managing permissions, so be sure to listen to the full episode to hear more and stick around for Cheryl’s lightning round answers. There’s also a new feature in beta for setting expiration dates on permission sets and permission set groups that she’d love for admins to try, so give it a shot and let her know how it goes.

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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 an awesome admin. This week we're talking with Cheryl Feldman, director of product management authorization experience, which is profiles, permission sets and perm set groups. Cheryl is a former Salesforce MVP who is now driving product innovation here at Salesforce. It's a really cool time to chat with her as she just starts into this new career. We learn about things that she did in her past, how she's super passionate about Salesforce admins. I think the really fun part, we also get to find out who Cheryl's hero is. With that, let's get Cheryl on the podcast. Cheryl, welcome to the podcast.

Cheryl Feldman: Thank you so much Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: I think this is, what'd you say, the third or fourth time you've been on the pod?

Cheryl Feldman: I'm actually not sure. I think it's either three or four, but I've been on a number of times in the past.

Mike Gerholdt: It's got to be like the Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, you have to get that velvet robe like they do for SNL.

Cheryl Feldman: Yeah. Why don't we have that?

Mike Gerholdt: We should. That's what I'm going to spend some budget on. Let's get velvet Salesforce Admin Podcast robes.

Cheryl Feldman: Yeah. Make it a hoodie. Make it a velvet hoodie.

Mike Gerholdt: Velvet. Oh, velvet hoodie sounds wonderful. Because it's heading into fall, that could be fun. Anyway, we could talk probably all day about velvet hoodies. Let's catch everyone up. For anyone that's not familiar with Cheryl Feldman, where did you start and how did you get to Salesforce?

Cheryl Feldman: Sure. My story actually starts 20 years ago, now, if you can believe that. I was actually working as a hairdresser and I got hurt and ended up doing some office work in the salon I was working at, which I ended up being really good at. My salon manager recommended me to her husband to be his administrative assistant/secretary. I started picking up some reporting when I was working for him. This, fast forward to probably 2003, I was spending a week getting all of these reporting and analytics from all these different systems ready. I walked into my boss's office one day and said, "Wouldn't it be great if all this stuff was in one system and we could just run reports?" He said, "We're getting this thing called Salesforce, you should be on that project." The rest is history. That was almost 18 years ago.
I was working on the platform for a very long time as a customer in a lot of different roles. Started out as an admin, then moved more into a BSA role and then into more product ownership. That was my last role where I was running a core CRM from a product standpoint at one of the largest banks in the world. I made a decision that I wanted to be a product manager at Salesforce, very specifically in platform working on something I'm super passionate about, which is around user permissioning, user access control and making it a better, more streamlined experience for admins.

Mike Gerholdt: That would explain the management authorization experience in your title.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Just casually, one of BSA, for one of the largest banks in the world, just casually throwing that out. I love your backstory. I mean, obviously not every position's open at Salesforce, but why permissions and profiles?

Cheryl Feldman: I think it's something that I've been super passionate about. I think I had come up with a lot of different, good processes to manage this, especially coming from most of my career was spent in financial services, so very regulated industry. Using public cloud, Salesforce is in the public cloud domain, and how do you meet all of these compliance and security and regulatory requirements? A lot of them have to do with user access and some of it can be quite challenging. I had been working with a number of product managers at Salesforce when I was a customer talking to them about what we needed from a customer standpoint. The feedback I always got from product managers is, "You understand what customers want so well and are able to articulate it to us in a way that helps us build really good product." I started thinking, well, maybe I should just come to Salesforce and do that. I started thinking about, what am I really passionate about?
And so what I actually did is I emailed a couple of people at Salesforce. One of them being my now boss, Belinda Wong, and said, "I want to come work at Salesforce and I want to come work on your team." She didn't have an opening right away, but she did in a few months and reached out to me about it. That's how I ended up here. Why I chose this area is because it's something that I think we can do a lot with and every admin has to use it. You can't really use Salesforce without it. It's really the backbone of a lot of things that admins are doing. I think that's what's really exciting about it to me, is that every admin, whether you're at a two person company who's using Salesforce for two people, or you're at one of the largest banks of the world, you have to use permissions. Permission set, permission set group profiles. And so how can we make that experience better? How can we make it easier? How can we build onto what's already there?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Belinda is wonderful. She's done a lot of content for the admin team. I believe she's been on the podcast. I'd have to go back and double check. But if not, she's very familiar. I've worked with her on some Dreamforce presentations before. She very much understands the admin role. I can only imagine she's one of those cool bosses to work for.

Cheryl Feldman: She is awesome to work for, highly recommend.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, I will skip ahead because it feels like you've been at Salesforce for a long time, mostly because I was watching at home, Dreamforce and you are thrown a true the core question.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes. Actually yesterday was my three month anniversary, if you can believe that. I have not been at Salesforce that long. But yes, I think it was the third or fourth question that was asked, which is, what's going on with modify all data? And so I was lucky that I did have an answer for that and that is something that's in my domain and we are looking at how we can best split up some of what we're calling these super permissions. Modify all data, customize application, view setup and configuration, and view all data, because they control so many other things besides what those permissions are supposed to do.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Because at the time when Salesforce was built, it was a life before permission sets.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Boy, I could not envision being on the job three months and all of a sudden thrown in to a true the core session. With profiles and permission sets, obviously you came in with a lot of things that you had on your mind. Now that you've been in the role for three months, has something surfaced that perhaps wasn't on your radar, that the community has brought up?

Cheryl Feldman: Yes. What I made a point to do within my first month or two of being here, is I met with a lot of admins. Any admin I'm willing to meet, I posted on Twitter a bunch of times, I want to hear what you're doing, how you're doing it. If you're an admin listening to this, reach out to me, I would love to have a conversation. One common thing that I found, is every single admin I spoke with is managing some spreadsheet to manage, whether it's to manage personas when they set up new users, here's what a salesperson gets when they start. Sometimes our Salesforce admins, a lot of people think about they're just managing Salesforce, but a lot of times what I also found in my conversations, is they're also managing a number of partner solutions from the app exchange. They're also managing a number of other Salesforce products besides your core Salesforce. Sometimes that's Marketing Cloud or Quip.
I even spoke to an admin who manages Slack, Quip, Salesforce, Marketing Cloud, Pardot, plus like six app exchange solutions. Some of them have these massive spreadsheets that detail out like, this is a sales user, they get these seven permission sets. They're in these 11 groups. They get these licenses because there's so much to remember when you set up a user. I started thinking about like, how do we make this simpler? There was one admin who told me it takes her almost an hour to set up a user with all the different things she has to do. I started thinking we have to make this simpler. We have to make it streamlined. That's definitely something that I've heard from the community that we definitely need to improve upon. I feel like we've done a great job at getting end users, our sales people, our bankers, our support people, whoever our end users are, out of spreadsheets. I feel like we need to do some more work to get our admins out of spreadsheets.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, well that, I think it's for me and I'm guilty of this too, and I'm even back in the old school days before permission sets, of just keeping a spreadsheet of who can see what and who can do what. Finding that way that everybody can create a solution where they can see the data that they want to see in a way that they're wanting to see it.

Cheryl Feldman: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: If that makes sense.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes, it totally does. The other thing I found is, admins are spending an extraordinary amount of time, an amount of time in their day, every day, with troubleshooting. A lot of that troubleshooting is, they get some user contacting them, "Why can Joe do this and I can't?" It's very hard to determine why Joe can do something and that user can't. It could be a difference in permissions. Could be something at the profile level, at the permission set level, or from a record access experience. There's a lot of different things that an admin has to check to really understand the difference between those two users. And then the question is, well, should that other person, or should this person that's contacting me be able to do what Joe does? I think that's another question that we also need to help admins answer and support from a governance perspective as well. I'm also looking at, how could we potentially bring some troubleshooting tools to admins to understand the difference between two users, to make it much easier to understand what your users actually have access to?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my God. I will rejoin as a secretary of the Cheryl Feldman fan club, if you make that happen.

Cheryl Feldman: Well-

Mike Gerholdt: It's just what you're talking about is, I mean that was my every day, I literally would have two, either sales or service people that sat side by side that I set up the same, or did maybe one checkbox different on a profile or a field and they couldn't see it. You do screen shares and you go back and forth, and of course sometimes login as doesn't always give you the answer that you need either.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes. Speaking of login as, that actually ties to the modify old data question, because this is something that also comes up and this is something I wanted so bad when I was a customer. I used to get this all the time from the compliance post I worked with when I was a customer. Is that, right now in order to grant login as, you either need to grant new user modify all data, or you need to grant them access through delegated administration, which gives them access to do a bunch of things on the user record. And so what we're looking at doing is, how can we work with the team on [inaudible] actually create a permission for login as.
I don't have a timeline on that, but that's the first piece we're actually targeting, splitting for modify all data. Because that's something I've heard. I don't think I've had a customer meeting yet and it's big, small, that has not mentioned this struggle. I remember this struggle from when I was a customer. And so I also wanted to mention that so admins know that I'm definitely looking at how we can improve that experience as well.

Mike Gerholdt: I'd be curious, last month in October I had the IdeaExchange people on, I'd Scott and Hannah, and they talked about the relaunch of the IdeaExchange. I have to envision, there's probably product managers that get two or three ideas that they have to pay attention to every month. And then there's you that probably gets two or three an hour to the people have ideas or up vote on, or want comments on. What's your strategy for, having been a customer I know you've put ideas into the IdeaExchange, wanting that feedback? Now you're on the other side where you're in a position that you can actually give that feedback or respond to it. I'd love to know your perspective of what it's like to be on that side, and also just how you manage it. How you get that communication out there.

Cheryl Feldman: Yep. Actually, I will be honest. I have not actually updated ideas for my product area yet, but it's actually something I'm planning on doing tomorrow. Depending on when this podcast goes live, some of them should be updated. But what my strategy is there, is I'm looking at some of the most requested ideas. I'm looking at how we actually do them or what features we actually build, because the most requested idea for my feature area is to have reporting on permissions on permission. That's an essentially the permission set assignment. When I actually read through, and this has, I think, like 60 some odd thousand votes. It's super popular and something we definitely need to figure out. From a product management perspective, when I look at that idea and I read all the comments, I'm not actually sure that just giving reporting on the permission set assignment will actually solve some of the challenges our admins need to solve and what they're trying to get at.
I think what is definitely troubleshooting, because a lot of them want to be able to just pull that out, which you can pull that out through the data loader. But think about now with permission set groups, now a user can be assigned to a permission directly or through a permission set group, and that permission set group could also have muted permissions. Are you really getting everything that a user has through that assignment? I'm not a hundred percent sure it would actually give that to them. What I'm looking at is how we can break this up and give what will actually help admin. That's my strategy, is looking at the things that are the most voted on and figuring out what we actually need to deliver. It may not be exactly like the idea says X, Y, Z, it may not be exactly X, Y, Z, but it's something that can help them solve of their problem. I think that's how I'm approaching it, is very much from a product standpoint.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, no, that's great. I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Cheryl Feldman: Yeah. I think the other thing I'm doing is, I'm constantly reaching out for feedback, whether it's on the Trailblazer community and some of the community groups for my product area or on Twitter and seeking feedback. I'm trying to get feedback fast. And so what I'm doing is, ideas that I have based on things I'm hearing, reading, I want to know what admins think and what would help them. I consider myself the product manager to help admins managing the user access control, I want to make it easier for them. And so that means everything from assigning, managing, troubleshooting, and figuring out what's going to make things simpler. And so anytime there's admins that want to talk about this or reach out, I'm 1000%. I know it's not exactly answering your question, but I'm 1000% willing to have that conversation.

Mike Gerholdt: No. I mean, it's interesting to hear, because I think at the surface, and I was guilty of this, you put in an idea and you're like, I'm thirsty and a glass of water will solve this. As a product major, you have the ability to look at how many admins are saying they're thirsty and want glass of water. You're sitting there saying, okay, so here's how much glasses cost, here's how much it takes to put eight ounces of water in every glass to hand it to an admin. But is that their real problem or is water supply and the ability to get water anytime, really the thing that we should solve for? That's what I'm hearing in your question is, sometimes what we see, we the community as somebody that puts in an idea, doesn't understand the bigger picture is, maybe here's what we're trying to solve for. That might take a little bit of time, but the solution's going to be way better than just a glass of water.

Cheryl Feldman: Yep. It's also thinking about, so there's another idea which doesn't have as many votes, but I think it will. We are on the path, which I believe the person who was in the CP for me did some content with the admin marketing team on removing permissions from profiles. We are still on that path to make everything permission set driven. And so one of the features, if you think about when an admin is creating a new field, when you set that field level security, it shows you a list of profiles. One of the ideas out there, which I think has around six or 7,000 votes or points, that is a lower point idea. But I feel like once we really start pushing our customers to using permission sets, that's something that they're going to need. That's also what I'm thinking about, is what are we doing? Where's the platform going and what are admins going to need?
And so that's also how I'm looking at it. It may not be something that has the highest amount of votes, but I think it's something that's going to bring extreme value based on what we're asking our customers to do.

Mike Gerholdt: Creating a field, rather than Salesforce asking you what profiles should have access. It would ask you what permission sets-

Cheryl Feldman: Correct.

Mike Gerholdt: Should have access?

Cheryl Feldman: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: See, and that makes total sense. I remember when permission sets first came out, they made no sense to me until I realized that you should really set up a profile to be as reusable as possible, and then layer in the permission sets to customize it for everybody. That made sense to me once we started talking that way. Unfortunately it felt like the rest of the product wasn't paying that attention.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes. And so what we're doing is we're also looking at everything that exists on the profile today and what actually needs to move to permission sets and to make it easy for admins. Because if you think of things like default record type or page layout assignment, that's very profile driven and doesn't exist on the permission set. But a user could have many permission sets, so how do we make it so the system is smart and you don't end up with conflicting defaults or conflicting assignments? We're looking at that now. I'm sure that's, when somebody hears this whole moving to permission sets, wait.
I said the same thing when I was a customer. We are thinking about all those things and there's a number of features in the platform that reference profiles so we're looking at all of those as well. I hope to publish soon some more defined dates on when we're going to be removing permissions from profiles, but I don't have that date yet. But we're going to give a lot of notice and we're going to give some tools that will really help admins on this journey.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Forward looking statement.

Cheryl Feldman: Forward looking statement. Of course.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I'm just listening to you thinking how cool it wouldn't be in a few years for Einstein to pop up and be like, "Hey, Cheryl, it looks like you're creating a new user. Is there somebody that this user should be like?" And then it guiding you through so that for that admin, that it takes an hour it. It could almost turn into a voice prompt, because I think of how many things in our homes right now, if you say, hey, whatever, doesn't it light up and tell you what the temperature is outside? It'd be so cool if Einstein did that for Salesforce.

Cheryl Feldman: Yeah. We're looking at stuff like that. Some stuff like that we're also looking at is a way to take some of these manual tasks away from admins and let them focus on the things that they need to do, is making their users more efficient. How can we make users set up something that admins can easily automate? Now, I know a lot of really experienced admins have maybe built flows and some metadata types to do these things. We don't really have anything in the platform to do this. And so we're looking at how can we make user set up? That means setting up from a permissioning, licensing, group access, how can we help admins automate this? And so they can set criteria, governance around it. Those are things that we're looking at, and I think there's going to be some stuff we can probably start showing about this forward looking statement in the next couple of releases. Because I think this will also help a lot with the migration from profiles to permission sets.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, making the complicated, simple, is always very hard.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I just got my new iPhone and it was two clicks to turn it on and make it work, versus in the old phone, just shut off. I was like, wow, there's so much thought that had to go into that because I remember when I first got a Nokia or whatever in 2004, and you'd have to go to the wireless place and they'd plug it into some computer, who knows what that person was doing to try and get the thing to work? And now it's like, tap, tap, "Welcome Mike." Like, oh, you know my name? That's amazing.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes. I'm definitely thinking that way. How do we make it simple? How do we make it easy?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it's very much the Steve Job's way. If anybody can make something complicated, it's making things simple that's difficult.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes. That's the role. I think user access control, if anybody tells any admin it's easy right now, it's not, it's hard. It is really hard to manage and kudos to any admin who's doing it well, and not just giving everybody a system admin profile because-

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Cheryl Feldman: It's hard.

Mike Gerholdt: I give up, you're all system admins.

Cheryl Feldman: Right. There's admins I spoke to now that just because they got so frustrated because they couldn't figure out why a user couldn't do something [inaudible], because they're what I like to call an also admin. They're also the sales op manager. They're also something else at their company and we need to support admins that are doing this full time as well as they also have another job.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Hundred percent. Well, Cheryl, to wrap things up, I've got some fun lightning round questions just to help people get to know you a little bit better. I stole these from other interviews that I've been doing over the years and compiled them. I think they're fun. We'll start off. First question, what is the best compliment you have received?

Cheryl Feldman: The best compliment I ever received was when I gave somebody some advice, it was career advice, and they went and took that advice, completely changed their career, and then essentially complimented me on pushing them to go to the next level in their career. Because I told them that they needed to focus and they weren't going to get where they needed to go unless they focused on the things that they wanted.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. I would say that's a very good compliment. If you could only have one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?

Cheryl Feldman: Pizza.

Mike Gerholdt: Of course you're from New York. Any specific kind?

Cheryl Feldman: Plain. I like plain pizza.

Mike Gerholdt: Plain. Okay. Folded, right?

Cheryl Feldman: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Like a New Yorker?

Cheryl Feldman: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: I would love to know, who is your hero?

Cheryl Feldman: Who is my hero? I'm going to have to go with, I think my mother is my hero. My mom is amazing and she raised four children, part of that time being a single mom, and still managed to be a badass and become a CFO of a company while she was raising four children.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Cheryl Feldman: I just think that's really awesome. I'm really, really proud of my mom. My mom just announced that she's actually retiring soon. I think a lot of how driven I am in my career comes from watching her. Watching her just never take no for an answer and just going for it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Similar vein, but maybe a little bit different, if you could meet one person that inspires you, who would that be? They could be alive or they could have passed on.

Cheryl Feldman: I would want to meet AOC. AOC, if you're not familiar, she's a Congresswoman from New York City and she actually covers the district next to where I live. But I think she does really... I think she's pushing for a lot of the right change. I also really like her and I actually graduated from the same high school and we actually have the same birthday.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh wow.

Cheryl Feldman: Yeah. I-

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you got a nice breaker right there.

Cheryl Feldman: Yes. And so I just think she would be really interesting to talk to, especially because I'm a little bit older than her, but we're from the same area, we're both achieving things, pushing things in the right direction. I think it would just, she'd be really cool to talk to. I really have always felt that way.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. If you were stranded on an island, what album would you bring?

Cheryl Feldman: I would bring Pearl Jam, Ten.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my God. You win. That is my choice.

Cheryl Feldman: That's one of my favorite albums, either that or Nirvana, Nevermind.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. See, those are the albums you bring.

Cheryl Feldman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Last question. I'll let you off the hook. Five words that describe you.

Cheryl Feldman: Tough, nice, funny, fair, smart.

Mike Gerholdt: Fantastic. Well, Cheryl, thank you for being tough and sticking through this interview, and I appreciate you nicely answering my questions and being funny and fair in your responses.

Cheryl Feldman: While I'm still on here, could I actually give a shout out to something I have in Beta that I would love admins to try?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Cheryl Feldman: We have a feature in Beta that I would love every single awesome admin to try. That is, we have a feature when you are managing assignments of promotion sets and permission site groups, you can now set an expiration date. For example, let's say you are a Salesforce admin, and maybe you are going on parental leave or you are going on vacation for a couple of weeks and there's going to be somebody temporarily taking over your admin work while you're out. You want to temporarily grant access to those maybe high level permissions like customized application, modify all data, manage users, things like that. You can create a permission set and then say, okay, I only want this person to have it for three weeks while I'm out. And then it would automatically shut off. We have that in Beta right now and I would love for admins to try it.

Mike Gerholdt: I will include that in the show notes. Is there a link or if they're interested in participating in the Beta, what do they do?

Cheryl Feldman: Yep. They can self enable the Beta under the user management settings and setup, and you can turn it on and I will send you the link from the help and training.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Perfect. Well, Cheryl, thank you so much for taking time out. I'm excited to have you onboard and overseeing how our admins are taking care of our users and setting up profiles and permission sets and guiding Salesforce down that path.

Cheryl Feldman: Yeah. It's really exciting. I'm really excited about it.

Mike Gerholdt: I appreciate it. I'm going to go listen to Pearl Jam Ten now. What a great conversation with Cheryl. If I didn't point it out already, I totally picked the same albums to be stuck on a stranded island, big Pearl Jam fan. Be sure to check out the show notes. I did include that link to the set expiration date for perm sets, the Beta feature that Cheryl talked about. Be sure to look for that. Of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. There's new podcast swag in the Trailhead store and you know the holidays are just around the corner so think of how great it would be for all of your family to get a Salesforce admin's podcast or at least that's what I'd want under my tree. Be sure to pick up some swag. I'll include the link in the show notes.
Of course you can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmn. No I on Twitter. You can follow our guest. She is Cheryl Feldman, on Twitter she is @CherFeldman. I'll include that link in the show notes. Of course my co-host Gillian is @gilliankbruce. Of you want to follow me on Twitter, I am @MikeGerholdt. With that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: The_Future_of_Permissions_for_Admins_with_Cheryl_Feldman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, it’s time for a spooktacular October Retro. In this episode, we’re getting ready to pass out the candy as we go over all the top Salesforce product, community, and careers content for October. We’re joined by J. Steadman from the Admin Evangelist team.


You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and J.

Podcast highlights from October.

For J., the podcast that stood out was a discussion of Tableau with John Demby. “As I look at how our admins are focusing on their skills and technologies that are valuable and relevant today and how we at Salesforce are working to better incorporate our products together,” J. says, “conversations about Tableau are really high-yield for our admins.” Mike points us to the IdeaExchange episode, and how Salesforce is always working to better improve how they incorporate customer feedback into their design and development processes.



Blog highlights from October.

For blog posts from October, both Mike and J. picked a post about custom permissions. As the features available to Salesforce admins become more and more robust, it gets harder to manage everything if you’re hard-coding values. With custom permissions, you go to a single place to turn things on or off and can keep on top of everything easier. “At one time, Profiles were enough,” Mike says, “but now, Profiles feel like a dump truck when you need a hand shovel.



Video highlights from October.

It might sound cheesy, but we get the question a lot: what is a Salesforce admin? Mike highlights a great, 1-minute long video to explain what it is you do to friends and family. J. recommends adding it to the signature line of your emails. J. points you to another great piece of content about custom permissions and screen flows.



The Kooky Spooks


  1. and Mike also talked about their favorite Halloween costumes. Here’s a picture of Mike’s, from growing up int he 70’s and 80’s:


[Cooky Spooks picture]


We also hear what J. has picked up for Halloween, so be sure to listen to the full episode.

Podcast Swag:


Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to Salesforce Admins podcast in the October monthly retro, or should I say the Halloween special, for 2021. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we'll review the top product community and careers content for October that we really, really want you to catch up on. And to help me do that, I am joined by J. Steadman. Hi J.

J. Steadman: Hello. Thank you very much, Mike, for having me here. And I'd like to suggest that we upgrade the title of this to a spooktacular since we're in Halloween time.

Mike Gerholdt: I will say the number of Halloween title updates on apps and things for Halloween is starting to become quite a bit. But I think Hulu has Huluween or something.

J. Steadman: You know, that's good. That's good. Huluween.

Mike Gerholdt: That's great. Then it changes the whole thing. And you know, like, what? I just want to watch the American Pickers show.

J. Steadman: Well, Mike, change is hard.

Mike Gerholdt: It is. So before we get into all of the fun October topics that we have talked about, I do want to remind you that there's podcast swag on the store, which is always fun to hand ... you could hand out swag to trick-or-treaters. I mean, what trick-or-treater in your Hollywood, in your Hollywood, in your neighborhood, wouldn't want some podcast swag? Maybe you live in Hollywood, and you're trick-and-treating.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I was going to say to our listeners in Los Angeles, if you're in Hollywood, in your Hollywood, hand out this swag. Just catch-

Mike Gerholdt: It's required. It's required. That's the new-

J. Steadman: It's the new decree. In your Hollywood. I like that.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. In your Hollywood, I mean, that's maybe what we start calling neighborhoods now.

J. Steadman: Every neighborhood is a Hollywood.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, everybody's got like a podcast and a Twitch and a, what is it, TikTok. I sound old. I should stop talking about apps. God, I sound like grandparents talking about-

J. Steadman: No, you're doing good. You're focusing on all the big things, podcasts, TikToks.

Mike Gerholdt: No congratulations. Your VHS doesn't flash 12.

J. Steadman: Wow. I remember that setting, wow. Setting the clock on a VCR was so hard.

Mike Gerholdt: I honestly think it was easier for us to put somebody on the moon than it was to set that clock, because that was the thing, man, when the power went out ...

J. Steadman: Yeah. So if you're listening and you never had a VCR-

Mike Gerholdt: Or you don't know what VHS is.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So VCR is a video cassette recorder, right? The VHS is the cassette you'd put into the VCR. So to set the clock, because they always had clocks for some reason, which thinking back on it makes no sense, it's not as though they had some kind of menu that you could mess around with. There was a play, fast forward, rewind and stop. And I guess record if you were very, very lucky. That's crazy. I forgot that those were the buttons that you'd have to use to set the clock.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, there was always some sort of weird combination of three buttons that you had to press at precisely the same time.

J. Steadman: Yep, like nuclear code same time.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I mean turn the keys. You ready? Okay. You down there. Press record when I press play.

J. Steadman: On my mark.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Three, two. Okay. All right. It's flashing. Wait, is that good? And oh, you remember the number of flashes?

J. Steadman: I don't.

Mike Gerholdt: You had to wait. So when it flashes really fast three times, then it's in like the time mode and then you have to press forward to move the clock forward, and then like rewind to set the hours or something, because every button did multiple things. It was hard. If I got the clock within 10 minutes of what the real time was, it was good enough.

J. Steadman: It was good enough. Do you remember, so when the iPhone launched, people were like, "This is crazy. How am I going to be able to control things with no buttons?"

Mike Gerholdt: Right. But there was a button.

J. Steadman: But looking back at the VCR, it's like, "Look, you had buttons and look what you did to us."

Mike Gerholdt: I know. It, well-

J. Steadman: It should have been touch screens all the way down, throughout history. Should have been touch screens in like 1910.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I mean, if you've had any kind of satellite TV within the last 10 or 15 years, I feel like it was an arms race of how many buttons can we add to the remote?

J. Steadman: I haven't had those services, but I've seen the remotes you're talking about.

Mike Gerholdt: 10 million. Nearly 10 million. And some buttons you would press once a year, but they had to exist.

J. Steadman: Like it's the Christmas button?

Mike Gerholdt: It's like the Christmas button.

J. Steadman: Or the Yom Kippur button.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it's the one time a year, you got to press this button, like recalibrate settings or something. And then the bad thing is you press, what button you push? I don't know. They put them a 16th of an inch apart.

J. Steadman: Yeah, I don't have anything that small. I think there's some larger than that.

Mike Gerholdt: So every time you go press the button, you're pressing like six, perhaps five maybe, and all the numbers around it.

J. Steadman: That sounds like my experience ... I tried using a Blackberry once. I never had one, but I tried using one once, and you push one button and it's like J K L M O N altogether.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. But those had stylus. They gave you a needle to play with them.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I guess they did.

Mike Gerholdt: Remember those? I had one of those little pocket calculator things. It had a stylus.

J. Steadman: Oh, like a PDA?

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes. I couldn't even remember the name there.

J. Steadman: Personal digital assistant.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. It was not very personal.

J. Steadman: I had a PDA for a while and it held like five songs. Like five MP3s on a [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Oh. I mean they were the most five you ever listened to.

J. Steadman: Oh yeah. I was like, "All right, let's do this." It took like 25 minutes to get them uploaded onto the card.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. You start the night before, "I'm going to be so cool tomorrow."

J. Steadman: Yep. That's exactly right. And then, it didn't always work. Transfers could get like an error message or something. So if you tried to upload the songs, it wasn't just pushing the new songs that you added. You had to reload everything from scratch. So you'd be on campus walking around, hoping to listen to your 15 and a half minutes of music and the whole thing got corrupted. So nothing loaded up. It was a perfect day then. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And of course it didn't tell you that while it was synching.

J. Steadman: No, Nope.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, why? Just fail-

J. Steadman: It said something like operation complete.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Oh fun times. Oh, fun times. Well, I have no segue.

J. Steadman: Well [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: [crosstalk] segue it from old technology to podcasting, which half the people in the world still don't listen to?

J. Steadman: Well, here we go. So that's a great example of technology and all of the issues that it caused for us and how uncomfortable it made us, even though it was providing us the features that we were looking for. In our October topics highlight, we're going to be talking about great features that are helping people's lives and improving some of those old deprecated things that we never want to see again.

Mike Gerholdt: That was really good.

J. Steadman: You're welcome.

Mike Gerholdt: You should write more of my segues.

J. Steadman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, good.

J. Steadman: I'll send you my rate sheet.

Mike Gerholdt: Good. Oh, could you fax it over so I can make a mimeograph of it?

J. Steadman: Absolutely. I'll fax it over so you can Xerox it.

Mike Gerholdt: My dot matrix. Oh, there's somebody out there listening to this going, "I don't know why any of this is funny."

J. Steadman: Because it was so bad and so hard to use.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: And now you know that the joke is good because I explained it.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. So let's explain podcasts that we liked in October.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Do you mind if I go first, Mike?

Mike Gerholdt: I was going to ask if you'd go first, and just dig us out of this conversational rut that I've put us in.

J. Steadman: Well, I was happy where we were, and I'm happy where we're going. So in looking at all of October and the fantastic guests and subjects that you focused on, my favorite, I think, was the Tableau discussion that you had with John Demby. And the reason that I think that that podcast was great this month is, as our admins are focusing on their skills and technologies that are valuable and relevant today, and I look at how we, as Salesforce, are working to better incorporate our products together, I think conversations about Tableau specifically are really, really high yield, very, very valuable for our admins. I'm a huge fan of Tableau. I think the technology is fantastic. I'm a huge fan of John Demby. He is a super great person to talk to. He's very passionate about our community. And I think that anyone who cares as much about our admins as John does, let's never stop inviting him in. And I'm also a huge fan of you. So the three things all together in a single podcast, that to me is like peanut butter and jelly.
And seeing some of the things that y'all are talking about, bringing the power of Flow into Tableau, I think that that is legitimately a game changer. I know that that gets thrown around in tech a lot, but that's a significant upgrade to the technology. Seeing that SOQL was going to be coming into Tableau, I think that that's really, really huge for our existing admin base. So if you haven't listened to it yet, folks, please do. That is my vote for best podcast of October.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I agree. I enjoyed that. I enjoy always talking with John. I just enjoy having worked on the platform for, I don't know, over a decade, what Tableau brings in terms of ease of use and reportability, because it's so real-time and it's so intuitive for me to build stuff, as opposed to some of our other analytics products. And it just feels very approachable.

J. Steadman: Yeah. And I think the approachability is a huge factor. And I think that it's really important to recognize that, if you're not using Tableau today, you can go and get a free account. You can interact with it, you can start using it, and it's not as difficult as you think. And when we're looking at our total, like all of the admins in the world, we have to recognize that many of our admins are using all kinds of technologies now. Like as a team of evangelists, we focused really well on core technologies, what we call core technologies. And I'm really excited to see us start to really embrace all of these other technologies that we've acquired over time, and that are really becoming more entwined with our platform, right? Because there are admins out there that definitely benefit from this Tableau content, people that are already using Tableau today, people that may be using Tableau in the near future. So anytime that we're able to ... whether it's Tableau or MuleSoft or Slack, I love that we're starting to bring those family of products into our conversations here.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. I will highlight the IdeaExchange podcast that I had with Scott and Hannah. I think, thinking back to just the time that I've spent on the platform, and I remember early days looking at the IdeaExchange and thinking, "Wow, that is so cool that the company is open to taking these raw ideas from their customers." And at the time I was working for an organization that had boisterous customers, but wasn't listening to them in the same respect. And I just happened to think of, like that is such a neat concept and I wonder how they're executing on it. And I never really thought of, and who could, what happens when a decade or two goes by and a thousand ideas become tens of thousand, become hundreds of thousand, and yet you still have this big corporation driving a product vision. How do you mesh those two?
And so I thought it was interesting to sit down and chat with Scott on how they've moved to having the community prioritize things, things that they're working on, the amount of time that they really encourage product managers to get in there and get their hands dirty with the idea, and see whether they can't incorporate that stuff into their current roadmap. And also just be completely transparent with the community and say, "This might not make it," or, "This will totally make it. And here's where we're at with it."

J. Steadman: Yeah. I think, as I look at the IdeaExchange from a customer perspective, so I've worked here at Salesforce for about three years now, three and a half years now, so I wasn't a customer too, too long ago. And I was there around the time that things started to change over, I believe, from just throwing in an idea and getting up votes to this idea of prioritization. I think I was just making the transition into the company here at Salesforce when that change was made. But what I loved about it is it took this idea of our suggestion box, and it's starting to supercharge it and operationalize it a little bit. I love that you were able to pull the curtain back and have a conversation with them about how product managers are really trying to dive in and take a look.
Our admin community is so passionate and driven to bring up those features that they really need and that they really desire. And they do a great job of socializing these ideas amongst one another. And I don't think any solution is going to be perfect, because we have so many admins, right? So many admins, which is fantastic. I love the idea that our admins are becoming a voice at the table to really prioritize features, prioritize these really roadmap items for our product. The closer that we can bring our community to our product managers, as we all continue to scale. We were talking about this a little while ago, like the scale internally at Salesforce is insane. Take the product away, just look at the number of employees that we have, and managing all of those folks and how they're taking in ideas from other people. That's got to be just a Herculean task. So really excited to hear about these changes.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Now, before we get into the blog, well, as we get into blog highlights, I want to point something out. I noticed we both picked a post about custom permissions.

J. Steadman: Oh yes.

Mike Gerholdt: So why?

J. Steadman: Well, my picks don't end there. I'll throw down a further hint. I have another custom permissions thing that I've picked later on in our conversation as well. Do you want me to go with the why first or do you want to go with the why first?

Mike Gerholdt: I would love for you to go with the why first.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So we both picked blogs that highlight custom permissions. The reason that I think custom permissions are being selected here, and the reason that they are important, is as our tools, as admins, become more and more robust, which is what's happening, whether we are looking at the features that are available with an app builder, like Dynamic Forms, Dynamic Actions, Dynamic Interactions, or if we're talking about just old-school features like validation rules, or if we're talking about things like displaying a Lightning Web Component or making certain fields on a Flow available to a user, all of these things can be really difficult to achieve, if we're hard coding values, right?
You have to dive into things, type them out manually. If you've ever got to change, if we're talking about, let's say, a Lightning Web Component, if you want to change the visibility, well, you'd have to go back into that component. You'd have to edit whatever you've typed in there. Custom permissions are a fantastic way to stop all of that. Instead you go to a single place, you have a custom permission, you can turn it on or off. And we really highlighted, this month, a number of different applications for custom permissions that you can use in your app building, in your declarative business logic, in your UX, all to benefit your users, and give you, as in the admin, super, super granular control over who sees what or who can do what. And I think that those are some of the most powerful levers to pull as an admin. So that's my long answer to why.

Mike Gerholdt: But it's a very good answer.

J. Steadman: Well, thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: So I added it just for the simple fact that I feel like, at one time, profiles were enough, and now profiles feel like a dump truck when you need a hand shovel. The amount of product and the amount of features that an admin's managing, you can't give them the experience, a user, the experience that they need in order to work as efficiently as possible with just a profile. And that's why I chose that, that and also, sneak peek, next week on the podcast, you'll hear Cheryl Feldman, who is the PM for profiles and permission sets and permission set groups. But I do really feel like we're at the point now where you need a scalpel to very finely trace along the tissue paper of a user and make what they need to do, what they need to see, what they need to interact with, as fine-grain as possible, so that they can work as efficiently as they need to, because everybody's up to more screens now.

J. Steadman: Yeah. That's the absolute experience of an admin who's creating something's for an end user, like we need to be able to really narrowly slice permissions and hand them out in a way that makes the most sense. And then there's also the question of maintainability. Me as the admin, how do I know who has what permissions? And I think that that's where, as our products became more complex and time passed, that's where profiles really started to get that dump trucky aspect that you just pointed out. I once worked in an org where every user had their own profile. And the reason that that happened, and thankfully it was a small org, but the reason that happened is the admin was struggling with how to assign a profile to more than one user. In trying to come up with this way to, what's the lowest common denominator? How do I only assign those permissions that I need to, and then stack? And I think that might have even been before permission sets were a thing, caveat.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I was close. I was close when I was an admin. I used to have maybe one or two users per profile. It was just so hard, even when you group your biggest set of users together, like sales, you still had people in pre-sales or people in deal support, or like different stages of the cycle, and they needed to do different things to the customer record or the opportunity or the contract.

J. Steadman: Yep. And that's where custom permissions ... so you should check out the blog ... we should actually say what blogs we're highlighting here.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. We should. Well, the links are in the show notes.

J. Steadman: That's true.

Mike Gerholdt: See, that's the trick, because then they have to open up the show notes.

J. Steadman: Yep. Do you want to give the title of yours first?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Mine is Why You Should Add Custom Permissions to Your #AwesomeAdmin Tool Belt.

J. Steadman: Yeah. And mine is Allow Certain Users to Edit Data Using Custom Permissions in Validation Rules.

Mike Gerholdt: And yours came out a week after.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Both Jennifer Lee posts.

J. Steadman: It's true.

Mike Gerholdt: She knows a little bit about permission.

J. Steadman: She did a nice little mini deep dive into custom permissions.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. And completely dominated the blog highlight section of the retro podcast.

J. Steadman: Good job, Jen.

Mike Gerholdt: That's a campaign right there. So last in the bucket of content that we put out, before we start our Halloween theme discussion, which I know I didn't tease out at the intro, but I'm sure everybody, now that they've heard it 22 minutes in, is just begging for us to get to, is video highlights. This time, I will go first. So I included a link to our YouTube video of What is a Salesforce Admin? I know it sounds cheesy, but we get the question a lot. And so does everybody else. And I just felt like the video we put together for Dreamforce was really cool and a minute long and just kind of something that it just made me feel good.

J. Steadman: I agree with the feel good vibes. I think as a person who is like ... most people in my family have no idea what I do, and they haven't for years. And a video like this is good for two reasons, I think. One, it can communicate really well who an admin is today, which might be slightly, I don't know, I think we're slightly more robust than we were 10 years ago. We're doing a little bit more stuff in the business, I think. But two, it communicates that with a sense of joy, and we're seeing a lot of faces from the community, and people have heard me talk about this in the past, but I genuinely really believe in this as a career. I genuinely think that we are improving lives. We're improving our own lives, the lives of people at our business and subsequently things at our company. And I'm really proud of that, right?
So to have a nice succinct video that brings that all together and is able to be shared amongst other folks, I think that's a really powerful calling card. And I'd invite any of our admins to pick that card up and share it with someone. If you've ever gotten the question of like, "Hey, what is an admin? What do you do?" Or if you need something zesty to add to your signature line of your email.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah, there you go. Here's what I do. Click play.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So my video pick is actually a video that I made, and it's not because I made it-

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

J. Steadman: ... because that's whatever, it's because it's about custom permissions, right? So where we were discussing custom permissions, why you should use them, in one post on the blog, and then how you can use them in validation rules, in another post on the blog, this video focuses on how you can use custom permissions to display a screen Flow to certain users. So I recommend that you take a look at that, because the power of custom permissions cannot be overstated.

Mike Gerholdt: No. And if you think they can be, read last discussion. Just rewind-

J. Steadman: Just rewind a little bit.

Mike Gerholdt: ... just six minutes to when we talk about blog highlights. Okay. So that is the content. I mean, that's not all the content. There's a lot of great content out there. It's just, this is the content we'd really like you to listen, maybe play the podcast a few hundred times-

J. Steadman: A few thousand times.

Mike Gerholdt: ... on your speakers, to your neighbors. That would be cool.

J. Steadman: Loud speakers, portable speakers.

Mike Gerholdt: Just get like a big speaker, like in Blues Brothers, and drive an old cop car around your town, playing the admin podcast. I'll send you a sticker.

J. Steadman: As a side note, don't do what Mike just suggested, right?

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, if you had an old cop car, like the Blues Brothers, it would be kind of cool. I dressed up as Blues Brothers for one Halloween.

J. Steadman: Did you?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, of course. I mean, I have total black suit, just like that, and the Ray-Bans, and I'm built like Jim Belushi.

J. Steadman: I feel like this was a Midwest thing, and we both talk about the Midwest sometimes, but did you ever ... your costume was just wearing a pumpkin on your head?

Mike Gerholdt: No, but mine was close. So I was going to ask you, J., what your favorite costume growing up was.

J. Steadman: Oh, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: So I tried to find the picture this weekend. I couldn't find it, but growing up, I had a costume. It had a bib, because all the costumes in the '70s and '80s had bibs, but mine had some sort of headdress thing, rubber thing that you tied around your neck and then you blew it up and there was another head on your head. And it was yellow, this like yellow scary monster thing. And then it came with some makeup, like green makeup and stuff that you had to put on your face. And I remember putting that on and being like, "I am the scariest thing on the block. I am a little monster."

J. Steadman: Wow. That sounds really-

Mike Gerholdt: I still remember that.

J. Steadman: It feels like there's tying, there's inflating, there's makeup.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean the inflating was the hardest part.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I was trying to, like you explained that you have to inflate it after you put it on?

Mike Gerholdt: No, before. It was just like a beach ball.

J. Steadman: Crazy. Was it like a pumpkin beach ball?

Mike Gerholdt: No, I'm trying to find it. No, I mean, not pumpkin. It was yellow, but they had different colors. I was an '80s kid. Yeah. Oh, it was called the Kooky Spooks 1980s inflatable head Halloween costume.

J. Steadman: Spooks.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: 19, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I'll put a picture in the show notes.

J. Steadman: Do it. Do it.

Mike Gerholdt: I don't have the picture of me. I know the picture of me exists. It's somewhere in this world. I'm just unable to find it.

J. Steadman: I want to use that statement more frequently in my life. I know it's somewhere in this world, but I don't know where to find it.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it's true. Yeah.

J. Steadman: I think my favorite Halloween costume growing up, when I was in my late tweens, early teens, maybe like 13 or something, I came up with this really clever double costume idea.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh.

J. Steadman: So what I did was, I dressed up as a werewolf, including like a mask and some kind of spooky hair tufts. And then I also put a pumpkin on my head. So what I did was, I walked around the zone that I was trick-or-treating, got all the candy, and then I took off the pumpkin on my head and threw it in a bush. And then I was wearing like a cloak that I removed and then I was a werewolf. And then I hit the neighborhood a second time. Very efficiently, might I add. So it wasn't really about the costumes per se. It was more about the cleverness and the candy yield.

Mike Gerholdt: I never thought twice about going around in the neighborhood. I never thought about that. I also didn't do the costume change. You just turned my world upside down.

J. Steadman: So at least in the neighborhood that I grew up in, parents can be a little odd about deciding when a trick-or-treater is too old or not old enough or anything. But one thing that was in my neighborhood was like, no repeat offenders. You cannot come back if you've already been through once. So I was like, "Well, okay. You just won't recognize me."

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

J. Steadman: And the pumpkin's great because it adds a little height.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So I added this. People probably won't understand what I'm talking about, but you know you go trick-or-treating, and nowadays including myself, I have two bins of stuff. I have packaged candy, Snickers, your Twix, your M&Ms. And then I have stuff for children that are allergic to things. So-

J. Steadman: Oh.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So you know about that? You put out like a teal colored pumpkin. And then that way kids can go trick-or-treat in your house and they know they'll get something safe. So I'll buy like little mints or notepads or pens or fun erasers. And it's basically like non-food item, like you give a non-food item. And the kids that come up, I only get like usually one or two every year, they trick-or-treat, and, "Oh, could he have a non-food item?" "Yeah." And it's like a whole bin of fun kids grab toys stuff. But growing up, it used to be a regular occurrence, you'd go into the older neighborhoods where the grandmas and grandpas lived. And they would make non packaged food to hand out to trick-or-treaters, which doesn't happen now. But I wondered what your favorite non packaged Halloween food was?

J. Steadman: So I have never been lucky enough to go to a neighborhood that was actually handing out like a fresh, big treat from somebody that I felt trusted me and I trusted them. But I can tell you, I've attended my fair share of Halloween parties. And Halloween parties, at least in the Midwest, are usually potlucks, and everyone brings in the usual suspects, but they're all Halloween themed. They've all been dressed up for Halloween. And I think my favorite Halloween dessert, it's the dirt cupcakes with a worm coming out of them.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. I like the dirt cupcakes. I like them because sometimes the Halloween foods can just end up getting real gross looking. But the dirt cupcakes are cool, because-

Mike Gerholdt: Bleeding eyeballs or something.
Yeah. Like I don't really want to eat that, but it's a gummy worm, so I can get behind that.
Right. Yeah. What was the dirt made out of? Crushed up Oreos.

J. Steadman: Yeah. It's crushed up Oreo or any dark ... like sometimes people put sand, so it could be like graham cracker.

Mike Gerholdt: Not literal sand.

J. Steadman: It's just sand. It's real gritty, really crunchy.

Mike Gerholdt: Gran was out baking the cupcakes, drops them in the sandbox.

J. Steadman: Yep. It's really horrible. It hurts a lot to chew.

Mike Gerholdt: So I will see your dirt cupcakes and I will raise you popcorn balls.

J. Steadman: Oh yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh man. Popcorn balls were the best.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. I totally forgot about popcorn balls until right now.

Mike Gerholdt: There used to be a couple houses growing up that I would go to, and she would wrap the popcorn balls in like an orange Sarah Wrap or something, so it looked like a little pumpkin. And that used to be the best, just the best, because it's the best part of popcorn. It's like a solid, sticky caramel popcorn, and it's dense. Oh.

J. Steadman: Yeah. It's kind of like Cracker Jack, but it's a big old ball.

Mike Gerholdt: It like if you were to accidentally get a good box of Cracker Jacks, they'd seen a little heat, and stuck together. Yeah.

J. Steadman: There's a gourmet popcorn place in Indianapolis called Just Pop In!, that was just down the street from me. And I feel like they did popcorn balls.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I'd buy them.

J. Steadman: I feel like they did. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I'd have a ... "Do you guys have a punch card?" "Not for you. We're just giving you equity stake in the business."

J. Steadman: They switch from the punch card to like bulk rate, right?

Mike Gerholdt: No, we bought you a forklift.

J. Steadman: I'll have one pallet of popcorn balls.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. In orange Saran Wrap, please. Okay. It seems everywhere I turn, at least around the holidays, for Halloween, people are always talking about candy corn. Are you a yay or nay on candy corn? Because it feels it's somewhat divisive as a sweet treat.

J. Steadman: I think candy corn is divisive as a sweet treat. But I would like to give you an answer that is both yes and no, but I'm going to categorize it. I am yes for candy corn as an ambassador of the season. In other words, I recognize candy corn as a symbol that All Hallows Eve is nigh approaching, right? So like if it's on a T-shirt, awesome. If you've got like some kind of cool graphic, I get you. If we're talking about candy corn as a food, I have to say no, because it's not a food. It's just gross.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So I still hear no, because if I stick you at a party, and there's a bowl of candy corn, at the end of the night, I'm fairly certain that bowl of candy corn's still going to be there.

J. Steadman: That's true. But if you didn't do any other decorations, I will take the bowl of candy corn as a signifier that we are at a spooky party.

Mike Gerholdt: Just wow. So July 4th, somebody puts candy corn out. It's a spooky party now.

J. Steadman: It's a spooky party, yep. And if you're upset at me for thinking that your party is spooky, you should not have put candy corn out on the 4th of July.

Mike Gerholdt: It's your fault. It's your fault.

J. Steadman: It's like putting out a Christmas tree on, I don't know, like Indigenous People's day or something, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. Sure. Yeah. May 25th. So I see your nay-ish, and I-

J. Steadman: Eating, I'm a solid nay.

Mike Gerholdt: A solid nay, no matter what?

J. Steadman: Eating, solid nay.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

J. Steadman: They do have a chocolate candy corn that I've had.

Mike Gerholdt: Why would you do that?

J. Steadman: Because it tastes better.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you put chocolate on a flip flop and it tastes better.

J. Steadman: No, it's not on top. It replaced one of the-

Mike Gerholdt: Inside?

J. Steadman: Yeah, no, it's not inside. It's like, I don't know what candy corn is, wax?

Mike Gerholdt: It's made from child's tears, I think.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So the candy corn itself is made from a chocolate flavored something.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, then that's just chocolate painted like a candy corn.

J. Steadman: Listen, you asked me what my opinion is.

Mike Gerholdt: I did.

J. Steadman: And I am telling you that the chocolate candy corn is a yay from me.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. All right. It just feels like it's just chocolate. So here is my one and only condition for eating candy corn.

J. Steadman: Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: If it's mixed with salted peanuts.

J. Steadman: Oh, interesting. I've never done that.

Mike Gerholdt: It's kind of ridiculously good.

J. Steadman: How did you stumble into that combination?

Mike Gerholdt: I was at a tailgate, and the breakfast hadn't arrived. I need a little something to munch on, and there was a bowl of candy corn and peanuts over there. And I went over and I started to pick the peanuts out. And my friend, who was hosting the tailgate, said, "You either eat it as is, or you don't eat it at all." And I said, "But the candy corn sucks." And they said, "Not with peanuts."

J. Steadman: I have this mental image of this person that prepared the party. They were like, "Okay, I'm going to get rid of this candy corn that I've had for the last five years. And I'm going to make sure that anyone who touches the peanuts have to take it. I'm not going to be left with a bowl of candy corn again."

Mike Gerholdt: Nope. Nope. And they convinced me. So I won't eat a lot of it, but it's sweet, it's salty and it just balances out right.

J. Steadman: And it's chewy and crunchy.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, yeah. It works. It works. But candy corn all by itself, nope. I mean, it'll be there. I'll be long gone and the candy corn bowl will still be there. So I'm a nay, unless it's got salted peanuts with it.

J. Steadman: Do you accept it as an ambassador of Halloween spirit?

Mike Gerholdt: I don't know. I mean-

J. Steadman: Well, that sounds like a no, to me.

Mike Gerholdt: It just feels like ... have you ever seen the video where somebody stacks a whole bunch of candy corn around a paper tube, like a paper towel tube? And it actually looks like corn cob.

J. Steadman: I haven't seen it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I watch a lot of weird things. All right. We've just about exhausted our Halloween theme discussion, except ... so obviously we know you don't hand out candy corn to trick-or-treaters. What are you handing out this year to trick-or-treaters?

J. Steadman: So I decided this year, it's been a rough couple years for everyone, so I went to Target where they sell the same boxes of candy that you get at the movie theater, but they're a dollar each. So I went out and I bought 25 boxes of movie candy, five boxes of five different kinds. And that's what the kids get to pick. After that, we got a couple of the mix and match miniatures of like M&Ms and Twix and Snickers and gummy bears and whatever. But I wanted to start off, "Here it's been a rough time. Eat some sugar."

Mike Gerholdt: And you're making the effort to get outside.

J. Steadman: Yeah, that's right. You deserve this.

Mike Gerholdt: You deserve this.

J. Steadman: Also we're at the end of the street, so if you made it that far, congratulations.

Mike Gerholdt: Here's your reward.

J. Steadman: That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: I am the same. So it's interesting. When I moved, my old house, I used to be on a heavy trick-or-treat street. And by heavy, I mean like, lights on at five, you don't even go inside your house, you have to sit out front, because there's a line of trick-or-treaters that come through. My neighbor, in my Hollywood-

J. Steadman: In your Hollywood. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: In my Hollywood, the person next to me would decorate their house, and make these poor kids walk through a maze. And so when they got to my house, I was just sitting outside. I'd have a cooler of beer for the parents and then just fun size candy, but I do it by the handful. But I would go through, I kid you not, $300 in candy.

J. Steadman: Whoa.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That's how many kids we had go through. We would have people drive to our street and park.

J. Steadman: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: And there would be a line waiting for people to pull and park on the street, run their kids up and down the street. I mean, it was nonstop. It was nonstop for like three and a half hours.

J. Steadman: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was my old house. So I moved. New house-

J. Steadman: Specifically because of the trick-or-treaters, I was out of there.

Mike Gerholdt: There was a candy corn farm just down the street. I moved, I mean, a new development. And I know all the kids now, because obviously we've moved in. Interestingly enough, the first Halloween, there was no neighbors here, because we were the first house in the development. And then the second Halloween, there were no kids because it was COVID. And so this will be our first Halloween, and we already know all the kids in the neighborhood. So I bought full size candy bars.

J. Steadman: Ah, good on you.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I'm like your Halloween candy full size, right? Like, "Trick or treat? What you get?" "Here's a Snickers bar," and just that thud that it makes when it hits the bottom of their little pumpkin bag. Like, "Oh my, that's wonderful."

J. Steadman: I think we're going to take Ruby trick-or-treating, like bless your heart for giving out full size stuff. I think about it now from both sides of the mirror. I'm a new-ish parent, and it's like, "Oh wow. So, okay. We're doing right by those kids who have earned it." And then I think about somebody giving my 22 month old kid like-

Mike Gerholdt: Full size Snickers.

J. Steadman: ... a three pound bag of Raisinets, and it's like, "Oh, well, I guess we'll eat that, then."

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe that's ours. Maybe that's ours. But you know the opposite, so I would encourage everybody to do this, because there are a lot of kids that go trick-or-treating, or don't go trick-or-treating, because they can't handle the sugar, and they're allergic to chocolate or various things. Those party supply stores always have like little bags of little yo-yos and fun pens and stuff that light up. So I'll buy a bag of those. It's like 10, 15 bucks. And usually you only get one or two kids. So I give them like half the bag. And then they go back home and they at least have something. So keep non candy stuff at your door. That's why.

J. Steadman: That's a wise ... that's sage wisdom.

Mike Gerholdt: You know, you feel bad when, "This is all you have?" "Yeah." And then just, oh, a little Spiderman walks away and ...

J. Steadman: Oh, little Spiderman, don't be sad.

Mike Gerholdt: It hurts. It's so hard. Anyway. Well, I would love to know what your favorite costume, non packaged Halloween food, if you're a yay or a nay on candy corn, what you hand out to trick-and-treaters. You have a lot of things to tweet at us when you listen to this podcast. And especially bonus points if you have pictures of yourself in your favorite Halloween costume.

J. Steadman: Yes. And remember, if you want us to understand that your tweet is Halloween themed, you must signify it-

Mike Gerholdt: You've got to include candy corn.

J. Steadman: ... with a candy corn emoji.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yes. Because otherwise-

J. Steadman: How would we know?

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, you could include the pumpkin or the ghost and we're still like, "This could be anything."

J. Steadman: Yeah. This could be autumn. This could be a cemetery.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe they're just tucking in a pumpkin. Maybe they got a cut pumpkin.

J. Steadman: Maybe.

Mike Gerholdt: And here's its little sheet friend, and they just go around solving crimes.

J. Steadman: Whoa. Spinoff. We're going to make a show, Pumpkin and the ghost.

Mike Gerholdt: But if it's candy corn, then it's a Halloween.

J. Steadman: Then we know it's Halloween.

Mike Gerholdt: Then it's Halloween. Yeah.

J. Steadman: It's the only place that candy corn shows up in the world.

Mike Gerholdt: Is Halloween. Yeah. Oh, I'm going to include the link to a YouTube video of Lewis Black talking about candy corn, because I think he best sums it up for me.

J. Steadman: I'm going to guess that he's a nah then, because I know Lewis Black and-

Mike Gerholdt: Most people are nah.

J. Steadman: Yeah. He doesn't talk about [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Unless you put it with salted peanuts, then it's remarkable.

J. Steadman: Well again, that's your plug, salted peanuts, candy corn.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. If you want to learn more about all things that we just talked about, like the Halloween stuff or the candy corn, please go to to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdt on Twitter, Twitter, can't even say it. It's all the candy corn in my mouth. If Gillian were here, you can tweet at her. I think Gillian's probably nah on the candy corn. She is @GillianKBruce. And of course my guest host today was J. Steadman, and give them a follow on Twitter @J_mdt. So with that, please stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: October_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_J.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Dr. Shannon Gregg, Ph.D., MBA, and president of Cloud Adoption Solutions. She’s also the author of It’s About Time, a book about refocusing on the things that you think are really important.

Join us as we talk about how work has changed since COVID, why it might be the Golden Age of the Admins, how to start getting out there as a speaker, and much more.

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

Work-life integration.

2020 and 2021 saw a lot of changes to how many of us work. “No more is it work-life balance, it’s work-life integration, and I think that’s exciting,” Shannon says. Everything was changed around very rapidly to enable people to work from home, but now we need to catch up on what that means in the long term.

“Now that people aren’t returning to the office in droves, we need to ask how we can make sure everybody has what they need to do that in a way that is sensible and flexible as their roles continue to change,” Shannon says, “at first it was just access, but now it’s optimization.” One good thing to come out of how long the pandemic has extended is that we’re not simply turning the lights back on and getting right back to it—we’re dipping our toes in the water and reexamining how much time in the office is actually necessary.

The Golden Age of the Admin.

One thing Shannon thinks admins need to learn how to do in a world without SABWA is to be more proactive to get inside of their users’ experiences. Screen sharing is a powerful way to get inside of a workflow and really figure out what’s going on, and it’s become much more of a normal thing in a work-from-home environment rather than something that might come across as intrusive or overstepping.

“I think now admins have the ability to say, ‘I’m going to take this bull by the horns and give you something you weren’t expecting because you didn’t even know it was possible,’” Shannon says, “and that to me is amazing because I feel like now we’re in the rise of the Golden Age of the Admin.” She has some great suggestions for how you can get a broader view of how your entire organization is working together to figure where you can create new efficiencies. This especially includes the kinds of things we tend to put off because they don’t seem essential, especially security.

How to get started with public speaking.

Shannon has been doing a lot of speaking, and her advice, if you want to get out there, is to make sure it’s something you’re really passionate about. “For me, that’s always been that user adoption is driven by thinking like or interacting with the user,” she says, “and great technology isn’t great if nobody’s using it.”

You need to be able to put your ideas out there without the fear that someone is going to disagree with you. “It’s not about me as a person, it’s about the topic,” Shannon says, “and being able to segment those things is a challenge that’s really worth doing.” Engaging in a spirited debate is a positive thing because it helps you expand your perspectives and think about a topic from all sides.

There’s so much more in our conversation with Shannon, so be sure to catch the full episode to hear all of her amazing insights.

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Direct download: The_Golden_Age_of_the_Admin_with_Shannon_Gregg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On today’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got two members of the Salesforce team: Scott Allan, Sr. Manager of Product Strategy, Customer & Market Insights, and Hannah Donovan, Product Management Specialist. We’re checking in to find out what’s new with the IdeaExchange and how they’re both working hard to make it even cooler.


Join us as we talk about the changes that IdeaExchange is making to how things are prioritized and why it’s never been a better time to submit an idea.


You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Scott Allan and Hannah Donovan.

How IdeaExchange crowdsources prioritization.


The IdeaExchange has been around for fourteen years, delivering 3400 ideas that the community asked for into Salesforce products. “But, with the growth of the company, with the growth of our community, with the growth of our product management team, the tool has outlived its usefulness in its current form,” Scott says. To help, their team has been working to reimagine the IdeaExchange to figure out how to bring the community even closer to the process.


One new feature is IdeaExchange Prioritization. Each community member gets a budget of 100 coins to vote on which top ideas they’d most like to see the team work on for the next release. They’re still iterating on that feature, and making it even easier with things like duplicate protection, better search and categorization functionality, and a higher level of communication between product managers and customers.

Overhauling communications with the community.

“Every day we feel so lucky we have such an engaged community that is willing to provide us feedback,” Scott says, “but if you’re the person who submitted an idea and you’re very passionate about it and you don’t see anything happening with it—that can be frustrating.” One thing they’re working on with the redesign is to better surface Ideas that might not have the most votes but are quickly picking up steam.


“We want to pay attention to if there’s a lot of energy on an idea with what the community is contributing,” Scott says. You can also more easily track Ideas you’ve interacted with to see if there have been any updates. There are also some best practices for what makes for a good Idea. “It’s the use cases and other community members that add additional layers that really make an idea so valuable,” Hannah says, “not only to the person creating it but also to the others who might benefit from it.”’


What the overhaul is trying to get to the root of is why certain features are requested. It’s not just about what needs to be done, but how it will best help people. Hannah, Scott, and the team are also working on new ways to communicate with the community about what they’re working on and get even more feedback. If you have a new idea, it’s never been a better time to get it out there.

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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 an awesome admin. This week we have two guests on. We have Scott Allen, who is the senior major of product strategy, customer and market insights, and Hannah Donovan, the product management specialist. Both are really working hard to make the IdeaExchange an even cooler place. That's right. This whole episode is going to be IdeaExchange from the multi-year journey to rebuild the IdeaExchange to the new functionality that was just released to, yes, even some forward-looking IdeaExchange and known issues reimagination. Tune in. This a fun episode and there's a lot of cool stuff you get to hear about. So with that, let's get Scott and Hannah on the podcast.
So Scott and Hannah, welcome to the podcast.

Scott Allen: Thanks, Mike, for having us.

Hannah Donovan: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, it's going to be fun. We've got a lot of ideas to exchange on this episode.

Scott Allen: I see what you did there.

Mike Gerholdt: That might be the only pun because Jillian's on leave right now. But it's all things IdeaExchange on this episode and some really cool stuff. So Scott, before we get started, I'd love for you and Hannah to introduce yourself to our admin community, who may or may not know you, and how you got started at Salesforce. So Scott, if you could go first.

Scott Allen: Yeah. So Scott Allen, part of the customer and market insights team at Salesforce, which is just a fancy way of saying we're all about listening to our customers. I joined the team just about three years ago to focus on this whole IdeaExchange reimagine effort that was kicked off at Dreamforce 2018, really to engage with the community. Figure out where we were going wrong, where we were going right with the IdeaExchange, and create a whole new experience. And I got to tell you, it was the best introduction to Salesforce because my job when I started was to go out to community group meetings, to community events, and just talk with our community admins, devs across the board, and learn what they needed out of the IdeaExchange. And then I got to solicit ideas from them about how we could improve it. So fantastic way to immerse myself in Salesforce. The trailblazer community. Couldn't have asked for a better orientation.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Now, Hannah, you're also doing IdeaExchange. Tell me about your journey to the Salesforce ecosystem.

