Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got another Lightning Champion, Zoe Lai, a Salesforce Consultant at SalesFix. This episode is part three of a six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelly Walker, Senior Adoption Consultant at Salesforce. We talk to our amazing Lightning Champions to find out about their career journey, how it lead them to the Lightning Experience, advice on handling change management, and why Lightning Experience is so awesome.

Join us as we talk about how Zoe’s been able to move up in the Salesforce ecosystem, what it means to be a Lightning Champion, and how she took her first org into Lightning.

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

 Another accidental admin.

Before “falling into Salesforce,” as Zoe puts it, she was a digital marketing and project management specialist. She became an accidental admin, then product owner, and that lead her to her current role as a Salesforce Consultant at SalesFix in Melbourne, Australia.

When Zoe implemented her first Salesforce pilot they were on Classic, but when she went to World Tour Sydney she encountered Lightning for the first time. “It was totally a wow situation for me, so after I came back I started learning more about Lightning and tried to put together a business case to transition our pilot into Lightning,” Zoe says. 

How to drive adoption by showing off Lightning.

As far as Zoe’s favorite Lightning features go, Path is definitely up there. “It provides an easy, visual way show where a record is located and for a user to update its status easily,” she says, which makes it easier for users if they can get the hang of it. One of the main ways she drives adoption is by simply showing off how much easier the process is. 

Driving adoption and getting people to change what they’re doing isn’t always easy. “After a few implementations and transitions, I found that the first step when it comes to change management, I think you need to stop and listen to the customer and identify their current pain points when it comes to change,” Zoe says, “what are the normal, usual obstacles and understand how the team is using and why.” That gives you the information you need to come with a plan to address whatever issues your team has. It comes down to understanding that “what’s in it for me” mentality.

Why the community is key.

A Lightning Champion is a customer or a partner in the Ohana that is passionate about the LIghtning Experience, and looking to evangelize the power of the platform in terms how it’s transformed their organization and their career. “I always try to find ways to give back the community,” Zoe says, “the reason I became a Lightning Champion is because I’m passionate about the Lightning experience, and I want the community to have the same ‘wow” experience.”

When it comes to how to get active in your community, Zoe’s advice is to “keep learning and keep giving back.” For starters, you can join the Trailblazer Community and your local user group and get involved there. You can start going to community events and take your networking to the next level. Remember that everyone going to these events is just like you, or used to sit in your shoes, so don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.



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Full Show Transcript

Kelly Walker: Welcome to the Salesforce Lightning Champion Spotlight on The Salesforce Admins podcast. My name is Kelly Walker and I am a Senior Adoption Consultant here at Salesforce. I also have the amazing opportunity of working closely with the awesome trailblazers who are passionate about Lightning and have become Lightning Champions to evangelize the power of lightning. In this mini series, we will be talking to six awesome lightning champions to talk about their career journey, how it led them to the lightning experience, advice on handling change management, and to focus on their stories of why lightning experience is so awesome.

Kelly Walker: Now, Salesforce is turning on lightning experience on a rolling basis in winter 20. Users still have access to Salesforce Classic after lightning experiences turned on, but lightning experience is where you want to be for driving business growth and improved productivity. To get ready, verify your orgs existing features and customizations in the new interface and prepare your users with change management best practices. This update applies to users who have the lightning experience user permission, including all users with standard profiles and users with custom profiles or permission sets that have the lightning experience user permission enabled. For more information, check out the critical update and watch this short video titled, "Understand How the Lightning Experience Critical Update Affects My Users," both of which are linked in the show notes.

Kelly Walker: This week on the Lightning Champion Spotlight, we have Zoe Lai, a Salesforce Consultant from Melbourne, Australia here with us and we have the amazing opportunity to talk to Zoe today about her transition to Salesforce, to lightning, to all things that come with that. Zoe, I just want to be the first to welcome you on the Admins podcast.

Zoe Lai: Thank you, Kelly. Hi, everyone.

Kelly Walker: All right. Well, without further ado, I say we jump right into it and tell us a little bit about how you came to Salesforce.

Zoe Lai: Before falling into Salesforce where I was a digital marketing and program management specialist. Then I had an opportunity to help my team implement a Salesforce pilot and then one thing led to another. I became an assistant with [inaudible 00:02:33], the product owner. Then, now, I'm a consultant at SalesFix.

Kelly Walker: Well, that's awesome. As it relates to lightning, because you are one of our amazing Lightning Champions, how did you come across that? Was it something that you were told to learn or you just saw the future of Salesforce headed that way? Tell us a little bit more about that journey.

Zoe Lai: Yeah. When I implement my very first Salesforce pilot, we were on plastic. A few months after that, I was sent to work to Sydney. There, that was the first time I saw how ... Well, I learned about lightning platform and then it was totally a wow situation for me. After I came back, I start learning more about lightning and then try to put together a business case to migrate our pilot into lightning. That's the start of my lighting journey. Ever after that, I just keep on learning on the lightning features and just amazed at the beautiful interface and how much more you can do with it.

Kelly Walker: Right. Now, for features, what is your favorite lightning feature?

Zoe Lai: There are many, but if I have to pick one on top of my head, I think, definitely path. Path provide an easy visual way to show where a record is at and for the user to update easily, and status or other pick this field that you choose. Then I found it really easy instead of just trying to find the fill status and then change status from that field, pick that field. It is way more easy to just click one of the status you want to change into and then make it a current status on the Path.

Kelly Walker: Awesome. How are your users adjusting to the Path, because that's something that they never had before? Is that new for them or a tool that they can no longer live without? What's the response then around that?

Zoe Lai: At first, they don't understand what Path does. At the beginning, they still try to find a status. They got used to it after I show them ... Actually, you can just do it from there. Just show it on their computer and then they were like "Wow, that's much easier." That just make it easier for them to update the status for their sales record.

Kelly Walker: Have you introduced that awesome new feature, the confetti at the end, to celebrate something won or closed?

Zoe Lai: I haven't got a chance to do that yet. I look forward to do that one. Well, one of my customers in the future.

Kelly Walker: Yeah. I would be interested to see or hear about their reaction when the digital confetti falls on their screen.

Zoe Lai: Yeah.

Kelly Walker: Awesome. If we think about where your customers were in classic and you having the enormous responsibility of transitioning them to lightning, and I only say enormous as it relates to the change management aspect. Can you dive into that a little bit to help us understand how you help other customers and users become comfortable with this change and maybe some best practices that you've learned along the way or some things that you've found to be hard at first and really come together at the end?

