Salesforce Admins Podcast

January Monthly Retro with J. Steadman and Ella Marks

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, it’s time for your monthly retro with J. Steadman and Ella Marks from the Admin team. In this episode, we’ll cover all the great Salesforce product, community, and careers content from January, and find out why it’s Ella’s favorite month.

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

The Essential Habits for Admin Success, now on Trailhead

New on Trailhead: The Essential Habits for Admin Success. That's right, the webinar / trailhead live / presentation you have all loved and listened to is now a learning module on Trailhead. Head on over and become one of the first Admins to get the new Essential Habits Trailhead Badge!

Podcast highlights from January

The podcast that stood out this month to Ella was J.’s episode with Stephan Chandler-Garcia on working with Developers and the power of being brave enough to say “I don’t know.” For J., Mike’s episode with Lissa Smith about what folks are looking for when they’re hiring a new Admin was particularly helpful.

Blog highlights from January

Ella wanted to highlight Mike’s post about our new Trailhead Badge: Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins. This post has the whole story of what’s new and why we’re so excited about it. The Admin Evangelist team put a lot of work into this content and we don’t want you to miss out! Ella also brought up Claudia Robinson’s roundup of low-code tools that can help you this year. And of course, Jennifer Lee’s release notes are always a highlight for the community, especially now that she’s on the team.

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Full Show Transcript

J.:                                                   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 Ella about where we are in the multiverse, seeing the new year with fresh eyes, and our favorite January content. But before we jump into that, I have some exciting news. Available now on Trailhead is a new module for the Essential Habits for Admin Success. That's right, the webinar slash Trailhead live slash presentation you have all loved and listened to is now a learning module on Trailhead. The link is in the show notes, so after this episode, head on over to Trailhead and be one of the first admins to get the new essential habits Trailhead badge. Now let's get Ella on the pod.

J.:                                                   Hello awesome admins across the entire multiverse. I am talking to you here from the Berenstain Bears timeline. And I am joined by Ella for our January retrospective on the content that we have produced for you. We're really excited to talk about some of the things that we think were particularly beneficial, or useful, or exciting. Ella, could you please introduce yourself to our wonderful listeners?

Ella Marks:                                            I would love to. Hi everyone. I'm Ella Marks. I am a marketing manager on the admin relations team. You may have heard me on this podcast before or seen me on Release Readiness Live, or as a co-presenter with J. on our New essential Habits at Trailhead badge. So super happy to be here and chat a little bit about January, which is my favorite month of the year.

J.:                                                   Oh, goodness. So this is interesting, first, hi, I'm J.. If you don't know me already, now you do know me, and we can ... Well, I guess my title is lead admin evangelist. I am on a team with Ella, and we are here to talk about great content. But I want to go back to this idea of a favorite month. I don't know if I ... Favorite month. Why is January your favorite month?

Ella Marks:                                            I really like the wintertime. I don't know, this could be an unpopular opinion. But I really like winter, I love snow, I love skiing, I love being outside in the winter, so that contributes. But I like what January stands for, like new beginnings, new year, the start of something new. I didn't always feel that way, but I think recently I have just kind of come around to this idea of feeling a lot of joy about new opportunities, and that's kind of what January represents to me. New year's resolutions aren't something that I really relate to, but the idea of being open to new things and new experiences in a new year is something that I get really excited about, and I've been thinking a lot about, especially this month.

J.:                                                   I am super glad that I asked that question because the answer, I thought you were going to be like, "I like snow." But your answer was so robust, and I think valuable, good that we got that answer. On that note of trying new things and being open to new opportunities or new information as it may arise, and kind of looking at the world maybe with a fresher set of eyes, or our learner's mindset, as we talk a lot in the admin community as one of our really important skills, I think it's a great time for us to look at some of this content that we've got and kind of share with our community why we have highlighted it. So Ella, I'm going to put you on the spot. I think we each have two or three pieces of content that we think were particularly compelling. Why don't you start us off and talk about the first piece of content that you really enjoyed over the month of January?

Ella Marks:                                            Yeah. I'd love to. I think the first piece of content that I really enjoyed from this past month, just going on the learner's mindset track, was the podcast that you did with Stefan, who's a developer evangelist. And you really had this conversation about being a developer and how you can navigate that world where a lot of different roles really overlap. And what I really enjoyed about this podcast was there's a section when you're talking about the importance of learning, and also the importance of saying, "I don't know," and how powerful that question can be. I think it's something that I try to be ... I try to say those words as much as I can, but I think it's so powerful to really have that desire to learn and extend your knowledge, but also be willing to say, "I don't know," when you don't know something because it's so valuable to, I don't know, have that self awareness and maintain trust with the people that you're speaking to.

Ella Marks:                                            And you all really go into that in this, and that was one of the moments that really, really stuck out to me. And even in all of our podcasts on our website, you can take a look at the transcript. And it's something that I've kept going back to over the past couple of days, just to kind of remind myself the importance of saying, "I don't know. Let me go find someone to talk to, find someone to ask," and use that as an opportunity to learn and pick up new things, or new skills even.

J.:                                                   Well, I am super appreciative that was something that you enjoyed. My conversation with Stefan was really awesome. I think for those of you that are listening, it's important to know that the way that I kind of approach the conversations with guests on the podcast, there is a general ... There's a little bit of preparation in terms of a broad topic that we may want to cover, but I really try and stay away from preparing a guest with any kind of questions or particular, specific bullet points that we want to discuss, especially because I think that the nuggets that Ella has just talked about, they start to arise the less that I plan things. Sometimes I can over plan, just like I asked you what your favorite month was, Ella, and you were like, "January, and by the way, here's this wisdom." I find that many people have that kind of same approach if you put a microphone in front of them and you ask them a question about something they care about.

