Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down for another cup of coffee with Gillian, Josh Birk, Jennifer Lee, and me, Mike Gerholdt.

Join us as we chat about how to get help learning Salesforce when you’re new to the community and where to get guidance for Trailhead.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with the Admin Evangelist Team.

"I’m new to the community and I need help learning Salesforce, but I get lost in the different trails. Can someone guide me?”

Every month, Gillian, Developer Evangelist Josh Birk, and I sit down with a cup of coffee and a topic. This time, we’re also joined by the one and only Jennifer Lee. For October, we’re tackling one of our most frequently asked questions: how do I get started learning Salesforce?

 

Join us as we discuss:

  • Why it’s important to “learn the nouns” by reading Salesforce blog content to guide your work in Trailhead.

  • How learning to do a specific thing can give you the context you need to choose Trailhead topics.

  • Why you should pay special attention to hands-on Trailhead modules and community stories.

  • Why learning Salesforce starts with understanding why companies use it in the first place.

  • The importance of getting involved with the Trailblazer community, even if you’re just listening in.

  • Why everyone in the Salesforce community wants to pay it forward.

  • How to find your local Trailblazer community group.

  • What you can learn from working with your own personal dev org.

  • How Gillian made a Salesforce app to help organize her wedding.

 

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Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt:
So this month on Coffee With Evangelists, we're going to the Trailblazer Community for inspiration and discussion. Not that you aren't a daily inspiration for us, but this category of question really seems to pop up a lot. And that question is, I'm new to the community and I need help learning Salesforce, but I get lost in all of the different trails. Can somebody guide me?
So joining us this month, in October, maybe with pumpkin spice in their latte, is my co-host, Gillian Bruce, host of the Automate This and Everything Flow, Jennifer Lee and, of course, the godfather of Trailhead, Josh Birk. Welcome all.

Josh Birk:
Hello Mike.

Jennifer Lee:
Hello.

Gillian Bruce:
Hello. Hello.

Mike Gerholdt:
Did you put pumpkin spice in anything? Do you pumpkin spice things now?

Josh Birk:
I don't avoid it, but I don't seek it out, either. I honestly don't see the appeal, to be frank.

Jennifer Lee:
Same. Outside of pumpkin seeds, I'm not really a pumpkin person.

Josh Birk:
The pumpkin seeds, that's a good ...

Mike Gerholdt:
I forgot about that. Like, roasting them? If you roast them in the oven?

Gillian Bruce:
Jen, do you do that after you carve your pumpkins? Or do you get pumpkin seeds from the store and roast them?

Jennifer Lee:
Pumpkin seeds from the store. I've not really carved pumpkins myself.

Mike Gerholdt:
Really? Oh wow. Heard it here first. Breaking news.

Josh Birk:
It's a task. It's a lot of work.

Mike Gerholdt:
It is, and it's not fun.

Gillian Bruce:
I disagree.

Josh Birk:
A lot of it's not fun. I love the carving part, but I kind of wish somebody would do all the prep for me and then just going to be fun.

Gillian Bruce:
You know like the gooey emptying out part of all the pumpkin guts? That's the best part.

Mike Gerholdt:
That is the worst part. I'm with Josh, I'm with you on the carving. With the reaching in for the guts and the stringiness?

Josh Birk:
It's not a texture thing for me. I get bored with that step so quickly and yet, I'm so I want to be methodic and make it the cleanest pumpkin inside as possible that I just get, I just get annoyed by it by the time I get to that stuff.

Gillian Bruce:
Just get a nice sharp spoon, and go for it.

Mike Gerholdt:
I carved a pumpkin, just on the inside.

Gillian Bruce:
I have a girlfriend who was so obsessed with pumpkin seeds that for the many years that we were both single and not carving pumpkins with families, she would literally come over, we would scoop out the insides of the pumpkin and stop there because all she wanted to do was roast the seeds. They're like, cool. So we have a hollow pumpkin.

Jennifer Lee:
Now, I don't know if you all have something like this, but we have a zoo that we go to in Rhode Island and during Halloween they have all these pumpkins that people carve and then they parve some really complex designs in them. There were like Martha Luther King, Michael Jackson. It's pretty cool.

Gillian Bruce:
That's next level.

Josh Birk:
I think they do that at the Lincoln Park Zoo here. I know they do Festival of Lights and stuff like that, which is usually pretty cool.

Mike Gerholdt:
I do have an empty field in my development and I would love to do, if you watch on, I think it's on, it used be on ...

Gillian Bruce:
Pumpkin chuckin'?

Mike Gerholdt:
Yes. Pumpkin chucking.

Gillian Bruce:
They do it in Delaware. It's amazing. I got to go there when I was in DC.

Mike Gerholdt:
Those things are Legit.

Mike Gerholdt:
People spend the whole year building those things.

Gillian Bruce:
They're basically these homemade catapults that people launch pumpkins off of and see how far they can launch the pumpkins. It is so fun. They do it this big huge field in Delaware. The limited amount of time I spent in DC I got to go view this in person one time. It was so amazing.

Mike Gerholdt:
I mean, they have trebuchets, as well.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:
But the air cannons, the air cannons are the ones that send it football fields.

Gillian Bruce:
Wow. So fun. So fun.

Mike Gerholdt:
Oh, I just like the splat part.

Gillian Bruce:
And that's exactly how you start learning about Salesforce.

Josh Birk:
Take a pumpkin.

Mike Gerholdt:
Okay, so I pulled this question out. I mean, Gillian, Josh, Jennifer, we've all been around the community for, I told somebody I was like, "Oh, like a decade and a half." And they're like, "Oh wow." And I was like, "Oh God, that doesn't make me feel old."

Gillian Bruce:
It's okay, Mike, you started when you were 15. It's fine.