Hannah Donovan: Yes. So my name is Hannah Donovan and I'm a product manager on the IdeaExchange team and the known issues team. So I work very closely with Scott and customer market insights to communicate with our customers and better understand their needs and how we can map those on to product deliveries and deliverables on the IdeaExchange. And so previous to this, I was actually a developer, but I've been at Salesforce now for about six months. And I think the coolest thing about my job so far is the customers and the people that I've been able to talk to. And so I'm really excited to be on this podcast today to continue to foster that relationship with our community who is so great and so awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Boy, six months. That's a couple years in company terms.

Hannah Donovan: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, Scott, in your introduction, you talked about the IdeaExchange and rebuilding it. I would love for you to give us that journey for new admins that maybe didn't even know we need to rebuild an IdeaExchange.

Scott Allen: Well, the IdeaExchange has existed for over 14 years, and it's been super useful in being that always on feedback platform for our community to submit ideas about what they would like to see better in our products. And it's been super useful. We've had our product teams mine the IdeaExchange across those years, and we've delivered 3,400 ideas that the community asked for into our products. But with the growth of the company, with the growth of the community, with the growth of our product management team, the tool has outlived its usefulness in its current form.
So what we set to do a couple years ago, which we announced at the True to the Core session at Dreamforce in 2018, was to really re-imagine the IdeaExchange. Modernize the site so it was just a better experience to use, but also try to figure out how do we bring our community closer to our product planning process?
And so what we initially set out to do was we built this new part of the site that's existed for the last a year and a half, which is IdeaExchange prioritization. And really, that allows our customers to take a set of top ideas that our product managers could start to work on in the next release and apply a budget of coins to them. Feel that constraint that a product manager does. They can't do all of these ideas, but figuring out which of those top ideas are the ones that they'd actually like to see the team start to work on in the next release. And so we're trying to bridge that gap of, hey, just submitting an idea, and then, hey, one day that being delivered, to try to bring the customers into the actual planning process that our product teams go through.

Mike Gerholdt: That sounds really... Oh, man. I can only imagine, as Salesforce has grown, the number of ideas and things to fix. I think you did a really good job of catching us up. Hannah, Scott mentioned coins and budgeting. Can you help explain what the new functionality of the IdeaExchange is?

Hannah Donovan: Yeah, of course. So Scott was mentioning earlier what we call our prioritization experience. And so what we're launching this week is a new experience and a refreshed experience of our voting platform. So with this launch, we've made it easier for our customers to collaborate and engage with Salesforce product managers, as Scott mentioned. Bringing them closer to the product delivery life cycle to co-create the future of Salesforce products.
So with this launch, some of the functionality we've included is a more simplified idea submission experience. So now users can leverage search as you type duplicate detection to make sure that they're not posting duplicate ideas, and better find the category that fits their idea while posting. In addition to that, there's better keyword searching and tracking of ideas. So users can more easily filter by product category, sub category, status, and release. Sort by date created, points and relevance, and track ideas that you've posted, upvoted, and commented on in our new my activity tab.
Additionally, there's enhanced collaboration on idea records. As Scott mentioned, it's really important for our customers' voices to be heard. And now users can thread comments, like an app, mention other community members, and communicate more directly with Salesforce product managers. In addition to that, we are also including more information on ideas so that there's a higher level of transparency with our product managers and our customers. So we're identifying product managers for ideas that are in development, having clearer statuses, and even including release notes on delivered ideas. So while we launched prioritization in 2019, we're launching something very exciting and bringing customers closer to the always on feedback platform that Scott had mentioned earlier.

Mike Gerholdt: I think it's interesting perspective for me because I was a customer for many years. I've submitted a few ideas. Thankfully, the homepage is customizable now. That was one. And now I'm on the inside, so I also get to see it. I think from a customer standpoint, it's always interesting because you submit one or two ideas and those are your ideas. They're your children and you pay attention to them. But for a product manager, I have to envision they're getting tens of thousands of ideas funneled to them, each of which, to the person submitting, is super important. So are product managers expected to respond to all of those ideas? How do they keep pace?

Scott Allen: It's a challenging situation, but also a wonderful situation to be in, because I think every day, we feel lucky that we have such an engaged community that is willing to provide us feedback. But yes, I think if you're the person who's submitted an idea and you're very passionate about it and you don't see anything happen with it, that can be frustrating.
I think one of the things we're trying to focus on with this new IdeaExchange is to better surface ideas. And not just the ones that have historically had a lot of points, but ones that are getting a lot of energy, that idea of velocity, and making sure that the community sees it and that our product teams see it. Just because something has a lot of points, it may be because it's an older idea and it's just had more time to accumulate points. That's what I think we're trying to do, is try to look at how do we engage the community and listen to the community on a couple of different dimensions? The new IdeaExchange experience is going to help a lot with that just because it's now on a more modern org, it's a more modern experience.
I think the other thing, too, is I love what Hannah and the team did with the search and filter facets. So you can actually see by the different product categories how many open ideas there are. In the previous experience, you just had a page that listed 10 ideas, and you could paginate through tens and tens and tens of ideas. But in this new experience, you can easily see, hey, my idea in the analytics space is one of 3,000 ideas that are submitted. And so it just brings a little bit of context, and hopefully some appreciation that we're trying to find those great ideas, but sometimes it is amongst a lot of other ideas that's hard to sift through.

Mike Gerholdt: I think that's important to point out. An idea that could be there for five years and have, I don't know, 5,000 points, that's a lot. But an idea submitted five days ago that's already got maybe 2,500 points, that's really that momentum that you were talking about, right?

Scott Allen: Yeah. I want that to be a signal to say, hey, there's something there. And the other piece of it is the comments too. We want to pay more attention to is there a lot of energy on an idea just with what the community is contributing? Or has Salesforce put a comment on there and then there's a bunch of comments coming back? So I think with this new platform, we're going to have more tools to look at these different signals.

Mike Gerholdt: So I'd love to hear, as the community that's listening to this, where they can find the ideas that they've posted or upvoted, but also maybe one layer deeper. Tell me what makes for a good idea that people can get behind.

Hannah Donovan: That's a great question. So in the new experience, users can navigate to our homepage and select what are calling the my activity tab. So within that tab, users can view ideas that they've posted, upvoted, or commented on to track any future updates that are made either from the community or from Salesforce.
And I think that you're touching on a really great point there, Mike, about what makes a good idea. And I think it really starts with the creator and the idea behind it. So in addition to having this space for folks to track what it is that matters to them, we've also provided some more details on what crafting a good idea looks like when you're posting it. We want to be there to help make sure that our customer's voices are heard. And so we've included details about the idea's purpose and impact should be included when you're writing the idea, and describing really its use case and how it improves Salesforce. Because this is a community engaged platform, and it's the use cases and other community members that add additional layers that really make an idea so valuable and important to not only the person creating it, but also the others who might benefit from it.

Mike Gerholdt: I think being able to post an idea that perhaps an entire industry or vertical would see as a much needed feature versus you is very different.

Scott Allen: Yeah. I think that's one of the things that we're trying to educate folks about, internally as well as externally. And I'm just going to do a quick plug here for the IdeaExchange Basics badge on Trailhead, where we go into some of this detail.
But I think the main thing that we're trying to ask people to do is describe the objective. What is somebody trying to do? Oftentimes we get feedback or ideas that's, hey, I want this button to be blue. And we'd rather hear, well, why do you want it to be blue? What are you trying to achieve? And really, that's the way that our product managers think. They're trying to assess, hey, what's the job to be done that this particular feature that I'm going to go spend time and money on, what is it trying to do? And how can we do that for the masses?
And so any idea that's articulated like that, I think it helps our product managers. But I also think it helps the community think about, well, what would they do if that idea was delivered? And that's where we see a lot of value in the comments that are added to the ideas of additional use cases, and that brainstorming popcorn effect of somebody puts something out there and then the rest of the community piles on. And it just makes that idea so much more rich for the product team to then consider when they actually go to build it.

Mike Gerholdt: And of course, the goal is getting on the prioritization list. So can you help everyone understand? Everyone wants to submit idea that gets on the prioritization list.

Scott Allen: The building of the prioritization list is-

Mike Gerholdt: A master big gold prioritization list.

Scott Allen: Yes. So what we've done with prioritization right now is structure it so that we do it three times a year, and that's in alignment with the core release schedule. What we're doing is getting very much in front of the release planning that the product teams go through. So as part of that, we say, hey, product teams, go look at the list of ideas for your area, focusing on the top ideas. And start at the top and go down the list one by one and say, hey, is this something that your team could start to work on if the community prioritizes it? If it is, then it's a candidate to go on the list.
If it's not, this is where we're asking the product teams to also go in and add a comment and explain why it's something that they can't start to work on. And there's often very valid reasons. Sometimes there's some architectural dependencies that other teams need to work on before a particular team could start to work on a feature. And I realize this is a muscle that we are building, and we've luckily had more engagement from our product teams in providing comments and updates. But essentially, that is how the list gets built, is just by looking at which of those top ideas are feasible.
Now, in some cases, we've had teams that are working on a particular area and there aren't ideas for that area, but there's a related idea. And so they've grabbed things lower on the list because they wanted to assess, hey, I'm going to go into the product and work in this particular area, would the community want me to also tackle this other thing? Or should they focus their energy on a completely different area of the product? So there's a little bit of artistry to how that list gets put together. But we're really trying to build that rigor so that we use this exercise to really test, hey, are these top ideas still top ideas or are there other things that the team should be focused on?

Mike Gerholdt: I think that's a good point because every product area might have a different starting number, right? And flow and automation are top of mind for a lot of people. So those are probably getting tons of ideas. Whereas maybe mobile isn't or dashboards aren't. And so the top idea may have a very smaller starting number, which would explain the variances in points. I know, speaking of which, when we would do Dreamforce submissions for admin track, you could always tell what was top of mind for the community and what was less top of mind. I still need to talk about these sessions, though. Just have to find the submissions for them.
I think one thing that comes up from the community is they would love to know why they can only prioritize one or two ideas as opposed to more than that.

Scott Allen: I think when we started prioritization, we wanted it to start simple. And so we've built it in a way that it happens three times a year, one list with a variety of product areas covered. And that does actually provide some value to us too, because especially when we first started this, analytics ideas, platform ideas, the most popular parts of the Salesforce platform were constantly winning. And I think that's a good signal when we go into budgeting for the company to say, hey, there's still a lot that our community wants from these areas. So if you want to think about resourcing, the community wants more. Add it to analytics, add it to platform, as an example.
But we know that there's going to be tremendous value when we are able to do this exercise that's focused on a particular product area. Our product teams are asking, can you put together a list for my 10 ideas in my product area so that I can have my customers that are interested in marketing cloud or service cloud really help shape our roadmap? And it is absolutely something that's on our IdeaExchange roadmap that we're focused on now that we've launched the new posting and voting platform.

Mike Gerholdt: That's really cool. So why don't we throw a little bit of a forward-looking statement out there and talk about the future of the IdeaExchange. Hannah, let's start with you.

Hannah Donovan: I think that the future of the IdeaExchange is really at the heart of what Scott was just saying. We know that it's really important for our community members to be able to prioritize ideas and communicate directly with product managers on ideas that matter to them. So as Scott has said, we're really looking to find a way to make sure that customers and our community members can prioritize ideas just for the clouds that matter to them. So we're calling this platformized prioritization and it's on the top of our roadmap looking forward. So that's where our efforts will be in the next couple months, and we're looking for community support on how to best implement this. So we're excited to dig in there and continue to build that.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. That's really cool. I know at some point, we talked... Well, Hannah, you're on the known issues team. And I have friends in the community that are usually all over known issues. Do we have anything forward looking that we can talk about in terms of that?

Hannah Donovan: Yeah, absolutely. I'm glad you asked that because known issues deserve some definite love. And so we are simultaneous to working on what we're calling platformized prioritization for the IdeaExchange. We're working on kicking off known issues. And so really at the heart of this is we want to make sure that known issues surface the right information to our customers.
For example, I know we've heard a lot of feedback about including potentially things like error codes and fields like that on the known issue to make it more specific and useful to when our customers are debugging. Additionally, we know search is incredibly broken on known issues today. And so we're looking to enhance that experience so that our community can drill down and find the known issues that matter most to them. Additionally, another pain point that we're looking to identify is to better update our community on the status of a known issue. We know that we haven't done a good job of that in the past, and that's a really important area that we're looking to improve.
And so that's the short-term plan for known issues, and we're continuing to build out what the longer term strategy and plan is in the future. But we are excited to relaunch this platform for our community and continue to co-collaborate to build a better experience for our Salesforce community.

Mike Gerholdt: That's really cool.

Scott Allen: I was going to say, one of the benefits of having this team that's been focused on the IdeaExchange now work on known issues is we want to rapidly apply some of what we've built and learned by building IdeaExchange to known issues. So I would say give us feedback on this new IdeaExchange experience. Does the search seem better? Do the different filter facets that you see get you to the ideas that you care about faster? Because our assumption is if we apply that to known issues, it'll also connect you to the known issues that you need to be aware of. We've got a known issues reimagine group in the Trailblazer community, so please come and join and post your feedback there, in addition to an IdeaExchange Trailblazer community group as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, cool. And I'll put those links in the show notes so that you can click through and easily join them. I totally was thinking of... I know a lot of people are probably like me and submit ideas around platform features. But I'm guessing, and this feels very meta, I'm guessing you do get a lot of ideas about the IdeaExchange from on the IdeaExchange, right?

Scott Allen: We certainly do. We've got a category under your Salesforce experience where, whether it's known issues or IdeaExchange, if you've got an idea, check what's there, but submit new ones. We'd love to hear.

Mike Gerholdt: I never thought of that. I don't know why. It seems super cool. I could spend a day digging through that stuff.
Scott and Hannah, it's been awesome to have you guys on. It's fun to see how Salesforce is really prioritizing everything that the community is talking about and doing intake on. I selfishly don't know of another company that has as broad and as open of a pipe to its customer base to influence product that Salesforce does. I'm sure both of you do, maybe. But it seems like we really are just sitting around with the door open and listening as opposed to on our own path, which is very cool. So thank you both for taking time out and being on the podcast, and connecting with our admins and revamping how we're making the product even better for them.

Scott Allen: Yeah. No, thank you. And I just have to say, we are incredibly fortunate to have such a passionate, engaged community. That's really what our job is, is to make sure that we bring the voice of our community, the voice of our admins, back in to Salesforce and make sure that our product teams hear that. So keep on talking to us. We'll be listening.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Submit ideas, even ideas on the IdeaExchange.

Hannah Donovan: Yeah. And just to echo everything that Scott has said, we can't thank our community enough for all the support and feedback that we get from them. We are so fortunate to have you. And the work doesn't stop here. We're continuing to innovate and create for our customers. So continue to provide feedback to us on the IdeaExchange and in those community groups. We really love to hear from you. Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, we'll have to have both of you back maybe in a year or so, eight months when Hannah has her four year anniversary at Salesforce. Because the timeline grows quick, right? So anyway, that's a joke. But yes. Thank you all. We will have you back on and look forward to more ideas on the IdeaExchange.
It was great to have Scott and Hannah on the podcast and learn a lot about the IdeaExchange. Holy cow. Of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. And hey, there's new podcast swag in the Trailhead store. Be sure to pick some of that stuff up. The holidays are coming up and I can't think of a better gift to give than podcast swag. Even the trick-or-treaters could enjoy a nice little Salesforce admins podcast mug. You'd be the most popular house. I promise you.
There's a link in the show notes to buy some of that really cool swag. And while you're at it, check out the links. We have ways to stay up to date with us for all things Salesforce admins on social. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I. My cohost, Gillian K. Bruce, you can give her a follow on Twitter. She is @GillianKBruce. And of course, I am @MikeGerholdt.
Thanks so much. Hope you enjoyed the episode. Please stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: The_New_IdeaExchange_with_Scott_Allan_and_Hannah_Donovan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

or this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring back John Demby, Senior Manager of Tableau Portfolio and Strategy. We recap his experience at Dreamforce—you may have seen him in the background in a silver cowboy hat repping his native Texas.


Join us as we talk about the future of Tableau, Flow, and Salesforce.


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

Scavenger hunt results!


We did a little scavenger hunt to celebrate International Podcast Day on September 30th. Here’s the thread with the five questions (and the answers):


[embed tweet]


A now… the winners:

  1. @itsmejanet_e - Janet Elliott
  2. @Priyanka_sfdc - Priyanka Chaudhari 
  3. @SalesforceRay - Raymond Gutierrez
  4. @spilzer - Sarah Pilzer
  5. @_SowmyaBhat - Sowmya Bhat
  6. @redsoxdad - Dave Dudek


And some honorable mentions who got all but one:

Slack integrations and SOQL coming for Tableau.


John actually got to attend Dreamforce in person this year—you may have seen him and his cowboy hat in some of the shots. He was happy to see that Tableau was a part of almost every demonstration. It just goes to show how far we’ve come with integrations, but there’s a lot more to get excited about.


“We’re going to enable you to have a conversation with your data in Slack,” John says, and get follow up information and explanations as to why your data is doing what it’s doing. There are more pre-built templates and content for Salesforce coming in Tableau, and tons more that was showcased at Dreamforce, including full SOQL support for connectors.


The power of Tableau and Flow.

John also wanted to share that they’re to delivering integration from Tableau into Salesforce Flow, and you can sign up now to try the pre-release. Tableau is all about the three steps of unlocking your data, analyzing it, and then taking action.


“Flow gives us that act portion,” John says, so you no longer have to pivot out of a visualization. You can make an analysis and then let Flow do the dirty work.

New tools for sustainability.


One thing that has been on everybody’s mind in light of the pandemic is sustainability. As we’re rebuilding supply chains and getting the global economy started again, we’re rethinking how we can still do these things but keep the environmental impact in mind. One of the things that John is looking forward to is a new Dashboard Starter for Sustainability Cloud. You can look at your carbon impact and make some decisions about how to bring it down or even get to zero.


There’s a Tableau Conference coming up in November that you shouldn’t miss. It’s all virtual, so it’s never been easier to attend.

Podcast Swag:



Mike: @MikeGerholdt

Direct download: New_Tableau_Integrations_with_John_Demby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, it’s time for our monthly retro for September. In this episode, we celebrate State Fairs as we go over all the top Salesforce product, community, and careers content for September. We’re joined by Jennifer Lee from the Admin Evangelist team.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Jennifer.
Podcast highlights from September.
Jennifer wanted to highlight our episode with Rebecca Saar to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the Admin Main Show. We put a fair amount of Easter eggs in the opening video, so take a second look if you missed them because they go by pretty quickly.

• Behind the Dreamforce Admin Main Show with Rebecca Saar

Blog highlights from September.
Jennifer, AKA, “The Blog Monster,” put out several great blog posts this month from her new home at . She’s got one covering Winter ‘22 for admins and what you should feature to your end users. There’s another one helping you get up to speed with Slack integrations and all the nifty things you can do since the acquisition. Finally, Mike was excited to hear from admins all over the world in Ella Mark’s exciting blog post.

• Jen’s Winter ’22 Salesforce Release Highlights for Admins and Users

• How Admins Can Connect Salesforce and Slack

• What Being an #AwesomeAdmin Means to Admins Around the World

Video highlights from September.
As always, you should check out the Salesforce Admins YouTube channel for How I Solved This, Did You Know, Expert Corner, No Silly Questions, and more. For Jennifer, J. Steadman’s guide to combining Slack and Workflow Builder was a major standout. There’s also a fresh video from Hayley Tuller about using Custom Metadata Types with a BANT model.

• Did You Know: Supercharge Slack with Workflow Builder

• How I Solved This: Build BANT Opportunity Scoring with Custom Metadata Types

Dreamforce highlights from the Admin team.
The main takeaway from Dreamforce was that Flow is the future. There were tons of highlights from throughout Dreamforce to show all the changes to help us move off of Process Builder and Workflow Rules and step into a new world of automation. Make sure to catch up on everything you missed on Salesforce Plus. Some highlights:

• The Admin main show

• The Dev main show

• The first Architect main show

• True to the Core

• The Platform Keynote, Platform Keynote: Create and Automate on the #1 Low-Code Platform

• The IT Leader’s Guide to the Salesforce Platform Roadmap

• Soledad O’Brien’s interview with Parker Harris

“I know there’s a lot of admins out there who have not used Flow yet,” Jennifer says, “but know that we’ll be providing content to help you along the way—you’re not on this journey alone.” 
Podcast Swag:
• Salesforce Admins on the Trailhead Store

• Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns 

• Mike: @MikeGerholdt

• Gillian: @GillianKBruce

• Jennifer: @jenwlee

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Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

Direct download: September_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Jennifer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Rebecca Saar, Senior Director of Admin Marketing at Salesforce and host of the Admin Main Show for Dreamforce 2021. We’re checking in before a jam-packed week.


Join us as we talk about the Admin Keynote, Easter eggs, and how to get the most out of Dreamforce 2021.


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

Dreamforce is next week!


For the 2021 Admin Keynote at Dreamforce, we’re excited to have a hybrid experience where we’ll have a live audience of Trailblazers on Howard St in San Francisco and thousands more tuning in from home. We’ve got a new platform called Salesforce Plus that will really uplevel the viewing experience, so grab the popcorn.


“We’re looking at what is the next chapter of Awesome Admin,” Rebecca says, “and how we can make sure admins are successful in their role and continue to drive that innovation at their companies and be at the forefront of the newest technology.”


As you might know from our last episode with her, Rebecca is a big fan of Easter eggs. We don’t want to say too much but pay close attention to the opening video—they go by fast and there are a lot of them.


Rebecca’s #1 piece of advice is to really take the time to look through the schedule ahead of time and sort out which events you really want to make time for. There’s an “add to calendar” widget next to everything on schedule, so get organized and make the most of Dreamforce 2021, and be sure to block out Wednesday morning for all of the Awesome Admin events.

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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 an Awesome Admin. This week we're talking with Rebecca Saar, Senior Director of Admin Marketing, and your host for the Admin Main Show at Dreamforce 2021, The Future of Admin Success. That is next week, folks. It's going to be so exciting.
This episode's going to get you prepared for the main show. And be sure to check out the previous week's episodes that we have with Jennifer Lee and Jay Steadman, to help you prepare for the other two episodes in our Admin Viewing Block for Dreamforce. But today we're talking Admin Main Show. So let's get Rebecca on the podcast.
So Rebecca, welcome to the podcast.

Rebecca Saar: Thanks, Mike. Glad to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, I know you probably haven't forgot, but our avid listeners have been waiting at the edge of their seats. Because the last time we chatted, we talked about Green Goddess dressing, and we played dressing or destination, in case you wondered. And I fooled quite a bit of the team as to what was a dressing and what was a really fun bed and breakfast.

Rebecca Saar: Yes, yes.

Mike Gerholdt: And you actually tweeted out that you tried Green Goddess dressing, which I recently just saw on a few of my favorite television show cooking episodes. So what have you tried since?

Rebecca Saar: Ooh, good question. I mean, I haven't been going many places these days, because ... trying to stick to COVID rules. So most of the things I've been eating are very much in our vicinity. Very much leaning on pizza, takeout, that kind of stuff.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Rebecca Saar: And just, I really like a good toast, I got to say. Like toast with butter.

Mike Gerholdt: We could do a whole episode on toast.

Rebecca Saar: Yes. Yes. And if anyone knows me, I'm always talking about how butter makes things better.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. I'm with you.

Rebecca Saar: And so, I just, I love ... I could really always just eat toast and butter and be happy.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Level of toastness, where are you at? Like, are you dark and crunchy? Are you just barely even starting to get a gold sheen to it?

Rebecca Saar: It definitely ... medium to crusty, crunchy, dark. I don't like it when it's not toasted enough, like when it's just barely warm, because then the butter doesn't melt properly. I really need that butter to melt, and then hear that crunch, I think that's what it's all about.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I'm a very light toast. Very light toast. I'm really weird with the butter though. I like warm butter, so that it doesn't tear the bread. So that when it goes on, the bread stays ... it doesn't pierce it. It really bugs me when you pierce bread when you butter it. Cold butter bugs me.

Rebecca Saar: Yeah. Cold butter is the worst when it doesn't melt properly. I don't know if it's a European thing, but we keep our butter not in the fridge.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Do you keep your eggs not in the fridge? That's a European thing too.

Rebecca Saar: We do keep the eggs in the fridge, but only because we buy them refrigerated. So I think-

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Rebecca Saar: Yeah. I don't know. That's a good question. Because the butter-

Mike Gerholdt: It's a very European thing too, right?

Rebecca Saar: Yes, it is.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, the chickens don't have a refrigerator. I've been reminded of that when I've been across the pond. Like, they are just out.

Rebecca Saar: Yep. Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Well, great. So this isn't a cooking podcast, but I kind of like to switch it up and keep it real.

Rebecca Saar: Keep me on my toes?

Mike Gerholdt: But just, we're all family, that listens to this podcast. But we're here to talk about the main show at Dreamforce this year, which is going to be a little different. So Rebecca, tell us what's different about Dreamforce this year.

Rebecca Saar: Yes. Yes. Let's talk about Dreamforce and the Admin Main Show. I think what's very exciting is that we are going back to a live experience with Trailblazers in attendance. Back in San Francisco, on Howard street, where Dreamforce has always been in the past. So it's going to be surreal to be back at Dreamforce in a live experience way. Having a stage. And then having seats and people.
And I'm just really excited that we're going to have that ... I feel like that energy that you only get when you get a bunch of Trailblazers together. That's going to come back and that's when I'm super excited about. That's going to make this a little different than we've seen in the past.

Mike Gerholdt: So it's called The Future of Admin Success. What was important for you to highlight in this main show?

Rebecca Saar: Yeah. So this is really important to me, and I think to our team, and hopefully to all of the admins listening here. We've been on quite a journey as Awesome Admins, and even as the admin relations team, growing the role and really celebrating and elevating it. And now we're looking into the future, right?
And we're looking at, what is the next chapter of Awesome Admin, and how can we make sure admins are successful in their role? And continue to drive that innovation at their companies and be the forefront of the newest technology, and really be that leader in their company> and so this main show is all about admin success and what that's going to look like in the future. And today.

Mike Gerholdt: And today. Now, when we had you on, way back in May, to talk about what you were doing with Learn MOAR, you talked about Easter eggs and how you really enjoy putting Easter eggs in things. So I was wondering if maybe I could twist your arm and you could hint at an Easter egg that could be in the main show for admins to look for.
I mean, there's obviously a lot. Hint, hint. But maybe like, one teaser you could give us?

Rebecca Saar: Well, it's like, you don't want to give it away. They're Easter eggs for a reason. But if you're to twist my arm ... for those, especially those watching online, I think, pay attention to that opening video. You'll see some fun Easter eggs there. But they go by real fast, so you have to be paying attention. But there are ... yes. You know we love Easter eggs. So there will be plenty throughout the show.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I can't wait to see Twitter light up with screenshots of the Easter eggs because [crosstalk].

Rebecca Saar: Have your fingers ready.

Mike Gerholdt: I like to think I know what all Easter eggs are in there, but everybody's put in their own stuff. So, yeah.

Rebecca Saar: This is true.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So to wrap up, as Admins prepare next week ... can you believe that? Next week. It's just like [crosstalk] hey, congratulations. It's fall, and now it's Dreamforce time. So next week, as Admins prepare for their three day viewing experience of Dreamforce, what to you, is the most important thing that Admins should know about Dreamforce?

Rebecca Saar: I think what's exciting about Dreamforce this year, is that anyone can watch it from anywhere. We are unveiling this awesome new platform called Salesforce Plus, which is going to make the viewing experience just so fun and so accessible for everyone. And so as Admins, be ready to just get the popcorn and have this amazing viewing experience on Salesforce Plus.
It's going to be a lot of content, because of the fact that we have this mixture of live and recorded content. And we have four channels and three days. So definitely look at some of the resources we've been putting out on the Admin social handles and on to see what are some of the highlights you definitely want to make time for. On the schedule, there's an, add to calendar, for every episode and every show.
So just make sure you prepare your calendar and you're picking those things that are really important to you. And of course, add The Future of Admin Success Main Show and our two episodes that are going to be airing right afterwards. Just block out that Wednesday morning, I think that's the best advice.

Mike Gerholdt: You know what you could do? You could make some coffee or tea and toast.

Rebecca Saar: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: And have just a morning with the admin team.

Rebecca Saar: Oh, I love that. Yes, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well, Rebecca, I think we have given admins a lot to prepare. If you haven't listened to the previous two episodes that aired this month, those also highlight the two episodes for the admin block of programming ... I don't know how to call it that. In addition to what Rebecca talked about today. So go back and listen and hear from Jay and Jennifer on those.
So with that, thank you for being on, Rebecca.

Rebecca Saar: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: I will look forward to watching all of this fun stuff on Salesforce Plus next week.

Rebecca Saar: See you then.

Mike Gerholdt: So it was great to have Rebecca back since May, and to talk about all of the really cool stuff in store for the Admin Main Show at Dreamforce this year. Lots of Easter eggs, lots of Easter eggs. Now, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources. Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you that new podcast swag is up on the Trailhead store. So be sure to pick up some cool swag. Of course, the link is in the show notes.
Now just a quick reminder, there is no Admin podcast next week because it's Dreamforce week. There is so much cool content coming out that we want to make sure that you have time to be focused on all of that.
Now, stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. You can follow Rebecca on Twitter, she is @RebeccaSaar. Of course, my co-host, Gillian, of the podcast, she is @gilliankbruce. And give me a follow as well, I am @MikeGerholdt. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome. Next week's Dreamforce. And stay tuned for the next episode, which will be the end of September, which is our monthly retro. So we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Behind_the_Dreamforce_Admin_Keynote_with_Rebecca_Saar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For today’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re bringing on Diana Jaffe, Product Management Director, and Jennifer Lee, Admin Evangelist at Salesforce. We want to give you a sneak peek at their upcoming Dreamforce session and how admins can automate apps quickly.


Join us as we talk about their upcoming Dreamforce presentation, Automate Apps Fast for Awesome Admins.


You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Diana Jaffe and Jennifer Lee.

Go with the Flow.


Diana’s motto for this year’s Dreamforce is “Go with the Flow,” because of all of the new features coming in the Winter ‘22 Release. “Flow is the heart and soul of automation, and you can start small by moving a workflow rule over,” she says, “and we show in the episode how that can grow and expand.”


For Jennifer, one of the most exciting features coming for automation is MuleSoft Composer, which will allow you to use clicks, not code to set up integrations. Flow Orchestrator is also heading in a really exciting direction going forward, claiming its crown as the Flow of Flows. With all of the nesting and layering that is possible you can create every-more complex automations to tackle all sorts of new problems.


They go over everything in their upcoming Dreamforce session, so make sure you don’t miss out.


Lights, camera, action!


To record their Dreamforce episode, Diana and Jennifer both got to be “the talent” for the day. Jennifer had a small production team over to her place, where they worked on-location and could only run the air conditioner between takes.


Diana, meanwhile, got into Salesforce HQ for the first time since March 2020. She worked with a full-blown production crew—even the guy with the clapper thing. “It’s super cool to see people who are so good at their job in a totally different universe than what we do in software,” she says, “I love TV and movies and the nerd in me was trying not to giggle or be unprofessional.”


Why now’s the time to jump into Flow Builder.

“There’s a whole world of different options that can really match to you based on your business case,” Diana says, and the end of the episode gets into how you would decide between different automation choices based on what you’re trying to do.


“For admins out there who have been scared of using Flow Builder, now’s the time to start using it to build all of your automation—forget about Workflow Rules and Process Builder,” Jennifer says, “if you haven’t done automation, think about ways to automate your business processes and make life better for your users.” With the Slack acquisition, the sky’s the limit with what you can do on the platform to reach new heights of efficiency and collaboration. Most importantly, do reach out on Trailblazer Community, Twitter, or anywhere else to share your challenges and how we can help.

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This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we catch up with Vin Addala, the Product Marketing Manager Senior Director at Salesforce. He gives us a sneak peak at the upcoming Dreamforce session, Build Apps Fast for Awesome Admins, and fills us in on all the latest developments in board gaming, too.


Join us as we talk about all the new things App Builder can do for you to make powerful, low code applications.


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

The App Builder dream.


You might recognize Vin from our last episode with him about dynamic forms and App Builder. “I wanted App Builder to become a one-stop tool for you to build low code applications,” he says, and they’re continually adding features to make it more and more powerful. They’ve added drag-and-drop components, fields, actions, and now dynamic interactions. The second thing Vin wanted to show in this Dreamforce episode is how all these different features come together to solve real-world problems and address real needs.


Vin’s team has added a lot of interactivity to the applications you can build with low code tools, but they wanted to take it a step further. “We wanted to create a low code framework where components can talk to each other,” so if you have a list of addresses, for example, you could have a map component that can take those addresses and map it. A low code app builder can create interactive elements on a page in way that was previously only possible for developers.

Balancing power and efficiency.


Coding events and interactions models can get really complicated—while there are a lot of models for how to do things, it can be hard to translate that into something accessible for the rest of us. “When I look at all these features and capabilities, I see how powerful they will be if I can democratize them and give that power to the admins,” Vin says, “but I have to do it in a way that will be easy to approach.”


Part of the challenge is making sure to balance the power of App Builder with safeguards to make sure you can’t break your org too severely. That means Vin needs to be careful about what features he has his team build, how far they go, and how they go about implementing them. “I really don’t want people to reinvent the wheel,” he says, “I want people to be focusing on solving a business problem than the nitty-gritty details of how to solve a business problem.”

Why Vin needs YOUR help.

App Builder is becoming more and more powerful with each release, so Vin wants you to take a second look at what it can do, especially if you haven’t checked in on it in a few releases. “Revisit any old assumptions you’ve had about App Builder and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes,” he says, “App builder is a lot more powerful than it ever has been in turns of helping solve and build turnkey business applications.” Give it a try and reach out to Vin and his team to let him know where they can improve to make it even better.

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It’s time for another monthly retro on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. In this episode, we celebrate State Fairs as we go over all the top Salesforce product, community, and careers content for August. We also get to meet another member of Admins team: Ella Marks, Marketing Manager at Salesforce.

And with a state fair themem for this month I promise you we talk about quilting room, butter cows, and fried things on a stick.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Ella.

Meet Ella Marks

While Gillian’s out, we’ll be going through a rotating cast of guest hosts to give you chance to get to know our team. For today, Mike talks to Ella Marks, our Marketing Manager. She focuses on the programs and campaigns the Admins team runs—you may recognize her name from some of the Trailhead Live chats. And she may be responsible for a GIF or two in her time.

Podcast highlights from August

Ella was a big fan of Matt Skogman’s episode from this month, “The Four Keys to a Successful Salesforce Implementation.” “I felt like I was listening and nodding to every single word,” she was, “just hearing how someone talking about how every business can be a relationship-based business in an industry you wouldn’t normally think of.” For Mike, he thinks you should take a look at Gordon Lee’s episode about how to be more mindful about how we volunteer at the start of our Salesforce careers. 



Blog highlights from August

We think everyone should pull up Jennifer Lee’s excellent Release Readiness blog post. “I keep this bookmarked on my computer—seriously it’s open all the time—as my source for what the latest dates are coming up for the release and where all those resources are located,” Ella says. And stay tuned for Jenn in the next Release Readiness Live, coming soon.



Video highlights from August

Mike has done a takeover of the No Silly Questions videos and it’s been a lot of fun. You can hear Mike tell the tale of how Astro became the Trailhead mascot. Ella’s really psyched about J. Steadman’s awesome Tableau walkthrough that gets you started with rich insights and the Tableau Lightning Web Component.



Make sure to listen to the full episode to hear Ella try her hand at a new game, Friend Food or Fried Fools?

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Direct download: August_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Ella.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Brittney Gibson, the Social and Content Marketing Manager on the Admin Relations Team at Salesforce. She’s the voice behind a lot of our content, so we wanted to give you a chance to get to know her better.


Join us as we talk about why Brittney is such a big fan of listicles, what stands out to her about the Awesome Admin community, and what you should do if you’re new.


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

An awesomely helpful community.


On the Admins Relations Team, Brittney is the person behind the Salesforce Admins handle on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If someone responds to you via one of those channels, that’s Brittney, or really anything that goes on there. She also helps manage the blog, so if you ever have an idea for an article to pitch you should get in touch to work with her.


“The Awesome Admin community is super active and excited to be there and chat with each other,” Brittney says, which makes her job really engaging. Something that stands out is just how willing the community is willing to help each other out. “This community is so kind to each other,” she says, “whenever someone has a question it doesn’t go unanswered.” The kindness is incredible and makes the Awesome Admin community stand out.

Why you should never be afraid to ask for help.


Obviously, many more people are at home right now than ever before, and that means the way we use social media has changed in the past year. “Everyone has that time when they’re not commuting or they’re not going into an office,” Brittney says, and she’s seen an increase in engagement in the last year.


“As a new admin or new person to the community—don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Brittney says, “I’m astounded by how welcoming everyone has been so if you’re new and don’t know something don’t be afraid to ask on Twitter, use the #AwesomeAdmin hashtag.” There are so many different places to get help, so start reading what other people are sharing and feel free to speak up.


Be sure to listen to the full episode for more about why Brittney loves listicles, how Mike met Justin Beiber, and, of course, the Lightning Round.

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Mike Gerholdt:
Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week. We're talking with Brittney Gibson, who is the social and content marketing manager on the admin relations team. I think it's fun to know the members of our team and by our team I mean the admin relations team because they're the ones that work for you every day. And Brittney is the voice behind a lot of our content. So let's take a moment and have a fun conversation and get Brittney on the podcast. So Brittney, welcome to the podcast.

Brittney Gibson:
Thanks Mike. I'm very, very excited to be here.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, well, we've added a lot of new people to the team and it's exciting to have everybody on to say hello to our community and have the community say hello back. Let's get started and talk a little bit about, I'm assuming Salesforce isn't your first job but if we can get some insight into what Brittney did before coming to Salesforce.

Brittney Gibson:
Absolutely. Well, I have had quite the journey, I guess you could say. I majored in journalism at Pepperdine in Southern California and right out of college, I was like, "What the heck am I going to do with that?" So, I hopped right into a job that wasn't exactly writing or social at first, I got started as a receptionist actually at Buzzfeed. So, in the media space but not doing exactly what I wanted to do yet. So I got my foot in the door there, made a ton of connections, friend, learned their process. And then that opened up a world of opportunities. I got to do a fun fellowship program with them, where I got to learn their style of writing, listicles, all that fun stuff. And then eventually my time there ended and I moved on to a place called Sweety High, yes, that is correct, Sweety High. It is a teen lifestyle website. So probably stuff you're very familiar with Mike.

Mike Gerholdt:
I mean, I go to all the time, all the time.

Brittney Gibson:
It's really fun actually. It's like a girl empowerment website. So if you are in junior high or high school and you want to feel empowered, I would recommend going to Sweety High. So yeah, I would write content for their blog there. So a bunch of fun stuff. I also created some videos with them. At one point I was asked to go dress up as a Disney princess, which was entertaining. Yes, I'll have to share that with you, Mike. And then actually after my time at Sweety High is where I really dove into social. So I joined a company called Fullscreen and I was working with brands and creators to create some awesome content. So I did a bunch of digital series on YouTube. One of them was called The Guilty Party and it was a digital mystery series where the characters would interact on social. So they all had YouTube channels and they would comment on the episodes and respond to various comments and get involved with the community. So that's where my love for community management and engaging with a really active audience began was there.

Mike Gerholdt:
I feel like we need a really cool title for this podcast episode. That's like 17 things you didn't know Brittney-

Brittney Gibson:
About Brittney Gibson. I love that.

Mike Gerholdt:
Because it's always a rando number. It's never 12 or 15. It's like 17, 32.

Brittney Gibson:
Yep. I know. It's so with 17 sounds like a good number to me. So if I can think of 17 things yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah good one.

Brittney Gibson:
I love listicles, I will never not love listicles. I just think they're fun to read no matter what the topic.

Mike Gerholdt:
And the good news is, if you're used to dressing up, we do that at Salesforce.

Brittney Gibson:
Oh yeah. Well, when am I going to get the chance to do that? I would love to put on a cloudy if I could make a cloudy suit or something like that. I think all of my dreams would come true.

Mike Gerholdt:
I highly encouraged that. In fact, Nick Panter at, I want to say Dreamforce 16 or 17 work a cloud suit. I'll send you a picture of that. I'll put it in the show notes. So that transitions us nicely to one day you will get to dress up while working at Salesforce. Let's talk about what you do on the admin relations team here at Salesforce.

Brittney Gibson:
Yeah. So I am the social and content marketing manager. So I am the person behind the Salesforce admins handle on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. So if someone responds to you on Twitter, that's me. When you see posts going out on Twitter, that's me and I also help manage the blog. So if you ever have an idea for a article you want to write, I would be the person that you would reach out to and I'd work with you and collaborate with you on getting your post up on our blog.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. And busy, I would say because our admin handle is full of Salesforce admins asking questions and responding and posting lots of stuff.

Brittney Gibson:
Yeah. It's been really fun. And honestly, that was one of the things that excited me most about this role and opportunities because I know the awesome admin community is super active and just excited to be there and chat with each other and help each other out. And that's a huge deal having a social community like that. So it's been really fun. And I just I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone even more. I've only been here for a few months. So, just starting out.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, that was actually leads into the next question I had for you, which is, I think for some of us, myself, I've been in the admin community now for 15 years going on 16 next year. Other people have been actually in the community a little bit longer. Some people have been in the community months or a few years. Some maybe even not as long as you. What overall have you seen that's maybe different than other communities you've worked in, in our admin community?

Brittney Gibson:
Honestly, just the willingness of people to help each other out. So this is a different space of what I've worked in before but this community is so kind to one another, just like whenever someone has a question, I feel it usually doesn't go unanswered, someone from the community will hop in and share resources, share best practice that worked for them. Just honestly, kindness. This is such a kind community, which is awesome to see, especially at a time right now, everyone's just really lending a helping hand. And I'm proud to be a part of that because who doesn't want to be part of a kind community.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, no, it's always had that culture at its foundation, I would say. What have you noticed different in the world of social really, since we got into this new COVID world?

Brittney Gibson:
I would say just everyone's willingness to participate and join in. I think obviously everyone is, a lot of people at least are at home still right now. And at least for me, I am more engaged on social right now because if I'm taking a break from work and my own personal life even, what am I doing? I'm probably on my phone. I'm probably checking Instagram or Twitter or seeing updates on LinkedIn. So I just feel like there is more engagement all round going on because everyone has that time when they're not commuting or they're not going into an office, they're spending their time at home and spending their time on their devices. Not always, I'm not saying it's always a good thing to always be online or on social but I've seen an increase for myself at least. So I can speak to that.

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. No, balance. So you mentioned you're obviously new to the community. I think that's one aspect that you share with a lot of our admins as somebody who's managers a lot of our content, interacts on social with a lot of our community. What is something that you would give as advice to new admins who are joining maybe as a way to interact with our Twitter handle or Facebook page or LinkedIn or et cetera, wherever else we are, YouTube?

Brittney Gibson:
I would just say as a new admin or just new person to this community, don't be afraid to ask for help. That's something I've learned at since starting this role. I am astounded by how welcoming everyone has been. So if you're new and don't know something, don't be afraid to ask on Twitter or use the hashtag awesome admin hashtag. People want to respond and people want to help you. I would also just say absorb the content. For me, this has been the best way to learn, reading the blog posts that we're pushing out, seeing what the comments are on Twitter, seeing what people want to read about and want to know more about really gives you a sense of where the community is at right now. What's interesting, what's trending and just, I don't know, just be open to the possibilities of the connections that you can make through social. And it's honestly awesome that we can connect even when we're not together. So yeah, I would just say join all of these different places in these communities. Get on the Trailblazer community, read what other people are sharing.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. I'll echo that and I still from 12 years ago, remember when Nick Panter replied to one of my tweets and said, "I think I know the answer but I can't solve it in 140 characters." That also dates me how old I was on Twitter back. There used to be a character limit folks and he said, "Email, I'll DM you my email and we'll solve it over the weekend." I just remember thinking to myself. So there's a guy in Canada that's willing to sit and think about my problem and help me, how cool is that?

Brittney Gibson:
That's really cool.

Mike Gerholdt:
I just found it really cool.

Brittney Gibson:
I love that.

Mike Gerholdt:
So I feel like we interrogated you plenty on the role. If you watched any of the Trailhead DX, Leah McGowan-Hare interview with Mindy Kaling, she had some really good lightening round questions that I actually stole, borrow, creatively copied that I was going to run through with you. So we used to do something on the podcast called lightening round but these are just very quick questions, whatever comes to mind for you. So, and they're fun, they're meant to be fun. Well here's the first question. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

Brittney Gibson:
Oh, Ooh. I love all compliments but well, I recently got married and everyone ended up really liking my wedding dress and I was very scared that it wasn't a good dress and I got lots of compliments on it. So that's my most recent favorite compliment.

Mike Gerholdt:
I mean, that's really good. As someone who has a person in their household that watches Yes To The Dress constantly.

Brittney Gibson:
Oh yes. That's a big deal. Validation on wedding dresses.

Mike Gerholdt:
I feel like it is a big deal and it's okay. So then this will be a good juxtaposition. If you could only have one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?

Brittney Gibson:
Pizza. I know that is the most basic answer but no matter what, even if I'm not hungry, pizza always sounds good. So I just don't think I could get tired of it.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. Okay. Good. The next question. So who is your hero?

Brittney Gibson:
My hero again, not to sound cliche but I fully mean this when I say my mom. She is the best person ever. And I feel like I am the person that I am today and because of her, I think some of my best traits come from her. So she's my hero.

Mike Gerholdt:
That's great. If you could meet one person that inspires you, alive or they could have passed on who would that be?

Brittney Gibson:
Mike, these are good questions. I am going to say Oprah Winfrey. She is just an incredible woman, a role model. And I've been watching her since I was a little girl. She's interviewed so many incredible people, probably has 1,000,001 amazing stories. And just to hear about her life experience would be pretty awesome.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. Yeah. She's definitely met a few people. Okay. You're stranded on island, what album did you bring?

Brittney Gibson:
I feel like my Sweety High experience is going to shine through right here because I like top 100 pop music, top 10. Recently I have been into Justin Bieber. I hope you don't judge me. This is just recent.

Mike Gerholdt:
The most recent Justin Bieber?

Brittney Gibson:
Yeah. I'm going to say it. I don't know if any other admin out there like Justin Bieber but-

Mike Gerholdt:
I bet they do. I've met Justin Bieber.

Brittney Gibson:
You have?

Mike Gerholdt:
I have, he was at a collector car auction I was at and he was selling a car.

Brittney Gibson:
Was he nice?

Mike Gerholdt:
I mean, he's just, he had an entourage and I was standing there and they came by and I just looked over and I was like, "Oh, Hey, you're Justin Bieber." And he's like, "Hey." And we shook hands and took off. He went up on stage and it's like, that was my Justin Bieber moment.

Brittney Gibson:
Okay. Well, yeah, like him, I like a lot of other people too. I like country music a lot. So I don't know, it's hard to choose one.

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. Well, apparently according to the question, you had enough time to grab an album but nothing else lifesaving before getting stranded on the island.

Brittney Gibson:
Yeah. And just my Justin Bieber album, that would save me.

Mike Gerholdt:
Okay, last question, five words that describe you.

Brittney Gibson:
Okay. Let's do this, quirky, patient, kind, hard-working, genuine. This feels like I'm bragging but those are honestly what I can think of right now but I'm probably missing another word.

Mike Gerholdt:
There's only five. So that's great.

Brittney Gibson:
Yes, okay.

Mike Gerholdt:
I also think your five changes. Who knows in 10 years or you go back to when you were working at Buzzfeed, maybe you would have had different five.

Brittney Gibson:
Yep, absolutely. That's just right now. I hope that I express these qualities.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, we will look for the quirkiness on the admin Twitter handle.

Brittney Gibson:
Yes, please do. I want to interact with all of you. So hit me up at Salesforce admins handle, ask your questions, share what you want to read and learn more about. And I'm always happy to accept feedback.

Mike Gerholdt:
Or the album that you would be stuck on an island with, share pizza toppings.

Brittney Gibson:
Yeah. Yeah. Let's talk about all of these things.

Mike Gerholdt:
Okay. Great. Well thank you Brittney, for being on the podcast.

Brittney Gibson:
Yeah. Thanks for having me, Mike. That was super fun.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, it was great talking with Brittney and color me 17 ways to be surprised. I had no idea that she had worked at Buzzfeed, what a neat career start. I think makes me think of the Steve Jobs quote of, you can only connect the dots looking back and not moving forward. Often our careers have all started somewhere else or maybe in process of getting to where we intend them to be. Brittney's start off at Buzzfeed and now she is helping empower admins all over the world. So that is fantastic. Now, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin go to to find more resources. And by the way, did I mention that we have some new podcast swag on the Trailhead store. In fact, every episode when I'm recording these pods, I got my podcast shirt on.

Mike Gerholdt:
I also have this really cool podcast tumbler mug, depending on the time of day, it's usually got coffee in it. So check out the link to that swag, send us a picture. You just met the social and content marketing manager. She's going to reply. So we'd love to see pictures of you in that swag. If you need to know the link it is in the show notes. Then you can stay up to date with us on social. Ironically, that we had a guest about social. We are @SalesforceAdmins, no I on Twitter. And if you'd like to follow Brittney personally on Twitter, she is @brittgibs92 I'll include that link in the show note. And don't forget, you can of course follow my co-host Gillian Bruce, she is @gilliankbruce. And then while you're on Twitter, let's just make sure we round the list out. You can give me a follow too, I am @MikeGerholdt. I will keep you up to date on all the really cool articles that we've got coming out. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the Cloud.


For today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Gordon Lee, Salesforce MVP and co-leader of the San Francisco Nonprofit User Group. This conversation is great for new admins or people just getting out there looking for experience.

Join us as we talk about why Salesforce volunteering at a nonprofit can often do more harm than good, others ways you can show you’re qualified for a new position, and how to volunteer responsibly.

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

Why volunteering for nonprofits can do more harm than good

A common piece of advice for newly-minted admins (which we’ve given on this very show) is to get experience by volunteering at a non-profit. Gordon, however, disagrees: “If you don’t know what you’re doing you have the potential to mess them up way more than you would at a for-profit that has resources and guardrails in place if things go completely wrong.”

At a nonprofit, you can walk away having left tech debt that they simply don’t have the resources to fix. There are a million reasons why volunteers stop being able to commit the time and energy to that work, and it’s different (and often more sudden) than an offboarding process at a for-profit organization would be. The potential to snowball tech problems is high.

“Most people who want to go volunteer at a nonprofit and gain experience have great intentions, but the problem is you don’t know what you don’t know,” Gordon says, “and if you end up messing things up you don’t even realize how bad of a job it is until you go back 2 years later.” And with a volunteer, the nonprofit has no recourse to ask someone back to fix the problems that have occurred.

How to bridge the trust gap

The Catch-22 in all of this is still the problem of getting your foot in the door. New admins with no experience are asked to prove they have experience before they can get that first job while more experienced admins are often not vetted much beyond what’s on their résumé. So how do you do that without volunteering? 

The problem is that trust gap exists when you’re making a new hire: how can employers know that you know what they need you to know if a candidate doesn’t have work experience? “You need to show the employer that you can do what the job requires, which is very simple: find the business pain and use Salesforce to solve it,” Gordon says.

Ways to show your experience without volunteering

What Gordon suggests is creating a body of work in a dev org you’ve customized to solve problems. Think of some business problems you see out there in the world and do the work to solve them. Then, work on your presentation skills to tell those stories clearly and be able to talk about how they translate to the org you’re applying to work at.

“As a hiring manager myself, I would love to see that,” Gordon says, “if you are able to show me a portfolio and walk me through your use cases and your stories and tell a coherent story clearly and concisely, that will make you a much stronger candidate than someone who justs says they have 8 Super Badges and 2 years of work experience and 400 badges.”

Gordon and Mike talk through a lot more examples and ideas in the full episode, so be sure to check it out and don’t miss the blog post that started this whole conversation.

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Direct download: Create_Your_Own_Salesforce_Experience_with_Gordon_Lee.mp3
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This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Matt Skogman, Vice President of Sales at Skogman Homes. Matt is an executive that every Admin would want to report to, and he tells us how he’s constantly improving his business and is doing that through process evaluation and technology.

Join us as we talk about the four foundational keys that Matt sees as the reason for his success: authority, budget, decision-making, and tech.

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

A fifth-generation family business implements Salesforce.

Matt runs Skogman Homes, a fifth-generation family business that is one of the largest in Eastern Iowa. “We believe data is value, and the data and information we can collect and how well we can understand our customers has a direct correlation to our success,” he says, “we think that this is going to help us offer better customer service to people interested in building with us and we think that is one of the best investments a company can make.”

“We want to create a system where our salespeople can log in and know exactly what to do each day and be able to prioritize who to contact and be the most efficient possible and make sure nothing falls through the cracks,” Matt says, “we want to make sure that we do what we say we’re doing to do when we say we’re going to do it.” Matt is a salesperson at heart, and having a platform that can help you follow up on all of the things is incredibly valuable.

“There’s a learning curve to all of that,” Matt says, “you don’t just get to buy Salesforce in January and by February you’re using it—this is a long process to get your culture to be thinking about this, to get your system set up and modified to how it best serves your industry and how you sell.”

Why you need to know what data you’re looking for.

When Matt and his team were first getting onboard with Salesforce, there were a lot of conversations about all the data they could collect and leverage. As Matt says, “what we really should have done is taken a step back and said, ‘What data are we trying to get from this? What are we trying to accomplish?’” You need to know what you want to know, you know?

The pandemic created some new challenges for Skogman Homes. While they had model homes open, people weren’t showing up and they needed to figure out what to say to their agents, but being able to look at the data and say what their chances of selling a home actually were based on traffic was incredibly valuable. “Finally, we’re tracking everything,” Matt says, “and so we’re able to make more informed decisions.”

The keys to a successful Salesforce implementation.

Getting adoption is the key to everything: if your team doesn’t use the platform then it’s not going to do you much good. For Matt, the keys to successfully implementing Salesforce are authority, budget, decision-making, and tech.

  • Authority: You need someone with a good understanding of your business processes to help guide your team.
  • Budget: You need to invest resources in the platform and get help when you need it.
  • Decision-making: Leadership needs to be on board with implementation and make decisions quickly based on the insights you obtain.
  • Tech: You’ve got to have tech-friendly people in charge of how Salesforce works with your business, and understand when you need time to troubleshoot.

Getting buy-in throughout your organization is the key to using Salesforce to turbocharge your business.

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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 an awesome admin.
Now, this week, we are talking with Matt Skogman, who is the vice president of sales at Skogman Homes. Whoa, record scratch. Let me tell you why. Matt is an executive that every admin would want to report to. Matt's focused on constantly improving Skogman Homes and is doing that through process evaluation and technology. So it's not our normal guest, but I love stretching out and getting different voices, and especially getting those executive voices on our podcasts, so that as admins, we can understand what it takes to be successful.
So hear me out on this episode. It's one you're going to want to listen to. I promise it's one you're going to want to share to your executive because we cover the four foundational keys that Matt sees as his success.
So with that, let's get Matt on the podcast.
So Matt, welcome to the podcast.

Matt Skogman: Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, I was intrigued by our conversation that we had a while back. And I'll kick off because I feel like maybe the Midwesterners that listen to my pod probably have heard of Skogman, but tell me, what is Skogman Reality?

Matt Skogman: Thanks for asking. Skogman Homes is a real estate company and we are based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Our bread and butter is home building. And how we got started into real estate was my great-great-grandfather immigrated over here from Sweden and came through Ellis Island. He actually worked on the Capitol building in Stockholm, Sweden, and was essentially a carpenter.
My grandfather then grew up very poor in Omaha, Nebraska. He dropped out of high school. And after World War II, he got sick and called a doctor over. That doctor happened to own land, and my grandfather said, "You know, that's funny, I'm a builder. I could help you build on that land." Fast forward a few years, he had built one of the largest home building companies in eastern Iowa. He then turned the company over to his four sons.
So my father and my three uncles then ran the business from the early '80s until just this last year where, in 2020, our generation then bought out our uncles. And so now we are the owners of the company. And we've, like I said, started in new home sales, but over the years expanded into a general real estate company. So we have a real estate brokerage. We have an insurance brokerage, and we also have apartments and rental units around the area as well too.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. No, if you're in eastern Iowa, you usually can't shake a stick and not see a Skogman sign somewhere in the neighborhood. And I did not know it was fifth generation. I think that's really cool to keep something in the family. So you think of you have been around, your company's been around that long. Why was it important for you to get Salesforce?

Matt Skogman: Well, we believe data is value, and the data and information that we can collect and how well we can understand our customers has a direct correlation to our success.
As a fifth generation builder and with my last name plastered all over, we believe that we're in a real relationship-based business, and in that, we want to have buyer profiles and we want to keep detailed profiles and maintain a historical record for future use. So as we start accumulating more data, we can make better decisions about where to invest our time and our resources. And also, Salesforce will give us something to evaluate.
And so, as we think about our family name and our family company, we want this to be more than just transactional. Myself, my sister, my brother, my cousins, we live in the communities where we build houses. So when I walk my dog every night, I'm walking past all of my past customers and future customers as their houses are under construction.
So we believe so much in our product that not only do we live in them, but we live in the communities where we build because we know that we're going to do a great job for our customers that build with us. And we want this to be more than just about one transaction. We want these customers for life. We want them to build their second and third home with us. We want them to recommend their friends and family to Skogman. So we think that this is going to help us offer better service, better customer service to people interested in building with us, and we think that's one of the best investments a company can make.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I would agree. And to that point, I think it's important to point out that when times are good, and it's arguable for certain economic sectors, people don't invest, and when times are bad, they scramble for solutions. And I bring that up because home building is, I mean, I thankfully bought a house a few years ago, but I go on any of the home building apps looking at a home, and literally two days later, it's already sold. I mean, there was a for sale sign on my neighbor's property. I think they stuck it in the ground, turned around and went out to their car and marked sold on it. I mean, it's just booming. And so, with all of that, you can't shake a stick and not have prospects, right? So why is that important for you to get a CRM?

Matt Skogman: That's a great question. And there's no doubt we are in one of the best markets that we've seen in a long time when it comes to housing and when it comes to builders. Builders all over the country have greater demand in a lot of areas than they can even build. And luckily for us, we happened to take over the company at a really good time in the market.
And the simplest answer I can give you about why we decided a CRM in the greatest real estate market in modern times, I would say is we want to get better and we want to create a system where our salespeople can log in and know exactly what to do each day and be able to prioritize who to contact and be the most efficient possible, and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. We want to make sure that we're following up with the customers and we're doing what we say we're going to do when we say we're going to do it.
The thing I could tell you is I'm a salesperson at heart. I love sales, and I think like a salesperson does. And so what I can tell you is, is when I'm selling a product, I am focusing, when I look all of my list of leads, I'm focusing on the few percentage of leads that are most likely to close. It's just hard for a salesperson to think about their C and D leads and to stay on top of people who aren't responding when we have other people who are responding.
So Salesforce, we didn't bring Salesforce on to help us sell to our A leads. Our sales team does great there. What we're able to do, where we think we see the biggest opportunity is in our C and D leads, and Salesforce helps us stay on top of those. And we thought what a better time to invest in the future than this year when we have the cash, when we have the success to do it?
And the last thing, as you know, is whenever you're making a change in how your salespeople do their job, and we did it the old-fashioned way for 70 years, and now we're switching into doing it all technology-based, there's a learning curve to all of that and it doesn't roll out right away. You don't just buy Salesforce in January, and by February, you're using it. This is a long process to get your culture to be thinking about this, to get the system set up and modified to how it best serves your industry and how you sell.
So we thought this was a great time to invest and we are preparing for the downturn which we know is coming. And we believe that this is the right time. If you're in a great market, this is when you double down on investing to make yourself better for the future.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, on that positive news, let's talk about process in that case, because I do feel from at least the few times that I've bought a house that the process and some of the ways that you interact with agents change. I would love to know because the pandemic and 2020 is a good example, how often do you reevaluate and evaluate processes with your sales team?

Matt Skogman: We have to evaluate processes with our sales team really on a weekly basis. We rolled this out at the beginning of the year, and Salesforce as it comes out of the box isn't really set up for the home building industry. So the people who are on the front end are our sales agents, our sales staff. And so what we need to do is we need to listen to them every single week about what they like about the system, what they could change, how they're using it. We need to get their opinions and get their ideas and try them out.
The very best ideas we've heard about Salesforce has come from our users. And so when we rolled this out, we wanted to make this theirs. We wanted them to have ownership in it. And we knew that if we didn't have their buy-in, we would fail.
This whole thing is based, all this data that we're talking about, everything we want to extrapolate from Salesforce, it starts with our sales team entering the information. And so we need to make Salesforce about them and making it as efficient as possible. So constant evaluations every single week, daily, about how this is working, how this is using and troubleshooting in order to encourage them, in order then for them to want to use the product, that's happening essentially on a daily basis.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Yeah. So there's a lot, I mean, there's always stuff that admins work on to improve processes and kind of keep up with things. I'm sure not even in one generation have you gone from signing paper contracts to signing electronic contracts, but if you're sitting back and maybe other executives are listening to this and they're thinking, what advice would you give, if you could go on your way back machine, to Matt previous to rolling out Salesforce?

