Salesforce Admins Podcast

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