Salesforce Admins Podcast (general)

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.

Podcast swag

Learn more:

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

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

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!

Podcast swag

Learn more:

 

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 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!

Podcast swag

Learn more:

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 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 PDT

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.

Podcast swag

Learn more:

 

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. 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 PDT

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!

Podcast swag

Learn more:

 

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 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 PDT

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 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.

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 PDT

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.

Podcast swag

Learn more:

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 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 PDT

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.”

 

Podcast swag

Learn more:

 

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

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

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.”

 

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

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

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

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 PDT

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

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 PDT

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.”

Podcast swag:

Learn more:

Social:

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 PDT

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.”

Podcast swag:

Learn more:

Social:

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 PDT

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.

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 PDT

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. 

Podcast swag

Learn more

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 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 PDT

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. 

Podcast swag

Learn more

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 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 PDT

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!

 

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 PDT

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.”

Podcast swag

Learn more

Social

 

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 PDT

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.

Podcast swag

Learn more

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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

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.

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

Direct download: Summer_22_Release_with_Jennifer_Lee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

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.

Podcast swag

Learn more

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

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

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.

 

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

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

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.

 

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

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 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 PDT

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.

 

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

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 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 PDT

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.

 

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

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 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 PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Andrew Russo, Salesforce Architect at BACA Systems.

 

Join us as we talk about the amazing app user management super app he built and how you can approach building apps to be an even more awesome Admin.

 

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

Ramping up a Salesforce org

Andrew, like so many people we interview on the show, started out as an accidental Admin. He started out needing to pull more and more things from Salesforce to support his company’s email marketing efforts, which put him in the position to get his Admin cert when they wanted to roll out Service Cloud. Now, the entire business is run on a massive org, and Andrew’s main challenge is making sure it’s scalable to handle everything that might come down the pipe.

 

Now that they’ve brought their entire manufacturing department onto Salesforce, they needed to take a second look at how they handle user requests. “Before it was as simple as sending an email or a text and we could have a quick chat,” Andrew says, “now, we have to manage a lot of users and also document it so people can do their jobs well and also make requests for features to help them do their jobs even better.”

Managing user requests and scaling up

When the user requests started flooding in, they knew they needed a plan to handle the large increase in volume. The first step was switching over to cases, but they needed to do a lot of customization to account for the different ways they handle internal vs. external cases. The biggest bottleneck they identified was when they had to ask for more details, so creating a structure for both the person filling out the request and the team member looking at it helped immensely.

 

Specificity around requests is really important because you need to understand the business need that’s driving it. For example, they could be asking for a checkbox because they want to run a report when there’s an easier way to do that. Instead, Andrew and his team send users a link to fill out a user story. “Then when we go back in a year and are trying to figure out why we made something, we have a record of why it was created,” Andrew says, so they’ve built in their documentation process.

 

At the end of every Flow they build there’s a sub-flow that runs at the end. It tracks every time the Flow runs and compares it to how long it took them to build and how long the previous process took. What they end up with is a lot of specificity around how their team is saving everyone time throughout the organization which is a powerful and effective way to prove RoI.

Andrew’s tips for user management

Andrew’s main tips for improving user management in your org are pretty simple to understand but hard to master. For one thing, learn when to say no. Some user requests are going to be unreasonable and learning how to work with them to uncover the real business need can help you find a solution that fits.

 

For another, if you can find core Salesforce functionality that gets you 90% of the way to a solution, it’s far better than building everything from scratch. “Custom equals it’s yours and you own it,” Andrew explains, “not only do you own the development of it—you own the problems could have in the future with it that you can’t foresee.” Less is more.

 

Finally, keep curious. Always keep learning and follow your curiosity because you never know where it will lead you. Salesforce has so many amazing resources and you never know when something you were browsing or an issue you helped someone with will suddenly give you your next great idea.

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

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 we are going to talk about how to create a user management super app.
So, a few weeks ago, you may have seen a blog post that we put out on the Admin site talking all about how you can create an app to manage your users. Well, one of the amazing, awesome admins that I met in that process is Andrew Russo. He's a Salesforce architect at BACA Systems. I wanted to have him on the podcast because the app he built is just next level. It's awesome. There are so many elements of it that I think we could all use at different parts of what we're building as admins at our own organizations. So I wanted to get him on the podcast to share a little bit about his overall strategy of how he approaches building apps like that, and in general, how to be an awesome admin. So without further ado, let's welcome Andrew on the podcast.
Andrew, welcome to the podcast.

Andrew Russo: Yeah. I'm happy to be here. I think this will be awesome, to be able to talk about some of the stuff we've built for our company and see how other admins can learn from what we've done.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about you first, before we get into some of the app building advice and great strategy that you have to share. Tell us a little bit about what you do and a little bit about your Salesforce journey.

Andrew Russo: Yeah, so I started doing Salesforce stuff as an accidental admin. So in college I was working for a company and I started helping with some of the website stuff. And then that transitioned into email marketing, which involved getting email lists from Salesforce. And it slowly kind of climbed into working more and more on Salesforce stuff. So that was about 2016. And then in 2017 and '18, we started looking at rolling out Service Cloud, which is really when I started to go into learning a lot more about Salesforce.
And then once we did the Service Cloud, I really took over as the main admin and started learning more and more and I got my first Salesforce certification, I think it was about 2019. And then I have grown more. Now we have a massive org where we have an entire business that's fully on the Salesforce platform, which became really challenging to learn from. We have a small, just very basic, standard, out of the box org to now having to manage complex user requests, documenting stuff, and really creating something that's scalable since the entire business depends on everything running properly.

Gillian Bruce: So, how many users do you support?

Andrew Russo: Right now, we have about 70 users inside of our Salesforce org. If you asked that same question in Fall of last year, we had about 30. So we brought on our entire manufacturing, which is really where we started to have to look at, how do we handle user requests? Because before it was as simple as an email or just sending a text and we could have a quick chat. Now we have to manage a lot of users and also document stuff properly so people can do it, do their jobs and make requests for features to help them do their jobs easier.

Gillian Bruce: Well, okay. So, clearly you are an awesome admin plus. I think it's really interesting that you only got your first start a couple years ago, I guess three years ago, 2019 seems like forever ago, but it's not, and how you've been able to grow so much in your knowledge and your abilities within Salesforce. I mean it sounds like a lot of it was kind of hands-on experience, any other external sources or what kind of things really helped you hone that skill so that you can really build, I mean the massive growth that your organization has had just within the last six months?

Andrew Russo: Yeah. I think that really where the big thing, and it's really weird to say, but I think becoming a Master Googler has really helped. And I think that's a skill that's almost vital because there's so many resources out there. You've got the Trailhead community, which there's a lot of questions that get answered on there. There's a lot of information with even guides. There's thousands of different admins who have blogs that have stuff generally who joined the Salesforce team with all of her flow blogs. There's all the different resources out there. So becoming a Master Googler to think, "Okay, how do I want a Google link to get the response of what I'm looking for?" And you can get a lot of different resources, that really helped.
I think though Trailhead was the other thing. I've done a lot of trails in Trailhead, the super badges are super helpful. And then really when I go to try and look at taking another certification exam, Focus on Force is pretty helpful for that last little bit of studying and thinking, "Okay, where do I need to focus some effort towards?" To see where you're lacking, because you don't really know what you're lacking until you take a test, but the Trailhead's really where I do it and hands on, I think where I've learned most of this stuff is trial and error in a sandbox of our current org. If it doesn't work, start over and try another way.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, that's great. We want everyone to use sandboxes. So let's talk a little bit more about specifically some of the solutions that you've built. Now, I know you, thankfully, helped me out with a blog post we did not too long ago about how to build a kick ass management app, which you demoed some of what you've built and shared some of that in our blog post. Can you talk to us a little bit about your approach to building that app and how you think about how to best structure it? Because you got a lot going on there. There's a lot of complexity and clearly, I mean it kind of blew my mind when you were sharing all of the details that you had involved in that, but it also sounds like it is incredibly helpful to you and your team as you're building. So talk to us a little bit about an overview of that app and then how you approached building it.

Andrew Russo: Yeah. So it was something that we had thought about earlier this year of, we need a better way to handle internal user requests because they started off as emails and then we would lose track of emails. If it doesn't hit your inbox for the day, you kind of forget about the request, even though you might have needed to do something. So that started throughout the year and we're like, "We really want to look at cases." And then I posted on the Trailhead screen, has anyone done... Actually it was on Reddit I posted and I just asked if anyone's done cases internally, just to get an idea of it. People responded, "Okay. Think about record types." And I was like, "Okay."
So I let a couple weeks go by and I started to think about it more. And then really once we started to get an inbound rush of emails with different requests that we needed to handle, we're like, "We need cases to do it." So we refreshed one of our full sandboxes so we had everything that was in production. And then we really built out in a matter of a week, we changed all of our current processes that were based on our external service that we use Service Cloud for our customers, we had to customize all of the processes and automations we already had to not apply to our internal cases because it's two different ways that we handle internal cases versus external. There's different fields that we want to track. But we also want some similar things like the status or the case type that are default fields, we want to keep those as the same so we don't have two status fields to report on inside of Salesforce because that doesn't feel right.
So customizing that and really separating it out was that first step. And then we looked at, how do we want to help our users? And what are the different things that we want to track from a reporting standpoint later? Because you can't report on stuff that you don't actually capture. So the first thing that we rolled out was just pretty simple, we're going to use Email-to-Case and we're going to use cases with record types and we added some different fields, like steps to reproduce and expected outcome, actual outcome, things that were helpful for us to right away be able to troubleshoot without having to ask for more details, because that was the biggest thing that we would have through email is they would send one request, not give enough detail because there's no structure to it.
So giving that structure for them to record their request and guide them through, it was really helpful just for that initial problem. Versus we really, in the beginning, we keep it as just, "What do you want?" We don't distinguish. There's an area that they can choose if it's a new feature versus a support case, but past that, it's the same stuff that they're recording and then we can handle the case once we start to look at it.

Gillian Bruce: So, let's pause right there for a second. So you said putting some structure around the ask. What do you mean by that? Because a lot of people will be like, "Oh, can you just add a checkbox to this page?" And I'm sure you have a little bit more structure to help coach them out of that kind of ask. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Andrew Russo: Yeah. So we used the case initially to gather the, "Hey, I want a check box," because a user just looks as it as, "I want a check box to record this," because they got some type of request from their boss and they need to show something, but then once we are able to review it, it might be, "Oh, that's already there." Or, "Oh no, that's something that's new. We need to gather the requirements. What is the business case supporting it? Why are we trying to do this?" To make sure it's not overlapping with something else or it's not a one-time thing where they want to go make a check box on records and then run a report of the check boxes, because seen that recently a few times where it's like, "Oh, we want to see all accounts with this so let's add a check box," which is not the right way for us to handle that.
So, gathering those type of things, we created a flow that's called a user story and we're able to send out a link from Email-to-Case to the user. When they click on that link, it actually launches the flow in Salesforce and they're able to, it'll kind of prompt them, "Hey, here's a trail you can go take from Trailhead if you don't know what a user story is." It's not required, but it's recommended. Then they're able to go through the steps and do the as a role, I want to, blank, so that I can, blank.
And then we also have another field of, how do you know that this is there and successful? So we can measure the actual outcome of it and say, "Yes, this is successful. No, we were not able to meet what the requirement was." And we like to get that for a single field from really anyone who that touches, not just the person requesting it in their role. So if accounting wants a field, we also might want to look at having sales do a user story that if it impacts the sales or the service side of it to get a full picture, because then when we go back and we look at why did we make this in a year? We have something to support why it was created.

Gillian Bruce: You built in the documentation. Yeah.

Andrew Russo: Exactly. So we have documentation gathered right away while we're building, which is super helpful.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So I mean, what I really like about this is you built it so that it helps you be successful as things are being built, right? You built documentation into the process, you built the coaching of like, "Hey, this is how you properly make a request. This is what a user story is." And I love the promotion of Trailhead in there, I think that's great. But what are some of the other things that you've built into the app that help you and your team be successful? I know one of the things that you had mentioned to me before is having some metrics of the impact of some of the apps and some of the features that you've built. Can you talk to us a little bit more about that?

Andrew Russo: Yes. There's actually two really awesome things that we have done with it. So one of which is for measuring the impact of automations, we have a couple different objects that run. So inside of any of the flows that we build, we add a sub flow that runs at the end and what it does, it tracks every time that the flow runs and then there's a master record that's created that we're able to see, "Okay, this is how many times it ran." We can put in how many hours it took us to build and how many minutes the previous process that was getting used is, so it actually calculates how many hours and minutes are saved by users running it. So if it used to take 10 minutes to do a process and it took us three hours to build it, we can see at what point has the breakeven been met that, "Hey, we've actually just saved the company time?" And then in the future we can say, "This is how much time we've saved with the automation on an ongoing basis."
So that's one of the things that we did to track really the ROI that we bring to the company for our performance. So when you go to look at, Hey, what did I do the last quarter? How did I perform? Yeah, this is the money that we've actually brought and saved the company. So I think that's one of the things. And the other is about tracking the time on cases, because we started to realize, a lot of these cases for internal people make it, then they get busy, they stop responding, and it doesn't look good on us if we want to report on our metrics of, "Hey, how long did it take for this issue to get resolved?" So we actually built out a custom object called Case Time and every time that a case changes status, it records how long it was in that status.
So when a case enters a new status, it creates a new record for that status with a start time. And when it leaves, it puts the end time and it creates the new record for the next status that it's in. So we can go back on any case and look at how much time it spent in statuses. So we can say how much is waiting for the customer, our internal customer, and how much is us working on it, which really is helpful for reporting on our metrics.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So those two ideas are amazing and I feel like every admin is going to want to implement those in their own org. I mean the fact that you have real, tangible hard metrics on the ROI that you bring to the organization in terms of time saved, I mean you can directly link that to basically money saved. That's awesome. And then the second one about like, "Hey, a lot of people track how long it takes to resolve a case, but it's not always on us." It's actually, "Hey, you make this request, we're waiting for you most of the time on this." So I think that's really, really amazing tips for how to break down and really put hard data and metrics behind the work that you do as an admin or building apps.
So talk to me, I want to learn how to think like Andrew. Because you have come in and clearly, very quickly learned about how to master lots of parts of the Salesforce platform, how to really take that mastery and use it in a very effective way in your organization. What are some overall strategies that you think have really helped you and that maybe some other admins can glean from what you've done and what you've learned?

Andrew Russo: Yeah. I think that really, it's a couple things. One of the things that I think is really important and some people really have a hard time doing is learning to say no, because there's some requests that you get that you just have to say no, and put your foot in the sand and say, "I'm not going to do this. This does not make sense. It's not best practice." Really implementing a strong governance.
It doesn't have to be a written governance over Salesforce, but having this ability and empowerment to say no to some request, to say, "No, that doesn't make sense." Having that, I think is really one of the important things, because I do have to tell users, "No, we cannot do that. No." Today even, I've had a user request to get the ability to modify the homepage layouts on apps and I say, "No, if you'd like to, we can do a working session and in a sandbox we can make the changes to push to production, but I can't just give you access to change the home pages," because that comes with a lot of other access that they don't need to have as an end user. So really learning to say no and be willing to say no is one of the things.
The other is thinking about less is more, I think is one thing. And maybe it's kind of that architect mindset that architects are supposed to have where thinking, does this already exist somewhere in Salesforce that's core functionality? It might not be 100% exactly what I want, but if it gets to 98% and it's already standard functionality, use that rather than trying to build something that's perfect custom fit, but custom equals it's yours and you own it, so not only do you own the development of it, you own the problems that you could have in the future with something that you don't foresee.
So just thinking about less is more, being willing and able to say no, and also spending time researching different Salesforce stuff that you're just curious and interested in. That's where I started to learn different things, that just go build some fun stuff, might be related, might not even bring value, just on your own learning Salesforce has been super helpful for that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So those are three great tips. The ability to say no and hold the line. And then less is more, I think that architect mindset is super important. And then I think that last one you talked about, researching and just basically playing with Salesforce is really important. And it's that learner's mindset idea, right? Is that there's always something to learn. And so, "Hey, if you're curious, go try it out, go build it, go build an app for some one-off use case that isn't necessarily part of your job."
I think that's one of the things I've seen be very successful in the community is folks that are especially looking to demonstrate their skills to maybe even get their first Salesforce job or demonstrate that they have a higher level of mastery to catapult themselves into a different more senior role, building an app that they purely have built to demo to potential employers or to show off what they know. I think that is one of the strongest things you can do. It's like the ultimate Salesforce admin resume, right? "Cool, so I can write all these words, but look what I can show you. This is what I built. This is why and this is how it works."

Andrew Russo: Yeah. Building on that too, one of the things that I think is super helpful is because in my org, I see what I see. We don't use, for example, CPQ at all. We don't use other... We don't use Marketing Cloud. We have Pardot, but we don't have full Marketing Cloud, so thinking about some of these different areas that we don't really use, but understanding them is really helpful. So one thing that I think really helped open my eyes to see different areas is going on the answers and actually helping other users because it exposes you and you can look at a question someone else has that could come to you in the future and you can help answer their question. You might even have to research. You might not know the answer, but being able to see different use cases in other orgs from other people, answering their questions helps to expose you to new ideas and things that you've never looked at, but now when you come across it in the future, you already have an idea of it.
Because like me, I learned from experience, really that is the best way. So if I can go and do that, the amount of flows I've built for other users that want to see stuff, and then I actually have implemented some of those internally after I saw that on the thing of, "Hey, I want to do this. When an inbound email comes in on a case, I want to change the case status," I helped someone build that and then I was like, "We want that." So I built that for our org after. So, those kind of things really help to open your eyes and see different things.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Okay. I mean, so now I'm also going to out you for something you told me that you were doing and I know that you are in the midst of it, you had a goal of becoming one of the top answerers in the answers community, I believe. And tell me a little bit more about that. Clearly, I understand why, you've learned about things that then you're putting into your own org, but what is it about doing that that drives you? Or why do you want to do that?

Andrew Russo: I think it's just fun, honestly. So during COVID I got bored and I started answering stuff when I was working from home doing it. And that was 2020 March and I did a good amount of questions and answer stuff, and it was kind of fun doing it. And then two weeks ago I just got bored and I just was like, "You know what? I'm going to go answer them." And then it's kind of addicting because people reply to them and then it draws you back, you go and you help while you answer the questions. The amount of things that... It's a satisfaction you get.
It took me 15 minutes to respond to someone, but they would've spent an entire day trying to learn that thing. So, for me to give 15 minutes and it's going to make their day or their week, it's an awesome feeling doing that, but it also helps me learn more. So it's a mix of both and I ended up in a matter of probably about 20 days moving somewhat high up from not having answered a question over a year or two in the top five in the answer community, so...

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome, Andrew. Okay. So that's the vibe that I love about the admin communities. Everyone just loves to give back and help each other. And here's the thing, clearly you are passionate about solving problems and helping other people solve problems, both in your actual day job, and then clearly this is just part of who you are, because you're doing it externally out of your normal day job for the broader community as well, which is so great, so awesome. You're inspiring me. I'm like, "Maybe I should go try and answer some questions." Don't worry, I'm not going to threaten your leaderboard status, I promise. I have a long ways to go, but that's great.
So Andrew, before we kind of wrap up, I would love to hear if you have any overall tips for someone who's really looking to flex their admin skills or get a little bit more experience under the belt. We heard already some great stuff from you about strategies when you're building apps, about governance, about less is more, about going and tinkering and researching different parts of the platform. Talk to us a little bit more about maybe some of the things that you would tell someone who's maybe a brand new admin or looking for their first admin job. What is the number one or two things that you'd recommend to them to help them beef up their skills and get prepared so they can get that awesome role?

Andrew Russo: Yeah, I think that really some of it, I think there's two different parts of it. There's that new admin and then there's that current accidental admin who works at a company that became the accidental admin. For a new admin, I think really Trailhead is a really great place to start, and then moving over to trying to apply to jobs where they might be a small org with Salesforce that doesn't really have an admin and come in as not an admin, but become the accidental admin. Because I think the accidental admin is a really great place to start because you start to learn a lot of little different things that help you grow.
And then for someone who becomes an accidental admin, I think one of the biggest things, which is actually where I started during COVID and I got experience was, go on different platforms that you can do some small just freelancing stuff after hours at night, stuff that exposes you to other companies, orgs in different areas. I know I've done a big project for a nonprofit that does acupuncture for low-income senior citizens. And we built out an entire community in six different languages. So I did that during COVID. That was massive with a lot of flows in six languages. It was crazy, but now that's really where I became a flownatic, I guess, having massive flow.
So doing that and just getting some experience. It doesn't have to be big projects. Sometimes companies just need help with reporting and being able to help them with reporting, you could make someone on the side do it, but it opens your eyes to see more stuff, because if you don't see stuff or have experience, sometimes it's hard to understand the different things that you don't even know exist. I learned new stuff in Salesforce exists I've never seen almost on a daily basis. Like, "Oh, that's there?" For example, 15,000 character limit for formulas. No one realized it was there, but overnight we all found out on Twitter that it was there.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Oh gosh, Andrew, this is great. I so appreciate your time. I think it's so cool that you are so generous with sharing what you know and what you've built. I will, for sure, put a link in the show notes to that great blog post that you contributed a lot to and showing some of the different elements of the part of your user management app. And I really appreciate you imparting your wisdom with the admin community and answering so many questions. I can't wait to see you on the top of the leaderboard. Let's just be clear, we'll have a little celebratory "Andrew made it" and then the next person will try and dethrone you. It'll be great.

Andrew Russo: It'll be Steve Mo who comes to dethrone. We already know it.

Gillian Bruce: I mean he does have a very long history of answering most of the questions.

Andrew Russo: The second that it's a formula question, I'm always hesitant because I know that he's going to step in and he's going to have a better formula way. And it's also cool to see, "Okay, this is how I would've answered and done it. Oh, this is what Steve Mo thinks about it." And generally Steve Mo comes with pretty clean formulas that are really well thought out and work super well, so...

Gillian Bruce: Well, and that's the advantage of participating in the community, right? Is you see all these different ways of attacking the same problem. So I love that. That's great. Well, Andrew, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and I appreciate everything you do to give back and thank you again for sharing all of these amazing pieces of wisdom with the community.

Andrew Russo: Yeah. Thank you. I think this was really fun.

Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Andrew for taking the time to chat with me. I don't know about you, but I am definitely inspired to go tinker a little bit more and maybe go answer some questions of my own on the answers community. Now, some of the top takeaways from my chat with Andrew, I hope that you heard these as well, but first of all, it's always good to say no, have some kind of governance strategy when you are building apps. You got to set some boundaries, you got to set up some structures that enable you to actually build something that is effective instead of just building everything that people ask you for.
Next, less is more. I love that he talked about that architect thinking, right? Let's use the existing functionality before we create something super custom because it's a lot easier to maintain something that is on core functionality, because if you build it yourself, then you are also responsible for making sure that it works for the rest of its life. So, let's take some of the load off there.
And then finally, tinkering, researching. Go play with the platform, build something. I think that is one of the best ways to learn and there's an easy way to do that, as Andrew pointed out, by answering all those questions on the community. So if you have not delved into the answers community, do it. It's trailhead.com. You can access all of it there. If nothing else, it's a really good place to hang out and just see what people are asking so that you get a sense of the breadth of the platform and the kind of problems that people are solving using Salesforce.
All right. Well, if you want more great content, you can always find that at admin.salesforce.com where we've got blogs, videos, and more podcasts. You can find our guest today, Andrew Russo, on Twitter @_andrewrusso. You can find me @gilliankbruce, and my co-host, Mike Gerholdt, @mikegerholdt. Hope you enjoyed this episode, stay tuned and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we take the show on the road, live from TrailblazerDX.

Join us as we talk about how we put on events like these, what it’s like to go to a live event for the first time, and tips from a vet about why networking is so important.

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

The man behind the Trailblazer magic

First, we caught up with Kavindra Patel, VP, Trailblazer Events & Digital Experiences at Salesforce. In short, he runs the show, putting together TrailblazerDX as well as Trailblazer events at Dreamforce and all the World Tours. If you spot someone at an event sporting a cool ranger hat, come say hi to KP.

An admin’s first time at TDX

Next, Mike bumped into Grace Villier, an Admin and sales and marketing specialist at her very first TrailblazerDX. One takeaway she has from the event is to make sure to block out time each week to re-up on your knowledge and keep up with all the content coming out on Trailhead. While she looked at the schedule ahead of time, Grace urges you to really focus in on what will maximize value because these events are always shorter than you think they are going into them.

Tips from a Salesforce veteran

The great thing about a live event like TrailblazerDX is that you have a chance to talk to folks with a wide range of experience and backgrounds. Mike went from talking to a first-time attendee to a real vet when he met up with Lauren Dunne Bolopue, Lead Salesforce Evangelist at DocuSign. She’s super psyched for the upcoming Slack integrations and how that will transform the way we work. She also emphasized just how important the networking you do at events is, and how the people you meet can help you grow and get through roadblocks you might run into along the way.

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

Full show transcript

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Salesforce Admin's podcast. And we are live, here today, at TrailblazerDX. So, I'm going to walk around the event and get some audio snippets, in case the audio's a little bit different. But I want to kick off our TrailblazerDX special episode with Kavindra Patel or KP, as I know. Kavindra is, kind of, my go-to person for the events. KP, what do you do at Salesforce?

Speaker 2: Well, I run Trailblazer events for Salesforce. We do TrailblazerDX. Trailblazer is a Dream Force, as well as, Trailblazers, and all the world tours.

Speaker 1: So, trailblazers are your thing.

Speaker 2: They are my thing, and I love trailblazers.

Speaker 1: So, let's talk about TrailblazerDX. What is an exciting thing that you brought this week, or that you got to plan, or be a part of?

Speaker 2: So, the exciting part is bringing the Slack, Tableau, Mulesoft, as well as all the Salesforce developers, Admins and architects, all together under one umbrella. So, they can learn from each other, connect with each other, and take themselves to another level.

Speaker 1: Cool. If somebody were to see you at an event, you're kind of hard to miss. Where did the hat come from?

Speaker 2: Yeah, I try to hide myself, but it doesn't work really. I've got my signature hat from the old days of Trailhead, when we really brought Trailhead experience, which is the vibe we have, the fun outdoor vibe, and bringing that into events. And at that time, I bought myself an amazing hat, and you will see me on Twitter all the time, with my hat on. And so, that's where it came from. And it has a ranger, a pin, because I am a ranger.

Speaker 1: Because you're a ranger.

Speaker 2: Because I earned it. And so, that's where it comes from. And people find me, and I love talking to the Trailblazers, and just seeing how I can help them.

Speaker 1: So Kavindra, you're on Twitter, people can see your picture. What's your Twitter handle?

Speaker 2: My Twitter handle is @kavindrapatel.

Speaker 1: Perfect. I'll put a link in the show notes. So, we're going to walk the floor and see who else I can run into. Kavindra, thank you for being our first guest.

Speaker 2: You're welcome. Have a nice day, Mike.

Speaker 1: All right. So, we just finished up our interview with Kavindra. We found out cool things that are happening at the event, but I am standing here with Grace, who's a first-time attendee. Grace, can you introduce yourself?

Speaker 3: Yes, my name's Grace Villier. I work for a Construction Aggregate company, and I am our Sales and Marketing Specialist.

Speaker 1: And Grace, I think this is your first TrailblazerDX.

Speaker 3: It is, yes.

Speaker 1: Okay, so tell me what you're taking notes on, because you've been in a ton of sessions.

Speaker 3: So I, like you said, I've been in quite a few sessions. I've been trying to go to as many Admin sessions that I can go to, as well. Because that is my focus, at my job, is being the best Admin I can be for our users, but I've also gone to a couple sessions on the developer side. So, learning more about Apex, just because, as an Admin, we are involved with Flows, and automation. So, I thought the apex could be helpful too. So, trying to get in as many different areas, and sessions, that I can learn about, throughout these couple of days.

Speaker 1: So, you're on your second day, how many notes pages have you filled?

Speaker 3: I actually counted, and it is up to about eight now.

Speaker 1: Wow, eight.

Speaker 3: They're all the sessions.

Speaker 1: That's a lot. That's a lot. What session stood out to you, as like, "Wow. I had no idea I was going to learn that."

Speaker 3: I think the Admin Best Practices, because one of the things I learned about, was this podcast. Because I didn't realize that it had existed before.

Speaker 1: And now you're on it.

Speaker 3: Exactly. So, I think, little things like that, and learning about best practices, and what you can do on a routine basis, as far as getting feedback from your users. What's working, what's not, because I do ride-along's with our users, every so often. So, just to reinforce that... And it was talked about, coffee hours. So, I think, kind of, combining those because when I do my ride-alongs, it's a whole day, which is awesome. But also combining that with coffee sessions, and just reaching out to people on a more regular basis, I think could be good too.

Speaker 1: So, how long have you been in Admin?