Matt Skogman: What I think most of us, as we're thinking about our companies and if you're managing people, if you're an executive, if you're an owner, sometimes we see a shiny new product and we say we want that. So Salesforce, this is one. I mean, everybody has heard of Salesforce. And when we were exposed to Salesforce and we started working with their sales team for them to sell us the product, they really talked about all the data we'll be able to pull, all of the data, all of this, and we got excited about that.
But what we really should have done maybe is taken a step back and said, "Well, what data are we trying to get from this? What exactly are we trying to accomplish? What do we want to see from this?" And so taking some time to really think through what your company's objectives are, what you're trying to pull off, what you want to get from the system is worth your time to think about it before, and then setting up some objectives on how you see this rollout to your team going. And what are you trying to accomplish in month one? What are you trying to accomplish in month three to six? And then what are you trying to accomplish further down the road?
So I think we should have been thinking about some of that stuff before we signed up. We got excited, it's data, but what does that actually mean, data? What do you want to actually see out of the software? What data's going to help you?
I'll give you an example. One of the things we got excited about was we wanted to know something relatively basic, where are all of our leads coming from? Where are the highest quality leads I should say, where are those coming from? We buy leads from Zillow. We have leads come in from our website. We have leads that walk into our model homes. And not only do we want to see how many sales did we get from each of those lead sources, but we also want to know how many leads are currently in process at any given time. How many and what status are those leads in from each of those lead sources? What is our conversion rate for each of those? What is our return on investment for each of those lead sources?
And one of the things that we had done was, during the pandemic, we had to shut down our model homes. It was the first time in 70 years they weren't open on the weekends for you to come in and tour our product. And so back in April, we had to have a discussion around should we reopen those? And what was so interesting is we watched that data for 60 to 90 days, and we went back to our sales team and said, "You guys are sitting in these model homes, but we're not getting a ton of traffic." So they wanted to know is this a good use of their time to be sitting out there on the weekends or is there something more effective they could be doing?
And because we had the system ready to go, what we were able to tell the team and show them is that we are closing 45% of the traffic that walks off the street into our models. 45%. That's one of our highest conversion... That is our highest conversion lead source we have. And so, as we think about this, we look at our model traffic as low quantity, high quality. So we might sit in that model for two weeks without anybody coming in, but on that third week, we sell them a $400,000 product.
And so, how we think about that data and how we can then go back to their team and look somebody in the eye who's been working very hard for us and trying to figure out what's the best, most efficient use of their time, to be able to say, "I understand nobody came out and saw you these past two weeks, but if somebody comes out this week, or if you get two people, you've got a 50/50 chance of selling them a home." And so taking that data and really sharing that with the team to be able to look at that helped us make a decision on do we still want to put up these models which are expensive to have, to own, to run, to manage, to staff.
And so that's how we're able to think through our decisions, is, in the past, we would just ask the team, "How's your traffic?" And it's really hard. I'm a salesperson. I can really only think about the last couple of weeks. I really can't go back and say, "Well, three months ago, I had this unit of traffic who ended up converting last week, and that came from the model." It's hard to remember all of this data. And so, you just think about what happened the last two weeks and [inaudible] is that a trend? Is that a blip? Is that an anomaly? This helps us really look at the data holistically to make the best decisions on how we can utilize our time.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And to be honest, it depends on the salesperson when they answer whether it's going to be raining cats and dogs and awesome or not in terms of how they answer.

Matt Skogman: And then it can vary maybe from community to community, from area to area. So all of that. And finally, we're tracking everything. And so we're able to make a lot more informed decisions. And ultimately, our models are open every weekend now. And our sales team understands that if nobody shows up that day or the next day, they understand that next week, something good can happen and so we're sticking with it, whereas maybe in the years past, we would have say, "Oh, nobody came in and saw any of you guys this weekend? Maybe this isn't a good use of our time." Now we're able to make really good decisions because we're looking at data over a four month period versus a two week period.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing you mentioned before we started the call was you felt you had four very important, I'll call them keystones as to how you could move Salesforce forward in your organization and be nimble with it. And it was authority, budget, decision-making. And then kind of your tech mindset. I'd love for you to expand on that.

Matt Skogman: So I've talked to a lot of people, and we've talked to people in our industry, we've talked to people out of our industry. I have a friend, one of my old roommates from college, who used to work for Salesforce. And I spent a lot of time over these six months kind of picking people's brain.
And what was unique about our situation is I've talked to other builders, I've talked to other people who rolled out Salesforce, but they just couldn't get the culture. They couldn't get the team to really buy in. And we believe we've accomplished that here. We believe we have high usage, which is really one of the hardest things to do. If you can get your team to use it, everything starts there. The second our sales team stops using the system, it basically goes to complete junk because it's all garbage in, garbage out, as you and I have talked many times before.
So we need usage out of it. So the question then is how does somebody drive usage? And one of the things that I think that I started with was, I don't like the word authority because it sounds too militant for me, but we have a seven person sales team here in eastern Iowa and I work very closely with all seven of those people. And they trusted me to buy in to the system.
And so, as we're working together, I used the word authority, but I don't need to use an authority. They worked with me to buy into it as well too. And they knew I was spending a lot of hours trying to get this right for them, and they committed, which was great.
So you need that commitment. And at times, maybe another organization might need to step up authority if they weren't using the system. So somebody who's right in the field using it needs to be able to get the team to use the system. And usually, I would like to use the carrot versus the stick to drive that, and that would always be my recommendation.
So you need someone there to really get people to use the system. So I look at that as, we said the word authority, don't like the word, but for lack of better words, we can use that. You need somebody with some authority that's using the system to make sure others are using it as well too.
The second thing I think you really need is whoever is that, I'm going to say authority, because I still don't like saying it, but I'll say it again, is I think you need that person to have a very good understanding, in our case, of the sales process. If you're rolling out Salesforce for a operations, then you need that person to be uniquely understanding how the operations of that business work. So this person can't be somebody who just tells the salespeople how they should sell. They really need to work closely and understand that sales process.
The other thing we talked about was a budget. As an owner, I am able to make decisions on how we invest our resources, and I can make them rather quickly. So at some point in February as we're doing this rollout, I thought I needed some help. I was able to quickly find help, hire help, report to my board about what I was doing, but they gave me the latitude to make those decisions very quickly. And so I'm able to make some decisions really, really quickly there.
So those are the three big one. What was the fourth one that we had said?

Mike Gerholdt: You had said really a technology mindset.

Matt Skogman: There you go too. I guess that would be the last... Yeah, you're right there, is I believe that I love this stuff. I've told you before. I love Salesforce. I think it's so cool what we're able to do and I just get excited when I talk to people about it.
So the last thing, the last ingredient I think you need to be successful is whoever's that front end person who we talked about has some of the authority, who understands the process, who's able to make decisions quickly, they've got to be a person that embraces technology and they've got to be someone who's okay troubleshooting some of the snags that come up when building out a software.
And so those four ingredients made me uniquely qualified in our team, uniquely able to roll this system out successfully. And when I've talked to other teams, what we found is, is you've got somebody who understands the process, who loves the technology, but they're not a manager. So they're not able, when people don't use the system, they're not able to have those weekly calls to help them use it, to meet with them, to figure out a way and show them how this will help the salesperson make more money.
This isn't about Big Brother. This isn't about watching everything they're doing, and it feels like that to a salesperson in the beginning. This is really about we can make you more money more efficiently, so really having that person talk through and drive usage, because all it takes is a couple of salespeople in this market to stop using the system. And they're going to continue to sell homes in this market. If we deleted Salesforce tomorrow, we'd probably still set record sales. Now we wouldn't have as many as we'd have with the program, but my board would get off my back this year about sales just because the market is so good.
So builders can still be extremely successful without using a software like this, without having all of this data in 2021. Now, let's rewind back to 2009, 2010. If we get into a market like that, builders are going to need to do everything right in order to sell houses. And that means their sales team needs to be as efficient as possible and do everything right. And that means we can't let those B and C leads fall through the cracks. We've got to nurture those.
So thinking about ways that you can put that whole kind of suite of skillsets together into your leadership team who's in charge of rolling out Salesforce, that, to me, was what made us successful, is that we were kind of uniquely qualified in all four of these areas. And I honestly even kind of, as I think through and talk through this, is we've got a builder in our builder group who we're close with that has 50 salespeople. Well, you don't have to be a genius to know it's probably easier to get seven people to buy in than 50 and three different sales managers.
And so all of those things made us successful in this rollout. And in other industries, other people will face some of those challenges that if you had 200 people you've got to use this and train them on, that's going to be harder than seven or eight.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think what I hear is if you wrap up authority, budget, decision-making and technology, it really comes down to trust. And if your board and your organization trusts you and they adopt a nimble mindset, then that's the only way it works. And they gave you that trust. They've given you the freedom to be nimble with it, and you've ran with it.
And to your selling point, when times are good and you're paying attention to your C and D leads, then when times are bad, it's not going to feel that way because you know how to pay attention to everything that's coming in the front door and you've set yourself up for success that way, as opposed to having to scramble and refactor when the market adjusts.

Matt Skogman: And we talked about the learning curve earlier. You don't buy Salesforce on January 1st, and within 30 days, you're up and running. This is a long process. This is weekly. This is daily. This is you working with your team to help them understand. We troubleshoot stuff all the time. The team finds bugs that I've accidentally created and they help me fix them. They find things, "Well, wouldn't it be easier if we did this?" I'm like, "That's a phenomenal idea. Let's actually do that." Then I'll go back to my Salesforce partner and try to have him help think through this.
And so yes, there is a rollout process that takes months and months, in fact, in some cases, maybe a year. And if you wait until your sales are really bad, you don't get to turn it around right away. It's going to take you a year to get this up and running.
The other thing is, is if you don't have a bunch of leads coming through, in bad times, it's harder to utilize the system, whereas now we have a ton of leads coming through, or over the last year or so, we've had a lot of leads coming through. So it's easier to tweak and be nimble there.
And then you made a good point, the board, I really couldn't be more lucky in that they've given me full autonomy into doing this and they believe in what we're trying to accomplish. And yeah, now that you say it, they believe in me that I can get this done because they've allocated a lot of resources to this to make this whole thing work. And I didn't have to go in and beg for approval. I just kept saying, "This is what we need. This is what we're going for. This is where we're going. Let me show you what we've already accomplished." And they're like, "Keep going, just keep going."
And so that also, there's probably that fifth ingredient that I guess we didn't talk about, but that's having the organization, the decision makers, the owners, the CEOs, all of those people all bought into this. Because if it wasn't like that and the board said, "Nope, we're going to put a cap on this or that," we wouldn't be where we are today.
So that is a really, I'm glad you brought that up, that is one of the things that really helped us become successful, is that my family and everything has given me full autonomy to roll this out as best we can.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, it's interesting you use the word rollout, and I think that implies that there's a finish line. And what I hear is you've spent the last year, year and a half not rolling out Salesforce, but using technology and process to improve your organization. Because if you're constantly improving, then there is no finish line, right? I mean, I've owned a home now for 20 years. I'm never done with my house. You're always painting a house. You're always improving the house.
I think businesses are the same way, right? You get technology. There was a start, there's no finish line because you haven't looked at your rollout as, "Okay, we're done. We have the most perfect sales process ever." Maybe this week, but next month is September and you might need a different process for September. So it to me sounds like you've changed and become a continuous improvement shop as opposed to a rolling out process.

Matt Skogman: That's a great point.

Mike Gerholdt: Not to split semantics on you.

Matt Skogman: No, no, I think you're right. I keep saying rollout, but you're right, this will never... I'm looking at this, it's like a child. It's like they're never going to... I mean, I have a two and a half year old son and I have an eight month old son, and I'm 37 and I know my dad and mom probably still look at me like, "He's still a work in progress."

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. You're never done.

Matt Skogman: So this will never... My wife will definitely tell you I'm a work in progress. But this system that we have is just kind of a part of something bigger that we're doing. And I think you're right, that it's never going to be done. I thought when we rolled it out or when we signed up a while back, I thought, "Oh great, at this point, it'll be ready to go." It's like I'm never going to stop tweaking this and changing it and making it better. We're never going to stop getting feedback from our sales team, the people on the field about how to make this better, how to make their jobs easier, how to make them more money.
So this'll be an ever-changing process. And I think one of the things that our generation is starting to think about is we think Skogman Companies really wants to be a technology company that sells houses, not the traditional home builder. So we can really leverage so much in technology to make us our best self, to take care of our customers better than we've ever been able to take care of them before, and figure out the best ways for us to utilize our resources. So this is just one tool in our ever-changing technology kind of mindset in order to make us the best company we can be.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I've used the metaphor often, especially where I live, there's a railroad crossing and I've often thought the fallacy of the railroads in the early 1900s when they dominated shipping traffic across the United States, they failed to view themselves as a transportation company and they saw themselves as a railroad company. And had they leveled up, everything would be Northern Pacific or whatever you see going by you. It would be planes and there would be no brown trucks, right? Because they would have thought of themselves in a different perspective.
And I like your perspective. You think of yourself as a technology company first that builds homes, that's a very different vision for the next five generations of your organization.

Matt Skogman: And my grandfather would be shocked at the data that we can pull today and what we're able to do. So, yeah, so I think he'd be proud of where we're going and how we're able to utilize the best products to make our company as strong as it can be.
And like I said, I'm going to keep going back to this, I live in the community where we build houses. I mean, this is about the customer. This helps us serve our customers even better. This helps us serve our staff, our salespeople. The people that go out there every day and work so hard for our company, we can help make them more efficient. We could to help make them more income. And that's really the flip side of that I think all executives and people need to be thinking about, is ask yourself how is this going to help? How is this going to help you serve your customers? How is this going to help you serve your employees and your staff that works so hard for you every single day? How can you help them be the best at their job?

Mike Gerholdt: I think that is the perfect note to end the podcast on because continuous improvement feels like that's something we can all embrace right now. So Matt, and thank you for taking time out. It's always good to chat with you. It's an interesting time and your company is doing a lot of really cool stuff. And I feel like you're really embracing that forward-looking mindset. And I love that you're a technology company that happens to build homes.

Matt Skogman: We're getting there. I appreciate you having me on, Mike. And I appreciate you thinking of Skogman in the way that you do. And if there's anything I can help you with in the future, I'd love to do this again.

Mike Gerholdt: You bet.
Okay, was I right? That was an awesome conversation we had with Matt. I love those four foundational keys that he brought up. I agree, authority, budget, decision-making, and really that technology mindset. I mean, as an admin, I want all four, please. Santa, put those under the Christmas tree this year.
And I think the last one, and it's one that admins can all really strive for, is being nimble takes trust, and an organization, in order to be nimble, needs to have that trust in you and in the processes that they're evaluating and working on improving.
Now, if you'd love to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. And hey, there is some new podcast swag in the Trailhead store. I don't know if you've seen it. I've got my podcast shirt on right now. I love the bright blue cloudy shirt. I have coffee every morning out of that tumbler. It's very cool. Pick up your swag. Send me a tweet with a picture of you and in the swag. I'd love to see it. Link is in the show notes.
Of course, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are @salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. My co-host, Gillian, is on Twitter. You can give her a follow, @gilliankbruce. Of course, I am @mikegerholdt. And with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

It’s time for another monthly retro on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. In this episode, we’ll go over all the top Salesforce product, community, and careers content for July.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Gillian and Mike.

Podcast highlights from July

We have two new Admin Evangelists joining our team! And to learn more about them and where they’re coming from, there are two great episodes you can listen to and get to know them better. We also launched a major update to the Trailblazer Community, and we’ve got all the details on the pod.

Blog highlights from July

For Mike, Courtney Coen’s blog post about building reports was really impactful and highlights a great way to start getting more involved with Salesforce in your organization. J Steadman revisited a post Gillian first made five years ago. It’s a popular post, but a LOT has changed in the half-decade since it was written.

Video highlights from July

There was a great Expert Corner this month with LeeAnne Rimel and John Demby on Tableau advancements. Learn about this amazing tool and what it can do for you and your reports.


The Bruce family announces their August Release

We won’t be seeing Gillian around for a couple of months because she has some exciting news: her second child is on the way! Mike will hold down the fort on the pod, and get psyched for some appearances from the rest of the Admin Relations team.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast and the July monthly retro, or should we say, put that sparkler away, you're going to burn your cousin edition for 2021. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce and in this episode, we will review the top product, community and careers content for July. And to help me do that, I am joined by the one and only, my favorite podcast inspiration slash co-hosts slash all the things, Mike Gerholdt.

Mike: Hi, Gillian. I had to put that in there because that's a thing that I heard constantly as a kid.

Gillian: Well, so that's so funny because me growing up in San Francisco, we never see fireworks because it's always foggy. So sparklers are about as close as we get.

Mike: Yeah, sparklers. We had sparklers. And snakes, right? It was like a little black pellet that you lit on the sidewalk and then it grew like a snake.

Gillian: Those were fun. Yeah, those were fun. We never really got to play a whole lot. The closest we've got were those little poppers that you throw on the floor and they explode.

Mike: Oh, yes. Those were fun.

Gillian: Because those are really popular for Chinese lunar new year.

Mike: Yes.

Gillian: So I actually think we have a box of them in our house right now. Should be fun. The dog hates them.

Mike: Well, yes, because they're... Yeah, I wanted to look up because in addition to July 4th, July 1st is Canada Day for our friends up north, and July 14th is Best Deal Day.

Gillian: Oui, oui.

Mike: So we're celebrating all of the things, all the revolutions.

Gillian: Need some maple syrup and rosé to celebrate those, right?

Mike: I mean, why not? And a sparkler with some American flag shorts.

Gillian: Totally. Yes. Well, Mike, we also have some podcast swag on the Trailhead Store in case everyone missed it. I actually got my shirt and my tumbler a few weeks ago and I love them, they're so fun and colorful. So if you are listening and need some more Salesforce swag in your collection, go to the Trailhead Store and you can get some Salesforce Admins Podcast swag, which is pretty awesome. Mike, you got a t-shirt too, yeah?

Mike: I did. I saw your t-shirt in the no silly questions video, and fun fact, I was at a grill out around the 4th of July and a neighbor said, "Now, what do you do again?" And I pointed to my shirt. I was like, "I do the thing that's on my shirt."

Gillian: There you go. That's a good explanation.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah, I'm pretty unique in that I could do that, but you could wear the shirt and then you can say, I listened to the podcast that talks about the things that I do on... That sounded better in my head.

Gillian: Yeah, and it's fun, it's colorful. It's a happy shirt.

Mike: It's a very colorful, bright, summer... If you don't smile and giggle wearing that shirt, you're having a really bad day.

Gillian: Yeah. Well, I got mine during the month of June which is also Pride Month so it worked out really well.

Mike: Perfect.

Gillian: There was one day I wore that shirt and I wore my rainbow patchwork Vans that I got and I felt extremely festive.

Mike: Love it. Big fan of it.

Gillian: Well, Mike, we had a lot of content this month, so let's-

Mike: We did. You'd be surprised because we did TrailheaDX in June, you'd think we'd just take the month of July off, but we don't stop.

Gillian: Party doesn't stop.

Mike: Nope, not at all. We did some podcasts. So we got two new evangelists on our team.

Gillian: What? I know, it's so exciting. I mean, that's like almost doubling the size of our team.

Mike: Yes, which is crazy. So there's two intro podcasts for you to meet Jay Stedman and Jennifer Lee, who both joined the team. I think they're fun. I stole some lightning round questions, if you watch TrailheaDX from Liam [McGallan Hare 00:04:13], to ask them, and it's a great way to get introduced to our team and you can reach out to them on Twitter and say hello. They're always looking for more inspiration and connections.

Gillian: And I think it's fun too because it's like getting to know the person, like why? Part of the reason that they are now part of our team becomes very evident as you listen to those episodes, so there's a very clear passion for helping admins effect real change within their companies and their communities and their careers. So I got inspired listening to them, even though I know them both pretty well at this point. It kind of reinvigorates the energy and the passion and why we do what we do.

Mike: And we also will be the Royal. We launched a new Trailblazer community, which is super cool.

Gillian: Oh man, it's so exciting. It's long overdue and thank goodness it is out because it is totally a new world in the online Trailblazer connection space because I mean, hello, 2020. We came from the 2000s, we fast forwarded 20 years within one update.

Mike: Yeah. No, it was good. You did a podcast with the community managers about that, so I enjoyed listening to that.

Gillian: Yeah. It was fun to hear about the thinking behind why they rolled out what they did first and what is coming soon and the strategy behind it because it was huge. I mean, it is, not was, it's an ongoing, it's a huge effort. So if you have not yet checked out the new Trailblazer community, definitely do it and then listen to the pod to find out a little bit more about the details and maybe some Easter eggs even.

Mike: Ooh, I like Easter eggs. Easter eggs are fun.

Gillian: We also had some blogs, Mike. We had a lot of blogs.

Mike: Let's talk about those. I picked out, so you might have heard Courtney Cohen on the pod earlier this year, but she did a post source on how building my first Salesforce report changed my entire career. And I really enjoyed reading this, partly because I think reports for me actually are a way that users would get also on my radar as an admin. Generally, that's a good way to strike up a conversation with an admin in your organization if you're a user, and it sounds like that's the path that it led Courtney down.

Gillian: Yeah. I think it's always interesting to connect, hey, this is how you use the technology in Salesforce and this is how you connect it to actually your career progression, you know? And I think that that connection there is so important, especially for admins because hey, admins, we are literally at the crossroads between the business and the technology so if you can harness that and then use that also to your personal advantage in terms of helping you grow your career, that's kind of the secret sauce there.

Mike: Yep. And then Jay Stedman revisited a post that you had done, which is crazy to think that it was five years and 15 releases ago.

Gillian: I can't even... That's just crazy to me.

Mike: That was back when you were Gillian Bruce.

Gillian: You mean Gillian Madill? Yeah.

Mike: Gillian Madill, yeah.

Gillian: Who was that chick? Yeah. So Jay took a very much needed update and refreshed approach to five steps to setting up your Salesforce org, which was one of our top posts that kept getting a lot of traffic. And we decided, hey, we should probably update this because the platform's changed a lot in five years. So Jay did a great job revisiting the original ideas and flushing them out, and then also adding some additional context and some updated input from the community as well. So great posts, especially if you're a relatively new admin or you're starting at a new company with a new implementation, this is kind of your cheat sheet to get things up and running and set up in a way that is going to make your implementation successful in the longterm.

Mike: Yeah. And I still look at, one of the easiest things is theming because I know towards the end of their posts, Jay points out themes. And I still am just amazed at what theming can do to drive adoption and how it feels when an app is themed towards your company. I mean, we even have that at Salesforce because we use different applications for stuff, and you can always feel when it's someone else's app or when they've made the app feel like it's for us.

Gillian: Yeah, it really helps with user adoption because they open it up and they're like, "Oh, this looks familiar. This looks like something I should be using."

Mike: This looks like us. It's got our orange or our yellow or chartreuse or whatever your company's colors are.

Gillian: Yeah. Or as in Jay's post, they write about Poblano Grill, which makes me want to have chips and guacamole. So-

Mike: 100%.

Gillian: So yeah, that's a great post. Check it out. Mike, we also had some videos this month.

Mike: We did. So I know you did a no silly questions. Those are fun and spoiler alert, I'll be picking those up, but I loved Leanne's Expert Corner that she did with John Denby on the Tableau advancements. I feel... Well, first of all, admins, if you have not reached out to John Denby, man, you're missing out because he is just one of the coolest dudes in our universe and he's totally from our admin perspective. He was an admin once at a company and found Tableau, and he just knows so much. But I think that we got to pay a little bit more attention to all the cool stuff that Tableau can do because back to what Courtney was writing about with careers and reporting, man, that's a way to draw attention to yourself, is bringing insights to the company that executives want to see but don't know to ask for.

Gillian: Yeah, and John, not only is John a actual, in-person real life mascot for Tableau, I feel like at this point, between the hat and the voice, he's amazing in so many ways. But as you said, he was an admin. He has admin at the heart of everything that he talks about and does, and Tableau very much thinks about admins. And you can tell on some of the tools that they've developed that really are targeted for us, for admins, which is so cool because it's a very powerful tool that we can use. And I mean, come on, it makes you look so cool to your stakeholders.

Mike: I'm constantly, every time I work in a Tableau dashboard and when Liz was with us last year, she really brought the team into Tableau. And I would sit down with John on a call and he would just go and click through, and the way that I feel admins work with low code tools is the way that Tableau is built. You drag things in there, it does what you expect it to do. And then filtering, it's kind of intuitive, a little bit more so than some of the other report builders.

Gillian: Yeah, and one of the ways that I think, especially listening to John talk, the way that he explains things, he has such a passion for it and the way that he explains it makes you want to go learn more. I remember the first call I was on with John, he mentioned that there was this public repository of dashboards that you could go nerd out on. There was a Game of Thrones one and all these other really cool dashboards that people have created. And I think I easily spent at least an hour poking around, because he's a true evangelist and he definitely is a good person to listen to you to get inspired to really dig in and do more with analytics in general.

Mike: Yeah, 100%. So I think that is most of the content. I'll be honest with you, we skipped over a lot of blog posts because we published so many blog posts in July, I had a hard time finding one to pick that I thought was the best. Because I was like, no, these four. I can't talk about four, I got to find one.

Gillian: And on that note too, not only did both of our brand new evangelists make their debut on the podcast, they also made their debut in the blogosphere. So both Jay and Jen posted amazing blog posts on the admin site, so we talked about Jay's a little bit. Jen, also, I'm going to give her a quick shout out because she also posted a great blog about how to create to-do lists using actions and recommendations. So, hey, our new EVs are here and they're already creating content and hey, listeners, give them some love.

Mike: Yeah, and wait until you see what we got up our sleeves for Dreamforce.

Gillian: Dreamforce and the next release.

Mike: Oh yeah, that's right. That's also September.

Gillian: Yeah. At Salesforce, we do all the things all at the same time. That's how we roll.

Mike: For sure. I mean, July's done, August, we'll do something and then September, boom, Dreamforce, release.

Gillian: Yeah, well, y'all are going to have a great time with that because I'm doing something else in August. So Mike, you mentioned you're going to be taking over no silly questions. Thank you.

Mike: I did, I gave the spoiler away.

Gillian: Yeah. Thank you for taking that on. You're also going to be manning the reins of the podcast for the next few months because I got my own release coming in August. We are welcoming our second little baby boy. I can't believe I'm saying that.

Mike: Two Bruces in the world. Bruces, Bruci.

Gillian: Yeah, Bruci. It's the house of Bruci. Yeah, so we're excited, it's going to be a lot. Jack, the first Bruce turns two at the beginning of August and then this next one is due towards the end of August, so we're going to have our hands full. But it's going to be fun and I'll take a little time off and then I will be back.

Mike: Yeah. You could name the other kid, Jack Jack. Then you have Jack and Jack Jack.

Gillian: That would be a lot, yeah.

Mike: No, that sounds funnier in my head. So for everyone on the pod, we've got a fun thing lined up for the rest of the team on the monthly retros. So I'm going to bring in a rotating guest to help me retro-ize every month and go through different content that we've published, and give you an opportunity to meet a little bit more of the depth of the admin relations teams. So in addition to our evangelists, we have an amazing marketing team, an amazing social. So I want the chance for everybody to get a chance to say hello and also give their perspective on some of the content that we did. So every month, the retro is going to be switched up a little bit, just to keep things fresh while Gillian's having Jack chapter two.

Gillian: Yeah, it's like a retro round-robin you're going to do.

Mike: Right. retro round-robin. There we go, three Rs.

Gillian: You know, I got to leave you with some alliterative fun there.

Mike: I know. And then we'll come back and maybe we'll have to do a no silly questions retro round-robin pun off or something.

Gillian: I think that sounds great.

Mike: ... to welcome you back into your podcasting.

Gillian: I'll be excited to talk about things that aren't revolving around children.

Mike: Yes, right? Well, maybe the next no silly questions should be, when you come back, the community has to send you a video of what they've done since you were gone.

Gillian: I'm going to ask them the silly question and they have to answer.

Mike: Right, yeah. Turn the tables. So it's on you now to answer this.

Gillian: Speaking of which, if you have a no silly question, since Mike is going to be taking this on for the next few months, feel free to send him a video.

Mike: Yeah, just shoot the video and tweet it to me or something. I'll figure out how to get it.

Gillian: Yeah, just a little iPhone video saying what your name is, where you're calling from and your question, that's the formula.

Mike: And you can ask questions about the pod or the team. It doesn't have to be strictly super hard core-

Gillian: It could be about Dreamforce.

Mike: It could be about Dreamforce, yeah.

Gillian: It could be about the release.

Mike: Yeah. Oh yeah, that would be fun.

Gillian: Yeah. Whatever you want. Michael will attempt to get an answer for you.

Mike: I can't get them all answered, but we'll do our best. Anyway. If you'd like to learn more about all things that we just talked about today in the episode, I will include the links in the show notes, but of course, everything is published on You can stay up to date with us on all things social. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. The Twitter handle turned six years old this last month too.

Gillian: Crazy.

Mike: Yeah. So imagine that. I'm on Twitter @mikegerholdt. You can still tweak to Gillian K Bruce, even though she'll be out taking care of the other Bruces. All the Bruces, crispy gooses.

Gillian: I'll leak some Bruce photos here and there.

Mike: Oh boy. Well, fabulous. Well, Gillian. It's fun having you back for a short period of time and send you on your way.

Gillian: Well, thank you, Mike, for holding down the fort, and I look forward to seeing all the amazing things you all do while I'm out and then coming back and getting going again.

Mike: There we go. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and say tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the Cloud.

Direct download: July_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

For today’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we caught up with Jennifer Lee, a new Admin Evangelist on the Admin Relations team at Salesforce. We wanted to give you a chance to meet her and hear where she’s coming from. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community and it's important to know we get our inspiration from you.

Join us as we talk about how Jennifer got started in the ecosystem, why she got hooked on Salesforce, and how important admins are in helping people get more done.

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

How Jennifer got started in Salesforce

Like many admins, Jennifer bounced around a little before getting involved in the platform. She did retail, financial services marketing, e-commerce, and project management. She got introduced to Salesforce in 2011 when her company was acquired by another business already on the platform. They needed to create their own Salesforce org to smooth out the transition, and Jennifer was the PM, and the rest is history.

“Salesforce reminded me of what I was able to do back in the day when I worked on websites, being able to create content and do configuration work,” Jennifer says, so she took the Admin 201 class and got hooked. “I didn’t want to project manage anymore—all I wanted to do was configure in Salesforce,” she says.

Jennifer ended up moving to John Hancock to help wrangle all the different Salesforce orgs they used throughout their organization. “When I first joined, it was basically the wild wild west,” she says, “so I spent six years there growing the team, setting standards, doing things like design reviews to make sure we were building to the best of the platform before we brought in our own custom code.”

The power of the Salesforce community

Through it all, Jennifer experienced a lot of growth getting involved with the Salesforce community. At first, she was just a consumer, learning from other people’s posts and tracking topics of interest, “but as I got more comfortable, I started answering the Chatter posts myself,” she says.

When she had to attach a Word doc to answer a particularly tough question, Jennifer realized she needed something a bit more scalable and started a blog. “I really consumed a lot of what the community shared before me,” she says, “and I wanted my blog to be a way for me to pay it forward and share my knowledge. If I ran into an issue, clearly someone else will run into the same issue so why not share that?” 

Using your Salesforce powers for truth, justice, and fewer clicks

What got Jennifer so hooked on Salesforce in the first place was how easy it made it to help others with creative problem-solving. “Users have this problem and I’m able to use my Salesforce powers to configure something and solve for that,” she says. For Jennifer, Admins are at the center of that, working directly with end-users to help them get more efficient and do more every day.

Be sure to listen to the episode for more about Jennifer’s story, and don’t miss the Lightning Round!

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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 an awesome admin. This week we're talking with Jennifer Lee, Admin Evangelist on the Admin Relations team. Now I wanted to take this moment to have this podcast early on in Jennifer's career as an evangelist, so that you get a chance to meet her, understand her perspective, and really connect with her. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community and to me, it's really important that you understand who we are and that we also get our inspiration from you. So with that, let's get Jennifer on the podcast. So, Jennifer, welcome to the podcast.

Jennifer Lee: Hey, Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like long time guest, first time employee. I don't know how to spin that, but you've been on the pod before, and I know you've done a lot of speaking in the community, of course, being an MVP. But for those new Salesforce admins or new to Salesforce, that have not been introduced to you, let's talk about a little bit about what you did before joining Salesforce.

Jennifer Lee: Sure. So, I did a couple of things before I even started Salesforce. I first started off in retail, did that for a little bit, then I moved on to financial services where I was in marketing, produced brochures for mutual funds. How dry is that, right? Then they introduced a website. So I'm like, "Ooh, cool, website." So, I moved into e-commerce, did that for a little bit. It was pretty fun putting out my own content and playing around with features, things like that. And then, I moved into the project management role and did project management for technology projects.
And my first introduction to Salesforce was back in 2011, where we were just acquired by this other company and we were on Microsoft CRM at the time and we were moving onto Salesforce for the first time, taking our business unit and moving it into an existing org. And it really didn't work out for our business. They didn't really feel like they could control their destiny. So, they then had a project to basically stand up their Salesforce org. And I was a PM on that. So, never worked on Salesforce, we worked with Deloitte as our implementation partner.
And after that project was done, my group was responsible for maintaining Salesforce going forward. Salesforce reminded me a lot of what I was able to do back in the day when I worked on websites, being able to create content, do configuration work. So, I was really interested in Salesforce and I wanted to get my hands dirty. So, I took the Admin 201 class and sat side-by-side with some of the Deloitte consultants to really learn the ins and outs of Salesforce. And then, I was basically hooked and I didn't want to project manage anymore. I was like, all I wanted to do was configure in Salesforce.
So, I talked to my manager, I'm like, "Oh, well I was responsible for these other applications," and I was like, "Can I just focus on Salesforce?" He was like, "Well, we don't really have a role for that here." So, I decided after 17 years with the company to then go find something that was exclusively Salesforce administration or a consultant role. And that's when I interviewed with John Hancock, who's a financial services insurance firm and they were standing up a net new COE at the time, a center of excellence, that just focused on Salesforce and supporting Salesforce for all the orgs in the organization.
So, it was really exciting to be part of a new team that was built, and growing that team and being able to do things like set standards for our orgs. Because when I first joined, it was basically the Wild Wild West and people were making changes directly in prod and didn't understand why it was a big deal to not make changes directly in prod. So, I spent six years there, growing the team, setting standards. We did things like design reviews and make sure we were building to the best of the platform, leveraging as much as the platform as possible before we brought in our own custom code.
So, as a result of wanting to learn Salesforce, I then became really involved in the community. And at first I was just a consumer, so I would be out on the Trailblazer Community, learning what I can from other people's posts. And then, as I got more comfortable, I started answering the Chatter posts myself and I got to the point where I was trying to answer questions about automation. And there's only so much that you can put in Chatter posts. So, I ended up writing out the solution in a Word doc, attached it, and I'm like, "This isn't scalable because I can't keep referring to this or attaching Word docs of my solutions." So, that's how my blog started,, where I was like, "Okay, well I need to be able to post my solutions there and then be able to share it and reference it."
I really consumed a lot of what the community shared before me in terms of learning from others. And I also wanted my blog to be a way for me to pay it forward and be able to share my knowledge. So, if I ran into an issue, clearly someone else will probably run into the same issue, so why not share that? Right? Why just keep that information to myself?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Jennifer Lee: So, that's how I've gotten out in the community. After my blog, being able to go out in community events, world tours, share my knowledge with presentations and things like that.

Mike Gerholdt: I had no idea you were in retail. I feel a kinship now because I was in retail and I know I've had a few other guests on, that were in retail. I will speak biassedly, I feel some of the best admins come from retail because I don't know, maybe it's the long hours of standing on our feet or the endlessly-

Jennifer Lee: Folding clothes.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Jennifer Lee: Great customer service.

Mike Gerholdt: Relentlessly folding and refolding of the same thing because somebody walks by and picks it up, you know a small ain't going to fit you, don't pick up the small, I just folded that.

Jennifer Lee: So, I worked in three different retail stores. Victoria's Secret, Dockers, so I sold khakis.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh boy, there you go.

Jennifer Lee: And Nine West, so I sold shoes all day long to [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, but Nine West was popular. It had its day. Of course, so did Dockers.

Jennifer Lee: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Flat fronts, pleaded crease, cuff.

Jennifer Lee: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Well, and I think that's also true to the ... A lot of people ask, "How do I get into being a Salesforce admin?" And some of it is one or two hops, right? Like retail to project management, to a company using Salesforce. I mean, I was retail to book sales, to education sales, to using Salesforce, to being a Salesforce admin. You can't connect the dots looking forward.

Jennifer Lee: Yeah. It's not just one path.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. It's true. I think, a certain point in your story, you mentioned, and I could hear it in your voice, the same kind of like, "I just want to do Salesforce." Looking back at that time, what was it that got you so hooked?

Jennifer Lee: It was being able to create things and then seeing it in production and the feeling of other people using the thing that I built. I like the ability to problem solve. So, users have this problem and I'm able to use my powers in Salesforce to configure something and then solve for that. Being able to be creative and then seeing the thing that I built, being used.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I hear you. That's exactly ... The first time I remember it, way back in the day, when S-controls were a thing, having a workflow work and seeing somebody update a record in the workflow fire, or a validation rule. The simplest things you're like, "I didn't know I could make the internet do that. I made this whole fancy internet do a thing." Now, you could have gone down a lot of different ... There's many different career paths in the Salesforce ecosystem. You are very passionate about admin. We saw that in your blog. We see that in what you do now at Salesforce. I think, what makes you so passionate about the Salesforce admin role?

Jennifer Lee: I think of all the roles, that's the role that I most identify with. Just being able to leverage the platform, working directly with the end users and thinking of ways to just make them more efficient and more productive. Yeah. That's the part that resonates with me the most.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. So, I know this will come out in July and I'd love to know maybe insight into some of the things you're thinking about for content. Some of the things you're working on, some of the things you would really love people who listen to the podcast to maybe tweet you for suggestions?

Jennifer Lee: So, I'm very excited, right now I'm working on my prepping for my first Trailhead Live and that's going to be on formulas. We're having our session on July 21st. I'm really excited for the content to go out on that. I've been working hard on that piece. And we have also some Trailblazers who are also sharing their pro tips on formulas too. So, look for that. I'll also be taking over for Marc Baizman, the How I Solve This series. So, look for new ideas on that piece, starting to work on my first one for that.
And in terms of blog posts, really looking forward to putting out some of the more how-tos on things, maybe more of the intermediate content, but also we'll be looking forward to doing some type of series around automation because that's my ultimate passion and I want to be able to continue to share that with other admins in the ecosystem.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And we saw at Trailhead DX, there's a lot coming out around automation. So, it's a good thing you like automation, there's only a few things to talk about.

Jennifer Lee: Right?

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. I want to make sure, so if anybody listened to Trailhead DX or if you listened to last week's interview with Jay, I put together some, what I'll call lightning round questions, but I think they're just neat questions. I'll be honest, I Googled, "Questions to ask a celebrity." And some of these are the questions that came up. So, this is good preparation for you, Jen. So, when you're in a community group or if we get back to events, these might be the questions that the community asks you. You can practice answering them here-

Jennifer Lee: Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: ... to a few hundred thousand people. No pressure. Anyway. All right. So, first question, what is the best compliment you have received?

Jennifer Lee: Best compliment? Wow. I love it when folks have come up to me and have told me how something that I wrote in my blog posts really helped them. And that just really warms my heart and gives me [Trail] heart.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. There you go. If you could have only one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jennifer Lee: I love crab. Whether it's Dungeness crab, blue crab, queen crab. I love all the crabs.

Mike Gerholdt: Preferably cooked, I'm assuming.

Jennifer Lee: Yes. Cooked. I like it chopped up, stir fried with garlic and ginger and bits of egg on top of it.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my. Okay. Well, you're in a good part of the country to get crab.

Jennifer Lee: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Who is your hero?

Jennifer Lee: Who is my hero? Leah. Leah McGowen-Hare comes to mind immediately. She is my shero. I look up to her. She just presents with finesse and she's able to present a topic that might not even be interesting, but she finds a way to make interesting and draws you in and you're like, "I get that concept. I get what you're talking about." And that's what ultimately I would love to be able to do as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. You will. My Leah McGowen story, I remember when she had to talk about blockchain-

Jennifer Lee: Yes, that.

Mike Gerholdt: ... and turning a chicken into a chicken nugget and you can never go back. And I was like, "I get it now, weirdly enough. And I also want a chicken nugget." So, if you were stranded on an island, what album would you bring along to listen to, or CD?

Jennifer Lee: I don't know the specific album name, but I'm really into Pink. So, any of her albums.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Jennifer Lee: I feel that they're just empowering and she's just really bad-ass. I went to see her in concert and if you haven't seen Pink in concert, she does all this gymnastics stuff and she's doing flips and flying in the air, and it's just so super cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Okay. Last one. Five words that describe you.

Jennifer Lee: Five words that describe me. Huh. I am passionate. Excited.

Mike Gerholdt: It can be hard to think of words.

Jennifer Lee: Yeah. I'm like speechless right now.

Mike Gerholdt: I would add, caring, because we just talked about your dog before we got on the podcast.

Jennifer Lee: Yes. And friendly. And I can't think of another word. I'm lost for words.

Mike Gerholdt: That's all right.

Jennifer Lee: You don't even see me. I'm sweating bullets right now. I can't think of the words.

Mike Gerholdt: That's all right. Being at a loss for words is a rarity for you. Well, this is fun. I think it's important that everybody in the community gets to meet our evangelists and hears from us and knows our perspectives and gets to understand you just even more outside of the content that you produce. Because I know to me, it's always important if I'm watching a movie or I'm reading a book or listening to music, that I understand the artist's perspective and what motivates them and their values. And that's the whole reason I wanted to have this podcast. So, I'm glad to have you on.

Jennifer Lee: Oh, thanks for having me. And I can't wait to be able to go out in the community and meet all the new admins out there. And hopefully, when we are able to get back to in-person events, being able to meet you personally.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. It'll be fun. It'll be fun. Well, thanks for being on the podcast, Jen.

Jennifer Lee: Thanks for having me, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was great having Jennifer on the podcast. It's always fun to learn people's back histories and it looks like she was in retail as was I, and I'm sure many of you have been in retail. Anyway, if you'd love to learn more about all things Salesforce admin go to to find more resources, including blogs, Trailhead Live, and a lot of content that Jennifer's going to be sharing out with us. Of course, I'd be remissed if I didn't mention the new podcast swag is in the Trailhead store. So, be sure to pick up some of that.
I am wearing my Salesforce Admin podcast T-shirt right now. I put the link in the show notes. Now, you can stay up-to-date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can follow Jennifer on Twitter. She, is @jenwlee. Of course, Gillian, the co-host of the podcast is on Twitter @gilliankbruce. And if you'd like, please give me a follow, I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt. So, with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Meet_Jennifer_Lee_Our_New_Admin_Evangelist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to J Steadman, Lead Admin Evangelist on the Admin Relations team at Salesforce. J is just getting started as an evangelist, and we wanted you to get a chance to meet them, understand their perspective, and connect with them. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community and it's important to know we get our inspiration from you.

Join us as we talk about J’s incredible journey to Salesforce and why they’re so driven to save everyone time.

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

A long and winding road to becoming an admin

“I’m a product of the community,” J says, “and so I think it’s really important that we all know each other—specifically because those of us that sit in the Evangelist role, our job is really to advocate on behalf of the admins to Salesforce and to make sure we’re properly communicating stuff from Salesforce back to all of our admins.”

While they’ve been at Salesforce for the past three years, J got their start in the community and actually has an MFA in acting and performed for a long time as a bass guitarist. “It got to a point where that fell apart,” J says, “so I put myself on the job hunt and submitted over 430 job applications.” Everything changed, however, when they got hired as a receptionist at a company that just happened to use Salesforce. Yes, J is another accidental admin and, as J says, “suddenly I just took off with the technology.”

From there, J spent some time consulting which was a real boot camp for understanding all the different types of orgs and implementations that are out there. Ultimately, they transitioned to a position at an enterprise-level customer with thousands of licenses and a very complex org. That work saw them doing stints as a product manager and later a release manager but most importantly, it led to a position at Salesforce in Customer Success.

Saving time one process at a time

“Everyone in the world is a talented and good person that can use their talents for something worthwhile,” J says, “but in most businesses, many of us spend our time doing stuff that does not warrant our attention. These manual and horribly repetitive tasks literally eat the most important resource in our lives: time.”

For J, it means so much to help someone help someone get more time back in their day by automating a business process or making a screen appear in the right place. “If we as the Admin Community are able to give anyone that important time,” J says, “that’s incredibly meaningful.”

Be sure to listen to the episode for more about J’s story, and don’t miss the Lightning Round!

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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 an awesome admin. This week, we are talking with J. Steadman, lead admin evangelist on the admin relations team. Now, I wanted to take this moment to have this podcast early in J.'s admin evangelist career, so that you've a chance to meet them, understand their perspective, and connect with them. As evangelists, we work to inspire admins in our community, and I also feel it's important to me that we get our inspiration from you. So, let's get J. on the podcast. So, J., welcome to the podcast.

J. Steadman: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Concise. That's what I like. It's great. I, as I alluded to in the intro, find it very important that everybody on our admin relations team be able to understand and know our community, and that our community kind of knows us really well. So, I wanted to get you on the pod early on in your admin evangelist career. And you've been on the pod before in your previous role at Salesforce.

J. Steadman: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: So, let's just rewind the clock and kind of reset everything. And tell us a little bit about J. before you joined Salesforce.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So, first, Mike, thanks tons for having me here. And I really agree with you about this idea of us knowing the community and the community knowing us. I'm a bit of a product of the community. And so, I think it's really important that we all know each other, specifically because those of us that sit in the EV role or the evangelist role, our job is really to advocate on behalf of or evangelize on behalf of the admins to Salesforce and to make sure that we're properly communicating stuff from Salesforce back to all of our admins. Right? So, that is my purpose. I think sharing my story can be helpful. So, I've been at Salesforce for the past three years, but prior to that, I wasn't in Salesforce at all. At one point, I think that's true for all of us. Most of us.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: Most of us started not at Salesforce and then eventually made our way into the technology, save for, I don't know, everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: You could be born into Salesforce somehow. I don't know.

J. Steadman: That might be true for my kid and for like-

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

J. Steadman: Yeah, sure, a lot of our kids, but our generation and before. Anyway. So, I actually originally went to school for acting. I did that twice. I got my undergrad at Western Michigan University, and I went and got a degree in acting at UCLA for grad school. And the writer strike happened which really impacted the industry in a big way. And so, I was like, "Well, if I can't find entry-level acting gigs, I'll be a musician." So, I'd played music forever. I was a bassist, and I started playing as a back-lining musician. So, bands would hire me to go and play their local gigs or to go on tour, and I played bass guitar for them. And then I started doing my own band on top of that and working side gigs to scrap together cash and make sure that I could keep pursuing my dream, and it got to a point where that just fell apart. As an artist, I didn't have a ton of money to fall back on. And I came from a pretty scrappy upbringing. And so, I put myself out on the job hunt and I submitted like 430-some job applications.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

J. Steadman: And I still have the spreadsheet in my Google Drive. And this was over the course of like six weeks. I was looking at anything really, from being someone's personal assistant to working as a receptionist, to working in a warehouse, to working in a kitchen, to being delivery driver. And this was in 2012. So, the kind of Uber, Lyft, and gig economy stuff hadn't quite exploded yet. It was actually late 2011. And after 435 job apps, the little bit of cushion that I had actually ran out. A friend of mine who was actually a successful attorney and a good friend of mine, he actually floated me a little bit of cash so that I could survive for a month. And I was really confronted with the idea of homelessness. I didn't really have anywhere to go.
And my girlfriend at the time who is now my wife, she was like, "You know what? I like you. And I was thinking about going back to school to become a doctor anyway," which by the way, she is. She's like, "Well, why don't we move to Indianapolis and live in my mom's basement?" And I was like, "Well, that sounds better than just sleeping in my car." So, we did that, and we moved back Christmas of 2011. And the next week I was looking for like stock loading positions, like unloading trucks overnight at places like Target, which is a job that I'd had before in undergrad. And Laren, my wife, she was like, "Hey, I found this job for a receptionist position. You should apply." And I was like, "Oh, I'm not qualified for that." But at her behest, I applied, and I got the job, and it just so happened that that company used Salesforce.
And I really lucked out. I got hired as a receptionist, and part of my day-to-day was using Salesforce. I was basically a delegated admin. Then later, I became a full admin, and the company used Salesforce for their sales pipeline, as well as for some of the contracting and consulting stuff that they did. They were an environmental consulting firm. And suddenly, I just kind of took off with the technology. I kept having conversations with people in the office and we were a small business. There were only about 36 of us. Everyone's talking and you can very easily hear about the pain and the problems that people are having in getting their business processes done, and the time that it takes with manual tasks, and I started getting really passionate about trying to fix those issues with our very small IT department, and I got super stoked about doing stuff on Salesforce.
And this is just around the time that Trailhead had launched by this point. And I went out on my own dime for fun. I took the admin cert, and I got the certification, and I was so stoked about it that I actually printed off a piece of paper that was the exam results, "Congratulations you've passed," and then the little credential sheet and I taped it on the outside of my cube. And people would walk by and they'd be like, "Well, what's that?" I went, "Well, let me tell you what that is." For no good reason, other than pride, I posted that I had my admin credential on LinkedIn and my LinkedIn exploded. And I got job offers for literally double the salary that I was making. And while I was doing this receptionist position, I was also driving Lyfts and Ubers for 40 hours a week. And so, picking up that consultant job, it like totally, totally changed my life.
So, I started with like 36 licenses, and then I was a consultant for a little while, and I really consider that to be like a boot camp. And hey, how do orgs work? Hey, how do implementations work? Hey, how do you down and dirty get things done, on time, under time, on budget, under budget? How do we operate? How do we communicate? Just tons of soft skills as well as technical skills that came out of that time. But I decided that the kind of consulting life and the approach to like... Everything is billable and less... Well, everything is billable. You have to constantly keep track of your own time.
So, I started looking for some other opportunities that might be interesting to me, and I found a position at one of our enterprise-level customers. So, this is thousands of licenses and the org that they had seemed really fascinating to me. So, it was one Salesforce instance, this parent company owned about 13 other companies, and they were migrating all of those companies into one single shared Salesforce instance. They had just implemented a center of excellence and they were also SOX compliance. So, that's the Sarbanes-Oxley financial regulation. And they had a team of engineers as well as a Salesforce team at each one of these companies. So, the complexity that that offered in terms of getting enhancements delivered to your end-users and trying to create value between the companies, I was like, "Wow, that sounds fascinating."
So, I joined up with that company and I was with them for a couple of years, became a product manager in Salesforce, and a release manager in Salesforce. And then someone that I knew in the consulting world was like, "Hey, come and join us at the mothership." So, they pointed me toward an open rec at a customer success as a success specialist, and I hopped on board.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. I think of the Steve Jobs quote of you can't connect the dots looking forward, but you can always connect the dots looking back. 2021, if you could talk to your 2012 or 2011 self before you were living in a car and say, "Hey, by the way, you're going to have this great job in technology." The dots that you would connect to get there, just, yeah, I don't know that you could put those together.

J. Steadman: You know, I think what about this idea of current J., past J., and future J. a lot. This might be a thing that... I don't know. Is that the thing you do, Mike? Do you think about that?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah. All the time.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Okay. So, me too.

Mike Gerholdt: All the time, all the time.

J. Steadman: Me too. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: If today Mike could talk to 20... I think back to different years in my life that were... If I had gone left instead of right.

J. Steadman: Right. Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: 2003, I'll say, December 31st, 2003, I quit retail forever.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I had no job. My prospect was I'm going to go back to college and I quit, locked the gate on the retail store, and threw the keys inside.

J. Steadman: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: That was it. I was done, done with retail. I was done because I was afraid that making 30 grand a year was the best it gets, and I knew it could be better.

J. Steadman: You know, I find that fascinating. So, I actually had to have this real reckoning with myself because I had become really resigned to this idea that... We talk a lot about imposter syndrome in and around the admin role and sometimes in technology and how we all feel that and I think that's true. But for the longest time, my goal was making 50 grand a year. If I could make 50 grand a year, it's like, "I have arrived."

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, you're making bank.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Huge.

J. Steadman: That would be incredible, wildest dreams. I have subsequently, I keep track of my total income over time, just to remind myself of where I've come from and where I'm going. No numbers included here, but I started at a certain amount and I'm at a certain amount. I think it's like 512% from where I started to where I ended in that regard. Right? And I bring that up because if we wrap that back into this idea of talking to past J. and I think that this might resonate with some folks out there that are just getting started in the ecosystem, or maybe they haven't even really started yet with their first role, I think it's really important to remember that this is a real thing and it's a real path to stability. It's a real path to wealth for your family. It's a real path to starting to create generational wealth.
I don't come from means, but I'm at a place where just purchased my first home, and we just had our first kid, and I've got savings. I mean, goodness gracious. Let's take the income aside, I have insurance. I had insurance since I started. Every Salesforce job that I've had, I've had insurance that comes along with it. Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to most of us in tech, but I can tell you for... Because I didn't get my first job in tech until I was 30. So," for 30 years of my life, the idea of insurance was oh, you just go to the ER, right, or urgent care.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I ironically do similar. I look back and I'm always constantly thinking, "Yeah, that's funny. That's how much I used to make in a month."

J. Steadman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: And not to be numbers-wise because I want people to think... I also want to put in perspective. It's not all about the money.

J. Steadman: Not at all. Nope.

Mike Gerholdt: I also think back to... Wow, I remember what it used to be like to come home from that job versus coming home from this job. And by coming home, I mean feeling like you were supported at the organization, that you have coworkers that you feel comfortable talking to and it just... There's been jobs that I'm like, "Wow, I'm surprised I made it through that."

J. Steadman: Yeah. I think what you're touching on and I think it's really important that you brought it up because it can be easy to just kind of highlight the fact that earning potential is fantastic.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

J. Steadman: I'm very mission-driven. I'm very kindness-driven. I'm not a perfect person in my own use of kindness, and I constantly look for ways that I can improve, but where I'm at impacts me a lot. And it's important to me that I'm at a place that cares about me and that I care about the people that I'm working with. Right? You know that. We've had conversations around that in our whole team. And virtually every Salesforce job that I've had has been wrapped in that idea of feeling okay when you back home. That's one of the reasons that I love our community so much is people... I'll log on to Twitter. I don't do much social, but I'm on Twitter and it's entirely because the Twitter that I'm on isn't the crazy chaos Twitter. Right? It's a bunch of people that are just being kind to each other, and looking out for each other, and checking in on each other. Like, the other day I posted that I hurt my shoulder and I had two people reach out to me, three people reach out to me, and A, they were like, "Are you okay?" And then B, they were like, "Here are some ways that you can fix your shoulder." I did it and now my shoulder's better. And that's crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. A hundred percent. I also had to look up because when you talked about being a writer, this is way back early in your story. Everything that I know about writers and people hustling for jobs, I know through the show Barry With Bill Hader. I don't know if you've seen it.

J. Steadman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, the assassin show, right? Assassin turned improv?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, so now you give it away.

J. Steadman: Oh, okay. Sorry. I didn't know that was a spoiler. I've never seen it, but that was just my understanding of the show.

Mike Gerholdt: It is astronomically hilarious.

J. Steadman: Gotcha.

Mike Gerholdt: It is... Anyway. So, as you were describing that, I was just envisioning you as Bill Hader taking acting classes and trying to make it as a writer, and it fits. It fits. Anyway. So, you're new on the team and I wanted to find out... One thing that we definitely look for is passion. And I would say that across the organization of Salesforce, regardless of what you're doing, passion for the admin role because there's a lot of admins that listen to this and think, "So, what's what's J.'s north star?"

J. Steadman: Mm. Well, so for me, I am driven by curiosity and I am driven by trying to remove roadblocks from the folks around me. So, if the world is a bunch of puzzles, Salesforce is a fantastic tool that you can use to solve those puzzles and to help people out. I swear this is not a joke. In interviews, I have gone on a bit of a... Tirade is the wrong word. Tangent might be better suited to it. I have had these conversations about how I feel like everyone in the world is a talented and good person that can use their talents for something that is worthwhile. But in most businesses, many of us spend our time doing stuff that does not warrant our attention. These manual and horribly repetitive tasks literally eat the most important resource in our lives. Time. Right? We only have so much time on the planet earth, no matter what you do, you don't get more.
If I can help somebody else help somebody else get more time back in their day through automating a business process or making a screen appear where it needs to appear, then we have done the good work. Right? That's what we really want to do. Because at the end of the day, we live in this world where increasingly, more and more and more, everything wants our attention. Everything wants our time. So, if you and I and the admin community can instead give people time back, I'm not sure that there's a better goal, to give people time back, even if it's not... Heck, we could all use 10 minutes a day where we could just sit, watch the sunset. Right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: That would be fantastic.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, and time is something that I think of it, it's fleeting. Right? Whatever you did now, you don't get back now.

J. Steadman: Yep. Yep. So, I'm somewhat recently a father. My kid is 17 months old, yeah, 16 months.

Mike Gerholdt: You're still in months, even after 12.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So, apparently, you just-

Mike Gerholdt: It doesn't make sense to me, by the way.

J. Steadman: I'm not sure that it makes sense to me. Since I'm a dad, I just follow, I follow the guidelines.

Mike Gerholdt: You just roll with what other people do.

J. Steadman: Yeah, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

J. Steadman: Yep. So, Ruby is almost 17 months old. Everyday from 5:00 to 7:00 is time that I spent with Ruby. Right? She comes home from Montessori and the two of us do what we do. We have a dinner. We play, and then I'll put her down for bed. That's my time. That's my time with my kid, and obviously my wife as well. Right? I didn't have that when I was growing up. My dad was a chef. Right? He didn't have the luxury of not being there for dinner service. You can't not be there for dinner service. That's when dinner happens. Right? And this is true for many jobs out there in the world.
But I am very lucky to have a position where that 5:00 to 7:00 block, that is time that I have said to everyone that I work with is very, very sacred. But also, when we think about how we work with others and as admins, as we're trying to give folks time, creating streamlined experiences so that everyone can have the... Maybe for your end-users, it's not that 5:00 to 7:00 block. Maybe they really want 45 minutes at lunch where they can get a run in, or someone wants to take a nap, or whatever it might be. Right? Somebody might be living that hustle life and maybe they want an extra 45 minutes to follow up on cold calls and prospecting. If we as the admin community are able to give anyone that important time, then I feel like we're doing something that's... Genuinely, it's a good thing freeing up our lives from monotony or from unnecessary work.
And I'd I suppose underpinning all of this obviously is also this idea of giving back. So, I mentioned in my story, I had a friend out in Los Angeles who wasn't experiencing the same difficulties I was experiencing, but just on a whim, he was like, "Hey, I'll float you so you don't have to be homeless right now." No one made him do that. Right? That was an action that he took that was incredibly generous. And my mother-in-law was like, "Cool. Have fun living in my basement for six months." That was incredibly generous. And I think when you tell stories, especially stories that are difficult, it can be very easy to tell the story as though it's you pulling yourself up by the bootstraps. And I suppose in some cases that may be true, but I think if you scrutinize your own story and you look at those times that are most difficult, you often find that by someone else's grace, you were given something that then allows you to get through it.
Now, it's a combination of things, right? It's that grace that somebody gave to you and your own volition and your own hard work. But I think anything that we can do to try and hand that over to other people, I think that that is just the best thing. And I don't know that I'll ever be able to have the same impact on other folks that these people have had on me. That's kind of neither hither nor thither, but if I can have some impact, whether that's answering a question on the community, or giving someone space to feel heard, or just telling a really terrible joke, great. Then we've done okay. That's all I can really hope for.

Mike Gerholdt: I don't think you can ever directly pay it back. You pay it back in different ways. If you think of missing dinner with your father and prioritizing that time with Ruby, that'll pay dividends for Ruby's children because she will instill, "Well, this is important to me because this is what my dad made important." Or this is what I missed as a kid. Right?

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. To be perfectly fair to my dad's experience too, again, not everyone has the luxury to be home at dinner time. Right?

Mike Gerholdt: No.

J. Steadman: I tell you this. We did have food on the table.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, sure. He's a chef.

J. Steadman: Yeah, he's a chef so we had food to eat. And we were put in a position where, again, there's this phrase, you stand on the shoulders of giants. The work that my mom and dad did at least put me in a position so that maybe it wasn't a ton, but they put me in the position where I was able to be the first person to go to college. Right? Again, it was my own dime, but I was at a place to get into college, which is pretty cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I always, listening to that, think back to one of the times that I rolled a feature out to a user, and this was early on, and she had been at the company for 20 some years. I'm of a certain age where my parents, you went to work at a company. You went to work at IBM, or I live in the Midwest, you go to a John Deere or a Manna or Whirlpool, Maytag. And that's where you were. You're from a company man as they say.

J. Steadman: Yeah, get that pension.

Mike Gerholdt: They took care of you and you retired and you got your house and kids. And so, I was helping this user out because they'd been there 27 years in contracts and definitely had bounced within the organization, not somebody you're going to fire, but somebody has a hard time finding a spot to land, based on their skillset. And I remember showing them how to do something in Salesforce and it making their job exponentially easier. Right? And just the joy that they had because you speak of time. I also think of the joy because to them, that was the only job that they knew.

J. Steadman: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: And in some respects, it was kind of like breaking rocks all day. I made all the rocks just crumble like dust, and suddenly, it's like, "Oh, this job maybe isn't so bad." I don't know if that was... As you were telling that story, that moment in my head came to mind.

J. Steadman: Yeah, I think that's dead-on. One of my very favorite things to do when I'm admitting an org is if I can have an opportunity to ride along with an end-user, especially at an out of office end-user, and spend a day with them, seeing the job that they do and how they do that job and seeing every step through the process. Wow. It's fantastic because then I can go back into the system, I can configure an experience that eliminates a lot of the roadblocks or at least streamlines them and then get that feedback. Right? And I've had that same experience. And while it might not break your back like cracking rocks, manual, repetitive tasks aren't fun for anyone anywhere. It's a big pain.

Mike Gerholdt: No. J., I put together some lightning-round questions because I knew we'd have a fun conversation, but taking some cues from some other interviews and episodes I watched, I thought these would be some kind of neat episodes. So, I won't ask these in super speedy order.

J. Steadman: Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: They're also kind of meant to be fun, a little lighthearted, a little... I don't know. First thing that comes to mind to some degree, but okay. We'll get started. So, first question, the best compliment you have ever received.

J. Steadman: I think it was my wife telling me that she thinks that I am an awesome father.

Mike Gerholdt: Hm. That's great. So, I try to make these fun and back and forth. If you could have only one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?

J. Steadman: My mother's chicken Parmesan.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh. Now, everybody wants chicken Parmesan.

J. Steadman: Yeah. My mother's chicken Parmesan and you could have it for dinner, but you could also have it for lunch the next day on bread. Have a chicken Parmesan sandwich. Yep, my mom's chicken Parmesan.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Who is your hero?

J. Steadman: I'm really bad with this. I am not really a hero person.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

J. Steadman: I'm not really a hero person. Typically, if I have an icon in my head for that's what to pursue, it tends to be a fictional character.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So, then maybe this one will fit or not, but if you could meet one person that inspires you dead or alive, who would they be?

J. Steadman: I would love for another couple of hours with my grandmother Steadman.

Mike Gerholdt: Hmm. I'm asking this one because I know you, but let's pretend you're stranded on a deserted island. What album did you bring?