Zoe Lai: Sure. Change management is not always easy. I had a few examples and after some implementation, the "Oh, Zoe, I need to have a plan first." After a few implementation and transition, I found that the first step when it comes to change management, I think, we should stop and then just listen to the customer and identify their current pain point when it comes to change, what's the normal usual obstacles and then understand how the team is using the platform and why or is there any resistance. After I understand and identified this, then we can come up a better plan for the customer addressing those pain points. A plan can be perfect and/or designed perfect with clear outcomes, address and resource plan, but if you don't understand, try to understand the customer's pain point first, you will experience more resistance during the process.

Kelly Walker: Yeah. That's always one of the things that we find too, talking to customers. You need to find, "What's in it for me" or "What's in it for them" to really sell the new experience, the new page layouts, whatever it may be. How is it going to make me more efficient or help me sell faster, make more money or whatever my goals may be.

Zoe Lai: Exactly.

Kelly Walker: The community may have heard of this term, "Lightning Champion," but not necessarily know what it means or who is a Lightning Champion. Just explain it a little bit. A Lightning Champion is a customer or a partner in the Ohana that is passionate about lightning experience and really looking to evangelize the power of the platform when it's done for his or her career. Just, really, talk to the benefits that they've seen in making the move from classic to lightning or from building apps on lightning experience. For you, Zoe, I would love to understand why you became a Lightning Champion and really, what it means to you.

Zoe Lai: I always try to find ways to give back to the community, whatever I learn or share with the community, the resource that I know. The reason why I joined Lightning Champion is because I am passionate about the lightning experience and I want the community to have that same wow spirits and learn more about the lightning platform and the features, so that it make their day-to-day business process easier, faster and drive more positive outcome for their business.

Kelly Walker: Awesome. Are there a few things that you're doing within your community that you'd like to share as it relates to your role as a Lightning Champion?

Zoe Lai: I did a flow presentation in one of our Melbourne user group. I was so nervous. To be honest, I can't say that I'm a master of the latest lightning flow. In that session, I share what I've learned from the old version of the flow to the lightning flow. Surprisingly, after the session, a lot of people came to me and then say that, "Wow, I saw that flow. It's a thing that I'll never want to touch." After the session, they understand that they can actually try and start to use it. I was quite happy to hear that.

Kelly Walker: That's amazing, because flow is one of those things, I will admit, myself included, that seems very intimidating. I try to stick with process builder or at least, I use to as much as possible, but really, all that's happening with the new flow builder and how you can use flow within lightning. It really is changing the game. I love that you really are talking about flow and getting other customers comfortable. Now, the other thing about flow, and I always bring this up, is that we've moved into making templates available. Even if you don't want to start net new, there may be a template out there that's at least a great starting point for you to build upon. Anyone out there who has not seen Zoe's presentation but wants to start with flow but not something that you've built yourself, I would definitely check out on the AppExchange, what flow templates our partners are building.

Zoe Lai: Right. One thing I want to add on top of that is, like you said, flow seems intimidating, but how I'm learning is to look for the examples on the internet or from my colleague. I've got a colleague who is very good at building flow. He built for like within ... he can have it done within 20 minutes and complicated flow. What I do is, as part of myself learning, I would just go into those flow that he built and try to make sense and then, "Oh wow, so this is how you do this when you want to achieve that." That's how I learned, try to improve. There's, still, a lot for me to learn. I can't say that I'm mastering it yet, but yeah, that's a good way. I found that it's easy to improve your skills in building flow.

Kelly Walker: Yeah. I love that. Not just for flow but some other aspects in reverse engineering almost. You can start to see what the end result is and how we got there, and I think that's a great way to learn those features that, maybe, aren't as intuitive right off the bat. Well, Zoe, as we talk about flow, it really gets me thinking about building and building stuff specifically in lightning, maybe new processes, procedures. I would love to hear, maybe, something that you've built for one of your customers or maybe your own or that you're really proud of and you'd like to brag about yourself a little bit.

Zoe Lai: Yes. I once helped a customer transform their case management process from the outlook inbox folder to Salesforce platform. They transformed from having to manually drag the email into different folder to automatically have the email comes into Salesforce with accounting counter identified and also, stage automated. Essentially, their service agents transform from spending tremendous hours per day to only need to look at the list view that we created for them and only look at the action require list view to process those inquiry from their customer and they were very happy.

Kelly Walker: That's awesome because not only did you bring that 360 view of the customer into Salesforce, so that not just anyone who was in the email folders could see what was happening but bringing it into Salesforce so that everyone could understand the communications and the interactions that they were having. Then leveraging all of those amazing service cloud features, maybe, as it relates to macros or quick text or just productivity wins that you wouldn't necessarily get with ancillary features, especially in that 360 degree view of the customer. All right, Zoe. Well, we're doing something fun at the end of these conversations with Lightning Champions. I know you're very active in your community. I would just love to understand any bit of advice that you may have.

Zoe Lai: Sure. My advice would be, keep learning and keep giving back. Join trailblazer community. User group is definitely a great way to start. You get to network with other people, learn new things and you may find your next job in these community events.

Kelly Walker: Awesome. I cannot agree with that more. I would not be where I am today without the amazing community that I plugged into as I got started. Thank you, Zoe, so much for joining us here. Thank you for being such an awesome Lightning Champion. It's been a pleasure.

Zoe Lai: Thank you.

Kelly Walker: It was so great to have Zoe on the podcast this week. She has done so much for her Melbourne community during her four years of working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Being able to give back to the same community that has helped our champions get to where they are today is a huge theme that you'll hear throughout this mini series, and that says a lot about this program. The reason Zoe wanted to be a Lightning Champion was to share the same excitement and appreciation she has for lightning with her community. You don't have to be an expert to have an influence in your workplace or your community. As long as you are passionate and competent with what you know and share those experience with others, like Zoe did when she gave her flow presentation.

Kelly Walker: Before we end the episode, I want to reiterate that change management is not always easy. Your job as a Salesforce Admin is to make this transition easier for your users. You may have your idea of the perfect plan, but without identifying their pain points and how they use the platform, you might find resistance with your transition. Take a step back, listen to your users and hear what their needs are to make sure you're getting to the heart of what's in it for them. Thank you for listening and tune in to find out who we will feature in our next Lightning Champion Spotlight.

Direct download: Lightning_Champions_Spotlight__Zoe_Lai.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Reid Carlberg, Vice President of Trailhead Mobile at Salesforce, to share how the partnership between Apple and Salesforce lead to Trailhead GO and what he learned through the process that is super relevant for admins.

Join us as we talk about the difference between product managers and project managers, how to think about delivering value to your users, and how to listen to feedback.