Mike Gerholdt:
I did, totally, yes. But I think we've had different onboarding experiences and I wanted us to put that fresh hat on of like, okay, so what if we were brand new Salesforce admins today, knowing what we know that Trailhead exists and there's help documentation, how would we tackle it? Because I feel like the beauty of hindsight is, oh, we know all this stuff now here's how I'd go back and do it, having known that, but not, right? So, that's what I'm throwing out. And of course, it's great that we have Josh on because you built Trailhead.

Josh Birk:
And it's interesting to me because how you phrased this, right, was like, I know I need to learn Salesforce, I know about Trailhead. It's not a lack of discoverability of Trailhead, the product itself. It's that Trailhead itself has gotten so complicated that it's hard to just jump in and take the right trails and just get to exactly where you want to go. Why that's interesting to me is that was partially the problem we were trying to fix in the first place. Trailhead used to be so simple. It was like, you're a beginner admin, go here, boom, you're done. Because there wasn't, I don't know how many badges we're up to at this point. Jen probably knows. I think you have them all, right?

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. I was going to say, "How many badges does Jen have?" That's how many we're up to.

Josh Birk:
That's how many we're up to. So it's interesting that we have developed ourselves into this problem, and I think that's really where it comes down to is, it's like I do this joke. Nobody ever asked me about the zebra that I have in my room. Well, why not? Because who would think I have a zebra in my room. Unless you know the noun, it's hard to go after the information itself.
So I think in this day and age where we don't have a lot of workshop tours, we don't have the beginning webinars, I think learning the nouns might be first step. Just start reading the blogs and start reading what is it like to develop and administer on this platform and then dive into the Trailhead, tracking those downs down. Because one thing about Trailhead is that it was intended to be atomic, which means that if you want to just go learn about flow, you can just go learn about flow. Or if you just want to learn about one thing, you can do that. So you can choose your own adventure, so to speak, when it comes to learning a trail.

Mike Gerholdt:
Josh, I can't help but think of your answer in the same way that college is difficult to navigate, too. You go back a hundred years, I'm sure colleges had what, 10 majors and now there's canoeing. I'm sure you could get a degree in canoe. You could probably get a PhD in ...

Josh Birk:
You probably could get a PhD.

Mike Gerholdt:
... water, hydration, floating. It would be something fancy. But the catalogs are super difficult, but people still manage to get through it. It's because, I think, there's one destination in college and I think we imply, or do we imply, that because other things, there's one way to learn Salesforce and people just can't figure out that one way.

Josh Birk:
And also people don't, not everybody learns the same way, right? Developers are, frequently people who like to go in and take existing pieces of code and then pull them apart and put them back together again, which is an exercise we have in places in Trailhead, I think, but not consistently. So, I'd be curious to know how many people rely more on say, stack exchange than ever before because of the level of complexity of the platform these times.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, and you said it's the way people learn. For me, I remember the one thing I took, God, I think I took ADM 201 three times before it finally stuck with me, and I still got out of that course at the last time I took it. I was like, "What did I just do? I have no idea." 'Cos I didn't have the context for how to use this. Now this is pre-Trailhead, but for me it was, "Oh, I should build an app to do this thing," and then going through and doing that, now also, this was right when we were transitioning to Lightning, so there was a lot of push to test and do things, but for me it was putting context behind, I'm trying to accomplish a thing and I'm going to go build the thing.
And the parts of Trailhead that really work for me are the projects, right? Because you're working towards completing a specific goal or task versus, here go play around and build a formula or this is how Omnichannel works. Like, okay, "But I need context. How is this fitting into the bigger picture of things?" So I'm a learn by doing person, which Trailhead has a fair amount of that, but I'm more project oriented in Trailhead than I am straight up modules.

Jennifer Lee:
Yeah, I agree with you, Gillian. I learn best by doing. And so back in the day when I was learning Salesforce, I became a master Googler, right? You go in there, because there wasn't a lot of content provided by Salesforce at that time. So you become a master Googler, you might be able to pull stuff up by ChatGPT, I don't know, but you Google whatever the topic is, Salesforce and then boom. Then you start going through the content and I found the community content was really great, just learning from the practitioners themselves and following along or on Trailhead doing the projects or anything that had the hands-on training. 'Cos then you're learning the concept, but then you're exercising the muscles and actually going through the step-by-step. And that's how I retain information better than if I just read it.

Mike Gerholdt:
Gillian, you brought up a good point, the context. I actually had a friend a while back lose their job in that big retail layoff and showed them Trailhead, and that was the biggest problem that they ran into. Mind you, they're a college graduate in philosophy, which I mean, again, degree in canoeing. But really smart guy, didn't understand why things existed in the platform because they didn't have the context. And so I'm wondering if people that are asking this question, are trying to learn the platform agnostic of having any context to either maybe having the role or how organizations would use Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce:
I will say in the dozens, I don't know, probably more than that, hundreds of presentations I've done as an evangelist in the last however many years. 'Cos again, I started Salesforce when I was nine years old, it keeps getting younger. It's weird. As the years go on, I started Salesforce as a younger person.

Josh Birk:
Sooner later, child labor laws are going to be ...

Gillian Bruce:
You're right. But the one thing that I have found that helps me explain what Salesforce is to people who don't know what Salesforce is, but know that maybe this is a career trajectory they might be interested in, they're like, "Okay, so how do I get certified? Okay, how do I do that?" I'm like, "Okay, but do you understand why people use this platform? Why do people build things in Salesforce? Why are there jobs for people who are Salesforce practitioners? Let's talk about big picture. Salesforce helps companies do X, Y, and Z." And you can pull out a handful of very general examples. And then doing that next level.
Salesforce helps companies organize their customers data because then they're able to do better marketing to sell their widgets better. And it's that kind of trajectory of that context and that bigger picture I find really helps. And so if you are net new, you're like, "Great, I need a new job, or I want to get into the Salesforce ecosystem," don't just do it to be part of the Salesforce ecosystem. Understand what the technology does for companies, why do companies buy it? And I think a lot of times we bypass that and go straight to Trailhead. And I feel like that maybe is a piece for me. At least, that was very important to understand before I started learning the technology on top of it.