J. Steadman: Oh, okay. So, I would probably bring American Football's first LP because that record has been with me for decades and it never gets old. Second to that would be probably Jimmy Eat World's Clarity.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. So, those are two I'm going to have to look for because I am not familiar with them, but that's okay.

J. Steadman: Yeah, that's a win.

Mike Gerholdt: Last one. Five words that describe you.

J. Steadman: I am really, really loud.

Mike Gerholdt: I am really, really loud. Okay, that's five.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: So, really, really is a couple of words to describe you.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. So, I did this on something else. Someone was like, "Name your superpower." And I think you're supposed to name like a favorite, real superpower. But I was like, "My actual superpower in life is I'm very passionate." And people are like, "Oh, well..." Sometimes I think people ask me questions and I don't understand what the question is.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, this one was not that, not that, but I mean any five words. I feel a lot of it is to get that perspective on how somebody thinks and where they're at, you know?

J. Steadman: Yeah. If I were to use five separate words that are all traits I'm curious, passionate, stubborn, creative, and joyful, or goofy. Let's go goofy instead of joyful.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Goofy, it opens the field up.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Well, J., this was fun, not that I knew it wouldn't be, but I hope our community got a blast out of it. You have content that will be coming out on the admin site. I anticipate hearing more from you on the podcast. I know you're also working on some Trailhead live stuff. So, more fun to come.

J. Steadman: Yeah, if I could just say one last thing to the listeners out there in the community. Yo, I'm here to hear what you have to say and to be an advocate for you. So, if you ever want to reach out, feel free. My DMs are open. Happy to grab a coffee, chat. I want to know who you are, what you're doing, what's working, what isn't. That's what we're here for.

Mike Gerholdt: Your DMs on Twitter?

J. Steadman: My DMs on Twitter.

Mike Gerholdt: What's your Twitter?

J. Steadman: That's J__mdt for I am a custom metadata type.

Mike Gerholdt: Ah-hah. All right. Good. That's what I was hoping I would get an explanation for.

J. Steadman: Yeah. There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: Sweet. All right. Well, J., thanks so much for being on the pod.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Happy to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great to have J. on the podcast. I envision them coming back for quite a few episodes. Now, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. Of course, there's new podcast swag in the Trailhead store so be sure to pick up some of those cool T-shirts. I have mine on right now. There's a link in the show notes. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I on Twitter. You can follow J. They are on Twitter, @J__mdt. And you got to... You know what the MDT stands for. You listened to the episode. Gillian is on Twitter. She is @gilliankbruce. And of course, you can give me a follow. I am @MikeGerholdt. So, with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Get_to_Know_Our_Newest_Admin_Evangelist_J_Steadman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Jessica Langston, Director, Trailblazer Community, and Emily Hudson, Director of Product Management at Salesforce. We’ve launched and new and improved version of the Trailblazer Community, so we wanted to go over all the new innovations that will help you get better connected.


Join us as we talk about everything that went into the two-year process to create the Trailblazer Community relaunch, the new features they’re most excited about, and our revamped mobile experience.


You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jessica Langston and Emily Hudson.


The Trailblazer Community, reimagined.


We’ve just launched a new, reimagined Trailblazer Community. Says Jessica, “we’ve heard that people wanted a more integrated experience—they’re both learning on Trailhead and they’re connecting with Trailblazers in the community, so what better reason to bring it together?” There are new features, a new look, and an improved mobile experience. “We’re so thrilled to usher in a new chapter for the community,” she says.


“This has been in the works for over two years now,” Emily says. They started meeting with Trailblazers two Dreamforces ago to find out what was working, what was annoying, and what they wished it could do better. They ended up building everything from scratch in order to give you the reimagined experience you see today.


New Features to get excited about for the Trailblazer Community.


As far as new features Emily is the most excited about, the first is the Today page. It’s a personalized dashboard with your Trailhead points, your ranks, community activity, recommended next steps, “basically your dashboard to start your day and your relationship with Salesforce,” she says.


There’s also the Learning panel, which shows up on any question or topic page and pulls in Trailhead learning that corresponds to the topics being discussed. Finally, the entire experience is built for mobile, native for IOS and Android, with all of the core Trailblazer functionality. It’s no longer necessary to rely on Twitter to connect with folks at live events because you can’t use the Trailblazer Community on your mobile device.


Topics have also received an overhaul. They’ve essentially broken down the barrier between Categories and Topics so now they’re all just Topics, but really they’re tagged conversations. People can follow a topic, so any new posts will show up on their feed and they can answer a question or find out about something they’re interested in learning more about. 


The future of the Trailblazer Community.


Moving forward, Jessica, Emily, and the team are looking to bring this improved experience to all the different ways admins connect with each other. For one thing, they want to make it easier to find and register for groups in your area and then collaborate asynchronously within the group.


Topics are also going to get more features, with guided learning, documentation, IdeaExchange ideas, and third-party content about a particular subject to make things easier to find than ever before. When you want to learn about something, you’re not first thinking about content type or which website it’s on, you just want to learn more, so bringing everything together makes it easier to navigate than ever before.


“Now more than ever, enhancing our online platform for Trailblazers to connect is so important,” Jessica says, “we’re seeing such high engagement so it’s nice to break down the barriers for the online platform and make it mobile-friendly—it’s a game-changer.” And if you have any new ideas, be sure to drop them in the IdeaExchange under the Trailblazer Community topic.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers, to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce and today we are talking about the brand new and improved, beautiful Trailblazer Community. Yes, folks, if you missed it, there is a brand new, online Trailblazer Community experience. It was launched just before Trailhead DX. And if you haven't checked it out yet, you need to do so because we are going to talk today about the process behind that redesign, behind the relaunch, and talk about some of the amazing innovations that really are going to help you as admins, get better connected, especially in this digital first era. This is huge, huge, huge.
So, we have our guests today are Jessica Langston and Emily Hudson. Jessica leads up our Community Engagement Team and Emily was the product owner for this Trailblazer Community experience. So without further ado, let's welcome Jessica and Emily to the podcast. Jessica, Emily, welcome to the podcast.

Jessica Langsto...: Thank you. So, excited to be here.

Emily Hudson: Thank you.

Jessica Langsto...: We're thrilled to be here.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I am always excited to have two amazing ladies joining me on the podcast to talk about some cool new technology. And we're talking about something pretty exciting today. Jessica, you help lead our community team here at Salesforce, and I would love for you to introduce this incredible thing that our online community is using now to connect and interact and learn from each other. Tell us a little bit about why you're here.

Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I'm so excited to be here and really, it's been years and years in the making, but we launched our new, re-imagined Trailblazer Community last week. We are so excited and it's really thrilling because it was shaped by the feedback of our community, which we often do. And we heard that people wanted a more integrated experience. They're both learning on Trailhead and they're connecting with Trailblazers in the community. So, what better reason to bring it together? So, now we have that as an integrated experience with Trailhead and the Trailblazer Community. And new features, it's mobile, it's fabulous, it's beautiful. So, we are just so thrilled to usher in a new chapter for the community.

Gillian Bruce: It is totally a new chapter. I think that what the community pre this revamp pre this relaunch, hadn't really gotten any love in a big way, for quite a while. I remember, God, I think it was probably seven-ish years ago when we were first building the Admin Relations program, and I think that was the first new iteration of this awesome online community, as we created groups and it was great, and then it hasn't changed at all since then.

Jessica Langsto...: [inaudible].

Gillian Bruce: So, it's pretty exciting to see such a huge advance and improvement in the functionality. Now, Emily, you were the amazing product manager on this project. Can you talk to us a little bit about some of the big things that you and your team were able to bring to life?

Emily Hudson: Yeah. Definitely. And I hear you about not changing it for a long time. This has been in the works, this new, re-imagined Trailblazer Community, for over two years now. We started meeting with Trailblazers two Dreamforces ago and just asking questions, "What's annoying about the current experience? What's the Greenfield experience in your mind? What do you want it to be able to do? How should it work? What are the core flows that you're most interested in?" And we just collected all that, did everything from scratch. So, it took a very long time to build completely different, modern UI, broke down the barriers that we had in the backend.
So, basically long time coming, we're super excited that it's finally out there and the community deserves some major love and some major renovations. So, the three things that I'm most excited about, first is the today page, it's the personalized dashboard. So, everyone should go to and log in, and it's personalized for you. There's a banner on the top that shows your time zone and the current time of the day, which is fun. It has your Trailhead points and your ranks, community activity that you recently added, community activity from your followers, recommended next steps for learning. Basically your dashboard to start your day and your relationship with Salesforce. So, I'm really excited about that. It just is bringing a whole nother meaning to engaging with the community and with Trailhead and just starting your journey. So, super pumped there.
I also love the learning panel. So, now on any question page or topic page, we have related learning, which pulls in automatically Trailhead learning that corresponds to the conversations that are happening. So, if a lot of people are talking about Lightning Web Components and using that hashtag and that topic, we'll pull in learning that corresponds to that. So, people can proactively start learning about Lightning Web Components. So, we're connecting the dots, which people were really excited about, we got awesome feedback about that part.
And then, also third, that it's mobile. We had a whole two other development teams that we were working with. Chelsey Smith is the PM, who did an awesome job. And we built a completely custom mobile native apps in iOS and Android with all of the core Trailblazer Community functionality there. So, those three things get me really pumped up and it's again, a long time coming. I think it's been received very well. Everyone's very excited about it. And the developers are really pumped to have made some things, this cool, happen. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Mobile alone, I think, makes everyone cry tears of joy because I mean, Jessica, you know this, especially in the before times at events, right, that was one of the most frustrating things is that we had to use Twitter because you just could not get to the Trailblazer Community on your mobile device.

Jessica Langsto...: That's right. Yeah. And I mean, it makes my job, my team's job easier. It's really amazing and I think just changing the way that we operate and really getting that more real-time dialogue because people can do it on the go.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And Emily, I mean, the way you were able to connect all of the things, right? I mean, we have so many great ways that we interact with our community and the community interacts with each other, and your description of connecting the learning, giving a today experience of a home base really, in the community experience, those are huge. And I mean, working on it for two years, I can only imagine all of the feedback and all of the input you got from our community.

Emily Hudson: Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure people were sick of hearing from me too, after a while. I was like, "Hey, you signed up for that one session a year ago. I'm back with more questions."

Gillian Bruce: Never. Never.

Emily Hudson: Definitely, we got a lot of customer feedback throughout, it was really fun too, just to hear specific stories of, "I really just want to be able to jump in and do this quickly." Or, "I'm really stuck today on how I can customize this thing." So again, also we have a massive backlog now of tons of ideas from our Trailblazers throughout the years, that we definitely want to do. This was just the first iteration of getting it out the door. But I think the launch itself is basically, multiple releases in one, just for all the goodness that we're bringing. So, it was exciting.

Gillian Bruce: Well, congratulations to you and your team. I know it was a huge feat and yeah, I bet that backlog is just waiting for you. It's just ready to go.

Emily Hudson: Oh, yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So, Jessica, can you talk to us a little bit about maybe some of the love and reactions and things that you've seen from the community?

Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I mean, honestly the launch day was one of my favorite days, probably in my tenure at Salesforce. It was just so fun, so exciting, so positive. I think people have been waiting for this, to be able to really touch it, feel it, go in there and use it. It was just thrilling. And we saw people engaging in all the groups and sharing the love on Twitter. And it was just super exciting and just a great launch. I mean, it was overall super positive and that was really fun to see.

Gillian Bruce: So, one thing I'd like to talk about, we are on the admins podcast, so we are talking to the admin audience, which I know relies very heavily on the Trailblazer Community. Now, Jessica, you briefly mentioned about how this will change the way that your team works, essentially, whose job it is to help the community do what they do and be awesome and stay connected. Can you talk to us a little bit about maybe some of the overarching how you see this playing into the admin universe, awesome admin land as I call it. The role of the community has always been huge, but this new relaunch, what are some things that you're excited about helping them change or helping them get better?

Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I think it's definitely going to be a game changer in how people collaborate. And I think especially in groups and within topics, but even in addition to that, we do love our community groups and we have amazing admin groups all over the world. And this is just the first iteration, but we're really trying to make that experience even better, because right now, even to go register for community group meetings, that's going to be a separate experience, but we are looking to bring that even closer together. And that is really exciting and near and dear to my heart, is just making it easier to find groups in your area, register for the events and then collaborate asynchronously within your collaboration group. Bringing that whole community experience together, I think will be super exciting, especially for admins because I know that they love going to group meetings and connecting and learning together.

Gillian Bruce: Not to completely co-opt and probably misspeak about some of our corporate branding, but this is like the admin community 360 in some ways.

Jessica Langsto...: I like it.

Gillian Bruce: I'm going to get in trouble for saying that, I'm sure. So Emily, you gave an overview of your top three big things. Jessica just mentioned topics. Can you give us a little bit more insight into how topics play into this new experience? Because from my perspective, it feels like topics are going to be so much more powerful and easy to use in this new community.

Emily Hudson: Yeah, definitely, topics are going to be the bread and butter for engagement, I think. So, for those of y'all who used the old Trailblazer Community, you're familiar with the answers tab, which had the question categories and the left-hand side. And then, there was the separate collaboration tab and that had all the group posts, but you couldn't ask an official question on that tab. And you could hashtag topics, but they were unrelated to the question categories. So, what we did here is we broke down that barrier between the question categories and topics, and now they're all just topics.
So, we have featured topics that are Salesforce managed and we're defining what those are. There's filters, so you can find which ones make sense. And then, there's customer created topics still, but basically topics are a way to tag conversations that are about the same subject matter, so similar to Twitter hashtags. And then, basically, a product could be a topic of, "Hey, everyone who's asking about #LightningWebComponents, I have a question here and I need someone to help." So, then other people who are interested in it or experts on Lightning Web Components would follow that topic, see your question show up in their feed and be able to respond. And then, everyone is able to benefit from that question and answer interaction because topics are public and topics show up on the feed of everyone because they involve the questions that are asked.
So, it's basically, for brand new users coming in, it's intuitive, it makes sense. There's one way to ask a question. When you're asking a question, you can add a group, if you want to say, @mention, "Hey, developers of Detroit, check this out." You can also @mention a specific Trailblazer's name or you could add a topic. So, it basically just makes it really streamlined to get what you want to say, to the right audience, and topics are the way to connect everything across the whole community in a very easy to tag way. And the future of topics ... I'm going on and on because I love topics. The future of topics-

Gillian Bruce: It's a topic we can never get tired of it, so keep going.

Emily Hudson: Exactly. The future of topics is really powerful too, because topics, because right now they're just a way to tag conversations and they're this standardization of categories that people are talking about, we'll be able to apply Trailhead learning to those topics too. So, that guided learning that's about the exact same information as a topic, all of that can show up in one place. And then, also eventually documentation, help articles and IdeaExchange ideas and other third-party content that's about that subject matter, we can pool all that together and have it live in one place and connected. And it's basically just a way to break down the current barriers we have and streamline what people are looking for.
Because at the end of the day, Trailblazers know they have a question about something or want to learn about something and they have that something in mind, they're not first thinking of content type or website. They just want to learn about Lightning Web Components. And then, once they're there, they can read a blog, read a documentation, ask a question, follow someone who's an expert on it, see who the top leaders are, all of that can happen once they're within that world. So, I'm really excited about what topics can unlock in the future.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, that's so, so awesome. I'm already happy. I've been poking around in there and it's just, the topic thing is, it's game changing because you have these parallel experiences, as you mentioned, right? You'd have the answers forum, you'd have the collaboration tab. It was all over the place. It was great, you could still get really great information, but it was all very siloed and separate experience. Yeah. Thank you for pooling that together.

Emily Hudson: Yeah. And it was actually, like you said, it was effective. People were using it. We have a lot of interesting metrics about how it helps people maximize their use of the Salesforce platform and become a leader in their areas. But think about how much more it could do, now that it doesn't have this clunky onboarding process where you have to be like, "Oh, I can't ask a question to a group, I have to do this there. And I have to send someone the URL of a question I asked, instead of @mentioning them." So, all of these just restrictions and limitations and stuff were gotten rid of in this new release. Yeah, really excited about that and what this can unlock for all the admins out there, all the new users, the experts, everyone who's engaging with the Trailblazer Community.

Gillian Bruce: Love it. Love it. So Jessica, the Trailblazer Community experience has been more important than ever in the last year-and-a-half. Can you talk to us a little bit about, maybe some things you've been seeing from the community about stuff that they've been using more or things that you think will be especially valuable in the new era that we are all living in and that digital connection is really the main connection these days?

Jessica Langsto...: Yeah. I mean, I think you definitely nailed it there. I think we've all pivoted a lot to virtual and our community had to do the same. We actually were running a largely in-person community, where people were meeting at local coffee shops and different meeting venues just to host their meetings. And when that all halted, it was a quick pivot to try to switch to all virtual. So, I think we are definitely seeing more engagement, both on the online platform as well as what's been really interesting to see is, people are still hosting virtual meetings, but people are joining meetings all over the world, which is pretty fantastic. So, we've seen a lot more of that cross-pollinization between people joining meetings in India or someone who's in India, joining a group in the US. And it's broken down those barriers that were previously just created by just geography, right?
You don't have to fly to go to a meeting in another country. So, it's been really fascinating to see. And I think now more than ever, enhancing our online platform for Trailblazers to connect is so important. We couldn't have really planned that, but it really is the best timing because I think now we're seeing such high engagement. So, it's nice to also further break down the barriers for the online platform and just making it mobile-friendly. Again, it's a game changer. And I just anticipate that with this new launch, we're going to see those numbers continue to climb.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. The timing couldn't have been better. So good thing, Emily, you started working on this two years ago, so that we could get it now.

Emily Hudson: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So, I am sure that there are many people listening that are currently right now in the community, poking around, playing around. If they have feedback and more ideas for you, Emily and your team, what's the best way to submit those?

Emily Hudson: Great question. There is an IdeaExchange category where you all should go and submit your ideas there and then upvote each other's ideas. And we'll be monitoring that and see which ideas bubble to the top. If you go to the IdeaExchange, it's inside of the one called Your Trailblazer Experience, and then you'll see the Trailblazer Community category. So, and then Your Salesforce Experience and Trailblazer Community. If you see anything that's broken or anything, we also have a topic in the Trailblazer Community where you can go and ask a specific question or report a bug. And that topic is called I think, Trailblazer Community Help. Is that right, Jessica?

Jessica Langsto...: I think that is right.

Emily Hudson: Okay.

Jessica Langsto...: Nailed it.

Emily Hudson: Looking now, but yes. So it's, Trailblazer Community Help will be your place to ask specific or log certain bugs or tweet at me or at Jessica Langston. I am opening up a Pandora's Box there, but we're here and excited and want thoughts and feedback and all that.

Jessica Langsto...: Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: Well, y'all heard it, just hit up Jessica and Emily, if you have things that you would like to see.

Emily Hudson: Oh no, what did I do?

Gillian Bruce: They just have a very short list of things they're working on. So, sure, they'll bump yours to the top of the list.

Emily Hudson: Okay.

Gillian Bruce: Well, seriously, Jessica and Emily, thank you both so much. This is such a huge innovation. It's going to help admins and our Trailblazer Community just immensely. I mean, just being able to log in from your phone, are you kidding me? That's game changing. So, huge thanks to you and your teams. I know you've been working so hard to get this done. And behalf on admins everywhere, I very much thank you for your hard work.

Emily Hudson: Thank you so much for having us.

Jessica Langsto...: Well, thank you, Emily.

Emily Hudson: Yeah. And everyone. This has been a massive, cross-team effort, across tons of teams on team Trailhead. So, we're really excited to be able to share it with y'all and hopefully you enjoy it as well. And thank you for having us and letting us talk about it. I love talking about it.

Gillian Bruce: Well, don't worry, I'm sure we'll be back next time you do a new release.

Emily Hudson: Perfect.

Gillian Bruce: So, we'll hit you up. You're not allowed to go anywhere. I know how to find you both.

Jessica Langsto...: Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: Well, again, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast and we will check back in with you for that next huge Trailblazer Community release.

Emily Hudson: All right. Sounds good. Stay tuned.

Gillian Bruce: Thank you so much. So, huge thanks to Jessica and Emily for taking the time to chat. It was so great to catch up with both of them, hear more about the Trailblazer Community relaunch and all of the incredible innovations. I mean, gosh, Emily and her team worked so hard and I loved hearing about the long, two-year process that she and her team took to really gather all the feedback and really make this new experience and design it from scratch, which is amazing.
So, couple of things I wanted to highlight from our conversation. First of all, I love that Emily outlined her top three features that she thinks are the coolest parts of the new work community. That's that today experience, right when you log in and you can see where you're at, see all of your stuff in one place. That related learning capability, so now instead of having to go hunt on Trailhead and paste the badge that you think would help that person who asked the question, it's going to pool all that related Trailhead learning right there within the experience, to make it super easy to get what you need and to help, but you help each other.
And then, finally mobile, oh my gosh, I am so happy about this. I have been wanting this forever. You can now access the Trailblazer Community on your mobile device. Huge and awesome. So, make sure that you log onto the Trailblazer Community, check out these new innovations. Also, topics are awesome. Topics are really going to make it so much easier to get everything you need in one place, ask the questions, answer the questions, find the related discussions and learnings. And if you've got an idea for more things you'd like to see added to this new experience, which I'm sure you will have some more ideas, as Emily mentioned, go to the IdeaExchange and you can definitely submit your idea there.
Or, as both Jessica and Emily called out, you can just reach out to them on Twitter and we can put our ideas up there. And I think if anything else, definitely give Jessica and Emily some love, because this was a huge, huge effort. And I think it's really going to make a big difference for everyone in the community, myself, you, listener, anyone who is doing anything with Salesforce. This is just such a better experience in order to connect with each other around the world. So, check it out.
As always, if you want more about how you can be an awesome admin, check us out at, where you can find blogs, events, videos, and yes, more podcasts. If you like what you hear on the podcast, let us know. We'd love to hear what you think. Leave us a review, whether that's on Apple Podcast or you want to drop us a note on Twitter, that would be awesome. You can find myself @gilliankbruce. My co-host, Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt. And if you want to give our guests today, some love on Twitter, you can find Emily @EmilySFDC, and Jessica is on Twitter @LangstonJessica. So, super easy to find them, give them some love, say thank you for this amazing new Trailblazer Community experience. And with that, I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your day and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: The_NEW_Trailblazer_Community_is_here.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Brian Kwong, Vice President of Delivery and Operations at Better Partners and Salesforce MVP. He’s one of the hosts of the Salesforce WizardCast and a self-described Flownatic, so we wanted to recap all the new Flow and Orchestrator features from TrailheaDX.


Join us as we talk about how Brian approaches TrailheaDX and why Flow is the future.


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


Why Flow is the future.


Brian wears many different hats in the Salesforce community, from his role as co-leader of the Madison, Wisconsin user group to his work as a Salesforce MVP to literally wearing a wizard hat when he walks around at Dreamforce. As a host of the Salesforce Wizardcast, he wants to be sure people know where to find him.


Brian is an original flownatic, so needless to say he found a lot to get excited about in this year’s TrailheaDX. “If someone has not touched automation at all, the very first thing they need to do is look at Flow, and specifically look at record triggered Flows,” he says, “because Flow is the future. It’s something Mark Ross and I joked about years ago but it’s now here.” The list of things you can do without ever having to code is growing every day, and it’s only going to get longer with the new things coming down the pipeline.


New demos and even more Flow features.


At TrailheaDX we saw some pretty exciting demos for Next Best Action, Flow Orchestrator, and multi-column flows. “You can make data entry a lot easier to use by putting things that are paired together next to each other,” Brian says, and there are a lot of other quality of life improvements with collapsible sections to make it easier to navigate large flows.


For Flow Orchestrator, there are tons of new ways to help organize multi-step processes that interact with multiple users. “If you have something where it’s bouncing back and forth between people with different stages,” Brian says, “Flow Orchestrator looks like a really good way to manage that.” Think about managing something like an approval process, where you need to hand off the same thing to different people and departments.


Getting the most out of TrailheaDX.


“One of the biggest benefits I get out of TrailheaDX sessions is trying to break out of what I had thought of for the last ten years and see what new people are thinking and saying and experiencing,” Brian says. Since everything is recorded, he’s going to go back and watch at least the first five minutes of each session, and probably make some repeat viewings of more than a few of them. All the sessions are up, so make sure to go the TrailheaDX site to catch up on what you missed.

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Direct download: Flownatics_Take_on_Flow_Features_with_Brian_Kwong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Another month, another retro on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. In this episode, we’ll go over all the top Salesforce product, community, and careers content for June. This monthly, a lot of that content was centered around a little something called TrailheaDX.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Gillian and Mike.

A big announcement

If you haven’t noticed the link at the bottom of the last couple episodes, YOU CAN GET PODCAST SWAG. You can get a cool Salesforce Admins Podcast shirt, a Cloudy plushy with his own mini #AwesomeAdmin sweater, or even a custom mic if you want to host your own show. It’s US-only for now, but EMEA and APAC SKUs are coming soon!

Shoutouts to Jonathan Foerster and Jane Elliott, who’ve already gotten in on the action.

Friday, June 5th: Post TrailheaDX Coffee Chat on Twitter Spaces

The entire Admin Evangelist team will be on a Twitter Space on Mike’s handle (@MikeGerholdt) for a post-TrailheaDX conversation. It’s a lot easier to participate on mobile, so we recommend checking it out from there. Think of it like running into us after an in-person event at the airport lounge (or the bar).

TrailheaDX podcast episodes

There were tons of great highlights from TrailheaDX. We kicked things off with an amazing performance from Fitz and the Tantrums, followed by appearances by Parker Harris, Leah McGowen-Hare, and our own LeeAnne Rime showcasing some amazing innovations with our technology.

If you missed it, don’t worry, it’ll be available early next week online for you to catch up. We had a lot of the speakers visit the pod throughout June, so those episodes would be a good place to start.

Podcasts about snakes

Make sure to listen to the full episode for our monthly gameshow. This time, it’s TDX or DTX. One thing that came up was the science of snakes, so we wanted to point you to a couple of our favorite science podcasts.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast and the June, or should we say TrailheaDX monthly retro for 2021. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce, and in this episode, we will review the top product, community, and careers content for June, which also contained a little something we call TrailheaDX. And to help me do that, I am joined by the one and only Mike Gerholdt. Hey Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Hey Gillian. My calendar doesn't say June, it just says TrailheaDX.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I think that's the permanent renaming of the month of June.

Mike Gerholdt: April, May, TrailheaDX, July, August.

Gillian Bruce: That's pretty much the way the calendar works. Yes. I mean, Mike, before we get into content, I have to make a huge shout-out because, oh my gosh, in case people haven't already realized you can get podcast swag, Salesforce Admins Podcast swag. Mike, I know you've been sharing out a lot of links to remind people that you can go get podcast swag, but on the Trailhead store, we have some really cool Salesforce Admins Podcast items that anyone can order. And, I think you have a little fun announcement.

Mike Gerholdt: I do. So truth be told, I've ordered everything on the store for podcast swag. I'm wearing my podcast shirt right now. I love wearing it down the street. It gets so much attention. I was sitting at a neighbor's house in the backyard and they're like, now, Salesforce, what do you do? And I had the podcast shirt on, it was like, well, actually this is my podcast shirt that I host and it's a pod... And it was just fabulous, it was one of those times where it was fun. But for those listening, I hear you, EMEA and APAC does not have enough swag in your store. So I pulled all the email I could, and I'm happy to say that there's more skews coming to the EMEA and APAC store for podcast swag.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So, that means it's not just going to be limited to those ordering within the US, which is very exciting. So yeah, if you've been over on another continent and been wanting to get some Salesforce Admins Podcast swag, you're going to have more, it's going to be great.

Mike Gerholdt: More, more, and shout-out to Jonathan Forrester. I think I'm saying your name right, Forrester, Forrester.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I believe he actually submitted a no silly questions video.

Mike Gerholdt: Perfect. Did he drink coffee from his podcast tumbler mug?

Gillian Bruce: This was pre Salesforce Admins swag being available, so-

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. That's fine. You're forgiven, but yeah. Thanks for tweeting out the picture of the mug.

Gillian Bruce: The mug is awesome. I will say that I love my mug because I sip it on video calls and people are like, "Hey, what is that?"

Mike Gerholdt: Isn't that the podcast you're on? That's a sweet mug. And shout-out to Jane Elliott who went with a heather gray podcast shirt. I went with the blue and I totally hear you on the stiffness of the shirt, but I like the really rainbowy, cloudy, so I went with that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, speaking of cloudy, there's also a cloudy plushy with a Salesforce Admins Podcast shirt on it, which is amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I have that too, yep. Got that too. It's over with my other plushy stuffed animal collection.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, at Salesforce, we are obsessed with our swag. So if you're looking to add more to your collection, check out the Salesforce Admins Podcast Swag on the Trailhead store.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep, moving right along. So if you're listening to this pod on Thursday, June..

Gillian Bruce: 24th.

Mike Gerholdt: Was it 24th? Awesome. Look at that, get the date right, Mike. We will be hosting, I will be hosting tomorrow, Friday, June 25th on my Twitter handle, a Twitter space and we're calling it Post-TrailheaDX Coffee Chat on Twitter Spaces. And joining me is the whole Evangelist team. So LeeAnne will be there, Gillian, you're going to be there, and I'll be there. It's going to be awesome.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And I think Jay and Jen might even be able to join us as well, our two new team members, which will be really fun. So yeah, it'll be a great kind of a post-Trailhead DX coming together, chatting about fun stuff, whatever you want. Don't be scared. It's a coffee chat. Even if you got something that's not even directly related to Salesforce Admins anything, come be with us, we miss people.

Mike Gerholdt: And lessons learned from the last Twitter Spaces that we did, we'll tell you how to request to speak.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Pro tip, use your mobile device to join us because it's way easier to participate in Twitter Spaces via your mobile device than on your desktop. So, that's something we learned. Every time we do these things, we learn more, it's great.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So think of it like, when you would run into us at the airport lounge after TrailheaDX as we're all getting on flights...

Gillian Bruce: Definitely not the bar because there's no alcohol...

Mike Gerholdt: And you're like oh, hey, we never had time to chat. And we can catch up, it'll be a fun Twitter space.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. If you've never done a Twitter space before, it's super easy. It's audio-only, and literally, it's just an audio-only kind of chat room situation. So everyone is welcome, it's super easy to participate. There's no planned agenda or anything, we'll just be chatting about stuff and things. And yeah, just to kind of a fun way to connect. So, join us if you can.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, let's talk about TrailheaDX, The big thing that we did yesterday.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, there's a little thing that just happened called TrailheaDX. So, it's our annual, now annual, I guess it's been six times now, it's crazy we've been doing this for six... This is the sixth TrailheaDX. So, we call it our developer conference, but it's really for basically all of our technical folks. So it's for admins, it's for architects, it's for developers, for IT leaders. And wow, it was quite a broadcast. So, we kicked off the day bright and early at 8:45 AM Pacific time with an amazing performance from Fitz and The Tantrums, so hopefully you were able to join us for that. And then we had a great, amazing main show, where Parker Harris, Leah McGowen-Hare, and all kinds of special guests, including our very own LeeAnne Rimel, showcase some amazing innovations with our technology.
If you missed it, don't worry. It will be available. It probably won't be available until early next week because the team needs some time to kind of sort things out. But, I mean, this is basically our TrailheaDX main show here to kind of kick off the day, really great customer stories, some really cool stuff that you're definitely going to want to be able to watch and tune into if you didn't already catch it yesterday. And, then I mean, then it got real, because then we launched our five channel broadcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, not one or two or three, but five channel.

Gillian Bruce: Apparently Salesforce is now a TV station, or not a station, a network because we've got five channels.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, well, many networks, right? Five channels. Yeah. So, Admin channel was channel two and we had four sessions and a Meet the Teams episode. So for those listening, you know that we've had a lot of the speakers on throughout June. So kicking off just last week, we had Ashley Simmons and David Louie on that kicked off the channel, talking about MuleSoft Composer, which I will tell you again, if you've not listened to that episode, our whole team is excited for Composer because now you're able to do stuff and really bring that customer 360 in with integrations and not having to worry about code. Composer's just so cool. And, the UI is really great and it's all inside Salesforce. So you get to see that demo. I also love the-, let's see if you're listening to this and maybe you didn't hear it, there's an Easter egg and it's a superhero Easter egg in that, so go back and watch that. And if you've watched the episode, you know what I'm talking about,
The second episode that we had was LeeAnne. So, on top of Gillian, you being everywhere, LeeAnne was apparently everywhere. She was in the Keynote, she was also in an episode, but she worked with Sonia Flamm, who is the executive director for Salesforce Strategy & Partner Alliance lead at Cognizant ATG to talk about returning to work and really just kind of returning to the office. So, I know we're going through a lot of this at Salesforce, I'm sure a lot of our listeners are, and I love this episode because it's a great interview style with a demo that shows you how Sonia was the lead admin at her organization to really drive that RTO or return to the office as she called it. And I love putting admins in that position. I love it when we're in the driver's seat.

Gillian Bruce: It's a really great episode. It's a really great, powerful story. I think everyone can get something from watching that episode. So if you did miss it, don't worry. You'll be able to go back and view it. But Mike, like you said, this is relevant to everyone right now because everyone's trying to figure out some sort of return to office strategy. So, check it out.

Mike Gerholdt: I was at a hotel the other weekend and they had stickers on the floor of the elevator where you could stand and couldn't stand.

Gillian Bruce: Yup, I think we're all so used to looking down at the floor to see where we're supposed to be now.

Mike Gerholdt: I know. Good, long overdue. So smack dab in the middle of our channel, we did a live broadcast called Meet the Teams where you get to talk with the automation team. So Diana Jaffe, Antoine Cabot, and let's see, Alex Edelstein was on there. We talked Flow Orchestrator, we took your questions live. I mean, that was, it's always nice to throw in a live segment in the middle of a broadcast just to keep the team on its toes.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I don't know anything about that, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: You're live every single break with a bunch of amazing trailblazers from around the world. So, that's how we roll.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Why have a safety net, who needs one?

Gillian Bruce: But no, I mean, automation is a hugely important topic for everyone in Salesforce space, especially as admins. So, it was great to get all those experts together in one spot and get some questions answered.

Mike Gerholdt: And then Gillian, of course, you helped out with security for admins episode, which followed Meet the Teams, Laura Pelkey and Kerry Schoepfle talk. That was fun.

Gillian Bruce: It's Kerry Schoepfle.

Mike Gerholdt: Did I say that? I said that wrong.

Gillian Bruce: It's okay. It was my episode, it's fine.

Mike Gerholdt: Do you want to talk about your episode?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, sure. So, I mean, it's security, again, something that's near and dear to every admin's core, core duties as an admin, right. What's great is that Laura and Kerry really broke it down into some really simple steps where there's actually a checklist that you can all access by going to so that you can make sure that you have the follow-along guide to help make sure that you are taking all the appropriate steps to become a security champion in your organization. And, Kerry specifically talked about her journey of setting up a multi-factor authentication or MFA at her organization, which we will all need to do by February 2022. God, why was that a tongue twister, but February 2022, every Salesforce organization must enable multifactor authentication because it's the easiest way to secure the data in your org. We all know how important that is given all of the news lately about all these crazy ransomware attacks and hackers and whatnot. So, it's really important to do, and Kerry and Laura lay out some easy ways for you to get going.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, and Kerry also sets the bar for work-from-home backgrounds.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, her entire office is painted Salesforce blue, I mean, come on. That's next level.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, seriously. I have blue foam, that's pretty close.

Gillian Bruce: It's pretty good, pretty good.

Mike Gerholdt: So then we rounded out the channel and I hope, I hope, I hope if you're listening to this podcast that you have some FOMO because you really want to go back and watch Drive Sales Productivity with AI and Activity Capture. And if you missed it, you need to go back and watch it. It sounds like a salesy, not for Salesforce admins episode. This is the episode I, on top of the whole channel, produced. And, Krithika Viswanathan and Matthew Barnhart put together an amazing demo to show you how to enable Sales Cloud Einstein. And most importantly, what we've been hearing from all of the user groups is yeah, but how do I get Einstein Activity Capture up and running, that in the demo, Matthew walks you through, layering it on the Sales Cloud Einstein, and Matthew's just the sweetest guy. Krithika kicks off the episode, it's super fun. I hope you did not skip this episode, and if you did better have a good reason.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it's one I think that people will go back and view several times because I do think it is incredibly valuable. So, stay tuned early next week, I bet they will be available. And, if you missed it, you should definitely check it out.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Yep. And how about that? We did a whole bunch of sessions and you didn't see a single slide except during Meet the Teams. So, nothing but people talking at you and demos because that's what I wanted.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it was so much great content. Also, if you were able to tune in live yesterday, you got a special treat with a live Luminary session with Mindy Kaling and Leah McGowen-Hare, which was pretty amazing. And then, we had a true to the core session with our senior leaders at Salesforce. So hopefully, you were able to tune in and get some questions answered, and yeah, check out the recordings that are coming early next week. It should be really great. And, thank you so much for joining us for those of you who did and who were active on Twitter and it's TrailheaDX '21, that's a wrap.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm still catching up on Twitter.

Gillian Bruce: I don't think it's ever possible to fully catch up.

Mike Gerholdt: It's just, it's fire hose coming at ya.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: But anyway, I happen to think, Gillian for all of these retros, we've been doing something fun every month and...

Gillian Bruce: Yes, we have.

Mike Gerholdt: It dawned on me that we often, the hashtag for TrailheaDX is TDX, for Dreamforce this last year it was DTX, so I happen to think what if we played a game called TDX or DTX?

Gillian Bruce: Okay, I like it, because I do mess those up all the time when I'm talking about the various events.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean there's a T, a D, and an X in there. It's just, that really matters the order that you put it in.

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I've picked three descriptions and you tell me, is it TDX or DTX?

Gillian Bruce: So, these are things that go by either one of those acronyms?

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. All right. I'm ready.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So is it TDX or DTX? First description, five-piece electric drum set with silicone rubber pads and four symbols.

Gillian Bruce: This sounds like a lot of fun. Also, the electronic drum set sounds a lot quieter than an actual drum set. I might have to keep that in mind as my child gets older.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, you should probably hook headphones up to it.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yes. Well, let's see, since it's a drum set, I'm going to guess it probably starts with a D, so I'm going to go with DTX.

Mike Gerholdt: You would be correct. It is the Yamaha DTX Electronic Drum Set.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, I like it. All right. One for one.

Mike Gerholdt: One for one, batting a thousand. Okay, DTX or TDX? Accelerate your ability to create consumer-grade experiences.

Gillian Bruce: God, that sounds like a bunch of marketing jargon, sounds like fluff to me, Mike. We're good stuff, no fluff here in the admin land. Accelerate your ability to create customer-grade experiences. I don't know. Just for the heck of it, I guess I'll go TDX.

Mike Gerholdt: You would be also correct, ding, ding, ding. It is the description part of the description for Omnis Studio demo.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, well, there you go.

Mike Gerholdt: I couldn't include all of the description, because it clearly would have called out what it was. Okay, that's two of three. Can you bat a thousand? I suppose that's the-

Gillian Bruce: Let me stretch it out here, I'm ready.

Mike Gerholdt: Baseball term. Hit a home run.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: So, last one. Is it TDX or DTX? It is a class of snake neurotoxin.

Gillian Bruce: Yikes. This is where I'm going to drop the super nerdy podcast I listened to in the last few months about neurotoxins and snake venom, anti-venom.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It's crazy. You know that they create most of antivenom by using cows?

Mike Gerholdt: Really?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: What do the cows have to do?

Gillian Bruce: The cows make the antibodies that help fight the venom and then we harvest it from them and then create antivenom, anyway.

Mike Gerholdt: What they just tell the cow to do it or-

Gillian Bruce: No, no, it's all injected. They basically inject tiny amounts of venom into the cow, and then they don't die because it's just a tiny amount and they produce it. Or maybe it's horses, it's horses. Sorry, it's horses. Anyway, total rabbit hole. Okay, class of snake neurotoxin. Maybe since it's a toxin, it starts with T, so TDX.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, so close, no, it's DTX. It's actually, God knows how you say this, dendrotoxin.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, all right.

Mike Gerholdt: Often referred to as DTX.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, well, that's good to know. Any idea which snake makes that neurotoxin? `

Mike Gerholdt: No, but I'll link to the Wikipedia article, and people can read about it. I was just trying to find a really hard description to trip you up.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. Yeah, I'll put the link to my super nerdy podcast I listened to about how you create antivenom, just because I dropped that.

Mike Gerholdt: With the horse.

Gillian Bruce: With the horse, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Of course.

Gillian Bruce: And, we've been making it the same way for like a hundred years, it's crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: Hmm. You'd think we could find a better way.

Gillian Bruce: I know, well, that's what the podcast is about.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what Salesforce needs, they need to manage that with Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: I mean maybe, maybe.

Mike Gerholdt: It's the snake toxin. Okay. Well, I hope you like TDX, DTX.

Gillian Bruce: That was fun, thank you. I appreciate it. I learned some new things.

Mike Gerholdt: Drum set, snake venom. If you'd like to learn about all things Salesforce Admin, not drum sets or snake venom, go to to find the links and many resources, including the ones like the podcast Gillian listens to. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I on Twitter. I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt and Gillian is @gilliankbruce. So with that, thanks for tuning into our post-TrailheaDX / June monthly retro. And if you're listening to this on a Thursday, we will see you tomorrow in our Twitter Spaces. And don't forget to jump on over to the TrailheaDX store, grab some of that sweet Salesforce Admins Podcast swag. And with that, we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: June_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For this week’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we are talking with Ashley Simons, Product Management Senior Manager, and David Louie Senior Director, Product Management; MuleSoft Citizen Integration, about their upcoming TrailheaDX session and how Admins can use Mulesoft Composer to integrate with clicks, not code.

Join us as we talk about Ashley and David’s upcoming TrailheaDX session on MuleSoft, and what’s coming next for the platform.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ashley Simons and David Louie.

How MuleSoft makes integrations easy

TrailheaDX is right around the corner, and we’re kicking off the Admin Channel with a session on MuleSoft. The big idea is to be able to make it easy for Admins and other business users to be able to get the data they need, no matter where it’s stored. Integration is always the elephant in the room, where you need to involve IT just to get the ball rolling, so simplifying the process is a big step forward.

For this TrailheaDX session, Ashley and David wanted to address common questions they’ve heard from the community. Even then, there are a few thing they wished they could have expanded on. Setup is ridiculously easy in MuleSoft, and they wanted to emphasize just how simple it is to implement. And while they highlighted all the amazing ways you can take advantage of MuleSoft right now, they wished they could have shared more about where it’s headed in the future—for example, they’ve launched four connectors even in the time since they’ve recorded the session.

Listen to the full episode for more information, including what Ashley and David do with their free time and what it’s like to report to Shannon Hale.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we're continuing our trek to TrailheaDX, where we talk with Ashley Simons, product management senior manager, and David Louie, senior director product management, MuleSoft citizen integration. That's right. We're talking MuleSoft, and we're going to cover their upcoming TrailheaDX session, and how admins can use MuleSoft composer to integrate clicks, not code. This is such a cool episode. Let's get Ashley and David on the podcast. So Ashley and David, welcome to the podcast.

David Louie: Hey, Mike.

Ashley S: Thanks for having us on.

Mike: Yes. Well, we are days away from TrailheaDX at this moment. If you're listening to this, when it comes out on June 17th, TrailheaDX is right around the corner, and the session that we'll kick off the whole admin channel is on MuleSoft. And I'm so glad to have both of you on. But before we get into the session, before we get into all that, let's jump into our DeLoreans and go back in time a little bit, and let's find out how you got started MuleSoft and your path kind of to Salesforce, and David, I'll start with you this time.

David Louie: Sure thing. Thanks Mike. So my path into MuleSoft was that, I've actually been at Salesforce for about seven years now. And so I joined MuleSoft back in January, but prior to joining MuleSoft, I think in a long time product manager in Sales Cloud. And so Mike, I met you when you were still an MVP and we had probably talked about tasks, or meeting events prior to even lightening existing. And so I've had a long time kind of a relationship with admins, with MVPs and with customization and configuration. But yeah, here on the MuleSoft side, I've jumped on here in order to try to push composer forward and evolve composer with Ashley's help and a couple other PMS.

Mike: Well, that's a great way. Ashley, what was your path to Salesforce?

Ashley S: Yeah, I have been here at MuleSoft now for just shy of three years. And I've been working on composer specifically since its inception actually back in January 2020. But my path to MuleSoft is actually kind of interesting, I was a two time MuleSoft intern actually, while I was an undergrad in college. And so I was an intern back in 2016 and 2017 and then accepted a full-time offer and have been here ever since.

Mike: Wow. Two time? Well, didn't-

Ashley S: Two time. I kept coming back. Couldn't get rid of me.

Mike: Exactly. So I've had the luxury of watching the session because we've reviewed it and it will blow admin's minds. I'm so excited for this and I'm excited for this session because when I was an admin, the number one question I would get from my users was always, how can I see this in Salesforce? And it's like, well, it's stuck in another system, or why doesn't Salesforce update this? And it's, well, that's another system, right? And so I'm super excited for this session. Just the demo is so cool, but I would love to know what is an exciting part of integration that while you've been at MuleSoft, you get to work on? Ashley, we'll start with you.

Ashley S: Ooh, I feel like this is a cop-out answer, and this is very high level, but honestly, since I've been at MuleSoft, the most exciting thing is for me now to learn about this admin audience, because we traditionally at MuleSoft have served a very different audience. And so I know that this is the super high level, but just composer in general, getting to meet this community, starting to learn more about them and take these... I mean, we've learned that it doesn't have to be it that just has these needs, that wants data from different systems to create these experiences, business users, admins have the same needs. And so to find a way to take these same sorts of tools, the integration expertise that MuleSoft has, and really just figure out a new UI, a new way of exposing it. And that's been an interesting challenge that we've been tackling over the past year plus.

Mike: Yeah. And David, I noticed you have citizen integration in your title, which seems to be kind of right in line with what Ashley was saying.

David Louie: Yeah, my favorite part of what we're doing is that we are solving the problems that you identified and we're really hitting our stride in terms of connectivity to more and more systems. And so what excites me about this particular product is that we released it, but every single month, we're releasing more connectors to help Salesforce admins in a no-code fashion, connect those systems up and meet the problems that you had mentioned.

Mike: Oh, so follow on question, because you used the word connector, what's a connector? For those that don't know.

David Louie: A connector. So that is our abstraction layer and the way you connect to a system like Salesforce, like NetSuite, like Stripe. And so what we did with the connectors, it's an intermediate layer that we've created to actually call the APIs for that particular system.

Mike: Oh, okay. That makes way more sense. Thank you.

Ashley S: So actually, jumping on just to what Dave said, to add even a little more color for those of you that are familiar with what a connector is, maybe you've heard about it in another context or even in the MuleSoft ecosystem. One of the things that composer does is it adds an abstraction layer on top of the connectors that we even have in the MuleSoft ecosystem. So it's hiding away a lot of those concepts that you may not be familiar with and trying to make it as easy and out of the box to use as possible.

Mike: Oh, that's nice. Yeah. I will admit that integration to me was always... It felt like a big, do I want to say elephant in the room? I know I need to tackle it. I know the business needs it, but for some reason it's going to be really hard because I have to go over to the IT department and beg for permission to something. So let's talk about your session. What was when you sat down thinking of this new admin community, this new composer, what was your goals for the Trailhead DX session?

Ashley S: I think one goal, at least in our minds was that we know you can see a demo and you've probably maybe even seen existing demos of composer. And that's great. Hopefully this one gives you yet another layer of understanding. But one thing that we do at the end is we kind of banter back and forth a bit and we take you under the covers. And we've been listening in the admin community on the trailblazer community, in slack channels, questions coming from AEs. And so we've collected a list of questions that we get a lot. And so we spend some time going through those questions and answering them and making it a bit more interactive.

David Louie: Yeah. My side is similarly, like I wanted to make sure that we were addressing the session in a broad way that can hit people with where composer was brand new to them. And so they're just learning about, but as Ashley is mentioning that the back and forth banter is to help not just those folks, but even for folks that kind of know about composure and just wanted to hear a little bit more.

Mike: Yeah. I think, and spoiler alert, having watched your session. What I love about as we come off the demo and the Q and A, that you do at the end was every question I was thinking of while I was watching that demo. And I love how you can kind of spell that out at the end of the session, speaking of which we only had limited time for the session. It probably felt like forever when you were recording it, but it was only 25 minutes. If we had more time, let's say an hour, were there things David, that you wanted to include that maybe admins could follow up on later?

David Louie: Couple of things. In the Q and A, we touched on setup, but actually doing a full blown demo of it to show folks how easy it is to get set up. That would have been fantastic. The other thing that Ashley and I do in live calls with customer meetings is, we walk a little bit slower through the demo of creating the flow, explaining the why, explain a little bit more about best practices. If we had an hour, I think we would have done that. We would have kind of extended that demo and gotten a little deeper.

Mike: Ashley, was there anything you wanted to add?

Ashley S: I love Dave's answer. I think that I'm glad he went first. I think the one other thing I would add is obviously always prefacing this with a safe harbor, but I know people are also interested on, where do we go from here? What's on the roadmap? And so I think we would have, at a high level, touched about some of our vision for where composer's going to be going. Like Dave has mentioned already, this is a nascent product. I mean, we're already getting a lot of traction. We're hearing great feedback, but we have a lot of evolution and features that we want to be adding.
So I think Dave touched on the fact that we're going to be adding more and more connectors. We've already launched four additional connectors, I think from when we even recorded the sessions. So we're constantly going to be launching new connectors, so you can connect to the systems that you care about. We're also investing more in troubleshooting capabilities and adding in formulas you can manipulate your data. And so I think that if we had a little more time, we'd probably do a bit of a safe Harbor and visionary look to the future.

Mike: Admins are a huge, huge fan of roadmap stuff. So anytime you can tell us what's coming in the future always, always helps us plan. So, one of the last fun questions and benefit of working at Salesforce is I can see who you report to and not to share too much of our org chart because I want to be sensitive to that. But for those longtime listeners of the pod, David and Ashley, both report to the fabulous Shannon Hale. And I say, fabulous, because she's been on the pod, she has her own, I think, shrine or maybe church in the community. And recently, and I'll link to this in the show notes, came out with a song about composer. So I'm curious because I've never reported to Shannon Hale, but maybe Ashley, we'll start with you. What's it like to report to Shannon Hale?

Ashley S: That is a great question. Well, I mean, I only have great things to say, obviously she's brought the fun side, you'll see the video. It's just awesome and it's brought a lot of energy. But I think on a more serious note, one of the... I don't want to say one of, but one of the biggest things that she's brought to the product is that she brings just such a depth of knowledge of the admin community. And so I come from the MuleSoft side, I have the integration background, but being able to partner with her and learn from her and really get that deeper understanding of what are some of the pain points, what are some of the needs? And so she's been great for that. And I mean, I just love having her as a manager too.

Mike: David, are those one-on-ones tough or are they just a blast? Did she ever show off with a keyboard or a guitar maybe?

David Louie: She has shown up with a mustache and a wig because she was coming off of an internal skit on a Jeopardy!. And so that kind of stuff happens all the time. Like on a serious note, it's great to have her on our team because she comes from that background of not just of Salesforce admins, but most recently flow builder. And so she is very much of the mindset of let's build a fully functional product that meets the needs of the Salesforce admin, but build features and products that admins will love.

Mike: Yeah. I will tell you, the flownatics I believe is the current hashtag or just once we turn composer loose on them, look out, because it's going to be exciting. And Shannon is a blast. She has been on the pod quite a few times and she spoke always at Dreamforce. She's totally cute into the admin community. We love her. She's fabulous. I would love to know as we kind of close things out, so far, I've learned that product managers and product marketing managers at Salesforce, do a lot of really fun tactical things in their free time.
I think a few weeks ago, I let everybody know that I'm really into yard work. I probably have more lawn care stuff in my garage than most people should. And unfortunately, if you're in Iowa right now, you know that the dry grass thing is for real. I've also heard of product mangers that smelt metal and do board games. And one of them that was actually in a focus group for 1980s toys. So Ashley, David, I would love to know, do you have any fun hobbies or something you'd want to share with the admin community outside of just doing awesome MuleSoft stuff?

David Louie: I can go first. So outside of admin stuff, I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I play Fortnite with my nephew.

Mike: Why ashamed? There's a ton of people that play Fortnite.

David Louie: I'm a mid-forties person that's playing fortnight with 12 year olds. And so at one point my nephew invited his friends and his friends was like, "That's not really your uncle." And they were like, "Yes, I am. I am his uncle." They're like, "No, you're not. You're lying. Show your face." And so I'm terrible at it, but I enjoy doing it because it's bonding time with my nephew.

Mike: I mean, it would be kind of sad if you played Fortnite and you were crushing these 12 year olds' dreams, you know. Ashley, do you have anything that you... Do you show up and crush 12 year olds' hopes and dreams Fortnite or?

Ashley S: No, not my forte. Let's see. One thing I do love doing, I feel like now this seems really boring in comparison, but I just, I love reading historical fiction. That's my favorite all time favorite genre, I get lost in a book. I can just... But the thing for me is I can't put a book down. I have to read it in one sitting. I can't read during the week because I will get no work done. I will cancel all my meetings to finish it. So I refuse to let myself, but if I have a weekend day where I can just sit down, I'll knock out a couple hundred pages and just finish it. I just absolutely love historical fiction.

Mike: Okay, please. So what recently is a fave of yours? Because I have recently discovered historical fiction. I have a friend of mine that loves reading history and knows just about everything there is to know on all the presidents and he recommended, and this is probably like the McDonald's of historical fiction, but Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer to me.

Ashley S: Nice.

Mike: And I thought it was phenomenal. And I am hooked on this historical fiction stuff.

David Louie: [inaudible] movies on that, right?

Mike: Yeah. Oh yeah. It was movie. It wasn't the best movie, but I don't know. I have a low bar now in pandemic times.

Ashley S: Well, I've actually been trying to force myself to branch out because I just absolutely love World War I and World War II, the books that are set during those time period. And so I find myself just anytime I read a description, it's set then, I buy the book and I read it. So I've been trying to remind myself that there are other time periods out there and I should branch out a bit.

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I could see that. What was that... Yeah. Well, I liked Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer. I thought that was [crosstalk]. I would also like to think he was a Vampire Slayer and that there's secret things written on the back of the constitution in invisible ink because they invented that in 1776, you know?

Ashley S: Yeah. What was that movie again?

David Louie: National Treasure.

Ashley S: National Treasure? Yeah.

Mike: National Treasure. Yeah. That was actually... So a fun thing that I've recently noticed is a lot of seventies game shows are being revamped and coming back on television now, The $100,000 Pyramid, To Tell The Truth. And there's also some European shows coming over, one of them is called The Chaser, and there was actually a couple of questions from the National Treasure movies in The Chaser episode. Because it's a quiz show that's timed and you're going against somebody else that's a trivia expert. And Benjamin, I think it was Benjamin Dogood or something, was the pen name of what constitutional author? And I was like, oh, I think I know that from the National Treasure movies and everybody in the room that I was watching the show with, looked over at me, like really? Yeah. Sometimes you learn history from...

Ashley S: You do. Just keep your eyes open, ears open.

Mike: Anywhere. Anyway. Well, David, Ashley, this was super fun and I am excited to get into fiction and maybe some Fortnight, see local kids around here, on to do that.

David Louie: Sounds good.

Ashley S: Thanks for having us on, Mike.

Mike: Thank you for being on and we'll see your episode at TrailheaDX here in about a week.

David Louie: Excellent. Thanks Mike.

Ashley S: Woo-hoo.

Mike: Well, it was great to talk with Ashley and David and of course share some of our fun hobbies like Fortnite and historical fiction. Of course, you know I'm into yard stuff, but 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. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I on Twitter. You can follow MuleSoft on Twitter. They are @MuleSoft. My cohost Gillian Bruce is on Twitter @gilliankbruce. And of course I'm on Twitter. Give me a follow as well. I am @MikeGerholdt. And with that stay safe. Stay awesome. And we'll see you next week at TrailheaDX.

Direct download: Behind_the_Mulesoft_TDX_Session_with_Ashley_Simons_and_David_Louie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got two members of the Salesforce team: Krithika Viswanathan, Product Marketing Manager, and Matthew Barnhart, Product Management Director, about their upcoming TrailheaDX session and how Admins can help organizations sell more effectively with Sales Cloud Einstein and Einstein Activity Capture.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Krithika Viswanathan and Matthew Barnhart. 

How Einstein helps your sales reps do more

We wanted to bring Krithika and Matthew on the pod to talk about their upcoming TrailheaDX session that covers Sales Cloud Einstein and Einstein Activity Capture to help you automate more and waste less time. “A lot of the data that we’ve seen has said that the sales landscape has shifted” going into 2021, Kritihika says. Virtual selling is here to stay, your sales reps need to be trusted advisors or consultants to their customers, and data is crucial to make the best decisions and drive growth.

Einstein can help your organization adjust to the changes that are happening all around us. It boosts virtual productivity, gives your reps the information they need when they need it, and helps you make the right decisions at the right time. “With Einstein Activity Capture, the stuff that would feel a bit like busywork just melts away,” Matthew says. It can log your reps’ events, your emails, and any other activities so they can focus on actually making sales without worrying about data entry.

Tips for virtual presentations

When it comes to presenting, there are a few things that are different when you’re doing a virtual event. For Krithika, it was important to remember to present standing up, even though it’s for a webcam. It makes you feel more like you’re actually on stage, helping you get more engaged and giving a little bit of energy.

For Matthew, preparation was key for pulling off a good virtual presentation. He talked through his outline with other product managers to see if it made sense, so he could own the story he was telling with authenticity and confidence.

Even more cool Einstein features coming soon

Krithika and Matthew’s TrailheadX session is a jam-packed 25 minutes, so there were a few things we needed to leave on the cutting room floor. Kritihika points to the fact that there are even more great AI functionality and features coming to Sales Cloud for sales coaching, pipeline reviews, and more.

The best part is that Einstein will keep leveling up. For Matthew, conversation intelligence is just the start. Relationship intelligence is coming soon, and there will be even more AI-powered insights to help your reps know what the next best step is.

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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 an awesome admin. This week, we were talking with Krithika Viswanathan, product marketing manager Sales Cloud Einstein, and Matthew Barnhart, product management director for Einstein Activity Capture, about their upcoming TrailheaDX session and how admins can help organizations sell more effectively with Sales Cloud Einstein and Einstein Activity Capture. Let's get Krithika and Matthew on the podcast. Krithika and Matthew, welcome to the podcast.

Matthew Barnha...: Thank you very much.

Krithika Viswan...: Hi Mike. Thanks for having us.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, we are on the road to TrailheaDX, and your session is all about Einstein. I'm super excited because, of course, I've got to see it. But I wanted to get both of you on the pod so that we can talk about what you do at Salesforce and some of the things that we included or couldn't quite fit into that episode. Krithika, I will start with you. Tell me a little bit about how you got started in Salesforce.

Krithika Viswan...: For sure. I actually used to be in consumer product goods, but I did a lot of e-commerce work, and I just saw how quick the tech space was moving. I really wanted to be at a company that was helping other companies be more productive and be more efficient because that was something that we were lacking at my consumer goods company. That's what actually made me shift to Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. And Matthew, how did we get you onboard?

Matthew Barnha...: Yeah. I, too, really liked the problem space that Salesforce is working in. I really like working on tools that help businesses run their businesses better. Earlier in my career, I worked for another company that was all about making tools for running, let's say, five to 20 person company's run, and then spent more years of my career, I think, honing my skills until I could work at a company like this one that helps even gigantic companies run their businesses. I love being able to work at this scale and with these resources to deliver really good stuff.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's super fun. Speaking of scale, I think that's my attempt at a segue to get us to talk about Sales Cloud Einstein and Einstein Activity Capture, which we feature in the session. The first thing that comes to mind, for me, is how the velocity of the world feels like it's picking up. This podcast is coming out on June 10th. TrailheaDX is June 23rd. It feels like everybody's getting back to focusing on sales and getting some intelligence driving growth. Krithika, I'll start with you. Tell me what was most exciting for you about getting into Sales Cloud Einstein and working on this session?

Krithika Viswan...: Yeah. It's super fun. Speaking of scale, I think that's my attempt at a segue to get us to talk about Sales Cloud Einstein and Einstein Activity Capture, which we feature in the session. The first thing that comes to mind, for me, is how the velocity of the world feels like it's picking up. This podcast is coming out on June 10th. TrailheaDX is June 23rd. It feels like everybody's getting back to focusing on sales and getting some intelligence driving growth. Krithika, I'll start with you. Tell me what was most exciting for you about getting into Sales Cloud Einstein and working on this session?
What was really exciting to me is I feel like Einstein or AI really helps companies be productive virtually and be efficient virtually. It also enables their reps to be trusted advisors because it's improving their time. It's giving them the information they need at their fingertips. Then, back to this point of data, it's helping them make the right decisions at the right time, so they're not wasting their time doing other tasks. I think what I really love about this session is exactly what you said, it's coming at the right time, and it's going to help companies address how the world is shifting and what they can do to keep up with sales.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Matthew, I know my team has been to so many user groups. It's been wonderful that these groups in the admin community have continued. We're virtual, so we were able to join a bunch. I tell you, on everybody's lips was Einstein Activity Capture. I think that was one of the biggest driving factors for me to seek you out in the organization. But tell me why you love Einstein Activity Capture.

Matthew Barnha...: Sure. I really do because what it focuses on is... It levels everything up is the way I think about it. When I started at Salesforce seven years ago, it seems like we were still focused on, "All right, let's do some functionality to make the events object better, or the opportunities object, or tasks." Now, it's gone up a level where Einstein and AI works at a higher level to actually seek out interesting interactions and relationships among all those pieces of data. It's all about having large volumes of data, really. That's where Einstein Activity Capture comes in because, at this point, to work really well, what you need is tons of data, more than a sales rep could spend all day entering into Salesforce.
With Einstein Activity Capture, the stuff that would feel a bit like busywork just melts away. Why should anyone have to worry about logging their events, logging their emails, and so forth? Einstein Activity Capture does that for you so that you can work better and have more time for actual selling. At the same time, Einstein is doing the automated thinking for you. Doesn't really do your thinking for you, but it finds smart tips and interactions and suggestions to make to you. I just like the users can spend more time selling now.