Speaker 3: So, I started my Salesforce journey, let's see, January 2020. So, about-

Speaker 1: That whole time period is a little fuzzy for all of us.

Speaker 3: Yes, or excuse me, 21. About a year and a half ago.

Speaker 1: Oh, good.

Speaker 3: Excuse me. Yes.

Speaker 1: In the pandemic.

Speaker 3: '21, yes. Yes, so, and I went through a training program in sales, and then the opportunity, got to be our Project Lead for implementing Salesforce in December 2020, and then actually started with that in January 2021. So, hadn't seen Salesforce before. And I actually got my Admin certification last October. So I've learned a lot, in that period of time.

Speaker 1: Congrats. Congrats.

Speaker 3: Thank you.

Speaker 1: What is one thing you're going to do different, when you get back to your desk?

Speaker 3: I think getting back to my desk, specifically, I think adding blocks to my calendar, and because I think it's always important to keep learning. And as I was studying for my Admin certification, I was so focused on Trailhead, and doing modules, and realizing that those modules, more and more come out, and they're updated. For example, with Flows, that's the way things are going now with automation. So, just to continue those modules, I think we'll be good in blocking out an hour or two each week, just to stay up-to-date on things throughout Trailhead.

Speaker 1: Now, one of the cool things is, since yesterday, when I saw you in a session, you've also built your entourage, which I think is very cool. So, you've also networked with other people at this event. What was the common factor, for you finding someone else to hang out with at TrailblazerDX?

Speaker 3: So, we're actually in the same general area of the country. Within the Southeast, which was cool. And-

Speaker 1: Oh, you're not from England. I thought I heard an accent there. I was going to say Wales, maybe.

Speaker 3: I know, I sound very, very British, yeah.

Speaker 1: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. New Zealand maybe, right?

Speaker 3: Yes. Yes. So, that was a common factor. And just, having been fairly new to Salesforce, within the past year and a half, it was good to meet somebody new. Like you said, make those connections.

Speaker 1: Okay. So, what is one thing, as we kind of wrap up, what is one thing you'll do different the next time you go to a Salesforce event?

Speaker 3: That's a good question. Because I did look through all the sessions before, and kind of, factored in what will bring the most value. And I think, honing in more on that, just because it is only a two day conference. Really looking into what sessions are going to bring the most value. What can I learn the most from? So like I said, I try to combine some of the Admin sessions, and developer sessions, to learn more about that, too. So, I think, just continuing to do that. And then also, networking more, just because there are so many people here. Working on networking, even more next time, to grow my Salesforce community, people that I know.

Speaker 1: Your eco-system, yeah. Well, you have one now, you have two more with us. Thank you, Grace, for being on the podcast.

Speaker 3: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Speaker 1: Best of luck. I'm sure we'll connect, maybe at Dreamforce.

Speaker 3: Yes. Thank you very much.

Speaker 1: Okay. So, we just came off that fun interview with Grace, who is a first time event TDX. And I happened to run into... You walk around TDX, and you run into friends and family you know. So, I found a veteran, we'll say veteran.

Speaker 4: Oh, I like that term better.

Speaker 1: Okay, veteran, TDX attendee Lauren, can you introduce yourself?

Speaker 4: I'm Lauren Dunvalvue. I'm lead Salesforce Evangelist at DocuSign. And this is my second TDX, but my eighth Salesforce big conference.

Speaker 1: Wow. You keep track of the big conference. Okay.

Speaker 4: I do, like my life depends on it.

Speaker 1: But first back, it feels like we're starting all over again.

Speaker 4: Yeah, I've missed people. I'm a people person. And just being able to see people that I see, on a tiny little screen, every week, or every month, at Meetups, and stuff like that, it's just, I'm like, "Oh my God, you're tall." Like people I've met for the first time in the lockdown. And now they're... I'm meeting them in person. I'm like, "I didn't think you were not tall. Okay, I feel really short now." It's just nice to be able to have that, in-person connection. That is something I have definitely missed, definitely missed.

Speaker 1: Yeah. So, now that we're back in person, what was something that surprised you at TDX this year?

Speaker 4: I am loving the Slack API Integration thing. My ears, straight away went off, as soon as it was announced in the keynote. And I was like, "I need to know more." So, as soon as I was able to get to the Slack area, I was like talking to people. I was like, "Tell me more, how do I get involved? How do I get information?" And I was like a little too excited, I think I scared them just a little. But I was like, "I have these people now, in front of me, that can't run away or you know, mute me." I'm like, "I get to talk to people and tell me all this stuff." So, that's something I'm definitely excited to play with, is that API connection. Because Slack is... We all live and work on Slack, like there's the Ohana Slack, just-

Speaker 1: Or we will.

Speaker 4: Well, yeah, true.

Speaker 1: If you're not already.

Speaker 4: Well, if you're not already, there's Ohana Slack, there's the Ohana Coffee Slack, there obviously Work Slack. There's so many different Slack channels now, for the community. And it's just, I'm looking at it in terms of being able to implement it into work, and how I can boost more productivity. And even for the DocuSign side of things, being able to have that product evolve. Because we have an integration, but I'm like, as soon as I saw it, I was like messaging. I was Slack messaging, believe or not, our Product Manager. And I was like, "We need to get on this. We need to do this. Here's our information we need." He is like, "Okay, you need to calm down." I'm just so super excited about it.

Speaker 1: So, it's interesting you bring up connections. It seems to be a theme. Kind of, this podcast, because we just talked with Grace, who made a connection with somebody that was attending first time solo, just like her solo. She was solo, person she met was solo. And we were just talking, before I pressed record, about how you were taking pictures of people's badges, and connecting with somebody. Can you go more into that?

Speaker 4: Sure, there's so many people that are like, "I'm new to the ecosystem, or I don't know where to start." Or, "I've been here, I started Salesforce a couple years ago and I just... What should I do? Should I take my certification exam? Where should I go?" And on a personal level, people brought me into the Ohana and nurtured me, and grew me, and helped me. And I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to connect with you on LinkedIn. I'm going to follow you on Twitter." I'm like, "I want to help you. If I can't help you, I know people who can." And that's the whole point of the community, is helping people grow, and I've missed it. I've done it throughout the lockdown, but having this, like seeing people and go, "Oh my God, thank you so much." And it's, I just... I can't explain it. Having the in-person has really meant so much more than being on a screen.

Speaker 1: So, I'll ask the question I think everybody's thinking about. I didn't make it to TrailblazerDX. Besides the in-person, and oh, by the way, your feet hurting.

Speaker 4: Oh yeah.

Speaker 1: Your feet.

Speaker 4: I forgot.

Speaker 1: That's a new thing. I haven't stood for more than, a little bit of time. I walk my dog, I do stuff, but standing on hard concrete floors. What is something you're surprised that you didn't realize you were missing, by showing up?

Speaker 4: Well, I'm going to do you one better, actually wearing jeans.

Speaker 1: Oh, yeah.

Speaker 4: I lived in pajama pants for two years.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I did those athletic, slicky things.

Speaker 4: No, the jeans, I'm like, "I might need jeans."

Speaker 1: I need jeans. Yeah. We all had to buy different sizes, by the way.

Speaker 4: Yeah, same here.

Speaker 1: None of the jeans fit.

Speaker 4: Yeah. And like, I haven't walked around, the last two days. I think my jeans might be a little loose now, I'm hoping.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Good. Good.

Speaker 4: But one thing about... It's the Trail. Just seeing the excitement of people, and the learning, and you forget, because when you're doing the online stuff, you're not seeing all different areas. I saw the Flow Matics thing and I was like, "That looks really interesting." Whereas if I saw it on an agenda, I would've have been like, "Oh." Whereas I go over, and I'm learning more about that. I'm like, "That's cool." I've never touched Flow. My role, I don't get to play very much with Salesforce. But you know, I'm like, "Okay, I need to learn Flow. This is something I have to..." I'm feeling really encouraged, and inspired, to learn more. And I'm super excited to watch back stuff on Salesforce Plus, as well. Because, obviously, I can't clone myself. I haven't been to everything.

Speaker 1: It could be everywhere.

Speaker 4: I wish I could, but I couldn't. But being able to watch stuff back, that's what I'm excited for, to go back and learn even more.

Speaker 1: So, as a veteran, long-time attendee of TDX.

Speaker 4: That's me, yes.

Speaker 1: As somebody looking ahead at future events, we've got some World Tours coming up, we have a Dreamforce coming up. What would you advise people to, kind of... How should they approach some of these online events, attending. I just talked to my boss. What should I set? Why should I go?

Speaker 4: One thing is, I always tell people, Salesforce is constantly evolving, and you'll never know everything. And that's why having a network is so important. So, going to these events and I'm not a part of specialist, I'm now getting into the marketing cloud side of things, and I don't know where to start. So, I've actually put it out on Twitter and I bumped it to a few people and I'm like, "Where do I start?" And being able to have that person go, "Oh yeah, I was in the same boat. Here's what you need to know."
So if I was to say to my boss, or anyone else trying to say, "Hey, I need to go to an event." It's the connection. So, networking is super, super, important in this environment, especially because we're such a big community. But also, the learning. Roadmaps are talked about in these events, and they're not published anywhere. And it's so important to know where Salesforce is going, in your learning, in the career, what interests you. And I said, "I'm going to go back to it, the Slack API. Learning all these new tools and being, like, "I was in to True to the Core. True to The Core, oh my God.

Speaker 1: Tell me about it.

Speaker 4: If you have, that's the only session. If I couldn't do any others, I was so glad I did True to the Core.

Speaker 1: Why? If I'm new to the platform, why, what is True to the Core?

Speaker 4: I don't want to say it, but it's all the Product Manager's and Parker Harris, are held hostage. They can't squirm out of, "Oh, I'll get back to you on that." They're sitting on a platform, and it's not rehearsed. It's random people coming up from the audience, and asking them pointed questions. And it's like, they're in the hot seat. And, there's nothing terrible. It's like, "Hey, we need accountability for this, and we need this." And it's nice to have that access to Product Managers, to executives, to people who work in Salesforce. That's another selling point for going to these events is having someone... Being able to walk up to someone in the Trailblazer Certification Program and go, "Here's where I'm at, where should I go? Should I go down the developer route? Should I go down the consultant route? I don't know where I want to..."
And having that conversation of, "Well, what you want to be when you grow up?" You can have those kind of conversations, but having a real in-depth, I have no idea what I want to do. Here's what interests me? What would you advise? Having that connection, more than just an email, or a tweet, or a back-and-forth online. So, that's another thing I'd encourage anyone, if you do get to go, the Salesforce events, the Dreaming events, World Tours, I'm excited for World Tours. Just being able to have the access to Salesforce employees is huge.

Speaker 1: So, maybe you've already answered it, but I've been to all this stuff. I can just watch it on Salesforce Plus.

Speaker 4: No, it's a different experience.

Speaker 1: You've been to a bunch of these events. Why do you still keep coming?

Speaker 4: People. The learning, as I said, it's constantly evolving. You don't know what you don't know, until you walk around. And you're like, "Oh, that looks kind of cool." Or, "Oh, I know nothing about this subject, so I'm going to sit there and listen." And having developers who are giving presentations, like in the Parker Harris keynote, there was Stephan Garcia-Chandler. He was demoing his stuff. And then I got to sit at one of his talks and I'm like, "This is a guy who is demoing at a Salesforce keynote. Teaching me his stuff, his knowledge." And I'm like, "This is amazing." Being able to see the experts, and learn from the experts. So, that's what keeps me coming back, is seeing the people, learning from the people, and the excitement, you recharge your batteries when you're talking to the people. Sorry. I'm all about the people. I love people.

Speaker 1: That's good. It's good.

Speaker 4: I miss the people, the last couple years.

Speaker 1: Speaking of people, if people want to follow you on the Twitters.

Speaker 4: Yup. On the Twitter verse, I'm @laurendon__c. Yeah. You get it.

Speaker 1: Double underscore.

Speaker 4: Double underscore. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Because you're a custom object, gotcha.

Speaker 4: Oh, I'm very custom. I'm unique.

Speaker 1: I like that. Thank you Lauren, for being on the podcast.

Speaker 4: Thanks you very much. Very, very, very welcome. Thank you for including me.

Speaker 1: So, we just heard from Lauren on, what it's like to be at TrailblazerDX, as an expert, or a long-time attendee. To wrap up our podcast, I got Gillian, the co-host, back, because she had so many hosting duties at TrailblazerDX. Gillian, why don't you, kind of, put a bow on this episode, in the event for us?

Speaker 5: Sure. So, this was really special. This is our seventh ever TDX. And it's amazing that the first one was back in 2016, both our product and our community have exponentially grown and changed in so many ways. It's been amazing to reconnect in-person for the first time, and meet so many new people. I would say almost everyone that I met at this event was a brand new Salesforce person. Has first event, first time exposed to Salesforce, or very earlier in their Admin career. So all of you who are listening, who are wondering, 'Hey, what should I do to amplify my career, grow your career?" Connect with your local community group, go to a local Dream In event, try and come to Dreamforce, if you can.
There is no replacement for being in an in-person event and meeting Trailblazers, face-to-face. That's the magic of our community, and advents. It's the reason the awesome Admin community is so special. It's the reason that so many Admins are successful, by giving back, connecting with each other, trying to enable and mentor others. If you've got something to help somebody else with, I'm full. All the Trail Hard is real, right now.

Speaker 1: No, it's good. Because when we talked with KP, the goal of this was to make people connect, get people back together. We talked with Grace and she had tons of notes, tons of notes, eight pages. And found a new friend, and Lauren said the same thing, too. And we saw this when we did a ton of sessions too, it's cool to just present, and see people get excited for something.

Speaker 5: Oh, my gosh.

Speaker 1: And clap.

Speaker 5: Yeah. And to get the actual instantaneous feedback of, "That was useful, or, 'I've used that," or, "Hey, I can see how that could be used." Or "Hey, have you thought about this?" I mean, it's so invaluable.

Speaker 1: And I love the... So, one thing Lauren said, was just the unintentionality. Just walking around, seeing vendor booths, running into people, and being like, "Oh, I never would've stopped here if it was on my schedule, but I'm here now. And maybe I can explore this." So, another reason to come back.

Speaker 5: Learning about a new product, a new cloud. Maybe you're like, "Oh, you'll stop Composer. There's somebody right here I could talk to about that. That's great."

Speaker 1: I have a question.

Speaker 5: Yeah, what is this? And how can I use it?

Speaker 1: Exactly. Well, this was a fun TrailblazerDX. We tried to do some kind of different episodes. So, we won't do this all the time, but hopefully we caught some of the energy, and some of the reason, for coming to an event like this. 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 I mentioned. I don't think I mentioned any links.

Speaker 5: I think salesforce.com is a link.

Speaker 1: Yeah, I'll mention that link. How's that? We'll also have a full transcript there, too. Of course, you can say up-to-date with us on social. I'm sure you've seen some of the picks from TrailblazerDX. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. Gillian is @gilliankbruce. And of course, I am @MikeGerholdt on Twitter. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Live_from_TrailblazerDX.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12am PDT

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

 

Join us as we talk about all the great Salesforce content from April, including some World Tour travel content and we have to say: we’re really excited to see people again.

 

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

Salesforce World Tour

Mike and Gillian recap all of the exciting World Tour stops that have been happening this month, including Sydney and DC. If you haven’t yet been to an in-person Salesforce event, now is the time, especially with Dreamforce coming up in September.

Blog highlights from April

“The Salesforce Admins Skills Kit is basically a way for us to put really concrete data and language behind the nontechnical skills that make a Salesforce Admin successful,” Gillian says, things like problem solving, business analysis, and communication. While we’re really good at telling you all of the parts of the product you need to understand to be a good Admin, we’re looking at how we can help you build those soft skills that create that legendary Admin magic. We also wanted to highlight an article Gillian wrote about how different Admins have built to better manage user requests.

 

Video highlights from April

As Mike says, this might be the coolest thing we’ve done since starting the podcast. Jennifer Lee is now doing a live session on YouTube we like to call Automate This. “It’s like a cooking show, but for building Flows,” Gillian says.

 

Podcast highlights from April

 

We think you should check out our episode with Antoine Cabot, who is in charge of building Orchestrator. It’s the Flow of Flows. Multi-user workflows started as a dream a few years ago and to see everything that we’re able to do is truly thrilling.

 

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

  • Salesforce Admins Podcast Episode:

 

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the April monthly retro for 2022. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt and in this episode, we're going to review the top product community, careers content. Hey, you know what? Just going to make a quick edit and say world tour travel content too, that we did in April, because we're so excited to say that. And of course to help me do that, the very familiar voice of Gillian, Bruce. Hello, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Hey Mike, happy to join, it's good to be back with you again. It's fun getting back in the swing things because we actually have been able to see people as you hinted with the world tour teaser in your opening.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, seriously, I got a plane and took a cab somewhere and ate at a restaurant and saw humans.

Gillian Bruce: I get to stay at a hotel away from my family, it was awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Oh, when they bring back room service. I've never been more excited for room service.

Gillian Bruce: So my hotel didn't have room service. It was modified room service. There was a dropped it at the door kind of thing.

Mike Gerholdt: Fine. Actually that's better as an introvert, that's even the perfect room service. Just "Knock, knock, knock. Your food is at your door." Oh, perfect. I don't have to interact with you. "Nope, have a nice day."

Gillian Bruce: Anyway, we're back. Everyone's coming back slowly. It's really exciting and gosh, well it really was a world tour, because the first stop was not even on this continent that we are both on right now.

Mike Gerholdt: And neither of us went.

Gillian Bruce: Nope. But that's okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Down under.

Gillian Bruce: Down under.

Mike Gerholdt: So World Tour Sydney happened and shout out to Judy Fang who you've seen at Trailblazers Innovate back in 2020.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, Judy's awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: She was, it's a shame I didn't get down there. And Philip for presenting admin content in the Trailblazer theater down there in Sydney. We would love to hear your thoughts if you went.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. We want to hear everyone's thoughts from of any of the events that are happening, especially the event that's happening right now as you're probably listening to this because TrailblazerDX is happening right now, today.

Mike Gerholdt: You could be listening to this as you're walking up Market Street, headed to Moscone West.

Gillian Bruce: There you go. Yep. To see people so exciting. But then our next stop on the tour was one of my favorite cities, D.C. And Mike, you and I got to be there together, it was so fun,

Mike Gerholdt: And present, I got to get a badge. A credential to hang around your neck. It sounds weird but virtual events we didn't get the little thing and it was dangling and it felt important.

Gillian Bruce: I had to think about what to wear on the bottom half of my body, because it wasn't just from the chest up.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Shoes, oh man, shoes. Break your shoes in. Hey, you know what I forgot to do? Break my shoes in. Broke my feet in. Let me tell you.

Gillian Bruce: D.C. was amazing. Not only did we get to physically be in person at an event, but we got to see community members there. There is a very vibrant D.C., Maryland, Virginia community. I think there were five community groups that were all presenting big time there, so it was great to reconnect with folks. And what was really great, Mike, is that not only did we get to present three times in the Trailblazer theater with great, amazing admin content, but we also got to feature local Trailblazers and part of our presentations.

Mike Gerholdt: And who were they Gillian? Because you found them.

Gillian Bruce: I did. I feel like I struck gold. It was great. We literally and I did. Brittany Charles, she joined us. She's been working with the Salesforce platform for a long time but she's just now getting involved in the community and she has a lot to share in terms of how you can really hone your awesome admin skills, about the different kinds of instances that she's worked with. Keep an eye on her, follow her. She's got a lot to offer the community.
And then, we also featured Carmel James and when I say I struck gold, so Brittany well for sure, she's a golden, amazing, wonderful member of our community and she's got a lot to offer. But Carmel literally was award in the Golden Hoodie. She has lot to share, she's turned into a consultant so she's working with many different kinds of Salesforce instances, but she is an admin at heart and has so many great things to share. In fact, you are going to hear her or you have heard her on the Podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: You've already heard her, she was last week. Yeah, April 21st. I just had to look that up because we wrangled the Golden Hoodie.

Gillian Bruce: We wrangled her, yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Onto a Podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was cool. We also had in addition to the theater sessions... Which by the way I thought I had presented in, I've done stuff in front of the camera and whatever. Oh no, it's standing up again, clicking a clicker.

Gillian Bruce: The energy is back.

Mike Gerholdt: Whole different new realm of like, and people are looking at you and you say something then they laugh at your joke and you're like, "Oh my God,"-

Gillian Bruce: Or they don't,

Mike Gerholdt: "This is great." Or they don't, that's fine. I'm used to that too. We had demo station, I want to thank Nick, Justin Anne and Morgan for staffing that. That was amazing. And hopefully you had a chance to stop by the demo station. I saw there was a lot of people hanging around, questions all the time.

Gillian Bruce: We did hand out a bunch of stickers and pins, there's always that swag.

Mike Gerholdt: You did. Yeah. If you were at world tour D.C, you could have got a Salesforce admin podcast sticker.

Gillian Bruce: Those are hot items people.

Mike Gerholdt: I bet if you're listening this now and you find us at TrailblazerDX, you could probably get something too.

Gillian Bruce: I'm pretty sure it's not the way it's going to happen.

Mike Gerholdt: Probably walk around with stuff in our pockets. I wrote down another thing that was fun. I got to do a selfie at World Tour D.C.

Gillian Bruce: Selfies are back.

Mike Gerholdt: I just remember somebody was like, "Oh, I don't know how..." I like, "Just give me the phone, I know how to do it. it's like riding in a bicycle."

Gillian Bruce: Just came right back to you.

Mike Gerholdt: Just came right back to me. So yeah, I got selfies. I Get selfies with a podcast listener too. I tweeted it out.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it was really great. I think what's really fun about these Salesforce tours is that they're very localized, right? So it's like, a specific community, they're free, so you can come. You get a lot of people who have never been to a Salesforce event before, especially given the last couple years at these events. And so I met so many new people and we're like, "Hey, welcome. Welcome to this really fun community. And I am so happy that this is your first event and I get to talk to you and I get to welcome you in."
And there were so many people that made connections at the event. Listener, if you're picking up what I'm putting down, go to a Salesforce event because it is such a valuable way to make connections, to learn, to get stickers, because that's also really important. But yeah, come to an event, there's plenty of opportunities. The tour is going to all kinds of different cities in the next few months. And then we have a little something called Dreamforce that's happening in September.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's going to be awesome. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It's epic. Okay. There's more than just, this amazing vibe of we're going to see people in person, events are back.

Mike Gerholdt: But we are really excited for that.

Gillian Bruce: We are very excited, but we also did a lot of other really cool things this month for the community. So Mike, can you give it's a little recap of some the cool things.

Mike Gerholdt: So when you say we, we really mean the Royal we of admin [inaudible]

Gillian Bruce: Very Royal,

Mike Gerholdt: The Royal we, if you know me, you know that joke. So the one thing I want to highlight that I think is just one of the coolest things we've launched since maybe the Podcast, Genly now doesn't automate this session. It's a live video on YouTube.

Gillian Bruce: Live,

Mike Gerholdt: Live. You're sitting around and you're like, "Man, wonder how Genly would build this flow. Let's just watch it live.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I'll just give you a moment to gather your head, has it exploded. Because all of the amazingness, and so we'll link to a blog post where you can watch the recorded version of the live.

Gillian Bruce: Replay.

Mike Gerholdt: Butthat Blog post has all the information, so you can tune in and watch all the automated this. It's so exciting. This is such a neat idea.

Gillian Bruce: It's so cool. It's like a cooking show, but for building flows and automations you're watching it happen in real time, you can follow along, you can watch the replay, so you can go replicate it and follow along in your own pace. But just getting that live brilliance directly from Genly is just chef's kiss to continue the metaphor.

Mike Gerholdt: That also gives me a really fun idea for Dreamforce. It'd be fun to do live flow building and then have Genly on the side commentary. You ever watched that food network where like, "He's shaving the radishes, which will give a-

Gillian Bruce: Like Iron chef.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, like that kind of thing, that'd be fun to watch.

Gillian Bruce: She could be the, what is it? The Alton Brown?

Mike Gerholdt: Alton Brown. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And you could be the sideline reporter in the kitchen being like-

Mike Gerholdt: I'd just be the guy that's relief. That sounds really cool.

Gillian Bruce: "Looks we're retiring a workflow here and,"

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah. All this stuff you'll see at TDX today, I promise you're going to see how to turn a workflow into a flow at TDX today, if you're listening this on April 28th.

Gillian Bruce: Guaranteed. Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Like you should. We'll do a full TDX wrap up next month because it's literally happening right now. Oh, it's like multiverse, you could be listening to this Podcast now and then standing across from me or you. And we wouldn't even know it. It's like, "Whoa," wonder what that's going to say.

Gillian Bruce: Really in the Salesforce matrix there.

Mike Gerholdt: I just thought of that, makes no sense.

Gillian Bruce: But yeah. Well, I'm launching a little something right now at TDX.

Mike Gerholdt: A lot of something.

Gillian Bruce: A lot of something. We've been working as a team on a really big project for the last year and it's super important and it's very timely. And we are launching the Salesforce admin skills kit at TDX. And you may be saying, what is the skills kit you think of? Well, the skills kit is basically a way for us to put really concrete in data and language behind the non-technical skills that make a Salesforce admin successful. We're talking about things problem solving, business analysis, communication. We've done so much work over the last year between serving actual admins in the community, talking to workforce development organizations, employers, experienced admins, job seekers about how we can really help, beef up.
We're really good at telling you all of the different parts of the product that you need to know to be a really good Salesforce admin, but we've been lacking in that business skillset that you also need. To me, that's the admin magic, right? That's what makes so amazing. So we have this amazing, very robust skills kit that goes through all of these different skills that you will absolutely benefit from. If you are looking to grow your Salesforce admin career, if you're looking for your first Salesforce admin role or if you're looking to hire a Salesforce admin. It's huge, it's awesome. You can go to admin.salesforce.com/skills kit, and you can find all of the great resources there.
We've got expertise from different community members that we're talking about each different skill, showing you examples of how you represent this on a resume, how you would represent this in a job out description and then also resources for how you learn, how to develop that skill further. So I could go on and on about it. I got a whole session at TDX about it. I will be talking about this for probably the rest of my tenure at Salesforce. This is really important stuff. And I cannot wait to see what the community does with it, because it's a great resource.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And more to come when you join us at Dreamforce this year.

Gillian Bruce: Ooh. So much more. This is just the beginning, everybody. There's a little much more.

Mike Gerholdt: Just the smidge, just the corner. You think you know, you have no idea. A couple pieces of content I want to point out and then we'll wrap up so that you can get on your way, on the road to TDX. Should we say [inaudible]

Gillian Bruce: On the road from TDX? Is it the last

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe they're taking a car, rail car. Why can't I think trolley?

Gillian Bruce: A cable car.

Mike Gerholdt: Cable car. Why is that such a thing?

Gillian Bruce: Well it's-

Mike Gerholdt: The Mr. Rogers neighborhood thing came to mind.

Gillian Bruce: That was technically a trolley, that was not a cable car. It's different.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. No. Yeah. There we go. Now nobody's listening. Two things to point out, one, there's an amazing Podcast. Gillian, you did this Podcast with Antoine Calvet, who is the PM for Flow. Is he?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. He and his team are basically the ones who build orchestrator, which is the Flow of Flows thing. I love talking to Antoine because also I'm getting back up to speed with everything that happened while I was on parental leave, and talking to him was so fun because it's like we had this concept a year ago, two years ago, and now it's really happening where you can really take those multi-user workflows, all these processes that involve different departments, maybe external internal users and you can put all of that into one beautiful process automation using orchestrator.
You don't have to rebuild each individual Flow, you don't have to link them together and external things, you have one beautiful representation. It was really great to talk to him about what he and his team have built, where it's going, what they're excited to share at TDX, which is happening now. Yeah, it was a really fun episode to record if you haven't listened to it. Go listen it.

Mike Gerholdt: Go back and listen. And Gillian you highlighted an article that you wrote too.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, okay. I can't take full credit for this article. This is really like I put a question out on Twitter and got overwhelmingly awesome responses from the community. I was talking to a colleague like a month ago and I was like, "Hey, don't we have a good example of an app that someone's built to manage users?" And for some reason I thought that this content already existed, I couldn't find it. So what do I do? I just post on Twitter, "Hey, does anyone have a good example of how they've built an app to manage user requests?" Okay. The responses I got were incredible. I got some amazing examples of really robust and really powerful apps that people have built to better manage user requests and go read the posts. There's actual screenshots in there and actual outlines of different parts and features of these apps that people have built, so many great things you can learn and incorporate.
Things like how to really get real data on your ROI of the things that you have built to really track the time to some best practices in terms of capturing requests, in terms of forcing people to fit into the structure of a user request. It's great. Check out the post. I'm sure you're going to get something out of it that will help you as an admin, be more efficient and help you and your team deliver more powerful results and just show how amazing you are. So read it. And huge shout out to all the collaborators that contributed to it. Because let me tell you, I just put the quest out there and then just put all of their great info in there.

