Salesforce Admins Podcast

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?.



Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, the first monthly retro for 2021. Oh, we're finally out of 2020. Hurray. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce, and in this episode we will review the top product, community, and careers content from the entire month of January. And to help me out, I am joined by the one and only Mike Gerholdt.

Mike Gerholdt: Hello. I made it to 2021 too. The first version of 2020, for a second.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, sure. The 21st year of the 2000s? I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: There's no 2020 loser. There's only winning 2021.

Gillian Bruce: Can only get better. Can only get better. So, Mike, we had a lot going on this month, kicked it off with a bang, the new year. We had some blogs happening.

Mike Gerholdt: We did, and we did Essential Habits marathon on January 20th. So shout out to Mark Baizman for hanging around ye olde chat and chatting with all of our Salesforce admins on that marathon. You can binge watch Essential Habits.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I think I binge watch everything I can on every other platform. Now I'm going to binge watch all of Trailhead live content. It'll be great. But the Essential Habits series...

Mike Gerholdt: Cheaper than anything else, right?

Gillian Bruce: It's true. Yeah, you don't need a special app for that. But the Essential Habits series is pretty awesome. It's also a great way to kick off the year if you're wanting to set some goals and priorities to improve some stuff for your organization or just how you administer Salesforce. It's some really great resources there.

Mike Gerholdt: Love it.

Gillian Bruce: Love it.

Mike Gerholdt: So must read blog for January. Gillian, what was your must read blog for January?

Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm a big fan of the How I Solved This series that Mark Baizman has been putting together on the blog. And I love it because it's always featuring what a customer has done to solve a specific problem. So this one's pretty cool, because guess what, it has emoji in it, and I love emoji. So this is How I Solve This: Easy Image Flags With Emoji by Michael Kolodner. It's pretty dang cool. If you are looking for a really interesting way to make your data pop on the screen, you can use emoji for that and he shows you how he did it step-by-step. Just imagine, you're in this list view and you would love to see very quickly which things are green or yellow or happy or sad. You can plug in some emojis there. It's pretty awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: We use emojis in the org that we make the podcast with. Makes it easy to find the episode.

Gillian Bruce: Sure do I. Hey, if I had it my way, there would only be emojis. Screw those letters. I communicate solely in emojis.

Mike Gerholdt: Which episode are you at? I'm at the dog cat left foot shoe up arrow episode. Awesome. Okay.

Gillian Bruce: Mike, what was your most read blog from January?

Mike Gerholdt: So this one came out in January 18. It's the Three New Ideas on the Product Roadmap post. And I picked it mostly because it's three, not new ideas, but three ideas that just make me feel warm and cozy inside. The first one is field history tracking for tasks and events. I won't say how old it is, but oh my goodness am I glad that this is out because I have been asked for this since I was an admin back in my wee early days, and I know that admins all over have wanted field history tracking for tasks. So that made me happy. And then just the old man in me loved the analytics winner, which is the ability to print dashboards, because we all got executives, stakeholders that don't log in Salesforce. I mean, they log in all the time and they totally never ask you to print a dashboard. Never-

Gillian Bruce: Never. Never.

Mike Gerholdt: Have I tried to print a dashboard in my life. And we can do that now. So what's old is new again. And then the third one, custom fields for dashboard gauge values, just like, yes, thank you. Amazing that we can put in exactly what the field is for the value, as opposed to what my Thursday used to be, which was readjusting gauge values.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, those are just... These are the things that make admins happy. Just to save us some time, make our lives easier. It's really exciting to see that these are going to happen. So huge shout out to everybody who voted on them because that's how they happen.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. Yeah. So go back and read that post, check it out. You can see there's some really great screenshots in it. It made me happy.

Gillian Bruce: We like happiness. I mean, we're talking about emojis and all kinds of good product roadmappy things. Happy start to 2021. We also had some happiness for your ears in 2021 this year.

Mike Gerholdt: We did a podcast.

Gillian Bruce: We did quite a few. Quite a few.

Mike Gerholdt: What was your must listen?

Gillian Bruce: Well, I had the opportunity to transport as much as you can these days to the other side of the world, and I had a really wonderful chat with Preena Johansen, who is an Einstein Analytics specialist at Telstra, which is a huge, probably the biggest communications company in Australia. And she's talking to me from Brisbane where it's nice and hot, and she's going to go hang out by her pool and have a nice cocktail. And I am sitting in my basement with the heater on full blast because it's cold here in San Francisco. So it was great chatting with her. She had some really, really great insights about how she works at such a huge organization using Einstein Analytics and Tableau, and really what that specialization looks and how admins can really benefit from thinking about using some of those same approaches and strategies. So that was really fun. But Mike, I think we had another podcast that both you and I were pretty excited too.