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

 Launching Trailhead GO.

Reid was last on the podcast back in the salad days of the ButtonClick Admin. These days, he’s working in product management and, specifically, on something new called Trailhead GO. It’s live right now, so if you haven’t already you should definitely pull it up on your iOS device so you can follow along. “If you were at Dreamforce last year,” Reid says, “you know that we’re kicking off a strategic partnership with Apple,” and he found himself in charge of making that vision a reality.

“One of the things that I found myself thinking about,” Reid says, “is an experience that I’ve heard a lot of admins relate to, where they were kind of handed something. They got to take this thing—a lot of times it’s Salesforce—and help understand what people really wanted out of it and try and figure out how they could launch it out and be successful for the group.” 

How to use a “walking around deck.”

At Salesforce, if you’re working on something big you need to create a presentation that eventually becomes a “walking around deck.” It doesn’t necessarily describe what the product will be, but it shows you a lot of aspects of what it could be. For Reid, that meant showing what it would be like if people could get into Trailhead content wherever they happen to be. Obviously, this struck a chord with Mike and his concept of SABWA: Salesforce Administration By Walking Around.

“When you’re in a very collaborative environment,” Reid says, “you have to go broad and wide with whatever it is that you’re pitching so people can say, ‘Yes, I’ve heard about it, yes I know what the vision is, and yes, I agree with this vision.’” The thing is, as soon as you start talking to people about your vision, you’re going to get feedback about it. Some of it is going to encourage you and some of it is going to point out where you’re wrong. This discovery process is incredibly helpful because you can get your users to tell you directly what they want and don’t want before you build anything.

The difference between a product manager and a project manager.

Once you release something, you can spend a lot of energy fighting fires, as Mike says. A feature doesn’t work right, or something needs to be tweaked, for example. So how does Reid balance the need to maintain what he and his team has already rolled out with the need to keep an eye towards the future? “If I think about those things as fires, it can tend to get me worked up and have a sense of urgency,” he says, “or I can start to think about things not necessarily as fires but as opportunities.”

Changing your outlook gives you permission to take your time and perhaps group things together to see the broader picture and maybe make a bigger change down the road. For Reid, that’s the distinction between a product manager and a project manager. “When you’re a product manager, you have to do all these trade-offs and say, ‘Okay, how do I understand what value this can deliver and in what order should I deliver that value?’”



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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk product, community, and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt, and today we have Vice President of Trailhead Mobile, the one and only Reid Carlberg, here to tell us about how the partnership between Apple and Salesforce led to Trailhead GO, and what he learned through the process that I believe is very relevant for admins. I'm super excited to have Reid on the podcast, so let's get him on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: So Reid, welcome to the podcast.

Reid Carlberg: Thanks Mike. It's nice to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: I think it's been a while, actually. The last time you were on it, was ye old days of the Button Click Admin Podcast, so let's do a quick catch up on some of the stuff that you're working on at Salesforce now.

Reid Carlberg: Sure. It has been a long time. Let's see. What am I working on these days? So these days I'm largely out of the evangelism group, and instead of that, which is what I was working on last time I was here, but instead of that I'm working on product management, and I am bringing to life a new and exciting product called Trailhead GO.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, wow. So I think that's something we should talk about. And on top of it, just being a new product, you are helping bring something to life, which is a lot of what admins do. They bring concepts to life, they bring new apps to users. I think this will tie in really nice and it gives us an opportunity to talk about something really fun that people have in their hands literally as we talk right now.

Reid Carlberg: Yeah. I'm hoping that everyone who's listening has had a chance to install Trailhead GO on their iOS device, because it is a super cool app.

Mike Gerholdt: If not, we have a link in the show notes, so you can click it, because you're right on your phone, and if you're like me, you're probably walking your dog doing it anyway. I do. I consume an incredible amount of podcasts walking my dog. I should be thinner because of it, but I'm not.

Reid Carlberg: You know, I listened to two episodes of the Salesforce Admins Podcast today while walking my dogs. One for each dog.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Good. Apparently maybe I should take a poll of how many dogs people have so that we know how many episodes will be to release.

Reid Carlberg: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So let's talk about Trailhead GO.

Reid Carlberg: Okay. What do you want to know about it?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you said "bring to life." Let's start there.

Reid Carlberg: Okay. So when I talk about bringing it to life, what I really mean is this whole process that came about on Team Trailhead really starting at Dreamforce last year. So if you were at Dreamforce last year or you've watched any of the keynotes or you paid attention to any of the news, you know that we announced this great strategic partnership that we're kicking off with Apple. Apple and Salesforce share a number of core values, including really putting the customer at the center of everything and making sure that we're making a positive difference in people's lives, and one of the things that we really wanted to do was we wanted to create a great mobile experience for people who wanted to skill up for the future, and that's really where Trailhead GO started. So starting really right after Dreamforce last year, I got to kick off a team, kickoff an architecture, work on bringing all the pieces together that would actually result in the app that we announced earlier this week.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. There's a lot to unpack just in that part there. If you were a Salesforce admin, you're hearing this, Reid had a lot of moving parts at the very beginning of a project. What was the first thing you learned about a lot of moving parts and kicking off a project?

Reid Carlberg: Well, one of the things that I found myself thinking about as we were talking about you and I maybe getting together and sharing this story a little bit is an experience that I've heard a lot of admins relate, where they were kind of handed something, and they got to take this thing, in their case a lot of times at Salesforce, and help understand what people really wanted out of it, and try and figure out how they could launch it out and make it successful for the group. And for me, when Sarah Franklin came to me and said, "Hey, are you interested in helping us build this mobile app?" First of all, the answer was yes, but I really didn't know what saying yes to that project would mean, and so I had to go and really unravel and figure out lots about what it would take to bring this app to life. Just like honestly I think a lot of admins, when they're sort of given Salesforce and they're kind of trying to figure out, "Okay, well how do I do this?" That's what I had to do with the mobile app.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. I think you're spot on. Exactly. So you said yes, and there's a lot of moving parts going. What's kind of that next event horizon that you hit?

