Salesforce Admins Podcast (general)

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for January.

Join us as we review the top product, community, and careers content for January, and talk about New Year’s resolutions.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Blog highlights from January

The march toward Spring ‘23 continues, and we’ve got your back with content covering everything in the GA, Beta, and Pilot. Mike wants you to pay close attention, especially, to some enhancements for reports and dashboards. And a reminder that MFA auto-enablement is coming with this release!

Video highlights from January

Staying on the theme of Spring ‘23, we wanted to point you toward Release Readiness Live. There are so many notes with any new release, but we highlight the important information that admins need to know, all in one place.

Podcast highlights from January

Check out Mike’s episode with Janet Elliott from this month. We talked about her first public speaking gig, which happened at a little event you might have heard of called Dreamforce. Since then, she’s given many talks at many events, so we brought her on to find out how you too can get started as a Salesforce speaker. Gillian interviewed Kat Aquino, who gave us a fascinating look into what it’s like building a Salesforce org from the ground up to support a multinational event—the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in LA.

Just for fun

Mike and Gillian reflect on their less-than-successful past New Year’s Resolutions.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Janet Elliott, Manager of Solution Architecture at Kicksaw and 2022 Salesforce MVP.

Join us as we talk about finding your voice and why you should become a Salesforce speaker.

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

Why you should speak at a Salesforce event

Janet got started in the ecosystem as a project manager and admin for Salesforce in 3 BT (Before Trailhead) a.k.a. 2011. Eventually, she moved into becoming a Solution Architect. Along the way, she’s been a speaker at multiple TrailblazerDX conferences, Dreamforce, and more, which is why we wanted to bring her on the pod. “Speaking about Salesforce is something I’ve really found a passion for,” Janet says.

You might wondering, with so many great speakers at Salesforce events, why anyone would want to hear from you. The truth is that there are relatively few people compared to the number of slots at all the different Salesforce events. We’re looking for new voices, and Janet has a lot to say about how you can get started as a new speaker.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

“I got a huge confidence boost from the first time I spoke,” Janet says, “because I realized that people were interested in what I had to say and I didn’t need to be an absolute expert on the topic beforehand.” It just so happens that her first time was at Salesforce, in front of hundreds of people—quite the way to rip off the band-aid.

One big piece of advice Janet has is to attend as many events as you can, something that’s a lot easier to do with more events offering virtual options. As you’re sitting in the audience, think about how you’re listening to the speakers. Do you want them to succeed or fail? Are you judging them harshly or are you rooting for them? That’s how you manage imposter syndrome (which is totally normal!): realize that the audience wants you to succeed.

Tips for talks

You don’t need to be an expert to speak about a topic. Give yourself permission to say “I don’t know the answer to that but here’s where I would start looking.” People don’t want to hear from you because they don’t know how to use Google—they’re there to hear your story and learn from your experiences.

Finally, as Shakespeare said, “the readiness is all.” You need to put time and thought into how you prepare for your talk. Janet recommends rehearsing a few times and recording yourself, so you can sit in the audience’s chair and see how you’re coming across.

Janet has a lot more great tips about picking topics, finding your story, and where to get started so be sure to listen to the full episode.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Lynn Simons, Senior Director of Security Awareness and Engagement, and Laura Pelkey, Senior Manager of Security Customer Engagement, both at Salesforce. 

 

Join us as we talk about security and security awareness for admins.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Lynn Simons and Laura Pelkey.

Build good security habits

We wanted to start 2023 off right with a focus on security. Because there’s always a new threat on the horizon, Lynn reminds us that good security is really about understanding the broader concepts and building good habits. That means having a handle on ideas like the Principle of Least Privilege, and then putting them into practice as you set permissions and access in your org.

 

When it comes to getting started with security, Lynn has three main tips:

 

  1. Lean on resources already out there to help you, like the Salesforce Admins blog you’re reading right now.
  2. Think about the security impact of each new Release.
  3. Be an advocate for security in your organization.

 

Lynn and Laura have some specific tips for each of these, but the big idea is that security is really a state of mind. Understanding the broader concept of limiting access will help with the little things, like defaulting to the most restrictive data access when you’re building permissions, or making sure you periodically deactivate unused accounts.

Engage with other teams in your organization

Laura recommends that you look for ways to actively engage with security and IT beyond the Salesforce platform. Not only will it make it easier to get help when you need it down the road, but it also helps you understand how the pieces of the security puzzle fit together in your organization.

“Salesforce user credentials are probably one of the more targeted things that attackers might be after,” Laura says, so looking at threats outside of Salesforce, like phishing, is crucial to the security of your org. Educate your users and help them understand these threats and why they’re so important. Interface with other departments to get the information you need—for example, so you know someone’s leaving your organization and you need to remove their Salesforce access.

Planning for the worst-case scenario

Despite all your planning, things can go wrong and you need to decide ahead of time what you’ll do in the event of a breach. “Every company that has a good security posture has instant response plans already in place, and remediation plans already in place for many different scenarios,” Laura says.

Talk through what you should do in any likely scenario with stakeholders and your IT team. For example, if one of your user’s credentials get stolen, who should you tell first? Being proactive about security will only reflect well on you—don’t worry about coming across as a Chicken Little. “If one of our Salesforce Admins came to us with a breach remediation plan,” Laura says, “I would be so excited.” 

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Full Transcript

Mike :                                                 Welcome to Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. And hey, we're kicking off 2023 by talking about security and security awareness for admins. We want you to be security minded this year as you always are. And to do this, we're bringing back a couple of my favorite guests. Everybody's my favorite guest, but Lynn Simons, who is Senior Director of Security Awareness and Engagement at Salesforce. And Laura Pelkey, I bet you have ran into Laura and Lynn, Laura Pelkey, who is Senior Manager, Security Customer Engagement.
                                                       Both of them are very active in the Salesforce community. They're very active at Salesforce events. You've probably seen them around security awareness booths. I know Laura was working in the admin zone at Dreamforce this year. They have so much wealth and experience to share with us as admins. It's a fun discussion. Don't turn it off. Listen to it all the way through, because I promise you, they're going to give you an article that you need to read. I'll call it homework. How's that sound? So with that, let's get Lynn and Laura on the podcast.
                                                       So Lynn and Laura, welcome back to the podcast.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Hey Mike.

Lynn Simons:                                           Hi Mike. So good to be on the podcast again.

Mike :                                                 It's been a while. We've had each of you on individually because we know that security is top of mind for admins, which is why we're starting off 2023 with a security minded episode. So Lynn, I'm going to start with you. What's it mean as an admin to be security minded?

Lynn Simons:                                           Love that question. It's really about how you are thinking over time as you're doing your other work as an administrator. And I think it's really smart to think about the broader principles because the thing is with security, it's always changing and the risks are always new. So really understanding key security principles like least privilege and using that as your guide, as you set permissions and access is really going to be a great start to being security minded. Also knowing what resources are out there for you as a Salesforce admin on the admin's website through other Salesforce resources that then by talking to fellow admins, that's another great way to find resources.
                                                       I think the job of security's never done, so just remembering that periodically. I always give the clue of, with each new release, think about what security impacts are in that release. And thinking about your job is never done with security, meaning it's not a one and done settings situation. This is something we have to look at all the time. And then last, also thinking of yourself as an advocate. You as a Salesforce admin have the ability to influence your IT department, your security team by bringing up what the security concerns are with Salesforce.

Mike :                                                 Laura, it's been a while and a few people have been out a couple days ago celebrating the new year, had too much bubbly and forgot what the principle of least privilege is. Can you help me understand that?

Laura Pelkey:                                          Well, I don't know how anyone could forget about the principle of least privilege-

Mike :                                                 You don't know how strong the champagne was on New Year's Eve.

Laura Pelkey:                                          ... I certainly think about it all the time. That's a good point. Yes. So the principle of least privilege, that is one of the fundamental tenants of cybersecurity. And really what it is making sure that your users don't have access to anything that they don't absolutely need access to. So it's really about restricting permissions and ability to act within your Salesforce org in your implementation to just what's absolutely necessary. And that helps to reduce risk across the organization.

Mike :                                                 I think of Dwight in the office letting me know that I'm security level three, but that's out of 300.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Yeah, exactly.

Mike :                                                 Got you.

Laura Pelkey:                                          And Beets Battlestar Galactica and Bears.

Mike :                                                 Beets. Beets Battlestar Galactica. Lynn, you mentioned reviewing security related changes with every release. What are some of the things that admins should look for in terms of changes in a release?

Lynn Simons:                                           That's a super important thing to do. I would really look for things that have to do with permissions and access first. Looking for words that have to do with how profiles are set around allow lists and block lists. Jump in Laura if you can think of anything. But really those profile and permission related things are the lowest hanging fruit, I think in releases.

Laura Pelkey:                                          And I know there've been some updates around guest user access and configuring that. And it's also something that is important for admins to pay attention to, that particular release update.

Mike :                                                 So we can obviously spend a whole lot of time talking about things they should be doing in the app, but we're thinking ahead, we're out there, we're maybe back in the office walking around seeing our users. What are some of the things that admins can pay attention to in terms of security habits outside of Salesforce that they could help bring a best practice for their users? And Laura, if you want to kick us off, you're usually out talking at user groups.

Laura Pelkey:                                          I love this question. So this is something, actually, Lynn and I talk about this a lot. Lynn actually runs our Security Awareness Program at Salesforce, and her and our team have to partner really closely with our IT team on something called phishing tests. And Lynn, obviously you can talk about this in more detail, but that's actually something that's really an interesting way for admins to create inroads with their IT teams or their IT leadership and partner outside of the whole world of Salesforce, but really in a way that uplifts the security of their company or their organization as a whole. Lynn, I don't know if you have any thoughts on how an admin might go about partnering with an IT director or someone on the IT team to do phishing tests.

Lynn Simons:                                           Sure. One of the things that security teams are always thinking about is what is the threat landscape look like? And they'll even do things called threat models to design how particular systems can be infiltrated by an actor. And it's really welcomed by a security team to be finding out from people in the company what kind of risks they're seeing. So as a person who runs a security awareness team, if I heard from our Salesforce administrator, of course we use Salesforce too, and I heard that they were thinking of some behaviors or risks that could be creating some type of potential attack, then I would really want to keep, I'd be all ears. So reaching out to that team and I think you can reach out to a security awareness professional or somebody who does user management and say, hey, the people I'm working with as a Salesforce administrator are using Salesforce.
                                                       I understand that Salesforce is a really big brand now, and is there potential that if an attack renew that we had a lot of Salesforce use it here, what might they be interested in? Maybe we can partner on a phishing test together. Because the most effective phishing tests that we do are ones that are really germane to the users in our environment. So for example, we might use a logo that looks familiar or we might use something that looks similar to a Salesforce related URL or email address in a phishing test. And I think kind of that partnership with the security team would be really, really appreciated. But what it would also do is provide that security team with some data that they can use to understand their user community. And I think that that would be an incredible basis of building a relationship with the security team.

Laura Pelkey:                                          And if you think about it, Salesforce user credentials are probably one of the more often targeted things that attackers might be after. And so you're not only helping to bolster the security of all of the employees at your company by educating around this passively, using phishing tests, but you're also bolstering the security of your Salesforce implementation by educating your user base on this. So it's a win-win really for everyone.

Mike :                                                 Yeah, I could see that. And I think I've seen a few come through that, I don't know Lynn, if you've been the mastermind behind, but they've been awfully legit. They look really good.

Lynn Simons:                                           Definitely my wonderful team is doing that. And we really work with the various departments in the company to identify what's going to be germane to our audiences so that we can understand the difficulty level that they're able to respond to. And also part of that is that reporting behavior. As a security awareness person on a podcast, I have to say that it's really not just all about clicking on these emails, it's really about what happens after that when people like Laura said, might enter their credentials. And then also that activity of seeing something weird, seeing something suspicious and reporting it to your security team. And you can be a great friend of the security team by helping your user population understand that there's a way to report suspicious activity, not just ignore it, not sweep it under the rug, but let the security team know as soon as possible.

Mike :                                                 I'd love to know when you sit down with new clients or even existing customers, what are some of the questions that I think genuinely they ask? Not knowing it could be a security risk. I think of, we all know the sharing credentials stuff is not something that people should do, but are there questions out there that people perceive as well, this isn't creating a security risk, but it actually is?

Laura Pelkey:                                          I'll jump in if you don't mind to answer this. So just when I'm on the floor at Dreamforce or on the floor at a world tour or TDX, actually one of the most common topics that come up that people don't naturally associate with security is actually how permissions are configured. How user permissions are configured. So the whole concept of access within a Salesforce org is often not thought of as security, but really this all ties in back to that principle of least privilege that you asked about earlier, Mike. And just because someone is a registered user or is in your org is supposed to be in your org, that doesn't mean that there's no risk associated with them having access to certain objects or fields that they shouldn't have access to.
                                                       That's called an insider threat, is a term that sometimes can be used if somebody does something, a user does something that they're not actually supposed to do. And so really reviewing permission sets, we actually now are guiding people and advising people to use minimum access profiles and then layer permissions on top of that if they can. I know that's a shift from how people are typically used to setting up profiles and permissions, but really that's the best way to ensure that you are following the principle of least privilege when you're managing access within your Salesforce org.

Lynn Simons:                                           That's really interesting Laura, because it's related to the example I was going to give with customers I've talked to at Dreamforce. In particular with non-profit customers where they have a volunteer base that might have access to Salesforce, that can be a very transient group of people. And there's also this feeling of goodwill in that industry that assumes the best intent. Of course, we want to assume best intent of people in general, but in terms of protecting data, we generally think more in terms of, okay, let's start with no access and then let's build on that. And particularly with nonprofits, there's this risk because of the donor data and credit card data that's really at the heart of how nonprofits are operating.
                                                       That's one example. Another one I think is that clean up around releases that I was mentioning and the reality that we have to deactivate accounts. That if the accounts do not need to be active that are not used. So it's certainly advisable to be thinking about if a user account hasn't been used in X number of months, then perhaps that's access that's not needed. Are you hearing a theme? The theme is access.

Mike :                                                 Yeah. Removing unused, especially when an employee leaves. I think that's always something that I know as an admin I had to work diligently with my HR team to try and get on lists. And it's not me being nosy, I don't need to know who's leaving the company. I need to know so that I can ensure the day after they leave, can't still log into Salesforce.

Lynn Simons:                                           Exactly.

Mike :                                                 So let me tangent off that. What are some departments that you commonly tell admins to go reach out and have best practice discussions with or build relationships with? I know you mentioned IT, I'm guessing HR is another one.

Lynn Simons:                                           Absolutely. And I think it's important to understand who is the business owner and purchaser of Salesforce at your company, because there can be a scenario where IT isn't deeply involved and there are business people who own the implementation. And particularly in that case, you're going to want to know who those individuals are because the buyer may have received information that's valuable to you. So let's say it's the head of sales, they might be getting emails from Salesforce that are really, really valuable to you as administrator around changes that are upcoming around big announcements and that kind of thing. So I think being in lockstep with that team would be really critical.

Laura Pelkey:                                          And it actually all really goes back to thinking like a security advocate. And so when you have that mindset of, okay, my priority is to really advocate for cybersecurity, not just in terms of to my user base, but to the company and to the leaders in my company, that's a great mindset to have. And the first thing you want to do when you're doing that kind of work is identifying who the stakeholders are, who cares about security. And so that can be IT. If you have a cybersecurity team that's often larger companies may have a cybersecurity team and smaller companies may not, but that's not always a given.
                                                       HR, like Lynn was saying, your sales leadership is probably very invested in the security of Salesforce and of the company and also actually who is in charge of assigning budgets to Salesforce to people who are the decision makers for these kinds of things. So even if it's not a purely technical role or a purely people oversight role, there are a lot of different roles within your company or your organization that can touch on security. And so it's really helpful to do an analysis of your individual company and find out who those folks are and who those teams are.

Lynn Simons:                                           And just one other one that can actually be part of HR depending on the company, is your employee communications team. Because those are the individuals who you could influence in terms of company newsletters or other types of all hands where reminders around security best practices in Salesforce if you have a really broad audience of employees using the tool, I think knowing those comms people is going to give you a voice that's perhaps a more powerful and louder voice than your own at a large company.

Mike :                                                 Yeah, that makes sense. One thing I thought of, and it's because I watched way too much Weather Channel, which I forgot to get a tour of their offices when I was down in Atlanta, but it's all my to-do list. So anybody that works at the Weather Channel listens to this podcast, because I'm sure there's all of you, I want a tour. One thing they talk about, because it's storm season, we're in the Midwest, you guys are out West, you don't get anything. But in the Midwest and especially the East Coast, it's like prepare for snow and bad weather. And even in the South they're starting to get some tornadoes. One thing I think we often talk about a lot in security is how do we keep the doors locked?
                                                       How do we make sure everything's safe? And what we fail to do? And what they pointed out is, so let's just assume the tornado's going to go through what is your next steps? What is your plan for when the smoke detector goes off, when the tornado sirens go off? And I think I would love to know as you think through, what could you tell an admin for, let's plan for, I run a report and I suddenly see that I've got a user that looks like they logged in from three different locations within a minute of themselves? What's that plan look like? Or how does an admin put together a plan for stuff like that?

Laura Pelkey:                                          That's such a good question.

Lynn Simons:                                           It's such a great question. And I always go back to the first step to that and actually learned it from an MVP, which is cool, which is that documentation is incredibly important when it comes to dealing with security issues. So if you have a documented plan for how to deal with those things, you're going to be setting yourself up to not panic and be able to have some of your own guide for what to do. And secondly, those relationships that we just talked about really come to the forefront. Because investing in those relationships, you can make the plans that you need. Number one, reporting. Number two, being able to communicate as we were talking about. And then Laura, if you want to take over from the orgs themselves what to do there, I'd love for your take on that.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Well I think so, not to use the B word, but what we're really talking about is a breach remediation plan.

Mike :                                                 Thank you for telling me what the B word was.

Laura Pelkey:                                          [inaudible].

Mike :                                                 I had no idea.

Lynn Simons:                                           I don't even say the word.

Laura Pelkey:                                          But it's okay. We should be prepared as admins. I say I was an admin a long time ago, but-

Mike :                                                 You're still an admin.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Think once an admin, always an admin. We do need to be prepared in the event of a breach. And every company that has a good security posture has instant response plans already in place and remediation plans already in place for many different scenarios. And so it really depends on your implementation and your company and the resources you have at your disposal. So I don't want to give one blanket answer because it just depends on a lot of different factors. But proactively sitting down with those security stakeholders like we were talking about, this would actually be an amazing first step at connecting with these people once you've identified the stakeholders and saying, hey, I would like to create some breach remediation plans for the following scenarios.
                                                       And maybe one of them is the scenario, Mike that you gave. Maybe another one is, you can just talk to people on your IT team or your security team and maybe get their thoughts on what some common scenarios are. Maybe one of them is one of my users' credentials got hacked. That's probably something that everybody should have as a scenario. And then you outline in very specific steps what the next steps are and who owns those steps. And you make sure that all of those people are aware and are bought into that plan. And that plan is circulated very broadly. So everybody's on the same page.

Lynn Simons:                                           Those incident response teams really live and die by their operating procedures. So I think by working together to create that documentation, they can actually integrate that plan into their own plan. So they know, okay, they hear from Jane admin that that means that this particular procedure kicks into play in that moment.

Mike :                                                 I think one of the key things I thought you said there, Laura was and who owns the step. I think a lot of documents are always drawn up with here's the steps and then everybody looks at themselves as to okay, who does number one?

Laura Pelkey:                                          Yeah, that's super important. And I think Lynn can probably feel the same way, if one of our Salesforce admins came to us and said, hi, I'm proposing this breach remediation plan, here are the scenarios. I'd love for you to be an owner of this, will you agree to do this? I would be like, oh my gosh, this person is so amazingly security conscious. I would be so excited.

Lynn Simons:                                           We'd be thrilled.

Laura Pelkey:                                          But we're just security dorks. But still it would be really great. And if you want to just purely from a career perspective as an admin, if you want to make a name for yourself and you start doing things like that at your company or organization, people are going to start knowing who you are and thinking, wow, this person is bringing a lot to the table.

Mike :                                                 I think for our next event that you are both at, you should have fancy buttons made or stickers, people like stickers, maybe put a Twitter pull out, see what people like more because I don't know, Mike doesn't always know and have them bring you their security plan for some sort of fancy hot rod sticker or plushy that's like, I've got a security plan.

Lynn Simons:                                           Ooh, I love that.

Mike :                                                 You could rock that badge. Because that's a badge you want people to have.

Lynn Simons:                                           And I also-

Laura Pelkey:                                          I know I'm getting ideas for content that while we're talking about this.

Mike :                                                 Yes, and you can write that content on admin.salesforce.com

Lynn Simons:                                           I just also want to just mention one thing, I'm sorry Mike, is that you also, in these kind of big B scenarios, you want to avoid communication paralysis, which is what happens. So keeping your list of users really clean is important, and knowing what your primary mechanism is for reaching them during these situations is really critical. So if you're using Slack, that's can be really easy to reach people on a special channel dedicated to, I don't know what you call the channel, but emergency Salesforce things or something like that. But-

Mike :                                                 The channel you don't want to get a notification from.

Lynn Simons:                                           I think that having a mechanism planned in advance for reaching people, because really in these kind of scenarios people just want updates. And even if the update is there is no update, I think that that can be enough.

Mike :                                                 So as we wrap a bow on our first episode of 2023, I'd love to know if you have one best practice or something you do that you think is unique to you that is a security thing that admin should be doing. And I ask that because I continue to go back to the example of how Lynn at a Salesforce office when I very, very, I was just a wee little Salesforce employee, I was only a few months old, showed me how to use Last Pass and it has forever changed my life. And I feel like I have been a Last Pass advocate to all of my friends ever since then. But it's kind of peering over the shoulder of a mechanic. You're like, oh wow, that's how you do that. Or watching a chef cut something, you're like, that's so much cooler than the way that I would love to do. Is there something from your security minds that you do that you feel could be passed on to other admins?

Laura Pelkey:                                          Oh, I love the Last Pass example.

Lynn Simons:                                           Yeah, that was-

Laura Pelkey:                                          I love Last Pass also.

Lynn Simons:                                           I was just going to say eight years later. It was the one I was going to say. So that tells you how powerful of a security tool it is. It's just incredibly critical.

Laura Pelkey:                                          For me, just my friends, my family, I get made fun of constantly for how security minded I am. And I don't feel bad about it. I think it's great to be security minded, just the amount of information that I will share on social media, on the internet in any way. I'm very restrictive of the information that I'll put out there. Even my phone number, when you're online shopping and you have to enter your phone number. I really don't even like to do that. I like to do the 555-555-555, million fives, if I can. But just being really, really, really conscious when somebody's asking you for information. So if you get a call from your bank or if you get an email from your bank or someone pretending to be your bank asking you for any personal information or data, I'm the first person that will be like, no, I'm not going to give you that.
                                                       What's another way for you to either verify my identity or can I reach you if I call this main number on your website, if I call you back? So just being really aware that you don't have to give out any information about yourself 99.9% of the time, that is your social security number, your address, your credit card numbers, things like that. No one's ever going to approach you or call you, email you and ask you for things like that. And then even when you're interacting with people, be really restrictive with the information that you share. It sounds paranoid, but I get way less spam calls than all of my friends. So I will say there is that upside and just overall it's a good security mindset to have.

Mike :                                                 I like that. That's one thing that I think I've definitely picked up from you and the security team and a lot of the stuff that I've read too is if somebody calls you and how come you don't know this? You should know this, so let me just call you back because then I'm not giving that information out. But that's good to know. Because especially the phone number thing, I think we're so innocuous and Lynn, you can probably tell me what that is, but it's like when somebody tries to win over your confidence, because I feel like what Laura described was at our heart in nature, we want to be helpful, we want to help this person on the other line and just get back to our work. But that's actually a certain type of attack and I forget what it's called.

Lynn Simons:                                           Social engineering.

Mike :                                                 Social engineering. Darn it. I'll get that question wrong on our quiz.

Lynn Simons:                                           And I'll tell you one of the more recent ones that I think is particularly interesting and something that parents or just friends of friends or people who have parents, something to be thinking about is how much we use video and photos now in our online personas. And we even work with our own marketing and social teams at Salesforce as they use photography and videos, that whatever is in the background of your photo are all clues for some nefarious personal organization to learn more about you. I always try to remind our employees that attackers have all the time in the world and they will be very patient until they get all of the information they need in order to do that attack.
                                                       So by having your college diploma right behind you and the name of the local sports team near your house or pictures of your kids or your parents, there are a lot of things you can pick up off of that background. So I really try to be very conscious, particularly when I'm speaking on a webinar, to blur that out. Use a different background if you're going to post things online to really look at the contextual clues you're giving about yourself. It could have your address in the background or if you're leaving town on vacation, these are all clues around the, not only your online security, but your physical security of your home as you post that information online.

Mike :                                                 Both good tips. Leave on a positive note as a to-do item for our listeners, what would be an article or a piece of content you would suggest they read on admin.salesforce.com?

Laura Pelkey:                                          Well, we have one of our amazing colleagues, Tammy Ron has written a blog series covering MFA and really how to prepare your end users. Lots of amazing tips. I think it's a three-part series and I know they're all up on admin.salesforce.com, so I would definitely urge people to check those out.

Mike :                                                 Cool. And of course, Trailblazer DX is just around the corner, so.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Yes.

Mike :                                                 I'm sure we can see both of you there.

Laura Pelkey:                                          [inaudible].

Mike :                                                 And they can show up with your security plans and get a fancy security shield.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Where Lynn and I are hesitant to agree because we're like, are we going to get in trouble for advising our customers on cybersecurity?

Mike :                                                 I know we could just wear a button.

Laura Pelkey:                                          No, I love that idea though.

Lynn Simons:                                           Yeah. And I'll admit it, I still love the stickers. Still love the stickers.

Mike :                                                 People like stickers.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Yeah.

Mike :                                                 They're good. They're always good. And plushies, we learned that on a previous podcast. People-

Lynn Simons:                                           I like stickers more than Plushies, but that's me.

Mike :                                                 Stickers have mobility. It's hard to-

Laura Pelkey:                                          And variety.

Mike :                                                 ... A few hundred plushies with you and not look creepy.

Lynn Simons:                                           It's been done, I'm sure.

Mike :                                                 Sure it has.

Laura Pelkey:                                          The day after Dreamforce, all the people on all the airplanes.

Mike :                                                 Planes.

Laura Pelkey:                                          And with all their plushies.

Mike :                                                 [inaudible] Luggage just...

Laura Pelkey:                                          Must be a site.

Mike :                                                 Well, it was great having both of you on and I'll be sure to include the link to the piece of content that you mentioned. So thank you both for hopping on the podcast and kicking off this year, keeping us safe and secure.

Laura Pelkey:                                          Thank you, Mike.

Lynn Simons:                                           Thanks so much, Mike.

Mike :                                                 So it was fun to have Lynn and Laura back on the podcast. What a great way to kick off 2023. Let's be security minded. I go back to all of the tips that they've shared with me and a lot of stuff that we've thought about too. The one takeaway that I really happen to think of as we were recording this podcast was I never really sat down and thought about what I would do if a user showed as logging in two different locations. What are the steps and how do I follow that? And who are the people I need to reach out to in my security? But that's why we do the podcast because then we're thinking about this stuff in advance, right? It's like the weather channel. We're making a plan before the storm comes so that if the storm comes, we're already set and we're prepared and we know who needs to do what.
                                                       So fun discussion. I love having them on the pod. If you have security tips or things that you do best practices, you should share them on Twitter. And of course, if you want to learn more about all the things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including that article that we mentioned in the episode as well as a full transcript. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are at Salesforce Admins, no, I, on Twitter. Jillian is @Jillian K Bruce. And of course I am @Mike Geralt. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome. Happy 2023 and stay tuned for a ton of really great episodes. We'll see you in the cloud.


Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Kat Aquino, the Salesforce Admin for LA28, otherwise known as the organizing committee for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic & Paralympic Games.

 

Join us as we talk about how she’s setting up LA28’s Salesforce infrastructure to power a massive, international event and what she’s learned so far.

 

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

Work together better.

The Olympic (and Paralympic) Games are coming to LA in 2028, and Kat is the Salesforce Admin for the organizing committee, LA28. Obviously, they’re in the planning stages right now, but that’s the perfect time to build a foundation in Salesforce.

 

Kat spends a lot of time talking with users to figure out what tools to build, but she’s also keeping an eye on the bigger picture. “As we onboard all of these different departments which all have different processes,” she says, “we need to think about how we can work together better.” That means a thorough understanding of how things are done and, more importantly, how they could fit together.

Prioritization when you’re starting from the ground up

So Kat has this massive list of things that need to be built in Salesforce, but how does she make decisions about what to prioritize? There’s a triage element of who needs what and when, but she also factors in how much time a task will take to accomplish. If she has the chance to score a quick win she’ll take it in a heartbeat.

 

Rolling out new tools lets Kat show the organization how Salesforce can enable them to collaborate like never before. Dashboards have been a game-changer for Sales, for example, because everyone can see what’s going on and collaborate on new approaches. Automations are mind-blowing if you’ve been stuck with the same repetitive process for years. This helps with adoption and generates momentum for the future.

Athlete Data: custom objects or contact records?

One thing Kat has to solve for that might not be a problem in your Salesforce org is how to deal with data for athletes—it is, after all, the Olympics and Paralympics. “Athletes are quite different from the regular business contacts you’d normally associate with an account,” she says. They need more specific fields (like sport, discipline, or what year they participated), but it’s really important to control who has access to that information with tight security and access.

 

Kat initially built a custom object and related lists solution, which worked great for reports but not for users. She went back to the drawing board and created a new record type for the contact of an athlete. They can still use the related lists and custom objects they previously created and the user experience is much improved. It requires a lot more management of page layouts and deciding who can see what, but it’s well worth it.

 

There’s so much more about how Kat is weening a department off of spreadsheets and what she’s looking forward to in the future, so be sure to listen to the full episode for more. We’ll be sure to check back in with Kat as we get closer to LA28.

 

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce:

Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I am your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we got a fun one for you. We are going to be talking with Kat Aquino, who is working as a Salesforce administrator for the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She is actually building Salesforce to help support this huge event that's happening in just a few short years, and they're starting at ground zero, so I wanted to get Kat on to talk about some of the amazing processes, unique processes, that are special to running an Olympic and Paralympic games using Salesforce, which kind of processes she's bringing in, how she's thinking about the strategy. She's going to be growing the use of Salesforce massively over the next few years, leading right up to the LA28 games, and so I think it's really fascinating to hear from her.

And we are going to check back in with her in a few years to follow along her story, but I wanted to get her on to talk about some of these unique use cases and really explore some of the ways that maybe will help you expand your ideas of how you can use Salesforce to help support your business, as well.

All right, without further ado, let's please welcome Kat to the podcast.

Kat, welcome to the podcast.

 

Kat Aquino:

Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Oh, well, I am very happy to have you here. It's so fun. Now, I have had the opportunity to chat with you a little bit, but we got to share all of your goodness with everybody else who's out there listening, because Kat, you are doing something pretty special. Can you just give us a little overview of what your role is at the organization that you're at?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, so I work at LA28, and we are the organizing committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are coming to Los Angeles in 2028. And my role is the Salesforce admin, essentially, of our organization.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Okay, so kind of a big deal.

 

Kat Aquino:

No pressure or anything.

 

Gillian Bruce:

I know. The Olympics are kind of a big deal, and they're coming back to LA. I think they've got, they haven't been in LA since forever, I feel like, maybe even in my lifetime. Maybe they're in LA in the eighties or something. Do you know when the last time they were there?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, I believe it was '84.

 

Gillian Bruce:

  1. There you go. I was two years old. So yeah, pretty much the first time in my lifetime, the Olympics are coming to my home state, not my home city, but very exciting. And I mean, it's a very unique way that the LA '28 is kind of set up. I mean, as a Salesforce admin, you've got a lot going on in the next few years. Can you tell me a little bit of the overview of how the organization is growing or plans to grow to prepare for this huge undertaking?

 

Kat Aquino:

Oh, yeah. So at our organization right now, we are kind of just setting up foundations for how we can plan the games. And we are currently planning the games. We have multiple departments that support that mission. And with being in the technology department, we're tied in with working with other departments to help them succeed and give them the tools that they need to be able to do their jobs. And so right now, as the admin, I've been going through talking with different departments and understanding what their needs are and how we can better collaborate with each other. And I think I'm in a really unique position to be able to help do that through the use of Salesforce. And the different departments, they really do need to work together. Right now, there's a lot of silos. And when they collaborate, they're not really leveraging technology in the best way that they can to be able to do that.

 

Gillian Bruce:

I mean, you're at the center of a really, really big effort. So, I mean, you talked about different departments and different silos and talking to all of your stakeholders. What are some of the questions that you go in with? Because a lot of admins, maybe they're not working to support the Olympic games, but they might be coming into an organization where, again, there's a lot of different stakeholders, a lot of different departments. How do you go about engaging with them and understanding their needs and identifying how Salesforce might be able to play a role in their business processes?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, that's a really good question. I would say that one of the most important questions to ask is processes. What are they currently doing? And really understanding, not just from a broad perspective of how that ties in with the organization as a whole, but really getting down into the nitty gritty details of understanding what exactly it is that they are doing on a day to day basis, because that's where we can really take a look and examine that process and understand how we can take it apart and tinker it together and put that process into Salesforce.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Okay. So, let's talk about that, because, I mean, the LA28 organization does a lot of different things. What are some of the first things that you've been able to set up in Salesforce to help manage their processes a little bit better?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, so earlier I mentioned that I had interviewed a number of departments to really understand what they needed and what they were trying to do. I came up with a huge list. And in order to understand and prioritize what needed to be done, put together the urgency, a list of departments requests that needed a solution quicker. And then I also divided that up into figuring out which of those solutions don't require that big of a lift, so which of those solutions could be set up a little bit more easily than others. So, after doing that, the first department that we set up was our commercial sales department. And that was of simple solutions, seeing that the bread and butter of Salesforce was to help the sales teams do their jobs. And so we set up opportunities, we set up accounts, we set up contacts and allowed them to be able to track their conversations using the activity timeline. And we added the Outlook integration so that they can add their emails into the opportunities. And being able to see all of that in one space for them has really changed the game.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Yeah, I would love to hear... What was the reaction once you were able to set that up? Were the sales people happy with you and super excited to now have this all into one place, or how did that go?

 

Kat Aquino:

I would say, yeah, there was excitement, absolutely. And they loved seeing it because I would show examples of how they can do the work that they've previously done in this new platform. And I would say that there were some challenges that came along with it as well. It was adoption, just making sure that some of the users knew how to use the system, because a lot of them never used Salesforce before. So, that was a challenge that we took on and helped them to increase their confidence and knowledge about how they can leverage this platform to sell, essentially. And I would say the other side of that is... Their leadership was super excited about the dashboard that we were able to set up for them and the reports that were available on that dashboard. It really gave them that one stop shop to be able to see what the progress was looking like on a daily basis, weekly, monthly, how are we tracking towards our goals, things like that. It helps them to just really level set with each other because they were all looking at the same data.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Well, yeah. And then it's automated. Once you put it in Salesforce, right? It just pops up right there, and nobody has to compile different spreadsheets and talk to different sales groups and understand who's done what.

 

Kat Aquino:

Exactly. And it allowed them to work together better. Previously, their leadership and the people who were actually having the conversations and keeping tabs on what was going on, they were very much separate. But now that they have them all available on these dashboards, they're working together much more closely.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Well, that's good. Congratulations. Okay, so you set up sales and Salesforce, but I know you had a few other things on your list. So, what other things have you been able to set up in? And let's also be clear, how long have you been in this role?

 

Kat Aquino:

It has been a little over a year now.

 

Gillian Bruce:

So, forever, such a long time. So in just a little over a year, so you set up a sales process. What other things have you been able to build out in Salesforce?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah. Well, specific to the Olympics, we, of course, have to work with athletes. And one of the other projects we are working on was how do we actually set up athletes in our system, because athletes are quite different from the regular business contacts that you'd normally associate with an account. And so thinking about that was a little bit challenging. We initially landed on looking at creating a custom object to hold athlete information. And the reason for that is so that we could create as many fields as we needed to that were really specific to athletes and attributes about an athlete. And being able to control the security and access to that information was also important.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Oh, no, I bet. I mean, it's such a unique set of data to track because you've got all these different things that the athletes do with you and the community and whatnot. So, I could imagine that that took quite a high level of customization.

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, there was a lot of customization. And we thought about, okay, we needed to create additional related lists/custom objects to be able to associate them with games that they had participated in and the sport that they participate in, and the discipline that they participate in. So, a lot of that was designed so that we could be able to easily report off of that information to be able to create reports and search for athletes in a more aggregated way. But we realized that the setup of that athlete record, separate from a contact and separate from an account, was not providing the greatest user experience for our athlete department. And so we've had to come back to the drawing board and kind of rework what that should look like and how we should store athlete information in the system.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Interesting. I love that you rolled out something, and then we're like, "Hmm, it's not quite right. We need to come back to the drawing board." Can you talk a little bit more about that process? Because I know, even the limited admin work that I have done, it's not always great the first time around, and so sometimes you have to come back and revisit it.

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Tell me a little bit about that process and how you approach it, because it can be a little humbling, it can be a little difficult. What have you learned that might be able to help some other admins in the similar position?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, totally. I would say that this process was... It was tough. We're early in our stage of using Salesforce. So in that sense, I'm kind of lucky that we're going to establish a better foundation, but it was difficult to look at it and say, "Oh, we didn't do that the best way that we could have." And having to go back to the drawing board and re-architecting the data that currently existed was important to determine what connections can we make that don't disrupt the requirements that we initially had heard of from that department. So, pulled up a lucid chart, looked at how everything was connected there, and decided, okay, maybe we could keep all of these requirements just by using a new record type on contact records. So, we decided to try that out and create a different kind of record type for the contact of an athlete to be able to hold all of their athletes specific details and still be able to use the previous related lists, custom objects that we had created that were initially tied to the athlete and tie them into the contact object.

So, that serves the purpose of eliminating the matrioshka and clicks that the athlete department would have to go through to get to the athlete's information. It was really just opening up their account, and then opening up that contact record, rather than going to account, contact, then athlete.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Yeah.

 

Kat Aquino:

Does that make sense?

 

Gillian Bruce:

Totally. Yeah. Well, and I think it kind of goes to this classic debate of custom object versus using a record type, right? I know that's something that-

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah.

 

Gillian Bruce:

It's kind of hard to figure out sometimes what the right answer is there, so I really appreciate you breaking down kind of decision points that you used to evaluate, okay, we went in with the custom object, but we learned that there were some things that weren't ideal for the end user. So, then you use the record type. I think that's always a good thing for our admins especially to remember, because record types could be really, really useful, especially if there's enough similarities there to where you can add some more customizations and plug into the existing relationships and schema that are already built in Salesforce.

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, exactly. And I think early on, I was scared of record types just due to some stories that I had heard, and also the amount of care that it required, considering you're having to adjust page layouts now and making certain things visible depending on a profile, things like that. It was just a lot more management. But with the user experience, that greatly improves. And I think that in itself makes it worth it.

 

Gillian Bruce:

I love that. That's great. Okay, so you built a sales process, you built a process to manage athlete, athlete data. What else are you working on? I mean, I know you've been busy so far, so I would imagine-

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah.

 

Gillian Bruce:

... there's not that much time for you to do a whole bunch else, but what else are you working on in terms of bringing different processes into Salesforce for LA28?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, so we are also bringing on more and more departments. Right now, we have about four departments that are presently using the platform, and we're coming up on bringing on two more. And one of these new departments, this is our communications department, it is probably our biggest build yet. We've had to create a number of new custom objects to be able to support the processes and workflows that they have. And it's been really interesting to see how we can take their work and translate it into Salesforce processes. So, example is that the communications team handles all of the internal requests to participate in certain events within the local organization. Maybe there's an award ceremony or maybe there's an interview that a media outlet would like to have. All of that is managed through our communications department. And they do have a lot of spreadsheets, presently,

 

Gillian Bruce:

Boo.

 

Kat Aquino:

... how they have run their systems. And all of these spreadsheets are kind of... They have multiple tabs within them. And so it's been very interesting to see how they've worked through switching through different spreadsheets, different tabs within a spreadsheet to be able to do their work. We had to take a lot of time understanding what they were doing so that we could translate it into Salesforce. And at the end of the day, what we've been able to do is organize their sheets, so that in Salesforce, you're looking at one object. And that one object, we've created additional record types so they can adjust the kind of media engagement, per se, that they are looking at. So, different fields might show up, different values might show up, depending on a status or a stage for that particular engagement. And that is a much more organized way of viewing things than their three different Excel sheets where only a couple of tabs really related to that whole piece.

So, having that tied back to accounts, so accounts being their media outlets, and then the contacts in which there are journalists and reporters, having all of that tie back together and being able to see that bigger picture of, okay, these are the engagements that we've got going on under this particular category, these are the people that are involved in it, this is the reporter, this is our LA28 representative that's going to be in it, this is the comms team person who's going to be staffing this and supporting this project. These are the topics that are involved, we've been able to create a number of custom objects to be able to support all of their needs.

 

Gillian Bruce:

That's awesome. I mean, I can very easily envision that nasty spreadsheet with all the tabs, because I feel like we've all encountered those.

 

Kat Aquino:

It was rough, and I think they would agree.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Well, that's awesome. I mean, that's a very complex and unique process to bring into Salesforce, so I think that's really interesting that you were able to do that. I mean, I would imagine there's probably some other processes that you may be working on in the future. What else are you working on? What is in the vision for the next steps of Salesforce with LA28?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah. And right now, I think we're heavily focused on foundations and making sure that we are doing what we need to do without too much fuss and too much frill. But as we onboard all of these different departments, which all have different processes, and some processes really overlap with other departments, we start to think about how we can work together better. Maybe, is there a way that we could optimize certain processes? Can we use flows to automate certain things? And can we adjust a field so that it serves a greater purpose? Can we serve a greater purpose by adjusting a custom object? And all of that, I think, is something that has been coming out of what I'm calling as... We have a steering committee and the steering committee that we have meets on a monthly basis, and it has representatives from each department so that it provides a space for our users to have a voice and really be involved in the planning and what features that we're going to be prioritizing, what features are needed, and really help shape what our Salesforce instance is going to look like.

So, I'm really excited to continue meeting with our steering committee to be able to shape how we can create a better collaborative environment.

 

Gillian Bruce:

What I love about that, Kat, is that, I mean, knowing that basically you've got a very collaborative building environment kind of across the whole organization, because I think, I mean, you're all gearing up for this huge event in a few years, and it's a massive undertaking, and it's really unique to hear your perspective as the admin who's building all of the Salesforce infrastructure to help run this whole organization. I mean, it's really, really fascinating, and especially at this stage where everything is kind of... You are, you're laying the groundwork, you're setting up the infrastructure that is going to run this massive, massive event. It's really fascinating to hear how you think about what to set up and the steerco with all of the different departments, making sure stakeholders are involved from the get-go. This makes me really excited.

 

Kat Aquino:

It makes me excited too.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Yeah. And I think it's a really great example too, for maybe even admins who are maybe at some more established Salesforce instances and companies and organizations. But the idea of having that fresh look and really looking at how people are getting their work done and doing those evaluations that you've done, and not being afraid to come back to the drawing table and reevaluate stuff, I think those are some really, really great learnings that you've been able to share with us, and I so appreciate that.

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, of course.

 

Gillian Bruce:

I mean, what has it been... I mean, I can imagine being an admin for the LA28 games is probably... It might seem a little daunting at times, but where do you see a couple years from now, or even maybe as you head into the last year or two before the games, what's your vision for maybe what you have built out by then or what it's going to be like to be the Salesforce admin or running the Salesforce instance for such a huge undertaking?

 

Kat Aquino:

Yeah, that's such an interesting point that you brought up about what the vision should look like, because I think earlier when I was interviewing all these different departments and understanding their functions and what they do, that started to help formulate the vision of what Salesforce could be for our organization. And I think what it really could be is this glue that brings together these different departments to be able to provide transparency across all of the different work streams that we have. Because as an organization that's developing and planning the Olympics, there's a lot of entities and organizations that we need to communicate with, and ensuring that everyone uses the platform so that they can understand, this is what I talked about with this department in this company. Another department at LA28 might see that and say, "Okay, I know that that happened. Let me readjust the way that I'm going to speak to that company about this topic." And I think the real vision for Salesforce is just being able to bring all of those departments together to better collaborate with each other.

 

Gillian Bruce:

I love that. That makes me... I'm really looking forward to, hopefully, Kat, if you'll let me, continue to talk to you over the next few years because I'm so fascinated to hear what else you build and all your different learnings and experiences. This is kind of like a startup in some senses, right? You're starting from ground zero.

 

Kat Aquino:

Absolutely. We absolutely are. And I think one of the key that we're excited about is Salesforce is going to help us create a more holistic understanding of the different stakeholders and accounts and companies and organizations that we work with. We'll be able to open up an account and see all the different facets that involve that account, like whether or not that account has a stake in venues. Are they a manager of a venue? Do they operate a venue? Are they a concession provider for that venue? Have they been engaged with our communications team before? What have they been involved in? What are they involved in as far as our sales department? Have they been in touch with them at all in any capacity? So, it's really going to allow all of us to be able to look at what we're working with and share that information across our organization.

 

Gillian Bruce:

You are building the customer 360 for LA28. Good job, Kat.

 

Kat Aquino:

It totally is.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Well, Kat, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me and share some of the things that you've already built and what you're going to look at building next. And I do also really appreciate that grander vision. because I think every Salesforce admin, no matter what organization you're in, you should have a vision of what you want Salesforce to do in the long run. And I think your very clear vision about it being the glue. I literally just wrote that down because I'm like, that is great. It's very clear and concise, and so it's helpful to have that as a direction that you're going, that vision. So, any little tips or advice do you want to leave the listeners before we wrap up today?

 

Kat Aquino:

I would say keep things open-minded. Stay open-minded about what is possible and what's available. I know that at a certain point, when you've encountered numerous problems and understand, "Oh, I've encountered that before, this is how we do it," there might be alternative solutions that maybe work better nowadays relative to the previous ways that you've been implementing a solution. So, staying open-minded.

 

Gillian Bruce:

That's a great note to end on. Thank you so much, Kat, for spending time with us today. I look forward to seeing what else you're going to build. And get ready. Now, all Salesforce admins are going to hit you up for advice and interesting stories about working for LA28.

 

Kat Aquino:

Happy to hear, and happy to learn from them as well.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Excellent. Thank you so much.

 

Kat Aquino:

Thank you so much.

 

Gillian Bruce:

Well, thank you. Thank you, Kat, so much for taking the time to join us on the podcast. I hope that all of you listeners got some great insight from Kat about how you can build the infrastructure and the foundation for a very successful Salesforce implementation to run a huge, huge amounts of project or program. And hey, especially if you're an admin at a small business or a startup, there are some great learnings here and here from Kat to help you set up for success. I love how Kat said she's got a vision for Salesforce. It is clear. It is going to be the glue that brings all of these very separate departments all together. And having that vision for what you want Salesforce to be in the overall, it's just so important. At Salesforce, we talk about our V2mom all the time, which is how we set our vision and values and metrics and methods for the year.

Kat does the same thing. So, really having a clear vision for how you want Salesforce to function within your organization is so, so helpful. If you want to learn more about being an awesome admin, you can find all kinds of great content on admin.salesforce.com, blogs, videos, podcasts, all kinds of great things, even the Salesforce admin skill kit. Check it out if you haven't already. You can follow all of the awesome admin fun on Twitter using hashtag #AwesomeAdmin or @SalesforceAdmns, no I. You can find our guest today, Kat Aquino on LinkedIn. I'll put her LinkedIn link in the show notes. Please give her some love. Follow her. She's going to be building some very cool things in the next few years. And you can find my co-host, Mike Gerholdt, @mikegerholdt on Twitter, and you can find myself @gilliankbruce on Twitter. You can also find us on LinkedIn. We exist there too. We're on all the platforms. With that, I hope you had a great day or having a great day, will have a great day, and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.





Direct download: Supporting_the_LA28_Games_with_Salesforce_with_Kat_Aquino.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for December. Join us as we review the top product, community, and careers content for December, and hear about Gillian’s visit to French Touch Dreamin.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Go to an event!

Gillian just got back from delivering the keynote address at French Touch Dreamin. If you’ve never been to a Dreamin event, there’s probably one near you or even remote options available. They’re organized by the community and have a very different feel from the official Salesforce events like World Tour, though you should also give those a try.

Blog highlights from December

The weather outside is frightful, the fire’s so delightful, and you know what that means: it’s time to get ready for the Spring ‘23 Release. Ella Marks put together a great blog post laying out the major milestones you need to have on your calendar to get ready.

Video highlights from December

If you haven’t checked out the official Salesforce Admins YouTube channel, you’re missing out. Jennifer Lee is rocking some great live streams—Automate This! is must-see TV. You get to watch Jennifer and some amazing Trailblazers solve problems, live, right in front of your eyes, and if you miss anything you can always go back and watch the replay.

Podcast highlights from December

We really think you should take a listen to Brenda Glasser’s episode if you missed it the first time. She’s currently a Salesforce Architect, but the story of her career goes hand-in-hand with how she was able to champion the Salesforce platform at her organization, and she has a lot to say about how to do that effectively.

Just for fun

Mike and Gillian check in on their feelings about candy canes and ask the hard questions, like why are there fruit-flavored candy canes and who actually enjoys them?

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Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast in the December Monthly Retro. Oh, the last one for 2022. I'm your host and in this episode, we will review the top product community careers for December plus anything else we can think of that's top of mind. I don't know. You never know what's going to come to our minds, but also joining me is Gillian Bruce. Hey, Gillian.

Gillian: Hi, Mike Gerholdt. How you doing?

Mike: Good so far.

Gillian: Happy December.

Mike: I know. Can you believe it's already? It happened just like boop. Oh, 2022 is over.

Gillian: Yeah. It felt like this year went a lot quicker than the two years prior.

Mike: Right. Yes. Well, maybe we're catching back up.

Gillian: It's a good thing.

Mike: You fast forward the VHS tape. Because everything is digital now, you don't fast forward. We did some things. You did a thing. You went over to France and did French Touch Dreamin.

Gillian: I did.

Mike: Let's kick off there because that was fun.

Gillian: I got on an airplane. I got to go to Paris. I got to hang out with our amazing EMEA Trailblazer community. Let me tell you, this event, so French Touch Dreamin, it's got to be the biggest, or if not, along with maybe London's Calling, one of the biggest community events outside of the US. Jean Michelle has been running this for a while. It is such a cool event. They had an overwhelming response this year, so they had a lot more people attend than they had planned. But it was wonderful. It was just really a great opportunity again to see folks I have not seen in many years, to meet a bunch of new trailblazers in the EMEA community. It was also pretty sweet because the Salesforce office, for those of you don't know, is literally right next to the Eiffel Tower.
   It was just a wonderful time to be away from the family for a little bit, but also to really get connected with the French Touch Dreamin community. I was honored to be able to keynote the event, so I got to close out the event with a keynote all about how to really find ways to amplify the impact of the work that you do and focusing on values and all that. It was really fun. I had a lot of tremendous metaphors, analogies in there. It was great. There was so many amazing sessions I got to sit in on and it's really fun. I love Dreamin events. I've talked about it before. I know you've talked about it before, Mike, but the chance to really participate versus being a host at an official Salesforce event where we're running around like crazy people trying to manage all the things.
   To just sit and take in the content and really connect with people and have really deep conversations, get feedback, get ideas. It was an invaluable, so huge shout out to the whole team that put together French Touch Dreamin. If you, listener, are at all interested in attending French Touch Dreamin in the future, I highly encourage you to do so. They will be hosting it again next year. I think it's always in early December, so good time to maybe go to Paris and do a little holiday shopping. That's a fun place to do that. You can get in some big trouble. Not that I did at all.

Mike: Well, it is the holidays. Or I would add, Gillian, really any community event, because there's a lot of community events across the US. You don't have to fly all the way to France.

Gillian: Yeah, there's community events everywhere. There was a community event in Morocco, North Africa Dreamin just a month ago. No matter where you are, really, hey, if you have not attended a Dreamin event, I guarantee you there's one within a reasonable distance of where you live, so check it out. There's also a lot of virtual ones, too, which is pretty fun. Definitely a lot more of a program than a typical user group meeting. It's very different from going to a Salesforce sponsored event because these are all put on by the community. Salesforce has nothing to do with the programming and sometimes they invite people who work at Salesforce like myself to participate, which is really cool.

Mike: Speaking of Salesforce sponsored.

Gillian: Good segue.

Mike: We also did World Tour New York early part of December, it was December 8th. I want to say. For some reason that sticks in my head.

Gillian: I think you're right. Yeah.

Mike: That looked like a packed event. We had Lisa there and Jennifer and Ella from our team. That was a really cool event and a ton of community people. Holy cow.

Gillian: The Twitter thread was unending of all of the selfies and the photos. Michelle Hansen, our golden hoodie winner from our keynote at Dreamforce was there giving a session. Michael [inaudible] won the golden hoodie in the main keynote. It was very, very cool. Just from what I heard, what Lisa and Ella and Jen said is it was packed. There was so many people.

Mike: It looked packed. Did you see that? The pictures, it looked packed. It reminded me of London World Tour that one year that was just like...

Gillian: That's right. It was like 10,000 people.

Mike: Let me just wiggle through people.

Gillian: Yeah. Javits Center was going off with a lot of Salesforce content and some fun. If you missed it, you could actually, I think watch the broadcast that happened during the event. Check that out. I know they definitely got a version of Mark's keynote on there, which is interesting to always check out and see what's top of mind for him. Definitely had even a new framework that he's playing with about playing on the seven habits of highly effective people, the seven habits of highly effective companies. Check it out. An interesting approach.

Mike: Yeah. Wonder if we've done that. Anyway, let's talk about the cool content we had for December, at least the three things we think you should pay attention to. I'll kick off. Wouldn't be December if it wasn't talking about spring, because the second, a little flurry flies, we immediately start thinking about the next season. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the spring '23 release dates countdown blog that we put up, because you probably already have those dates on your calendar as an admin. If not, you will.

Gillian: Yeah. Get them, because guess what? It's right around the corner. It's a season of giving gifts and we're giving you the gift of another release coming very soon.

Mike: Yeah, it feels like. Okay, you do the holiday stuff. Yay. New Year's. Okay, now it's the release time.

Gillian: Yeah, it's release time this year. Trailblazer DX time, too.

Mike: Oh yeah, we have that coming up. We'll save that for our next Retro.

Gillian: Okay. I thought it'd be more of a January topic anyway.

Mike: Right. One thing at a time.

Gillian: I know, I know. I think [inaudible], what are we working on all the time every day right now? Oh, right. That's not actually for everyone else for a few months.

Mike: Right. Yeah. It's 90 days out. That's a long time in the real world.

Gillian: Yeah. In the real world. Well, in Salesforce timeline, that's was yesterday.

Mike: Right. Gillian, you did a great podcast with Brenda on propelling your career.

Gillian: Yeah. Brenda Glasser, she's actually an architect, but she came in as an awesome admin and has really worked in her career to build her skillset and grow into now, she manages a team of Salesforce professionals. She's working at a really cool innovative startup company, but she has been around on the ecosystem almost as long as I have. I think we've both been in around like 12, 13 years, which sounds crazy to say that, but she has really found that the way that she's been able to propel her career is by being an internal advocate for Salesforce. By being the person who keeps pushing the idea that, hey, could do this with Salesforce, we can build this out with Salesforce has really enabled her to grow her career and help her make the moves that she's been able to make to now be a really seasoned professional leading a team.
   I thought it was interesting to get her on the podcast and she talks through what it means to be an advocate for Salesforce within your organization, how to do it, how to speak to executives, how to build that momentum. Good, good. It was a fun podcast. Brenda is great.

Mike: I enjoyed it. And then of course, we always point out video and I'm wanting to point out something a little different in not a specific video, but kind of a specific video, in that we do what I think is super cool, the royal we, Jennifer does live streams on our YouTube channel. I'll include the link in the show notes, but Automate This, it's just this really cool live thing that she does that I feel is, man, it's up there in terms of fun stuff to watch that you can just chime into and if you miss it, you can go back and watch it, but you also know when the next one is coming. I don't know, I find stuff like that really neat.

Gillian: Well, it's really innovative. Really, nobody else is doing what Jennifer is doing. It's highlighting trailblazers who are doing really interesting things and really going through it live. You are a part of it. This is not pre-recorded. It's a really fun way to really get involved, to feel connected, to learn. If you missed anything, you can then go back and watch the replay. But she does these quite often, so if you've never tuned into one, please go investigate.

Mike: Seriously. I feel like I'm constantly looking over at my Twitter feed and being like, oh, Jennifer is live on YouTube again.

Gillian: Yeah. And then everyone is like, oh my gosh, did you see this? Did you see this? I didn't know you could do this. Yeah. Very fun. Check it out.

Mike: Cool. Well, last Retro of 2022. I'll pull from an internal question that we asked the team. Gillian, do you have a preference on candy canes? Do you like the peppermint or do you like the fruit?

Gillian: Fruit candy canes are what? Why?

Mike: I know, right?

Gillian: I like the pretty colors, the rainbow colors are...

Mike: I think they're sweet.

Gillian: I see what you did there.

Mike: I try.

Gillian: I like a good peppermint candy cane in my hot cocoa. Mm-hmm. Just a little minty.

Mike: Oh, yeah. This is that time of year when everything becomes candy cane flavored.

Gillian: I will say my three-year-old son Jack just had his first candy cane the other day and it blew his mind. He also didn't understand the thing that you're just supposed to leave it in your mouth. He kept taking it out and touching it and getting all sticky and getting everything else all sticky. At some point, I just made it disappear. Candy canes. Mike, what about you? Fruit candy cane?

Mike: No, I'm team peppermint. There's one reason it should be striped like that. I also would buy candy canes if they were peppermint flavored, but had the beauty of the fruit candy cane. If I want a piece of fruit, I'm going to get a Jolly Rancher or something. That to me doesn't say holidays. This is the one time a year you can walk around with a candy cane in your mouth and not look like a weirdo.

Gillian: I guess that's a good point.

Mike: Why waste it on a fruit candy cane?

Gillian: You know what else I really like to do with candy canes? I like to make peppermint bark.

Mike: Oh, I just like the regular bark, the almond bark. Do you like chocolate bark or almond bark? I like almond.

Gillian: I don't really discriminate, but a good peppermint bark is really hard to beat. The William Sonoma Peppermint bark, that's the bar to meet. But making your own peppermint bark, I like milk chocolate with the candy canes.

Mike: Oh. I think I pepperminted myself out too much one year. They had a peppermint coffee and I drank too much of it and now I'm just a little, it's like pumpkin spice.

Gillian: Well, I wonder if we're going to start another feud here because we're both big peppermint proponents, but what are the other holiday flavors? There's eggnog, hot cocoa.

Mike: In a candy cane? Here's an eggnog candy cane. Oh, that sounds horrible.

Gillian: Eggnog is just not my thing anyway.

Mike: No, no.

Gillian: Well, mulled wine is a thing that people get into at the holidays, which is quite delicious and so boozy. It's so dangerous.

Mike: I thought we were talking about candy canes.

Gillian: Yeah, sorry. I just took it another direction. I apologize. I don't know of candy cane things.

Mike: Would you like a mulled wine candy cane, an eggnog candy cane, or a no thank you, we're good candy cane?

Gillian: Yeah. Other than the fruit version. I don't know of any other non-peppermint candy cane.

Mike: Right, because it's a waste of time.

Gillian: Yeah. Well, now everyone is going to want to eat a candy cane.

Mike: I know. Well, 'tis the season. All right, well, if you want to learn more about all things admin and anything that we just talked about in this episode, minus fruit flavored candy canes, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and resources. You can stay up to date with us for all things social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. I'm of course @MikeGerholdt on Twitter and Gillian is @gilliankbruce. With that, stay safe, stay awesome, have a great holiday season, and we will see you in the cloud.

Direct download: December_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Rohit Mehta, Senior Product Manager for Sandboxes and Scratch Orgs at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about how to think about sandboxes and scratch orgs and some tips for how to use them better.

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

Diving into sandboxes

We’ve talked a lot about why sandboxes are so important for admins over the years, but we’ve never really gotten into the nitty-gritty of it. That’s why for this episode, we thought we’d bring on the sandbox PM, Rohit, to talk through everything.

Rohit has been at Salesforce for a long time, first as a computer engineer and then later on the product side of things. In fact, he says, “a lot of the product that I manage nowadays I actually built, years ago.” Since he took over the team, there have been a lot of improvements to what sandboxes have to offer, including upgrades to speed and reliability, data masking, and partial sandboxes, and the future is looking even more exciting.

Hyperforce and the need for speed

One big thing coming up is sandboxes for Hyperforce. If you’re not familiar, Hyperforce is a Salesforce deployment on public cloud infrastructure (like AWS). “One of the most common complaints that we get from customers is that their sandbox takes too long to create,” Rohit says, “but now with Hyperforce, we can produce sandboxes much much faster due to a newly-rearchitected design.”

They’re starting with Quick Clone for Dev and Dev Pro sandboxes coming up in Winter ‘23, with an eye towards a GA release in Spring ‘23 (forward-looking statement!). The Create operation will be coming along shortly after, so lots to look forward to. “People don’t often think about speed as a feature,” Rohit says, “but we make speed improvements on every release.” And the goal with Hyperforce is to be able to create sandboxes an order of magnitude faster than before. That’s 10x, for those of you playing along from home.

Check out scratch orgs

Rohit is also the product manager for scratch orgs, so we figured he’s perhaps the best person in the world to ask this question: what’s the difference between sandboxes and scratch orgs? scratch org is a source-driven and disposable deployment of Salesforce code and metadata. A scratch org is fully configurable, allowing developers to emulate different Salesforce editions with different features and preferences, and they only last 30 days. Sandboxes are copies of your Salesforce org that you can use for development, testing, and training, without compromising the data and applications in your production org.

Source-based development can really improve the speed that you’re able to deliver complex projects, so Rohit encourages every admin to give scratch orgs a closer look. While creating one through the CLI may seem complicated, there are a lot resources out there to help you make it happen, and new declarative options are on the way.

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Direct download: Sandboxes_and_Scratch_Orgs_with_Rohit_Mehta.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Eddie Cliff, Senior Director of Product Management for Salesforce Easy.

 

Join us as we talk about what Salesforce Easy is and what it means for Admins.

 

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

What is Salesforce Easy?

Eddie has had a varied career that has taken him all over the world. He’s lived and worked everywhere form NYC to Singapore to Sydney. Nowadays, he’s based in New Orleans, which means he can say he’s from the Big Easy and works on Salesforce Easy. Eddie leads the team of product managers working on it and that’s exactly why we brought him on the pod.

 

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Salesforce Easy aims to help companies of all sizes get started on Salesforce faster and, yes, easier than ever before. As Eddie says, they’ve adopted a mantra of “Easy by default, and advanced by choice.” In practice, it means you can get set up on the critical aspects of a deployment first, and then expand your functionality as you go. You can think of it as a new front door for Salesforce.

An Innovation Center for everyone

On the top floor of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, there’s something called the SIC: the Salesforce Innovation Center. Here, we bring together Salesforce customers with leaders from the Salesforce team to share best practices, case studies, and more, with a focus on digital transformation.

 

“The unfortunate thing about the SIC is there’s only one top floor of the Salesforce Tower,” Eddie says, “so they don’t scale very well.” Salesforce Easy aims to bring all of those learnings and best practices to everyone, with an onboarding process that helps every company implement them right away, without the commute to San Francisco.

 

Salesforce Easy asks you questions as you’re setting up in order to recommend out-of-the-box sales processes that are tried and true, and start closing more deals — fast. This includes declarative defaults across Sales and Service processes, reports and dashboards that work from jump, consistent record page layouts with best-practice information architecture, a simplified import experience, and so much more. 

Elevating the admin

So what does this all mean for admins? The benefit of a streamlined setup that implements so many best practices is that the more technical, repetitive, and support tasks are already taken care of for you. That frees up admins to be more strategic and focus on integrating Salesforce with their organization to improve business processes and support business objectives.

 

Most importantly, Salesforce Easy expands on existing platform capabilities and solutions that admins can leverage to help their users. You can take advantage of features like in-app guidance and in-app learning that make it, well, easy to onboard users who are new to Salesforce or changing roles.

 

Eddie also shares some exciting ideas they’re working on rolling out soon, including smart guidance and spotlighting to help users do their jobs better every time they log in. Go ahead and sign up now—it’s free and takes three clicks—and Eddie would love to hear your feedback.

 

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Direct download: Salesforce_Easy_with_Eddie_Cliff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Brenda Glasser, Salesforce Architect at Ripple and co-leader of the Atlanta Salesforce Architect Community Group.

Join us as we talk about how evangelizing Salesforce and being an advocate for expanding the use of Salesforce within your company can help propel your career.

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

Why Salesforce can do more

Brenda has built out Salesforce implementations at several different organizations over her long career in the ecosystem so we brought her on the pod to share some lessons she’s learned along the way. “Salesforce, as a platform, can do so much within an organization,” she says, but it can be hard to think big when you’re only using one or two clouds and you’re a solo admin.

If your data is in a bunch of different places, or if you are seeing people lose time to tedious manual processes in email or spreadsheets, it can be really powerful to step forward and point out how Salesforce can make things work more smoothly. But how do you take the first steps?

Show your work

Advocating for big changes takes time: you need to build trust and credibility. Brenda recommends trying to find some low-hanging fruit where you can make a big impact quickly. It’s also important to realize that the people in your organization who are struggling the most with Salesforce can be your biggest opportunities. “If they don’t like it, find out why,” she says. After all, it’s your job to help them do their job better, and if you do that you can turn your worst critics into your biggest fans.

The other thing that works really well with stakeholders is building a proof of concept. Gathering some quick requirements and making something can show them that what you’re suggesting is really possible. As the saying goes: you have to see it to believe it. Your Salesforce account team and the Trailblazer community can help you figure things out—you don’t have to go it alone.

How your career can grow with your org

For Brenda, being an effective champion for Salesforce starts with listening. Always be on the lookout for problems you can solve. Being eager to jump in and start building can put a lot of work on your plate, but it also makes you visible to leadership as somebody they can count on.

“If you work for a company that is supportive and committed,” Brenda says, “then that will mean you’ll get additional resources.” You can soon find yourself leading a team, or learning more about the platform and moving into a different role as your org grows. But it’s all about stepping forward and saying, “Hey, Salesforce can do this and I can show you how.”

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Full show transcript

Gillian  Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we are going to talk about how you can be a Salesforce evangelist within your own organization. Today we are going to be speaking with Brenda Glasser, who is a community leader. She has been in the Salesforce ecosystem for, I mean, longer than I've been in, maybe around the same time, about 12, 13 years. So a while.
                                                       She's got some amazing experience. She has built out Salesforce implementations at many different organizations. She's at a pretty cool organization right now, but I wanted to get her on the podcast to talk about how evangelizing Salesforce and being an advocate for expanding the use of Salesforce within your own company can help propel your own career. And it's a good topic too, as we round out the year, go into the new year, helping you set a vision for what Salesforce could be in your organization. We had a little bit of an issue with Brenda's audio, so apologies in advance. We did the best we could to make it sound a little bit better, but I promise you the conversation is worth it. So stick with it and enjoy the episode.
                                                       Brenda, welcome to the podcast.

Brenda Glasser:                                        Thank you so much. I'm excited to be here.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        Well, I am very glad to have you on. We've got a really fun discussion in store. But before we get into that, why don't you take a moment and just kind of introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do, how long you've been in the ecosystem?

Brenda Glasser:                                        Sure. So I'm Brenda Glasser. I live in the Atlanta area. I am currently a Salesforce Architect for a company called Ripple, which is in the cryptocurrency space, which has been an interesting journey for me. Yeah, I've been in the ecosystem, I think about 13 or 14 years. I don't actually know, but I've been around for a while. I got started sort of pre-Trailhead and all that good stuff. And I also help co-lead the brand new Salesforce architect Trailblazer Community Group here in Atlanta.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        That's awesome. So just a few years in Salesforce, still learning the ropes, right?

Brenda Glasser:                                        I am though. That's the thing, is you never stop learning. So I am still learning the ropes.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        I love that. I love that. Well, congrats on leading the new architect group there in Atlanta. Very exciting. Brenda, I wanted to get you on the podcast because with all of the experience that you've had in Salesforce over the years, you had a lot of experience kind of working with organizations and getting them on board with Salesforce and kind of making a case for why they should use more Salesforce. I wanted to get a talk about how admins can really think about setting a vision for Salesforce. And so can you talk to us a little bit about how setting a vision for Salesforce has helped you in your career?

Brenda Glasser:                                        Yeah, absolutely. So I think the first thing is just to know that Salesforce as a platform can do so much within an organization. But I know I have, especially when I was first starting out, where you're in roles, your company is using it maybe for only certain use cases, or maybe they just have Sales Cloud or they just have one or two Clouds, especially if you are a solo admin or working in a smaller org with a very small team, it can be easy to sort of think of Salesforce as smaller than it really is. But as a platform and with everything, all the different Clouds and different offerings, there is really just so much that Salesforce can do for any organization. And so I think as I have been on my Salesforce journey, I've had the opportunity to get experience and learn about a lot of the different Clouds.
                                                       So I really started out in Sales Cloud and then Service cloud, Experience Cloud, marketing, Tableau, all the different stuff. And you sort realize just how powerful it can be and the different business problems that it can solve. So for example, if you are noticing, and this happens in every company, right, that your customer data is disjointed or it's in a lot of different systems. And if you can't easily figure out who are our customers, what did they buy, what's their status? Are they even an active customer or no longer an active customer? If you are seeing manual processes, so things that are being handled by email or in Excel or random other tools, anything like that, if you sort of can start to tune in to some of those things that might be a little bit outside of your day-to-day scope, but you talk to your coworkers, you learn about how the business is operating, it can be really powerful to start to tune in to, Hey, Salesforce can help with this and here's how.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        So I mean, I think, you hit the nail on the head a lot of ways about understanding, hey, Salesforce can do so much, right, even if you're only working on Sales Cloud. It's really good to know, oh, it can do all of these other things as well, especially now with Tableau and Slack and MuleSoft in the house.