J.:                                                   So I'm very happy that worked for you, and hopefully it'll work for some of our other listeners out there as well. I want to piggyback on the idea of a good pod to listen to. On January 6th, we had a really great pod come out about hiring an admin with Lissa Smith. Mike was the host on that pod. And I think it is really important to take a look at how admins are hired, what hiring managers are looking for, or how they identify talent, what they really care about, what they think is less important, and having a frank conversation with a person who's hired a team of Salesforce admins in the past, and how she handled the interview process, I think that's particularly relevant.

J.:                                                   And I feel as though in the 10 years that I've been on the Salesforce platform doing work, I feel like that's always been true. It's always really relevant to hear how people are being hired, what is valuable for them. And that's because we're always evolving. We're always changing. We have this platform that keeps getting larger. There are always new features being added to it. There are more and more folks that are getting jobs, and so keeping our fingers on the pulse of who's being hired. Why are they being hired? And what are hiring managers looking for? I think that conversation remains really relevant to admins, whether they're just entering the space or if they've been in the space like I have, for a decade. So do check that out, you can find that on the website. We'll also put a link with the blog post that goes along with the pod. But again, that's hiring an admin with Lissa Smith. So we've each got one item that we have contributed here. Ella, what is item number two?

Ella Marks:                                            Okay, item number two, and this is a tough one because there's been so much great content in January. But the second thing I'd probably highlight from this past month is a pretty recent one, so January 19th, we published, or Mike I should say, published a blog, Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins, is now a Trailhead badge. And that is a blog, an announcement, a video, a module, a trail mix, there is a lot going on here. And I picked this one because if you dive into this post, you'll read about how Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins is something that has been around in the Salesforce community for 11 years. It's a middle schooler. And just this year, we have refreshed that content and it now lives on Trailhead, which is something that we are so, so excited about.

Ella Marks:                                            And it's not just a module. We have a whole trail mix of items that you can complete, including resources to really learn more about the habits that you can use to grow your admin career, and really understand how to structure your week best for your role as an awesome admin. So there's a really great video too, that Mike recorded all about the personal success habits. So personal success is really the foundation for a lot of the things that you're going to do in your role as an admin. And I love that we are able to include that angle. And I think it's a great read for a blog post, and definitely would encourage folks to get out there and complete that badge, complete that trail mix, watch the video. And there's even a fun quest component if you complete the trail mix, so definitely encourage everyone to go check that out.

J.:                                                   I have to confess that this is also my second pick for the month. And it may be because you and I worked a whole heck of a lot together on this. Mike worked a whole heck of a lot together with us on this. And of course, a huge group of people on the Trailhead team as well, making the transition from kind of that Trailhead live format into our Trailhead format. It was a big change, and we really did try and go from the ground up and look at the content and see where it was relevant, where maybe it was a little bit less relevant. And I think there were two things particularly that I enjoy about this current iteration of Essential Habits as it exists on Trailhead now. I think first, we've taken a slightly different approach to the resources that are listed on each of the modules, which I really enjoy.

J.:                                                   So normally when I go to Trailhead, I'll see a list of resources at the end of the module that I'm completing or the badge that I'm completing. I'll start to click into it. And I'll kind of repeat that process as I'm trying to explore and understand more. But in these modules, we've actually called out specifically what you would expect to get out of each resource. Right? So here's a resource, and click this resource if you are interested in learning more about a particular product, for example, or a particular feature. I think that context really provides a lot of value for admins who are trying to determine whether or not it's worth it to go into a resource. And I'm a big fan of only using the resources that you need. Right?

J.:                                                   When I pick up a book, I very rarely need to read the entire book. I need to pick up the pieces of the book that are relevant to me, and I like having the option to pick and to choose. I think the second piece of the Essential Habits as it exists on Trailhead now that I was really fond of, and am really fond of, is how we focus on structuring time. We talk tons here in the evangelism team about how you can use products, how you can come up with solutions. But we don't often talk about: How do you run that in your life? And it can be particularly overwhelming for admins who are either just entering the space, or are overwhelmed with the number of requests that they get from the business.

J.:                                                   So taking some time to kind of focus on how we calendar, and how we structure a week, and how there's a flow to a week, I think is really powerful and can unlock a lot of productivity. Even if folks are adapting it and modifying it to their own end, I think looking at an example of how a week can be structured as an admin can provide a lot of value to kind of enhance your productivity and decrease the amount of churn or wheels spinning that can often happen when we're trying to manage many request, we have many other duties that we have to deal with. So Ella and I obviously have a reason for enjoying that piece of content.

Ella Marks:                                            We're not biased at all.

J.:                                                   We are definitely biased, but I think it's great for new admins to better understand how the habits work. And I think it's great for long time admins to just revisit it and see if there's any value in how a week is structured. And frankly, I think that it's valuable for developers as well, to kind of take a look at how admins may structure a week, and how they can better interact with their admin counterparts. So great, we have tied on our second piece of content, the new Essential Habits Trailhead badge. What is your third piece of content, if you have a third, Ella?

Ella Marks:                                            The third piece of content that stood out for me from this past month was the blog post from January 3rd, Nine Low Code Tools to Help You Grow in 2022. And that was written by one of our amazing product marketing managers on the automation and low code team. And she really covers some of the top highlights that we've seen with these low code automation tools in the last year. And what I love about this is there are so many things in every Salesforce release. We know that there's the release notes. We have our Learn More campaign, where with highlight some of those highlights from each release. But I loved seeing kind of a summary on this particular topic of what's new from this year, kind of a little bit of a refresh, and then getting excited for some of the new things that we'll be seeing in the next year.