Reid Carlberg: So at Salesforce, the big thing that you have to do is you have to create a presentation, and this presentation becomes a walking around deck, and it doesn't really show exactly what the product is going to be, but it will show you a lot of aspects of what the product could be. And so I created a short deck. I really like to have shorter decks. Some people have 20 slide decks or 30 slide decks, something like that, that go into a lot of detail. But for me, I really wanted to focus on the high level what success would look like if we put out a great app that people could use to really get into Trailhead content wherever they happen to be. And it was maybe eight, 10 slides, something like that, and it really focused around what difference we thought it could make if we were successful. And so I had to shop that around to a number of people. I had to get some executive buy-in, make sure that it was aligned with what Sarah was thinking, make sure it was aligned with what other leaders within the Trailhead team were thinking, presented at a couple of all hands, and along the way, I want to point out, I learned a ton about what people really expected from a mobile app with Trailhead just with inside Salesforce. So that was really step one for me.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. So you win because new buzzword for me is "walking around deck." Like I've been shopping, I have been talking about Salesforce administration by walking around Saba. You remember that?

Reid Carlberg: Oh, yeah. Totally.

Mike Gerholdt: I like taking Saba to the next level by having a walking around deck like that. That to me, I love that term. I love what you said. I want to know, how did you figure out who to shop the deck to?

Reid Carlberg: I just really, I shared it to everybody. I think people got kind of sick of me, to be honest. But the thing is is when you're in a very collaborative environment, and Salesforce is very collaborative, and when you're also in an environment where a lot of times participation is ... I don't want to quite say voluntary, but really emotional engagement is totally voluntary, and that's what I think pretty much every environment that knowledge workers are in today really is. You have to go broad and wide, really, with whatever it is that you're pitching so that people can say, "Yes, I want. I've heard about it. Yes, I know what the vision is, and yes, I agree with this vision." And if you can get those three things, maybe a talk to a few extra people, great. But if you leave a key person out, that can be a big problem.

Mike Gerholdt: Now you mentioned feedback, and I think I know I struggled in my early days at Salesforce gathering feedback, because I kind of just assumed what I put out there was awesome and everybody should just say it's awesome and let me move on. I think you're very thoughtful in the manner in which you gather feedback, and so I'd love to know how did you gather some of this feedback as you were walking around with that deck, and what would your advice be for admins as they're making their walk around decks and gathering feedback?

Reid Carlberg: First of all, make sure you have a good breakfast. And I say that truthfully, because it can be kind of emotionally risky to take this thing that ... I'm like you, Mike, where I'll put something together and I fall in love with it, and I'm like, I've worked on this really hard. I know what this is. I understand exactly what we're going to do. This is the vision. But as soon as you start talking to people about it, you're going to get feedback about it, and of the feedback is going to be, "Yes, you're spot on," and some of the feedback is going to be, "You missed this thing," and some of the feedback is going to be, "No, you're wrong." And I had all feedback across all of those ranges, and it's fine, right? If you could accept that feedback and work it into the walking around deck or work it into your talk track or modify your plans honestly sometimes, that's the best thing to do. But you do have to be ready for it, because it can feel a little risky to show this thing that you've been working on to people. But if you don't, I mean if you don't show it, you're never going to be successful.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. I like the term "modify your plans." I think once you're headed down a path, much like traveling down the road, sometimes you hit road construction. You need to reroute. Was there ever a point in this process where you maybe hit some road construction and the reroute was actually something you didn't think of or you had to kind of modify your plans?

Reid Carlberg: Yes, completely. The entire time I was developing it. Basically every day of every week.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, good. Okay. Great.

Reid Carlberg: If you look at this particular product actually touches every team at Team Trailhead. It touches content. It touches the people who work on your web front end. It touches the people who do TV ID, and I don't want to get too much into the weeds, but this is the very definition of a cross-functional project. And so of course there's going to be things which frankly I don't know what the answer is to something. I don't know the right way to do something, but then there are also times when I don't even know that there is a right way to do something, and I haven't asked, and I don't know who the right people are, and so there's a whole discovery process exactly like that. It's been pretty fascinating.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. So there could be road construction every other block. That's fine. That happens.

Reid Carlberg: Yeah. Think about it like Chicago in the summertime or the I-70 project that we have going on in Denver right now. It's construction everywhere.

Mike Gerholdt: Perpetual. Perpetual, right?

Reid Carlberg: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: So we talked about having a walking around deck, which I'm super, super a fan of at this point now. I want to go back in time with my DeLorean and make a whole bunch of walking around decks for all the apps that I've failed at. But sometimes I would walk in two different departments that would ask me to quote-unquote "demo Salesforce" and I would have a blank sheet of paper because sometimes demoing the app isn't what they're asking for. And I guess what I'm getting at is user research, right? Like, how do you make sure that your sales person at 11:00 at night in Toledo, Ohio, eating a cold piece of pizza, isn't struggling to fill out an opportunity before the quarter ends?

Reid Carlberg: So first of all, I'm going to do a shout out to Toledo. I haven't been there in a while, but it is one of my favorite cities. It used to be a city that I had to stop in when I was a sales rep, way back in the day, believe it or not. But it's a good question. How do you help people get an idea of what it is that they really want, and what does that process look like to you as a product owner?

Reid Carlberg: And I'll tell you what we did. So we had that walking around deck where we basically aligned internally on what we thought the app should do. But at Salesforce, we really do want to make sure that we talk to customers as much as we can ahead of time, and so we took that walking around deck, we enhanced it a little bit, right? But we weren't actually working on an app that we built. We were working on drawings of an app that we built, and then we put out a call to see if anybody might be interested in talking through some ideas that we had and sharing their opinions, and we had plenty of people step up, which was great, and we just talked to them. We talked to them for 15 or 20 minutes a piece. We had trailblazers at all different levels in their journey. Some people were rangers, some people were double rangers, some people had 10 badges, and we talked to some people that were still just very much getting started in terms of trying to understand what Salesforce is and what the Salesforce opportunity is.

Reid Carlberg: And what that gave us was that gave us evidence. And so if we spent 15 minutes talking to somebody about a drawing, we were able to then say, "Okay. We understand this is important and this is not important." So for example, one of the conversations that's been an ongoing thread for the entire time that we've been developing this app is, "What type of content can we show?"

Reid Carlberg: So if you've already installed the app, you already know that we focus on the ability to complete multiple choice quizzes, but we don't have the ability to complete hands-on challenges. And that was a very conscious choice. You can't really do a hands-on challenge within a mobile form factor, so that's the easy part of the choice. But the harder part of the choice is the fact that we still show you the content that has the hands-on challenges, and that decision was a direct result of user research. What users told us, every user up and down, was that even if they couldn't complete the challenge on the mobile device, they wanted to see all the content. And so that's an example of where that user research early on helped us have some evidence for this decision, which we had to make over and over again as we developed the product.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool. So you had a walking around deck. We hit some road construction. I'm curious, because I run into this when I'm building apps. At what point did you actually start showing the app? Right? Because we had the demo and we kind of had working through different communication styles, which I'll be honest with you, as an admin, going to different departments, they have different terms. You have to learn how they consume information. At what point did you start showing people the final product or a version of the final product to get their feedback?