Mike Gerholdt: You just put the legos together, you didn't build the bricks.

Gillian Bruce: Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Cool. Well that was great. We will do a wrap up of TDX in May, hang out for that because we've also got some stuff that we're going to try and record live there. We'll see how that turns out. But if you want to learn more about all the things that we just talked about, the Podcast and that really cool article, 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 at Salesforce admins. No I on Twitter. I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt and of course Gillian is @Gilliankbruce. I bet there's a few selfies going on our Twitter right now.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Just because it's TDX. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: April_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Gillian_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Karmel James, Senior Associate at Dupont Circle Solutions.

Join us as we talk about how to ask good questions and why failure is a Record Type of Success.

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

The Life of a Salesforce Consultant

Karmel is a Salesforce consultant: “My day is filled with asking questions and wondering what my clients are going to want today and then going through and figuring out how we’re going to deliver that to them.” Along the way, she has conversations about business processes and automation to help her get clarity on how to execute on those big ideas.

Along the way, Karmel has picked up on some best practices for solving problems quickly and efficiently. She really relies on her sandboxes to keep everything organized, and recommends you do the same.

Find the right tool for the job

“Being willing to learn and ask questions is one of the first key skills that I would say that everyone needs,” Karmel said, “but you need to be able to evaluate.” You’ve got so many tools available to you, from Process Builder to Flow and Triggers, so choosing the right thing for the right job is crucial. “What makes an Awesome Admin awesome is knowing how and when to use each,” she says.

When comes to figuring out what the right questions to ask are, Karmel recommends leaning on those high school journalism skills and asking the five Ws and an H: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. You need to clearly hear what the problem is so you can engineer a solution, whatever that may be. And while there are a lot of ways to solve something in Salesforce, if you don’t understand the problem you haven’t got a chance to make an impact.

Failure is just a Record Type of Success

“Sometimes things fail, but failure is just a Record Type of success,” Karmel says, “you can’t succeed if you don't know how to fail.” And when you need help, come to a live event and ask questions because everyone there wants to help you succeed.

There are so many people working to build the community and make people feel at home, so if you’re new then look for places where you can learn more and get in touch with people who want to help. Start with your Community Groups first and go from there, and remember that everyone is there to learn no matter what your level of experience.

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

Full show transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product community and career. We're live this week, Gillian, at the Salesforce World Tour, DC.

Gillian: Yeah, do y'all hear that? You hear that noise in the background?

Mike: It's people.

Gillian: People in-person. Ah, that's so exciting. So exciting.

Mike: It was fun. So Gillian, you've done a couple presentations in the theater.

Gillian: And so have you.

Mike: I did. We just came off it. It was great. I presented to people and got facial feedback.

Gillian: Yeah, that isn't just on a screen. You actually could see body language.

Mike: Right, and the excitement when you say their names.

Gillian: You could ask people to raise their hands and you could actually see some hands on the air.

Mike: And then they raise their hands. Yeah, they don't just say they did in chat. I raised my hand. We're not sitting here alone. We're sitting with some shininess.

Gillian: Oh, we got some trailblazer royalty here with us today.

Mike: Please introduce our trailblazer royalty, Gillian.

Gillian: All right, listeners. I have a very special treat for you. We have the most recent golden hoodie winner. Karmel James, joining us. Karmel, welcome to the podcast.

Karmel James: Thank you, Gillian and Mike, this is amazing. While this is very shiny and very nice, I'm just in awe that I'm sitting here with you. I mean, this is just a dream come true.

Gillian: Aw, well that's sweat.

Mike: That's very nice. I'd like to think people are like, "Hmm, Golden Hoodie podcast. I don't know."

Karmel James: It's hard. I feel like they're somewhat equal some days. And then you're just like, you know what? Everything about Salesforce is great. So I'm just going to take what I can get. And this is awesome.

Mike: I hear that Lego movie song in my head. Everything's awesome.

Gillian: Everything is awesome.

Mike: Right?

Gillian: Yeah, well that was our theme song many, many moons ago for a long time now. We should bring it back.

Mike: It's never gotten out of my head. It's stuck now.

Gillian: Karmel, let's talk a little bit about who you are and what you do, and then we'll talk about Golden Hoodie and all the things. So what do you do in Salesforce World, and how long have you been doing it? Tell us a little bit about your story.

Karmel James: Yes, all the stories. I am currently a Salesforce consultant at a boutique company here in the Arlington area. And my day is just filled with asking questions and wondering what my clients are going to want today. And then going through and figuring out how are we going to deliver that to them, and having some really great conversations about business process, automation. All of the things that awesome admins are always wanting to do, that is my job 24/7.

Mike: Wow, I like that. It sounds cool.

Gillian: I think it also sounds like she has a lot of good wisdom to share.

Mike: Have a feeling.

Gillian: It could be [crosstalk] to the community.

Karmel James: All of the wisdom, all of the things. One, Sandboxes, yes. Hands down, every time.

Mike: You should have one?

Karmel James: You should have one. You should live by it. You should want three of them at all points in time. You got to test in multiple. Yeah, it's a whole deal.

Mike: Just to be clear, we're three minutes into the pod and she's already dropping wisdom on you.

Gillian: See, and this is why we have-

Mike: There's no breaks.

Gillian: Yeah, no.

Mike: It's coming at you like a wonder wall.

Gillian: That's what happens when you get everybody together in person, everyone gets excited.

Mike: I know, we have to talk, do things.

Karmel James: I thought that was the point of the community, to share knowledge.

Mike: Well, let's talk about the community. So I think what you described in your intro as like, "Oh, I did this and then I listen to the customers." Yeah, people do that in a lot of jobs. What's different about being in the Salesforce ecosystem for you?

Karmel James: Oh, that is a hard question to answer.

Mike: We're brutal on the podcast.

Karmel James: You are. I think what's different for me is, you can hear a lot of people say, do X, do Y, right? It's all there, but it's about finding what's right for you. So you take all of this information, you hear people say, "I think you should try this." And then at least in my experience, I've always said, yes to trying something once, right? I can't know if I'm going to hate it unless I try it first. And then after you try it, evaluate. Does that make sense for you? Is it still right for you? And I think that even with how you show up in the community, even how you do your job, whatever it is in the Salesforce ecosystem, it's not just about, I know this and this is great and I want to use it. It's an also questioning and saying, but is it right for me? And should I continue to do it? Do I still get that value from it?

Gillian: Okay, so that is definitely Golden Hoodie worthy wisdom there. And I think one of the things that is interesting is one of the reasons we were working with you on some of our presentations we shared today is, you really embody a lot of those admin core skills that we're talking about. We talked about, we've got the skills kits that we're about to launch, and you really embody a lot of that. And the reason we talk about the skills kit is because a lot of people can learn how to do Salesforce. A lot of people can learn how to customize a field, how to build an app. And that's great and it's important that you know that, but that admin magic is when you combine those business skills and those skills that you are hinting at. So can you talk to us a little bit, especially about in your role as a consultant, tell us a little bit how you envision that combo and how that has worked for you and how that helps create the magic that you've been able to propel your career with.

Karmel James: Yeah, no, I think being willing to learn and ask questions is one of the first key skills that I would say that everyone needs, but to your point, yes, you need to be able to evaluate. So when you're coming together and you're thinking, "Okay, I have this solution," you've got all these different tools in front of you, right? If we're thinking about process automation, you've got workflow rules, you've got process builders, you've got Flows, you've got Triggers, you've got external systems connected with an API and it can send things. You've got everything in a toolbox.
But what makes an awesome admin awesome is knowing how and when to use each. It is critical to know that these things exist. But then again, taking that step back and really thinking about, but why do I want to use it in this scenario? How is it going to be better than... How is Flow better than process builder? Well, because Flow is going to be the thing. It is the wave. Process builder is going away. Workflow rules are going away. So really taking the time to say, "Do I understand Flow? Have I tried it? Did I test this in my Sandbox?" And then going through. And once you do have that, again, asking yourself, "Is this right? Did it solve my problem?"
Because I agree. There are so many different tools that you can use in the ecosystem and you can learn it all, yes. But what makes someone super cool, super amazing, super great at what they do, is knowing in to use one over the other, and being willing to defend that or change. If you're like, "Oh, something new has come up. Actually I did want to use Flow, now actually I think I need a trigger because the business process has changed." Right? So it's being adaptable and flexible and just asking a lot of questions and evaluating.

Mike: Okay, so to go a little bit further, because I want to get some of that Karmel goodness out. I hear that a lot, oh, you got to ask questions. You got to ask a lot of questions. And then I listen to a podcast like this and I'm like, "What are the questions? What should I be asking?" As you've evolved in your career, you've gotten better at asking questions. What are questions you ask now that help you clarify one tool versus the other or one process versus the other? Or do I build an object versus the other? What's that next level down answer that an admin needs to like, "I listen to Karmel. I'm going to go in tomorrow and I'm going to ask this type of question rather than just a question and then try and figure out Flow builder."

Karmel James: I would say it's about going back to the basics. So I remember in elementary school you learned about the five Ws. Who, what, when, where, why, and then an H, how. Those are all the questions that I need. I always think about, "How can I phrase this in an open ended question, just so that I can hear what the problem is." I'm not really worried about a solution because I know that there's a solution out there, but what I really need to know is, what is going on in the business? Why is the business doing it this way? What happens if you don't get it? What's the result of that? And really trying to understand the entire picture, right? It's about, if you're thinking about a painting, you want to know what you're painting first, some artists don't and that's totally okay.
But if you want something that's structured, that's consistent, that's going to give you longevity, and it is going to mean that your users are extremely happy, that they're like, "This is amazing, you've changed my life," then it's about understanding the whole picture before building the solution. And that's a really hard skill to learn. I mean, it's something that has taken me years to really develop. It's like, yeah, I know I can use Flow with it, but first I need to know, well, what part and where am I going to put in the Flow? And I can only do that if I start asking who what, when, where, why and how. And if I can't ask any of those questions, I then question, why can't I ask any of these questions? I need to go back and rethink how I can frame this in an open-ended way so that someone can just give me all of the information, and then I can process it and really critically think about what is going to be the best solution to get us to the end goal.

Gillian: So it's funny. I actually saw you do the little bits in action just 10 minutes ago after the presentation, because of course you got swarmed after the presentation with everyone wanting to ask you questions.

Mike: I mean, it happens with the goal.

Gillian: And the Golden Hoodie, it's like saying-

Mike: It's so subtle.

Gillian: It's blindingly amazing. And so someone came up and asked you and said, "Hey, I'm trying to solve this situation. I have this form that I need people to fill out and then I got to capture it." And my first thought was like, "Oh, so maybe, probably sounds like a screen flow. I don't know." And you were like, "Hold on, let me ask you some questions. What type of form is this? What type of data is it gathering?" And it was like, we just saw you just immediately spring into action. And so that's that thinking in practice? I loved seeing that.

Karmel James: Oh yeah, no, absolutely. And it's something that I use as a consultant every day. I'm very happy to build any solution that my client wants, but I also am a consultant. I'm not going to be using the solution every single day. I'm not going to know when it goes wrong. I'm not going to understand that. And so in order to make sure that I'm building the best thing, I like to try and figure out what are the questions to get me the information to put myself in somebody else's shoes. I need to picture this as if I am the user. I need to picture this as if I am the admin who's going to receive this.
I need to picture it as if I am the manager, who's going to be receiving the complaint about their coworkers are like, "I hate this. This is horrible." Right? It's all about that user perspective. And so asking those questions makes it a lot easier. And also, I can't tell you what a link is going to do, unless I know what tool are we using and why are we using that? And can we use something different? And again, it's just who, what, when, where, why, how, it's my favorite.

Mike: So I've worked with consultants as an admin, and we can get into that as a whole other... That could be a whole podcast.

Karmel James: That's a whole podcast.

Mike: But I think one thing that you probably run into that admins, I'm going to say, don't run into, when a consultant comes in. I think the company culture, the mindset has gone to, we are ready for change, because Salesforce is a change product, right?

Karmel James: Yeah.

Mike: You don't just get at net zero cloud and then not recycle paper, right? For example, or not install solar panels. You have to commit to the change. As you would advise for admins, what is a thing that they can do? What are questions they can ask that would help bring about that culture, that process change in addition to the technology change?

Karmel James: Ooh, change management, Mike. You are diving in deep.

Mike: I'm both feet. We're back live in person's hard question time.

Karmel James: It is. Well, considering the fact that before I was a consultant, I was an accidental admin. I was working by myself at a small nonprofit, not understanding. What I would say is that what I've learned from starting out seven years ago in that position of I've got this system, of course I want my users to use it. I know about all of these cool features. Now as a consultant where my job is to come in and help other people understand that value, I think it's also positioning and understanding who is your audience. So yes, if a company buys Salesforce, of course, you're like, well obviously you should use Salesforce. Of course, you bought it, you want to use it. But it's about understanding what is the value of the executive director using it? What value to the manager who is using it? What is the value to your customer who's going to be interfacing with whatever site you put up, especially if you're using experience cloud?
It's about putting yourself in the other person's shoes and trying to imagine what is the value of the thing that you want to change. So if you want to introduce a whole new application, right, you got a whole new set of tabs. It's got all these automated things, you get all these cool buttons. Well then, my question to you is, how are you going to describe how that functions in your users everyday life? Is that going to mean that they no longer have to click through eight things? Really putting the, so what, the why, in front of them and showing them, Salesforce can do almost anything, but what we really want to make sure is that it's going to give you what you want. So is this what you want? Is this really cool? Is this going to make you excited to save time and money and effort?
And so, if you're looking for change management, start with, what are the problems? Can't change anything if you don't know what the problem is. And then once you do, understand well, what is the solution that they want? And can I deliver that solution and just keep going through? This is what you wanted, you told me you had this problem, I'm solving the problem. But again, it's just being able to ask those questions and really understanding your audience is really key into all of it. It's very hard, but you can do it.

Gillian: So yeah, actually one of the things that popped up for me, you're saying it's very hard. What happens when you have a situation where someone's either not giving you the info or you're having combative, "Hey, why is it this site?" "Well, it just is." What happens when you hit those walls? Because I can imagine when you're digging deep and asking all the questions, so you might encounter somebody who's defensive or who doesn't think you need to know, or how do you deal with something like that?

Karmel James: Well, I would stop and assess my situation of, what is the environment that I'm in. Am I in front of a lot of people or is this one-on-one? Because I think that's definitely going to change how you approach that person. But let's just go ahead and say it's one-on-one, right? I personally like to reset. If I met with a little resistance, I like to reset as why we're here today. Right? And remind them that my job is to help you. I'm not here to just come in and make change just to make change. If this is a process that you want to keep, that's totally fine. I have ideas on how I can make it easier, but it's not my job to just make things easier to make them easier. My job is make sure that if it's going to be easier for you, it's actually going to add value.
So again, it's going back to understanding your audience. And again, if it's on one-on-one reset, restate that you're here to help. And if that's something that they don't want help on, ask, "Well, what do you want help on? Tell me what are your problems? How can I help you?" With my clients I tell them, "I'm not worried about what the solution is going to be. We will find a solution. Salesforce here at World Tour, there's a million solutions out on the floor. We can see all of them, but none of that means anything if we don't understand how it's going to bring us value. So I would say, reset with that person, make sure they understand that you're just there to help them. And then say, "Remind me again, what are your problems? Tell me, show me, let me in on this so that I can maybe find something that's really cool and possibly demo it for you so that you get to decide if you want it or not."

Mike: Wow. I've met with that a few times. So you mentioned we're at an event. Let's talk about that. Finish this phrase for me, as a new Salesforce admin, I should go to a World Tour event because...

Karmel James: Because you don't know what you don't know. That is something that someone told me a very long time ago, that I don't know, know what I don't know. And so you should come here to meet with other people and say just that. I came here and I have no idea what this is about. And let someone else tell you about it. Let someone else show you the value, because everyone who is here at World Tour or at any Salesforce community event, we're all there to just drop knowledge. We want everyone to be successful in Salesforce. And yeah, sometimes things fail. But failure's just a record type of success. So keep showing up, and-

Mike: Oh, man, quote of the pod right there.

Gillian: Quote of all.

Mike: I want that on a shirt.

Karmel James: Right? It's good. But come to these events so that we can hear what you've been working on, especially those failures. Because you can't succeed if you don't know how to fail, right? And just being able to talk with other people and ask them questions. Questions, again, asking, it's my whole theme of everything. But this is really truly a place where you know people are going to be talking about Salesforce. They are bought into Salesforce. Salesforce is the only thing that they really are doing here and wanting to talk about. So this is the place to just hear what we're talking about, see what the Koolaid is, see if you want to try it. And if you do say, "Hey, I don't know what this is. Can you explain it to me?" And I swear, you'll get 10 people flock to you instantly. "I can show you this. I can show you this. Have you tried this? Did you look up this help.salesforce.com article? You haven't? You need to read this. Take a minute, process, then come back to me."

Gillian: I think that's really important because a lot of, I would say 90% of the people that I saw in our sessions today, when I asked you, I would say, "Hey, is this your first sales source event?" All the hands went up. And I think that's one of the really special things about these World Tours is that, A, it's free. We want everyone to come, but it's the perfect opportunity if it's your first exposure to Salesforce or you're about to... I talked to someone today who's like, "My organization is getting ready to implement Salesforce. So they sent me here so that I can start getting my mind all around it." And I was like, "That is awesome. This is perfect.
We're going to give you all the exposure you need, help you understand what you're looking at and how you envision how this is going to work at your organization and start getting your mind wrapped around it." And so that is exactly what these events are perfect for. And also, I mean, you're in the community you get to... And I am so excited, too. Reconnecting with people in-person in this local community is amazing. I mean, there are so... Especially the DC, Maryland, Virginia area, I mean, there's a very vibrant community here.

Karmel James: We have so many user groups, we've got the admin group. We have the women in a tech group. There's a developer group. There's a nonprofit user group. We have all of the community events. And yes, in the D.C. Area, we are all about community. And if I'm thinking about my own journey in Salesforce, World Tour is one of the first events that I went to when I was an accidental admin where I was like, "I don't know what this means. I don't know Salesforce. I am a chemist. You want me to do what? What is this thing? I don't know, sales. I got nothing." And when I was starting out, I did, I looked for places where I could just go and learn more about this thing called Salesforce, and World Tour was one of them.
And I distinctly, and I've told it to you many times today, Gillian, I distinctly remember sitting in one of your sessions about admins. I think it was an accidental admin talk or whatever. And I was like, "I feel this. I feel it so bad." And I went and I sat and I listened. And I remember watching you, and I was like, "Oh my God, I want to be like that." That sounds like everything I want to do. And here I am now at World Tour wearing this very shiny piece of apparel. And it feels very good, but this place has the power to change everything. I would not have guessed this for myself, but coming to community events and again, being willing and it's hard. It is scare having to say what you don't know, but it also gives you a chance to show what you do know. And we all want to see that just as badly.

Gillian: Well, I'm going to say I enjoyed watching you on stage today. So full circle.

Karmel James: It's so nice. It's like a dream come true.

Gillian: That's awesome.

Mike: So as we wrap up things, we talked about World Tour. You dropped a whole lot of knowledge, and I swear I'm going to buy a shirt.

Gillian: Yeah, I think we should make them for Trailblazer DX or Dreamforce, at least.

Mike: That's what I was thinking.

Karmel James: Yes, failure is just a record type of success.

Mike: Isn't that cool. It fits right. It'll fit. It'll look cool. Admins that are listening to this. We have Trailblazer DX coming up, or yes, I think it came up.

Gillian: April 27th to 28th.

Mike: Right. We'll have Dreamforce. We have other World Tours. We also have community groups. What is a new admin, somebody that's listening to this podcast, what would you tell them to do?

Karmel James: I would say, start with your community groups first, get your feet wet. Right? You just have to show up. You can sit, you don't have to talk to anybody.

Mike: But I mean, it could be two hours.

Karmel James: No.

Mike: Maybe I'm not all into that.

Karmel James: Oh, well that's fair.

Mike: Because that's what people tell me. Right?

Karmel James: Yeah.

Mike: Like I don't...

Karmel James: I know.

Mike: This is a whole lot of...

Karmel James: It's a lot of talking. It's a big investment.

Mike: Do I have to do all of the-

Karmel James: Yes.

Mike: Okay.

Karmel James: Yes, you have to. You have to do all the things.

Mike: Because that's what they're saying.

Karmel James: And that's fine, but they're going to miss out on the power of Salesforce.

Mike: I mean, if you live in the Midwest, there's usually some sort of meatloaf or a hot dish at user group.

Karmel James: Yeah, I mean at D.C.-

Mike: I don't know what you do our east.

Karmel James: We always had food at the end of ours. Yeah, absolutely.

Mike: Out west they'd usually do drinks.

Gillian: I feel like every time I've joined a D.C. user group, there's been bourbon involved in some capacity.

Karmel James: Yeah, usually at the end.

Gillian: Yeah, that's usually Toya's fault.

Mike: But so I guess what I'm getting at, you can kind of be your own little introvert self.

Karmel James: Yes, absolutely.

Mike: And hang out.

Karmel James: Yeah.

Mike: And you don't have to be a rock star up on stage.

Karmel James: Nope, you can just sit and listen.

Mike: And you cannot know stuff, right?

Karmel James: Oh my God, please not know stuff. Let us teach you.

Mike: Please not know stuff.

Karmel James: Yeah, no, we are more than happy, right? And just sitting and watching gives you this space to have ideas, right? There's there is no expect you have to talk to us, right? In the keynote, I said, if you were to look in the dictionary and see the word extrovert, my face is next to it. I am 100% that person where you were like, "Who is she and why?" That's too much energy. I can't be around it. But you don't have to be that way, right? You can just show up and we want to see you anyway. Even if you're just sitting there and you're just listening. That is it. That is all you have to do. That is step one to being in the community, is just showing up. Then step two comes with time and feeling comfortable.
Then it's talking about what your challenges are, sharing what you've learned and where you're like. "Hmm, no, I don't understand what this is. I got nothing. Can someone help me?" So showing up is just the first start. And it's a really low barrier. And yeah, it's two hours of your life, but it's two hours with a lot of people who are very happy to see you. And even if you're not going to talk to us, that's totally okay. We're just going to be like, "Well, please eat the food because we don't want to take it home."

Mike: Nobody wants to take food home.

Karmel James: No, never.

Mike: Not a hot dish.

Gillian: Unless you've got one of those-

Karmel James: I mean, unless it's Mac and cheese.

Mike: I did, so favorite. Okay, fun time. Favorite user group food. I'll go first. I one time to a Twin City's user group. And it was middle of winter, December when it's negative a gabillion below. Everything's froze. And it was over the lunch hour. They did the intro, and they're like, "In the back's lasagna, meatloaf and mashed potatoes."

Karmel James: That sounds like-

Mike: "And then after that, we're going to do break out birds of the feather." I love the Twin City user group. It was everything and a bag. Gallons of Mountain Dew got me home that afternoon because I finished eating and all I wanted to do was just snooze. Can we all just have nap time?

Karmel James: Yes, I would love to bring siestas to the Salesforce.

Mike: So Mac and cheese would be your preferred-

Karmel James: Yes.

Mike: That's what?

Karmel James: Well, I had Mac and cheese yesterday, so that's why it's on my mind.

Mike: You, can have Mac and cheese today too, by the way.

Karmel James: There was Mac and cheese?

Mike: Mac and cheese can be an everyday kind of food.

Karmel James: It should be an everyday type of food.

Gillian: [crosstalk] is the official food of the Salesforce Admin podcast because I do it.

Mike: I don't know. We should have a poll.

Karmel James: Is it going to have bacon in it? Can we add bacon?

Mike: Oh, it's got to have bacon.

Karmel James: Got have it.

Mike: Yeah.

Gillian: See? This is where I have a problem.

Mike: Gillian doesn't like bacon, she's weird.

Karmel James: That's totally fine. We still love you anyway.

Mike: I mean, it's okay but it's weird.

Gillian: Can you keep it on the little crumbles on the side.

Karmel James: Yes.

Mike: You can put it on. It's like a Mac and cheese bar.

Karmel James: It's a toping, yes.

Mike: Have you seen that? I saw a thing on Food Network. They have a Mac and cheese bar.

Karmel James: Well, see, this is why I like noodles and company, because I can go and I can get all the Mac and cheese that I possibly want.

Mike: There you go. With bacon crumbles.

Karmel James: With nothing else. Yeah, bacon crumbles, that is my entree. Mac and cheese. But no, I would say the women in tech group here in D.C., we do lots of sandwiches. And so these san-

Mike: Finger sandwiches look little?

Karmel James: Yeah, no, they're really good meaty sandwiches.

Mike: Will gel.

Karmel James: You're going to get a meal out of this. And we usually always have leftovers. And so, I either would pick them up and would take them home. And in some cases I could eat all of them, which was great, or I would actually give them away to people. And so, they're just like in... I know that this theme for this World Tour is gratitude. And so, I always go into all of these user groups thinking, "I'm very lucky to be here. This is very exciting." And a lot of it is per chance, right? And so, if we have the opportunity to have leftover food, I personally like walking the streets of D.C. Being like, "Hey, we can't take all this home. There's no way." And sandwiches make it really easy for someone else to be like, "Yes, I actually, I will take a sandwich."

Mike: Yep. We did that at my first Trailhead, it's now called Trailblazer DX. We had leftover food in the employee lounge and we all took a plate, and then the first person that we ran into on the street.

Karmel James: Yeah.

Mike: Yeah, I get a soft spot if they have a dog.

Karmel James: Yeah.

Gillian: Yes.

Mike: Yeah.

Gillian: Karmel, thank you so much for joining us.

Mike: Yeah, this was fun.

Gillian: You've done an amazing job today in all of the things that we've asked you to do for Salesforce.

Mike: Really.

Gillian: You did an incredible job during the keynote and you well earned Golden Hoodie, and thank you for joining us on the podcast today, and dropping those wisdom bombs on us. And I can't wait to see your Salesforce nomad life come to life over the next few months because I know that you're just hopping between Salesforce events all over the world, which is very exciting.

Mike: Should go to more Salesforce events and we will.

Gillian: She will.

Karmel James: Yeah. Oh yes, we got Southeast Dreamin. We have Dreaming in Color, Midwest Dreamin'/Witness Success. We have all of them.

Mike: Yeah, we'll be at Midwest Dreamin'.

Karmel James: Ooh, okay. Well then I will see you there.

Mike: I might know the keynoter.

Karmel James: Oh right, yeah, that's happening.

Mike: I won't. I won't make you eat a hot dish, not in summer. Not in Minneapolis.

Karmel James: No, not in July.

Gillian: [crosstalk]

Mike: Shandy, yeah.

Karmel James: We're not doing that in July, no. But Florida Dreamin', it's First [Landia] right? In Portland? First Landia?

Gillian: First Landia.

Karmel James: I've been told about that so I've got to consider.

Mike: Have you thought about making a tour shirt? I could see that. That would be, see Karmel James, and then the dates on the back.

Karmel James: Right? That'd be pretty cool.

Mike: That'd be boss.

Karmel James: With my travel, what's really nice is I kind of don't plan it so far in advance where I know where I'm going. But for conferences, I absolutely know when I'm going to those. Okay, I got to go make a shirt now.

Mike: I'd do a tour shirt, that'd be cool.

Gillian: That would be very awesome.

Mike: See me at the following event.

Karmel James: Yes.

Gillian: Well, thank you so much for joining us and we cannot wait to see what's next for you. And yeah, keep letting us ask you to do things.

Karmel James: Excellent. Well, thank you, Gillian and Mike, this has been so amazing. I am just overly happy that I get to share, who, what, when, where, why? Oh, don't forget how.

Mike: And how.

Karmel James: Yeah, don't forget how.

Mike: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including all the links if we mentioned any in today's episode, as well as the full transcript.

Gillian: That's going to be a good one to read.

Mike: I know, I can't wait. They usually-

Gillian: Have fun with that, transcribing.

Mike: I will. Yep, here we go. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are at Salesforce admins, no I on Twitter. Gillian of course is on Twitter @Gillian K Bruce. Our guest today, Karmel.

Gillian: She might as well be a host.

Mike: I know, a guest host. Coming soon to a podcast new year.

Karmel James: Thank you.

Gillian: Yeah, right?

Mike: Karmel James is on Twitter at...

Karmel James: A-R-M-E-J-A-M, 44.

Mike: Or armejam as I almost introduced her. I, of course, am on Twitter @Mike Holt. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome. And stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Antoine Cabot, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce working on Orchestrator.

Join us as we talk about what Antoine and his team have learned since Orchestrator went GA in February and all the cool things they’re looking forward to sharing at TrailblazerDX.

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

Looking forward to TrailblazerDX

Orchestrator is a new product, introduced in February, to support multi-user workflows by adding one more layer to the Flow tooling already in place, accommodating more sophisticated business processes for customers.