Ella Marks:                                            And she gave some examples around Salesforce apps and workflows in Slack, automation, artificial intelligence, app development. And I think it's really exciting to see those sneak peeks. And I love kind of refreshing and setting the context of what happened last year, to see where that innovation takes us through this next year.

J.:                                                   I love that. I think I have kind of a synergistic, to use a banned word from the '80s in business, I think I have a synergistic choice for my number three. So everyone in the community is probably familiar with Jenwlee's wonderful release notes highlights. They've been a staple in the community for a long time. And as you know, Jen has joined our team. She's my fabulous teammate, and I really love her Top Spring '22 Release Features. It's great that we've been able to kind of continue that conversation that she's been having with the community on our official channels. So if you're looking for one of the best sources to see what you should be excited about in spring '22, do check out Jen's Top Spring '22 Release Features.

J.:                                                   I don't want to go into any of the details there. She does a great job of outlining what you should be paying attention to and why, so do check that blog post out. It dropped on January 18th, and I think you'll find that there's a whole lot to be excited about. So that concludes six pieces of content that all of you can hop out and start to read, watch, listen to, whatever you prefer based on the media type you're consuming. But I wanted to ask one question, Ella, particularly as you saw Essential Habits drop, and I know that you're really dialed into the reaction from the community. Is there anything that you're seeing on social that is top of mind for admins, or that you're particularly compelled by in seeing admins say or do? Social is obviously our primary way of interacting with folks in the community right now in lieu of in person or physical events. But I was just curious if you saw any ideas, or questions that were trending in January that you thought were interesting or compelling.

Ella Marks:                                            Yeah. That's a great question. I'll have to think if there are any specific posts that come to mind. But as far as a topic that I feel like I've been seeing in the last month or so, I think that importance of learning, we've talked about learning a lot in this 15, 20 minute podcast episode, but I think part of the reason for that is we know how important it is. I think I've seen a bunch of folks either sharing new resources, whether it's a badge, a blog post, something that's exciting or interesting to them, and really creating that space for others to learn as well, so kind of continuing.

Ella Marks:                                            And this is something our community has done for such a long time, but just I love going on social or in the trailblazer community and seeing folks really share their knowledge with others and create spaces for conversations where there's a lot of learning. And so that's probably the thing that I've been the most dialed into. As someone who's constantly trying to improve my Salesforce skills, my marketing skills, those conversations about learning really stand out to me.

J.:                                                   It does really seem like there are a large number of folks who take the first couple of weeks of January to sit down and say to themselves, "What does this year look like for me as a technology professional and as a Salesforce admin? And what are the things that I want to focus on to continue to enhance those skills, and to continue to develop relationships in the community?" I'm seeing a lot of those same conversations that you're calling out, Ella. I'm seeing people decide whether or not they're comfortable going to in person experiences, and maybe talking about booking their travel, and kind of highlighting sessions that they're particularly excited about. And I'm also seeing people kind of publicly making the statement that they will get certification X, or they want to get number of badges Y, and it's really exciting to see those kind of public conversations.

J.:                                                   I know for myself, when I publicly claim a goal, I find myself in a place where I tend to ... I don't want to disappoint the people that I've announced it to, so I hold myself a little bit more accountable than I might otherwise. That may or may not be the truth for you, dear listener. But check out social and look at how other people are trying to kind of structure their year and what they're trying to bring into their lives in a positive way. And where you can, uplift and support, smash that like button, retweet those things that look so cool. Yeah, I think that probably is a good retro of January. Do you feel good about where we're sitting here, Ella?

Ella Marks:                                            I feel great. We retro'd the heck out of that retro.

J.:                                                   Yeah. The only thing that we're missing is some classic rock or an Atari video game.

Ella Marks:                                            Ooh, I like that.

J.:                                                   That would be very retro.

Ella Marks:                                            Could be new enhancement for the next year.

J.:                                                   Well, thank you very much, Ella, for joining us. And hey, admins, get cracking on those resources. We'll see you soon. Thank you so much for joining us. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources, including all the links we mentioned in this episode, as well as a full transcript. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are at Salesforce Admns, no I, on Twitter. J. is at J.__MDT. And Ella is at Marks_Ella. Stay safe. Stay awesome. And stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

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

This episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast features Mari Greenberg, Principal Delivery and Content Lead, Analytics, and Kevin Corcoran, Senior Applications Instructor, both at Salesforce. They’re here to get us up to speed on the new Admin 201 class at Trailhead Academy.

Join us as we talk about Salesforce roles as a spectrum, being a T-shaped person, and how working at a gym can make you an excellent Salesforce professional.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mari Greenberg and Kevin Corcoran.

The Essential Habits for Admin Success, now on Trailhead

Before we get started, you should know that a new module is now available on Trailhead: The Essential Habits for Admin Success. That's right, the webinar/trailhead live/ presentation you have all loved and listened to is now a learning module on Trailhead. Head on over and become one of the first Admins to get the new Essential Habits Trailhead Badge!

A new Admin 201 for a new year

Trailhead Academy is the next level of Trailhead and the Trailblazer program. They’ve taken all the resources out there and sequenced them into courses to help you organize your learning. You get real-time feedback and guidance from instructors and can connect with peers to learn in a group setting. 