Reid Carlberg: Really as soon as I could. As soon as there was anything that I could actually show to somebody, I tried to figure out who might be interested in it and go show it to them to try and get their feedback again. And so I think the first thing we actually showed was when we did some very basic work with TD ID. That's how everybody logs in, and as soon as I could prove that we could log in and get something, I wanted to show that off to people so that they could see that we're making progress on it. And so that process really started several months before we released it, and it continued on a very regular basis right up through when we released it earlier this week.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh wow. Okay. So we've hit a lot of event horizons throughout all of this process. I think pulling back and kind of thinking through for admins, as you work on an app and you run through different things, was there either something that you're going to move as a value or something? "Hey, I always want to make sure I'm doing this in my next project," that you've kind of gleamed out of doing this on the Trailhead GO project?

Reid Carlberg: That's a good question. I think probably the biggest thing that I learned is how to think across different timescales. I spent a lot of my life as an evangelist, and I spent a lot of my life really thinking about, "Okay, how do I go to this event and show this demo and give this talk, and how do I do this for the next event and everything else?" And that's great, but it tends to be a little bit more short term thinking. About as far ahead as we would think is we'd think towards kind of the next big event, whether that's Dreamforce or TDX or something like that.

Reid Carlberg: One of the things that's been very interesting for me as I get into the Trailhead product organization and the Trailhead team in general is moving that focus kind of outside of that shorter term thinking, and trying to make sure that I'm planning not just for this release, but what is coming up for the next release, and what's coming up for the next release, so that I can have that longer term conversation and make sure that when there's an opportunity to pick some low hanging fruit, maybe there's an opportunity to update an API or maybe there's an opportunity to update some content in a particular way, I can talk about that and I can socialize that opportunity early so it's not something that we discover kind of at the end. That's definitely something that has really stood out to me as important and is something that I'm going to take with me forever.

Mike Gerholdt: So let's kind of pull off the highway a little bit and dig into that, because I think once you release something, and I've done this with roll-outs, you spend a lot of your energy kind of, I'll call it fighting fires, right? Like the daily, "I can't do this," or, "I thought this field should be there." And it can be hard to transition to that, "I got to think three months out. I got to think six months out." How do you compartmentalize? What's your advice for, how do I balance the everyday fires versus the, "I have to plan for this, because in six months this is going to happen"?

Reid Carlberg: So first of all, I really appreciate the car metaphor, so let's keep those coming. That's one of the things I enjoy about talking to you, is I feel like it brings out the metaphors in me. I actually like to think about ... I like to choose some words carefully for my own sanity, right? So there are such things as fires which pop up that I have to put out, but if I think about those as fires, it can have a tendency to get me sort of worked up and have a sense of urgency, which may be merited, or I can start to think about things not necessarily as fires, but I can think about things as opportunities. So I get some feedback and then I can decide what to do with that feedback.

Reid Carlberg: And so maybe that piece of feedback is, "Oh my gosh. Everything is on fire, and you need to stop everything you're doing right now and think about this." Or maybe what I'm getting is I'm getting a piece of feedback that I can group together with other pieces of feedback, and then I can sit back and start to have a rational evaluation of where this feedback is kind of being grouped together and the relative importance of this.

Reid Carlberg: I think that's actually a key trait of, I want to call it a product manager versus a project manager, right? Is when you're a product manager you have to really do all these trade offs and say, "Okay, how do I understand what value this can deliver and what order I should deliver that value in?" And project managers I think have the same thing, but it's a little bit different I think mindset, because you're thinking, on a product, you're thinking about this longterm time horizon. Like, "Where do we want to be with this in three years?" And a lot of times on a project you're thinking about, "Okay, how do I get to the next milestone and how do I get to the next milestone after that?" Both are super useful. Both are super necessary. Slightly different lenses.

Mike Gerholdt: I never actually thought of it that way, and that's valuable insight. So we're, as this episode drops, in the heart of Dreamforce, right? And there's a good group of people that are there, a good group of people that unfortunately didn't make it. I want to dig into ... This is obviously something on your radar of talking about the app that you released, and admins do that as well. What would your advice be for, much in the same way that you created a walking around deck, as this product has come to life, how did you shop it around and make sure that people were aware of, "Hey, I did more than just create a walking around deck"?

Reid Carlberg: So it's transitioned from a walking around deck to a walking around product.

Mike Gerholdt: Well that's good.

Reid Carlberg: Of course I have the product on my phone, and I can guarantee you I've shown everybody I've run into at Dreamforce about it, but I think the way to think about this is, having something that you've completed and worked on and that you're releasing out into the wild doesn't mean that it's perfect. It doesn't mean that you're not going to get feedback on it, but you should definitely have a sense of pride in it. If you have a sense of pride in it and you're really willing to go out and say, "Listen, we built this thing."

Reid Carlberg: And I want to be clear, so you and I are talking about this today, but as I opened up with, this is really a cross cutting concern. It really touches almost every aspect of the Trailhead organization, and I am blown away by the quality of talent who has participated in this team. It is just absolutely amazing, and I love showing off their work. I absolutely love taking it out and showing it off to anybody, and whatever feedback they have is fantastic. Good, bad or otherwise, it's great feedback for that kind of longer term feature horizon that I'm thinking about, but I just love showing it off. So for every admin out there who's ever built an app, whether you're customizing a page layout or whether you're building something which is a really robust app automating a giant process, show it off, be proud of it, and when somebody has some feedback on it, take the feedback, take it with a smile and figure out you know how you're going to incorporate that next. That would be my advice.

Mike Gerholdt: I like it. I like it. Well, Reid, this was fabulous. I think I gathered a whole bunch about product and project management. I know you're on Twitter and I think your name changes about every other day. Do you do that on purpose?

Reid Carlberg: Yeah, my Twitter handle stays the same. You can always find me at @ReidCarlberg, but I do have some fun with changing what the description of that handle is. So I actually don't even know what it is today, so you can always go up and find out, and if you have suggestions about what I should change my name to, you should let me know.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, great. And we talked a lot about Trailhead GO and the amazing partnership between Salesforce and Apple. How do people get Trailhead GO on their phone?

Reid Carlberg: You can get Trailhead GO by going to the App Store and just searching for Trailhead GO.

Mike Gerholdt: Perfect. Thanks so much for being on the podcast, Reid.

Reid Carlberg: Yeah. Thanks for having me. This was great.