At TrailblazerDX, they’ll get into the nitty-gritty of what a multi-user workflow is and why you’d want to use them. “Orchestrator is not only a tool our customers can use out-of-the-box and build their own Orchestrations—it’s also a tool that can be used by partners and startups to create products and sell them through AppExchange,” Antoine says. They’ve invited some of these businesses to share what they’re working on so you can see what Orchestrator is capable of.

What is Orchestrator?

Flow is already a powerful tool with a lot of capabilities: screen flows for user interactions, recall trigger flows to update records, and more. There’s a reason we encouraging folks to transition to it and deprecating older ways of doing things.

“Flow is great when you have some kind of recall-centric process,” Antoine says, “but Orchestrator is great for user-centric processes.” You can assign work to the right person at the right time, which is a godsend for multi-user or multi-department processes where you have to support parallel work.

One of the best things is that working is Orchestrator uses all of the skills you’ve already learned for Flow. “If you know how to create a Flow, you will know how to create an Orchestration,” Antoine says.

What’s next?

As far as what’s coming up, there’s a lot to look forward to. They’re looking to make some major gains in how they do reporting on tasks completed in Orchestrator. The goal is to build something that lets you analyze processes to figure out how specific steps are going and where you can make improvements.

Antoine has one message for folks listening in: “Please start measuring how much time it takes for a process to go from the beginning to the end.” When you want to prove the ROI for what you’re doing, you need to know how things were going before you put new automations in place. It really makes a difference when you’re talking to leadership, and Orchestrator is going to make a big impact.

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

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, Gillian Bruce. And today I am joined by Antoine Cabot, he is product manager working on Orchestrator here at Salesforce and he and his team have some awesome enhancements that they're really excited to talk about at TrailblazerDX coming up here in just I think, a week away. Oh my goodness. So I wanted to get him on the podcast to talk a little bit about what their team has learned since Orchestrator went GA in February, and about some of the exciting things they're going to talk about at TrailblazerDX. Including some amazing use cases that customers are doing and building. So without further ado, let's get Antoine on the podcast. Antoine, welcome to the podcast.

Antoine Cabot: Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, we're excited to have you, we're getting ready for a little something coming up in a few weeks. TrailblazerDX, and I know that you are getting excited to share some fun news about the products that you're working on at TrailblazerDX. Do you want to give us a little overview about what your team works on first?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah, absolutely. So I'm the product manager for a product called Orchestrator. That is part of the automation platform at Salesforce. Orchestrator is a new product that we introduced back in February this year. And the idea is to support multi-user workflows. So adding one more layer to the flow tooling that we already have, to support more sophisticated business processes for all our customers.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So just a little tiny feature that no one wants to use, right?

Antoine Cabot: It's basically a new category for Salesforce, so that's a big deal.

Gillian Bruce: It's a huge deal. And I know admins absolutely love any automation they can use and Orchestrator is a game changer. So let's talk a little bit about some of the things that you and your team are going to be presenting at TrailblazerDX. Let's talk about this multi-user workflow. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. So we'll have one session specifically about multi-user workflows and that session will be very interesting because, we'll have some partners there. We'll invite startups to talk about how they use Orchestrator to build apps for their customers. Orchestrator is not only a tool that our customers can use out of the box and build their own orchestrations. It's also a tool that can be used by partners and startups to create products and sell them through app exchange. And we have this great example coming from Full Solution, which is a company based in the Netherlands, that is building an amazing approval process right on top of Orchestrator. That will give you a great example of how Orchestrator can be used as a platform tool for everything you want to do in Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So, I think that's like next level of thinking of Orchestrator, right? Because it's not just building it for your own platform, but the fact that now partners can use it to create solutions that admins might be interested in using.

Antoine Cabot: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: So can you tell us a little bit more about what makes this exciting, especially for admins? Aside from the fact that, hey, now their partners can build solutions that admins can use. Can we talk a little bit more about the differentiator between this and maybe some of our other process automation options?

Antoine Cabot: Absolutely. So, if you think about Flow, I'm assuming that some of you on this call are familiar with Flow. Flow is a great technology, you can do a lot of things like screen flows if you need user interactions, recall triggered flows if you want to update things in your Salesforce records. It's a great tech. We have been pushing for it for 10 years, we are also kind of deprecating all the technology like process builders and workflow rules. So now we are moving on to flow, we want all our customers to use flow as much as possible. Flow is great when you have some kind of record centric process, you want to do something on a specific record, make sure that the data is accurate, validate the data, update a discount percentage or things like that. This is great for that.
Orchestrator on the other side is great for user centric process. You really want to assign the right work to the right person at the right time. That's exactly what Orchestrator is great at. When you imagine a process like a simple case management process, that's usually the simplest example I can go with. This case will be created by a customer and then will go through a queue and then would be assigned to an agent. This agent will eventually escalate that will go to his manager. And then eventually the case will go to a different... out of the organization. Like a different department, different business unit. That's exactly where Orchestrator is targeted for, that's when we can say, "Okay, the agent will complete the first step, but then the next step will be done by the manager."
And the next step will be done by someone that is in a very different part of the organization. And Orchestrator to combine all this step together, making sure that this process is executed without any problem and in timeless manner, so that you don't lose time between end offs. That's where Orchestrator is great at. So think about a process that involve multiple user or multiple departments, might be some parallel works that you have to support, things like that's where. That's where Orchestrator is just providing a lot more value than what flow already provides.

Gillian Bruce: So I think that's really interesting because I think in the past, an admin would have to set up a separate flow for each of those steps. Which would, as you said, take more time and also require a lot more work. And there just opportunities for things to fall through the gaps. Your use case is perfect, that really helps I think understand how this plays in. How different is it to use Orchestrator and think about these multi-user workflows than creating a typical flow, is it something that is much more complex or is it something that, if you've created a couple flows, you can also do this?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. So, that's one of the great thing about Orchestrator, is that we are reusing all the skills that you already have with flow. If you know how to create a flow, you will know how to create an orchestration. It's the same builder, same components, while just adding two additional elements called stages and steps, but it doesn't really... I mean, it's not complicated. And for example, if you are concerned about the scale of Orchestrator for example, Orchestrator is based on flow. So it's based on our flow engine and it scales very well. Like we're running billions of flow every month, you will be able to run billions of orchestration also on the platform. So in terms of skill set, many of our customers actually say, "Hey, are you compatible with BPM? And I ingest some BPM diagram into Orchestrator?" That will come probably one day, it's actually on my roadmap, but-

Gillian Bruce: Safe harbor.

Antoine Cabot: ... today. Yeah, safe harbor. But today it's really, we are betting on the skills that our Salesforce Admins already have. They know how to create flows, many of them knows how to create flows. They will know how to create an orchestration without knowing anything about BPM. And that's really our bet on the market today.

Gillian Bruce: That is great. Because I mean, I think that's one of the beautiful things about the Salesforce platform, right? And especially, hey, awesome admins. This is the unique thing, is we can build these very complex processes without having to use code or have to know all of these other systems necessarily that maybe someone who's been working as a system admin on other platforms, would have that skillset. With Salesforce, you can do it all in Salesforce, you don't have to work with all these other things. But if you do understand these other systems and these other processes, it's easily translatable and you can use that as well. I think that's huge. That's what makes Salesforce so special.

Antoine Cabot: Absolutely. And you mentioned one thing Gillian, about connecting flows together. It's definitely doable, everything you can do in Orchestrator, you can potentially do it with flows. That you would have to write a bunch of apex codes to manage the assignment, manage the connection between two flows et cetera, et cetera. So there is nothing that we are really inventing there, but what we are really bringing to the customer is the ability to do that in a low code manner. You don't have to write any single line of apex code to run an orchestration. You just drag and drop your different flows, you say this flow will run first, this flow will run second. This is the condition between those two. You want to get the output variables from one flow and ingest them into the second step. That's doable. All of that without writing again, a single line of code.

Gillian Bruce: Hooray for awesome admins everywhere. This is awesome. So Antoine, one of the things that we'd love to talk about on the podcast and especially with admins is, some of the cool use cases and stories and maybe some interesting things that you and the product team have seen admin or customers in general do. Now I know you talked about the partner story that you're going to share at TrailblazerDX, which is super exciting. Have you had any other fun, little pieces of feedback or examples that you've seen people use Orchestrator for so far in the community?

Antoine Cabot: Yes, absolutely. And I would talk about one customer specifically called [Agrar Solar 00:21:42] , which is a German company. They will actually be at TDX also, giving some feedback about the product. I think this would be during the main keynote, which is great. So Agrar Solar, it's a so panel company. They install solar panels in Germany and they have this very nice process that is happening when and a customer wants to install solar panels on their roof, they talk to them and then they created an opportunity. And when this opportunity is created, they have to go through a bunch of steps internally to verify that the house is suitable for installing the solar panels. And it goes to many technicians internally. And then on point in this process, they also need to gather information from the customer like photos, more information about how the house has been built, what's the roof looks like and everything.
So they had this very specific need of saying, "Okay, it's great to have Orchestrator because I can connect all the internal steps. But what I want now, is be able to ask my customer to also be part of this process so they can upload photos and provide more information. And then when it's done, go back to my internal process and move on with the next steps in the process." This is something I haven't thought about when we were shipping the product GA back in February, but this is really something that was really cool. And we said, "Oh, now we can enable this with Experience Cloud." We have Experience Cloud websites running on top of Salesforce. Nothing actually prevents us to say, "Hey, let's put this survey on a website and ask the customer to go on that survey link and complete the survey."
So, that's what we are building now. We are making sure that you can create an orchestration that is running both internally and externally. That's where you see that all this Customer 360 experience come into play, where you can have your entire process from beginning to the end, including internal people and also your customers, all your partners.

Gillian Bruce: Ugh. That's so great. I'm just envisioning the hurrah moment when you realize, "Oh, I can build this entire process in Salesforce." And I mean, I'm thinking about all of the steps that we're just saved, right? Having somebody reach out to the customer for every single request and shepherding all of the internal processes along, and then someone having to bring all of those together. I mean the hours saved, days, weeks probably saved by that process. Awesome.

Antoine Cabot: The ROI is huge, it's huge for... When you think about a company like Agrar Solar, so which is like 200 employees, it's already significant. So think about like AT&T or a very large company out there, it's millions of dollars that they can save in just connecting the dots in their process and making sure that we always present the right work, to the right person, at the right time.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well and you know who builds those things to save all the money it's admins, right? So admins, this is a huge ROI. Talk about a bullet point to put in your performance review every year, right? Like, "Look what I did, I saved the company this much money." That is huge. So Antoine, tell us a little bit more. You mentioned there were... you already did a little sneak peek on some stuff that might be coming on the roadmap. What other roadmap things might you be willing to share with me today? Again, forward looking statement for everyone who's listening.

Antoine Cabot: So there is definitely Experience Cloud, which is a big thing. The other big that we will be working on in our next cycle, which would be like for the summer of '23 release is reporting. We want to make sure that we not only... So what we capture today in an orchestration run is everything that happened in this run, right? How much time it take for one person to go into that step, complete that step et cetera. So we have that information in the format of a log, we log all these operations, but there is no way to do reporting on top of that. There is no way to create graphs that say, "Hey, I want to analyze for this specific step, how much time it takes over hundred thousands of iteration." That's not exposed today. So that's what we'll be building in the next six months, that will be available by the end of this year. The ability to create Salesforce reports on Orchestrator objects. And that will include work items, runs, step and stages.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I love that. I mean, that's totally related to what we just said. This is a bullet point to put on your performance review, like look at how much time this is being saved. You now have a report you can run to show how useful your orchestration is and how many people are actually adopting it and using it within the organization. I think that's awesome.

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. So I have one thing to mention here is that, if you haven't done... So please start measuring, please start measuring how much time it takes for a process to go from the beginning to the end. Because usually when we want to prove the ROI, we need to know what happened before automating it. So if you really want to see a difference, start measuring now, build the orchestration and then run the orchestration and see the difference.

Gillian Bruce: Oh yes. I love that. I mean, you got to be able to tell the difference, right? Come on.

Antoine Cabot: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. That's great. So Antoine, any other fun little pointers or recommendations that you have for admins who are like "Okay, this orchestration thing sounds like it's for me." Clearly, we're going to put some resources in terms of where you can go to learn more on Trailhead. What else do you have in terms of maybe strategically thinking about what would be a first step that someone would take to start building an orchestration?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. Maybe let me give you my one more thing for today. Slack, Slack is usually fun. You probably all know that Slack is now a part of Salesforce. So we're thinking a lot on how we can actually leverage Slack with Orchestrator. And something that we are building that will be huge, is the ability to do work directly in Slack using a screen flow that will be kind of started from Orchestrator. So think about an interactive step that you create in your orchestration, it means that you will have some kind of human interaction. This person will have to go through a Salesforce record and complete a few screens in Salesforce. Now imagine that you don't even need that person to go to Salesforce. This person would just be notified on Slack, they will see, hey, please complete that work that is assigned to you now.
You click on that button and then everything happen in Slack. You see the screen flow render directly in Slack, natively in Slack, you complete the work and done. You have never been on the Salesforce Instant. You are maybe not even a Salesforce user at the end, you are just Slack user or Slack is the place you go, where you work every day, that's where you complete the work. That's where this association of Slack plus Orchestrator is huge. And that's coming up at the end of this year.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I love that. That is so smooth because like you said, there may be a lot of users who never really need to be in Salesforce. They're just doing their work in Slack, so let's bring it there. I mean, that is that's slick. I like that, that's going to be amazing.

Antoine Cabot: And for Salesforce Admin who might be like, "oh, I don't want to support Slack, I don't want to create specific flow for Slack." You don't have to. We will actually make the easy lifting of converting your screen flows in the Slack format, which is called Block Kit. So you just build your screen flow in Salesforce and we do everything for you to render it in Slack and make sure that your user has the best possible experience, desktop and mobile on Slack.

Gillian Bruce: That's cool. That's really great. Again, save an admin's work. That's even better than admins saving end users work. That's great.

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. I mean, we want to keep them focused on what adds value, right? So there is no need to rebuild all your screen flows for Slack. We really want to save time on that.

Gillian Bruce: That's fantastic. So any kind of parting words of wisdom in terms of how to admin strategically think about where to start with Orchestrator?

Antoine Cabot: Yeah. Great question. Think about one of the most painful process you are facing in your organization. Usually it's a process that involves multiple individuals. You have to constantly ask them to complete the step that they have to do. That's usually a good start when you start building an orchestration, think about a very painful process that you are experiencing pretty much every day or two days. If you are from IT for example, like in a provisioning scenario where you have to provision laptops for example, is a great example. It has multiple people involved and that's very, very easy to build in Orchestrator. So start simple, start with something that is really painful and you will see the value very, very quickly.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Well Antoine, thank you for all the amazing work that you and your team do to make-

Antoine Cabot: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: ... admins look like rock stars because this is literally one of those tools that truly make admins awesome, and really makes a huge difference in the efficiency of the organization. So keep on doing the good work. Thank you.

Antoine Cabot: Thank you. We will.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Antoine for taking the time out of his day to talk to me about all things, Orchestrator and multi-user workflows. Wow. I just got to tell you for Admins, this is a game changer, because think of all the individual flows that you can now tie together in one seamless orchestration. Think about the external and internal use cases you can combine into one big process. I mean, the example of that solar company and how they connected an external survey using Experience Cloud all within one big orchestration. I mean, that is really, really powerful. And talk about the time you can save your organization, the money, the resources and demonstrate your value as an awesome Admin. So definitely admins check out Orchestrator. If you're coming to TrailblazerDX, I hope you are able to join Antoine's session. I'll put a link to the session in the show notes, and you're not going to want to miss it.
It's all about multi-user workflows. And if you're not able to join us at TrailblazerDX, don't worry. There's tons of great content on Orchestrator out there for you to get skilled up and ready to really make a big impact in your organization with this powerful, powerful tool. Now, if you want to learn more things about anything we talked about in this podcast or other podcasts, or otherwise you just want to skill up on being an awesome admin head on over to admin.salesforce.com, where you'll find amazing resources, blogs, videos, more podcasts, anything you need to help you be an awesome admin. You can find out at admin.salesforce.com. You can also stay up to date with us on the social medias by following @SalesforceAdmns no I on Twitter. And you can follow my guest today Antoine, @antoinecabot on Twitter, as well as myself, @gilliankbruce. My co-host, Mike Gerholdt, is @MikeGerholdt. And with that everyone, I am looking forward to seeing you at TrailblazerDX and I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Karen Fidelak, Senior Director, Product Management at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about some exciting announcements she’s got about DevOps Center coming up for TrailblazerDX.

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

Why we’re psyched about the beta for DevOps Center

We’re really excited about DevOps Center, and there are going to be tons of exciting announcements at TrailblazerDX so we wanted to talk to Karen to give pod listeners a little preview. The biggest news is that an open beta is coming this summer, with a GA planned for the Fall.

“We’re excited about where we’re at and we’re excited to show it at TrailblazerDX,” Karen says, “DevOps Center is all about change and release management and introducing DevOps best practices to our entire community, regardless of where you fall on the low-code to pro-code spectrum.” The goal is a tool that provides easy-to-use change management, source management, push-button deployments, and, overall, will allow hybrid sets of users to work together more easily.

Lessons from the pilot program

“We hear a lot of Admins and low-code developers who really want to be more involved in these DevOps practices that include things like source control but haven’t had the experience or tools to easily adopt and feel comfortable using them,” Karen says. They want to give you what you need to do just that and work with other members of your team that may already have adopted source control and other change management best practices.

Their pilot program introduced a number of features to help create an end-to-end, declarative flow around lifecycle management. One thing they added was automatic change tracking, so any changes made in the developer sandbox are added to a list where you can select which ones you want to move forward. It’s a big upgrade over Change Sets, and they’re looking to make even more improvements going into the beta.

A sneak peak at TrailblazerDX

Karen and her team will be at their spiffy dedicated booth at TrailblazerDX, so be sure you stop by if you’re attending. They’ll also be doing some theater sessions to get you up to speed with DevOps and DevOps Center. Finally, there will be a breakout session where Karen will present with a Salesforce partner and a customer to show DevOps Center in action.

They’re really excited to hear from real customers and get any feedback they can to make DevOps Center even better, so don’t be a stranger. If you can’t make it, be sure to check in on the Trailblazer Community group (link below) to get involved.

Podcast swag

Learn more

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 we are joined by Karen Fidelak, who is going to talk to us about DevOps center. Why? Well be because they've got some exciting announcements they're going to be sharing at a little party we're throwing later this month called TrailblazerDX. That's right folks. We are having an in-person event. It's going to be so exciting.
Trailblazer DX, April 27th and 28th here in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. You're not going to want to miss it. And to get you excited. I decided to pull together a few of the product managers who have exciting things they're going to be talking about at that event. And Karen is one of them. Now last we talked to Karen about DevOps Center, which is what her team is working on, was a while ago. And since then she and her team have been working very, very hard to get this product ready for prime time. So let's check in with Karen and hear about all the goodness her team has been working on and get excited about what she and her team are going to be doing at TrailblazerDX. Karen, welcome to the podcast.

Karen Fidelak: Hi, I'm glad to be here. This is exciting.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it's been a while since you and I chatted. In fact, I think this is my first official podcast I'm hosting since I've come back and I think you were the last product managers I've worked with before I left. So it's like nothing has ever happened.

Karen Fidelak: Boy. Welcome back.

Gillian Bruce: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I wanted to check in with you Karen because you and your team were working on something really awesome and amazing for admins. DevOps sent her. And I wanted to check in with you because we're coming up on a little something here in just a couple weeks that we're getting excited about. TrailblazerDX. And I know that you and your team have some exciting things you're going to be sharing and talking about related to DevOps Center. So can you give us a little update, catch us up about where we're at with DevOps Center?

Karen Fidelak: Sure. Yeah. So we, I think last we talked, we were running a pilot. We ran a pilot from about last May through the end of the year. And then early this year in February, we started what we're calling a Closed Beta, where we added some more users, added some more functionality and that's what's happening right now. We're kind of in the middle of our Closed Beta period. Then we're planning in around June to release an open beta. And so we'll open that beta up to all users in the summer timeframe. And then the plan is around fall to go out with the GA. Now this is all sort of safe harbor everything in the future, but that's our kind of plan right now. And we're really excited about where we're at. And we're excited to show where we're at, TrailblazerDX in just a few weeks.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yes, again like safe harbor forward looking statement. We always have to reiterate that when people are going to be like, "Oh my God, I'm going to get this then." We always, we need a little safety there. So, all right. So we talked about, you have gone a long ways through this development cycle with this product so far, which is very exciting. Can you tell us a little bit more about some of the details of that? So you said pilot is, we're kind of wrapping up the pilot phase, getting ready to go to beta. What happened during the pilot phase? What did you and your team learn? And actually before we get there, can you just remind us kind of a high level, what is DevOps Center?

Karen Fidelak: Sure. Yeah. So DevOps Center is a new product that we're building. It's all about change and release management and introducing DevOps best practices to our entire developer community, regardless of where you fall on that sort of low code to pro code spectrum. So the idea here is to bring easy to use change management, incorporate things like source control, really nice, easy to use experience, provide push button deployments and allow teams that involve, like I said, mixed or hybrid, what we call hybrid sets of users to work together, to manage their applications' entire life cycle. So we're trying to really bring those modern best practices around DevOps, to everyone in a really easy and accessible way.

Gillian Bruce: And that I think is the key, right? Because this is where admins are like, "DevOps Center is something that I should pay attention to," because you said this hybrid model of the pro code developers, the low code developers, which admins, that's you. So this is where they kind of play a role. And this is why DevOps Center is going to be really awesome for admins.

Karen Fidelak: Yes, absolutely. We hear a lot of admins, low code developers who really want to be more involved in these DevOps practices that involve things like source control, but really haven't had the experience or tools that have allowed them to easily adopt and feel comfortable using them. And so that's really our goal here is to bring to you a tool that lets you really easily incorporate those into your overall flow and allow you to participate now with those other members of your team that may have already adopted source control, but you haven't been able to be part of that yet. And so this is going to allow you to just jump right in and take advantage of those really, like I said, modern best practices around DevOps that everybody really does want to adopt.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And change management is definitely one of the core Salesforce admin skills that we have ... We're actually going to be focusing quite a bit on some of these. We have 14 core admin skills that we're going to be focusing and for the rest of the year. And we talked about it at Dreamforce last year, but change management is a big, big piece of that. And this tool, this DevOps Center is going to be such a really great way to kind of get a handle on change management and really kind of give yourself as an admin, a leg up in that arena. So Karen, you told me about this pilot that is now coming to a close. Can you tell us about some of the things you and your team learned during that pilot phase?

Karen Fidelak: Yeah, so the pilot was really all about bringing to bear this fully declarative experience. Like I said, we're trying to incorporate this whole end to end flow around lifecycle management. And so some of the features that we introduced there were like automatic change tracking. So when you make changes in your developer sandbox now, we're automatically tracking those and you can see those in a nice list within the application. You can select which ones you want to migrate forward in your flow and just at the click of a button, you can move those changes forward. And as part of that, we're doing a nice integration behind the scenes with source control and allowing you to then through clicks, promote or deploy those changes through the various stages of a pipeline. And so some of the things that we learned through this pilot was that first of all, people really appreciate that overall experience.
So overall it was really, I would call it a success. The source tracking capability that we have was really loved by people. So just that automatic tracking of the changes was a super nice convenience and really an improvement over our current declarative change management, which is change sets. Any of you who are using change sets probably know it's not the easiest to use. And so we've learned that this is really an improvement over that. We learned that the source control integration is generally, it's good, right? Like people, while they might have a bit of a learning curve, when it comes to source control systems, we've made it really easy. You don't really have to ever go into the source control system. Basically, all you have to do is create an account and then we handle all of the integration to move those changes into a source control system.
We manage the branches there. You really don't have to get into it at all if you don't want. And so that was positive. I think that the people were able to adopt that and appreciated the integration that we were providing there. We also learned some things that from a usability standpoint, we need to improve and we're working on those right now. Some things that I would say are sort of UI usability enhancements, which we knew going into the pilot. We didn't have all of that in there. That's why we kind of put the pilot out there, get people using it, understanding the overall basic flows and then figuring out where it is we really need to add those enhancements to make it really usable and adoptable. And so things just like list management, like sorting lists, filtering lists seems pretty basic.
And we understood that those were the kinds of things that needed to come along. We also added in our, as a result of pilot feedback and as we went into the beta, better, we call it activity history views where we're seeing a full history of everything that's happened within DevOps Center. So that gives you a nice sort of auditability trail and visibility into everything that's happened and better error tracking. So just sort of like that second level debugging capability, error management, history management, those are some of the things that we layered in to our beta and then some things around like how do we handle the cases where things don't go kind as planned. Maybe you're moving some changes forward and they're failing to deploy. We want to make sure that we handle those use cases reasonably well. And so we've added some features as we move into our beta to be able to kind of pull those changes back, start over.
If you get into kind of a situation where you've got some failed deployments that are sort of partway through the pipeline. We've provided a better way for you to kind of start over with those. And these were all based on feedback that we got as part of that pilot. So I would say overall, it's very positive for us. I think we're definitely moving in the right direction. We've got kind of our core use cases that we're working on toward RGA. And then we're layering in these sort of usability and kind of secondary I would call use cases to those primary use cases. And that's based on the feedback that we're getting.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. You know what, I always love hearing from product teams about how they really incorporate the feedback from these pilot phases, because I think it's one of the amazing things we get to do here at Salesforce is being like, "Hey, we know it's not perfect. If you want to play with us, come on in and play and then tell us what you think and we're going to make it better."

Karen Fidelak: Yep.

Gillian Bruce: I love hearing about that process. One of the things that I heard you say a few times, a theme that kind of came out is really this availability to get a better visibility into what's happening and where it's happening and when it's happening and being able to control when it's happening, which I guess it's one of the core tenants of DevOps Center, I think all admins will definitely appreciate that. I think every admin is a little bit of a control freak. It's kind one of our core tenants, I would imagine. So that's really great. Karen, you're also doing a lot of stuff at TrailblazerDX, which is coming up here soon on April 26th and 27th. I'm sorry, the 27th and 28th in my head, it's a day early. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the amazing content that you and your team will be sharing TrailblazerDX?

Karen Fidelak: Absolutely. So we've got quite a few different places and sessions that you can come hear more about what we're doing and see it in action. So first we have a booth demo. So on the floor where all the demos will be happening, we will have a dedicated booth dedicated to DevOps Center. We'll have team members there. So we really encourage you to come take a look at what we've got and talk to members of our team who are building this product. They would love to talk to you and get your feedback there as well. We also have on the floor there a few theater sessions where we'll be covering DevOps and DevOps Center. So the first one is called Getting Started with Salesforce DevOps. And this is we're going to be talking sort of about general principles of DevOps and things that you can start doing now to start laying a good foundation for adoption of DevOps Center when it's available.
So even if you aren't part of our beta yet, or you can't get your hands on it just yet, there are things that you can be doing now to prepare yourself really well, to be able to quickly adopt it when it's available and just think about sort of general best practices around DevOps principles. So that's going to be a fun one. We also have another theater session called DevOps for Salesforce Developers. And this is where we'll show the product. We'll also talk about how we on our team are building it, using some of these practices. So we'll talk a little bit about general DevOps practices and show the product. And then there's another one called What's New at DevOps for Architects, and that's going to be focused on tailoring the DevOps experience to an architect role, and we'll be covering packaging as well as DevOps and DevOps Center there.
So it's another opportunity to see it. And then finally, there's a breakout session that's called DevOps Center Practical Use Cases, and this is going to be a really fun one. I'm really excited about this one. I'm going to be presenting with a partner and a customer. And the customer has been using the DevOps Center product from the pilot and into the beta. So they'll be able to speak firsthand about their experience using it and how it's providing value to their business. And then also have a partner who is building an integration, building an extension to their own package that they provide through our app exchange. They're providing an integration to DevOps Center. So that's really cool to see that it's getting out into our ecosystem and we're going to see, I'm hoping, more and more of these partners being able to build extensions, to incorporate like, sort of the best of their product and the best of the DevOps Center experience and bring those two things together. So that could be really fun.

Gillian Bruce: So you're going to be really busy at TrailblazerDX, is what I'm getting.

Karen Fidelak: I mean, it'll be busy. And we will see if these sessions actually get scheduled such that I can be in all the right places at the right time. But yeah, I'm excited.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, I mean, so here's the great thing about TrailblazerDX and listener, if you've never been to a TrailblazerDX or a TDX, this is a great reason for you to come is because not only are you going to get access to all of this great information that Karen and her team will be sharing, but you're going to get access to Karen and her team directly. And visiting that booth, that DevOps Center booth will be so, so fun because seeing the product in action and asking your questions and getting them specifically answered. I personally am really excited about that theater session about how you prepare basically for DevOps Center, because I think that's going to be really key for any admin persona to know whether you actually get into adopting DevOps Center or not. Those best practices will serve you well beyond just this specific product, I would imagine. So yeah, everybody, if you can come join us in San Francisco for TrailblazerDX, do it, come, play with us, it's going to be really fun.