Mike Gerholdt:
It's understanding why people would buy a car before you start working on the car to fix it.

Josh Birk:
Well, and even the presence of the car, because as evangelists we all know part of our problem is convincing people we actually have a platform. It's not just CRM, and it can be extended through all sorts of custom data and processes and stuff like that. So there's people running around in a car, but they don't even realize there's multiple gears. I don't know. I'm losing the analogy here, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt:
I know I boxed you in with that. Also, I could hear Gillian be like, damn, another Mike analogy about a car. Totally heard that.

Gillian Bruce:
No. I'm so used to them. I'm be like, well, I mean, Josh, to add for the metaphor, I think what you were saying is like, "Well, sometimes you need a truck to do it and sometimes you need a fast car and sometimes you need a rider mower." And it all depends on what you're trying to accomplish. But Salesforce can do all of those things.

Josh Birk:
I mean, I remember doing just a basic 101, here's how you build out a custom object type thing at a world tour. And somebody came up to me afterwards and they're like, "That was mind-blowing." And I'm like, "No."

Mike Gerholdt:
No, there's so much more.

Josh Birk:
You haven't seen the mind-blowing stuff. That was watching me put the rabbit in the hat and then being like, "I'm going to pull a rabbit out of my hat. That's how mind blowing that was."

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, object permanency sometimes.

Josh Birk:
Right.

Mike Gerholdt:
I mean, but I think to that end, it's so, understanding the why, maybe that's where they get lost. Because Trailhead shows you the how and absent of being able to connect it to the why, to me, it sounds like understanding just how to do things on the platform is maybe where they're getting lost because Gillian, to your point, I would learn Omnichannel, but I wouldn't understand why I would do Omnichannel. So I could understand how to customize it. I just wouldn't understand how to talk about it or why I should care.

Josh Birk:
And I think that's also speaks to, because our platform has gotten so broad. So we're talking about Salesforce Core for the most part, but I think you can ask those exact same questions about things like MuleSoft and even some of our clouds and things like that. It's like it's hard to know why you care until you've actually gotten into it, but it's also hard to learn it until why you care.

Mike Gerholdt:
Absent of Trailhead, what role would help documentation, which I feel is its own group of things. And then just turning to the community play for each of you.

Jennifer Lee:
I know when I first started, I was a data consumer of the Trailblazer Community. I was absorbing every single post that was posted, and then I was like, "Oh, well, this person has this problem. How did other people solve it?" And I'm like, "Oh, that's really cool." But I also recommend going to user groups, finding that local user group, going there and listening to what other people are facing, learning from their solutions as well, and networking.

Gillian Bruce:
Jen, I think there's something to that as just being around it to understand how people talk about it and what types of problems they're solving. I mean, I remember still to this day, one of the first recommendations I say to people who are like, "Okay, I'm net new. What do I do?" It's like, "Okay, yes, learn what Salesforce does, learn the technology, but honestly, go be like a creeper in the Trailblazer Community." Maybe not creeper, creeper is the wrong word, but hover.
Just listen. Just see what people are posting, see what answers are getting posted, see what questions are getting posted, see what's happening in their local Trailblazer group, even if you're like, "I don't want to go to a meeting yet." But just being around it and reading and consuming that I think is such a great way to get oriented in terms of, A. What are people doing as practitioners with Salesforce and B. What kind of problems are they solving and how? And I think that's, and even just the language, right? The jargon, what things are called, how we describe certain parts of the platform, I think that's one of the easiest things you can do to get yourself going in the Salesforce space.

Josh Birk:
I mean it's part of our special sauce. It's part of the thing that makes Salesforce the communities distinct. I've had so many people in interviews who talked about learning the platform, and it's hard for us, I think, to say it without it sounding like hype. But we have a community that believes firmly in giving back to the community, and they learn from the community. And so they want to teach you the community. And there's no way of saying that without it making it sound like, I'm just trying to hype it, but it's like we've got rad women, we've got Salesforce Saturdays, we have people who spend time helping other people for free on this platform. And not every tech community out there is like that. And I totally agree with you, Jen. It's like that, don't miss that because it's a special thing out there. And especially now post pandemic, I feel like it's even easier than ever because I think there's still a virtual Salesforce Saturdays that's going on. Wherever you are, there's something that should be accessible to you.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, and Jen and Mike, I mean, this is how you started your careers, right? I mean, you were members of the community, you were giving back, helping other people solve problems, being very active and participatory. I mean, you were evangelists outside of Salesforce before Salesforce hired you, right? I think that's what's so unique and special is because your authentic, there's an authenticity there to how vibrant the community is. 'Cos it's not just Salesforce pushing stuff out. It's what actual people are doing and saying and using,

Jennifer Lee:
Sorry. Go ahead, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt:
Look at these two evangelists, talk over each other. Go ahead, Jennifer.

Jennifer Lee:
So when I joined the community, I was like, "Oh my goodness, these people are just going out of the way to help one another. Don't they have day jobs? What's going on here?" And then when I attended my first in-person event, I think it was Dreamforce, and I was telling my family, I'm like, "Oh, I'm getting to meet these people in person. They're my friends, but I've never seen them before." And they're like, "What? How's that possible?" So, as I mentioned, I was a data consumer, and then eventually I had enough knowledge where I'm like, "Oh, I know the answer to this, so I'm going to start typing." And it was, okay, well, these people before me who knew Salesforce were sharing their knowledge, their time. Now that I get, I'm building up my knowledge, well, I want to give back, too, because someone before me helped me and I'm going to help the people after me. And it's just this natural thing of wanting to give.

Mike Gerholdt:
I think, so a lot of what you said, Jennifer, I was trying to think back as you were all talking, what was the catalyst that got me in?

Josh Birk:
Because I feel like that's the next hurdle, right?

Mike Gerholdt:
You kind of look at Salesforce, oh, there's a lot to learn. There's a lot of things on Trailhead and there's community, but it feels like a lot of work. And I often joke is being so passionate about vacuums that you would join a vacuum community.