Mike Gerholdt: Congratulations to Reid and the entire Trailhead Mobile team. Trailhead GO is now alive, so don't forget to check the show notes for the iOS link to get started right now. Let's start by highlighting a good point that he made, in that product managers and project managers are often very similar but also very different in the way that they think about timelines, milestones, and success. Product managers need to start by understanding what value that product can deliver to the users and in what order they want to deliver those values. We want our products to last a lifetime as admins, so with that mindset of meeting those milestones can be stretched to think longterm, "What will this product be in three to five years?"

Mike Gerholdt: Now another thing. Feedback is also important and it can be a little bit of a bump in the road. The way that a product manager handles feedback is what will set off the project. You can take the feedback, apply it to your new amazing walk around decks and talk tracks. By the way, I love walk around decks. I love that idea. Don't ever be nervous to talk to people about the product or app that you're creating, and gather that user feedback at whatever stage, and of course, be like Reid and always show off that app. Be proud of what you've created and continue to keep learning and growing with your idea.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, if you want to learn more about Trailhead or Trailhead GO, make sure to go to to find more resources. You can also stay up to date with us on social, as many of you do already. We are at @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can of course find me. I am at @MikeGerholdt, and Reid is also on Twitter. Who knows what his name will be, but you can find him at @ReidCarlberg. That's R-E-I-D-C-A-R-L-B-E-R-G. Stay tuned for the next episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Trailhead_GO__From_Idea_to_App_Store_with_Reid_Carlberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Josie Chiles, VP of Admin Relations at Salesforce, to go over everything that’s coming for Dreamforce ‘19 and how you can keep in the loop no matter where you are.

Join us as we talk about how we’re bringing the UN Sustainable Development Goals to life at Dreamforce, what you can expect to find on the Admin Meadow, and how you can keep up with all the great content from home.

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

Business as a platform for change.

As you’re listening to this episode, you’re probably already on the way to Dreamforce. This year, we’re really thinking carefully about the footprint that we have on San Francisco in hosting such a large event. We’re bringing the UN Sustainable Development Goals to Dreamforce, both across campus and specifically in the Trailhead Zone.

Josie Chiles leads Admin Relations at Salesforce, a team that includes Mike and all the other Amazing Admin Evangelists as well as the marketing side of the equation. Although she’s been with Salesforce for five years, this will be her first Dreamforce heading up the Admin Relations. “As Marc says, business is a platform for change,” she says, “and I think that we’re bringing that to life in new ways and really thinking about who we are and why we do what we do and what the impact is.”

What’s new for Dreamforce 2019.

“The first thing we want you to do when you walk into the Admin Meadow is to share with us what it means to be an admin,” Josie says. We’re really interested in all the different ways that admins are having a major impact on their communities.

This year, we’re also adding something new: one-on-one consults. “You can have a 30-minute consult with an expert and really dive into whatever challenges you’re trying to solve,” Josie says. There are a ton of exciting people signed up, including the one and only Mike Gerholdt and the rest of the Admin Evangelist team. 

We’re also adding even more slots to the Admin Theater, with 67 total slots including sessions in other theaters. Most importantly, this year we’re repeating about 15% of the content so if you miss a session and it has a (1) or (2) behind it you have a chance to catch it again. There are also 82 breakout sessions you can attend, curated by Marc Baizman. That includes Org Security Fundamentals with Laura Pelkey from last year, and Formulas for the Everyday Admin with Steve Molis, Deepa Patel, and Geoffrey Flynn for the fifth year in a row.

Don’t miss the Admin Keynote, no matter where you are.

Of course, the event you should absolutely not miss is the Admin Keynote: Transform Your Company, Career, and Community. It’s November 21st in Moscone North. It jammed packed with product news, amazing demos, and how these new tools can really make a difference in your office and in your community.

If you’re not able to make it to Dreamforce in person, there are a lot of resources to bring all of the excitement to you wherever you are. For starters, follow #DF19 to get all of the latest Dreamforce information, as well as #awesomeadmin for, well, admins. There will also be livestreaming on Facebook, including the keynote so you don’t miss a beat. And even if you can’t experience it live, you’ll get content straight from Dreamforce to your local user group and on

Make sure to listen in for even more tips about Dreamforce, including Josie’s footwear recs. It’s sure to be an amazing weekend, so we hope to see you there!



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Full Show Transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admin podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt and today-

Josie: Mike, this is Josie. We are minutes away from Dreamforce, and I really can't think about anything else. Can we just jump into what's top of mind and start talking Dreamforce?

Mike: You're right. We got to stop the presses and just change everything up, because Dreamforce is like hours away. By the time you're listening to this episode, you're probably getting on a plane to come out to San Francisco. So I'm with you, Josie. Let's record scratch this whole thing and talk Dreamforce.

Josie: Awesome.

Mike: So Josie, for anybody that's not familiar with who you are, it's been a couple of years since you were on the podcast. What have you been up to?

Josie: Sure. So I am Josie Chiles, and I lead admin relations here at Salesforce. So this is my amazing team of Mike, and the evangelists, as well as the fantastic marketing team. I've been at Salesforce a little over five years and led AppExchange marketing for most of that time. And I've been doing admin since January. So very excited for my first Dreamforce as the lead of admin relations.

Mike: Oh, it's going to be great. So let's start talking Dreamforce, and let's go big and think about all of the goals and really cool stuff that we're doing for Dreamforce this year.

Josie: Yes. So one of the really exciting things that we've been working on is how we can bring the UN sustainable development goals to life at Dreamforce. So there are 17 goals, and they're really how we should think about the future, and how we can really work together to make the future better for all generations to come. And so we are focusing on quite a few of those goals both across campus as well as in the Trailhead Zone where we're going to bring them to life in a really interesting way.

Mike: Ooh. Can you share any of those really interesting ways with us?

Josie: Can we share any? I think that it's a little bit of a surprise, but I will say that we do have a customer in our admin keynote that is doing some really fantastic things around the goal of life below water. And I'm very excited to share all that, because we've become very huge fans of this particular endeavor here at Salesforce. And so I'm excited to share that piece.

Mike: I love it. And I love to see how we at Dreamforce are really grabbing everything that we can in thinking about the footprint that we have on San Francisco and in the world with reusing everything. I know I always carry a water bottle with me, because we have all those water refill stations. So I'm excited to see how all of our goals are being met this year.

Josie: No, it's totally true. It will come through Dreamforce, and I think we really, as Mark says, "Business is a platform for change." And I think that we're bringing that to life in new ways, and really thinking about who we are and why we do what we do and what the impact is.