Karen Fidelak: Yes. And I would just like to add that a lot of times it's me or members of my team that are out talking about this product. I think what's really exciting about this event is that we're getting the rest of my team here, out there and able to present and talk to you, the customer. And that's really exciting for both me and for them. So they're really excited to be able to hear from real customers maybe who have been using the product already or who are excited about seeing the product and what we have coming and to see all their hard work because we've been working really hard on this for multiple years now, but to see all that hard work really become real and something that customers can actually start using really soon. So that's very exciting for us.

Gillian Bruce: Yes, there's nothing more reward than actually talking to someone who's using what you've built and seeing, hearing how it has impacted what they do every day. So agreed. That's awesome. So Karen, if people want to learn more about TrailblazerDX, I'm going to share links to your sessions that you mentioned in our show notes. If they want to learn more about DevOps Center in general and you know, how they can participate in the beta, where should they go?

Karen Fidelak: So the best place to go, we have a public Trailblazer community group it's just called DevOps Center. So if you go out in our Trailblazer community and search for DevOps Center Group, you'll find it. And that's where we post resources. We've got some things like FAQs out there. We've also got some links to some product demos. We have just a forum for community discussion. And it's also where I will post updates on our product releases. So like for instance, when our open beta is available, we'll make an announcement there so everybody can go get their hands on it as it's being released. So that's where I would recommend that you go.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, I will put that link in the notes as well. Karen, thank you so much for the work that you and your team do. I think this is going to be a hugely important and very powerful tool for admins to use, especially as they try to focus on that change management core skills. So thank you on behalf of the community and we're really excited to see what people start doing with this.

Karen Fidelak: You're very welcome. Thanks for having me. Always happy to talk more about this product and get the word out there that it's coming. So thank you.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. All right, well, I'm sure we'll have you back before long. So good luck getting ready for TrailblazerDX and we'll see you there.

Karen Fidelak: Awesome. Excited.

Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Karen and her team for all the hard work that they've done to make DevOps Center a reality and thanks to Karen for sharing her time with me today. I know everyone's busy getting ready for the event. Now we talked about quite a few things on this podcast that I think is going to get every admin excited for not only TrailblazerDX, but DevOps Center, which is a huge, huge game changing tool that's going to help all of us be better change management professionals. So a few of the highlights I want you to pay attention to, if you didn't catch it the first time around, DevOps Center is here. It's coming. The beta will be opening up in June. If you want to be a part of it, you can join the Trailblazer community group called DevOps Center Group. You can find that very easily and put it in link here in the show notes, and you can find it on the Trailblazer community yourself.
Now, a few things about DevOps Center that I think are really, really key to us as admins is it enables a hybrid change management model. That means your developers can be working in the CLI and you as an admin, who's maybe not working in the CLI can still track and see all of the changes that they've been making right there in DevOps Center. You'll be able to sort through it, you'll be able to filter through it. Those list views that Karen mentioned, she and her team got feedback on improving are going to be improved. And this really enables you to make declarative changes alongside your developers who are making code changes. So this is really, really a powerful tool. Want you to check it out, make sure that if you're coming to TrailblazerDX, which I hope you are, you join some of these sessions.
I think the biggest, most important session for every admin to attend in terms of DevOps Center will be that theater session that Karen mentioned getting started with Salesforce DevOps, steps you can take now to start preparing yourself for DevOps Center and join the breakout. I mean, to hear how Karen has been working with a partner and a Salesforce customer about how they've been using DevOps Center, I think that's going to be a really awesome breakout session.
Okay. So make sure that you join both of those. I'll put links to them in the show notes so you can get excited about them. If you can't join us for TrailblazerDX in person, don't worry. You can join the broadcast. Now you're not going to get access to all of the amazing things that Karen mentioned, like the demo booth and the theater sessions. But I do believe that breakout session will be available after the broadcast ends or after the event, sorry. During the live broadcast, you'll be able to join a lot of the super sessions and the main show. You may see me on there as another MC because you know, it's TrailblazerDX and it's kind of what I do.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this episode. It's so wonderful to be back and I hope see you at TrailblazerDX. If you want to learn more about anything we mentioned on today's podcast, please go to admin.salesforce.com and you can stay up to date with all of the fun, awesome admin happenings on Twitter. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I. You can find our guest today, Karen Fidelak, @KarenFidelak, very easy Twitter handle to find. And you can find my co-host the one and only, Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt and you can find myself @gilliankbruce. All right, everybody. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Hope to see at TrailblazerDX. And if not, I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Karen Fidelak, Senior Director, Product Management at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about some exciting announcements she’s got about DevOps Center coming up for TrailblazerDX.

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

Why we’re psyched about the beta for DevOps Center

We’re really excited about DevOps Center, and there are going to be tons of exciting announcements at TrailblazerDX so we wanted to talk to Karen to give pod listeners a little preview. The biggest news is that an open beta is coming this summer, with a GA planned for the Fall.

“We’re excited about where we’re at and we’re excited to show it at TrailblazerDX,” Karen says, “DevOps Center is all about change and release management and introducing DevOps best practices to our entire community, regardless of where you fall on the low-code to pro-code spectrum.” The goal is a tool that provides easy-to-use change management, source management, push-button deployments, and, overall, will allow hybrid sets of users to work together more easily.

Lessons from the pilot program

“We hear a lot of Admins and low-code developers who really want to be more involved in these DevOps practices that include things like source control but haven’t had the experience or tools to easily adopt and feel comfortable using them,” Karen says. They want to give you what you need to do just that and work with other members of your team that may already have adopted source control and other change management best practices.

Their pilot program introduced a number of features to help create an end-to-end, declarative flow around lifecycle management. One thing they added was automatic change tracking, so any changes made in the developer sandbox are added to a list where you can select which ones you want to move forward. It’s a big upgrade over Change Sets, and they’re looking to make even more improvements going into the beta.

A sneak peak at TrailblazerDX

Karen and her team will be at their spiffy dedicated booth at TrailblazerDX, so be sure you stop by if you’re attending. They’ll also be doing some theater sessions to get you up to speed with DevOps and DevOps Center. Finally, there will be a breakout session where Karen will present with a Salesforce partner and a customer to show DevOps Center in action.

They’re really excited to hear from real customers and get any feedback they can to make DevOps Center even better, so don’t be a stranger. If you can’t make it, be sure to check in on the Trailblazer Community group (link below) to get involved.

Podcast swag

Learn more

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 we are joined by Karen Fidelak, who is going to talk to us about DevOps center. Why? Well be because they've got some exciting announcements they're going to be sharing at a little party we're throwing later this month called TrailblazerDX. That's right folks. We are having an in-person event. It's going to be so exciting.
Trailblazer DX, April 27th and 28th here in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. You're not going to want to miss it. And to get you excited. I decided to pull together a few of the product managers who have exciting things they're going to be talking about at that event. And Karen is one of them. Now last we talked to Karen about DevOps Center, which is what her team is working on, was a while ago. And since then she and her team have been working very, very hard to get this product ready for prime time. So let's check in with Karen and hear about all the goodness her team has been working on and get excited about what she and her team are going to be doing at TrailblazerDX. Karen, welcome to the podcast.

Karen Fidelak: Hi, I'm glad to be here. This is exciting.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it's been a while since you and I chatted. In fact, I think this is my first official podcast I'm hosting since I've come back and I think you were the last product managers I've worked with before I left. So it's like nothing has ever happened.

Karen Fidelak: Boy. Welcome back.

Gillian Bruce: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I wanted to check in with you Karen because you and your team were working on something really awesome and amazing for admins. DevOps sent her. And I wanted to check in with you because we're coming up on a little something here in just a couple weeks that we're getting excited about. TrailblazerDX. And I know that you and your team have some exciting things you're going to be sharing and talking about related to DevOps Center. So can you give us a little update, catch us up about where we're at with DevOps Center?

Karen Fidelak: Sure. Yeah. So we, I think last we talked, we were running a pilot. We ran a pilot from about last May through the end of the year. And then early this year in February, we started what we're calling a Closed Beta, where we added some more users, added some more functionality and that's what's happening right now. We're kind of in the middle of our Closed Beta period. Then we're planning in around June to release an open beta. And so we'll open that beta up to all users in the summer timeframe. And then the plan is around fall to go out with the GA. Now this is all sort of safe harbor everything in the future, but that's our kind of plan right now. And we're really excited about where we're at. And we're excited to show where we're at, TrailblazerDX in just a few weeks.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yes, again like safe harbor forward looking statement. We always have to reiterate that when people are going to be like, "Oh my God, I'm going to get this then." We always, we need a little safety there. So, all right. So we talked about, you have gone a long ways through this development cycle with this product so far, which is very exciting. Can you tell us a little bit more about some of the details of that? So you said pilot is, we're kind of wrapping up the pilot phase, getting ready to go to beta. What happened during the pilot phase? What did you and your team learn? And actually before we get there, can you just remind us kind of a high level, what is DevOps Center?

Karen Fidelak: Sure. Yeah. So DevOps Center is a new product that we're building. It's all about change and release management and introducing DevOps best practices to our entire developer community, regardless of where you fall on that sort of low code to pro code spectrum. So the idea here is to bring easy to use change management, incorporate things like source control, really nice, easy to use experience, provide push button deployments and allow teams that involve, like I said, mixed or hybrid, what we call hybrid sets of users to work together, to manage their applications' entire life cycle. So we're trying to really bring those modern best practices around DevOps, to everyone in a really easy and accessible way.

Gillian Bruce: And that I think is the key, right? Because this is where admins are like, "DevOps Center is something that I should pay attention to," because you said this hybrid model of the pro code developers, the low code developers, which admins, that's you. So this is where they kind of play a role. And this is why DevOps Center is going to be really awesome for admins.

Karen Fidelak: Yes, absolutely. We hear a lot of admins, low code developers who really want to be more involved in these DevOps practices that involve things like source control, but really haven't had the experience or tools that have allowed them to easily adopt and feel comfortable using them. And so that's really our goal here is to bring to you a tool that lets you really easily incorporate those into your overall flow and allow you to participate now with those other members of your team that may have already adopted source control, but you haven't been able to be part of that yet. And so this is going to allow you to just jump right in and take advantage of those really, like I said, modern best practices around DevOps that everybody really does want to adopt.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. And change management is definitely one of the core Salesforce admin skills that we have ... We're actually going to be focusing quite a bit on some of these. We have 14 core admin skills that we're going to be focusing and for the rest of the year. And we talked about it at Dreamforce last year, but change management is a big, big piece of that. And this tool, this DevOps Center is going to be such a really great way to kind of get a handle on change management and really kind of give yourself as an admin, a leg up in that arena. So Karen, you told me about this pilot that is now coming to a close. Can you tell us about some of the things you and your team learned during that pilot phase?

Karen Fidelak: Yeah, so the pilot was really all about bringing to bear this fully declarative experience. Like I said, we're trying to incorporate this whole end to end flow around lifecycle management. And so some of the features that we introduced there were like automatic change tracking. So when you make changes in your developer sandbox now, we're automatically tracking those and you can see those in a nice list within the application. You can select which ones you want to migrate forward in your flow and just at the click of a button, you can move those changes forward. And as part of that, we're doing a nice integration behind the scenes with source control and allowing you to then through clicks, promote or deploy those changes through the various stages of a pipeline. And so some of the things that we learned through this pilot was that first of all, people really appreciate that overall experience.
So overall it was really, I would call it a success. The source tracking capability that we have was really loved by people. So just that automatic tracking of the changes was a super nice convenience and really an improvement over our current declarative change management, which is change sets. Any of you who are using change sets probably know it's not the easiest to use. And so we've learned that this is really an improvement over that. We learned that the source control integration is generally, it's good, right? Like people, while they might have a bit of a learning curve, when it comes to source control systems, we've made it really easy. You don't really have to ever go into the source control system. Basically, all you have to do is create an account and then we handle all of the integration to move those changes into a source control system.
We manage the branches there. You really don't have to get into it at all if you don't want. And so that was positive. I think that the people were able to adopt that and appreciated the integration that we were providing there. We also learned some things that from a usability standpoint, we need to improve and we're working on those right now. Some things that I would say are sort of UI usability enhancements, which we knew going into the pilot. We didn't have all of that in there. That's why we kind of put the pilot out there, get people using it, understanding the overall basic flows and then figuring out where it is we really need to add those enhancements to make it really usable and adoptable. And so things just like list management, like sorting lists, filtering lists seems pretty basic.
And we understood that those were the kinds of things that needed to come along. We also added in our, as a result of pilot feedback and as we went into the beta, better, we call it activity history views where we're seeing a full history of everything that's happened within DevOps Center. So that gives you a nice sort of auditability trail and visibility into everything that's happened and better error tracking. So just sort of like that second level debugging capability, error management, history management, those are some of the things that we layered in to our beta and then some things around like how do we handle the cases where things don't go kind as planned. Maybe you're moving some changes forward and they're failing to deploy. We want to make sure that we handle those use cases reasonably well. And so we've added some features as we move into our beta to be able to kind of pull those changes back, start over.
If you get into kind of a situation where you've got some failed deployments that are sort of partway through the pipeline. We've provided a better way for you to kind of start over with those. And these were all based on feedback that we got as part of that pilot. So I would say overall, it's very positive for us. I think we're definitely moving in the right direction. We've got kind of our core use cases that we're working on toward RGA. And then we're layering in these sort of usability and kind of secondary I would call use cases to those primary use cases. And that's based on the feedback that we're getting.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. You know what, I always love hearing from product teams about how they really incorporate the feedback from these pilot phases, because I think it's one of the amazing things we get to do here at Salesforce is being like, "Hey, we know it's not perfect. If you want to play with us, come on in and play and then tell us what you think and we're going to make it better."

Karen Fidelak: Yep.

Gillian Bruce: I love hearing about that process. One of the things that I heard you say a few times, a theme that kind of came out is really this availability to get a better visibility into what's happening and where it's happening and when it's happening and being able to control when it's happening, which I guess it's one of the core tenants of DevOps Center, I think all admins will definitely appreciate that. I think every admin is a little bit of a control freak. It's kind one of our core tenants, I would imagine. So that's really great. Karen, you're also doing a lot of stuff at TrailblazerDX, which is coming up here soon on April 26th and 27th. I'm sorry, the 27th and 28th in my head, it's a day early. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the amazing content that you and your team will be sharing TrailblazerDX?

Karen Fidelak: Absolutely. So we've got quite a few different places and sessions that you can come hear more about what we're doing and see it in action. So first we have a booth demo. So on the floor where all the demos will be happening, we will have a dedicated booth dedicated to DevOps Center. We'll have team members there. So we really encourage you to come take a look at what we've got and talk to members of our team who are building this product. They would love to talk to you and get your feedback there as well. We also have on the floor there a few theater sessions where we'll be covering DevOps and DevOps Center. So the first one is called Getting Started with Salesforce DevOps. And this is we're going to be talking sort of about general principles of DevOps and things that you can start doing now to start laying a good foundation for adoption of DevOps Center when it's available.
So even if you aren't part of our beta yet, or you can't get your hands on it just yet, there are things that you can be doing now to prepare yourself really well, to be able to quickly adopt it when it's available and just think about sort of general best practices around DevOps principles. So that's going to be a fun one. We also have another theater session called DevOps for Salesforce Developers. And this is where we'll show the product. We'll also talk about how we on our team are building it, using some of these practices. So we'll talk a little bit about general DevOps practices and show the product. And then there's another one called What's New at DevOps for Architects, and that's going to be focused on tailoring the DevOps experience to an architect role, and we'll be covering packaging as well as DevOps and DevOps Center there.
So it's another opportunity to see it. And then finally, there's a breakout session that's called DevOps Center Practical Use Cases, and this is going to be a really fun one. I'm really excited about this one. I'm going to be presenting with a partner and a customer. And the customer has been using the DevOps Center product from the pilot and into the beta. So they'll be able to speak firsthand about their experience using it and how it's providing value to their business. And then also have a partner who is building an integration, building an extension to their own package that they provide through our app exchange. They're providing an integration to DevOps Center. So that's really cool to see that it's getting out into our ecosystem and we're going to see, I'm hoping, more and more of these partners being able to build extensions, to incorporate like, sort of the best of their product and the best of the DevOps Center experience and bring those two things together. So that could be really fun.

Gillian Bruce: So you're going to be really busy at TrailblazerDX, is what I'm getting.

Karen Fidelak: I mean, it'll be busy. And we will see if these sessions actually get scheduled such that I can be in all the right places at the right time. But yeah, I'm excited.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, I mean, so here's the great thing about TrailblazerDX and listener, if you've never been to a TrailblazerDX or a TDX, this is a great reason for you to come is because not only are you going to get access to all of this great information that Karen and her team will be sharing, but you're going to get access to Karen and her team directly. And visiting that booth, that DevOps Center booth will be so, so fun because seeing the product in action and asking your questions and getting them specifically answered. I personally am really excited about that theater session about how you prepare basically for DevOps Center, because I think that's going to be really key for any admin persona to know whether you actually get into adopting DevOps Center or not. Those best practices will serve you well beyond just this specific product, I would imagine. So yeah, everybody, if you can come join us in San Francisco for TrailblazerDX, do it, come, play with us, it's going to be really fun.

Karen Fidelak: Yes. And I would just like to add that a lot of times it's me or members of my team that are out talking about this product. I think what's really exciting about this event is that we're getting the rest of my team here, out there and able to present and talk to you, the customer. And that's really exciting for both me and for them. So they're really excited to be able to hear from real customers maybe who have been using the product already or who are excited about seeing the product and what we have coming and to see all their hard work because we've been working really hard on this for multiple years now, but to see all that hard work really become real and something that customers can actually start using really soon. So that's very exciting for us.

Gillian Bruce: Yes, there's nothing more reward than actually talking to someone who's using what you've built and seeing, hearing how it has impacted what they do every day. So agreed. That's awesome. So Karen, if people want to learn more about TrailblazerDX, I'm going to share links to your sessions that you mentioned in our show notes. If they want to learn more about DevOps Center in general and you know, how they can participate in the beta, where should they go?

Karen Fidelak: So the best place to go, we have a public Trailblazer community group it's just called DevOps Center. So if you go out in our Trailblazer community and search for DevOps Center Group, you'll find it. And that's where we post resources. We've got some things like FAQs out there. We've also got some links to some product demos. We have just a forum for community discussion. And it's also where I will post updates on our product releases. So like for instance, when our open beta is available, we'll make an announcement there so everybody can go get their hands on it as it's being released. So that's where I would recommend that you go.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, I will put that link in the notes as well. Karen, thank you so much for the work that you and your team do. I think this is going to be a hugely important and very powerful tool for admins to use, especially as they try to focus on that change management core skills. So thank you on behalf of the community and we're really excited to see what people start doing with this.

Karen Fidelak: You're very welcome. Thanks for having me. Always happy to talk more about this product and get the word out there that it's coming. So thank you.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. All right, well, I'm sure we'll have you back before long. So good luck getting ready for TrailblazerDX and we'll see you there.

Karen Fidelak: Awesome. Excited.

Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Karen and her team for all the hard work that they've done to make DevOps Center a reality and thanks to Karen for sharing her time with me today. I know everyone's busy getting ready for the event. Now we talked about quite a few things on this podcast that I think is going to get every admin excited for not only TrailblazerDX, but DevOps Center, which is a huge, huge game changing tool that's going to help all of us be better change management professionals. So a few of the highlights I want you to pay attention to, if you didn't catch it the first time around, DevOps Center is here. It's coming. The beta will be opening up in June. If you want to be a part of it, you can join the Trailblazer community group called DevOps Center Group. You can find that very easily and put it in link here in the show notes, and you can find it on the Trailblazer community yourself.
Now, a few things about DevOps Center that I think are really, really key to us as admins is it enables a hybrid change management model. That means your developers can be working in the CLI and you as an admin, who's maybe not working in the CLI can still track and see all of the changes that they've been making right there in DevOps Center. You'll be able to sort through it, you'll be able to filter through it. Those list views that Karen mentioned, she and her team got feedback on improving are going to be improved. And this really enables you to make declarative changes alongside your developers who are making code changes. So this is really, really a powerful tool. Want you to check it out, make sure that if you're coming to TrailblazerDX, which I hope you are, you join some of these sessions.
I think the biggest, most important session for every admin to attend in terms of DevOps Center will be that theater session that Karen mentioned getting started with Salesforce DevOps, steps you can take now to start preparing yourself for DevOps Center and join the breakout. I mean, to hear how Karen has been working with a partner and a Salesforce customer about how they've been using DevOps Center, I think that's going to be a really awesome breakout session.
Okay. So make sure that you join both of those. I'll put links to them in the show notes so you can get excited about them. If you can't join us for TrailblazerDX in person, don't worry. You can join the broadcast. Now you're not going to get access to all of the amazing things that Karen mentioned, like the demo booth and the theater sessions. But I do believe that breakout session will be available after the broadcast ends or after the event, sorry. During the live broadcast, you'll be able to join a lot of the super sessions and the main show. You may see me on there as another MC because you know, it's TrailblazerDX and it's kind of what I do.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this episode. It's so wonderful to be back and I hope see you at TrailblazerDX. If you want to learn more about anything we mentioned on today's podcast, please go to admin.salesforce.com and you can stay up to date with all of the fun, awesome admin happenings on Twitter. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I. You can find our guest today, Karen Fidelak, @KarenFidelak, very easy Twitter handle to find. And you can find my co-host the one and only, Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt and you can find myself @gilliankbruce. All right, everybody. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Hope to see at TrailblazerDX. And if not, I'll catch you next time in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for March. Not only that, but we’re putting the dynamic duo back together as Gillian is back!

Join us as we talk about all the great Salesforce content from March and everything we have to look forward to at TrailblazerDX.

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

Blog highlights from March

We’re really excited about Slack, and Gillian is excited about J.’s post about creating custom emojis for Slack. Why not make it more fun? She also recommends taking a look at the new compilation of Flow videos, now updated with the latest and greatest.

Video highlights from March

Gillian is a fan of LeeAnne’s and Kara Callaway’s video about how to build a great technical demo. The amount of technical expertise and know-how in one room when these two women get together is something you just can’t miss.

Podcast highlights from March

As more and more Admins find themselves in charge of multi-cloud orgs, make sure you check out our episode with Kate Elliot about her journey and the best practices you need to know.

Get Ready for TrailblazerDX

April 27th and 28th, we’re getting thousands of our closest friends together in Moscone West to do our first in-person event in a long time. Make sure you register now and listen to the podcast to hear about all the things you won’t want to miss.

Podcast swag

Learn more

  • Salesforce Admins Podcast Episode:

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the third monthly retro for 2022. Hopefully, everything is turning up green for you. I'm your host, Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we'll review the top product, community and careers content for the month of March. And to help me do that, I'm joined by a very familiar voice. Is that Gillian Bruce?

Gillian Bruce: Well, hello, Mike. Hello. I am so happy to be back. It's been a while.

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome back to the pod, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Thank you. I am very, very happy to be back. I missed the podcast. I listened, but I missed being on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: And everybody missed you.

Gillian Bruce: Aw, that's sweet. Well, I'm back. And now you're not going to be able to get rid of me ever again.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, that's the plan. Get ready for a whole bunch of Gillian episodes.

Gillian Bruce: It's coming. It's happening. I've got them all stored up. It's been a while.

Mike Gerholdt: I can already see Twitter being happy, "Yay, Gillian's back." So Gillian, it's our retro episode, a perfect time for you to come back and kind of look back at some of the stuff that we did in March and anything that stood out for you that we really feel our admin should pay attention to. And then of course, we'll give a sneak peek of that one cool thing that we're doing in April. So stay tuned for that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, Mike, I have to say that coming back into the fold of everything, my goodness, there's a lot of content for admins out there. And so I'm very happy that my first podcast back is to recap some of the latest, goodest, and greatest things. Is goodest as a word? I don't know. I think I just made it up.

Mike Gerholdt: It is now.

Gillian Bruce: Just for this month, there's a ton to talk about.

Mike Gerholdt: We've been busy typing, we're burning up keyboards.

Gillian Bruce: Well, speaking of keyboards, the one post that I really enjoyed was one of my easy getting back into the fold of things was Jay's post on how to make a custom emoji in Slack. Because Slack, let me tell you, the amount of email I have is near zero. So I am Slack all the things and those custom emojis just make it even more fun and engaging. So I enjoyed that post very much.

Mike Gerholdt: I think it's really cool. And I'd be curious, so you should tweet at us and let us know, what is the funnest, coolest emoji you've seen in your Slack feed for your organization? Because I totally think the amount of fun custom emoji level in your organization Slack really speaks to the culture.

Gillian Bruce: It does. For example, so I am coming back after going on parental leave, which is an amazing experience. But I got to actually go into update my status and I found a flashing GIF emoji that just says I'm back and it's rainbow flashing colors. And I'm just like, "Oh, this is perfect." It's loud in your face, "Hi, don't forget about me. I'm here now."

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. I know almost all my messages have to have some sort of emoji in them, right?

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah. You've got to make it fun. Who wants to just read a whole bunch of text?

Mike Gerholdt: I'm sure somebody does. Not me. What about on the video front? Did you find any videos? I refer to you because all of the content I've seen probably. It's good to get your fresh take on it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So there's one video in particular that I was so excited to see, and really it's because it's two just really incredible, technical women sharing how they are such amazing technical, wonderful people and how they share that and basically made a career out of it. I'm talking about the Expert Corner that LeeAnne did with Kara Callaway. So Kara Callaway is a legend at Salesforce. She literally has helped design and execute some of the biggest demos you've ever seen on any main stage or main presentation. She's an excellent resource and she's awesome. So if you have not had a chance to check out that video, it's a way that you can think about putting together your technical demonstrations. So whether you're talking about presenting to your executives or your end users, or trying to share an idea. It's a great Expert Corner. I highly recommend you check it out. It's a great conversation. Just as much Kara as you can consume, I highly recommend it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. If you think about it, when you were last at a Salesforce event or even watching a Salesforce event online, part of it is what you hear, but most of it is what you see. And it's no different when you're an admin presenting to a room full of executives or a room full of users. Part of it's like what you say, "Oh, they're kind of with you." But then you turn the screen on and then you walk them through the demo and the demo sells it, right? Think of it like when you buy a car. It's part reading the brochure, but the other part's driving the car.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah. You really have to see it to believe it. Especially, I'm more of a visual learner, I need to really see the thing before I actually kind of get it. And demos are a very powerful tool for that. And as admins, hey, the more help you can get to improve your demo skills, it will pay off greatly as you continue to progress your career and whatever else you do. So check that video out. The other video related thing this month that I wanted to highlight was that there was a blog post that I think Derry did about how there's all these updated videos for Flow. So Flow is amazing. We have Jen Lee now on the team, who is giving us some incredible Flow content. And there's a sneak peek of it. There's more amazing stuff coming on the way from Jen about Flow. But it's great because there are all these just simple videos to get you going on Flow that are now updated with the latest and greatest. So another good video resource or videos resource for you to check out.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it's a lot and it's so neat. Speaking of a lot, I love the pod that Jay did with Kate Elliot on multi-cloud administration. I hate to say that we don't pay enough attention to it, but sometimes in our universe you can think of this perfect single instance that solves everything. When in reality, admins manage multiple instances or multiple clouds as well.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah. Our platform just keeps growing and growing. And I think a lot of admins are finding themselves in a position where, "Okay, I have Salesforce that works for this part of the business." Oh, maybe there was an acquisition, so you're bringing in another additional Salesforce instance or you're wanting to expand into another cloud. There are all different types of business units you want to bring the magic of Salesforce to. A multi-cloud admin is a very prevalent thing these days, I believe. I think a lot of admins are finding themselves in that seat. So it was really great to hear how Kate thinks about that and does that in her journey.

Mike Gerholdt: Very much so. Now, speaking of journey, it's like we didn't lose-

Gillian Bruce: Don't stop believing.

Mike Gerholdt: ... a beat because that's a perfect little segue to talk about our journey to this big event that we're doing in April.

Gillian Bruce: Event in April? Hey Mike, you're hosting a welcome back party for me? Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, yes. We decided to get a few thousand of our closest friends together at Moscone West, just for you Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: I so appreciate it. I have missed people so much.

Mike Gerholdt: You should.

Gillian Bruce: I'm really excited to just get in there and see people and hug people and see below the shoulder level that you see on Hangouts and Zoom calls. So this is making me very excited. What is this party all about? I know it can't just be about me.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, we kicked around some names. The welcome back Gillian party was one of them.

Gillian Bruce: Not bad.

Mike Gerholdt: But no, it just didn't feel Salesforcey, so we decided to go with Trailblazer DX.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I like it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. And the DX stands for welcome back, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Clearly, clearly. It's one of the best acronyms we have at Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, exactly. Yeah. So April 27th and 28th, if you haven't already registered, you should. And you should register because I'm putting a link to all of the amazing... Not even all. Scratching the surface on the content that we have for admins at Trailblazer DX.