Mike Gerholdt: Now. Yeah. I know when I was an admin, it seemed every sales manager wanted all of their sales reps to just basically put their whole inbox in Salesforce. Then, magically, like X-Men Cerebro, it would spit out some sort of, "Here's what you should be doing next," and, "Read between the lines." I always laugh.

Matthew Barnha...: That is an amazing thing. In the session that you referred to earlier, that we worked on together, I just really liked demoing the email insights feature. That's amazing to me. We've got this whole activity timeline. You're looking at particular contact. There's a whole activity timeline. It's been automatically populated with all the stuff that you need to see. What are the emails and the calls and the tasks and everything else that relates to this contact? That's great to have in chronological order, but it still takes time to go back and read through it all again.
Well, isn't it great if Einstein can basically figure out the gist of the stuff that's in that timeline for you? It's already figured out the gist of the emails. It points out here's the one where pricing got discussed. Now, you open that one, and you read that one. You don't have to read all the 10 emails to remember what's really going on with this particular contact or lead you're interacting with. That's amazing to me. It doesn't think for you, but it points things out. It helps you locate some of those needles in the haystack so that you can really use your time effectively.

Mike Gerholdt: That's a good term. Should use that in the recording needles in the haystack.

Matthew Barnha...: Or separate the wheat from the chaff, one of those.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, my. Now, it's rolling with the analogies. Krithika, presenting on its own, I feel, is a skill that a lot of us have learned throughout the time that we've been working from home. What is one thing that you use as maybe a best practice or a tip that you learned while creating this TrailheaDX session that you feel could be beneficial for other admins as they work from home and do virtual presentations?

Krithika Viswan...: That is a great question. Mine is going to be super simple, and it's standing up while you present. I do feel like, especially in the virtual world, we've all gotten used to sitting down at our computers, and that's become the norm, but for the TrailheaDX session, you'll see that I stood up as I presented, so did Matthew. I feel like that really changes the game a bit and makes it feel like it's an actual presentation that we would have been delivering live at TrailheaDX had the world been a little different. That's something that I've started doing more and more at anything that I'm presenting at even internally. I think it just elevates my energy, and it just makes me look a little more professional and engaged as I'm presenting content virtually.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I will say both of you did an excellent job of staging your backgrounds. In fact, I used a screenshot of it when I had to create a promo video to try and recreate some of it. I thought it was really good. Matthew, same question. You did a really great job in front of the camera. Any tips or anything that you've learned from creating the session?

Matthew Barnha...: First of all, I agree with Kristina. That was good for my posture. I'm actually thinking how I'm slouching right now. It's right. It's right. For me, just the preparation was what was really, really fun. For me to feel comfortable when presenting, I have to feel really comfortable with the material. I could never present material that someone just said, "Present this. Learn these words and say them," because I would know I didn't believe it or didn't understand it. I feel like that would show. For me, it was all about the preparation. I talked to my fellow product managers and bounced some of my ideas off of them. "Here's how I think I'd like to express it. This is my feeling about the story of how Sales Cloud Einstein dovetails into EAC." That preparation made me feel good about what I was going to say. I think that's my secret to presentation success.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I would agree. The standing's very important. I actually had to do that on a call a couple of weeks ago. It felt very different having to stand and deliver versus sit. Krithika, I know if the session was 45 minutes, everybody would ask for two more hours. Unfortunately, the session's only 25 minutes.

Krithika Viswan...: Sorry.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Right. Is there anything that we just couldn't fit in that you feel admins could follow up on or one really exciting thing that they could pay attention to that we perhaps skipped over in the session?

Krithika Viswan...: The only thing I would say is I do think the session is very comprehensive in terms of Sales Cloud Einstein and Einstein Activity Capture. The one thing to keep a lookout for is that Sales Cloud is coming out with a lot more AI functionality and features related to Einstein, whether that's for sales coaching, whether that's for pipeline reviews, and such. There's just many more awesome things that Salesforce is producing related to AI to help your sales reps, to help your sales teams. So just keep a lookout for all of that.

Mike Gerholdt: Imagine that more new stuff.

Krithika Viswan...: We love our new staff.

Mike Gerholdt: Matthew, same question. Do we have anything new coming for Einstein Activity Capture?

Matthew Barnha...: We have lots of good things on the roadmap. I'm really excited about how we continue to up-level it like I was mentioning before about starting with just the basic objects and trying to perfect them. Then, you go a level up and figure out how do you extract a couple of insights from the way these two sets of data interact. We just keep leveling it up. We've got conversation intelligence. But now, we're going to be moving into things like relationship intelligence. You will see soon. Keep your eyes open for what that's going to mean. But it's really exciting: the insights and the suggestions that artificial intelligence are going to be able to make that will really clue sales reps into the best way to spend their time and the next best thing they could be doing for any particular deal they're trying to close.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, well. Hashtag forward-looking statement.

Matthew Barnha...: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: We'll wrap up with just a fun question. I'll start with myself. I'll be honest, if you've listened to podcasts, you know, during quarantine and the last 400 and some days, I really got into lawn care. I really didn't think I would ever get into lawn care. I've probably watched more lawn care videos on YouTube than I care to admit. I used to make fun of my old neighbor for being so specific with his lawn. Now, I'm that guy. But I'd love to know if there's any hobbies or fun things that you chose to focus on when you're not building amazing Einstein stuff in this last year, year and a half. Krithika, I'll start with you.

Krithika Viswan...: I would say that I started baking a lot more. I'm not the best cook. I will be honest. That is something that I started. The only caveat is that I started out the pandemic wanting to be super healthy, and a lot of the stuff I was baking was gluten-free and sugar-free. Then, as the pandemic went on, my baking also changed. Now, I'm baking things with a lot of sugar, a lot of butter, and a lot of cream cheese, or what have you because that's just what's good and life is short, so I'm going to bake to the fullest.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. I had a family member break out a 1920s apple crisp recipe. Oh, boy! Let me tell you. They knew how to bake back then.

Krithika Viswan...: Oh, they did.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm pro that. Way to go. Matthew, did you pick up anything fun?

Matthew Barnha...: Yeah. Yeah. My activity, especially this last pandemic year, when we were home a lot, was also backyard-related like yours. I do like to build things. I built a big pergola in my backyard, and this built-in-

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, wow!

Matthew Barnha...: ...and this built-in bench seating and some stairs-

Krithika Viswan...: Wow. I'm coming to both of your backyards.

Matthew Barnha...: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Seriously. With baked goods.

Matthew Barnha...: Yeah.

Krithika Viswan...: Yeah.

Matthew Barnha...: I love making stuff and being creative. I get to do that in this job, but I don't create physical stuff in the jobs, so I create physical things in my free time. I'm actually an engineer by training, electrical. That doesn't have much to do with carpentry. If I'm going to attack a project like that, I'm not going to just start hammering things together. I'm actually going to spend time learning how to read span tables and understand how far a two by eight can go versus a two by 10 and just engineer the thing and build it. I guess that I need that to pretend that I'm an engineer. It makes me feel good.

Mike Gerholdt: That's awesome. I do find that a lot of Salesforce employees have very, I'll call it, tactical hobbies, from baking to carpentry, things that you can see the change in. I forget I interviewed a product major that was into smelting of metals.

Matthew Barnha...: Nice.

Mike Gerholdt: There you go, a very tactile thing. But I would agree. You make a lot of stuff, and then you turn the monitor off, and the stuff goes away, so very cool. Well, yes, we should have a backyard cook-off in your pergola. I'd be a fan of that.

Matthew Barnha...: That would be perfect. No, I would like you, maybe you could help mow my lawn. We'll have Krithika's pies under the pergola. I think it would be perfect.

Mike Gerholdt: I like how you put us to work. Good job. [crosstalk].

Matthew Barnha...: That took me months, so I already did the work.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, Krithika and Matthew, thank you for spending time on the podcast. TrailheaDX is June 23rd. Your session rounds out the admin channel. It's going to be super cool. I hope everybody registers and tunes in. We will see you all on the social chat. Thanks for joining.

Krithika Viswan...: Awesome. Thanks for having us.

Matthew Barnha...: Yes, thanks, Mike.

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. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. My cohost Gillian is on Twitter. You can follow her @GillianKBruce. Of course, I'm on Twitter as well @MikeGerholdt. With that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you at TrailheaDX.

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Sonia Flamm, Salesforce Practice Executive Director at Cognizant's ATG. She’s doing a TrailheaDX session with LeeAnne Rimel, and they share how Admins can help organizations return to the office safely.


Join us as we talk about how to get started with returning to the office, how to set goals, and how to keep everyone’s perspectives in mind.


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


How Michele found Salesforce.


Before working at ATG, Sonia managed a health clinic. “It was a great job and lot of great experience, but I knew I was ready for a career change,” she says. It was then that she found ATG, which was looking to hire folks from nontraditional backgrounds and train them as consultants.


While Sonia’s initial assignment was delayed, she was shifted to a team that needed her to get started with Trailhead to have some familiarity with Salesforce, and it was love at first sight. “It was the first time in my life where I had that ah-ha moment of, ‘Oh my gosh, I think I found that thing that I really like doing and it makes sense.’” For the past five and a half years, she’s made it her goal at ATG to grow their Salesforce practice, starting as an Admin Implementation Consultant and project manager and eventually becoming an Architect, a Trailhead Certified Instructor, and the Salesforce Practice Director.


When ATG was acquired by Cognizant, Sonia got to grow her career even further. She’s currently focused not just on how Cognizant’s clients use Salesforce, but also how they use it internally, including implementing solutions to hep the organization safely return to work. “I feel very lucky to be speaking with you guys today and be here—it seems like just yesterday I was new to Salesforce, listening to these podcasts, and getting really excited about the ecosystem,” she says.

As restrictions are lifted across the country, employees all over are concerned about how to return to work safely. Cognizant added over 80 employees during the pandemic, but how do they make sure they feel taken care of when they can’t connect in person?


One thing that has helped is and Salesforce Surveys. Combined with Tableau, they’ve been able to get a better feel for how their organization is doing as a whole and give employees a different way to communicate questions or concerns.

“When you’re entering into a project that’s implementing, or you’re setting up Sales Cloud, you have a map or a guide to do that,” Sonia says, “but nobody’s ever really done a return to office implementation.” So the first thing she recommends you do is determining your scope. For Cognizant, that meant starting with one office as a pilot program.


Next, Sonia recommends identifying key project stakeholders to help you identify what exactly you need to do to make reopening possible. “The great thing about Salesforce and is there’s lots of different components within it, so you can find the solution you need,” she says.


One thing that surprised them the most when they started implementing a plan was the number of employees who wanted to have a blend of staying home and working on location. They actually needed to plan their implementation with three pools of people in mind: those who wanted to stay remote, those who wanted to return to the office, and those who wanted a blend of the two. For Sonia, the focus is on the people behind the technology, and her and LeeAnne’s TrailheaDX session will show how you can have an impact with real-life situations and solutions.



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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 an awesome admin. This week, we're talking with Sonia Flamm, Salesforce Practice, Executive Director at Cognizant's ATG, and LeeAnne Rimel, you know her, she's on the admin team, about their upcoming TrailheaDX session and how Salesforce Admins can help organizations return to the office safely. So, let's get Sonia and LeeAnne on the podcast. So Sonia, welcome to the podcast.

Sonia Flamm: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: Why don't we get started off. We've got TrailheaDX coming up next week. And you and LeeAnne are doing an amazing session, but kind of a record scratch before we get that far. Let's rewind the clock a little bit and tell everyone how you got started with Salesforce and got to your current role.

Sonia Flamm: Yeah. I love to tell a little bit about my background and how I got to where I'm at today and how that ties into our TrailheaDX session. So, a little bit about myself. I have been with ATG, which is a Cognizant company for just around five and a half years. I come from a non-traditional background where before working at ATG, I actually managed a health clinic. So I worked in the back of a clinic, making sure patients were taken care of and our operations were running smoothly. And it was a great job and a lot of great experience, but I knew I was ready for a career change. I wanted to grow my career. And I was lucky enough to find a company called ATG in Missoula, Montana that was looking to hire folks and take them from non-traditional backgrounds and train them up to be consultants.
When I first started at ATG, I was actually intended to work on an SAP project as a quality assurance tester. And lucky for me, that project kept getting delayed. And so I was told to go into, at the time SteelBrick CPQ training, now Salesforce CPQ, Salesforce Revenue Cloud. And so the Friday before that training, I was assigned various Trailheads. I sat down. I started doing them and immediately fell in love with Salesforce. I actually could not believe that they were paying me to do that and learn Salesforce. And so, it was the first time in my life where I had that aha moment of, oh my gosh, I think I've found that thing that I really like doing and it makes sense. So for the past five and a half years, I've really made it my goal at ATG to be a key part of our Salesforce practice and grow our Salesforce practice.
I started off as an admin implementation consultant and project manager. So, I was working on fairly small Salesforce CPQ projects, working with clients, implementing the solutions for them, and working really closely with them on training and user adoption. And I was able to grow my career into an architect, which I really loved solving those hard problems, being able to help that customer realize the value in Salesforce. And just kept growing my career. I've had various roles. I actually was a or am a Salesforce Trailhead Certified Instructor for Salesforce billing. I've been very involved with the growth of Salesforce Revenue Cloud. And so through that, I have been able to really grow my career as our Salesforce Practice Director at ATG. And two and a half years ago, ATG was acquired by a small company named Cognizant. That's a joke. They're massive. I obviously coming from Missoula, Montana have not been exposed to a lot of corporate culture, corporate lifestyle up until this point.
And so, it was exciting. It was also a little scary being acquired. But for the past over two years now, it's definitely been really fun rocket fuel for my career. And also for how we get to use Salesforce not only we've historically as a company helped other customers use Salesforce and adopt it and implement different solutions, but we have also been a Salesforce customer. And for the past two years, I've been also really focused on how we use it as a customer and helping implement solutions internally like what we'll be talking about at our TrailheaDX session. So I'm very excited to be here, very excited to probably dive into more areas of my career and growing within the Salesforce ecosystem. But I feel very lucky to be speaking with you guys today and being here because it seems like just yesterday I was new to Salesforce listening to these podcasts and getting really excited about the ecosystem.

Mike Gerholdt: That's really cool. And I almost have to chuckle a little bit when somebody says a non-traditional background because I feel everybody that comes to Salesforce for the most part comes from a different background. And the economy of work that we live in today, everyone is massively switching jobs or doing gigs. And so any more if you're in a career or a job two or three times, you're coming from a non-traditional background. So, every background to me feels traditional now. Maybe that's just me. But that's a amazing story. And I love when companies focus on bringing people into the ecosystem. That wouldn't normally be an obvious choice, right? So, you came from healthcare. Let's dive into that TrailheaDX session because I know I was super excited when you came up on our radar and as was LeeAnne to kind of talk about what you were working on. And of course, probably what's top of mind to everybody and that's getting back into the office.

Sonia Flamm: Yeah. It's a very top of mind especially since... Here in Missoula, Montana our offices are open at a limited capacity. So, I actually was just there two hours ago. So it's top of mind and it's been a really fun journey in the past year being able to explore as somebody who really enjoys Salesforce. I was very excited to be able to be one of the first customers to start using it. And as we'll talk about, there's a lot involved with, which gives you the opportunity as an admin to really tinker around and get to know a lot of different parts of Salesforce that come together for a very specific solution.

LeeAnne Rimel: One thing I was so excited to see when we started kind of talking about how ATG got back into the office and what that's looking like for your teams and for your colleagues was really that focus on talking to all the ATG employees. Do you want to share a little bit? I know that's been something that's really can [inaudible] for yourself and the other executives at ATG really thinking about connecting with your employees and using tools to make sure they have these avenues to share feedback and to share questions. Can you talk a little bit about that? And maybe as a leader at ATG, kind of what those conversations look like?

Sonia Flamm: It's been interesting the past year going through what we've gone through, because one of the things that I've always really enjoyed as part of my career at ATG is the communication and openness and that comradery between our team members looking out for each other. One of the things that actually drew me to ATG initially was these things that they call walk and talks, where you're encouraged to put 30 minutes on somebody else's calendar and just go walk around. We live in a beautiful place. And so, why not go outside and take your meetings on a walk? And so with that being so much part of our culture, I think we immediately saw or felt a really big impact when everybody had to be remote. And a great thing that happened to us during COVID, but it has been really challenges, we've grown a lot. Even since the beginning of this year, we have 80 new employees that are mostly remote.
And so, how do we make sure that those people are still doing okay? And we don't have the time obviously to meet one-on-one and do walk and talks with every single person. So we had to start figuring out different ways to be able to have those touch points, feel like we have make sure that employees feel like they have a path to raise concerns, get the help that they need, or hopefully at times, even to be able to just celebrate celebrations that we used to celebrate within the office. So we really... One of the main things that we used was and Salesforce Surveys. There are lots of different survey solutions out there, but Salesforce Surveys with the solution and using Tableau has really given us that ability to check in with each individual. It is opt-in. And so not everybody has to respond, but we do see quite a few people choose to respond.
And it is our way to keep in touch with our employees and gauge how people are doing. And the number one thing that we see in the open-ended feedback is that they appreciate that they do have that as an option to communicate. And I think this will be something because we are growing and scaling really big, and we have a lot of folks, and we want to make sure everybody has a great experience working at ATG. Regardless of COVID or not, I think this is something that we're going to have to adopt and figure out at some point. So, Salesforce Surveys has been our solution.

Mike Gerholdt: That's cool. I want to know for admins listening to this where you got started. I mean, I think you were really essential to the fabric of ATG. So, it was probably very natural for them to have a conversation with you. For an admin listening to this saying, I want to help my organization get back into the office. I want to help them use Salesforce to do that. I'm listening to what Sonia had to say. Where would they get started? What would your advice be for conversations they should have, things they should be looking at, thinking about?

Sonia Flamm: It's a fantastic question. And it's a hard question. Something that LeeAnne and I had talked about in preparation for the session is... Commonly, when we're entering into a project that's implementing or you're setting up sales cloud, you kind of have a map and a guide to do that. And when we entered into this, okay, we're going to do this. What do we need to do first? It was very much like, gosh, I don't know. No one's ever really done a what we call RTO, return to office implementation. Just putting in that perspective of the Missoula office because that's where we've been really focused. The first thing I would recommend is finding your key champions within the organization. And maybe one step right before that is determining your scope. So for us, it made sense having the Missoula, Montana office be the office that we decided to pilot our return to office effort and using
We were lucky enough last year, July 2020, when we started implementing, Missoula was in a unique position where we didn't have as many cases. And so it was the right fit for us to choose Missoula as the office that was going to return to work sooner than the other ones. So identifying that scope is really important, make sure what makes sense to you and your company. There's no reason at this point, because it's people's lives, to overcommit. And I think that's something that we had to really be realistic on what can we really commit to make sure that our people are safe and are getting what they need. That was of course the number one important, the safety. But from there, once we realized that it was going to be Missoula, we needed to find those champions. And those are typically your project stakeholders that we were going to work with to identify what do we need to do.
I don't think we knew at the very beginning that the solution or answer was Salesforce Surveys, We knew that we needed to check the status of people and that we needed to make sure that people felt safe returning to the office, but we didn't really know a lot of the other components and what we needed. So it was just starting to have those conversations, started with conversations with our team leads, the people who are helping and make sure our resources are doing okay. And so we talked with those people, those were our primary stakeholders, just make sure and understand they have the best pulse on the employees. So, what do they need? And so every business is probably going to be different. I say that ATG has been really utilizing Salesforce Surveys. It might be something different for another company. And that's also the great thing about Salesforce and is there's lots of different components within it, so you can find the solution that you need.

Mike Gerholdt: That's great. I think having conversations absent of the technology that you need is one of the things that people forget. Sometimes they lead with the technology first. And if you start with a hammer, everything's a nail. To use the old adage, right? What would be in terms of rolling this stuff out, what was the biggest surprise that you had?

Sonia Flamm: That's a great question. Biggest surprise. Well, something that probably surprised us and continues to surprise us today, and looking back, this shouldn't surprise us, but the number of people that do want to have a blend of staying home versus returning to the office. And with that created challenges for how we implemented the solution, because you have to have those two different perspectives in mind in terms of what does somebody who's working from home need versus what does somebody from return to the office need versus what does somebody who needs that blended approach. And so, that was an interesting... I think in looking back, probably shouldn't be that surprising. But I think we had almost expected more people to want to return to the office. And then, what are some other surprises?
I was speaking more towards the solution in I was really interested to see the emphasis and collection from different clouds within Salesforce. And there was field service lightning component, and so health cloud component. And so, it was really interesting to see how all those pieces put together created this very cohesive solution. It also kind of blew my mind at times, just in terms of how thoughtful somebody would have to go through to think of all, you really have to know Salesforce. So it's like if I looked at is like, gosh, if somebody had the rights to every single license and every single little feature and knew exactly how to do every single thing, that's what somebody did and pulled it all together. So that was a surprise, but a pleasant surprise.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm sure in all our heads we know how all of that works and we love to have all the rights as an [inaudible]. That'd be great. So, let's focus in on TrailheaDX as we kind of wrap up. I know you're presenting there with LeeAnne. Your session is... You're working on the recording now. So obviously, it gives away when we record these things. But absent of that, it's few hours in the day. It used to be an in-person event. Well, the world is getting back to in-person events. From your perspective, Sonia, I'd love to know as an admin whose maybe on the fence, should I spend some time streaming some TrailheaDX? What should I do? What is kind of your input on reasons people should tune in for TrailheaDX?

Sonia Flamm: Well, I mean, besides being corny and saying, it's an awesome conference. And of course, you need to tune in.

Mike Gerholdt: We don't mind corny.

Sonia Flamm: Salesforce, I mean not to put other companies down, but Salesforce does conferences the best obviously. We've either attended them virtually or we've been lucky enough to go in-person. And so, I mean, it's an obvious that the sessions that Salesforce delivers and provides in these types of conferences are really amazing. And especially as somebody who's again, been lucky enough to now be a part of it and see a lot of the work that goes in the background, I understand how much work that's put into it and the thoughtfulness that's put into it. And specifically, I think there's going to be some really great content specifically in our session, talking about real life things. And not to say that's not what we discussed before, but I think the past year has taught and kind of expose this different side of technology to us. And I'm excited that a lot of sessions I keep seeing are really about the people behind it and not just the technology, which is always impactful.

Mike Gerholdt: That's a great way of putting it. Sonia, I'm super excited to have you and LeeAnne at TrailheaDX this year. And see all of your sneak peek of your solution that you put together. I think you really helped admins out. I know I learned something in this conversation, so I'm very excited to see what we have in store for TrailheaDX. So, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.

Sonia Flamm: Thank you so much. This was great.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great to get Sonia and LeeAnne on the podcast. And be sure to tune in to TrailheaDX later in June to see their entire session. It's going to be amazing. So big things I took away from our discussion with Sonia is think about when you're returning the office, where do you want to get started? Realize not too many people have done a return to work. So determining scope, finding key champions, and then having an honest conversation about what you need to do absent of the technology. I love that idea. And then, also think about what some of the surprises were that Sonia ran into like the number of people that wanted a blended solution and really making sure that you're keeping all perspectives in mind in terms of your employees. So, that was great. I can't wait to see their TrailheaDX session.
Now, if you want to learn more about all things, admin, go to to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. Of course, you can find our guest Sonia on Twitter. She is @SoniaFlamm. Gillian, who is also a co-host of the podcast is on Twitter. You can follow her @gilliankbruce. And of course, hit that follow button for me as well. I am @MikeGerholdt. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Behind_the_Return_to_Work_TDX_Session_with_Sonia_Flamm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

It’s that time again. For this week’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the monthly retro. In this episode, we celebrate the Summer ‘21 with all the great blog posts, videos, and all the other Salesforce content from May. To help us, we’re joined by Rebecca Saar, Senior Director of Admin Marketing at Salesforce.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Be an Innovator with Design

Rebecca was the brains behind Be a Builder, which later became Be an Innovator. Today, we’ve brought her on the pod to talk about Be an Innovator with Design. “It’s a great opportunity to get both advanced and new admins on a learning journey,” she says, “we take a real-life problem and incorporate new features that have come out and tackle it together and learn from each other.”

This year, Be an Innovator is setting their sights on redesigning and reimagining what Record Pages look like with design thinking principles and design heuristics thanks to dynamic forms and actions. So check out #BeAnInnovator on Twitter and get started with the Trailmix. If you complete it by May 31st you’ll earn the Collector’s Badge.

Podcast highlights from May.

For Mike, last week’s pod with Michelle Corwin about finding and getting a Salesforce admin job in today’s market. For Gillian, it was Adam Doti’s episode about design thinking and the designer team he leads within Salesforce. She was also a fan of the conversation we had with Farhan Tahir about where design on the platform is going and the future of the admin role.

Video highlights from May.

For both Mike and Gillian, Be an Innovator with Design was the can’t-miss video content for May. And keep your eye out for an Easter egg in the introductory animation for an alternate interpretation of #BeAnInnovator.


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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, and hello summer '21. May we all enjoy this retro for the month of may, 2021. I am your host Gillian Bruce, and in this episode we will review the top product community and careers content for the month of May. So many things happen in May, Cinco de Mayo, May the fourth be with you, one of my favorite internet meme, let it be May, and to help me do all this, I'm joined by two amazing people today. The one and only Mike Gerholdt. Hi Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Hi. I may be excited.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, look at that, a May pun in your first line. I love it. Off to a good start. And, this is exciting, our first guest on the retro ever, and it's probably the most appropriate guest. The one and only "rocksaar" Rebecca Saar. Hi, Rebecca.

Rebecca Saar: Hi. Hi everyone. And please don't ask me to do a pun. I'm not good at those, but I'll leave those to you and Mike.

Gillian Bruce: I may let you be on that one.

Rebecca Saar: Okay. Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: I may let you off the hook. It may happen.

Gillian Bruce: So with every monthly retro, we start out by talking about our favorite blog content from the month, and we have some special blog content to talk about this month. Mike, you want to give us a little more background?

Mike Gerholdt: I do. So if you don't know who Rebecca Saar is, which I've had the pleasure of giving selfie pictures in Toronto. After I feel like Rebecca launched what was first known as Be a Builder, but now Be an Innovator campaign and has just skyrocketed into the atmosphere. So Rebecca runs pretty much everything creativity fun wise on our team. And I was thinking, you know what, Gillian, we're probably going to do a lot of talking about Be an Innovator, why not have Rebecca on. It may be a good move to have somebody to talk about it like Rebecca, who is the brains behind it.

Gillian Bruce: Great idea. Rebecca, talk to us more about Be an Innovator. This may have been one of my favorite campaigns that we've had in a long time.

Mike Gerholdt: We're going to be very unsure of ourselves if we have to keep working may into stuff. You know that, right? It may sound like we're uncommitted to this.

Rebecca Saar: It may be a good idea for me to get started and talk to you about Be an Innovator with Design. I'm so happy to be here to talk about this. Be an innovator has been something I've been very excited to work on over the years. It's a great opportunity to get both advanced and new admins on a learning journey, everyone together. We go through a journey of six episodes where we take a real life problem, and we usually incorporate some new features that have come out and we tackle that together and learn from each other. And it was no different this year. Be an Innovator with Design, we decided to focus on really taking it a step further from even last year where we looked at our record pages and we're redesigning and re-imagining what those look because we have now a dynamic forms and actions, and we took it a step further and looked at how can we bring design thinking principles and design heuristics into the mix to make admins even more enabled to design these beautiful pages that can really champion productivity For our users. So this was a fun one.

Gillian Bruce: So talk to us a little bit more, Rebecca about... This is in the blog category of the retro, so can you tell us a little more about what actually is the Be an Innovator with Design activation that we've got going on, tell us a little bit more about the different components and how people can participate?

Rebecca Saar: Yeah, definitely. So in the beginning of the month we had the first phase, I would say, where we were releasing one episode after another, there were exercises that we asked all of our admins to participate in and share on Twitter, and they are all released now. So it's a great time to go jump in and binge watch, how about binge watch those episodes all at once and go through those exercises and share those on Twitter with the hashtag #BeAnInnovator. That hashtag is very active. We're continuing to see people sharing their work. It's super fun. I think my favorite exercise is the ideate one where we got this template from Salesforce's design team called the crazy eights brainstorm, and it's an envisioned template that folks can utilize and create all these different ideas.
You're supposed to do eight ideas at eight minutes, which is a lot, but they're super fun to look at if you go on Twitter. So that's been the first part is looking through that, but now we also have the trail mix. So all of the episodes and supplementary content that is already on Trailhead is in one place in this trail mix, and you have until May 31st, 2021 to complete that trail mix to earn what I'm starting to call the collector's badge, because if you've been joining us for Be an Innovator from the beginning, you'll have every year, if you complete the trail mix, you'll have your Be an Innovator badge. Always a unique design for each year. So that's coming up. That's one thing you can add to your to do list before the end of may to get that badge.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it sounds it might be... Might be, not may be. It sound would be a great thing to get involved with. Rebecca, thank you so much for all the work that you and the team have put together to make this happen. And it has been way fun to see what people have been building. So yes, if you haven't gotten on the Be an Innovator with Design train, get on board because it's a fun train to be on [crosstalk]. Maybe we can get a little choo-choo train sound effect going on there.

Mike Gerholdt: That'll be the next Be an Innovator theme.

Gillian Bruce: Love it. It'll be hard to choo-choo-choose the right thing. Okay, I'm going to stop. Mike, let's move on to podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Chugging right along and talking about podcast, the reason we had Rebecca on is I think a lot of May was Be an Innovator and we had guests on about that, but we also just put out a pod last week with Michele Corwin about finding and getting a Salesforce admin job in today's market.

Gillian Bruce: Michele's amazing. Her story's amazing. It's inspiring. I've gotten notes from folks saying how amazing they loved... How much they loved that episode. I mean, Michele's story about how this crazy last year and a half was very challenging in so many ways for so many people in the job market, but it actually created opportunities for her that she never would have had otherwise. So listen to the podcast. It is a powerful motivator, especially if you're looking for either your first admin job or your next admin job, if you're switching careers, especially she's got some amazing tips and things that she's learned to share. I don't know, Mike, I really enjoyed talking to Michele and getting to know her, but then I guess I did listen to the podcast and...

Mike Gerholdt: I like it when we trade off doing pods because then I can listen to it like everyone else, and it's like, "Oh, new podcast. I haven't heard this one." So it's exciting for me.

Gillian Bruce: Fresh ears. Fresh ears.

Mike Gerholdt: Fresh ears. So we covered blogs because Be an Innovator, awesome. Podcast was fun to listen to. Gillian, I think you highlighted the Be an Innovator podcast with Adam Doti.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, you mentioned we did a couple of podcasts related to Be an Innovator, which we absolutely did. We kicked it off with Adam Doti who actually leads our designer team, so to speak. He is amazing. He's been at Salesforce for a very long time and he's so passionate about design and explains a very, very clear relationship of design and admin. And I think it's fun to talk to him. He's a great... He thinks big picture but then also breaks it down into, "Okay, design thinking. This is how it's going to help you be a better admin or a better person at any job that you're doing, really, if you're working with technology."
And then to dovetail on that, we had another great conversation on a separate podcast with Farhan Tahir who... I mean he and his team are the ones that are delivering the dynamic pages, the dynamic actions, all of that stuff. It's really incredible to really have a longterm visionary conversation with him about where all this is going and how it fits into the future of the platform, the future of the role of the admin. Really two really great podcasts from visionary thinkers here at Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: That's how it may work. Now I'm going to call an audible, because it's podcast, and change my must-watch video from May to align with yours and be the Be an Innovator series, because I think, while we have Rebecca on the call, I think they're just amazing. I love how you get a nice intro and you get somebody talking to you and you kind of... They're a little fun. They're a lot of fun. They may be fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and you get to see Rebecca. You get a "rocksaar" sighting.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. So Rebecca, when you were filming those, did you include anything that maybe people are overlooking or a fun trip up? Did you knock a pitcher of water over or something? I don't know.

Rebecca Saar: Not exactly that, but yes, we did actually think about some Easter eggs in our episodes. And I do challenge you to find them. I'll give you a hint. There has been some jokes, maybe say, about how you could read Be an Innovator with the hashtag. But it may look something else. And we embrace that. And if you take a closer look at the introductory animation, you may see a fun little Easter egg there. But yeah, highlights, we get it. You can read it differently, and it's funny.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, people go through screen by screen on previews of big movies, so why wouldn't they go screen by screen on the intro to Be an Innovator?

Rebecca Saar: Right. It goes by really fast, but yes, if you have a sharp eye or you go screen by screen, you will see it. It's really cute, actually.

Gillian Bruce: Are you saying that you were being an innovator with design as you were recording the Be an Innovator with Design series?

Mike Gerholdt: So meta.

Rebecca Saar: Meta.

Mike Gerholdt: So meta.

Rebecca Saar: We try. We try over here.

Mike Gerholdt: So we'll include a link in the show notes. They should go to our Be an Innovator with Design blog posts, start reading there. Everything's over on Trailhead, correct?

Rebecca Saar: Yes. On that trail mix. So

Mike Gerholdt: Perfect.

Gillian Bruce: Bean innovator.

Mike Gerholdt: Be an Innovator. Don't give it away. It might have something to do with Cinco de Mayo? No.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it's been fun, team.

Mike Gerholdt: So in true monthly retro fashion, I try to keep these fun this year. We're going to have fun this whole year, because last year we were just slogging through it. And I was reading up on what is the month of May? What is May, where's it come from? What's the name mean? And I found out that May is named after the Greek goddess, Maia, M-A-I-A. I'm going to say it's Maia. It looks Maia to me. And she looked after plants. And I thought wow when I read that, this really makes me think of salads and my new favorite salad dressing, which is green goddess. I don't know if you've had green goddess dressing. It's amazing. It is so good. It's good on everything vegetable, just [crosstalk].

Gillian Bruce: It's like adult ranch.

Mike Gerholdt: It's better than adult ranch.

Rebecca Saar: I don't think I've had this.

Mike Gerholdt: And it's a weird... It's like a Ghostbusters ecto slime green. So you totally have to get it out of your head of the weird-

Gillian Bruce: Is there a pesto in it? Is that why it's green?

Mike Gerholdt: No. Well, there's probably leafy stuff. I don't know. So I thought it would be fun, because I was looking up different green goddess dressings, and I realized that a lot of dressings also sound like destinations in the world. And I put together a fun little game called Dressing or Destination. So I will give you the name of a dressing or a destination. You tell me what it is. And then at the end of this, we'll have a whole bunch of useless knowledge about a dressing or a destination.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. I think, Rebecca, are we ready for this?

Rebecca Saar: Let's do this.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, it's not as great as the April Fool's thing last month, but I'll work harder for June.

Gillian Bruce: I do the level of creativity, these questions you come up with.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean it's alliteration. Come on, Gillian. I got the D and D, dressing or destination.

Gillian Bruce: It's good. It's good.

Rebecca Saar: Are we each answering each, or are you going one off? Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: You choose for yourself. Scored individually. Okay, so dressing or destination. Bolthouse Farms or Applewood Manor.

Gillian Bruce: I think Bolthouse Farms is a dressing and Applewood Manor is a destination.

Mike Gerholdt: Rebecca?

Rebecca Saar: So I was thinking the opposite, of course. I'll go the Bolthouse Farms is the destination. Applewood Manor.

Mike Gerholdt: And Applewood Manor is the dressing?

Rebecca Saar: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, you are 100% correct. Bolthouse Farms is a dressing, Applewood Manor is a bed and breakfast.

Gillian Bruce: Where?

Mike Gerholdt: I forgot to look where. I don't know. I knew you were going that, so I realized...

Gillian Bruce: Maybe it's in Applewood somewhere. There's probably a town called Applewood, I bet.

Mike Gerholdt: It could be in Strawberry Hills.

Rebecca Saar: Where do they grow apples? Washington, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Could be.

Gillian Bruce: I bet the front desk person's Johnny Appleseed. Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: I also tried to find dressings that weren't too terribly niche. Like you have to go to Bob's corner farmer's market to get.

Gillian Bruce: So commercially available dressing.

Mike Gerholdt: Somewhat commercially. I tried to at least Trader Joe's level. So next one, there's only three. So Rebecca, you're not that far behind. You can still hold this out for the win. Hillary's Ranch or Magnolia House.

Rebecca Saar: All right. I'm going to go first. I'm going to go Magnolia House is the dressing, Hillary's Ranch the location, just because I feel this could be a trick one, because we know ranch is a dressing.

Mike Gerholdt: I would be tricky that way, wouldn't I? Just ranch in it.

Rebecca Saar: Yep, yep.

Gillian Bruce: I was thinking the exact same thing, Rebecca, because I feel like ranch is too tempting of a... Clearly can't be ranch dressing. Hillary's Ranch does not make ranch dressing. Come on.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I'm sorry, Gillian, you're incorrect. Hillary's Ranch does make ranch dressing, and Magnolia House is actually down in Waco from the...

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah, that makes sense.

Rebecca Saar: Oh like the [crosstalk] and Joanna Gaines show, right?

Gillian Bruce: They don't make dressing there?

Mike Gerholdt: That was my softball. I know. Probably not yet.

Rebecca Saar: Not yet.

Mike Gerholdt: Give them time.

Gillian Bruce: I think she just started a cooking show, so just give it some time.

Mike Gerholdt: She does. It's amazing. It's amazing. It's amazing. Okay, last one. So Rebecca, you can still tie Gillian for the win. This is a fun one. Okay, so is it a dressing or a destination. Jailhouse Inn, or Ken's Steakhouse?

Gillian Bruce: I mean, it's too hard not to just go with what's popping out of my mind immediately. So I think Jailhouse Inn is an actual destination, which I'm very curious about which jail house you're staying. And then I think that Ken's steakhouse is a dressing.

Mike Gerholdt: Is a dressing. Rebecca?

Rebecca Saar: Yeah, I'm going to go the same. Going to stick with Gillian's answer.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, Rebecca, the good news is you scored a point, the bad news is Gillian already had a point. So that was for the win. Ken's Steakhouse was a dressing, and it's commercially available. Jailhouse Inn is a destination and. You know there's a jail you can stay at in Boston?

Rebecca Saar: Yeah, I stayed there. It's so cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Ken's Steakhouse, actually, when you look it up has the old... It's from the 70s and it's when bright colored neon dressings were a thing, like that bright orange dressing. Remember that Dorothy Lynch French dressing?

Gillian Bruce: I'm sensing that you really like bright color dressings, because the green goddess is bright coloring, talked about the bright orange color.

Mike Gerholdt: Give me a salad bar from the 70s with those glowing red bacon bits and some green goddess and some crunchy iceberg. Smells my childhood right there.

Rebecca Saar: I'll note of this for an upcoming birthday.

Mike Gerholdt: Here's the salad for you? Happy birthday.

Gillian Bruce: He would be like, "The worst birthday present ever."

Rebecca Saar: You got a salad.

Mike Gerholdt: Some people would like that. I mean, it depends on the salad.

Rebecca Saar: Or where you're eating it.

Mike Gerholdt: You could have some Hillary's Ranch dressing at Magnolia House and then you could check all the box. Okay.

Gillian Bruce: Well that was fun, Mike. Thanks. I enjoy winning these great little challenges you're putting together.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you're batting a thousand at this point. Fantastic.

Rebecca Saar: I'll have to come back to challenge.

Gillian Bruce: We'll have to have another showdown. You need it to reclaim your glory.

Mike Gerholdt: You come back with the game this time, Rebecca.

Rebecca Saar: Oh, okay. Even better, yes. Control the odds.

Mike Gerholdt: Be an Innovator game or something.

Rebecca Saar: Love it.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Well, if you want to learn more about all things that we just talked about minus the dressing or destination stuff, because we have yet to publish a blog post on that, you can go to to find those and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social. We have a new social person, and Rebecca did an amazing job introducing her on Twitter. So be sure to follow Brittany on Twitter. Rebecca, do you know what her Twitter handle is?

Rebecca Saar: It has numbers. Hold on. It's @BrittGibbs92.

Mike Gerholdt: Perfect. Not 91 or 93.

Rebecca Saar: Nope. 92. I wonder what that stands for.

Mike Gerholdt: You should ask her on Twitter. We'll find out. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt. Gillian is on Twitter @GillianKBruce and Rebecca is on Twitter at...

Rebecca Saar: RebeccaSaar.

Mike Gerholdt: RebeccaSaar. Easy enough to remember. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: May_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_Mike_and_Rebecca_Saar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Michele Corwin, Senior Salesforce Platform Administrator at Integrate. We learn how she transitioned from a career in banking and finance into the Salesforce ecosystem.


Join us as we talk about how Michele got her first Salesforce admin job through the community, how volunteering played an important role by giving her hands-on experience, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for something even if you don’t have all of the qualifications.


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


How Michele found Salesforce.


Michele is a Salesforce admin and a career transitioner, moving to her new role from her previous job in banking and finance. “A lot of clients were in IT,” she says, “if there was a sector that I completely did not understand, it was IT. So I would say if I can do it, anyone can do it.”


When Michele’s career stalled out, she started looking at other options. She knew she loved helping people and solving problems, so she decided to take that and look at job descriptions in any industry, regardless of title. “Everything that I kept finding that I loved what the core work was mentioned Salesforce,” she says, “and that’s how it all started for me.”


Getting started with changing your career.


Michele’s next step was to connect through a family friend to someone how worked as a Salesforce consultant, which led her to Trailhead. She immediately fell in love with every aspect of it, not just the platform but the community around it, which she connected to through a Women in Tech meetup in Indianapolis.


The next challenge was how Michele could get her foot in the door. “Everyone wants one to two year’s experience—how do I do that when I can’t get in?” She went to the community to offer her skills for free in exchange for some hands-on experience and got connected with Indy Lost Pet Alert, which had a free Salesforce instance and didn’t know what to do with it. “I got to build it myself with no other resources but myself and Trailhead,” she says.


Getting your first Salesforce position.


After six months of job applications, Michele landed her first full-time Salesforce position in November 2019, but she only got to spend three months in her physical office. “One thing that really helped me was that I didn’t not put in for things just because they wanted two or three years,” she says. While the job she landed wanted someone with more experience, she felt her other skills would make her a good fit.


In January 2021, however, Michele’s LinkedIn started blowing up. “You’re in an industry that is open to all sectors,” she says, “which is so powerful.” She ended up taking 19 interviews, and ended up with 3 offers that all met her requirements. Along the way, keeping her LinkedIn up-to-date was key in making sure she popped up on recruiters’ radars. “Don’t underestimate yourself, don’t be afraid to get out there and do it,” she says, “when I was in it, it felt like it took an eternity, but it’s only been two to three years since I heard the word Salesforce and asked, ‘What is it?’.”



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce. And today we have a very inspiring story for you, whether you are thinking about switching your career, mid career or if you were thinking about trying to get your first admin job or help someone else get their first Salesforce admin job, this podcast is for you today.
We are joined by Michelle Corwin, who is now a senior Salesforce platform administrator. She has an incredible career story that took place just over the last couple of years. And she's got some mazing things to share with you to help you with your career transition, your first admin job search, all kinds of great nuggets. So, without further ado, let's welcome Michelle to the podcast. Michelle, welcome to the podcast.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it's not often we have a Salesforce superhero joining us on the pod. So, I'm very happy to have you here with us today. I would love to introduce you a little bit to our audience. Can you tell us what you do and then give us a brief intro to maybe some of your journey and then we'll talk a little bit more about that.

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Perfect. So, I'm a Salesforce administrator and I am also a career transitioner. So, I transitioned from a career in banking and finance. So, the most recently, like private client banking and hit a spot in my life where it was like, what am I doing? Do I like this? Do I enjoy it? And it all went from there.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, you're a Salesforce administrator now. Congratulations. That is awesome.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: I would love to know... Let's talk a little bit about your journey because one of the things I'd love to talk about today to help some of our listeners, maybe who might be mid career transitioners themselves. Talk to me a little bit more about your decision to make that move. Because I mean, banking to Salesforce admin, that is quite a difference. Can you tell me a little bit more about your motivation behind that?

Michelle Corwin: Sure. And it's actually ironic too because with a lot of my clients, a lot of them were in IT and I was always like, "I don't understand what you do." If there was a sector that I completely did not understand, it was IT. So, I would say, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I have no IT background at all. I loved what I did and I loved helping people and I loved problem solving. And if someone came in and was a problem to solve, that was the highlight of my day, right?
Because I get to take something that's horrible and frustrating and turn that around and make it something great and then I'm the superhero, right? I'm the person that fixed everything. And that's my way of giving back and how I give value. And I loved those pieces of it but I had been in banking and finance so long and I was frankly just bored. I was really at the top place that I could go in my career. There wasn't a lot of upper movement. I had some career options either go to a financial advisor that really wasn't just right for me, I didn't want to be stuck in one city, in one place with this clientele for 30 years.
That's just what my family didn't see for our lives. And I just hit a point and I said, "You know what? I'm going to start looking through job descriptions," right? "And I'm going to take what I know I live and I'm not putting any filters on it. I'm not saying it's going to be banking. I'm not saying it's going to be this. I'm not saying..." I literally just opened window job prescriptions.
And everything that I kept finding that I loved with the core work was mentioned Salesforce. And I was like, "What in the heck is Salesforce," had no idea, never heard of it. So, that just started the journey of I started researching online. I went to Salesforce, this website, I started going on LinkedIn and just searching for anyone that was in that space that I could talk to and learn more. So, that's how it all started for me.

Gillian Bruce: You say you reverse engineered finding a Salesforce career path. That is incredible to me. So, I mean, were you just putting the search terms that you mentioned of the things that you like like problem solving, helping people?

Michelle Corwin: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, instead of focusing on title, I tried to really think of what do I like doing in my day? What is the part about my day in my job that I like? To try to find those skills that I could bring into something else, right? Because I was open to, well, maybe it's not in banking, maybe it's not in finance, maybe it's somewhere else but what's that core value that I can bring.

Gillian Bruce: That's amazing. It is truly, truly awesome. Okay. So, then you discovered the Salesforce thing and you start getting dialed into resources that are online, you start connecting to folks, I'm assuming via probably like a LinkedIn or something like that?

Michelle Corwin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gillian Bruce: How did you bridge that from learning and connecting with folks to actually looking for a job and getting trained up? Tell me a little bit about that journey.

Michelle Corwin: Sure. So, in the next step of, it was where those things when you start going down the right path, things start falling in place, right? I had a family friend that actually had a business relationship in a whole other city with someone who was a Salesforce consultant. And she had mentioned me to her and was like, "Oh my gosh, she would be amazing at this. I would love to talk to her." And that was Vivian roles in what I spoke with her, she was like, "Hey, have you heard of Trailhead?" I was like, "Nope."
So, she's the one that armed me with Trailhead. And once I got in there and just started going through the system and the community and I literally just fell in love with every aspect of it, with how open it is and that blew me away. And then the software itself blew me away. If I could have had this as a private client banker, my job would have been 20,000 times easier and more productive and the whole community, right? And I just fell in love with it. And I knew immediately, this is what I want to do.
And I just started on Trailhead. I started learning as much as I could there. And then I started getting involved with the community as much as I could. I started asking people, "Where can I go? What can I do? I found out about the Indy women in tech group." And that was my first meeting locally in the community. So, that was that second phase, right? Was getting plugged into the community, getting started on Trailhead and just getting as much exposure to anything Salesforce that I could.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, you're making actual in-person connections with the community in Indianapolis, which I know is a very vibrant Salesforce community.

Michelle Corwin: Yes. They're great.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, we even have a Salesforce hub out there. So, I know there's tons of Salesforce people in that neck of the woods. Tell me a little bit about how... I mean, at this point and you're still working as in private banking, correct? You still have your regular job.

Michelle Corwin: Yes. Yes. So, this whole time, I was still working. I had moved from Texas to Indianapolis actually during this transition time. So, I started looking when I was in Texas. I moved from Texas to Indianapolis, kept looking where I was here, joined a bank here while I was still trying to learn everything that I could and get plugged in. I went to my first Salesforce meeting was the Indy women in tech meeting. And Liz Hellinger was doing a meeting on negotiation, right?
And I thought it was really ironic. I'm like, "I'm doing this being on negotiation." And I was like, "I have never even had a job in Salesforce." I was like, "I just want the job." But I took notes and really took everything in which came into play for me later. And then just started trying to plug in here and then started really look and say, "Okay. How can I get into this role," right? And one thing that became very evident was, okay, everybody wants one to two years experience. How do I do that when I can't get in?
So, I quickly became overwhelmed, right? Of, gosh, I want this so bad but everybody wants something. So, I went to the community and I put out and said, "I want hands-on experience. These are things that I'm good at and I'm passionate about animals, pets and music. If you know anybody in that realm that needs help with Salesforce, I'm down, I will do it for free." And so, then I got connected with a wonderful group of people that run Indy Los Pedaler in Indy. And they had actually been given a Salesforce instance and like one of the hackathons or something like that but they didn't know anybody who knew anything to do with it. And so, I got to help them.

Gillian Bruce: So, they had the shiny new toy and they didn't know how to use it. And you're like, "Cool." So, I love your mission and I want to use Salesforce. So, this is a fantastic meeting of everyone's desires at one point. That's amazing.

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. It was perfect. It was a win-win. And then I got to build it from scratch with no other resource but myself and Trailhead. So, it was a wonderful first experience, right? I know so much more now but just being able to learn how to create an app, learn how to work in service cloud, learn how to work in nonprofit cloud. I got exposure that way. So, then, I did that while trying to find the first role.

Gillian Bruce: So, one thing I'd love to talk a little bit about there. Let's just pause for a second in your story is having that gap of a lot of people who are transitioning into being a Salesforce admin encountered the same problem of everybody wants a few years of experience in order to just get that first job. And it's puts you in a tough spot because you're like, "Well, no, I'm trying to get that first job. I don't have that experience yet because I am trying to get it. And I promise that I will learn," so.
And one of the things that we often hear is people volunteering basically for a nonprofit or something like that in order to get this experience under their belt. But then, it does create a little bit of an issue, right? Because then what happens when you leave? So, can you talk to us a little bit about what you set up for that organization and are you still helping them? How have you set them up for success now that you have successfully gotten your first admin job?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I initially had helped them get everything set up and then it was all also around a project of a new website launch and all this other things that were going into it. And then COVID hit, right? So, we launched the new website, everything happened, COVID hit, things come down a little bit. And then during that time, they were also transitioning where Indy humane society was going to be absorbing the Indy Los pet because it had grown so big that volunteers that we had access to, we couldn't keep it running anymore.
It just had gotten so big. So, in part of them taking it over, I took meetings and took time with the person that was going to be taking it over and just showed them how to do some basic admin but how to do all of the operations that we got set up and transitioned it over to them. I would have absolutely stayed on and, and help them, build it out but it really did what they needed and it was fairly easy to transition it to them.

Gillian Bruce: I think it's a very important point to hit on. You then trained and enabled somebody else to continue the work because oftentimes, we have people who dip in for, "Hey, let's do a quick project for a non-profit because they want experience," and then later, "Bye. Have fun."

Michelle Corwin: Oh yeah. No. I was so far deep. I mean, I was so passionate about it. I think that really matters too, right? Don't pick something to help with something you don't care about because you're not going to give it your all. I was very passionate about that in their mission and what they did. And I mean, I put so much into it, because I wanted to make it amazing for them.
So, they're giving you a chance do right by them. And that became a great relationship. I mean, that the president of that nonprofit was the first person who put probably the best recommendation on LinkedIn I've ever had in my life, is Michelle Vickery. And she put that on my LinkedIn and really detailed out what I did to help them. And I know that that was crucial going forward when people went back and looked at that.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. That's fantastic. Okay. So, you're working with this non-profit, you're actually getting that hands-on experience with Salesforce, you are transitioning to the new structure that that nonprofit has. And you also described when COVID hits. So, tell me a little bit then what happens with your admin job search?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I kind of right before I actually got my first full-time role at PSI services in November of 2019. And so, of course, March 20 is when everything really hit the fan, right? So, I was in my physical new job office for three, four months. But before that time throughout, I would say it was probably maybe six months before that time I was at the bank working the non-profit and then I was just putting job applications everywhere, right? I mean, at first, I was looking around here. There wasn't really anything I could find that I was qualified for the entry level, right? Entry levels, it was hard to find.
And I told my husband, I was like, "I want this so bad that I am putting in..." I made sure it was okay with him. But I said, "I'm going to put in for a job anywhere that's entry level in this country. I don't have to care if I have to sleep in my car because I can't maintain two households. I don't care. I got to get this first job," right? And fortunately after a few companies, I actually got in and got to the interview phase and I got to one and was down to the last two and that went to somebody else that was in the Indy area.
And then, I think I had one more and I just wasn't where they needed to be. And I just kept trying to remember in my mind, I had someone early on in this journey. So, when I had talked to about Salesforce that said, "In the beginning, take every call, take every conversation, take every interview, take everything because you'll learn a lot from that."
And it was true during those different interviews and different people I talked to and even if it wasn't the right fit or wasn't the thing or I didn't have enough of what they needed yet. I think all of that build in eventually and I ended up interviewing with PSI and a lot of the value that I could bring, overshadowed the fact that I wasn't quite a hundred percent there on what they needed for experience yet. And so, they were willing to put that time into me.

Gillian Bruce: That's fantastic. So, let's talk about that a little bit too. What are some things that helped you get that? First of all, because as you said, you maybe didn't meet all of the technical requirements that they had. What were some of the things that you think that you conveyed that helped convince them that you're the right person to hire?

Michelle Corwin: Yes. Great question. And it's really a great point that I think one thing that really helped me was I didn't not put in for things just because the fact that they put two, three years. So, the job that I ended up getting, they were looking for someone that was two to three years, had some different things, maybe they were looking for Apex and they were looking for this and looking for that, that wasn't the job description. I still put in for it.
And I still ended up getting it because at the end of the day, I think it was very important to focus on what strengths do I have, what value and skillset can I bring from my journey, my career, right? Because I think if you meet those core ideas and culture and same train of thought that that leadership is looking for, you can learn some of the Salesforce stuff, right? You can skill up, you can take classes, you can do Trailhead, you can do whatever. So, if you aren't as heavy on the experience side, focus on you and be honest to you and what you're looking for because you'll end up finding that right fit. And I think the right fit is more important than just telling people what they want to hear.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, you have so much experience from I'll be at a different industry but a lot of experience already to bring that and wasn't necessarily Salesforce. So, I think that's important to highlight like, "Hey, don't throw that all away. That's still very evil."

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. And you really never know what it is. So, the funny thing about that interview, I was nervous because I had already done stuff for the nonprofit and I was proud of that. And I talked about what I had done but obviously, some of my terminology around Salesforce was you can tell I'm new to it. But some things that I brought was I am great at talking with executive leadership. I am great at diving. I've been doing financial planning. So, if I can get people to trust me with their money, they pretty much trust me with anything, right?
So, I'm able to have those conversations and it is very similar to business analysis, right? So, I was able to let them envision that I'm able to do that because of other things that I've done. And then, to that company and my leader that was doing the interview, security was probably a hundred percent top of mind. And I just made a comment of, "Yeah. When I leave for the day, I even unplugged the fax machine because I don't know if somebody is going to send something over that has client information that maybe the janitor might pick up." And she was like, "Wow, do we do that?" That has nothing to do with Salesforce, right? Nothing. But it's just you never know what's going to resonate with someone, I think.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, I mean, you talked about some what we "traditionally" talk about as soft skills, right? Executive communication ability to work partner with executive leadership, being a security-minded person. I mean, hey, unplugging the fax machine machine may not have any direct correlation to Salesforce but it shows that you think about security very core important to you and how you do your work. And I think that that's so important to any admin.
So, I mean, to your point, those are things that regardless of if you're in the Salesforce ecosystem or not, it makes, those are things that speak to your ability to get the right kind of job done. So, I think that that's very great to highlight. Something that I would also really love to talk about. So, you got this job at PSI, you're getting your experience. That's great. You mentioned something to me when we were prepping for this call that-

Michelle Corwin: Oh gosh. No.

Gillian Bruce: Now. But hey, now is a great time to get a job as an admin. Can you talk about that a little bit more and recap that a little bit and share with the listeners?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I knew like, "Hey, I'm starting to feel like there's more that I want to learn, want to have more experience with an org that has more. I was already in a complex org but I knew in the next maybe year or so, I would probably look for more to keep that learning path, right? But I didn't have my mindset on that. And in January, probably about mid-January, there was just one day I don't know what switch flip happened. And my LinkedIn just started getting blown up. I mean, more messages, calls, emails. I had to get a Google number because I couldn't keep up with all the recruiters spam that was trying to come at me.
I had to put that on my resume. And I started getting all these messages and I'm like, "What is happening? What in the world is happening?" And I think I probably was averaging 10 recruiters messaging me a day through LinkedIn and that wasn't even the email and the Google calls. And I started thinking about it and I was like, "You know what? I really feel like everyone in 2020 put a hold," right? They were like, "Okay. This is going to end. We're waiting on COVID. We'll wait another three more months to do what we need to do."
And I really think January came around and everybody realized this isn't going anywhere. We have got to find out how to do business around this, right? And then I'm sure there was some strategic changes that happened that warranted, okay, maybe we need to bring on additional people to focus on this side of the business. And it essentially started this crazy story remote for the next I would say in the course of two to three weeks with the calls of the people I had talked to. I had 19 interviews for new positions and that was none of the spam recruiters, that was me already having a good idea of what I wanted and what I was looking for.
And I don't want to waste anybody's time. So, if I knew it was something that I'm like, "Hey, I'm not looking for that," I would let them know like, "Hey, I'm not looking for that." And it really blew my mind because in I would say around May of 2020, I was on furlough for a couple months. So, I went from get hired in November, COVID hits in March, furloughed around April, May time, come back to PSI. And then, January, February, I'm just getting blown up. It was so crazy.

Gillian Bruce: What a wild ride, I mean?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. This is in my first year and a half in Salesforce. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: All the extremes.

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Yeah. I can withstand anything but I was thinking about it today. I'm like, "You know what though? I have zero doubt in my mind that no matter what happens today, I'm in an industry that I can get a job tomorrow." That brings such a peace of mind to me and my family to know that the skillset I have, I do not have to worry if something happens with my company I'm at or whatever it may be because you're in an industry that is open to all sectors, which is so powerful.

Gillian Bruce: I think that is a very, very important point. And just to close your career story or bring us up to where we are now. So, after your 19 interviews, did you get a new job?

Michelle Corwin: Yes. So, I took all the interviews. I took my own advice, right? I talked to everyone and through that process, I would say the most important advice I could give was I was a hundred percent true to me, a hundred percent true to what I value and a hundred percent true to what I needed for that next chapter for me, whether it was work, whether it was the compensation package, whatever it was. And I actually during that process was like, "Oh, I have this role. I'm obviously at a different level now. I have people telling me this is the pay ranges for these positions."
And at one point, I felt like, "Wow, can I even really ask for that?" And I started thinking back to the negotiation first meeting that I had with Liz and I pulled my notes out for that. And some of the keynotes were, I remember, it's not just about money, what do I want? What are my negotiables? What are my non-negotiables? Well, I got used to working from home and I loved it. So, that was non-negotiable. If you're not going to offer me work from home, I'm not doing it.
And some of those things, I started looking at it and I communicated that through the whole process. So, no surprises. I'm not springing it on anybody at the end, was very open and honest about it. And then, when it came to salary, I had met Angela Mahoney, which I loved, I had actually interviewed with her company, ended up through a weird scenario like not getting that position but stayed in touch with her.
And I messaged her one day and I said, "Okay. I don't know if I'm allowed to ask this," right? "But where do you think I could ask for a salary range?" I'm doing this other process, you've met me, you've interviewed me, you've been through the process with me and she gave me a range and it was in a similar range. And I felt really validated, like, "Wow. Okay. Holy cow." So, I can't ask for this. So, when I did my interviews, I actually... Hopefully, nobody from my company's listening, asked for a little bit more than that. And-

Gillian Bruce: That's what you're supposed to do. I think that's our like we're all supposed to do that, whether we knew it already or not. You learn that lesson at some point.

Michelle Corwin: So, I asked for a little bit over not crazy amount over but asked for a little bit over and crazily the way the timing worked out, I ended up with three offers over the same weekend and all of them were willing to give me what I wanted. So, it was a matter of picking which one I felt lined up with what I needed professionally and personally. And so, I went with Integrate, which is who I'm with now.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. Well, congratulations Michelle.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: That is very cool. So, I mean, some of the things that I think were were important to highlight from what you just shared was, I mean, you've mentioned all of a sudden something clicked and you got a ton of attention and you mentioned some of the elements that I think are totally completely understandable, right? People realize, "Hey, this new normal is not new anymore. This is the normal." And if we haven't already gone through some digital transformation, now is the time because this is the way the business is going to get done.
So, we need people to help us make that successful, which, "Hey, Salesforce admins and your view."

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: So, I think it's really interesting perspective. And I think as even though we're part way through the year here, I mean, are you seeing a similar energy around Salesforce admin jobs from your perspective?

Michelle Corwin: Yes. So, I still get hit up, not to the magnitude that happened January, February because I think that was literally first quarter budgeting court planning, right? And everybody went like, "Ooh, we got to figure this out. We can't put it on hold anymore." But I definitely am still seeing a lot of emails, a lot of calls, a lot of LinkedIn messages, a lot of opportunity that's out there. And I think if I could say the things that I did that helped put me in a position for when that happened January, February, was I never stopped keeping my LinkedIn up-to-date.
I never stopped every once in a while I'd go back and look at it and be like, "Do I like how this is portraying me? Does this match what I'm looking for? Do I have my things up-to-date?" And one thing that I did was in my most recent position, I gave a really good description, bulleted idea of what I do in that role on my LinkedIn. So, it didn't have to be every role, right? It's not the whole resume, it's not meant to replace that but I did that. And then I had a really good just paragraph and that about me section of what I do now, what I'm looking for, what's my next step.
And that was also something that was talked about in the meeting that Liz had done in that first meeting was a little bit about LinkedIn. You've got to show... People can't just look at your LinkedIn and assume what you're doing, right? I mean, Salesforce admin, as you know can be really broad. You can have some business analysis that you're doing that maybe you may not be in your title. So, really painting that picture of what's important to you, how you help and what you're looking for, I think is crucial.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's great, great advice, Michelle. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I think that this is incredibly helpful for anyone who's thinking about maybe looking for that next job or trying to get their first admin job. So, I really want to thank you so much for sharing all of your lessons and your advice with us. Is there any one last or a couple of last things you'd love to leave the listeners with?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. I mean, I would say, don't underestimate yourself. Don't be afraid to get out there and do it. And I'm a perfectionist. So, I, in the beginning I got very discouraged, right? I'm never going to get this. It's never going to happen. I can't find that entry role I'm getting told, no, just keep going, focus on building the blocks. We've already talked about what some of those things are, keep working on that, keep working towards it. Be true to yourself. Be honest and it'll all start building on each other and you'll find one day you'll look back.
Like when I was in it, it literally felt like it took an eternity. But everything that I'm talking about that has happened has literally happened in the last two to three years. It's only been a two to three year time span since I heard the word Salesforce and said, "What is it?" So, looking back a hundred percent worth it. And if anyone can do it, I literally could not have even... When I had clients tell me, "I'm in IT," I'm I'm clueless, right? I'm like, "What do you do? I don't even understand what you do."
So, if I can go from there to here, anybody can do it. It doesn't matter what industry you're in and what better way to do it than Salesforce and Trailhead and not go pay $5 million for college. I'm not saying don't go to college if that's your journey. I'm just saying I did college, bachelor's, everything you feel you're supposed to do, busted my butt in an industry for a very long time. And I would say I've probably already increased my salary by three to four times from what I was doing there.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. That's awesome. That's awesome.