Gillian Bruce:
It sounds like it would suck.

Mike Gerholdt:
I remember, so this was back when I was just turned 18 and it was 2006, because I'm following Gillian's Benjamin Button style of aging. But I was just fresh on Twitter, and I remember TweetDeck was a thing, and I started to call them like, "Oh, there's people I tweet about Salesforce." And up to that point, I had just tried to do it all myself. I'll just try to figure it out. And I remember I asked a question and I'm sure I can go back and try and find that tweet. It'd be cool.
But I asked a question and I got 20 responses. And one of the responses, somebody was like, "Hey, send me a DM and I'll give you my email because I think we can solve this. I just need more than ..." it was 120 characters or whatever. Remember when Twitter had that limit? And I remember that. So I did that and it was probably a Thursday or a Friday, and then over the weekend I made a remark to somebody. I said, "This guy from Canada is going to email me this solution, and they're totally going to do it on their own time." And I remember thinking to myself like, wow, that's pretty neat. Maybe there's more to this.
But it felt like, I don't know. And I think a lot of people approach that. They hear community and they hear all this stuff. I should be a part of it. And it's like, yeah, I don't, but it's until you just go out there and ask one question and then you see five different responses that are probably four different ways of solving a solution that you're like, oh, maybe there's something to this. And that was, for me, which then turned me into like, well, if I can get these answers and build this stuff, then why isn't, because Gillian, to your point, Salesforce wasn't putting that stuff out there. That was the gap, that was the void that Jennifer filled as well, too. Salesforce wasn't putting this stuff out there.

Gillian Bruce:
I mean, it's special. It is something unique and it's something really special. It's one of the magical things about our community. Our community. Magical things about the Salesforce, just ecosystem in general, is the community. And until you're in it, it's very hard to describe it. It's very hard to explain it. And I love the stories that you both shared about, yes, so my family didn't quite get it, and I thought this was really special. It's something you don't find in other technologies, other platforms. And I think if you're trying to orient yourself and figure out where do I start? What do I do? I mean, yes, of course you need to learn the technology and go to Trailhead. There's a lot of great things there. I would start with the admin basics trail, if you're going on an admin path, or beginner admin trail, I think is what it's called. But honestly, get in the community. I mean, if nothing that you've heard between Mike and Jen and Josh, just dip in and let it wash over you.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would add to that, simply ask yourself why you are trying to learn this and if it's interesting and fun for you. And I go back to that because I can still remember, Gillian, as you were talking, I was thinking back to the very first time, and this will date me to when I was 19 years old, in 2007, and I built my first workflow and it worked. And I remember sending an email to the sales team, and it was a simple workflow that literally just updated a field that was locked on a contact, based on a pick list value. And it was such a huge thing. And it gave me this sense of accomplishment that I feel probably was lacking that I wasn't getting in my current job. And that was that reason why. But unlocking that was, I was like, oh, I think I found something I'm passionate about.
And I've always heard this quote that was, if you find your passion, you never have to look for your drive, because it will always be there, right? And I think for Jen, I always look at how innate her skill is to build stuff in flow, but it's because she found her passion in flow. And I don't share that passion. I would love to. Mine exists in other parts of the platform. But once you have that, then it feels like the wind is at your back.

Josh Birk:
Well, I think the rise of flow is also interesting because it used to be developers would learn most of, they wouldn't get as expert in admin skills, but we were expected to know what a workflow was. We were expected to know what a validation rule was. We were expected to know what a formula was, et cetera. But flow is so much of its own skillset that it's, but also so powerful. If you want that thing in your resume that's going to help you get that next job, it's really an important one.
But I think it also just speaks to not just the number of products and companies that Mark has bought over the last 10 years, but just to the power and the complexity of the platform itself.

Mike Gerholdt:
Jen, Gillian, final thoughts?

Jennifer Lee:
I think what's also important is as you're learning Salesforce, whatever that thing is, whether it's writing a validation rule or what have you, spin up a personal dev org and you can sign up for that and that will be yours forever. And what I do is I play around with things, right? If I'm trying to learn something new rather than mess up my company's org? I go and play out in my own sandbox, play around with it and get familiar with it. Build apps.
Also use Salesforce for your personal lives. That's something that you're creating your own use cases, right? And then you're just using Salesforce as a solution, but then you're practicing using things in Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, and Jen, that's basically exactly what I was going to say. But not only are you practicing using Salesforce and building out the app, but you're practicing all the other things that come along with being an admin. If you are building out an app for your own personal use case, right? You're figuring out what are the requirements? How am I going to test this to make sure it works? I am the user of this, right? I remember I built an app to help manage my wedding as an excuse to tinker around with things. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, how would I do a guest list? How would I do all the event pieces of this?" And it was such a huge learning curve for me, and it helped lock in so many of these concepts of not only how do I build the thing, but why do I build the thing and how do I make sure the thing does what I want it to do?
And I think there's no better way to learn than to build something for yourself. It also, if you make it nice, it's a good thing to demo if you're trying to get a job. Make a screencast, include it in the process of how you're looking for jobs. Shoot, post it on the Trailblazer community. Maybe somebody sees it is like, "Ooh, that person's got talent. I like what they're doing. Maybe they could be my next Salesforce admin." So it serves a lot of purposes, and so great recommendation done. And that is my number one thing to recommend to folks. Get your dev org, spin it up, build out your own use case. Use it as a demo going forward.

Mike Gerholdt:
I couldn't agree more. And that gives you even more things to showcase to somebody to show your skill. Well, this is a great discussion. Thank you all.

Gillian Bruce:
Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt:
Thank you.