Admin 201 has recently gotten a refresh. It’s still a five-day class, but there are new scenarios and storylines and, most importantly, new topics. It features a much more in-depth focus on Flow and change management, and migrating metadata from a sandbox to production.

Taking it one certification at a time.

All of this wasn’t possible without a lot of help. We worked closely with the Certification team to make sure that going through Admin 201 will give you a big boost towards those goals. We also got feedback from community members and MVPs to find out what they’re looking for when they’re hiring a new Admin. “We kept in mind what a brand new Admin has to do in the first six months of their job,” Kevin says.

When it comes to getting started, it’s a good idea to have in mind what you’re looking to get out of the experience. One of the most important things they do is show you what resources are out there to help you get the extra help you need. “Be patient with yourself,” Mari advises, “there is so much to know in Salesforce and there’s no way anyone can know it all.”

About Trailhead Academy

Trailhead Academy is empowering businesses to develop expertise across their organization with expert-led learning and credentials that build and validate Salesforce skills.

We know learning new skills can be a challenge, and some people need more support than others. We also know companies need to skill up their employees fast and help invest in growing their teams' careers. That's where Trailhead Academy's expert-led services come in. With Trailhead Academy you can accelerate learning across your organization with access to Salesforce experts.

How can Trailhead Academy support my business?

From expert-led classes and credentials to custom enablement solutions and accelerated certification programs, Trailhead Academy has the resources your business needs to be successful with Salesforce. With Trailhead Academy, you can:

No matter your industry or the size of your business, you’ll find that learning directly from Salesforce experts is one of the best ways to gain insights, learn best practices, and get set up for success with Salesforce. 

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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. And we are just kicking off 2022 on the right foot, because this week we're talking with Mari Greenberg and Kevin Corcoran about the new Admin 201 Class. That's right. There is a new Trailhead Academy Admin 201 Class. I mean, it's so cool because Trailhead Academy is empowering businesses to develop expertise across their organization with expert-led learning and credentials that build and validate your Salesforce skills. That's what they do. I have been through the Trailhead Academy courses. I love them. I highly recommend them. And today we're going to talk with two instructors about what they love about the course, about what's new about the course. I ask them to define credentials and how admin should talk about credentials. So, that's in the interview. It's just really fun. Mari and Kevin are just, man, they're awesome.
Before we get into that, I have some exciting news. So available now on Trailhead is a new module for the Essential Habits for Admin Success. That's right. The webinar/Trailhead Live/world tour presentations that you've seen me give many times, that you've seen many people on the Salesforce Admin team give, everything that you've loved and listened to and have sat and diligently taken notes is now on Trailhead. These are amazing modules with videos from the admin team with really cool quiz questions, scenarios. We worked on these a lot over the winter and it is such a treat to be able to share these with you.
The link to these new modules is in the show notes. So after this episode, where you get all excited hearing about Trailhead Academy and learning, head on over to Trailhead, be one of the first admins to get the new Essential Habits Trailhead badge. And now just sit down and enjoy this wonderful conversation about the new Salesforce Admin classes and we'll get Mari and Kevin on the podcast.
So Mari and Kevin, welcome to the podcast.

Mari Greenberg: Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Kevin Corcoran: Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: This is exciting. So I love talking about everything that we do around training for our entire ecosystem admins, developers, architects. I've gone through some of the classes. And I know when I saw we were redoing some of the classes, it was a perfect time to have both of you on to talk a little bit about the cool things that we're doing to train our community. But I think before we get started, everybody would love to know a little bit more about both of you. So Mari, let's start with you. What do you do at Salesforce and what are your credentials and what do you love about what you do?

Mari Greenberg: Sure. Well, thanks again for having us, Mike. My name is Mari Greenberg. I am one of our Salesforce instructors and have been with Salesforce for almost three and a half years. And I came on as an Admin Instructor and I am certified in admin, advanced admin and couple others, Platform App Builder. My other area of expertise is Tableau CRM. So formally Einstein Analytics. That is my whole wheelhouse as well. And I've absolutely loved being a Salesforce instructor. There's something about the opportunity to really impart your knowledge and your perspective on really all things Salesforce and your own experience and really work with and connect with all new people in the Salesforce ecosystem and new people to you, whether they've been in the ecosystem for years or they're just starting their career. That's what I really love about the admin piece too, is you are truly helping someone on their journey and really get their feet wet and get comfortable in all the Salesforce fundamentals to launch their career. That's really what I love about what we do and what I love about this course and how great we've made it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I have to believe that you have a dream job where you get to see somebody's light bulb turn on every five minutes of the day and every day. Kevin, that's a tough act to follow, but we're going to do our best here.

Kevin Corcoran: Yeah, that is a tough act, actually. Hi, I appreciate you having me on, Mike. My name's Kevin Corcoran. I am also with our Trailhead Academy team as a Principal Instructor and in the capacity of AMER Regional Instructor Program Lead. So I have been on platform [inaudible] since 2003 and with our team for the last six years. And far as my certifications are concerned, I hold the Advanced Admin Sales Cloud Consultant Platform App Builder with us. And I also teach service cloud consultant and experienced cloud consultant courses. So kind of the admin background.
As far as just being excited, I'd say enthusiastic may not be strong enough of a word to describe how much I enjoy being on this platform. I started off a number of years ago and as a literally client of Salesforce. And I am truly one of those accidental admins that you have every once in a while here on the podcast. I started off as a client, moved to consulting from consulting and as a partner and eventually now for the last five, six years as a Salesforce employee.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. So I think we've got some pretty good experts on. Since we kind of dove right in, learned about you, why don't we level set for everyone? I'm old school. I remember Salesforce University. But why don't you tell us a little bit about what is Trailhead Academy? If I'm a new admin developer, do I pay attention to this? How do I sign up? What's going on?