Mike: Cool. All right, so admin gets off a plane, gets checked into their hotel, and they probably get registered and get their badge. I'm going to say first stop is perhaps the admin meadow. So let's start our journey of admin awesomeness there.

Josie: Yes. So you walk into the admin meadow and the first thing that we want you to do is to share with us what it means to be an admin. So we really want to crowdsource a definition of what it means to be an admin and listen to all the ways that you think admins are having impact in their company, in their career and in their communities. So come share your words with us, and you'll be able to share that on Twitter as well. So even if you're not in person, you can follow along with us at home.

Mike: Very cool. And I'm so excited for how we have that set up. I can't wait to see it in person.

Josie: Yes, me too. It's always fun when the thing that we dream up in the conference room comes to life. And I think this is a particularly exciting one.

Mike: Now we'll also have demo booths, same as last year, but not same, because we do things a little different. So you'll be able to get hands on with product in admin zone and throughout the Trailhead Zone as well. But we're also doing something a little bit different in the admin meadow with one-on-one consults.

Josie: Yes, exactly. So if you have those burning questions, you can come to the admin meadow. You can have a 30 minute consult with an expert and really dive into whatever challenges you're trying to solve. So we think this is an exciting way to get those questions answered, and to be able to go back to your office on Monday and show off, or probably Tuesday, right? Everybody needs a little bit of a break. Go back on Tuesday and show off all that that you've learned and bring that impact back right away.

Mike: It's going to be great. And we have some really fabulous people signed up for the consults. I know all of our evangelists team signed up, so you might get a slot where you can sit down and talk with me. Who knows?

Josie: That would be pretty lucky.

Mike: It would be wonderful. Be exciting. So in addition of course the big jewel in the admin meadow is the admin theater, and we have a ton of sessions signed up for the admin theater as well. In fact, Josie, you helped us get some sessions in another theater as well. So we actually have 67 total theater slots this year, which is up from last year because we do have some sessions that will be in other theaters. So make sure you look at the admin role in agenda builder.

Josie: Yeah, we worked really hard on that, or you worked really hard on putting out that call for proposals, and we got so much incredible content back that we were able to make a really great case for why we needed even more spaces here for all of the awesomeness. So I'm very excited to be expanding our footprint a little bit and making sure that we can make even more of that content available, because there's just so much fantastic knowledge in this community and it all needs to be shared.

Mike: It does. And we're doing something unique this year for the theater in that we're repeating 15% of the content. So if you miss a session, there's an option for it to be repeated later. So make sure you look at the title of the session. If it's got a Prinz one or a Prinz two behind it, it means it's going to be repeated. So that's something that we used to do for breakouts only, and we're doing it for our theater sessions this year. So that should help kind of give you more options to get to all of the sessions. And speaking of which, we have 82 breakout sessions. So [Mark Baseman 00:06:39] on the team has done a really great job of curating all of the speakers and getting all of the sessions together as well as making sure that we have a good breadth of topic choices for admins.

Mike: And there will be some sessions, second floor, Moscone West and up at the Hilton, because we can't fit everything all in one location. But I want to give a shout out for a couple sessions that I think people will be very excited for. So Org Security Fundamentals with Laura Pelkey, we'll be back from last year. She's refreshed it. Laura is on our security team. You've probably seen her at world tours and also fifth year in a row. Formulas for the Everyday Admin is returning with Salesforce MVP, Steve Moelis, Deepa Patel, and Jeffrey Flynn. This session was incredibly well attended last year, in fact, every year. And it will be repeated this year, so make sure it's on your agenda. So wow, we've covered a lot. We've booked through the meadow and we've given some highlights on the track. But I think, Josie, the must attend event for an admin at Dreamforce is the admin keynote. Why don't we talk a little bit about that?

Josie: Yeah, it's got to be the keynote. So this is Salesforce for admin keynote, Transform Your Company, Career and Community. It is November 21st in Moscone North at 5:00 PM, so this is the capstone of your Dreamforce experience. And it is going to be fun, fun, fun with also a lot of really good product news and amazing demos. I know Mike, you're going to be on stage doing an amazing demo, so that's fantastic. And we're just really excited to have Parker back as our host this year and bring all of the fantastic news and everything to life for admins, and sort of show how all that you've learned at Dreamforce so far can be brought back to your offices and really make a difference again in your company, in your career and in your community.

Mike: Yeah, I think the best part about a keynote for us is the level of excitement. I know it tops up my battery every year.

Josie: Yeah, I can't wait. This'll be my first time on stage in the admin keynote, and I am really counting down the days because I'm so excited to see all of the faces out in the audience, and to be able to bring all that energy. It's such a special and unique keynote. It's a real privilege to be able to be on stage for it and I'm very excited to bring it to life.

Mike: It's going to be fun. Okay. So we've talked a lot about the onsite experience. Let's talk about if you're not able to make it to Dreamforce.

Josie: Yes. And we definitely want to make sure that whether you are in person or online, that there is a lot to experience. I would say the first thing to do is to start following the #DF19. That's going to get you all of the latest Dreamforce information, and you'll really be able to see what's happening across campus that way. And then of course for admins, #awesomeadmin is where all of our information is going to be. And that's where you can participate in what's happening in the den, get a lot of the news that's happening across campus, and see some of the highlights as they're happening in real time.

Josie: But it's more than that. We will be on Facebook live streaming key moments. So you'll be able to experience content that way. And the keynote that we just talked about will also be live streamed. So no need to miss out. You just have to mark your calendar for 5:00 PM Pacific on the 21st, and you'll be able to experience it wherever you are.

Mike: Very cool.

Josie: And Mike, do you want to talk about how people can experience it through Global Gatherings? Because there's so many other ways to experience it.

Mike: Just what I was going to bring up. I was going to say, so even if you're unable to make it to some of the things as they're happening live, a lot of the content after Dreamforce will be coming right to your user groups. So I know Mark on our team has been working directly with some presenters to make sure that their content is also brought to the team that will package it together and send it out to the user groups as part of the Global Gatherings. So if you aren't already a part of your user group, go to your user group and make sure you know when the next meeting is, because most likely, I think it's January, Josie, that all of the Global Gatherings content will come out. So you'll be able to get a lot of the content that was shared at Dreamforce. In addition for admin, we are also going to highlight some content on

Josie: That's right. Both during Dreamforce, so we will be breaking news as it happens on as well as blogs after Dreamforce highlighting some of the key things that we learned, top sessions, really interesting information. And then also we will have a fantastic trail mix so you can go and get hands on with all of the new products that there are to learn about and the key things that we were talking about at Dreamforce.