Jennifer Lee:
Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt:
If you enjoyed this episode, I need you, the listener, to do one thing, and that is share it with somebody that you think would enjoy it as well. If you're listening on iTunes, all you got to do is tap the three dots and choose Share episode, then you can post it to social, you can text it to a friend, put it on any of the socials. And if you're looking for more great resources, like some of the links that probably Jennifer and Gillian and myself mentioned, you can always go to Everything Admin, which is admin.salesforce.com. And, of course, there will be a transcript and links in the show notes below. And, of course, I know we mentioned the Admin Trailblazer group, so you can join the conversation there in the Trailblazer community. Don't worry, link is also in those show notes. So, until then, we'll see you next week in the cloud.

 

Direct download: Salesforce_Learning_Strategies_for_Newbies_with_Admin_Evangelists.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Kalpana Chauhan, Lead Salesforce Consultant at Mar Dat. Join us as we chat about Einstein lead scoring and the importance of high-quality data.

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

From math teacher to Salesforce Admin

Kalpana started out as a math teacher but, as her kids got older and she found herself with time on her hands, she discovered she had an affinity for Salesforce. That foundation has been incredibly helpful in her career as a Salesforce Consultant when she has to untangle something like validation rules. “Coding is easy once you understand the logic and flowchart of how it actually works,” she says.

Flows and automation have always held a special place in Kalpana’s heart. There is so much manual work that you can make unnecessary if you’re willing to sit down and thoughtfully analyze a business process. And new tools like Einstein are making that easier than ever before.

Scoring leads with Einstein

One of Kalpana’s clients needed help resolving issues related to proper lead qualification and marketing engagement. “The marketing team was eager to enhance their engagement with leads, while the sales team was seeking better clarity regarding which leads were sales-qualified so they could focus their efforts on conversion,” she says. 

That’s when Einstein came to the rescue. They worked through the AI Wizard and came up with three scores:

  1. Behavior, to evaluate how warm a lead is based on engagement.

  2. Engagement frequency, to figure out what marketing cadence is best for each lead.

  3. Send time optimization, to automate marketing emails to go out at the best time for each lead based on their engagement history.

Together, these scores helped marketing engage prospects at the right cadence while sales could pursue an optimal nurturing and conversion strategy for each lead.

Getting started with Einstein

If you want to start using Einstein in your org, Kalpana recommends starting by taking a close look at your data quality. “Data is the key,” she says, “the more data you feed in, the more accurate your results will be.” That means Implementing solid data validation rules and using screen flows to remove duplicate records. 

Getting up-to-speed on Einstein was easy with all of the resources out there from Salesforce. In addition to Trailhead, Kalpana found Bootcamps to be especially useful. “I love anything with visuals,” she says. She also recommends going to your local Trailblazer Community Group meeting to connect with other admins facing similar challenges.

Be sure to listen to the full episode to learn more about Einstein, email marketing, and data cleanup.

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Ketan Karkhanis, EVP and GM of Sales Cloud at Salesforce. 

Join us as we chat about all of the new Sales Cloud features that have gone live recently and how you can use them to transform your organization.

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

New features in Sales Cloud

Over the last year, Sales Cloud has gotten a lot of new features and updates. That’s why I was so excited to run into Ketan at World Tour London and get him on the pod. Who better than the EVP and GM of Sales Cloud to tell us all about what’s new?

One thing that the Sales Cloud team noticed was how often businesses have been turning to third-party tools to get things done. So they’ve overhauled features like forecasting and pipe inspection to give you more customization options and flexibility without having to use a bunch of different point solutions.

Drive adoption with Sales Cloud Everywhere

Another problem that Ketan and his team have been working on is how to help drive adoption. As much as we’d like it to be the case, most people don’t do 100% of their job on Salesforce. And the added hassle of going into and out of the platform can create a lot of challenges for users trying to fit it into their workflow.

But what if Salesforce could follow you into other applications and be there when you need it? Sales Cloud Everywhere aims to do just that, with extensions for Outlook, Gmail, and more that will give your reps access to your full CRM no matter what they’re doing.

We need your help

If you only take one thing away from Ketan’s episode, it’s that there are so many new out-of-the-box features in Sales Cloud that it’s practically a new product. If you’re paying for third-party tools, you might be able to save your organization a lot of money just by turning something on.

Most importantly, Ketan and his team want you to know that they need your feedback to make Sales Cloud even better. Try Sales Planning, or Revenue Intelligence, or Einstein for Sales, or all of the above, and let us know how we can help you transform your organization with Salesforce.

Be sure to listen to the full episode to learn more about Sales Cloud, and what’s been added to Unlimited Edition.

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Full Transcript

Gillian Bruce:
Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be successful. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce. Missed you. Nice to be back. I'm here with a very special interview that I wanted to be able to share with you from Ketan Karkhanis, who is our EVP and GM of Sales Cloud at Salesforce. Now, he is a senior executive in charge of all things Sales Cloud. And we had a chat, just running into each other at London World Tour of all places. And it really sparked my idea to have him join us on the podcast, because Sales Cloud has gone under a huge reboot over the last year. There's a ton of new features that I don't think many people are aware of. So, we wanted to dig into that a little bit. And then also, talk about why Sales Cloud and core are developing the things they are, prioritization, especially in the context of AI and GPT these days.
And I promise you, Ketan is going to show you that, hey, core is getting a lot of love despite all of the hype around GPT, which is also very exciting. But we really focus more on that conversation around core development. And he gets into the importance and the role of Salesforce admins. One quick note before we get into Ketan's interview. At the time we were interviewing, the product we were developing was called SalesGPT. That has since changed. And now our AI products for sales is Einstein for Sales. And so, anytime you hear GPT, just think Einstein. So, without further ado, please welcome Ketan to the podcast. Ketan, welcome to the podcast.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Hey, thank you for having me, Gillian. So good to be here.

Gillian Bruce:
Oh, it's wonderful to have you on. I can't believe we haven't had you on before. So, first time guest, long overdue. Ketan, can you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience?