Michelle Corwin: So, sky's the limit.

Gillian Bruce: Michelle, amazing way to wrap up this conversation. I am so excited also to see what you do next because clearly, you are on a very propelled trajectory. So, congratulations on your success so far and thank you so much for sharing and helping others with their journeys as well.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Michelle for taking the time to chat with me. I'm inspired. I hope you're inspired as well. I mean, she shared so many great messages, especially about finding, not only finding but getting recruited to be a Salesforce admin within the last very tough year and a half at this point. I mean, what an incredible thing to reverse engineer your way into finding Salesforce career path and then getting recruited in the age of COVID. I mean, what an incredible very positive story for us all to listen to.
Some of the great nuggets I got from our conversation that I think will help anyone, listener, if you are like I said, a mid career transition or looking for your first admin job was first of all, getting connected with the community. I know we've talked about this before but it was so instrumental for Michelle to get actually connected with people in her local community that are in the Salesforce ecosystem that then helped connect her with others.
I mean, some of the conversations and names that she mentioned were instrumental to her growing and getting her first admin job. Another thing I thought that was really interesting that she shared was volunteering your Salesforce time. Not just to help out a nonprofit but to get that experience and adding value in a really real way. Now, it doesn't always have to be a nonprofit you volunteer for. I like how Michelle talked about finding a combination of her passions.
She was passionate about animals and music and wanted a way to use Salesforce in that capacity. And she found an organization that could really use her help. And not only did she help that organization but very important, she left that organization set up to succeed by training the next person to take over her role. So, it's very important to remember as you volunteer your services when you're trying to get that one to three years of hands-on experience that every employer seems to want when you're looking for your first admin job.
Another amazing thing that I think Michelle mentioned that was very important was the art of negotiation. It's very important to do that no matter what job and industry you're in is always negotiating for yourself. And always having that passion to help people is what helped her realize that what she was doing in banking industry was going to help her in this new arena of being a Salesforce admin. So, don't throw away all of that experience you have in another industry in another role because that absolutely makes you instrumental in terms of getting that first Salesforce admin job or any other job, right?
She talks about how her security mindedness, her passion for helping other solve problems. These are things that she conveyed in her interview processes that helped her get hired. So, don't discount your experience even if it's not in the Salesforce ecosystem. Okay. I could go on and on. You just listen to Michelle. She's amazing. If you want to learn more about being an awesome admin, please make sure to go to, where you can find blogs, events, videos, so much great content there to help you in your journey to be an awesome admin.
If you like what you hear on the podcast, I highly encourage you to leave us a review. You can review us on Apple podcast or your wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us some stars. We'd love to know what you think. And if you want to find our incredible guest today, Michelle, on the social medias, you can find her on Twitter. She's @michellecorwin. That's just her name, no space in between the first and last. You can find myself at @gilliankbruce and our other amazing host of this podcast, Mike Gerholdt, @mikegerholdt. I hope you enjoyed this episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re featuring a conversation with LeeAnne Rimel and Farhan Tahir, VP of Product Management at Salesforce. We discuss the key product features that help you put design features into action.

Join us as we talk about the future of declarative app-building on the platform, and what’s coming soon.

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

How the pandemic pushed digital transformation forward

We want to dive into how to build great pages that center the user experience, so we’ve brought Farhan on the pod to help us learn about new approaches and features. He owns Salesforce Pages and AppBuilder, so we thought he’d have some great insights to share. “My mission is to democratize app development in the local space—I want to make app development easy so all of our Trailblazer community can build apps on top of the Salesforce platform and it’s not just restricted to developers,” he says.

The pandemic has forced years worth of digital transformation into months, and Farhan’s team are creating tools like dynamic forms and dynamic actions to build, automate, and innovate at scale with a point and click interface. Automation is a big part of that, and Lightning App Builder and Flow Builder make it easier than ever to do it declaratively.

What’s next for no and low code app building

88% of IT leaders plan on using low code solutions to help transform their digital experiences. Driving that is the anticipated need for 500 million applications by 2023—more applications than have been created in the past 40 years. IT departments will need the help of business users to not get backlogged and continue to innovate. Salesforce is also getting AI and automation involved to help make things even easier, like Guardrails.

Looking forward, Farhan and his team are trying to move away from a UI on top of a database model. Instead, they’re building “mutli-entity experiences” to bring all of the data into one place without having to write a single line of code.

“There’s never been a better time to be really thoughtful about the fundamentals of design,” LeeAnne says, especially as we get more and more tools to shape the user experience. That’s why we’re covering this topic thoroughly in a special  Be an Innovator episode event to help you get your bearings and center the user experience in everything that you do.



Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce. And today I am joined by one of our favorites, LeeAnne Rimel, who is here to talk to you all about something very, very special and important that we're all talking about this month. And that is design thinking admins. We are designers, whether we would like to acknowledge it or not. And what we've got going on this month is a special Be an Innovator event to help all admins learn how to be better designers. Now, when we think about design thinking, well, we've got some specific product and features that are very critical to helping us make better experiences for our end users. And we have an amazing product leader joining us today on the podcast to talk specifically about that.
We're joined by Farhan Tahir, who is vice president of product management here at Salesforce. He's been at Salesforce for 14 years. So he has had a huge part in helping evolve the platform to where it is today. And he's here to share with all of us some of the incredible products he and his team have been working on and how they fit in to this idea of design thinking and how you can best leverage them. So without further ado, let's welcome LeeAnne and Farhan on the podcast. Farhan, welcome to the podcast.

Farhan Tahir: Thank you. It's a pleasure. I'm super excited to be talking to our admin community today.

Gillian Bruce: We're very, very happy to have you. And we have you on for some very obvious radiant reasons, because you're an amazing leader in our product group here at Salesforce. But also because we want to specifically talk about something that we want admins to really think about, and LeeAnne, I'm going to kick it to you to kind of give us some framing for why we've got Farhan on the podcast today.

LeeAnne Rimel: Well, we have Farhan on the podcast because he's awesome. And also because we are talking a lot about page design, how to build great pages, really how to put admins front and center with thinking about that user experience as they're engaging with Salesforce pages. And who better to talk about that with us than product leader who owns Salesforce pages and [inaudible]. So besides your general awesomeness, why we invited you on Farhan, because I think it's a great chance for admins to hear about features and tools and ways they should be thinking about pages and how to work with that builder. And maybe you'll give us a sneak peek into some of the stuff that's coming in the future with that builder and just kind of some general approaches that maybe admins can keep front of mind as they think about designing awesome user experiences.

Gillian Bruce: So with that kickoff, Farhan, can you tell us exactly what you do at Salesforce? Because we've hinted around it. Can you tell us exactly kind of what you and your teams work on?

Farhan Tahir: Yes, absolutely. I've been in Salesforce for a long time. This is my 14th year with Salesforce. I've had multiple different jobs. I started off in account management, I've done support engineering, I've done engineering R&D and I've been in product for the past eight years. So previously I was focused on the programmatic side so frameworks such as Locker Service, Lightning, Web Components. But I'm most excited about where I am today and strategically my mission is to democratize app development in the low code space. By innovating in low code space, I want to make app development easy so all of our credible admin community can build apps on top of the Salesforce platform. It's not just restricted to developers.

Gillian Bruce: That's an amazing goal and strategy and vision and admins are falling in love with you right now. I can hear it. Because that speaks to the heart of what every awesome admin is trying to do. So Farhan, can you maybe talk a little bit about, I mean, to democratize app development, I mean, gosh, that's amazing. Can you talk maybe a little bit about some of kind of the recent innovations that your team has helped deliver in that vein of trying to enable more people to build cool stuff on the platform?

Farhan Tahir: Sure, sure. It'll be my pleasure. So I'm going to take it a step back first. So there was a time when implementing CRM required an army of engineers and a mountain of hardware. And then came along Marc Benioff and Parker Harris with this idea of cloud where teams could quickly achieve their goals with [inaudible] solutions. And it's funny because Marc talks about, in his book Behind the Cloud, he talks about Cockatoo, a particular customer who is in hospital. And the customer said, why do we have to call patients lead? And that sort of sparked the idea of customizations, giving customers the ability to customize their applications. So Salesforce has been really a pioneer in this particular space of providing customization to out of the box CRM, particularly using these click-based configuration tools and obviously bridging the gap to programmatic tools where necessary.
And especially right now with the pandemic, we already know the pandemic last 12 months or so, actually more than 12 months now, it has kind of forced years worth of digital transformation into months. So Salesforce, as I mentioned, has been an innovator in this space for a long time, empowering all of your teams to build, automate [inaudible] at scale. So just to give you a couple of different examples where we're excelling here is just last year, we released the concept of Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions. We gave the-

Gillian Bruce: Cheers from around the awesome admin universe. Yes.

Farhan Tahir: So with Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions, the admin is now empowered to create unique business enterprise experiences just by using point-and-click. And the advantage to the end user is they have the information or the data and the UI they need at their fingertips when they need it. With things like conditional visibility, additionally we brought the power to the email builder. So now as a marketeer, you can drag and drop components and create awesome emails for your customers. And again, that was something the teams worked on last year.

Gillian Bruce: Those are amazing innovations. LeeAnne, I'd love for you to weigh in a little bit about how those innovations have really helped transform the awesome admin role within maybe app development and that experience.

LeeAnne Rimel: Right. And I think Farhan really said it with the rate of digital transformation that we're seeing at our customers over this past year in particular, it really added a lot of momentum and speed and frankly urgency to the pace at which customers had to create good remote experiences, good digital experiences, because maybe you weren't sitting next to someone at work to tell you how to do something, right? You had to have intuitive experiences. You maybe had new employees starting and had to make sure that it was an experience that they could figure out in order to not dampen productivity and efficiency as you're engaging with the app. So I think all of these changes that our customers are going through and that all of these companies are going through, admins are really at the front of that. So we're in a position as admins to be delivering those digital experiences and those digital transformations and dealing with how your users engage with records and pages is one of the most kind of fundamental ways that people engage with Salesforce.
Like if they're using core CRM, using Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, using that kind of account model or a case model, that is so important. It's fundamental to the success of your whole technology stack. That your users can access and input and work with records in the right way. So it was really, I think, an important time for admins to think about the digital experience for their users as they're going through maybe change or new business processes or rapid rates of transformation. So I think, Farhan, when we talk about the position that admins are in to kind of deliver on these experiences and deliver these page experiences like with Dynamic Forms, for example, with dynamic pages, are there any sort of trends or things that you've seen from our customers or admins out there around what they were doing to deliver those page experiences to their users in the midst of this time of rapid transformation?

Farhan Tahir: Sure. So let's talk about the future trends, which are, sort of as I mentioned, accelerated because of the pandemic. And these are things that Salesforce and my team, the low code organization, is focusing on with certain urgency. Because as I mentioned, low code is sort of part of the Salesforce DNA and we spend a lot of our time and energy thinking about what's next. How do we make our admin's life easier and better? They're enabled to innovate on top of the Salesforce platform to solve their business needs. So I think automation is something that I would want to call out first. So with low code development, we allow our users to build rich experiences through drag-and-​drop and point-and-click technology. And one key aspect of building that user experiences automation, in the past making static UI [inaudible] to automation was often left to writing code.
However, with Lightning App Builder, with Flow Builder, these things can be built declaratively. So about a month ago, we had the transformative platform episode, and if you haven't gotten a chance to look at it, I highly recommend spending 30, 35 minutes where we talk about what's newest in the automation land. In this space, talking about this year's roadmap a little bit, as well as we're talking about trends is one feature that I want to highlight is Dynamic Interactions. We talked about Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions, which was released last year. This year, we're going to GA Dynamic Interactions in Lightning App Builder at Dreamforce. And what it will do is it will give you the ability to connect and wire components on a page so they can talk to each other.
So imagine you have a list view and you click on a particular item in the list view, that record ID is automatically transferred or declaratively you've set it up so it's transferred to another component. And that component shows you either the detail of the record or it takes the address and shows you a map of that. Imagine extending that to services. So when you click on a list and you click on LeeAnne as the contact, it sends a text to LeeAnne using Twilio as a service. So this sort of robust UI creation and automation declaratively, I think all organizations need right now and Salesforce is heavily invested in that.
A couple of other things in terms of trend is we're hearing a lot more about citizen development. So we know there's a lot of pressure on IT to deliver these experiences. These digital transformation staff and business users want, with the right skills and the right passion, want to help IT in that particular mission. So I think we're seeing a trend where IT with the right governance, with the right security, with the right permissioning model, is more open to allowing line of business users to be able to create their own applications. So a recent study showed that 88% of IT leaders currently plan to use low code development in the next 12 to 18 months to light up their digital experiences. Now that is caused by the need for about 500 days IDC study, that we need 500 million applications by 2023. That's more applications than have been created in the past 40 years and IT needs the help of business users to support that mission so that IT departments don't have this long backlog, which becomes a bottleneck to business innovation.
So that's another trend that we're noticing and that's sort of why we've been talking about Dynamic Forms, Dynamic Actions, Dynamic Interactions, because these tools are so easy to use that I believe non IT people with the right governance and the right permission will also be able to handle them.
And then the last couple of quick trends is intelligence. I think AI and machine learning is sort of bubbling up in everything. Similarly, in app development, it is also coming up. And as the world is sort of moving to this low code development, organizations are looking to effectively guide their applications builders wisely, regardless of their role or technical background. So sort of a system that leverages predictive analytics and intelligent algorithms to provide real-time recommendations and best practices through your app development life cycle. A quick example of that, if I may, is guardrail. So on the Lightning App Builder, and you're using conditional visibility and dragging and dropping fields and actions in the page, you will notice the guardrail notification is sort of helping you along in terms of what does this mean? What do your actions mean in terms of performance? And how do you improve page performance right from within Lightning App Builder for your end users? Or what does this mean for usability? How do you improve usability?
And all of this is within the Salesforce low code platform. So customers can build and deploy applications faster. Again, with confidence in their quality, security, performance, in adherence to best practices.

Gillian Bruce: Farhan, I could listen to you talk for hours about this. I think the way you [inaudible] these trends into perspective and connecting them into the innovations that Salesforce is bringing to help meet these demands. I mean, I think that stat you just mentioned about 88% of IT leaders plan on using low code to help enable more people to build apps to meet that demand of, what was that? You said 23 million new apps?

Farhan Tahir: 500 million new apps are needed by 2023. .

Gillian Bruce: See, I'm not good at numbers. I mixed those numbers up. I mean, that's incredible. And hearing that perspective, I think really, really puts the importance on a lot of these innovations, normally that your team is building, but kind of Salesforce as a platform overall, and especially the role of the admin. Because I mean, when you're talking about the people who are going to be building these apps, I mean, we're talking about admins for the most part, right? And maybe some delegated super users and whatnot. But this is super, super exciting, I really appreciate you sharing that. I would love to learn, you gave us some sneak peeks on Dynamic Interactions coming. Do you have anything on the product roadmap that you're willing to share? Forward-looking statement, saying that right now with the audience?

Farhan Tahir: I think the team has been hard at work and I'll give you a couple of different things. So we've talked about Dynamic Interactions. The other problem that my team is really trying to solve, and we have good research around from our admins that this is a problem we need to solve is, we need to sort of move away from a UI on top of a database model. If you look at a record, it is a UI representation of an Oracle database, but the work is not being done in terms of records. The work is being done as, I have three or four different steps and I need data from four different records. So what we're trying to do is, what we're calling this is multi entity experiences, which gives you the ability to have your record data from multiple entities, whether they're Salesforce hosted or external entities in one sort of view configured using Lightning App Builder.
So now if you want to close a deal, you have your opportunity lead and account information on the same page, without having to write a single line of code. With all your information right there on singular page, you will be able to have a more cohesive conversation with your lead and be able to close the deal faster without having to navigate to lead and then to opportunity then to account. So I gave you a deal desk example here, but it applies to all sort of applications that you're building. If you're building a custom application, which is around purchase order creation, and for that, you need your product and your code and your customer and your contact information, you will be able to bring all of that in a particular view. And all of this will be declaratively point-and-click from Lightning App Builder. So I think that will move the needle a lot further in terms of end user productivity powered by our system admins.

Gillian Bruce: That sounds amazing. I can't wait for that to come out. I'm sure LeeAnne is already building demos in her head about this.

Farhan Tahir: Yeah. We're super excited about that. And then one other thing is we've always, Lightning App Builder has been around for about a decade or so, and we've given you the ability to create dynamic experiences by dragging and dropping components to a page. We want to take that a step further and give admins more control over component creation. So not only will they be able to design the page by dragging and dropping those components, but we'll also be giving you full control on component development using a declarative custom component builder. So you'll be able to move these smaller base component type of elements around on a canvas, which will result in a custom component created for you. So you don't need a developer to create these custom components. And then once the custom component is there, obviously you end up in Lightning App Builder where you drag and drop it on the canvas and obviously configure the properties of that custom component that you've created.
So this really enables the system admin to take full control of application development right from creation of custom components to designing and deploying that page. And then the last piece that remains is testing. So this next thing I want to talk about is we also want to bring, sometime this year, later on this year after Dreamforce, this idea of declaratively testing your Lightning App Builder created pages. So imagine if you have a page with conditional visibility and now you have Dynamic Interactions, so your data is transforming as you're interacting with the page, you should be able to record all of that and assert that this flow always works as other people are making and deploying those changes. So we're calling that idea, declarative UI testing, and that will be the fourth major thing that we will be working on this year.
And then just quickly, I know there's a lot of other stuff, but some smaller things that our customers have been asking for such as mass actions. We're working on delivering Dynamic Actions on list view and related list, customer defined guardrails, MuleSoft actions. So there's a lot of other work that's happening that I could talk about for hours, but those are the four major things that I wanted to mention here.

Gillian Bruce: Well, clearly I'll have you back on the podcast to talk more about them as they come out. So that's amazing. That's amazing. So LeeAnne, I know we're doing something a little special this month. You mentioned it at the beginning of the podcast, focusing on kind of design thinking for admins. Can you kind of connect the dots a little bit for us with some of the stuff that Farhan has been talking about and what admins should kind of start doing right now.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah. So there's never been a better time to be really thoughtful about the fundamentals of design because I think Farhan shared just a breathtaking amount of innovation that's coming to how admins can build user experiences and really have that full declarative control over page design and over how their users move through the app. And so with great power comes great responsibility, right? And I think as we have more and more tools, it becomes really important that we're very thoughtful about how we're using these tools. That we're thoughtful about how we're using page real estate and creating intuitive and familiar experiences. And so in order to prepare you admins for that, we have a campaign called, Be an Innovator. And during this Be an Innovator episode experience, you get to learn from design experts at Salesforce.
We've got our chief design people at Salesforce that are informing this content and taking what they know about page design and user experience design and helping translate it to the admin experience. And so our hope is that you all participate in our Be an Innovator episode series and learn in practice a lot of these design fundamentals so that when all of these exciting new features are hitting in the fall, you're like, I'm ready to build these really beautiful page experiences with all of these amazing tools I have access to.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's great. That's super important. I mean, hey, these are the best fun ways to kind of work together, to learn something new. These Be an Innovator series and it's super fun to follow along and get that pay off at the end and build something cool. So this is what I'm especially excited about because it's a concept we've always loosely talked about in the past, but hey admins, you are designers. Hello. Let's deliver some awesome experiences for our users here.
Farhan, I want to thank you so, so much for joining us and taking the time to share on the podcast. I mean, you blew us away with all of this amazing context and the vision for what you and your team are doing in the platform. And talk about teasers, oh my goodness. You shared so much Farhan. Thank you so much for joining us.

Farhan Tahir: No, it's absolutely my pleasure. And I'm really looking forward to our Trailblazer system admin community to build cool applications at speed at low cost using the Salesforce low code platform that Salesforce provides. So there's a lot of excitement within the product team, within the engineering team and I hope that our Trailblazer community also shares that excitement.

Gillian Bruce: I'm sure they will. Also, by the way, you're now going to get a ton of followers from every single admin who's listening to this podcast because they're all going to want to know exactly what you're working on. And keep up the speed because you've clearly got some amazing things coming soon. So thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for all the work you and your team are doing and for being an amazing advocate for awesome admins all around the world.
Well huge thanks to Farhan and LeeAnne for taking the time out to chat with us. I always love being able to kick out over great, amazing products, strategy ideas. And holy wow, Farhan dropped some incredible background and knowledge about not only the future of the product, but the vision of how it all fits together and how he really wants to empower all admins and all citizen developers to be able to build apps declaratively. So pretty inspiring message there. I hope you definitely enjoyed it. I know I did. I can't wait to have Farhan back because he also teased us with some incredible forward-looking statement features coming in the near future for admins. So you definitely want to make sure you follow Farhan and see what he's doing. Not only the Trailblazer community, but on Twitter and however else you can get a hold of him.
For some of my top takeaways with Farhan, first of all, pay attention to what's coming up. So later this year, forward-looking statement, we have some incredible things coming that are going to take kind of Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions to the next level. So ideas like Dynamic Interactions and some other, I mean, just incredible innovations this team is working on to really put the power of building apps into our hands as non-coding people. In fact, being able to build our own components with visual tools instead of having to write code. I mean, how cool is that? Pretty amazing.
Another big takeaway is there's a huge trend out in the industry right now, not only because of the global pandemic that we're all hopefully, hopefully soon coming out of, that has forced every single business to do really rapid digital transformation. This has put a huge pressure on IT leaders to really understand how they can quickly deliver innovative apps to enable their organizations to get work done. So Farhan had a great point when he said, hey, these IT leaders, the only way they're going to be able to meet this demand is by enabling people to be citizen developers. And when we talk about citizen developers, that's people like us as admins, who don't code, but definitely want to be able to build apps and deliver useful functionality to our users.
So in order to meet that demand that IT is feeling right now, that pressure, hey, we're the answer admins. So pay attention to that, be ready. And if you are working in an organization right now where you see some opportunities, now is the time to kind of reach out to those IT leaders and be like, hey, I can build an app to help this group or solve this business problem. This is a great opportunity for you to step out and take the lead because you're going to help them out. Let's just say that . Another really cool thing that Farhan pointed out is kind of the idea of using AI to help not only end users, but people like us who are building apps. So things like guardrails, which kind of already exists in Salesforce, which is great. But there's definitely a future there in terms of helping us make intelligent decisions as we build apps based on machine learning.
Okay. So enough I could go on forever. I mean, you just listened to Farhan talk. We will definitely have him back on the podcast. I highly, highly encourage you to follow him. He is on Twitter @tahir, that's T-A-H-I-R_ farhan, F-A-R-H-A-N. Of course you can find LeeAnne on Twitter, the most amazing evangelist ever. She's @leeanndroid. And you can find myself @gilliankbruce. If you want more information on all things awesome admin, including our amazing, Be an Innovator campaign about design thinking for admins, go to You don't want to miss any of it. It's so awesome. We have so much great content on there as well. Blogs, podcasts, because you know, you always need some more [inaudible] and all kinds of videos on whatnot too. So make sure you check that out. We hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope that you have a great day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: The_Future_of_Automation_with_Farhan_Tahir.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Adam Doti, VP and Principal Design Architect at Salesforce. He tells us about the team he leads that empowers Salesforce designers.

Join us as we talk about how Adam and his team have brought designers together at Salesforce, and the resources they’ve put together to help you apply design thinking concepts in your org.

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

A small but mighty team of designers.

“Salesforce Design is a small but mighty team that sits at the intersection of our product user experience design team, our customer success group design team, and our creative team in marketing,” Adam says. They have two main goals: build a culture and community of design at Salesforce, and bringing design to our ecosystem.

When they started, they knew they had a lot of design capability at Salesforce and they needed to find a way to harness it. They wanted to learn from each other and inspire each other, but they didn’t know how that would work. “Everything is designed,” Adam says, “whether intentionally or accidentally—stuff is designed.” And indeed, they ran into all sorts of people who were making design decisions: from professional designers to admins and developers making choices in their orgs. What they realized was that they needed to help people understand how to think about and see design.

Why Admins make design decisions every day.

The Salesforce Lightning redesign brought the platform forward in a lot of ways, “but it actually exponentially made the need for good design even more important,” One concept they focus on is relationship design, a creative approach to driving social value focused on building relationships with customers, employees, and community.

One thing they’re doing is a video series for Be an Innovator focused on the design thinking process. It’ll take you through the six phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, build, and validate. Each episode will have an exercise to help you put those concepts into action in ways that make sense for your org. 



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Direct download: Design_Thinking_for_Admins_with_Adam_Doti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re back with the monthly retro. In this episode, we go over all the great blog posts, videos, and all the other Salesforce content from April.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Blog highlights from April.

For Mike, “What Admins Need to Know About Salesforce Releases” was a must-read this month. It gives you the release timeline, links to resources, and everything you need to get ready. Gillian points to Mia Pacey’s blog about delivering business value.

Podcast highlights from April.

Mike had a blast talking with Mark Ross about how he and his team make Flow documentation. If you haven’t checked out his podcast, the Wizard Cast, it’s worth taking a listen. Another great episode from this month is our episode with Jen Lee about strategy and how to roll out new automations in your organization.

Video highlights from April.

LeeAnne Rimel’s Expert Corner is a great new series that gives you the experience of meeting with a subject matter specialist at Dreamforce or TrailheaDX. You should also check out No Silly Questions, where Gillian tries to answer any question submitted by the community or brings on an expert to help her get to the bottom of it.


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Direct download: April_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am PDT

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we want to pull back the curtain and explain our process for prepping Release Readiness Live.

Join us as we talk about the questions we ask as we go through release notes, why it’s important to use different modes of communication to present key information, and how to find the throughline to tie it all together.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mike and Gillian.

Our Release Readiness Live prep process.

We thought it might be useful to talk about our own process for how we prep for Release Readiness Live content. “It’s one of the more fun parts about our job,” Gillian says, “it gives us an excuse to get tighter with our product organization and look through the incredible breadth of the platform.”

The first thing we consider is whether a new change or feature is something we’ve talked about before with admins. Some areas, like automations, have a bunch of new things continually added while others are one-offs or completely novel. We also consider if it’s an enhancement or something new. Finally, it’s important to highlight improvements to processes that can save steps along the way.

How to communicate changes and new features to your users.

Once we’ve done some processing from the release notes, we work with our content teams to get the information out there. That’s Release Readiness Live, but also demo videos, blog posts, and, of course, this podcast. You might not have the same resources that we have access to, but the important thing is finding a way to accommodate all the different ways people process information and get the key points across.

Most importantly, we’re always looking for a throughline—a story we can tell to put everything together. For example, you do a Slack post that updates a record that fires a new Flow that has a decision in it that does something else. In short, find a way to help your end users relate to the changes and understand how it impacts (and hopefully improves) their day-to-day.

We also wanted to highlight a few key dates for the Summer ‘21 Release:

  • April 15th: Pre-Release Signup (it’s not too late!)
  • May 6th: Sandbox Pre-Release signup
  • May 7: Summer ‘21 Trailhead module goes live
  • May 11th: Release Overview Deck is available
  • May 21st: Admin Release Readiness Live
  • June 4th - 12th: Summer ‘21 Release



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Direct download: How_We_Prepare_for_a_New_Salesforce_Release.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jen Lee, Lead Solution Designer at John Hancock, six-time MVP, and Salesforce Platform Champion. We’re continuing Automation April to learn how you can bring automation magic into your Salesforce instance and make your end users’ lives easier.


Join us as we talk about why you should go with the simplest automation solution for each problem, why you shouldn’t only think about the “happy path,” and how to learn more about Flow.


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


Automation for Admins.


“I like being able to talk to the business users, understand what their business processes are, and then be able to automate those processes for them,” Jen says. She does just that in her day-to-day work as a Lead Solution Designer at John Hancock, but also in the content she creates for the community. Jen is the host of Automation Hour, a series that gives people a chance to present how they’ve used automation to make things easier in their org.


One important thing to realize is that automation doesn’t just impact user productivity—it can also be huge for admin productivity. Jen recently implemented a solution that goes back and removes a deactivated user from everything a week after they’ve been deactivated, saving admins from having to wade through public groups and permission sets and the like. “The admin doesn’t have to remember to do these things, the system remembers for them,” Jen says.


New Flow features.


Jen is excited about several new features that have come to Flows in recent releases. The first thing she highlights is improved functionality behind Record Trigger Flows, which will help you move processes to Flows. Another huge change is the inclusion of a link to Flow Builder in your dreaded Flow Fault email to help you pinpoint what’s going wrong without having to into debug logs.


If you’re looking to get started with Flow, Jen recommends getting started with the projects in Trailhead that focus on Flow. There are also some really great blogs out there that can help you along the way, and we’ve included her recommendations below. The community is generous and happy to help, so if you’re ever stuck make sure you reach out.


How to implement a new automation in your org.


When Jen is thinking about a new process or building a new automation for her org, she starts by talking with users to find out how they currently go through their process. It’s especially important to get them to break down how they know they need to do each step because that’s what you’re trying to automate.


Once you have the business process mapped out, you need to ask yourself: what is the simplest configuration you could use to implement it? “What fires off the process determines which path I take,” Jen says, “understand what triggers the process and then determine the best Flow or Process Builder option to take.” Keep in mind that you need to not only think about what happens when everything goes right, but also plan for and troubleshoot for what happens when everything goes wrong. As Jen put it, “don’t just think about the happy path.”


Jen also shares some ideas for how to train your users to work with new automations and show them how to integrate them into their daily routines, so make sure you listen to the full episode for more tips and tricks.



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Full Show Transcript


Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. Today we have another Automation April guest for you, because we are going to still focus on how you can bring automation magic into your Salesforce instance. Because as admins it's one of the most important things we can do, is help make our end users lives easier. And we can do that because we've got the tools with Salesforce to make that possible. Today, we are going to be talking with Jen Lee. Who's a lead solution designer at John Hancock. She's a six time MVP, a Salesforce Platform champion. She's also got lots of Salesforce certifications. She has a blog. She helps co-host something called Automation Hour, which we'll talk about. So without further ado to help talk more about automation in this month of April. Let's welcome Jen to the podcast.
Jan, welcome to the podcast.

Jen Lee: Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: It's been long overdue to have you back on the pod. It's been been a while, so happy to have your voice back on the pod. Jen I'm sure many people, many listeners already know who you are, but I'd love to give you a chance to introduce yourself to maybe some listeners who aren't familiar with you. So Jen, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Jen Lee: Sure. I'm Jennifer Lee. I am based in Boston and I am a now six time MVP. So excited about that. I love automation. So we'll talk about that in a little bit, a little bit more about that. I currently work for John Hancock as a lead solution designer. So I work with all our agile squads to set best practices and governance standards for all our orgs and I review designs and review built solutions before they go to production.

Gillian Bruce: That is awesome. All right. So you said you love automation. I would love to hear a little bit about why you love automation.

Jen Lee: I like being able to talk to the business users, understand what their business processes are and then be able to declaratively or sometimes with a little bit of code help, be able to automate those processes for them. So taking manual steps and just with a click of a button, or if they make changes to record, be able to save that and then it does all the things for them. So that's just cool being able to help them and boost their productivity.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think that's one of the core elements of being, what we like to call an awesome admin, right? Is being able to make our end users lives easier and help them do their jobs with less tasks involve. So let's talk a little bit about your expertise in automation and what you are doing in that space. So I know you've done a lot of content for the community on automation. Can you talk to us a little bit about kind of some of the main things that you do within the Trailblazer Community focused on automation?

Jen Lee: Oh, I forgot to even mention my blog in the intro. How did I forget that? I have a blog, I also co-host Automation Hour. So in Automation Hour, for example, we give people a forum to present automation and how they solutioned for the audience. So different skill sets, but we cover all things like Process Builder and Flow. But particularly what I focus on is, more so now, on Flow Builder and all the cool features that I could build with flow. I focus on things like the administrative side of things, the user maintenance side. For example, when you're deactivating a user, a lot of times admins don't go back and clean up all the other things that the user is part of. So like public groups, permission sets, cues, all those things. And at John Hancock, I built a solution that once we deactivate a user and a week afterwards, just to make sure that the user doesn't need to be activated again. We go and have an automated scheduled flow that goes through and removes them from all the things.
So that an admin doesn't have to go to public groups and remove from permission sets and licenses and all that sort of thing. So it's really focusing on building up the productivity. So someone doesn't have to remember to do those things.

Gillian Bruce: So I think I love that story because what I hear this is like a automation that works for admin productivity, as opposed to just end user productivity.

Jen Lee: I even do things like, if we know certain users meet a certain criteria, we could add and remove permission sets accordingly or permission set groups, things like that. Again, the admin doesn't have to remember to add these people to those things. The system remembers for them.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I love that. I love that. Less manual labor is always a good thing. So Jen, you mentioned, flow is definitely something that we are focused on here in Automation April as I kind of dubbing it. What are some things that are kind of newer in flow that you think admin should pay attention to because they either make you excited or you see some great value props from them?

Jen Lee: Yeah. And I want to give props to the PMs of automation because they continue to add such great features with each release. So some of the things to look out for is now there's a lot more functionality behind record triggered flows. So now you can take your processes and start moving them to flows because Flow Builder's going to be the end state automation tool. So you can now remediate that tech debt, where you have all these processes and start moving them to flow. They've done a lot in terms of helping out with debugging flows. So one of the most recent changes in the last release was now when you get that ugly looking flow fault email, it includes a link to the Flow Builder. So you click on that. It takes you directly into Flow Builder where your flow faulted. And so now you could visually see where the record went and then it stopped.
So it just adds to the whole troubleshooting, being able to quickly troubleshoot and not have to go into like debug logs and things like that. And then some of the other features when I compare to when I first started learning flow. Now in Flow Builder, you don't have to set all the variables, because way back when in Cloud Flow Designer, for everything that you needed to hold data for, you're creating a variable. And now this has really helped speed up the learning curve on flow, because you can have Salesforce Flow, create those variables for you. You could still create them if you want to, but it's just speeds up the development process of creating flows.

Gillian Bruce: So I vividly remember Jen, the first time that I tried to use flow and it was the old Cloud Designer. Oh my goodness. And I remember, I didn't even understand what a variable was. And I was so confused because I felt like I was having to create six things in order to just do a two or three step flow. Especially not being from a developer background, I didn't even understand these concepts. I'm like, "What is an SObject? What is a variable? Why do I need to set these things? What is this language I'm using? I don't get it." So when you mentioned that, with the new version of flow, which is amazing. The fact that Salesforce automate some of that, might make it a little easier for anyone who got a little intimidated by flow in previous years to kind of maybe think about diving in to flow land. I keep naming different lands on this podcast. I don't even know how many there are at this point.
But can you talk to us a little bit about, maybe somebody who's new to flow or is a little hesitant. Can you talk a little bit about how they might think about or approach flow land? What are your tips and advice for people and why they should do that and how they should approach it?

Jen Lee: So I had a very similar experience to what you had when you first started with Cloud Flow Designer. I opened up that blank canvas and saw variable. What's a variable? What's the SObject stuff. And I immediately closed the browser. I'm like, "I don't know what this is. I have no idea." And I eventually kept at it and I am where I am today because I was persistent. But I totally understand if you started off with that and you looked at that, you're like, "Okay, this is so complex." You really did need a developer mindset to understand what it was that you needed to do. So I would say, "Okay, now is the time, where it's okay to go into Flow Builder."
So now instead of understanding SObjects, you have just one Get Records and one Update Records, and one Delete Record. You didn't have to know whether this was a fast update or a regular update. And again, I mentioned not needing to create variables, all that stuff is done for you. And it just makes it so much easier to use the tool. So I would recommend, if you haven't played around with the projects in Trailhead that focus on flow, I would recommend going and doing that. Because it goes through step-by-step on how to create something in flow. I would also recommend reading the blogs of people who teach flow. So my blog, Rakesh Gupta's Automation Champion blog. There's so many out there right now. But really taking one of those that have a use case that you could connect with and actually go through the steps of building it and then just keep at it.
And the community is just so great that when you have a question, whether it's on Twitter or it's on some Slack channel or on the Trailblazer Community, you post that question, people are so helpful that even if they can't do it within the Trailblazer Community, because it might be a little bit complex going back and forth. I've seen people post messages, like "I will jump on the phone with you and I will help walk you through it." So I'd say, try it. And if it doesn't work, keep trying, but reach out for help. Because there's so many people willing to help out and eventually it will connect. It will connect for you.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Yeah, the generosity of the Trailblazer Community always blows me away about how people are so willing to spend their time to help someone else learn. Just a simple little thing or troubleshoot a simple issue. And then it just grows from there. It's incredible. It's incredible. So Jen, can you also talk to us a little bit about your overarching strategy. You talked earlier about, the use case that you had, automatically removing a user, a deactivated user from processes. When you're developing a new process, or thinking about bringing a new type of automation into your org. What are kind of the first steps that you take? Maybe even before you start building it. How do you figure out what you need to build? What kind of teams and meetings and stuff do you set up? Talk to us a little bit about that.

Jen Lee: So if it's benefiting the user, I would typically talk to the user and have them show me the steps that they currently take to do X, whatever it is, that they're doing. And literally step through the process and I'll say, "How do you know you had to put this value in there." Because sometimes when they're clicking, they're not talking through the things that they determine in their head. Because ultimately when you're building out automation, you need to be able to know those things and tell Salesforce what they need to do or how. Or I need to get this account information. How did I know which account to get?
So those are the things that you need to... Like on paper, write down, here's what the business processes, or here are all the manual steps that need to happen in decisions. Write it down, map it out in some process diagram, and then get consensus. Like, this is what I heard you. And then this is the pieces that I'm going to automate and how I understood the process to be. Get consensus, and then that's when you then go into Salesforce and actually build it out.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. I liked the verification step that you just mentioned too. First you kind of do your investigation with asking the user the very detailed questions of why did you put that there? Where did that come from?

Jen Lee: With the five whys, why did you do that? Why? Why?

Gillian Bruce: Right. Channel your inner toddler and just drive them a little crazy, but it'll work. It'll make them happier in the end. And then the verification of showing them the process that then you've mapped out based on what they've showed you. And then getting the like, "Yes, that's what we do." Or maybe, "No, you skipped a step." Or "That's not how that's related." I think that's really important to think about.
So the next step then Jen is, how do you then start thinking about how to put that into Salesforce? How do you figure out what features to use? Maybe even from when you start building it to. Whatever tests and stuff you do, and then even through rollout and getting users to start adopting it. Can you talk us through a little bit about how you do that?

Jen Lee: So once I understand the requirements or business process, then I'll think through, what's the simplest configuration that I could use. Maybe it might not be flow. Maybe it's just a quick action that takes you to the page with fields, and then that's how you submit it and save it. So if it is automation, then I'll figure out, do I go the Process Builder route? Is it something that's a record change? And then it does other things, or can I start in flow directly. Figuring out what fires off the process, determines which path I take. So if it requires collecting information then I know that, that's a screen flow. If it's something that happens on a schedule basis and that's scheduled flow. So it's like understanding what triggers the process and then determining the best flow option or Process Builder option to take.
Then when I build out my flow, for testing purposes, you need to consider not only the happy path when everything goes right, but also the other things that could potentially go wrong. And then in testing you have to build in controls that might prevent those errors from happening. So for example, if your process looks for a value in the field, and then it does these other things, well, then you need to put in a check. Does this field have a value before you go in or else your flow's going to fault. So then you need to put in those extra measures to check for that. And then also in your testing, you need to do negative testing and make sure that those things don't happen as well.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Don't just think about the happy path. It's very important to remember. Because I think sometimes we work so hard to build something and you just are so focused on how cool that is and it works and it's so great. But you got to remember, users are going to do all kinds of stuff and you never know.

Jen Lee: Exactly. And you're like, "Why did you do that? I didn't even think of that situation." So then you have to go back and build that situation in. Yep.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Again, kind of going back to a toddler analogy since I have one. It's like thinking about all the possible things that they might do to destroy something, right?

Jen Lee: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: You got to move the sharp objects, another shelf up, or you've got to put the door knob protector on there, all of the different things. So let's then talk about kind of rolling a new automation out to your users. So you've got it built, you've tested it, it works. What are some strategies? Because you don't work at a small organization. Tell us a little bit about how you roll out a new feature set or a new process to your user base.

Jen Lee: So depending on how many users we're touching, we might in our release, provide release notes to let folks know, hey, there's a change coming. Sometimes when it's automation, it might be just transparent to them, and they shouldn't need to know that something's changed behind the scenes. But if it's something that's taking manual steps and automating it, we would typically maybe do a video clip and send it out to the users, or on Lightning, you could use that in-app guidance. And for a period of time, if they're going on a page where you have that automation, give them a heads up. Here's what's different now, to let them know.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's a very good point about the in-app guidance. It's a great tool for any admin looking to roll out anything. So Jen, I would love to kind of, before we wrap, have a little fun. So Jen, you have been in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while and in the Trailblazer Community. I would love to know what is one of the most interesting or funny, maybe use cases or demos, that you have seen from either in your own that you've built as an example or somebody else in the community who shared something that kind of made you giggle?

Jen Lee: I know I saw someone build automation where they use it to play a Blackjack game. And I thought that was an interesting thing. And I forget if it was Dreamforce or it was a webinar or something. But yeah, I thought that was an interesting use case to build with automation. I wouldn't have ever thought about that.

Gillian Bruce: I wouldn't either. There you go. I like it. That's great. All right. So any kind of last parting thoughts or pieces of advice you love to leave our amazing, awesome admin listeners about automation in general? Before we wrap up today.

Jen Lee: Create that automation because that's really using your awesome admin powers to help out your users and increase their productivity.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Simple, great, powerful. Jen, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. And I so appreciate all the work you do with Automation Hour and your blog. I know it helps thousands and thousands of awesome admins in the community. So thank you.

Jen Lee: Thanks Gillian for having me back.

Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Jen for taking the time to chat with me. It's always great to catch up with her and of course talk about all things automation. So for my top takeaways from our chat with Jen today is first of all, when you're thinking about implementing or designing an automated solution for your users, go with the simplest path possible. As Jen says, that is going to set you up for success in the longterm. It's also going to make your job easier. So really think about what type of automation is needed. Is it something where you need to capture information, in which Jen suggests using Screen Flow? Is it something where when a record changes, other actions need to happen? This is where you really determine which type of automation you are going to build.
Next, think more than just about the happy path, as Jen says, thought this was great. You know, we really love to get proud of ourselves. We build complex awesome, beautiful automated solutions, but guess what? People are going to do all kinds of things to that process. So make sure you try all of the different ways in which that process may or may not break. As I said, think of it as childproofing your process for any parents out there, you understand what I'm talking about.
And then finally, when you're trying to learn about automation and flow, I really like Jen suggestion of trying to find a use case, an example, that you can identify with, that you can relate to. There's plenty of content, we've got projects on Trailhead, there are examples in both Jen Lee's blog and she mentioned some other resources which I'll put in the show notes. Find a use case that speaks to you that maybe is more relatable to your job function, or maybe even something fun, not related to your job, but that you understand. That will really help you as you follow along and build that on your own to help understand how the tool works and how the features can really do some amazing stuff.
So those are my three takeaways from speaking with Jen. I hope you enjoyed listening to the pod. As always, if you've got a review for us, we'd love to hear it. So make sure you go on over and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. And if you want to learn more about all things, awesome admin, make sure you go to for all kinds of great content, blogs, Trailhead, the live events, podcasts, even some fun videos and make sure you check that out. You can follow us on social at @SalesforceAdmn no I. Our guest today Jen Lee is on Twitter, she is @jenwlee. And you can find myself @gilliankbruce and my cohost Mike Gerholdt @MikeGerholdt . With that, I hope you have a wonderful day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Automation_for_Admins_with_Jen_Lee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PDT

For this week’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Mark Ross, Senior Tech Writer at Salesforce. We ask Mark how he approaches documentation and how you can make a difference for your users.

Join us as we talk about what goes on behind the release notes, what’s important when you write your own documentation and the importance of learning your variables when it comes to Flow.

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

The Salesforce CCX Team

You might recognize Mark’s voice from the WizardCast. At Salesforce, however, he works on the CCX team (Community, Content, and Experience). They help with Trailhead, documentation, and more, and Mark specifically focuses on automation services: Flow, Process Builder, Workflow and Approvals and even IoT.

“I’m someone who is a very technical-minded person, but I never learned to code—not really,” Mark says, “Flow can do all these things that, ordinarily, I would need code to do and it opened up a whole new world for me.” In other words, Mark is a certified Flownatic and he wants to share that enthusiasm with everyone and teach them how to harness the power of automation.

Mark’s keys for writing good documentation

So how do you write documentation for new features? It starts with sitting down with the engineers to actually go over everything and look at any text that might be a part of the UI. Next, Mark and his team turn to the release notes. “Believe it or not, release notes are the most-viewed documentation of Salesforce,” he says. They want to not just communicate what’s happened, but why it’s useful.

When Mark is prepping Flow Release Notes, he starts by going through the headers to see what will affect his current customers or users. Sometimes, that also means noticing new features because it gives you the ability to let people know what’s on the way.

“If you release something for your users and you don’t write down how to do it, you’re automatically doing them a disservice,” Mark says, “even if you train them face-to-face, that’s not the same as them having something they can come back to later.” Especially if you can keep things simple and use screenshots to help point people in the right direction.

There’s a lot more in this episode, including what Mark and his team think about when they write error messages, and an adorable special guest.



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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 an awesome admin. This week, we're talking with Mark Ross, who's a technical writer, about flow documentation and how we learned about flow and it's features. Now, you might have heard Mark on another podcast, he's also the cohost of The Wizard Cast, which is a big fan favorite of everybody that records this podcast, so shout out there. And, he's also given a ton of Dreamforce presentations around flow. So this is very exciting, I'm so glad we got Mark on the podcast. So here we go, let's bring Mark on the pod.
So Mark, welcome to the podcast.

Mark Ross: Thanks, Mike. It's good to talk to you again, it's been a little while.

Mike Gerholdt: It has. And, for those community members that perhaps are like, "This voice sounds familiar," you're also on another podcast. We'll start there as your introduction.

Mark Ross: Well, that is true. There's a little podcast that's out there called The Wizard Cast, and despite it's name, we actually talk about Salesforce. We don't have too many episodes going out lately because pandemic stress and all that. But yeah, we're out there on all the major platforms for podcasts.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, when I think flow and Salesforce flow, and dare I say flownatics, I think of Mark Ross because I know you've been on stage at Dreamforce talking flow. Gillian and myself have done a lot of content around flow. Let's start off with what you do at Salesforce and how that relates to flow.

Mark Ross: Sure. Well, I am on the community and content experience team, CCX. We specifically are responsible for creating the content that is customer visible. In this case, specifically that's going to be documentation. But we also help with Trailhead, our particular team, and a few other things that are out there, that are community facing. Not everything that's customer community facing, but we still have quite a bit of it.
I specifically am on the CX team, as we say, for automation services. In other words, flow, process builder. Even workflow and approvals, and even IoT.

Gillian Bruce: Just a few things to cover in your scope.

Mark Ross: Just a few things.

Gillian Bruce: Not too bad, right?

Mark Ross: Right.

Gillian Bruce: So Mark, I would also love to maybe just give a tiny bit of background into how you came into this role, because you've been at Salesforce a couple years now, maybe?

Mark Ross: Yeah, I started in January '19.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. And before that, we talk about flownatics, most of the context in which I think Mike and I are very familiar with you and your work is actually pre-Salesforce days, when you were not part of the company but you were an end-user, and an MVP and a leader in the community. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you became a flownatic?

Mark Ross: Back in 2010, I attended my very first Dreamforce. And, we as a company, the company I was working for at the time, we hadn't even really started using it yet. But my company sent us all to Dreamforce to say, "Hey, you're going to start using this Salesforce thing, you might as well go learn about it."
And I attended a session on the desktop flow designer, and it was literally an executable you had to run on your machine that saved .flow files that you then had to upload into Salesforce, and I was absolutely entranced. As much as I had drunk the blue Kool-Aid at Dreamforce in general, my very first Dreamforce, flow to me was the big takeaway. I immediately went back to company to start figuring out all the things I could do with flow. Every new position that I took at the same company or different companies, I was always flow, flow, flow, flow, flow. Until the point where I realized, I love flow, I love flow. Why is nobody else talking about flow? This is an amazing thing, nobody in the community's every talking about flow, so I decided I'm going to start talking about it. That's basically how it happened. I met Brian Kwong at another Dreamforce, and he and I became fast friends and flownatic buddies. He and I basically became partners in crime.
From there on, I basically had a lot of different positions. And at some point I'm just like, "You know what? I'm done with at the very least the consulting thing, and not feeling the admin thing as much any more. I wonder if there's something I could do for Salesforce?" I started talking to people, I started looking around, and eventually ended up at, where I was writing documentation for some of their gift entry products. And then, last year the flow documentation team, the automation services CX team, reached out to me and said, "Hey, we have an opening, we hear you love flow." I was like, "Man, I love, my team here is really great, but it's flow! I can't say no to that," so I made the jump. That's the story.

Mike Gerholdt: So flow caught fire for you. Why do you think it really clicks for some people like yourself and not everyone?

Mark Ross: I think, for me specifically and I'll branch this out into how I think other people probably feel about it just from my guess. For me, I am somebody who is a very technical-minded person, but I never really learned to code, not really. Learning Apple Basic in grade school isn't the same thing as sitting down with Apex and whipping out a whole bunch of functions and triggers. It's not the same thing. So I had the programmer's mindset, but I didn't have the experience. Every time I tried to sit down to learn it, it became a prohibitive thing. I even went to Apex training, and it just, for some reason, wasn't clicking.
But when I sat down in front of flow, it clicked. To me, it was this is the things that I would normally need to do, especially when you go back to 2010, 2011 when I first saw this. Flow can do all these things that, ordinarily, I would need code to do, I would need Visualforce to do, and that was a big, big deal. All of a sudden, it was a whole new world without actually singing the Disney lyrics because that would get us in trouble. It was I now have more power than I know what to do with, and anybody has previously considered, without needing code. I think that was part of the big allure at first, it was this ability ... I can do things workflow can't, and I don't need to write a line of code.
That is incredibly attractive to people, maybe they are Salesforce literate, they've been doing Salesforce for a long time. But code, the hurdle's just a bit too high without hitting your toes on it. To be able to still have a good measure of that power, to be able to do things that your users want and that you want to do for your users, and to make really snappy interfaces as we're starting get better looks for flow now, that's incredibly alluring. That's where I think the draw comes from.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I think you encapsulate it. Clearly, you hear the flownatic passion in your voice. I think what you outlined is a lot of the reasons why we definitely are focusing on automation and all things flow this month for admins.
I would love to maybe hear a little bit more. Mike said that, basically, you're in documentation land. I don't know why I make everything a land, a feature set in this podcast. Maybe now you have me thinking Disney and I'm thinking, "Oh, we have Automation Land and Documentation Land."

Mike Gerholdt: Land of the Lost.

Gillian Bruce: It's all these happy places, the happiest places on Earth. Or, on the platform. Can you talk to us a little bit about how documentation plays into the arena of flow? And what the role is, how you approach it? What is your methodology there?

Mark Ross: Sure. We have a cycle, just like their developers do. They have a cycle where, any given release, they have to do things in a certain order, and we do as well. When we're presented with the actual things that are being worked on by the engineers, we actually help to do the UI text. We don't just do documentation, we're actually sitting down and saying, "All right, this button should be called this because, unfortunately, the name the developers came with is a little bit misleading." Everything from errors messages, to modals, to the actual clickable interface, if it's got text in it, we're looking at it. That's part of our cycle.
The next thing we look at is release notes. Because believe it or not, release notes is actually the most viewed documentation of Salesforce. That is actually a really important area of focus for us, so we spend quite a bit of time on release notes as well, making sure that they are understandable, making sure they're communicating things, not just what's happened but how it's useful as well to the users. It's not just enough to say, "Well, we've made this." What we also are trying to say, "We made this, and you can use it for this. Or, it improves your life in this way."
Apart from release notes, we also of course do the actual documentation. So you have the help doc, also the dev doc, things like the API docs, metadata API docs, things like that. We don't necessarily touch all the little things that are dev doc oriented, but we do help with those metadata, API focused areas. But the documentation, of course, is a big deal. A lot of that, to be honest, we're going in and we're updating things that need to be updated. But every now and then, we're going to put out a new page. The thing is, the flow documentation started in a bit of a rough spot because it was relatively complicated. Many years ago, it started out relatively complicated and it was difficult to just, all of a sudden, slap down a whole bunch of documentation for that. So over time, a lot of documentation has been added. If you checked out the flow documentation five years ago, it's a very different beast now than it was then.
We're covering a lot more topics. We're covering a lot of things like best practices, how [inaudible] works, limits. Some of those limits docs are my favorite docs. You wouldn't think the documentation that says the things you can't do would be one of my favorites, but it absolutely is. Because I can't tell you how many times I've hit some kind of an error, and didn't know what it was, and somebody pointed, "Hey did you go over your limits?" I was like, "Limits? There are limits?" Yes, there are limits so you have to go check those out. Element limits, sociable limits, things like that. So many of my problems, and so many of the people I've talked to, people in the community, their problems have been solved just by going to look at that. There's all sorts of other really helpful things, more in use cases, example use cases that are out there as well. References for individual parts of flow, all the different screen components, all the different elements, they all have their own individual pages so those are valuable, too.
And then, after of course documentation, there is Trailhead. We don't necessarily manage all of the Trailhead content, but there are certain badges that we definitely help to maintain. There are some that we're having to retire because they're, frankly, out of date. At some point in the future, we're going to have some more flow content coming, and we're definitely wanting to hear your feedback on that as well. Because we know there are some gaps in how the Trailhead badges guide people, we want things to be not too prescriptive but not unhelpful, either. So if anybody has any input on that, we'd very much welcome that.
I think that pretty much covers our doc cycle and everything we put out.

Mike Gerholdt: You hope, until the next release.

Mark Ross: Right, exactly. There's always more, right?

Mike Gerholdt: I'm trying to bounce between being a beginning admin learning flow, and somebody that's been on the platform for a while. You've been around for a while, you remember before Trailhead and only having documentation as a way to learn a product.
I'm going to use the release as a jumping off point. As somebody that's rolled out flow, that has a lot of processes and flows built, and I'm sure a lot of listeners do as well, what are things in the release notes that you look for?

Mark Ross: When you're talking about flow?

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Mark Ross: Well, my general behavior for flow release notes is the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to do a pass, just start reading the headers. I'm looking for things that are going to ... If I'm an admin, in my days as an admin, I'm looking for things that impact my current customers first. Whether I'm a partner, implementer, I'm looking for my customers. If I'm an admin for a company, I'm looking for my company, the things that are in my org or orgs right now. Because there are going to be changes, there are going to be critical updates and those things can have an impact on the things already out there. But, sometimes there's a new feature that came out.
Just two months ago I was telling somebody in sales that I couldn't do this. Now all of a sudden, this is now a feature that's going to be available. It's going to be beta, it's going to be new, but at least I can tell them it's on the way. That's something you can ... Especially if you're working with a sales department, a sales enablement, or whatever department that you're working to enable, just being able to tell them, "Yes, it's coming. It's on the way," will make them feel so much better.
So reading the release notes, and getting an idea of what's out there and what's coming, even if you can't use it, even if you're tied behind procedures that ... I say tied, that makes it sound negative. Even if you're having to listen to procedures that are governance oriented saying, "Well, you can implement something until goes through this change management board," that's great, you always respect the change management board. But at least you'll be able to tell people, "Hey this is coming. I feel your pain and we're going to work to get it implemented as soon as we can," that will make them feel so much better.
Other things to look for in the release notes, sometimes the release notes will have a basic how-to if the feature we're talking about is particularly complicated. You briefly mentioned release notes as documentation, in a sense, they can be a little bit, very entry level documentation. When we're doing help doc, we're going to go into more detail, more information about something, but sometimes if you just need a really quick primer on something, the release notes can be a good place to start.

Gillian Bruce: So Mark, I would love to maybe ask you, switching your mindset a little ... Clearly, you are a documentation superstar. If I'm an admin at an org, and I am building flow processes and all kinds of stuff, how should I think about documentation and incorporating some of maybe the best practices you've learned into my own processes?

Mark Ross: Documentation is really interesting, at least for me. I'm a nerd, obviously. It's interesting because you can do so much with it, with just a little bit of time. I think that's the hurdle that a lot of people feel, is finding the time to sit down and write something. But, if you release something for your users and you don't write down how to do it, you're automatically putting them at a bit of a disservice. Even if you train them in it face-to-face, that's not the same as them having something they can come back to later. So just sitting down and writing the steps out, just do it, just make the time, find the time. Convince whoever's in charge of your hours that it's worth the time because it really is, it will save you so much trouble and will save your users so much frustration. So that's the first step, just do it.
The second step is make sure that whatever you're doing is clear and understandable. And I know that that is easier said than done, and not a very specific answer, but it is really important. If you're using a new term, maybe you've named a new app, use that same term consistently. Don't flop around with different versions of it, it will confuse users.
Hang on, my cat is being demanding. He's being noisy.

Gillian Bruce: I couldn't tell if that was child or an animal.

Mike Gerholdt: I couldn't either, but that's awesome.

Mark Ross: Ah, there. You've had some love, so are you happy now? Okay. Where was I?

Mike Gerholdt: What's the cat's name?

Mark Ross: Twiglet.

Gillian Bruce: Twiglet, that's great.

Mark Ross: She's a fat black-and-white cat, aren't you? Yes. She's a talker.
Using the same terms is important. Also, try to avoid really, really complicated language. If you can keep things simple, that's going to be really helpful as well. Don't use jargon, don't use things, don't assume that they know Salesforce terminology because they might not. Screenshots, screenshots. Again, they take time but they're worth it, because you can literally point someone in the right direction. Anything you can do to help make things more clear, and not be vague, and not be too technical.
Those two things, just do it and be clear, those are the best things you can do.

Mike Gerholdt: Was there something you've learned, now that you've been writing documentation for a while, that you think could be really helpful for admins to know?

Mark Ross: I'm not sure, I'm not sure how to answer that. Frankly, as long as you're ... A lot of what I've learned since coming onto documentation is how to do proper technical documentation. So things like style guides, where there's established written Wikis, or Confluences, or books like the Chicago Manual of Style, which professional writers have to use. That's the difference between what I as an admin had to do, writing just documentation for my features, and then becoming a professional writer and having to write up to a certain standard, there is a bit of a gap there. I don't think that gap is necessary to be bridged as an admin, I think it creates too much pressure and too much expectation.
I think, again, if you're just writing something and you're trying to write it clearly ... That is definitely one of the things we look at, when I'm having my editor look at things, is clear. It has to be clear, it has to be understandable. Is it possible that however I wrote this could be interpreted in a different way? You would think the innocent pairing of words couldn't possibly mean anything else, but it turns out, oh wait, this could actually be meant as something entirely different. So going back over your text after you've written it, and maybe making new versions of it. We call it iterating, on the team.
So I wrote something, but I'm not feeling that great about it. That's fine, move on, come back. When you read through it again, oh there's that sentence. You know what? Here's another version, and just write it again, just make more iterations of that text until you get something. When you're doing your own self edit, look for the things that might mean something entirely different if you look at it at just a different angle.
This is relatively high level documentation stuff, but sure, those are things that could be valuable. I'm not sure how well I answered that.

Mike Gerholdt: No, a lot of it is you learn what you don't know. Some of it, I think to the point that you brought up, sometimes at least when I'm writing content, or working on something for a project, you'll find you're so close to it that you don't remember to tell people what you innately know. I feel that with documentation. You're so close to the app that you're writing maybe these high level milestones, and in your brain you're filling in the gaps because you know it already. And then, to the point that you brought up, you have someone else read it, well they don't have those. Those gaps aren't filled in, in their mind. That's a really good point to bring up. The ability for someone else to read it, comprehend it and be up to speed is something you should always shoot for.

Mark Ross: That's the other reason we say to avoid writing too technically, or writing with jargon, because that will automatically put you in the place where the user doesn't know what you know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Let's tackle what is near and dear to just about every question I feel like I read on the community, which is error screen or error messages, and my flow doesn't work. Because in your mind, I feel like we're set up for success. Everything comes with a kit now, and a user guide, and you dump it out of the box, and you flip through it, and you snap everything together and boom, you got it. But with flow, you get to experiment, and you're working with data, and rules, and limits. Sometimes, stuff just doesn't work. How do you approach an error message? And what are you looking for in documentation that helps give you that moment of I know what to do next?

Mark Ross: Boy, error messages. They're actually one of the hardest things, in my experience, to work on because you really got to make sure from a Salesforce perspective that it's right.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Mark Ross: You've got to make sure you've got all the context, and that's absolutely critical. If you're going into an error message, you want to be sure you understand under what circumstances could this appear. Is it only in the UI? Is it going to also potentially show up in the API? Or, is it API only? If I'm doing some sort of push via API of a flow, is that the only way I'm going to see this error? That's really critical.
You have to keep audience in mind as well. If you're pushing something API only versus UI only, well API only, you're probably going to have developers, and architects and highly advanced admins doing that, as opposed to something that appears just in the flow build of UI. Well, that is going to be anybody. Entry level flow people, they're going to see this as well. We have to keep in mind audience, who we're talking to, what level they're at as well.
We also have to take into consideration when this appears, what could cause this to appear. And, is that going to necessitate how we're actually writing this? All these little details are why error messages are really one of the hardest things we do. It's actually one of my projects that I've been banging my head against lately, is a big set of error messages, because it is just so demanding. And, taking it in front of the developers and the engineers and saying, "Hey, does this look right?" And then taking it in front of the editor and saying, "Hey, what do you think of this?" It's this back-and-forth process where we have to make sure this error message is really going to communicate, as clearly as possible.
And even then, these error messages are often going to be very specific. The devs, the engineers, they can only do so much. They really do try to cover every base they possibly can, but there's nothing anybody can do to prevent any given admin from getting an unhandled fault for just some random thing that nobody could have predicted. That happens nine times out of 10. But, I have seen with my own eyes just how much effort they put into covering all the bases, because I know how many error messages I have to write.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I can only imagine. The complexity, you have to think about how do we word this encompass quite a few things, too.