Mike Gerholdt: I did, and I also offered up, it could be your favorite podcast too. So we talked with the very important Woodson martin, who is the EVP and GM for Salesforce AppExchange. What a fun pod, if you haven't picked this up. I won't spoil it for you, but Gillian, just to highlight one part of the podcast where Woodson said, "Behind every successful Salesforce project, there's an admin who's sweated the details, really invested to understand their users, what people are trying to accomplish, see beyond what may be executive objections, and tune into the users and the jobs they need to get done every day and the circumstances in which they need to get those jobs done." And I just was so... I need a moment of silence after that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, what a way to fire up the awesome admin community in the new year, because Woodson dropped not only that, but he also dropped that he is a former admin. That's how he started with Salesforce, which is pretty awesome. I always love learning about super senior exacts who started as Salesforce admin. So he's got admin in his heart and fantastic podcast, really fun interview. I highly encourage everyone to listen to it if you have not already.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. I mean, at some point, it being January and all, at some point we will have interviewed someone who will be president of the United States that was a Salesforce admin. I have to believe that, right?

Gillian Bruce: I love that. All right. Let's put that out there. Just put that out there.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great that Woodson... What he does, and literally I was just in AppExchange tweaking something for an app for a video I'm going to shoot for you, Gillian, so the admin AppExchange, it's Batman and Robin. Peanut butter and jelly.

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Peas and carrots. I love it.

Mike Gerholdt: Peas and carrots. Right.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that was a lot of great content that we had, Mike. I still want to keep this fun vibe going for the beginning of 2021. What else you got?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I think we kicked off talking about video so we can end this portion talking about video. I don't know if you had a must-watch video for January that you enjoyed?

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I was enjoying the Essential Habits marathon, so those deep dives that Mark put together are pretty amazing and help with all of the things you need to know to be an awesome admin. So it's a good go-to, it's a solid foundation and a great... Like I said, great way to kick off the year.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. I concur. I thought that was the must watch videos for us in January. So then the fun thing, if you listen to the December pod, we wrapped up December and all the topics of what we enjoyed or binge watched. I thought it'd be fun to start January off with, "Hey, which happened first?"
So, because January being the first month of the year, so Gillian, I put some questions together for you and it looks you put some questions together for me and-

Gillian Bruce: Yes I did.

Mike Gerholdt: And at home participation is encouraged, so we will give you a few seconds to think about it and just randomly shout out your answer.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, make sure you shout it really loud so people around you get really confused.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely, yes, because it it'll be fantastic. Or you could put a little Twitter video together of us answering. I would enjoy that. That would make me happy. Okay, so Gillian, I have three questions for you, all of which are, I want to know what you think which happened first, and of course I got to queue up the answers here. Okay. So Gillian, which happened first, the AppExchange or Visualforce.

Gillian Bruce: I think I'm going to say Visualforce.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what I thought.

Gillian Bruce: But it's not right?

Mike Gerholdt: However, bonk, you're incorrect. AppExchange launched in 2005, and the development of Apex Visualforce and more happened in 2006.

Gillian Bruce: Wow, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: It's close, but AppExchange came first. What a great segue from the Woodson Martin podcast, by the way. It's a great podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Seriously, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, Gillian, second question. Chance to redeem yourself, which happened first, Dreamforce or the Salesforce IPO?

Gillian Bruce: Well I just missed one of these as an employee by about a year or two, so I know for sure Dreamforce happened first.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I was... Let's see, I'm scrolling through just to double check your answer, because you'd think I put the answer inside of the doc, but I didn't. But I was shocked to find that Dreamforce happened in 2003, and that was actually what helped launch the IPO.

Gillian Bruce: Yep. And I remember the IPO, I think, was 2008, I believe, which was-

Mike Gerholdt: [inaudible] after.

Gillian Bruce: Two years after I started at Salesforce, so I just missed that two years before I started.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, 2004.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, it's 2004, then nevermind. I missed it by way more than what I thought. So nevermind. I still got the answer right.

Mike Gerholdt: Dreamforce annual convention was held at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco in 2003, and then coming off that had 8,700 customers and numerous potential investors. Salesforce held an initial public offering in 2004.

Gillian Bruce: There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: The company's day one stock price stood at 17.25. I'm getting that from, so public information. $17. Oof. Here we go. All right, so then ending on a fun note, because we love musicians and I think one of these is your favorite band, which happened first, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Metallica playing at Dreamforce?

Gillian Bruce: Such great memories. Such great memories. Again-

Mike Gerholdt: I will say the first time Metallica played at Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: Right, before they became the house band. I very vividly remember this moment in the basement at... Well, the basement. In the big hall at Moscone, And it was for sure, my man James and Metallica rocking the house with the worst acoustics possible. But I didn't care, because I was in the front row and I was making eye contact with James Hetfield and I was in heaven. It was one of my best experiences ever.