Ketan Karkhanis:
Oh, I sure can. First, a big hello to all of you. I mean this is exciting to be on this podcast with all of you. My name is Ketan Karkhanis. I'm the executive vice president and GM for Sales Cloud. For some of you, I'm a boomerang. So, I was in Salesforce from 2009 to 2019, then I left, did a startup and supply chain, and then I came back to do sales in my prior stint. I've done Einstein Analytics, Lightning Platform, Salesforce Mobile, all the things you probably want to talk to me about also.

Gillian Bruce:
Some things we're very familiar with in admin land, yes.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Yeah, great to be here.

Gillian Bruce:
Excellent. Well, we're happy to have you on. And since you are now leading Sales Cloud, we've got some good questions for you. So, first of all, I would love to know, and I think a lot of our admins are curious, what are some of the top things in Sales Cloud that maybe you think aren't being utilized enough?

Ketan Karkhanis:
Oh, that's a great question. Look, I'll tell you, and this answer might be slightly long. So, Gillian, you should keep interrupting me, because a lot has changed in Sales Cloud in the last year. One of the fundamental things we have focused on is there are two things that happened. Number one was we realized that there was this hyper proliferation of point solutions around Sales Cloud. To work on one opportunity, customers were using seven, eight different other point solutions. These are not market categories. They are features of Sales Cloud. So, one of the great examples I'll give you is forecasting. And amongst all us, our admin friends, we had not innovated much in that space earlier. And it's okay to be honest and say that.

Gillian Bruce:
We like transparency on the podcast, Ketan. Appreciate that.

Ketan Karkhanis:
But we really doubled down on it. And if you now go look at forecasting, you will see that there's still a long journey. I invite you to join me at Dreamforce. But things like customizability, things like bring your own columns, things like adding manager judgment, things like coverage ratio, things like a better user experience, which does not require a help dock. Things like pipe inspection. I don't know how many of you have turned on pipe inspection. Maybe it may not have one or two things you don't need, but it's the new list view for opportunities. Why would you look at opportunities in a list view? Why wouldn't you look at pipe inspection? And everything I said, it's part of core. It's not something new you need to buy. I have a lot of new things I can sell you to. You know me, I'll keep building new things.
But the idea is, how do we get more intrinsic value out? So, you asked the question, so I'll say, I invite you all to check out pipe inspection. I invite you all to check out forecasting. I invite all of you to check out... And I'm listing, Gillian, things which are not like, hey, you need to call an AE right now. These are things which are probably already there, you just need to go turn it on or something like that. The next thing I'll tell you is, look, one of the largest problems I've seen a lot of customers espouse is adoption. Gillian, you hear that from admins, and I hear that. How do I drive adoption? What do I do, right?

Gillian Bruce:
100%.

Ketan Karkhanis:
So, one of the capabilities, and it's a very counterintuitive thought, maybe this will work, maybe this will not work, but is we are like we were saying, okay, why can't Sales Cloud or CRM follow you wherever you go? So, let's say you are in Outlook. Yes, I use the O word, Outlook. I can do that on a Salesforce podcast, because hey, a lot of people use Outlook and it's a great email client. I mean, it's fantastic. But what if Salesforce side panel was there right with you? What if your entire CRM was accessible to your end user as a sales rep, while they were in Outlook or they were in Gmail? And even coming one more further is, what if you could do that while you are on LinkedIn? So, this is the idea of Sales Cloud everywhere. It's the Outlook extension, it's the Gmail extension, it is the anywhere extension that's coming out. And again, these are what we think core capabilities, and I invite you to try them. One last thing, because we've just innovated a lot, so Gillian, please interrupt me, okay?

Gillian Bruce:
Give us all the goodies. I love it. This is great.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Now, these were just examples, but you can make a long list of this theme. Now, if you're on unlimited edition. So, some of you might be on UE, you have a special bonanza for you now, because everything I said before is available everywhere. Now I'm focusing only on unlimited edition. We added a ton of capability to unlimited edition, which was previously add-ons kind of stuff. So, for example, conversational AI. How many of you have heard of conversational AI? It's a standard capability. ECI, Einstein Conversational Insights. Go turn it on, try it in UE. I'll tell you, sales engagement, some of you probably remember HVS. And again, transparency, there was some work to be done on that, which we have gotten done last year.
I know there was a little bit of a pause on that, but we have rebooted everything in the past 12 months. It's included in powerful cadence automation. Every inside sales teams needs it. It's out of the box in Sales Cloud UE. Automated capture, Einstein Automated Capture. Do you know more than 20,000 customers have already used Einstein Automated Capture? Are you one of those 20,000? If you are, thank you very much. If you aren't, why aren't you on that list? Because why do you want sales reps to enter data manually? It should be automatically synced. But anyways, I can keep going on, Gillian. There's just a lot. There's just a lot.

Gillian Bruce:
That is a lot. And you know what I really like is all of these features that you're talking about are, like you said, your team's been working on this in the last 12 months. But I mean really these are things that are going to help admins make their users happier. And so, especially when you were talking about basically the pipe inspection is a better list view that's going to give you so much more information. So, why train your users on how to use a list view when you've got this? And they can get the insights just from looking at the list of their opportunities. And then in context, I mean when you're talking about the extension, where you can bring Salesforce and your CRM in the context of which you're already working. Because the last thing a sales rep wants to do is switch windows or have multiple tabs open, as all of us are guilty of having too many tabs open as it is.
But the idea of having that contextual as you're looking at a LinkedIn, as you're looking at your email, that's fantastic. I mean, those are amazing features. And like you said, they're already part of your core experience. So, I'm going to use a Mike Gerholdt analogy here. "If you paid for the Ferrari, don't just use it to drive to the grocery store." You've got all these bells and whistles, you should use them. And I think another thing that I hear often when I'm at community events or at user groups, is you hear people that are paying for all of these third party solutions that do a lot of the stuff they don't realize core already does.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Yeah, I mean they're spending a lot of money. You could be a hero by taking all that out and showing your organization, "Hey, guys, I saved you a lot of money."