Gillian Bruce: It's a lot. I can't even tell you. I'm so happy that we're doing an in-person event again. Now, if you can't join us, you are welcome to join the broadcast. We will definitely be able to broadcast quite a bit of the content. But if you can join us in person, come on, come play with us in San Francisco.

Mike Gerholdt: Make it happen. Yeah. I was just there. Oh, it's great. And the food, there's so many places to eat in San Francisco.

Gillian Bruce: And you know what? We are one of the safest cities. Throughout this whole last two years, we've had very, very great leadership in the city to keep everybody safe and everybody adhering to the science and making sure that we're doing what we need to do to have the least impact from the pandemic. And we've done really well. And it's really fun because the city's coming alive again, and we're all starting to reconnect. And so you should come and be a part of it.

Mike Gerholdt: Meet your fellow Trailblazers.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: See things in person.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It's exciting. I went to a movie a couple weeks ago.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, what'd you see?

Mike Gerholdt: The Batman.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, did you like it?

Mike Gerholdt: Of course. Oh, my God. It's wonderful. Not as wonderful as Trailblazer DX though. That sounds forced.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's an in-person experience versus an in-movie. It's more than that.

Mike Gerholdt: Batman's very much an in-person experience. Let me tell you. It very much is. Very, very much.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. But Mike, you mentioned we have a bunch of specific sessions and content for admins. Can you tell us a little bit more?

Mike Gerholdt: I do. I'll call out some big stuff that I think is obviously worth going. There's obviously going to be a big keynote and a true to the core session. So for veteran listeners of the podcast, those of you that have been around for the last nine years, you know that the true to the core is where you get to ask product experts questions about roadmap stuff. And I think that's really neat. We also have some great breakout sessions. So if you know people like Jeanne Velonis is working on a session she's going to do about study tips for Salesforce credentials. Ooh.

Gillian Bruce: Ooh. That sounds like a very handy session.

Mike Gerholdt: I know. That feels cool. Cheryl Feldman is heavily involved in a lot of the TDX content. She is an admin best practices for user management. There's also a record access roadmap that Larry Tung is hosting. I think that's going to be really cool. We're also doing something where, as of right now, we're calling it Campfire sessions. And they're kind of unique sessions where... Gillian, do you remember that first Trail? At the time we called it Trailhead DX? Where was it? It was across the street from The Warfield. What was that place called, do you remember?

Gillian Bruce: Oh gosh, I forget the name of it. But yeah, it-

Mike Gerholdt: I know.

Gillian Bruce: ... was this kind of tiny, little, tech warehousey kind of space.

Mike Gerholdt: It's exactly how to describe it. But anyway, downstairs, we had these little fake fire pits. I'm not explaining it correctly.

Gillian Bruce: No, they were fake fires pits.

Mike Gerholdt: This sounds like a war room. It's not that. But we had these little campfires and you sit around the campfire. And so we're bringing that essence back again, a little bit bigger. I think I heard like 20 or 30 people campfires. And Jay Steadman, who you've heard on the podcast, is doing a lot of the management for the admin campfire stuff. But there's some really great content that they are putting together, like build stakeholder trust through governance. There's going to be one on the configuration kits that they launched earlier this year. So you can sit around and talk about those.

Gillian Bruce: Which are amazing. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Oh Gillian, you're doing a theater session on the new skills stuff.

Gillian Bruce: I am. This is going to be, I think our official kickoff and launch of these amazing... All this content that we've been working on for the last year. Well, the team has been working on in my absence as well. And putting together a lot of great, useful things for both people looking for Salesforce admin jobs and people looking to hire Salesforce admins. And so we have boiled it down to 14 key skills. We're going to have a whole bunch of amazing content and resources that we are releasing at Trailhead DX. I'm sorry, Trailblazer DX.

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay. I made the same mistake.

Gillian Bruce: Trying to get with the times here. So you are definitely going to want to, if you can, join the theater session. And if nothing else, pay attention to Salesforce admins on Twitter and pay attention to our website because we have all of that content that we are going to make available at Trailhead... At trailblazer DX and beyond. So yes, that's what we're going to be talking about in my session.

Mike Gerholdt: That'll be cool. We also have a meet the admin relations team campfire. So we're going to sit around a campfire and you can chat with us.

Gillian Bruce: Ask us all the questions.

Mike Gerholdt: Ask us all kinds of questions.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think one of the cool things about this Trailblazer DX, this event, is it's not the grand scale of a dream force or something that you may have remembered in the before times. So it is a chance to really get access to people like the product managers and the evangelists and the different leaders within the Salesforce ecosystem that'll be there. So you can actually ask questions and have conversations. And this campfire format is really great because it's a little more intimate. It's not just a huge keynote room, which we will still have for our main show and some other bigger presentations. But this is a great opportunity to really connect and get more deeper knowledge about the products and get insights into where things are going and connect with others. I miss that. I'm so excited to connect with others.

Mike Gerholdt: I know. It's kind of interesting because I think back to, Gillian, you and I worked the first at time Trailhead DX, now Trailblazer DX, but-

Gillian Bruce: We were working the booth.

Mike Gerholdt: We were stuck at a workflow process. No, process builder booth.

Gillian Bruce: That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: Stuck. I mean we worked, we stood and smiled at a lot of people at a process builder booth because process builder was new then. I mean the event was super small, but I felt like the people level that year, or actually the following year, was it 2016? We kind of got it right when we got in Moscone West. And I think this is going to harken back to that. The right number of people so that you don't feel crowded and you can walk around and kind of experience that Salesforce magic again. I'm looking forward to it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's going to be really amazing. So again, please join us if you can, in San Francisco, April 27th to 28th. It's going to be amazing, if you can't make it, don't worry. We will still have great content available to you during the live broadcast and then some content available after. But if you can make it in person, please come see us. Please come see us.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. And we'll probably do in April wrap up about TDX.

Gillian Bruce: I would guess. So it's kind of a big deal during April. So that's kind of what we're working on.

Mike Gerholdt: Could be a theme. Could be a theme. Anyway, if you want to learn more about all things we just talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find so many links and so many more resources. But specifically, the ones we mentioned today. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmins. No i on Twitter. I am on Twitter @Mike Gerholdt. And Gillian is on Twitter as well @GillianKBruce. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome. And stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you at Trailblazer DX.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Bear Douglas, Senior Director of Developer Relations at Slack.

Join us as we talk about how the powers of admins and Slack combined have the potential to change how all of our users work within our organizations for the better.

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

Why more channels can help with information overload

Bear and her team write Slack’s API docs, creates SDKs and developer tools, and runs programs for their app directory partners and customer developers—including Admins who may be building custom integrations for their team. “I felt like Slack had the potential to nail what it was going to be like to actually transform work,” she says, “so five years ago, I joined Slack because the platform team was the one talking about how we are going to integrate all of your tools to create an enriched experience.”

One thing they’ve found is that, for most organizations, it’s better to have more channels than fewer. “The more specific you can make a channel, the easier it is to decide whether or not you need to pay attention to that channel and at what cadence,” Bear says, “you can pick and choose what you need to be informed about in a much more granular way that actually can help with information overload.”

Slack’s best practices… for Slack

To get started, Bear recommends having a good template that every team can roll out for their own team channel. This helps create a clearer understanding of how to best take advantage of the platform.

At Slack, they have an announcement channel for each team, both for the people on it and anyone who might want news about the team and what it’s up to. Pinned there, they have their quarterly OKRs, any sort of roadmap deck to show what they’re working on, and a career ladder doc. There are also links to the common tools the team uses on a daily basis, both as a point of reference and for anyone who works with multiple teams across the organization.

Bear also suggests creating a user group for just your team so when you @channel you’re reaching them and not any lurkers you may have. 

Taking advantage of Workflow Builder

One other channel that Slack uses for each team is the “plz” channel, which is for any kind of request for help. They’ve used Workflow Builder to create a way to manage these requests. You can restrict the channel to only accept input from a request form, giving you a structure to determine things like context and the level of urgency.

The Admin Evangelism team at Salesforce uses something similar to field pitches for new content, with a public form that spits out posts to a private channel where they vote on suggestions with emojis. It gives them an easy link to give out in meetings and a clear process for how to manage feedback from around the organization.

“We are a friendly bunch and we really want to hear from Trailblazers and Admins about what they need that we might not have heard from our customers before,” Bear says, so if you have an idea, hop in the Slack community channel or reach out to the Customer Experience team, and stop by to say hi at TrailheaDX.

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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. Now this week, we're talking with Bear Douglas, who is the senior director, developer relations for Slack. Who's Slack? So Bear has the same passion for the Slack platform that we all share as Salesforce Admins for the Salesforce platform. Let me tell you, it comes through, she is one of the coolest people that we have had on this podcast. I'm so glad that she had time out of her day to spend it talking with Salesforce Admins. I think the potential for us to really change how all of our users work within our organizations with Slack is something that admins can drive. Let me tell you, I'm just super pumped for all of the amazing information that Bear shares with us in this episode.
But before I jump into that, of course, you've probably listened to the podcast. So you know that the news I have, "Is that available now on Trailhead? Is it the new module, the essential habits for admin success?" That's right. If you've been around in the ecosystem for a while, the webinar, the Trailhead Live, all the in-person event presentations that we've been doing around essential habits for admin success is now on the Trailhead platform, as a learning module, the link is in the show notes. So after you listen to this episode, head on over the Trailhead, be one of the first Salesforce Admins to get the essential Trailhead badge. If you look at my Trailhead profile. I have a badge, so you should get yours, but now without further ado, let's get Bear on the podcast. So Bear, welcome to the podcast.

Bear Douglas: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: So we're excited for Slack. I love Slack. We've been using it at Salesforce, and I want to make sure that you are on the podcast, so you can talk to all of our Salesforce Admin community, because I mean, I'm a user, but I see so much potential in everything that we do and literally every conversation I've had with you on Slack. I can feel the passion just seeping through that you share for Slack, that we share for the platform, and I feel like it's a really cool thing. So let's get started with kind of where you got started, how you got introduced to Slack, and how you came on board to be the... Is it developer advocate at Slack?

Bear Douglas: Yes. So I'm the senior director of developer relations, and I lead our team developer relations, which Slack encompasses. The group that writes all of our API docs on apidocs.slack.com, where the group that makes our SDKs and developer tools, and then we also run programs for our app directory partners and customer developers. So that's people like admins who are building Slack integrations just for their team, not for any commercial distribution, but that can be really impactful for the organizations that they work for. So we are here to help all of them be successful on the platform and also be their voice back to the product team when they have feature requests, when they have things that they want to see from us and be embedded in the process so that we can be their representatives.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Bear Douglas: Yeah. So that's what we do. I've been at Slack for about five years. Before I worked at Slack. I used Slack. I was at Twitter for a few years before that. In every job that I had had leading up to Slack, we did have some means of internal chat and communications, but Slack felt like a user experience step change that I got really excited about using definitely from IRC or of any other products that really only supported direct message type chatting. A funny story, my older sister, who I very much look up to was the PMM for Google Wave. Do you remember Google Wave?

Mike Gerholdt: I do. I totally tried Google Wave, too.

Bear Douglas: Yeah, and Google Wave was really cool, and I got to be an early beta tester because I had my inside connection to get an account. It was a really cool preview back then in 2010 of what more work communication could be like and how rich it could be and how centralizing communication around topic thread is in many ways, much more powerful than centralizing communication around groups of people, because groups of people have different sets of things that they need to talk about on any given day. If you're trying to find the record of the time, you talked with a given five people that might be your immediate team, it can be very difficult to find things and to have it rich with context about the discussion that you had and so on and so forth.
So there was this promise in those days of what Google Wave could have been to really transform work, and when I got to be using Slack and I learned about the platform vision, which is about bringing tools that you use every day in a lightweight way for quick contextual types of actions, not like you should be creating a Figma design inside Slack that's like a weird, layered, embedded experience, but more like you should be able to discuss the contents of the Figma file and see a rich unfurl. So you don't always have to bounce out to a design doc to be able to discuss whether or not you think something is captured accurately in there, right? So this vision that I had of like, there was a better way to work, and the user experience that we had at Slack was kind of one-two punch of this felt right, and I felt like Slack definitely had the potential to nail what it was going to be like to actually transform work through small incremental changes, through more approachable user experience of how you bring all these things together.
So five years ago, I joined Slack because the platform team was the one talking about, right, how are we going to integrate all of your tools to make this enriched experience? It's been a wild ride so far, and I think we're getting closer and closer every day to making this a reality, not just for the people who are power users of Slack and know all the features and all the details, but people who are having a more average use experience. Because we want to change this for everybody, not just the people who are [inaudible] on the secrets.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. No, oh, man, Google Wave. I have not heard that. Sorry to be stuck on that, but I haven't heard that in forever. I remember trying it and thinking to myself, "Oh, email ruined us. We're forever ruined by email," because if you think about it, I'm of the generation that went to the high school library to get online. So I remember pre-computer and post-computer as I was growing up, but I don't ever remember writing letters. You wrote letters every now and then, but I never had a business context for that, and that's what email was meant to be. Then suddenly it's meant to be this electronic version of it, right? Well, now really, the way we use it is just quick one-off notes to each other that since I've started 20 years ago, working in an office, the expediency at which you're expected to answer email is crazy, right?
So I bring that into contact because I feel like the same shift also happened when I went from Word to Google Docs. You would open up Google Docs, and it was just kind of this white sheet. There's no parameters as opposed to Word. The same, I feel is with Slack, right? Like it's this white area that allows for more free communication and collaboration, right? The idea of centering people around a subject or a topic as opposed to, "Well, I have to email these five people," and then there's this whole gross email thread, and then you're like, "Oh, but you forgot so, and so." Then you tag somebody in, and you've seen that, and it's like, "Ah, there's no history here. How do do we get up to speed?" There's not threaded discussions, and then people can't add in a document to really collaborate around it. So, sorry, I just had to nerd out with Google Wave, but I still feel that.

Bear Douglas: But for those of us who experience this other poor way of working, have, I think really grown to appreciate how much easier things are in that type of context. One thing that's very counterintuitive about Slack, or can be counterintuitive if you haven't worked in a larger organization, is that more channels can actually be a better way to work than fewer. Sometimes people think, "Channel overwhelm is going to be absolutely terrible and so we should have a maximum say, 15 channels for this group of 30 people working together." But the more specific you can make a channel, the easier it is to decide whether or you need to pay attention to that channel and at what [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bear Douglas: So for any given project at Slack, we generally have a develop channel, which is for all the engineering chatter. We have a GTM channel, which is about all of the go-to-market activity that might be relevant for it. We have feedback channel, which is meant to be a open forum for people in side the company to pass on product feedback, then the PM can pay attention to in triage, and a few other prefixes for the designs for a given project. So if you search the project name, you'll see all of the different channels that are relevant. But if you are part of the marketing team, maybe you want to be part of the GTM channel and you might want to be part of the design channels, but you're less interested in being in the engineering team daily chatter about what's going on with the development. So you can pick and choose what you need to be informed about in a much more granular way that actually can help with information overload.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I think you're 100% right, and that has to be the biggest eye-opening thing that you tell anybody when they start using Slack is, "No, don't limit the number of channels." Because I could 100% foresee any of my previous employers being like, "Well, as an admin, can you set it up so that people can't create more than X number of channels?" I could see that as the first question, as opposed to thinking like, "No, let's have it be as many as they need," because then you can get as granular as you want.

Bear Douglas: Yes, and we also don't charge by the channels. So there's no objection on the grounds of, "You got to limit the number of channels you-"

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Bear Douglas: The flip side, though, is that you do have to be diligent about archiving channels once they're done. That, I think is something that can fall by the wayside if no one remembers, "Oh, I guess we are done with this project. It's time to spend everything down." Sidebar sections have also been a real game changer for things organized. I think, do you use them?

Mike Gerholdt: We can do an entire podcast on my [inaudible] sections. Full transparency, we got this amazing deck when we went all in on Slack. I think the one thing I navigated to was our team prior to this had been using... Was it Google Messenger or whatever? I think the hardest transition we had was part of our team was on one and part of the rest of the teams that we work with was on something else, and so my Slack was just kind of a whole list of channels and they didn't make any sense.
Then when I saw sections, that changed everything for me and you can use emojis in sections. I love sections. You can clap sections, you can mute all of the channels in a section. That's the best part of it for me, because I was going through today, I was like, "Oh, I got added to three more groups." And I was like, "Well, this is kind of like..." It's like budget and budget planning and sounds, payable stuff. So I just made a whole section of money bags. That's what I called it. Just like money. That's the fun part, is it can be as much of your personality as you want. Whereas some of these other messaging platforms, which we talked about briefly before I pressed record, was like... I don't know. It's like you shoot each other a message, and there's no real context or there's no real good way to share, or you can't find something, but sections are my jam. I probably have too many sections, but maybe not enough. I don't know.

Bear Douglas: Maybe it's like channels. Maybe you just need to be able to know which ones you can mute and how you most easily information. I think it's very individual, and I think our product team did too, which is why sidebar sections are always a user setting and not something that your admin can pre-allocate for you. We got long requests from admins who are interested in having some company-wide sections. So it's a user utility. So you decide, and you can put your money bag emoji wherever you want.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I think the hardest switch for me coming from just... We'll say, email was the... Maybe I'm one of those few people, but the need I feel to burn down my inbox, right? It's like a task list, and then you go over to Slack and there's all these channels and they're all lit up and you're like, "How am I going to get through this all?" And you're like, "Oh, no, wait. This is just information for you to consume on demand." So anyway, we got a little off, we got a little on the sidebar, but so we talked messaging platforms. I think one of the things that really struck me... This was kind of early days of social, and Salesforce still has chatter, was the idea of, I believe it was intelligence.
I don't mean like Einstein. I mean, context plus content, right? Equals intelligence. So you're able to have the discussion in the relevant context so that everybody gets the relevant content. To me, that's where Slack just is so useful. I would love to know from your perspective, because you've been doing this a lot better than I have. I'm fooling around. I'm still trying to stop the VCR from flashing 12. I feel like some days. If we're helping Salesforce, admins get their teams up on Slack, what is the first thing to kind of help them roll out like, "Here's a good, best practice to get started with channels or sections"?

Bear Douglas: I would think that having a good template that every team can roll out for their own team channel would be helpful. So here's what we have in my team channel. It's called Team Devereaux, and it is the channel that we think about for both our team and also people who might be public consumers of news about our team and what we're up to. So that's our announced channel, and things that we have pinned to that channel are things like our quarterly OKRs, whatever goals you have for the quarter, any sort of roadmap deck so that people who are interested in what we're working on can come and browse what's there and also as a point of reference for people who are on the team. We have our career ladder doc posted up in there so that people have that as a handy reference as well, and then we have a few links to common tools and tips that folks on the team are using on a daily basis.
So if for example, you're in the type of role where you have to help our partners dig into any issues they might be having with our API. It might be a short list of common queries that will help you diagnose issues for partners. So all of that information being pinned to a channel can help people who are sort of casually housing, "What is it that your team does?" Get up to speed, but it's also a handy reference for everyone inside the team as well. It's also very useful to create a user group for your team, so that if you need to @mention people who are just on your team, but you need to make sure that they see a notification instead of having to @channel, a public channel that might be full of lurkers and interested folk, you can really just keep it to your team, and having that kind of template so that people don't have to wonder, "Well, what is the correct structure for a team channel and what should be discussed in there that would be helpful?"
Another common convention that we have at Slack that I wish more people knew about too, is we have that team channel and then we have a Plzease channel prefixed PLZ, and that's for when people come in with any kind of request that they want our help on, whether it's, "I would love to bounce an idea off somebody that I'm not sure is technically feasible." Or, "My customer had this question that I could really use help answering." We have a workflow that we've created in Workflow Builder, and if any of you have not used a Workflow Builder before you can find it in the upper left menu, click down, there's a section called tools and Workflow Builder.
What you can do with Workflow Builder is create a way that people put structured input into the channel. So you can say, "Give us a priority tag." So people aren't coming in with urgent things, that'll get marked as urgent or on the flip side, with no context about something that can really wait for two or three weeks that they've popped into channel, and you can ask them to fill out a form to get help and have that post inside the channel.
You can actually set up a given channel so that the only inputs are from that workflow. So you can really make sure that you get structured input from other teams about the help that they're asking you for, and between having the general team communication channel and this sort of Plzease interface for other people inside the company. It can really, really streamline how people can define the way that they should behave with internal teams. And it goes a long way to have these templates.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So you mentioned workflows, which is another thing that I found and my team just went nuts on. We love it. So we have a public channel that we let anybody from the company in, and if they have ideas, the biggest problem we had was a bottleneck of getting information to us, right? Or, "I have an idea for a blog post," or, "So and so wants to be on the podcast," and they didn't know how to do it. So they would find somebody on our team, email them or find somebody on our team, DM them, right? So we had too many front doors.

Bear Douglas: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: We set up a workflow in our public channel that allows them to submit an idea and that actually goes to a private channel that then everybody on our team can review. We have a little voting system that we use emojis for, and then we have a dedicated person that follows up on it. It's so cool.

Bear Douglas: That is cool.

Mike Gerholdt: It changed everything for us, right? We promote it in all of our meetings like, "If you have an idea, go here, click the lightning bolt and select submit content," right?

Bear Douglas: Yep. That's awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: I think, I bring that up because it was so freeing, the amount of visual things you can do to a message to enhance it, I'd love. Right? You can add gifts and there's emojis and reactjis. You can really spice things up as opposed to just sending somebody like, "Hey, do you want to go get coffee?" Right? Kind of thing.

Bear Douglas: Have you ever used the Block Kit Builder to send a beautifully formatted newsletter or-

Mike Gerholdt: I use Block Kit Builder every Thursday to promote the podcast internally.

Bear Douglas: Amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Bear Douglas: That's like a power user pro tip, that I feel like-

Mike Gerholdt: It is, and I'm hoping we can get it a little bit more admin-friendly, because right now I kind of just know the lines of code I can edit, but a little more drag and drop, but that aside. Workflows to me were kind of that aha moment of, "Oh, yeah, this is cool. I really like this." I had the same thing with the Salesforce platform. So I'm curious for you having been at Slack for five years. I would love to know what your aha moment was. What was that moment that you're like, "I am all in on Slack. This thing is going to change work"?

Bear Douglas: Interesting. I don't know that I had one aha moment because at the point that I joined five years ago, I was already sold, and I think it was the cumulative user experience, nice touches that made it feel very friendly, like everything from the hilarious release notes to the moment when you're done reading all your messages and it says, "You're all done. Here's a pony." There was a friendliness to it and an approachability that I loved, but one of the things that I'm definitely most excited about over time is workflows and also some of the UI and UX improvements that we've made that make it really possible to parallelize tasks inside Slack. So recently-

Mike Gerholdt: Tell me more.

Bear Douglas: ... [crosstalk] recently. I mean, two years ago we released a product called models, which are popup overlays inside Slack, and you have to have a user interaction trigger for a developer to pop that up. Meaning I have to click a button or I have to launch a slash command. You can't just pop something up in Slack for me randomly, it's not the web circa 1997. You have to have a reason, and then we made those pop-over models pop outable so that you could have multiple Slack windows at any given time.
So if you were trying to complete a task that was a survey for a recent all-hands or filling out feedback for something that you knew was pending your feedback, you could keep Slack open and not be distracted by that task. You could go do it in another window, and I'm not sure I'm explaining myself all that well, to be honest, but that was a pretty transformative moment in the platform for me, which was the ability to not just have to interact with apps in the channel context. So they could have this separate space where you could take care of tasks.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, that's neat. Mine was, I was an admin in 2006, and I remember setting up my first dependent pick list, and rolling it out and everybody like, "Oh." So you select something at the top, like Apple, Microsoft, or Linux, and then below would give you then... It was dependent on your first selection. So you couldn't select Microsoft iOS 5 or something. Right? I remember setting that up and like rolling it out, and people are like, "That's really cool. That must have taken you forever." I was like, "Yep, sure it did." But just the power of like, "You know, I made a thing that normally looks like it would take code and I just deployed it right away and I could just easily edit it." It just felt super, super powerful. The same with like some of the Slack stuff that we do, it's you can almost kind of have a shorthand, right?
I think that's where I see a lot of this going is CRM 14 years ago when I started was how fast can you get a salesperson to update data records? Now the data record is updated through other systems and/or other interfaces based on contextual information put into something like a Slack. That's a future of CRM, right? It's not, "Did the person go in?" CRM 2007? Was, "Did you update your lead from new to first call?" Please, if you're doing that, you're so far behind. You should be, "No, the salesperson had a Slack conversation with the team about it, and Slack is updating Salesforce on all of these minor data points because the contextual conversation is happening in a collaborative space that moves that forward," right? The reporting in the CRM data is just how we look back and show progress, but the conversation's happening somewhere else. That's where I feel the next five years of CRM is going.

Bear Douglas: Absolutely, [inaudible] more. You can make that an automatic process instead of creating overhead where people have to report back or send information from one space to another, the more successful you are at keeping everything in sync. That's one of the big promises of Slack, is keeping everyone on the same page because everyone has the same view to a channel's data and conversation, and that helps keep everybody aligned.

Mike Gerholdt: As we kind of wrap up, because I want to make sure that [inaudible] cognizant of time. Can I just say I'm so glad that no one's Slack alert went off. That seems like a thing that shouldn't have to happen, but anymore coming out of the pandemic and spending two years on Zoom and GoToMeeting calls. I even saw it on a couple of documentaries about Silicon Valley. You could hear the Slack notification in the background.

Bear Douglas: Yeah. Luckily, I have my pres presenter mode notes about things that I have to turn off and on. So yeah. I'm glad that nothing got picked up, but the work was still happening in the background.

Mike Gerholdt: No, absolutely. Absolutely. So sending admins off, hopefully they enjoyed this episode. We brought up Google Wave. I think that might be the first Google Wave discussion. From your advice and your deep technical knowledge, we have Trailblazer DX coming up. Why, or should admins be thinking about Slack?

Bear Douglas: I'm curious to hear what they're curious about, and I know that's kind of a cop out, but I've given you some of my top tips for channel design. Some of the top tips for creating templates to set teams up for success. So they know what's expected of them, and what good team behavior looks like in Slack. But we are a friendly bunch and we really want to hear from the trailblazers and the admins about what they need, that we might not have heard from our customers before. So I want to make everyone aware of a few channels where they can reach us.
Obviously, if you're going to be at Trailblazer DX, please come and say hello, because there'll be plenty of us there to chat with. But you can also find us at the Slack community in general, which is community.slack.com. We love to talk about Slack and our tips and tricks and how we can make it better. We also have an absolutely awesome customer experience team who are friendly and love working with admins on making their experience better, and you can reach them at feedback@slack.com. I know that that sounds kind of impersonal, like an email address, but we're around constantly on email and on Twitter, and we're really excited to talk to you. So do reach out.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well, you've got to start somewhere, right? I mean, I remember that my first giving Slack feedback and the response I got was like, "Oh ,wow. You're like a real human that read it." And kind of figured out where I was coming from and was like, "Yeah, we really should have that, and we're probably working on it. We just don't have it right now." I was like, "Oh, my God, who are you people?" So akin to getting these plain vanilla responses right? From when you submit feedback to other companies, and this is like, "No, this is genuine. That's a really good idea. We should be doing it."

Bear Douglas: Yeah. Yeah. We have an awesome team, and a lot of people jump in at various different points. I enjoy helping out in the queue. I haven't done it in some time, but when we launched the redesign, which you might remember was right around spring of 2020, there was a lot of feedback coming in about that absolutely, and so more of us were on deck, and it was a great moment to have that direct connection with customers.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, Bear, I appreciate you being on the pod, and I look forward to hearing about all of the feedback that you got and we should do a follow-up podcast on that.

Bear Douglas: Sounds great. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: You bet. So it was great to have Bear on the podcast. I look forward to her coming back and speaking more as the Slack platform continues to evolve and empower Salesforce Admins. If you are going to Trailblazer DX in April, find Bear, find the Slack team, hit them up. Start asking questions, because some cool tech that it's really going to help everybody in the organization, and it's just fun, new stuff to learn. So if you want to learn more about all the things Salesforce Admins, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including any of the links that I mentioned in the episode, as well as a full transcript, of course, you can stay up to date with us on social, we are @SalesforceAdmns. No I on Twitter.
You can follow my co-host Gillian Bruce. She is back. Gillian K. Bruce on Twitter. Of course I'm on Twitter as well, give me a follow. I am @MikeGerholdt. I promise you my Twitter feed will ensure you don't miss a single cool article and/or maybe a fun picture of my dog, worth a follow. Anyway, let's stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We will see you in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jeff Berger, VP, Director of Salesforce Operations at Academy Bank.

 

Join us as we talk about what’s happened since his last time on the pod and what he’s learned about how to be proactive as a tech leader in your organization.