Kevin Corcoran: Mike, thanks for asking that question. As Trailhead Academy goes, it is the evolution from, your right, Salesforce Academy and an evolution that came from the advent of Trailhead and our Trailblazer program. So with Trailhead Academy, we really take a lot of that information that's out there on Trailhead and we put it together in particular orders to have come up with some amazing courses, ranging from fundamentals, introducing people to admin and admin work from the ground up, which is the course we're here to talk about, all the way through the gamut of developer courses.

Mari Greenberg: The value that someone gets out of taking a course from our lovely instructors is just not only getting the instructors real time feedback and guidance and kind of answering those whys behind what you may be configuring or have questions about concepts, but also just connecting with your peers and whether it be virtual, in person, it's having that whole group setting that really can uncover a lot of great conversations and discussions.

Mike Gerholdt: I will plus 100 that because I know in all of the courses that I've been in, and I was lucky enough to be taught by Wendy Braid, the conversations that you have peer to peer when you're learning are super insightful and eye opening, because I remember being in a course in Dallas that Wendy was teaching and there was another admin in there asking a question. They worked for a company that basically owned the phone book. And the question was like, "How do I import the phone book?" And I remember thinking to myself like, holy cow, you guys have a lot of data.
And just the magnitude of what they were dealing with versus what I was dealing with, I don't know how I would've been exposed to that early on in my career and kind of had that thought line to be like, wow, there's people that totally manage a ton of stuff in Salesforce and I'm kind of over here just trying to make business plans. The juxtaposition was great, but also great to build my awareness. So I think the one question I have is, I perhaps probably went through the previous Admin 201 course, what is new or what are we introducing? What do we change in the new class?

Mari Greenberg: It was time. It was time for a refresh, for a rewrite, for a facelift, whatever you want to call it. And this new configured and customized Salesforce course is still a five-day class, but we have really freshened it up, new scenarios and storylines, but more importantly, we have covered so many more new topics. So think about just how quickly and how much Salesforce evolves over even just the last six months to a year, but taking that into account over many years. This project has really been our top priority over the last about a year.
So we are very proud of what we are about to release and we include some brand new topics, really want to call it things like Flow and looking at automation of the future. We spend a lot more time, really dedicate almost a day just to going with the flow. And we also spend a lot more time on change management. So working with some of our declarative tools to migrate new build, which include things like some custom objects that we haven't had before, incorporated before and into this course, and migrating them from a sandbox to production. So those are as far as some key concepts, some of the newly introduced coursework that we now feature in this class.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Kevin Corcoran: Because, Mike, what I want to call out on this is not just Mari's great work. So we'll plug there. I would also like to call out the teamwork that's been put in over that last year, year and a half of this course. So it's not just coming from Trailhead Academy on its own. It's the certification team with tighter alignment to certification and attaining that for our users was part of the goal. And the march and literally the hard work of the [CDEB] team getting the right people involved. We had MVPs like yourself on and working with us. Community members who were doing the work every day, came in from our community and offered their recommendations of what were they looking for when they're hiring a new admin.
The thing I'd like to emphasize for these courses and this one in particular, we still kept in mind, what is it I've got to do if I'm a brand new admin in the first six months of my job? So not only were we able to attain that, I believe in a much better balance with new topics added and fresh topics and storyline as Mari mentioned, but I truly believe we've hit the next level when it comes to incorporating the different aspects of what is a Salesforce administrator as part of this course.

Mike Gerholdt: So it's fair to say that this course is more than just product training.

Kevin Corcoran: Absolutely. So when you talk about this course, and we certainly do and approach it in the beginning of the course itself, it's those different aspects that you as an administrator take on in a daily situation. In this course, we address what it's like for you to have to be the analyst. We address what it is for you to be the troubleshooter and/or the investigator or the builder. And is it something that we should know that exists out of the box? Or we've even taken this course to, it's time to build from scratch. So that's a neat opportunity, I think that this class brings to the table.

Mike Gerholdt: As you have individuals join the course, do you have a suggestion for any prework that they should do prior to jumping in, or if, say, I'm interested in becoming an admin, I can join this course day one and feel like I'm not missing out on anything?

Mari Greenberg: We always love prework. I want to say we do have suggestions in terms of kind of prepping yourself for five days of lots of information. I say that, though this class is tailored to a green user of Salesforce and specifically the admin functionality we discuss. So yes, while we love for you to be somewhat have dabbled, maybe in a little bit of Trailhead, kind of have that introduction to Salesforce itself, I think would be a great starting point, having some familiarity with what is a CRM and what does Salesforce do to really kind of have your bearings as you start this class.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Kevin, I'll go to you first on this one. Does it help either of you to know when an individual joins your class, what the company objective with Salesforce is?

Kevin Corcoran: That's actually one of the first things I would think every single instructor, we do our introductions to the class and have the class introduce themselves, always wants to know, Mike. It's one of the number one things I've always asked all of the persons that are in the course, what is it you're trying to get out of this? Not only does it level set expectation of what's going to be in this class and make sure we're all on the same page, but it also is driving those really important parts of what are you trying to get out and accomplish on behalf of your company? Are we trying to increase adoption? So here are ways as we go through the course to discuss those aspects. Or are we trying to drive revenue? And here are some of those really easy point and click aspects that maybe I didn't know about.
Or even one of your own, as we had mentioned before, participants in the course could bring up and say, "Well, what we do is,", and it gives the ideas and that's one thing I think that's amazing about our community. But definitely, level setting and making sure that you, when you attend a class, anyone that is that attends the course is keeping that in mind. Why am I here and what I'm hoping to get out of this?