Mike Gerholdt: Ding, ding, ding, ding. So you went two out of three. Metallica played Dreamforce 9 in 2011, and Red Hot Chili Peppers played Dreamforce 10 in 2012. That was in front of-

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the Chili Peppers, they were in the front of city hall with the cool light show on the facade of city hall. It was pretty awesome. I miss concerts.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it was fun going through looking at the concerts, but I was like, "Oh, some of these are too obvious." Except for Foo Fighters. I had no idea that Foo Fighters played in '08 and in 2015. They were the first returning band. So for those of you quiz [crosstalk 00:15:40]-

Gillian Bruce: Salesforce trivia. This is a bevy Salesforce trivia. Okay, Mike, I-

Mike Gerholdt: Here we go.

Gillian Bruce: I've got some for you. You ready?

Mike Gerholdt: Boy, I got to run the board.

Gillian Bruce: You sure do. You sure do. Which happened first, Astro or Cody used as a release logo?

Mike Gerholdt: This is hard. I feel like... I feel like I want to say Astro, but no. Okay, I'm going to go Astro because I think we didn't have a cartoon release version of Cody soon enough.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you are correct, sir. But so close between the two of them because Yeti Astro first appeared for the winter 18 release, followed by a Cody watering his bonsai plant for spring 18. And then a Cody was the release logo again for summer 18. So we have quite a Cody celebration there for two releases in a row.

Mike Gerholdt: A Cody parade. I was only going off the fact that we had that one scary bear costume Cody for a while.

Gillian Bruce: That's right. Just a random person walking around in a very realistic bear costume. That was Cody,

Mike Gerholdt: Just bear hugging executives in keynotes. It was wonderful.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you get in the elevator and you're like, "Oh, okay, hi."

Mike Gerholdt: "Oh hey, this is happening."

Gillian Bruce: Oh man. There were so many fun release logo questions I could have asked, but I thought that was the least challenging of them all.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, we could do a whole show on release logos.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I got a lot of release logo trivia. Anyway, that's another show. Next question. Which happened first, the headquarters of Salesforce at Rincon Center or at One Landmark in San Francisco?

Mike Gerholdt: Man, this one's even harder. One Landmark is what I know, but I feel like, from that video, was it Dreamforce 2019 that they put together the history of Salesforce? I feel like there was a picture of maybe Parker in Rincon before One Landmark. So I'm going to go Rincon Center.

Gillian Bruce: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. You are correct. That is a fun... It's a really tricky trivia question because the first headquarters that was not in the Telegraph Hill apartment where Benioff and Parker were hanging out was in Rincon Center, but they quickly then vacated for a larger space at One Landmark. And then we were at One Landmark for many years before coming back and expanding back into Rincon Center. So we did a little hopscotch there.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. One Landmark was the first time I'd been to Salesforce headquarters.

Gillian Bruce: Now we have a tower. a couple of them. Okay, my last what happened first question, Mike, is also an office related question. What happened first? Which location was the first non-US Salesforce office? Was it Tokyo or London?

Mike Gerholdt: This one I have a little experience with, in that I know we opened the London office after I joined Salesforce. So I have to believe that the Tokyo office happened before that. So I'll go Tokyo office.

Gillian Bruce: Congratulations, you are correct, sir. But I thought I was going to trip you up because in fact it was 2001 where we opened the first offices outside of San Francisco, and that was Dublin and Tokyo.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I had no idea. I knew it would be early, because I remember as a customer seeing the Chatter use case with Toyota. I had to have believed that we would have had a Tokyo office or something. That was what I was going with.

Gillian Bruce: So there you go. So you got all of them right.

Mike Gerholdt: Ding ding, I ran the board.

Gillian Bruce: Three out of three. Mike Gerholdt, you are the winner of What Happened First?

Mike Gerholdt: And by winning, I don't know, you don't get anything, there's no prizes. It's all [inaudible 00:20:37].

Gillian Bruce: It's pride. You get pride as your price.

Mike Gerholdt: One million Schrute bucks for you.

Gillian Bruce: I'll send those in the mail right now.

Mike Gerholdt: Redeemable nowhere. Awesome. Well, this is fun. I think we had a really great kickoff to 2021, Gillian. If you're listening to this podcast, I would love to hear what your answers you thought would be right. So tweet them, send us a video. That would make my Twitter timeline super fun and enjoyable.

Gillian Bruce: Or submit some more Salesforce trivia questions. Those are always good.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah, that would be super fun. Taking questions from the listeners to answer. Yes. I'm also really afraid what they're going to ask, but that's okay. What happened first? I don't know. We'll find out. If you want to learn more about all things that we just talked about in today's episode, please go to to find the links and many, many, 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'm on Twitter @MikeGerholdt, and Gillian is @GillianKBruce. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We will see you in the cloud. This is all I could find. Kind of fun, huh, that one?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I feel I'm getting ready to start a Jazzercise class or something.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay everybody, it's Peleton riding time. Okay, we'll get rid of that. I have no idea. Some of these buttons... Oh, there we go.