Brenda Glasser:                                        Mm-hmm.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        In order to kind of get buy-in from stakeholders to maybe expand the business a bit and expand the use of Salesforce across the business. What are some things that have helped you in the past? Maybe pushed for that? Because I can imagine especially, I mean, a lot of times Salesforce admins we're the only ones in the company who even knows anything about Salesforce, right?

Brenda Glasser:                                        Mm-hmm. Yep.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        So what are some things that have helped you in the past kind of sell the business in terms of getting them to expand the use of Salesforce? Maybe think about bringing more processes within the Salesforce platform.

Brenda Glasser:                                        Yeah, I mean, I think the most important thing really is to kind of build trust and credibility amongst your team and amongst your stakeholders. So if your stakeholders don't know you or they don't trust you, or maybe don't fully buy in to Salesforce, that could definitely make it harder to get their buy-in. So I think trying to proactively find and help support maybe some low hanging fruit and spending the time to understand, hey, if they maybe are not the number one fans of Salesforce within their organization, if they find it clunky or it's not easy to use or they don't like it, I think find out why, right? So really go in with an attitude of, Hey, I'm not here to be defensive. This is a platform and it's my job to help you do your job better. So I think it really does start with building that trust and credibility.
                                                       And then I would say once you have that or you've started to build that, one thing that I like to do is try to whip up a proof of concept, right? So a lot of times it's easy to say, Hey, Salesforce can do this. But if they can't visualize it, they've never seen it in action, it sounds maybe too good to be true, spending a little bit of time to gather some quick requirements, right? It's not going to be the full requirements that you would need for a larger project or if you're implementing another Cloud or something like that. But spend the time to understand a few use cases and then in either a sandbox or developer edition org, build out a proof of concept so that they can see, okay, this actually does work the way that the Salesforce admin team is telling me that it could work.
                                                       And I would say another thing you can do is leverage your Salesforce account team. I am a huge fan of my Salesforce account team, because probably your company is not the only company that has tried to solve these problems, and they can help arm you with collateral and experts to help sell the vision as well. So you don't have to do it yourself. It's not something that you're on your own. There are resources within the Trailblazer community, of course, and within Salesforce itself that can help you put together that story. But again, I think the proof of concept is a really great way to get people to understand, here's how the solution could work.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        Yeah. You got to see it to believe it, right? I mean, that's kind of the idea. And I really like how you broke it down into the two steps, right? First, really establish that trust. Establish yourself as the subject matter expert, as the trusted advisor when it comes to Salesforce, that you can deliver results, you can have an impact. And then when you want to expand, be like, oh look, look what I can do. Look what I can build for you. I think that's a really, really good kind of two step vision setting process there.
                                                       So one of the things too, Brenda, that I know that you've kind of self-described yourself as is an in-house Salesforce evangelist. So can you talk a little bit, I mean, as an evangelist myself, I evangelize, but to a slightly different type of audience in a slightly different situation. So can you talk to us a little bit about what it means to really kind of evangelize and be the Salesforce advocate within your company and kind of be that person? How do you become that? And then how does that help you both in your own career and then you're building solutions?

Brenda Glasser:                                        Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I think the first part, I just really love building stuff on Salesforce. So for me, it's fairly natural because I really like solving problems. And that's the reason that I fell in love with Salesforce to begin with was something so simple of I can create a field for you, look at that and receiving that feedback selfishly. I love almost nothing more when I can solve an issue for somebody, even if to me it's something really simple, it can really kind of make somebody's day. So for me, definitely I am just super passionate about the platform and what it can do. And so I am always looking for opportunities to raise my hand or poke my head in to say, actually Salesforce can help with that. Do you want to learn more? Do you want to see how? So I think it really starts with, again, listening, looking for problems, looking for opportunities.
                                                       And that can sometimes be challenging because that does put extra work on your plate, because you find yourself in the position where you are signing up for more work. So that is a thing that you do have to balance. And I know that's something I can be guilty of taking on too much just because I'm a little bit too excited about what it can do. But where that really starts to help me personally in my career is I am able to be seen amongst stakeholders, leadership as somebody that they can kind of count on and that somebody who really, truly has the business' best interest in mind. So that means that where if you work for a company that is supportive and is committed, then what that will mean is that you do get additional resources, right? So if you are in a position where you can maybe expand your team, then that can also enable you the opportunity to move into a kind of leadership or management type position.
                                                       So that is a really great way. It also gives you the ability to invest in the platform more, which means you get more cool stuff that you can play with, but that also adds to your resume, that gives you more opportunities to get hands on with different aspects of the platform, gives you opportunities to go and get certifications or trainings or all that sort of thing. So I think by really looking for those opportunities to raise your hand and say, Hey, Salesforce can help with this, that benefits your business, your company, but the benefits to yourself are just, the sky's the limit.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        I love that. It's an investment in yourself, which also turns out to be an investment in the company and in Salesforce too, because the more people like you that are out there, the better the product gets because you give us feedback. But I think one of the things that I heard in that is, hey, it can be a little scary because you're the eager person and you create all this more work for yourself and you create all these opportunities, which means there's just endless things that you can work on.
                                                       How do you find a balance for that? How do you figure out, I maybe have taken on too much, or maybe this is the right time to take on a little more. I mean, I know there's no right answer, but just looking, I think that might be one of the most intimidating pieces of this for folks is being like, yeah, I would be happy to say Salesforce can do that. And yes, I can do that, but oh wait, now I just said I can do all of these things and I only have time to do three things and now I have 10 things that I want to do.

Brenda Glasser:                                        Yeah. So I think one is, and this is something that you kind of develop a muscle for over time I think is setting expectations. So just because you're saying yes, Salesforce can do this is not the same thing as saying Salesforce can do this and I'll have it done by next week. You are constantly having to evaluate and also prioritize with your leadership, with the company's priorities. Just because you as an individual or you as an admin team have identified a problem that you can go solve doesn't mean it's the top priority. So you have to constantly check in with yourself, check in with your team, check in with your manager, your leadership to make sure that you're focusing on the right things at the right time. But also providing that feedback and expectations to your stakeholders to give them realistic timelines, understanding scope, and having them understand they're going to have to participate in the process.
                                                       It is not magic that if you do take on, especially if it is a larger project, it's not just you doing all the work. Your teams and your stakeholders will have to participate in that as well, and do your best to set expectations in terms of when and how a project is going to go down. But it is hard. It's something you have to constantly check in. And I know for me it's not just at work, right? 'Cause I have kids, so I obviously have responsibilities with my kids, I have responsibilities within the home. I try to do as much as I can to give back to the Trailblazer community. But again, I can't go to every event, I can't volunteer with all of the wonderful organizations. So I do have to always kind of reassess, all right, where is my time going? Am I spending my time in a way that I'm not burning out? Which I can't say I'm always successful at that, but I try.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        I mean, I think we all struggle with that, all these competing priorities, all these things that want a piece of us in our lives and figuring out how to divvy that up in the right way. So well said, well said. And I think this discussion ties pretty well with another episode that was recently on the podcast kind of dealing with talking about burnout that was on the developer podcast. So I think it's a really good conversation to say, Hey, yes, you can go be an evangelist for Salesforce and you can help grow your abilities and grow the capabilities of Salesforce within your organization, but also you need to make sure that you're taking care of what needs to be taken care of, which is number one yourself, right?

Brenda Glasser:                                        Yep.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        And making sure that by investing both in yourself by growing your expertise within Salesforce and growing your responsibilities at your role at your company, but that you're not doing it at the compromise of something else.
                                                       So yeah, very good discussion. Things to keep in mind, especially as we're rounding out the year starting the new year. I think this is a good chance to kind of evaluate those things and take them into account. So Brenda, before we totally wrap up, I would love to know, do you have some tips or advice since you're a very tenured person in the Salesforce ecosystem, maybe for some folks that are a little bit newer, first couple years in the role of being a Salesforce admin, what are some tips or advice you have for them?

Brenda Glasser:                                        Yeah, I mean, I think just sort of getting to know even at a really high level what all is available from Salesforce. So again, when we were first starting out, we focus a lot on really kind of the core platform and getting admins search and kind of starting down our certification journey. But I would really recommend spending time on Trailhead or getting involved within the Trailblazer community on some of the other offerings. So there's wonderful Trailblazer groups and conferences and trails on things like Experience Cloud, on Marketing Cloud, on Tableau, on what else is out there. You certainly don't need to be an expert, but I think just knowing what those offerings are can really make a big difference to help you put on your creative problem-solving hat and looking for where there can be opportunities to expand your utilization of the platform.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        I love that. Expand your horizons a little bit. I think that's great, especially your note about you don't have to be an expert to go to a Marketing Cloud user group meeting.

Brenda Glasser:                                        Nope, nope.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        Show up, take it in. Learn something.

Brenda Glasser:                                        Exactly. Exactly.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        Oh, that's great. Well, Brenda, I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today, and it's wonderful to hear about how you've learned to be an advocate for Salesforce within your organizations and then how it's really helped you propel your career, and then maybe give some insight to some others for some opportunities. So thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Brenda Glasser:                                        Oh, well, thank you. Thank you so much for having me on. I really enjoyed it.

Gillian  Bruce:                                        Well, huge thanks for Brenda for taking the time to chat with us. I really enjoyed our discussion and I hope you enjoyed it too. I love talking about being an advocate, wanting to do more work, but also being very cautious about the work that you're taking on and trying to balance that with all of the other things you have and prioritizing. It can be hard sometimes, but I mean, I am very naturally an eager, let's go do all the things person, and I struggle with taking on too much myself. So really good discussion with Brenda about that. I wanted to remind you that as you go into your end of year/beginning of year planning and you're trying to figure out what you might want to learn, we have some really great content on admin.salesforce.com and if you haven't spent time there lately, please go check it out.
                                                       We've got some amazing blog content, especially this last year. We've done an amazing job of really putting together quality content from experts on there. And we've got a lot coming up as well about the upcoming release. So all the Spring '23, is it Spring '23? Yeah. Wow. Spring '23 Release goodies will be on admin.salesforce.com very soon. So stay tuned for that. And as always, if you want to learn anything else about what it takes to be an awesome admin, check all the content out.
                                                       We also have great videos on YouTube like Automate This and Expert Corner and some fun Salesforce Plus content about How I Solved It. And so yeah, just check us out, admin.salesforce.com. Make it a priority to hit us up there. You can follow our guest today, Brenda Glasser on Twitter. She is (@BrendaGlasser). She's also very active on the Trailblazer community, so find her there. You can find my co-host Mike Gerholdt (@MikeGerholdt) on Twitter and myself (@GillianKBruce). You can find All Things Awesome Admin using (#awesomeadmin) on Twitter or (@SalesforceadminsknowI). Hope you have a wonderful rest of your day or evening or morning, and I'll catch you next time in the Cloud.



Direct download: Propel_Your_Career_by_Being_a_Salesforce_Advocate_with_Brenda_Glasser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have a guest episode from the Salesforce Developers Podcast. Host Josh Birk talks to Drew Tauber, a Salesforce Engineer at Clear.

Join us as we talk about how to identify signs of burnout and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening.

You should subscribe for the full episode (and subscribe to the Salesforce Developers Podcast), but here are a few takeaways from Josh’s conversation with Drew Tauber.

Proto-Architect

When Drew was trying to change jobs, he went to an interview where the company had mislabeled the job title as “Systems Administrator” instead of Information Systems Specialist. He still got the role and it led him to transition to working entirely in Salesforce and taking on more of a Developer role. Today, he describes his job as somewhere between an Admin, a Developer, and a “proto-Architect.”

Signs of burnout

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, stressed, or like the amount of work you have to do is insurmountable, you may be headed toward burnout. Drew gave a presentation about this very topic at World Tour New York, and he’s had many conversations about it in his role as co-leader of the New York City User Group.

When the pandemic hit, “everyone’s work-life balance went out the window,” Drew says, and the same goes for traditional structure and support networks. Salesforce professionals were hit especially hard because as everything went remote, there was increased pressure to expand functionality to account for the “new normal.” At Drew’s company, for example, the Salesforce footprint doubled but his team remained the same size. 

Why it’s OK to ask for help

The first step Drew recommends to help with burnout is to ask for help. It took a while to add more people to his team, “but even just seeing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel was hugely helpful,” he says. It’s in your company’s best interest for you to not burn out, so don’t be afraid to start a tough but necessary conversation.

Asking for help can extend to things beyond just asking for more people or resources. You can ask for help carving out some time away from the job, or help yourself by establishing clear communication boundaries so you don’t feel like you’re “always on.” There’s a lot of value in managing expectations by saying, “I can’t get to that right now but I will when I have a minute.” The research also shows that exercise is also crucial. “Stress is a physical reaction in the body,” Drew says, “and it definitely helps to get the endorphins going.”

There’s so much more in this episode so be sure to listen in and, if you like what you’re hearing, be sure to subscribe to the Salesforce Developers Podcast.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. We talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. Now, this week we're going to try a little something different. So as you know, at Salesforce, we have quite a few podcasts, and one of those we're good friends with the Salesforce Developer Podcast hosted by Josh Burke. You've heard him here on the pod before. He's been on, talk about some developer stuff and Trailhead. And you know what? We wanted to try one do a little something different and we wanted to swap out some episodes. So recently Josh had a guest on who was Drew Talber, who talked about burnout and stress. And you know what? Admins get burned out and stressed too. So do podcasters.

So what we're going to do is we're going to rebroadcast that episode so that you have a chance to listen to it. I think it's a really great episode. I've listened to it myself. And then you know what? Give it a listen. And if you love the podcast, go ahead and jump on over the Developer Podcast and give them a subscribe and check out what Josh is doing. So with that, I'm going to turn it over to Josh, take it away.

Drew Tauber: When I was in college, I went to college for information technology, and I was adamant that the last thing I wanted to do was be a coder.

Josh Birk: That is Drew Tauber, a senior Salesforce engineer over at CLEAR. I’m Josh Birk, your host for the Salesforce Developer Podcast. Here on the podcast, you’ll hear stories and insights from developers for developers. Today we sit down and talk with Drew about something people are really starting to talk more about, and I think it’s great. We’re going to talk about stress. We’re going to talk about burnout.

Josh Birk: We’re going to talk about anxiety and we’re going to talk about how it can affect you in the workplace and what you can do about it. Before we get into that, we’re going to start right after that cold quote and get into how Drew really did become a coder. Why?

Drew Tauber: For me, at the time, coders were just down in the basement, typing it out and I wanted to be upstairs with the people, so I went into desktop support, service support out there, working with end users. I think that’s why Salesforce wound up jibing with me as a developer role because I’m not hidden in the corner. I’m out there with my stakeholders, building stuff for them.

Josh Birk: Gotcha. You always had that people skills layer that you wanted to be able to dive into?

Drew Tauber: Mm-hmm.

Josh Birk: What’s your earliest memory of the computer?

Drew Tauber: Fourth grade Apple IIes, we were using some word processor, Magic Writer or something like that.

Josh Birk: Yes. The one that taught you by… Was the one that had the letters that would pop up so that you know you were hitting it right?

Drew Tauber: I think so. There was some key command you could put in to change the font face from bold to outlined or something like that.

Josh Birk: Nice.

Drew Tauber: I remember learning that and I remember going around the room in the computer lab with all the other fourth graders showing them this key command you could hit that would change your font.

Josh Birk: Nice. Very, very nice. A hacker from way back then.

Drew Tauber: Yes. I also remember the same time Logo Writer, which I didn’t even realize until college that that was teaching me coding.

Josh Birk: Oh, right, because that’s in the Turtle Graphics family of things, right?

Drew Tauber: Yeah. It’s all Turtle Graphics. Step forward, turn right, step back. Then we learned how to make pinwheels. I’m like, “Oh, that’s a forward loop.”

Josh Birk: Yep. Exactly. I can’t remember which interview it was that came up. I don’t think it’s been published yet. Logo came up again. Logo was weirdly my first computer science programming class. It was supposed to be just the basics of programming and so they used Logo as the starter kit. I remember I had homework that was converting Arabic numerals to Roman and then back again, and it would work five times and then it would just stop doing anything.

Josh Birk: To this date, I have no idea if it was because I was a bad programmer or because Logo sucks. 50/50 chance probably. When did you first get involved with Salesforce itself?

Drew Tauber: I first got involved with Salesforce… I actually just recently checked my dev org. I think it’s 12 years old.

Josh Birk: Oh, wow.

Drew Tauber: I was working at a payroll company in New Jersey. It’s a classic accidental admin story. My CTO, I was basically the IT guy there. Desktop servers, networks, AV equipment. Anything that turned on was my job. I’ve been one of the guys. My boss came to me one day, said, “Hey, our sales team’s been using Salesforce. It’s getting big, we’re taking it over in IT. You’re in charge of it.”

Drew Tauber: Then this was pre-Trailhead but we had Premier support so I’m doing the training webinars and everything. As I’m learning, I was like, “This is pretty good. I could do it. There’s a lot of stuff I could do here.” Now, I had been doing web development in my spare time and PHP so I had a idea for like, “Oh, yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that could be done here. I want to believe in that job for other reasons.”

Drew Tauber: But when I was looking for a new job, I completely… Completely by accident, so one of those sliding doors, serendipity moments. This job I was looking for… or I got called for, had mislabeled their job title as systems administrator.

Josh Birk: What was the title supposed to be?

Drew Tauber: Information system specialist. This recruiter was like, “Hey, I’ve got this job. It uses Salesforce. It’s a system administrator. I’m looking for system administrator roles. Do you want to go to this interview?” I was like, “Yeah, sure. Let’s do the interview.” I go in there and I quickly find out it’s a all-Salesforce job, which was not something I had been… I hadn’t thought about it yet I had been thinking like, “Oh, CRM would be a cool thing to do.”

Drew Tauber: I knew I had to pivot at some point because there wasn’t really going to be much of a use for on-prem server admins for much longer with AWS and everything happening. I was like, “Sure, I’ll go do this Salesforce role.” That was my first full-time Salesforce job and where I actually started developing.

Josh Birk: Interesting. Well, and so that was going to be my next question. You got launched into the you have to be the jack-of-all-trades person. How did you find learning development on Salesforce?

Drew Tauber: Good. I’m a learn by doer kind of thing. I love Trailhead, but I’m really much better at… The first thing I built on Salesforce was one of the call center agents… Because I worked in the office for my company where our customer support team was located and this was back in Classic. They said, “Hey, it’d be great if there was a way that we could see when someone sends a screenshot, if we could just see it on the page without having to click into the attachment, download the attachment and then open it up on our computer.”

Drew Tauber: I was like, “There’s got to be a way to do…” I basically started figuring out in Apex, how do I get the attachments? In Visualforce, how do I display the attachments? How do I make it so when you click on it opens up in a little modal window and shows you the actual screenshot of it?”

Josh Birk: Nice.

Drew Tauber: How do I make it show an icon if it’s a PDF kind of… And it just went from step one through step N as I just keep going.

Josh Birk: Yeah. I think it’s interesting how so many early use cases it’s just attachments were another interesting data point. Once you figure out how Apex can manipulate them, there were actually some kind of cool tricks you could do with it.

Drew Tauber: I spent two years at that company. They were really great. I mean, their whole idea is that we hire people who don’t know a ton of Salesforce have them learn on the fly. Then I spent two years there, got all my certifications from admin to dev one. Then after two years there, I moved to my current job.

Josh Birk: Gotcha. How would you describe your current role?

Drew Tauber: Officially my title is senior Salesforce engineer. I am basically the guy that all of our Salesforce customizations runs through to some degree. I started as the guy, I was the Salesforce guy. Now we have a team and it’s kind of an architect role, but not officially an architect role.

Josh Birk: Gotcha. The proto architect, but you’re still sort of the jack of all trades. You’re just the jack of all trades who can also help other people get their job done?

Drew Tauber: Mm-hmm.

Josh Birk: Nice. Nice.

Drew Tauber: We don’t have any admins. We just have four developers so we’re all kind of everything.

Josh Birk: Gotcha. I think if there’s an admin listening right now we might have just sent a little shiver down their spine.

Drew Tauber: Oh yeah. No. I could definitely use an admin, but we don’t have one.

Josh Birk: Gotcha. Before we get into the topic at hand, what’s your current role in Salesforce community?Drew Tauber: I’m a co-leader of the New York City user group and then just fan and everything else.

Josh Birk: How long have you been in the developer?

Drew Tauber: I’ve been a user group leader since March of 2020 which I don’t know if you remember, a lot of stuff happened in March of 2020.

Josh Birk: Oh, the timing.

Drew Tauber: It was literally… So there were three co-leaders of the user group. One of them got a job at Salesforce and I had already been doing presentations and helping out, so I always joke around the one thing that we’re great about as a Salesforce ecosystem is identifying people who will say yes to anything.

Josh Birk: Gotcha. Nice.

Drew Tauber: They asked me, “Do you want to be a co-leader?” This was literally my last day in the office before our one week test quarantine happened.

Josh Birk: My God.

Drew Tauber: I said, “Yeah, sure. I’ll do it. I’ll talk to you guys in a couple of weeks when this whole COVID thing’s over.”

Josh Birk: Wow.

Drew Tauber: Fast-forward to two years, I’m now doing in-person meetings again it’s weird for me because I’m like, “I’m just so used to it. I just throw up a Zoom link and people join. Now I got to find food for people? This is weird.”

Josh Birk: Weird. They actually need to eat and stuff.

Drew Tauber: I need to feed people and find space?

Josh Birk: Nice. Nice. Okay. Today we’re going to talk about burnout, which I believe you presented at World Tour New York, correct?

Drew Tauber: Yes.

Josh Birk: Nice. Let’s start at the beginning. What were some early signs that were making you question just how stressed are you?

Drew Tauber: A lot of it is just feeling overwhelmed. You have trouble not necessarily getting up in the morning, although that’s definitely part of it sometimes, but just seeing the list of work you have to do, and just seeing it as being insurmountable to the point where you don’t even know how you can start because you don’t see how you can finish and just gets debilitating in that respect.

Josh Birk: Yeah. Were you falling prey… And I am blanking on the term because there’s actually a cognitive term for it, where you look at a task and your instant reaction is that task clearly is going to take three/four hours, which is not true but your brain is convinced that it is true.

Drew Tauber: Yeah. That would definitely happen. I think there’s some… I don’t know what the official term of it, but there’s a phobia of an empty notebook and that same kind of situation where in my head I know in intellectually like yeah, once you just get started on a project, it just snowballs and then you finish it eventually. But it’s like seeing how many things have to be done, just the idea of starting it would feel so daunting.

Josh Birk: Yeah. I think it was somebody on the ADHD side of things that told me about the fork theory. The fork theory goes that a normal person, if they think about their day, they think about it in terms of five straws. It’s the five straws, those are the big five things that they’re going to have to accomplish through the day. The problem is some people get that detail-oriented way of… that hyper-vigilance way of thinking about it.

Josh Birk: It’s like they actually see five forks and of course each fork also has five tips to it. They’re not thinking in terms of five things they got to get done through the day. They’re thinking in terms of 25 things that they got to get done through the day.

Drew Tauber: Yeah. I like that analogy.

Josh Birk: Were you running into other things like sleeping, eating, that kind of stuff?

Drew Tauber: Oh yeah. I mean, a big part of it is… Especially in the last couple of years, everyone’s work-life balance went out the window. All of a sudden, I’m not commuting to work anymore, at the very beginning started off like, “Oh, I can sleep until 15 minutes before I’m supposed to be working and then roll out of bed and walk down the hallway to my home office and start working? Great.” That slowly turned into… I’m a late person normally.

Drew Tauber: On weekends, I’m up pretty late and this started turning to be like, “Oh, I’m going to be up to like 2:00, 3:00 in the morning, go to sleep, wake up at 8:30 in the morning, roll out, get my work done.” Sleep, it all… Part of it was stress but part of it was also just my pattern was already off. I was already halfway there.

Josh Birk: Yeah. I mean, think there was a collective groan around the world in March of 2020 because people who had very structured lives are suddenly trying to figure out which couch is going to be the most comfortable for them to sit down with their laptop. There’s just nothing healthy about any of that.

Drew Tauber: Yeah. All the gyms were closed. Thankfully I have a dog so he forced me to get outside of the house once or twice a day to take him for a walk.

Josh Birk: Yeah. That’s one of the things I really miss about having… I always joke cats are great if you want to stay in bed. Dogs are great if you want to get out and take a walk.

Drew Tauber: Yeah. Especially because at the beginning we thought, “Okay. Everybody is going to be a recluse for a month and come back, so why not live it up a little bit? I’m not going out and getting the healthy food options. I’m getting DoorDash. I’m getting whatever junk food I want to get sent to my house.” It gave me a head start towards a lot of these issues that turned into burnout.

Josh Birk: Well, and it’s like, it gives you a head start. You’re not socializing, you’re not eating, you’re not sleeping right. These are all core things that start the patterns that get worse, and everybody else is in the pandemic so you have this… At least I found it as you blanket it as normal. Like, who am I to complain about these things because the whole world is effectively going through it? Somewhere in my emotional brain, it was like, “Suck it up buttercup.” Which is not a great mental health response to anybody including yourself.

Drew Tauber: Yeah. Yeah. Part of it’s… Yeah. It’s definitely like, what right do I have to be more put out than… I’m in relatively good shape. I’ve got space. I’m not in a tiny little closet of an apartment somewhere trying to make it. I’ve got space. I’ve got people. But at the same time, I couldn’t go see my family. I couldn’t go see my friends. I used to go out to the movies most weekends with my friends. That went out the window immediately, still hasn’t quite come back.

Drew Tauber: I’ve found… Because I’ve been talking to a lot of people about burnout around my sessions and the commonality I found is a combination of, one, everyone’s support structure went out the window. Everyone’s coping mechanisms went out the window, and also… I think this is not unique to Salesforce, but definitely common among Salesforce people I’ve talked to, is that as every company went remote, everyone had to fall onto their remote collaboration tools a lot more.

Drew Tauber: Salesforce is obviously front and center in a lot of people’s workflows. That just put a lot of extra pressure like, “Oh, Salesforce is good for this, but we need to make it do X so we can better support our remote workforce.”

Josh Birk: That makes a lot of sense now that everything is a remote workforce. Yeah. Yeah. One of the symptoms you had on one of your slides, which I thought was interesting because it’s one I hit really hard and wasn’t thinking about it, it’s a lack of satisfaction. You’re not getting joy either out of your work and it might even be hard to get joy out of the things that are supposed to relax you. Did that hit you?

Drew Tauber: Yeah, definitely. I think that a lot of that goes back to seeing the list as so insurmountable. Achievements that I would normally be like, “Oh, I pulled this off. This is great.” Turns into “Oh, well, okay, I’ve done step one of 27.” It’s hard to be thrilled that you made it to base camp when you need to get to Everest kind of thing.

Josh Birk: Right. Exactly. Yeah. I think people get into this where they think it’s like “Well, it’s my job. It’s a pandemic.” Once again, it’s an excuse, right? Like, why… Of course, I’m not happy right now, but the problem is it’s almost the second tier, you’re going to get more anxious and stressed and depressed if you can’t counter that with fun and joy like you’re saying, giving yourself that pat on the back for an achievement.

Drew Tauber: Right. Definitely.

Josh Birk: Now, what factors do you think led to your burnout that we haven’t… We’ve talked about pandemic, we’ve talked about quick shifts in Salesforce, in your work, lack of a social structure is gone. Anything else that you think was leading you towards this path?

Drew Tauber: I think the biggest thing just is like I’ve said before to people I work with, between the pandemic and the unique ways that our business changed in the pandemic, our Salesforce usage essentially doubled. Our Salesforce footprint. We added a new org. We added whole new people who hadn’t been using Salesforce before. Our Salesforce usage footprint at the company had essentially doubled and my team had not.

Josh Birk: Which now of course you have proof that you’re right, it’s an insurmountable amount of stuff because everything just doubled, even if there’s a irrational layer to it, there’s still a rational amount of data for you to enforce it. When you first started realizing this is a problem, what did you do?

Drew Tauber: Probably when I noticed was a problem I started asking for help. One of the great things about my manager and my company in general is that they were very supportive. It took a little bit for them to get to the point where they were like, “Okay, let’s hire some people.” But they got there. Then obviously the job market being what it was, it took us a while to get somebody who was able to come in and help, but even just seeing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel was hugely helpful.

Josh Birk: Nice.

Drew Tauber: The thing I always tell people is it’s in your company’s best interest for you to not burn out. Obviously from a people perspective, your manager doesn’t want you as a human being to burn out and be in a bad place. But even just the corporate ones and zeros straight numerical perspective, it is cheaper to keep you happy and productive than it is to hire somebody new because you flamed out and had to leave.

Josh Birk: Yeah. I mean, I think if you look at some of the other symptoms we haven’t talked about that are purely cognitive, in the sense of you get more forgetful, you’re more anxious. You’re more likely to snap at a coworker, all of these kind of things, not leading to what one would call an efficient job environment.

Drew Tauber: No, definitely not. There’s definitely been times when, and still happens to a degree, where I found myself apologizing for my tone way more than I should. I would be in a meeting and I could tell that I was being real snotty about my answers. I was being really snide. I was being really short. I was sarcastic. I’m like, “This is not the way I want to be sounding, but I just can’t pull myself out of it. I’m too into it right now.”

Drew Tauber: Immediately after the meeting would end, I would go on Slack to the person I was talking to, “Hey, I’m sorry. I know that came out the wrong way. I’m sorry that came out…” I wouldn’t necessarily apologize for the points I was making because the points I was making were valid, but there was definitely a better way I could have come out and said it.

Josh Birk: Yeah. You heard yourself in your head and you’re like, “I didn’t have to be that sharp about it.”

Drew Tauber: Yeah. It’s like an out-of-body experience. Like, “Why are you being such a mean person?”

Josh Birk: Well, and that’s an interesting cycle I think, because when you’re being the mean person, it’s because you’re getting that cortisol spike, you’re getting that little fight or flight instinct to it. But part of that situation is you don’t really know you’re in it. The brain’s just poking you and poking you. Then you get out of the room, be relaxed and then it’s like you said, out-of-body experience like, “Oh, wow. Was I the jerk? No, I might have been the jerk.”

Josh Birk: Yeah. Outside of getting more help and more resources, did you take time off for yourself? Did you try to counter any of the workload with going out and having more fun or doing more walks with a dog or anything like that?

Drew Tauber: Yeah. There’s definitely time, I definitely took some time off. I think my boss at one point insisted.

Josh Birk: Good. Good.

Drew Tauber: Good boss. Good boss.

Josh Birk: Good boss. Good boss.

Drew Tauber: Insisted I take some time away, which at the time it was hard. Being such a small team and like okay I can step away, but here’s all the stuff that’s not going to get done while I’m gone and just be like, “Okay, it’ll get done when you get back.” The other things I would do, yeah, people I work with have gotten pretty accustomed to the idea that if it’s between 10:30 and noon, and I have a meeting where I am not going to be needed to be on my keyboard, I’ll take that Zoom from the park when I’m walking my dog.

Josh Birk: Awesome point.

Drew Tauber: I’ll turn the camera on him and I’ll point the camera at him on my Zoom and people will appreciate that more than seeing my face.

Josh Birk: I love that. I love that so much. Now I have to repeat Mike Gerholdt’s… I think he tweets this every three weeks or something like that, just a friendly reminder, not only is it okay to have your kids, your cats and your dogs on your Zoom call, we want to see them. It’s actually a plus because we’re still a little trapped inside. Yes, I love that. I love puppy Zoom.

Josh Birk: Also, just really, I think that’s part of the Zoom fatigue, is that feeling like you have to be there in person. As somebody who’s worked remotely for a little over a decade now, I found it weird that I was actually finding every now and then I’ll do the same thing. I’ll take the call outside or I’ll take the call on my couch and I just turned the camera off. It’s like if I’m not necessary, then I can listen and be present without having to necessarily feel like I’m also on camera.

Drew Tauber: I think I saw something a while back about how psychologically what Zoom does to people because you can be in a meeting room and obviously people can see you, but you know when people are looking at you. But when you’re on Zoom, you don’t know what square… Even if everyone’s got their camera on, you don’t know what square on the Zoom Brady Bunch panel they’re looking at.

Drew Tauber: You have to be like, “All right. I’m being seen by everybody on this meeting simultaneously,” is where your head goes. I think one of the best things I did for Zoom in general is I just have everything set to default off.

Josh Birk: Nice.

Drew Tauber: I join a meeting, my camera’s off. My microphone is muted and I have to go in and push the buttons like, “I’m ready to talk. I’m ready to be seen.” I’ll turn the camera on. If not, I just won’t. Sometimes I’ll say, “Oh, I’m not turning my camera on. I’m eating lunch and I don’t want you all to watch me eat a sandwich.” Sometimes people just… Thankfully as a company, we generally don’t have the expectation that you have your camera on at all times.

Drew Tauber: If it’s a standup meeting, if it’s my morning meeting with my team then I’ll have my camera on because I know these people. But if it’s a group, a lot of times I won’t. Sometimes if I know that I’m not going to be able to keep my eye rolls to myself, I’ll keep my camera off.

Josh Birk: I love it. There’s wisdom in that. It’s self-knowledge. I like that. It does occur to me that prior to the pandemic and when everybody going into Zoom calls that this design of 12 huge faces and perfect squares in front of you, that’s the kind of stuff they used to put in supervillain movies.

Drew Tauber: Oh, yeah.

Josh Birk: It’s like this weird awe of power kind of thing in front of you. Now, I’m trying to figure out, did you manage to… Because socialization is such a huge role in maintaining stress and lowering stress. It’s considered to be one of the great ways of trying to help people through things like drug addiction. Did you manage to find a way to add any of that stuff back to your life?

Drew Tauber: Yeah. I mean, I feel like everyone had their friend Zooms at the very beginning before we all realized that this is not a great way to hang out with people.

Josh Birk: I know.

Drew Tauber: But we’d play video games with each other and if we’re playing a game, we would fire up a Discord chat or something so we could talk to each other while we’re playing. That way we’re not staring at each other, but we’re playing a game. We’re just talking. There’s actually a really cool game that I found called Starship Horizons where it’s a group game where one computer is the host and everyone else logs in on a web browser and everybody is a different station on your Starship.

Drew Tauber: It’s like one person logs in and they pick the tactical console and they’ve got the tactical station. One person’s the helmsman and one person’s communications. Then one person’s the captain and all they really do is they just tell other people to do… The captain has nothing. The captain just has… You rely on just like if you’re in Star Trek, let’s say you’re relying on your tactical person telling you information.

Drew Tauber: You’re relying on your op station giving information. You’re giving orders and they’re all executing, but it’s just finding ways to hang out without just staring at each other on a Zoom screen and be like, “So what are you guys up to?” “Nothing. I’m all at stuck at home. What are you up to?” “Nothing. I’m stuck at home.” It was all very important.

Josh Birk: Nice. I like it. I like it a lot. Now, on the flip side of video games, another thing I’ve had to accept because I was never much of an exercise fan, shall we say? But the science is undeniable as to the effect it can have. Even walking, running, whatever, it reduces your stress, it reduces anxiety, et cetera. Was walking the dog your exercise or did you tack on more stuff?

Drew Tauber: For a while it was my exercise. It definitely wasn’t enough exercise as far as staying healthy. I wound up starting to go do a more regular exercise regimen again. That’s the thing I always mention, is stress is a physical reaction in the body and I’m not going to say the best way to deal with your depression is to go out and exercise necessarily, but it definitely helps to get the endorphins going.

Josh Birk: Yeah. No. Totally. I’m a big fan of mental health is physical health. It’s all wrapped into one thing. Even if stuff’s just occurring in your brain, your brain’s on a brain stem and brain stem’s controlling the rest of your body. The proof is there that it’s just like this stuff can really hurt you physically over time, which is another reason why if there’s managers listening to this, it’s like at some point… When I was going through some stuff, I had a family member who was just not getting it, not realizing what was happening.

Josh Birk: My therapist was like, “Well, if they’re not going to appreciate your mental health, would you tell them that you would prefer not to have a heart attack?” Yeah. I will try that then. What else have you done to make sure you’re not going to get back there?

Drew Tauber: Yeah. I mean, a lot of stuff I’ve done from a work perspective is I don’t do quick things anymore if I can avoid it. It’s a trap that I find I used to fall into a lot all the time and I find a lot of people do the same thing where someone comes up to you and say, “Hey, can we add a field that does something?” You’re like, “Yeah, sure.” Click, click and is done. You get the immediate endorphin rush, you get the immediate satisfaction.

Drew Tauber: It’s like, “Oh my God. That’s so amazing. Thank you so much. That’s great. I can’t believe you were able do it so fast.” Then you fast-forward to a week later when they need three more fields. They’re like, “Well, you were able to do it in two seconds last time.” It’s like, “Yeah. Well, I’m busy now.” You set the expectation that you can do it quickly. I’m going to keep throwing out the Star Trek analogies.

Josh Birk: Please do. Yeah.

Drew Tauber: Scotty would always say like, “Oh, yeah, I multiply all my time estimates by four. That way you would believe I’m a miracle worker.”

Josh Birk: Right. Exactly.

Drew Tauber: I’m not saying lie about how long your timeframe’s going to be, but even if it’s something quick like that, it’s very much like, “Okay. Put it in a Jira ticket so none of us forget. We’ll plan it out. If it’s quick, we’ll do it.” I can’t just be like, “Oh, yeah, sure. I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go do your thing.” I always find people are very understanding of that. You always worry it’s like when you say like, “Oh, I can’t do it right now, but I’ll get to it when I have a minute.” Unless it’s super urgent I’m like, “Oh, well I actually need it right now, and-

Josh Birk: Right now. Right.

Drew Tauber: … the CEO’s demanding this field in the next five minutes or I’m fired.” Obviously stuff like that doesn’t happen in my company. Yeah, just managing expectations in a lot of ways. I’ve heard a lot of times a saying, if it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist when referring to sales opportunities and leads. I have the same thing with Jira. If it’s not in Jira, it doesn’t exist to me. If you want something done, especially if it’s a change that we need to be able to have good tracking on you need to make a Jira ticket.

Drew Tauber: I mean, I’ll do… You can come to me and say, “Hey, can you tell me why this thing happened to this person?” I’ll go and I’ll do some investigation, but if it takes me more than a few minutes, it’s like, “Okay, we need to plan this time out because I’ve got my sprint that I’ve committed to doing and if I don’t get that done, because I spent all my time doing all this troubleshooting stuff that was not on my list of things to do I have to answer to people for that.”

Drew Tauber: Also, going back to being able to justify hiring more people. If you’re doing all your work off the books-

Josh Birk: You can’t. Right.

Drew Tauber: … my boss might know that but when he goes to his boss, say, “Hey, we need to hire more people to help Drew?” Like, why? He’s getting-

Josh Birk: Why?

Drew Tauber: There’s nothing in his backlog and he’s getting all of his stuff done.

Josh Birk: Yeah. Yeah. Back when I was a dev lead, I told our business partners, it’s like everything’s an hour. Just assume it’s an hour. I know you think it’s simple. I know you think it’s straightforward, but assume that the developer has to actually research something to make sure they’re doing it right. They actually have to implement it and they actually have to test it. It’s just nothing is less than an hour.

Josh Birk: For a while I had a rule back when I was a people manager for tenure, if it’s not in GUS… And GUS was our internal sprint manager type thing. I’m like, “If it’s not in GUS, it won’t happen and if it’s not on Chatter, it didn’t happen.” Because you should do is go do good work and then brag about it on Chatter. Totally with you there.

Josh Birk: A big one that comes up a lot is notifications and having your phone on and stuff like that. Have you reinforced rules to get that stuff out of your cognition from time to time?

Drew Tauber: Yeah. I mean, I spend a lot of time on Slack boundaries. Part of it is just the idea of… I think I moved up by an hour, at least, the default times in Slack when they say, “Okay. This is your I’m not working anymore no-notifications time, unless it’s an emergency.” The bedtime rules or whatever. They recently released, I think in the last six months, the ability to set different times for weekends.

Drew Tauber: Basically extend your do-not-disturb time to the weekend and even sometimes during the day. If I’m focused on working on something, I’ll just set my notification. I’ll set do not to disturb because I’m really focused right now. That’s definitely important to me.

Josh Birk: Yeah. Back when I worked in an office, we would refer to it as heads-down coding because you could see the developer hunch. We trained everybody who wasn’t on the development floor like, “If you see them like that, if you have to talk to them, approach slowly. Make sure you realize you are probably bringing them out of a flow state and that’s not what they need.”

Drew Tauber: Well, it’s like yeah, back in the office, everyone would have headphones. If you see someone with their big cans on you don’t bother them.

Josh Birk: You don’t bother them.

Drew Tauber: But we don’t have that same thing anymore on Slack. The other thing I always say with Slack is Slack is great and I prefer it over email, but Slack has this implied immediacy to it that email doesn’t have. You get a message at like 10 o’clock at night it’s like, “Oh, I just got a Slack message. I need to reply.” I’ve tried to get into a habit of if this Slack message were sent to me via email, would I feel like I need to reply to it right now?

Josh Birk: Yeah. Exactly.

Drew Tauber: If I don’t feel that way, then I won’t.

Josh Birk: Then don’t. Yeah. Another big tip I always tell people, especially on that front is if your work phone is your personal phone, definitely fix that especially in the Slack world, it’s like if you can just walk away from your laptop and your work phone and just have no capacity to see any of these notifications, it’s so much easier than trying to figure out when is it my phone and when is it my work phone?

Drew Tauber: Yeah. I haven’t had that luxury since way back when I worked for a small company called Lehman Brothers, when everyone was issued a Blackberry and that was your only work device and people would say, “Oh, why don’t you get your regular stuff on your Blackberry?” I was like, “Because I want to be able to put my Blackberry in a drawer at the end of the day.

Josh Birk: Yeah. Exactly.

Drew Tauber: Now I do a pretty good job of like say managing notifications for off hours. Going in and if I’m going to be away snoozing my notifications, if I’m going to be really away, just turning off Slack, turning off do not sync my Gmail into my phone. If I’m on vacation, I don’t want to see it. If I’ve got time and I want to go check something or check on work, I’ll go in and I’ll pull the refresh and I’ll make it pull down but do not automatically background refresh this app.

Josh Birk: Nice. Nice. Now, when did you say, “I want to do this as a presentation? I want to get up in front of other people I want to talk about this.”

Drew Tauber: Probably late last year is when I started really bumping around. It was one of those things like I think I had the slide deck in Google Slides. I was just popping in like, “Oh, this is a good thing. I should say this kind of thing.” I say one of the parts of doing this is being able to go out there and talk about it and destigmatize it. Every time I do this presentation, I’ll do like, “Show of hands, how many people have felt this way?” Then most people put their hands up.

Drew Tauber: My favorite is I was doing the presentation in Chicago and I see a whole bunch of people on their laptops and on their phones while I’m presenting. I said, “Show of hands, how many of you are working right now?”

Josh Birk: Now.

Drew Tauber: They put their hands up. How many of you do you… I’m at a conference. How many of you do your managers know where you are right now and they’re still asking you for stuff? Most of them keep their hands up.

Josh Birk: Yeah. Well, yeah, and I thank you because it’s like I completely agree. I think awareness and transparency, that’s the front line that I think the community can embrace. It does help to know if you’re in a room there’s probably… John Oliver just did his episode of mental health and he’s like… It went back in the 2010s. It was one in 10 adults suffered from anxiety and depression. Now it’s up to like four in 10. I guarantee you in the tech industry, it’s more like six in 10 or seven in 10, if we’re lucky.

Drew Tauber: I think a lot of that is just, don’t think a lot of it… There’s definitely a part of it where people are getting more anxious but I think a lot of it is people are recognizing it more.

Josh Birk: Yeah. Agreed.

Drew Tauber: It used to be like, “Oh, I’m just in a funk or I had a bad day.”

Josh Birk: Right. Or of course it’s been a long work week. That’s what work weeks look like.

Drew Tauber: Then you realize like, “Oh, no, my bad days are outnumbering my good days.” Then you finally realize like, “Oh, no, this is actually something real.”

Josh Birk: That’s our show. Now, before we go I did ask after Drew’s favorite non-technical hobby and it’s honestly one that he shares with a lot of people in the community.

Drew Tauber: I’m not sure if this is non-technical or not. It’s definitely more analog, but I enjoy woodworking.

Josh Birk: Oh, yeah. That’s definitely… If Kevin Portman’s listening right now, he’d be like, “No, Josh, it’s a technical thing.” I get you because it’s-

Drew Tauber: Yeah. There’s a lot of math involved. There’s a lot of… Because if you’re off by a little bit and it just cascades through your entire project… So it’s definitely I’m away from my computer. I’m working with my hands, I’m outside, and at the end of the day, I can point to a table that I made, it’s like, “I made that.”

Josh Birk: I want to thank Drew for the great conversation and information, and as always, I want to thank you for listening. Now, on a personal front, I just want to say, we’re talking about very serious issues out there. I do want to call out and just say, if you are feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression, you’re making it something that’s hard for you to get through work, please, please seek help. There’s a lot of great telehealth services out there, but first of all, you’re not alone and with help, you can get through it.

Josh Birk: Once again, thank you everybody. If you want to learn more about this show, head on over to developer.salesforce.com/podcast, where you can hear old episodes, see the show notes and have links to your favorite podcast service. Once again, thank you and I’ll talk to you next week.

Mike Gerholdt: So I really enjoyed that podcast and I will echo where Josh left that podcast off. If you're listening to this episode or any other episode and you're feeling stressed out, you're feeling burned out, reach out to someone. Don't be afraid to talk that that can be incredibly helpful. There's a lot of help lines, there's a lot of people I promise around you that are there to care for you. So I took a lot out of that podcast. I hope you do too. I really identified with how Drew brought up feeling overwhelmed. I thought it was interesting, the empty notebook syndrome that he talked about, which is looking at something and thinking of all the things that need to be done and the Zoom fatigue.
                                                       So this is a really, really cool episode. I'm glad the developer team let us kind of swap episodes out. I'd be curious to know what you think. Did you enjoy a trading spaces podcast where we rebroadcast somebody else's stuff? So let me know what you think. Hit us up on Twitter. Of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including any of the links that Josh and Drew mentioned in this episode. And of course, there's a full transcript down below. And of course, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns on Twitter. Gillian, who's my co-host, she is on Twitter @gilliankbruce. And of course you can find me. I am @MikeGerholdt.
                                                       So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Guest_Show__Burnout_and_Stress_with_Drew_Tauber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for November.

Join us as we review the top product, community, and career content for November, and celebrate National French Toast Day.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Learn MOAR

The Learn MOAR Trailmix is still going. If you complete it before Nov 30, 2022, you’ll unlock a special community badge and be entered to win 1 of 5 Cert Vouchers—see the link and Learn MOAR page for all the details. Get up to speed with the upcoming release!

Blog highlights from November

MFA auto-enablement is coming on February 1st, 2023. You’ve still got a couple of months to prepare, so read this blog post and learn why it’s not as scary as you thought.

Video highlights from November

Jennifer Lee continues to crush it with the How I Solved It series. This month, she joins forces with CeCe Adams to tackle how admins can design a better user experience. Dynamic forms can do a lot of the heavy lifting—a significant improvement from the days of wading through page layouts just to add a field.

Podcast highlights from November

Gillian hopped on the pod with LeeAnne Rimel to talk about making your “Brag Book.” Having a place to record all your wins can be incredibly helpful, not just to grow your career but also to help those around you. We also had a fascinating conversation with Kathy Baxter and Rob Katz about data and AI ethics that you shouldn’t miss.

Just for fun

Mike and Gillian chat about a few things French to close out this episode. November 25th is National Parfait Day. A parfait, French for “perfect,” is a frozen dessert that has been around since 1894. November 28th is National French Toast day, so we thought we’d include a recipe to celebrate. Finally, in December, Gillian will be keynoting at French Touch Dreamin’.

Apple-Cinnamon French Toast

Apple Topping:

  • 2 medium apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

French Toast:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 slices bread
  • butter
  • powdered sugar

Make the topping by melting the butter and brown sugar in a pan, stirring frequently. Add apples and cinnamon. Stir to coat, then reduce heat and cook until apples are slightly tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, whisk together milk, eggs, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth. Pour into a casserole dish. Soak bread in mix for 1 minute, turn and soak for 1 minute more. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add battered bread to pan. Add bread and cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Flip over and cook that side until golden brown. To serve, place bread on platter, cover with apples and sauce and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast in the November monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host, Mike Gerholdt, and in this episode we're going to review some of the top product, community, and careers content for November, plus anything else we find interesting. To help me do that, I'm joined by the very familiar voice of Gillian Bruce. Hey, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Hi Mike. Hi Mike. Good to be back with you on the pod. I like our little monthly tradition we've got.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         We check in on each other.

Gillian Bruce:                                         It's good.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         It's a fun time.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Good. November was a fun month.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         It was. It was hot and it was cold. It was like a Katy Perry song, depending on where you lived in the US.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yes. Chaos. There was 70-degree weather in New York, and I've been quote-unquote "freezing" here in San Francisco at 50. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Literally, today when we're recording, the high at noon is 70. Tonight, 12 hours later at midnight, the low is going to be 31 in Iowa.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Ouf!

Mike Gerholdt:                                         How do you dress for that? Come on.

Gillian Bruce:                                         You just stay inside.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         That's my plan, and record podcasts. The other thing you could do, depending on when you're listening to this, if it's before November 30th, is you could go to our Learn More campaign and unlock the community badge for a chance to win one of five cert vouchers.

Gillian Bruce:                                         It's so cool. It's cool to be able to win, possibly win a cert voucher, but the community badge is pretty awesome. Those are one-time deals.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Like the Trick or Trailhead badge.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Mm-hmm.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Oh shoot, I forgot to get mine. Well, anyway, link is in the show notes. You have until November 30th, so hop on it.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Hop on it, and then you'll be totally prepared to make the most out of the winter release.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep.

Gillian Bruce:                                         There you go. We also had a bunch of content.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         We did. We did, a little bit of content. You know what? I'll start us off because I helped review this post from Tammy. So, want to put out, Tammy wrote a great post for admins on Get Ready for Multi-Factor Authentication and Plan for Auto-Enablement. Auto-enablement is coming February 1st.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Still got a couple of months there to prepare.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep, but I think, I come back to this. You should read this post. It's not scary, and I say that, but I've gone through MFA at organizations. I also went through it in my personal life, like during the pandemic, one of my fondest memories was binge-watching all of Tiger King-

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yes.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         And setting up MFA on all my accounts. I kid you not, I spent a Saturday doing that.

Gillian Bruce:                                         That's amazing, Mike. I love that combination. Now, the biggest question is, did you wear any Tiger-King-appropriate apparel while you were setting up all of your MFA, and watching Tiger King?

Mike Gerholdt:                                         No. I'll tell you why. I was too busy getting alerts from Instagram that somebody in Russia was trying to log in to my Instagram account.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Well, hey, who doesn't want to be Mike Gerholdt?

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Seriously, honestly, parody accounts. I need a verified check mark.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Well, apparently anyone can buy one now.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Right. Yep.

Gillian Bruce:                                         That's great. But yeah, MFA is super-important. That's a good reminder. I've done it a little bit for some of my personal stuff. I need to do it for the rest, so it's a good reminder. But yeah, MFA, it's coming. It's a real thing.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Get ready, everybody.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah. Yeah, this is a good thing, seriously. You know what, Gillian? You and I both did a podcast-

Gillian Bruce:                                         [inaudible].

Mike Gerholdt:                                         So, let's start off with the podcast you did, because that was just most recently released.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. I got our amazing teammate, LeeAnne Rimel, on the pod because we've been having a lot of discussions. It's the end of the year, and it's figuring out how to capture the work that you have done, and figuring out what work you're going to do in the next year. We actually talked about a concept that, Mike, you introduced to both of us, the brag book. So, the idea of how do you capture your work and your feedback throughout the year in one place, so that you can really explain and demonstrate the impact and the value that you added to the organization in your role.
                                                       It's something that I think is really important, especially for every admin. LeeAnne and I go into that, about the why, about the how, and really talk about how you can start small and accumulate that, build that muscle over time. Then, especially, I think and remember, LeeAnne had such a hard time with this in the beginning, I did not. I was like, "Yeah, look how great I am, look at all the cool stuff I'm doing." LeeAnne was like, "No, I just want to do the good work."

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Right.

Gillian Bruce:                                         So, talking about that mind shift of a) it's not all about you, it's about the impact you have. Then b) understanding that capturing your feedback and sharing your accomplishments is not really the traditional brag. It's not like, "Hey, look how great I am!" No, it's look at the impact you're having and the value that you're adding.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah.

Gillian Bruce:                                         That's what helped LeeAnne get over the hump. It's been a shift for me too. So, it was a fun discussion.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah. I will say... so, teaser... we have a cool podcast coming up in December. I'm not sure when it's going to come out. Where we talk about stress and anxiety. When I listened to this episode, it made me think of when you put this together and you accomplish something. I always kept that brag book deck open in a browser tab, because then it felt like I got to cross a finish line and cheer a little bit before I moved on. That was the thing that I always explain to LeeAnne, is, "I know you want to do the work, but like stop and celebrate what you're getting done."

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I don't think we do that enough.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Well, it's hard. I think everyone works in a pretty fast-paced environment, and so it's really hard to take a pause and be like, "Wait, no, that was really cool. Like, that's something special." So, yeah, I think to your point, having this as a way to, "No, no, like stop and think about how cool that was, that you just did that," is important.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I know. Listen to Gillian. The other episode we did, and this sounds very pedantic, but I am going to encourage people to listen to it because I enjoy talking with Kathy Baxter and Rob Katz, Data Ethics and AI for Admins. Sounds like a mouthful, but it really was eye-opening for me when we were recording the podcast, to look at just the shift of where things have come and where things are going.
                                                       I bring up one point that I really think is relevant for admins. Gillian, you remember this, you've been around in Salesforce world for a long time. For the longest time and early in my admin years, it was, "How can we get data out of LinkedIn?" Right? "How do we get leads?" It was like Glengarry Glen Ross. Now... and Rob points this out, this is why you should listen to this... now, that's not a problem.
                                                       Getting data isn't a problem. It's the opposite right now. There is a data glut. We have so much data, and you have access to so much data that it's, what do you want to be responsible for, and how are you making those decisions? I was on the floor just reading through the show notes as we were prepping for the call. I thought, "This is so much stuff that, as an admin with a seat at the table, you need to sit down and ask these questions."

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. God, Kathy, I remember having Kathy on the podcast a while ago, and just my whole mindset being shifted about how to think about data and what it means. What it really means, other than what the data set actually is. Yeah, Mike, it was a great discussion. I really enjoyed listening to the pod too. Yeah, it makes you think about things a little differently. Just because you can get the data doesn't mean you should. Right?

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep. Well, and what's it mean to be responsible for that data too.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah, and it's a good podcast to sit down and take notes on a rainy day.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Probably not one you want to walk the dog with.

Gillian Bruce:                                         You can't really multitask very well and pay attention-

Mike Gerholdt:                                         No.

Gillian Bruce:                                         ...to what's going on. There's a lot of really good diving deep.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah, just to be honest.

Gillian Bruce:                                         But yeah, it was a great pod, Mike. Good job with that one.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah, it was good. Jen, of course, leads the way in video. She is a face and a personality for video.

Gillian Bruce:                                         She has got it down.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep. Another How I Solved It with Designing User Experience, A Better User Experience. I think this is always the thing that it's interesting for me, comes up every now and then, when new automation tools or new things come into the ecosystem. I think immediately as admins, we think, "How can we apply this to a business problem?" We forget that sometimes creating a new user is the most thing-involved task-listy job that we fail to automate.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. Yeah. Well, and Cece, our amazing trailblazer that Jen features, is really good at... You know what? Hey, guess what, Mike? It ties into that Salesforce Admin Skills Kit, believe it or not. It's all about the designer's mindset skill.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep.

Gillian Bruce:                                         So, really thinking about that experience, and Cece really epitomizes that. So, it's a great video. Everyone should definitely check it out.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep, and Dynamic Forms, which is-

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yes.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         ... something I've waited a long time for.

Gillian Bruce:                                         I was going to say, Mike, do you remember the days, the before times, when we had no dynamic forms?

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I remember the days when I used workflows-

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Record types, and page layouts, to mimic dynamic forms.

Gillian Bruce:                                         How many page layouts did you have to create?

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Billions. Billions. Billions. It was a full-ti... Oh my. You need to add a field? Hang on. That's a week. Why does it take you a week? I got so many page layouts I got to add it to.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Oh, man.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yep. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Thank you, dynamic forms. Thank you. Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         No kidding. Last month, I hope everybody enjoyed our discussion about apple cider and pumpkin spice. The tweet on that was fun.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Oh, I think it was the most viral tweet we've had in a long time.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I know, and I was surprised how people were dialed up about pumpkin spice losing. I'm fine with it. Anyway.

Gillian Bruce:                                         You're going to get them all activated again, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I know. All riled up.

Gillian Bruce:                                         The pumpkin spice lovers are going to come after us.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I know. Yeah. Well, I won't reemerge until after fall when pumpkin spice goes away. That'll be my plan. Housekeeping note... and so fun discussion... we're going to take November 24th off, so there's no podcast that's going to come out, because the US holiday of Thanksgiving. We've done episodes on Thanksgiving that have been released, but I'll be honest, just nobody listens to them. So, we're going to give you the week off, but we will return the following week. Which is, I think, December 1st.
                                                       I alluded to it previously. We have a lot of really cool stuff lined up for December, and it's starting to bleed into January. One thing I wanted to do is close up our November episode with, ironically, a few things French, because I found things in Google that interest me. So, Gillian, November 25th is National Parfait Day. I did not know that parfait is French for perfect, which is a frozen dessert that's been around since 1894. So, that's November 25th.
                                                       November 28th is National French Toast Day, which has 'French' in it. I'll include the link, because I also found an apple cinnamon French toast recipe, and because you know I like apple cider. Apple cinnamon French toast sounds amazing. Gillian, you're also keynoting that French Touch Dreamin. I feel like I just ended the pod with a Seven Ways to Relate to Kevin Bacon thing on [inaudible] parfait, French toast, and French Touch Dreamin, and loop all together.

Gillian Bruce:                                         I love a parfait day that leads into French Touch Dreamin. I think that was parfait, sir.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         It was parfait, yeah.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. No, I'm really looking forward to it. I got invited to keynote at French Touch Dreamin, which is happening on December 1st in Paris. It's going to be really amazing to connect with the EMEA community. I haven't had a chance to do that since before the pandemic, honestly. So, it's going to be great to meet some new faces and reconnect with folks I haven't seen in so long. Hey, if you are inclined to go to Paris from December 1st, please come join us.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         [inaudible].

Gillian Bruce:                                         The registration is still open, yeah. Yeah, it should be really good times, and it's going to be a really fun keynote. It's going to be a little different than stuff that I've done in the past. So, just teaser, just teaser hanging out there. Come play with us in Paris.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I expect to find out things that you ate while you're there, because I promise they probably don't have French toast. They have something better.

Gillian Bruce:                                         No, but they probably have parfaits. I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Well, parfaits are good. I like parfaits, to be honest.

Gillian Bruce:                                         I definitely plan on consuming quite a bit of crepes.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Oh, crepes are really good. Oh, man.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah, crepes. Definitely a fair amount of wine, because that's just, you have to.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         [inaudible] French. It's in France.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. Good pastry.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Savory crepe or sweet crepe?

Gillian Bruce:                                         I am a sweet crepe person. I like maybe a little Nutella or just a little powdered sugar. Nothing too complicated.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         All right.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. How about you?

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Same. Strawberries.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Oh yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah. Strawberries and powdered sugar. That's it.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Go all day. I also like funnel cakes that way. Oh!

Gillian Bruce:                                         I was going to say, it sounds very funnel-cake-like. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         It does. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Gillian Bruce:                                         I love Mike on our retro pods. We always talk about food. It's great.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Imagine that, but also French Touch Dreamin and French toast.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yes. Oui, oui. Oui, oui.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah. Yep.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah, if anybody has fun French sayings that I need to know, please tell me, because I clearly do not speak French.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Or not know, Gillian, because I will say I'm really good at figuring out things you shouldn't say in Europe too.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Right. Especially when you're up in front of a packed room-

Mike Gerholdt:                                         A whole bunch of people.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Delivering a presentation.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         You learn.

Gillian Bruce:                                         And you say something you think is going to play and be really funny, and people look at you like, "What did you just say?"

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah. Yep. The London admin user group knows that.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Mm-hmm.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Anyway. Well, I'll include the apple cinnamon French toast recipe in the show notes, because it sounds amazing. Just flip over and cook that side until golden brown. To serve, place on a platter with apples and sauce. Mmm!

Gillian Bruce:                                         I'm going to have to make that over the holidays. Just, it looks too good.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         The main ingredients are sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Come on!

Mike Gerholdt:                                         And apples. All of those taste good on apples, so we're good there.

Gillian Bruce:                                         See, and this is a theme from the last pod, or was that two pods ago, when we talked about apples? Right?

Mike Gerholdt:                                         We did, last one. I tried to stitch together... It's for you that I do this. The time spent creating a through-line, it's all consuming. [inaudible].

Gillian Bruce:                                         I appreciate it, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         And sometimes completely accidental, to be clear. If you want to learn about all things admin that we talked about in this episode, including the links to the blog, and the podcast, and the video, we will include those links in the show notes, and you can find them on admin.salesforce.com. You can also stay up to date with us on all things social for admins, including pumpkin spice or apple cider.
                                                       We'll have to figure out, maybe we do a parfait and French toast tweet. You can follow us on Twitter @SalesforceAdmns, no 'i'. Of course, Gillian is on Twitter. She's at @gilliankbruce. So, be sure to tweet at her, not only when she's in France, but other times too. Then, of course, I am at @MikeGerholdt. With that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: November_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring on LeeAnne Rimel, Senior Director of Admin Evangelism at Salesforce, to share how you can build a “Brag Book” to capture your wins and successes.

Join us as we talk about why it’s so important to put all your successes in one place, how to get started, and how to feel comfortable talking about your accomplishments.

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

What is a Brag Book?

“Imagine you’re getting ready for your end-of-year or end-of-quarter review with your boss,” LeeAnne says. It can be hard to remember what you were doing last month, let alone the last six months or last year.

“That’s where the Brag Book comes in,” LeeAnne says, “it’s a place to collect your wins, your accomplishments, your project completions, your accolades, or awards, or feedback, throughout the year.” By putting everything together as it happens to you, you’ll be ready whenever you need to talk about your career. “It’s one of those chances to do future you a favor.”

Building your bragging muscle

You need to get in the habit of saving positive feedback whenever you come across it, like building a muscle. When she first started her Brag Book, LeeAnne used a private slide deck with a slide for each project. Then she could simply drop in whatever she came across that was worth keeping, whether qualitative (like an appreciative YouTube comment) or quantitative (like attendance or adoption numbers).

These days, LeeAnne uses a private Slack channel with herself, with threads to organize everything into individual projects. “It doesn’t really matter where your bucket is,” she says, “pick your place, make it easy to get to, and then practice building it into your muscle memory.”

Shine a light on your collaborators

It can be hard to get into the mindset of bragging about your accomplishments. If you’re used to working behind the scenes, it might feel weird to step into the spotlight. “It’s really not about you, it’s about the work and the impact that it’s having,” LeeAnne says, “and it’s helpful for the people around you to know if that work is impactful or not, if that’s something they might be able to learn from for their own work, and if that information might influence decisions that are coming up for them.”

Nobody works in a silo. Even if you’re a solo admin, you have partners who help you succeed. Capturing the story of a successful project gives you a chance to not only talk about your work but also to shine a light on other people who deserve credit. Getting the opportunity to give those well-deserved kudos can make anyone feel like bragging.

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce:                                         Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and I am joined by the wonderful LeeAnne Rimel. Hi LeeAnne.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         Hi Gillian.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Thank you for joining me. We are going to be talking about something that you posted on Twitter not too long ago as a thread and just took off and got a bunch of attention. And we're going to talk about this idea of creating a personal brag book. But before we get into all that, I want to set the context for our listeners. So admins, you're listening to this, it's getting towards the end of the year. You did a lot of great things this year, whether it was for your organization or for your personal career, and it's a really good time to think about all those contributions you made, all the work you did. And I know it's really hard sometimes to capture that work and then share that. It's one of the reasons we built the Salesforce admin skills kit to help try and give you some language around that. But I really wanted to get LeeAnne on the podcast today to talk really about how you can build this idea of a brag book to help you capture what you're doing, capture your wins and successes. So LeeAnne, can you give us an overview of what a brag book is?

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         I sure can. So imagine you are getting ready for your end of year or end of quarter review with your boss or with your manager, or you are wrapping up a project, maybe a three month or six month project, and you're getting ready for your postmortem report to your team or your leadership. Or imagine your thinking about leveling up your career, whether that's applying for a job internally at your company, looking for jobs elsewhere, looking to go into that next role. Sometimes it can be really hard to sit there and say, "Okay, what did I do the last 12 months? What are all the things I did in the last three months?" A lot of us, especially Salesforce admins, are often moving really fast. We move really quickly through project, through work. People are working a lot.
                                                       A lot of people have very busy personal lives. There's a lot on our plates. And I don't know about you, but I definitely have sat down and drawn a blank and I'm like, "Okay, what's my year review look like? I knew I did a lot this year, I was really busy this year. What did I do?" And so that's where the brag book comes in. It is a place, a way to collect your wins, your accomplishments, your project completions, your accolades or awards or feedback throughout the year or throughout the project or throughout the quarter so that when those times come where you have the opportunity to amplify your work, you're 90% of the way there.
                                                       You've got your brag book ready to go, and you can take the pieces out of that that are relevant for the thing that you're preparing. So if you're preparing for a quarterly review or something like a job review or something like that, you can go through and take the pieces out of your brag book that I always joke, Gillian knows this. I'll be like, "Oh, 2022 LeeAnne is doing 2023 LeeAnne a favor. And it's one of those chances that you can do future you a favor and be like, "Oh man, I'm so glad that 2021 LeeAnne documented all of these things so it was easier for me to collect them now."

Gillian Bruce:                                         So one of the things that I think you hit on is that you're doing this throughout the year because like you said, I do the same thing. I'm like, "Cool, so what did I just spend the last nine months working on? I don't know, I think I did that." But your concept is capturing that in the moment. And so how do you capture it? What are you saving? Where does it live? Talk to me a little bit about how you approach that.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         So it's definitely a muscle that you build. It's this muscle that you build of constantly being aware of inputs in your environment, whether that's a feedback note, whether that's a great survey result, whether that's user adoption training that you had really high participation on, and all of your sales leaders were so happy about it because everyone used Salesforce after. So whatever it is, creating that muscle of, okay, I'm going to collect this somewhere. So, where you collect it is totally up to. So when Gillian and I both started doing this many years ago because our team leader Mike Gerholdt said, "You guys need to create brag books." And so we created brag books, and at the time we started them in, I think Google Slides, and this was not a beautiful automated solution. This was a place to put things.
                                                       So I would have a running slide deck called my brag book that was just private to me and it was just the place that I dropped items. So for example, I'd create a slide if I worked on a project like keynote or if I worked on a project like a webinar or whatever it was, I would create a slide for that. And then I would drop things into that slide as they came up. So if someone left a comment on YouTube that it was really meaningful to them, I would put in both qualitative and quantitative pieces. So if someone left a comment, that piece of content was really meaningful to them, or if we had someone from one of our internal partners or a leadership team member give a lot of positive feedback about something, I would literally do a snag it. I'd take a picture of that, drop it into the slide or that series of slides.
                                                       But I also would use it as a place to store quantitative feedback as well. So if there was survey results, if there was any sort of numbers like attendance, everyone tracks different, if there's adoption numbers, whatever those numbers and metrics were that were related to this, I'd put the link to the Salesforce dashboard in there that I was using to track that project, whatever it was. And so truly for many years it was a Google Slide deck. Now I use a private Slack channel. So I have a private channel just with myself and I organize things with threads. So if I'll have my overall Dreamforce thread and I'll paste things into that thread, or I'll have different threads for different projects that I've worked on and I use that to organize. But it doesn't really matter where your bucket is it, I would say it probably should be digital because I'm a big fan of pen and paper journaling. However, I would recommend making it a digital one because likely there will be some copy and pasting, some links, some screenshots an pictures. I'm a big advocate of always collecting photos when possible.
                                                       If you do a lunch and learn. Like if you're an admin, you roll out something, you're doing some sort of virtual webinar, a lunch and learn, a user adoption training, some user testing with your super users, do a quick picture of that, capture a picture because that really does tell a thousand words to you and it'll help you revisit that moment when you're trying to amplify that work later on. So pick your place. Again, it doesn't matter what it is, Evernote, your Mac notes like OneNote, it doesn't matter. Just pick a place. Pick a place you're going to document things. Make it easy to get to, bookmark it, add an extension whatever tool you're using and then practice building that into your muscle memory. So when you see a note, like a great feedback note, when you see a survey result that you're proud of, when you see an adoption training result you're proud of, when you see some numbers about an automation you built, practice putting that muscle in of this is awesome. I'm going to log this.

Gillian Bruce:                                         I think the idea of putting it somewhere that's really easy because I think for me, especially when we use the Google Slides, I've always felt this pressure to make it look pretty when I put it in, but the idea now... The private Slack channel's brilliant. I think now I need to start doing that because I literally just have a Quip doc where I just paste stuff and paste feedback, which has worked fine, but the Slack thing I think makes it even more accessible and easy. I love that. So that's a great tip and I think everybody uses Slack so it's super easy.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         I love private Slack channels. I also have a private Slack channel just for call notes, which I highly recommend as well. But yeah, private Slack channels are great, especially if you get comfortable with Slack Search and how to use Slack Search quickly because then you'll surface stuff just really fast when you're looking for things if you are trying to create a specific preso on here's what we learned with this project or this presentation.