Mike Gerholdt: Do you often get a lot of questions around the credential and if this course is geared towards just passing the credential?

Kevin Corcoran: I'll start with this one. And Mari, I think I'm going to leave half of it for you too, because we included this as part of our class, didn't we?

Mari Greenberg: Yep. Yep.

Kevin Corcoran: So as part of the class and actually your number one resource, I think is to understand what resources are out there to prepare, to take that certification. So it has always been a part of the conversation of did you know that there are different tools and resources like Trailhead, like Salesforce Developer sites, so, the AppExchange. It's always important to know what your resources are, but in this course we specifically call out and I've aligned and we will continue to do so to the actual certification requirements.
So we address, well, what percentage of my questions are coming from this section, for instance, our security and Salesforce Record Access Module. And we really spend the appropriate, I believe, amount of time getting to know those topics in each of those categories. Now, is it possible to hit every category in a 40-hour work week in a classroom? Probably not. So while we hit a majority of them, that's where Trailhead comes in, Mike. It's huge and it's where, when you're exiting class, and you don't even have to take a class, you can go to Trailhead now and look for the Trailhead and this is the Salesforce Administrator exam prep. And it's a fantastic set that you can pull out of trails and to help you enhance, even if you've taken the class, your preparedness for walking in on a certification exam.

Mari Greenberg: I plus one. I agree with everything Kevin just said. And to be honest, hats off to Kevin, he did so much work as we have evolved this course and rewritten it. He ensured that there's tons of alignment. We are very well aligned with the admin exam. So he has done some incredible work with that.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I feel like that's important. I mean, to project a little bit, I had been an admin for like two years before I even got my company to let me take the... There was an Admin 201 an Admin 301 course. After the 201 is when I finally attempted my credentials. So I had a little bit of runway there, but I know on the community, that's the biggest question.
I will ask because I would love for you to help articulate this to our new admin community, and again, this may be me projecting, I feel like a lot of our Salesforce administrators are going through Trailhead, taking courses like this, to prove themselves, to prove that they've got the skills, that they've got the knowledge, that they are ready for a promotion or ready to take on this responsibility. And I say that because that's what I did. I also passed and got my credential and I, to this day will never forget what it felt like to walk into, I reported to the president of the company, their office and tell them that I just passed and I was Salesforce certified. And hearing them say, "What does that mean?"
I bring that up because that was 12, 13, 14 years ago. Oh my god, it's 14 years ago, 14 years ago and I still remember it. But I feel like there are probably individuals in companies that still have that question, that an admin or somebody applying for a job gets certified, gets their credential and they don't know what it means. So I would love to know world's longest question, how you would tell an admin to explain that to their organization or to put that on, I believe the pedestal it deserves?

Mari Greenberg: That's a great question. I'll take a stab at it first, but-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, please.

Mari Greenberg: I would say you're armed with a set of skills. You have a certain skillset that truly is, I think invaluable in the realm of Salesforce. And I think even in the last couple of years, we have seen just how crucial and critical Salesforce has become as it's really business critical, right? It is a critical piece of business operations and admins hold those skills to really go in and support your organization, whether it's things as maybe we think it's a little tedious, but managing users or resetting passwords all the way to automating and how we can get rid of those repetitive tasks and really improve efficiencies.
So I think it's really understanding just how much value add, how much of an asset you can be with this set of skills. And also, I've always told new admins just to kind of go on your experience with working towards your certification and gain that certification. It is a big deal and it should be a big deal, but the same time, I always remind my students be patient with yourself. If it doesn't come the first time, that is okay. It's not the end of the world, but also, there are so much to learn in Salesforce. Kevin and I don't know it all, we know quite a bit, but it's constantly changing and evolving for the best and developing, but staying up to date and having that knowledge in your back pocket is always going to serve you well. But also, like I said, you are the one to be patient with yourself as far as moving forward and learning these skills and tasks and it takes practice.

Kevin Corcoran: Well, Mari, I think one of the amazing things that you pointed out for all of us is there's no way anybody can know it all, right? But Mike, your original question in this and it's actually directly to that point is when you walk in with a certification completed, not only has it shown that you are persistent, it shows that you are ready and hungry for the next level. I think it's very poignant that Mari pulled that out for us. And it's absolutely true. It's I have prepared myself by literally going through trails, going through courses, going through materials. And I think, Mike, like you, I was an administrator for two ways, five, six years before I ever went after a cert. It wasn't that it was necessary in the group that I worked with when I first started back in the day. And it was great to have, but it was just not something that I walked in.
And I actually, when taking the test was, and very poignantly so, surprised at what I didn't know. I was like, holy smokes. These are what we call fundamentals. And this is something that really kind of broadened my vision of what I could be, where I could go with it. So as you're walking in and you're saying, "I got that certification" to a boss or a new employer that you're trying to work with, it shows that you're not just persistent and that you're hardworking, but you've taken your career and I think you've taken your trailblazer spirit to that next level. And that's kind of the person that I would be looking for when it comes to hiring as a hiring manager.

Mari Greenberg: Yeah. It's a very good point. I didn't really think of that part of it. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in the knowledge part of it, right? And it's also the dedication.