Mark Ross: Exactly, exactly. While not getting too out of hand, or being too narrow, so that it doesn't cover all those bases.
The other thing ... Sorry, this is actually really important. I should have said this. The other thing we try to do in our error messages, and I would recommend to anybody else whose doing anything like this, also include what the person whose reading the message can do.

Mike Gerholdt: Ah!

Mark Ross: That's a really important thing. Because if you're just saying, "Ah, this broke," that's not helpful. But if you're saying, "Hey, this didn't work. Try doing this. Or, remove this faulty thing. Or, add this first." If you're able to provide some amount of instruction, you're automatically putting your users in a much better place than they were before.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Thinking through, because you're not there when the error message fires. You could be heading home from work, or walking the dog, or doing something and somebody in a call center hits an error message. It's not like they have you immediately on speed dial, and they need to know exactly what to do next, so I think working through that. I also think a lot of the questions that I see in the community, too, are they're getting error message while troubleshooting a flow, and trying to work through some of that documentation as well.
From a documentation standpoint, which I thought it was interesting to take this approach for a pod because we've talked about flow a lot and I've seen some really complex flows in my days. I've seen some really simple ones that have done amazing things. But, I think it's another one of those things that we document at Salesforce, that we put documentation out, that we want our admins to document, of course. As admins are going through and there's new features added, what is one of the things that you feel is foundational to understanding flow and automation, as opposed to chasing all the new shiny?

Mark Ross: Do you mean foundational in terms of it's one of the first things you need to grasp before you can grasp the whole enchilada? Or, do you mean a greater concept?

Mike Gerholdt: I'll give you an analogy related to cars. I feel, in my opinion, in order to learn how to really be able to drive a variety of vehicles and be a good driver, you need to know how to drive a manual stick shift. If you know how to drive a pre-1980 stick shift vehicle, you can drive anything.

Mark Ross: Oh boy. Wow. Okay. Because I can't do stick shift, at all.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, that to me is one of those foundational ... Because a lot of things have steering wheels, but outside of power steering and them sticking a million radio buttons on the steering wheel, that hasn't changed, but the way vehicles move forward has changed. Now granted, I'm all in on EVs, and the power cycle, and everything how cars are evolving, but manuals are going to be around for while and it opened you up to a whole world of vehicles that are very exciting to drive. I feel it's foundational because you also understand the mechanics of how the car moves. I've had to explain how you have to let off the clutch and give it gas, and it gives you an idea of what's going on in the vehicle. You don't have to do that with an automatic as much.
So what I was thinking of is, for example in Salesforce, I remember to the day that I was in the Admin 301 course with Wendy Braid, and she wrote on the board how objects relate to each other. She explained that, and man, I got it. It was the first time I got it. I felt like ever since then, it's just been knocking over cards to learn new Salesforce features. Because once you understand how objects and stuff related to each other, to me it was caveat emptor, I can learn this product now.

Mark Ross: Gotcha, all right. Man, okay. Well in that context, picking only one is difficult.

Mike Gerholdt: Well you're the guest, you can pick two. I just ask one.

Mark Ross: Well if we're talking a single thing, it's hard to pick just one. I would say variables is definitely one of the big ones. If you can understand variables, then you can handle almost anything in flow. Not just the concept of variable, even though I know that is one of the first hurdles that people have. This idea of okay, here's a place I can store something. Okay, that's great. Now that you understand what a variable is, now you have to understand how you can use it, and all the different types of variables there are.
There's the variable itself, which is just a normal place to store data. You also have things like formulas, text templates, record variables, these are things that are also critical. They're ways that you can store information, and calculate information if it's a formula, that can then be used in other places. And then, you have to understand where are all the different places I can use this. And in flow that's practically everywhere, that's one of the prime realizations. It's this idea that okay, well I've made a variable, now what do I do with it? It really is anything you want. You can use variables here, here, here, here, here, here, here. Same thing with formulas, same thing with text templates, same thing with record variables. If it's something that you can make that's like a variable in Salesforce in flow builder, it can be used almost anywhere for any purpose.
And then, there's a whole nother level up from that, which is okay, how do you use variables properly instead of using them in not necessarily good ways like loops. You don't ever, ever want to do a get records and update records, a create records, inside a loop. You don't want to do that. Instead, you want to do that before you loop and store it in a variable. So that later on, within the loop, you can actually go use that information. That's just a general practice of get all your data, manage all your data as much as you can before the loop.
Variables, I really feel are the one thing that, one, people look at as the first big hurdle, the first big thing that prevents them from using flow. But then, it also is ... It's like stick shift in that way, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Mark Ross: It also is the thing that, once you get it and once you know how to use it, you can do practically anything.

Mike Gerholdt: I think that's good advice. I still am learning variables.

Mark Ross: I can't really hear you. Should I hop off the VPN? We might have to use chat, because I've completely lost audio I think.

Mike Gerholdt: So true to COVID times, we had the internet drop out from underneath us so we got the last bit of Mark's answer and we missed the wrap up. So I will say thank you, Mark, for being on the pod, that was fantastic. And, here's the three things that we learned from our conversation with Mark.
First is there's a lot of documented sources from release notes, to help, to Trailhead, and they're all there to help you understand more about flow and Salesforce. You don't have to read them all. So go through things very diligently, and look for information that is relevant to you.
The second is be cognizant about writing your own documentation. Use simple terms, and think of it as making sure that your users are there when you're not. I would suggest, for sure, having someone else read your documentation. You can always revise it, you can always revise it.
And the third thing, I learned this asking Mark about what we should understand about flow, learn your variables. That seems to be, really, the one thing that you can do to understand flow. And once you understand that, as Mark said, you can do practically anything. So jump on over to Trailhead and learn about, well, practically anything with variables on flow. So that was super fun.
Speaking of podcasts, in today's all digital world, being able to learn in demand skills is really more relevant than ever. You can access all of the amazing Trailhead content that you love, including 1000 plus badges of marketable skills, trail mixes and Trailhead live, all from your phone. This is my plug for you to go, download Trailhead Go. I'm going to put the link in the description, there's a link that you can go to, you can download it. Or, you can search Trailhead Go in the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
Now, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find those resources. You can stay up-to-date with us on social, we are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. Of course, you find my guest Mark on Twitter, he is @MarkRoss__C. Bet you know what that means. Gillian is also on Twitter, she is @GillianKBruce. And, I am @MikeGerholdt on Twitter. So send us a tweet, let us know if you loved this episode and suggestions for people we should have on. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Flow_Documentation_with_Mark_Ross.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we kick off Automation April by talking to Sam Reynard, Senior Manager of Product Management on the Flow team at Salesforce. We go over improvements coming to Flow and why it should be your one-stop shop for automations.

Join us as we talk about why you should pay attention to Flow, the improvements coming in new releases, and why it’s so important to start from a place of empathy for your users.

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

 Where Flow Builder is going.

Sam is a member of the Flow product management team—focused mainly on Screen Flows—so she’s the perfect person to have on the pod to kick off Automation month. We’ll be highlighting tools that are available to you and helping you make decisions about what automations to build in order to take advantage of this exciting new area of innovation. There’s a lot coming down the pipeline with Flow and we wanted to talk to Sam to find out what’s especially exciting and helpful.

The main goal is to make Flow Builder as easy to use as building a Workflow Rule or working in Process Builder. One thing that’s being released is support for rich layouts in Flow Screens, giving you the ability to create a section of your screen you can divvy up into multiple columns without touching any code using the section component. We’re also adding the ability to send rich text emails from Flows opening some great new possibilities.

More improvements to Flow coming down the pipeline.

“Today, if you as an admin are trying to create automation, there are so many options,” Sam says, “you can create a Workflow Rule, you can create an approval process, you can create a Flow or something in Process builder.” On the automation team, we’ve been questioning why there isn’t just one tool to give you everything you need without having to decide which tool is best for the job.

Another thing Sam and her team are working on is choices. If you need a simple choice that says yes or no, you shouldn’t need to click six or seven times to create it. There are a lot more little changes coming to make choices simpler and faster and make everyone’s lives easier, so be sure to listen to the full pod for more details, including what it’s like to have Mike in a focus group.



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Direct download: Screen_Flows_with_Sam_Reynard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53am PDT

March Monthly Retro with Gillian and Mike


Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the monthly retro. In this episode, we go over all the great blog posts, videos, and all the other Salesforce content from March.


You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.


Blog highlights from March.


Mike points to Brian Owens’ post about what to do after you get your certification. How do you prep for a Salesforce admin job interview? What should your LinkedIn profile look like? For Gillian, LeeAnne’s post about integration is something you simply shouldn’t miss.



Podcast highlights from March.


If you can’t tell, March has been integrations month, and Gillian wants to highlight a conversion she had with Zayne Turner and LeeAnne Rimel about how admins should think about integrations. Mike highlights another episode we did we LeeAnne about how to think through everything that’s changed as we move to a more virtual world.



Video highlights from March.


“I love when admins think through, visually, how you can call something out in the user interface,” Mike says. For him, a great video for this month was Marc’s walkthrough of how to incorporate emoji flags into your Salesforce org to make it more accessible and easier to understand at a glance. For Gillian, LeeAnne and Ashley Simmons going over MuleSoft Composer is something you simply can’t miss, and don’t miss the No Silly Questions episode about disabling person accounts.



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the March monthly retro for 2021. I'm your host, Jillian Bruce and in this episode we will review the top product, community and careers content for March. And to help me do that, I'm joined by the one and only Mike Gerholdt.

Mike Gerholdt: Hey, Gillian, we have literally a pot of gold at the end of this podcast because we are going to play a fun quiz show. Fun, that's the pot of gold.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm excited. I mean, I love fun.

Mike Gerholdt: And I would do that in an Irish accent, except it wouldn't sound that way, it just comes off as a rejected pirate try out for some, Johnny Depp movie.

Gillian Bruce: Now, I definitely am going to make you give me your Irish accent at some point.

Mike Gerholdt: No. Because it sounds like a pirate, just it's... I got a peg leg. Nothing.

Gillian Bruce: All right, Mike. Well, let's start with our content. Let's start with some blogs, what's a blog you'd love to highlight for the month of March?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I am a big fan of Salesforce certification for admins, I've always been super empowered by my certification. I remember in October of 2008, when I first got mine. And so I loved reading the, you've earned your Salesforce administrator certification now what? And this sneaks in the window of being a March blog post, because it was published on March one by, Brian Owens. And I think it's just a good reminder of all the things you should do before you get a Salesforce admin job interview. Updating your LinkedIn profile, how to prepare for your interview and what to do before you accept the offer. And all of that is just money in the bank to me and makes me think back to those super fun days when I first got my certification.

Gillian Bruce: I think it's a really great post too because, we often get questions from the community of, cool I got certified, now how do I get a job? And I think that Brian's post hope it answers a lot of those questions and give some good structure and guidance around that process, so good highlight. Well, the post I would like to highlight for March, is all about integration. So March was a month of integrations, in case you couldn't tell, there was a lot of integration theme content across all of our channels. And this was a post by, Leanne who led the charge and it talks about, "Hey admins, how should you think about integrations? Why are they important to you? How might you approach them?" It's a great overview about all of the different types of integrations that we as admins should think about in the Salesforce universe and it's a good introduction to all of the different integration content we've got for the month, which I will be speaking more about in the next few sections.

Mike Gerholdt: This could quickly turn into the best of Leanne's content podcasts because, moving on I loved reading all of the integration stuff that we did this month. And I love thinking through, to me it's adding holiday lights when you can string them together, that's integrations when like, "How do I add more and make more things light up and make it all run off one timer?

Gillian Bruce: And make coordinate it with music.

Mike Gerholdt: Seriously, the people that do that are next level. You watch those YouTube videos, man, I'd love to be able to have that patience. I don't, I get through one string and I'm like, "Yeah, everything looks good, let's be done."

Gillian Bruce: If I have to do anything other than a couple pieces of electrical tape, no, no, that's it. The complexity that we're doing here, that's it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, pretty much, pretty much. But we had some podcasts in March for an awkward segue that no one was expecting. Jillian, what was your favorite podcast in March?

Gillian Bruce: No, I thought that was a fine segue there, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: My God but okay, go a head.

Gillian Bruce: Well, surprise, surprise, the podcast I would like to highlight from March is also about integrations. And this was a really fun conversation I got to have with, [Zane] Turner who leads our architect relations team and of course, Leanne [Rimal] who is part of almost all of our content this month. Again, talking about how admins should think about integrations and some of architect minded strategies that would help any admin no matter how complex or not complex your Salesforce implementation is. So it was really fun, it's also just super cool to be able to chat with two super technologically, skilled females on a tech podcast. I nerd out about that and it was really fun and they're two of my favorite people anyway, to work with. So it was a good conversation I highly recommend you check it out, we get into some really good meaty topics and help stretch your idea of what an integration is. So check it out.

Mike Gerholdt: I love those and I also preface by thinking, when you see Leann, do those really slick demos or when we have walk throughs of stuff. On the back end of that, we've thought through like, are we showing good architecture? Because, that's the unseen how quick when we demo something that we show and that's why I love listening to this one, is thinking through how architects think. Because all of that is the stuff we don't show.

Gillian Bruce: It's all the behind the scenes pre-planning so that when you see this finished product that makes sense, looks beautiful it's all put together, it flows well but those are all decisions that we made way before even getting to that first demo. So it's a very good set of strategies and skills for all admins to think about.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, in true, can't shake a stick and not hit some Leanne content this month. I chose the podcast that we did with, Leanne on learning in a virtual world for two reasons. One, it was great to have all of us back on one podcast again, just chatting. It takes me back to a few years of, I remember sitting at Salesforce offices on the second floor of that... Well, it was the second floor of the third floor of Rincon, which sounds super confusing to everybody listening. But it was this hot little loft and off in the corner and be like, "Okay, Leanne, let's sit down and record a podcast really quick." And it had 10 minutes in and it's like a sauna, cause it's so hot in there.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, we were talking about hot topics.

Mike Gerholdt: Nothing to do with this podcast, so this is just reminiscing. But it was good to think through, we've been working differently for a year now and to have a fresh perspective from, Leanne on working through this pandemic and then coming back and having observed and really taking that mental bandwidth with you. And thinking through, how are your colleagues going through this? What are you doing? How are you taking care of yourself? There's just a ton in this and it was just a good refresher pod that wasn't some of our usual content.

Gillian Bruce: Agreed. Not directly talking about how you structure Salesforce, but definitely talking about how you can better structure maybe some of your work habits. And yeah, I mean, working together and collaborating in this virtual world has actually been quite a fun transformation in a lot of ways, so it was interesting to talk about that. So we also had some videos in March, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, we're a video machine. I feel every time I go to YouTube, I see you and I see, Leanne

Gillian Bruce: We're like the admin cable channel or something, it's just always something new coming out.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel it's more akin to early years of discovery, because it's these two expert corner and no silly questions.

Gillian Bruce: And we've got how I solve this too, which I believe is one of the ones you wanted to talk about, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely, I thought this one was great. So I love when admins think through visually how you can call something out in the user interface. And so, Mark did a great, how I solve this with emoji flags video and to me, you'd love to sit and think your users pine and read through every detail of all of the record and comb through all the activity history. And really sometimes they just run a list view and want to see the status and they spend a glancing look at it to figure out who they should call next. And I thought this video was really good at that and ultimately, it comes down to how do you help your users consume information visually faster and have a little bit of fun with emoji flags.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, who doesn't like emoji? I have yet to find. I mean, well, honestly, Damon, my partner does not like emoji at all. He refuses to retweet anything that has emoji in it or text any emojis, this is the one riff we have in our relationship. But other than him, I haven't found anyone that doesn't like emoji.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm often feel like sometimes I'm constrained, there's not enough emoji.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's what we have now, Bitmoji and Animoji. I think we need to continue to build out our emoji languages since this is a secret goal of mine.

Mike Gerholdt: There's been times when I'm like-

Gillian Bruce: We have Trailmoji.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, yes. But I still need more flags. That flag portion that could be expanded, there could be more flags.

Gillian Bruce: Agreed.

Mike Gerholdt: What about a state flag, why don't we have those? Not that I own flag, is all that awesome let's be honest.

Gillian Bruce: There's actually a really total side note for those of you looking to nerd out on flag design, there's a great podcast that I recommend from 99% Invisible about actually flag design and they do a very interesting story about, I think it's Aruba and how their flag has drastically changed.

Mike Gerholdt: Really?

Gillian Bruce: And there's a whole international debate, it's fascinating. Anyway, I'll find out the exact episode, we'll put it in the show notes but-

Mike Gerholdt: Is it called fun with flags?

Gillian Bruce: And no, that would be great. But I don't think that's the title of it, that's what I would've called it. But I'm not cool enough to host 99% Invisible.

Mike Gerholdt: No, no, but vexillology is that how you say it? V-E-X-I-L-L-O-L-O-G-Y. Vexillology, it's the study of history and symbolism of flags.

Gillian Bruce: And there you go. See, learn something new, I would say.

Mike Gerholdt: Fun with flags.

Gillian Bruce: Fun with flags. Okay, but we also had other videos, so we're going to have fun with those videos too. I had two that I really wanted to highlight this month and they're two very different ones, so don't worry. One was the launching of this amazing new expert corner series that, Leanne is hosting. Again, Leanne is amazing, she created a ton of content this month and this again is focused on integrations. This is with our MuleSoft Composer, Product Manager, Ashley Simmons. This is amazing, this is the behind the scenes, one-on-one chat, you get with a PM at a Dreamforce or a TrailheaDX but you can just click play on the internet and you can watch it. It's really, really great in-depth, super nerdy discussion about MuleSoft Composer and the nitty gritty of how you use it, what admin should do with it.
Definitely check it out. I think it's 25, 27 minutes long, so it's short and sweet enough for you can consume it, but also in-depth enough to where you get more than just a couple minute clip. Because the other video I want to recommend any everyone check out is literally two minutes long. And that's the new silly questions that we just put out about person accounts. So we got a really great question from, Jonathan Forester. Who's actually part of our Salesforce military community, about why can't you disable person accounts after you enable them? Why is this so difficult? And so I got a product manager our project Manager, [Hidong] to help us answer that question. So check it out, again it's a couple minutes long and if you have not so silly Salesforce questions always remember send them my way. And I may ask you to submit it via video and then I'll get you an expert answer. So that's the video land for me in March.

Mike Gerholdt: No, that's awesome. First of all, thank you, Jonathan, for your service. I saw on Twitter his jubilation, I will call it over getting his question answered. That is a good and easy way to bubble your question at the top, let me tell you, because that was a fun, fun video to watch.

Gillian Bruce: And it's always great, excuse for me to, prod the product managers and being like, "Why does this work this way?" So if you've got a product question-

Mike Gerholdt: Why does person accounts have to be a permanent thing?

Gillian Bruce: Why is this so complicated? And then we get them on video and force them to answer. So please keep sending me your questions.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, please do. So we promise you a pot of gold at the end of the podcast and we are there. I thought it would be fun in the vein of, we've had some sort of theme every month. So for March, we're going to do Mike's March madness quiz show. So, Gillian I have thought of three questions, they're all multiple choice for you, around things that happened in March that are in my mind, just kind of complete madness. And that's why-

Gillian Bruce: I like it.

Mike Gerholdt: That's I've called it. And if you get all three rights, I haven't determined what the prize is. I could do a-

Gillian Bruce: I thought I'll get a pot of gold, isn't that how that works?

Mike Gerholdt: You're sure, yeah. Pot and gold to be determined.

Gillian Bruce: Fair, fair. I mean, everybody I love it.

Mike Gerholdt: So this is fun, fun. A fun, fun, Mark's March madness quiz show. So, Jillian, March is a great month for basketball but not so much for employee productivity. According to USA today, unproductive workers cost their employers blank amount in 2019, and this was paid to employees, spending company time on bedding pool priorities. So blank amount in 2019, was that a, $90 million, b, $1 billion or c, $4 billion.

Gillian Bruce: Men, I mean, I know that March madness is the number one sports betting, fun bracket time of all. Before billion sounds a lot. So I'm going to pick the middle option, I'm going to say 1 billion, b.

Mike Gerholdt: You'll be incorrect. Is actually c, $4 billion. March madness costs employers in 2019, so obviously with pandemic in 2020, I couldn't find an article about that, but I was blown away too. So 4 billion.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, well there you go.

Mike Gerholdt: Madness. Our second madness question. The quote, luck of the Irish is celebrated on March 17th, which was not too long ago, if you listen to this podcast also known as St. Patrick's Day. But what other holidays are also celebrated in March? Is it a, National Fanny Pack Day?

Gillian Bruce: God, I hope that's true.

Mike Gerholdt: B, What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day?

Gillian Bruce: My God.

Mike Gerholdt: Or c, National Earmuff Day?

Gillian Bruce: These are fantastic, I didn't know any of these existed.

Mike Gerholdt: I put a lot of work into this quiz, I'm very proud of myself.

Gillian Bruce: I'm also not very distracted thinking about what would happen if my dog, Rex had opposable thumbs. I literally like the F... When I first got him as a puppy, I remember my dog walker sending me a photo of a destroyed kitchen with flour and chocolate and everything all over the place and her text message was, "Rex, tried to bake you a cake without thumbs." So I'm partial on the fanny packs, I think I'm going to go with a, I'm really hoping that's true. Because then I have an excuse to wear a fanny pack.

Mike Gerholdt: Actually. Ding, ding, ding, all of them are true. So March 3rd is, What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day, March-

Gillian Bruce: Who came up with that?

Mike Gerholdt: It's madness, I don't know. March 9th is International Fanny Pack Day.

Gillian Bruce: I missed it.

Mike Gerholdt: So that's come and gone and National Earmuff day, we just missed it, Nash is March 13th. The choices were actually so funny, I couldn't think of funnier ones and I was like, "I'm just going to make it all of them." This is all of them. Upcoming, March 21st is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, so if you have an absolutely incredible kid-

Gillian Bruce: I mean, my kids are okay.

Mike Gerholdt: March 23rd is World Meteorological Day and March 31st is World Backup day.

Gillian Bruce: Backup?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Backing up your data?

Mike Gerholdt: I Don't know, I just thought. This is also why I didn't choose those.

Gillian Bruce: You'll be excited about the Meteorological Day, because you love the weather channel?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, sure.

Gillian Bruce: No, it's fantastic wake. I'm going to have to remember Fanny Pack Day, next year.

Mike Gerholdt: Fanny Pack Day is March 9th. Third question, so you're 50, 50 here for the win. According to research from the UK Office of National Statistics, kids born in March are statistically more likely to grow up to become what? A, a marine biologist, b, an airline pilot or c, a philanthropist?

Gillian Bruce: Well, Dana my partner was born in March and he's none of those. He's also not very common, I wouldn't use him as an example for anyone else.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. That fun fact, learn during March madness quiz.

Gillian Bruce: What's appropriate, because he does do sports for a living so I should talk about him on podcast. And when I say, do sports, he just talks about that, he's not actually doing a sporting activities. So let's see, God, marine biologist, pilot and philanthropist. Pilot?

Mike Gerholdt: You are correct. Kids born in March according to UK Office of National Statistics are more likely to grow up to become a pilot. I threw marine biologists in there because I was a sign field fan and philanthropist because I felt like it would throw people off.

Gillian Bruce: A pilot, wow. Okay, well, I had-

Mike Gerholdt: So start racking up your frequent flyer miles if your kid was born in March.

Gillian Bruce: There you go. Okay. Well, that was fun, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: You went two for three, on Mike's March madness quiz show.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, the second one was a give me, so that was good.

Mike Gerholdt: I know but who's going to turn down International Fanny Pack Day?

Gillian Bruce: Definitely not me. Thank you, Mike. That was very fun. I appreciate that.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day.

Gillian Bruce: That's going to give me nightmares, is what that's going to do.

Mike Gerholdt: Then bake your bread, you never know. Unlike the UK's Office of National Statistics, if you want to learn more about all things we just talked about in today's episode, please go to to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins, we are @SalesforceAdmns. No, I, on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdt and Gillian, is @GillianKBruce. Don't forget to tweet her non-silly or silly question. There is no such thing as a silly question. And with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for our next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: March_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we team up with Josh Birk, host of the Salesforce Developer Podcast. We come together about the difference between admins and devs and how you can get more dev skills in your toolbox.

Join us as we talk about why it’s easier than ever to learn to code, and how you can put those skills into action.

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

Thinking like a dev.

While Flow and code can feel like two different things, the thought process behind it is the same. “The admin roles are very process-driven,” Josh says, “whereas in the developer role, you’re really trying to figure out what is the appropriate functionality and what is the appropriate tool to bring that functionality forward.”

The important thing to realize is that these skills are totally obtainable if they’re of interest, and Josh has tons of examples of people who have started without a computer science background and gone on to great things. But even more importantly, understanding how everything works is important so you can communicate effectively with your developers and create something that works together.

What happens when an admin learns to code?

One other thing that gets people tripped up is the idea of task versus identity. Just because you’re doing an admin or developer task doesn’t mean that it’s your identity—things aren’t always so black and white. Sometimes you need to developer tasks, even if you’re an admin at heart. As Josh puts it, “having the developer role and role understand their strengths and their weaknesses helps each other do their job better.”

There’s also the fact that you need someone to help you troubleshoot when something goes wrong. Failure is an important part of learning, and having someone over your shoulder can be a big help. If you make the transition to being a dev or acquiring dev skills, there are a lot of options out there for where to go next.

There’s a lot more in the pod about how to get code skills and what to do with them once you acquire them, so be sure to listen in!



Full Transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are diving into a really great discussion with fellow podcaster and host of the Salesforce Developer Podcast, Josh Birk. You may also know him for Trailhead.
In this episode, we will have a fun discussion about the identity of developers and admins and the tasks that they perform. So with that, let's get Josh on the pod.
Welcome to the podcast, Josh.

Josh Birk: Thanks for having me, Mike.

Mike: So, since we last chatted, somebody started their own podcast.

Josh Birk: Oh really? Who was that?

Mike: Yeah. I don't know.

Gillian Bruce: I know. I know.

Mike: Spoiler.

Gillian Bruce: Josh, it's you.

Josh Birk: Oh, since we last recorded. Oh my God. That was so long ago.

Mike: Yes, it was.

Josh Birk: Well, that was a whole pandemic and a half ago, at least.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the way time moves these days, it's like 10 years ago.

Mike: So, you have the Developer Podcast now.

Josh Birk: I have the developer podcast now. We are rounding up towards episode 75. Like y'all, we have gone out weekly since two Dreamforces ago, basically. And, and yeah, no, it's, it's been great. We've got episodes that are, these days lasting somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes, about 30 minutes usually.
And honestly, going back to the pandemic joke, it's like the timing couldn't have been better, because I am catching up with people from the community around the world and having lengthy conversations with them. And I don't think I even was going to be able to do that in the normal world. I don't remember the last time I actually sat down and talked with, and hear about and for more than 20 minutes at a time. And so, it's been really great to be able to have those experiences.

Mike: Yeah, no, it's a great podcast. I'm always glad there's more podcasters for our audience to listen to. Well, we're bringing you on. We did a whole bunch of, of course everybody's doing video content these days, and we got some questions in the community and one of them really stood out that I responded to. It was during our release readiness and I know the developer release rain has got this question too, but there's a lot of people out there and they identify as admins, they identify as developers, they identify as architects and so many different identities. And one of them was, "Hey, I'm doing this, but I need some developer content."
And what's interesting is I sent the question over to you and your response wasn't exactly what I expected, because I really just wanted a link.

Josh Birk: Yeah. Yeah. And it really isn't just a link, I think, would be my answer there. And I'm trying to remember what I actually pointed her to, if it was Trailhead or any of the podcast episodes, do you recall?

Mike: Well, I think it was a combination of both, but your response, because I got you on a hangout because our calendar was free. Your response got me thinking, which was, does she want to learn the skills or she want to learn how to think like a developer?

Josh Birk: Mmm, yes, yes. Yeah. And it's come up on in a lot of different conversations that, for instance, if we start comparing Flow to coding, for instance, and people like to call Flow "low code." But even developers brace at that a little bit, because they're like, "No, Flow is actually more like visual code," and the thought process between putting behind a Flow together versus putting an apex class together is actually really, really similar.
And I think a lot of developers would agree with this too, if you just throw them a bunch of stuff and they just repeat it, that they're not necessarily learning how JavaScript works, for instance. But if you take a step back and actually start looking at the functionality of it, then you start looking at the precise things that you as quote unquote, "the role of developer," is really interacting with.
And so, I think Trailhead is a really good resource, but I think there's also a lot of different resources that bring you through that experience of being a developer that might help bridge going from admin skills to developer skills a little bit more.

Gillian Bruce: So I think that's interesting, because I think we focus so much on the skills and like you said, Trailhead is very skills focused, but that thinking, that strategy, can you dig into maybe what some of those differences are?
You know both the admin and the developer personas pretty well, what would you say are some of the top thinking strategies or shifts between those two personas that stand out to you?

Josh Birk: So, I think the admin roles, they're very process driven. It's very much a getting the right things into the right boxes at the right time for the right people kind of thing. Whereas in the developer role, you're really trying to figure out what's what's the appropriate functionality and what's the appropriate tool to bring that functionality forward.
And so, I think there's a lot of exercising, mentally to do, to go through that process. I would caveat that though, with like... And this has come up a lot in the pod and conversations, it's not a mad scientist skill. It's not an ivory tower kind of thing that you have to get into. It's really just, are you willing to spend some time and mental energy to start getting into those habits of writing code, testing code, proving your functionality, and things like that?
And I have multiple examples of people who have virtually no... They didn't come up computer science geeks, they didn't come up with a Commodore 64 on their desk when they were a kid, they just out of nowhere, were like, "I want to learn these skills," and they just started going through those exercises and it's 100% attainable. Your background does not necessarily limit the kind of role that you want to slowly get into.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's interesting Josh, because I know my personality, I would never have the patience to sit there and write a bunch of code and test it and troubleshoot it for hours and hours on end. I just know that that is not something that even appetizes me in the slightest. But there are people that just love that, and it's like tackling a really complex problem and getting in there. And so, I definitely would have a very hard time being a developer, I know that. I could probably learn the stuff, learn the skills, but actually having that kind of mindset and that kind of approach to my work would absolutely not do it for me.

Josh Birk: I want to add though, quickly, I sound like I'm almost diminishing taking time and learning some of the skills and getting a grasp of triggers and things like that. And I think even if you acknowledge that, that adding developer into your role is it's not something for you, getting your eyeballs on it is still very useful. I've had people in workshops admit to me, "I'm not a developer, I'm not a programmer, I'm never going to code the stuff, but I need to know what you're saying so that I can actually talk to my developers."

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think 100%, that's the difference between understanding versus building it yourself. And I think I've also, very similarly, I think it's so interesting to understand how the LWC works or understanding how to troubleshoot and use [SOCO] and some of those more complex things, but I would not sit there and come up with that stuff on my own. But I think that that is an important distinction there.

Josh Birk: Yeah. I have an anecdote for my workshop days, where somebody came to me and said that to me. They said, "I'm not a developer, but I need to learn some of this because I think my developers are lying to me."
And I was like, "No, no. I understand. It's easy to have miscommunications. And sometimes developers, maybe they're not communicating you too correctly, but I'm pretty certain they're not lying to you."
And it was back in the days of remote objects and being able to do things asynchronously. And so, I showed the difference between being able to just load a bunch of stuff on a page. And this was back in the visual force page, those days. And it's like, you have this whole task that's going to just, every time you press the button, this huge amount of data is coming back to the server and then back down the client. And you could just feel the web browser shake when you're trying to do it.
Or you could do it this other way, which is really lightweight and fast and you press the button and it just comes back quickly. And I showed that demo and that person came to me and she's like, "That. That's what's happening." And she pulls up this browser page and it's got this visual force page with a hundred check boxes on it because every single check box has every single attribute that's on the lead object. And you click one of them, and it tries to update basically the entire database all at the same time. And she clicks one of them, and once again, it's like you can almost see the laptop just cry in pain. And she's like, "y developers are telling me this can't be any faster or any better." And I'm like, "They're lying to you. Sorry."

Gillian Bruce: That's hilarious.

Mike: Josh, I think one of the things that seems to come to mind for me is, task versus identity. And just because, to the point of some of the questions we get, an individual doing a developer or an admin task doesn't necessarily mean that that's their identity.

Josh Birk: Yeah. And I feel like we have a lot of like marketing and organizational cruft, which leans to having those very distinct concepts. But then when you wander around the community, that distinction is never as black and white as sometimes we put it in our organization or our training material.
I just had an interview, which is actually chronologically coming out next week, so I think it'll be two weeks behind when this actually airs. But it's with Katie Codes, and a lot of the stuff we talk about is like, what's an admin-eloper? And how did that role happen? And I think her response was something like, there were admins who were occasionally doing developer tasks who wanted to not get rid of their admin identity, but also assert the fact that there were these things in the quote unquote "developer domain" that they were still doing. And I think having that flexibility is good.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the admin-eloper a really interesting thing that popped up from the community, which I mean, this is always where these... Everything we get is because of what people are actually doing. And I think it is interesting because understanding the language, understanding the skillset and even understanding the different... A developer approach as an admin, can really add a great deal to your abilities, to either help manage your own Salesforce instance, or even work across different teams and up-level your game there, which I think is a really interesting way to think about it. So, even if you're not going to go down the developer path, understanding enough to be dangerous, kind of thing.

Josh Birk: Yeah, absolutely. And I think we've always said, from either side of the spectrums, having the developer role, an admin role, know their strengths and their weaknesses helps each other do their job. And so I always, and this is the classic example, but I remember being in a business requirements gathering meeting, and they were going through this automation process that was going to have to happen. And I get out of the meeting and I turn to my business partner and I'm like, "That's not that bad. I can put it into a trigger. It'll probably take me a couple of days, but I want to have a couple more days just to be able to test it." And he just looked at me blankly, and this will tell you how old this anecdote is, but he's like, "Or I could just put it in a workflow for you and we're done."
And it's like, I wasn't thinking in terms of how easy that would be for somebody in the admin role just to get it done and not have to worry about the four day process that I was describing. And he was 100% right. And it would have been a far simpler workflow than it would have been a trigger.

Mike: And it would have been native, no code.

Josh Birk: And it would've been native, no code, which, we get that with Flow these days as well. So, you still get that advantage of not having code, but you have a lot of the flexibility too.

Mike: Is some of that just a symptom of systems not having their own configurable backend, front end, prior to Salesforce?

Josh Birk: Yeah, no, absolutely. That's 100% spot on, because I come from a web development background. And so, my world is client server, client asking polite questions, the server thinking about it ponderously and then giving some kind of response. And if there was any automation at that point, that's an integration layer on the server, that's going and kicking something off or handing things over and things like that.
So, I didn't come from a workflow world, or an Excel world or a PL/SQL world, or any of these kinds of things where these configurable automation actions occurred. So, my world for that kind of thing was apex triggers. Doing that kind of automated process at that moment, as me as a developer, that's pretty much the only way I was thinking about it.

Gillian Bruce: So Josh, let's go back to our original question about an admin actually wanting to learn how to be a developer. You talked about like the difference in the thinking, the strategy. What are some first steps that someone in that category might do, from your perspective?
I mean, we do have Trailhead, so clearly we've got some content on there, but beyond that, what are some really good ways to start building your skillset outside of our traditional recommendations?

Josh Birk: Yeah, and we can put them in the show notes. I can point to a couple of specific interviews where this happened. And one of the most recent ones was Lexis Hanson talking about becoming a JavaScript developer. And Trailhead is great for what we were talking about. Seeing the skills and seeing how the code works and learning the nouns and the verbs and things like that.
But when it comes to that, I want to do the exercises and get that muscle memory for putting a function together, for putting methods together, for understanding class structure. One of the things I've heard now repeatedly, is that it's really good to be able to do this with other people. So, if you're learning from people who are expert programmers. And so, one of the things Lexis did is started going to developer group meetings and things like that.
She also utilized Codeacademy and some things like that, but it's having that person who you can throw code at, and do a little bit of peer reviewing on your code and things like that, seems to be a consistent thread of... You have a gym buddy. And so, if you're going to go through that process of exercising until it's muscle memory, having that gym buddy is a really good idea.
And there's RAD Women, I was just talking to Melissa Hanson and she talked about that same thing where it's like, she had people on her team who were pushing her to be like, "You could do Apex." And at this point she has no programming background. And the first two things, she learns is C+ and Apex, which is kind of triumphant.
And I was joking with her because the first thing they did was have her write the unit test so that she could see how that functionality worked against their functionality. And then as she learned how the org was being shaped, get more into the actual Apex side of it. But then that influenced her experiences to be a part of RAD Women and get into these programs where you can talk with other people and you can get coached and you have another human being there who's... I think it's a good analogy, helping you have that gym buddy kind of thing.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, nobody goes to the gym if they don't have an accountability buddy, I totally get that.

Mike: And sometimes they don't go to the gym even if they do.

Josh Birk: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Especially when your accountability buddy isn't very accountable. But one of the things, so, I like taking myself back to when I first started at Salesforce and we were all in four floors in the landmark building. And I worked on the floor with all of our product team. A bunch of developers. And they actually did so much of that, I guess they call it partner programming or whatever, where they both sit at the same desk and are looking at the screens together and actually working together. And I think that's immediately what came to my mind when you were describing that process of having somebody to bounce ideas off of and work with, it's really important when you're getting the developer chops.

Josh Birk: Yeah. I think there's two things that are always true if you're really getting into that role of a developer, identifying as developer. One is that you get into that peer programming, and there's a joke amongst developers that, I'm glad I got you to look over my shoulder because that's the only thing I needed to know to see the bug in my code. Weirdly, just having another human being in your cubicle was the one thing that got you to get to the next point. So, there's always, I think, a social aspect to it, or it's easier if there's a social aspect to it.
And the other thing, that I'm curious to see how this resonates across what we're talking about here with identity and role, because I know it resonates heavily if we added in the architect role, but failure is an option. In fact, it's a requirement. You are going to write bad code. You are going to write code that fails. Your unit tests are going to go red. And this is going to be especially true when you first start learning it.
And I was just talking to somebody about the old days where you had to put in programs by hand based on articles that were printed in magazines. And I always say that this was almost a defining moment for me, because I got so frustrated at the code not working correctly that I almost just never wanted to program a computer ever again. And it's just like, eventually I just wanted it to work enough that I got over that hill. But it's going to be a hill that's there, and it's going to be a hill that's always there.

Gillian Bruce: Wow, writing code from magazines. That's a stamp in time right there.

Josh Birk: Yeah, I'm not young.

Mike: Those things are punch cards [crosstalk].

Josh Birk: It's just after that, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mike: I was saving my box tops and putting them in an envelope, self-addressed and waiting the six to eight weeks.

Josh Birk: Yeah, no, that was the generation right before me. That was, one of my old bosses used to say that I couldn't complain to him until I had to carry my punch cards uphill both ways. Because, that's what he says he had to do.

Gillian Bruce: That's hilarious. Well, I mean, the idea that failure is part of learning and it's very important part of learning, I think is something that is, as you say, it's embedded in the developer experience and developer journey. But from an admin perspective, I could understand how that might be a little like, "Wait, what? I'm going to fail? And that's part of the thing? Because my job is to make everything work and to make my users super happy. And that's why I have Sandbox, that's why I test stuff."
I sense a hesitance in that mental shift. So, that could be a little fear-mongering there.

Josh Birk: And I do like that there's a shared experience, and this is probably true across anybody working with the solutions that are for a lot of customers or clients. You are doing your job right when the trains are coming in on time. And it's like, then nobody's complaining. It's like that, if everything's running smoothly, then that's when things were actually going green. I think that's definitely true for both admins and developers.

Gillian Bruce: So Josh, let's talk a little bit about what the options are when an admin does transition into the developer realm. Can you talk to me a little bit about what those career path options look like? What kind of roles would a newly minted developer in the Salesforce ecosystem look for, and what are the different options in that space?

Josh Birk: Yeah, thankfully it's a pretty rosy picture, and it's also... I think I want to level set that you have different options if you want to expand in this region. For instance, Lexis is really a JavaScript developer and not so much a Salesforce developer, even though she works on Trailhead, so very much in Trailhead/Salesforce ecosystem. And JavaScript is a brilliant language to look at if you want to have wide opportunities within and without the Salesforce ecosystem. If anything, there's a lot of competition for it, which might make that a little bit more difficult. Whereas if you get into Apex and Lightning Web Components and that kind of thing, you can really look squarely at the Salesforce developer ecosystem.
So, as a junior developer, you are the person who is accepting those business requirements and being given some kind of parameters and then getting those that functionality built in. So, entry level developer roles, they're pretty straightforward. I think it's typically more complicated than that if you're trying to use your admin identity and then adding in some kind of developer roles, because I don't know if you're always jumping into a completely new job so much as, for instance, in Melissa's case, what it was, was transitional so that she could still do database stuff and admin stuff and things like that because she works with a lot of nonprofits. And nonprofits by their nature are generally small scrappy teams. And so, if you are somebody who can interface directly with developers, maybe even lend them a hand and have that ability to have a broader spectrum of what's going on with the overall architecture, it can be really, really handy if you're looking at smaller shops, SMB, medium-sized businesses and people who need those, those cross-transactional roles to help a team move forward.
So, it's definitely opening doors and there's some people who are now, they're senior developers and doing their dream jobs because they took those first step forwards and they started doing those exercises and they and found that gym buddy.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. That's great. It's helpful too, to understand what your developer job would actually look like day-to-day. So, when you described, like you're accepting the business requirements and building thing, that is a shift from a day-to-day admin role. So, that's good. I always like understanding, so if I take this job, what am I actually going to be doing every day? It's a good thing to think about.

Josh Birk: Yeah. And there's another thing that's come up recently a lot, which is you have Flow. How do you unit test Flow? How do you keep Flow in check when you're moving it from Sandbox to production? And the correct answer, there's actually Apex unit testing. Having Apex pull the levers that the Flow is going to do and make sure that it does the right thing at the end. And so, there's a good example of, if you've got that domain knowledge between those two things, whether you started from an admin perspective or a developer perspective, your production is probably going to be a lot more stable that way.

Mike: I thought you just told it, it was a good boy and gave it treats when it went to production correctly.

Josh Birk: That's my usual strategy, but Flow and I have a very strange relationship.

Mike: Good boy, Flow.

Gillian Bruce: Josh, you spent many years cultivating that relationship. So, you've earned that.

Josh Birk: I have. There's been a lot of interesting conversations along the way. This is true.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Josh, thank you so much for taking time.

Josh Birk: Yeah, no, it's a delight and I look forward to talking to you two. And I also, just so you get this in audio, I want to thank both of you. Mike, you were instrumental in me thinking that maybe we should actually do a Salesforce Developer Podcast.
And Gillian, I tell people all the time, I am doing this because I trained under the wonderful Gillian Bruce. So, my thanks to both of you for helping getting the Developer Podcast up and running, because it wouldn't have happened without you.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, we love having new awesome Salesforce podcasts, and you have just taken it and rocked it. So, thanks for the kudos, but it's all you Josh. So, nice job.

Mike: Yep.

Josh Birk: All right. Well, thanks for having me. And I look forward to talking to you two, in the future.

Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Josh for taking the time to chat with us today. It's always great to have another fellow podcaster join us on the pod. It's like metapod action. If you want to learn more about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources. You can check out Josh's Developer Podcast at
And as a reminder, if you like what you hear on our pod, take a second and pop on over to iTunes to give us a review. I promise that Mike and I read them all. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things admin @SalesforceAdmns, no 'I' on Twitter. You can find our guest, Josh Birk on Twitter, @JoshBirk and my co-host Mike, @MikeGareholt, myself, @GillianKBruce.
With that, I hope you all have a wonderful day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.
My neighbor has a tortoise, Zippy, who walks around in the backyard.

Josh Birk: Because Paige was like, "I really want to go get a turtle." And we had forgotten about the salmonella scare which made turtles not pets anymore.

Gillian Bruce: Oh yeah.

Josh Birk: Yeah, so.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, they are huge harbors of nasty salmonella, but the best part about Zippy real quick, is that, tortoises live for 80 plus years. So, my next door neighbor, Bernadette, she's older. She's got to be in her seventies and she's already having to create her retirement plan for Zippy after she passes because no one's going to be around to take care of Zippy. So, she's like, "I've talked to the zoo. The zoo is willing to take him."

Josh Birk: Oh, aw. Aw, Zippy.

Gillian Bruce: So, caution when you, when you invest in animals that live a long time.

Josh Birk: Yes, yes. You might have to consider that they're living well, true.

Mike: I think I read somewhere that there was... One of the oldest tortoises was like 180 some years old.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, some of those Galapagos tortoises.

Mike: I'm fairly certain he doesn't care. Do you think he remembers his first owner?

Josh Birk: I think your one 180 is probably very similar to year 80, which is probably very similar to year 40 for him.

Direct download: Admin_Dev_Cross-Over_Pod_with_Josh_Birk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Kris Harrison, Director of Product Management at Salesforce for data, integration, and metadata focusing on Enterprise API and External Services. We’ll dive into all those technical topics and more as we dive into APIs and how they affect everything that goes on in your org.


Join us as we talk about why you should be thinking about APIs and how to learn more.


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


Why APIs are important for admins to understand.


Kris is a Product Manager at Salesforce focused on the Enterprise API Product Suite. “The encompasses the REST, SOAP, and Bulk APIs that provide programmatic access to the core Salesforce data that we know and love and run so many important functions across many different businesses,” he says. That includes the API framework and specific API operations and resources, like the query operation.


While interacting with APIs sometimes feels like it’s out of the scope of your average admin, so much of what goes on happens either implicitly or explicitly through an API request. Even if you’re not writing code, tons of things you’re doing on your org interact with APIs, and it’s important to understand how they work and how they affect your day-to-day. “If you’re interacting with an org, there’s an API that’s part of making that magic happen,” Kris says.


New API changes in Spring ‘21.


For Spring ‘21, Kris’s team has added the FIELDS() function to the SOQL query. This lets you pull back a pre-defined grouping of fields within the results set you can reference. You can return standard fields, custom fields, or even all fields in the resulting data to save on keystrokes and research to make that exploration on data within an org much easier. That means you can stay within the SOQL query and interpret that results without having to toggle back and forth—one of the most requested ideas on the IdeaExchange.


They’ve also created a plan to retire versions 7-20 of the SOAP, REST, and Bulk API. “Every new release we stamp out a new version of the API,” Kris says, “in Spring ‘21, we issued version 51.” So there’s now a plan to retire the oldest versions of the API (version 7 is from Summer ‘06, for example). There’s information in the Release Update tool in Setup on how to think about how to prepare for this change and what steps can be taken to ensure the org and it’s integrations won’t be impacted by the retirement plan. This helps you take advantage of the newest innovations that ship with every major release.


Adding to capabilities to your org.


For admins, we’re always looking for areas of opportunity—ways we can make the environment better and more efficient. While we’re often focused on new declarative features, looking at API improvements can give users and developers access to new innovation.


“As the CLI capabilities are able to evolve and become more feature-rich, they’re plugging into new capabilities that are expressed through the API,” Kris says, “so there’s a win-win there. As you upgrade and make steps to take advantage of the capability that ships with every major release, that’s an opportunity to refresh the state of any older, pre-exisiting integrations with the org, take stock of them, and see if they would benefit from some of those newer capabilities that have been brought to market and question if they’re still needed and providing a viable service for the org.”



Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, LeeAnne is sitting in for Gillian, and the two of us are talking with Kris Harrison, who is the product management director for products at Salesforce within data integration, metadata, and focusing on enterprise API and external services.
That's right. It's the admin podcast, and we're going to talk about APIs and it's awesome. You should totally tune in. So let's get Kris on the pod. So Kris, welcome to the podcast.

Kris Harrison: Thank you so much and I'm grateful to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Ah, it's exciting to always talk with new product majors and have guest interviewers on the pod. Why don't we get started and tell us a little bit about what you do at Salesforce.

Kris Harrison: Sure. I'm a product manager within our platform services area, and my focus is on our enterprise API product suite that encompasses the REST, the SOAP, the bulk APIs that provide programmatic access to the core Salesforce data that we know and love and run so many important functions across so many different businesses.
That responsibility entails a few different things. Number one, we own the API framework that so many Salesforce product teams expose their objects and their business logic through, but we also own specific API operations and resources like our query operation that is expressed through the SOQL language.
So we have a pretty big scope and it's a really exciting space to play in because I learn so much every day about what customers and partners are able to do with these API capabilities.

LeeAnne: So, Kris, I know that you've been working more and more with admins and you mentioned you've been working with a lot of our customers, and I know that many of our admins, myself when I was an admin, we didn't really always view our role as intersecting with APIs, or that didn't always feel like it was within our scope, but I know it is very much within the scope of the admin.
How do you see admins intersecting with your products most often? Maybe admins that are managing implementations or working with developer teams. Like what are some of the things that you've seen when you've been out in the field with our customers?

Kris Harrison: So much of what takes place in interacting with the data on an org happens either implicitly or explicitly through an API request. So it's important to keep tabs on that notion of how interactivity with the org and the form of exchange of data or enablement of functionality takes place.
It happens at its core through API calls and there are so many different applications of API consumption that are conceptually important to be aware of. Developers that are working with an org will interact through APIs as a contract. Apps that are installed through the app exchange enable their functionality through API calls.
So their APIs are what I like to call digital glue that make so much of what happens in an org possible. So just having good awareness of that touch point with the org is important.
A number of admin functions are making API calls behind the scenes. So anyone who makes use of the data loader client that is a product that makes API calls into the org in order to load or to extract the data that's of interest. So APIs are what are making that happen, and it's part of the day to day, even if you're not writing code or making an explicit call to an API directly.

LeeAnne: So APIs are very much are in the domain of admins, even if they're not necessarily writing scripts or writing code that is calling those APIs. All of the things that admins are doing within Salesforce is interacting in some way with the APIs.

Kris Harrison: I think it's safe to say that if interacting with an org, there's an API that's part of that, making that magic happen.

LeeAnne: Awesome. And I think that that's one of the things we think about a lot for our admin community out there. They do a lot of building and they are often using the declarative tools to build out customizations and to build these experiences. But really the scope of what they're making decisions on or helping make prioritizations on, it extends beyond, well beyond what is being built declaratively.
And so I know that there's some updates coming for admins that are really important to have on the radar that your team has been working on. And the first one I want to ask you about is something you shipped this past spring 2021. So it's GA, it's fields function. I know this was something that was incredibly popular on the idea exchange. Do you want to give us a little more information about that for maybe our audience members who haven't yet dove into this part of the release?

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. So the fields function is the latest enhancement to the SOQL query language that I made mention of. So as owners of query operations on Core, you perform those query operations by writing a SOQL query. And so one of the things that we've done to make interacting with data through SOQL more approachable for admins who are writing those queries through the CLI or any number of places where SOQL comes into play.
The fields function allows an author of a SOQL statement with very few keystrokes and with very little need to reference what's going on the org, pull back a predefined grouping of fields within the results set with which to reference. So the fields function allows you to return standard fields, custom fields, or even all fields in the resulting data very, very quickly and save on keystrokes, save on research to make that exploration of data within an org, a lot more seamless and less intensive with the research and the typing that's associated with that.

LeeAnne: So this means like in a practical application, if I was writing a SOQL query and previously maybe as an admin, I would have been going into the object record and set-up and looking at the fields and pulling the API names. But now that can just happen where I'm writing the queries. Is that what you're saying?

Kris Harrison: That's right. You can stay within the context of writing the SOQL query and interpreting the results without having to toggle back and forth or do a lot of that research.
So the initial request was to have Salesforce offer the SQL equivalent of Select Star, which is a useful tool to very quickly understand the shape of a table or an object in the context of the underlying data.
So we thought about that request and considered the true nature of the problems that are solved with Star, and we thought that we could do better. We built a function that will lend itself to future extensibility of other groupings of fields that the admins or developers care about and really take advantage of additional constructs on the platform that can plug right into SOQL.

LeeAnne: And this is something that was very much a major request from the community. I think this was one of the top idea exchange ideas.

Kris Harrison: Within our area of ownership, yes.

LeeAnne: It's awesome, and it just reinforces the importance of everyone who's listening, if you haven't participated in prioritization, like this is, it's so important. We love hearing your ideas. We want you to vote on ideas because often they get delivered and they get that visibility with our product teams.
Let's talk a little bit more about other updates that are coming for admins and ways that admins really should be paying close attention to API updates. I know that there is some incoming news and changes coming with API version. Can you talk a little bit about that for admins and really what it means for their planning and their long-term planning of their orgs?

Kris Harrison: Of course. So in December of 2019, we announced a program to retire versions seven through 20 of the SOAP, REST and bulk API. Every major release, we stamp out a new version of the API. In spring 2021, we issued version 51 of the API.
And so we've made a plan to retire and take out of service some of those really, really old versions of the API. For reference, version seven of the API shipped in the summer 2006, really. So we carry around these versions and maintain backward compatibility for a number of releases. And we're embarking upon a plan to tighten up the number of supported releases that are live in any one given time.
And so we're going through the steps of raising awareness of these retirement plans. We have issued knowledge articles. We also just recently posted information to the release update tool within set-up to provide greater visibility around how to consider this retirement program and what steps can be taken in order to ensure that the org and any integrations that are taking place with that org are able to continue on without being impacted by the retirement.

LeeAnne: So this is something that is very important for our admins, especially admins with older, more established environments to be really cognizant of. Because this is something that could impact their integrations, and it's something that's within their scope to be keeping track of and to ideally include updating the API versions in their prioritization and their project planning. Correct?

Kris Harrison: That's right. At every major release, there's additional API based capability to take advantage of, and that newer capability will only ever be able to be accessed by upgrading integrations to consume that latest version. For example, the fields function that we just talked about in SOQL, you cannot access that function if your query operation is going against an older version of the API.
And so we want to encourage all of our customers to take advantage of the newest innovations that ship with every major release that will not be back ported to these older versions. So there's a lot of incentives to consume those newer versions of the API that we stamp out with every major release.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, to me this sounds like the perfect opportunity to have a discussion with your IT. Like what are we integrated? What had been integrated in Salesforce? I mean, if you're running an API from 2006, do we even need that Legacy system anymore? Are we pulling 14 year old data?

LeeAnne: Well, anything to what Kris was just explaining is even if you have some architecture from, or an integration that was built in like 2011, so you've got five years before, or you've got a period of time before that API version's retired.
However, there is a motivation there, as there are new features and new capabilities released with these APIs that if you do have space on your dockets, as you're doing your project planning to optimize your environment and to give your users the best experience. Like being really forward-thinking in finding those areas of opportunity to update the API version for some of those older implementations, even if they're not at the end of their usability would help you take advantage of all these cool new features that are coming out.

Mike Gerholdt: So, what you're saying is I should have switched off FireWire a long time ago to USB-C and stay ahead of the different Apple plugs, because that's what it sounds like.

LeeAnne: Yes, always upgrade the hardware as well. I think this is for admins presents a good opportunity, because I think our admins are often out there thinking about the three, six, nine month plans for their environments and doing both tech debt management prioritization of maybe different business schools. But also a lot of our admins are out there, very often trying to find these areas of opportunity. To make the environment better, to make it more efficient, to solve different problems.
And we often spend a lot of time talking about really focused on the declarative features that are coming out like new field capabilities, things like that, that are coming out for admins to take advantage of. But this is really widening the breadth of areas that our admins can build out new innovation or give their users and the developers access to new innovation, if they're also tracking these API updates as well.

Kris Harrison: Definitely. I mean one really handy tool I made mention of data loader before, but the Salesforce CLI, another great tool to take advantage of and to help managing and extend what's going on with an org.
So many of the commands that are invoked through the CLI are making API calls on behalf of the user. And as the CLI capabilities are able to evolve and become more feature rich, they're plugging into net new capabilities that are expressed through the API.
So there's a win-win there, as you upgrade and make steps to take advantage of the new capability that ships within every major release. As Mike intimated, that's an opportunity to touch and refresh the state of any older pre-existing integrations with the org. Take stock of them and see if they would benefit from some of those new capabilities that have been brought to market and question if they're still needed, if they're still providing a viable service for the org.

Mike Gerholdt: Kris, for some of our newer admins who maybe are still listening, because it's interesting and they want to ask their IT. They know they've got an integration. How do they go about verifying what version of the API that integration's on?

Kris Harrison: Yeah. So there are a number of touchpoints and solutions are available through event monitoring, primarily, that report on the calls coming into an org and part of that information includes the version of the endpoint that is being called.
We're making changes in the summer 2021 release to make that visibility available for free through event monitoring. So there's some ability to keep tabs on that as an admin. We're enhancing that visibility to make it more readily available, and the steps to go through to make that check are available in the knowledge article that I just made mention of.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool, and we'll be sure to link that in the show notes.

Kris Harrison: Yes.

LeeAnne: So one thing I'd like to just do a quick plug for. I know we talk about Trailhead of course a lot for admins, but if you're hearing some of this and if elements of it do feel a little intimidating, like the CLI, if you haven't used the CLI before.
I had actually never used the CLI before we started working with Salesforce DX, and I entirely learned how to work with Salesforce through the CLI on Trailhead. So just a quick little plug here, if you're not sure if that is for you, it is for you. And there's definitely content on Trailhead to help you get hands-on step-by-step with how to use the CLI to work with your orgs.
And I highly recommend it because I think these tools that we're talking about are, like I said, very much within the scope of admins and things that we can do to build out our environments and to really create those awesome user experiences.
Kris, I really appreciate how in-depth you've gone on some of these different tools and what it means for admins and how they should view API versions in the context of their existing builds and those opportunities to take advantage of new innovations.
Are there any other things that you want to make sure we share with admins today as they're, maybe some of them are getting started with exploring how their orgs are using APIs and maybe what API versions they're on?

Kris Harrison: So definitely review the release notes of every major release that comes out and study the API section to see if there's any capability that is of interest. I wouldn't shy away from considering the API section of the release notes as for developers only.
Because as I mentioned, some of the capabilities that are made available through the Salesforce UI or through other products on the platform that happens through the API. So there's something that is of interest to hook into for bespoke integrations or projects. Check out the API release notes to see what those opportunities are.
The second thing is absolutely Trailhead. We're working with many stakeholders internally to provide more and better Trailhead content that addresses the concept and the capabilities of APIs. There's actually a really useful trail that we can include in the show notes that brings a lot of that Trailhead knowledge together in a nice package.
The third is to look out for that additional API version consumption visibility that we're going to be launching in the summer 2021 release. So definitely keep an eye out for that in the release notes, and we'll update the knowledge article with those additional details as well.

LeeAnne: So we've got lots of awesome API content for our awesome admins, it sounds like.

Kris Harrison: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well, I want to thank you Kris for being on the podcast and enlightening us on APIs. I feel like it's the current in our walls that runs along and never makes sense to me when I plug something in. It pops a fuse, but I do it anyway.

Kris Harrison: There are so many great API metaphors out there. One of the...

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, tell me your favorite. Tell me your favorite, please.

Kris Harrison: I can't take credit for it, and I don't know who is the originator of it, but the metaphor of APIs in the context of going to a restaurant, giving an order to a waiter and having the waiter go to the kitchen to fulfill that request and bring the food or drink back to you.
I think that's a really useful and helpful metaphor that explains what APIs are and the benefit that they can provide. Rather than stepping into a restaurant and having to go into the kitchen to cook your own meal, APIs provide that exchange of information back and forth between the table and the kitchen in a reusable context.
So that's one I like, but you can go out there and search for any number of other metaphors that connect with you to help explain what APIs do and what value that they offer.

Mike Gerholdt: I like it.

LeeAnne: I really like that metaphor. I'm not on many podcasts, but when I am, we always seem to end up talking about...

Mike Gerholdt: That's because you're on podcasts with me, LeeAnne. That's all.

LeeAnne: Maybe it's just because we record at lunchtime. I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, that was great. Thanks Kris.

Kris Harrison: My pleasure.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was a great discussion about APIs with LeeAnne and Kris. There's so much that an admin knows and does and interacts with the API. And I love the analogy that Kris gave us of a restaurant server, taking your order and going back to the chef. That's a neat way to think about it.
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. We are at Salesforce Admns on Twitter.
Our guest today was Kris Harrison. You can find him on Twitter @GETkharrison, link is in the show notes. Of course, Gillian, my co-host who is @gilliankbruce on Twitter. And don't forget to follow LeeAnne. She is @Leeanndroid. Of course, I would appreciate it. I am @MikeGerholdt.
And with that stay safe, stay awesome, and of course stay tuned for the next episode. We will see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Why_API_Versions_Matter_with_Kris_Harrison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by LeeAnne Rimel, Architect Admin Relations, fellow Evangelist, and host of the Youtube video series “Did You Know” and “Expert Corner” to share some tips for how to learn in a virtual world.

Join us as we talk about distributed work, how to address concerns with working from home, and how to get a better work-life balance.

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

Join us in the Expert Corner.

March is Admin Integration Month, and it also marks the launch of Expert Corner, a new video series that gives our community the chance to meet the product managers that build the tools our admins are using. “One of the things that came up as I was thinking about how we bring technical content and technical conversations to admins was those conversations that we often witness or have with product managers when we’re at in-person events,” LeeAnne says.

The video series is a way of bringing that experience to everyone. In short, Expert Corner is a front-row seat to a Dreamforce session for anyone with an internet connection.

Tips for working from home

Working from home for seven years, LeeAnne has developed some habits to help her keep focused. Her first tip is that if you’re in a meeting, always imagine you’re right there in the conference room. Close any extra tabs, turn off notifications, and do everything you’d do if you were in a conference room with your boss’s boss’s boss. The same goes for taking time for yourself: “treat yourself and your own time and mental bandwidth with the same respect you would for your colleagues,” LeeAnne says.

If you’re having trouble getting your manager onboard with a remote working situation, one thing that LeeAnne’s found is helpful is to get specific about their concerns. You can then address those concerns with specific solutions, and sometimes it’s about thinking creatively. Maybe you can address their concern that they won’t know the status of your work with a quick 5-minute status update at the beginning of the day, for example.