Gillian Bruce:                                         And one thing that I also want to address is some people might feel weird about the idea of bragging, right? Because it's not comfortable sometimes to talk about how great you are and all the great things that you do. But here's the thing, if you don't do it, no one is going to do it for you. And I know it might be uncomfortable, I think for some of us, myself included, this is not hard. This is a natural muscle that I have had since I was, I don't even know, able to walk and talk. But often when I talk about this or just in general sharing your accomplishments, I usually get people being like, "I don't know, that feels uncomfortable and weird," but you got to do it. And it's not all about you, you, you, how great you are. I think the biggest thing is focusing on the impact.
                                                       So when you're gathering that feedback, like for example, if I have somebody who comes up to me at an event is like, "Gillian , I listened to that one podcast, it motivated me to do X, Y, and Z, and now it's enabled me to do this." That's to me, the stuff that I like to capture, because it shows the work you're doing is actually making a difference. And so if you're an admin, it's like, oh, will this flow that I implemented, this person just told me it saves six hours of their monthly reporting or whatever. That's the stuff that you want to include because then when you share it or when you have a reason to share, it's clear why you're sharing it. You're not just like, "Look at me, I'm so great." It's like, look at the impact that my work has had on the people that I'm working with or the customers that I serve.
                                                       I think that's a really important distinction, because LeeAnne, I think working with you for what, eight years now? Almost nine years. I've actually seen you go through this shift too where it's like, no, it's not just about talking about how great you are, which I have no problem doing, but it was not necessarily in your wheelhouse and naturally something that you did.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         I was really uncomfortable with it. I was super uncomfortable. I was like, "No, I do my work." My background is I've always had pretty technical roles and the mindset I had was very much, I do my work, I did my project, the work speaks for itself. And that's that. It was a mindset shift for me to think about... It's almost remove yourself from the equation like you're saying. Because I was like, "Oh, it feels weird to just sit and talk about a project I worked on, and the information's available. People could have watched the webinar if they were interested. So why do I need to talk about why it was great?" And I suffered from being just incredibly illogical. And there's a few things that helped me overcome that hurdle.
                                                       One, it's really not about you, it isn't. It's about the work and like you're saying, it's about the work and the impact the work is having. And so it's helpful for people around you to know if that work is impactful or not, if that's something that they might be able to learn from for their own work, if that information might influence decisions that are coming up for those people. Also, it's a little bit of an act of empathy for your management team because if you think about how difficult it can be for you to sit down and think about every one of your accomplishments or the projects you've finished and the successes you've had over the last 12 months, imagine your people manager who might be managing four to 12 people on average. And so do you think that they just know off the top of their head the nuances of every single project? And even really great managers, they might not know those details, they're not on the receiving end of those feedback notes, or maybe they're not drilling into those results in the same level of detail.
                                                       So also you're making it easier for people in decision making positions in your group to understand here's why this was valuable and here's some of the buttons that this pushed. Like if we're looking at user adoption or we're looking at automation, whatever those goals are, it's really very helpful to have that information supplied to you in a tangible way. And so it's not about you, it's nice to your management, they'll be happy for it usually to have this summarized, and then it can help your peers. So I think that was a big thing. That was a mindset shift for me as well where I was like, "Oh, if we learned lessons along the way on this project and then we made these decisions to handle a project a certain way and it turned out well, we got positive feedback from it, I want to share that with my peers because they might be facing similar challenges or similar decisions and maybe that will help them determine what path to take and maybe I can save them a little bit of time or they can make more informed decisions.
                                                       For example, if you're on a team with multiple admins and you're getting all this really positive feedback and positive results from automating a particular part of your business or your business process, that's really important to share because there might be other groups, like you might have peer groups that are doing their work prioritization and they might say, "Oh, well we're getting so much positive feedback from automating stage five of this business process, maybe we should automate stage two as well because we see that there's a lot of momentum here." So I think there's a lot of reasons, but I think if you're sharing things in a way that are useful and genuine, I don't think people will look at you as, oh, you're bragging too much.
                                                       We call it a brag book a little bit jokingly. I think that that's really the tone of most workplaces now is you have to amplify your accomplishments. I think particularly if it's uncomfortable to do so, because probably if it's uncomfortable, it means you really need to do it. Because it probably means you don't naturally organically do it in the course of your work as much as maybe someone who is really, really comfortable amplifying themselves. And so if I could draw a little chart for you, there's probably an inverse relationship there of the more uncomfortable you are with it, means probably the more pressing this is for your career growth.

Gillian Bruce:                                         100%. And one thing that you said about helping, getting the feedback and sharing it with your peer groups to help them work better, it's also a way to shine light on others too, right? Because it's empathetic for your manager, it helps them understand all the great work you're doing, the impact you're having, but it's also a way to propel the work that other people you're working with are doing. Nobody works in a silo, so even if you're the only admin in your organization, you guarantee have partners. Maybe you got a super user who's just fantastic at helping you QA stuff. Maybe you've got an IT partner who is just always helping you figure out new ways to take advantage of different technologies or whatever. I mean, you've got partners that you work with, and so when you capture the story of a success, clearly it's work you did, but it's work that you did as a team.
                                                       And so it shines light on other people that maybe aren't used to capturing their work in that way either or aren't used to getting that light. So it's a really important thing to do. And I think, God, even as we're talking about this, I'm like, "Shoot, there are four things that I have not put in my own bag that are really important stories that I need to share," because to me it's always been about the impact. That's the biggest value that I've always had no matter what job I've done. Thankfully, my role here at Salesforce, I've been able to really feel like I am making an impact.
                                                       But when I tell the stories of the work that we've been doing and stuff that we've done together, LeeAnne, or the stuff that we've done as a broader team, focusing on the impact is really important, and that shining the light on others. And I think especially in a role as an admin, you have to demonstrate your impact. That is how you're going to get more resources, that's how you're going to get more support. That's how you're going to get more people bought into the solution that you're selling, because I guess you're selling it, right? You're selling it internally, but it's a really important thing to do. And I want people to share little pieces of their brag books. I want little tweets to-

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         I want everyone to brag online about what they're doing. No, I think that's such an important part is it's not just about you and it's about amplifying others too. I'll say as someone who wasn't initially comfortable and had to learn to do this, definitely one of the on ramps. And one of, to this day, my very favorite Slack posts are the ones where I get to go through and itemize all the great contributions that happened on a project and all of the people who were involved with it and what their contributions were. And so I think definitely building that bragging habit, it's not just about you, it's also being able to, like you said, shine a light on others and also be good to work with. I think there's a piece too. A lot of people aren't amplified enough at work and maybe don't get as much visibility for projects that they're working on.
                                                       I recently had a really wonderful opportunity to work with a team in the process of building the admin keynote that isn't normally involved with events and isn't normally involved with some of these projects that are on the event keynote visibility space where there is a lot of sharing and talking about those projects. And they really stepped up and they were just integral partners for a key component of that keynote. And they turned something around in a really amazing way in three days or something bananas. And it really warmed my heart to be able to do a special call out and special amplification of that team and the work that they had done when we were doing our wrap up thank yous and talking about the work different teams had contributed to Dreamforce. And I think that that's so important, and it's honestly the best part of working with peer groups, with internal partners.
                                                       It's, I think, one of my favorite parts is when you get to work with people on something that's maybe a new collaboration or a new project and really thank them for their work. When I was an admin, one of the things I would do is host a lot of lunch and learns and user adoption. I was trying to get everybody to use Salesforce, and so I was like, "Okay, we got to use Salesforce," This is 14 years ago. I'm like, "How can I get you to use Salesforce?" And we would do these lunch and learns and I started doing special little awards for the people who asked the most questions or would show how they were using it and just participate a lot. And I think I had a lunch gift card, my budget was $30. I had no budget for anything, but I would give them a little lunch thing, they'd win a lunch.
                                                       And I don't think they really cared about winning the lunch, it was the amplification of the project or the amplification of their participation. And it made other people want to participate. And I would highlight people when I would talk to our senior leadership and share with them the status of our Salesforce adoption programming that we had been working on. And it also made it better to work with us. It made more people want to participate in that. And I think you can't overstate how much recognition can do to help just build a positive workplace environment and make people want to participate with your projects.

Gillian Bruce:                                         100%, that's the other piece of this, is what are the results of building the brag book and sharing it is that people are going to want to work with you. People are going to trust you, people are going to want to be associated with stuff that you're working on because you are projecting that you are successful and that you are collaborative. And I think that's a really, really important element as well. So all in all, create a brag book.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         And I know we're coming off on time, but I want to share one last piece because you mentioned something really important about that confidence and that mindset. And I think it's about how building a brag book and building this habit and this muscle of how do I amplify my work and how do I document and then amplify my work? is so important for our career growth. It's important for how our peers work with us and view us and view working with us, but it's also really important for how we view ourselves. So I'm a big proponent, I very much believe in some of these science based tools for how you can influence your mindset. And one of the ways positive thinking truly does make a difference, I think it does impact how you show up every day. And there's many, many blogs and many, many podcasts and books on this topic.
                                                       But one of the areas that I think a brag book factors into it is really focusing on positive things like focusing on wins and areas that you've been successful, focusing on things that you feel like you did well. And I think building that muscle of not only logging them, like putting them into your slack channel, putting them into your document, but also having that to revisit. So I think if you are in a space where you have been creating this muscle of, okay, I'm going to track my wins, my accomplishments for myself, you don't have to keep it closed until it's time to do a performance review or project review. You can open that. Maybe you're looking down the runway at a project that's a little intimidating, or maybe you're going to try something that's really brand new to you. Maybe you're going to try a new project or start a new job or start taking on more responsibility, there is actual science that supports that if you sit down and you take time to reflect on those wins and on those times where you were in maybe a difficult project, a new project, a thing that was scary or new different, and you had these positive outcomes from it.
                                                       And there's always going to be things, there's always going to be lessons we learn. Of course, nothing is 100% perfect. We all should walk away from every project with our accomplishments and also the things that we learned for next time. But if you can take that time to sit and really focus on and reflect on those wins, those accomplishments, it really does help you build that positive mindset, which is very, very powerful. So, that positive self-talk, which many people, there's always that struggle between negative self-talk and positive self talk, so it's looking at, here's tangible evidence that I'm good at what I do. I did this thing that was scary and new and I did a good job and it impacted people positively and look at all this evidence.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah, you got to be your own hype person sometimes, right? It's a good natural way to get that little boost of confidence and that yes, you can do this, you can do this. And I know we have talked on the podcast and in the admin community for many years about the idea of imposter syndrome and really owning your skills and your abilities and going for things that you typically wouldn't. Building a brag book, to your point, LeeAnne is a great way, it's an asset in that it helps you overcome some of that and deal with those feelings a little bit better.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         It is evidence that you're good at your job. It is documentation and evidence and quantitative and qualitative real feedback that you did a thing that was... Many of us are often doing new things at work. So maybe it was a new thing, maybe it was a thing you've been working on for a while. You did a thing and there was positive outcomes from it and you did a good job.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. I love that. Well, I'm sure we could actually probably keep talking about this for hours, I think we have actually talked about this for hours in the past, you and I LeeAnne, but I think we shared some really good stuff today. The idea's a brag book and then what were your three elements that help you overcome, get used to building the brag book muscle? It was what? Pop quiz, end of the podcast.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         I came up with it in the moment. I think one is, it's not about you. So de-center yourself from thinking about what it means to document accomplishments of the work you've been doing, which sounds weird, but it works.

Gillian Bruce:                                         Yeah. Focus on the impact.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         Focus on the impact, yeah. And then the second is it's very helpful to your leadership team. It's something that your leadership probably needs you to do and wants you to do, whether or not they know to have asked you. Oh, and if there's any people leaders listening, tell your people to make a brag book. And then three is it's a chance to help your peers, your colleagues, because you're sharing things that worked and you're sharing maybe things that you all figured out on a project or things that had a significant positive impact. So it can maybe help people that you work without if they're trying to make a decision.

Gillian Bruce:                                         And then people are going to want to play with you. They're going to want to work on stuff with you, so it's all good. Awesome. Well, leeAnne, thank you so much for joining us today on the podcast. I really appreciate you sharing, you bragging about your brag book skills.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         [inaudible].

Gillian Bruce:                                         Awesome. Well, thank you so much.

LeeAnne Rimel:                                         Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce:                                         All thanks as always to LeeAnne for joining us on the podcast. I could talk to her forever. In fact, I do on a daily basis, if you couldn't tell. Really great discussion about how to create your own brag book. Hopefully you heard some things that help inspire you to capture your successes and the impact that you're having in the work that you do. And if you need any help with that, feel free to reach out to myself or LeeAnne, we will gladly help coach you on how to do that better. But I wanted to take a moment and make a shout out. Thank you to Mark Jones on Twitter who actually commented on LeeAnne's original thread about this saying, "Hey, this sounds like it'd make a good podcast. What do you think?" Well, thank you, Mark. We just made a podcast. I hope you like it.
                                                       As always, if you want to learn anything else about being an awesome admin, you can visit my favorite website, admin.salesforce.com, where you can find blogs, you can find product pages, you can find more videos, and of course, other podcasts. You can join the fun on Twitter using #awesomeadmin and follow us @SalesforceAdmns. You can find LeeAnne on Twitter @leeanndroid. You can find myself @gilliankbruce, and you can find my co-host, Mike Gerholdt @MikeGerholdt. Hope you have a fantastic rest of your day, rest of your evening, rest of your morning, whenever you're listening to this, and I will catch you next time in the Cloud.



Direct download: Build_Your_Brag_Book_with_LeeAnne_Rimel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Kathy Baxter, Principal Architect, and Rob Katz, VP of Product Management, both in the Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology at Salesforce.

 

Join us as we talk about data ethics, AI ethics, what it all means for admins, and why responsible AI and data management protect the bottom line.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Rob Katz and Kathy Baxter.

With great power comes great responsibility

We brought Rob and Kathy on the pod because they work in the Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology at Salesforce. They’re there to work on questions around data ethics and AI ethics. In practice, they set up systems and processes that make it as easy as possible to do the right thing and as difficult as possible to do the wrong thing.

 

While these issues are important to us here at Salesforce in terms of thinking about the platform we create, they’re also fundamental to everything you do as an admin. We become capable of more and more with each new release, but we have to make sure we use that power responsibly in a way that builds trust with customers. 

Thinking through data ethics

So, what are data ethics? “They’re guideposts about the gathering, protection, and use of personally identifiable information,” Rob says. Many services these days use your data to deliver personalized experiences. It makes sense, however, that users should have some measure of control over how much information they’re sharing and transparency on how it’s being used. Data ethics is putting those principals into action. As Rob explains, it’s “applied privacy by design.”

 

This is important because, over the past few years, we’ve moved from a world of data scarcity to a world of data surplus. It’s become less about how we can get more data, and more about how we can get the right data. It’s all about decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio.

 

For example, if someone signs up for your birthday promotion, you may also end up with their birth year when all you needed was the month and day to send them a “happy birthday” email. And while that might not seem like such a big deal, it could inadvertently lead to some creepy behavior from your organization when you start segmenting your list by age, target them based on that information, and the customer doesn’t know how you know that about them. An understanding of data ethics helps you focus on only collecting the information you need, and make a decision about keeping it, restricting it, or discarding it when you’re finished.

How AI ethics enters the picture

You also have to think through how your automations and algorithms work within that framework, which is where AI ethics comes in. This comes down to asking questions to determine if you’re using data responsibly: Are you collecting data that is representative of everyone your AI system is going to impact? Did you get consent for collecting this information in the first place? If your AI makes money off of other people’s data, how do you pay them back fairly? “All of those things are necessary to create responsible AI that works for everyone,” Kathy says.

 

Even if regulations like the EU AI Act don’t apply to your industry, there is a good chance that you could lose revenue, customers, and employees if you aren’t thinking about data ethics and how to create AI responsibly. A recent DataRobot survey, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, found that 36% of companies had suffered losses due to AI bias in one or several algorithms. “Good, responsible AI is good business,” Kathy says.

 

Our guests also pointed us to some great resources you can go through right after listening to the podcast, including a Trailmix. This episode is absolutely jam-packed with smart people talking about important topics, so make sure to listen to the full episode.

 

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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 this week we are taking the awesome level up a few notches, let me tell you. So we are at two guests on the pod and I'm excited for both of these. These people are so incredibly intelligent and thoughtful and I'm so glad they're in the world. Kathy Baxter, you may remember, she's a returning guest. She is the principal architect in the office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology here at Salesforce. And also joining us is Rob Katz, who is the VP of Product Management of the Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology.
                                                       Folks, we're talking data ethics. We're talking AI ethics. Don't turn this off. This is stuff that falls in our bailiwick's admins. This is stuff that we need to pay attention to. This is stuff that we will clearly have an impact on as we build more and more apps that collect more and more data. Wait until you hear how much data will be collected from Rob and the amount of information and things we need to think through that Kathy brings to light.
                                                       It's a fun conversation and I did close it by having them give you one thing you should do next. I'm going to do these things right now. I think they're so incredibly helpful. I hope you enjoy this episode. I really had a great time. I love to have Kathy back on and teaser, you will find out about a podcast episode that will come out in February. So I'm just going to leave that hangout there because let's get Kathy and Rob on the podcast. So Kathy and Rob, welcome to the podcast.

Kathy Baxter:                                          Thank you for having me.

Rob Katz:                                              Thanks for having us.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         It's great. Kathy, we've had you back. Rob, first time guest, longtime listener. I'll just say because that's like always the first thing people want to get out of the way when they're on a podcast. But that being said, I'm actually going to start off with you, Rob, because we're talking a whole lot about data ethics and data and ethical AI. But let's lay that first foundation and talk about data ethics. So can you start by telling us what you mean by that term data ethics?

Rob Katz:                                              Sure. Thanks Mike, and thanks for having me. So I get this question a lot. What is data ethics? They're guideposts about the gathering, protection and use of personally identifiable information. So that's practically speaking about transparency and control over data that consumers that we share with companies and organizations about ourselves in return for personalized experiences. And when it comes to data ethics, more and more the onus is on an organization to handle data that they have about their stakeholders, whether those are consumers or other folks that they need to handle that data ethically, because we as users are overwhelmed with all these opt outs and privacy and preference centers and cookie consents. So data ethics in a nutshell is applied privacy by design.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Got you. Okay. Now before we jump into how that applies to Salesforce, Kathy, can you help us understand this in the context of AI?

Kathy Baxter:                                          Absolutely. You can't have AI ethics without data ethics. Data ethics is the foundation. And in terms of AI, that includes making sure that you are collecting data that are representative of everyone that your AI system is going to impact. It also means getting consent. We've seen too many different AI models that are built on data that was simply scraped off the web. And whether it's an artist or a writer, that their content that may be protected under copyright or simply wasn't intended to be scraped and fueling an AI is indeed doing just that. And by scraping the data off the web, you're probably also capturing a whole lot of toxicity and bias.
                                                       So how we treat data, how we collect it, how we get consent and pay people back for the data that they have paid to power the AI, that now companies are making lots of money off of how we label it. All of those things really matter. So first and foremost, we need to ensure that we have good data, that it's representative, that it was ethically collected, and that it is identified for systemic bias, toxicity, and quality. All of those things are necessary to create responsible AI that works for everyone.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         So I started there because I think this is so fundamental. So for even people like me that have been in the ecosystem, we think of all of those different bots and ways that we used to, as you said, Kathy. I remember thinking and being in sales meetings with the sales managers like, "Well, how do we just scrape LinkedIn for a whole bunch of lead information?" So that leads me a little bit to talking in the context of Salesforce, but before we talk of the context of Salesforce, help me and everyone understand the office of ethical and humane use of technology, because that's where both of you sit. And to me it feels, wow, this is such an important part of what Salesforce is devoting it's time to. So help me understand that office's purpose. And that'll set the tone maybe for where we're headed today.

Rob Katz:                                              Kathy, do you want to take that one? It's your Salesforce anniversary after all today.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Oh, it is. Congrats on your Salesforce anniversary or Salesforce anniversary as we call it.

Kathy Baxter:                                          Yeah. Today is seven years. It's fantastic. One of the things that really attracted me to Salesforce in the first place was the company's stance on issues of social justice and pay equity and a recognition that we are part of the broader community and society. And what we create in the world isn't just about giving value back to shareholders, but it's what are we putting out in the world and our values of trust and customer success and equality and now sustainability. All of that has created a culture that when Marc announced that we would be an AI first company in 2016, and I started asking questions about ethics and how do we make sure that we are building our chat bots responsibly, that we don't create a chat bot that spews hate and disinformation. How do we make sure that we are giving our customers the tools they need to use our AI responsibly.
                                                       In 2016, there was a lot of head nodding, like, "Yeah, those are good questions." And then in 2016, I had pitched this as a role to our then chief scientist, Richard Socher, and he pitched it to Marc Benioff and they were both like, "Yeah, this is what we totally need." And at the same time, Marc said, "We also need an office. We need a chief ethical use officer." And the hunt began, and Paula Goldman was hired to become our chief ethical and humane use officer. So this is really about creating not just a culture, because I think the culture has been here, but creating the practice and the awareness and putting the processes in place that enable our teams to make it as easy as possible to do the right thing and as difficult as possible to do the wrong thing.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         That's really good. So Rob, can you help us put that a little bit more into context? I think Kathy set you up there, but Salesforce as a company, we need to pay attention to this. There's also Salesforce as a platform.

Rob Katz:                                              Absolutely. So as a platform, how are we building the platform and shipping it? And then how are we helping our ecosystem configure it in a way that it's easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing? And that is what Kathy and I do on a day-to-day basis with our technical teams and our product teams, our design teams, and increasingly with our systems integrators and ISV partners and folks on the app exchange and yes admins and data specialists and users. Because how the product and how the Salesforce platform is used as you know, is highly configurable. So let's work together to ensure that we're using it in line with these best practices and principles.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Totally makes sense. And I think for a lot of us, it's a big platform. Well, it's easy to think marketing and I think you actually use that. These opt out forms gathers a lot of data. So as we continue the fall from 30,000 feet, we know that data ethics is a good foundation. Let's set that tone for, I'm an admin sitting here listening to this, and I want to start good data ethics in my organization. Kathy, I'm going to get to you because then this is going to help me lead to building AI that's being ethical. What are some of the questions or some of the areas that the admin should start thinking about in terms of asking questions or red flags they should as they're building apps?

Rob Katz:                                              So when it comes to data ethics, it's important to remember that Salesforce will build a single source of truth to help you connect with your customers. And you were talking about how the world has evolved and now the current state of the world in terms of data, I would argue has shifted. And we see that in statistics as we heard from Bret on the Dreamforce main stage in the keynote, Bret Taylor, the average company has 976 IT systems and their data are going to double again by 2026. So we have moved from a world of data scarcity where every single data point to go and scrape LinkedIn to get sales leads was a good idea in the past, because we were in a data scarcity world. We're now in a data surplus world and in a data surplus world, we as admins need to think a little differently.
                                                       We need to think less about how can I go get more data and then cross my fingers and hope that I can make sense of it? And rather, how can I get the right data? How can I get the right signal to noise ratio? Because when you have too much data and you have a bad signal to noise ratio, you can have unintended consequences or unexpected creepy outcomes. So I'll give you an example. When you are trying to run a birthday promotion, let's say, and you want to connect with your consumers whose birthday it is or even whose birth month it is and say, "Hey, happy birthday. We'd like to send you a free..." I'm going to say free coffee because I'm in Seattle and there's a little local coffee shop here that likes to give me a free drink on my birthday.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I mean, free coffee, can't turn that down.

Rob Katz:                                              Never. So I'm opting in, I'm saying, "Yeah. Love my free coffee, here's my email address, here's my birthday." Now the form, admin, we're setting up the form. What do you need there? You need month, you might need day if you want to do it specifically on that person's birthday. And the way you set it up typically would be.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Wait, hang on.

Rob Katz:                                              Go ahead.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I'm an aggressive admin, why don't I put month a year?

Rob Katz:                                              Well, so there you go. Well, now you know exactly how old I am and I'm not too particular about that. But when you bring in year, you don't need it for that birthday promotion. You just need month and day. When you bring year in, you've now captured data about somebody that can indicate how old they are. And as a result, when those data are later used for other things like segmentation of an ad audience or in a machine learning model, it can lead to potential age discrimination creeping in to the predictions that are made or to the segmentation that's created. And that is an application of data ethics. Take what you need, not what you can. Take what you need and you get a better signal to noise ratio and you can still deliver a great birthday promotion without needing to get their year.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         It's just so ingrained that when you say, "Give me a date," it's month, day, year, or was it day, month, year in Europe because it's has how we're trained. Even the little calendar field, when you create a date field in Salesforce, it includes year, I think. So wow. Things to think about.

Kathy Baxter:                                          And now the challenge with this, the corollary on AI ethics, if we want to do an analysis to see is there the potential of bias in my model on a protected group. Am I making bias decisions based on age? Because you might not have collected year, but maybe there's another proxy in there. For example, maybe the year you graduated college or the year you first started working, or how many years of industry experience you have. It's difficult to do fairness assessments if you don't have that data.
                                                       So in some cases, companies may decide that they do want to collect that data because they explicitly want to do fairness and bias assessments on those fields. But they put it behind ales and only the say, fairness and ethics data scientist can actually see those fields and can actually use them when modeling. And they're only used to be able to do fairness assessments. They're not used to make predictions. So to just underline what Rob was saying about take what you need, be mindful. There may be cases where there's a sensitive variable that you want to collect, but handle it with extreme care and know exactly what you're going to do with it and put barriers around it so that it's not going to be used in unfair and unsafe ways.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         It's like we were meant to podcast together, Kathy, because I was literally turning to you to think of, so we're collecting this data and we're trying to do right, but now I want to turn some of our AI onto it. Marketing's asking me, "Well, help me understand if targeting these promotions on to maybe to Rob's point the day of their birthday versus just any day in that month is helping me. But one thing maybe I didn't pick up was that I'm picking up on year." So when we're building our ai, what are some things that we need to think about if maybe we're walking in and this data is already being collected?

Kathy Baxter:                                          I think there are so many customers or companies that they really don't know, again, going back to Rob's point, there's so much data that they have. They don't even necessarily know all of the data that they have going back years, decades. And if they just are turning the bucket upside down and dumping all of this data into a model and telling AI, "Hey, find something for me." AI will find something for you. It could be spur correlations, it could be very biased patterns in your data. You don't know what you might get from it. So being exceedingly mindful about what are those variables that you are using.
                                                       And you mentioned about marketing campaigns, we recommend actually that you don't make marketing or targeted advertising decisions simply based on demographics. That's the tendency you market makeup towards women and dresses towards women but we have increasing numbers of people who identify as male who really like makeup. And we also have people that are not on the binary gender spectrum. So how do you target your ads at the people who would really like to see those makeup ads? You don't waste your dollars on the individuals that have no interest in it. Just because they identify as female, it's not a guarantee that they're going to want makeup.
                                                       So by creating trust with your customers and not relying on third party cookies that at some point are going to disappear, you're not going to be able to depend on those massive data brokers that have been hoovering up data and making predictions about you. You're going to have to build trust with your customers to give you that first party data. What are you clicking on? What are you searching on? But also zero party data. Can you get trust to give a form to your customers and have them indicate, "I like makeup. Here are my skincare woes. These are the types of things that I'm looking for in my skincare regime." If you can build that trust and demonstrate value and give people control over their data, you're going to be able to make much more accurate targeting decisions. So not only does it give you value, but you're going to give value back to your customers.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         So far, you've done a really good job of giving me examples that I feel aren't inside of a heavily regulated industry because I do feel like the awareness in regulated industries is there for things. But not every executive that an admin works for or takes requirements from is in a regulated industry. So how do we help them understand red flags, especially around building an ethical AI, Kathy?

Kathy Baxter:                                          Yeah. I have heard unfortunately more than once from executives or admins at other companies say, "I'm not in a regulated industry or I'm not creating high risk AI that would fall under the definition that the proposed EU AI ACT has said will be regulated or has these additional requirements. So why should I care?" No one wants to make bias decisions but if an exec isn't convinced that they need to invest in responsible AI, especially in these difficult financial times where cutting costs and making sure that you make as much money as possible becomes really, really critical. It's going to be difficult for an admin to try to convince them that they should invest in this.
                                                       So what I would say to an admin, if they really wanted to convince their executives after listening to this podcast that this is something they should be investing in, I would say that good responsible AI is good business. And just to give you a couple of stats for our listeners, I would recommend they take a look at a survey that was published at the beginning of this year. It was done by DataRobot in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
                                                       They found out of 350 companies they surveyed in the US and UK executives and IT decision makers, they found that 36% of those companies had suffered losses due to AI bias in one or several algorithms. And of those 62% had lost revenue, 61% had lost customers, 43% had lost employees, and 35% had incurred legal fees from litigation. So even if there isn't a particular regulation that applies to your AI, if you aren't thinking about data ethics and how to create AI responsibly, there is a good chance that you could lose revenue, customers and employees.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Well, my ears perked up and I think we've done... I feel bad because sometimes the podcast train runs over marketers a lot because we love to point fingers at the cookies, which by the way, kudos, whoever came up with that idea of calling it a cookie. But Rob, I would love because when we were talking about this podcast, you mentioned something that made me abrupt face and it's around some of our other industries like sales and service. Can you help me understand data ethics that maybe haven't peaked our interest? Because we're not thinking, well, marketers are collecting all this stuff with their forms and AI, but you brought up a few use cases around sales and service that I hadn't thought of.

Rob Katz:                                              Well, thanks. So let's talk about field service technicians as an example. So someone's using Salesforce field service to manage their fleet of folks who are out there in the flesh doing field service appointments for customers, maybe servicing cable boxes, HVAC units, handling updates on security systems, installing new dishwashers, you name it. Well, what do you know about how those folks use data in order to do their jobs? Well, one thing they might have in the system is their next appointments gate code or key code for the building or something like that so that they can get in and do the work.
                                                       Well, how about we set a deletion period so that those gate codes or key codes, especially for one time appointments like you're getting a new dishwasher installed, are automatically deleted because we don't need my gate code, my lockbox code stored in a Salesforce system for anyone to see forever because that is a breach of my private information potentially and it's a risk. On the other hand, you may want to keep that information handy if you're doing a recurring service appointment like landscaping.
                                                       So it's about how you think about data and whether it should be retained or deleted and who should have access to it. And these are all things that you can do inside of the system using things like field level security and audits. And you can handle time to live and automatic deletion as well.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Wow. You're right. I hadn't actually thought of that. That does make me think about all those companies now that... I mean, my garage door has a code to it and there's been a few times I've had service people come by, "Well, just give me your code. Yeah, no, not going to do that because I mostly forget how to change the code and then you forget the code. But also I don't need it lingering around in your system."

Rob Katz:                                              Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Exactly. Good point. Rob and Kathy, as we wrap up, we've literally scratched the surface on this. I think I've talked to both of you for a long time and I find all of this so compelling to understand because it's something that admins work with every single day and it's also expands the level of responsibility that we have. It's one more question to ask, but it's one more question in the right direction. And Kathy, as you pointed out of keeping customers and keeping employees, the one thing that I would ask for each of you, and I always bring this up to a lot of the people that I coach for presentations. So you're done listening to this podcast. Kathy, what is the next thing you would love for a Salesforce admin to do?

Kathy Baxter:                                          I think there are a couple of really easy things that they can do. We have a white paper on ethical AI maturity model. This walks through how we actually stood up our ethical AI practice at Salesforce and I validated it with my peers at a number of other companies who have had similar ethical AI, responsible AI responsible innovation, insert your favorite name here practice. And they validated, yes. This also looks similar to how we stood up our practice. So that's something that a Salesforce admin or others at the company could take a look at and see how might we apply this to our company? We have a number of Trailheads and Trailmixes that we can put onto the episode description for them to check out.
                                                       But I would also encourage them to, if they are trying to convince an executive this is something that we need to do, equal AI has a responsible governance of AI badge program that is specifically targeted to executives. It's not how to build AI, it's not how to do bias assessments and mitigation. This is for executives of what should you look for to be on a lookout of, is your company building or implementing AI responsibly? In full transparency, I'm a board member for equal AI and I'm one of the instructors for the program. So I'm biased in that recommendation but nevertheless, I wouldn't be involved if I didn't think that this was a good use of executives time to help stand up responsible AI practices at their company.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Yeah. Rob, same question. So I'm an admin, I just finished this. I'm excited, I want to go dive in. What would be the first thing you would want me to do tomorrow?

Rob Katz:                                              Ask yourself whether you can but whether you should when it comes to that field, when it comes to that new object, when it comes to how you're configuring those requirements that you got. And if you want to learn a little bit more practically and tactically about it from an ethical personalization and trusted marketing perspective, we will link to a Trailmix in the show notes that can give you some very specific do's and don'ts and suggestions. But for anyone, regardless of whether you're working on marketing or not, it's just because you can, doesn't mean you should. And in a world of data surplus, actually now less is more. And that is a new way to think about it that I hope is helpful.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Very helpful and I appreciate that. Kathy, it was great to have you back again as a guest. I hope we make this a little more frequent than every few years.

Kathy Baxter:                                          Yes, I would like that very much.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         And Rob, it was great to have you on. The virtual podcast door is always open, if you'd like to come back and help admins become better at data ethics, we would appreciate that.

Rob Katz:                                              It was great to be here. And as a preview, we have a new feature coming out in the February release and I would love to talk about it with you on the podcast as we're getting closer.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         I love that. When a guest puts you on the spot, that I got to book. So I guess we're going to book you now. Look for that episode coming out in February. It's going to be awesome. Don't know what it's going to be called but Rob will be the guest.

Rob Katz:                                              Awesome. Thanks Mike.

Mike Gerholdt:                                         Thank you both.
                                                       So it was great having Kathy back. See, I told you it was a fun discussion and I promise you, I bet you weren't thinking along the same lines about sales and service having data ethics in the same way that some of the marketing stuff was, because that example caught me off guard too. Totally makes sense though, and I'm glad they were on to help us be better humans. There is a ton of resources in the show notes. So when you're back and you're not driving or you're not walking your dog, or you're not running, I know that's what a lot of you do. Click on this when you're back in your house and you're in front of your computer or you're on your phone, and go through some of those resources. Boy, that Trailmix is super helpful in understanding.
                                                       And of course we have a ton of resources for everything Salesforce admin, if you just go to admin.salesforce.com, you can find those there. Of course, I linked all the resources that Rob and Kathy talked about in the show notes. And of course there's a full transcript there as well. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns on Twitter. And of course my co-host Gillian Bruce is on Twitter. You can give her a follow, @GillianKBruce. And while you're over there, you can send me a tweet, give me a follow. I am at @MikeGerholdt. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Data_Ethics_and_AI_for_Admins_with_Rob_Katz_and_Kathy_Baxter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for October.

Join us as we review the top product, community, and careers content for October, take a look back at Dreamforce, and share our favorite things about Fall.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Learn MOAR

The Learn MOAR Trailmix is live and, if you complete it from now through Nov 30, 2022, you’ll unlock a community badge and be entered to win 1 of 5 Cert Vouchers- see link and Learn MOAR page for all the details. Get up to speed with the upcoming release!

Dreamforce highlights

We did a little thing in September we like to call Dreamforce. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Mike hosted the Admin Keynote and it was amazing. Gillian was working on a lot of the broadcast stuff and interviewed Jennifer Hudson and Kara Swisher. It was a whirlwind of excitement, information, and celebration, with a little bit of Admin Karaoke thrown in for good measure.

Blog highlights from October

There was a lot of quality content in October, but we wanted to highlight David Giller’s excellent post about how to make a career change to Salesforce Administration. The biggest thing is to in there and try to do things on platform. “That transitioning of your career can be big and scary,” Gillian says, “but if you just start chipping away at it, it becomes a lot easier.”

Video highlights from October

LeeAnne Rimel has been hard at work in the Expert Corner, and her video with Adam White about screen flows is chock-full of helpful tips. Adam came from the community: he was such a Flownatic that he was eventually hired to product manage it. There have been so many innovations with screen flows that this video goes over so you really can’t miss it.

Podcast highlights from October

If you haven’t listened yet, we had one of our favorite guests on to talk about one of our favorite topics. Domenique Buxton is the creative force behind Cloudy, Astro, SaaSy, and the rest of the cast of Salesforce characters you know and love. In September, we also did a special podcast on the story of the #AwesomeAdmin movement that we think is really special.

Just for fun

Mike and Gillian also talk seasonal drinks and some fun facts about Fall.

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jennifer Cole, Manager of the CRM & Analytics Team at 908 Devices.

Join us as we talk about business processes, Jennifer’s latest presentation at Dreamforce, and why it’s so important to understand everything about a problem process before you try to implement a solution.

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

Admins are problem solvers

Jennifer swapped to a smaller company in order to make bigger decisions about how the Salesforce ecosystem there would be run, and she’s had the opportunity to hire her own team of Awesome Admins to support that vision. “I’m glad I like hats because I wear a lot of them,” she says, “but I think, as an admin, everything we touch is problem-solving.”

For her Dreamforce presentation, Jennifer focused on what she did when her company came to her to improve their order entry process. And while she was approached by people who wanted specific things fixed about it, she knew from experience that she needed to broaden her perspective. One technique she uses is to start from the initial request and find out who that person is chasing and asking them the same questions about their process, and then the person they chase, and so on. That way, she captures the entire business process and all of the problems that need solving to make it run more smoothly.

When roadblocks aren’t actually roadblocks

One question that Mike raised on the pod is what to do when it seems like a big obstacle to teams working together is that one business unit simply isn’t on Salesforce. “That can be a false roadblock,” Jennifer says, “I know that’s often what admins hear but I don’t see it as a dead end.”

Often, those teams are curious about how moving their process into the system can streamline everything and plug into the powerful automation and analytics tools Salesforce has to offer. The key is to convince them that you can do things to make what they’re already doing better, rather than coming from the angle that what they’re doing is wrong.

Why understanding the problem makes solving it easy

In Jennifer’s talk, she went over how Flow and MuleSoft Composer helped her make big changes to her organization’s business processes. But how did she get there? The first step was to chart out the problem she was trying to solve in a more detailed way. “Think about the entire workflow and the elements needed for success,” Jennifer says, “and if those elements have a risk of not being there or not being complete they become a section of the problem that I have to also solve to make the whole process work.”

While it’s an important first step, understanding the problem is only part of the process of actually solving it. You need to decide what will be your “source of truth” for each record, even if that’s in different systems for different pieces of information. “It’s a slow process but once you have that down, identifying the tools and the way the data moves becomes the easiest part of all of this,” Jennifer says.

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Direct download: Solving_Business_Problems_with_Composer_and_Flow_with_Jennifer_Cole.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Domenique Buxton, Executive Creative Director for the Trailblazer Ecosystem and Trailhead Brand at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about the history of the colorful cast of Salesforce characters and where you can find some “Hidden Saasys.”

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

A new galaxy of Salesforce characters

Domenique’s title is a bit of a mouthful these days, so she usually prefers to just say she’s Astro’s mom. But if you want to know the real history of Salesforce characters and mascots, you have to start with SaaSy. For those that didn’t get a chance to behold them in all their beauty, they were a “no software” symbol with arms and legs. “If it wasn’t for SaaSy, we wouldn’t have any of the other characters,” Domenique says, and you need to understand that SaaSy could dance.

In 2014, Domenique was helping plan Developer Week. They always tried to make these events fun and that year, they decided they were going into space. Salesforce1 had just been released and it felt like new galaxies were out there waiting to be explored. And so, a charismatic astronaut named Astro was born, but as Salesforce changed so did their outfit: a racecar driver for Lightning, a raccoon for Trailhead, and it wasn’t long before Astro had some friends.

When a brand is like a hug

“The characters are like a big brand hug,” Domenique says, “all the characters want to help and be there for you to light the way. The characters are like beacons where they’re shining lights on ways to move forward.” The characters in many ways are essential because they make Salesforce feel more welcoming like you can do anything, and that there’s a community there to support you and have fun along the way.

As Domenique says, creating a character for each role is all about celebrating purpose: why we do what we do and shining a light on all the fantastic makers that comprise the Salesforce community. “The characters’ journey has been towards purpose, and their purpose is to help you unlock yours,” she says.

Crouching Astro, hidden SaaSy

If you have sharp eyes, you may have noticed something familiar in Salesforce creative content over the years. Domenique and her team loves putting in some “Hidden SaaSys” whenever they get the chance. The rims on Astro’s moped, for example. “It’s an Easter egg, but it’s also a nod to where we’ve come from,” she says.

One thing that might be on the horizon is an in-person Cloudy appearance. The thing is: we need your help. Make some noise on Twitter and let the world know that the people are crying out to meet Cloudy. “Cloudy is the secret sauce,” Domenique says, “she knows everything about the cloud and makes the whole thing work.”

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Direct download: A_Brief_History_of_Salesforce_Characters_with_Domenique_Buxton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Marti Pirkle, Director of Commercial Systems at Cloudmed, and Lisa King, Marketing Automation Manager at Experity.

Join us as we round out our Best of Dreamforce series with a look at their Dreamforce presentation about how to migrate two orgs seamlessly.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Marti Pirkle and Lisa King.

When two become one.

We thought that Marti and Lisa put together an amazing session for Dreamforce ‘22, “No-Code Solution for Day 1 — Share Faster to Migrate Smarter” The talk is based on their experiences sharing data between two orgs and what prep work they did before Day One that enabled get the new org started without a hitch.

This all started in the Spring, when Marti found out that Lisa’s company was going to be purchasing her company. “We were tasked with making sure we could see all the information of each Salesforce org on day one of the acquisition,” Marti says, and so they needed to come together and make a plan so they could hit the ground running.

Working around NDAs

One of the biggest challenges that Marti and Lisa faced was the fact that, before the merger, there were NDAs in place that limited what information they could share with each other. They only had eight weeks to make a plan and execute on it, but they couldn’t send files or data back and forth.

“Luckily, we both knew we were in the same industry, we were both in the healthcare space, and we found out that we shared a commonality, an external database called Definitive Healthcare,” Lisa says. They could also talk about the metadata and structure of their orgs, which enabled them to get a lot done even with the restrictions they were dealing with.

No code, no problem

Obviously, Lisa and Marti had to become fast friends. However, they also developed more than a few tips and tricks to same themselves time and hassle along the way. They created a quick system for sharing small, tweet-sized updates between client success teams on the page for each account. That made them easily reportable, inline editable and show up in list views. “When they saw the information being reciprocated, that’s when the lightbulb went off for people,” Marti says, “now, I don’t have to call someone, I just know.”

Their data merger was so successful that it was actually Lisa and Marti’s managers that pushed them to turn their experience into a presentation and pitch it to Dreamforce. And even more amazingly, they did it without code. “I am a developer, I love to write code, but we did this without code,” Lisa says, and no middleware. They used formulas, flows, and all the other tools available to everybody in Salesforce, and didn’t have to issue licenses or do training in each other’s orgs. Instead, everyone could just see the data they needed to see in the org they were trained on and comfortable with.

Listen to the full podcast for more tips on the power of Flow and why Marti and Lisa are both major Flownatics, as well as what it’s like to put together a Dreamforce presentation.

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Direct download: Best_of_Dreamforce__Migrate_Smarter_with_Marti_Pirkle_and_Lisa_King.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Louise Lockie, Salesforce Consultant, and Trainer and 6x Salesforce MVP.

Join us as we talk about her amazing presentation from Dreamforce about how to embrace a permission-set-led security model in your org.

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

Everything you need to know about Permission Sets

We last heard from Louise back in 2016, after she gave a presentation for Dreamforce ‘16. And sure enough, we’ve brought her back on the pod to give us an overview of her killer presentation this year: “Embracing a Permission Set Led Security Model.” 

As Louise points out, Salesforce recently made a very important announcement: that they are going to be sunsetting permissions on profiles sometime in the near future. “Whenever a change like that comes out, we know we need to help the community and the community needs to help each other to get through this change,” she says. Louise is a big fan of permissions for heping to manage security in her org, so she put together her talk to share how she’s approaching the upcoming changes.

An easier approach to permissions

In her talk, Louise will cover what at the moment has to stay on a profile, what she thinks will definitely stay on a profile even after the change, and what she recommends for a baseline standard profile in terms of managing security.

When you’ve got it properly deployed, permissions will make it so much easier to standardize things like your password policies, login hours, IP ranges, and more. From there, it’s simple to take advantage of permission set groups to build out what you need for each persona at your org.

Why it’s worth it to overhaul your permissions

Louise has been a big advocate for permission set groups since 2019 purely to save time and clicks, but it had always been something that was nice to have and not necessarily something that was absolutely essential. This new approach affords you more flexibility than building out one big permission set, allowing you to more easily share capabilities across roles and also adjust things quickly when the need arises.

If you have hundreds of profiles on your org, you now have the opportunity to really look at where the commonalities are and simplify things a great deal. “Map it all out, capture what permissions you’re giving out, and then see how you want to break those out,” Louise says, “with permission set groups being where you want to commonly give out those permissions together, knowing you can still give them out separately.”

Listen to the whole episode to learn more and, if you lead a User Group and want to bring this content to your people, Louise would be happy to get in touch about sharing her deck of even doing a virtual presentation, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce:
Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we are coming at you with a Best of Dreamforce episode. I know that many listeners may not have been able to make it to Dreamforce, or even if you did, you didn't get to go to all the sessions that you wanted. So we've pulled some of the best sessions, in my opinion, to share with you on the podcast. So today joining us is Louise Lockie, who has put together an amazing presentation about how to embrace a permission set led security model. Now, Louise is a longtime rockstar in the Salesforce community. She was last on the podcast I think in 2016 as we were preparing for that Dreamforce, because she had another great presentation that she had put together for that. So Louise is joining us from across the pond. And so without further ado, let's welcome Louis back to the podcast.

Gillian Bruce:
Louise, welcome back to the podcast.

Louise Lockie:
Thanks, Gillian. It has been a long time, so I'm thrilled to be back.

Gillian Bruce:
Every six years we'll just keep having you back on the podcast. How about that?

Louise Lockie:
I'll hold you to that one. It's a date.

Gillian Bruce:
There we go. Well, I wanted to have you on the podcast today, Louise, because you have put together a great session for Dreamforce this year and I wanted to bring that to our listeners. So can you talk to us a little bit about an overview of your session?

Louise Lockie:
Sure, yeah, absolutely. And I'm really pleased to got selected for Dreamforce. It is called Embrace a Permission Set Led Security Model. How's that for a nice, long name? But it's actually one that I delivered at Midwest Streaming and it went down so well and I got so much great interaction with the audience there and the questions, and I know it's such a hot topic, so I am really pleased to be presenting it at Dreamforce this year in a breakout, which gives me lots of time to get into the detail.

Gillian Bruce:
So many details to get into, right? We're talking about security model and hey, permission sets are the future. So talk to us a little bit about some of the top things that you're going to be getting into in the session.

Louise Lockie:
Yeah, well I am going to be a reminding people that if they don't know, that Salesforce is going to be sun setting permissions on profiles. And that's a bit of a big announcement. Whenever a change that comes out, we know we need to help the community and the community need to help each other to get through this change. And I really did shout from the rooftops when this one was officially best practice, because I've been a massive fan of using permission sets instead of profiles. Let me correct that because we can't lose profiles, we can't get away from them completely, but I use them as the principle driving and the principle means of granting access in my org.

Louise Lockie:
So with that announcement coming from Salesforce that this is somewhere in the future, we don't know exactly when yet, I wanted to talk to fellow admins about how I approach making this change and preparing for this change so that they can do the same. So I talk about what, at the moment, has to stay on a profile because there are some things that aren't yet available on permission sets. What I envisage will stay on a profile, and as I'm a community member, I don't work for Salesforce, I can make those statements because I'm just saying, "This is what I think." Rather than, "This is what I know." And of course, it's a Dreamforce presentation. There'll be forward looking statements, safe harbors mentioned there.

Louise Lockie:
And what I then will talk about is that, once you've got your baseline profiles, and I talk about my recommendation of having, of course, the system admin profile because we need those keys to our org, we need to have all that access, and then having a standard profile for our users. And that is just to give those permissions, things like the password policies, like the maybe login hours that are going to stay on profiles, IP ranges.

Louise Lockie:
So that super, super basic level on a profile that all of your users get. And then you really utilize the permission sets and permission set groups to build out the persona-based access. And I talk about doing that sort of role persona-based for permission set and permission set groups. And then additionally features, because we all know that you can be almost the same persona, you can have two colleagues in one team, but one of them needs slightly different access because they've been given a special task or they are also managing an extra area, or maybe they wear more than one hat, like admins do, in that they need to actually have the permissions of both sets of personas or roles. So I work it through and talk about what I put on a profile and then some examples of how permission sets and permission set groups could be grouped together.

Gillian Bruce:
Wow. Okay. So this is great. I love... What I really like, Louise, about this, your approach, is that you're like, "Oh, I went through this and this is how I thought about it, so I'm going to share it with everyone." And you mentioned permission set groups, so can you just take a second and kind of break down when you would use a permission set group versus just a permission set?

Louise Lockie:
Well, when permission set groups first came out, of course I didn't have the knowledge at that time that this is what we were working to, basically profiles essentially being sidelined to almost go away. And so I used to say permission set groups have been saving admins clicks since 2019. Because at that time I was like, "Yeah, that saves us some time. But really?" It's a bit like the confetti. We all thought it was a bit fun, but was it the best use of time to create this feature? But now I've totally rethought it, because what you can do with your permission set groups is something like a persona. So a role based permission set group. But instead of building out one big permission set, which of course could end up looking almost like a profile, which feels like it defeats the object of this change, you can break it down into the different permission sets and use those for different parts of that role, that persona, that department, if you will.

Louise Lockie:
But of course the joy of that means each of those individual permission sets can be in multiple permission set groups. We can have A, B, and C together, and D, E and A together and so forth. Which is again, something I show in my presentation, use some real case examples of different departments and how different roles and how they can be added together. And knowing that the permission sets can be in more than one permission set group, users can have a permission set group and permissions. So you can still assign them individually. And I think that building block approach means that you've got complete flexibility, which is important because with that flexibility, you can actually give that granular access and you're not tempted to just give, "Oh, I'll give the whole department that access because that'll be easier." Which I do think happens with profiles.

Gillian Bruce:
Oh, absolutely. I remember, gosh, in my early days of learning our security model back 10, 12 years ago, I was always like, "Oh, so then why wouldn't you just give everybody this profile? Then you're covered?" And then it's like, "Oh no, no, wait, hold on. You're going to make a mess for yourself if you do that because then you're not going to be able to understand and kind of troubleshoot when you need to that easily." And from a Salesforce perspective, the product team has been talking about this kind of different change and different approach for a while. And I know that there's so many exciting announcements coming kind of in the roadmap about user access and permissions and how that's all modeling. Big shout out to Cheryl Feldman, who's now a product manager who manages a lot of these. She came in from the other side, right?

Louise Lockie:
Absolutely. She has done wonders, and I've been on a few sessions and calls with her about this and she knows I'm a massive fan of what she's doing, her and her team are doing. So she definitely will be getting shout outs at Dreamforce as well from me. And I'll be attending her sessions as well.

Gillian Bruce:
She's going to be a popular person again. So Louise, I would also like to know, what are some of the things that helped you understand these concepts as you were... You mentioned like, "Oh, I wasn't so sure about permission set groups when they first came out." You've been working in the ecosystem for a while, at least six years, right?

Louise Lockie:
True. And that's it.

Gillian Bruce:
So talk to us a little bit about what helped you understand these concepts. Because I would imagine for some new admins, it's not the most intuitive thing to grasp. So help us understand what helped you really get these concepts and put them to work for you in a really good ease... A way that helps.

Louise Lockie:
Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. They aren't the easiest. And I think the overall security model and data access model of Salesforce takes some understanding. And one of the hats I wear is actually, I teach the admin course, the five day admin course for Salesforce. And as you'd imagine, there's a big focus on this because it's a toughie, but once you know it, once you know the rules then it's so important. You've got the fundamentals of Salesforce down. And so you have to look at what's on a profile, what's on a permission set, have some examples. So what I've done in the presentation, and I do similar things when I'm teaching this as well because it helped me, is map it out. Do an audit of what permissions you are granting which users now, and then think about, well, where are the commonalities? What are the permissions or the org settings or the field level security that you need to give everyone?

Louise Lockie:
And then work for it in a granular way that way, because it is... The combinations can be almost endless. So the businesses that have got hundreds of profiles at the moment, now have got that opportunity to really compare them all and use some of the tools that are out there to compare the different profiles and work out, well, am I giving the right level of access? And use that as an opportunity to audit, use this process as an opportunity to audit what you're doing at the moment. And I think once you see the differences that you've got in your org, in your permissioning model, you can then work out, well, where do they sit? And where you've got the permission sets, go ahead, create those at a really granular level, because what that means is, it's so much more transparent because the name of the permission set is what it's doing.

Louise Lockie:
The description filled on profiles and permission sets is tiny. And I think that breaking it down like this, if though you may have to set it up, it will take a little bit of time working through the permissions, grouping them together and deciding that they're going on these permission sets, and then grouping those permission sets together into the groups. And for me, I'm a real data person. So that's what I would recommend because what would work for me is map it all out, capture what permissions you're giving out, and then see how you want to break those out. Thinking about permission sets being a small subset of permissions, permission set groups being where you want to commonly give out those permissions together, knowing you can still give them out separately. And I do mention muting permissions in the session. And again, it's one of those things that when it came out, I was like, "Oh, blimey, Salesforce. All the time we've been... Permissions is always granted."

Louise Lockie:
So I do a bit of work in Marketing Cloud as well, and they actually have it that has a deny permission, normal, core Salesforce doesn't. It's all about granting permissions. And then muting came along and I was like, "Oh, there we go. That's just set the cat amongst the pigeons, that's something different." But with permission set groups, again, it's one of those features, once you see it as part of the bigger picture, you can understand, okay, now that really adds value. That really adds value to my setup because I can create a permission set group, maybe have five different permissions, permission sets in it, and then just clone it and add a mute for a new version. And that can really give you that flexibility that is going to encourage you to use the principle of least privilege rather than the, I'll just give them all the same access, which is obviously... Well, every good admin should avoid at all costs.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, yeah, and it saves you time. Because, to your point, you don't have to recreate a perm set group every single time, if you got one that you know works and you just want to mute that one little part of it. So that's really helpful to think about that as part of the strategy. So Louise, do you have any idea how many Dreamforces this is going to be for you?

Louise Lockie:
I need to work... Remember this. So I think this... And do I count virtual or not? Because I went every year since 2015, and then obviously missed the hybrid one last year. So let's do the math, shall we? '15, '16, '17, '18, '19. So this will be my sixth in person, but obviously I did attend the virtual versions the last two years. So six or eight, depending on which [inaudible 00:14:32].

Gillian Bruce:
We'll count it as eight, we'll count it as eight. But that's awesome. Yeah. Okay. So as a veteran Dreamforce attendee, if anyone listening to the podcast has... Well, when they listen to this, they would've already been to Dreamforce. What are some of your tips for Dreamforce recovery?

Louise Lockie:
Oh, stay hydrated, for sure. So I'm hearing we're not getting a water bottle this year, so make sure you bring your own. I obviously travel across the Atlantic, so I definitely have at least a one water bottle, if not several.

Louise Lockie:
And I would say there's going to be lots of standing around, there's going to be some queuing, so use those opportunities to talk to the people in line. Make some new friends because you immediately have got something in common with them because you're going to the same session, you've got that interest. So when I go to Dreamforce, I don't tend to know a huge amount of people because it's mostly people more local. There's not that many of us Europeans that come over, so it's a great opportunity for me to meet new people. So I bet there'll be people out there that don't know everyone in the queue. It'll definitely be people that don't know anyone in the queue. So use that as an opportunity to make some new friends.

Gillian Bruce:
All right. So for listeners who maybe just attended Dreamforce, what are your tips for carrying the learnings and everything they got from Dreamforce? The connections forward.

Louise Lockie:
Oh yeah, because every day is a school day. We work in this space where there's so much to learn and we are encouraged to learn and we are all in that mindset, I believe. So there'll be some sessions that are available afterwards. It's not going to be all of them, I understand it. So that you have sometimes that cloning machine, you're going to be regretting not having it. So catch up on that content. There'll be new Trailhead modules coming out. Speakers will make their presentations available, I know that's a thing. And reach out to them. So if you are hearing this and you didn't go to my session at Dreamforce, get in touch with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, the Trailblazer community, and I'll send you my deck. If you lead a user group, I could always come and virtually deliver to you, deliver to your users as well. So I'd say do that for me, but do that for other presenters as well.

Gillian Bruce:
That's a great tip because I think a lot of folks be like, "Oh, I wasn't at Dreamforce," or "I missed that session and it's gone." No, I love that, Louise. It's great. Yeah, reach out to the speakers because you're right, you already did all this work to prepare this great presentation.

Louise Lockie:
Happy to share it with a wider audience, always. Everyone will be.

Gillian Bruce:
Exactly. Might as well amplify it. Well, Louise, thank you for all your hard work in preparing for this year's Dreamforce and sharing your knowledge with the community. It's amazing. It's one of the best things about the Salesforce community at large, is just the generosity and people like you who want to take what you learn and give back and help enable others. So thank you for all you do. And I look... Well, we're recording this before Dreamforce, so I look forward to seeing you at Dreamforce.

Louise Lockie:
Yes.

Gillian Bruce:
And we'll have you back on in another six years. How about that?

Louise Lockie:
As I say, it's a date. Get it in the diary.

Gillian Bruce:
Thank you so much, Louise.

Louise Lockie:
Thank you. Cheerio.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, always lovely to chat with Louise. Great to hear about how she thinks about that permission set model and how to use permission set groups, lots of good strategies and best practices there.

Gillian Bruce:
Now, if you want her session or any of her content, or you want her to come present at your user group, reach out to her. You can find her on Twitter, @louiselockie. You can also find her on the Trailblazer community on LinkedIn, put all those links in the show notes. And as always, if you want any information on how you can be an awesome admin, check out my favorite website, admin.salesforce.com. That's where you can find more blog, content, videos. You can find the admin skills kit, which I'm super passionate about. And stay tuned because we probably are going to turn some of these great Dreamforce sessions into content for our site as well.

Gillian Bruce:
So if you want to follow all of the awesome admin goodness on Twitter, as always, you can find us @salesforceadmns, no 'I'. Or #awesomeadmin. You can find myself @gilliankbruce. And you can find Mike Gerholt, my co-host with the most, @mikegerholt. I hope you have a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening, and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Gillian Bruce:
(Silence).

 




Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian are on to celebrate Admin Day at Dreamforce with a story about the origins of the Awesome Admin movement.

Join us as we talk about the teamup of the century, how “good stuff no fluff” and “for admins by admins” became mottos the Admin Relations Team lives by to this day, and why the community has been key from day 1.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mike and Gillian.

Getting the team together

Our story begins with a certain handsome, intrepid Salesforce MVP—our hero, Mike Gerholdt didn’t know it, but he had a date with destiny. The year is 2013 and Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” is number one on the charts. Meanwhile, our other hero, Gillian Bruce, is working Technical Communications and taking meetings with people at Salesforce trying to figure out which direction to take her career. There are rumblings of doing something for “declarative developers” and Gillian is thinking to herself that the term sounds a lot like what the admins she communicates with do.

You see, our mild-mannered admin had an alter-ego. By day, a Salesforce MVP, but by night, he was known as the ButtonClick Admin, with a podcast and blog devoted to all the amazing things you could do in Salesforce without code. Back at Salesforce, Gillian was in a fateful meeting where an idea was floated: “What if we hire the ButtonClick Admin?”

The Admin team’s first Dreamforce

The team’s first Dreamforce together was an important part of the Awesome Admin mythos. With no overarching theme, they decided to go with superheroes for the admin area. There was Super De-Duper, the Mobile Avenger, and Doc Developer. And they had so much help from the community staffing the very first Admin area. They were a small-but-mighty team of three, so they really relied on the community to live up to the phrase, “for admins, by admins.”

They even had to do their own advertising for the first Admin Keynote, which wasn’t even supposed to be an official keynote. LeeAnne Rimel was at that time a standout member of the community who created all the demos for this DIY keynote. Today, she’s running the Admin Keynote at Dreamforce ‘22.

Listen to whole episode for behind-the-scenes stories on the demo that rocked the world, why they started working more closely with product teams, and why they always show setup. And whether you’re at Dreamforce or tuning in from home, happy Admin Day!

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce and I am joined today by Mike Gerholdt. Hi, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Hey.

Gillian Bruce: And Mike, I have you on the podcast today because I wanted to do something a little bit fun given that today is the official Admin Day at Dreamforce. And so if you're at Dreamforce and you're listening to this, wow, nice multitasking. I'm impressed. If you are not physically at Dreamforce, my-oh-my. There's a lot for you to join in with us digitally. And I wanted to use this as a fun excuse to take a little trip down memory lane and tell the real story about the advent of the awesome admin movement, so to speak. So Mike, you really were the inspiration for a lot of this. And so I wanted to go way back. That's the way back machine and take us all the way back to actually 2013, which is when the kernel of this all began at Salesforce. Now, Mike, you were an MVP, not working at Salesforce. And how long had you been an MVP at that point?

Mike Gerholdt: I think I got awarded in the winter release. It was the Dreamforce that happened, I want to say in between Thanksgiving and Christmas one year. So, it was a super late Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. That's right. Sometimes, they're in November.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Because MVPs used to be awarded on releases. And so, I think it was the winter release that year. So, 2011 something. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, 2011. Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Sometime.

Gillian Bruce: So 2011. So, you'd been an MVP for a couple of years. 2013 for me, I was doing a little internal career exploration at Salesforce, doing coffees to meet people, understand what their jobs were. And I happened to be connected to this woman named Sarah Franklin at the time who had just left Salesforce and come back to Salesforce. And I remember her talking to me and being excited about doing something for the declarative developers, the way that we do for traditional developers. And I was like, "Those sound like Salesforce admins to me because those are the people I communicate with all the time about technology changes in my role as a tech comms person. When we're notifying everyone about a release or a performance issue, those are the people I email all the time." And from there it was like, "Okay. Here we go. I know how to talk to admins. You want to do something for admins?" And in a few months, Mike, I remember Sarah telling me, "Yeah, I was in a conversation with Alexander Dayon," who at the time I think was I forget what exactly. He was a C-level-

Mike Gerholdt: He ran Service Cloud. Didn't he?

Gillian Bruce: That's right. Yeah. Service Cloud. And I think in a meeting, Sarah said that Mr. Alexander Dayon was like, "Let's hire the Button Click Admin." And that was you Mike because you, at that time, you would what? You had the blog, you had the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: So, I started all of that. It was a kernel of an idea in 2009 where I started writing something called the Monday... I really meant it to be the Monday Morning Admin, like the Monday Morning Quarterback because of blog titles and Technorati and Google, that I ended up calling it the Monday AM Admin. And I started that on my personal blog and it got a little bit of traction. And then I was talking with a friend and he's like, "I think there's something bigger here. There's a bigger brand I should build."
And he said, "Well, what do you do?" And I was like, "I don't know. It's like mouse clicks. I'm just clicking buttons." And he's like, "Oh." And he pulls up his phone and he checks and buttonclickadmin.com was available. And that's where that started. 2010, I launched the blog. I had a Monday morning post, every morning, 10:00 AM Central. And it was basically a recap of all of the things I did wrong the previous week. And if I could redo the week over, what I would do, but none of it included code. Because there was so much stuff you could do in Salesforce without code. Like, page layouts. And at the time workflows and validation rules that I didn't need to write code. And I felt there was other people that probably were doing that too. So, Monday AM Admin is where that started.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and clearly you were right. Other people were doing the same thing because it took off.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. So, I grew that for a while and then started a podcast because I dabbled in video, but YouTube wasn't YouTube yet. And I realized the biggest thing was going to Dreamforce and hearing stories and hearing people talk about their stories and listening to them and hearing their passion. And I thought, "Oh. Well, that's what a podcast could do," because when you distill it down into black and white, into written words, the blog post just wasn't getting it across as much. And so 2012, with Jared Miller who was also a fellow Salesforce MVP, I launched what was called the Button Click Admin Podcast. And that was every Thursday because I didn't want to take traction away from my Monday morning posts. So, twice a week. And then that gets you through 2013-ish.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So then Alexander Dayon says, "Let's hire the Button Click Admin, Sarah." And then you got a call, I believe Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: At some point.

Mike Gerholdt: So, as part of this was a unique time just in branding and in, I would call it the internet. Because at that time, and I'll preference that time as 2006 to 2015, you could 100% make a brand for yourself. You could have a blog, you could have a podcast, you could monetize those and you could do a lot of public speaking. And so, that's the evolution of where I took the blog to. It was essential hub for me to advertise my knowledge, do the podcast, distribute information and then also sell advertisements and then get speaking gigs. And that was a big thing in that, I would say nine years on the internet.
And part of doing that was being present at a conference called South by Southwest. And so, I was at South by Southwest in 2014 and hanging out at the blogger lounge, which is a thing you do just bunch of people, clicking keyboards, writing blogs, feeling self-important. And my phone rang. Mind you, the friend I was with had been ribbing me constantly like, "Oh. When's Salesforce going to hire you. They're never going to hire you, blah, blah, blah." And my phone rings and I looked down, it was San Francisco. And I think to myself, "Oh. He hired a friend to call, to play a prank."

Gillian Bruce: You're about to get punked.

Mike Gerholdt: I was literally about to get punked, yes. And so, it was super loud in the blogger lounge. I answer the call and it was in a broom closet across the hallway from the blogger lounge because there's no place to [inaudible]. And it was Sarah Franklin. She introduced herself and I 100% thought she was playing a joke on me because she told me she was starting this admin marketing team and was really interested in talking with me, but didn't know if I was looking for a job and I hung up on her.

Gillian Bruce: That's the best.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Gillian Bruce: So, you hung up on Sarah?

Mike Gerholdt: That's the first crazy career thing I have done. She called back. Fast-forward to today. Thank God, I didn't hang up the second time.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Thank God you didn't hang up the second time because then you officially became part of the team and I think you were... What, it was Sarah and myself? And I think you were the next person to join because I don't think Leanne was-

Mike Gerholdt: Was, I was three.

Gillian Bruce: Developer of evangelism.

Mike Gerholdt: We were just a scrappy little team for, I mean, all the way through Dreamforce 2014.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, and I remember too, it was one of those funny... We did. We felt like a little scrappy startup because I remember Sarah being like, "Hey. Gillian, we should start a newsletter." I'm like, "Yeah, cool. So maybe we could just email the same list that I used to email about tech comms. Let me see if I can make that happen." I was like, "Thank goodness. I got a good relationship with the email team because they're going to let us send a newsletter out." And I remember it was originally going to be the Admin Roundup and we had a whole cowboy motif, I think-

Mike Gerholdt: Because why not?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, thank goodness that didn't really hash out. But yeah. It was like, "Oh. Well, let's feature some community posts." And I think what was really special about that and was special about having you really help us create this is, it's always been by admins for admins. It's never been us creating that new content that we're trying to push out to the admin community. What we really started was, "Hey. We recognize that there's an admin community out there. We recognize that there are people doing this work. And as a company at Salesforce, we need to let them know that we see them and that we want to highlight the work that they're doing and elevate it, so the rest of the community can get something from it too." And that's something that I always just feel so fortunate to be a part of because it's really unique when you think about enablement or just marketing in general because it is really good stuff, no fluff. And that's the heart of what we do in the admin relations team, which I think is really special.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I think it also aligns to really the culture of Salesforce admins. We find ways to scale. So, if you're at an organization... And I was at an organization, I was a solo admin for, I don't know how many users. It was in the hundreds, a lot. The way you scale is online, on social, in the trailblazer community, which was called something else at that time. And you asked questions. And so, it was very natural for our team to just follow that mantra. We couldn't scale. There was three of us and there was how many million admins. Obviously, we can't write enough content.

Gillian Bruce: No. But we rebranded Button Click Admin and it became admin.salesforce.com. So we had all your content.

Mike Gerholdt: Wisely so.

Gillian Bruce: And we relaunched the podcast and you invited me to be a co-host, which was terrifying, but it was so fun. And I can't believe it was that many years ago, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: It was a long time ago. I remember that first podcast. Because there was the discussion of, "Okay. So I come over, obviously my cohost isn't a Salesforce employee. Do we do that? Is that a thing? Is that weird?" And then I remember Sarah was like, "Well, have you talked to Gillian about being co-host?" I was like, "No, does she want to co-host?" "I don't know." And I remember, "Well, so what do you do?" "Well, I don't know. You just talk when I don't talk."

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I remember feeling totally out of my element, but totally down and excited to try it. And I remember those first few episodes of recording and hearing my... I was terrified every episode. And you can tell when you hear them because you can hear me going...

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Well, I think, not to go down the podcast path. The hardest thing is people don't know how to necessarily carry a conversation. And the one thing that I learned starting the podcast is interesting podcasts are ones where the host has an idea of where things are going, but isn't committed to the outcome and is happy to let the guest guide the journey. And I remember reading about Larry King and CNN and The Art Of The Interview and the art of the interview is that it's not about you, the host. But it's about you asking the questions and being present in the moment to continue that conversation, to bring out the best in what your guest is talking about. I mean, those early episodes of the podcast, we probably didn't talk enough and then you talk too much, but you find that intermedium.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And one of the things I've also always heard about podcasts or really about anything, it's all about the reps. It's about the practice and doing it. The more you do it, the better you get. And I mean, we've been doing this for a long time now, Mike. So, hopefully people still think it's good.

Mike Gerholdt: I know. You would think. But let's talk about the first Dreamforce because that was fun because we threw everything at the wall.

Gillian Bruce: And from the wall and hanging from the wall.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. This was pre-Trailhead. So Trailhead was just a glimmer-

Mike Gerholdt: Trailhead actually launched at that Dreamforce, I think.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And I think there was one-

Mike Gerholdt: Two.

Gillian Bruce: Three trails or something. It was-

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, it was huge. Massive back then.