Gillian Bruce: That's a good one.

Mike Gerholdt: Awesome.

Gillian Bruce: Score.

Direct download: January_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re sitting down with Ruchi Kumar, Product Management Senior Manager on the Core Service Team of Service Cloud at Salesforce. We’ll cover what’s new in Spring 21 for Admins with Service Setup Assistant and Macros Builder.


Join us as we talk about everything she’s working on for Spring ‘21 and how you can get involved.


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


New features for Setup Assistant.


The Core Service Team that Ruchi is in charge of the “bread and butter” of Service Cloud: Service Consoles, Quick Text, Macros, Knowledge, and more. Ruchi’s team, in particular, is in charge of improving the setup experience and making the admin experience better so they can discover and adopt new features.


In Spring ‘21, there are a ton of improvements coming to Setup Assistant. “If you think of your journey as an admin, the power of the platform of Service Cloud and Salesforce is supermassive, but sometimes you just want to have a prescriptive out-of-the-box experience so that you can get ready right away with your new app and let your team focus on what they do best,” Ruchi says. It sets up a new Service App for you preconfigured with the best productivity tools so you can get going as soon as possible, drawing on all the knowledge of best practices Salesforce has.


The power of Macro Builder.


Ruchi’s other team works on productivity tools, especially macros. “It really cuts down time and creates instructions so agents can automatically perform routine tasks such as closing a case or sending an email,” she says, “you just need to write the instructions for the macro and they just hit a button.” Macro Builder is a Lightning tool that makes creating macros a point-and-click affair. Just highlight the component and choose the actions you need to happen.


In Spring ‘21, you can switch between tabs to create a more complex macro for your complex page layout where you can run more multi-steps and navigate easily between pages. “Any way we can make macros easier to build makes them easier to implement, and helps you deliver faster resolution times to make your agents and customers happier,” Ruchi says.


Most importantly, Ruchi and her team want to hear your feedback about how they can improve on the admin experience. Consider this your invitation to the Service Admin Advisory board to be a part of creating and coming up with the next set of admin features.




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Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

Direct download: New_Spring_21_Feature__Service_Cloud_Macros_with_Ruchi_Kumar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05am PDT

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Grace Li, Product Manager for Admin Home, In-App Learning, and Guidance Center at Salesforce. She’ll fill us in on everything new in Spring 21 or Guidance Center and In-App Learning, and be sure to check out January’s Release Readiness broadcast for even more info.

Join us as we talk about the powerful new features you can use in Spring ‘21, and what’s in store for the future.

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

The keys to a successful project.

“We’ve been hearing from admins that they really want to know more from Salesforce, they want guidance, they want to know best practices and they just really want to know how to set their org up for success,” Grace says. In-App Guidance takes all of the knowledge we’ve gathered talking to customers all over the world and puts it right in front of you.

If you’re spinning up a new org and you want to follow best practices, you’re going to see a new thing called Guidance Center. It’ll give you a checklist of all the things Salesforce thinks will be helpful for you as you’re setting up your new org. It’ll tailor itself according to your level of experience, so whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, you’ll get some timely advice and a spotlight on features you’ll want to play around with as you get everything configured.

Coming up in the future, Grace and her team are looking to broaden the scenarios where In-App Guidance can play a role. For example, to help you prepare for an upcoming release and get a handle on new features.

Learning has always been an important part of being a Salesforce admin, and In-App Learning kicks it up a notch. “We’re bringing that fun Trailhead experience right inside the application where you’re doing your work,” Grace says, and this can also help you train your users by putting the right training in the right place.

You can also assign Trailhead modules to specific users in your org, so if you have someone who needs to review something they can simply open their panel to see what you’ve put in there for them. You can also give business leaders the opportunity to customize what shows up for their team without needing admin privileges, so they can take the lead on training and coordinating their team.



Direct download: New_Spring_21_Feature__In-App_Learning_with_Grace_Li.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

In this week's special bonus episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Woodson Martin, EVP and GM, Salesforce AppExchange. He shares some amazing success stories of Salesforce customers that have made transformative adaptations over the past year.

Join us as we talk about why a balance of speed and preparation is the key to any successful project, how to practice presenting to stakeholders, and why it’s important to make the case for why what you want to do is better than the alternatives.

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

The keys to a successful project

Woodson runs the AppExchange on Salesforce, delivering over 5,000 applications that help you get a head start on your projects or deliver new functionality for your users tightly integrated into Salesforce and ready to go. “If I look at the history over the last 20 years of all the Salesforce projects that I’ve been part of, really successful ones share this careful blend of speed and preparation,” he says.