Gillian Bruce:
Exactly. Yeah. I mean it's one of those maybe not so secret, should be more overt awesome admin skills, is that if you are really truly an awesome admin, you're probably going to uncover so much money your organization can save when you open the hood and look at all of the third party things that maybe you are paying for, that you already have included in core. It's akin to declarative first development. Use what's out of the box before you go building a custom solution. And I think that is one of the things that we don't talk about enough, having that admin eye to look at all the things that maybe we already have on core, but we don't realize, or whoever was managing the org before you didn't realize.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Or maybe we at Salesforce didn't talk about it too much. I think, so there's some responsibility I need to take too, just because I can. And you're going to see me and my team... As I said, look, it's a new Sales Cloud. Simple as that. The last 12 months, it's a new Sales Cloud. And I invite you, I encourage you, I will gently push you and nudge you to take a look. And more importantly, the two motivation I have behind saying these things is, if you take a look, you will give us great feedback. And that's truly what we want is your feedback. But you can't give me feedback if you have not tried something. It's like a virtual cycle.

Gillian Bruce:
This is taking me back to when we rolled out Lightning back in, what, 2015. And we were doing all those Lightning tours with our product managers. I was doing a ton of them. The feedback we got from people when we were actually getting them hands-on with the new platform and how it worked, I mean every single piece of feedback got incorporated in some way. And I think that's one of the unique things and special things about Salesforce, is that our product is only what it is because of the feedback that we get from our customers. And we definitely take into account. So, Ketan, as leader of Sales Cloud, how important is it for people to give you feedback?

Ketan Karkhanis:
I'll just tell you all my best ideas are not mine. They're yours. So, if you want me to do something good, give me feedback. I'm half joking. But you understand the spirit of that comment, I think. So, it's really important we connect with each other in the true sense of the word connection. Look, you all have made Sales Cloud what Sales Cloud is. You are the reason Sales Cloud is here. And I really, really aspire for you to be part of the journey. The last year, we have rebooted it a lot. We have a lot of new capabilities across the board. And I ain't even talking to you about new things like... Do you know last week, Gillian, we just launched a new product called Sales Planning? Now sales Planning can be done native on your CRM. Do you know we've got a brand new product around enablement to run sales programs in context and outcome-based? That's brand new. We just launch a buyer assistant. That's cool. And Gillian, I'm not even talking about GPT. We are going to need a whole podcast on SalesGPT.

Gillian Bruce:
We can do that. That'll be the follow-up episode, because I know a lot of people are curious about that. But I think speaking of that, we get a lot of feedback, especially now because everyone's excited about AI. Everyone's talking about it, GPT, all the things, great. But the majority of admins I talk to are way more concerned with core features, stuff that their organization's already using. And so, you mentioned that the last 12 months, Sales Cloud has gotten a reboot. Can you give us a little insight into why there was a reboot? What is the priority with Sales Cloud and core features? And give us a little insider lens to why.

Ketan Karkhanis:
No, no, it's a very fair question. Look, the way I think about it is adoption fueled growth is a key strategy for me and my business. And I use the word adoption as the first word in that sentence, because it's really the key word. To me, one of the thoughts I have after talking to countless customers, I went on the road and I met so many customers, and I'll tell you, it was amazing. You sit down with the customer and one of my favorite questions is, how long have you been using Sales Cloud? That's my first question I ask them. And you will be amazed. Some of them were saying 10 years. I met a customer who's been using it for 18 years.

Gillian Bruce:
That's almost as long as Salesforce has been around, right?

Ketan Karkhanis:
Incredible commitment, incredible partnership. And then as I look at their journey and we talk to them, they're like, okay, here's where we need help, here's where we need help, here's where we need help. And how do you build that bridge for them to create a modern selling environment, to create a data-driven selling environment, to create a selling environment where reps are spending less time doing entry, but more time driving deals. And to do all of this, it's not just new capabilities or new products like Planning, like GPT, all those things I talked about, but it's also the foundation capabilities of, okay, let's ensure forecasting is amazing out of the box. Let's ensure a lot of our features are turned on out of the box. Let's ensure we are really funneling our energies into bringing more, I keep saying out of the box, out of the box, out of the box.
That's my way of saying core, core, core, core. But it also implies I want to simplify setup and onboarding. We have some more work to do there. It's not done. And I will be the first person to say, hey, need your help, but trust me, we are committed to doing it. I'm committed to doing it. So, there's countless examples I can give you around all these things we are trying to do. But the strategy is adoption driven growth. Element of the strategy is I really don't want our customers to use seven or 10 different products, because I think...
So, our customers are giving me feedback. They're like, "Ketan, and this is becoming a bit..." I have seven to 10 different tools I have to use, and this happens in the industry, it's cyclical. There's a hyper proliferation of point solutions, and then we go into a tech consolidation phase. So, that is a very key part. That's what we did with Sales Cloud Unlimited. We took all this. We are like, these are not add-on, we just get them. It's like, okay, Gillian, when you buy a smartphone or you just buy... Nowadays, nobody calls it a smartphone.

Gillian Bruce:
They're all smart now, right?

Ketan Karkhanis:
They're all smart, right? Yeah, exactly. But there's a point in that comment. Do you have to choose whether you get the maps functionality or not?

Gillian Bruce:
No.

Ketan Karkhanis:
It's there. It's a feature, it's not a category. That's what we think when we think about things like sales engagement, when we think things like revenue intelligence, when we think about enablement, when we think about planning, when our conversational AI. These are capabilities of the new CRM.

Gillian Bruce:
I love that.