 

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

From solo Admin to Director of Salesforce Operations

The last time we talked to Jeff, he was a Salesforce Admin who needed to quickly implement an app to help with the Payment Protections Program (PPP loans). For those of you keeping track at home, that was August 2020. “It was really a watershed moment for Salesforce at Academy Bank,” he says, “it shifted the mindset of leadership and they started to see Salesforce more as a platform on which you could develop custom applications like this.”

 

The biggest implication of all this is that Jeff has gone from a solo Admin to the head of a Salesforce Department. They’ve moved from sitting in IT to being a part of the Commercial Lending Group and Jeff has a fancy new Director title. “Things have really changed a lot since I was sitting in my house over a weekend frantically building custom objects,” he says.

Show, don’t tell

 

With a new title comes new responsibilities and for Jeff, that also means taking responsibility for everyone’s ability to get the most out of the platform. “If you’re going to have a Salesforce license at Academy Bank, I have to make sure you can do 100% of your job on the platform,” he says, “and conversely, if I can’t get you to do 100% of your job on the platform, I’m interested in learning how to make it so you do 0% of your job on the platform.” This all-or-nothing approach minimizes the need for associates to do any context switching when they have to jump from app to app.

 

One thing that has really helped is getting leadership to buy in but getting to that point means finding a way to show, not tell. “You can have a lot of conversations about what a tool like Salesforce could do for an organization,” Jeff says, “but until leadership actually sees it in action I don’t think you really understand.” Delivering a fully-featured custom dashboard on a 3-day-old deployment really opened a lot of eyes.

How to be a tech leader in your organization

 

“When you’re a younger Admin, you can let the business define the technology,” Jeff says, “but in 2022 technology can be a driver of the business and not the other way around.” At a bank, for example, executives are reading things about the financial industry and digital transformation, but they don’t necessarily know what’s out there or what the tech they already have can actually do.

 

As a product owner of the platform, it’s really important to have a vision for the future. You need to demonstrate to the organization what you could do with the tool that you already own and it’s your job to push the business a little bit. “There’s this really constructive friction between the technology and business,” Jeff says: the business thinks they know how they want to do things but that’s usually informed by how they’ve always done it. It’s your job to learn new ways to improve on business processes and push your organization to be better.

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

  •  

 

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

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 Jeff Berger, VP Director of Salesforce Operations at Academy Bank. Now, if you recall, it wasn't but a couple years ago that we connected with Jeff when he was a Salesforce admin at Academy Bank about how he built an app in just a few hours and deployed it over a weekend. Now it's two years later, and I thought, "Hey, let's catch up with Jeff and see what he's been up to." And, wow, let's get a little insight into that new title, Director of Salesforce Operations. I like that.
But before we jump into that, I have some exciting news, of course. If you haven't seen it on Trailhead, there is a new module for the Essential Habits for Admin Success. That's right. The webinar Trailhead Live/Presentation, you have loved and listened to is now available as a learning module on Trailhead. The link is in the show notes. So after this episode, I want you to head on over to Trailhead and be one of the first admins to get that new Essential Habits Trailhead badge. If you check my profile, I already have it. So now let's get Jeff on the podcast. So Jeffrey, welcome back to the podcast.

Jeff Berger: Thank you. It's so great to be back, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And I say back because the last time we spoke was April 23rd, 2020.

Jeff Berger: A lifetime ago.

Mike Gerholdt: Two lifetimes ago.

Jeff Berger: Yeah, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: But I'll put a link in the show notes. The reason we spoke, you had this, you gave this great presentation at a user group, and you talked about how you created an app in just a few hours over the weekend because if we rewind the clock, there was a lot of things changing in the world in March and April of 2020. One of them was, I believe it was called the Paycheck Protection.

Jeff Berger: Yeah. Paycheck Protection Program. That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: Program. That's the third P.

Jeff Berger: Yes. Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I always want to say "Act," and I'm like, "No, it wasn't. It wasn't at Act."

Jeff Berger: I've said PPP enough in the last two years that it's definitely drilled into my brain. But yeah, you're right. I work in Academy Bank, and as a bank, there was a lot of pressure on us to help get funds out into the world for the folks who were stuck at home and the businesses who were suffering because of the early days of the pandemic. And I really appreciated you reaching out and pulling me out of the podcast to share my story. I had a chance to talk a little bit about leveraging Salesforce as a platform for this brand new program that had never existed before, and I got to share that on the user group, like you mentioned, with my co-leader Dale Ziegler, shout out to Dale.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh. Hey, Dale.

Jeff Berger: Yeah. I love it. And things have really progressed since then. So it's great to be back on the pod to share what I've been up to.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So that's exactly why I wanted to have you back. I feel like we do a really good job of finding these great stories and then, "Cool," we blast them out into the universe and we just, "Hey, onto the next one." I was like, "Yeah, but there's all kinds of cool stuff that happened." And so I wanted to find out from you ... So that happened, and then we've gone through two years of a pandemic, but the world didn't stop. So what have you been up to?

Jeff Berger: Wow. What haven't I been up to? I think this whole paycheck protection program journey and building this app on the platform, it was really a watershed moment for Salesforce at Academy Bank. Before that, I think the platform was really viewed as one application in the tech stack. It was something alongside all the other apps, and it did one very specific thing for us, in our case, commercial lending. And I think when I was able to jump in with Salesforce and stand something up as quickly as I did and start bringing in applications right away, I think it really shifted the mindset of the leadership at Academy Bank, and I think they started to see Salesforce more as a platform on which you could develop custom applications like this. And it's really, really opened up the hearts and minds of leadership, and I think put more pressure in a positive way on myself and my new department, Mike. I think that's one of the most exciting things to share.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I mean, last we spoke, you were the department.

Jeff Berger: That's right. I was the department. I was over in IT on an island. Didn't really fit in with the rest of the product support managers. And now I'm over in the commercial lending group. So that's a big change, and I was able to hire a couple of associates. So I'm not a team of one. I'm a team of three now, which is really outstanding, and kudos to Academy for investing in the platform. And I've got a fancy new director title. So things have really changed a lot since I was sitting in my house over a weekend, frantically building custom objects.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So I envision right now, if I was listening to this podcast, which I would, if I was mowing. We live in the Midwest, and I think it's going to snow until July.

Jeff Berger: Oh, gosh. Yeah. I'm more likely to be plowing than mowing right now.

Mike Gerholdt: Don't say that. But if I was an admin, I would say, "Okay, wait a minute. So back in 2020, Jeff built this app. He was in the same position I was." Every time I talk to you, I'm like, "I remember when my career was at that point."

Jeff Berger: Totally.

Mike Gerholdt: So what happened after the podcast? I mean, what tactically were some of the conversations that you feel you had that were instrumental in getting leadership to think of, just one, Salesforce as a platform that you can build on? Because to be honest with you, we put that messaging everywhere, but it's like when you buy those non-stick pans at the mall, in those demo stores. You're like, "Yeah, whatever. They're not non-stick." And then the guy puts melted caramel sugar-

Jeff Berger: Yes. Show, not tell, right?

Mike Gerholdt: And it slides right off. You're like, "Oh, I absolutely need one of those now."

Jeff Berger: Yes. I totally agree. I always say one of the things people at work have heard me say this a million times, Salesforce is a really expensive application, but it's a really cheap platform. And my job, I feel like I really have a fiduciary responsibility to manage the platform effectively, and that means figuring out ... If you're going to have a Salesforce license at Academy Bank, I have to figure out how to make sure that you can do 100% of your job on the platform. And conversely, if I can't get you to do 100% percent of your job on the platform, I'm interested in learning how to make it so that you do zero percent of your job on the platform, right? Because what we don't want is to create an environment where our associates are contact switching and jumping around from app to app.
So back to your original question about what specific conversations do we have, your point about the non-stick pans in the store I think really hits home. You can have a lot of conversations about what a tool like Salesforce could do for an organization, right? But until you actually see it in action, you being a leader of that organization, I don't think you really understand. It wasn't so much the conversations that I had in that moment or directly after that moment. It was, "Hey, we've been live for three days and I can give you a fully featured dashboard with drillable reports where you can hit the little refresh button and see applications flowing in every single day." I mean, there's nothing that executives ...
I always joke dashboards and reports are a gateway drug, and executives just eat that stuff up, right? So showing how the platform is impacting the organization and leveraging the platform itself to do that spotlight is just mission critical, right? I think I talked about this last time I was on the podcast, but I would just reiterate. If you are not taking advantage of the reporting and dashboarding capabilities on the platform to showcase the automation that you're putting in place, you're really doing yourself and the platform a disservice because it's really difficult for especially non-technical executives or executives who maybe think more in terms of dollars and cents.
When we start talking about things like flow and process builder and things like that, their eyes glaze over, right? But if you can translate that into dollars and cents, or minutes and hours saved, "Hey, I built this automation and I have it right to a custom object that tracks the time that it saved every single time that the automation runs, and now I can put in black and white on a report page that we've saved you hundreds and hundreds of minutes since we put this in place," that is a huge win. And that's something that you can take right to the bank.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Oh, nice metaphor there. Take it to the bank.

Jeff Berger: Thank you. Yes. I try to get it in.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I see what you did. But I love what you said because I think it's analogous to how tech and maybe the whole Silicon Valley movement is, is you've done a thing. Now what's next?

Jeff Berger: Sure.

Mike Gerholdt: You wake up and you hustle the next day, the next day, the next day. I mean, it's not you just put this thing out, sat back, "Cool. I built this app. Look at how awesome I am."

Jeff Berger: Right. Right.

Mike Gerholdt: What can we do next? What can we conquer next? And I think that ferocity of just going after things and not sitting still.

Jeff Berger: Sure.

Mike Gerholdt: It's analogous to how people can really go about their career. There was a time in place in the US where you graduated from college and employers knocked at your door. Now they don't. They don't.

Jeff Berger: No they sure don't.

Mike Gerholdt: You've got to go to them, right? You've got to hustle, or you go back home and live in your parents' basement.

Jeff Berger: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: It's the same with you. I think because a lot of the questions that I would envision having as an admin, "Oh, I built this thing. Now what do I do next?"

Jeff Berger: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: What are you doing next? Right? What is your vision? And it sounded like your vision was, "I've got to do this thing. I've got to find these pain points."

Jeff Berger: Right. Vision is such an important word, Mike. I would say when I think back to an earlier part of my career, I was probably more satisfied with doing what I was asked, I guess, and I'll explain what I mean. When you're a younger admin, a more junior admin, you take projects as they come, and the business really defines the technology. And one of the things that I think I've learned as I've grown and matured is in 2022, technology can really be a driver of the business and not the other way around. And what I mean by that is, again, executives are leaders.
I'll use the bank as an example. The types of materials that leaders are consuming at a bank like Academy, they're reading banking magazines and they're watching banking YouTube videos. And yes, there are many conversations in banking, like in all industries, about digital transformation and about technology, but they don't necessarily know what's out there, and they don't even know what's right at home that they already own. Right?
And so I think as an admin, or to put it more broadly, as a product owner of the platform, I think it's really important that you have a vision for the next six, 12, 18, 36 months, and that you help demonstrate to the organization, sometimes in real practical terms, and sometimes in more esoteric potential terms. But I think you need to demonstrate what you could do with the tool that you already own. And I think you need to push the business a little bit. There's this really constructive, I don't know, friction between the technology in the business, right?
The business thinks they know how they want to do stuff. A lot of that has probably been informed by how they've done it in the past. And that's not inherently a bad thing, but getting somebody who could be a little annoying coming in and poking the bear and saying, "Hey, have you thought about this? Hey, I did this cool trail on Trailhead that taught me about how the best companies do service, and I noticed that we are not doing service that way. So what if we try to do service more like these other companies?" Right?
So yeah, vision is really, really critical. And being able to communicate effectively that vision to the key stakeholders in the organization and rally the troops, it's all really critical. I always say that my secret weapon is my theater background and my ability to read a room and really have empathy for the stakeholders that I'm working with. It's really easy in those types of conversations to write off folks like, "Oh, that's just how you've always done it, and they don't know anything, and whatever, whatever," but I think you just have to stay positive and understand that everyone in the organization is doing the best that they can. And it's about getting everyone rowing their ores in the same direction on a boat built out of Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, there's a lot of metaphors to impact there. That's-

Jeff Berger: Yeah, yeah. I'm Mr. Metaphor.

Mike Gerholdt: I think one thing that I'd be curious to know how you addressed and what came out of it and maybe what you'll change or not, do different, is we talked shortly after it felt like the world went into lockdown, and you and I had a great discussion of just how we even unpack groceries because that was a thing.

Jeff Berger: It was.

Mike Gerholdt: Forever, different generations will be marked by things they did. My grandparents saved all the butter dishes. I never went to school with Tupperware. I always had a butter dish with my sandwich in it.

Jeff Berger: Your Country Crock, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, yeah. Everybody ate stuff out of Country Crock. And I feel like, I'll call it my generation, is going to be marked by, "Oh, you're the generation that wipes down its groceries."

Jeff Berger: Oh, yeah. I was putting them in sinks full of soapy water.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I know. We all were.

Jeff Berger: It's wild.

Mike Gerholdt: We all were.

Jeff Berger: Crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: But along with wiping down groceries, we also went into, I'll call it virtual office mode. So everything was a hangout or a GoToMeeting or Zoom or whatever. As you went through those two years, obviously, you were successful because you got promoted, but you had to do user training, user acceptance, user feedback. That was all virtual. When we started to record this pod, you were in the office.

Jeff Berger: Yeah. yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: A lot of people are going back in the offices. Truth be told, we know that some people never really left.

Jeff Berger: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: And some people couldn't. The people that had to work in the grocery stores and stuff, they didn't really have an option to work from home.

Jeff Berger: That's right. That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: What did you find will you keep as habits or as things that you picked up during the pandemic that actually were effective, and what are you excited to you go back to?

Jeff Berger: That's such a great question. I think one of the things that I'm going to retain is the empathy of engaging with somebody in a new environment, like we all were. Right? I think when you think about doing end user training, for example, or collecting user feedback, in the before times, I think there was a lot of assumptions being made or, I don't know, you took for granted the fact that folks were a cube away or an office away, and if somebody needed help, they would just get up and walk and ask you, right? But the reality is they weren't. They weren't doing that, even though you thought they would.
And the pandemic and doing everything virtually forced me and others to make a concerted effort to reach out and get in front of people and say, "Hey, I haven't seen you in three weeks. And I know when we were in the office, you would stop by my office once a day and ask me a quick Salesforce question, right? Well, now that's not possible. So I have to carve out time to, and I want to carve out time to sit with you, whether that's one on one, whether that's office hours, or however you want to frame it." But you really have to put the user front and center in a way that I think it was easy to forget about when we were all physically in the same location. So I would say that I'm going to be better in the future, whether I'm in the office or not, about engaging my end users in a proactive way and less of a reactive, break/fix case management type way. And I hope others do the same.
I think it's been really powerful to see the feedback roll in on the types of office hour sessions that I've been having. People who have been using the application for a long time are reaching out and saying, "Hey, I love that you did this. I love that you're doing more of these. I'm learning things that I didn't know were possible, and I thought I knew everything about Salesforce." So that's just been really exciting. And I would say the other thing, too, is being more open to bringing in folks from outside your traditional footprint. Again, I want to say kudos to Academy. I was recently going through the process of hiring an associate and very, very typically, I think, our bank has stayed focused on our physical footprint in Denver, in Phoenix, in Kansas City. But this time they said, "You know what? We get it. Go cast the net wide. Go national. See if you can find the best fit for our organization in Montana or in New Hampshire or Florida."
So that's been really awesome to see, and it's not just in my department. I think it's really opened up the bank, more generally, to being flexible, even as we're returning to work, right? I guess it's a little bit of a two sides of the same coin. So I would say keep it open and have empathy, right? And be proactive in the way that you reach out to those users and engage them, maybe in a way that you didn't before.

Mike Gerholdt: I think that's amazing because the ability to bring staff on that are from other parts of the United States, or world, depending on where you want to go, just adds such variety to brainstorming and creative problem solving that helps enhance the experience for everyone, right? It makes it more fun to come to work.

Jeff Berger: Sure.

Mike Gerholdt: It makes for better solutions. I do agree. Boy, there for a while, I think we were a little bit spoiled with ... I'll say spoiled with online user groups because I could just pop two, three user groups off a day and-

Jeff Berger: Oh yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And user groups that I could hit maybe a Sydney in the evening. I could hit a New York in the afternoon, and it was perfect. And physically, I could never make those.

Jeff Berger: Sure, sure.

Mike Gerholdt: It was so interesting to join and have people on. I believe I was on the Springfield, Missouri user group, and I was on there because I still have connections from when Zac Otero was down there.

Jeff Berger: Oh, sure. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And we were speaking and talking, and they had people on from different parts of India. They had a couple people on, I forget, from different countries. And it was so interesting because you know that maybe that never would've happened.

Jeff Berger: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Right? Like, "Hey, let's get on a plane and fly 23 and a half hours from India to go to the Springfield, Missouri user group."

Jeff Berger: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: [crosstalk]

Jeff Berger: I think it's helped to, I know in your role, you're always on the hunt for new stories to tell, and I think for better or for worse, I think for better, it's really opened our eyes to some folks that were ... They were doing great work, but we didn't know about it.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Jeff Berger: I'll shout out Terry Miller, recent MVP. He was doing some awesome stuff, but I don't think the admin community, writ large, would've known about it if we didn't all get forced online and had to scour for materials. And then there was Terry with all sorts of great learning sessions and content. So I think it's really neat. It's been certainly a silver lining to the move online. And I think the same is true in our day-to-day jobs as well, right?
It opened up the conversation to include more folks because it was easy for anybody anywhere to jump on a Zoom. When maybe, traditionally, those same meetings would've been a little more closed off. That would've been limited to the people on that floor or in that building or in that region. And now it's really easy to pull in branch managers from across our entire network and share best practices. And we're all comfortable and familiar with that motion in a way that we weren't 24 months ago.

Mike Gerholdt: So speaking of "ago," we did a Dreamforce, and we'll do another one this year. They keep popping up. But one thing that we rolled out that I thought was really cool, and we're working to expand on this. So more to come. But I would love to get your take on we added Salesforce admin skills in our Dreamforce keynote, and I'll put a link in the show notes so you can see those skills. But this was a lot of research done by the team gathering feedback. We sat in on focus groups. We did a lot of stuff with various analysts to hone down, "What are those skills that admins need?" And we did that because, to be honest with you, some of the other tech personas are to the point that they're stereotypes. I mean, that in a positive way. The way that I always put is ... I'll change up my story. You can go to the grocery store and the cashier, pending you get a cashier, because I love self checkout. But-

Jeff Berger: Oh yeah, I'm a self checkout guy.

Mike Gerholdt: Depending on your cashier, "Oh, hit. Did you find everything okay?" "Yep." Blah blah. "So what do you do?" So in other industries you could say, "A bus driver. I'm a tow truck operator, a welder, a construction manager, or plumber," and they know what you do.

Jeff Berger: Sure.

Mike Gerholdt: They have an idea of what you do. In the tech world, there's a lot of different roles, a lot of different identities, but you could say, "Oh, I'm a software developer or just developer," and they, "Oh, okay. Probably writes code." Right? They would mostly, depending on the generation, either have like some crazy Sandra Bullock internet movie in their head or a computer hacker, right? But for the most part, it's like write code. But if you say Salesforce admin, they just look at you.

Jeff Berger: Oh, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Right? And so we put this out so that we have a common language of skills. All that to say, if you're still listening, I would be curious to know over the last two years you went from Jeff Berger, "I create apps over the weekend," to director. What of these skills did you lean on harder, and what skills are you looking to grow?

Jeff Berger: That is an incredible question. Salesforce admin has always been a tricky name, right? It's a tricky role to nail down. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And the answer to what skills I leaned on, I think it's important to call out. They may not be the skills that you need to lean on out there, listening right now, because as a Salesforce admin and somebody, like myself, who's bounced around from company to company and seen different orgs at different levels of maturation, I think you learn really quickly that every Salesforce story is different. Every org's journey is different. Every company's journey with the platform is different. And so I just want to put that caveat out there that one size does not fit all, and depending on how long ago your implementation was, how well your implementation went, how bought-in your executive leadership are, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, your results may vary.
So definitely take a look at the skills that Mike's going to put in the show notes, because I think they're all spot-on for different parts of the Salesforce org lifecycle. But for me, I'll say one of the first things that comes to mind is change management, change management, change management. Change management is such a challenge. And obviously, for me, it first reared its head in the context of this very specific app, right? This very specific, "Hey, we've got a new paycheck protection program and we need to train everybody not only on how to push the buttons to make the computer do what I wanted to do, but also the ins and outs of the actual program itself."
At the end of the day, we were underwriting loans, basically. Right? And so that's not something that you can just immediately jump in and do without any prior knowledge or any tools on the platform that can help guide you. Right? So I would say change management, both for that specific app, and then ongoing as I continue to try to tackle more use cases and bring more lines of business onto the platform. It's just been paramount. I'll share that over the last month, we've added another 25 to 30 users. And for the first time, we've started to engage our retail banking centers and our retail banking center managers. Up until this point, the platform has been commercial lending only, really. And that's been really exciting. But boy, has it really required a lot of change management training documentation to support this new user group who didn't have Salesforce experience for the most part, certainly didn't have Salesforce experience that was specific to our org and all of its idiosyncrasies.
So I'll say one more time, change management has just been paramount. And then I think to get to change management, to get to, "Okay, what are the things that I'm actually implementing, and how do I need to skill up my users to be able to use these tools?" To me, it's learner's mindset and designers' mindset, right? Learner's mindset has been relatively easy for me because I was new to banking when I joined the bank in 2019. So I've been forced to have a learner's mindset since I got to Academy Bank. But accepting that you don't know everything, no matter how many times you've built the same flow at five different stops, it might be a little different the sixth time, and you have to keep that in mind, right?
And then I think the designer's mindset is really critical because it's really easy to get, and I will say I'm the first one to admit I've done this. It's really easy to get caught up in the exciting tech aspects of Salesforce. Like, "Ooh, look at the cool thing I can build with Flow. Ooh, let's use orchestrator and build something awesome. Wow, look at the amazing things I can do with lightning app builder." And sometimes, and again, I've been guilty of this, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what you're really designing for, which is an end user, a business user, a specific task or job to be done.
And so really thinking about it, putting the customer front and center, customer here being your internal users, but I guess if you're dealing with experienced cloud, also your external users, and taking a step back and going, okay, let's pretend for a second that I don't know anything about Salesforce and I'm a new retail banking center manager who has to figure out how to engage my customers on this platform for the first time. What can I do as an admin or an app builder or a developer to design a user experience that is intuitive and that helps me, certainly, accomplish a given task with as few clicks as possible in the most efficient way possible, But also while teaching along the way, to a certain extent, leveraging the guided nature of what's available within the toolkit, whether that's a display text in a flow, whether that's some of the in-app guidance that's available now.
But you really have to make the platform be the one-stop shop for that end user. And having them jump out to some policy document or some process document that's saved over here on SharePoint, it's just going to increase friction and make it more challenging for that user to serve your customers. So I would call out those three, the change management piece, the learner's mindset, and the designer's mindset as the ones that I've really leaned on a lot over the last 24 months as I've continued to build my Salesforce empire and bring on more lines of business. But every single one of these skills, I think, is critical. And I use every single day, whether I'm consciously acknowledging it or not.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, that was a loaded question anyway, but I appreciate your answer. And I think you really nailed it by saying everybody's journey is different and the skills that I leaned on might not be the skills you need to lean on. Right?

Jeff Berger: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: So-

Jeff Berger: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: That was great. Jeff, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to fill us back in on what's been going on the last few years. Hopefully, we don't go two years before we check back in.

Jeff Berger: Oh yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: At this rate, you'll be-

Jeff Berger: I'd love to be back.

Mike Gerholdt: ... president and CEO or something.

Jeff Berger: I'm coming for Brett's job.

Mike Gerholdt: So if that happens, let me know. It'd be fun to interview you.

Jeff Berger: Yeah, thanks. Appreciate it. This was a real blast. Thanks again for having me. And I just want to thank you and everything that the admin team does to support all the admins out there. And I think the steps you're taking with things like putting these skills out here, they're going to go a long way towards the admin community staking their claim again within the Salesforce ecosystem. So thanks for that.

Mike Gerholdt: I appreciate it. Thanks, Jeff.
It was great catching up with Jeff. I always appreciate hearing how admins are succeeding in their role. Jeff has a whole crew of people in two years. That is very exciting. That is the power of constantly staying focused on your career, focus on the skills that you need to succeed, and building really cool apps. I bet there's some really neat stuff there. And shout-out to the Kansas City user group, Dale Ziegler. Of course, if you're in Kansas City, Dale is the person to connect with.
Oh, and totally go and have barbecue. Man, I mean, that sounds cliche, but that was one of the best times that Dale and I had. So I'm going to have to get down to Kansas City again and have barbecue with everybody. But if you'd like to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources and links to everything that we mentioned in this episode, as well as the full transcript. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no "I," on Twitter. My co-host Gillian Bruce is @GillianKBruce, and of course I am @MikeGerholdt. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next step episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Scott Beeler, Lead Solution Engineer at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about using Slack for sales and how Scott uses it on a day-to-day basis to process his job function.

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

Why Slack and sales go hand-in-hand

“My job as a Lead Solution Engineer is to be the conduit between our customers and Salesforce to ensure that whenever we enter into a new sales motion we have the appropriate specs for the customer and align the Salesforce specs accordingly,” Scott says. He comes from a Sales background, starting out as an Account Executive calling leads, but he heard about the work that the Solution Engineers several floors above him were doing and the role sounded perfect for him. When he had an opportunity to interview for it, he did a lot of hard work and got a lot of help from his network to ace it.

Doing the job involves coordinating between a number of folks spread out across different areas and levels of the Sales organization. Scott’s talking to the Account Executive, technical folks from Enterprise Architecture, Sales support, folks who manage post-sale, contracting, procurement, security, and more. He used to rely on Chatter so the transition to Slack was tough, “but the more that we as an organization forced ourselves to use Slack the better it became to collaborate with my colleagues to stay organized and get everyone together on the same page to progress the deal effectively,” he says.

Slack best practices to keep everyone in the loop

One of the best practices Scott and his team learned from Slack is to make account-specific channels to maintain organization. It gives you one place to go to get all of the information you need to begin working on an opportunity. Scott also recommends checking on bookmarks, where team members can pin key resources at the top of every Slack channel. You can also take advantage of threading to have, for example, a thread for a specific meeting that hosts all of the deal prep, dry runs, and even conversations during the presentation.

The result is kind of like a radio station you can tune into about the account that can dramatically speed up the ramp time to get a member of your sales team involved in the conversation. And tools like threading cut down on the notifications unless you need to be involved in specific conversations, with mentions allowing you to assign work and questions appropriately.

Better transparency through Slack

The real question, Scott says, is “how can Slack empower sales organizations to be more effective in their role?” At the end of Salesforce’s fiscal year, Scott’s manager created Slack channel dedicated to the deals currently set to close. At the end of each day, their sales reps had to input the status of the deal and any resources they may need to move it along and close it. There was more transparency but, more importantly, it empowered folks like Scott’s area Vice President to bring in the resources needed to close those deals.

When Scott had a demo instance break minutes before a big presentation, he was able to jump into Slack and use global search to look through keywords in specific channels for that demo org. He was able to find someone who had his exact issue and learn how they resolved it.

There’s so much in this episode, to be sure to listen to the whole thing for Scott’s tips on rolling out Slack and why it’s important to let people make mistakes so they can learn how to make it work for them.

Podcast swag

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Kate Elliott, Senior Manager of Success Strategy and Global Programs at Salesforce.

 

Join us as we talk about her perspective on being a multi-cloud Salesforce Administrator.

 

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

How Kate became a multi-cloud expert

 

As time goes on and businesses continue to expand and explore new products, the likelihood that you may be the Admin for multiple clouds increases, so we wanted to talk to Kate. She’s 10 times certified, a five-time 5-star ranger who started in the education field, jumped to a consulting firm where she learned how to implement Marketing Cloud, and then became an accidental Admin. She learned everything she knows from Trailhead and eventually worked as a Success Guide to help Salesforce.org customers with Marketing Cloud, the majority of them being multi-cloud customers.

 

When J. met Kate, she was the only Salesforce.org nearby, and also the only Marketing Cloud expert. “Every time I think about a career advancement, a lot of it was from learning what other people do and truly taking an interest,” Kate says.

Why terminology gets confusing in multi-cloud 

Marketing Cloud is very different from other platforms. “When I went from an end-user of CRM to implementing Marketing Cloud I remember being shocked,” Kate says, “there are a lot of terms that are the same word but mean something completely different in each cloud.”

 

Thinking about her end users and who she was building things for helped ground Kate. “I thought about what they wanted and how they wanted to do their jobs,” she says, “at the end of the day, my end users that I’m building for on both platforms want to be able to see what they need to do clearly, understand the steps as simply as possible, and make sure that they don’t do anything that will harm their relationship with their end-users.”