Gillian Bruce: So, we had no overarching special Trailhead theme. So we decided, "Hey. Admins are superheroes. Let's make our whole area all about the different types of admin superheroes." Oh, man. We had so much fun coming up with all of those different superheroes, like Super D Duper, because that was the year that they finally introduced the de-duping feature from the IdeaExchange-

Mike Gerholdt: Duplicate management, yep.

Gillian Bruce: I just always call it de-duper.

Mike Gerholdt: I know because it's fun.

Gillian Bruce: And we had what? The Mobile Avenger and Doc Developer and-

Mike Gerholdt: Just all kinds.

Gillian Bruce: And we had them printed on huge banners and we hung them in the little atrium area on the second floor of Mosconea's as you come up the escalators and it was amazing. It was just-

Mike Gerholdt: It was so cool.

Gillian Bruce: Oh. It was so cool.

Mike Gerholdt: We also quickly learned why that atrium area was available for us to use.

Gillian Bruce: It was so hot.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. On the first day at 2:00, we're all standing there. "You're hot." "But this is really... I need to go." And you would just walk 10 feet out of that area. And it would be 20 degrees cooler.

Gillian Bruce: It was a whole greenhouse effect going on there.

Mike Gerholdt: It was.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, especially, when I was moving hundreds of boxes of T-shirts and swag around because that's what we did.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what we had budget for.

Gillian Bruce: And we had the first ever admin theater and we had our first ever admin zone. And again for admin by admin-

Mike Gerholdt: We had a little podcast booth. Don't forget we had that little podcast booth.

Gillian Bruce: We sure did. And that looked amazing, the whole on-air sign. Which you have in your house, I believe.

Mike Gerholdt: No. That's the following year. The big on air sign. I have some of those letters, yes. But thank God I don't have that whole booth because that would be massive.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. But again, back to for admins by admins, the only way that we were able to have an admin zone and provide that first ever home for admins at Dreamforce, is because the three of us could not staff at all. We had the entire community staffing those booths and it was all this ask the expert format. Which is now the heart of what we do and how we do any experience that we have. Whether it's at World Tour or at Dreamforce or a TDox. I mean, that is literally at the heart of how we treat all of these demo stations and experiences is that we have experts actually talking about how you can solve your problems and helping you troubleshoot.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, and people showed up. I think that's the biggest thing. We were all looking at each other like, "People are going to show up, right? And they're going to be excited for this?" And that in addition to the community stepping in, is really what drove success because everybody else at Salesforce looked at this team of three, four people, I think Leanne probably pitched in that year.

Gillian Bruce: I think Leanne was our first ever, "keynote."

Mike Gerholdt: She helped with the keynote. Oh, we should talk about that. But people showed up and when they showed up, they appreciated what we had and was willing to contribute more. And other areas caught wind of that vibe and they're like, "We need to package this stuff up." You're like, "Nope, it's ours."

Gillian Bruce: Yep. Well, we had superhero capes. We had bright blue awesome admin-pow T-shirts. I mean, it was pretty magical. And I remember we had to do a lot of advertising to get everyone to come to what we were calling a keynote, but wasn't officially recognized as a keynote with the first ever admin keynote. It was the basement of the Marriott.

Mike Gerholdt: Hilton Union Square.

Gillian Bruce: It was the Hilton, that's right.

Mike Gerholdt: Hilton Union Square.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So that keynote is actually really amazing because talk about Leanne. Leanne was instrumental in creating all the demos for that keynote. And she's running the admin keynote today at Dreamforce '22 today as well. So that's an incredible journey, but yeah, we showed... I remember, that keynote was so fun. Sarah had just had a baby and Amelia was brand new and Sarah's like, "Yeah, no, I'm going to get on stage and we're going to rock this keynote."

Mike Gerholdt: Uh-huh. Like, two weeks rehearsal she had and just nothing. Just rocked it.

Gillian Bruce: And we'd never created a keynote like this before. This was all new to all of us. And then we featured a bunch of customers who we were going to recognize as awesome admins and give them capes. So I remember it was... Oh, god, Nick Lindberg and Dale Zigler-

Mike Gerholdt: Cheryl Feldman.

Gillian Bruce: Cheryl Feldman. Oh, gosh. There were a handful of them. They were amazing. And Cheryl Feldman won the first ever Awesome Admin Award that was presented to her by her VP at her current job. And it was our way of like, "Hey. This is a recognition of the amazing impact that an admin can have on the organization. And Salesforce is giving you the platform and trying to elevate that." And for those of you who don't know, that eventually evolved into what is now the Golden Hoodie.

Mike Gerholdt: And Gillian, I think one part that's always fun to talk about with that keynote is the mistake that actually changed the way a lot of teams demo Salesforce. And so, Dreamforce 2014 Process Builders, the brand new shiny thing. It's built on the Flow engine, but it makes sense. And everything you could do was totally declarative when you build a flow. Except, there was one random checkbox buried in set up that you had to check. And we rehearsed this to the nth degree. Off stage, was going to be one person sitting that would check the box so that everything just worked seamlessly in our demo. And then that didn't happen.
And it really caused all of us to pause and we probably could have moved forward. Now, thinking through the skill level of this team we would've just adjusted on the fly, walked people through. We probably would've had a backup. By the way, we didn't have a backup then, and moved on. But what happened? Leanne was like, "You know what? No, I'm going to show you what we've missed and we're actually going to do it. And then I'm going to show you." And I think it was really a little bit of Leanne wanted to prove the things she had built was legit.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. That we weren't showing stuff that was built fake. We wanted show the real deal. This is something you can do today.

Mike Gerholdt: So we went off-script. We showed setup and thunderous applause. There were executives in the back of the room that were like, "Oh, man. What are they doing?" And everybody reacted. And from there on, our mantra was we show set up. We show you the real-real. We'll show you how to set this thing up because there should be no mystery to how you configure some of this stuff. And that moment in time, had that not happened, that was a huge cultural moment for our team. And I think for the whole admin community.

Gillian Bruce: 100%, I mean, that sets the tone. It's the good stuff, no fluff. We're really going to show you how you can do this. Not just the theory of, "Look at what's possible." It's like, "Cool. We know what's possible. We're going to show you how you can actually make that happen." And that moment was amazing. That did, that really set the tone for a lot of how we presented technical content until today. So, hopefully we keep true to that.

Mike Gerholdt: We do.

Gillian Bruce: We do. And then from there, Mike, I mean, we were launched, I mean, Awesome Admin became a thing. Trailhead started developing... The first Trailhead content was developer and admin. We were in the core DNA of what Trailhead ended up becoming. And it went from just recognizing admins to then really celebrating and elevating what admins are and what they do. And as a team, we got to dig a little deeper into really getting in with the product teams and being advocates for admin and connecting product with the admin community. And true to the core has been a really important element of the admin community from the start. And that messaging continues to go through everything that we have done as well. IdeaExchange, really making sure that the product is thinking about the admin use case. And honestly, if you look today at Dreamforce, a lot of the new product innovations, they're mostly adminy.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it's that, and I think that the really unique thing that this team and admins in the community and everyone listening gets to do is, you get to participate in the growth of this identity within the technology ecosystem. So, a developer in the early '70s, you could argue when Apple came out, is really what started to define that. It was probably, you could argue even earlier, but the stereotype and the persona for the most part had been molded throughout the '80s. And for sure, the '90s, by the time that the internet and technology computers and classrooms happened. This is our 1960s, 1970s moment. You go back in time through that 2012 period, we're defining this identity now as in real-time. So it's more than just us showcasing it at Dreamforce. I mean, Gillian, we fast-forward to 2022 now, we're actually saying, "Okay, as part of this identity, here are the core skills that you need to have."

Gillian Bruce: Yep. I mean, it's gone way beyond just focusing on the product, but we've learned a lot. We've gotten feedback from the community and the ecosystem at large about, "Hey. It takes more than just being able to know how to do the technology piece of it. It's that magic of... The admin is at the core of the business, connecting the technology and the business and the processes. And so, how do you do that? You can learn a lot of tech. We have Trailhead to help you learn all that, but there's more to it. And that's where the admin skills kit came out of the research that we were doing, and really honing in on, "What are those skills that help you be a super successful admin?" When you pair those with the technology skills, man, the sky's the limit.

Mike Gerholdt: I agree.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. What I love about rehashing the story and going back is understanding how core these values of good stuff, no fluff, for admins by admins, are to everything that we do today. Things that were important at the outset, we show set up. We use and tap into the knowledge of the community to help each other. I mean, that really has actually affected the rest of Salesforce too. If you start thinking about how things have shifted between Trailhead and focusing more on the individual trailblazers, a lot of what we've done as a team and what the community has done is now being really reflected in a huge way. And so, admins keep being awesome because you're what makes Salesforce special and it's really an honor to be a part of this community.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: So then Mike, what's next? What are we going to do more for admins? What's the future look like?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, they should watch the Salesforce Admins Keynote at Dreamforce and find out.

Gillian Bruce: It's a great tip.

Mike Gerholdt: Which is also available on Salesforce Plus in case you weren't there in-person.

Gillian Bruce: Absolutely. And there will be lots available on Salesforce Plus, including our Release Readiness Live session. So if actually you're listening to this in the morning of Thursday, you can actually tune in live to the Release Readiness Live, the admin preview later today, which we are doing at Dreamforce with product managers. So, we're going to have an in-person experience and the regular virtual experience for Release Readiness live. And there's going to be some really amazing Admin sessions that are going to be available on Salesforce Plus on demand after Dreamforce.
And then also, stay tuned to the podcasts because we've got great Dreamforce presenters joining us on the podcast, doing a best of Dreamforce series. So stay tuned and keep contributing to the growth and the amazingness of the awesome admin movement. And as always, it's only what it is because of the work that you all are doing. And as always, if you want to learn more about anything else, everything will be on admin.salesforce.com or you can find more information about everything that we did at Dreamforce. You can find videos, you can find more podcasts and of course, great blogs. You can find myself on Twitter at GillianKBruce. You can find Mike on Twitter at MikeGerholdt. And we'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: The_Awesome_Admin_Story.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re bringing on the Admin Relations Team to talk through the Admin Track at Dreamforce ‘22.

Join us as we talk about the Admin Meadow, the Admin Track, and what you can expect at Dreamforce!

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

The Admin Meadow is your home away from home

First up, we have Lisa Dick, Director of Admin Marketing at Salesforce and the newest member on the Admin Relations Team. It’s her first Dreamforce, and she’s excited for everything they’ve planned for you. “The one thing I want everyone to feel when they walk into the space is feel like the Admin Meadow and the Admin Zone is really the home for admins,” she says.

Even better, sessions will be mapped to the tools in the Admin Skills Kit so you can focus in on the things you want to learn most. She especially wants to see you at the Admin Theater on Tuesday for Admin Karaoke, so pick out your best power ballad and don’t miss out. Finally, you can sign up on the Admin Meadow for a 1-on-1 consult to talk through the challenges you face with someone who has a ton of expertise.

What you can’t miss on the Admin Track

Next up, we brought on Jennifer Lee, this year’s Admin Track Leader, to talk about everything we have planned for you. “We’re going to be able to nerd out on all things Security, User Permissions, Flow Builder, Dev Ops, and even more,” she says. Be sure to take a listen to this part of the pod, as she highlights some of the standout events you won’t want to miss.

We also brought on LeeAnne Rimel to give us a sneak peek at the Admin Keynote. It’s a time we can all come together on the biggest stage to just talk about admins and best practices and changes that are coming for tools you use every day: Flow Builder, App Builder, Permissions, Deployment, and more. And, because it’s LeeAnne, you better believe there will be killer demos.

Release Readiness Live, IRL

Finally, we talked to Ella Marks to find out what she has planned for Release Readiness Live. We pick out the top highlights for the Winter ‘23 Release for Admins, and then open it up to questions from the audience for our product managers. And this year, it’s going to be in-person—the can’t-miss party that ends Dreamforce and sends you off with a ton of new information to take home to your org.

Don’t think you’ll have to miss everything if you can’t make it to Dreamforce in person. There’s tons of stuff to see and do on Salesforce+, so block off your schedule and tune in live. After the Admin Keynote, there will be a special after-show hosted by Gillian and a panel of admin experts to recap the highlights and give some post-game analysis. You’ll even be able to ask our product managers questions for Release Readiness Live later in the day.

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce. Listeners, we are less than one week away from Dreamforce 2022. If you can believe it, this is the 20th Dreamforce. I know. It's crazy. I wanted to take today's episode to spend some time hearing from the incredible people on the Admin Relations team about what the admin experience at Dreamforce 2022 is going to be.
If you're joining us on site in San Francisco in just a few days, welcome. We're excited to host you. We will see you very soon. This is a great preparation episodes that you know exactly what to expect when you get here. If you're not able to physically join us on site here in San Francisco for Dreamforce this year, don't worry. A lot of the content that we're going to be covering is also about how you can participate with us digitally. This is truly going to be a hybrid event. We have two streaming channels, the entirety of Dreamforce on Salesforce, plus we also have some other special things happening live. You can definitely participate, even if you're not going to be here with us in San Francisco.
What I have lined up for today is a sequence of the incredible people on our team who are owning and designing and running really important pieces of the admin experience at Dreamforce. We're going to talk about the physical experience in Moscone West on that first floor, the Admin Meadow and Admin Theater with Lisa Dick, who is one of our amazing marketers on the team. Then we're going to talk to the one and only, Jennifer Lee, who is owning and running the Admin track this year. That's all the breakout and theater sessions that are mostly presented by you, the community. Then we're going to get into talking about the big shining star of every event, the Admin Keynote. Leanne Remmel, who has been the mastermind behind this year's Admin Keynote joins us to talk a little bit about what to expect for that.
Then we close it out with the bang, folks, because we have the one and only Ella Marks. I like to call her Stellar Marks, who is going to talk to us about how she is bringing release readiness live, our traditional online virtual experience of how to prepare you for the release. We're bringing that as into Dreamforce this year as an in person and virtual experience. It's going to be the closing party, the closing ceremony of all of Dreamforce. In fact, the Admin Keynote and the Admin Release Readiness preview are all happening exactly a week from the day that this podcast comes out, because it's all on Thursday. Thursday of Dreamforce is admin day.
Stay tuned. You're going to hear from each of these incredible people about what is happening with the admin experience at Dreamforce and how you can participate either in person or online. Let's kick it off by talking to Lisa about the Admin Meadow.
Lisa, welcome to the podcast.

Lisa Dick: Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Gillian Bruce: I was going to say, first time on the podcast, right?

Lisa Dick: Very, very first time on the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, well welcome. It's about time we get you on the podcast because we need to introduce you to the listeners. Lisa, can you please introduce yourself and tell a little bit about what you do at Salesforce?

Lisa Dick: I would love to. Thank you. I joined Salesforce this year. I'm a little bit newer to the team, but I'm the director of Admin marketing on the Admin Relations team. This is my first Dreamforce ever. I am very excited for what we have planned.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Then let's get into it because people are really pumped to know. I know a lot of people listening are going to be able to physically come to Dreamforce next week, which is really exciting. A lot of people are not, so we're going to cover both, but can you tell those who are coming to Dreamforce, what are they going to be able to expect once they arrive on site as an admin?

Lisa Dick: I am so glad you asked. I would describe the admin experience this year in one word, which is magical. I think we have so many fun things planned. We have so many little surprises planned here and there, but the one thing that I want everyone to really feel when they walk into this space is feel like the Admin Meadow and the admin zone is really the home for admin. We're going to have activations and sessions and things for people to keep coming back to, so that over the course of three days, there's going to be so many things that people can interact with and visit, and sign up for, that it really will, I think, feel like a true home and a place that our admins want to keep coming back to.

Gillian Bruce: They're going to want to hang out with us all the time in the Meadow and at the theater. Wait, I said theater. Tell us about the theater.

Lisa Dick: I would love to tell you about the theater. There's a couple of different pieces of the admin zone. One of them, as you mentioned, is the theater. We will have both 20 minute sessions in the theater and also 40 minute breakout sessions with a ton of different learning tracks. There are so many sessions. I would like to call out that all of our theater sessions have been mapped to the 14 skills from our admin skills kit so that when someone comes to a theater session, they'll have a better understanding of what session maps to all of those different skills to find the right sessions in the theater for the things that matter most to them and the things that they want to learn.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I love that. I am very passionate about the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit. I love that we're pulling that in through all of our, both breakout and theater sessions, but I know that there's some special theater sessions that you've got lined up. Is there anything you're going to share with us?

Lisa Dick: I would love to share them with you. We have some really fun sessions. As most of our admins know, we always try to have some fun sessions mixed in with all of the amazing learning sessions. We're having what we are calling, the How I Solved It showdown, which will be at 1:30 every day. It'll feature participants coming up with real actual business challenges that they have come up with an automation to solve. I also want to add that one of our most fun theater sessions will be on Tuesday, which is admin karaoke. I hope that everybody comes out and either sings. If you're not okay singing, that's okay, but cheering on all of your fellow admins. We think it'll be a really great time.

Gillian Bruce: I will be in the cheering section, for sure. No one needs to hear me sing anything.

Lisa Dick: I do. I need to hear you sing everything.

Gillian Bruce: No, no, no, no, no. Okay. But there's more than just the theater. You mentioned that there's also the Admin Meadow. What are folks going to be able to experience in the Meadow?

Lisa Dick: That's right. There's a couple of different components to the Meadow. There's a ton of action happening. When I talk about coming back to the Meadow and it feeling like home, there will be enough things happening in the Meadow to bring everybody back over the three days. When you first walk into the Meadow, you'll of course be greeted at a welcome desk. There's a couple of things you can do there. You can obviously get some help, but there will also be folks that are signing admins up for a one-on-one consult. We will have those consult stations in the Meadow. Admins can sign up for a 20 minute consultation with a Salesforce expert to really get their own individual questions answered.
We know that our admins face a lot of challenges or unique situations, or things that they just want to talk through with someone who has a ton of expertise. Having those consultations will allow folks to do that. They can sign up for those at the welcome desk when they get on site. We will also have four different demo stations, which I'm really excited about. Our demo stations will be staffed by Salesforce experts. We are really, really excited this year to focus on four specific topics, which are user management, app building and automation, the Admin Skills Kit, which I also love, and then also a session for admin best practices. There's a lot of things happening at the demo booths. Those are, as folks know who have attended Dreamforce in the past, the demo booths, you can just walk up to. It's not something that you have to schedule.
The last thing that's really exciting happening in the Admin Meadow is our activation. Again, talking about the skills kit, we have heard so many wonderful stories about how admins are using the skills kit to really help explain what they do and define what they do and really tell their own story through the skills in the skills kit.
The great part about Dreamforce this year is we have turned the Admin Skills Kit into a digital activation. It's really bringing to life the skills and creating your own unique admin story. In the Meadow, we will have a way for our admins to walk up to an activation station and really use those 14 skills to tell their own story of who they are and then it'll be shareable. You can add it to your resume. You can share it across social. We're really excited for admins to really take the 14 skills and make it feel more unique to them.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I have gotten some sneak peaks of this activation. I cannot wait to see it in action. It is really amazing way to, like you said, pull together the skills and make your own custom story. I think this is a great takeaway that everyone is going to love. Hey, especially if you're joining virtually, you're going to see people post these. You can create your own when you're at home. This is going to be a really cool thing that I'm sure we're going to carry beyond Dreamforce, as well, in some capacity, but there's a lot going on, Lisa. I love it.

Lisa Dick: It's a lot.

Gillian Bruce: Do you have any tips, maybe for folks who this is their first Dreamforce? This is your first Dreamforce, so you're in the same boat. What is your strategy when you're coming on site? What are you going to do first? How are you going to try and manage doing all of the things?

Lisa Dick: Yeah, it's a great question because there is a lot going on. I also recognize there's a lot happening outside of the Admin Meadow, but one of the cool things that our team creates, it's called the Admin Workbook. We will be sending that out and publishing it on Twitter the week before Dreamforce and really helping attendees plan those things out and figuring out the things that they really have to make sure they do before they leave the Dreamforce grounds. But I haven't planned mine out yet because I've been so deep in figuring out what the Meadow looks like, but I think my big piece of advice that I have heard from everybody on the team and some folks that have been at Salesforce for a while is to just walk around and take it all in. It's a large amount of space. There's a lot of people, but there's also so much to be able to just take it in and just really enjoy the experience of it because it's been so long since we've been together in such a large setting. Just take a moment to just recognize how exciting it is that we're all back. We're all together. We get this really unique space and opportunity to celebrate that.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. That's a great tip. Now, for those of people who maybe are not able to join us in person, what do you recommend for them to get a little taste, a little feeling of this admin magic?

Lisa Dick: Yeah, a couple of things. One, definitely log on to Salesforce plus and see some of the top hits for admins. The second is to follow us on social. In addition to having magic in the Meadow, we will, obviously, of course, our admin Twitter account is amazing. We'll have a couple of details of some fun things happening during the week, but also there's going to be a sweepstakes for folks on site and who follow our Twitter account. Yeah, I think that'll be a really helpful way to figure out what's happening both onsite and for the folks at home.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. I love that. Well, Lisa, I am excited for you to experience your first Dreamforce. I'm really, really looking forward to connecting you with a bunch of admins who are going to be onsite, which is going to be really fun. Everyone, come meet Lisa. She's going to be in the Admin Meadow pretty much the entire time, but we'll let you walk around a little bit, I promise.

Lisa Dick: I hope. Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: Lisa, thank you for all your hard work. We are so looking forward to seeing everything come to life next week. Yeah. Hey, let's get ready to Dreamforce, huh?

Lisa Dick: Let's get ready to Dreamforce. Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: I cannot wait to see your faces as you walk into the Admin Meadow on Moscone West in just a few short days here. Lisa has been working hard. So fun to hear about some of the special surprises and magical moments that you are going to experience. Now we're going to keep it moving because we got a lot of great admin experience to talk about. Admin experienceness, I think that's a thing. Next, we're going to go to Jennifer Lee, who is the mastermind, and organizer, and proud owner of the admin track this year at Dreamforce to talk about all of the great theater and breakout sessions you can expect this year.
Jenn Lee, welcome back to the podcast.

Jennifer Lee: Thanks for having me Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I needed to get you on because we're getting ready for a little something called Dreamforce in just one week here, actually, if you're listening to this podcast. I wanted to get you on because you are managing the entire admin track at Dreamforce this year. Hands to you. That's an amazing feat. I wanted to get you on the podcast to talk a little bit about some of the amazing things happening in the admin track. Give us an overview as folks get ready to head to Dreamforce.

Jennifer Lee: All right. How much time do you have because I can go on and on about how amazing the line up is?

Gillian Bruce: Well, I know you can go on and on. Let's keep in sound bite for the podcast.

Jennifer Lee: All right. I am really super excited to be this year's track lead for the 20th Dreamforce admin track and to curate such a great lineup of breakout and theater sessions. We have a little bit for every admin out there, whether you're just starting out, you're intermediate, an advanced admin, and a wide variety of topics that can help you build on those 14 skills that you helped us identify in our skills kit. In fact, Brittany Gibson, if you've seen that awesome, great Quip doc that she put out there, the admin sessions by skills that list out all our sessions categorized by the related skills, that is something that you definitely need to get your hands on if you haven't seen it. Gillian, would we be able to include that as a link in the pod notes?

Gillian Bruce: Absolutely. It's going to be in the notes.

Jennifer Lee: Awesome. All right. In regards to speakers, we have Salesforce MVPs. We have community members. We also have Salesforce PMs, like Shell Feldman, Diana Jaffy, Antoine Kubot, just to name a few. They're going to share their latest and greatest with their respective products. We're going to be able to nerd out on all things, security, user permissions, flow builder, DevOps, and even more.

Gillian Bruce: I love nerding out. This is making me excited. Come to Dreamforce to nerd out.

Jennifer Lee: All right. I'm going to give you a teaser into some of their sessions. Okay, folks, bookmark these now. True to the core from feedback to features. Also, getting started with low code application building. The feature of user management for admins, and also rating effective and maintainable validation roles.

Gillian Bruce: It's quite a line, Jenn. There's a lot going on there.

Jennifer Lee: I know when I was a customer and I attended Dreamforce, I like to learn from the practitioners, the people who are out there doing the thing. I'm just going to highlight just a few sessions that, again, you want to bookmark. We're going to go through the fundamentals of formals, approach reporting like never before, deluxe report types. We're going to throw in some Salesforce automation with Slack. Then if you're looking to get into public speaking and speaking at events, we have a session called find your voice, tips for becoming a Salesforce speaker. There's also a session on the art of a Salesforce demo because we, as admins, need to present and share what we've built to our users. Learning that would be great. We also have dynamic forms, driving data, and user experience. Lastly, we have the London user group leaders presenting a theater session on how to become a skilled admin specialist. They'll go through various skills and what's involved in doing that and then tying that back to the skills kit.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I love how you cover really a whole breadth between nerding out on products. You kind of career developmental, great content, and then just best practices as well. That's really awesome.

Jennifer Lee: And I'm excited for new faces. While we love our returning Dreamforce presenter veterans, we do have some new faces as well. There's app exchange strategies for Salesforce business analysts with Shira Tyson Griffin. I hope I said their name right. There's also step by step guide for transitioning all processes to flow with Chrissy Andrews and Kristen Blazer, and catch the release, how to manage major releases year round with [inaudible] Burke, who is our awesome release person, but also a former coworker of mine. She works at Manual Life Candy Weeks.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. That's great. Yeah, actually [inaudible] was on the podcast earlier sharing some of her great presentation that she put together about app exchange strategies for business analysts. Yeah, a whole bunch of first time Dreamforce presenters, which is always fun to get some new voices out there and amazing content. I've been able to jump on a couple of the dry runs for these sessions and wow. It is a rockstar lineup. It is going to be an amazing track.
Now, for those who maybe aren't able to attend in person, Jenm, how can they enjoy some of these great topics and great presentations?

Jennifer Lee: We have the opportunity to record three of our sessions from the admin track. Those will be available on Salesforce plus for a future viewing. They're the automate your business processes with Flow Builder. Ready, Click, Automate, Salesforce to the max with RPA. Lastly, Make the Move From Chain Sets to DevOps Center.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, those are three, obviously, very popular and very exciting sessions about really great product and innovations that everybody needs to know about. Again, Salesforce plus on demand after Dreamforce. You can get it all right there, as well as some other great stuff like our Admin Keynote, which we talked about on the podcast already. Of course, release readiness live will be available after Dreamforce, as well.
Jenn, this is your first time running an in-person Dreamforce as not a customer, as part of Salesforce. Tell me a little bit about how that change has gone for you. Not only are you now part of Salesforce running an in person Dreamforce, but you're owning all of admin track. Just tell me. How has that been?

Jennifer Lee: I just say it's been truly your honor to even be given this opportunity. I want to give props to [inaudible], you, and everyone on the team for being so supportive. It truly takes a village to do this. I'm just the conductor, but it truly takes the whole orchestra to get this thing together. It's been great going through and being on the other side, because I was a presenter and now I'm on the other side organizing it and going through the process of selection. That was really hard. We had so many great submissions and I only had so many slots. It was really hard going through that process. But then now, working through and doing the dry runs, I'm really getting excited by seeing the sessions. I really can't wait to get those in front of all our admins.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, absolutely. It's been really fun to see you bring that perspective to this process that Mike and I have done for gosh knows how many years at this point. It's great. You've done an amazing job. It's really fun to see it all come to life. Hey, I'm looking forward to seeing your face next week after the Dreamforce is going on and the sessions are happening and you're like, "Oh my gosh, this is the track that I put together. It's coming off amazing. All these people are getting such great value out of it."
Congratulations. Hey, everybody get ready to enjoy a amazing admin track next week. Jenn, we also didn't talk about the fact there are breakouts and there are theater sessions. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Jennifer Lee: Yes. Our breakouts will be 40 minutes in an enclosed room. Our theater sessions will be on the... The breakouts will be on the second floor of Moscone West. The theater sessions will be on the first floor of Moscone in the Admin Meadow. It will seat about 125 people in an open area. We're really excited to get the excitements of the crowd, the people walking around the Admin Meadow. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to all this.

Gillian Bruce: It's going to be vibrant. It's going to be fun. It's going to be an awesome admin party all around. Congratulations. Thank you for leading admin track this year. Folks, we're getting ready to see you at Dreamforce.

Jennifer Lee: Yay.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. So many amazing sessions, lots of brand new presenters, lots of veteran presenters. Thank you, Jennifer Lee, for shepherding this incredible admin track to come to life at Dreamforce. I hope you've bookmarked the sessions she mentioned and you're exploring on your own. Make sure you pop open that Salesforce plus window so that you don't miss out.
Now, we're moving on to the Admin Keynote. Leanne Remmel, who is the original Admin Keynote designer. If you all don't remember back in 2014 when we first had our first ever Admin Keynote, which we called it a keynote, even though it wasn't really deemed a keynote. Leanne designed all the demos for that, and in fact, created the whole entire brand of how we do admin demos by showing you how we use setup. Without further ado, let's get Leanne on the pod to talk about what you can expect in this year's amazing keynote. Leanne, welcome to the podcast.

Leanne Remmel: Hi Gillian. Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I had to have you on, because we need to talk about something really important and really exciting happening at Dreamforce next week, the Admin Keynote. Can you tell us a little bit about what is going on for admins in the Keynote?

Leanne Remmel: I sure can. If you haven't been a dream first before, or if this is your first time tuning in, the Admin Keynote is really this time that we gather all together as admins. We share with you the latest and greatest in announcements, in tools for admins. We try to share and reinforce things we've learned from you over the previous year about the role of admins and how it's growing, and things you are all doing in your careers and at your companies. It's really... I'll be honest. It's one of my favorite Dreamforce events. It is really a time for us all to gather together in the big room. We're in the Moscone hall F in the big keynote room. We gather together and we just talk about admins for the entire time.
We spend time with you talking about what are those products and features coming that we want to make sure your hands on with? What are those business areas you should be building out? We'll be, first off, diving into the latest and greatest with your favorite products. We'll be including Flow Builder, Ad Builder, permissions, deployment. Those things that you're using every day as an admin, we're going to be talking about some of the right ways and best practices on how to use those tools. We're going to be hearing from product leadership. We're going to be talking about roadmap and exciting things that are coming or just released for those tools. I'm really excited for that. I love building out our product overviews and demos. It's a really fun part.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and you've been... Leanne, you have also had a hand in helping with product demos for quite a while at Salesforce, and especially for the admin audience, which makes it extra special because these demos are really, as you said, tailored towards the admin experience. Along with what you just listed, what else is going on in the Admin Keynote?

Leanne Remmel: I love that question. I do love demos. I just still do. A quick aside, we really do build these demos. Every step of the way we're thinking, what is it that we want admins to see? What are those features, those best practices, those tools that are just, we really want admins to know about. We really want admins to see. You'll notice we really dive a lot deeper often into setup, into the builder experience. That's because these are truly tailored for you, both the products that we're covering and then how we show them in demos.
Gillian, I just love demos. I used to build demos all the time when I was a Salesforce admin. I built them in order to get budget and things like that for my projects and drive user adoption. My entire career, whether I was a customer, or at Salesforce, or tech support, I think demos are so important. They're so fun.

Gillian Bruce: Demo all the things.

Leanne Remmel: Demo all of the things. Gillian, you asked what else we're doing in Admin Keynote. There's two other areas I want to share that I'm really, really excited about. I told you how demos are so important and we're doing demos. Something that's really exciting that we're doing in the Admin Keynote this year for the first time is it's not just going to be Salesforce employees up their demoing. We're going to have our customers up on stage leading demos. We're going to have some of our admin trailblazers who have used some of these products, used some of these tools to build solutions for their companies. They're going to be on stage showing their build to you in a demo in the keynote. I am just so excited about that because, of course I love demoing. I love showing things. There is nothing better than seeing someone who has the same role as you, the same job as you, is maybe solving the same business problems as you, up there saying, "Here, let me show you how I solved this."
I think that's going to be such a fun and important element of the keynote. I'm so honored. We've got our admin trailblazers that are joining us, are just awesome members of the community, awesome admins through and through. I'm so thrilled that they're taking the time to share their solutions with us and with you, our admin audience. Those customer led demos are going to be really, really fun.

Gillian Bruce: That is really special. That is unique. I think that's the only time that any keynote has really done that. This is going to be a first time innovation that we're bringing to the Admin Keynote this year.

Leanne Remmel: I think I would say we're trailblazing.

Gillian Bruce: What? Boom! Mic drop. Love it, Leanne. Okay. You said there's three things. We talked about too. What is the third part of the Admin Keynote that you want to share today?

Leanne Remmel: Okay. The third thing that I'm really excited to talk about today, that will be so impactful for you, Salesforce admins, who are attending and viewing our Admin Keynote, Gillian and our team worked really hard over the last few years to learn more about the skills that make admin successful. It's called the Admin Skills Kit. It's on our site. It'll be in the show notes.
That skills kit that they worked hard to identify, what are those skills that help admins be successful in their roles? We launched the skills kit at TDX 22. That was in... What month was that? April 22, but we're not done. We launched it. We gave you that first iteration of an overview of all the tools and skills that you need to be successful as admin, that you should focus on building on. We had a wonderful blog series by our admin trailblazers sharing how they use those skills in their jobs and their careers, but we're not done yet.
At the Admin Keynote, we're going to have some really exciting announcements about this next phase of Admin Skills Kit, and new tools and new ways, building on the skills kit, that we are working to enable you as Salesforce admins to be successful in your roles. I'm really excited about... It's a culmination of a lot of hard work from the team and a lot of contributions and sharing and knowledge, sharing from admins, that we're working to combine into this product, this tool, for you, called the Admin Skills Kit that'll help you just crush it and be an awesome admin.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's like our own product roadmap. We're sharing everybody.

Leanne Remmel: It is. We get a do a roadmap. Yeah, we get to do a roadmap conversation. We're going to have some exciting roadmap announcements about Admin Skills Kit.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I love it. Leanne, you did mention that the Admin Keynote is going to be in the big room this year, the same room that the mark main keynote is in. We need everybody who's coming to Dreamforce to join us. When is the keynote happening Leanne?

Leanne Remmel: Oh, that's a great question. It is in the big room. It's on Thursday at 9:00 AM. It's probably going to be your first session of the day. Maybe you can meet up with your admin buddies, go to Starbucks, go to your coffee shop, make your coffee at your hotel, whatever. Everyone can get their coffee, get their nice little morning walk in, make their way over to Dreamforce and come bright and shiny and early to the Admin Keynote and really start your day with us. I'll be honest. I love being on Thursday morning, because I think then we've had a couple of days to attend sessions, to attend other keynotes, to learn more about different areas that we're interested in. With Admin Keynote, we try to help you put a lot of that into context and set you up for successes.
You go back to your day job after Dreamforce and want to take all these learnings from Dreamforce and make your plan, your roadmap for what you do with those learnings. I love being on Thursday. I love being on Thursday morning, Thursday morning, hall F, 9:00 AM. Even if you're not a morning person, even if you're tired, I promise we will wake you up. It'll be a fun show. We will be bright and shiny. There'll be a very big element of fun. You're going to see some really faces and love and haven't seen in a while. It'll be a wonderful way to kick off Thursday.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Thursday is, Leanne, it's admin day at Dreamforce because not only do we start the day with the Admin Keynote, but we end the day with admin release readiness live, which is really exciting. The whole day is really focused on admins. It's a great way to end Dreamforce with the bang with a whole day dedicated truly to Salesforce admins. Yeah, we're looking forward to it. Leanne, as you mentioned, if you're in person, come to Hall F, but if you're not in person, people can watch it online, right?

Leanne Remmel: Yes. It will be on Salesforce plus at 9:00 AM Pacific on Thursday. Definitely tune in. And there'll be a little something special for people who are tuning in online. There's going to be an after show. There's going to be the Admin Keynote, and then we're going to be diving into our after show as well. Also, really starting this live will be on later in the day, as well, for everyone who's not attending in person. I love that really starting this live is happening later in the day, because I think also, we're going to be talking about some new products and some new features and some new tools in the keynote. At really starting this live, you have Q and A with the product managers. If you come up with questions during keynote or during other sessions the week, you can ask those questions during really starting this live. I'm really excited for admin day and for Dreamforce. I hope to see you all there.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, we'll be there.
All right folks. We are done. The keynote is incredible. You are going to want to tune in. It's exactly one week from today. You'll be able to view that live on Salesforce plus. Starting at 9:00 AM Pacific time on Salesforce plus. You are not going to want to miss it.
We have a brief after show that's going to happen right after the keynote that, yours truly, is hosting along with some incredible admin analysts. We've got Carmel James, familiar voice on the pod, and Cheryl Feldman, one of our amazing product leaders who are going to join me as the post game analysts for what happened in the Admin Keynote. You're only going to find that live on Salesforce plus, so make sure you tune in there. We've got some fun surprises in that little segment too.
All right. Now, to wrap out the admin experience at Dreamforce, we are going to talk to Ella Marks, who is innovating... Oh my gosh. This is such a cool innovation that she's bringing to life this year at Dreamforce. It is the first time that we're ever going to be doing release readiness live with an in-person audience. You heard it. We do release readiness live every release. It is one of the best ways to get up to speed with all of the features that you should know about as an admin hearing directly from product managers. Well, we're bringing that experience to the attendees at Dreamforce. We're doing it in a big keynote room. We're going to have the product managers there, live, answering questions. If you are tuning in virtually, nothing's going to change for you. It's the same way that you can tune into release readiness live. We're just going to have a live studio audience who's also going to be able to participate. Check that out. That's going to be at 3:00 PM Pacific time. You'll be able to stream that the way that you normally stream release readiness live. Get your questions ready. Ella, welcome back to the podcast.

Ella Marks: Hi Gillian. Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, well I am having you because I want something very specific from you. First of all, before we get into it, can you remind the listeners who you are and what you do?

Ella Marks: Yeah, I'd love to. I am a senior marketing manager on the admin relations team. I have my hands in a lot of different things, but I'd say the biggest things that I focus on are admin website and our campaigns. Our release campaigns like Learn More, and some other campaigns that you may see across our social or our website.

Gillian Bruce: Yes, you do all of the very fun activating the community things, which is great. Speaking of which, we are giving everyone who's listening a little precursor to what they can expect at Dreamforce next week for both those attending in person and those attending online. Ella, you are owning a very exciting piece of this. Can you talk to us a little bit about release readiness live at Dreamforce?

Ella Marks: Yes. I would love to. Nothing gets me more excited for this year's Dreamforce than talking about the first ever, in person release readiness live. That's right. In person release readiness live.

Gillian Bruce: And the crowd goes wild!

Ella Marks: Insert cheering noises! It is so exciting because if you've seen release readiness live before, you know that every release we go through all those release highlights. There's tons of innovation out there with every single release. We pick out the top highlights for admins. Then we bring them to you in this release readiness live broadcast. We get to go through our demos and show you all these new innovations. Then the product managers take your questions about these new features during that broadcast. We're having all of that, but this time, there's also going to be this live in person component. Don't worry. If you're not joining us live in person, you will still be able to watch release readiness live the same way that you've watched it previously. You'll still be able to ask your questions, but it's just so exciting that we're going to have this new way to engage with the product managers and really be in that room. We're hoping to bring all of the awesome admin fun release energy to the session. I'm just so excited, if you can't tell.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it is something to get pretty pumped up about because not only is it the first in person release readiness live. This is kind of almost true to the core, but focused on the release, because we're going to have all those product managers there. Release readiness live is amazing because you get the PMs to join you on the broadcast and answer those questions live, but we're going to have all the PMs there. We're going to have rows of PMs to answer questions. If you've got a specific question that you've never really gotten an answer to feel free to bring it because we are going to be able to ask them... We. You will be able to ask them there in person. It's also the official closing party of all of Dreamforce and admin day. Ella, talk to us about how this party's going to go down.

Ella Marks: It's so exciting to be able to be that closing party because what it means is all week, you will have learned all of these new, amazing features. You may learn about Admin Skills. You'll learn about products. You'll have all of this learning. At the very end, you'll be able to keep those questions in the back of your mind that entire time, bring them to this session and go out learning all about the top new features. When you get home, they're right fresh in your mind, so you can immediately go start implementing these new features or playing around with them in a sandbox. This is just so exciting because you have that experience where you can have that closing party with us. We're going to make it fun. Don't worry. More to come on that.

Gillian Bruce: There'll be lots of fun.

Ella Marks: Lots of fun, but it'll be the last thing that you see at Dreamforce. You can take that, write your notes down, go home, and then immediately take action and start learning about some of these new features. I'm so excited. It's going to be the closing party, the can't miss last thing that you do at Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Release readiness live to take it all home. To your point, what's great is that this is a good forcing function to get everybody ready for the winter 23 release. You'll be able to go right back to your work when you get back home on Monday or Tuesday, or if you're taking the week after Dreamforce off, which I know some people do. Good for you, but you'll be able to immediately go in, play within that pre-lease environment and make sure that you're starting to prepare your org for the new capabilities you want to take advantage of with winter 23.
Ella, one thing that I know that's different about this year is because we get to do it in person, we may not have as much time as we usually do to answer all of the questions. We will have time for Q and A, but what happens..? What are we doing for folks who maybe don't get their question answered live in this session?

Ella Marks: That is a great question, Gillian. It is something that we know everybody is going to be thinking about during this session. We will provide an opportunity to follow up on those questions that you've asked after Dreamforce. We're still working out some of those details. I will make sure that we share them with you as soon as we have them, but do not worry. Your opportunities to connect with these product managers and get your questions answered are not limited to this session. Do not fear. We will answer as many questions as we can live at Dreamforce from online and in the room. But if we don't get to your question, there will be additional opportunities to ask it. Just stay tuned.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and yeah, you'll know exactly which PM to harass on Twitter too. It'll be all good.

Ella Marks: We'll share their Twitter handles. You can ask them directly.

Gillian Bruce: This is so great, Ella. Now, I would love to just ask you, since this is the first time we're doing release readiness live in real life, IRL, what are some of the differences in putting together release readiness live for an in person and online experience versus just that online experience?

Ella Marks: That's a really good question. I think that when it comes to anything, that's going to be onsite, especially at Dreamforce. If you ever participated in a Dreamforce session before, or you have dreams of participating, it is such a different experience to be live in the room with people. You really want to make sure with a session like release readiness live, that we're considering both that in room audience and the experience for those folks, and the experience for folks who are going to be tuning in online.
One thing that we haven't really had to think about before, which is really fun, but we're thinking about this time is, we're showing some really exciting new features that we think you're going to be really excited about. We're having to think, do we need to pause for an audience reaction? That is something we've never had to think about before. Is anybody going to clap? When there's an announcement? Are we going to hear some rumblings in the audience? What is this going to look like? This is a totally new experience for us. It relates a little bit less to the content, but just that general atmosphere that we want to create with this experience is, it is real. It is live. We are engaging with you, but I don't know. I'm excited to see what it looks like, but it's definitely not something we've experienced in the studio or in the online little Brady bunch box before.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah, instead of relying on basically the other attendees in the Brady box bunch, just to show excitement over a feature, we're going to get real actual reactions that are audible from the audience, in addition to the normal online forever that happens, and the great gifts, like Squire I know we always posts the great gifts. But yeah. It's fun to bring both of those together. Amazing job, Ella, of bringing both that in person, that new in person experience together with the live existing experience. It's going to be really fun. It's like the first real deal, hybrid live content. Honestly, cause it's so interactive. I's going to be really fun to see that go down. Any tips for folks who are going to be attending in person or attending online to get the most out of the session?

Ella Marks: I think to get the most out of the session, I would just recommend having a way to take notes, whether it's your phone, or you are taking photos of the slides or of a demo, or making a note of a new feature that you might be excited about. You don't want to lose those moments of inspiration that you might get during a session like this that is so jam packed of features. Just make sure that you have an easy way to capture something that you might get excited about because we're going to show a lot.
If I can add one more, bring your questions. We're going to be sharing what we're covering before the event. If you have questions about automation, you have questions about DevOps center, or permissions and user access, you can think about those now. When the session starts, be ready to post those questions because we will be looking for them. Start thinking about those. Start thinking about what you'd want to ask to our amazing product managers. We can't wait to answer as many of them as we can.

Gillian Bruce: Bring all the questions. All of them.

Ella Marks: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: All of them. Well, Ella, thank you for joining us on the podcast. Thank you so much for bringing IRL at DF 22, because I'm just going to list all the acronyms at once. I know we're all looking forward to this amazing closing party at Dreamforce. We cannot wait to see you there. Ella, it's going to be some admin magic.

Lisa Dick: I can't wait. See you all there.

Gillian Bruce: With that, everyone, I hope you are so pumped for next week. It is happening in just a few days. I cannot even believe it's the 20th Dreamforce. I don't even know what number Dreamforce this is for me. I think my first Dreamforce was 2010. Maybe it's my 12th Dreamforce. Yikes. Wow. Anyway, Dreamforce is a magical time. I hope you're able to join us. If you're not able to join us in person, please, please, please stay tuned to Salesforce plus, and you can stay up to date again with all things happening in the admin community by following #awesomeadmin on Twitter and Salesforce admins, no eye. I hope you all are pumped to have an incredible Dreamforce, whether you're joining us in San Francisco or you're joining us from your comfort of your own home. I cannot wait to see you. I cannot wait to hear from you. I cannot wait to see what you think of your admin experience at this year's 20th Dreamforce.
With that, have an amazing rest of your day. Safe travels. Have a great weekend. I'll catch you next time, in the cloud.



Direct download: The_Admin_Experience_at_Dreamforce_22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Mary Tagler, Salesforce MVP and Salesforce Applications Manager at Relativity.

Join us as we talk about Mary’s upcoming presentation at Dreamforce, “The Fundamentals of Formulas.”

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

Best of Dreamforce

Not everyone can make it to Dreamforce this year and, even if you can, we know it’s impossible to catch everything. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. This month, we’re bringing the best speakers from the Admin Stage on the pod so you won’t miss a thing.

Formulas for the Rest of Us

Longtime listeners may remember Mary from way back in 2016. These days, she manages a team of admins for Chicago-based legal software company Relativity. Most importantly, she’s speaking at Dreamforce this year about the fundamentals of formulas. “I wanted to get down to the fundamentals, best practices, and the how-tos for people who just don’t know where to start,” she says.

Mary wants to point you towards the resources that are already out there to help set you up for success. There are a lot of ways to get help but the number of options can become overwhelming, so she wants to give you some pointers on how to help yourself. “One of the best resources—the bookmark I have on every machine I own—is the formulas and operators help document,” she says. And even better, it has examples for everything.

Why It Helps to Write Things Out on Paper

Mary also wants to help you understand where formulas are used and why you use them. She’ll talk through the most common types of functions and operators you use, writing out every exercise in plain language so you know how it works. “Even if you feel like walking away not knowing how to build the formula, you’re going to know how to write out that logic in a coherent way that anyone can digest.”

Finally, Mary will cover best practices. “Sometimes the way you write your formula sets you up for failure,” she says. She always hand writes her formulas following a specific format, underling ANDs and circling ORs. That helps her identify how she wrote the formula and find any logic gaps, and also gives her a way to run it by stakeholders to see if it’ll solve the business problem.

Asking For Help

One thing Mary did when she was starting to learn formulas was taking a look in the Answers Community. There are always a ton of questions there, and she figured a good way to hone her skills was to see if she could figure them out.

Even better, the Answers Community is still there for you no matter where you are in your journey. “Time formulas are my kryptonite,” Mary says, “and you will see me posting for help anytime I have to do something time-related.” And she’s giving a presentation about formulas at Dreamforce, so you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it!

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we are bringing you the best of Dreamforce. Listeners, we have picked some of the top sessions from the admin track at Dreamforce, both breakout sessions and theater, and we're bringing them to you here on the podcast because we know not everyone's going to be able to come to Dreamforce.
And even if you are coming to Dreamforce in person, there's zero likelihood that you're going to be able to hit every single session in the admin track. It's just physically impossible. You can't clone yourself. So wanted to make sure that I bring some of our top presentations and presenters on the podcast so you can hear more about what they're going to be sharing, learn a little bit more from what they're going to be teaching in their session, and just have a good time getting ready and getting that mindset of Dreamforce.
So without further ado, I want to introduce you to today, reintroduce you if you've been listening to the podcast for a long time. We have Mary Tagler who is going to be joining us today, and she's got a great session on the fundamentals of formulas that she's going to be presenting at Dreamforce.
And fun fact, she was last on the podcast I think back in like 2016 and it was right before she won an awesome admin award, which in those days wasn't even the golden hoodie yet, but now it has evolved to that. So without further ado, let's welcome Mary to the podcast. Mary, welcome back to the podcast.

Mary Tagler: Thanks for having me, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Well, we were talking, I think it's been a long time since we've had you on the podcast.

Mary Tagler: It has. It's been in excess of four years and at least one job ago.

Gillian Bruce: So, all right, so before we get into it, why don't you update us? What are you up to now? What are you doing these days?

Mary Tagler: Sure. I'm actually a manager these days and I manage a team of admins at Relativity. We're a legal software company based in Chicago.

Gillian Bruce: I like it managing a team of admins. All right, so clearly you've got a lot of awesome admin knowledge to share with everyone. Now, I wanted to have you on the podcast, Mary, because we are getting ready for a little something called Dreamforce here just in a few weeks. And I know you are presenting a session and I know several of our listeners are not going to be able to make it to your session, even if they make it to Dreamforce, because there's a zillion things going on. So I wanted to get you on the podcast to talk a little bit about what you are presenting and share some of these amazing takeaways that you're going to give your captive audience on site to some of our listeners here today.

Mary Tagler: Sure. So I'm going to be speaking at Dreamforce about the fundamentals of formulas. It's a topic that I hold near and dear. It's something that as an organizer of our Salesforce Saturday group, I really had looked for a way to build on that great presentation that Steve Mo does about formulas, but getting more basic, getting down to really the fundamentals, the best practices, and the how-tos for people who just don't even know where to start.
I spend a lot of my time either in the community or Ohana Slack, and I see a lot of folks come with questions where they're like, "I need to do X and I don't even know where to begin." And so my goal is to really start teaching folks how to map out what they need to do and then feel comfortable with the tools that are provided for them.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. I think that's so important. It's kind of like instead of just helping you troubleshoot every single issue, let's get some framework and some longer term strategy in place so that when these come up, you have a way to think about them and process them. And as someone who personally has always struggled with math, and then when I was trying to get the grasp on Salesforce formulas, I was like, "Oh no, here we go again." So I very much appreciate your work in this area to try and help people understand. So what are some of the things that you're going to cover in your session that's really kind of help people get that, that fundamental knowledge about how to use a formula and when to use it?

Mary Tagler: Sure. So we're going to start out, we're going to talk about some of the resources available to you, because there's a lot of resources out there both within and outside of Salesforce that'll help set you up for success. We're going to talk about where you use formula. So why are formulas even important? Because there are so many places in the system we use them and it's really important to understand like, "Why should I even use this skill?"
We're going to talk about best practices. Sometimes the way you write your formula actually sets you up for failure. My favorite thing to do is I write it out, I write it out for a couple reasons and I have very specific ways. I hand write it and I underline my ands and I circle my ors. And I do it for two reasons. One, it helps me identify how I'm writing the formula and any logic gaps. But the other thing is I can take what I wrote, type it up and share it with my business stakeholders and say, "Is this what you're asking for?" Versus giving them a formula and they're just going to look at me like I have two heads.

Gillian Bruce: Right. You're speaking a language they do not understand.

Mary Tagler: Exactly. And so I want to make sure that people feel like they have a support system in place to really get help. One of the best resources, the bookmark I have on every single machine I own is the formulas and operators help document. And I love it because it shows examples. And a lot of times people don't even get to that first step of knowing that exists and seeing how it's used in action.

Gillian Bruce: As I do remember in my early days of trying to figure out how to write my first formulas, finding that and being like, "Oh." It's like the decoder of trying to decode a secret language of the back of the cereal box for those of us who are older." Remember back in the day when these things existed.

Mary Tagler: Oh yeah.

Gillian Bruce: All right, so it's super helpful. So then, okay, so you got some resources down and what else are you going to share in trying to help people?

Mary Tagler: So then we're really going to jump into it and we're going to do a bunch of exercises. So what I've done is I've really taken a series of common but simple validation rules and formulas and automation examples and really broken them down. I'm going to talk about the most common types of functions and operators you're going to use, because there's a really long list. And frankly, there may be some you never use in your admin career, but there's going to be a number that you're probably going to use quite frequently.
And we're going to go through it. We're going to write out every exercise. So we're going to write it in plain language. So even if you feel like you walk away not knowing how to build the formula, you're going to walk away knowing how to write out that logic in a coherent way that anyone can digest it. Then we're going to go through the actual formula itself. And I've added some visualizations to help break down what we're doing in each spot.
And I really analogize formula building to creative writing in a way, because you're separating your clauses with punctuation, you have to close out all your parentheses. It's somewhat math based, but it's also somewhat very language based. And I think when you start thinking about it that way, it helps you put the pieces together.
We're going to do examples of where we might nest one function around another function. We'll wrap them together to do what we need to do or we'll do a nested if statement so that we can have more than two outcomes. So we're going to go through things like that that are practical everyday used case examples.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So I want to go to the session, I'm like, [inaudible].

Mary Tagler: I hope you do.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I will definitely put it on my calendar and do everything I can to make it. But what I really like about this Mary is though your approach is so ... it's very practical, but it's also really relatable. I love what you just said about, "Hey, yes there's some math to it, but it's also creative writing." It's the same like you have to use your creative brain to make these things work, because there's a zillion different ways you could write a formula to accomplish a couple different things. Right?

Mary Tagler: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: So Mary, you said you manage a team of admins and I imagine this is probably something that you are helping your team of admins get a better grasp on. Can you talk to us a little bit more about how you've honed this skill with formulas and how you've come up with this content? You mentioned a little bit, but observations in the community, but take us a little deeper and tell us a little bit more about how you've gained this skill?

Mary Tagler: Sure. So I originally learned how to use formulas from a consultant that helped us implement Salesforce and really just tried to iterate on what I saw there. But then once I started getting involved in the community, what I did, which is something I recommend for a variety of skill sets, is I really started to look in the answers community and there are tons of formula based questions there.
And so then I kind of posed that as a challenge to myself like, "Can I figure that out? Can I apply that?" And that really helped me flex that muscle and strengthen that muscle where I really felt confident and comfortable writing formulas. I will also say though, I'm the first to admit, time formulas are my kryptonite. I absolutely hate time formulas and you'll see me posting for help anytime I have to do something time related.
So you can be strong in some areas and still weaker in others too and that's okay. With my team, I think I was lucky to join a team with a lot of senior folks already on it. So really having those formula skills in place. But I think where I've really focused in on is ensuring we're following best practices. I don't want to see people putting IDs in fields like, "Let's stop the hard coding, let's clean up things where we can." And we've really created that best practice mentality.
And as I work with some of our newer hires, we talk a lot about that where it's like as we have an opportunity to change the logic, let's take the opportunity to move it into best practices.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Because oh, hard coding. Gosh, I remember the first time I learned about hard coding and I was like, "I know this is bad. This just doesn't feel right. Let's not do this because yeah, it'll break all the time."

Mary Tagler: It will. And I analogize it to it's be a friend to your future self and your future and current teammates because nothing is more frustrating than getting to a formula somewhere and getting this idea and being like, "Where the heck does that go?" And then having to try and figure out what it is. And a lot of times it'll be something that's maybe obsolete because no one knew what that silly ID did.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and now it's gone and so, oh well, you got to rebuild it again. Got it.

Mary Tagler: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So Mary, this I would imagine is not your first Dreamforce. Do you know how many Dreamforces you've been to?

Mary Tagler: The first Dreamforce I went to was in 2012. So including the years we were virtual, this will be my 10th Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: There you go.

Mary Tagler: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So yeah, my first Dreamforce I think was 2010. So we're about on the same page there. There you go.

Mary Tagler: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Since you are a veteran of the Dreamforce experience, do you have any top level tips for folks who may be getting ready to come to their first in-person Dreamforce?

Mary Tagler: So my tip, I don't know how popular it's going to be, is I would say don't obsess over the agenda. Go with the flow. I know the first couple years I went, I would try and bookmark and register for everything and obsess over my agenda. And after a few years in, I actually found it more impactful where I picked the things as they came. I looked every day and decided, "Hey, this sounds interesting." Or I heard the buzz from someone else that a session was going to be repeated and went there. So I would say, be flexible.

Gillian Bruce: That's great advice because yes, there's a lot of content and if you try and go back to back sessions all day, A, you're not going to be successful and B, you're just going to set yourself up to be frustrated.

Mary Tagler: Yeah. And to be frustrated to wear yourself out too early in the conference, it's not worth it. And the obvious one, comfortable shoes.

Gillian Bruce: Yes, comfortable shoes and comfortable, fun shoes. Yeah.

Mary Tagler: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: It's comfortable fun shoe game going on at Dreamforce. Awesome. Well Mary, thank you so much for joining us and thank you so much for putting together such a great presentation to share and help other people. And for those who aren't able to come in person, at least they got a little bit of your nuggets of wisdom here on the podcast. And hey, who knows, maybe we'll do some more to help further spread your message after Dreamforce, so.

Mary Tagler: Well, thanks. Thanks for having me and I hope to see you at my session.

Gillian Bruce: I will do everything I can to be there, nothing else. Will for sure see you at Dreamforce.

Mary Tagler: Sounds good.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you, Mary for taking time out of your Dreamforce preparation schedule to join us on the podcast and share so much great wisdom about formulas. To me, formulas is a weak spot and it always has been, but honestly, some of the things that Mary just shared are transformative and now I'm looking forward to putting them into practice so that I can be better with formulas. And if you are not going to be able to make her session at Dreamforce, don't worry, I am sure that we will be doing something with Mary in the future to get that great content to you.
So she had some great words of wisdom. It's about knowing how in the context of when to use formulas, thinking that more, not just of a math problem, but also as a creative process of how to put clauses and different phrases together and the idea of making it easy on yourself and following best practices like no hard coding people, just don't do it. It's just not. No, don't our hard code.
Anyway, so Mary was great. Really appreciate her coming on the podcast. If you want to follow Mary, you can find her on Twitter. She's got a great Twitter handle and it sounds really weird when you spell it out, but when you see it, it makes sense. It's @YramtSFDC. That's Tmary, backwards. You get that? Yeah.
Well, you can always stay up-to-date with everything happening in the admin community, especially Dreamforce related by following us on Twitter, @SalesforceAdmns, no I, or using #AwesomeAdmin. You can follow me @gilliankbruce and my co-host Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt.
With that, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day. And if you're getting ready to come to Dreamforce, continue to get excited. If you're getting ready to tune in to Dreamforce via Salesforce Live, start bookmarking those sessions, check out the broadcast schedule. There is so much great content coming your way, and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: Best_of_Dreamforce__Fundamentals_of_Formulas_with_Mary_Tagler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Keizra Tyson-Griffin, Salesforce Business Analyst at Esor Consulting Group and a soon-to-be Dreamforce presenter.

Join us as we talk about her Dreamforce presentation about evaluating AppExchange apps as a Salesforce Business Analyst.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Keizra Tyson-Griffin.

Best of Dreamforce

With Dreamforce happening this month, we wanted to take a moment to bring some of that content directly to your ears. We know not everyone can make it and, even if you can, you might not be able to catch everything. So we’re bringing on the best speakers from the Admin Track to tell you what they’ve been cooking up.

There’s a First Time for Everything

It’s not only Keizra’s first time presenting at Dreamforce, it’ll be her first time attending as well—talk about jumping straight into the deep end. Her presentation will cover AppExchange strategies for Salesforce Business Analysts, and we wanted to bring her on the pod to give us a sneak preview of what she’s going to cover.

“I kept coming across clients who wanted to add an application to their org but there were tons of questions around [it] and they didn’t really understand how best to identify the best app for their org,” Keizra says. Instead of being distracted by bells and whistles, the key is to focus on your goals for your business and how an app can make them possible. Is a new app really aligned with your core business objectives, or does it just make you feel cool?

The Questions You Need to Ask About a New App

The most important thing you can do to start is to talk to your key stakeholders to understand where you are now and where you’re trying to go. You want to find out how each department would use a potential new app in their day-to-day activities. Most importantly, you need to know where each department is now and where they’d like to be in the future. Are there any other technologies that your potential app needs to integrate with? Will this app grow with your business or will you need to do something different in a year or two?

 

We also pick Keirzra’s brain about how she came to be a business analyst and what skills you need to get started in that career. “One of the excellent things about being a Salesforce Business Analyst is that you can pull from other careers that you’ve had,” she says, “if you’re an inquisitive person and you like understanding how things work and why, these are absolutely skills you can pull into your career.” 

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today Gillian Bruce, and I am joined by an amazing brand new Dreamforce presenter, Keizra Tyson-Griffin. Now she has an amazing presentation about evaluating AppExchange apps as a Salesforce business analyst, which is useful for every single Salesforce admin out there. She's the first of a series that we're going to be doing where I'm calling the best of Dreamforce. So we're bringing some of the top presentations from the admin track both in the admin theater and breakout sessions to you listeners on the podcast. Because I fully realized that even if you're going to make it to Dreamforce, you're probably not going to make it to every single admin track session. If you do, I don't know how you're going to do it because that means you got to clone yourself and be in three places at the same time.
So I have been partnering with Jennifer Lee, who's owning the admin track this year and we have got some amazing presenters who are going to join us on the podcast and deliver right to you the presentations that they are sharing with attendees at Dreamforce. So without further ado, let's welcome Keizra to the podcast. Keizra, welcome to the podcast.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Hi, Gillian. Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I am very happy that you are here because not only are we getting ready for Dreamforce here, everyone, whether you're joining virtually or in person, but this is also the first time that I've gotten to meet you because this is not only your first Dreamforce, but your first time presenting at Dreamforce, correct?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: It is.

Gillian Bruce: Well, so that's really exciting and also a really big deal. Can you tell us a little bit about what you are putting together to share at Dreamforce?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes. So at Dreamforce this year, I'll be speaking on AppExchange strategies for Salesforce business analysts.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you said a few things that I know all admins care about right there in the title of that. So let's talk a little bit about kind of where you're coming from to talk about this. So can you introduce yourself a little bit to the listeners about who you are, what you do in the ecosystem and why this is a topic that you've chosen to focus on?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So my name again is Keizra Tyson-Griffin. I am a Salesforce business analyst at Esor Consulting Group, which is a bit wise company, and I've been a business analyst for a little over a year now. And the reason I selected this topic is because it absolutely matters. So I kept coming across clients who wanted to add an application to their org, but there were tons of questions they had around that application that they wanted to add and not really understanding how best to identify the right app for their org. Sometimes being distracted by shiny objects or all the bells and whistles and not really taking a good look at these are the goals for my business and these are the goals for my org, not only short term but long term. I mean just really trying to help them navigate that.

Gillian Bruce: I think that is such an important topic because as you said, you're getting distracted by shiny objects. I mean, we all do it. And a lot of times when you're looking at AppExchange, there are so many options out there and there are so many things that you're like, I want that because that looks like it's going to give me this and it's going to give me that. But it sounds like you're really kind of helping folks understand more about the why and how these things might fit in and you talked about kind of aligning to business goals. So can you talk to us a little bit more about breaking that down and how you come out, let's say, Hey, I want to find an app that helps me automate a certain part of my business. There's three different options out there. So how would you go about evaluating that and deciding which direction to go?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So one of the things I'll be talking about in my presentation is the discovery aspect of talking to those key stakeholders, and just really getting a sense of how each department will be using that app in their day to day, what their current state is versus their desired state, and then getting an understanding of the business goals, right? Where are we today? Where do we want to be short term? Where do we want to be in the long term?
And then also taking into consideration some of the other technologies, platforms and applications that they're using or integrating with their Salesforce org and how those applications might play with something that you're looking to implement from the AppExchange. And so just getting an understanding of those needs and those requirements, and then doing the research in the AppExchange based on what the client or the end-user has stated that they need, what applications actually meet those requirements that exist on the AppExchange today.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So I'm hearing a lot of probably the wheels turning that a lot of admins go through like, great, so I have this business unit that wants to use this specific AppExchange idea. I have this business unit who uses something that's kind of over here, but maybe similar, but maybe also have a different goal. How do you negotiate kind of working those issues out maybe with some competing interests within the same organization?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: One of the things with a client that I worked with specifically is that they had to go through procurement to really vet that technology because they have a good understanding of what they've already purchased and what the purpose of those purchases were. And so they'll be able to help identify whether or not this application or these applications that you're recommending will actually work with what the organization is doing as a whole.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Now I know here you are in the business analysis space now being a business analyst is something we've talked a lot about especially when we talk about. It's one of the top skills from our Salesforce admin skills kit is the idea of being able to do business analysis as a Salesforce administrator. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you have kind of developed and honed that skill so that other people might be able to follow your footsteps?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So Tony V Martin has been on this show before. So I've learned a lot from her. Also, Tiffany Spencer, I've learned a lot from her as well. And then just one of the excellent things about being a Salesforce business analyst is that you can actually pull from other careers that you've had. If you are just a very inquisitive person and you like understanding how things work or understanding why people make the decisions that they make, these are absolutely skills that you can pull into your career as a business analyst. I think that you just have to have a natural curiosity about why people do the things that they do, why organizations are structured the way that they're structured and work the way that they work.
But then a more tactical thing that I would implement is documenting. Having a good understanding of what the client is giving you and then capturing that, whether it's in audio or video form, or just writing it out, really capturing that information that they're providing to you because then you can go back to that and then pull from that when you're making your decisions or when you want to refine those requirements and say, Hey, you said this, am I understanding this correctly? Or you said this, but it sparked my interest or curiosity in another way. So let me ask you this set of questions so that you can get that holistic picture.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you touched on a few things there. I mean, the idea of being curious and just asking questions, I think is something I found in every single, truly awesome admin that we've talked to, that I've met, is that it's so important because you actually have to want to know and learn things, right? [inaudible] to fake curiosity. And then the other thing you mentioned was the idea is you can bring this kind of business analysis skillset from previous roles and previous experiences. Can you maybe dive a little deeper on that? What kind of experiences were you maybe able to bring over from other industries or whatever other things that you've done and then transfer that skillset into really kind of this business analysis ability within the Salesforce context?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So my first job out of college actually I was a contracts negotiator for an aerospace and defense company. And so I was very heavily involved in proposal writing and working with different departments to pull that proposal together, get it back to the client for them to then look at it and then actually going through the different clauses and negotiating those clauses. And so I kind of tie that into going to the client and finding out what their needs are and then looking at those requirements and documenting what their needs are, what their future goals are, creating those user stories for them to make sure that we're actually building what it is that they desire to be built.
Then I also have a background in marketing. I have my master's degree in marketing. And so I'm very curious about the way consumers think. And so when Salesforce as a platform takes that 360 degree customer view, that really plays into what I do as a BA and understanding those short term long term goals, what the business is trying to accomplish overall, and how that could potentially feed into their different departments within the organization.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's awesome. I mean, I love from looking and evaluating clauses of very complex contracts, which also by the way you said aerospace engineering was the...

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Aerospace and defense.

Gillian Bruce: Aerospace and defense. That's pretty cool. And also I imagine super complex. And then at face value, you probably are like, how does that relate to Salesforce? But the way you just broke that down was really clear. And I think a lot of people that I talked to that are maybe struggling to figure out how do I transition from this at face value industry that has nothing to do with tech or Salesforce into Salesforce. I think the story you just told, made it really clear of a path to do that.
And then the other thing, your marketing experience, again, a lot of people probably don't immediately think like, I'm a marketer. So I'm going to be working in the Salesforce space. I mean, I'm a marketer in Salesforce in Salesforce, but I don't have a marketing degree. So I think it's really interesting how you explain those perspectives help you really become a great BA. I think that's really great. So thank you for sharing that.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: No problem. I think a lot of people can get caught up in the technical aspect of it. And what I mean is as a contracts person, this is what I do. Or as a marketing person, I focus specifically on content. Well, a marketing person can focus on the customer journey. They can focus on the analytics and understanding what the analytics say to then inform business decisions. And so it's important to take a look at the whole and then be able to see the different paths that can come out of that whole.

Gillian Bruce: A hundred percent. Very well said. And look at you even bringing in some of the Salesforce corporate platform right there. Thank you Keizra. You're making me look good. So before we get towards the latter part of our conversation, I just want to talk about the fact that this is your first time going to Dreamforce and you're presenting at Dreamforce. How are you feeling about that?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So I am excited and nervous at the same time. I'm excited to just be able to go there and meet all the people that I'm going to meet that exist in the ecosystem today and have really built their careers in the ecosystem. And there's something to be said to you about people that have been going for 13, 15, the full 20 years, right? And then nervous because I submitted my topic and I was like, I'll submit, this is my first time, I probably won't get selected. And then I was selected. And so it's exciting but I'm also nervous.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you it's totally okay to be nervous, but I promise that we've got you and you're going to do an amazing job.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes. Everyone's been wonderful so far.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's good. You'll really get to experience the online Trailblazer community love in person...

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: ... which will be really fine. Hey listeners, if there's anyone listening to this episode that is also going to be going to Dreamforce for your first time, make sure that you meet up with Keizra because Hey, you've got another first timer to connect with.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, Keizra, before we totally wrap, I just wanted to give you an opportunity. So I'm sure there's a lot of people who are listening in the pod that aren't going to be able to come to Dreamforce, which is totally normal. It is a big deal to try and come to Dreamforce. What do you want to share with those folks? So maybe top takeaways that the in person people are going to get from your presentation that maybe the listeners can get right now.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So I would say when you are evaluating an app on the AppExchange to make sure that not only it meets the requirements that your end-users have laid out for you, but that also it's an application that is supported in terms of is this email support, chat support. Can you pick up the phone and call someone if you have any issues, when you integrate that you are able to test in a sandbox environment, you obviously don't want to test in production.