Ketan Karkhanis:
These are not categories. So, anyways, it was a great question. Thank you for asking that.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah. No. And I appreciate the transparency. And I think what you described about the cyclical cycle, about how tack, the many, many points coming together into being one solution. And I think I feel though we're in the consolidation moment right now, especially with Sales Cloud, which I think that's pretty exciting. Now, in the last minute or two here, I would love to hear from you, Ketan. As someone who has been in the Salesforce ecosystem and at Salesforce for I think as long as I have, seems like forever at this point. Can you talk to me a little bit about how you view the role of the Salesforce admin in a successful-

Ketan Karkhanis:
You're the quarterback. You're the quarterback. Or if the people from other regions, I can use a cricket analogy, I can use a soccer analogy, I can use any analogy you want me to use, but you get the spirit of what I'm trying to say is yes, it's a critical role, it's a pivotal role, it's an important role. Because it's also the role that drives, not just governance and compliance, which is one way to think about it, but also what I call agile innovation. You can show the organization a way to move fast. The person who understands the power of clicks, not core, is connected to the community to bring those best practices from the community into your organization, is connected to product at Salesforce to bring that feedback back to product. You are also now the face of Salesforce in front of your organization, and that's why we love you so much.
It's a tough job. Look, it can be stressful, because you're juggling many balls. There's like every day you've got 10 things you're juggling. You are like, oh, I've got these five requests from this business unit, but I need to do this project, which is long-term. And I've still not gotten done with my data governance priorities, which I had. But it's a critical role, and that's why it's my commitment to you that I want to be held accountable by you. And I would aspire to be more connected to you. So, I don't know how we do-

Gillian Bruce:
Well, this is a first step, Ketan, now everybody knows who you are. So, you're going to start to get feedback as soon as this episode goes live, I promise you.

Ketan Karkhanis:
I had to open my mouth.

Gillian Bruce:
You asked for it. You asked for it. Well, Ketan, I so appreciate you coming on the podcast and giving us some context and insight to what's going on with Sales Cloud, priorities within Sales Cloud, some of the features that maybe we don't know about very much and that we should start be using. And then I also just really appreciate your insights and appreciation for Salesforce admins. I think it's always really helpful to hear from someone who's in the leadership position about how Salesforce really does view the role of the admin and prioritizes it and thinks it's so important. So, I appreciate you.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Thank you so much.

Gillian Bruce:
And we're going to do an episode about SalesGPT coming up soon. Don't you worry about that.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Yeah, yeah, 100%.

Gillian Bruce:
Thanks, Ketan. One quick note and reminder, SalesGPT has changed to Einstein for Sales. So, we're Salesforce, product names change, especially as we come into Dreamforce. So, just wanted to remind you of that. Anytime you hear SalesGPT think of Einstein. Well, that was amazing to have Ketan on the podcast. Appreciate his time. And yes, we are going to do more with him. So, I am looking forward to getting him back on to talk a little bit more about SalesGPT, which I know everyone is clamoring to learn more about. But I did appreciate his honesty and transparency about how Sales Cloud needed a reboot, how they're prioritizing reducing all of the different points of use of other products and other solutions, and trying to consolidate everything into one seamless Sales Cloud solution that helps you with adoption as you're trying to get your users on board.
I love the couple of features he mentioned that I didn't even really know about, was the extensions to bring CRM into your email or into LinkedIn, wherever you're working. And then, I mean, gosh, who doesn't love an improved list view, right? So, go ahead and check out the pipeline inspection list view. I mean, I guess it's technically not called a list view, but what a better way to look at your opportunities. So, we're going to do more with Ketan. I also thought it was great how critical he thought the admin role is, as we all know it is. But I hope that gave you a little insight into how our executive leadership views the role of Salesforce admin and how we are really prioritizing making the admin job easier and helping you make your users more successful. Enough from me. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.
As always, if you like what you hear, please leave us a review. You can also get more information on my favorite website, admin.salesforce.com, for more great content of all kinds. And if you'd like to follow us at all, we are on all the social medias. You can find us on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or X or whatever it's being called these days, at Salesforce Admns, no I, and all over LinkedIn as well. Thanks to the main host of this podcast, Mike Gerholdt, for giving me the chance to bring this interview to you. And I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. I'll catch you next time in the cloud.

 

 

Direct download: Sales_Cloud_Core_with_Ketan_Karkhanis.mp3
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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Garry Polmateer, CEO of Red Argyle, a Salesforce Consulting agency and a member of the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame.

Join us as we chat about why admins need to be involved with cybersecurity at their organization and how to start planning.

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

Admins and cybersecurity

Garry and I go way back—we were both in the first class of Salesforce MVPs back in 2010. We recently caught up at Midwest Dreamin’, where Garry gave a great talk about why Salesforce Admins need to be involved in cybersecurity, so I asked him to come on the pod and tell us all about it.

It can often feel like cybersecurity is a secondary consideration for Salesforce Admins, that it’s too complicated to get involved with. While Garry isn’t here to scare you, he wants to remind you that there’s a lot you can do as an admin to protect your organization.

Running away from a bear

When it comes to reducing your risk of a cyberattack, it’s a little like running away from a bear. You don’t have to be faster than the bear, you just have to be faster than the people next to you. Hackers are generally looking for low-hanging fruit, and doing some simple things like enforcing MFA and password best practices is often enough to get them to move on.

However, Garry points out that good cybersecurity is a lot more nuanced than simply not getting hacked. A good security plan protects your organization from itself, whether that’s an accident that leads to a data breach or ensuring that you meet regulatory requirements. And if something does happen, you need to know what to do about it.

A framework for security

Garry lays out a simple framework for looking at security in your organization:

  1. Understand your risks

  2. Respond

  3. Recover

What Garry has found in his consulting work is that while most businesses have spent time on #1, they don’t have a clear understanding of what to do if something goes wrong. That comes down to three simple questions: What will you do? Who will you talk to? And what will you do next?

“Any admin can do this,” Garry says, “and having a communications plan that’s nailed down with some specificity is like an insurance policy for your peace of mind.” And if something turns out to be serious, you have an action plan in place for what to do next so you can act quickly.

Be sure to listen to the full episode to learn more about security considerations you might not be thinking about and everything you need to know about backing up data.

 

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Direct download: Make_a_Cybersecurity_Plan_with_Garry_Polmateer.mp3
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