Take a step back from the technology

While Kate would build her priority list from what she was hearing from end-users, her best piece of advice is to make sure you’re translating from what they’re asking for to what they actually need. You run into this even more in cross-cloud work because many different industries use the same terms but they mean different things, especially with regards to reporting.

 

“What you are hearing from end-users or leadership or both, potentially, requires so much translation and parsing back what these terms mean in this context from the person who’s telling you it,” Kate says. Even more problematically, you can end up with solutions one cloud platform but not the others. By stepping away from the technology and prioritizing business operations, you can better implement and configure the technology.

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

 

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

Full show transcript

Jay: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are talking with Kate Elliott, senior manager of success strategy and programs at Salesforce, about being a multi-cloud admin. But before we jump into that, I have some exciting news. Available now on Trailhead is a new module for the essential habits for admin success. That's right. The webinar/Trailhead Live/presentation, you have all loved and listened to is now a learning module on Trailhead. The link is in the show notes. So after this episode, head on over to Trailhead and be one of the first admins to get the new essential habits Trailhead badge. Now let's chat with Kate.
Hello, you wonderful admin. Welcome back to another episode of the Salesforce admins podcast. I'm very excited because I'm joined by a colleague that I've had the pleasure of working with for a number of years here at Salesforce. I am joined by Kate Elliot, who's a senior manager of success, strategy and programs here at Salesforce, but that is not what we are going to talk about. We're not talking about her current role. We're talking about her perspective on being a multi-cloud Salesforce administrator. As time goes on and admins like yourself continue to explore new products and your business continues to expand, the likelihood that you may be admining multiple clouds continues to increase. We want to make sure that you are reflected and your interests are reflected in our conversations. So Kate, could you say hello and give yourself a little bit of an introduction to those folks out in the Salesforce ecosystem who have yet to learn who you are?

Kate Elliott: Sure. Thanks, Jay, and thanks for having me. It's nice to meet you all, meet you wonderful admin. My name is Kate Elliot, as Jay said. I'm based in Indianapolis. I currently work for the salesforce.org success strategy and program team. I am 10 times certified. I'm a five time, five star ranger. So big fan of all of our enablement here at Salesforce. I actually started my Salesforce career as an end user in the education field and then I jumped to a consulting firm, so to a partner, where I learned how to implement Marketing Cloud. From there, because I had been an end user for CRM, I became the accidental admin for this partner and I learned CRM all through Sales Cloud CRM, all through doing Trailhead. That's the entire way that I learned how to do it. I have a lot of experience with doing marketing cloud implementations, being the CRM admin, helping cross-cloud folks kind of get their bearings. And where I met Jay, at first, was working as a success guide, so helping our Salesforce.org customers with Marketing Cloud and the majority of them being cross-cloud admins. So I guess the high level overview of who I am and why I'm here.

Jay: That is part of who you are and you are so much more, just like all human beings. You are your job and a million. You contain multitudes. That's what I'm saying here. Okay. So you brought up a really good point, I think, in where you and I started to interact with one another. We talk a lot with Salesforce admins specifically about the power of Salesforce administration by walking around. It's a little acronym that we call SABWA. Mike [Gerholdt] coined the term a number of years ago, and this idea of interacting with the people that are using the system that you are administrating. And in our case, we were colleagues that were sitting on the same floor, but we were kind of in different functional groups. If I recall correctly, you were the only salesforce.org individual that was sitting in the [clumps] nearby. It was also true that you were the only marketing cloud expert in the clumps that were nearby. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that seems right. Yeah?

Kate Elliott: Yeah. Yeah. That's absolutely correct. When I first joined Salesforce, speaking of us containing multitudes, what was really funny is my daughter was six months old, so everyone thought I had just come back from maternity leave. So they were like, "How did I miss you before?" I was like, "I'm brand new." I was the only salesforce.org success person who was office-based in Indianapolis. We had, I think, a couple people in various roles that were remote, but yeah, I was the one who came into the office and it was so amazing. Honestly, I love that acronym. That is, I would say, probably how I have advanced, every time I think about a career advancement. A lot of it, even before Salesforce, was just because of that, of learning what other people do and truly taking an interest. You just learn so much about yourself and about them and how you can help. It's always just led to really cool things for me.

Jay: Yeah. We talk a lot with our admins about this idea of having a learner's mindset and being curious and spending time with the people that are around you. What I like about the story between you and I and the other folks that we worked with, I'm now in Chicago, I'm no longer in Indianapolis, and the same is true for a number of the people that we used to work with, but I remain in touch with many of my former colleagues from the success guide group, what I enjoyed was, there was no functional reason for you and I to have a conversation. There was nothing related to the work that I was doing, or the work that you were doing, that necessitated either of us having a conversation with one another about anything professional whatsoever. But we got into this mode of like, Hey, here's a new employee.
You were interested to learn what we were doing. We were naturally curious and wanted to talk to you. We started to learn that there were some gaps in knowledge for people on the floor, myself, yourself, so we started having these conversations about what's it like in marketing cloud, what's it like in our core sales and service clouds and CRM. This conversation, I think, really enriched the work that everyone was able to do. For those out there, if you, dear admin, are unfamiliar with a success guide, this is a post-sale role. Our job is to meet with Salesforce customers after they've made a purchase and make sure that they're getting as much value out of the product as possible.
Based on the training that we were receiving at the time, it could be really difficult to advise someone if they were a multi-cloud customer, because you'd have a core engagement. Then, if they wanted to do something with marketing cloud, we had to kind of pump that over the fence. Even having conversations to figure out where we needed to connect our customers to help them be successful was very, very difficult and it was a huge boon to have Kate available to have conversations about not only her CRM experience, but also her marketing cloud experience. And then, as somebody who's been out there in the wild, working in a business, how did a business use both?
It's important to note that Sales Cloud technology, Service Cloud, anything that we refer to as core, that technology, while integrated with Marketing Cloud, or potentially integrated, depending on your particular implementation, you can have Marketing Cloud by itself, you can have Sales or Service Cloud by itself, you can also use both of those clouds together via a connector or integration, but that doesn't mean that admining, those two products is the same by any means, or even that functionally what you're trying to achieve is the same, or even there might be some settings that are key differences.
So Kate, you called out that you started as an end user of CRM, and then you moved into a role where you were doing a Marketing Cloud implementation, and then from there, you kind of had to backpedal into understanding CRM implementation, as well. I was wondering, for the purpose of the conversation with the admin that is listening in right now to this podcast wondering, "Okay, there's another cloud over there. How can I start to understand its purpose," what was your journey? Obviously you had that end user experience, but how did you, beyond Trailhead, start to engage with this idea of marketing automation, as well as customer relationship management? What was the process that you used to get there?

Kate Elliott: That's a great question. For learning Marketing Cloud, I read everything I could get my hands on. So Marketing Cloud and learning it is quite different from learning CRM. I think if you start with CRM and you start as a CRM admin, I actually think there's a little bit of a disadvantage when you're trying to learn Marketing Cloud because it's governed so differently that it's shifting the mindset, really. How I really approached it when I went from an end user of CRM and then when I got to the job, when I was suddenly implementing Marketing Cloud, I remember being shocked because the first day, when I was looking at Marketing Cloud, I was reading all the documents that they'd given me and I was expecting it to look just like CRM or the core product.
So then, when I actually dove into Marketing Cloud, it took me a while to orient myself in terms of, "Oh, when we say data here, this is what we mean when we say it. Here, this is what it means over here." And there are a lot of terms that are the same word, but they mean something completely different in the different clouds. So that took me quite some time to kind of wrap my head around to say, "Oh, when you mean campaign, for example, in Marketing Cloud, this is what they are. In core, this is what they are."
So I really took the approach of just having, to learn Marketing Cloud, to having to throw out almost all of my preconceived notions of what this would be and just learn it as something new and make the connections where I could so that I could see the similarities and the differences. Then, when I went back to being a CRM admin, it was honestly building on some of the fundamentals that I learned being a Marketing Cloud admin, because that was the first platform where I had been an admin, and then really trying to play to the strengths of the different platforms with how I approached just the role of the admin. I can go on and on about those features, but I'll pause there. Is that getting at your question in terms of the approach?

Jay: Yeah, I think it does. You've explained that there are some common fundamentals. There are two things that I kind of want to expand on in what I've heard you say. The first is, I'd love to know a little bit more about these common fundamentals. You had mentioned this idea of taking the preconceived notions that you had about one tech stack and just leaving it over there so that you can really understand what this thing is over here and then you started to make connections between them. So what were some things that you found to be fundamentals or some common skills that were necessary between CRM and marketing, for example?

Kate Elliott: So one big common theme, I suppose, that really drove me when I was learning both platforms and trying to make the connections was that in both platforms... So I guess background about me in terms of we all contain multitudes, I started my career in education and I was a teacher. So that's the context for of this, as being an admin and being in charge of both of these tech stacks. When I was thinking about the end users, when I was thinking about the systems that I was setting up, it was so clear to me that in both systems, what everyone wanted was it to be simple. Everyone wanted to know exactly who they were reaching out to. In both systems, having duplicates is not a great thing, but we handle them very differently. So it was a lot of what the similarities were to me were thinking about my end users, thinking about who I was building this for and really what they wanted in terms of how they wanted to live their lives and do their jobs.
That really changed my mindset in terms of how I would train people on both platforms, how I would think about how to prioritize what to build, was really just on, at the end of the day, my end users that I'm building for, they want to be able to see what they need to do clearly, understand the steps as simply as possible and make sure that they don't do anything that will harm their relationship with their end users, so having duplicates or reaching out to the wrong person at the wrong time. I think it holds true for CRM and Marketing Cloud. I just think that theme is there in both tech stacks, but if we get technical, I mean, I would say at the end of the day data structure is a big one, which the Marketing Cloud data structure functionally is very different than CRM, just in terms of how it works, but just this concept of knowing what is, if you do a one to many relationship, what's your one, when you think about parent records and just sort of how you would structure something in a Visio chart or something like that, I really saw a lot of similarities and comparisons with the data model that more naturally comes in the core platform and what people wanted to build in Marketing Cloud. It just made a lot of sense to me personally.

Jay: Yeah. I love this. So what I'm hearing is that you've got these kind of functional blocks to focus on, like data quality is what I consider a functional block or a concept. The users of CRM. Again, we have to think about purpose. This is a conversation that I have with admins very frequently and the internal team here and audience relations and admin evangelism. I'm really purpose driven. Why are people using the systems? Customer relationship management or CRM sales or service, it's all about knowing who your customer is, the behavior that they've taken, so that you're able to either sell to them or serve them and make sure that you're resolving their issues. Same thing is true for the platform, for the most part. If you're making custom platform apps, typically you've got some kind of customer component you're going to be interacting with.
When we look at marketing, we're thinking about the same thing. How are we communicating with people? We need to make sure that data is fresh, that it's up to date, that it's not duplicated, because at the end of the day, if we are ill-informed as Salesforce end users, in other words, if that data is incorrect and we fire that data off to somebody in an email template in Sales Cloud, or in a journey in a mass email over in Marketing Cloud, what we've just done has stubbed our toe and kind of frustrated the customer. Nobody likes an email that says, "Dear First Name." And no one likes an email that says, "My name is Jay," which is really, really unusual. I will often get emails that are just made up names, like, "Dear, Justin," and I know that it came from some kind of marketing automation. So this idea of data quality, that's an idea that seems to be in common across these clouds. We need that data quality so that our users can trust that the systems are going to deliver the value that they're looking for. Does that sound accurate to you?

Kate Elliott: Absolutely. And just to build on it a bit more, I think what data quality sometimes is, definitely, I think very admin focused, admin centric sort of language, but to your example with having the wrong first name, what it really means to the people that you admin are serving, your customers, what it really means is that you know who they are. I can't tell you, and I notice it more because I work in email marketing, so I notice all the various email things, but it is very frustrating when you feel like you have a relationship with someone or a brand or a company or an institution, then they communicate with you as if they don't know who you are, especially if that's something that you feel is very important to you. It can be incredibly frustrating to not have your wishes or your needs or who you are respected.
So to me, I just think so much of what it comes down to and what it comes down to with data quality is just really keeping that really just front and center of almost everything in either platform and again, how you handle it is very different, but it's just that trust, it's just that it's the building block of the relationship, it's the building of the marketing campaign. Yeah, it's a really key topic that was just pretty clear to me, especially as I became a more experienced admin, especially as I've helped more and more Marketing Cloud customers with what they're trying to do. It really comes down to that at the end of the day.

Jay: I think you covered that really well in saying that for you, whether or not you were trying to put a feature into Sales or Service Cloud, or if you were trying to bring some value on Marketing Cloud, it was the business prioritization of the business value of that feature that would really determine what you were going to deliver. You were connected to the needs of your end users and that is what created your burn list in order. A number one feature for your end users is the number one feature that you are going to try and build into the system, whether that is Sales Cloud or Service Cloud or any other cloud.

Kate Elliott: Yeah. So much of it is also interpreting what people really mean when they say things because so many-

Jay: Ooh, talk more about that. Talk about translation.

Kate Elliott: Yeah. I think, as a cross-cloud admin, that becomes your number one skill to develop is the translation, because I will talk to cross-cloud admins, especially in my previous role, I've talked to them all day, and it would be questions like, "Oh, my end user says that they want this campaign, but I built it in core and it's not reporting in Marketing Cloud," is a very specific example, "So I must be doing something wrong in all these things." What it came down to is, well, that's not how that feature works in Marketing Cloud. When they said campaign, what they really meant was that they want to understand how this particular initiative is doing over time. They were using the word campaign because that is what marketers use. That's how marketers talk and speak, especially in particular industries. And we have technical features that are called campaigns, but they're not necessarily the same thing.
You run into that so much with cross-cloud, because reporting's a big one. Which cloud doesn't make sense to pull out the data, which cloud doesn't make sense to do segmentation and all these things. When you are hearing from your end users or hearing from leadership or hearing from both, potentially, it just requires so much translation and really parsing back, "What do these terms actually mean in this context, from the person who's telling me it?" Because oftentimes, especially with certain buzzwords, I've worked with many admins and I've been guilty of it myself, where you build out this beautiful thing and you're like, "This is it. I did the term that you said. This is right," and then you kind of show them or you do a check-in and it's not what they meant at all. It's just especially true with cross-cloud, in my opinion.

Jay: It feels to me like, I'm taking a couple of notes here on the side, and this idea of what you're talking about is a time investment. To translate is to sit down with someone, understand what they mean, maybe take that back to your desk, think about it, consider it, and then that starts to form into a new idea that you can use and apply to technology. All of that costs time. As our admins out in the ecosystem can tell you, and as you know from your own experience, spending time, that is often our most restricted commodity. The resource that we have the least of is time. If we had infinite time, we could give everyone everything. But what I love that you've laid down here is that the value of spending that translation time, it is directly correlated to the quality of the solutions that you are configuring, and that gives you end user value. So that time in translation directly contributes to the impact that your marketing journey or your lead management in CRM, those things become more valuable because you're spending time translating. Is that accurate?

Kate Elliott: Yeah, I think absolutely. Just to build on it, what you run into with cross-cloud admining in terms of the translation and it being worth the time spent, there are some situations that you run into that honestly are a little bit counterintuitive with just how the platforms can work together. Without kind of taking that time and taking a step back, I've worked with cross-cloud admins who have heard feedback from various end users about a particular topic, and they were like, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We handled it, we handled it, we handled it," and then it was like six or eight months later and as it turns out, they handled it in one platform and not the other, so they were actually sending emails to the wrong group of people because of this.
Where it gets tricky in my mind, in terms of the time investment, because I completely agree with you, time, oh, if only we had an extra hour in each day, I hear that, I hear that so deeply. I think you do kind of get this with the repetition and with understanding the people who you're working with and how they communicate with you. You eventually sort of learn the things that, if something's kind of bothering someone for a while, it might be worth a second look. It may not be the full process, but I think you eventually kind of get into what's worth a small investigation, a medium, or a large investigation to kind of see what's going on. But I will say, within the marketing platform especially, we used to say all time, a lot of times the marketing platform can be the expression of the core issues, because-

Jay: Ooh, interesting. Yeah, because it's downstream, right?

Kate Elliott: Yeah.

Jay: So folks, the issue here is, if we've got an integration between Sales Cloud or Service Cloud... Well, let me go simpler. If we've got Sales Cloud and we're trying to do lead generation or we're trying to manage conversions, getting people to purchase, we'll have data in Sales Cloud that will then move over to Marketing Cloud. If somebody's purchased, we might kick information back over to Service Cloud. We might even have email communication that goes out based on those service experiences, so we could go back to Marketing Cloud again. So when I'm hearing this idea of the expression of CRM, we have this phrase, garbage in, garbage out. If CRM sales is full of garbage, then you are automating and marketing that garbage in Marketing, which might put more garbage back in Service, which might put more garbage back in Marketing, which sounds like a whole lot of garbage.

Kate Elliott: It really is true. That's exactly what can happen. That's where it is very hard when you have that burn list, when you have all these things to develop and you have these different platforms, because if you get to the point where you're like, "Oh. No. I did whatever, a contact cleanup in Marketing Cloud yesterday. We should all be fine." Well, with the sync, unless if you fix some things on the other side, that may all be wiped out 20 minutes after you did it. That's where you start getting into these issues with, again, translating what people are really saying, trying to understand what they're seeing on the reports and how they're interpreting it, because I have worked with admins who have built entire reporting suites to try to solve the kind of quote unquote, reporting problem, but it was really a data problem and the report were actually right. Because the numbers were skewed, they thought that they had to be wrong. It wasn't. It was a problem with how the two platforms were working together and some of the fixes that they made on one didn't translate to the other. So that's where it can be very helpful to just read all the signals.

Jay: Something that I'm hearing in the way that you're describing this, I think, is perhaps a really valuable approach or piece of advice for the admin who's listening in right now. We're talking about technology, which is true. Salesforce makes Sales Cloud, we make Marketing Cloud, that's technology. But we're also talking about truly business workflow. And when we say business workflow, that's agnostic of technology. Business workflow is, as a sales rep, I need to receive a number of warm leads from marketing. I then need to touch those leads by sending emails, phone calls, in-person appointments, in the hopes of selling them something. We map all of those things into technology with a variety of tools. What I'm hearing you explain is, by prioritizing the business workflow or the way in which people do things, operations, I am better able to understand what I should do in the technology. So taking a step away from the technology can actually help you better implement and configure the technology.

Kate Elliott: Yeah, that's exactly it. I think, with cross-cloud, it's just especially important to do, because you are touching different technologies that work in different ways, that work in concert in some ways and in other ways there's tweaks you have to do on either side. You really have to understand what you want that business process to do to ensure that it's happening everywhere it needs to happen. I can't tell you how many panicked calls or emails I've gotten from admins because all of a sudden they realized a new technology feature and they're not sure how it fits into the business process because they're not actually sure what the business process is.
A lot of times what the help and the guidance that I would give as a success guide was actually taking three steps back from the technology to figure out, what did you actually want it to do? And how did you want it to be expressed within the Marketing Cloud platform versus your core platform and is that what's actually happening? And then from there we can go on into enablement and making sure how can we build structures to kind of keep these processes locked down? But it all has to start with, what do you actually want to have happen and where? And from there, you can kind of-

Jay: Yeah. What is actually happening, right?

Kate Elliott: Yeah. Yeah.

Jay: That's a huge distinction, as well. What do you want to happen and where do you want it to happen? Do you think it's happening right now? And is it actually happening right now? I love that. And I love that it's true, regardless of cloud. I have a question, as we're approaching the end of our time here, to those that say, "Eh, learning more than one technology is just too demanding and I don't think that it's possible," what do you say?

Kate Elliott: I say that it is demanding. I will not deny that learning multiple technology platforms is demanding. But it is certainly not impossible. I think everyone can do it. I graduated college a political science major. I taught in K12, I did college recruiting and then I ended up doing implementation, and then I ended up being a CRM admin, and then I ended up working at Salesforce. I think we all take such interesting career paths to get to where we are. But more than that, I think learning other platforms helps you understand the first platform, because it helps you understand where their capabilities or functionality that I really wish this platform had, and for me, it just increased my curiosity. It increased my curiosity to understand why I could maybe do something here and not there. And then I'd understand, "Well, how do people do it over here? And how do people do it over here?"
You can just start comparing and contrasting, and that is really where a lot of the deep learning comes in. If we think about again, showing my teaching roots, Bloom's taxonomy, that's really where you get to the deepest level of learning is where you start getting into comparisons, evaluations, and synthesis. And to me, that is what is so cool about Salesforce, is that we have all these different platforms. They all have their nuances and everything else. To me, what it does is it sharpens my awareness of what's happening on other platforms because you have something to contrast it with. So you have other ways of thinking, you have other priorities that you can learn from, and this is all still one happy Salesforce product family, so they all work together in different ways. To me, it really sharpened my knowledge and I think it made me a lot more analytical about what I was doing and it also deepened my empathy so much with my end users when I was learning a new platform, because it made me remember, "Oh yeah, I also remember when I didn't know what this word meant and this is a new term."

Jay: I love that. If I were to put bullets of most important things, using multi-cloud exploration as a way to deepen your empathy for end users, to me, feels like a great thing for admins to consider. That's something that I think we can all sit down and think about a little bit. Is there a way that I can explore this technology that I've been tasked with or that I have the opportunity to investigate and how can that deepen my understanding of what my users need and what their user experience is? And that's particular compelling to me because I've interviewed a number of the most recent guests that've been on the pod. Almost all of them have brought up this moment where they could opt into doing something at an implementation moment or not.
What I'm finding uncommon from a lot of our guests, yourself included, is like, "All right, great. Well, if I have this opportunity to learn this technology, I will dive into it using my unique perspective." You brought up being a teacher. We've had musicians and we've had people who've worked in gym operations recently on. It's really interesting to hear how those things start to inform your perspective as you're approaching new technologies. So I love that you're trying to educate your end users and to do that you need empathy, and so you're using your exploration of various clouds to bring that empathy to the table for them. Well, Kate, this was fantastic. I always love chatting with you and I really appreciate the time that you spent talking with me today and talking to the admin community. I'm curious, would you be willing to share some marketing cloud resources with me outside of this recording so that I can put them up on our blog?

Kate Elliott: Sure, sure, absolutely. Yeah. There's a lot of really great marketing cloud resources out there. As I said earlier, some of it looks different, it feels a little different in terms of the content and the approach, but there's a lot of really cool resources out there.

Jay: Awesome. Well, thanks again, Kate. Really appreciate you coming onto the pod and can't wait to talk to you sometime soon. Maybe we'll I'll give you another invite to have you come back and talk about another brilliant idea.

Kate Elliott: Anytime, Jay. Anytime.

Jay: All right, we'll see you.

Kate Elliott: Thanks.

Jay: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources, including all the links we mentioned in this podcast, as well as a full transcript. You can stay up to date with us on social. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. Gillian is @Gilliankbruce. Mike is @MikeGerholdt. I am @Jay__mdt. Stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the Monthly Retro for February. Mike and Lead Admin Evangelist J. Steadman. We’ll review all the top product, community, and careers content for February so you don’t miss a thing.

 

Join us as we talk about Block Kit Builder, how to ask the right questions, and Albuquerque, NM.

 

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

Blog highlights from February

Mike was a huge fan of J.’s video about how to reuse Block Kit templates in Slack. He wants the world to know he’s a big Block Kit Builder nerd and he’s not afraid to show it. They can save you a serious amount of time! February was also the month of Release Readiness, and if you’re a fan of automation you just can’t miss the Einstein Automate piece on that topic. “If you do automation in any way, doesn’t matter if you’re using Workflow Rules, or Process Builder, or Flow Builder, check this out,” J. says.

 

Podcast highlights from February

 

  1. podded up a storm while Mike was off on vacation. One conversation that stood out was with Austin Guevara on product design. If you’ve ever wondered how we make the products you use every day from a design and user experience perspective, give this a listen. J. also had a chat with Susannah St-Germain on what it’s like to be an Architect. Her career journey from starting out convinced she would be a professional viola player is truly fascinating and inspiring.

 

 

Podcast swag

Learn more

  • Salesforce Admins Podcast Episode:

 

Social

Love our podcasts?

Subscribe today or review us on iTunes!

 

Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the second Monthly Retro for 2022. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt. And in this episode, we will review some product community career content for the month of February. And to help me do that, a very familiar voice on the pod. Welcome back, J. Steadman.

J. Steadman: Oh, hello. Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm glad to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, thank you for pitch hitting while I was out in January, taking a little time off.

J. Steadman: You deserve it. And I am so glad that you had the opportunity to take some time off. And I have no limit of words that I'm capable of saying. So this is a great fit.

Mike Gerholdt: That we know. One highlight of taking time off, for the first time, and probably, I don't know, I might do it again, but for the first time I drove through Albuquerque, New Mexico. And if you're a fan of a certain AMC show about a certain chemistry teacher, oh man, let me tell you, there's a whole Google Map you can download of filming locations.
And Mike might have gotten up super early in the morning so that I arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at a reasonable time to drive around their fair city and take pictures, and completely nerd out at the fact that I was standing right in front of certain people's houses and locations and car washes.

J. Steadman: Did the house still have a pizza on top of it?

Mike Gerholdt: No. Interestingly enough, you should Google that.

J. Steadman: They took if off the roof?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, so I don't have a famous house.

J. Steadman: Uh-huh (affirmative). Uh-huh (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: But if you go on TripAdvisor and you Google some of that, they have erected an eight foot non-scalable fence around their house.

J. Steadman: Oh, wow.

Mike Gerholdt: To the curb.

J. Steadman: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: So I actually feel sorry for those people that own that individual's house, because fans were breaking in and throwing pizzas on the roof or jumping in the back pool. And I'm like, "I love ..." By the way, I went to all the filming locations of a certain 1977 Burt Reynolds movie that was filmed in Georgia. I nerded out over that, man. That was really cool. But some of it's on private land.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And you'd just be like, that's their place. And so it was me and a friend and we very respectfully parked a block away in a legal parking zone on the street, walked on a public sidewalk. And then we stopped about, I'd say about a quarter of a block from the house and got a nice picture, but it's private property, people. Look, just have your moment, but also be respectful that it's not yours.

J. Steadman: This is good advice. I lived in Los Angeles for a number of years and LA folks want to see all of the famous places that they've seen. Most movies are filmed in Los Angeles so there's huge film history. There's a way to do it that is non-obtrusive, and then there's the throw-a-pizza-on-someone's-house way. So I love that you didn't throw a pizza on someone's house. Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: No. No. I did go to the collectible store. Some enterprising individuals have opened a collectible store. I may have bought a couple bobble heads and some rock candy.

J. Steadman: I was just going to ask if they had some blue rock candy.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, they did. And I have it. I'll probably never eat it, so I should probably eat it, but it's totally on my credentials. But, yeah.

J. Steadman: Wonderful.

Mike Gerholdt: Anyway, fun stuff you do while you're on vacation. But we're here to talk about cool stuff that we produced in February and everything that you need to listen to, I think. I'm going to kick it off. J., you did a blog post, and embedded in the blog post is a video on how to reuse Block Kit templates in Slack. And I picked it for the sole fact that I am a huge Block Kit fan, because it looks like code if I put it up on screen, but I know what I'm doing.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And it produces an amazing Slack post.

J. Steadman: Yes. It seems just a little bit silly that the content of the video is so straightforward, but I really love Block Kit Builder as well. In fact, if I've got any kind of significant communication that I want to send out to teams in Slack, Block Kit is really the way to do it. But I really don't like recreating the Block Kit that I create.
So little URL reuse allows me to quickly and easily get in there into that JSON payload, which is a JavaScript object notation, for those of you out there interested in acronyms like me, and you can just very easily tweak the parts that you want, but you keep all of that fantastic structure that's been put together.
And for those of us that are sending out regular communications, you and I sit in a larger marketing org, we save a lot of time by reusing Block Kit templates.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It'd be great if somebody named Jason started a moving company that they called payload.

J. Steadman: I like that. Yeah. That's-

Mike Gerholdt: Need to move? Call JSON Payload.

J. Steadman: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: And then everybody in the Valley would call him and then all the rest of us would be like, huh.

J. Steadman: Yeah. It would need to be a Bay Area moving company.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Right.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Maybe Austin, Texas. I think Austin.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Austin would do it too. Indianapolis.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: Maybe Chicago.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

J. Steadman: There are a number. New York, everywhere.

Mike Gerholdt: It's hubs.

J. Steadman: All of the places. I don't want to live [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Let me just go out on a limb. Kearney, Nebraska? Probably not going to pick up on it.

J. Steadman: We are going to get a direct email.

Mike Gerholdt: Greensburg, Kansas? Not happening.

J. Steadman: We're going to get a direct email now. Someone is going to be like, "I created JSON and I live in this town."

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

J. Steadman: Mike, I thought February was the month of Release Readiness and Release Readiness Live. And for all of the right reasons, it's really popular content. So dear Admin listening in here, make sure that you check out the pieces of Release Readiness that are relevant to you. But specifically, if you're anyone that's using automation at all, whic