Gillian Bruce: No.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: And that it's an application that's really going to grow with the business, right?. You don't want to integrate something that just isn't going to work for them in a year, two years down the line and you're back at square one. I would also say that you need to make sure that you review the system requirements of the application. And so for example, you'll want to make sure that your client has the appropriate Salesforce edition. You don't want to recommend an application for them that is not supported by the addition of Salesforce that they currently have.
And then I would say something that's key is that you want to make sure that you think about who is going to be responsible for maintaining that solution post implementation and how secure that application is. So Salesforce has its own set of security requirements for native applications. But if this is a third party application, there are going to be some other security concerns there. So you want to make sure that you keep that in mind.

Gillian Bruce: Great takeaways. Keizra, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: It's been great to get to know you a little. And I am very much looking forward to seeing you at Dreamforce. And I'm also very much looking forward to seeing your presentation and I'm sure lots of people are now going to want to connect with you and get more of Keizra. So be prepared.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Thank you so much, Gillian, for having me. I'm really looking forward to hearing the episode and then again, attending Dreamforce and presenting on this topic.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, I'll see you soon and I'm sure we'll have you back on the podcast in the future as well.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Awesome. I'm looking forward to it.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, Keizra, for joining us on the podcast and taking time out of your busy Dreamforce prep to share some of your incredible insights and knowledge and your Dreamforce content to us on the podcast. Now, if you want to learn anything more about what we talked about today, especially if you want to learn anything more about being a great business analyst, make sure you check out admin.salesforce.com there's a whole section of the admin skills kit dedicated to business analysis. I'll also put some good links in the show notes for Trailhead content that'll help you with your business analysis skills and then some good AppExchange resources as well. And I hope that you all want to connect with Keizra who first time Dreamforce attendee, first time Dreamforce presenter. Obviously she's got a lot of great knowledge to share with the Trailblazer community. So connect with her. She's on Twitter @keizramakeba that's k-e-i-r-a-m-a-k-e-b-a. Again, we'll put the link in the show notes. You can find myself @gilliankbruce and you can find our other co-host Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt. And as always you can join all the awesome admin greatness online @SalesforceAdmns. No-i.
Now if you're coming to Dreamforce, I want to really remind you to check out all those great sessions that are already listed on the Dreamforce site. If you're not physically coming to Dreamforce, don't [inaudible]. We're going to have great content streaming to you on Salesforce plus. So there's going to be a lot of admin stuff on there. There's also going to be some great content available on demand after Dreamforce. So hope you have a great day. Thanks for listening this episode and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.




Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Keizra Tyson-Griffin, Salesforce Business Analyst at Esor Consulting Group and a soon-to-be Dreamforce presenter.

Join us as we talk about her Dreamforce presentation about evaluating AppExchange apps as a Salesforce Business Analyst.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Keizra Tyson-Griffin.

Best of Dreamforce

With Dreamforce happening this month, we wanted to take a moment to bring some of that content directly to your ears. We know not everyone can make it and, even if you can, you might not be able to catch everything. So we’re bringing on the best speakers from the Admin Track to tell you what they’ve been cooking up.

There’s a First Time for Everything

It’s not only Keizra’s first time presenting at Dreamforce, it’ll be her first time attending as well—talk about jumping straight into the deep end. Her presentation will cover AppExchange strategies for Salesforce Business Analysts, and we wanted to bring her on the pod to give us a sneak preview of what she’s going to cover.

“I kept coming across clients who wanted to add an application to their org but there were tons of questions around [it] and they didn’t really understand how best to identify the best app for their org,” Keizra says. Instead of being distracted by bells and whistles, the key is to focus on your goals for your business and how an app can make them possible. Is a new app really aligned with your core business objectives, or does it just make you feel cool?

The Questions You Need to Ask About a New App

The most important thing you can do to start is to talk to your key stakeholders to understand where you are now and where you’re trying to go. You want to find out how each department would use a potential new app in their day-to-day activities. Most importantly, you need to know where each department is now and where they’d like to be in the future. Are there any other technologies that your potential app needs to integrate with? Will this app grow with your business or will you need to do something different in a year or two?

 

We also pick Keirzra’s brain about how she came to be a business analyst and what skills you need to get started in that career. “One of the excellent things about being a Salesforce Business Analyst is that you can pull from other careers that you’ve had,” she says, “if you’re an inquisitive person and you like understanding how things work and why, these are absolutely skills you can pull into your career.” 

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today Gillian Bruce, and I am joined by an amazing brand new Dreamforce presenter, Keizra Tyson-Griffin. Now she has an amazing presentation about evaluating AppExchange apps as a Salesforce business analyst, which is useful for every single Salesforce admin out there. She's the first of a series that we're going to be doing where I'm calling the best of Dreamforce. So we're bringing some of the top presentations from the admin track both in the admin theater and breakout sessions to you listeners on the podcast. Because I fully realized that even if you're going to make it to Dreamforce, you're probably not going to make it to every single admin track session. If you do, I don't know how you're going to do it because that means you got to clone yourself and be in three places at the same time.
So I have been partnering with Jennifer Lee, who's owning the admin track this year and we have got some amazing presenters who are going to join us on the podcast and deliver right to you the presentations that they are sharing with attendees at Dreamforce. So without further ado, let's welcome Keizra to the podcast. Keizra, welcome to the podcast.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Hi, Gillian. Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I am very happy that you are here because not only are we getting ready for Dreamforce here, everyone, whether you're joining virtually or in person, but this is also the first time that I've gotten to meet you because this is not only your first Dreamforce, but your first time presenting at Dreamforce, correct?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: It is.

Gillian Bruce: Well, so that's really exciting and also a really big deal. Can you tell us a little bit about what you are putting together to share at Dreamforce?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes. So at Dreamforce this year, I'll be speaking on AppExchange strategies for Salesforce business analysts.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you said a few things that I know all admins care about right there in the title of that. So let's talk a little bit about kind of where you're coming from to talk about this. So can you introduce yourself a little bit to the listeners about who you are, what you do in the ecosystem and why this is a topic that you've chosen to focus on?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So my name again is Keizra Tyson-Griffin. I am a Salesforce business analyst at Esor Consulting Group, which is a bit wise company, and I've been a business analyst for a little over a year now. And the reason I selected this topic is because it absolutely matters. So I kept coming across clients who wanted to add an application to their org, but there were tons of questions they had around that application that they wanted to add and not really understanding how best to identify the right app for their org. Sometimes being distracted by shiny objects or all the bells and whistles and not really taking a good look at these are the goals for my business and these are the goals for my org, not only short term but long term. I mean just really trying to help them navigate that.

Gillian Bruce: I think that is such an important topic because as you said, you're getting distracted by shiny objects. I mean, we all do it. And a lot of times when you're looking at AppExchange, there are so many options out there and there are so many things that you're like, I want that because that looks like it's going to give me this and it's going to give me that. But it sounds like you're really kind of helping folks understand more about the why and how these things might fit in and you talked about kind of aligning to business goals. So can you talk to us a little bit more about breaking that down and how you come out, let's say, Hey, I want to find an app that helps me automate a certain part of my business. There's three different options out there. So how would you go about evaluating that and deciding which direction to go?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So one of the things I'll be talking about in my presentation is the discovery aspect of talking to those key stakeholders, and just really getting a sense of how each department will be using that app in their day to day, what their current state is versus their desired state, and then getting an understanding of the business goals, right? Where are we today? Where do we want to be short term? Where do we want to be in the long term?
And then also taking into consideration some of the other technologies, platforms and applications that they're using or integrating with their Salesforce org and how those applications might play with something that you're looking to implement from the AppExchange. And so just getting an understanding of those needs and those requirements, and then doing the research in the AppExchange based on what the client or the end-user has stated that they need, what applications actually meet those requirements that exist on the AppExchange today.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So I'm hearing a lot of probably the wheels turning that a lot of admins go through like, great, so I have this business unit that wants to use this specific AppExchange idea. I have this business unit who uses something that's kind of over here, but maybe similar, but maybe also have a different goal. How do you negotiate kind of working those issues out maybe with some competing interests within the same organization?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: One of the things with a client that I worked with specifically is that they had to go through procurement to really vet that technology because they have a good understanding of what they've already purchased and what the purpose of those purchases were. And so they'll be able to help identify whether or not this application or these applications that you're recommending will actually work with what the organization is doing as a whole.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Now I know here you are in the business analysis space now being a business analyst is something we've talked a lot about especially when we talk about. It's one of the top skills from our Salesforce admin skills kit is the idea of being able to do business analysis as a Salesforce administrator. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you have kind of developed and honed that skill so that other people might be able to follow your footsteps?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So Tony V Martin has been on this show before. So I've learned a lot from her. Also, Tiffany Spencer, I've learned a lot from her as well. And then just one of the excellent things about being a Salesforce business analyst is that you can actually pull from other careers that you've had. If you are just a very inquisitive person and you like understanding how things work or understanding why people make the decisions that they make, these are absolutely skills that you can pull into your career as a business analyst. I think that you just have to have a natural curiosity about why people do the things that they do, why organizations are structured the way that they're structured and work the way that they work.
But then a more tactical thing that I would implement is documenting. Having a good understanding of what the client is giving you and then capturing that, whether it's in audio or video form, or just writing it out, really capturing that information that they're providing to you because then you can go back to that and then pull from that when you're making your decisions or when you want to refine those requirements and say, Hey, you said this, am I understanding this correctly? Or you said this, but it sparked my interest or curiosity in another way. So let me ask you this set of questions so that you can get that holistic picture.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you touched on a few things there. I mean, the idea of being curious and just asking questions, I think is something I found in every single, truly awesome admin that we've talked to, that I've met, is that it's so important because you actually have to want to know and learn things, right? [inaudible] to fake curiosity. And then the other thing you mentioned was the idea is you can bring this kind of business analysis skillset from previous roles and previous experiences. Can you maybe dive a little deeper on that? What kind of experiences were you maybe able to bring over from other industries or whatever other things that you've done and then transfer that skillset into really kind of this business analysis ability within the Salesforce context?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So my first job out of college actually I was a contracts negotiator for an aerospace and defense company. And so I was very heavily involved in proposal writing and working with different departments to pull that proposal together, get it back to the client for them to then look at it and then actually going through the different clauses and negotiating those clauses. And so I kind of tie that into going to the client and finding out what their needs are and then looking at those requirements and documenting what their needs are, what their future goals are, creating those user stories for them to make sure that we're actually building what it is that they desire to be built.
Then I also have a background in marketing. I have my master's degree in marketing. And so I'm very curious about the way consumers think. And so when Salesforce as a platform takes that 360 degree customer view, that really plays into what I do as a BA and understanding those short term long term goals, what the business is trying to accomplish overall, and how that could potentially feed into their different departments within the organization.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's awesome. I mean, I love from looking and evaluating clauses of very complex contracts, which also by the way you said aerospace engineering was the...

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Aerospace and defense.

Gillian Bruce: Aerospace and defense. That's pretty cool. And also I imagine super complex. And then at face value, you probably are like, how does that relate to Salesforce? But the way you just broke that down was really clear. And I think a lot of people that I talked to that are maybe struggling to figure out how do I transition from this at face value industry that has nothing to do with tech or Salesforce into Salesforce. I think the story you just told, made it really clear of a path to do that.
And then the other thing, your marketing experience, again, a lot of people probably don't immediately think like, I'm a marketer. So I'm going to be working in the Salesforce space. I mean, I'm a marketer in Salesforce in Salesforce, but I don't have a marketing degree. So I think it's really interesting how you explain those perspectives help you really become a great BA. I think that's really great. So thank you for sharing that.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: No problem. I think a lot of people can get caught up in the technical aspect of it. And what I mean is as a contracts person, this is what I do. Or as a marketing person, I focus specifically on content. Well, a marketing person can focus on the customer journey. They can focus on the analytics and understanding what the analytics say to then inform business decisions. And so it's important to take a look at the whole and then be able to see the different paths that can come out of that whole.

Gillian Bruce: A hundred percent. Very well said. And look at you even bringing in some of the Salesforce corporate platform right there. Thank you Keizra. You're making me look good. So before we get towards the latter part of our conversation, I just want to talk about the fact that this is your first time going to Dreamforce and you're presenting at Dreamforce. How are you feeling about that?

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So I am excited and nervous at the same time. I'm excited to just be able to go there and meet all the people that I'm going to meet that exist in the ecosystem today and have really built their careers in the ecosystem. And there's something to be said to you about people that have been going for 13, 15, the full 20 years, right? And then nervous because I submitted my topic and I was like, I'll submit, this is my first time, I probably won't get selected. And then I was selected. And so it's exciting but I'm also nervous.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you it's totally okay to be nervous, but I promise that we've got you and you're going to do an amazing job.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes. Everyone's been wonderful so far.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's good. You'll really get to experience the online Trailblazer community love in person...

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: ... which will be really fine. Hey listeners, if there's anyone listening to this episode that is also going to be going to Dreamforce for your first time, make sure that you meet up with Keizra because Hey, you've got another first timer to connect with.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, Keizra, before we totally wrap, I just wanted to give you an opportunity. So I'm sure there's a lot of people who are listening in the pod that aren't going to be able to come to Dreamforce, which is totally normal. It is a big deal to try and come to Dreamforce. What do you want to share with those folks? So maybe top takeaways that the in person people are going to get from your presentation that maybe the listeners can get right now.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: So I would say when you are evaluating an app on the AppExchange to make sure that not only it meets the requirements that your end-users have laid out for you, but that also it's an application that is supported in terms of is this email support, chat support. Can you pick up the phone and call someone if you have any issues, when you integrate that you are able to test in a sandbox environment, you obviously don't want to test in production.

Gillian Bruce: No.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: And that it's an application that's really going to grow with the business, right?. You don't want to integrate something that just isn't going to work for them in a year, two years down the line and you're back at square one. I would also say that you need to make sure that you review the system requirements of the application. And so for example, you'll want to make sure that your client has the appropriate Salesforce edition. You don't want to recommend an application for them that is not supported by the addition of Salesforce that they currently have.
And then I would say something that's key is that you want to make sure that you think about who is going to be responsible for maintaining that solution post implementation and how secure that application is. So Salesforce has its own set of security requirements for native applications. But if this is a third party application, there are going to be some other security concerns there. So you want to make sure that you keep that in mind.

Gillian Bruce: Great takeaways. Keizra, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: It's been great to get to know you a little. And I am very much looking forward to seeing you at Dreamforce. And I'm also very much looking forward to seeing your presentation and I'm sure lots of people are now going to want to connect with you and get more of Keizra. So be prepared.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Thank you so much, Gillian, for having me. I'm really looking forward to hearing the episode and then again, attending Dreamforce and presenting on this topic.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, I'll see you soon and I'm sure we'll have you back on the podcast in the future as well.

Keizra Tyson-Gr...: Awesome. I'm looking forward to it.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, Keizra, for joining us on the podcast and taking time out of your busy Dreamforce prep to share some of your incredible insights and knowledge and your Dreamforce content to us on the podcast. Now, if you want to learn anything more about what we talked about today, especially if you want to learn anything more about being a great business analyst, make sure you check out admin.salesforce.com there's a whole section of the admin skills kit dedicated to business analysis. I'll also put some good links in the show notes for Trailhead content that'll help you with your business analysis skills and then some good AppExchange resources as well. And I hope that you all want to connect with Keizra who first time Dreamforce attendee, first time Dreamforce presenter. Obviously she's got a lot of great knowledge to share with the Trailblazer community. So connect with her. She's on Twitter @keizramakeba that's k-e-i-r-a-m-a-k-e-b-a. Again, we'll put the link in the show notes. You can find myself @gilliankbruce and you can find our other co-host Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt. And as always you can join all the awesome admin greatness online @SalesforceAdmns. No-i.
Now if you're coming to Dreamforce, I want to really remind you to check out all those great sessions that are already listed on the Dreamforce site. If you're not physically coming to Dreamforce, don't [inaudible]. We're going to have great content streaming to you on Salesforce plus. So there's going to be a lot of admin stuff on there. There's also going to be some great content available on demand after Dreamforce. So hope you have a great day. Thanks for listening this episode and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.




Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for August.

Join us as we talk about all the Salesforce content you shouldn’t miss from August.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Winter ‘23

Pre-release orgs have been available for Winter ‘23 since August 11th, so make sure to sign up, and release notes have been out since the 17th. If you’re trying to move a sandbox onto the new release, the deadline to get that done is TOMORROW, August 26th.

Dreamforce is coming up

Join us for our 20th Dreamforce, coming up September 20-22. Full conference passes are already sold out, but you can jump on a waitlist or tune in via Salesforce+. We also have a full slate of pods to help you get ready coming up in September, so smash that subscribe button!

Blog highlights from August

There was a flurry of great Automate This! content in August, including an appearance by pod regular Karmel James. Jennifer Lee’s blog posts are thorough, fun, and easy to follow so make sure you’re not missing out.

Video highlights from August

We’ve given “How I Solved It” a Salesforce+ glow up and we think it’s worth a watch. A dream team of Trailblazers tackles real problems in their orgs and takes you through the process, every step of the way. 

Podcast highlights from August

A couple podcast episodes stand out from August. We spoke to Amit Malik, a longtime instructor for the Global Architect Program about why admins should take architect courses. We also caught up with Stuart Mills, VP Trailhead EMEA to learn how you can grow your career and why you might end up in a role that hasn’t been invented yet.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the August Monthly Retro for 2022. I'm your host, Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we'll review the top product, community and careers content, well, for the month of August, just like I said. And you know what? Helping me do that the very familiar and excitingly fun posting voice of Gillian Bruce. Hi, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Hi, Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: Thank you for surviving the heat waves.

Gillian Bruce: Well, we didn't get any heat waves out here in San Francisco, at least not yet, but our summer is coming soon, soon.

Mike Gerholdt: Summer and state fair for everybody right now.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Things on a stick. Things are fried. People are getting sunburned.

Gillian Bruce: I'm going to have to go to a state fair at some point.

Mike Gerholdt: Funnel cakes. That's the one thing. Funnel cakes and Ferris wheels.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I remember as a kid getting on some janky, awesome carnival rides at I think it was the County Fair or something.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, there is no safe fair. They're all sketchy. They all make you question the safety. And that's why they're fun.

Gillian Bruce: I always remember it was like a spaceship one you go into and it's spins really fast and you're on the wall. And then the centrifugal force pushes you up against the wall.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh.

Gillian Bruce: So you're kind of like, yeah, I remember it was like, God, I was really young, but I think we went on that about 10,000 times in a row. So we just spent all of our tickets on that one. I'm surprised nobody got sick.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah. Well, yeah. I usually rode the little thing where the cars went in the circle.

Gillian Bruce: Shocker. You liked the car ride. I'm so surprised.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I couldn't do anything. The steering wheel, you just spun. There's pictures of me as a child looking over at my mom turning this steering wheel that does nothing.

Gillian Bruce: Aw. You're like, what is this? Come on.

Mike Gerholdt: Come on. Seriously, people get it together. And then two minutes later, you're off. Ugh, waited in line forever. Anyway, nobody wants to hear that. What is going on besides state fairs and things on a stick?

Gillian Bruce: Well, Mike, we are getting ready for a couple of big things in Salesforce world. The first of which is relevant for every single person, no matter whether you are coming to an in-person event that we will talk about in a moment. Winter '23 is coming. Believe it or not it's August, but it's time to start thinking about the Winter release. So August 11th is when the pre-release orgs have been available. So get your hands on that. Release Notes coming out on the 17th. So they've been out for a little bit now that you've heard this podcast. And then if you've got sandboxes that you want to move to the new release or keep on the existing ones, that deadline is the 26th of August. So start thinking about Winter '23, we've got some really awesome Winter '23 release stuff happening at Dreamforce, which is coming soon.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh.

Gillian Bruce: So stay tuned for more on that. I'm not going to give away all the deets yet. It's a little early, but yeah, Winter '23, here we go. Another release.

Mike Gerholdt: Another release and another Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Sorry. I buried the lead there. Yes. Another Dreamforce. A really big deal. Dreamforce. This is our 20th Dreamforce believe it or not.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. I haven't been to 20. I bet some of our listeners have been to 20.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: That's a lot. And we have some Dreamforce themed pods coming up. In fact next week after this one.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, we've got a couple of really exciting and special Dreamforce pods coming your way. And even if you're not attending Dreamforce, which I totally understand.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm.

Gillian Bruce: It's still not the easiest thing to travel and all of that.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: But good news is this Dreamforce is going to be the most digital Dreamforce that's going to be the first real hybrid in person/digital experience. We learned a lot over the last few years about digital and we keep getting better. So there's going to be a lot of content and a lot of great things that we're working on for Dreamforce that everyone will be able to participate in and get a piece of. So we'll cover a lot of that in these upcoming next episodes. So again, we're just full of teasers today.

Mike Gerholdt: We are just full. And to continue the teaser theme, we might actually tell you some of the stuff that we've got planned for Dreamforce in those episodes.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Just saying.

Gillian Bruce: And ways that you can come be a part of it either virtually or in person, so.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm. Or just be jealous, be like that sounds cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Yes. Green with envy.

Mike Gerholdt: So for the month of August we did some really cool content. I'll start off, literally the note that I wrote was to highlight, Automate This on the blog, because when I go to our website, it's really hard to miss all of the Automate This stuff.

Gillian Bruce: And it's amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: I know that's why I'm calling it out, because I clicked on it, it was like, I seem to find a link for one of my previous podcasts here. Nope, Automate This. Oh, on this and on this and on this. Seriously, maybe you've been at a state fair and you had too many corn dogs and you took a week off and you missed all the Automate This stuff. Well now is the time to catch back up, because we have a ton of really cool Automate This content on the blog. Jennifer did an amazing job with all of that.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah, and she does live Automate This on YouTube, which is incredible.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: And I think Karmel James was just a guest not too long ago. That's a great episode.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm.

Gillian Bruce: It's incredible content. So hey, whether you're a flownatic or new to the idea of automation, you're going to get something out of this really incredible content that spans both the blog and video and all of the things.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, speaking of video, it's like you gave yourself your own segue.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, it's natural at this point, Mike. We've been doing this long enough. Yeah, so we had an amazing... Well, the first one came out the end of July, but this whole month of August, we've been releasing How I Solved It videos, specifically made for Salesforce Plus. So it's a long, beloved and amazing series that Jennifer Lee hosts on YouTube as is. And what we wanted to do is kind of bring that magic to Salesforce Plus and expand it beyond kind of our typical admin channels. And we did. So we have five incredible episodes that have been coming out over the last five weeks actually, between Trailblazers solving all different kinds of problems, from user management to marketing automation, to security, to project management. There's five total, so you can check out, I'm going to do some Trailblazer callouts. We got Andrew Russo, we got Madeleine Coutanceau from Brisbane and we've got Karmel James.
We've got Tony Nguyen and we have Sarah Pilzer. So definitely check those out. I don't know how you missed them if you haven't seen them already. But definitely make sure at the end of this pod you go check them out because they're pretty awesome. And if you really like them, or you have feedback or questions, please let us know. Not only does each of the Trailblazers featured in those episodes, super excited to talk more about what they did or to answer any questions, but we also want to know what Salesforce what you think, because we take all of our direction for what we do from what you tell us you like or didn't like, or what worked or didn't work. So let us know. Let us know what you think.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I was just thinking we should probably spin up an IMDb page for all of them at some point.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Like an IMDb of the Cloud.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I mean, where's all of Karmel James been on? And you just go to IMDb. It's like, oh, well she's been on all these Salesforce Plus, this other little thing called podcast that a couple people listen to. So pretty cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. That's good. Yeah. Like a Salesforce IMDb. It's an Internet Movie Database is what it stands for.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It could be Internet Salesforce Database.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Oh, this is why we don't name... Actually it'd be called Internet Salesforce Database for a release.

Gillian Bruce: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: And then it would be called the Lightning Internet Salesforce Database.

Gillian Bruce: It'll be Einstein and it'll be [inaudible].
And then we could go old school and it'll be touch and then it'll be [inaudible].

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Then it'll be... I mean, let's just go through all of the things.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yep. And then we'll scrap all that and we'll go back to our roots, right? We'll stay true to the core. And we'll call it the Internet Salesforce Movie Database 2.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. It's always fun poking at our own [inaudible].

Mike Gerholdt: Well, anyway. So other fun stuff. I recorded a couple podcasts in August. Had to think about the month for a second.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you were busy.

Mike Gerholdt: Geez. Wow. Hey, here we go. So the first one was with Amit Malik just, could you bottle his energy? That's all I wanted the whole time. I'm soaking up all the information he's throwing down and I'm just like, wow, I really would love to pick up your energy. But he's so passionate about teaching admins. A lot of the fundamentals that architects know and love. So we covered that in that podcast. And then Stuart Mills, who's the VP of Trailhead for EMEA got on. He was over attending a community conference and had time to chat. Lot of really cool stuff coming from him. A lot of cool perspective on the admin role, on admin careers, trajectory, where things are going, where he sees things going, skills going. I got him talk about admin skills, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Good job.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. But the one line that stuck with me was, "grit is a transferable skill." Thought that was a really great line. So check out those two. We'll include links. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So good. That was such a great interview. You did a great job with that, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: It's a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun with both those. Sometimes you're kind of, especially heading into Dreamforce, availability's tough and getting stuff scheduled is tough. And then people really just don't want to talk about deep subjects. But I think we did the pod proud.

Gillian Bruce: Sure did. Sure did. Good job.

Mike Gerholdt: The last thing that I noted, so I know in the July retro, we gave you a link to filling out a letter to convincing your boss to go to Dreamforce. And if you still need that, if Dreamforce is still open for registration, I've included a link to our blog where we kind of help you fill out that form a little bit. Also it works for other events. If you want to go to a community dreaming event, or a world tour event, which we'll have coming up later this year, I think that form would work as well.

Gillian Bruce: 100%. I mean, even if you were having a hard time getting support to go to a lunchtime user group meeting or something. If nothing else, even if you don't use it, it helps you frame why participating in Salesforce focused events is valuable to not only your career but to your company, right? To me, sometimes it takes a while for people to understand that jump or really how to frame it and talk about it. And this is a great tool to help you.

Mike Gerholdt: Agreed. Agreed. Okay. Well, Gillian, this is our last Retro before Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: Oh my gosh. You mean the next time we're going to do a Retro it'll be after Dreamforce?

Mike Gerholdt: We'll be retroing Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, we will. Hopefully we'll still have voices. How about that?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It might be a few octaves lower.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. We'll make it through.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: And yeah, again, so much great Dreamforce related content coming your way over the next few weeks. And again, if you're not able to join us in person, don't worry. A lot of this will still be very relevant for you. So stay tuned.

Mike Gerholdt: So if you want to learn more about all of the things we just talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us for All Things Admin on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns. No I on Twitter. I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt and Gillian is @gilliankbruce. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the Cloud.



Direct download: August_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Trailblazers Karmel James, Senior Associate at Dupont Circle Solutions, and Andrew Russo, Salesforce Architect at BACA Systems.

Join us as we talk about their experiences appearing on How I Solved It for Salesforce+

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Karmel James and Andrew Russo.

How I Solved It on Salesforce+

We’ve taken some greatest hits from the How I Solved It series on Youtube, hosted by Jennifer Lee, and spruced it up for Salesforce+. We have five episodes featuring real Salesforce admins explaining how they solved some big business problems in innovative ways. Be sure to tune in on Salesforce+ and don’t miss out.

Andrew Russo’s super app

We’ve already had Andrew on the pod, and his story was so cool that we thought it would be worth devoting a How I Solved It episode to highlight how his user management super app works. Users can create a case, make a user story to request new features, and communicate with the admin team, all in Salesforce.

Even cooler, at the end of the whole process, Andrew can track how much time his team has spent on a case versus how much time the solution they developed has saved the business. All of this is laid out in a way that you can learn from to implement in your org, and there’s a blog post to help document what’s covered. “Now with How I Solved It,” Andrew says, “each one of the episodes has been actual stuff that you can go implement to bring and deliver value to your company.”

How Karmel James automated a marketing problem

“As a marketing champion, I really wanted to showcase the fact that marketers also have issues in Salesforce,” Karmel says. Her solution shows how you can use Salesforce to automate what happens around someone unsubscribing from a mailing list. You want to know what they’re unsubscribing from, maybe make sure that information gets to someone else on their team, and you may even want to set up a call with the customer to make sure there’s still follow through.

In order to go about solving this problem, Karmel uses Flow, cases, task records, and Groups to send out notifications, showing how these Salesforce tools can combine like Voltron. Karmel and company have been having a blast hosting watch parties for each new episodes, so make sure to follow the link below to join in the fun.

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today Gillian Bruce and we are going to talk about one of the most fun projects I've had the opportunity to work on this year. The How I Solved It series that we just premiered on Salesforce+ a few weeks ago. Now, I hope that a lot of you are already familiar with How I Solved It. It's an amazing YouTube series that Jennifer Lee has been hosting on YouTube for the last almost year of real-life admins showing how they solve problems in Salesforce. Showing you their demos, diving into the org and what we did is we kind of spruced it up a bit, shined it up and created five episodes specifically for Salesforce+. Which is our streaming service at Salesforce, and created a mini-series basically of the How I Solved It specifically for Salesforce+ and featuring some incredible trailblazers and we solve all kinds of different problems. We also focus on skills from the Salesforce Admins Skills Kit.
So I wanted to get a couple of the guests that we featured in those episodes to talk a little bit more about what they did in the episode. What it was like to be part of that experience and then kind of what next? If you haven't watched any of those episodes, I want you to pause this podcast right now. I want you to go to Salesforce+, and I want you to click on How I Solved It series and you will see the amazing Andrew Russo, Karmel James, Tony Nguyen, Madeleine Coutanceau and Sarah Pilzer solving real-life business problems and showing you how they did it using Salesforce. So without further ado let's welcome our first guest onto the podcast Andrew Russo. Andrew, welcome back to the podcast.

Andrew Russo: Thanks for having me back.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I had you back because we're going to talk about something pretty fun that you and I got to work on together and that is How I Solved It on Salesforce+. Andrew, talk to me a little bit about what we did in your episode.

Andrew Russo: Yeah. So in my episode, actually we did it based on what we have in our production environment for the company I work for and we're able to track the time spent on cases. So we actually are able to have the users submit cases through a flow for their internal request. Whether it's adding a field, help with a report, anything like that they can submit it through a case. We get the case, we're able to work on it. When they want a new feature like a field getting added, we're able to send an email or a message right back on the case to them and they can actually then go fill out and create a user story right inside of Salesforce. It gives them the training of, hey what a user story is and all of that kind of stuff right in Salesforce so they don't have to actually leave where they're working. Then once they're able to do that, we can actually go and track the process of the actual case.
So we can track the time it spends in each status, we know exactly where every request is and we can go back and understand why we made decisions we did in the future. So it's really all around how to manage user requests and user management of Salesforce itself.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Well, yeah clearly I liked it because I was like, "Hey, let's feature it in How I Solved It." So let's talk a little bit, get a little kind of behind the scenes info here to our listeners. Andrew, what was it like being part of filming How I solved It for Salesforce+?

Andrew Russo: Honestly, it was kind of a crazy thing. So it was like, "Hey, can you do it?" And I was like, "Yeah. Why not? Let's do it it sounds fun." But overall, it really wasn't a crazy ask do because it's not like I made up some giant process to just go do and I spent hours building it. I took it from production environment, packaged it, put it into a demo org and then I just had to create some test data. Because I can't show our company's data obviously to the world, so put some test data in and that was it. So from the standpoint of building out it really wasn't bad, it's not like it was some crazy made up scenario. The flows were straight out of our production environment and honestly it was a lot of fun to get to share it, and there was a lot of people. I kept seeing the same question come up of, "How do we manage user stuff? Do we use an email?"
And I was like, "Wait for it. There's going to be something coming out in a couple months. You're going to see some awesome stuff, it's going to be great." And I shared it back to the people and they're like, "That's exactly what we wanted." So they ended up going and building it in their org.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. Well, see I love that. See, that's the thing about How I Solved It Andrew, right? Is we're taking actual things that you and other people have done and then sharing that with everyone to help everybody else figure out, "Hey, maybe there's something in there that I can replicate or I can use or an idea I can apply." So, that's awesome. Now, I know you say it wasn't that bad but I know we asked a lot of you in terms of filming and the process and all that. Were there any moments that surprised you during that whole process?

Andrew Russo: Yeah. Originally it was like, "Okay, well there'll be people filming and stuff." And I was like, "Okay, this'll be..." And then when they show up at your door at work, and people are all... I just booked a conference room and I was like, "Okay, we're going to film this. It'll be easy." They show up with multiple carts rolling in with camera equipment, lighting stuff and it's like, "Okay, this is not just someone brings a better camera than a webcam and shows up." It was production quality filming of it which was kind of cool but also not what I exactly expected with it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. We had a whole film crew coming in and film you, so that was good. I remember also there were some really funny moments while we were filming that didn't make it into the episode, but I think we're going to have a blooper reel coming out at some point. Do you remember what I'm talking about?

Andrew Russo: Yeah. For a second I'm like what is she talking... And then yeah, we had window washers, we had the pest control people show up behind us in the window. I don't know if stuff like that happened with anyone else when they were filming this stuff. But it was just one after the next thing that happened in the background, it was just like, "Don't look at it. Just keep looking at the camera."

Gillian Bruce: This is what happens when you film something live, you just never know what's going to be happening around you. I also remember that you had a little fun with the spinny chair.

Andrew Russo: Oh, we love spinny chairs.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. When we're filming things we like you not to spin around in a chair. So anyone who's about to film something don't sit in a spinny chair because you're going to want to spin.

Andrew Russo: Yeah. But then at the end the spinny chair made it back for the promo stuff. We brought the spinny chair back.

Gillian Bruce: It's good for gifts. Yeah.

Andrew Russo: Having a chair that you can't move in, they're very important I've learned.

Gillian Bruce: Good for gifts. So Andrew, I also wanted to talk to you because this is a series that we launched a few weeks ago. With this week, we actually had Tony's episode go live and we've got one more episode coming next week. But I would love for you to talk to me a little bit about these amazing watch parties. So your episode was first, talk to me about how you all decided to put together a watch party for the premiere.

Andrew Russo: So to be completely honest I wasn't planning on watching mine, I was actually just not going to watch it. Multiple people said like, okay we need to watch part of your stuff up to the day before on the Tuesday. It was like, okay well you need to watch it and I was adamantly not going to watch mine. Because I was like no, and then on Wednesday morning Tony was like, "You need a watch party." So I was like, you know what? Okay we're doing it. So I think this started at 8:00 AM where we're doing a watch party and then from that point to when it went live I think we did the watch party at 3:00 PM in the afternoon. We ended up somehow 30 people I think showed up for the first one, which was kind of crazy to get 30 people in a matter of four hours signed up and going to show up to the watch party.
So we just kind of ran with it and then it was just crazy. Honestly, it was a bunch of fun though watching it and seeing what was there and I'm actually planning on going back to re-watch mine. Because I started to realize I didn't notice... I've noticed in everyone else's there's all the cool sound effects stuff. I didn't even notice that in mine when I was watching it, but I'm thinking that they were probably there unless mine was [inaudible]. So I got to go back and watch it to look for all the small details that I wasn't paying attention to.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, it's a lot to take in seeing yourself on the screen and then also, oh right there's all these other things. So yes, you should totally rewatch it. Well, that's awesome. I mean, Andrew seriously thank you for being a part of How I Solved It. Now, if you were to explain How I Solved It to somebody who hasn't seen it yet what would you say?

Andrew Russo: It's like the first technical show. So if you go on Salesforce+ there's a lot of kind storytelling, people's pass up. What there isn't right now before this going back two months ago, it wasn't technical stuff. Stuff that you could watch and then go do in your org, bring back value to your company, it wasn't there before. But now with How I Solved It, each one of the episodes we've seen so far including Tony's this week has been actual stuff that you can go implement and bring value and deliver value to the company which is kind of amazing. So it's really the start I think of something and I'm hopeful that there's going to be more How I Solved It on Salesforce+ in the future to really bring that hands on. Okay, I can watch it. Okay, there's a blog that's also there showing kind of still image of hey here's what was in there and you can go build it out and then be creative with it. Because with flows and everything, pretty much all of them have had flows other than Tony's.
But a lot of them have flows and you can customize it to fit what you need, you don't have to take exactly what you see. So it's kind of a really cool thing to be able to show the world that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, well that's great. Thank you, I love that glowing endorsement for How I Solved It. We'll definitely be doing more and also as a reminder for everyone listening, How I Solved It exists on YouTube already. Jen Lee is doing an amazing job hosting How I Solved It for almost the past year and so this really was an adaptation of that for Salesforce+. So check there's lots more How I Solved It, but yes we're going to be working on getting more kind of technical how to great content on Salesforce+ soon. So thanks again Andrew so much for participating and for being an awesome first guest on the Salesforce+ version of How I Solved It and hey we got one more watch party to go. Right?

Andrew Russo: We've got one more to go and then we've got Dreamforce in... I think what is it? Less than 40 days.

Gillian Bruce: It's 30 something days. Yeah.

Andrew Russo: I'm excited.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome.

Andrew Russo: It's going to be a crazy next month.

Gillian Bruce: It's Dreamforce season is what they say, right? It's Salesforce all the things right now.

Andrew Russo: Salesforce as a lifestyle.

Gillian Bruce: There you go. S-A-A-L.

Karmel James: Capital S, capital L, lowercase As, SaaL.

Gillian Bruce: Well with that, Andrew thank you so much. All right. Well, you just heard from Andrew Russo who is one of the amazing trailblazers we featured in the How I Solved It series, where he showed his amazing user management solution. Definitely check it out. But we've got another trailblazer who was featured in one of the episodes Karmel James, who is going to join us and talk a little bit more about her specific solution she shared and her experience being part of How I Solved It. So without further ado welcome Karmel back to the podcast. Karmel, welcome back to the podcast.

Karmel James: Thank you, Gillian. I'm so happy to be here for my now second time.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, when we find good amazing guests we like to have them back and Karmel, can you tell us a little bit about your episode and what you showed? What problem did you solve?

Karmel James: Yeah. Well of course Gillian, I solved a data management problem. So as a marketing champion I really wanted to showcase the fact that marketers also have issues in Salesforce and say, what happens when someone unsubscribes to a newsletter? I think it's really critical that if you're going to have a Salesforce org that tracks that. You want to know if someone's unsubscribing from something really key that you actually would like them to get that information and be subscribed and know what's happening in your org. So we talked about what happens after someone decides to unsubscribe and then go through a whole process where someone else on another team gets that notification. They get to have a call with that customer and then they get to resolve that case because of it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean it was a whole combination of different features that you kind of used to solve that. Can you just give us a highlight of some of the things you used?

Karmel James: Yes. Well, I started with flow because flow is the biggest thing. It's the new transition and if you haven't started thinking about it you should absolutely do that. By all means, go watch some of the Automate This episodes and obviously How I Solved It episodes. We're always talking about flow I think. But I used flow, I used cases to track information, I used task records and I even used groups to send notifications to.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Yeah, it was a really fun demo. A really great problem that you solved and thank you for being a part of it. Now, Karmel this was the first time you've really done a big video thing with us at Salesforce. Let's pull back the curtain a little bit, give some people some backstage insider intel. What was it like to film this project with me?

Karmel James: Well, it started out as a shock when I learned that I was going to have to let a camera crew into my life and for those who don't know I'm currently on a nomadic adventure right now. So I don't have a home and at the time I couldn't go to my office, it was going to be too noisy. So I actually had to find and rent an office to allow a camera crew to record this. So it was pretty cool because you're like, okay this is cool, you're like it's just maybe a camera and then you watch them bring in all of these boxes and they set up a light and then there's a teleprompter and you're like, "No we're really doing this. Okay, cool. Yeah, no, I can hear you guys. You can hear me. This is awesome. Here's the mic. Yeah, no, we're good. Okay." So as much as I'd like to say it had action and camera, the whole, it was just truly amazing. There's nothing like it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, you kind of feel like you're on TV really, right? It's like a whole nother level. It's a little different than just looking into the webcam.

Karmel James: Yes, it is a full TV production.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So aside from seeing many, many, many boxes come into this amazing office that you rented. Any part of the process in putting together the content or anything that kind of surprised you?

Karmel James: No. It really felt like I was just being an admin and just having to showcase one of the solutions that I built, right? Getting a dev org to go ahead and build something out, that's what I do every single day. So it was super easy to say let me build out this flow, let me test it and if you go back and watch my episode my flow says version nine because that's true. I had to go through multiple versions of testing and making sure that what I was about to show on camera actually worked. So it was super easy to just dive in and be like, cool here you go. Here's my flow. Here are the records that get created. Here's the automation that's going to fire the chatter notification that's going to come up. It was every day. The only difference was there's a teleprompter in front of me.

Gillian Bruce: Right. Because we had to fit everything into 10 minutes, so we had to keep it concise and that's great. I mean, Karmel this is exactly why we had you, we had Andrew, we had Tony, we had Madeline and we have Sarah coming next week. Sneak peek to listeners. Because these are problems that you are already solving, you weren't making this up specifically for something we had specifically asked you to do. So I think that's really great and I really appreciate you sharing your expertise with our audience. One other thing I wanted to talk about Karmel and that's pretty fun. So we have one more episode coming out, as I said sneak peek Sarah Pilzer is going to be featured in next week's episode. It's the last of five that we're featuring on Salesforce+. Our team discovered at Salesforce that you all, the amazing guests who were featured in these episodes were hosting watch parties for the premiere of your new episodes. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Karmel James: Yes. So those watch parties were the culmination of a really great meeting at one of the dreaming events. It's just Tony and Andrew and I, and we're having a great time Midwest dreaming and we're just talking about how we're all really excited for these episodes to come out, right? We're jazzed because none of us have seen anything that we've done. All we have is our own individual experiences in front of the camera. So Andrew's like, "Oh my gosh, should we do a watch party?" And we're like, "Yeah, let's do it." So we just were like we can get the community involved in this. We can absolutely just live stream it for ourselves and all watch it together and oh my gosh, having all of these people show up to watch your episode with you is a little scary. Because you're like, "Oh my God that's where I fumbled. Oh man, I had to do that four times. If I have to repeat that's How I Solved It. Oh my God, I'm so afraid. Please don't make me watch this in front of people."

Gillian Bruce: But you all did it to yourself.

Karmel James: We did, we absolutely did and now we get Tony's watch party and Sarah's watch party it's just rolling. So it's just the best time, I don't even know what to say other than we're just having fun with it.

Gillian Bruce: Well, what's so great is I've been able to jump in on the watch parties and just seeing how many people from all different parts of the community have been a part of that. So, I mean the watch party that we did for your episode was last week. There was a woman who jumped on who's like, "Oh, I'm really brand new to the Salesforce ecosystem and this video just totally made sense to me. I don't know the technology, I don't know the terms. But to see a real problem getting solved by someone who is realistic to me and I can relate to and then seeing the payoff and really walking through the process in a fun way that's easy to consume." So that made me feel really good. Because I mean, this is the work that you all have done so we're just highlighting it. So yeah, it's great. So everyone listening if you want to join in on the last watch party, which will be for Sarah Pilzer's episode coming up on Wednesday.
Check the show notes for deets, because I will definitely put some info there and also follow all of our amazing guests on Twitter because that's where you're going to see everything.

Karmel James: Oh yes. Tony right now is telling me I can't believe that that's the picture that you used and I'm like but it's a beautiful picture of you. Yes, we are going to embarrass you as we embarrassed all of ourselves. We did this to ourselves like you said. But I will say those watch parties are absolutely incredible to see the entire community come together and have that exact reaction of I didn't know that this was possible. Can I come ask you questions? Do you mind if I do that? And I can say for myself and probably for Andrew too we absolutely do not mind if you come ask us questions. That's why we agreed to be part of this. We are more than happy to help other people in the community, especially if you're struggling with flow. If you're struggling to understand a Salesforce concept, we want you to feel supported and we want you to know that there are other people out there who have these same struggles, who know what you're going through and we are live people.
It's not just a thread on the trailblazer community, we are here. We are real. We are the Steve Mo's of the world.

Gillian Bruce: Steve Mo will be so happy that he's been honored in this podcast.

Karmel James: I hope so. Because he has the biggest thread of all of us in the community of just answering every single question.

Gillian Bruce: Well #belikestevemo right?

Karmel James: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Anyway, Karmel seriously thank you so much. You were fabulous in your episode and I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise. Once we did this with you, I know that you also were just part of Automate This, which is another amazing series that Jen Lee does on YouTube. So I'll put a link in the show notes so people can check out that episode as well and looking forward to all the other great content that you're going to continue to generate. So thank you.

Karmel James: Oh, thank you Gillian. This has been the most amazing thing and I'm just so honored to be part of the process and I look forward to seeing who the next trailblazer is on more episodes later.

Gillian Bruce: I love it calling out for more trailblazers. All right, thank you so much Karmel.

Karmel James: Thanks Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Thank you to both Andrew and Karmel and all of our guests that we featured on How I Solved It, not just for the Salesforce+ series. But for the YouTube series as well and huge shout out to Jen Lee who is the host of our YouTube version. She also hosts Automate This, which is another amazing actual live YouTube session where you see how admins are solving real problems. If you haven't watched this series, seriously go to Salesforce+ check out How I Solved It. I want to know what you think as you heard from Andrew and Karmel. If you've got questions and you want to ask more about what they showed please reach out to them. They're super easy to access and I guarantee that our other guests would also be more than happy to answer questions that you have about anything you saw in their episodes. So check out the show notes I've got links for everything in there and if you want to join the watch party for the final episode of this five part series that we're airing on Salesforce+ stay tuned to @salesforceadmns on Twitter.
That's where we will reshare the watch parties that the community is organizing all on their own and you can join in and be a part of the fun. This is I guess a series finale for Salesforce+, but don't worry we're already working on more. So if you want to learn more again about anything you heard about today or about anything that helps you be a more awesome Salesforce admin go to admin.salesforce.com, my favorite website. You can find blogs, you can find videos, you can find product information and if you're getting ready for a little thing called Dreamforce there's going to be some information on there too. So thank you so much for joining us today, if you want to find my co-host Mike Holt, you can find him at Mike Holt. If you want to find any of my guests today, Karmel James is @Armejam on Twitter and if you want to find Andrew Russo, he is @_andrewrusso. Again, all the links are in the show notes, really appreciate you joining us today.
Check out How I Solved It and if you've got an interesting problem that you've solved with Salesforce let me know. You can find me @gilliankbruce on Twitter. With that I hope you have an amazing day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: How_I_Solved_It_on_Salesforce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Stuart Mills, VP Trailhead EMEA and Ecosystems at Salesforce.

 

Join us as we talk about why Admins are so important, future roles and career paths, as well as the best way to keep learning.

 

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

Essential Habits for Admin Success is now on Trailhead

That's right, the webinar/trailhead live/presentation you have all loved and listened to is now a learning module on Trailhead, so head on over and be one of the first admins to get the new Essential Habits Trailhead Badge.

Why tech is only as valuable as the people behind it

Like a lot of people we talk to on the pod, Stuart got his start as an accidental admin. “We found Salesforce as a colorful version of a CRM technology,” he says, “ever since then it’s been this thing that’s grown with me—I’ve grown with it and it’s grown on its own.” He was actually originally an aeronautical engineer, and Salesforce stuck out as a platform where he could understand what he was looking at and solve his business’s needs.

 

Stuart sees the Admin role as critical for any organization that wants to succeed with Salesforce. “Understanding how you administer and use a technology like Salesforce is how it has value,” he says, “tech is only as valuable as the human solutions it solves for.” 

The power skills are transferable skills

A truth in this industry is that many of the most important jobs people will do in the future don’t exist yet. For example, for many of you reading this today, the Salesforce Admin role probably didn’t exist when you graduated from college.

 

Stuart points out that the growth in technologies like AI is going to necessitate people learning new things and taking on new roles that they can’t even imagine, and so that means you need to focus on the “Power Skills” you bring with you to into that new career path or new function. Transferable skills won’t necessarily show up in your badges and certifications, but they’re just as important to show as anything else on your resume. 

Different approaches to learning

In his role as leading Trailhead Academy EMEA, Stuart gets to see so many different people go through their learning experiences and he has a few observations. While it’s true that almost everyone at one point or another needs a teacher, you also need a peer. Someone to push you and help you engage with problems and with whom you can grow together.

 

Of course, the more diverse your peer group the stronger you are for it, and one of the biggest leaps they’ve taken forward in recent years is improving the accessibility of Trailhead. One of the guiding principles they stick to is the idea of “Ethical by Design,” meaning that accessibility is deeply thought about from the ground up. As Stuart puts it, “you can’t be what you can’t see.”

 

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Direct download: Growing_your_Admin_Role_with_Stuart_Mills.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Amit Malik, Senior Manager, Global Architect Program.

Join us as we talk about the Architect courses on Trailhead and why all Admins should think about taking them.

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

Why Admins are already Architecting

We wanted to bring Amit on the pod because he’s the only Architect Trailhead Instructor, and we wanted to find out more about what’s on offer and if they make sense for Admins. One thing he loves about his current role is that he can see “how Administrators, Developers, and Architects are having a similar thought process in terms of how to see Salesforce from different perspectives and how we can add value by sharing the perspective of different personas with each other and expand our mind horizons,” he says.

One message he has for Admins out there is that a lot of the work you’re doing is already giving you the context to upskill into an Architect role, or otherwise expand your knowledge of the Salesforce ecosystem as a whole. If you already know Marketing Cloud, it’s a lot easier to learn Experience Cloud, for example. As Amit puts it, you can look to grow both horizontally (between products) and vertically (in terms of depth of knowledge on a platform) as you advance your career.

The three-step learning process

When you’re looking to learn something new, Amit encourages you to think about it as a three-step process:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Experience
  3. Exposure

Knowledge comes when you read about something, watch a video about it, hear about it at a conference, etc. Experience is applying that knowledge to specific situations in a real-world setting. Finally, exposure comes from conversations with experienced people who may have gained a completely different perspective than they had when they started. It’s that three-dimensional view you get from understanding how something works in conjunction with everything else.

Architect courses on Trailhead

Amit wants you to know that Architect courses aren’t just for Architects. “We all are Salesforce professionals,” he says, “Administrators, Developers, Solution Architects, Technical Architects: we all are Salesforce professionals.” If you’re discussing integration in your meetings, or large data volume, or single sign-on—anything that involves multiple Salesforce products talking together—you have a lot to gain sitting in on an Architect course or two.

The 101 course is there to provide a broad, big-picture overview of what being an Architect is all about. As Amit puts it, the goal is to point you in the direction of what there is to learn about so you can fill in the details in whatever way is most helpful to you. “The challenge of the learner is that they don’t know where to start,” he says, “the moment that they know where to start they can keep on learning faster than I can teach them.” From there, the next level courses are more specialized, after you’ve completed some basic Architect certifications. “Join these courses to discover yourself so you can make the right decision for your career,” he says, “if you don’t know we will help you see the path because we’ve already walked through these journeys.”

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for July.

 

Join us as we talk about the latest and the greatest Salesforce content from July and the wide variety of midwest-specific treats we tried at Midwest Dreamin.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Live Events

 

Dreamforce is just around the corner, but we’ve been busy visiting in-person events. We recently stopped by Midwest Dreamin and WITness Sucess, where Mike introduced Gillian to the wonders of puppy chow and scotcheroos. We’re also including a link to a letter that can help you convince your boss to help you get to Dreamforce.

 

Blog highlights from July

Cheryl Feldman’s comprehensive guide on the User Access and Permissions Assistant was a standout post from July. There’s a lot of cool features to play around with, particularly with reports, so make sure to take a look.

 

Video highlights from July

We’re really excited to relaunch How I Solved It on Salesforce+. Jennifer Lee and Marc Baizman team up to solve real Admins’ real problems. The first episode with Andrew Russo is up now, but keep a close eye as more are on the way soon.

 

Podcast highlights from July

While we’ve had some really cool people on the pod over the years this month we had our first Olympic medalist, Christine Magnuson. She’s now a Solution Engineering Manager at Salesforce, and 

 

 

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the July monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host, Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we'll review the top product, community and careers content for the month of July. Imagine that. To help me do that is the very familiar and keynoting voice of Gillian Bruce. Hi Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Hello there, Mike. Nice to be here with you.

Mike Gerholdt: It's good to be back on a pod with you. It's been a month.

Gillian Bruce: It's been a month. It's been a busy month.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Quite a few things that we have done and it's been hot all over the world. Just hot everywhere.

Gillian Bruce: Except for where I am.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: I am still wearing a sweatshirt.

Mike Gerholdt: Don't tell anybody.

Gillian Bruce: Our heat has been on for the last couple weeks.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my God.

Gillian Bruce: Because if any of you don't know this, for most of San Francisco, June/July is some of our colder months because we are covered in fog and we don't get to see the sun. So it's about 55 to 60 degrees. It's foggy. So if you want to break from the sun and the heat, come on over to San Francisco.

Mike Gerholdt: People are going to be flocking to San Francisco now.

Gillian Bruce: But you got to hurry because it's about to change. Our summer starts the end of August and goes through November. Then we get sunshine and gorgeous weather, but it never gets 100 degrees. That's just craziness.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So it's going to be gorgeous weather for Dreamforce, which we'll talk about later. Teaser.

Gillian Bruce: Sure is.

Mike Gerholdt: But let's talk about blog content. So we had some really cool, again, ton of blog posts that went out this month. But the one that I want to highlight is the one that Cheryl Feldman wrote on Analyze, Report and Manage Permissions with User Access and Permission Assistant. Not a short title.

Gillian Bruce: But you're permitted to use as many words as you'd like in your title.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, at some point. But this is really cool. So user access and permission assistant. She details everything that basically admins have been wanting for, I don't even know how long. She even tells a story of when I first joined Salesforce almost a year ago and it took on permission sets, and how do you work with the permission assistant and what can you do with it? The coolest thing down is the third one, report by user permission sets and permission set groups to understand who has what. If you need a moment to sit down, I completely understand.

Gillian Bruce: Game changer.

Mike Gerholdt: I got goosebumps just reading that sentence.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, if you're an admin and you don't use this, I don't know what to say.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, your days are very long, that's what I would say, while you troubleshoot things. So yeah, this is really cool. There's also a video. And then of course, a link to the app exchange listing. Get all over this because just to sound old, it was a lot different when I was an admin. You had profiles and page layouts and you didn't have to troubleshoot things. We didn't have the tools to be as granular as you can now, and it's just amazing. But with that you need the ability to report on stuff and this is so cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. The technology's come far long ways since your old, early admin days.

Mike Gerholdt: Since back in the day. I walked uphill both ways in the snow just to do a page layout.

Gillian Bruce: Barefoot.

Mike Gerholdt: Barefoot.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Mike, we also have some pretty incredible video content. You mentioned a video in the last post, but we have some videos that I am very fond of and feel so excited to release out on the wild, that have just been released, or at least the first episode has been released this month. That is How I Solved It on Salesforce. Plus we have taken the incredible show that Marc Baizman and then Jennifer Lee have been doing with admins showing how they've solved real actual problems in their orgs. We gave it a little extra production love and shined it up and put it on Salesforce+, which is our free online streaming platform. It's really exciting.
We have five episodes that we're going to be releasing over the next few weeks. But the first one came out and it's all about Andrew Russo, who is an incredible, awesome admin, expanding on that blog post he was featured in many months ago about managing users and really getting into a demo and showing us some of the things that he's built. Man, it is awesome. It is super fun. Watch it. We had a lot of fun making it.

Mike Gerholdt: It shows. You're now a streaming star, Gillian. You could watch stuff on Hulu and Netflix.

Gillian Bruce: I got to say, I feel really special that I'm on the same platform as one of my idols, Kara Swisher. So I feel special about that because they do clips from Kara Swisher's podcast that she does with Scott Galloway, Pivot, on the Salesforce+. So the fact that I get to be a part of the same platform that she is, makes me really excited.

Mike Gerholdt: Kara Swisher, future guest of the Salesforce Admins Podcast.

Gillian Bruce: I am working podcast all my angles there to try and make that happen. So we're just going to put that out there. Kara, we want you on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Because Kara, listen, so many people do. So you could spend the weekend and watch some Stranger Things or How I Solved It on Salesforce+.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's not a huge time commitment. The last few episodes of Stranger things, which I still haven't watched because there's an hour and then a two hour episode.

Mike Gerholdt: Seriously? That's like a plane ride.

Gillian Bruce: By the time I get the kids to bed, I have about 30 minutes before I fall asleep. So it's really tough. It's tough.

Mike Gerholdt: But you could watch your Salesforce+ video in those 30 minutes.

Gillian Bruce: Sure could, because I think they're 10 minutes-ish, if that.

Mike Gerholdt: They're consumable.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. There are really actual hands-on tips that you can start using yourself that you can play with, with your own Dev org or Sandbox. Every single one of these episodes, you're going to be able to get something very tangible that you can put to use.

Mike Gerholdt: Your own non-production org.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Don't do it in production.

Mike Gerholdt: No. We did a bunch of podcasts, July was fun for pods. But one that stood out, Gillian, I actually listened to this on the way to a car show, so I'm a listener of our own podcast. But you did this great interview with Christine Magnuson. Can you tell us about it?

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, it was really exciting because she's not only the first Olympian that I've talked to, but the first two time silver medalist Olympian. She competed in Rio and Beijing and she's a swimmer, and now she is got an amazing career. She's a manager of solution engineers here at Salesforce, which means she manages a very technical team. So I wanted to get Christine on the podcast because as you'll listen to her episode, if you have not, go listen to it as soon as you're done with this episode, because-

Mike Gerholdt: It's really good.

Gillian Bruce: It's so good. She talks about the idea of transferable skills. How she really evaluated how she could take the skills that she had as an Olympic athlete and transfer those into another career. How she really had a very detailed strategy behind that. She explains the story. Then she also talks about in her role, she works with a lot of admins. So what things she has seen that makes a very successful admin, and how you get your admin team. Because again, she comes at it from a solutions engineer perspective. So she has seen a lot. In fact, her team supports the largest Salesforce implementation that exists. So they have a lot of knowledge. Anyway, listen to Christine's episode. It's awesome. It's an uplifting one. It'll put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Oh, for sure. There were so many things like, I was driving, I wanted to take notes.

Gillian Bruce: Maybe you can listen to it again.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Absolutely. Then just to round out our discussion of, I feel like it's one of the last few months of summer, but we have Dreamforce coming up. We also have some community events that are happening.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Mike, you and I and Jennifer Lee actually got to go to a community event, I guess it was a duo community event this month, Midwest Dreamin and WITness Success. I got to go because, well, you were the MC of the whole event.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I popped up on the stage for a few highlights and Midwest-isms Midwest Dreamin.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah. Actually, can you share one of those Midwest-isms because they're pretty amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: So people in the Midwest use weird terms, one of them is op. Usually we say that as an excuse me or oh, I'm sorry, op. And I op a ton. Man, you go grocery shopping with me because the cart always leaves the aisle before and you're going to run in somebody, op I'm sorry. But so I said, what if we took a whole bunch of Midwest terms and made them into Salesforce features. One of them is op, which I said is clearly a validation rule. Because if Salesforce could be very Midwestern it wouldn't fire the validation rule, it would just say, op. I believe that was one of them. I did put it out there. So for those of you that live in the Midwest or visited the Midwest, you know we like to eat puppy chow, which is actually Chex Mix covered in chocolate with confectioner's sugar all over it. Gillian, you and I kicked around what that feature would be.
Adam Olshansky actually came out on Twitter and said puppy chow is really like custom metadata because it's wonderful and you can use it anywhere. I felt that's very apropos because the second you get puppy chow out, it's everywhere. That confectioner's sugar, I swear it finds every nook and cranny of your life to be.

Gillian Bruce: It's so uniquely a Midwest thing. I remember growing up as a kid, occasionally some kid would bring some to school and I'd be like, what is this magical craziness?

Mike Gerholdt: I know. Yeah. You go to our gas stations, everywhere. You walk into a Casey's and there're cups of puppy chow for you to buy right by the register, along with with scotcheroos. I don't feel like scotcheroos are very Midwestern.

Gillian Bruce: I have no idea what that is. So it's clearly-

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, a scotcheroo is basically like a rice crispy treat, but made with a lot of butter scotch and then covered in chocolate.

Gillian Bruce: Oh. So it's like a healthier rice crispy treat.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I'm kidding.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. But it's so good.

Gillian Bruce: It sounds delicious.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's so good.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. All right. Yeah. So those were great and there were lots more. So if you were there, you had lot more.

Mike Gerholdt: Or check Twitter for some people tweet them out, hot dish. What do you think that is as a feature? It was fun. Little time filler before Gillian gets up on stage and wows the crowd with admin skills. I think a few people even tweet about the heels you were in.

Gillian Bruce: Well you always got to have a good pair of heels to deliver a talk properly, at least for me. Maybe not the same for you, Mike. But yeah, I had the honor of giving a keynote and it was really great to get back up on stage in front of actual people. It was exhilarating to do it, and it felt really fun to share very important content about skills and transferable skills and how to really discover your skills, hone them, and then find ways to use them to help make you shine. So, really amazing experience. Then Jennifer Lee stayed for WITness Success and presented a session about Flow, which I also saw all kinds of Twitter love for.
The reason I wanted to bring up these community events is because Dreamforce is coming and we would love you to come to Dreamforce. If there's some reason that you can't swing it, there are community events happening near you all of the time. So whether that's your local user group or there's a Dreamin event in your region, you can find out all about that on the Trailblazer community. I highly encourage you to go, especially now that people are coming back together in person, it's really incredibly valuable and powerful. I had so many amazing talks with folks. I had some people coming up to me with tears because of just the meaningfulness of being connected again. Especially in the Salesforce community, there's so much you can get by being in person with each other. So I highly encourage you to check out your local community gatherings.

Mike Gerholdt: I agree. To be honest with you, I showed up, I wore a mask for a while.

Gillian Bruce: So did I, until I got on stage.

Mike Gerholdt: So we're past that now. Yeah. There were times that I actually checked out of some areas because I'm not too comfortable with this many people. That's okay, it's up to you. But it was great. So many people that I hadn't seen in person in forever.

Gillian Bruce: It felt good.

Mike Gerholdt: You mentioned Dreamforce. I will include a link in the show notes to the convince your boss letter, which is on the homepage. If you haven't registered for this little event that we're doing in September. I have actually used versions of this letter when I was a customer, rewrote it, changed some things around. I will say it's effective. It's super easy to customize. It'll be great. We're going to have session content up, so you can start talking to your boss about the sessions you're going to go to and the keynotes you're going to see. There's that unspoken just ability to connect with people that doesn't happen anywhere else. You're sitting in a session and you're both there to learn Flow or something, next thing you know, you leave with a new best friend that helps you solve that problem.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's people that you never would've probably connected with, either virtually or in your own local community. Also, it's just going to be great. We're going to have so much fun at Dreamforce. We talk about it being the ultimate family reunion and gosh, aren't we all ready for that. So it's going to be really magical, really fun. I know our team is planning all kinds of really fun, exciting things for admins.

Mike Gerholdt: A few things in the works.

Gillian Bruce: Just a few.

Mike Gerholdt: Stay tuned.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Can't tell you anything yet. It's top secret.

Mike Gerholdt: Nope. Not yet. Gillian, you said it's going to be nice weather because it'll be past the cold.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. San Francisco summer is late August through early November. I grew up here and every year I forget, and then I'm like, all right, we're going to have summer. It's just three months later than everybody else.

Mike Gerholdt: It just comes at a different time. Good.

Gillian Bruce: Late bloomers out here on the west coast.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. All right. Well, if you want to learn more about all things we talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. Of course, Gillian is on Twitter. She is @GillianKBruce, and I am @MikeGerholdt. Give us a follow. You can read about puppy chow or other Midwest-isms, more so on my Twitter feed. But with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Gillian Bruce: Roar.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Is that the first thing that's going to be on the recording, roar?

Mike Gerholdt: I don't know if that's a lion or is that a cat?

Gillian Bruce: It's like a lion cub.



Direct download: July_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for July.

 

Join us as we talk about the latest and the greatest Salesforce content from July and the wide variety of midwest-specific treats we tried at Midwest Dreamin.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Live Events

 

Dreamforce is just around the corner, but we’ve been busy visiting in-person events. We recently stopped by Midwest Dreamin and WITness Sucess, where Mike introduced Gillian to the wonders of puppy chow and scotcheroos. We’re also including a link to a letter that can help you convince your boss to help you get to Dreamforce.

 

Blog highlights from July

Cheryl Feldman’s comprehensive guide on the User Access and Permissions Assistant was a standout post from July. There’s a lot of cool features to play around with, particularly with reports, so make sure to take a look.

 

Video highlights from July

We’re really excited to relaunch How I Solved It on Salesforce+. Jennifer Lee and Marc Baizman team up to solve real Admins’ real problems. The first episode with Andrew Russo is up now, but keep a close eye as more are on the way soon.

 

Podcast highlights from July

While we’ve had some really cool people on the pod over the years this month we had our first Olympic medalist, Christine Magnuson. She’s now a Solution Engineering Manager at Salesforce, and 

 

 

Podcast swag

 

Social

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the July monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host, Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we'll review the top product, community and careers content for the month of July. Imagine that. To help me do that is the very familiar and keynoting voice of Gillian Bruce. Hi Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Hello there, Mike. Nice to be here with you.

Mike Gerholdt: It's good to be back on a pod with you. It's been a month.

Gillian Bruce: It's been a month. It's been a busy month.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Quite a few things that we have done and it's been hot all over the world. Just hot everywhere.

Gillian Bruce: Except for where I am.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: I am still wearing a sweatshirt.

Mike Gerholdt: Don't tell anybody.

Gillian Bruce: Our heat has been on for the last couple weeks.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my God.

Gillian Bruce: Because if any of you don't know this, for most of San Francisco, June/July is some of our colder months because we are covered in fog and we don't get to see the sun. So it's about 55 to 60 degrees. It's foggy. So if you want to break from the sun and the heat, come on over to San Francisco.

Mike Gerholdt: People are going to be flocking to San Francisco now.

Gillian Bruce: But you got to hurry because it's about to change. Our summer starts the end of August and goes through November. Then we get sunshine and gorgeous weather, but it never gets 100 degrees. That's just craziness.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So it's going to be gorgeous weather for Dreamforce, which we'll talk about later. Teaser.

Gillian Bruce: Sure is.

Mike Gerholdt: But let's talk about blog content. So we had some really cool, again, ton of blog posts that went out this month. But the one that I want to highlight is the one that Cheryl Feldman wrote on Analyze, Report and Manage Permissions with User Access and Permission Assistant. Not a short title.

Gillian Bruce: But you're permitted to use as many words as you'd like in your title.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, at some point. But this is really cool. So user access and permission assistant. She details everything that basically admins have been wanting for, I don't even know how long. She even tells a story of when I first joined Salesforce almost a year ago and it took on permission sets, and how do you work with the permission assistant and what can you do with it? The coolest thing down is the third one, report by user permission sets and permission set groups to understand who has what. If you need a moment to sit down, I completely understand.

Gillian Bruce: Game changer.

Mike Gerholdt: I got goosebumps just reading that sentence.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, if you're an admin and you don't use this, I don't know what to say.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, your days are very long, that's what I would say, while you troubleshoot things. So yeah, this is really cool. There's also a video. And then of course, a link to the app exchange listing. Get all over this because just to sound old, it was a lot different when I was an admin. You had profiles and page layouts and you didn't have to troubleshoot things. We didn't have the tools to be as granular as you can now, and it's just amazing. But with that you need the ability to report on stuff and this is so cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. The technology's come far long ways since your old, early admin days.

Mike Gerholdt: Since back in the day. I walked uphill both ways in the snow just to do a page layout.

Gillian Bruce: Barefoot.

Mike Gerholdt: Barefoot.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Mike, we also have some pretty incredible video content. You mentioned a video in the last post, but we have some videos that I am very fond of and feel so excited to release out on the wild, that have just been released, or at least the first episode has been released this month. That is How I Solved It on Salesforce. Plus we have taken the incredible show that Marc Baizman and then Jennifer Lee have been doing with admins showing how they've solved real actual problems in their orgs. We gave it a little extra production love and shined it up and put it on Salesforce+, which is our free online streaming platform. It's really exciting.
We have five episodes that we're going to be releasing over the next few weeks. But the first one came out and it's all about Andrew Russo, who is an incredible, awesome admin, expanding on that blog post he was featured in many months ago about managing users and really getting into a demo and showing us some of the things that he's built. Man, it is awesome. It is super fun. Watch it. We had a lot of fun making it.

Mike Gerholdt: It shows. You're now a streaming star, Gillian. You could watch stuff on Hulu and Netflix.

Gillian Bruce: I got to say, I feel really special that I'm on the same platform as one of my idols, Kara Swisher. So I feel special about that because they do clips from Kara Swisher's podcast that she does with Scott Galloway, Pivot, on the Salesforce+. So the fact that I get to be a part of the same platform that she is, makes me really excited.

Mike Gerholdt: Kara Swisher, future guest of the Salesforce Admins Podcast.

Gillian Bruce: I am working podcast all my angles there to try and make that happen. So we're just going to put that out there. Kara, we want you on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Because Kara, listen, so many people do. So you could spend the weekend and watch some Stranger Things or How I Solved It on Salesforce+.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's not a huge time commitment. The last few episodes of Stranger things, which I still haven't watched because there's an hour and then a two hour episode.

Mike Gerholdt: Seriously? That's like a plane ride.

Gillian Bruce: By the time I get the kids to bed, I have about 30 minutes before I fall asleep. So it's really tough. It's tough.

Mike Gerholdt: But you could watch your Salesforce+ video in those 30 minutes.

Gillian Bruce: Sure could, because I think they're 10 minutes-ish, if that.

Mike Gerholdt: They're consumable.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. There are really actual hands-on tips that you can start using yourself that you can play with, with your own Dev org or Sandbox. Every single one of these episodes, you're going to be able to get something very tangible that you can put to use.

Mike Gerholdt: Your own non-production org.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Don't do it in production.

Mike Gerholdt: No. We did a bunch of podcasts, July was fun for pods. But one that stood out, Gillian, I actually listened to this on the way to a car show, so I'm a listener of our own podcast. But you did this great interview with Christine Magnuson. Can you tell us about it?