For speed, if you’re leading a new project or upgrade or anything else, really focus on that question of what is your Minimum Viable Product? What is the simplest set of functionality you need to deliver in order to learn what your users really need, and how do you set yourself up to iterate on that? We use the Agile methodology at Salesforce and it’s really based on this core principle of deliver early and deliver often, and the AppExchange can help you do that by speeding up your ability to deliver.

If you’re looking to implement something new from the AppExchange, you’ll need to get leadership to buy in. And as an executive, we wanted to know if Woodson had any advice for how to convince stakeholders to go with your plan: “I want confidence that a presenter knows the subject matter, has done the homework, really understands the problem, and is bring well-defined alternatives forward,” he says. In other words, it’s not just about what you want to do but why it’s better than the other options on the table; including doing nothing.

An admin at heart

“One of the incredible things about the Admin community at Salesforce and with our customers is just how amazing that group of experts has been this year at adapting to such incredible, disruptive change,” Woodson says, “we have seen so many of our customers take giant leaps forward in digital transformation, digitizing their business, automating process, and going virtual.” There are so many great stories from the past year that team created a dedicated page on the AppExchange website just to put them all in one place.

Woodson actually started his Salesforce career as an admin, and he sees them as a crucial component in customer success. “Behind every successful Salesforce project there is an admin who has sweated the details, really invested to understand their users, what people are trying to accomplish, looked beyond executive objectives, and tuned into the users and the jobs they need to get done every day, and then customized or built what users need to make their businesses successful,” he says. “Salesforce doesn’t magically happen in companies—all of our success is tied to the work of the admin community.”




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.

Mike Gerholdt:
And I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce:
And today we have a very special guest joining us. We have EVP and GM of AppExchange here at Salesforce, Woodson Martin, joining us to talk about presenting to executives, awesome admin AppExchange magic, all kinds of good stuff. So without further ado, let's get Woodson on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt:
Woodson, welcome to the podcast.

Woodson Martin:
Thank you. It's great to be here.

Mike Gerholdt:
For those that haven't met you or seen you on any of our stages, can you tell us what you do at Salesforce?

Woodson Martin:
Sure. I run the AppExchange at Salesforce, which if you don't know about it is the world's leading marketplace for enterprise cloud apps. And we have more than 5,000 applications there that our customers use to get a headstart on their projects or deliver functionality for their users, all tightly integrated into Salesforce and ready to roll.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, absolutely. I love the AppExchange. Helped me in my many years of being a Salesforce admin.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah. Great. Me too.

Mike Gerholdt:
For admins that are looking to get started, it's New Year. Let's ramp our org quickly or maybe a migration or a new project, what would you suggest?

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, well, I would say that if I look at the history over the last 20 years of all the Salesforce projects that I've been part of, or watched closely, they all share ... The most successful ones share this careful blend of speed and preparation. And so I think of those two words a lot.

Woodson Martin:
And for speed, I think it's all about taking a flexible, agile approach. And I think it's just really important if you're leading one of these projects or you're diving into a new project or an upgrade or anything else, to really focus on this question of what's my minimum viable product, what's the simplest set of functionality that I need to deliver so that I can learn what my users really need so that they can embrace my app and make the whole project a success and then quickly iterate on that.

Woodson Martin:
So to me, that's just one of the most important things is focusing on speed. And I'd say, if anybody listening hasn't studied up on Agile or Lean methodology, it's a really good place to start and inspire you for how to tackle new projects in the new year.

Gillian Bruce:
That's a great recommendation, Woodson. I mean, we use that here at Salesforce. That's how we are able to do what we do and put that out there. I know many, many partners in the AppExchange, if not all, probably use some version of that as well, correct?

Woodson Martin:
I think that's probably true. Certainly the most accomplished do. And I think while it's a great methodology for delivering product, it also works really well for projects. And for our own internal projects, we use Agile methodology. And it's really based on this core principle of deliver early, deliver often.

Woodson Martin:
Don't give yourself such long runways in your laboratory where you're working on getting things ready, but nobody sees them. It's really much more effective if you can deliver early, deliver often and respond to the needs of your user community quickly. And they can feel that there's this pace of innovation happening and that their needs are being met.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah, I think we can all get caught in our own head of what we think is the right answer. And then, "Oh, we need a little reality check there," right? So this is actually what people want to hear.

Woodson Martin:
Pretty basic idea, but sometimes it's easy to overlook it, especially in companies that are making big plans in the back of projects and are placing big bets. It's tempting sometimes to shift to that, "Well, we have to do it all or we have to get it all right the first time." And there's a lot of power in iteration.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. And I'm just thinking of when you mentioned speed, the ability to use the AppExchange to ... In one of the projects I was at, we didn't know what we needed for a project management app. But to try out different ones, we weren't spending six months building a project management app. We actually tried one out in six weeks and knew what we wanted and what we didn't want.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, which I think is obviously one of the huge advantages of Salesforce as a platform and of the AppExchange. Because every Salesforce expert really also wants to be an AppExchange expert because one of the best ways to bring speed and preparation to your project is to lean on people who've already tried that same path.