Kevin Corcoran: Absolutely. So knowledge though, and sending that fundamental and having that as something that's a check in the box is so rewarding. It's kind of, and as you probably know, it seems like the chicken and the egg when it comes to getting jobs out there. Do I get the job and try and go after the certification after, or do I have to have the certification before I get the job? And in order to get the certification, I need to get hands on in order to do it. And that's where I truly believe by having those fundamentals down and having the beauty and the benefit with [inaudible], I wish I had it when I was around, when I first started, of Trailhead and trails out there, or the Trailhead Live sessions, or even so much so as the blogs.
I have been lucky enough to know that they've been out there for a long time. And there's a blog that actually addresses kind of this conversation from our Senior Director of Salesforce Credentials, Mac McConnachie, and Mac had just put out a fantastic 5 Powerful Certification Benefits in his blog that you and I can step to at any moment in time and take a look at, to have that conversation with your boss, whether it's getting a raise and/or how this certification is going to help us get or attain that, and/or just getting that job in the first place.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I just pulled that blog up. That's really great. I'll make sure to link to that in the show notes. As wrap things up, I would love to know, selfishly, you mentioned that automation was one of the driving factors to get the new class updated in the old class. That was one of my favorite parts. I loved workflows, maybe the simplicity of the screen. But is there a part of the class that you're most excited about? I will also add to that, is there a part of the class that it seems the people that attend are most excited about? And Kevin, I'll start with you.

Kevin Corcoran: Okay. Well, actually the whole structure of the class excites me, Mike. It's enthusiastic. I can't say enough about the work that the teams have done and we put into this course. But I have to say, it seems to me that the feedback in particular of most of our participants that have gone through this and our alphas and our betas and certainly as it's starting to roll out now with our instructor community, the instructors themselves are excited about this course. And I think the number one is, thank God we have the Flow back in there for our basic admin. This is the tool of the future. This is where we need to really, if we haven't already been there and done that, need to start taking a look at our worlds and getting on the bus with Flow.

Mike Gerholdt: Got it. And Mari, same question for you. Any part that you're super excited about or a part that the attendees seem to really gravitate towards?

Mari Greenberg: Sure. I totally agree with Kevin. I think Flow is a huge, huge improvement and a big excitement coming out of this new version of the course. And I also really like, Kevin had talked about how we really did a great job of expanding on really all the different hats that an admin wears. They're not simply a builder or configuring in their org, but they're an investigator, a troubleshooter, an analyst. And I actually love that we have started to work in sections on change management and really spending more time on sandboxes and migrating changes from a sandbox to production and what that really entails. Because when we think about an admin, we're not getting keys to production the second we start on the job, but a lot of the time, we're working in a sandbox. So I think really the fact that we've spent a lot more time on just application lifecycle management and what it looks like with building changes out and testing them and what that whole process should feel like, kind of all the way up through migrating to production. I love that we have now included that in our course.

Mike Gerholdt: Neat. Yeah. I think that was always one part for me and as an evangelist, I often think of this too, like we build these really great demos and then we forget, oh, we didn't really show all the steps. Right? We just kind of built it here and then poof, everything's ready. There's a whole migration process that you should follow and best practices. Thankfully we have your course to walk people through stuff like that.

Kevin Corcoran: Well, it's exciting for us as well, Mike, to get kind of down and dirty with folks. And that's one of the benefits is understanding that as a Salesforce administrator, depending on what you're doing with your platform and what your tool is, you'll at least have a solid foundation as you walk out of a course like this. Certainly many of the topics are amazing topics that you can pick up and/or learn through Trailhead. But what order does that go in? I mean, we have well over 800, I think, different trails out there now, and modules that you could be out there working on.
And that's where I'd also say, the reinforcement, whether or not you go through some of those prior to coming into class, which Mari had mentioned earlier that it's always recommended to be a little familiar with Salesforce as you come into a course, but this is truly a course for those that aren't. I've had, not instructors so much, but as participants come in and instructors have mentioned to me that there are folks that came in never having had seen Salesforce before and really appreciated that approach of getting hands on to the point that we do. As you had just mentioned, getting into the details of saying, what should I consider first? And where do I go to do that? And instead of having it just poof, there's a magic app, having the, as we bring this full circle, that light bulb go on and say, oh my gosh, as an admin, I can do that. And from knowing nothing to going to, not accidental, but a purposeful admin, I guess is the best way of saying it is a great feeling.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool. So final question for both of you and, Mari, I'll let you kick off. What is one piece of advice you would give admins for this year 2022?

Mari Greenberg: I think I go back to probably what I mentioned earlier. I always tell my students, admins or working in analytics, just give yourselves some grace. It does not happen overnight. I know we all expect ourselves to fully digest information we've learned five minutes ago, but it takes time. It takes practice. My goal always for my students is to say, I want you to be curious. Come out of these five days or this three day class being curious and feeling encouraged to go click around. That is always my best advice without getting into anything too technical, but that is probably the tip I always give my students.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool. Kevin, same question.

Kevin Corcoran: Well, when it comes to admin class and comes to certification, Mike, I would say for this year, and I'll say it because it's going to be my goal as well is set a date. By setting a date and holding yourself accountable to it, you know that Salesforce is always growing. You know there's always more to be done and there's always the evolving aspects of it. But by setting a date and backing yourself into that and saying, I've got a goal that I'm going to attain that kind of certification and/or it doesn't have to be a certification. I have a goal and I'm going to attain on that date or by that date a number of trails that I would like to do or a trail mix. Even the one step towards that, I think that's a big deal. And by setting that date, you're committing yourself.
And I find that even when administrators come out of a class, they realize, oh my gosh, I didn't know what I didn't know. And now I'm going to have to push to that date. Don't push it, go after it. It's persistence, as Mari said. There's always more, but by setting a date, you're holding yourself accountable to this year and that's the direction I would go.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool. Well, Mari, Kevin, I appreciate both of you taking time out to talk with our admins and all the instructor goodness that you bring to our classes. It makes me want to go back and take them all over again. Maybe I'll set that as a date for a goal to get done this year.