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, it was really exciting because she's not only the first Olympian that I've talked to, but the first two time silver medalist Olympian. She competed in Rio and Beijing and she's a swimmer, and now she is got an amazing career. She's a manager of solution engineers here at Salesforce, which means she manages a very technical team. So I wanted to get Christine on the podcast because as you'll listen to her episode, if you have not, go listen to it as soon as you're done with this episode, because-

Mike Gerholdt: It's really good.

Gillian Bruce: It's so good. She talks about the idea of transferable skills. How she really evaluated how she could take the skills that she had as an Olympic athlete and transfer those into another career. How she really had a very detailed strategy behind that. She explains the story. Then she also talks about in her role, she works with a lot of admins. So what things she has seen that makes a very successful admin, and how you get your admin team. Because again, she comes at it from a solutions engineer perspective. So she has seen a lot. In fact, her team supports the largest Salesforce implementation that exists. So they have a lot of knowledge. Anyway, listen to Christine's episode. It's awesome. It's an uplifting one. It'll put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Oh, for sure. There were so many things like, I was driving, I wanted to take notes.

Gillian Bruce: Maybe you can listen to it again.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Absolutely. Then just to round out our discussion of, I feel like it's one of the last few months of summer, but we have Dreamforce coming up. We also have some community events that are happening.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Mike, you and I and Jennifer Lee actually got to go to a community event, I guess it was a duo community event this month, Midwest Dreamin and WITness Success. I got to go because, well, you were the MC of the whole event.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I popped up on the stage for a few highlights and Midwest-isms Midwest Dreamin.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah. Actually, can you share one of those Midwest-isms because they're pretty amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: So people in the Midwest use weird terms, one of them is op. Usually we say that as an excuse me or oh, I'm sorry, op. And I op a ton. Man, you go grocery shopping with me because the cart always leaves the aisle before and you're going to run in somebody, op I'm sorry. But so I said, what if we took a whole bunch of Midwest terms and made them into Salesforce features. One of them is op, which I said is clearly a validation rule. Because if Salesforce could be very Midwestern it wouldn't fire the validation rule, it would just say, op. I believe that was one of them. I did put it out there. So for those of you that live in the Midwest or visited the Midwest, you know we like to eat puppy chow, which is actually Chex Mix covered in chocolate with confectioner's sugar all over it. Gillian, you and I kicked around what that feature would be.
Adam Olshansky actually came out on Twitter and said puppy chow is really like custom metadata because it's wonderful and you can use it anywhere. I felt that's very apropos because the second you get puppy chow out, it's everywhere. That confectioner's sugar, I swear it finds every nook and cranny of your life to be.

Gillian Bruce: It's so uniquely a Midwest thing. I remember growing up as a kid, occasionally some kid would bring some to school and I'd be like, what is this magical craziness?

Mike Gerholdt: I know. Yeah. You go to our gas stations, everywhere. You walk into a Casey's and there're cups of puppy chow for you to buy right by the register, along with with scotcheroos. I don't feel like scotcheroos are very Midwestern.

Gillian Bruce: I have no idea what that is. So it's clearly-

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, a scotcheroo is basically like a rice crispy treat, but made with a lot of butter scotch and then covered in chocolate.

Gillian Bruce: Oh. So it's like a healthier rice crispy treat.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I'm kidding.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. But it's so good.

Gillian Bruce: It sounds delicious.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's so good.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. All right. Yeah. So those were great and there were lots more. So if you were there, you had lot more.

Mike Gerholdt: Or check Twitter for some people tweet them out, hot dish. What do you think that is as a feature? It was fun. Little time filler before Gillian gets up on stage and wows the crowd with admin skills. I think a few people even tweet about the heels you were in.

Gillian Bruce: Well you always got to have a good pair of heels to deliver a talk properly, at least for me. Maybe not the same for you, Mike. But yeah, I had the honor of giving a keynote and it was really great to get back up on stage in front of actual people. It was exhilarating to do it, and it felt really fun to share very important content about skills and transferable skills and how to really discover your skills, hone them, and then find ways to use them to help make you shine. So, really amazing experience. Then Jennifer Lee stayed for WITness Success and presented a session about Flow, which I also saw all kinds of Twitter love for.
The reason I wanted to bring up these community events is because Dreamforce is coming and we would love you to come to Dreamforce. If there's some reason that you can't swing it, there are community events happening near you all of the time. So whether that's your local user group or there's a Dreamin event in your region, you can find out all about that on the Trailblazer community. I highly encourage you to go, especially now that people are coming back together in person, it's really incredibly valuable and powerful. I had so many amazing talks with folks. I had some people coming up to me with tears because of just the meaningfulness of being connected again. Especially in the Salesforce community, there's so much you can get by being in person with each other. So I highly encourage you to check out your local community gatherings.

Mike Gerholdt: I agree. To be honest with you, I showed up, I wore a mask for a while.

Gillian Bruce: So did I, until I got on stage.

Mike Gerholdt: So we're past that now. Yeah. There were times that I actually checked out of some areas because I'm not too comfortable with this many people. That's okay, it's up to you. But it was great. So many people that I hadn't seen in person in forever.

Gillian Bruce: It felt good.

Mike Gerholdt: You mentioned Dreamforce. I will include a link in the show notes to the convince your boss letter, which is on the homepage. If you haven't registered for this little event that we're doing in September. I have actually used versions of this letter when I was a customer, rewrote it, changed some things around. I will say it's effective. It's super easy to customize. It'll be great. We're going to have session content up, so you can start talking to your boss about the sessions you're going to go to and the keynotes you're going to see. There's that unspoken just ability to connect with people that doesn't happen anywhere else. You're sitting in a session and you're both there to learn Flow or something, next thing you know, you leave with a new best friend that helps you solve that problem.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's people that you never would've probably connected with, either virtually or in your own local community. Also, it's just going to be great. We're going to have so much fun at Dreamforce. We talk about it being the ultimate family reunion and gosh, aren't we all ready for that. So it's going to be really magical, really fun. I know our team is planning all kinds of really fun, exciting things for admins.

Mike Gerholdt: A few things in the works.

Gillian Bruce: Just a few.

Mike Gerholdt: Stay tuned.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Can't tell you anything yet. It's top secret.

Mike Gerholdt: Nope. Not yet. Gillian, you said it's going to be nice weather because it'll be past the cold.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. San Francisco summer is late August through early November. I grew up here and every year I forget, and then I'm like, all right, we're going to have summer. It's just three months later than everybody else.

Mike Gerholdt: It just comes at a different time. Good.

Gillian Bruce: Late bloomers out here on the west coast.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. All right. Well, if you want to learn more about all things we talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. Of course, Gillian is on Twitter. She is @GillianKBruce, and I am @MikeGerholdt. Give us a follow. You can read about puppy chow or other Midwest-isms, more so on my Twitter feed. But with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Gillian Bruce: Roar.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Is that the first thing that's going to be on the recording, roar?

Mike Gerholdt: I don't know if that's a lion or is that a cat?

Gillian Bruce: It's like a lion cub.



Direct download: July_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re replaying our episode with Lissa Smith, Senior Manager of Business Architecture at Salesforce. In the context of the launch of the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit, we wanted to revisit our conversation about how she hired a team of Salesforce Admins, what she looks for in the interview, and important advice for anyone hiring a Salesforce Administrator.

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

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

Why you should listen to Lissa’s advice

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

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

The difference between Admin roles

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

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

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

Tell a good story

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

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

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we’re talking with Lissa Smith, Senior Manager, Business Architecture here at Salesforce about her strategy for hiring a Salesforce Admin. That’s right. We’re kicking off 2022 by putting our best foot forward and helping you get the information that you have been talking about in the community and on social, around finding and landing that perfect admin career. So let’s not waste any time and let’s get Lissa on the podcast. So, Lissa, welcome to the podcast.

Lissa Smith: Awesome. Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it’s good to kick off the new year, talking about starting your career, getting hiring on as a Salesforce Admin. And I think you are one of the most perfect guests to have on to talk about that. So let’s dive right in, because I know everybody’s interested. How did you get started in the Salesforce ecosystem?

Lissa Smith: Yeah, I’ve been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for about 15 years now. And most of that was as a Salesforce admin. I actually started on a sales team and moved into an admin role shortly after that because I really liked building reports and that just kind of took off from there. I’m obsessed with improving processes and solving problems and I just love the Salesforce platform. So I have been happy in this space for 15 years.

Mike Gerholdt: 15 years, that’s a veteran level.

Lissa Smith: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Long time. Now, one of the important things that kicked off our conversation internally here at Salesforce was you told me, you were in charge in previous careers prior to joining Salesforce for hiring Salesforce admins. And as I say that, I can feel everybody’s earbuds just tighten up a little bit more, as they listen to the podcast. Because I will tell you as somebody that pays attention to the community and everything that’s on social, that is probably the number one question of I’m doing Trailhead. I’m getting my certification. Now, how do I get hired as a Salesforce admin? So tell me a little bit about what you did to hire admins and kind of what that position was for you?

Lissa Smith: Awesome. Sure. So, yep, before working at Salesforce, I actually led a team of 13 Salesforce admins and business analysts. And it was a team of, I mean, they were definitely hashtag awesome admins. They’re a really great team. And eight of them, I hired myself and of the five that I kind of inherited when I got promoted into that role. Three of those five, I was involved in their hiring process as well. So I participated in their interviews. And so of those 13 at 11 of them, I was involved in the hiring of-

Mike Gerholdt: So most?

Lissa Smith: … most of them. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I was… You lost me on the math.

Lissa Smith: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Everybody’s hiring process is going to be a little bit different. Let’s start at the beginning, you had a baker’s dozen admins on your team when a spot opened up, what was kind of those initial first steps that you did as a hiring manager?

Lissa Smith: Yep. So I actually had several different levels of positions that I opened up and so I had to get headcount approved to get those positions. I saw a need, developed a business case internally to get that headcount approved. And so I was able to get headcount for some junior admins and some senior and principal level admins as well.

So I was kind of hiring all different skill levels, which made it also interesting when I was reviewing resumes and going through the interview process because some of those admins had only the Trailhead background or had gone through Pathfinder, PEP and tech programs like that, which are amazing programs. And that was their background, the Trailhead and those programs.
And then I also hired other admins who had been working in the space for quite a while and were more senior. So different mindset going into those interviews and different approach when looking at those resumes. But, overall, what I was always looking for was someone who was motivated and excited. I really love the Salesforce platform. I really love my job and really love what I do.

I don’t think everyone has to love their job a 100% of the time, but you don’t have to settle. And so I wanted to look for people who also were motivated and excited and passionate, and really those passionate and proactive problem solvers, regardless of if they were brand new to the ecosystem or if they’d been doing it for a long time.

I wanted somebody who could identify problems and look for problems and then come up with solutions and come up with, or just identify those problems and then come up with ways to potentially solve those problems. And I think that’s what every hiring manager is looking for like, how can you help me solve my business problems?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I want to go back. You mentioned junior admin, senior principal. And I know those levels are different at different categories, as somebody that’s hired admins and you’re thinking, “Okay, I need a junior Salesforce admin.” What was a junior Salesforce admin for you?

Lissa Smith: To me, it was somebody who really didn’t have experience on the platform, paid experience on the platform.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, that’s important. I’ve never heard that term paid experience. I think that’s a good callout.

Lissa Smith: Yeah, it’s a good differentiator because, I mean, I did want somebody who had gone through Trailhead modules, had built out their own apps. As I was talking to candidates, there were candidates who had built apps to track their interview and application process. And they were excited to share that with me.

So maybe they hadn’t been paid to do admin work, but they had built cool apps and tracking even, just all sorts of apps that they had built. It could be the books that they’re reading or genres and author. Just something that they had done using the platform to show me that they understood the capabilities because they hadn’t had that paid experience, or maybe they had experience as a user on the platform.

So maybe they weren’t ever an actual admin, but I interviewed several candidates who had been Salesforce users. So they understood and could empathize with the customer experience. So as, like a salesperson or as a customer support rep or they had used the platform. And I just think that’s a really important skill to have somebody who has been a user on the platform.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I’ve got friends that start off as users and they make for the best admins. Just plain and simple.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. And then there’s so much out there now on Trailhead and with these different programs that you can take different training and go through these different programs and do all the Trailhead and do the super badges and earn your certifications. That’s all available now to anyone. But the people who were going out there and proactively figuring out, how they can solve a problem.

I have a bunch of house plans. I keep thinking, it would be really great if I had some sort of automated app in Salesforce that reminded me when I need to water my plants because some of them are on, in every two-week cycle and some of them are more frequently.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Lissa Smith: And just that could be something that someone could build for themselves. And then it gets them that experience using the platform.

Mike Gerholdt: And you could capture pictures so you could see if the [inaudible]-

Lissa Smith: It’s so true, right?

Mike Gerholdt: … yeah. Don’t get us started. So junior admin, I like your definition paid… really the differentiator is they have a lot of knowledge. They have a lot of curiosity. I inferred that.

Lissa Smith: Huge.

Mike Gerholdt: Huge.

Lissa Smith: Yes. Huge.

Mike Gerholdt: Big problem solvers, but really didn’t have that paid experience. So was paid experience the differentiator for you in junior admin versus senior admin? I think that’s the term you used.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. I think that would be probably the biggest. So the senior admins that I was hiring for that I interviewed, they had been working as an admin. They were a system admin in their org and understood platform capabilities. They may not be super experts, but they had been doing it for one, three years, just depending on that. Also, there were business analysts that I was hiring too. So all of it, the titles were actually business analysts.

So some were even more senior from a business analysis perspective and maybe had less experience building on the Salesforce platform. But they really understood documentation and analysis and process analysis and had been doing that for a long time, so they could still come in. And with that experience and the help of me and other members of the team and Trailhead could build on that experience and be a more senior admin.

And then the principal admins are the ones who come in. They already understand flow and when to use flow and they are, and this was a few years ago. So that now flow is everywhere. But a few years ago, it was a little harder to find some of those candidates, or they have several certifications and understand when to use a feature, when not to use a feature, when some of those more advanced topics too, that when you’re thinking about even just admin certification, some of the security and sharing rules and that it’s important for all admins to know, but they’ve been there, done that-

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Lissa Smith: … and really get it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Little more org-wide implications to different things as opposed to the features. Got it.

Lissa Smith: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Got it. No, that’s often. And I think one big thing that I heard was rarely were you hiring Salesforce admin. And we had just done a podcast on this in December with Leanne and Jay and I. Salesforce admin is that strong identity that we have, but rarely is it in our job title. And even your job title, senior manager, business architecture. Sometimes our job titles isn’t what we are.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, for sure. I don’t know that. And I have said, 15 years, I’ve been in this ecosystem, most of those as a Salesforce admin. And I don’t think my title has ever been Salesforce admin, so that’s very true.

Mike Gerholdt: And that’s something that we see a lot in, not only our ecosystem, but other ecosystems too. Is rarely does the persona or the identity of the person also be the job title because companies have different naming conventions. So I know in a lot of the programs that we speak at, there, I was on LinkedIn. I couldn’t find Salesforce admin. Well, it may be, as you mentioned, you were hiring a lot for business analyst.

Lissa Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: So-

Lissa Smith: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: … that’s great.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. And then what they ended up being were business analysts who were system admins in Salesforce and they were writing requirements, but also doing some of the config and building and, or a lot of the config, all of the config.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Lissa Smith: And actually working with users to solve those problems, so-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Had that responsibility.

Lissa Smith: … Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That’s key. So junior admin, senior principal, I keep kind of anchoring on those because the next part is, you mentioned, they had showed apps that they had built. I did this great podcast with Gordon Lee, which I’ll link to in the show notes where we talk about as new admins, there’s this trust gap. And I think you talked about it or inferred it actually in the junior admins is, they built apps, they showed me, they did all the learning, they just didn’t have that paid experience.

And I think there’s that trust gap of, you haven’t been paid to do this. So you have to span kind of that gap with me, I would love to know, what were some of the questions? I’m a, put on my hat, I’m a Salesforce admin, and maybe one of these roles looking to apply, and I’m getting ready to walk into an interview with Lissa Smith. What are some of the things she’s going to ask me?

Lissa Smith: So I really like the, tell me about a time when questions. Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with people, maybe you disagreed with, or tell me about a time where you had to manage a project. Are you responsible for a project or a program? And this doesn’t have to be even Salesforce related. I think it’s really important for candidates to come to an interview prepared with maybe a repository of stories that their success stories, these don’t have to be on your resume, these don’t have to be anywhere.

But if you were writing your success stories in work and just life, I mean, I had, I heard about Eagle Scout Projects. It doesn’t have to be work. But your success stories, problems you identified, ways that you solve those problems, how you collaborated with others while solving those problems, how you prioritized, how you influenced others, how you communicated, how you learned, how you asked questions. Come up with a list of those stories, of those problems that you solved and run through those stories out loud with a friend or family, out loud run through those stories.

So that when someone like me comes in and says, “Tell me about a time that you collaborated with multiple stakeholders or when you proactively identified a flawed or inefficient process.” You can come in and say, “Oh, well, which one of my stories can I tell?” Like, come up with… And then tell those stories in a meaningful way too. It shouldn’t just be like I could say, “Well, I built a way for sales people to register their customers and prospects for a training that we offered.” Well, that doesn’t really tell me anything.

But if I come in and say, “You know, I got an out-of-office response from someone on the training team that told me how many seats were left in the training.” And I realized, why are they managing that? And this is a true story, in an out-of-office response, why are they telling sales people? There are only six seats left in this training in the San Francisco training for July 15th, if you want to register, write me back.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lissa Smith: So I worked with the training team to develop a solution for this in Salesforce, right on the contact record that allowed the salespeople to enroll from the contact and they could see how many people will… How many seats were left in each training. And then the training team could see the actual revenue impact of adding these contacts to their training. I mean, it’s a much better story than just, I made this way for sales people to register people in training and automated it and even getting too much into the details. It’s the story I think that sells your skills and makes it more meaningful to the hiring manager too.

Mike Gerholdt: It’s a richer story-

Lissa Smith: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: … you’re walking through those two. I’m thinking it’s comparable to, it was a sunny day. I went for a walk. Okay. I don’t have much visualization to that. But the second story that you told was, it was a sunny day and my parents ware coming to town and you’re adding context and you’re adding depth. Right. And you’re also, to me, showing something that I feel is very important for [Edmonds], you’re showing your critical thinking skills, you’re showing how you, not only saw an out-of-office, you saw an out-of-office with an opportunity.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, 100%.

Mike Gerholdt: Love that. I love that.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. And I think that everyone, I mean, there, like I said, Eagle Scout Project. I mean, there’s these transferable skills that you have, that all, everyone has. And I think it’s just, you really have to sit down and focus and how can I translate these skills into this job description?

And I think it’s also pretty job description specific too, you’ll want to look at the job description and see what is this role asking for? Are they asking for that someone with strong process automation skills? Okay, well, then let me look through my list of stories, my role at expert repository of stories, and see which ones might relate to process automation.
It might be this, my out-of-office story here, or is there a lot of mention of collaboration in the job description? Is there a lot of a mention of working with stakeholders? Okay. Well, let me think of my past experience and make sure that I’m coming prepared to this interview with examples of how I’ve done that.

And good stories too. Like you said, you can give numbers, you can give the facts, but when you tell a good story, I mean, it’s also showing off your communication skills. It’s showing off that you understand the why, which is really important. And it feeds into a little of that passion too, that you can hear the passion in someone’s story. You don’t really hear a passion in facts.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. That’s true. How would you… So I’m listening to this and I’m lack of a better term, playing devil’s advocate. And thinking, “Boy, if I was a new admin and I’m applying for that junior role, and maybe I don’t have the paid experience, maybe I’m fresh out of Pathfinders, or I’m fresh out of college, and I’ve got two Salesforce certifications or 120 Trailhead badges. I don’t have those relatable stories. Were the interview questions for junior admins maybe a little bit different, or were the answers or way that I should be thinking about answering as a junior admin, a little bit different?

Lissa Smith: I think a little both. The questions are pretty much the same for me. I mean, in thinking of past skills, if you were a bartender, you could figure out how to translate the skills that you used as a bartender to managing projects, prioritizing, there’s collaborating with others. There’s still a lot of those transferable skills. And being able to tell that story, I think is part of this that’s huge. So it’s a lot of the same questions.

Mike Gerholdt: I think you absolutely 100% nailed it because I’m thinking of the college student. And you’re like, “Well, the time that I really had to collaborate, well, I don’t have a time in the workplace. But let me tell you about this project I was on in advanced biochemistry where I had a difficult teammate. You could walk through a scenario there, and it’s showing you the same principles and skills. It’s just a different environment that they were used in.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. I also, personally, I mean, even, I think certification can be a story in itself and it was for some of the candidates that I hired.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, how so?

Lissa Smith: I heard stories of, it took me five times to pass my certification exam, is what a candidate told me. And they told me that kind of slumping, shoulders down, disappointed in themselves. I would reframe that story. I was so persistent, I went back and I know that content inside and out, it wasn’t just guessing to pass that exam. I know that content inside and out, it took me five tries and I passed, that’s, it’s, it can all be a story. It can all be something that sells you. And so even certification can be a story. It’s all in how you frame it.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing I wanted to touch on in this point was I shared with you prior to the call, kind of that admin skills that we’d rolled out. Rebecca showed us in the admin Keynote at Dreamforce. And I know it was the first time you’d seen it. So I kind of blindsided you with it. But of those 14 skills, was there one that stood out for you?

Lissa Smith: Problem solving stands out the most for me. I mean, when I come in, me, personally, into an interview, I am selling myself as a passionate, proactive problem solver. That’s what I am. I’m enthusiastic. I love finding problems. I love helping connect dots to figure out how to solve those problems. I think that’s the heart of an admin, they’re problem solvers and excited to find ways. So for me, personally, I hate saying, “No, that’s not possible on the Salesforce platform.” Because I can pretty much always figure out a way to do it. And so I feel that’s the heart of an admin.

But the learner’s mindset, piece, I think that’s another huge one. When you are looking for roles, admins who are looking for roles, I think it’s important to connect with a company that thinks that this is important too, that failing is okay, that trying new things is okay, innovating is okay. And gives you time to learn and to go to the new release readiness training, to do Trailhead to continue to learn. I think that’s really important when looking for a role.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I would agree 100%. You need to interview that company for culture. And the one thing I always tell people is, the person you’re sitting across the table from, are you enjoy sitting across the table from them? Because that’s going to be your job. Do you enjoy? If it’s an in person interview, do you enjoy the atmosphere? Do you enjoy just kind of that culture, that feeling that you have there? Because that’s something that’s really hard to change.

Lissa Smith: So important. Before I joined Salesforce, I was a leader of a Salesforce Trailblazer community group here in Indianapolis. And I was very involved in the community, in the Trailblazer community, at the women in tech meetings, at the admin meetings, at the developer meetings, still I am. Although now, everything’s different and virtual.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Lissa Smith: I can participate in meetings all over the world there.

Mike Gerholdt: Everywhere.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. But having a hiring manager who participates in those meetings, I think is, or having a manager, not even a hiring manager, a manager who participates in those meetings is huge. Because they, first of all, the hiring managers, if you’re listening here, go to those meetings because you will find all the excited, passionate candidates you’re looking for.

A large majority of the admins that I hired were already very active within the community. And I already knew them and they already knew me. And I was somebody that they wanted to work for because they knew I was excited about the community and participated in it. And they knew, I would give them time to go to those meetings during lunch, back when they were always in person at lunchtime. It was-

Mike Gerholdt: In the Midwest, those meetings are always over lunch so that we could have meatloaf or lasagna or [inaudible] very ridiculously heavy, Midwestern, a hot dish.

Lissa Smith: Right. Yeah. And I know that that’s not something that’s consistent. But not all hiring managers even know that this exists or even managers know that this community exists. So I think it’s really important for managers to get involved in the Trailblazer community. And there’s a lot of… A ton of great talent. I mean, it’s just packed full of amazing talent.

People who are motivated and excited and then have this big network of people to connect with if they run into issues or if they need help, especially for those junior admins, that it’s something they haven’t done before. But they have this huge network of people that they can connect with. Now, all over the world. Thanks to… I mean, it was already all over the world, but even more so now that everything’s so virtual, they have this network.

Mike Gerholdt: No, I’m with you. And I actually was thinking about that because the number of stories, you go back a few years on the pod, we told the Zac Otero story of how Zac got his certifications and was relentless of going to user groups and introducing himself. There’s a lot of stories where that’s a great place to meet people, if you’re looking to get hired because they share the same interests. And I think it’s something you pointed out early on in our discussions was hiring managers should be at this. It may be called a user group, but hiring managers are users too.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: So-

Lissa Smith: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: … I love that point. And it’s also, if I was thinking about it, would I want to interview with a hiring manager that I’ve seen at user groups, or would I want to interview with a hiring major where I have to explain user groups?

Lissa Smith: Yes. It’s such a good point. Yes, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Very different. So one thing, I think it’s, in common talk about because I feel you’ve run the gamut. I hope we’ve given everybody kind of a good insight into hiring admins and being the hiring manager. But I’d love to know a little bit about what you do at Salesforce because your title’s intriguing.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. So senior manager of business architecture here at Salesforce. I’m responsible for our internal Salesforce instance for sales people. So processes, tools, governance, user experience, within our internal Salesforce instance and within Slack. And I’ve been working a lot on the Slack for sales project for-

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Lissa Smith: … the past year and the rollout of Slack now. So it’s very fun and very exciting.

Mike Gerholdt: I will tell you, it’s always been a personal goal of mine when we started the podcast to have on as many Salesforce admins as possible. And I mean, Salesforce, Salesforce admins. But I say that a little tongue in cheek because I think it’s important. And I just did a talk with Pathfinders recently, the reason I bring that up and I say that is, your title, senior manager, business architecture isn’t something that I might search for on LinkedIn as a job-

Lissa Smith: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: … as a Salesforce admin. Right. And I think it’s important that we understand the identity and persona is called that, but the job title and the job descriptions may be very different.

Lissa Smith: So true. And I was lucky with this role that the word or the phrase, Salesforce admin, was included in the description that they were looking for somebody that had previous Salesforce admin experience. And so it showed up in a… This was a 10-year-old job search that I don’t even know how to turn off. It comes into my-

Mike Gerholdt: No.

Lissa Smith: … and it’s fine because I can see the landscape, especially when I was hiring admins, I could see who else is hiring here in Indianapolis. And I could see those other job descriptions and… But this one came through. And like you said, it was senior manager, business architecture. What’s that? And why did this even show up in the job search? I’m not even looking for a job and dug into that. And it’s really cool. And it’s Salesforce uses Salesforce to sell Salesforce, SuperMeta. There’s got to be a team that’s responsible for that. And-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Lissa Smith: … it’s pretty exciting to be on that team.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I mean, I think in The Matrix, it’s taking the red pill, but for some reason taking the blue pill, right? So, I mean, you don’t have to give us details. But what kind of projects do you work on that I think… And the reason I ask that is, I want to be clear, not digging into your work-life, but I’m digging into analogous to what Salesforce admins would be doing. So what are, if somebody’s listening to this and thinking, “Hey, maybe I’ll become a Salesforce admin.” What’s kind of your everyday look like?

Lissa Smith: Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, we’re looking at new features. We often get them very early, as customer zero we get them first. So we’re looking at those new features. We also want dynamic forms on standard objects. So we want to be able to have that and make our user experience better. So we’re evaluating new features, we’re looking at how can we make user experience better. We’re collecting feedback from users. We’re governing our objects as well and our processes. We’re making sure that-

Mike Gerholdt: That’s a whole podcast in of itself.

Lissa Smith: … yeah, absolutely it is. We’re now looking at our digital HQ at Slack and how do we incorporate Slack into our processes. Make it Slack first, make Slack the platform of engagement for our users and ultimately, improve and make their processes more efficient. So it’s a day-to-day talking to users, understanding what users are doing and then making things better for them.

Mike Gerholdt: Sounds all the stuff we talk about in the central habits, which just makes me happy. It’s very good. Well, Lissa, this has been a very fun podcast. You are welcome back, anytime. If you have an idea, top of mind that you want to talk about, I will be super excited to see what Twitter has to say about this episode because I know it was one of the very first things that always pops into my inbox. Every time I check the community is, people asking for hiring or interview or questions or just anything around getting a job as being a Salesforce admin. And I thought it was a great way to kick off 2022. So thank you for helping me kick off 2022 on the podcast.

Lissa Smith: You’re welcome. Happy new year. I’m very excited to be here. I’m excited for the future of all of the new Salesforce admins and I’m rooting for you. And, yeah, excited.

Mike Gerholdt: So as I write, that was an amazing episode with Lissa. We literally probably could have talked for another hour, so I’m going to have to have Lissa back on the podcast. But to do that, you got to tweet me and tell me, what did I forget to ask Lissa on this episode? And then I’ll start compiling and we’ll get her back as soon as possible. What would you love to know about a hiring manager and asking questions to get that perfect admin job?

So be sure to tweet at us. And if you’d like to learn more about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including all of the links that I mentioned in this episode, as well as a full transcript. Now, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are at @SalesforceAdmns, no “I” on Twitter. Gillian is @gilliankbruce and, of course, I am @mikegerholdt. So with that, welcome to 2022 and stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for that next episode. We’ll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Replay__Hiring_an_Admin_with_Lissa_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re replaying our episode with Lissa Smith, Senior Manager of Business Architecture at Salesforce. In the context of the launch of the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit, we wanted to revisit our conversation about how she hired a team of Salesforce Admins, what she looks for in the interview, and important advice for anyone hiring a Salesforce Administrator.

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

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

Why you should listen to Lissa’s advice

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

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

The difference between Admin roles

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

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

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

Tell a good story

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

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

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we’re talking with Lissa Smith, Senior Manager, Business Architecture here at Salesforce about her strategy for hiring a Salesforce Admin. That’s right. We’re kicking off 2022 by putting our best foot forward and helping you get the information that you have been talking about in the community and on social, around finding and landing that perfect admin career. So let’s not waste any time and let’s get Lissa on the podcast. So, Lissa, welcome to the podcast.

Lissa Smith: Awesome. Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it’s good to kick off the new year, talking about starting your career, getting hiring on as a Salesforce Admin. And I think you are one of the most perfect guests to have on to talk about that. So let’s dive right in, because I know everybody’s interested. How did you get started in the Salesforce ecosystem?

Lissa Smith: Yeah, I’ve been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for about 15 years now. And most of that was as a Salesforce admin. I actually started on a sales team and moved into an admin role shortly after that because I really liked building reports and that just kind of took off from there. I’m obsessed with improving processes and solving problems and I just love the Salesforce platform. So I have been happy in this space for 15 years.

Mike Gerholdt: 15 years, that’s a veteran level.

Lissa Smith: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Long time. Now, one of the important things that kicked off our conversation internally here at Salesforce was you told me, you were in charge in previous careers prior to joining Salesforce for hiring Salesforce admins. And as I say that, I can feel everybody’s earbuds just tighten up a little bit more, as they listen to the podcast. Because I will tell you as somebody that pays attention to the community and everything that’s on social, that is probably the number one question of I’m doing Trailhead. I’m getting my certification. Now, how do I get hired as a Salesforce admin? So tell me a little bit about what you did to hire admins and kind of what that position was for you?

Lissa Smith: Awesome. Sure. So, yep, before working at Salesforce, I actually led a team of 13 Salesforce admins and business analysts. And it was a team of, I mean, they were definitely hashtag awesome admins. They’re a really great team. And eight of them, I hired myself and of the five that I kind of inherited when I got promoted into that role. Three of those five, I was involved in their hiring process as well. So I participated in their interviews. And so of those 13 at 11 of them, I was involved in the hiring of-

Mike Gerholdt: So most?

Lissa Smith: … most of them. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I was… You lost me on the math.

Lissa Smith: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Everybody’s hiring process is going to be a little bit different. Let’s start at the beginning, you had a baker’s dozen admins on your team when a spot opened up, what was kind of those initial first steps that you did as a hiring manager?

Lissa Smith: Yep. So I actually had several different levels of positions that I opened up and so I had to get headcount approved to get those positions. I saw a need, developed a business case internally to get that headcount approved. And so I was able to get headcount for some junior admins and some senior and principal level admins as well.

So I was kind of hiring all different skill levels, which made it also interesting when I was reviewing resumes and going through the interview process because some of those admins had only the Trailhead background or had gone through Pathfinder, PEP and tech programs like that, which are amazing programs. And that was their background, the Trailhead and those programs.
And then I also hired other admins who had been working in the space for quite a while and were more senior. So different mindset going into those interviews and different approach when looking at those resumes. But, overall, what I was always looking for was someone who was motivated and excited. I really love the Salesforce platform. I really love my job and really love what I do.

I don’t think everyone has to love their job a 100% of the time, but you don’t have to settle. And so I wanted to look for people who also were motivated and excited and passionate, and really those passionate and proactive problem solvers, regardless of if they were brand new to the ecosystem or if they’d been doing it for a long time.

I wanted somebody who could identify problems and look for problems and then come up with solutions and come up with, or just identify those problems and then come up with ways to potentially solve those problems. And I think that’s what every hiring manager is looking for like, how can you help me solve my business problems?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I want to go back. You mentioned junior admin, senior principal. And I know those levels are different at different categories, as somebody that’s hired admins and you’re thinking, “Okay, I need a junior Salesforce admin.” What was a junior Salesforce admin for you?

Lissa Smith: To me, it was somebody who really didn’t have experience on the platform, paid experience on the platform.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, that’s important. I’ve never heard that term paid experience. I think that’s a good callout.

Lissa Smith: Yeah, it’s a good differentiator because, I mean, I did want somebody who had gone through Trailhead modules, had built out their own apps. As I was talking to candidates, there were candidates who had built apps to track their interview and application process. And they were excited to share that with me.

So maybe they hadn’t been paid to do admin work, but they had built cool apps and tracking even, just all sorts of apps that they had built. It could be the books that they’re reading or genres and author. Just something that they had done using the platform to show me that they understood the capabilities because they hadn’t had that paid experience, or maybe they had experience as a user on the platform.

So maybe they weren’t ever an actual admin, but I interviewed several candidates who had been Salesforce users. So they understood and could empathize with the customer experience. So as, like a salesperson or as a customer support rep or they had used the platform. And I just think that’s a really important skill to have somebody who has been a user on the platform.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I’ve got friends that start off as users and they make for the best admins. Just plain and simple.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. And then there’s so much out there now on Trailhead and with these different programs that you can take different training and go through these different programs and do all the Trailhead and do the super badges and earn your certifications. That’s all available now to anyone. But the people who were going out there and proactively figuring out, how they can solve a problem.

I have a bunch of house plans. I keep thinking, it would be really great if I had some sort of automated app in Salesforce that reminded me when I need to water my plants because some of them are on, in every two-week cycle and some of them are more frequently.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Lissa Smith: And just that could be something that someone could build for themselves. And then it gets them that experience using the platform.

Mike Gerholdt: And you could capture pictures so you could see if the [inaudible]-

Lissa Smith: It’s so true, right?

Mike Gerholdt: … yeah. Don’t get us started. So junior admin, I like your definition paid… really the differentiator is they have a lot of knowledge. They have a lot of curiosity. I inferred that.

Lissa Smith: Huge.

Mike Gerholdt: Huge.

Lissa Smith: Yes. Huge.

Mike Gerholdt: Big problem solvers, but really didn’t have that paid experience. So was paid experience the differentiator for you in junior admin versus senior admin? I think that’s the term you used.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. I think that would be probably the biggest. So the senior admins that I was hiring for that I interviewed, they had been working as an admin. They were a system admin in their org and understood platform capabilities. They may not be super experts, but they had been doing it for one, three years, just depending on that. Also, there were business analysts that I was hiring too. So all of it, the titles were actually business analysts.

So some were even more senior from a business analysis perspective and maybe had less experience building on the Salesforce platform. But they really understood documentation and analysis and process analysis and had been doing that for a long time, so they could still come in. And with that experience and the help of me and other members of the team and Trailhead could build on that experience and be a more senior admin.

And then the principal admins are the ones who come in. They already understand flow and when to use flow and they are, and this was a few years ago. So that now flow is everywhere. But a few years ago, it was a little harder to find some of those candidates, or they have several certifications and understand when to use a feature, when not to use a feature, when some of those more advanced topics too, that when you’re thinking about even just admin certification, some of the security and sharing rules and that it’s important for all admins to know, but they’ve been there, done that-

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Lissa Smith: … and really get it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Little more org-wide implications to different things as opposed to the features. Got it.

Lissa Smith: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Got it. No, that’s often. And I think one big thing that I heard was rarely were you hiring Salesforce admin. And we had just done a podcast on this in December with Leanne and Jay and I. Salesforce admin is that strong identity that we have, but rarely is it in our job title. And even your job title, senior manager, business architecture. Sometimes our job titles isn’t what we are.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah, for sure. I don’t know that. And I have said, 15 years, I’ve been in this ecosystem, most of those as a Salesforce admin. And I don’t think my title has ever been Salesforce admin, so that’s very true.

Mike Gerholdt: And that’s something that we see a lot in, not only our ecosystem, but other ecosystems too. Is rarely does the persona or the identity of the person also be the job title because companies have different naming conventions. So I know in a lot of the programs that we speak at, there, I was on LinkedIn. I couldn’t find Salesforce admin. Well, it may be, as you mentioned, you were hiring a lot for business analyst.

Lissa Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: So-

Lissa Smith: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: … that’s great.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. And then what they ended up being were business analysts who were system admins in Salesforce and they were writing requirements, but also doing some of the config and building and, or a lot of the config, all of the config.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Lissa Smith: And actually working with users to solve those problems, so-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Had that responsibility.

Lissa Smith: … Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That’s key. So junior admin, senior principal, I keep kind of anchoring on those because the next part is, you mentioned, they had showed apps that they had built. I did this great podcast with Gordon Lee, which I’ll link to in the show notes where we talk about as new admins, there’s this trust gap. And I think you talked about it or inferred it actually in the junior admins is, they built apps, they showed me, they did all the learning, they just didn’t have that paid experience.

And I think there’s that trust gap of, you haven’t been paid to do this. So you have to span kind of that gap with me, I would love to know, what were some of the questions? I’m a, put on my hat, I’m a Salesforce admin, and maybe one of these roles looking to apply, and I’m getting ready to walk into an interview with Lissa Smith. What are some of the things she’s going to ask me?

Lissa Smith: So I really like the, tell me about a time when questions. Tell me about a time when you had to collaborate with people, maybe you disagreed with, or tell me about a time where you had to manage a project. Are you responsible for a project or a program? And this doesn’t have to be even Salesforce related. I think it’s really important for candidates to come to an interview prepared with maybe a repository of stories that their success stories, these don’t have to be on your resume, these don’t have to be anywhere.

But if you were writing your success stories in work and just life, I mean, I had, I heard about Eagle Scout Projects. It doesn’t have to be work. But your success stories, problems you identified, ways that you solve those problems, how you collaborated with others while solving those problems, how you prioritized, how you influenced others, how you communicated, how you learned, how you asked questions. Come up with a list of those stories, of those problems that you solved and run through those stories out loud with a friend or family, out loud run through those stories.

So that when someone like me comes in and says, “Tell me about a time that you collaborated with multiple stakeholders or when you proactively identified a flawed or inefficient process.” You can come in and say, “Oh, well, which one of my stories can I tell?” Like, come up with… And then tell those stories in a meaningful way too. It shouldn’t just be like I could say, “Well, I built a way for sales people to register their customers and prospects for a training that we offered.” Well, that doesn’t really tell me anything.

But if I come in and say, “You know, I got an out-of-office response from someone on the training team that told me how many seats were left in the training.” And I realized, why are they managing that? And this is a true story, in an out-of-office response, why are they telling sales people? There are only six seats left in this training in the San Francisco training for July 15th, if you want to register, write me back.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lissa Smith: So I worked with the training team to develop a solution for this in Salesforce, right on the contact record that allowed the salespeople to enroll from the contact and they could see how many people will… How many seats were left in each training. And then the training team could see the actual revenue impact of adding these contacts to their training. I mean, it’s a much better story than just, I made this way for sales people to register people in training and automated it and even getting too much into the details. It’s the story I think that sells your skills and makes it more meaningful to the hiring manager too.

Mike Gerholdt: It’s a richer story-

Lissa Smith: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: … you’re walking through those two. I’m thinking it’s comparable to, it was a sunny day. I went for a walk. Okay. I don’t have much visualization to that. But the second story that you told was, it was a sunny day and my parents ware coming to town and you’re adding context and you’re adding depth. Right. And you’re also, to me, showing something that I feel is very important for [Edmonds], you’re showing your critical thinking skills, you’re showing how you, not only saw an out-of-office, you saw an out-of-office with an opportunity.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. Yeah, 100%.

Mike Gerholdt: Love that. I love that.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. And I think that everyone, I mean, there, like I said, Eagle Scout Project. I mean, there’s these transferable skills that you have, that all, everyone has. And I think it’s just, you really have to sit down and focus and how can I translate these skills into this job description?

And I think it’s also pretty job description specific too, you’ll want to look at the job description and see what is this role asking for? Are they asking for that someone with strong process automation skills? Okay, well, then let me look through my list of stories, my role at expert repository of stories, and see which ones might relate to process automation.
It might be this, my out-of-office story here, or is there a lot of mention of collaboration in the job description? Is there a lot of a mention of working with stakeholders? Okay. Well, let me think of my past experience and make sure that I’m coming prepared to this interview with examples of how I’ve done that.

And good stories too. Like you said, you can give numbers, you can give the facts, but when you tell a good story, I mean, it’s also showing off your communication skills. It’s showing off that you understand the why, which is really important. And it feeds into a little of that passion too, that you can hear the passion in someone’s story. You don’t really hear a passion in facts.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. That’s true. How would you… So I’m listening to this and I’m lack of a better term, playing devil’s advocate. And thinking, “Boy, if I was a new admin and I’m applying for that junior role, and maybe I don’t have the paid experience, maybe I’m fresh out of Pathfinders, or I’m fresh out of college, and I’ve got two Salesforce certifications or 120 Trailhead badges. I don’t have those relatable stories. Were the interview questions for junior admins maybe a little bit different, or were the answers or way that I should be thinking about answering as a junior admin, a little bit different?

Lissa Smith: I think a little both. The questions are pretty much the same for me. I mean, in thinking of past skills, if you were a bartender, you could figure out how to translate the skills that you used as a bartender to managing projects, prioritizing, there’s collaborating with others. There’s still a lot of those transferable skills. And being able to tell that story, I think is part of this that’s huge. So it’s a lot of the same questions.

Mike Gerholdt: I think you absolutely 100% nailed it because I’m thinking of the college student. And you’re like, “Well, the time that I really had to collaborate, well, I don’t have a time in the workplace. But let me tell you about this project I was on in advanced biochemistry where I had a difficult teammate. You could walk through a scenario there, and it’s showing you the same principles and skills. It’s just a different environment that they were used in.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely. I also, personally, I mean, even, I think certification can be a story in itself and it was for some of the candidates that I hired.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, how so?

Lissa Smith: I heard stories of, it took me five times to pass my certification exam, is what a candidate told me. And they told me that kind of slumping, shoulders down, disappointed in themselves. I would reframe that story. I was so persistent, I went back and I know that content inside and out, it wasn’t just guessing to pass that exam. I know that content inside and out, it took me five tries and I passed, that’s, it’s, it can all be a story. It can all be something that sells you. And so even certification can be a story. It’s all in how you frame it.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing I wanted to touch on in this point was I shared with you prior to the call, kind of that admin skills that we’d rolled out. Rebecca showed us in the admin Keynote at Dreamforce. And I know it was the first time you’d seen it. So I kind of blindsided you with it. But of those 14 skills, was there one that stood out for you?

Lissa Smith: Problem solving stands out the most for me. I mean, when I come in, me, personally, into an interview, I am selling myself as a passionate, proactive problem solver. That’s what I am. I’m enthusiastic. I love finding problems. I love helping connect dots to figure out how to solve those problems. I think that’s the heart of an admin, they’re problem solvers and excited to find ways. So for me, personally, I hate saying, “No, that’s not possible on the Salesforce platform.” Because I can pretty much always figure out a way to do it. And so I feel that’s the heart of an admin.

But the learner’s mindset, piece, I think that’s another huge one. When you are looking for roles, admins who are looking for roles, I think it’s important to connect with a company that thinks that this is important too, that failing is okay, that trying new things is okay, innovating is okay. And gives you time to learn and to go to the new release readiness training, to do Trailhead to continue to learn. I think that’s really important when looking for a role.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I would agree 100%. You need to interview that company for culture. And the one thing I always tell people is, the person you’re sitting across the table from, are you enjoy sitting across the table from them? Because that’s going to be your job. Do you enjoy? If it’s an in person interview, do you enjoy the atmosphere? Do you enjoy just kind of that culture, that feeling that you have there? Because that’s something that’s really hard to change.

Lissa Smith: So important. Before I joined Salesforce, I was a leader of a Salesforce Trailblazer community group here in Indianapolis. And I was very involved in the community, in the Trailblazer community, at the women in tech meetings, at the admin meetings, at the developer meetings, still I am. Although now, everything’s different and virtual.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Lissa Smith: I can participate in meetings all over the world there.

Mike Gerholdt: Everywhere.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. But having a hiring manager who participates in those meetings, I think is, or having a manager, not even a hiring manager, a manager who participates in those meetings is huge. Because they, first of all, the hiring managers, if you’re listening here, go to those meetings because you will find all the excited, passionate candidates you’re looking for.

A large majority of the admins that I hired were already very active within the community. And I already knew them and they already knew me. And I was somebody that they wanted to work for because they knew I was excited about the community and participated in it. And they knew, I would give them time to go to those meetings during lunch, back when they were always in person at lunchtime. It was-

Mike Gerholdt: In the Midwest, those meetings are always over lunch so that we could have meatloaf or lasagna or [inaudible] very ridiculously heavy, Midwestern, a hot dish.

Lissa Smith: Right. Yeah. And I know that that’s not something that’s consistent. But not all hiring managers even know that this exists or even managers know that this community exists. So I think it’s really important for managers to get involved in the Trailblazer community. And there’s a lot of… A ton of great talent. I mean, it’s just packed full of amazing talent.

People who are motivated and excited and then have this big network of people to connect with if they run into issues or if they need help, especially for those junior admins, that it’s something they haven’t done before. But they have this huge network of people that they can connect with. Now, all over the world. Thanks to… I mean, it was already all over the world, but even more so now that everything’s so virtual, they have this network.

Mike Gerholdt: No, I’m with you. And I actually was thinking about that because the number of stories, you go back a few years on the pod, we told the Zac Otero story of how Zac got his certifications and was relentless of going to user groups and introducing himself. There’s a lot of stories where that’s a great place to meet people, if you’re looking to get hired because they share the same interests. And I think it’s something you pointed out early on in our discussions was hiring managers should be at this. It may be called a user group, but hiring managers are users too.

Lissa Smith: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: So-

Lissa Smith: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: … I love that point. And it’s also, if I was thinking about it, would I want to interview with a hiring manager that I’ve seen at user groups, or would I want to interview with a hiring major where I have to explain user groups?

Lissa Smith: Yes. It’s such a good point. Yes, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Very different. So one thing, I think it’s, in common talk about because I feel you’ve run the gamut. I hope we’ve given everybody kind of a good insight into hiring admins and being the hiring manager. But I’d love to know a little bit about what you do at Salesforce because your title’s intriguing.

Lissa Smith: Yeah. So senior manager of business architecture here at Salesforce. I’m responsible for our internal Salesforce instance for sales people. So processes, tools, governance, user experience, within our internal Salesforce instance and within Slack. And I’ve been working a lot on the Slack for sales project for-

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Lissa Smith: … the past year and the rollout of Slack now. So it’s very fun and very exciting.

Mike Gerholdt: I will tell you, it’s always been a personal goal of mine when we started the podcast to have on as many Salesforce admins as possible. And I mean, Salesforce, Salesforce admins. But I say that a little tongue in cheek because I think it’s important. And I just did a talk with Pathfinders recently, the reason I bring that up and I say that is, your title, senior manager, business architecture isn’t something that I might search for on LinkedIn as a job-

Lissa Smith: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: … as a Salesforce admin. Right. And I think it’s important that we understand the identity and persona is called that, but the job title and the job descriptions may be very different.

Lissa Smith: So true. And I was lucky with this role that the word or the phrase, Salesforce admin, was included in the description that they were looking for somebody that had previous Salesforce admin experience. And so it showed up in a… This was a 10-year-old job search that I don’t even know how to turn off. It comes into my-

Mike Gerholdt: No.

Lissa Smith: … and it’s fine because I can see the landscape, especially when I was hiring admins, I could see who else is hiring here in Indianapolis. And I could see those other job descriptions and… But this one came through. And like you said, it was senior manager, business architecture. What’s that? And why did this even show up in the job search? I’m not even looking for a job and dug into that. And it’s really cool. And it’s Salesforce uses Salesforce to sell Salesforce, SuperMeta. There’s got to be a team that’s responsible for that. And-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Lissa Smith: … it’s pretty exciting to be on that team.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I mean, I think in The Matrix, it’s taking the red pill, but for some reason taking the blue pill, right? So, I mean, you don’t have to give us details. But what kind of projects do you work on that I think… And the reason I ask that is, I want to be clear, not digging into your work-life, but I’m digging into analogous to what Salesforce admins would be doing. So what are, if somebody’s listening to this and thinking, “Hey, maybe I’ll become a Salesforce admin.” What’s kind of your everyday look like?

Lissa Smith: Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, we’re looking at new features. We often get them very early, as customer zero we get them first. So we’re looking at those new features. We also want dynamic forms on standard objects. So we want to be able to have that and make our user experience better. So we’re evaluating new features, we’re looking at how can we make user experience better. We’re collecting feedback from users. We’re governing our objects as well and our processes. We’re making sure that-

Mike Gerholdt: That’s a whole podcast in of itself.

Lissa Smith: … yeah, absolutely it is. We’re now looking at our digital HQ at Slack and how do we incorporate Slack into our processes. Make it Slack first, make Slack the platform of engagement for our users and ultimately, improve and make their processes more efficient. So it’s a day-to-day talking to users, understanding what users are doing and then making things better for them.

Mike Gerholdt: Sounds all the stuff we talk about in the central habits, which just makes me happy. It’s very good. Well, Lissa, this has been a very fun podcast. You are welcome back, anytime. If you have an idea, top of mind that you want to talk about, I will be super excited to see what Twitter has to say about this episode because I know it was one of the very first things that always pops into my inbox. Every time I check the community is, people asking for hiring or interview or questions or just anything around getting a job as being a Salesforce admin. And I thought it was a great way to kick off 2022. So thank you for helping me kick off 2022 on the podcast.

Lissa Smith: You’re welcome. Happy new year. I’m very excited to be here. I’m excited for the future of all of the new Salesforce admins and I’m rooting for you. And, yeah, excited.

Mike Gerholdt: So as I write, that was an amazing episode with Lissa. We literally probably could have talked for another hour, so I’m going to have to have Lissa back on the podcast. But to do that, you got to tweet me and tell me, what did I forget to ask Lissa on this episode? And then I’ll start compiling and we’ll get her back as soon as possible. What would you love to know about a hiring manager and asking questions to get that perfect admin job?

So be sure to tweet at us. And if you’d like to learn more about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including all of the links that I mentioned in this episode, as well as a full transcript. Now, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are at @SalesforceAdmns, no “I” on Twitter. Gillian is @gilliankbruce and, of course, I am @mikegerholdt. So with that, welcome to 2022 and stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for that next episode. We’ll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Replay__Hiring_an_Admin_with_Lissa_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Belinda Wong, VP, Product Platform Management at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about why sometimes Admins who are doing the best job go unnoticed and everything user access policy.

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

Thank you, Admins

Belinda is a Salesforce veteran in the midst of her 16th year with the organization. She actually got her start as an Admin way back when. She knows what it’s like to be asked over and over again to “just make it work” when so much more goes into understanding the problem and coming up with a solution that makes sense. She feels like often all you’ll get is a thanks for sorting things out without a deeper appreciation of what you’ve actually pulled off, so to everyone out there who’s been in that situation: she says thanks.

“Some of the best Admins I’ve talked to know how to anticipate,” Belinda says, they’re doing the research before a new Release drops to ensure everything goes smoothly. It can often feel like you get recognition only when you put out a big fire when things going smoothly on the other 364 days of the year is actually the bigger achievement.

What the Login Access Policy will mean for you

One thing Belinda and her team are working on to improve productivity for Admins is adding the ability to better group together Permissions and find ways for Salesforce to help with that out of the box. “We’ve had standard profiles for 20 years—they haven’t really come along,” she says, which is why they’ve been moving into creating standard permission sets and permission set groups to help.

Belinda and her team are working on Login Access Policy to really tackle those problems and help you manage everything. It’ll not only include permissions sets but also things that are currently a little more peripheral, like record level access controls, public groups, and more. Look out for an early pilot of that later this year (safe harbor) and hopefully, try it out and give Belinda your feedback.

Be sure to listen to the whole episode for what Belinda’s up to with video games and knitting, and what you should wear to Dreamforce.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week I'm talking with Belinda Wong, who's the VP of product management at Salesforce. Now, before we get into the conversation with Belinda, she has been at Salesforce for 16 years. That's a long time. And she is actually heading up... I'm sure you're familiar with the name Cheryl Feldman. If not, Cheryl's working on all of the user access and permission policy things. So Belinda heads up that area. She has a really interesting take on some of the things that we do as admins I look at it as kind of celebrating zero. And so that's going to make more sense when you listen to the podcast, but really doing those things where we're being preventative and working ahead. Belinda even gives some advice on how to coach that up to your manager and make a big deal of being proactive. So with that, let's get Belinda on the podcast.
So Belinda, welcome to the podcast.

Belinda Wong: Thank you, Mike. I am so excited.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, it's your first podcast, which is hard to believe because I feel like I have spoken to Belinda Wong quite a bit in my career, but maybe just not on the podcast. So welcome to your first podcast.

Belinda Wong: Thank you. Thank you. I'm excited.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, you have a really cool title, VP product management at Salesforce. So hey, you've done some things. I would love to start off by you kind of introducing yourself to what are some of the products that perhaps you've managed that admins have used?

Belinda Wong: So I am nearly at my 16th year.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, congrats.

Belinda Wong: Finishing my 16th year at Salesforce. So I have done a lot of different things here. But from a product perspective, I moved into product management probably about halfway through that stint. I started off with owning our licensing and provisioning framework basically. I call it our digital delivery. This is how we play the role of the FedEx and UPS for all the products that Salesforce sells. So that was my first product. Then I expanded into some of our authorization space. And it was originally called admin, but it's really authorization, meaning how do you entitle your users. And think profiles, permission sets and all the goodness around that. So those are my two main areas. I started off doing the direct management. And then now I have a team of PMs. You guys will know that I recently brought Cheryl Feldman to take over that authorization space and she's been amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, rockstar. Rockstar.

Belinda Wong: Yeah, absolutely rockstar. So that's my space. I affectionately call it entitlement services. So it's basically all the capabilities and services to entitle your system as well entitling your end users. Is that helpful?

Mike Gerholdt: Gotcha. Yeah. I mean, you are part of the delivery and now you're the person that keeps the doors locked or unlocked and gives admins the ability to hand out permissions. I like it.

Belinda Wong: That's great. I'm going to steal that.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Use it. So it feels like last year, but it was actually just April, if you can believe, that we did TrailblazerDX in San Francisco and we were crossing paths in the setup area. And I will joke, we found the most splinterable picnic table, I think, available on the planet to sit down and have a chat. One of the topics that you brought up, which was really keen and why I wanted to have you on the podcast, was you said sometimes tasks that admins do are undervalued. And I'd really love for you to elaborate more on that.

Belinda Wong: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, my personal history with Salesforce started as an admin. I mean, before I joined Salesforce as an employee, my first introduction to Salesforce was administering an org for a startup. So one of the things that I figured out that, I mean, it was a great learning and it was also the reason why I fell in love with Salesforce as a product to start with is all the flexibility, all the things that you can figure out, but at the same time, people don't necessarily appreciate it, right? I remember being on the receiving end of, "Just make it work," you know?

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Belinda Wong: "Just give me the... Look, he could do something that I can't. Just make it so that it works." Since then, I've talked to a lot of administrators that's come up to me either in conference shows or I've reached out and talked to that that said the same thing. It's like, my users just want it to work, so they don't necessarily appreciate how much time the administrator has to go and understand what happened, have to go figure out what is or isn't set up right. And at the end of the day, all they get appreciated for is, "Okay, you fix the problem. Great!" Not that you spent 20 hours figuring out how to do it. And that's the part that I think we need to really highlight and just give that thanks. And I want to thank every administrator, everybody out there that's had that experience, even if it's only once in a while. But it's like, thank you. Thank you for persevering and staying with us.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I think there's... And I'll paraphrase. I read a note somewhere that kind of summarizes what you said, which was, a pipe in a house is clogged and person calls the plumber. Plumber comes over and says, "It'll be $400 to fix it." "Well, how, long's it going to take you to fix it?" "Oh, it'll be fixed in five minutes. You're not paying me for my time. You're paying me for the fact that I know how to fix this in five minutes." I think that's what you're saying, right? It's a little bit of the reverse of that, but it's like, "Thank you for doing the thing I asked. However, I lacked to gain the insight into the amount of time that it took for you to get that correct."
I mean, I have auto bill set up on how many of my home bills and cell bills and stuff like that. When the money just comes out of your account and you pay the bill and the service always works, you have a really hard time finding fault with the service. It's when the thing doesn't work that you're like, "Yeah, this company's horrible," right?

Belinda Wong: Exactly. Exactly. And that's the other part, is talking about another underappreciate, is that anticipation. Some of the best admins that I've talked to anticipates, right? They're the ones doing all the research on, "Hey, I hear a release is coming. Let's go learn about what's going to change. How's that going to impact me? I'm going to go figure it out before it actually impacts my end users." And again, they're doing it naturally. They just know that's the best way for them to get ahead of what might be problems. But I don't see that as appreciated by all the companies and the managers out there so we should advertise that that is important work.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. So let's talk about that because I feel like there's always one part and I listen to other podcasts and like, "Yeah, that's a problem." It's really easy to point out problems, but I think the second part of that is like, "So what's a solution?" I mean think of it from, I'll put it very astutely right into your seat, you're a manager of people and if you have somebody that does anticipate problems and does it very well and somebody that doesn't, what are things that you do to try and coach the other person and reward one of them for doing that and kind of help the other person not? Or conversely, what should that admin think of them out there, learning all the release notes, proactively putting out, "Here's what's coming. Here's things we need to think about," but feeling that undervalue from their manager? What should they do to communicate that to their manager? What would you want communicated to you?

Belinda Wong: I'm going to tell you a story. One of the things that I say especially for about my licensing and provisioning area is we are an enormous success when there are no incidents, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Belinda Wong: But reporting zero incidents is not normally what people do. Although, I do. Now that I think about it, I don't know if they have them around anymore but I remember days when I would go into the office, this was like my pre Salesforce days, I worked at an environmental engineering firm. You would walk into the office in the kitchen and there would be a poster that says, "Number of days with no OSHA violations."

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah. There's a construction site I go past to take my dog to daycare and they have a sign that's similar to that.

Belinda Wong: Right. But you notice that the metric they're reporting is a number that goes up, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm.

Belinda Wong: And we seem to have a natural tendency towards the bigger the number, the more vanity the better it is to have. But the reality is, what we want to measure is no incident. We actually want a zero.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Belinda Wong: But in that particular story, they had to represent it with a number that goes up so that people recognize the importance, like bigger is better. So maybe that's what we need to do is to say, "Let's figure out how to celebrate that. A no incident is not just, 'Okay nothing happened,' but that there's greatness in that. There's a metric what we should come up with to celebrate that." I don't know if that answers the question.

Mike Gerholdt: No, I do think... Yeah, it is funny. I didn't realize that, but I drive past that construction site and you notice the double or triple digit number. And then sometimes you drive by and you're like, "Oh, it's at five. Something must have happened, right?

Belinda Wong: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: And it's similar to like that auto bill that I have set up on some of my accounts. When they just bill me and my cell phone service works and I don't have issues, it's kind of cool. But man, you can get me flaming mad if I get out in the middle of nowhere and my cell service drops or something happens and it's like, "Wait a minute, I forgot about the 364 other days that boring was not even celebrated, but it totally meant they were doing their job."

Belinda Wong: Exactly. Yeah. I think that's what I would... I think your question was about how I would coach the people into, "Okay, you're not anticipating" because they got attention for the incidents that happened, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Belinda Wong: We always jump on escalations. So the person's name had recognition because there was an escalation. I mean, you could say there's a small negative connotation to that, but it's still, there was recognition. Whereas the other person who was doing the job, like doing their job well, was not getting recognized, right? So my coaching or my job as a manager would be, okay, let's find a way to celebrate that. And like I said, let's find a way that people understand it's important and that they see that big number or that big recognition.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I think a lot of what we talk about in admin relations and putting together sample dashboards is, "Look at all of the stories or the case tickets that I've burned down over the month." Like, "Look at all the things I've solved." I think the reverse of that is also... And I apologize I can't remember the year, but I know at Dreamforce one year we had a presentation that an individual in the community did. It was like dashboard of zeros is what I remember.

Belinda Wong: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: It's almost like celebrating that, right? Thinking through, "I know we want to talk about here's all the big stuff that's happened, but let's talk about how this dashboard month over month is still zero." And that could be number of incidences because we've anticipated problems that were coming up and proactively worked on solutions. So thinking that through, I can hear admins in my ear. They want to know like, "So Belinda, you manage Cheryl and you got this whole team of people. What's some of the stuff that you're proactively working on to make admins life easier?"

Belinda Wong: There's a couple of efforts that in our authorization space that we're looking at. One upcoming is something called user access policies. So one of the things that we know will improve our administrators productivity is to be able to better group together permissions, and maybe even to have Salesforce be much better at providing the prescriptive out of the box representation. I mean, the reality is we've had standard profiles for 20 years. They haven't really come along.

Mike Gerholdt: [inaudible].

Belinda Wong: We've started moving into a space we call permission sets and permission set groups. We've slowly started to put out standard permission sets, but usually along with incremental add on features, things like Einstein or maybe Health Cloud coming out with, "Hey, this is how you can configure a Health Cloud person." But we need to get a better way to do that in a standardized across all of our features and services. And that's what user access policy is intended to be, is a way for us to create a grouping that not only includes the permission sets, but also things that are a little more peripheral, like the record level access controls, like public groups and things like that. So look out for that. That is definitely on Cheryl's roadmap, user access policies. We're looking to do that, a pilot, an early pilot of that this year, so safe harbor. And then really get more feedback and iterate on that over the next year or so.

Mike Gerholdt: So is that feature functionality just a result of technology changing or the granularity of Salesforce needing to be even tighter? I guess the question I'm poking at is really for kind of newer admins. What about the profile doesn't work? And I say that because I've got a profile on Twitter and I've got a profile on Facebook and I've got a profile on other things that I log into. And I think maybe the new admin looks at that as like why are we splitting this up a little bit more?

Belinda Wong: The main aspect of it is definitely the growth of different types of functionality in the platform. I mean, when we first started 20 years ago or over 20 years ago, we only had sales, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm.

Belinda Wong: So profiles were set up to say, "Okay, you're a standard sales user. You do a little bit of contract management, or you just need read-only access to the sales objects."

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Belinda Wong: We've since grown into service cloud. We've grown into experience communities, portals. And our enormous app exchange ecosystem has added a lot more ISV partner solutions that sometimes play with the same objects, but often are their own set of entities, right?It's kind of like that bolt on. You start putting all this stuff onto the one item, it's like, "Oh, let me put on an extra pocket on this jacket. Let me put this badge or this pin." So now you've got this really heavyweight jacket that you have to put on. And you actually have to change it completely when something needs to be tweaked.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Belinda Wong: So what we've said is, "You know what? We need to redesign that jacket so that it is more like the type of jacket where there's an inner lining that you can take off, or the sleeves comes off and you can actually be able to use this in a much more flexible way." That's kind of where that thought process, that design was coming from.

Mike Gerholdt: No, that's good. That's a really good analogy. I never really thought of that. I can only say, to me, I see it akin to a lot of the changes that we saw with Apple products. Like if you remember when the iPod came out, well, we synced it with iTunes, right?

Belinda Wong: Mm-hmm.

Mike Gerholdt: And then the phone came out, except now the phone has apps. But you get apps through iTunes, right?It kind of felt weird. They really had to figure out a way to kind of like, this one thing can't do everything anymore, you know?

Belinda Wong: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: I like your analogy of pins and buttons. You end up with this huge, massive jacket that isn't as functional because you've just kept adding to it as opposed to being able to scope out that vision. So it's a great analogy. Belinda, one of the things that I love to ask and feel free to answer however you wish. We've had a few PMs on and we'll probably see you at Dreamforce. Admins will be walking around. What is something you love to do in your spare time when you're not making user access policy products awesome for Salesforce admins?

Belinda Wong: So my two favorite hobbies, they're actually very different, but my two favorite hobbies, my first favorite hobby really the time sync one is video games.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh.

Belinda Wong: It's actually a way for me to get connected with my own family, because my husband's a big video gamer.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Belinda Wong: The two of us from even before we had children, we would sit side by side and play Final Fantasy in Co Op mode together. It was a great way for us to learn from each other and really connect and be together, because I was always the puzzle solver while he was the one who was like the fighter. He was much more dextrous than me, but we would get to a portion of the game where he is like, "I can't figure out where to go from here anymore." And it's like, "No, you just need to solve that little... Move those boxes around and then you'll be able to get to that extra passage way."
And we started doing that with our kids too. It's like we would play the Lego. I mean, Lego is big French. They take all of these different movies and then turn them into games with the Lego characters. So we just love those. We just love those. Our time sync is family time, video gaming. Although we also do occasionally board games when we're like, "Okay, maybe we're a little over indexed on the screen time now."
But the other thing that I do for me, which is more of a personal thing is knitting.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh.

Belinda Wong: Because I just love being able to produce something. I'm not as talented as other crafters that we have at Salesforce. I am just totally envious of what Chris Duarte can do with the [inaudible] machine. But I've been trying to figure out how do I want designing, knitting a cap with the cloud on it and stuff like that. I'm working on it. Maybe I'll figure it out by Dreamforce and get you in.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I will take anything knitted. I love knitted stuff. It's so cool. That's so neat. I think you probably tapped into a lot of the things that I see our community do. I know there's a lot of video game people out there. Josh who hosts the Dev Podcast is a big video gamer. I think they're also on Twitch. I don't know if you Twitch stream your video games. That's a whole thing I just figured out, but you can watch a channel where you watch people play video games. One of my friends' kids told me about it. And I remember thinking to myself, "That's got to be incredibly boring." And then later that night I found myself two hours in watching somebody play a video game on Twitch. And I was like, "Okay. Note taken." So, yeah. Interesting.

Belinda Wong: Yeah. I haven't quite gotten into that yet. Although my daughters do. My younger daughter loves Roblox.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh.

Belinda Wong: I mean, that is the video game of choice for at least my 11 year old.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Belinda Wong: And she's watched people do... That and Minecraft, because she's loves the building aspect, being able to just make giant towers and things like that.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes.

Belinda Wong: So I've seen her do watch a Twitch channel on Roblox or Minecraft.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah.

Belinda Wong: I haven't gotten into it myself yet.

Mike Gerholdt: I did the Minecraft Creative mode for a while. I totally got into it. And then I built this huge house thing. I think it's Creative mode or something, Design mode, you can fly around. And I was flying around and I got lost. I couldn't find my way back to this big house that I had built. And I was just so devastated that I was like, "Oh." And so I just never picked it up again.

Belinda Wong: No.

Mike Gerholdt: That, and then I made the mistake of going online and seeing other stuff that people had built. And I was like, "Oh my thing's not even close to that." So hey, there we go. But yeah, video games and knitting. Belinda, thanks for taking time out of the day and talking about some of the stuff you're working on at Salesforce and recognizing that some of the things our admins do that we've always realized are things that they should talk a little bit more about.

Belinda Wong: Yeah, absolutely. And thank you for everything. I want to just say again, thank you to all the admins and everything they do in making Salesforce easy to use.

Mike Gerholdt: So it was great talking with Belinda. We can always go down host different alleys. I'd love to know if there's video game players or knitters out there. I see that all over my Twitter feed quite a bit. And holy cow, if you're coming to Dreamforce this year, it's going to be warm, but bring something knitted because that's going to be super cool. I truly wish I could knit. I have not picked it up. I played some video games, but it was neat to see some of the hobbies that Belinda has. I really enjoyed her advice that she gave us as admins about thinking about some of those tasks that we do and the time we put into it and celebrating ourselves and also paying attention, being ahead of the curve and anticipating new features, new releases or maybe new issues. It's always worth bringing those up to our managers as well as we work through those things.
So of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, just go to admin.salesforce.com to find resources including any of the links that we mentioned in today's episode as well as a full transcript. Of course you can stay up to date with us on social, we are @SalesforceAdmins. No I on Twitter. Gillian is on Twitter. She is @gilliankbruce. And of course, I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt. And with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Celebrating_Admins_with_Belinda_Wong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Christine Magnuson, a Solution Engineering Manager at Salesforce and 2008 Olympic swimmer and two-time silver medalist.

Join us as we talk about what skills transferred from being a top athlete to working in the Salesforce ecosystem, why you shouldn’t sell yourself short, and why Admins are great partners in Solution Engineering.

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

Transitioning into a Salesforce career

Christine is officially the first Olympic medalist we’ve had on the pod. “You have to constantly check yourself that you’re in reality,” she says, “you’re just among the best of the best in what they do and it’s an honor to be in that community.”

So we know how she got her start, but how did Christine wind up in Solution Engineering? She started with a master's in Public Administration and hit the pavement to network. Almost anyone was willing to give 30 minutes to an Olympian asking about their lives. “Actually,” she says, “I don’t think you need to be an Olympian to call somebody up to ask about what they do and what they like and what they don’t—everyone says yes because they like talking about themselves.”