Woodson Martin:
The AppExchange is where you can find thousands of these solutions that have already been built, tested, proven to solve challenges. Look, there's a lot of commonality in what ... Each of us has our own business. They're all different, but there's a lot of commonality in terms of what we need to be successful and deliver for our users.

Woodson Martin:
And so a lot of the problems are already being solved and you can find a lot of those solutions on AppExchange and speed up your ability to deliver pretty quick.

Gillian Bruce:
Okay. So let's say I'm an admin. I found a great app on the AppExchange that I want to implement in my organization, but I need to get some buy-in from leadership. Since you are an executive, I would love to get your perspective on how can an admin best present that idea to leadership, kind of bring that app to the table and get buy-in from the leadership of their org to get that app approved and so they can get work in, and up and going.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah. Great question. I'll just say that communication, presentations like any other skill, you've got to practice and test your skills. But there are, of course, simple rules that apply to all kinds of executive communication and certainly executive pitches. And just as an executive, I want confidence that the presenter knows the subject matter, has done the homework, really understands the problem and is bringing well-defined alternatives forward.

Woodson Martin:
I think it's really important that when you pitch your ideas, you always frame them versus alternatives. And you back up your recommended alternatives with data, with feedback from your users, your customers, any other stakeholders that matter to the executives you're presenting to. And I'll also say that a simple brief presentation is always best. And then you want to have kind of a healthy appendix for all the backup data you might need to support your recommendations or your strategy.

Woodson Martin:
And I would just say, this is a place again where preparation helps a lot.

Mike Gerholdt:
Sometimes saying little take more practice than saying a lot.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, absolutely. And we can practice our pitches. Whether you can get one or two of your key executive stakeholders to listen to an early version of your pitch, give you feedback and then support you as you pitched to the broader executive audience.

Woodson Martin:
Or if that's not possible in your situation, then what you can do is find some of their lieutenants who you might be able to practice the pitch words and get feedback early. And just use all that to distill this into something crisp that you just really believe in. And you've got backed up with data and then always, show how it stacks up against alternatives. And there's always an alternative, which is do nothing.

Woodson Martin:
But every alternative has consequences. And you'll want to include all that in an executive pitch.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would be curious. I mean, it's crazy because a year ago, I think do nothing was a viable alternative. And now with COVID, there's a barbecue restaurant just down the street from me, do nothing was a choice. They had to move to curbside pickup. They had to move to ... They actually started to do a school lunch delivery program with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would be curious, do you know of a story that's using the AppExchange during COVID to kind of re-imagine their business?

Woodson Martin:
Well, there are so many of those stories and I think one of the incredible things about the admin community at Salesforce in our customers is just how amazing that group of experts has been this year at adapting to such incredible disruptive change. I mean, we have seen so many of our customers take giant leaps forward and digital transformation digitizing their business, automating process, going virtual, not just in the way that they meet but also in the way that they deliver for their customers.

Woodson Martin:
So yes, tons of great stories. We actually got a page on the AppExchange that documents so many of these stories, and you can get there by going to So API without like the character not happy. And there's a ton of stories there, but some that pop out to me like Purell, a brand that has become ... If it wasn't already familiar to you before the pandemic, it is now.

Woodson Martin:
For them, they had such a massive change in demand for their product. Overnight, across all the ways they distribute their product, both in the grocery stores and in hospitals. Any medical wards got Purell stands all over the walls. And they had to go for a super rapid growth in the teams that maintain, keep those things filled, deliver all that stuff, but also install those things because they had to put them in so many new places.

Woodson Martin:
And they actually chose an AppExchange partner called ProntoForms that helped them do this, which is really focusing on simplifying, automating, documenting the process for each of these technicians. And they were hiring thousands of them to go out and service of this equipment or install new equipment to make sure that we could all keep ourselves safe. And I think it was just an example of somebody taking an application off the shelf to be able to implement change rapidly. And that one to me is just a great story. It's documented on that site I mentioned earlier.

Woodson Martin:
And then maybe I'll just also mention Graymont Medical, so medical device company. They make all kinds of machinery that patients use for rehabbing from surgery or for helping with lactation for new mothers or a variety of other uses. All of their medical equipment requires them to train typically hands-on with technicians who come to your house and help you install and learn how to use this stuff. And obviously, that didn't work anymore with COVID. It wasn't safe for their teams to do those kinds of home visits.

Woodson Martin:
So they had to shift entirely virtual with this. And they used a whole host of applications from the AppExchange, from Mogli SMS to Zenkraft, DocuSign, basically take virtual process which had been very in-person for their whole history. And hats off to their admin, Wade Wheatley, who made quick work of all this change and really has helped them to continue to deliver on their service level promise and keep all their employees safe during the pandemic.