Admins lead the way

“Having an entire workforce change the way they’re working with technology—for any reason—presents an opportunity for admins to be leaders on how their company is using technology,” LeeAnne says, “when there is change, often there is a need and a thirst for some direction and some leadership and some pathfinding.” That can be setting the tone for communicating project statuses, or just how things are communicated within your organization.

One thing LeeAnne does to be on top of the ball is consume information from a lot of sources and synthesize it quickly. She takes a lot of notes but aims to cut down 90% of it and find the important takeaways. Finally, LeeAnne recommends taking the time to figure out how to communicate that information in a way that your users will consume it.

LeeAnne has tons of great tips for working from home and work-life balance, so make sure you listen to the full episode.



Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!


Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are talking with architect admin relations, fellow evangelist, host of many YouTube video series like Did You Know and Expert Corner. I think there's probably five other things I should say about LeeAnne, but LeeAnne Rimel is on the podcast to share with us her expertise in learning in a virtual world, and Gillian, this is just such a fun discussion.

Gillian Bruce: Anytime we get to chat with LeeAnne it's super fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So if you ever want to know what our team meetings are like, this podcast is pretty much it. So with that, let's get LeeAnne on the podcast. So LeeAnne, welcome to the podcast.

LeeAnne Rimel: Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be back.

Mike Gerholdt: You have a lot going on.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah, it's been a busy month. It's been a busy few weeks around here. Got some really exciting stuff coming for our admin audience that's been rolled out during March because it's admin integration month. So having a really good time at putting together and collaborating on a lot of content to help our admins be awesome integrators.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, you're not just integrating admins?

LeeAnne Rimel: All of our awesome admins are also awesome integrators.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Well, LeeAnne. So in addition to integration, which we have a few amazing episodes in the month of March focused on integration, talking to some great people in the Salesforce ecosystem about that, there's also a new video series that you launched that I'd love to dig into a little bit and it's called Expert Corner. So can you talk to us a little bit more about what that is and what it's about?

LeeAnne Rimel: Absolutely. So video is a really important medium for us and it's a medium that I really enjoy working with. I've worked with video for a number of years now. I love that as a communication medium when we're talking to our community. So I love exploring different ways to use video, and one of the things that actually came up as I was preparing and thinking about how we bring technical content to admins and technical conversations to admins was those conversations that we often witness or have with product managers when we're at in-person events.
One of my favorite things in my time at Salesforce is when I'm at a World Tour or when I'm at a meet up and I run into people who are working with the product, either as experts or as product managers, and I get to have those water cooler conversations. Or I get to hear the presentations that they're giving on their product roadmaps or on solutions they've built. So that was really the origin story for this new video series, because we said, "Well, how do we bring that experience, or just one of the many ways that we can try to work to bring that experience to our admin audience that's all over the world? How do we bring them that experience of meeting a product manager like they would have that New York World Tour or Sydney World Tour and bring that to video format so everyone still can meet the product managers that are building the products that they're working with?"
So that is, the essence of what Expert Corner is. It's me sitting down with product managers, with product experts and just hearing from them. Hearing about why they built a tool the way they built it. What are the use cases and things like that that they learned from admins as they were building that tool? What does the roadmap look like? I never will pass up a chance to ask about roadmaps, so we always ask about the roadmap, and we're going to be rolling those out every month. There'll be new videos on our YouTube channel and on our blog for Expert Corner. And this is, I hope, a really good chance for our admin community, our global admin community, to meet the product owners that are building the tools that our admins are using.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like it's a front row seat at a Dreamforce session.

LeeAnne Rimel: I love it. That's a much faster way. I should just describe it that way. That's a much faster way.

Gillian Bruce: And what's great about it is that it's not a Dreamforce session, because only so many people can come to a Dreamforce or come to a World Tour. And what this does is it enables anyone who has an internet connection to get that experience, which I think is pretty awesome.

LeeAnne Rimel: And that's really the goal. We appreciate and love our admin community globally, so I think even if we were having in-person events like this week, I think we would still be doing this type of series because I think that this gives our global audience a chance to feel really connected to the product management life cycle because that so deeply impacts all of our implementations that we're working on, the decisions that we're making as admins. So like Mike said, front row seat. I want all of our admins globally to have a front row seat to get to know their product managers, get to know the products that they're building.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing I like about it is in addition to just having that front row seat, it's very consumable. And I know one thing that you focus on and really help the whole team do is understand how we're learning in a virtual world, because when we're at Dreamforce, you can sit there and not necessarily turn your phone off, but leave it in your bag or your pocket and not get pinged with email or Slack notifications. But now that we're all sitting at home trying to figure that out, working and our email is always on, video is always on, I'd love to know your thoughts on how you balance your calendar and demands so that admins can find time to watch videos like what you're producing.

LeeAnne Rimel: And I think that's a really important conversation that a lot of us are facing right now. And I think even before we were all, or many of us were working from home, I think there was a lot of conversations around being inundated with incoming messages and the attention span that... Shortening our attention span, because we'd always get pings. I have a few things that I do that I actually started doing when I began working from home seven years ago, that really helped me focus on and what I was doing at the moment. One of those is even if you're home and you've got three monitors, if you're on a meeting, imagine as if you were in a conference room for that meeting. I try to close all of my other windows I might have open, I turn off notifications on my phone and on my computer, I try to really do the things... Imagine if you were going to be in a conference room with your boss's boss's boss, and you don't want all your stuff pinging, you wouldn't be answering chats at the end of the table, most likely.
So bring that same focus to the meetings that you have that you're participating in, and also even if it's not a meeting, respect your own time. If you're setting aside 30 minutes to consume learning content, or if you're setting aside 30 minutes to work on trying to build a new flow, I think it's... Treat yourself in your own time and bandwidth, mental bandwidth, with the same respect that you would treat your colleagues with. If you say, "Okay, I'm going to block out 30 minutes on my calendar or 90 minutes on my calendar, whatever work cycle works for you, and I'm going to work on this demo, or I'm going to work on..." Or maybe not in demo for you, but, "I'm going to work on trying to build a flow with like the newest flow features, or I'm going to work on trying to learn more about platform events."
Try to set aside as much as you can set aside other items, because that's going to make that time so much more efficient if you're not context switching between trying to think about different emails that need to be answered and stuff. There's a lot of interesting actually supply chain themes that have come into how we talk about our brain space during work, like context fishing and change cost. But basically the long and short of it is when you... There's no such as shooting off a quick email. If you're working on something, let's say consuming platform events content and trying to learn a new thing, if you pop out for a second to answer an email, that actually costs you 20 minutes of productivity there, just because you can't just context switch that quickly.

Gillian Bruce: LeeAnne, I'm just going to add to that. One thing I always find myself doing, or at least I definitely did during this first part of my working from home very regularly experienced was I would have a video or something playing constantly, because I'm like, "Oh, I can just absorb this while I'm doing this." It was too much. It was like answering the Slack. I was answering this email. I was trying to pay attention to the video, and I wasn't doing anything very well. Nobody wants a multipurpose printer because it... Yes, it can scan, it can fax, it can print, but does it do any of those very well? Usually not.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah, give yourself the space... I mean, I wish I could just absorb by osmosis and just... I wish I could just play technical videos while I was sleeping and I would just wake up knowing new programming languages, but that's not how it works. You have to be really focused. And I think to me that's a huge thing. And I think the more that you can put that on your calendar, it works... I'm a huge fan of turning off notifications whenever you can and just communicate about that. I know I communicate to my team back in the day of building demos and stuff. I'd say, "Hey, I'm going to be heads down building a demo for the next 90 minutes. I'll be back." And I think everyone has different work cultures and work team set ups and all of that, but as much as you can set that time aside because 30 minutes well-spent is so much more impactful than 120 minutes of half way reading a Trailhead module or a blog. Like you said, Gillian, we're not multi-purpose printers. Which is not a sentence I thought I would say.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, by the way, I have a multi-purpose printer. I thought what you were going to say is, "But does it do all three at the same time? No."

Gillian Bruce: I mean, they have gotten better in the last few years, but in general they're not super efficient at any one of those things. They're trying to do at all.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. LeeAnne, as I was listening to talk about all of that stuff, one of the things that I think I've had conversations on Twitter about, and I also feel you're really good at managing up and helping other admins talk to their managers or their stakeholders, what happens if you're in an environment where your boss says, "I need to see you online," or, "I need to see this," or, "I need you to be available." How do you have those conversations or what would your advice be?

LeeAnne Rimel: I think a lot of times when people in our professional or personal lives are asking us for something, I think it can behoove us as individuals to spend some time thinking about what is really the ask behind the ask. And sometimes you can just actually come out and ask them what it is. So for example, if I had a manager who really wanted to see me online, and actually I did have that at one point. In my career, when I was starting to work from home sometimes as a sales engineer, there was some trepidation about like, "Well, we need to be able to see you." And I was like, "I really want to be able to work from home one day a week. How can I work together with this manager to mitigate what their fear is here?"
And I think if someone brings up an issue like that, often there's maybe some underlying fear or concern that you may be able to manage. So something that worked for me in the past is just asking some discovery questions. A little bit of like, "What is the thing that you're concerned will happen?" And then trying to work together to find a solution for that. So for me, for example, this is 10 years ago, but the concern was, "Well, if you're not here in the office, we're not going to be able to get in touch with you if we have a question." And I said, "Okay, let me set up this Chatter group. I'll commit to being on chat. Here's the things I'm going to do to mitigate."
And you can kind block and tackle sometimes some of those different concerns. Maybe a manager's concern won't know the status of your work and that's why they are reluctant to let you be a little more autonomous during the day. So maybe you can try to investigate or figure out what is that concern rooted in and maybe sending regular update emails. A five minute update email in the morning or the afternoon on the status of your work product or committing to being available in particular chat channels. Ideally every work place is different and people are different, but I think often when there's concerns like that, trying to take a step back and understand where are those concerns coming from, what are they worried is going to happen, and are there things that I can do as that compromise to bridge that gap and still get what I need to be successful at work, but they're also getting what they need to not be like really stressed about me not being on a hangout all day.

Gillian Bruce: That could be really tough because a lot of it is ingrained culture for some organizations, you know? I think even at Salesforce, as in the last year, I mean our whole workforce has pretty much been remote. I know that there's even specific groups that have struggled more with it than others just because there's some... There's a vibe that comes with specific types of organizations. And I know your idea of what is the real fear of not having a butt in seat methodology.

LeeAnne Rimel: What are they worried about?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've seen several conversations where you get in that discussion and all of a sudden it's like, "Oh, well, I worry about knowing where something's at." And like you said, "Oh, we can actually resolve that by giving updates at this time every day or whatever." It's interesting, because it's... I mean, I'm not going to say that some of it is maybe generational, but there is an evolution of work that is happening right now that I think is really fascinating, and a lot of these digital tools enable us to do that in new ways and help transform and evolve the culture there. One question I think would be interesting to work on is specific to admins. I know there are many admins who've already been able to rock their role not being physically in the office. What are some things maybe in the last year or so that you've seen with Salesforce specifically, or that you've seen evolve or surface in the Salesforce community that enable admins to even take this to a further level and continue to actually be a driver of digital transformation at their organizations?

LeeAnne Rimel: I think that's a great question because I think having an entire workforce or a large bulk of your workforce change the way they're working with technology, for really any reason, presents, I think, an opportunity for admins to be leaders on how their company is using technology. I think that admins are good at change management and we're good at training and we're going to communication. And I think that when there is change, often there is really a need and a thirst for some direction and some leadership and some pathfinding like with product pathfinding and tools and creating what are those processes that help us be successful now. So I think that admins can be very well positioned to really help their companies be really successful during this transition.
For example, taking the lead on developing a communication method, like we talked a little bit about doing work product updates and things like that, setting the tone as an admin of, "Here's how we're going to communicate project statuses internally. We're going to use XYZ Chatter tools or we're going to use channels to do these updates and do this communication." I think that often admins can set the tone for how that does... They can do it with Salesforce, maybe, and say, "Here's the latest Salesforce updates. Here's what we're working on. Here's some new fields. Here's how you access the training," and do these regular updates to ensure their users are being really enabled on Salesforce. But I think that culturally, that then sets a precedent for maybe how the organization operates.
Like, "Oh hey, I always get this email from my Salesforce admin. I get a weekly email from the Salesforce admin that lets us know the state of the union for Salesforce and what's coming and what happened this week and what trainings my sales users should take." And then that can become the expectation for the company. For other other platforms that you're on or other projects that are going on. So I think there is an important... And I hesitate to say opportunity, but I think there's an important time for admins to really be, when possible, if they can, leaning into the need for some really good change management skills here to help their company be successful.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, I love that term, rock their role. I see a hashtag coming on, and I am going to turn that into another question because I feel, LeeAnne, one of the things that evangelists do and you've helped teach the team to do is really consume a lot of information from many different sources and synthesize it and also make it very relatable. So taking information from videos, or like you said, your chats with PMs and documentation, and then making it very relevant for our admin audience, which coincidentally, I think admins do as well. They take information from us, from your videos, from release notes and synthesize that for their organizations. If you had... And we did a podcast earlier this year with Lizz Hellinga on three things admin should pay attention to. I'd love to know three tips on how admins can help synthesize that information like you do.

LeeAnne Rimel: I take a lot of notes. I know that's probably a very boring tip, but I constantly take notes. Like Gillian and Mike know, I've got endless quips of just notes from calls, notes from presentation. I take a ton of notes and my notes are... So that's my tip one, just really documenting and taking as many notes as I can. Everything that stuck out to me. And then I try to get rid of 90% of the notes. So I really try to trim down. I'll take tons and tons of notes and then I read through my notes again and I think about what is really the important takeaways here. If I'm trying to, like you said, synthesize a large piece of information. And I think centering not yourself is really important in this exercise, really trying to center and think about and have an empathy mindset and think about placing yourself in someone else's position. Who's rocking their role, as Gillian said, and think about, "Okay, if I was managing a complex implementation right now and I had meetings on my calendar for six months planning, what is information that I might need to know?"
So I try to take ton of notes, cut it all down as much as I can or trim it down and really keep the really relevant stuff. And then communicate, communicate, communicate. When you're learning things, as admins, we love learning. I love tinkering. I love learning. That information is not particularly useful if you just keep it in your brain. I mean, it's useful if you're building stuff with it, but even if you're building stuff and you're not communicating, it's not particularly useful. So really thinking about how, and Gillian and Mike, you guys have both taught me a ton about this, about really trying to make sure I'm sharing out the things that we're learning.
So for our admins, thinking about what are the channels that your users are on? How are your users centering them? How are your users consuming information? Is there an email newsletter that you can get a little update on that's really popular at your company? Or do they like to read Chatter every morning? What are these channels that they're consuming information on and try to get in front of them in the way that they consume information. So sometimes that can be uncomfortable because maybe that's not the way you're used to sharing information, but trying to meet them where they're at and share information in the way that they're consuming it.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's a really good point. I mean, everyone's got different learning styles anyway. I mean, we have people like myself who need to learn by actually going through it and doing it. There's other people who consume much better by hearing something like a podcast. Shout out to you people. And then there's people who love to consume videos or read about it. And I think that's a very, very good point of trying to meet people where they're at, and as admins and especially with these digital tools, we have the ability to do that, which is pretty awesome. I will continue the rock their role. It's making me think of sushi too, for some reason.

LeeAnne Rimel: Okay, now I want sushi too. I feel like there's restaurants that had like a rock and roll...

Gillian Bruce: Exactly. Yeah, the rock and roll is a good go-to.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm just excited that Gillian was first one to bring up food and not me this time right now.

LeeAnne Rimel: Now I'm hungry. Thank you, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Sorry.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I want sushis too. Specifically California rolls.

Gillian Bruce: Oh yeah, totally. Totally. All right, I know what I'm ordering tonight. So one of the other things, LeeAnne, I think that's really important and we touched on it a little bit earlier, but maybe you do have three screens and you have the ability to do all of the things all the time and you don't have maybe a barrier of hopping on the train to get to work or hopping in the car. How do you set boundaries and trying to make sure that you're not like burnt out all the time, because I know that's something that I have struggled with on and off in the last year of, "Well, I can just pop open the laptop and do this now, or I'm just at home so I can pop upstairs, have a meal and come right back downstairs and get back in it." As someone who has worked remotely for a very long time, what are some strategies you have around not putting yourself constantly into overdrive or overwhelm?

LeeAnne Rimel: That's a really good question, I think, and this is very much a know thyself thing too, because it's a little bit different for everybody. But I think that the step one I think is to... And I would challenge everyone who's listening to this, sit down, write this out, what are the things that help you decompress or help you forget about work? So for me, that's walking my dog and cooking. Those are two things that I can't be on my phone during. I'm out in the world walking my dog or my hands are dirty because I'm cooking. So those are two things that I get pretty focused on what I'm doing in the moment and I can't work. I physically cannot be working while I'm doing it. So when you identify what are some things that maybe help you get in a flow state that's not a work flow state, and how can you schedule those in your day?
One of the things that's been a lifesaver for me, I think, with working from home is as much as possible... And no one's perfect, so I think with any recommendation, you aim for 80% and that's great. So I try for 80% of the time to create bookends for myself at the beginning and the end of the day. I try to not work first thing when I get up in the morning. I try to not, on most days, sit in bed and read emails or anything. I try to wake up and join my morning, take my dog for a walk, begin work, and then when I'm finished with work, I happen to really enjoy cooking, so then I go and I'll take the dog for a walk or I go cook, but I have these bookends that are like, "Okay, now the work day is done." I know for myself, if I didn't do things like that, then my work day bleeds into the night a little bit. I'll never step away from work.
Another thing that I do is I try again, 80% of the time, no one's perfect, when we try to have these healthy life habits, you try to hit 80% and that's great. I try to keep my computer in my work area. So whatever that is. Maybe your work area is a basket that has your work items and you pack it up at the end of the day. Maybe it's a corner in your office or in your dining room. Maybe you have an office that you're working in. But I try to keep my computer, my work computer in that space so that I'm not finding myself opening it for just five minutes. Because I know for me, if it was 8:30 PM and I'm like, "I'm just going to send this email really quick." First of all, that's not a culture thing that I want to push onto my team. I don't want to make my team respond to my emails, my colleagues respond to my emails late at night.
But then also I know myself and I know that I would end up working for an hour, because I'm lucky that I really enjoy what I do, but it also means that I have to have those boundaries because if I open my computer at 8:00 PM, I'll probably keep it open for a long time. So I think having some work boundaries there, physical boundaries on your daily. Keep your computer in a room or put it on the bookshelf at the end of the day and say, "Okay, I'm done with work. I'm going to close the computer." And then if you can do something... Everyone has different things that allow them to be focused on that thing, but do something that helps you bookend the end of your day. Those are some things that have helped me a lot, because I think it is... Particularly right now when it's not like, "Oh, I'm getting done with work and I'm going to go out to a party or whatever." Many of us are staying home, so we don't have those external social bookends that we may have had before or external scheduling bookends that maybe before. See, there's my dogs. She's telling me to take her for a walk.

Mike Gerholdt: I was just going to say, I hear your bookend calling.

LeeAnne Rimel: She knows I'm talking about her, but I think that also giving yourself grace where you can. I think a lot of us really want, like I said, the 80% rule. Do the best that you can, but also give yourself grace. If you have the ability to, and you have to ask for an extension on a project or something, think about when are those times that it is okay and that I can try to load balance a little bit. Sometimes I have to do that. I say, "I committed to these five things and I have to drop one of them. I'm going to talk to my manager and see which of those I can de-prioritize for another month just to try to stay at a steady pace," because I can guarantee also, your manager doesn't want you to burn out either. Everyone who's listening here, no one wants to burn their employees out or they shouldn't want to burn their employees out. So I think whenever possible, communicating about it and asking for guidance on prioritizing and stuff too is helpful.

Mike Gerholdt: Well I think that is a fantastic way to bookend the podcast.

LeeAnne Rimel: I see what you did there.

Mike Gerholdt: Every now and then. No, this was really good. LeeAnne, I'm super excited for these Expert Corner videos selfishly. I think they can be bigger than this podcast. So I hope everybody that listens watches it and shares them a few hundred times to everybody that they know.

LeeAnne Rimel: That's a pretty lofty goal, but I'm pretty excited about it. I've been at Salesforce for almost 12 years and I still super nerd out every time I get to talk to our product teams. I love working with our product teams and hearing about roadmap and stuff. So I'm really excited for our admins to get to participate in these Expert Corners and hear from our awesome product experts.

Gillian Bruce: You're going to create a whole slew of... What is it, the Shannon Hale society. They're going to have followers for all of the PMs now.

LeeAnne Rimel: I know. I don't know if the newer PMs really realize what they're getting into. I'm like, "Hey, this is the most awesome community ever, but also you got to get on Twitter. You're about to get a lot of tweets."

Mike Gerholdt: I'm sure there's an app to immediately spin up fan clubs. If not, somebody needs to build that.

LeeAnne Rimel: Perfect. I feel like it's called the Salesforce community, or Salesforce Trailblazer community is our awesome PM fan clubs that we see.

Gillian Bruce: 100%. LeeAnne, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on the pod today and share your wisdom and expertise with us. Very much appreciated.

LeeAnne Rimel: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a joy. I love getting to show up and chat with you all on the pod.

Gillian Bruce: So huge thanks to LeeAnne for taking the time to chat with us. It's just so fun to get the three of us on the line together. Some major takeaways from our chat today. Number one, check out the brand new Expert Corner that has now launched on the admin YouTube channel. It's awesome. These are amazing opportunities to get direct access to our product managers who are building the features that you are using every single day. And if you're missing that Q&A interaction, casual chat that you might get at an event in the before times, this is the chance to get that connection now, and they're awesome, so make sure you check those out.
Now, some tips from LeeAnne about distributed work especially. I mean, we had a really good discussion about how you can allay any fears or any anxieties that your team may have by not having a physical presence around each other by really digging into what is the root fear there. What are you worried about? What do you think you're missing? And really having those candid conversations will probably bring some really important things to light. So don't be afraid to have those conversations and there's often very simple solutions, like sending specific kinds of updates and agreeing upon which platforms to reach each other on. So thought that was really great from LeeAnne. And then also set bookends for your day. If the difference between your work environment and your home environment is 20 feet, it's important to have those bookends to create those boundaries so that you're not always on and that you have defined breaks. So think about what those are. I think they're really important.
If you want to learn more things about all things Salesforce admin, make sure you go to You can find so many great resources there, blogs, videos, all kinds of great stuff. And as a reminder, if you like what you hear on this podcast, please, please, please take the time to pop on over to iTunes and give us review. Mike and I read every single review and we want more to read. So give us some more reviews there. You can also stay up to date with us for all things admins @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. You can find our guest today, LeeAnne, on Twitter as well, she's @LeeAndroid, one of my favorite Twitter handles. You can find my cohost Mike Gerholdt @MikeGerholdt and myself @GillianKBruce. Have an amazing day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: How_to_Learn_in_a_Virtual_World_with_LeeAnne_Rimel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to a Salesforce dream team of Zayne Turner, Senior Director of Architect Relations, and LeeAnne Rimel, Architect, Admin Relations. We’ll cover integrations and the tools coming down the road to make them even easier.

Join us as we talk about why you’re already doing integrations as an admin, what questions to ask about integrations, and the Trailhead content you should look at to get started.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Zayne Tuner and LeeAnne Rimel.

Admins are integrators.

“Admins are integrators—admins often are responsible for integrations at their organizations, they are often the ones making important decisions about what to do with existing integrations,” LeeAnne says, “so how do we give you the tools to think about integrations in the larger business scope for your company?” If you connect your data in Salesforce to something else, somewhere else, then you’re already dealing with integrations.

Salesforce has been working hard to get better guidance out there to help admins who have to make these kinds of decisions. “One of the biggest things is to really understand what it is you’re integrating,” Zayne says, and while that might be data, “there’s this whole, powerful realm of processes and process integration—when something has to start inside Salesforce and continue outside.” Understanding the two sides of integrations, process and data, is key to making sure you can make a solid plan for whatever it is you need to do.

Salesforce tools to help you get started with integrations.

The important thing to remember is that the habits you’re already honing to be the product owner of your environment are going to relevant for integration management. Questions like what kind of security you should have, or what kind of data access should have apply equally to your org and to integrations.

“Loosely coupled” is a term that’s thrown around a lot when discussing integrations. It’s the idea that data and process moves easily between systems, but they’re not chained or locked together in a way that can’t change. The Mulesoft Anypoint platform, for example, gives you a middle layer that adds some flexibility. At the same time, we live in a world with budget constraints, so if you’re using out-of-the-box tools, you need to go through a process to identify what really needs to be integrated and what might be better served with a simpler solution.

There are also some new Integration Pattern Architect Trailhead trails that can help you get a handle on everything, so take the time to brush up on your knowledge. Listen to the full episode for more about integrations from this expert guest lineup, and don’t be afraid to jump into Mulesoft Composer and get started.



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Direct download: How_to_Design_Integrations_with_Zayne_Turner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re bringing you another monthly retro. We highlight the standout blog posts, videos, and all the other great Salesforce content from February.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Blog highlights from February

Mike points us to a thorough overview of everything you need to know about the upcoming MFA requirements coming in 2022. As we’re seeing cybercrime and data breaches continue to rise, we want to help you take steps to protect your org and secure your data, and there are a lot of resources to get you started. Gillian points out a post by friend of the pod and Awesome Admin Sarah Pilzer, which shares how her training as a marine biologist informs her current career as a Salesforce admin.

Podcast highlights from February

We squeezed a lot into a short month on the pod. Gillian had an opportunity to sit down with one of her favorite people in the Salesforce ecosystem, Megan Peterson, to talk about her new show, Trailhead News, and hear all her tips for creating engaging video content. Mike, meanwhile, wanted to highlight his conversation with Lizz Hellinga about her stint with the Admin team and a sneak peek of what’s coming down the pipeline.

Video highlights from February

Gillian was busy cranking out a “pilot season” of videos for the Admin Youtube Channel. We’ve got the 2-minute “No Silly Questions” series where experts answer anything you want to know. If you have a question, send us a video!


Direct download: February_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Megan Peterson, a Trailhead Evangelist based in Sydney Australia. We’ll learn about Trailhead News, a new way to keep up with everything going on with the Trailhead platform.

Join us as we talk about how Megan started Trailhead News, her tips for creating a great online event, and what’s coming up with Trailhead events.

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

Trailhead News.

With the changes that have come in 2020, Megan came up with an idea to do a news show to take advantage of the new Trailhead Live platform. “We’ve got our Trailhead Newsletter that goes out, but we don’t really have a way to tell everyone everything that Trailhead does,” she says. So every two weeks, she puts out a new episode to keep everyone in the loop.

Trailhead has so much going on beneath the surface, and Trailhead News is here to help you make sure you don’t miss anything. Megan talks to people behind the scenes to get the full story, and you can get started with a simple Trailmix that gives you links to everything mentioned on the show.

How to get started with online events.

Organizing something new in a changed landscape has taught Megan some important lessons about what works and what doesn’t in a digital format. “I think people get a little stuck on trying to make what would’ve been a face-to-face event a virtual event, but trying to do it the same way,” she says, “shake that off and think about why you’re doing this event. What’s different about it?”

Megan recommends taking the time to picture what your online event will look like, and start from there. Make sure you have a niche: some kind of unique audience or reason for what you’re doing. And, of course, there are the practical considerations: how are you going to record it? How are you going to edit it? Where are you going to share it?

Why you don’t need a big budget to make a great event.

One big difference between digital and in-person is that you need to change it up frequently. “We would’ve sat through a 20 or 30-minute presentation from a single person in the Admin Theater,” Megan says, “the propensity to sit and listen for a long amount of time is getting shorter and shorter.”

It might be changing your voice, having another person come in, or even just giving your viewers a quick visual break. “You can do this on a zero budget, and if you’ve got budget you can make it a little bit more polished,” Megan says, “but there is definitely ways you can make it creative, different, interesting, and natural for yourself.” And one thing she’s seen time and again with guests is that you’re better than you think you are—be yourself and trust that if what you have to say is important to you, it’ll be engaging to an audience.

Listen to the full episode for some more great tips from Megan about online events, and don’t miss the ANZ Salesforce Live event coming up on March 24th.



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you be an awesome admin. This week, we are diving into the very important world of Trailhead and Trailhead News with Megan Petersen, Trailhead evangelist based in Sydney, Australia. One of my favorite people from down under.
In this episode, you'll hear all about Trailhead News and get some tips and advice for your content delivery in this virtual world. So without further ado, let's welcome Megan to the podcast. Megan, welcome to the podcast.

Megan Petersen: Woowoo. I'm so excited to be back on the Admin podcast with you, Gillian. Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, it's always great to have your voice on the awesome Admin airwaves here. I wanted to check in with you. It's been a while. I know you've been up to a lot of amazing things and one of the things I wanted to start with is Trailhead News. Can you talk to us a little bit about what Trailhead News is?

Megan Petersen: I sure can. So I came up with this idea to do this fun little news show back in 2020, when we were all unable to leave our houses. I thought, why not take advantage of this great platform in Trailhead Live that had just been announced at the Dreamforce just before.
And we've got our Trailhead newsletter that goes out, but we don't really have a way to tell everyone everything that Trailhead does. I don't think people understand that Trailhead's beyond It's our Trailhead Academy, all the certifications, all our wonderful classes, all our instructors. It's admins, it's devs.
There's so much that goes into the word Trailhead when you say it. So, the idea behind starting Trailhead News was giving us a way to talk about end-to-end what we're doing with Trailhead and keeping it fun and topical. There's so much that we're talking about all the time.
At first, I thought, "I hope we have enough to talk about on every show," but I soon found out that every two weeks or so, I could definitely have some top Trailhead News. Came up with some fun segments. A fond memory is the Behind the Hoodies that we did with Steve Molis and Nana Gregg. That was a fun little segment taking a, this is your life look at their Salesforce careers. And then we always do an interview as well and pepper a lot of fun in between.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you've got some star-studded cameos that happen. I think you've done some with Parker Harris, our co-founder. As you mentioned, some of our rock MVPs in the community. And it's a really fun way to get a taste of how we like to keep Trailhead weird. But also as you said, the incredible amount of things that are involved with the idea of Trailhead, it's not just the Trailhead product, but it's the community, it's all the activities around it. And it's pretty awesome.

Megan Petersen: Yeah. Talking to Parker, I do have a lot of admiration for Parker. So that was an amazing moment to be able to interview him on the last episode last year. And we had the wonderful Sarah Franklin is now our CMO. Heather Conklin. Yeah.
If you haven't checked out Trailhead News, there's a very simple little trail mix where you can find links to everything that's mentioned on the show and all the previous episodes as well. And Gillian can share that in all the notes.

Gillian Bruce: It will be in the show notes. Absolutely. And you forgot to mention the fun themes and costumes that sometimes you and your guests don on Trailhead News, which make it even more exciting and surprising.

Megan Petersen: I think I just try and put myself in the shoes of someone that is choosing to spend some time looking at more screen. And I think, "What could make this just a little bit more entertaining than just sitting and talking to someone?"
So yes, we had our awesome 80s themed episode. We had our Halloween spooktacular. I think I went well overboard on the spooky puns in that one, but it was very fun. Had a lot of community faces in that episode as well.
It's just, if I'm going to sit there for 20, 30 minutes and watch an episode, I want to find a reason to smile and there's always good little hidden Easter eggs in every episode to make sure that you get a laugh. And information.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. You want to be entertained and informed at the same time. And there you go.

Megan Petersen: Indeed. Indeed.

Gillian Bruce: So, speaking of that, I would love to hear a little bit more about some of the things you've learned doing Trailhead News. Now, while you are in Australia and you have at least somewhat of a normal life that has returned.

Megan Petersen: We're very lucky. Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Not everybody else, especially I'm thinking of me here in San Francisco. We're still on lockdown. I think I've been on lockdown for a year now, it feels like. But a lot of us admins and otherwise, we're still trying to figure out how to engage virtually. Right.
We're all stuck at screens, as you mentioned, the last thing a lot of people want to do is watch something else on the screen. So, what are some things that you've learned from doing Trailhead News and doing other virtual experiences over the past year, that might be useful for admins as they're trying to figure out how to either engage with their users or engage with other people in the community?

Megan Petersen: Yeah. Lots actually. It's been a really good learning experience to try and... So I actually do write, produce, film, edit, the whole thing by myself. So there is a lot that goes into doing that. So if you are looking to create your own virtual event, you're going to have to dust off a few possible new skills.
So, it's been a learning curve. When I look at some of the earlier episodes, I go, "Oh, you hadn't learned how to do that then, yet. I see you do that better now with your editing." Or even I had to get a nice microphone. At first, I was like, "It's fine. They can hear my voice." And now I had to get a special Yeti microphone, which makes me sound a little bit better. So you hone the craft.
But luckily enough, I'm actually in the process of writing a badge, that's coming out onto Trailhead, talking about this virtual event production. Hopefully it'll come out in the next few months, but it'll be all around virtual events.
And one of the first things that I do is sit there. If you're trying to replicate something that would have been something in-person for example. So we're going back two years, let's say, when face-to-face events were normal.

Gillian Bruce: The olden days.

Megan Petersen: The olden days. Yes. Back before 2020. And I think people get a little stuck in thinking about trying to make what would have been a face-to-face event, a virtual event, but trying to do it the same way. So I want to say, shake that off and think about why you're doing this event. So what's different about it?
So when I said Trailhead News, it was about talking about everything that Trailhead is doing at that point in time and bringing a bit of fun. No one else was doing that. So that's my little niche reason to be creating it. So think about why you're doing this event. What is the hole you're plugging? What's the message you're trying to deliver?
And then I always say, if you could just shut your eyes, you need to see it. So try and see what you think this event is going to look like visually in your head. It might not be super clear, but usually I get some early idea. I've got a document where, in the middle of the day, I'll suddenly get some random idea.
I've always wanted to do a slow motion walk. And so I was like, I'm going to do that one day on Trailhead News. So watch out for that one day, I'll do a slow motion walk because I've seen the movies. I'm like, "God, it'd be so cool. Do a slow motion walk." And I can do that on Trailhead News. It's one of the fun little nuggets I'll weave in.
But close your eyes, visualize what you see on the screen and start from there. And there's a lot of things that are going to go into crafting that vision. But you want to make sure you have some kind of niche, some kind of unique audience, or reason, or message that you're bringing to the listeners, to the watchers.
And then there's a lot of factors, like how are you going to record it? How are you going to edit it if you need to edit it? Where are you going to let people see it? Where are you going to share it? So there's those kind of logistical, operational elements. But then if you're the one person that's bringing it all together, you also have to make it creative.
And if I've learnt anything, you need to change it up really frequently. So, I think whereas we would have sat through a 20 minute, 30 minute presentation of a single person, if we're sitting say at the admin theater or the admin meadow back at Dreamforce. Sitting there and listening in-person, that was fine. But doing that in a visual digital way, is just not the same these days.
And I think the propensity to sit and listen for a long amount of time, is getting shorter and shorter. So, think of ways to change it up. Sometimes that might be changing even just your voice, changing a quick visual break, having another person's voice come in. There's little things that you just want to keep it interesting. Keep it engaging. And there's a lot of planning that does need to go into it as well, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Well, yes. I have been privy to the planning, at least part of the planning that you go through to put Trailhead News together. And it's quite impressive.

Megan Petersen: Well, you were my first interview on Trailhead News.

Gillian Bruce: I know. It was amazing. You helped me learn things about Zoom I didn't even know I could do. It was great. But I think one of the things that you touched on that I think is really relevant is, this is a one woman production, so to speak. And so, a lot of the things that you've learned... I mean, hey, not everyone is going to probably beef up the editing skills quite as much as you have. But if you're recording a video or something that you're trying to maybe just deliver a training to your users, I think a lot of the tips and the things that you have learned are very helpful.
I mean, you mentioned things like just changing up your voice, changing up the visuals. Hey, instead of thinking of it as a 30 minute meeting or a 30 minute presentation, how do you mix it up and keep it engaging? And I think that's one of the things that I have noticed quite a bit in our screen fatigue. There are industries completely devoted to entertainment that have cracked the code on some of this. But there's some easy things that we can take from that to help create content that is more engaging, albeit still on a screen.
I think for any, hey, maybe you've got a video you want to send to your five users for them to watch, you can still take a lot of these tips. I mean, like you said, even just adjusting the microphone, maybe you don't have to buy a fancy microphone.

Megan Petersen: No. You do not have to. You can do this on a zero budget and if you've got budget, then it's just going to make it that little bit more polished. But start small, like you say, if this is about sharing some training with your users.
And humor might not be your strong suit, but you can still make it engaging. I obviously like to put puns in there and put jokes in there and that feels natural to me. But humor's not everybody's strong suit, but there is definitely ways you can still make it creative, different, interesting, and natural for yourself.
And I do just want to say, I've had to record with a lot of people and I've asked a lot of people to do videos for me. And often I'll ask someone and they'll email me and they'll go, "This is just terrible. I hope there's something usable. I'm sorry. I tried. I hate looking at myself on camera."
This happened yesterday to me, someone sent me a video. And I watched it for five seconds and they looked happy, engaged, connected with the camera. They were talking with confidence. And I have no idea what they were thinking in their mind when they said that to me.
So, I think it's that, if you think you're going to fail, you're going to fail. But if you go in as confident as you can, make connection with the camera, try not to read a script. We used to be able to do that when we're up on stage.
Making eye contact with the camera is a simple... If you do nothing else, looking at the camera is going to connect with your audience better than you looking down constantly or reading off a screen. So just talk from the heart, talk from experience, connect with the camera and be confident. Trust me. You're better than you think you are if you're doubting yourself, for sure.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's a great message. Basically, what you're saying is be authentic.

Megan Petersen: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: And I think any viewer can always tell if the person on the screen is being authentic or not.

Megan Petersen: 100%.

Gillian Bruce: I know a lot of admins, we may struggle with feeling like maybe a little imposter syndrome or whatnot, but hey, if you've got something that you think is important enough to share, you got it.

Megan Petersen: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: You know it.

Megan Petersen: That's what I always say. I'm like, "I want to tell your story, but if I don't know your story, I can't tell someone that you have an awesome story." We had some Aussies on the podcast at the end of last year, which was fantastic because I've seen them at our Trailblazer community group meetings, or I've heard it through the grapevine that they're doing an amazing presentation at their companies.
So, speak up. Even if you come to us directly in a little moment of confidence, let us know. We'd love to showcase anything amazing that our whole ecosystem is doing.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, absolutely. Well, speaking of that, this is a great segue. Thank you for that.

Megan Petersen: Cool. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We've got a little... Speaking of virtual events, we have one coming up pretty soon here. It's the ANZ Salesforce Live event.

Megan Petersen: Correct.

Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to us a little bit more about that?

Megan Petersen: I can, it's going to be amazing. So this is our first big event here in ANZ. If you don't know what ANZ means, it stands for Australia and New Zealand. Where I am from, I'm in Sydney, Australia. And it's going to be on March 24th, which is a Wednesday here, which would be a Tuesday, Pacific Time.
You're more than welcome to join in if you're anywhere in the world. Just because it's in Australia, New Zealand doesn't mean that you can't tune in and hear what we're going to put together. And there's going to be some amazing Trailhead content coming to that event.
We're going to do a special Trailhead News actually, coming to you live from Salesforce Live ANZ, which is a first for me. So, figuring out how that's going to work and look, and sound, and be entertaining for those that are watching. And we might even have some admin and developer sessions coming down for our audiences. Maybe a bit of community involvement, would you say Gillian?

Gillian Bruce: I would say, yes. I think we've got some community faces that will be a welcome addition to the event. And I think will be really fun. It's one of the things I think we all missed a lot last year, was we did the best we could to pivot and deliver great content to the global Salesforce community.
One thing that was missing that we typically have at every single in-person event, was the chance for Trailblazer community members to present and share. Hey, we're figuring out a way to do it this time. So it's very exciting.

Megan Petersen: It's exciting. It was very important. It's what we did last year, actually for a world tour Sydney last year. This is when everything was starting to lockdown. If you go back a year ago, we had very short notice to turn around this huge digital event a year ago.
And that's where the idea for Trailhead News actually originally came from, because we did the whole thing like a news program back then. So we definitely want to bring some of those vibes into this year. We won't do eight and a half hours of content like we did last year. I won't do that to you. It'll be a little bit less.

Gillian Bruce: That was a lot of content. It was a lot of content.

Megan Petersen: You tell me now that I had to turn around eight and a half hours of content in 10 days. I still don't quite know how that happened, but it's amazing. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I don't think you slept. Right.

Megan Petersen: No, not really. Not really.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's really... So it's March 24th. And as you said, anyone can tune in, but it is intended for the... I love saying ANZ because we don't say Zed here in the United States, we say Z. So it sounds more authentic.

Megan Petersen: Ah. Oh, Zed. Right. I got you.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Megan Petersen: We can bust out the old Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, if you want to, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Do it, do it. I love it.

Megan Petersen: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Then you say, "Oi, Oi, Oi."

Gillian Bruce: Oi, Oi, Oi. Yeah. I remember. Come on. I've been there a couple of times.

Megan Petersen: Yes. Okay. Okay. All right. Yeah, there's a whole chant. I won't take up too much time doing the whole chant. Aussies know what we're doing here.

Gillian Bruce: This has been awesome. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. I will keep the Trailhead News awesomeness going. And I'm looking forward to sharing that great virtual event preparation badge that you're working on at Trailhead with the admin community. So, as soon as you've got it ready, I will happily share it out. And reminder to everyone to check out the event of March 24th, to tune in. Yeah. Any other parting words of advice you'd love to share with our admin community?

Megan Petersen: Be awesome. Keep putting yourself out there. Be positive and be authentic.

Gillian Bruce: Love it. Thank you so much for joining us and we'll talk to you again soon.

Megan Petersen: Bye.

Gillian Bruce: Always wonderful to catch up with one of my favorite Aussies. Thanks so much, Megan, for joining us on the podcast. Now, for some of my takeaways from our conversation to help you as an awesome admin. Number one, when you are thinking about creating content to deliver in this virtual environment, really think about how to keep your users engaged. Take a minute and envision what will keep your viewers wanting to look at what you're doing.
So mix it up, have some new visuals, bring in some other voices. And you don't have to spend a bunch of money on fancy equipment. You can use the equipment that you have. Some tips that I've even just learned from podcasting is just make sure you got a microphone that's close to your mouth. So don't just use the microphone that's on your laptop or your computer. If you've got headphones that have a little mic attached to them, plugging them into your phone, that will even just make a big enough difference.
And be authentic. Megan really pointed out how you can tell if someone's just reading to a camera and not connecting. And that is not engaging. We've all watched those. So, look at the camera. Speak from your heart and your mind. You know this content. Whatever you're presenting, clearly you know it enough to feel that it's important. So, just trust yourself. Have a conversation with the camera. It's much easier to keep people engaged by doing that than otherwise.
Also, stay tuned for Trailhead News. We've got the next is coming out on February 23rd. So just next week after this podcast drops. And you can find all of the Trailhead News episodes at the link in the show notes. And tune in for the March 24th ANZ Australia, New Zealand Salesforce Live event. The link again, is in the show notes so that you can register for that. You don't want to miss it. It will be really, really awesome.
So, if you want to learn about all things Salesforce Admin, as always, you can go to to find more resources. And a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. We promise, we definitely read them all. Mike and I love reading them. Well, most of them. No, I'm kidding. We love reading all of them. So please continue to give us some reviews.
You can also stay up to date with us on all things Admins on social, @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can find our guest today, Megan Petersen on Twitter, @MeganPTweets. I'm on Twitter, @gilliankbruce. And my cohost, the amazing Mike Gerholdt, is @MikeGerholdt. With that, we hope you have a great day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Trailhead_News_with_Megan_Peterson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This is the Salesforce Admins Podcast! A show for Salesforce Admins where we talk about Product, Community, and Career to help you become an awesome admin!
We are Salesforce Admins just like you, and we have a ton of experience on the Salesforce platform. We love learning about all the new features and capabilities that enable us, as Admins, to do awesome things with Salesforce to transform our organizations, communities, and careers. Every week on the podcast we talk to product managers at Salesforce about what they are building and to Salesforce Admins just like you about the problems they are solving, giving you tips and advice on how to be an Awesome Admin.

What you said about us

As a current job seeker in the Salesforce Ecosystem I am really encouraged by these podcasts. As my goal is to remain revelant and plugged-in the knowledge shared by Admins and others is invaluable to gaining confidence and skills. By building knowlege via Trailhead badges and then demonstrating undersramding & assessment of those skills by conquering the Superbadges I am inspired to keep going and constantly learn more each and every day. Keep up the Great Work! – Chad Kleve

I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this podcast! As a new “Accidental Admin" all things salesforce can be quite intimidating! There is so much to learn but this podcast helps me stay on top of the important things to look out for and newest features to check out. I also LOVE that it is not a boring stuffy podcast! I find myself learning, laughing and sometimes crying (happy tears) while listening to the episodes on my daily walks. – TrishainOmaha

I love listening to this podcast in the mornings when I’m getting ready for work. Each episode contains something new that I didn’t know about salesforce, and a new view on someone’s journey into the salesforce ecosystem. Loved the accessibility series on making your orgs more user friendly for everyone. – ibbyanne

You can find our show on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, and Spotify or by searching "Salesforce'' wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. And, you can find even more great content at

Direct download: SFA_560.1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we hear from Mat Hamlin, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce. We’ll dive into multi-factor authentication (MFA), and why all Salesforce users will be using it by February 1st, 2022.

Join us as we talk about multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, tracking and adoption, and a little bit about barbeque.

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

How should you manage MFA in your org?

So should you use an existing single sign-on (SSO) implementation or roll out a standalone MFA? “As a general rule,” Mat says, “if your organization does have a centrally-managed single sign-on solution that can or does support multi-factor authentication for its login processes, that’s the recommended solution.” Your internal IT department already thinks about managing identity and security risks all day long, so letting them have control over your authentication and verification processes helps them centralize and apply policies.

For some organizations, however, it might make more sense for you as the Salesforce admin to manage MFA on the platform. You can even configure it to handle all of your Salesforce products in one place: Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and more. Think about it as a great excuse to start a conversation with your IT folks about what works best for your org.

A helping hand to monitor adoption and more.

There are also some great tools to monitor adoption and general usage baked-in to Salesforce. You can generate reports with the login history fields to get a picture of what’s going on. There’s also the new Security Command Center feature to help you keep track, and there will be even more login metrics coming in Spring ‘21with the Lightning Usage App.

MFA Assistant will be with you every step of the way, giving you suggestions and references to make things simple. That said, MFA will add a step to the login process. “As administrators, as you start rolling out MFA, it’s good to be very communicative about the process but also the reasons,” Mat says. You want to explain why it’s so important to reduce the risk of data loss and protect your organization.

Finally, it’s helpful to show your users exactly what the changes to their login process look like. “Fear of the unknown can cause people to be anxious,” Mat says, but if you can show them how easy it is and what to expect you’ll find a lot more success. As you’re showing them, make sure to emphasize that you’ll be there to support them whenever they need help.



Direct download: MFA_and_SSO_Implementation_with_Mat_Hamlin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Lizz Hellinga, Salesforce MVP and change enabler. We’ll go over everything she’s looking forward to that’ll help us help users.

Join us as we talk about how the platform has evolved with automation and assistance, all the new setup guides and assistants that make things easier, and why you should start playing with Tableau.

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

Looking behind the curtain

Lizz has recently pinch-hit for LeeAnne on the Admin team at Salesforce, and getting a look behind the curtain has given her a lot of insights into what’s coming up and what admins should pay attention to in the new year. “When you think about some of the new things with In-App Guidance, In-App Learning, Notification Builder, Dynamic Forms,” she says, “all that is to help admins increase adoption and help their endusers do what they need to do when they need to do it.”

For Lizz, the new MFA assistant coming out in Spring ‘21 is especially exciting because it helps you focus by giving you a ready-to-go adoption checklist. The bottom line is that you can add the guidance and extra help you need right where your users need it the most. “I remember when I had to do my first implementation, and I created all of these little working guides to help people when we launched,” she says, “and then I realized they would be stale after just a few weeks or months, depending on how much change we added to the platform.” Now you can add a single prompt to keep people up to date, helping your users actually focus on how to use the platform rather than worrying about how to work it.

Why you should get started with Tableau

Lizz worked with pod regular John Demby and his team on Tableau video content, and she got an insider’s perspective on just how easy it is to incorporate into your org. The biggest thing she learned is that you should just get started trying it out—there are data sets already there to play around with, and sample dashboards so you can see how everything works. “Don’t be afraid, just hop right in,” Lizz says, “Tableau can combine data streams for your organization to give better insights but you just have to start doing it.”

For next year, Lizz wants to learn a lot more about MuleSoft Connector. “Admins work on multiple features at one time, we toggle between different features, and we’re constantly using them to enable our end users and enable successful processes,” she says. She’s also psyched about Service Setup, which makes it so much easier to get acquainted with Service Cloud.


Admin Preview Live - Release Readiness Live, Spring '21

Spring 21 Release Highlights 


Lizz: @LizzHellinga

Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns 

Gillian: @GillianKBruce

Mike: @MikeGerholdt

Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week we're talking with Lizz Hellinga, Salesforce MVP and change enabler. In this episode, you'll hear from Lizz about the fun stuff that she worked on. The exciting new opportunities for admins. And the features she is most excited to learn more about this year. So with that, let's get Lizz on the pod.
So Lizz, welcome to the podcast.

Lizz Hellinga: Thank you so much for inviting me. I'm thrilled to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Lizz, you did a ton with our admin team over the last, I will say, it's specifically 249 days, coming on to help us out while LeeAnne was on parental leave. And we wanted to have you on the pod to help send forth admins and give them some wisdom that you gained and insights that you have on where they're going and things they should pay attention to. That's kind of how I'm kicking off our discussion.

Lizz Hellinga: Great. It's been such an adventure to support all of you over the last... How many days was it? 259.

Mike Gerholdt: 49, but-

Lizz Hellinga: 49 days.

Mike Gerholdt: ... maybe feels longer. We have a pandemic going on.

Gillian Bruce: And Salesforce years, it's like dog years, right.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Lizz Hellinga: Right. It was truly an incredible opportunity. And I think before we really get started into what I've learned, I just would love to give a shout out to all of you on the admin team, what you do every day to support and promote admins. To be on the inside and see how you always have admins at the forefront is incredible to know. And I just want others to know that as well, how thoughtful you all are and how they're always top of mind.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, thank you very much.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Thank you. I mean, Lizz, thank you for all the work that you've done for us because I don't know how we would have gotten by without that. So kind of back at you. I would love to know Lizz, Hey you got to work on a lot of things this year. You probably learned a lot that you didn't expect to learn. What are some of your kind of top insights for admins based on kind of where you've seen the platform evolve over the last year and kind of things that admin should be looking at and paying attention to these days?

Lizz Hellinga: What I'm thrilled to see is how the platform is evolving to help admins manage and support adoption within their orgs. When you think about some of the new things with In-App Guidance, In-App Learning, Notification Builder, Dynamic Forms, all that is to help admins increase adoption and help their end-users do what they need to do when they need to do it. And when I think about, for me, my personal perspective, I love change management. It's one of the things I love to talk about with others, looking at the new MFA Assistant that's coming out in spring '21 and how it even has change management components built into it. So that admins have this great, ready to go checklist to help them help their end-users adopt change.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I would say I love how getting started everything feels now. Before, a lot of the tools came out, and it was, "We'll figure out how to make it go." And now, with MFA and we saw in spring '21 was Service Cloud Setup and Macros Builder, everything has that kind of coaching component to it. I think of it akin to all of the apps that we have on our phones now that let us stream information. There's almost like a walkthrough of everything.

Lizz Hellinga: Exactly. And the thing too is that it saves admin's time so they can focus on enabling business processes and efficiencies because they can start to add that adoption right inside the app and support their end-users. When you think about In-App Learning and In-App Guidance walking their end-users through processes. But then also with dynamic forums. Having them just fill out what they need to fill out correctly at the right moment. It's just incredible how it can support the end-users.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and Lizz, I'd like to maybe... you've been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while. You've been an MVP for a while. I mean, I'd love to, maybe, hear a little bit of your perspective of the evolution, right, because a lot of the things you described are kind of new within the last year. Do you see kind of the admins' day-to-day functions shifting a little bit as the platform has evolved?

Lizz Hellinga: A hundred percent. I remember when I had to do my first implementation and I created all of these little [inaudible] guides to help people when we launched. And I did all these end-user trainings to just help them be able to use the platform correctly. And then I realized quickly, "Oh, these are a little bit stale after just a few weeks sometimes or months," depending on how much change we add in to the platform. But now, I mean, you can deliver information with just a single prompt to let people know, "Oh, Hey, we added this picklist value, or now you can do this," all within the app. Saving the admins time. Saving them phone time, response time. It's incredible.
And ultimately what that means is that they can really focus on creating real change with the platform, deeply analyzing some of the processes that need improvement, collaborating with their stakeholders to understand how they can improve it and what needs to be done. Yes. I mean, I can't wait to launch a new org with the new... Oh my gosh, what is the name of it? Admin guide, guidance center for admins. That's incredible. And based on your skill set, it will evolve the information to what your experience is. So even tenured admins can learn something from it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And speaking of launching new and kind of reaching out to stakeholders. One of the projects that you worked on a lot was working with the Tableau team and specifically John Denby, who if you didn't watch any of the Trailblazers Innovate or DreamTX or TrailheadTX stuff that we put out. He put out some amazing video content that you helped him with on Tableau. I'd love to get kind of your perspective on what admins can do this year with Tableau.

Lizz Hellinga: Oh, Tableau, that was just such a fun opportunity to work with John and to collaborate with him and how admins can use Tableau. I think the biggest thing that admins can do is just try it out. You have data that you can work with on it. Don't be afraid, just hop right in. There's datasets that you can download to play around with it that you can do a trial org. All of that can help you start to see how Tableau can combine data streams for your organization to get better insights, but we just have to start doing it. I think that's my biggest piece of advice. Don't wait. Just start trying it out.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, we've got so much coming all the time that if you wait, you'll kind of be behind the curve a little bit, right.

Lizz Hellinga: And then there's also some sample dashboards too that are available so that you can easily use those and play around with them and tweak them for your needs. So similar to how you would download dashboards from the app exchange for reports and dashboards within the app.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, that's a great resource. And there's so many. I mean, I just remember when we had John on the podcast to talk about Tableau, and literally while we were talking to him, he was talking to us about all of the publicly available Tableau dashboards that people have built. And I went down so many rabbit holes. I was just floored. So yeah, there's a ton of great resources that are out there for anyone, even if you're not a Salesforce Admin, but you wanted to play with Tableau. There are ways that you can kind of start getting involved. But great perspective there, Lizz.

Mike Gerholdt: For DreamTX, we kind of threw something fun out there of how do we stitch together a whole bunch of features that we normally show, I'll say, a la carte, and put them in one episode. And that was a fun episode. You got to work with SE Platform Judy Fang, who's also based in Australia. I say, also, because we had a lot of guests from Australia on the pod recently. But I'd love to know your perspective on that. And some of those features that for sure you want to invest further in in this year.

Lizz Hellinga: Wow. I want to learn a lot more about MuleSoft Connector. I think that will be a powerful tool in the Admins Toolkit. You know what was so interesting to me about working on that presentation with Judy was admins do that. We do work on multiple features at one time in the short amount of span in that 20 minutes. We're toggling between different features, and we're constantly using them to enable our end users and enable successful processes. But Service Setup is a new thing that I think, especially for me I haven't had a ton of exposure to Service Cloud and then having something like Service Setup where I get it off the ground and running quickly using industry best practices. It was probably the highlight of that session for me.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, Service Cloud has given us so many great things like I mean the Console View, Macros. There's so many great things that originated in Service Cloud that now bleed over into all of the platform that are just so incredible. I mean, I remember the first time I built a Console app, and I was like, "Oh, this is amazing." And so I think it's really great to kind of get that exposure from different parts of the platform, because then you realize, "Oh, I could use this in this way. I can use that in this way." Lizz, one of the things I would really, really love to know, especially since you have... you've got the perspective on being on the inside, so to speak, and being on the outside. I would really like to know what are the things that you see are most valuable for admins in terms of types of messaging or content. Knowing kind of how we come up with stuff and knowing how the community responds. What are some things that you think are maybe the most impactful and most powerful?

Lizz Hellinga: In terms of the admins? What content is out there and available for them?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Lizz Hellinga: I guess, for me. I had always been impressed with Release Readiness and pulling them all together. For the admins I think it's just such a great way for them to attend some of the... watch some of those videos, read some of the blogs and then go back to their orgs and their teams and their leaders talk about how these changes could benefit and impact their team in their instance. And how they can best use it to meet their business objectives. It's a way for them to be proactive. I think about even just In-App Learning that's coming out in spring '21, being able to say, "Hey, we can now easily assign Trailhead modules through In-App Learning right in the panel so that they can take it right from there."
And they get to be proactive and sharing that information with their company and seeing change happen as a result of it. So to me, the Release Readiness is some of the best content out there. But also just the quick, and I'm a little biased because I did some of the Did You Know videos. The short ways to see how to do something, how to accomplish something that may be new to you or that you hadn't tried. I don't know. I love all the content. The podcasts are great. I love hearing from other individuals in the industry and what they're doing, and how they're solving problems. Oh, the Essential Habits. I don't know. It's like asking me to pick a favorite child. Sorry. There's just too much. But if I had one thing to focus on as a new admin, it would be the Essential Habits and Release Readiness Live and all that goes with it.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Well, that was literally where I was trying to think of what I would ask you is, you've got so much experience in the ecosystem that where would you spend your time? I would also expand on your answer and love to know from you because there's a lot of ways and information to learn. Where do you spend your time in terms of community engagement?

Lizz Hellinga: Oh, the one thing that has been we're all missing, right, all of the in-person events. But one of the neatest things is to be able to attend community events virtually. I've attended some in Boston, in St. Louis, in Texas. I've attended Salesforce Saturdays virtually. It's been a wonderful way to connect with people. And I've made friendships this year that I would never have made because I attended things virtually. So that's where I try to spend some time because I always have questions. What admin doesn't have questions. And when they're working on their org or working in another org. The peer group out there has so much support. You put it on Twitter. There's even a informal OhanaSlack put in the Trailblazer community. Someone will answer your question.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think that's really a good plan Lizz because I think one of the challenges... I mean, gosh, we all miss going to events, right. We all miss meeting new people. And shout out to you because you've been a great advocate of this. For me especially is, taking the time to reach out to new folks and make new connections. Hey, a video call is still a connection. Getting to know a new person. And I think you exemplify kind of what that is. Is to continue to reach out and connect with folks. And it's something this year that I have placed new value on is asking people, "Hey, do you have someone I should talk to because I will reach out to them, and I will make new friends on a video call." So I think that's really important, especially given the way that we're all working these days.

Lizz Hellinga: Well, and just you miss out on things when you're not in person. So I think everybody now is being more thoughtful about how we do connect with other people and how we can connect to others together. Like, "Oh, you should know, this person, right. Have you met with them?" I see that happening more and more, especially over the last four to five months.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. Well, Lizz, I want to thank you for taking time out to be on the pod and for producing some amazing video content for admins on the YouTube channel and really helping the team out this last year.

Lizz Hellinga: It's been incredible. You all are wonderful. I love how you keep the awesome admin at the forefront of everything that you do. And I know with the content that you deliver, it's such high quality, [inaudible] it's geared to help people be successful. And I think that's what really matters to individuals that come to the blog or they listen to the podcast. It's really helping people find their path to success.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Lizz, thank you for helping us help other people find their paths to success. The content that you delivered is definitely going to resonate for a lot of people for a while, and thanks for your contributions. And also, thank you for being such a great representative of the awesome admin community.

Lizz Hellinga: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: Well, a huge thanks to Lizz for taking the time to chat with us on the podcast. So great to be able to recap some of the amazing things she did this year and some things she's excited about coming up for all of us admins. So first, my top three takeaways for our conversation with Lizz is number one, Hey, the platform has evolved quite a bit. And in fact, it's kind of changing the role of the Salesforce admin. Enabling us to do some more strategic, some more complex things because there is so much automation and assistance built into these features now on the platform. Stuff that you would normally spend hours, maybe even days doing couple of years ago, you don't have to do that anymore. So it was pretty exciting to get that perspective. Also, pay attention to all of the new setup guides and assistance that are available for admins. There are so many admin tools.
And Lizz talked about a few of them here in the podcast, but I mean, it's a continuation of that first point, right. It's how much the platform has evolved to make our jobs easier because our job is to make users happy. And so all of these features are making it a lot easier for us to achieve that goal. And then, finally, step in and start playing with Tableau. I mean, Lizz had a really great opportunity to work closely with the Tableau team this year. And we learned a ton, and the Tableau team is very passionate about enabling admins to use the super-powerful Tableau tools. So, listen to Lizz. Go play with Tableau, get started, lots of resources there.
If you want to learn a little bit more about any of the stuff from this podcast or about anything Salesforce Admin related, go to, my favorite website, to find more resources. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. You can follow our guest Lizz Hellinga on Twitter @Lizz L-I-Z-Z Hellinga. I'm on Twitter @GillianKBruce. And Mike my amazing cohost is on Twitter @MikeGerholdt. So with that, I hope you enjoyed this episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the first monthly retro of 2021. We’ll cover standout blog posts, videos, and all the other great Salesforce content from January.

Join us as we talk about the must-see content from January and listen to Mike and Gillian quiz each other on our new quiz show: Which Happened First?.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Blog Highlights from January

Gillian is hooked on Marc Baizman’s “How I Solved This” series, and this month’s article is a fun story about how to use emojis to highlight key pieces of data in your org. Mike’s must-read blog post from January covers some exciting new things on the product roadmap that bring us some much-asked-for features.

Podcast Highlights from January

We had a lot going on with the pod this month. Gillian traveled across the globe—virtually—to speak to Preena Johansen. She’s an Einstein Analytics Consultant at Telstra, the biggest telecommunications company in Australia, and she had a lot to share about using Einstein Analytics and Tableau at such a large organization. Mike and Gillian also talked to Woodson Martin, the EVP and GM for Salesforce AppExchange, who started out as a Salesforce admin himself.

Video Highlights from January

Gillian has been hooked on the “Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins Marathon,” which helps you build a solid foundation for all of the things you need to know to be an awesome admin. “It’s a great way to kick off the year if you’re wanting to set some goals and priorities to improve some things for your organization or how you administer Salesforce,” Gillian says.

Listen to the full episode to hear the first edition of the exciting new game show, Which Happened First?.