How Sales was the perfect jumping-off point for Christine

The overwhelming advice was to start in Sales because it applies to so many different things. “I came to realize that it was really about me believing in the product I was selling,” Christine says, “and as long as I believed in the product I was doing everybody else a favor by telling them about it and not them doing a favor for me.” The business she was working for had started leveraging Salesforce and, since she was the youngest person on the team, she was the de facto accidental Admin.

Christine found herself working at Quip soon after they were acquired. She worked in Sales for a year “but I nerded out on the product so much and working with the PMs and the marketing team and having that cross-functional view was really fun for me,” she says, so when they decided to build out the Solution Engineering team she volunteered. From there it was a transition to the core team working with key Salesforce clients like Amazon, Dell, and BMWare.

Why Admins are visionaries

Admins are particularly helpful in this work because they know their user base inside and out: what they want to do, where their pain points are, and what needs automating. “Some of the Admins I work with are so innovative about not just thinking about what is a small step forward, but what are five steps forwards and should we be taking those big leaps forward,” Christine says.

One of the secret powers that good Admins have is the ability to use the tools already in Salesforce to the max. As the old saying goes, when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, and sometimes in these large organizations, Devs jump straight to coding and customizing when there might already be a tool you can use in your org. 

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I am your host, Gillian Bruce. And today, we have a first, listeners. We are joined by a two-time Olympic silver medalist and solution engineering manager at Salesforce, Christine Magnuson. She has so much great knowledge and experience to share. I asked her about all of the things, everything from what's it like to build a team of Salesforce professionals to how do you transfer skills from being an elite athlete to working in the Salesforce ecosystem, and so much more. So without further ado, let's welcome Christine on the pod. Christine, welcome to the podcast.

Christine Magnuson: Thanks so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So it is official. You are the first official Olympian and medal winner to appear on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. I just have to lead with that because it's pretty amazing. Tell me, what was it like to win a silver medal at the Olympics? Two of them.

Christine Magnuson: Two of them. Well, I am happy to be your first. I have a feeling I won't be your last, but very excited to be the trailblazer here on that front. Yes. My Olympic career was so fun. I mean, I highly suggest becoming an Olympian if you have the chance to.

Gillian Bruce: Totally on my list.

Christine Magnuson: Yes. Exactly. Sign yourself up. It's a really amazing community to be a part of, and to stand up and represent your country in that form is just such an honor. It takes your breath away. You have to constantly check yourself that you're in reality. And just to be in that space with so many amazing competitors from not just Team USA, but around the world. It's so such a hard feeling to describe because you're just amongst the best of the best in what they do. And it's an honor. It's an honor to be amongst that community. And it's something that it never leaves you. Once you're an Olympian, you're always an Olympian. There's never former Olympians. There's just Olympians. And so it's definitely a club that you're part of for your entire life once you're there once, and that's pretty incredible.

Gillian Bruce: So it's like being part of Salesforce ecosystem, right? I mean, once you're a part of it.

Christine Magnuson: It's like being a ranger. Once you're a ranger, they don't take it away. You get to be a ranger for life. Now you can always do more, but yes, it's 100%. It doesn't leave you. You can always come back. I mean, how many boomerangs do we know in this Salesforce... Well, Salesforce is a company. Of course, there's boomerangs, but then also just in the ecosystem as well.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Once you get in, you can't really get out because it's a good place to be. So speaking of that, talk to me a little bit about your transition from being an amazing Olympic athlete to now being... I mean, you work with solution engineers here at Salesforce. Tell me a little bit about that journey.

Christine Magnuson: Oh, man. I have the best job. At least I think so. So when I retired in 2013, I had just finished up my master's program from the University of Arizona. I have a master's in public administration. I thought I wanted to go into non-profits or athletic governances, and then through that experience, really felt like I wanted to actually go into the corporate world and get more experience before applying those things potentially back to those communities. And so I networked with really anyone who talked me. Good news was that pretty much everybody was willing to give 30 minutes to an Olympian who was just asking them about their lives. Actually, I don't think you'd need to be an Olympian to call somebody up and say, "Can you tell me about what you do and what you like and what you don't?" Everyone says yes. They love talking about themselves, which is great.
And so I net networked my way and everybody said, "Sales is a great place to start. You'll never regret it. You can apply it to so many different ways even if you end up not liking sales." It took me a while to realize that that was the case. When you think about sales, you think about that used car salesman and people selling, pushing things on you that you don't want. And I came to realize that it was really about me believing in the product I was selling. And as long as I believed in the product, I was doing everybody else a favor by telling them about it and not them doing a favor for me. And so-

Gillian Bruce: That shift. Yeah.

Christine Magnuson: Total shift in mindset. And so I joined a great small company out of Chicago that was placing consultants into life science companies and learned full life cycle sales from them. And they were also doing a lot with their Salesforce implementation during that time. And of course, I was one of the younger ones in the company and new to sales, and they were like, "Christine can figure this out. What should the experience be?" And so I was the super user. And then towards my end, I was actually part-time admin with no qualification whatsoever other than I could pick it up. That's I think the amazing thing about the product itself is that you can pick it up without going and learning how to code. And so I really fell in love with the technology.
I had moved to San Francisco because I was in Chicago and Chicago's really cold. Growing up there, I knew what it meant. And I spent a couple of adult years there and just decided to get out. So I moved to San Francisco, wanted to get into tech, and there was this little company called Quip that had just been acquired. They were ramping things up. I joined their sales team, did sales for a year, but felt I was basically... I nerded out on the product so much and working with the PMs and the marketing team, and having that cross-functional view was really fun for me, that when they decided to build out the solution engineering team, I raised my hand and everybody around me was really supportive. And so I moved to the new role, was immediately put on some of our top accounts, which was mind-blowing to see how these really complex accounts worked. And a few years later, I was leading the SE team and helping expand my knowledge across the US with our [inaudible] based team.
And now, about six or nine months ago, I came over to what we call core, which is thinking about the whole Salesforce portfolio for particular customer bases. And I have the honor of leading some really elite SEs who cover companies like Amazon and Dell and VMware and a few others. And they're just some of the sharpest individuals that I've ever met. And I get the honor of managing them and then meeting with our customers and seeing what they're doing and trying to help them through a lot of really complex issues. And so I'm never bored. I'm always using my brain. And it's a really fun job, and all because I just nerded out on the Salesforce products.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you're preaching to the choir here because admins are the ultimate Salesforce nerds. We're very proud of our nerdom.

Christine Magnuson: I love it.

Gillian Bruce: And I think what's so interesting is you interact with admins and customers at these very complex companies and these complex implementations. I want to touch more on how you transferred some of your skills as an Olympian to your skills in the Salesforce ecosystem. But before we get there, can you talk to me about some of the things that you see make an admin at one of these very complex implementations successful?

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. I think when they really understand their user base, that helps an extreme amount because they understand what their user base is trying to do, where they can automate, where they're struggling. And so the more they can understand their end user, the better. And then it comes down to, okay, understanding the actual implementation, pros and cons. Let's be real. No implementation out there is perfect.

Gillian Bruce: What? What are you talking about?

Christine Magnuson: Well, if somebody knows of one, please call me and let me know how it went and how you got there. But it's just because things change. Companies grow and you can't predict the future when you're implementing. And so hindsight is 20-20. But some of the admins I work with are so innovative of not just thinking about what is a small step forward, but what are five step forward? Should we be doing five steps instead of one in certain areas and taking those big leaps forward? And how does global changes affect us? Not just scale and a global distributed user base, but also data residency requirements. And oh my goodness, how do we push changes if we're going to have multi-org? And what does hyper force look like? And all of these things, they're a part of the conversation. And that is one, really fulfilling, I think for everybody involved because we're getting the full picture, but it helps us break down what is realistic for this customer moving forward and what's their timeline? It's all about being in sync. But some just really great work being done out there by our admins.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Knowing your user base, knowing what your users are trying to do, and then really that forward visionary thinking of what the product can do and the direction that things are going. I think very, very important skills and traits of every successful admin. So it's great hearing it from you because you really work with some of the most complex.

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. I'll add in one more because I know a lot of our admins work with IT groups. I'm renovating my house right now. I was talking to you about that earlier. When you talk to somebody who's a builder, they always want to build. And if you're talking to somebody who is a woodworker, they're just like, "Oh. Do this." And it's always in their frame of reference. And when we talk to customers, if we're talking to a highly IT-oriented or builder-oriented customer, they're like, "Oh. We'll just customize it. We'll just build it." And I think one of the powers that admins can come in is saying, "That's out-of-the-box. Stop building. Stop wasting our time and stop doing over-customized things that are going to hurt us down the road because again, we can't predict the future. Let's do as much out-of-the-box as possible. And then we can apply our own flavor to it if need be. And the customer or the user base should tell us if we actually need to do that or not."
And so that's the third one I would put in is they're so valuable with saving their company's time by not developing things that are already just there for them.

Gillian Bruce: You hit the nail in my head with that. That is something that is just... It comes up time and time again. And often it's like you mentioned, working with IT. There's also sometimes that conflict when you're a developer mindset versus an admin mindset because they'll go straight to like, "Oh. I can build this really, really cool thing that's super complex and blah, blah, blah." And the admin's like, "Hold up a second. You realize that we already have this in Salesforce."

Christine Magnuson: Totally. We already own it.

Gillian Bruce: Why don't you spend your time customizing something on top of that? Let's start with this base first.

Christine Magnuson: I know. And some of these larger customers, they have a lot in their contracts that they should be using. It's just use it. You've already paid for it. So if you use more of it, it's kind of free because you've already put that-

Gillian Bruce: It's included.

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. It's included. You've already made the investment. So get more value out of it. And so stepping back and making sure that they're using that full value is something that the admins can do so much for their companies on.

Gillian Bruce: Oh. I love that because that's such... I mean, again, talk about not only driving efficiency for the users and the user base and helping people get their jobs done, but you're saving the company resources and time as [inaudible]-

Christine Magnuson: It's huge. The ROI behind it is huge.

Gillian Bruce: I love those three really, really great points. So I want to dive back into the story of Christine for a second. So we have been talking a lot about the admin skills kit, which we just launched at TrailblazerDX a few months ago, and it's all about helping identify those business skills that help admins be successful. So on top of the product knowledge, these are things like communication and problem-solving, designer's mindset that really make an admin successful. And one element of that is we have language in there about how to represent these skills in the context of the Salesforce ecosystem. So this is how it might look like on your resume. This is how it might look like in a job posting you create to hire someone with that skill. How do you think about transferable skills? Because clearly you transferred a very unique skillset from being a very high level competitive athlete, an Olympian, to now the technology sector and the Salesforce ecosystem. So can you talk to me a little bit about how you managed transferring your skillset?

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. Well, especially from the athletic world... and we're talking to the Team USA athletes about this right now... is what are those athlete skillsets that we probably took for granted, frankly? When you're in an elite level of whatever it is, but in my case, athleticism, you are surrounded by other people in that environment. And so you just start to take those skills for granted because they're normalized. And so how do you actually step away from that normalization and say, "Actually, that wasn't normal. That was special. And how do I articulate that it is special?" And so when it comes to the athletic population, we're very good at time management. When you're going from practice to school or work back to practice and you have to... I mean, even fitting in meals and strategic rest, all of that goes into just having really good time management.
And especially now in a remote workforce world with distractions all around us and family coming in and out, my dogs were just here, it can get a little crazy. And so being able to focus on time management is huge. So that would, I would say, is an obvious number one. Two, coachability. Oh, my goodness. We're always constantly going to be learning new technology and picking up new skills and we should be getting feedback about how we're doing and what more should we be doing? And being able to... And athletes, believe me, we tend to be confident people. Takes a lot to stand up in front of a lot of people with a bathing suit on.

Gillian Bruce: Sure does.

Christine Magnuson: Most athletes don't lack in confidence, but I will say we know when to check our egos at the door because somebody's about to make us better. And that translates really well to a workforce where you have to actually invite feedback. Not everybody is good at giving or receiving feedback, and we can all get better by doing it. When somebody gives me feedback, it's such a compliment to me. They have just invested in me. They took the time to think something through, invest in me, and make me better. What a compliment, even if the feedback is harsh. And athletes are so used to that.

Gillian Bruce: Feedback is a gift, right? Isn't that what we were saying? Yeah.

Christine Magnuson: Exactly. All feedback is good feedback, even if it's-

Gillian Bruce: It doesn't feel good.

Christine Magnuson: It doesn't feel good. Exactly. And so the feedback loop is huge for athletes. The other, which I think we definitely take for granted, is attention to detail. Attention to detail, but still flexibility. So when I was swimming, I was talking to my coach about moving my arm a slightly different way at a slightly different angle. It was maybe an inch difference, and then doing that thousands, tens of thousands of times perfectly. And so that attention to detail is huge. But also knowing that you're working within a rule of constraints, and sometimes you need to be flexible. My first job, I remember coming in and working with somebody who's in operations, and they were extremely rule-oriented. There was no breaking her rules. And I had a situation where I was like, "Hey. I think we need to break this... We're going to have to do this differently," is how I phrased it. And she was like, "Absolutely not."
And it shocked me because I had the logical argument. I had all of my data. I had backed it up and I said, "This is why this is different." And she said, "Nope, too bad." And I was just like, "I've never encountered someone like you before. I have to change the way I communicate." And all of it was really interesting lessons learned, but I think athletes can stay pretty fluid in these really changing dynamic environments. Still know what rules are important, but then apply details to them like, "Well, do we even make a shift here or shift there?" So that's kind of two in one with the flexibility and detail. But I would say that's another big one.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And I like the way that you paired those two together because especially as I think about admins specifically, the attention to detail is critical because you got to dot all the I's and cross all the Ts and make sure everything is locked down or assigned correctly or every single workflow is thought of. But at the same time, you do. You have to remain flexible because you may have to adjust that solution and adjust it for this specific user type or adjust it for this specific situation and... Yeah.

Christine Magnuson: Oh, my goodness. Yes. I mean, how many companies do we see right now holistically changing their business models? Moving to subscription. I mean, what a huge difference and what an impact on their Salesforce instances. Totally complex. You need to be very into the details, but you also need to be flexible because we're going to change a lot. And we're probably not going to predict everything on day one no matter how good we are planning.

Gillian Bruce: We can't see the future. What are you talking about? Come on.

Christine Magnuson: Oh, man. Well, maybe some of them out there can. I've never been good at it.

Gillian Bruce: No. I mean, I think that's really interesting. One of the things that I hear a lot from admins who are either transferring from another industry into the Salesforce ecosystem is really that idea of not throwing away all that experience they had let's say if they worked in a warehouse for 15 years or worked as a teacher. And it can feel like you have to start at ground zero a little bit because everything sounds different. It looks different. But I really like how you identify those skills that you were able to take from something that's very seemingly different from the technology space, but then rethink about them and apply them in a way that has made you successful in a completely different industry. What tips and advice do you have for someone who's maybe in that moment of like, "Oh, my gosh. I'm switching my career and I feel like I don't know what I can pull from."?

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. My advice is actually... and I've done this with a couple of my direct reports... is step back and take your titles away. Have literally a pen and paper. Go old school. Sit down away from all technology and think to yourself, "What do I love to do on a day-to-day basis? What skills do I love and want to develop more? And where are my strengths?" Almost a strength finder type exercise, and just write them down. And then we are like, "Okay. What are the skills do I think I need for this new career?" And then cross-reference and don't forget that a lot of them transfer, but maybe just the verbiage is different.
And so here's a great example. I did swim clinics all the time when I was swimming professionally, which meant I had anywhere between 30 and 100 kids, ages between 6 and 18 for four hours in a day where I was teaching them something and taking photos with them and telling them about life as a professional swimmer, as an Olympian. My storytelling and presentation skills and public speaking skills were pretty well-honed because if you can hold the attention of a bunch of eight-year-olds, guess what? A room of business people who are supposed to pay attention to you, a lot less intimidating and probably more on topic.
And so I was thinking, "Oh, yeah. I'm good at public speaking." Well, no. I'm good at storytelling. Do you know what every job in corporate America needs, is more storytellers? And how do I fit this into a really logical timeline and personas and make it interesting to people? Well, okay. I was just using the wrong verbiage. And so you'll find a lot of that, I think, no matter what careers you're talking about. Both my parents were teachers. Oh, my goodness. The things that I learned from them that I apply now today, there's a long, long list. And so take that time and make that list for yourself. And then if you're not sure how it translates to the other side of things, you can have conversations with people who are already there and maybe show them the list.
Heck, use your thesaurus. Sometimes, it's as simple as that. You're like, "I didn't think that. That was kind of similar." And so it's just a translation exercise. But really step back and think about the skills you probably take for granted because those are the ones that you'll end up keeping into your job that will stay with you and still be of real high value to your employer.

Gillian Bruce: Great advice. Well, and we've got the admin skills kit to help elucidate at least 14 of them that [inaudible]-

Christine Magnuson: There you go.

Gillian Bruce: ... help you see some connections there.

Christine Magnuson: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: One other thing I wanted to talk to you about, Christine, is I mean, I could just keep you on the podcast for hours and hours and hours, I'm sure. But you've got an actual job to do. But before we get to wrapping, I wanted to ask you, in the context of the Salesforce admin skills kit, I know that you actually pulled me a while ago like, "Hey. I'm going to send this to one of my customers." From a customer who is hiring an admin or... I'm sure you talk to your customers all the time who are trying to figure out how to properly build a team to administer Salesforce. Could you maybe share what are the common issues that they usually face? What are some things that an admin listening to this who's either hiring someone or wanting to hire someone or be that next best person who can get hired, what kind of advice can you share from being in your role and what you've seen?

Christine Magnuson: Well, the war for talent is real. So I'll talk about Amazon for a second. And this is all public knowledge. You can go on their website and just do your own search and find this yourself. If you search AWS and Salesforce... I did this the other week... there were over 440 jobs listed. That's just AWS. And Amazon is big. They have a lot of Salesforce instances. They are hunting for talent and they're hunting for talent at all levels. And I think that's where we sometimes forget is everyone thinks like, "Oh. To go work at a company like Amazon, oh, my goodness. I need to be so senior." And that's just not the case. They need people of all levels. And sometimes they need the doers who are in on the details more than the strategic thinkers. They got a bunch of strategic thinkers. They need the doers.
And so when you go look at their websites and then have conversations with them, they're willing to invest in somebody who's sharp and has the basics and is willing to just learn with them and continue to upscale as they're with the employer. And so I think don't count yourself out. If you're looking for the job, apply to a job you might not think you're qualified for. And whether they put you in that position or a different position, it starts the conversation, and I think it's really good for everyone. So definitely don't undersell your skills. They're needed out there right now. There's a lot of companies. I cited one, which is probably extreme example, just because the volume of people they have. But every company out there that I talk to is concerned about more talent in-house, in their tools, and Salesforce is a go-to tool.
For those hiring admins, I would say take a little bit of the DEI approach, diversity, equity, and inclusion. It doesn't need to be somebody who checks all your boxes for every role. Talk to people. Be a little bit more flexible. Tell your recruiters to be more flexible. I mean, I have found some of the best people on my team who were not either in the Salesforce ecosystem or where they weren't SEs. And they're amazing because they come with such transferable skills and they maybe had a basis in one or the other. And so working with your recruiters to be really flexible and take that diversity, equity, and inclusion approach of, "I don't need somebody who checks all the boxes. I need the right person for the job." And that's a different mindset.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. That is great advice. It's very rare that we talk about the employer, the hiring manager perspective on the podcast. So I think that is really, really excellent advice. Christine, oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for everything you-

Christine Magnuson: Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: ... [inaudible] with us today. I feel so lucky. You're my first also Olympic medalist that I've ever gotten to speak to. So it's a double whammy. You're the first one on the pod. It's my first time getting to talk to an elite Olympian. So thank you so much. And also, thank you for all you do at Salesforce. I mean, you have clearly done a lot already, and I know you're going to do more. And thanks for being a great advocate for admins and advocate for athletes and people transferring skills, and we'll have to have you back on at some point.

Christine Magnuson: I would love to come back on. Thank you so much for having me. I love the admin community. They make such a difference. And when we find really good ones to work with, it's so much more fun for me and my team. So thank you. We appreciate you. Keep doing what you're doing. And of course, give some love to your SEs out there at Salesforce and other ISV customers. We're a good crew. We love working with you.

Gillian Bruce: Hey. A good SE makes every admin happy too, I got to tell you.

Christine Magnuson: It's a partnership. It's a partnership.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, Christine. And thank you for joining us on the podcast, and we will have you back.

Christine Magnuson: Love it.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. That was an amazing conversation. Christine has so much great knowledge to share. Everything that she shared about identifying those skills that she had for being an elite athlete and how to transfer them into her Salesforce career, I mean, everyone can identify with that. I love that. Take time. Turn off all the devices. Get out a pen and paper and really think about what your skills are, and then map them. And then I also really appreciated hearing about how you should strategize when you build a team of admins, about thinking about diversity, equality, inclusion, and thinking about maybe applying for that job that you aren't necessarily ticking all the boxes for. Working with admins at those really big implementations who have hundreds and hundreds of people who work with Salesforce, you don't have to be an expert to apply for those jobs. I thought that was a really interesting perspective.
So I hope you got something out of this episode. I got a ton. And wow, I got to talk to an Olympic medalist. Amazing. Anyway, thank you so much for joining us today. If you want to learn more about anything we chatted about, go to admin.salesforce.com. You'll find the skills kit there to identify some of your transferable skills. And as always, you can follow all of the fun on Twitter using #AwesomeAdmin and following Salesforce admins, no I. If you want to follow our amazing Olympian we just heard from, Christine Magnuson, you can find her on Twitter @CMagsFlyer. She is a swimmer. So put that together. You can follow me on Twitter @GillianKBruce and my amazing co-host Mike Gerholdt @MikeGerholdt. I really hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you're inspired to go out there and reach for a medal. And with that, I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: From_Olympian_to_Solution_Engineer_with_Christine_Magnuson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Christine Magnuson, a Solution Engineering Manager at Salesforce and 2008 Olympic swimmer and two-time silver medalist.

Join us as we talk about what skills transferred from being a top athlete to working in the Salesforce ecosystem, why you shouldn’t sell yourself short, and why Admins are great partners in Solution Engineering.

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

Transitioning into a Salesforce career

Christine is officially the first Olympic medalist we’ve had on the pod. “You have to constantly check yourself that you’re in reality,” she says, “you’re just among the best of the best in what they do and it’s an honor to be in that community.”

So we know how she got her start, but how did Christine wind up in Solution Engineering? She started with a master's in Public Administration and hit the pavement to network. Almost anyone was willing to give 30 minutes to an Olympian asking about their lives. “Actually,” she says, “I don’t think you need to be an Olympian to call somebody up to ask about what they do and what they like and what they don’t—everyone says yes because they like talking about themselves.”

How Sales was the perfect jumping-off point for Christine

The overwhelming advice was to start in Sales because it applies to so many different things. “I came to realize that it was really about me believing in the product I was selling,” Christine says, “and as long as I believed in the product I was doing everybody else a favor by telling them about it and not them doing a favor for me.” The business she was working for had started leveraging Salesforce and, since she was the youngest person on the team, she was the de facto accidental Admin.

Christine found herself working at Quip soon after they were acquired. She worked in Sales for a year “but I nerded out on the product so much and working with the PMs and the marketing team and having that cross-functional view was really fun for me,” she says, so when they decided to build out the Solution Engineering team she volunteered. From there it was a transition to the core team working with key Salesforce clients like Amazon, Dell, and BMWare.

Why Admins are visionaries

Admins are particularly helpful in this work because they know their user base inside and out: what they want to do, where their pain points are, and what needs automating. “Some of the Admins I work with are so innovative about not just thinking about what is a small step forward, but what are five steps forwards and should we be taking those big leaps forward,” Christine says.

One of the secret powers that good Admins have is the ability to use the tools already in Salesforce to the max. As the old saying goes, when you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, and sometimes in these large organizations, Devs jump straight to coding and customizing when there might already be a tool you can use in your org. 

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I am your host, Gillian Bruce. And today, we have a first, listeners. We are joined by a two-time Olympic silver medalist and solution engineering manager at Salesforce, Christine Magnuson. She has so much great knowledge and experience to share. I asked her about all of the things, everything from what's it like to build a team of Salesforce professionals to how do you transfer skills from being an elite athlete to working in the Salesforce ecosystem, and so much more. So without further ado, let's welcome Christine on the pod. Christine, welcome to the podcast.

Christine Magnuson: Thanks so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So it is official. You are the first official Olympian and medal winner to appear on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. I just have to lead with that because it's pretty amazing. Tell me, what was it like to win a silver medal at the Olympics? Two of them.

Christine Magnuson: Two of them. Well, I am happy to be your first. I have a feeling I won't be your last, but very excited to be the trailblazer here on that front. Yes. My Olympic career was so fun. I mean, I highly suggest becoming an Olympian if you have the chance to.

Gillian Bruce: Totally on my list.

Christine Magnuson: Yes. Exactly. Sign yourself up. It's a really amazing community to be a part of, and to stand up and represent your country in that form is just such an honor. It takes your breath away. You have to constantly check yourself that you're in reality. And just to be in that space with so many amazing competitors from not just Team USA, but around the world. It's so such a hard feeling to describe because you're just amongst the best of the best in what they do. And it's an honor. It's an honor to be amongst that community. And it's something that it never leaves you. Once you're an Olympian, you're always an Olympian. There's never former Olympians. There's just Olympians. And so it's definitely a club that you're part of for your entire life once you're there once, and that's pretty incredible.

Gillian Bruce: So it's like being part of Salesforce ecosystem, right? I mean, once you're a part of it.

Christine Magnuson: It's like being a ranger. Once you're a ranger, they don't take it away. You get to be a ranger for life. Now you can always do more, but yes, it's 100%. It doesn't leave you. You can always come back. I mean, how many boomerangs do we know in this Salesforce... Well, Salesforce is a company. Of course, there's boomerangs, but then also just in the ecosystem as well.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Once you get in, you can't really get out because it's a good place to be. So speaking of that, talk to me a little bit about your transition from being an amazing Olympic athlete to now being... I mean, you work with solution engineers here at Salesforce. Tell me a little bit about that journey.

Christine Magnuson: Oh, man. I have the best job. At least I think so. So when I retired in 2013, I had just finished up my master's program from the University of Arizona. I have a master's in public administration. I thought I wanted to go into non-profits or athletic governances, and then through that experience, really felt like I wanted to actually go into the corporate world and get more experience before applying those things potentially back to those communities. And so I networked with really anyone who talked me. Good news was that pretty much everybody was willing to give 30 minutes to an Olympian who was just asking them about their lives. Actually, I don't think you'd need to be an Olympian to call somebody up and say, "Can you tell me about what you do and what you like and what you don't?" Everyone says yes. They love talking about themselves, which is great.
And so I net networked my way and everybody said, "Sales is a great place to start. You'll never regret it. You can apply it to so many different ways even if you end up not liking sales." It took me a while to realize that that was the case. When you think about sales, you think about that used car salesman and people selling, pushing things on you that you don't want. And I came to realize that it was really about me believing in the product I was selling. And as long as I believed in the product, I was doing everybody else a favor by telling them about it and not them doing a favor for me. And so-

Gillian Bruce: That shift. Yeah.

Christine Magnuson: Total shift in mindset. And so I joined a great small company out of Chicago that was placing consultants into life science companies and learned full life cycle sales from them. And they were also doing a lot with their Salesforce implementation during that time. And of course, I was one of the younger ones in the company and new to sales, and they were like, "Christine can figure this out. What should the experience be?" And so I was the super user. And then towards my end, I was actually part-time admin with no qualification whatsoever other than I could pick it up. That's I think the amazing thing about the product itself is that you can pick it up without going and learning how to code. And so I really fell in love with the technology.
I had moved to San Francisco because I was in Chicago and Chicago's really cold. Growing up there, I knew what it meant. And I spent a couple of adult years there and just decided to get out. So I moved to San Francisco, wanted to get into tech, and there was this little company called Quip that had just been acquired. They were ramping things up. I joined their sales team, did sales for a year, but felt I was basically... I nerded out on the product so much and working with the PMs and the marketing team, and having that cross-functional view was really fun for me, that when they decided to build out the solution engineering team, I raised my hand and everybody around me was really supportive. And so I moved to the new role, was immediately put on some of our top accounts, which was mind-blowing to see how these really complex accounts worked. And a few years later, I was leading the SE team and helping expand my knowledge across the US with our [inaudible] based team.
And now, about six or nine months ago, I came over to what we call core, which is thinking about the whole Salesforce portfolio for particular customer bases. And I have the honor of leading some really elite SEs who cover companies like Amazon and Dell and VMware and a few others. And they're just some of the sharpest individuals that I've ever met. And I get the honor of managing them and then meeting with our customers and seeing what they're doing and trying to help them through a lot of really complex issues. And so I'm never bored. I'm always using my brain. And it's a really fun job, and all because I just nerded out on the Salesforce products.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you're preaching to the choir here because admins are the ultimate Salesforce nerds. We're very proud of our nerdom.

Christine Magnuson: I love it.

Gillian Bruce: And I think what's so interesting is you interact with admins and customers at these very complex companies and these complex implementations. I want to touch more on how you transferred some of your skills as an Olympian to your skills in the Salesforce ecosystem. But before we get there, can you talk to me about some of the things that you see make an admin at one of these very complex implementations successful?

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. I think when they really understand their user base, that helps an extreme amount because they understand what their user base is trying to do, where they can automate, where they're struggling. And so the more they can understand their end user, the better. And then it comes down to, okay, understanding the actual implementation, pros and cons. Let's be real. No implementation out there is perfect.

Gillian Bruce: What? What are you talking about?

Christine Magnuson: Well, if somebody knows of one, please call me and let me know how it went and how you got there. But it's just because things change. Companies grow and you can't predict the future when you're implementing. And so hindsight is 20-20. But some of the admins I work with are so innovative of not just thinking about what is a small step forward, but what are five step forward? Should we be doing five steps instead of one in certain areas and taking those big leaps forward? And how does global changes affect us? Not just scale and a global distributed user base, but also data residency requirements. And oh my goodness, how do we push changes if we're going to have multi-org? And what does hyper force look like? And all of these things, they're a part of the conversation. And that is one, really fulfilling, I think for everybody involved because we're getting the full picture, but it helps us break down what is realistic for this customer moving forward and what's their timeline? It's all about being in sync. But some just really great work being done out there by our admins.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Knowing your user base, knowing what your users are trying to do, and then really that forward visionary thinking of what the product can do and the direction that things are going. I think very, very important skills and traits of every successful admin. So it's great hearing it from you because you really work with some of the most complex.

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. I'll add in one more because I know a lot of our admins work with IT groups. I'm renovating my house right now. I was talking to you about that earlier. When you talk to somebody who's a builder, they always want to build. And if you're talking to somebody who is a woodworker, they're just like, "Oh. Do this." And it's always in their frame of reference. And when we talk to customers, if we're talking to a highly IT-oriented or builder-oriented customer, they're like, "Oh. We'll just customize it. We'll just build it." And I think one of the powers that admins can come in is saying, "That's out-of-the-box. Stop building. Stop wasting our time and stop doing over-customized things that are going to hurt us down the road because again, we can't predict the future. Let's do as much out-of-the-box as possible. And then we can apply our own flavor to it if need be. And the customer or the user base should tell us if we actually need to do that or not."
And so that's the third one I would put in is they're so valuable with saving their company's time by not developing things that are already just there for them.

Gillian Bruce: You hit the nail in my head with that. That is something that is just... It comes up time and time again. And often it's like you mentioned, working with IT. There's also sometimes that conflict when you're a developer mindset versus an admin mindset because they'll go straight to like, "Oh. I can build this really, really cool thing that's super complex and blah, blah, blah." And the admin's like, "Hold up a second. You realize that we already have this in Salesforce."

Christine Magnuson: Totally. We already own it.

Gillian Bruce: Why don't you spend your time customizing something on top of that? Let's start with this base first.

Christine Magnuson: I know. And some of these larger customers, they have a lot in their contracts that they should be using. It's just use it. You've already paid for it. So if you use more of it, it's kind of free because you've already put that-

Gillian Bruce: It's included.

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. It's included. You've already made the investment. So get more value out of it. And so stepping back and making sure that they're using that full value is something that the admins can do so much for their companies on.

Gillian Bruce: Oh. I love that because that's such... I mean, again, talk about not only driving efficiency for the users and the user base and helping people get their jobs done, but you're saving the company resources and time as [inaudible]-

Christine Magnuson: It's huge. The ROI behind it is huge.

Gillian Bruce: I love those three really, really great points. So I want to dive back into the story of Christine for a second. So we have been talking a lot about the admin skills kit, which we just launched at TrailblazerDX a few months ago, and it's all about helping identify those business skills that help admins be successful. So on top of the product knowledge, these are things like communication and problem-solving, designer's mindset that really make an admin successful. And one element of that is we have language in there about how to represent these skills in the context of the Salesforce ecosystem. So this is how it might look like on your resume. This is how it might look like in a job posting you create to hire someone with that skill. How do you think about transferable skills? Because clearly you transferred a very unique skillset from being a very high level competitive athlete, an Olympian, to now the technology sector and the Salesforce ecosystem. So can you talk to me a little bit about how you managed transferring your skillset?

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. Well, especially from the athletic world... and we're talking to the Team USA athletes about this right now... is what are those athlete skillsets that we probably took for granted, frankly? When you're in an elite level of whatever it is, but in my case, athleticism, you are surrounded by other people in that environment. And so you just start to take those skills for granted because they're normalized. And so how do you actually step away from that normalization and say, "Actually, that wasn't normal. That was special. And how do I articulate that it is special?" And so when it comes to the athletic population, we're very good at time management. When you're going from practice to school or work back to practice and you have to... I mean, even fitting in meals and strategic rest, all of that goes into just having really good time management.
And especially now in a remote workforce world with distractions all around us and family coming in and out, my dogs were just here, it can get a little crazy. And so being able to focus on time management is huge. So that would, I would say, is an obvious number one. Two, coachability. Oh, my goodness. We're always constantly going to be learning new technology and picking up new skills and we should be getting feedback about how we're doing and what more should we be doing? And being able to... And athletes, believe me, we tend to be confident people. Takes a lot to stand up in front of a lot of people with a bathing suit on.

Gillian Bruce: Sure does.

Christine Magnuson: Most athletes don't lack in confidence, but I will say we know when to check our egos at the door because somebody's about to make us better. And that translates really well to a workforce where you have to actually invite feedback. Not everybody is good at giving or receiving feedback, and we can all get better by doing it. When somebody gives me feedback, it's such a compliment to me. They have just invested in me. They took the time to think something through, invest in me, and make me better. What a compliment, even if the feedback is harsh. And athletes are so used to that.

Gillian Bruce: Feedback is a gift, right? Isn't that what we were saying? Yeah.

Christine Magnuson: Exactly. All feedback is good feedback, even if it's-

Gillian Bruce: It doesn't feel good.

Christine Magnuson: It doesn't feel good. Exactly. And so the feedback loop is huge for athletes. The other, which I think we definitely take for granted, is attention to detail. Attention to detail, but still flexibility. So when I was swimming, I was talking to my coach about moving my arm a slightly different way at a slightly different angle. It was maybe an inch difference, and then doing that thousands, tens of thousands of times perfectly. And so that attention to detail is huge. But also knowing that you're working within a rule of constraints, and sometimes you need to be flexible. My first job, I remember coming in and working with somebody who's in operations, and they were extremely rule-oriented. There was no breaking her rules. And I had a situation where I was like, "Hey. I think we need to break this... We're going to have to do this differently," is how I phrased it. And she was like, "Absolutely not."
And it shocked me because I had the logical argument. I had all of my data. I had backed it up and I said, "This is why this is different." And she said, "Nope, too bad." And I was just like, "I've never encountered someone like you before. I have to change the way I communicate." And all of it was really interesting lessons learned, but I think athletes can stay pretty fluid in these really changing dynamic environments. Still know what rules are important, but then apply details to them like, "Well, do we even make a shift here or shift there?" So that's kind of two in one with the flexibility and detail. But I would say that's another big one.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And I like the way that you paired those two together because especially as I think about admins specifically, the attention to detail is critical because you got to dot all the I's and cross all the Ts and make sure everything is locked down or assigned correctly or every single workflow is thought of. But at the same time, you do. You have to remain flexible because you may have to adjust that solution and adjust it for this specific user type or adjust it for this specific situation and... Yeah.

Christine Magnuson: Oh, my goodness. Yes. I mean, how many companies do we see right now holistically changing their business models? Moving to subscription. I mean, what a huge difference and what an impact on their Salesforce instances. Totally complex. You need to be very into the details, but you also need to be flexible because we're going to change a lot. And we're probably not going to predict everything on day one no matter how good we are planning.

Gillian Bruce: We can't see the future. What are you talking about? Come on.

Christine Magnuson: Oh, man. Well, maybe some of them out there can. I've never been good at it.

Gillian Bruce: No. I mean, I think that's really interesting. One of the things that I hear a lot from admins who are either transferring from another industry into the Salesforce ecosystem is really that idea of not throwing away all that experience they had let's say if they worked in a warehouse for 15 years or worked as a teacher. And it can feel like you have to start at ground zero a little bit because everything sounds different. It looks different. But I really like how you identify those skills that you were able to take from something that's very seemingly different from the technology space, but then rethink about them and apply them in a way that has made you successful in a completely different industry. What tips and advice do you have for someone who's maybe in that moment of like, "Oh, my gosh. I'm switching my career and I feel like I don't know what I can pull from."?

Christine Magnuson: Yeah. My advice is actually... and I've done this with a couple of my direct reports... is step back and take your titles away. Have literally a pen and paper. Go old school. Sit down away from all technology and think to yourself, "What do I love to do on a day-to-day basis? What skills do I love and want to develop more? And where are my strengths?" Almost a strength finder type exercise, and just write them down. And then we are like, "Okay. What are the skills do I think I need for this new career?" And then cross-reference and don't forget that a lot of them transfer, but maybe just the verbiage is different.
And so here's a great example. I did swim clinics all the time when I was swimming professionally, which meant I had anywhere between 30 and 100 kids, ages between 6 and 18 for four hours in a day where I was teaching them something and taking photos with them and telling them about life as a professional swimmer, as an Olympian. My storytelling and presentation skills and public speaking skills were pretty well-honed because if you can hold the attention of a bunch of eight-year-olds, guess what? A room of business people who are supposed to pay attention to you, a lot less intimidating and probably more on topic.
And so I was thinking, "Oh, yeah. I'm good at public speaking." Well, no. I'm good at storytelling. Do you know what every job in corporate America needs, is more storytellers? And how do I fit this into a really logical timeline and personas and make it interesting to people? Well, okay. I was just using the wrong verbiage. And so you'll find a lot of that, I think, no matter what careers you're talking about. Both my parents were teachers. Oh, my goodness. The things that I learned from them that I apply now today, there's a long, long list. And so take that time and make that list for yourself. And then if you're not sure how it translates to the other side of things, you can have conversations with people who are already there and maybe show them the list.
Heck, use your thesaurus. Sometimes, it's as simple as that. You're like, "I didn't think that. That was kind of similar." And so it's just a translation exercise. But really step back and think about the skills you probably take for granted because those are the ones that you'll end up keeping into your job that will stay with you and still be of real high value to your employer.

Gillian Bruce: Great advice. Well, and we've got the admin skills kit to help elucidate at least 14 of them that [inaudible]-

Christine Magnuson: There you go.

Gillian Bruce: ... help you see some connections there.

Christine Magnuson: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: One other thing I wanted to talk to you about, Christine, is I mean, I could just keep you on the podcast for hours and hours and hours, I'm sure. But you've got an actual job to do. But before we get to wrapping, I wanted to ask you, in the context of the Salesforce admin skills kit, I know that you actually pulled me a while ago like, "Hey. I'm going to send this to one of my customers." From a customer who is hiring an admin or... I'm sure you talk to your customers all the time who are trying to figure out how to properly build a team to administer Salesforce. Could you maybe share what are the common issues that they usually face? What are some things that an admin listening to this who's either hiring someone or wanting to hire someone or be that next best person who can get hired, what kind of advice can you share from being in your role and what you've seen?

Christine Magnuson: Well, the war for talent is real. So I'll talk about Amazon for a second. And this is all public knowledge. You can go on their website and just do your own search and find this yourself. If you search AWS and Salesforce... I did this the other week... there were over 440 jobs listed. That's just AWS. And Amazon is big. They have a lot of Salesforce instances. They are hunting for talent and they're hunting for talent at all levels. And I think that's where we sometimes forget is everyone thinks like, "Oh. To go work at a company like Amazon, oh, my goodness. I need to be so senior." And that's just not the case. They need people of all levels. And sometimes they need the doers who are in on the details more than the strategic thinkers. They got a bunch of strategic thinkers. They need the doers.
And so when you go look at their websites and then have conversations with them, they're willing to invest in somebody who's sharp and has the basics and is willing to just learn with them and continue to upscale as they're with the employer. And so I think don't count yourself out. If you're looking for the job, apply to a job you might not think you're qualified for. And whether they put you in that position or a different position, it starts the conversation, and I think it's really good for everyone. So definitely don't undersell your skills. They're needed out there right now. There's a lot of companies. I cited one, which is probably extreme example, just because the volume of people they have. But every company out there that I talk to is concerned about more talent in-house, in their tools, and Salesforce is a go-to tool.
For those hiring admins, I would say take a little bit of the DEI approach, diversity, equity, and inclusion. It doesn't need to be somebody who checks all your boxes for every role. Talk to people. Be a little bit more flexible. Tell your recruiters to be more flexible. I mean, I have found some of the best people on my team who were not either in the Salesforce ecosystem or where they weren't SEs. And they're amazing because they come with such transferable skills and they maybe had a basis in one or the other. And so working with your recruiters to be really flexible and take that diversity, equity, and inclusion approach of, "I don't need somebody who checks all the boxes. I need the right person for the job." And that's a different mindset.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. That is great advice. It's very rare that we talk about the employer, the hiring manager perspective on the podcast. So I think that is really, really excellent advice. Christine, oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for everything you-

Christine Magnuson: Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: ... [inaudible] with us today. I feel so lucky. You're my first also Olympic medalist that I've ever gotten to speak to. So it's a double whammy. You're the first one on the pod. It's my first time getting to talk to an elite Olympian. So thank you so much. And also, thank you for all you do at Salesforce. I mean, you have clearly done a lot already, and I know you're going to do more. And thanks for being a great advocate for admins and advocate for athletes and people transferring skills, and we'll have to have you back on at some point.

Christine Magnuson: I would love to come back on. Thank you so much for having me. I love the admin community. They make such a difference. And when we find really good ones to work with, it's so much more fun for me and my team. So thank you. We appreciate you. Keep doing what you're doing. And of course, give some love to your SEs out there at Salesforce and other ISV customers. We're a good crew. We love working with you.

Gillian Bruce: Hey. A good SE makes every admin happy too, I got to tell you.

Christine Magnuson: It's a partnership. It's a partnership.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, Christine. And thank you for joining us on the podcast, and we will have you back.

Christine Magnuson: Love it.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. That was an amazing conversation. Christine has so much great knowledge to share. Everything that she shared about identifying those skills that she had for being an elite athlete and how to transfer them into her Salesforce career, I mean, everyone can identify with that. I love that. Take time. Turn off all the devices. Get out a pen and paper and really think about what your skills are, and then map them. And then I also really appreciated hearing about how you should strategize when you build a team of admins, about thinking about diversity, equality, inclusion, and thinking about maybe applying for that job that you aren't necessarily ticking all the boxes for. Working with admins at those really big implementations who have hundreds and hundreds of people who work with Salesforce, you don't have to be an expert to apply for those jobs. I thought that was a really interesting perspective.
So I hope you got something out of this episode. I got a ton. And wow, I got to talk to an Olympic medalist. Amazing. Anyway, thank you so much for joining us today. If you want to learn more about anything we chatted about, go to admin.salesforce.com. You'll find the skills kit there to identify some of your transferable skills. And as always, you can follow all of the fun on Twitter using #AwesomeAdmin and following Salesforce admins, no I. If you want to follow our amazing Olympian we just heard from, Christine Magnuson, you can find her on Twitter @CMagsFlyer. She is a swimmer. So put that together. You can follow me on Twitter @GillianKBruce and my amazing co-host Mike Gerholdt @MikeGerholdt. I really hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you're inspired to go out there and reach for a medal. And with that, I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: From_Olympian_to_Solution_Engineer_with_Christine_Magnuson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for June.

Join us as we talk about all the can’t-miss Salesforce content from June and why you should submit a presentation for the Admin Track at this year’s Dreamforce.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

Live Events

We just got back from World Tour London which was a blast, and the NYC version just wrapped. There were tons of great presentations and it was so great to see everyone in person again, so make sure you catch up on all the action.

Blog highlights from June

LeeAnne and Mike put together a great roundup about what CDP is and how it will make our lives as admins that much easier. There are a lot of fun use cases and it can help you get a handle on how CDP will turn your rich customer data into action.

Video highlights from June

Another month, another great batch of video content from Jennifer Lee. This time, she’s on the hunt for how to stop unwanted changes to reports you thought were good to go. There’s also a throwback to the old Salesforce UI for those in know.

Podcast highlights from June

“Skills pay the bills,” as they say, and we’ve spent a lot of June highlighting our new Salesforce Admin Skills Kit. We think you should listen to our episode with David Nava, where we catch up on all the amazing things he’s been doing since the last time he was on the pod in 2019 and how he helps other veterans make the transition to the ecosystem.

Dreamforce 2022 Admin Track Call for Presentations

Dreamforce is coming up soon, and submissions are officially open for Admin Track presentations, which are due by July 8th. Make sure to read through this handy blog post to label your submission correctly and, hopefully, we’ll see you soon!

 

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the June monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we're going to review the top product, community and careers content for June. And of course, helping me do that in a bright yellow Jersey, I don't know why, is the familiar voice of Gillian Bruce. Hello, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Go warriors.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, is that why it is? The basketball is over. You know what's crazy along those lines, I think I heard ESPN talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Gillian Bruce: Those are also happening now. Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So if we didn't have artificial ice, where would we have these playoffs, because it's hot everywhere. It's like a hundred or something in Iowa.

Gillian Bruce: Well, if they really wanted hockey to be seasonal, it would all be in the fall in the winter. Right?

Mike Gerholdt: As it should be, yes. We'd also be done playing basketball by now, because summer's just for messing around and going to pools and vacations.

Gillian Bruce: To be fair, everyone has been done playing basketball for about a month. It's just the Warriors who managed to win the finals, play into June.

Mike Gerholdt: I see.

Gillian Bruce: The fourth time in recent history.

Mike Gerholdt: Who did they play this year?

Gillian Bruce: Oh, we just beat Boston.

Mike Gerholdt: Boston. Okay.

Gillian Bruce: The Celtics.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Bye Boston.

Mike Gerholdt: I just saw the winning time on that, where the Lakers beat Boston.

Gillian Bruce: Boston Celtics have a very rich history of winning a lot, but now the Warriors have a dynasty themselves. So there you go. There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: We just lost all our Celtic's fans.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, don't worry. Celtics fans love to hear people hate on them. This is kind of what feeds the Boston [inaudible].

Mike Gerholdt: It's a thing?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. They thrive on the hate. So it's not even hate, it's respect. Good job Celtics. But Steph Clay, [inaudible] Andre are back. All right. Enough of that. It's not a sport's podcast. That's what my husband does.

Mike Gerholdt: Not yet anyway.

Gillian Bruce: We're going to be talking about all the great Salesforce admin content from June.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. But first we had people on planes traveling.

Gillian Bruce: Oh gosh, that's right. Planes, trains, and automobiles. Happening.

Mike Gerholdt: Jumping the pond, as they call it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. We had some of our team members over in London, not too long ago for the World Tour, which by all things appearing on the social medias looked amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: So shout out to the London admin user group. We love you guys. Thank you for hosting and having Ella and Leanne join. It's always fun presenting there. Gillian, I think all of us have presented there. It's like a right of passage, right?

Gillian Bruce: It really is. It really is. The London admin user group is ... will always hold a special place in my heart, because I feel like it was one of the first admin user groups. And it's just full of just some amazing people who are doing a lot to help each other out and their career growth. And it's just ... yeah, I think that was my first trip to London was ...

Mike Gerholdt: Could be. We did a live podcast there.

Gillian Bruce: We sure did. We sure did.

Mike Gerholdt: That was fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And exciting. Jumping ahead to the tour, the pictures that Ella and Leanne ... Ella and London sent back, all of London sent pictures back to me on my Slack channel.

Gillian Bruce: Ella, Leanne, London.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. The theaters look really packed. So everybody really showed up. It's always fun doing stuff at the Excel Center.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. People are clearly excited to be back in person and to connect and learn and have fun. And that's what it's all about. So it's great to get that vibe and we're just going to carry that vibe right on into the next tour, because Mike, I am literally stepping out the door to go to New York City to go to the New York World Tour.

Mike Gerholdt: Great segue.

Gillian Bruce: Great segue.

Mike Gerholdt: It's going to be awesome.

Gillian Bruce: It's going to be amazing. It's going to be great to connect with the very vibrant, all of the community groups that are in the New York area are going to be representing in full force. We are doing quite a few sessions in both the Trailblazer Theater and we've got a whole breakout session we've got together. Jennifer Lee is presenting a whole bunch, because that's what she does.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: So it's going to be a really great chance to see everybody and yeah, just meeting some new trailblazers, which is always fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Is there any food that you get in New York that you look forward to?

Gillian Bruce: Oh God, it's been so long since I was there.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, that's why I asked.

Gillian Bruce: I think actually the last time I was in New York was before my first born was born.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh boy.

Gillian Bruce: So I do remember there's a steak place that Damon, my husband is obsessed with called Peter Luger's, which is actually across the bridge. It's not in Manhattan and it's ... Mike, next time you and I are there together, we will go.

Mike Gerholdt: Steak. Yes. The Midwest in me wants steak.

Gillian Bruce: It's one of the most famous steakhouses in the world. So that's fun. I don't know if I'm going to hit that up, but I am going to get to go to hopefully a show on Broadway, which will be really fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh fun.

Gillian Bruce: So I looking forward to that.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Pre-pandemic, my last trip to New York was in December and a few of us got to go see a lived tape of Stephen Colbert.

Gillian Bruce: Nice. Nice.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Super fun. Oh man. That was blast. All right. So we can talk more food.

Gillian Bruce: Food. I will say of my-

Mike Gerholdt: It's the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we cover sports and food. Totally makes sense. Right?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I'm going to sprinkle in a little bit of trashy TV, because I also say that I have been trying to get tickets to go to a live taping of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. Needless to say, I've gotten nowhere. It's one of the hardest things to get into. But if anybody on this podcast who's listening right now has a trick of how to do that, I will specifically go back to New York to get in on that taping. So any Bravo diehards or anyone with a connection, let me know.

Mike Gerholdt: That's filmed in New York? I always saw it was filmed in LA. Andy Cohen always comes off to me as very LA.

Gillian Bruce: He's very New York.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, interesting. I judged that one wrong.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: So top content. First thing I want to point out is the Introduction To Salesforce CDP For Admins, which Leanne wrote. I helped write, but we only get one author. So I chose Leanne. This is a fun little article to dig into. We've heard CDP. Gillian, you were in New York. CDP was everywhere in New York. I'd say as an admin, for sure, jump in.
This was really insightful for me to understand how CDP, which is customer data platform, what it means for admins, how we can do it. And really what are the actual fun cases of sitting around, talking with different parts of our organization, understanding market segmentation, owners, what the business case is for it. To me, it's a good way to really drive that next level engagement with Salesforce. So I enjoyed writing it, check it out.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's a great article. Good job, Mike. I also will say listeners, stay tuned, because we have James Richter, who's going to be joining us on the podcast in a future episode to talk all about CDP for admins. And talking about what he has seen help admins be successful with CDP, how you talk about the strategy of one to implement a CDP, and how to set yourself up for success. So stay tuned. We got more CDP goodness coming your way.

Mike Gerholdt: More CDP. James Richter. Is he any relation to Andy Richter, speaking of Late Night?

Gillian Bruce: I didn't ask. I don't think so.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, there's your first question.

Gillian Bruce: We've already had this conversation, but maybe on Twitter when we release it, we can pile on announcing that.

Mike Gerholdt: "Are you related to Andy Richter." "No, I get asked that all the time though. Thanks." The next thing I wanted to point out was a video that Jennifer Lee put out. A part of The How I solved It series, Monitor Unwanted Changes To Reports. The title says it all, right?

Gillian Bruce: Who doesn't want that?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my. Come on.

Gillian Bruce: Stop changing my reports, people.

Mike Gerholdt: It's like, it just ... so it was really good how she worked through it. I really enjoyed watching her talk with Cassie. The screenshots, walking you through everything, for those of us in the know, there's even some throwback days to the old field layout properties, where you get to see the old Salesforce interface. But man, let me tell you. The number of times that I've put reports out into the world and then a few months later come back and reran it. It's like, what did you do? How is it possible for you to have tangled up and changed things this bad? So I really appreciate this post. I'm sure admins will too.

Gillian Bruce: It's a must view. It's a must view.

Mike Gerholdt: It is. And Gillian and tee you up for the trifecta of the content that we put out in June. You did a podcast with David on transferable skills, because you're the skills person.

Gillian Bruce: Hey skills pay the bills, as they say.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Gillian Bruce: Or do they say that? I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: They do now.

Gillian Bruce: I'm just saying that. So yes. I had a fantastic conversation with David Nava, who is a repeat guest on the podcast, but he's done a lot since the first time he was on in 2019. That's when he was just starting to make his transition from the military to working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Now not only is he working in the Salesforce ecosystem, but he's on his second kind of Salesforce ecosystem company and that happens to be Salesforce.
So, and he's a now not just making his own transition from military to Salesforce, he's helping hundreds and hundreds of other people in the military community make the same transition. So really great to catch up with him, talk really about kind of how that admin skills kit can play into helping folks figure out which skills they can transfer from their previous or current industries into the Salesforce ecosystem. So give it a listen, if you haven't already. David is fantastic. So many great things. I mean, hey, who doesn't want to hear from a Naval flight officer who is-

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, seriously.

Gillian Bruce: An amazing Salesforce professional. And he's got such a passion for giving back and helping other people make similar transitions.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. Very cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Must listen.

Mike Gerholdt: What I fear or what I'm happy to announce will be a new segment on the pod, that we will wrap things up with is, hey, it's just about Dreamforce time.

Gillian Bruce: It's beginning to feel a lot like Dreamforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Coming back this year.

Mike Gerholdt: In person in San Francisco, where they have a winning basketball team.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, we do. Dynasty.

Mike Gerholdt: See, I worked that in there.

Gillian Bruce: Dynasty.

Mike Gerholdt: Want to remind everybody and the link will be in the show notes, you have until July 8th to submit to the admin track call for presentations. Please take a second, read that blog post. And I mean read it, not skim it and like, "Oh cool. It's open. Here's the link." But actually read through it. There's some fields we want you to fill out, because this is open for all of Salesforce. So all of Salesforce is collecting submissions through the CFP, not just Admin developer and Architect Track and want to make sure that you label your submission correctly, so that we can adequately review it, because we have a tight little turnaround.
It's going to be Dreamforce before we know it. So if you have an idea, start sketching it down. As soon as you're done listening to the podcast, which it's almost over, I promise, maybe another block and a half to home and then we're done. But think through, submit early, don't wait till July 8th, because I promise you're going to wake up and you're going to be like, "Oh it's July 8th. Oh it closed." Or the tab died, or your internet goes out, or something. It's going to happen. Get it in early. There's no reward for being last in the door.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Get it in early. Make sure that you really kind of think about why this belongs at Dreamforce. Again, read the posts. It's all in there about how to put it together. What kind of content we're looking to feature at Dreamforce. So, it's a great opportunity. If you've never thought about presenting a Dreamforce, here is your opportunity. And if you're a little nervous, partner with somebody who has presented before. There are a lot of people who presented before, who would love to have a collaborator. So great opportunity to develop some content, share it and get a really cool experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. I would agree. If you want to learn more about anything that we talked about on today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and resources, including the one to the CFP. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are at Salesforceadmns, no eye on Twitter. I'm on Twitter at MikeGerholdt and Gillian is at GillianKBruce. So that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: June_2022_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to James Richter, Director, Cloud Success & CSG Global Program Lead, Salesforce Customer Data Platform (CDP). Join us as we talk about what CDP is, how it will be the single source of truth across all platforms, and how to get your org ready.

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

What is CDP?

If you’ve been puzzling over CDP and what it could do for your org, you’re not alone. “My team is focused on getting CDP into the market, so you’re not the only one wondering what it is,” James says. So what is it?

“Have you ever read Dr. Seuss’s I Wish That I Had Duck Feet?” James asks. In the book, a kid wants to have duck feet to splash around and not have to keep them dry. However, he soon realizes there are some downsides to duck feet. For example, he can’t wear shoes. “What we’ve found is marketers and admins are the same way,” James says, you get all these shiny new tools but end up with a bunch of extra data you don’t know what to do with. CDP is being built to help you manage all that data so you can play with the fun stuff and not worry about wearing shoes.

The Single Source of Truth

You can do so much with all of the tools out there for the platform, but the data is really hard to deal with. CDP aims to segment and manage everything for you. For now, they’re building it to help with Marketing Cloud, but in the near future CDP will be the single source of truth across all the different Salesforce platforms for everything that a customer has done.

A lot of the stuff that CDP does is possible with tools like SQL, but CDP will make it possible with a lot less code and effort.

Getting Ready for CDP

So how do you get ready? The first thing is to make sure you have someone in the room who understands each of your systems. Before you start building, you need to understand what you’re building with. You need to know what data is the same across each platform so you can harmonize it, but that means you need someone to translate for you and explain what you’re looking at.

Once you’re able to show just how easy it is to get any piece of data you’re after with clicks, not code, the power of CDP will speak for itself. “It makes everybody’s life easier,” James says, “and that’s an easy thing to advocate for.”

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers, to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we are talking about CDP. You might be saying, "Gillian, what is CDP?" Well, don't worry, we're going to get into it, because it is a big deal, and it is an amazing thing for all admins to think about, because it really truly brings the single source of truth to your Salesforce platform. To talk about that today, we have James Richter joining us, he's a director, cloud success, and CSG global program lead at Salesforce. He is doing all things CDP with customers, so he's the right person to come on and explain what it is. Without further ado, let's get James on the pod. James, welcome to the podcast.

James Richter: Thank you so much, thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: It's so great to have you, and I'm very looking forward to our conversation, because we're going to talk about something that I don't know much about, and that is CDP. Before we get into all of that, can you tell us a little bit about what you do at Salesforce?

James Richter: Yeah, absolutely, so I am part of our shared success team, my team is focused on getting CDP into the market. It's new for everybody, so you're not the only one wondering what it is. We've been trying to teach people and also learn from everybody, so we're out there working with our customers and partners to get CDP stood up in their environments, and just learn alongside them, and also, teach them as we go, and share that knowledge across to everybody else.

Gillian Bruce: All right, I like it. Okay, so here you are on the podcast, you got a whole audience of admins to talk to about CDP. Let's get right into it, what is CDP? What does it stand for?

James Richter: What a great question. Yeah, so CDP is a customer data platform, and I think if you go out in Google, you will find a lot of answers as to what a CDP is. I'll give you my take on it, and then we can talk later about how that checks out with your understanding. I don't know, you've you've got kids, have you ever read Dr. Seuss' I Wish That I Had Duck Feet?

Gillian Bruce: Okay, my kids are a little too young for that yet, but I do remember that book, yes. This is the greatest leading off explanation I think we've ever had on the pod, so please, take me from Dr. Seuss to CDP?

James Richter: Yeah, so Dr. Seuss, there's a kid that says, "I Wish that I had duck feet, I can tell you why, I can splash around, I don't have to keep them dry." But then he realizes like, "Hey, if I had duck feet, I couldn't have any shoes," and he says, "I wish I had an elephant nose, so I could put out fires. He's like, "But then they'd make me wash the windows." What we've found is marketers and admins, we're the same way, we see all these cool, shiny tools and we're like, "Hey, I want to go out and get that," and we get it.
We realize like, "Hey, we had a consequence to that, the consequence is usually I got a bunch of data. I've got a bunch of different records of people, I've got all this data out there." What we've tried to do with CDP is say, "Hey, bring us all that data. Let's let you have all the cool things, and let's be the platform where you can bring the data ,and hopefully we can give it to you in a way that you can use it. You can have all the fun with it, and not have to suffer the consequence," that's the goal.

Gillian Bruce: I love this. Okay, data is like admin love language kind of. Let's dig into a little bit... CDP is not unique to Salesforce, and so tell us a little bit about why now Salesforce is in the CDP space? What does that look like?

James Richter: Yeah, so I obviously we have been in the data space for a very long time, and everybody has come to this conclusion at the same time that we've got to have a way to start leveraging all these systems. We've got all these great companies out there that are offering so many great tools, but as admins, you get overwhelmed by them. We saw the writing on the wall that we were going to have to have something that would allow people to take full advantage of them, and so I think that's why we've landed here.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, so you mentioned we have a lot of tools, which is very true. Admins are at the crux of all of the tools, and especially the last few years. It's not just what we used to think of as core Salesforce tools, but now we've got MuleSoft, we've got Slack, we've got Tableau, how does CDP sit in the context of this expanded one Salesforce platform?

James Richter: Yeah, so right now, a lot of the use cases that we're talking about are for marketers. We look at marketing cloud as our primary recipient of the data at the moment, and so you're in CDP, you're running these segments, you're building these audiences, you're finding all the different versions of Gillian. You're saying, "Hey, tell me all the things she's done across all these different tools that I have?" Then I want to be able to send her a message that's the right message for her. At the moment, we're seeing it sit within our core platform, that's where we're doing all the segmentation. That's where we're bringing all the data, we're storing the data, we're doing the segmentation. Then we're sending that over to marketing cloud for action via email, via SMS, whatever it may be.
Long-term though, what we're saying is we want to bring those segments back into core, we want to bring them into CRM and say, "Hey, when somebody calls our call center, I want to be able to look Gillian up, I want to be able to see all the times I've known Gillian, I want to see what's local to this system that I'm in, what's local to this CRM that I'm in. Then let's also pull in all our other ones." We're multi-tenant we want to be able to bring all those back in and say, "I know what you have done on each one of these platforms, and that makes me better able to help you, and better able to serve your needs."

Gillian Bruce: We're talking about a real true single source of truth for a customer within the context of all of the systems, which is pretty exciting.

James Richter: It's awesome. Yeah, it's finding the harmonization across all those different records and saying you can finally reference all of them. You can finally look at all these instances of the customers, all the things we've been talking about, and that's the goal, that's the dream, and that's the need that the market has, and so that's what we're after.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I'm already just building dashboards in my head of all of the incredible things that you could now display, thinking of how you can connect all of those interactions into one beautiful thing that we can look at. That's a really descriptive word, but so what are some of the... You mentioned you've got some use cases, can you talk to us a little bit more about maybe one or two examples of initial CDP use cases, that maybe some customers are working on right now?

James Richter: Sure, a lot of them aren't new, a lot of these are use cases that we've talked about forever. It's I want to be able to see all the customers that I have that have bought a pair of red shoes, and we've always been able to do it, we've always talked about it, but we've done it with SQL. We've done it with different tools and we've done it sort of inefficiently, because I can find all the times that I've bought red shoes, but maybe, I don't know that it's me all three times that you found me.
What we're saying now is, as we build this segment, I want to know all the people who have bought red shoes, or blue shoes, or green shoes. I might fit one of those or all three of those across all of my different records. That's what we're after is bringing that back in and being able to say, "We can do it better than what we used to," it's not necessarily new. We're not necessarily unlocking anything that we haven't talked about before, but now we're able to do it hopefully with a lot less code, and hopefully in a way more efficient manner.

Gillian Bruce: Hooray, I'm cheering for admins everywhere. Let's talk a little bit about some of the specific things that maybe admins should think about when we're toying with the idea of making use of the CDP. What are some initial things that you should think about from an admin perspective in terms of strategy, when you're talking about basically implementing CDP or starting to use it?

James Richter: Sure, so the main thing that we should worry about is how do I take all of these systems and make sure I have all of the people in the room that understand each one of them? The first task that we're after is harmonizing the data, and that means looking at all the different ways that we've stored it, and all of the systems and saying, "I know that field first name is the same as field F name is the same as field F," and making sure that you've got the people in the room that represent those tools, so that they can translate that for you, and you can get the data ready. Because, like I said, we're harmonizing it, but we can't do that without the influence of the people who are responsible for those tools, and so that's really step one.

Gillian Bruce: Really important. Hey, before you start building anything, let's make sure that we understand what we're building with.

James Richter: Yeah, for sure.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, so we start that strategy, we're talking about how we're going to harmonize the data, getting the right people in the room, understanding how to translate these different, maybe similar activities, across different systems and now that we're going to pull them into one place. What are some of the cool initial wins or things that an admin might be able to look for to start saying, "Hey, look at this, this is a successful thing," what are some initial things that maybe might help get more people on board in the process of trying to put this together?

James Richter: Yeah, so I think it is going back to those use cases and showing people just how easy it is to find those records, just how easy it is to search, just how easy it is to build the segment. Just how quickly you can get the insight into what it is that you've been after for so long, and not having to go check 10 systems, and export all of that, to bring it to another place, to have to export it again, to have to get it to somewhere that you can actually do something with it. I think once you start to show off the power of, hey, I did this through clicks and not code, hey, I did this through something that's been saved and you can repeat it, that's what's getting people excited.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, so I think that's the... You just tapped into the major admin superpower right there. Because here's the thing, if you're as an admin able to save all of those steps, and all of that time, and all of that processing, I mean, that puts you in an incredible position. I mean, CDP seems like this could be a really powerful thing for an admin to use.

James Richter: For sure. Yeah, once we get that data in, and once we've had a chance to harmonize it, once we've got this thing up and running, it's really impressive. I think it makes it so that everybody's life gets easier, and that's an easy thing to advocate for. It's an easy thing to go and show off and say, "Hey, I know that you've been wanting to do this, watch," and you can actually get a feel for just how quickly it comes together. Then once you get past that, you can start to expand the use cases. We can start to get into calculating lifetime value, we can take all that data across everything and say, "I can now see how many times Gillian's made a purchase, and I don't have to wonder do I have all the records of her. If I've got that harmonization, I can actually go in and calculate that and show people the data that you've been after or the data that we've had for so long, now we can actually start to do something with it."

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Okay, so I am imagining that there might be a listener or two out there who's now saying, "Great, I am super interested in trying to figure out how I can bring this to my organization," what resources or what is out there to help an admin as they begin to basically put the business case forward for making CDP a thing for their organization?

James Richter: For sure. Yeah, so you can go out and there's a lot of great resources that we've got, a lot of blogs. I think you've got one that's recently come out that breaks down some of the content, and some of the things that we have available to work through, to figure out what is next for CDP? How do I get started? We also have a lot of great content out on Trailhead, so you can go out and take a look, and take some of those certifications, and get an idea for just exactly what it is that you're getting yourself into, and what those first steps look like. Then obviously, the marketing cloud account executive is the one that represents this at the moment, and so they can help you connect those dots. They can get the demo for you, they can show you what the tool looks like in person, and start to show you all the power that's really there.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Yeah, you mentioned the resources that we just put out. Just actually last week we put out a CDP for admins blog post, and so yes, it does list all those resources. We'll, of course, also put those in the show notes here, there's an implementation guide, there's all kinds of great stuff. Of course, hey, Trailhead, we always love more great Trailhead content.

James Richter: The Trailhead content is really great, actually, it's been put together in a way that's a lot easier to understand. 18 months ago, I didn't know what a CDP was, and I started [inaudible] Trailhead. It definitely gets you started in a way that makes sense, and I definitely recommend checking it out.

Gillian Bruce: Awesome, I love it. Okay, so since now that you are an 18 month expert on CDP, can you talk to us a little bit about maybe are there any roadmap or fun next things you see in the CDT space for Salesforce? Anything that you can give us a little what future looking, safe harbor, forward looking statement, anything in the pipeline?

James Richter: Absolutely, you have to love the safe harbor. It's not a complete meeting if you don't mention the safe harbor. Yeah, so right now, as I mentioned, we've got a lot of use cases that we've been focused on that are marketing cloud specific. We've taught a little bit about some of the core use cases that's out there, right now, we're really focused on integrating it out, so that we can get it to more use cases. There's a lot of work being done with our partners, with our activation channels, to make sure that you can take the data from CBP and use it in lots of different app exchange packages. We want to be able to leverage that data, not just for Salesforce, but for all the different channels. I think that's where a lot of the work is being put in is how do we better orchestrate where you can go with the data?

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Hey, bringing it to the app exchange, those are other notes of music to an admin's ears, so that's fantastic. James, before I let you go, we're very happy to now have you as one of our experts in the Awesome Admin realm here. What things have you seen? You've been talking to admins, you've been talking to people working with the Salesforce platform for a while. Do you have any overall top tips that you've seen from people who have been successful in implementing either CDP, or just successful from your perspective as an admin implementing Salesforce?

James Richter: Yeah, I think it sounds silly, but I heard somebody say it at Connections last week and I love it. It's the slow is smooth and smooth is fast. As you get ready for CDP, we always buy new shiny tools and we're like, "Hey, let's go, we got to start using it right away, we got to just go." It comes down to, we got to plan. We have to plan, we have to get our data aligned, we have to get ready to go. Then once we have that understanding of the data, we can really get in there and take off. That's the biggest advice I have for anybody is plan for that time of we got to figure this thing out, and then once you get it figured out and off and running, life gets better in a hurry.

Gillian Bruce: I love that, slow is smooth and smooth is fast, that's fantastic.

James Richter: I liked it a lot, too. I didn't come up with it, obviously, but I heard it last week and I was like, "This is the highlight of Connections, I love it."

Gillian Bruce: Hey, marketers know how to make everything sound good, I mean-

James Richter: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Awesome, well, James, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and helping demystify CDP for admins. I am very excited to see what our admin community is going to start doing with it. I envision so many admins basically harnessing this technology, and really propelling not only their organizations, but their own careers forward pretty quickly, so this is great. Thank you so much.