Kevin Corcoran: Sounds good. I'd love to see you in there.

Mari Greenberg: Yeah. Awesome. Thanks again for having us.

Mike Gerholdt: You bet. Thank you.
That was a fun conversation. I told you it would be awesome. They're such neat people and it's got to be so inspiring to just educate new Salesforce Admins and existing Salesforce Admins and see that light bulb go on every single day. Now, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources, including all the links that we mentioned in the episode, as well as a full transcript. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. My co-host Gillian Bruce is on Twitter. She is @gilliankbruce. And, of course, I am Mike Gerholdt on Twitter as well. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome. And stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: New_Admin_201_Classes_with_Mari_Greenberg_and_Kevin_Corcoran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For this week’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, J. Steadman hosts a conversation with Stephan Chandler-Garcia, Lead Developer Advocate at Salesforce. We learn how to navigate a world where roles overlap and bring more vulnerability into your collaborations.

Join us as we talk about Salesforce roles as a spectrum, being a T-shaped person, and how working at a gym can make you an excellent Salesforce professional.

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

How working in a gym is great Salesforce training

We wanted to hear from Stephan because even though he’s now on the Developer side of things, he also has experience as an Admin. We’ve been looking at the spectrum of Admin to Developer and how the two roles can work better together, so we thought Stephan would be great to hear from. “I’m lucky to have worked my through the ranks as many different roles in the Salesforce ecosystem,” he says, “and I’m able to hold a little bit more of that perspective.”

This all goes back to Stephan’s first job. His mother was an aerobics instructor, so he and his siblings all worked at the gym in customer service at the front desk. If you think about it, it’s a bunch of customer-centric interactions: managing your contract, making appointments with trainers, buying snacks or equipment, etc. “When I got my hands on Salesforce for the first time it was all super familiar,” he says. The bottom line is that there are tons of experiences that can help someone succeed as an Admin in ways that you might not expect.

Becoming more T-shaped

One thing Stephan brings up is the concept of T-shaped people. The idea is someone with a very broad set of soft skills that help them leverage their deep expertise in a particular area. They also happen to be the ideal person to work on a cross-functional team. “Those soft skills are core to getting your message across and delivering it to your colleagues and to the business,” Stephan says.

The important thing is here is not that some people are T-shaped and some people aren’t. It’s that these soft skills are just as important to develop as our expertise, and cultivating them is key to succeed in Admin/Dev collaborations. For Stephan, one of the most valuable ways to start is to teach yourself when to say, “I don’t know.” Admin Identity with LeeAnne Rimel and J. SteadmanIt’s ultimately about bringing vulnerability into your interactions so you can figure out the best way forward together as a team.

There’s so much more in our conversation with Stephan, so be sure to listen to the full podcast to get all the details.

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

Today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast we talk with Lissa Smith, Senior Manager of Business Architecture at Salesforce. We learn from her how she hired a team of Salesforce Admins, what she looks for in the interview, and important advice for anyone hiring a Salesforce Administrator.

Join us as we talk about how to stand out when you’re applying for a job, and what makes the difference between and junior and senior Admin candidate.

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

Why you should listen to Lissa’s advice.

Lissa started out as a Salesforce Admin. “I’m obsessed with improving processes and solving problems,” she says, “so I’ve been happy in this space for 15 years.” One thing she did a lot of in previous positions was hiring Salesforce Admins. It’s something we know that many of our listeners are curious about, so we thought we would take the time to hear about her process.

The first step is to get a new headcount approved, and Lissa was able to hire both junior and senior-level Admins. She’s interviewed candidates with backgrounds only in Trailhead or a program like PepUp Tech, as well as more experienced folks who had been in the space for years. “Overall, what I was always looking for was someone who was motivated and excited,” she says, “regardless of if they were brand new to the ecosystem or had been doing it for a long time, I wanted someone who could identify and look for problems and then come up with ways to solve them.”

The difference between Admin roles

When looking at someone for those junior-level positions, where a candidate didn’t necessarily have any paid experience on the platform, there were a few things that Lissa looked for. She wanted to see apps that they had built, even if it was simply to track their job applications and interviews or books they had read. Anything that used the platform to show her that they understood what it was capable of doing.

Another thing that could make a less experienced candidate stand out was someone who had experience as a user on the platform. Understanding and empathizing with the customer experience as a salesperson or customer sales rep is a really important skill because you’ll know where your users are coming from.

For more senior positions, you could get by with less experience building things on the platform if you understood something key about business analysis, whether that was documentation or process analysis. For principal admins, she was looking for a thorough understanding of the platform and advanced certifications.

Tell a good story

The important thing to realize about hiring for these roles and something that comes up time and time again on this podcast is that even though Lissa was hiring Salesforce Admins, the roles she was hiring for were often not called that explicitly. They could be business analysts or system admins, but those roles need those Salesforce Admin skills.

No matter what, make sure that you’re telling a story that shows you can identify a problem and build a solution that makes everyone’s lives easier. “It’s the story that sells your skills,” Lissa says, “when you tell a good story it’s showing off your communication skills, it shows that you understand the why.”

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