Salesforce Admins Podcast

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 PST