James Richter: Yeah, thanks for having me, I really appreciate it.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, James, for joining us and demystifying CDP. Wow, it is a powerful, powerful way to bring all of your customers' data and interactions to one single place. Hey, you talk about the ultimate awesome admin tool, I don't know about you, but I cannot wait to start playing with that and seeing it in action. CDP is great, now I love some of the points that James made about how you get ready to set yourself up for CDP. Slow is smooth and smooth as fast, words of wisdom from James. Make sure that as you get into the planning process for CDP, or even exploring if this is something that you and your organization want to do, take the time to really understand the data. Get the right people in the room to understand where the data is sitting, what it all means, and what it might look like to pull it all together, because then you'll be really set up for success when you roll out CDP.
Wow, the powerful tool it is. Check it out. Okay, as James said, there's lots of resources to help you learn more about CDP. I'll put a link to the blog post that we talked about in the show notes, as well as some great Trailhead content on CDP. Now, if you want to learn more about anything else that we mentioned today on the podcast, or anything else about how you can be an awesome admin, make sure you go to my favorite website in the whole entire world, and that is admin.salesforce.com. You'll find great blogs, videos, and some more podcasts on there. If you would like to follow my guest today, James Richter, he is very active on LinkedIn, so I'll put his LinkedIn in the show notes. You can follow all things Awesome Admin at Salesforce admin's [inaudible] on Twitter. You can follow me at Gillian K. Bruce and my co-host, Mike Gerholdt, at Mike Gerholdt. With that, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day, thank you for tuning in, and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: CDP_for_Admins_with_James_Richter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to David Nava, Lead Solution Engineer at Salesforce, Host of Military Trailblazer Office Hours, and 20-year Navy veteran.

Join us as we talk about what to do after you pass the Admin cert, how to decide what role in the Salesforce ecosystem is right for you, and how David used the apps he built for his personal life to make an impact at a job interview.

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

How David transitioned from the Navy to a Salesforce career

When last we spoke to David, he was wrapping up his career with the Navy with an eye toward transitioning into a role in the Salesforce ecosystem. On the day that he retired, he jumped right into his new career feet-first as a Junior Solution Architect at a consultancy on one of their largest projects to date.

David was recruited by Salesforce, but the story doesn’t quite go like you think it might. They turned him down at the end of the process, citing his lack of experience. However, they offered him a different role as a Solution Consultant after he pulled out his org during the interview and showed them the apps he had been creating. Most of all, they were impressed by his passion for the platform and were willing to give him a shot.

“Building apps in a dev org helps you focus on all the fundamentals,” David says, “but it also helps you really apply what you’re learning in Trailhead to specific business challenges.” He built apps to manage his workouts, track his finances from the road, and manage his tasks. He built them and rebuilt them to make something he liked, and they really made an impact when he showed them off in the interview.

Paying it forward

8 months later he was recruited internally for his current role, as a Lead Solution Engineer to replace legacy systems for the Navy and Marine Corps. He’s now in a position where he can draw on his years of experience as an officer and replace all the systems he didn’t like using.

David’s always been serious about mentorship, and now he’s in a place where he can give back. He teamed up with Bill Kuehler and Resource Hero to be a part of Military Trailblazer Office Hours focused on career and branding. Since then, he’s helped almost 2,000 people earn certifications, choose career paths, and get hired with his live sessions and YouTube videos.

How to test-drive career paths

So once you get your Admin certification, now what? David advises several people in exactly this position. He recommends you start by “test driving” the career path options by conducting informational interviews with professionals in those roles. “You need to learn about the role’s requirements, responsibilities, challenges, and joys so that you get a sense for what it’s like to work in that role,” he says.

David’s also a big fan of the Salesforce Admins Skills Kit. It gives you a framework for how to think about your skills beyond just the technical aspects. “You can apply your different work experience in the context of these skills to demonstrate its relevance to the Salesforce Admin role,” he says.

Be sure to listen to the full episode for all of David’s great insights, and especially make sure to catch his five tips to help people transition into a new Salesforce career.

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Direct download: Transferrable_Skills_with_David_Nava.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jennifer Lee, Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and the host of Automation Hour.

Join us as we talk about everything in the Summer ‘22 Release, what Jennifer does to prep for an upcoming release, 

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

Summer ‘22 highlights

The Summer ‘22 Release is out, and we’re here to help you get caught up on all the action. To help us, we’ve brought legendary blogger and automation expert Jennifer Lee on the pod to go over all the highlights.

There are a lot of changes to Picklists that are going to make them better than ever. You can bulk update several Picklists at once and it finally tells you which one is a duplicate without you having to guess. Dynamic Related Lists have been added to App Builder beta, which gives you the ability to filter unrelated lists. Flow Trigger Explorer changes, Screen Flows in Slack, and automated Flow testing are other bright spots in a jampacked release.

Tips for release readiness

Jennifer’s been known for a long time in the community for her comprehensive release posts. So how does she prepare for a new release?

  • Stay motivated: There are a lot of release notes to read, and you need to stay committed to getting through everything so you’re prepared.
  • Dive into a pre-release org: “It’s on thing to just read the little blurb,” Jen says, “but when you actually get to see it and touch it, that’s when it really comes to life.”
  • Make what you’ve learned shareable: Jen uses animated GIFs to bring the changes to life in her blog, which you are free to steal or iterate on in your own release readiness prep.

Release Readiness Live

Jennifer is the host of Admin Release Readiness Live, where all the product experts at Salesforce come on the show to present their features and get you ready for what’s coming. You also get to see a roadmap of what’s coming next and the vision of where everything is going. Or at least some forward-looking statements.

Most importantly, you can tune in and ask the experts any questions you may have, live. It’s the best way to get the admin-specific updates you want to hear.

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Nana Gregg, Solution Architect and Learning and Development Manager at VFP Consulting.

Join us as we talk about the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit, why your background matters much more than you think when you’re trying to be an Admin, and why the Skills Kit helps employers looking to hire Admins, too.

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

Nana’s EASY Methodology

You might recognize Nana from her stint as an Admin Keynote speaker at Dreamforce ‘18. “What I said to Parker is that it’s actually easy to be an Awesome Admin,” she says, but that’s an acronym for her EASY Methodology:

  • E: Embrace change. Everything changes in tech every single day, and you need to embrace that and go with it.
  • A: Always be learning. There are three new releases a year, not to mention what’s happening in your business and org.
  • S: Show and tell. As Nana says, “When you build it, they will come.” Show what you’re working on and tell them about it!
  • Y: You got this, and if you need help, you have the power of the community behind you.

Your background is just as valuable as your tech skills

With the recent launch of the Admins Skills Kit, we wanted to talk to Nana about how that squares with her EASY Methodology. It’s a recipe for success for Admins and also a guide to help employers figure out what to look for when they’re hiring.

As an accidental Admin, Nana can relate to just how many skills you need to bring to your job that aren’t necessarily technology-facing. No matter your background, there are skills you’ve picked up along your journey that can help you to succeed as an Admin and now you can name them and market them. She sees how things like learner’s mindset, change management, and project management fits into the framework she laid out at Dreamforce four years ago.

Why the Skills Kit matters to employers

As someone who now is in the position to hire Admins, Nana also appreciates how helpful the Admin Skills Kit is as a framework for people making that job posting. When you’re sitting on the other side of it, you might see “Salesforce” and throw in every developer buzz word you can think of hoping you’re saying the right thing, or you might see “Administrator” and go with that.

The Skills Kit not only lists out everything that goes into being an Admin and doing it well, it also gives concrete examples to let both Admins and employers know exactly what they’re looking for. And if you need help, each skill also has resources to help you Always be learning.

Be sure to listen to the full episode for all the great insights, including why S should maybe stand for Showcase your skills, and how the community helped Nana rebuild after a tornado hit her house.

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Direct download: Admin_Skills_Kit_with_Nana_Gregg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for May.

Join us as we talk about the latest and greatest Salesforce content from May and reflect on an amazing, in-person TrailheaDX.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation from our Monthly Retro.

TrailblazerDX

The April Retro dropped in the midst of TDX, so we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the amazing experience of being in person again. Many selfies were taken. We also launched the Salesforce Admins Skills Kit, a blueprint for the skills that help make a successful Salesforce Admin. It brings together all the skills beyond technical training that you need to succeed. There were so many great things going on at TDX so be sure to consult the wrap-up and listen to Mike and Gillian’s reflections on this episode.

Blog highlights from May

As we talk about all the skills that go into being an Admin that aren’t necessarily all about the technical side. This post highlights what goes into Business Analysis, and why it’s an essential skill for any Admin to cultivate.

Video highlights from May

Jennifer Lee has been a force of nature on the Admin Evangelist team. She’s doing a Youtube Live series where she uses automation and Flow to solve problems right in front of your very eyes. She stops and answers questions, too, so make sure to tune in and don’t miss this unique learning opportunity. Also, if you haven’t yet caught up on Release Readiness for Summer ‘22, make sure you get the low-down.

Podcast highlights from May

Gillian wanted to highlight two great pods from May. We got to meet Andrew Russo, a true Awesome Admin who broke down how he created a user management super app that does all that and a bag of chips. We also had Khushwant Singh on to demystify Experience Cloud. His team is up to all sorts of great work bringing dynamic forms to standard objects and improving performance all over the platform.

 

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Direct download: May_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Khushwant Singh, SVP, Product Management at Salesforce.

 

Join us as we talk about his role heading up all things Experience—not just Experience Cloud but Experience Services, too.

 

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

The Experience dream team

Khushwant, AKA “Khush”, heads up Experience at Salesforce. If that term is a little nebulous to you, you’re not alone, but Khush breaks it down for us. Experience Services brings a few teams together: the UI Platform team, the Experience Cloud team, the Mobile team, and the Mobify team. “We’re responsible for all things Experience, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board,” Khush says, “whether you’re building an experience for an employee, a customer, or partner.”

 

Lightning Experience has really changed the game for Admins in terms of stepping up in their thinking about design, but Khush points out there’s also a bit of a divide there. “If you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder,” he says, “but as a Salesforce Admin or Developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints.”

Re-architecting to improve scaling, performance, and customizability

Experience Cloud is a very flexible tool that you should really look into if you haven’t yet. You can use it build out a simple marketing website, a self-service destination like a help center or account management site, or even a channel reselling portal or commerce storefront.

 

While Lightning and Aura have done a lot to enable Admins to build out things they never thought possible with low code and fast time to market, Khush admits we seem to have hit a wall from a performance, scale, and customizability point of view. To address that, they’ve been re-architecting to let you build new things more easily at a consumer-grade scale.

What’s next for Experience Cloud

One thing that will be going live soon (forward looking statement) is a major performance boost to public-facing apps and sites. They’ve revamped the out-of-the-box CDN (Content Delivery Network) to allow public aspects of your site and mobile apps to be cached at endpoints closer to the consumer, enabling much faster delivery. One other change is adding dynamic image resizing so the same image looks equally good on mobile, desktop, and tablet. The best part is these and many more improvements are enabled by default, so you get the performance boost without having to lift a finger.

 

Looking forward, Khush and his team are revamping the Salesforce Content Management System (CMS) to make it more robust, powerful, and responsive. They’re breaking down the barriers and rolling out the advanced version of Salesforce CMS to all customers for free, and you can get access to the new-and-improved JSON-based CMS 2.0 beta with an opt-in.

 

Khush also gives a preview into what he and his team are working on to make improvements to data to, for example, bring Dynamic Forms to all standard objects, and even more goodies for desktop, mobile, and everything in between. Make sure you listen to the full episode to hear what’s coming your way soon.

 

 

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we have a really fun episode lined up for you. We are talking with Khushwant Singh, AKA Kush, who's SVP of Product Management here at Salesforce, in charge of all things experience. And I mean all things experience, not just experience cloud, but Experience Services. And if you're wondering what all that means, don't worry, he's going to answer that for you. So without further ado, let's get Kush on the pod. Kush, welcome to the podcast.

Khushwant Singh: Thank you, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: It's wonderful to have you on. I am very much looking forward to our discussion because we are talking about something that might be a little nebulous to some of us, especially if you've been in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while. We have experience cloud, Experience Services, experience all the things. Kush, clarify for us what all of that means.

Khushwant Singh: Well, Gillian, I wish I got that question, or rather I wish I had proactively answered that question at the recent TDX. So just a bit of a sidetrack, a little, for those of you who attended the recent TDX, we had a true to the call session where a few of us were up on stage and I introduced myself as, "My name's Kush, I'm a product manager and I work on all things experiences." Now, I honestly thought that I would be inundated with questions, but I realized that I actually got zero questions, and I realized that people just probably didn't get what all things experience means. So I'm going to learn from that, and be very clear in our conversation over here. So taking a step back, when we say, we just recently realigned some of our teams internally, and we've created this group internally called Experience Services. And what Experience Services is, is that it brings together a few teams together.
First and foremost, we have our UI platform team. And so from a UI platform perspective, think of it as all things web runtime, whether it's Aura, Lightning Web Runtime, LWC or Lightning Web Components. It includes things that all of the good components you have in Lex, so the record forms, lists, performance, et cetera, so that's the UI platform team. Then we also brought the experience cloud team, which really is, takes all the goodness that we have in Lex, and manifests it to customers and partners, external facing customers and partners. We do have instances where it's also facing employees as employee intranets, but it takes all of that goodness. We also brought together our mobile teams. So whether that's the Salesforce Flagship mobile app, whether that's our mobile SDK, whether that's taking an experience cloud side and creating a hybrid mobile app out of it through Mobile Publisher, we brought the mobile team together as well.
And then finally, we brought the MobiFi team, which some of you may know as the managed runtime offering to build out these progressive web apps for commercial use cases. So in a nutshell, this Experience Services team brings together the UI platform, brings together experience cloud, brings together the mobile teams and brings MobiFi together. So what we can do now is collectively, we are responsible for all things experiences, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board, whether you're building an experience for an employee, a customer, or a partner for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: So that was really helpful, it helped me understand this because again, experience is one of those words that, especially as a Salesforce admin, we're always thinking about our end users experience. That's our whole goal is to make it seamless and make it really useful. But as you just described, experiences is so many things. And I really appreciate that you have explained how the teams are uniting under this umbrella, to really think about the holistic picture when it comes to these different experiences pieces. UI, designers' mindset, is one of the core admin skills that we have because it's always thinking about how is my user experience in this? How can I maximize that experience, make it more efficient? And when you talk about Lightning experience that, God, talk about something that changed the game for admins.

Khushwant Singh: I know, it did. It did entirely. It changed the game, but it also in full transparency, we added a bit of a divide as well. So if you take examples where you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder. You have a set of record components that look gloriously well on Lex, but they may not surface all of the capabilities, the actions don't surface in the Experience Builder or vice versa, the branding, the themeing, the mobile web responsiveness aspect of things that show up on Experience Builder, don't show up in the App Builder side of things. And so we have introduced this divide, which actually has made our... Well, each team has done a phenomenal job in going deep in their use cases, it's been at an expense of a divide where, as a Salesforce admin, as a Salesforce developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints. You might be a Salesforce admin for a company that is using Salesforce for their employee experience. For example, the service agents.
Similarly, within your same company, you may have an endpoint, a customer help center, which is customer facing, or you might be selling products through channels, which is also partner facing, and you want your investments to be able to run across ideally. So again, all teams have done great in their specific areas, but by bringing us together, we are really hopeful that we can deliver more value for our Salesforce admins and our developers as they manage all of these various endpoints.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think as a company, for someone who's maybe been in the ecosystem for a long time, this is a familiar road, is that we develop something really close. One team goes down and develops this new way of doing something and then we have shadow examples of it happening all separately within the company. And then, hey, let's bring everybody together, let's make this a more cohesive, holistic experience for our admins, for our developers. And it's exciting to bring all those really smart brains together to work together versus everyone working in a silo.

Khushwant Singh: Indeed. And I think it's also indicative of trying to complete what we start. I think we've heard from admins, just this recent TDX, I mean, and at every TDX or any Dreamforce we do, any through the core session or any feedback we get from our MVPs and our admins out there, developers. They'll give us feedback, which is actually quite true. We start something, but we don't complete it. We say something that we will deliver something, but we, at times, don't deliver it. And so I think by bringing all of our teams together, that manage experience, I think it really... Organizational differences should not be the reason why we are not able to complete what we start or deliver what we say we will deliver. And so we are really hopeful that we'll be able to actually address those two key areas.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've always heard the joke. We don't want to let our org chart show.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Across both desktop and mobile for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Yeah. So Kush, before we get a little bit further, I mean, clearly you've got a big undertaking that you and your teams are doing. Can you tell me a little bit about you and how you got here? How long have you been at Salesforce because all of these works have been in progress for a long time. You mentioned when we released Lightning experience. Tell me a little bit about your background.

Khushwant Singh: Oh yeah, sure. So I've been at Salesforce, I think, May sometime this month is my seventh year anniversary.

Gillian Bruce: Congratulations.

Khushwant Singh: Thank you. And I have truly enjoyed every single day of my time here at Salesforce. If you look at my background, I rarely spend more than five to six years in a company. And the fact that I'm here for the seventh year and still super challenged, just speaks towards what Salesforce offers from a challenge, point of view. There's always something new, there's always a new challenge for us to work on. And I've actually spent probably six and a half or six and three quarters of that seven years working on Experience Cloud. And so most of my background is from a B2C side of things. I spend some time at eBay, at Microsoft, at a startup called Mozi, working on a number of B2C oriented products. And I wanted to build products in an enterprise setting for enterprise, but I didn't want to veer too far away from the consumer side of things, the B2C side of things. And Experience Cloud really helped me walk that fine line where you're building these digital experience products that are used by enterprises for their customers, for their partners. So it really gave me a good middle ground.
That said, Experience Cloud is a, it's a platform upon the overall Salesforce platform. And so over the last six and a half years or so, I've had the opportunity to work with some immensely dedicated individuals on the platform side of things as well. And so that bring a lot of the goodness that we see in Lex and Experience Cloud and Mobile to life. And so bringing the teams together was like bringing a group of old friends together.

Gillian Bruce: I love that, getting the band back together, that's good.

Khushwant Singh: There you go.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So let's talk a little bit about what's currently going on in Experience Cloud. So I know there were some good announcements at Dreamforce last year, at DBX this year. Can you talk a little bit about where we're currently at with Experience Cloud and why maybe an admin who hasn't yet dabbled in Experience Cloud might consider it?

Khushwant Singh: Sure. So again, just to level set, one more time, a customer uses Experience Cloud for a number of use cases. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a simple marketing website, corporate website. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a self-service destination, so that self-service destination could be a help center, where you want to surface your knowledge base articles, where you wish to surface chat bots, where you wish to, for example, give your customers the ability to log in and manage their account, manage their profile for that matter. Similarly, you could use Experience Cloud to build out a channel reseller portal, where you may not be selling direct or you may be selling direct, but you also sell through your various channels and you need a way to manage your channels. You could use Experience Cloud to build a commerce storefront, whether it's a B2B commerce storefront, a B2C commerce storefront, et cetera.
So Experience Cloud, you can use it for a variety of different customer facing, partner facing use cases. In fact, I should also mention employee facing use cases. You could build out a company intranet for that very matter as well. And so over the last years, last few years with introduction of Lightning and Aura, for that matter, it really revolutionized the ability for our customers to build all of this out in a very low code, fast time to market aspect of things. And we've seen phenomenal adoption, super humbled, by the adoption, we've gotten North of 70,000 odd sites. I think our MAU is around, our monthly active usage is maybe about 40 to 50 million. We have a daily active usage of about five to 6 million. And so, I mean, again, super thankful to all of the customers and the admins and the developers out there who have invested so much of their time in Experience Cloud.
That said, as with every technology, there comes a time where you've hit a bit of a wall and we hit a wall with Aura, from a performance, from a scale, from a customizability point of view. Where you can see that as you are trying to build out these next generation consumer grade experiences like storefronts, like websites, even these consumer grade portals, where you expect an iPhone like Experience, whether it's employee facing or customer facing experience. So we hit a bit of a wall with Aura. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we've been, for lack of a better way to put it, somewhat silent in terms of our feature deliverables. Sure, we've been delivering a few features here and there, but like our MVP, we have a really passionate and amazing MVP out there. His name is Phil Weinmeister-

Gillian Bruce: Yes. We know Phil very well.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so I think many of you must have seen his post where he's actually tracking the number of features that Experience Cloud launches. And he showed this bar graph, that showed the decreasing number of features over the last 18 months. And I replied to him and again, huge respect for Phil. And the fact of the matter is that we've had to go under the hood and rebuild from ground up using Lightning Web Runtime, using Lightning Web Components, so that we can actually deliver this consumer grade scale and performance and customizability, whether it's a B2B, B2C or B2E type of use case. And so we've been "silent for a while" but I'm super excited at what's coming in this summer release, and what's going to go. A lot of it going to go generally available this winter release. So again, long story short, we have been re-architecting for consumer grade across the entire customer journey.
So whether you're looking at an awareness use case, whether you're looking for an acquisition use case, a service use case, a loyalty use case, you want to deliver consumer grade across the board. And with Lightning Web Runtime, with Lightning Web Components, we do believe that we've got the right foundation upon which we can actually deliver these experiences. So that's the overarching area where we're headed.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's impressive. I mean, we talk, especially even as admins, we have our own technical that we accrue over many years of admining a specific org. And sometimes you do, you got to just go back, peel back the covers and go in and make sure everything, the foundations are updated and running better. And hey, if you got a system that's not working for you, you got to invest the time and pause on the new stuff for a minute. Let's make the core stuff really work and function so that we can continue to build. So I love that transparency. I think it's really useful to help our admins and everybody understand what all of the hard work that your team is doing. And yeah, I mean, hey, now that we talked about all the hard work that you've all been doing, let's talk about some of the shiny new fun things that you have coming down the page.

Khushwant Singh: Yeah, of course. So now I think on that note, I do also want to underscore that we have so many, all of that adoption stats that I talked about, they're all visual force or mostly Aura investments. And I want to underscore that we're not just leaving Aura or VF behind. And so there are many aspects that customers on Aura or customers on VF would also be able to benefit from. So let's dive into those shiny aspects of things. So I think if we think of this as maybe a stack diagram, maybe we'll start at the lowest level of infrastructure. What are we doing from an infrastructure point of view to help deliver that consumer grade type of experiences? So, first and foremost, we've invested a fair amount of time and effort to deliver performance. And so, one of the things you'll start to notice is, our out of the box CDN, so behind the scenes we work with Akamai, and what that does is that it allows, it just provides customers an out of the box CDN that they can actually choose to use.

Gillian Bruce: So Kush, before we go forward, what is a CDN? Let's break down that.

Khushwant Singh: Sure. It's a content delivery network. What that does is it allows your public aspects of your site, of your mobile app to be cashed on these endpoints, which are closer to the consumer, and so that allows for faster delivery. And if it doesn't change, if that public information doesn't change very much, it's served out of cash versus another round hub back. So again, at the end of the day, it's about better delivery of, faster delivery of the experience. Now this used to be a bit of an opt in thing and so what we have done now is as of spring and summer and winter, what we're doing is behind the scenes, we are rolling out as part of the secure domains effort, as secure domains is being enabled across all net new sites and existing sites. We are just enabling the default CDN by default, so it's an opt out versus an opt in.
So from that perspective, we are trying to ensure that everyone gets a phenomenal performance from the get go. Now, similarly, another thing that we are really excited about is, and the teams working on it, is as part of the out the box, CDN from an infrastructure point of view is being able to get more capabilities out of that, out of CDN. Now, have you gone to a site where the images look really weird, wonky, feels like this is a desktop site they're trying to throw onto a mobile or a tablet?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Everything's out of perspective. And you got to try and scroll weird ways. Yeah.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. So another thing that if you use the out of the box CDN, another thing that our customers can look forward to is dynamic image resizing. So when you are the same image renders well on a mobile, a tablet, a desktop, and similarly, if you are an admin, you may inadvertently upload a, I don't know what? 20 MB file, image, and then say, "Look, why is my site loading so slowly?" And so what we're trying to do is also correct that, where you may upload a 20MB file, please don't, but what we'll do on our side, on the CDN side of things, we'll resize that and ensure that we are delivering a more optimized image to the customer. So that's another thing that we are really excited about, from an infrastructure point of view. So lots of good work happening from a perf point of view.
Now, then there is scale. So from a scale point of view, we have aspects like concurrency. So concurrent user scale, so how many users can you support on that portal? Concurrent read scale, so how many requests are coming in concurrently? And before the site just says, "Look I can't handle this." And concurrent rights. So for example, you may be running a promotion and that promotion, you may advertise that on Twitter or on Instagram, and then you suddenly have this massive surge of folks coming to your site and they all want to sign up to know when it's going to be made available. How do we ensure that those rights don't kneel over and just fall over? So again, a lot of the work that we are doing around infrastructure, whether it's performance and scale, are things that we have been rolling out slowly over the last few releases. And then we really look to bring it home over the course of the summer and the winter releases, so that's from an infrastructure point of view.

Gillian Bruce: Nice.

Khushwant Singh: Now, as we move up the stack, we can talk about things like data and content. Now, let's start off with content Salesforce in general, has had a bit of a content management gap for a little while. And we have customers using third party content management systems, et cetera, to compliment the data investments that they have in Salesforce. Now, probably I would say 24 months back, we introduced Salesforce CMS, which was, for the very first time a content management system from Salesforce. Now, what we've come to realize over the 24 months is that boy, do we need a lot more improvements to it. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we have been actually re-architecting the content management system from ground up. It is going to be JSON based. So very standard point of view.
JSON also would allow our customers to model many different types of content, whether that content is a blog, an email et cetera. Very extensible, so from that point of view, if we don't offer something out of the box, you can add a sidebar extension that allows you, like Grammarly that would say, "Hey, look," while you're typing this thing, it's telling you, you should add X, Y, and Z, et cetera. We also, 24 months back introduced two versions of the content management system. One was a free version, included version I would say, I shouldn't say free, the included version, and the other one was the paid version. What we realized really was, you know what, it's just artificial. Our customers really, they're coming to Salesforce for a variety of different use cases and content really should be something that supports and brings those use cases to life.
And so what we have done is as of the summer release, we have basically provided the paid CMS, which we have gotten rid of, and just given it, included it as part of all experienced cloud licenses. In fact there are so many licenses out there at Salesforce that use Experienced Cloud licenses. And so as of this summer, all of our customers will get the advanced version of content management. And at the same time, they will get access to the beta version of this new, what we call CMS 2.0 internally, we call that the JSON based. They'll get beta access to that as well, without any sort of opt-in, there's a check box, they have to check and they'll be able to take it for a spin. But we look to make that CMS 2.0, our next version of CMS generally available in the winter timeframe as well. So that's another massive uplift and improvement that we're doing from a content management point of view. And democratizing content altogether.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. I mean, I know admins are going to be very excited to be able to access that great capability without having to jump through any additional hoops to get it. So thank you.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Now, let's talk about data. Now, when we think about the data side of things, this is where a lot of our investments, at least from an Experience services point of view is that we have teams that are experts in records, Dynamic Forms, lists, and they're doing a lot of good work to expand. For example, Dynamic Forms today it's only available in custom objects, why? It should go across all standard objects. That's something that the team is working on. I'm really glad that we are going to stay really true to the fact that when we start something, we are going to end it and we are going to go all the way, at the same time this team is also working to bring all of that goodness across to not just employee facing experiences in Lex but also to customer facing, partner facing experiences via Experience Cloud.
And so that's one example where, as one unit Experience Services, it really brings benefit across all of the various endpoints, whether it's Lexio Experience Cloud or mobile for that matter. So that's something that we are really looking forward to. And then over on top of that, the ability to surface that data, but represent it in different visualizations. So you may want to show a list view in the form of a grid or in the form of a certain set of tiles. Because again, you want to do that because it's customer facing, it's partner facing, you have to apply your style guide on it, et cetera. So that's all the goodness that you can expect to see over the course of the next two releases from a data point of view.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's major stuff. I know that Dynamic Forms is one of the top favorite admin feature overall. And so being able to bring that to standard objects will be huge. So thank you. Thank you on behalf of all admins everywhere.

Khushwant Singh: It's a shout out to all of the good teams that are working on that front. So we touched about infra, we touched about content, we touched about data. Now, let's touch about the UI run time itself, which is Lightning Web Runtime and Lightning Web Components. Clearly the degree of, out of the box components for Aura, there are a lot more out of the box components for Aura than they are for LWCs, no doubt about it. And so what we're trying to do is we are trying to catch up to a certain degree, but catch up in a way that is addressing the most important use cases from out the box component point of view, but at the same time, not sacrificing customizability. And so from an LWR point of view, a few things to call out.
One is, I'll start off first with, when you build a site with Experience Cloud and with LWR and LWCs, search is always a use case that comes up. And by search, we tend to just think maybe at times CRM search, but really our customers are thinking of it as site search. They want to be able to cut across whether it's a CRM, whether it's site meta information, like the page title, the site title, or something that's in a text, a rich text component, whether that's CMS content, whether those are products or any other objects, they want to be able to search the entire site.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. They don't know the differences between that, they just want to find what they need.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so for them, this is complexity that we should abstract from them. And so again, this is something that our customers can expect to see in beta, in the summer timeframe. And all goes, well, we're going to take the hood off and generally make it available in the winter timeframe, starting with site meta information and CMS content as part of the index. And then we're going to expand that to CRM and to other objects for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So just a reminder to all listeners, forward looking statement applies to everything that Kush just said, this is what happens when we get excited in product information. Yeah.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And that too, as well. Yes. So I think, again from an LWR point of view, there's just so much more maturity that customers can expect to see with LWR and Experience Cloud. Because whether it's out of the box components for content, for data, whether it's search, whether it is even the ability to deliver these dynamic experiences. So one of the things that our customers really appreciate in Aura is the ability to personalize the experience using CRM information. So show me this content, this data, if user.account equals to X, Y, Z, et cetera. And so the ability to deliver that type of personalization is key, but at the same time, they want to be able to do things like real time personalization. So using, for example, Evergage or interaction studio for that matter.
So as you're browsing the site or portal, you're able to get relevant information that's on the fly generated. So those are another aspects of LWR that we are investing in very heavily. So whether it's infrastructure, whether it's data, whether it's content, whether it's the UI framework and the various personalization aspects of things, lots of investment happening. Now, all of this has to translate and manifest on mobile. And so that's the other dimension that we are heavily investing in. So whether you are customizing the experience in design time, as an admin, to say, "Hey, look, you know what? I want to show this image on desktop, but another image on mobile, or I want to have this font you applied in mobile versus on desktop. I want to be able to take my LWR site and use Mobile Publisher to create a mobile app that I can deploy via the app stores." Those are all areas that we are working on over the course of the next two releases as well. So again, lots of excitement as we work across this entire site.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Lots coming. Well, Kush I so appreciate you taking the time to chat with us here on the podcast about all things, Experience Services, Experience Cloud. I know I got a lot of questions answered. I'm sure a lot of people listening are very happy to hear all of the things that you and your team are working on. And I'm sure they will have many more questions. So I'll include links to some of the great trailblazer community groups that you have set up for Lightning Experience and for Experience Cloud, for people to submit feedback. And thanks again for all of the work that you and your team do. And I look forward to checking back in with you after a couple releases here and coming back to what you all have done and hearing about what is even next from then on.

Khushwant Singh: For sure Gillian. I mean, I truly appreciate the opportunity. And again, to all our Salesforce admins, you are our eyes and ears out there. Feedback is a gift, please keep it coming. And we're so appreciative of all that you do for us.

Gillian Bruce: Huge, thanks to coach for taking the time to chat with us. He and his team have been so busy working on really important foundational improvements to both Experience Cloud and Experience Services. And it's so great to now understand what Experience Services mean because for us admins, it means a lot of the stuff that we use every day. So, hey, I don't know about you, but I'm excited about Dynamic Lightning pages coming for standard objects. Woo, woo. Again, forward looking statement, but I look forward to getting Kush back on the podcast to ask him about that once it has been released in a few releases. So if you want to learn more or you have more feedback about anything, Experience Cloud or Experience Services, Kush, and his team pay close attention to the trailblazer community. So go to the Lightning Experience group or the Experience Cloud group on the trailblazer community and put your feedback in there, put your questions in there. He's got an amazing team of very talented people.
And if you want to learn anything else about how you can be a successful Salesforce admin, go to my favorite website, admin.salesforce.com. There you can find other great podcasts, blogs, and videos to help you in your Salesforce admin journey. I also encourage you to check out the new Salesforce admin skills kit, which we just launched last month. And it is right there on the admin@salesforce.com webpage. Check it out, let me know what you think, we're going to do some great podcast episodes about that, coming up here real soon. If you want to follow my guest today, Kush, you can find him @Kush_singh. You can follow me @Gilliankbruce. And you can follow Mike, my amazing co-host @Mikegerholdt. You can follow everything awesome admin related @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. With that, I hope you have a great rest of your day and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: Experience_Cloud_with_Khushwant_Singh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Khushwant Singh, SVP, Product Management at Salesforce.

 

Join us as we talk about his role heading up all things Experience—not just Experience Cloud but Experience Services, too.

 

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

The Experience dream team

Khushwant, AKA “Khush”, heads up Experience at Salesforce. If that term is a little nebulous to you, you’re not alone, but Khush breaks it down for us. Experience Services brings a few teams together: the UI Platform team, the Experience Cloud team, the Mobile team, and the Mobify team. “We’re responsible for all things Experience, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board,” Khush says, “whether you’re building an experience for an employee, a customer, or partner.”

 

Lightning Experience has really changed the game for Admins in terms of stepping up in their thinking about design, but Khush points out there’s also a bit of a divide there. “If you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder,” he says, “but as a Salesforce Admin or Developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints.”

Re-architecting to improve scaling, performance, and customizability

Experience Cloud is a very flexible tool that you should really look into if you haven’t yet. You can use it build out a simple marketing website, a self-service destination like a help center or account management site, or even a channel reselling portal or commerce storefront.

 

While Lightning and Aura have done a lot to enable Admins to build out things they never thought possible with low code and fast time to market, Khush admits we seem to have hit a wall from a performance, scale, and customizability point of view. To address that, they’ve been re-architecting to let you build new things more easily at a consumer-grade scale.

What’s next for Experience Cloud

One thing that will be going live soon (forward looking statement) is a major performance boost to public-facing apps and sites. They’ve revamped the out-of-the-box CDN (Content Delivery Network) to allow public aspects of your site and mobile apps to be cached at endpoints closer to the consumer, enabling much faster delivery. One other change is adding dynamic image resizing so the same image looks equally good on mobile, desktop, and tablet. The best part is these and many more improvements are enabled by default, so you get the performance boost without having to lift a finger.

 

Looking forward, Khush and his team are revamping the Salesforce Content Management System (CMS) to make it more robust, powerful, and responsive. They’re breaking down the barriers and rolling out the advanced version of Salesforce CMS to all customers for free, and you can get access to the new-and-improved JSON-based CMS 2.0 beta with an opt-in.

 

Khush also gives a preview into what he and his team are working on to make improvements to data to, for example, bring Dynamic Forms to all standard objects, and even more goodies for desktop, mobile, and everything in between. Make sure you listen to the full episode to hear what’s coming your way soon.

 

 

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we have a really fun episode lined up for you. We are talking with Khushwant Singh, AKA Kush, who's SVP of Product Management here at Salesforce, in charge of all things experience. And I mean all things experience, not just experience cloud, but Experience Services. And if you're wondering what all that means, don't worry, he's going to answer that for you. So without further ado, let's get Kush on the pod. Kush, welcome to the podcast.

Khushwant Singh: Thank you, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: It's wonderful to have you on. I am very much looking forward to our discussion because we are talking about something that might be a little nebulous to some of us, especially if you've been in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while. We have experience cloud, Experience Services, experience all the things. Kush, clarify for us what all of that means.

Khushwant Singh: Well, Gillian, I wish I got that question, or rather I wish I had proactively answered that question at the recent TDX. So just a bit of a sidetrack, a little, for those of you who attended the recent TDX, we had a true to the call session where a few of us were up on stage and I introduced myself as, "My name's Kush, I'm a product manager and I work on all things experiences." Now, I honestly thought that I would be inundated with questions, but I realized that I actually got zero questions, and I realized that people just probably didn't get what all things experience means. So I'm going to learn from that, and be very clear in our conversation over here. So taking a step back, when we say, we just recently realigned some of our teams internally, and we've created this group internally called Experience Services. And what Experience Services is, is that it brings together a few teams together.
First and foremost, we have our UI platform team. And so from a UI platform perspective, think of it as all things web runtime, whether it's Aura, Lightning Web Runtime, LWC or Lightning Web Components. It includes things that all of the good components you have in Lex, so the record forms, lists, performance, et cetera, so that's the UI platform team. Then we also brought the experience cloud team, which really is, takes all the goodness that we have in Lex, and manifests it to customers and partners, external facing customers and partners. We do have instances where it's also facing employees as employee intranets, but it takes all of that goodness. We also brought together our mobile teams. So whether that's the Salesforce Flagship mobile app, whether that's our mobile SDK, whether that's taking an experience cloud side and creating a hybrid mobile app out of it through Mobile Publisher, we brought the mobile team together as well.
And then finally, we brought the MobiFi team, which some of you may know as the managed runtime offering to build out these progressive web apps for commercial use cases. So in a nutshell, this Experience Services team brings together the UI platform, brings together experience cloud, brings together the mobile teams and brings MobiFi together. So what we can do now is collectively, we are responsible for all things experiences, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board, whether you're building an experience for an employee, a customer, or a partner for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: So that was really helpful, it helped me understand this because again, experience is one of those words that, especially as a Salesforce admin, we're always thinking about our end users experience. That's our whole goal is to make it seamless and make it really useful. But as you just described, experiences is so many things. And I really appreciate that you have explained how the teams are uniting under this umbrella, to really think about the holistic picture when it comes to these different experiences pieces. UI, designers' mindset, is one of the core admin skills that we have because it's always thinking about how is my user experience in this? How can I maximize that experience, make it more efficient? And when you talk about Lightning experience that, God, talk about something that changed the game for admins.

Khushwant Singh: I know, it did. It did entirely. It changed the game, but it also in full transparency, we added a bit of a divide as well. So if you take examples where you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder. You have a set of record components that look gloriously well on Lex, but they may not surface all of the capabilities, the actions don't surface in the Experience Builder or vice versa, the branding, the themeing, the mobile web responsiveness aspect of things that show up on Experience Builder, don't show up in the App Builder side of things. And so we have introduced this divide, which actually has made our... Well, each team has done a phenomenal job in going deep in their use cases, it's been at an expense of a divide where, as a Salesforce admin, as a Salesforce developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints. You might be a Salesforce admin for a company that is using Salesforce for their employee experience. For example, the service agents.
Similarly, within your same company, you may have an endpoint, a customer help center, which is customer facing, or you might be selling products through channels, which is also partner facing, and you want your investments to be able to run across ideally. So again, all teams have done great in their specific areas, but by bringing us together, we are really hopeful that we can deliver more value for our Salesforce admins and our developers as they manage all of these various endpoints.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think as a company, for someone who's maybe been in the ecosystem for a long time, this is a familiar road, is that we develop something really close. One team goes down and develops this new way of doing something and then we have shadow examples of it happening all separately within the company. And then, hey, let's bring everybody together, let's make this a more cohesive, holistic experience for our admins, for our developers. And it's exciting to bring all those really smart brains together to work together versus everyone working in a silo.

Khushwant Singh: Indeed. And I think it's also indicative of trying to complete what we start. I think we've heard from admins, just this recent TDX, I mean, and at every TDX or any Dreamforce we do, any through the core session or any feedback we get from our MVPs and our admins out there, developers. They'll give us feedback, which is actually quite true. We start something, but we don't complete it. We say something that we will deliver something, but we, at times, don't deliver it. And so I think by bringing all of our teams together, that manage experience, I think it really... Organizational differences should not be the reason why we are not able to complete what we start or deliver what we say we will deliver. And so we are really hopeful that we'll be able to actually address those two key areas.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've always heard the joke. We don't want to let our org chart show.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Across both desktop and mobile for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Yeah. So Kush, before we get a little bit further, I mean, clearly you've got a big undertaking that you and your teams are doing. Can you tell me a little bit about you and how you got here? How long have you been at Salesforce because all of these works have been in progress for a long time. You mentioned when we released Lightning experience. Tell me a little bit about your background.

Khushwant Singh: Oh yeah, sure. So I've been at Salesforce, I think, May sometime this month is my seventh year anniversary.

Gillian Bruce: Congratulations.

Khushwant Singh: Thank you. And I have truly enjoyed every single day of my time here at Salesforce. If you look at my background, I rarely spend more than five to six years in a company. And the fact that I'm here for the seventh year and still super challenged, just speaks towards what Salesforce offers from a challenge, point of view. There's always something new, there's always a new challenge for us to work on. And I've actually spent probably six and a half or six and three quarters of that seven years working on Experience Cloud. And so most of my background is from a B2C side of things. I spend some time at eBay, at Microsoft, at a startup called Mozi, working on a number of B2C oriented products. And I wanted to build products in an enterprise setting for enterprise, but I didn't want to veer too far away from the consumer side of things, the B2C side of things. And Experience Cloud really helped me walk that fine line where you're building these digital experience products that are used by enterprises for their customers, for their partners. So it really gave me a good middle ground.
That said, Experience Cloud is a, it's a platform upon the overall Salesforce platform. And so over the last six and a half years or so, I've had the opportunity to work with some immensely dedicated individuals on the platform side of things as well. And so that bring a lot of the goodness that we see in Lex and Experience Cloud and Mobile to life. And so bringing the teams together was like bringing a group of old friends together.

Gillian Bruce: I love that, getting the band back together, that's good.

Khushwant Singh: There you go.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So let's talk a little bit about what's currently going on in Experience Cloud. So I know there were some good announcements at Dreamforce last year, at DBX this year. Can you talk a little bit about where we're currently at with Experience Cloud and why maybe an admin who hasn't yet dabbled in Experience Cloud might consider it?

Khushwant Singh: Sure. So again, just to level set, one more time, a customer uses Experience Cloud for a number of use cases. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a simple marketing website, corporate website. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a self-service destination, so that self-service destination could be a help center, where you want to surface your knowledge base articles, where you wish to surface chat bots, where you wish to, for example, give your customers the ability to log in and manage their account, manage their profile for that matter. Similarly, you could use Experience Cloud to build out a channel reseller portal, where you may not be selling direct or you may be selling direct, but you also sell through your various channels and you need a way to manage your channels. You could use Experience Cloud to build a commerce storefront, whether it's a B2B commerce storefront, a B2C commerce storefront, et cetera.
So Experience Cloud, you can use it for a variety of different customer facing, partner facing use cases. In fact, I should also mention employee facing use cases. You could build out a company intranet for that very matter as well. And so over the last years, last few years with introduction of Lightning and Aura, for that matter, it really revolutionized the ability for our customers to build all of this out in a very low code, fast time to market aspect of things. And we've seen phenomenal adoption, super humbled, by the adoption, we've gotten North of 70,000 odd sites. I think our MAU is around, our monthly active usage is maybe about 40 to 50 million. We have a daily active usage of about five to 6 million. And so, I mean, again, super thankful to all of the customers and the admins and the developers out there who have invested so much of their time in Experience Cloud.
That said, as with every technology, there comes a time where you've hit a bit of a wall and we hit a wall with Aura, from a performance, from a scale, from a customizability point of view. Where you can see that as you are trying to build out these next generation consumer grade experiences like storefronts, like websites, even these consumer grade portals, where you expect an iPhone like Experience, whether it's employee facing or customer facing experience. So we hit a bit of a wall with Aura. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we've been, for lack of a better way to put it, somewhat silent in terms of our feature deliverables. Sure, we've been delivering a few features here and there, but like our MVP, we have a really passionate and amazing MVP out there. His name is Phil Weinmeister-

Gillian Bruce: Yes. We know Phil very well.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so I think many of you must have seen his post where he's actually tracking the number of features that Experience Cloud launches. And he showed this bar graph, that showed the decreasing number of features over the last 18 months. And I replied to him and again, huge respect for Phil. And the fact of the matter is that we've had to go under the hood and rebuild from ground up using Lightning Web Runtime, using Lightning Web Components, so that we can actually deliver this consumer grade scale and performance and customizability, whether it's a B2B, B2C or B2E type of use case. And so we've been "silent for a while" but I'm super excited at what's coming in this summer release, and what's going to go. A lot of it going to go generally available this winter release. So again, long story short, we have been re-architecting for consumer grade across the entire customer journey.
So whether you're looking at an awareness use case, whether you're looking for an acquisition use case, a service use case, a loyalty use case, you want to deliver consumer grade across the board. And with Lightning Web Runtime, with Lightning Web Components, we do believe that we've got the right foundation upon which we can actually deliver these experiences. So that's the overarching area where we're headed.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's impressive. I mean, we talk, especially even as admins, we have our own technical that we accrue over many years of admining a specific org. And sometimes you do, you got to just go back, peel back the covers and go in and make sure everything, the foundations are updated and running better. And hey, if you got a system that's not working for you, you got to invest the time and pause on the new stuff for a minute. Let's make the core stuff really work and function so that we can continue to build. So I love that transparency. I think it's really useful to help our admins and everybody understand what all of the hard work that your team is doing. And yeah, I mean, hey, now that we talked about all the hard work that you've all been doing, let's talk about some of the shiny new fun things that you have coming down the page.

Khushwant Singh: Yeah, of course. So now I think on that note, I do also want to underscore that we have so many, all of that adoption stats that I talked about, they're all visual force or mostly Aura investments. And I want to underscore that we're not just leaving Aura or VF behind. And so there are many aspects that customers on Aura or customers on VF would also be able to benefit from. So let's dive into those shiny aspects of things. So I think if we think of this as maybe a stack diagram, maybe we'll start at the lowest level of infrastructure. What are we doing from an infrastructure point of view to help deliver that consumer grade type of experiences? So, first and foremost, we've invested a fair amount of time and effort to deliver performance. And so, one of the things you'll start to notice is, our out of the box CDN, so behind the scenes we work with Akamai, and what that does is that it allows, it just provides customers an out of the box CDN that they can actually choose to use.

Gillian Bruce: So Kush, before we go forward, what is a CDN? Let's break down that.

Khushwant Singh: Sure. It's a content delivery network. What that does is it allows your public aspects of your site, of your mobile app to be cashed on these endpoints, which are closer to the consumer, and so that allows for faster delivery. And if it doesn't change, if that public information doesn't change very much, it's served out of cash versus another round hub back. So again, at the end of the day, it's about better delivery of, faster delivery of the experience. Now this used to be a bit of an opt in thing and so what we have done now is as of spring and summer and winter, what we're doing is behind the scenes, we are rolling out as part of the secure domains effort, as secure domains is being enabled across all net new sites and existing sites. We are just enabling the default CDN by default, so it's an opt out versus an opt in.
So from that perspective, we are trying to ensure that everyone gets a phenomenal performance from the get go. Now, similarly, another thing that we are really excited about is, and the teams working on it, is as part of the out the box, CDN from an infrastructure point of view is being able to get more capabilities out of that, out of CDN. Now, have you gone to a site where the images look really weird, wonky, feels like this is a desktop site they're trying to throw onto a mobile or a tablet?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Everything's out of perspective. And you got to try and scroll weird ways. Yeah.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. So another thing that if you use the out of the box CDN, another thing that our customers can look forward to is dynamic image resizing. So when you are the same image renders well on a mobile, a tablet, a desktop, and similarly, if you are an admin, you may inadvertently upload a, I don't know what? 20 MB file, image, and then say, "Look, why is my site loading so slowly?" And so what we're trying to do is also correct that, where you may upload a 20MB file, please don't, but what we'll do on our side, on the CDN side of things, we'll resize that and ensure that we are delivering a more optimized image to the customer. So that's another thing that we are really excited about, from an infrastructure point of view. So lots of good work happening from a perf point of view.
Now, then there is scale. So from a scale point of view, we have aspects like concurrency. So concurrent user scale, so how many users can you support on that portal? Concurrent read scale, so how many requests are coming in concurrently? And before the site just says, "Look I can't handle this." And concurrent rights. So for example, you may be running a promotion and that promotion, you may advertise that on Twitter or on Instagram, and then you suddenly have this massive surge of folks coming to your site and they all want to sign up to know when it's going to be made available. How do we ensure that those rights don't kneel over and just fall over? So again, a lot of the work that we are doing around infrastructure, whether it's performance and scale, are things that we have been rolling out slowly over the last few releases. And then we really look to bring it home over the course of the summer and the winter releases, so that's from an infrastructure point of view.

Gillian Bruce: Nice.

Khushwant Singh: Now, as we move up the stack, we can talk about things like data and content. Now, let's start off with content Salesforce in general, has had a bit of a content management gap for a little while. And we have customers using third party content management systems, et cetera, to compliment the data investments that they have in Salesforce. Now, probably I would say 24 months back, we introduced Salesforce CMS, which was, for the very first time a content management system from Salesforce. Now, what we've come to realize over the 24 months is that boy, do we need a lot more improvements to it. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we have been actually re-architecting the content management system from ground up. It is going to be JSON based. So very standard point of view.
JSON also would allow our customers to model many different types of content, whether that content is a blog, an email et cetera. Very extensible, so from that point of view, if we don't offer something out of the box, you can add a sidebar extension that allows you, like Grammarly that would say, "Hey, look," while you're typing this thing, it's telling you, you should add X, Y, and Z, et cetera. We also, 24 months back introduced two versions of the content management system. One was a free version, included version I would say, I shouldn't say free, the included version, and the other one was the paid version. What we realized really was, you know what, it's just artificial. Our customers really, they're coming to Salesforce for a variety of different use cases and content really should be something that supports and brings those use cases to life.
And so what we have done is as of the summer release, we have basically provided the paid CMS, which we have gotten rid of, and just given it, included it as part of all experienced cloud licenses. In fact there are so many licenses out there at Salesforce that use Experienced Cloud licenses. And so as of this summer, all of our customers will get the advanced version of content management. And at the same time, they will get access to the beta version of this new, what we call CMS 2.0 internally, we call that the JSON based. They'll get beta access to that as well, without any sort of opt-in, there's a check box, they have to check and they'll be able to take it for a spin. But we look to make that CMS 2.0, our next version of CMS generally available in the winter timeframe as well. So that's another massive uplift and improvement that we're doing from a content management point of view. And democratizing content altogether.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. I mean, I know admins are going to be very excited to be able to access that great capability without having to jump through any additional hoops to get it. So thank you.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Now, let's talk about data. Now, when we think about the data side of things, this is where a lot of our investments, at least from an Experience services point of view is that we have teams that are experts in records, Dynamic Forms, lists, and they're doing a lot of good work to expand. For example, Dynamic Forms today it's only available in custom objects, why? It should go across all standard objects. That's something that the team is working on. I'm really glad that we are going to stay really true to the fact that when we start something, we are going to end it and we are going to go all the way, at the same time this team is also working to bring all of that goodness across to not just employee facing experiences in Lex but also to customer facing, partner facing experiences via Experience Cloud.
And so that's one example where, as one unit Experience Services, it really brings benefit across all of the various endpoints, whether it's Lexio Experience Cloud or mobile for that matter. So that's something that we are really looking forward to. And then over on top of that, the ability to surface that data, but represent it in different visualizations. So you may want to show a list view in the form of a grid or in the form of a certain set of tiles. Because again, you want to do that because it's customer facing, it's partner facing, you have to apply your style guide on it, et cetera. So that's all the goodness that you can expect to see over the course of the next two releases from a data point of view.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's major stuff. I know that Dynamic Forms is one of the top favorite admin feature overall. And so being able to bring that to standard objects will be huge. So thank you. Thank you on behalf of all admins everywhere.

Khushwant Singh: It's a shout out to all of the good teams that are working on that front. So we touched about infra, we touched about content, we touched about data. Now, let's touch about the UI run time itself, which is Lightning Web Runtime and Lightning Web Components. Clearly the degree of, out of the box components for Aura, there are a lot more out of the box components for Aura than they are for LWCs, no doubt about it. And so what we're trying to do is we are trying to catch up to a certain degree, but catch up in a way that is addressing the most important use cases from out the box component point of view, but at the same time, not sacrificing customizability. And so from an LWR point of view, a few things to call out.
One is, I'll start off first with, when you build a site with Experience Cloud and with LWR and LWCs, search is always a use case that comes up. And by search, we tend to just think maybe at times CRM search, but really our customers are thinking of it as site search. They want to be able to cut across whether it's a CRM, whether it's site meta information, like the page title, the site title, or something that's in a text, a rich text component, whether that's CMS content, whether those are products or any other objects, they want to be able to search the entire site.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. They don't know the differences between that, they just want to find what they need.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so for them, this is complexity that we should abstract from them. And so again, this is something that our customers can expect to see in beta, in the summer timeframe. And all goes, well, we're going to take the hood off and generally make it available in the winter timeframe, starting with site meta information and CMS content as part of the index. And then we're going to expand that to CRM and to other objects for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So just a reminder to all listeners, forward looking statement applies to everything that Kush just said, this is what happens when we get excited in product information. Yeah.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And that too, as well. Yes. So I think, again from an LWR point of view, there's just so much more maturity that customers can expect to see with LWR and Experience Cloud. Because whether it's out of the box components for content, for data, whether it's search, whether it is even the ability to deliver these dynamic experiences. So one of the things that our customers really appreciate in Aura is the ability to personalize the experience using CRM information. So show me this content, this data, if user.account equals to X, Y, Z, et cetera. And so the ability to deliver that type of personalization is key, but at the same time, they want to be able to do things like real time personalization. So using, for example, Evergage or interaction studio for that matter.
So as you're browsing the site or portal, you're able to get relevant information that's on the fly generated. So those are another aspects of LWR that we are investing in very heavily. So whether it's infrastructure, whether it's data, whether it's content, whether it's the UI framework and the various personalization aspects of things, lots of investment happening. Now, all of this has to translate and manifest on mobile. And so that's the other dimension that we are heavily investing in. So whether you are customizing the experience in design time, as an admin, to say, "Hey, look, you know what? I want to show this image on desktop, but another image on mobile, or I want to have this font you applied in mobile versus on desktop. I want to be able to take my LWR site and use Mobile Publisher to create a mobile app that I can deploy via the app stores." Those are all areas that we are working on over the course of the next two releases as well. So again, lots of excitement as we work across this entire site.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Lots coming. Well, Kush I so appreciate you taking the time to chat with us here on the podcast about all things, Experience Services, Experience Cloud. I know I got a lot of questions answered. I'm sure a lot of people listening are very happy to hear all of the things that you and your team are working on. And I'm sure they will have many more questions. So I'll include links to some of the great trailblazer community groups that you have set up for Lightning Experience and for Experience Cloud, for people to submit feedback. And thanks again for all of the work that you and your team do. And I look forward to checking back in with you after a couple releases here and coming back to what you all have done and hearing about what is even next from then on.

Khushwant Singh: For sure Gillian. I mean, I truly appreciate the opportunity. And again, to all our Salesforce admins, you are our eyes and ears out there. Feedback is a gift, please keep it coming. And we're so appreciative of all that you do for us.

Gillian Bruce: Huge, thanks to coach for taking the time to chat with us. He and his team have been so busy working on really important foundational improvements to both Experience Cloud and Experience Services. And it's so great to now understand what Experience Services mean because for us admins, it means a lot of the stuff that we use every day. So, hey, I don't know about you, but I'm excited about Dynamic Lightning pages coming for standard objects. Woo, woo. Again, forward looking statement, but I look forward to getting Kush back on the podcast to ask him about that once it has been released in a few releases. So if you want to learn more or you have more feedback about anything, Experience Cloud or Experience Services, Kush, and his team pay close attention to the trailblazer community. So go to the Lightning Experience group or the Experience Cloud group on the trailblazer community and put your feedback in there, put your questions in there. He's got an amazing team of very talented people.
And if you want to learn anything else about how you can be a successful Salesforce admin, go to my favorite website, admin.salesforce.com. There you can find other great podcasts, blogs, and videos to help you in your Salesforce admin journey. I also encourage you to check out the new Salesforce admin skills kit, which we just launched last month. And it is right there on the admin@salesforce.com webpage. Check it out, let me know what you think, we're going to do some great podcast episodes about that, coming up here real soon. If you want to follow my guest today, Kush, you can find him @Kush_singh. You can follow me @Gilliankbruce. And you can follow Mike, my amazing co-host @Mikegerholdt. You can follow everything awesome admin related @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. With that, I hope you have a great rest of your day and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: Experience_Cloud_with_Khushwant_Singh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Khushwant Singh, SVP, Product Management at Salesforce.

 

Join us as we talk about his role heading up all things Experience—not just Experience Cloud but Experience Services, too.

 

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

The Experience dream team

Khushwant, AKA “Khush”, heads up Experience at Salesforce. If that term is a little nebulous to you, you’re not alone, but Khush breaks it down for us. Experience Services brings a few teams together: the UI Platform team, the Experience Cloud team, the Mobile team, and the Mobify team. “We’re responsible for all things Experience, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board,” Khush says, “whether you’re building an experience for an employee, a customer, or partner.”

 

Lightning Experience has really changed the game for Admins in terms of stepping up in their thinking about design, but Khush points out there’s also a bit of a divide there. “If you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder,” he says, “but as a Salesforce Admin or Developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints.”

Re-architecting to improve scaling, performance, and customizability

Experience Cloud is a very flexible tool that you should really look into if you haven’t yet. You can use it build out a simple marketing website, a self-service destination like a help center or account management site, or even a channel reselling portal or commerce storefront.

 

While Lightning and Aura have done a lot to enable Admins to build out things they never thought possible with low code and fast time to market, Khush admits we seem to have hit a wall from a performance, scale, and customizability point of view. To address that, they’ve been re-architecting to let you build new things more easily at a consumer-grade scale.

What’s next for Experience Cloud

One thing that will be going live soon (forward looking statement) is a major performance boost to public-facing apps and sites. They’ve revamped the out-of-the-box CDN (Content Delivery Network) to allow public aspects of your site and mobile apps to be cached at endpoints closer to the consumer, enabling much faster delivery. One other change is adding dynamic image resizing so the same image looks equally good on mobile, desktop, and tablet. The best part is these and many more improvements are enabled by default, so you get the performance boost without having to lift a finger.

 

Looking forward, Khush and his team are revamping the Salesforce Content Management System (CMS) to make it more robust, powerful, and responsive. They’re breaking down the barriers and rolling out the advanced version of Salesforce CMS to all customers for free, and you can get access to the new-and-improved JSON-based CMS 2.0 beta with an opt-in.

 

Khush also gives a preview into what he and his team are working on to make improvements to data to, for example, bring Dynamic Forms to all standard objects, and even more goodies for desktop, mobile, and everything in between. Make sure you listen to the full episode to hear what’s coming your way soon.

 

 

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm your host today, Gillian Bruce, and we have a really fun episode lined up for you. We are talking with Khushwant Singh, AKA Kush, who's SVP of Product Management here at Salesforce, in charge of all things experience. And I mean all things experience, not just experience cloud, but Experience Services. And if you're wondering what all that means, don't worry, he's going to answer that for you. So without further ado, let's get Kush on the pod. Kush, welcome to the podcast.

Khushwant Singh: Thank you, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: It's wonderful to have you on. I am very much looking forward to our discussion because we are talking about something that might be a little nebulous to some of us, especially if you've been in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while. We have experience cloud, Experience Services, experience all the things. Kush, clarify for us what all of that means.

Khushwant Singh: Well, Gillian, I wish I got that question, or rather I wish I had proactively answered that question at the recent TDX. So just a bit of a sidetrack, a little, for those of you who attended the recent TDX, we had a true to the call session where a few of us were up on stage and I introduced myself as, "My name's Kush, I'm a product manager and I work on all things experiences." Now, I honestly thought that I would be inundated with questions, but I realized that I actually got zero questions, and I realized that people just probably didn't get what all things experience means. So I'm going to learn from that, and be very clear in our conversation over here. So taking a step back, when we say, we just recently realigned some of our teams internally, and we've created this group internally called Experience Services. And what Experience Services is, is that it brings together a few teams together.
First and foremost, we have our UI platform team. And so from a UI platform perspective, think of it as all things web runtime, whether it's Aura, Lightning Web Runtime, LWC or Lightning Web Components. It includes things that all of the good components you have in Lex, so the record forms, lists, performance, et cetera, so that's the UI platform team. Then we also brought the experience cloud team, which really is, takes all the goodness that we have in Lex, and manifests it to customers and partners, external facing customers and partners. We do have instances where it's also facing employees as employee intranets, but it takes all of that goodness. We also brought together our mobile teams. So whether that's the Salesforce Flagship mobile app, whether that's our mobile SDK, whether that's taking an experience cloud side and creating a hybrid mobile app out of it through Mobile Publisher, we brought the mobile team together as well.
And then finally, we brought the MobiFi team, which some of you may know as the managed runtime offering to build out these progressive web apps for commercial use cases. So in a nutshell, this Experience Services team brings together the UI platform, brings together experience cloud, brings together the mobile teams and brings MobiFi together. So what we can do now is collectively, we are responsible for all things experiences, and it helps us build a common product strategy across the board, whether you're building an experience for an employee, a customer, or a partner for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: So that was really helpful, it helped me understand this because again, experience is one of those words that, especially as a Salesforce admin, we're always thinking about our end users experience. That's our whole goal is to make it seamless and make it really useful. But as you just described, experiences is so many things. And I really appreciate that you have explained how the teams are uniting under this umbrella, to really think about the holistic picture when it comes to these different experiences pieces. UI, designers' mindset, is one of the core admin skills that we have because it's always thinking about how is my user experience in this? How can I maximize that experience, make it more efficient? And when you talk about Lightning experience that, God, talk about something that changed the game for admins.

Khushwant Singh: I know, it did. It did entirely. It changed the game, but it also in full transparency, we added a bit of a divide as well. So if you take examples where you build a component for the App Builder, it may or may not work in the Experience Builder. You have a set of record components that look gloriously well on Lex, but they may not surface all of the capabilities, the actions don't surface in the Experience Builder or vice versa, the branding, the themeing, the mobile web responsiveness aspect of things that show up on Experience Builder, don't show up in the App Builder side of things. And so we have introduced this divide, which actually has made our... Well, each team has done a phenomenal job in going deep in their use cases, it's been at an expense of a divide where, as a Salesforce admin, as a Salesforce developer, you want your investments to go across all of your various endpoints. You might be a Salesforce admin for a company that is using Salesforce for their employee experience. For example, the service agents.
Similarly, within your same company, you may have an endpoint, a customer help center, which is customer facing, or you might be selling products through channels, which is also partner facing, and you want your investments to be able to run across ideally. So again, all teams have done great in their specific areas, but by bringing us together, we are really hopeful that we can deliver more value for our Salesforce admins and our developers as they manage all of these various endpoints.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think as a company, for someone who's maybe been in the ecosystem for a long time, this is a familiar road, is that we develop something really close. One team goes down and develops this new way of doing something and then we have shadow examples of it happening all separately within the company. And then, hey, let's bring everybody together, let's make this a more cohesive, holistic experience for our admins, for our developers. And it's exciting to bring all those really smart brains together to work together versus everyone working in a silo.

Khushwant Singh: Indeed. And I think it's also indicative of trying to complete what we start. I think we've heard from admins, just this recent TDX, I mean, and at every TDX or any Dreamforce we do, any through the core session or any feedback we get from our MVPs and our admins out there, developers. They'll give us feedback, which is actually quite true. We start something, but we don't complete it. We say something that we will deliver something, but we, at times, don't deliver it. And so I think by bringing all of our teams together, that manage experience, I think it really... Organizational differences should not be the reason why we are not able to complete what we start or deliver what we say we will deliver. And so we are really hopeful that we'll be able to actually address those two key areas.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've always heard the joke. We don't want to let our org chart show.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. Across both desktop and mobile for that matter.

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Yeah. So Kush, before we get a little bit further, I mean, clearly you've got a big undertaking that you and your teams are doing. Can you tell me a little bit about you and how you got here? How long have you been at Salesforce because all of these works have been in progress for a long time. You mentioned when we released Lightning experience. Tell me a little bit about your background.

Khushwant Singh: Oh yeah, sure. So I've been at Salesforce, I think, May sometime this month is my seventh year anniversary.

Gillian Bruce: Congratulations.

Khushwant Singh: Thank you. And I have truly enjoyed every single day of my time here at Salesforce. If you look at my background, I rarely spend more than five to six years in a company. And the fact that I'm here for the seventh year and still super challenged, just speaks towards what Salesforce offers from a challenge, point of view. There's always something new, there's always a new challenge for us to work on. And I've actually spent probably six and a half or six and three quarters of that seven years working on Experience Cloud. And so most of my background is from a B2C side of things. I spend some time at eBay, at Microsoft, at a startup called Mozi, working on a number of B2C oriented products. And I wanted to build products in an enterprise setting for enterprise, but I didn't want to veer too far away from the consumer side of things, the B2C side of things. And Experience Cloud really helped me walk that fine line where you're building these digital experience products that are used by enterprises for their customers, for their partners. So it really gave me a good middle ground.
That said, Experience Cloud is a, it's a platform upon the overall Salesforce platform. And so over the last six and a half years or so, I've had the opportunity to work with some immensely dedicated individuals on the platform side of things as well. And so that bring a lot of the goodness that we see in Lex and Experience Cloud and Mobile to life. And so bringing the teams together was like bringing a group of old friends together.

Gillian Bruce: I love that, getting the band back together, that's good.

Khushwant Singh: There you go.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So let's talk a little bit about what's currently going on in Experience Cloud. So I know there were some good announcements at Dreamforce last year, at DBX this year. Can you talk a little bit about where we're currently at with Experience Cloud and why maybe an admin who hasn't yet dabbled in Experience Cloud might consider it?

Khushwant Singh: Sure. So again, just to level set, one more time, a customer uses Experience Cloud for a number of use cases. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a simple marketing website, corporate website. You could use Experience Cloud to build out a self-service destination, so that self-service destination could be a help center, where you want to surface your knowledge base articles, where you wish to surface chat bots, where you wish to, for example, give your customers the ability to log in and manage their account, manage their profile for that matter. Similarly, you could use Experience Cloud to build out a channel reseller portal, where you may not be selling direct or you may be selling direct, but you also sell through your various channels and you need a way to manage your channels. You could use Experience Cloud to build a commerce storefront, whether it's a B2B commerce storefront, a B2C commerce storefront, et cetera.
So Experience Cloud, you can use it for a variety of different customer facing, partner facing use cases. In fact, I should also mention employee facing use cases. You could build out a company intranet for that very matter as well. And so over the last years, last few years with introduction of Lightning and Aura, for that matter, it really revolutionized the ability for our customers to build all of this out in a very low code, fast time to market aspect of things. And we've seen phenomenal adoption, super humbled, by the adoption, we've gotten North of 70,000 odd sites. I think our MAU is around, our monthly active usage is maybe about 40 to 50 million. We have a daily active usage of about five to 6 million. And so, I mean, again, super thankful to all of the customers and the admins and the developers out there who have invested so much of their time in Experience Cloud.
That said, as with every technology, there comes a time where you've hit a bit of a wall and we hit a wall with Aura, from a performance, from a scale, from a customizability point of view. Where you can see that as you are trying to build out these next generation consumer grade experiences like storefronts, like websites, even these consumer grade portals, where you expect an iPhone like Experience, whether it's employee facing or customer facing experience. So we hit a bit of a wall with Aura. And so over the last, I would say 18 months, we've been, for lack of a better way to put it, somewhat silent in terms of our feature deliverables. Sure, we've been delivering a few features here and there, but like our MVP, we have a really passionate and amazing MVP out there. His name is Phil Weinmeister-

Gillian Bruce: Yes. We know Phil very well.

Khushwant Singh: Exactly. And so I think many of you must have seen his post where he's actually tracking the number of features that Experience Cloud launches. And he showed this bar graph, that showed the decreasing number of features over the last 18 months. And I replied to him and again, huge respect for Phil. And the fact of the matter is that we've had to go under the hood and rebuild from ground up using Lightning Web Runtime, using Lightning Web Components, so that we can actually deliver this consumer grade scale and performance and customizability, whether it's a B2B, B2C or B2E type of use case. And so we've been "silent for a while" but I'm super excited at what's coming in this summer release, and what's going to go. A lot of it going to go generally available this winter release. So again, long story short, we have been re-architecting for consumer grade across the entire customer journey.
So whether you're looking at an awareness use case, whether you're looking for an acquisition use case, a service use case, a loyalty use case, you want to deliver consumer grade across the board. And with Lightning Web Runtime, with Lightning Web Components, we do believe that we've got the right foundation upon which we can actually deliver these experiences. So that's the overarching area where we're headed.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's impressive. I mean, we talk, especially even as admins, we have our own technical that we accrue over many years of admining a specific org. And sometimes you do, you got to just go back, peel back the covers and go in and make sure everything, the foundations are updated and running better. And hey, if you got a system that's not working for you, you got to invest the time and pause on the new stuff for a minute. Let's make the core stuff really work and function so that we can continue to build. So I love that transparency. I think it's really useful to help our admins and everybody understand what all of the hard work that your team is doing. And yeah, I mean, hey, now that we talked about all the hard work that you've all been doing, let's talk about some of the shiny new fun things that you have coming down the page.

Khushwant Singh: Yeah, of course. So now I think on that note, I do also want to underscore that we have so many, all of that adoption stats that I talked about, they're all visual force or mostly Aura investments. And I want to underscore that we're not just leaving Aura or VF behind. And so there are many aspects that customers on Aura or customers on VF would also be able to benefit from. So let's dive into those shiny aspects of things. So I think if we think of this as maybe a stack diagram, maybe we'll start at the lowest level of infrastructure. What are we doing from an infrastructure point of view to help deliver that consumer grade type of experiences? So, first and foremost, we've invested a fair amount of time and effort to deliver performance. And so, one of the things you'll start to notice is, our out of the box CDN, so behind the scenes we work with Akamai, and what that does is that it allows, it just provides customers an out of the box CDN that they can actually choose to use.

Gillian Bruce: So Kush, before we