Gillian Bruce:
I love a shout-out to the admin who did that. That's awesome, Woodson. Wade, what was his last name?

Woodson Martin:
Wheatley. Like Wheat, L-E-Y.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, Wade, you're awesome. You just got a great shout-out on the podcast. Woodson, actually on that note, we are knee-deep and embedded in the admin community. We love admins. We understand how important they are and the incredible work they do. I know you, especially in your role leading AppExchange, you see the work that admins are doing every day as well. Can you give us a little bit of your perspective on kind of the role of an awesome admin in making a successful Salesforce implementation work in helping businesses really kind of function?

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, I mean, yes. Well, I started my Salesforce life as an admin. Before I worked at Salesforce, I worked for a company that doesn't exist anymore called BusinessObjects. But I brought Salesforce in. I started in this role. I don't know that I was a great admin, but certainly, it inspired me to really invest in my career in Salesforce.

Woodson Martin:
But I am keenly aware of the super important role that our admin community plays in our customer success. Behind every successful Salesforce project, there is an admin who has sweated the details, really invested to understand their users, what people are trying to accomplish, see beyond what may be executive objectives and tune into the users and the jobs they need to get done every day, and the circumstances in which they need to get those jobs done and then tune Salesforce or add to Salesforce through the AppExchange or by customizing or building and delivering what users need to do their jobs, grow their businesses, make their customers successful.

Woodson Martin:
And we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to this community. So thank you. My hands are making the little thank you sign right now to our admin community. It's a critical role and obviously, Salesforce doesn't magically happen in companies. All of our success is tied to the work of our admin community.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, I love that you're also a former admin. That is so cool, Woodson. I did not know that.

Woodson Martin:
Well, long story for another day, but I began my Salesforce experience.

Mike Gerholdt:
But that's the way you tease a segue to a part two of the sequel to this podcast.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah. Right.

Mike Gerholdt:
One of the things, and I'll echo with Gillian, I think it's so cool you started as an admin. One of the things I love as a customer, and I love learning more about the people I work with, is kind of getting to know what they do outside of Salesforce. Because at work, we all really love to geek out at our platform and some of the stuff that we can do on it. I know on a previous podcast, we had Vin Addala on who worked on Dynamic Forms, and unbeknownst to us, is a huge board game fan. So I would love to know, what are some things that you're passionate about or things that you do outside of work?

Woodson Martin:
Well, thanks for asking. My big focus outside of work ... My job is pretty demanding. But outside of work, my big focus is on immigration issues. And I spend a lot of my time volunteering with ... I'm on the board of two non-profits who are focused on immigration issues here in the United States. And part of that is around humanitarian relief for people in the asylum process in the US. And part of that is around people who are ... And a lot of that at the border with Mexico down in Texas. And then a lot of that is about communities that are local here in the San Francisco Bay area, where I live, and helping with everything from legal assistance through the immigration process to humanitarian needs.

Woodson Martin:
And we've just wrapped up a really exciting project this winter we called Project Reindeer to deliver Christmas to a whole host of newly arrived immigrant families who'd been really impacted by the COVID pandemic. And all got a Christmas tree and presents for the kids and stuff that really helped to brighten what was a pretty tough year for most of them.

Woodson Martin:
So that's sort of how I spend my spare time. And I'll just make mention of one project within that domain that I'm really excited about, an organization called Mobile Pathways, which is a nonprofit and which uses Salesforce technology to deliver legal assistance and information to folks who are tied up in the immigration court process. And it's just an awesome story of how the technology that we work with every day can have such a big impact on the lives of individuals.

Woodson Martin:
If you are a recent immigrant to this country, you're attempting to gain legal status through the immigration courts, one challenge many folks have is just basic communication. The courts only communicate through the mail if like most newly arrived immigrants, you are not living in the same place a year after you started the legal process, you may not get notifications of your court dates. If you don't show up for court, you risk being deported. And using Salesforce technology now, we're able to keep all of those folks informed proactively about changes through mobile messaging and using WhatsApp and the technologies that they live with every day.

Woodson Martin:
And it's just super powerful to see the impact of the technology and the spirit of volunteerism that's driving that project. And that's another thing I'm passionate about and spend my time on.

Gillian Bruce:
Wow, Woodson, that's incredible. I mean, what I really love about that is that, I mean there's a clear connection between obviously your Salesforce life and your outside Salesforce life, because you've been at Salesforce forever. You really do embody the whole giving back aspect of what it is to be part of the Salesforce Trailblazer Community. So thank you for that and being an awesome example. And also, thank you for the impact that you are making in this very tough space and using Salesforce to help make a difference.

Gillian Bruce:
And I mean, Project Reindeer, who doesn't want to work on something called Project Reindeer? That sounds amazing.

Mike Gerholdt:
Seriously, absolutely.

Woodson Martin:
Well, thanks. It's all just getting started. Of course, there's still plenty of work left to do in all their domains, but a huge honor for me to be here with you guys today and with our admin community. I hope it's been a useful dialogue and look forward to coming back and doing more.

Gillian Bruce:
Oh, well, careful what you say because we will be back. We will let you get very far. Woodson, thank you so, so much for your time today. Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you for bringing your OG admin spirit to the admin community as well, and doing some amazing things within the AppExchange world.

Gillian Bruce:
And just again, thanks so much. And you've got lots of awesome admin love. So everybody hit up Woodson if you've got some good [inaudible 00:20:35] and share with them. And hey, you never know, he could call you out on the next story about a great AppExchange success story there. So, Wade, we're talking about you.

Mike Gerholdt:
So it was great having Woodson on the podcast. And wow, we learned a lot. I boiled it down to three big things I learned I think admin should take away. First, speed and preparation. If Woodson didn't drill that into our head, what is the MVP? And to focus on speed, we can of course do that with the Salesforce AppExchange. We can try out different apps, and of course, learn Agile or Lean methodology. So if you haven't picked that up, now is a great time 2021 to learn Agile or Lean methodology.

Mike Gerholdt:
The second, when presenting, practice and test your skills. We've seen that. LeeAnne on our team does that a lot with demos and presentations. We practice, practice, practice. You can't practice enough. And of course, we asked, so what should admins do when presenting to leadership? And this is my big third takeaway. Woodson told us, when you present to an executive, have confidence. Do your homework and bring well-defined solutions forward.

Mike Gerholdt:
And of course, always have an alternate. Be ready to back that up with data. And I love that he even secretly worked in SABWA data from your users. So what your users want, this is why we talk to our users every single day. And much like my three things, keep it simple and brief. Executives are super busy, moving on and to the point.

Mike Gerholdt:
So if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. It's 2021. I want some fresh reviews. You can stay up to date with us for all things social on admins, @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can find Woodson on Twitter. He is @woodson_martin. I'm @MikeGerholdt on Twitter and Gillian is @GillianKBruce. Yeah, everybody keeps it simple.

Mike Gerholdt:
So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

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

This week, for the first Salesforce Admins Podcast episode of 2021, we’re joined by Preena Johansen, Einstein Analytics Consultant at Telstra, Einstein Analytics Champion, and the co-leader of Women in Technology Brisbane. She has some great tips about how you can be more analytics-minded as an admin.


Join us as we talk about how to set up your data on your records for Einstein Analytics, the power of visualizations, and why you shouldn’t be scared of analytics.


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


What is an Einstein Analytics consultant?


So first question, what does it mean to be an Einstein Analytics consultant? “At Telstra, my role is to work with the business to understand what their requirements are and what their end goal is—what they want to achieve,” Preena says, “and then we use the data we have from Salesforce and our external legacy systems being brought into Einstein to develop a dashboard.”


Telstra is the biggest telecommunications company in Australia, so Preena’s normally working with a huge amount of data at an enormous scale. She works with every department in the organization, from sales to finance to marketing, which naturally leads to a large range of projects. She’s built a suite of dashboards to help her support team get a better picture of how they’re hitting their SLAs on the various case-types they have, and another for marketing that lets them follow lead generation from each of their campaigns, which is also useful for sales.


“One of the main things about my role is understanding what the end-goal is for our users,” Preena says, “how are they going to use what we’re developing for them?” Every dashboard they make is embedded within Salesforce, which ultimately means users spend less time “swivel-chairing” between legacy databases and more time focusing on what the customer needs.


The tools of the trade.


Preena does a large amount of work directly on Salesforce and Einstein Analytics, with some help from an internal team to get information from legacy systems into a data hub that brings it onto the platform. She also leans on Excel to double-check things, Jira to track her Agile stories, and Confluence to document her work and coordinate with her team. For development, she uses Validator, an online JSON editor, and Notepad++ on desktop to write out JSON and check it.


If you’re trying to start working with your data in Einstein Flows, Preena has some advice. First of all, make sure that your permissions are set up correctly to allow anyone working with your fields to be able to see everything they need. Also, field validation can greatly minimize the need for data cleanup further on down the road, especially when you’re talking about free text fields.


“To get started, I didn’t go to uni, I didn’t study anything analytics-related,” Preena says. Instead, she created her first data visualizations in Tableau and then moved onto Salesforce when her company was one of the first in Australia to adopt Wave. “It was really about getting in and giving is a shot,” she says, “the skills that I have today are from on-the-job learning.” With all the great content out there between Trailhead and other resources, the best thing you can do if you’re interested in doing more with Einstein is to get started and create your first visualization.



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Direct download: Einstein_Analytics_at_Scale_with_Preena_Johansen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56am PDT