Mike: So many. Okay, so we've covered keynote, meadow, track, the theater, the really cool things to do inside the meadow. Let's send them on their way. If you're an admin, and you're listening to this podcast, maybe getting ready to walk into Dreamforce tomorrow. What are some of your tips, Josie? How many Dreamforces have you been to?

Josie: So this is my sixth Dreamforce, which means that I've got a few tips up my sleeve. Let's see. My number one tip is to wear different shoes every day. I think that the key mistake that people make, even if your shoes are comfortable, is wearing the same pair of shoes every day. So move your foot around, get some new experiences. Feel the discomfort in new ways.

Mike: Yes. I will attest to that. I brought one pair of shoes with me once to a South by Southwest and man, I regretted it. Almost bought a new pair.

Josie: Yeah, exactly. One of my favorite pieces of swag that someone gave out in the campground one year, or in the expo one year, were insoles for your shoes. On Friday morning, they were all just standing there with insoles for your shoes. And I think that was the best that they knew their audience. They were ready for our needs. So that's piece number one. I think piece number two is really take it all in. There's a lot to see at Dreamforce, and I always encourage my team to spend some time, block it on your calendar, just to walk around and see what people are doing, see the different areas. You've got to kind of make that checklist of places that you want to go check out. But there's so many different opportunities to learn. And of course I'm very biased, and I would love for everybody to spend all that time in the admin theater, but that's part of why we're repeating those sessions, right? So that you have the opportunity to go explore and see what's happening across campus.

Mike: I couldn't agree more, and I would add to that by also saying kind of know your limits a little bit. It can be a lot to take in, and you can have some pretty long days. I think I've logged probably close to 23 miles over the four days of Dreamforce, so it's quite a bit of walking.

Josie: That is a lot of walking. That goes back to the shoes, but also with our focus on sustainable development goals, have your water bottle, use your reusables, stay hydrated, all that good advice. But I think, to me, Dreamforce is absolutely my favorite time of the year, and I truly love it. It does have all of the feels for me. It's so exciting to be there and see everyone, see people experiencing new things and get to experience it all together. So I think it's just also relaxing into it, having fun, taking it all in.

Mike: Yeah. And I would say as an admin, think about what you can also bring back for your users. So I know oftentimes I would think about pens or just anything that was given out that maybe I didn't need but I could use to hand out to my users to drive adoption. So there's always that to think about.

Josie: And also content. Right? What are those key things that you're learning that you can take back? I think it's always smart to start to think about the content and this is what I can do this week. This is what I can do this year. This is what I can do starting next year, right? That there's going to be all different types of information that you'll get and breaking it into, "Okay, this is something that I can do right away that's going to have that big impact."

Josie: I think what you don't want to do is go back to your desk Monday and say, "Wow, that was a lot. Where do I start?" And it's easier to start to think about where to get started as you're hearing it. Then when you go back, and you're looking at all that pile of information. So we're thinking about that too and thinking about ways to help make sure that that you can start to think about how to go from what you've learned into putting it into action. And that's where the trail mix and the blogs and the recordings, all the things that we'll be sharing after Dreamforce will also come in handy.

Mike: I like it. Well, Josie, we are hours away from Dreamforce so I'm just going to wrap everything up and just remind people, because you just spoke of resources that you can go to to find all the resources we talked about including additional blog posts and podcasts if you want to listen to them. They're always great when you're on a plane. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @salesforceadmns on Twitter, no I. You can find myself. I am @mikegerholdt, and Josie, you're on Twitter. You are?

Josie: I'm @josiec211

Mike: Easy enough to remember. So with that, stay tuned for our next episode. It comes out the Thursday of Dreamforce. I promise you, you won't want to miss it, and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Get_Ready_for_Dreamforce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PDT

The Salesforce Admins Podcast is back with another episode of our mini-series, Salesforce for Good, hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. For this episode, we’re talking to Anne Young, Senior Community Engagement Manager at, to learn how to build your community both online and off.

Join us as we talk about how to plug into your community both online and offline, why all questions are good, and how you can think like a community manager as an admin.

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

 Building communities online and offline.

Anne is the Senior Community Engagement Manager at, working with nonprofit and education customers, both higher ed and K-12, who use the platform to run their day-to-day operations better. That can be everything from fundraising to student success to program management. “The way I see my job is I help our community members to help each other,” Anne says, and to do that she leverages the Power of Us Support Hub.

“A consultant is a very expensive, wonderful thing that we have available to our Salesforce customers,” Anne says, “but not all of our customers are able to keep somebody on retainer and help them every day so if I am an admin at a small nonprofit I look at my other admins at small nonprofits as my coworkers and my water cooler folks who answer all my questions.” That’s not just about the Power of Us Hub, it’s also about fostering connections in the Trailblazer Community groups and in-person events like Dreamforce.

The day-to-day of a community manager.

“The Power of Us Hub is built on the Communities product, so we use a lot of the community moderation tools that are built within,” Anne says, “I find it very important to understand how our customers and how our community members are really engaging. Are they clicking from an email? Are they coming in to ask a question?” All of these metrics help Anne and her team figure out how to keep structuring things to keep things exciting and engaging.

“I always say that any community manager could really sit and just live in their community and answer questions and make sure everything’s perfect all day, every day,” Anne says, “but I think sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.” You always want to be thinking about what’s next, what the community is really asking for, or what trends you’re seeing in other communities. That’s also about curation of live events that are helpful to their customers that gives them access to smart people and new tools and, most importantly, learn from each other.

Why Anne loves helping nonprofit admins.

Anne and Marc were actually coworkers way back when, working together for several years at a San Francisco nonprofit. She got her start at Salesforce when she was on maternity leave and a former coworker reached out to see if she’d be interested in joining the sales team at Salesforce Foundation (now While ultimately that job wasn’t a great fit for her, the amazing thing about working for Salesforce is how invested everyone is in your career, not just what you’re doing for their department. Her manager connected her with the Power of Us Community team where she’s been working ever since.

“I remember how hard it was to work at a nonprofit, I remember how hard it was running programs when you’re under resourced and you have a bunch of reporting to do and you don't know what your next step is,” Anne says, “and I think that any way that I can make those peoples’ lives better is amazing.” If you’re a new admin trying to get involved in the community, Anne wants to remind of just how positive and supportive people are. “A lot of the people that are very active in our community are that way because they got something out of it early on,” she says, “they want to pay it forward so take the plunge and ask the question.”



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Full Show Transcript

Mark: Welcome to the Salesforce for Good Mini Series on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. My name is Mark Baizman, and I'm a senior admin evangelist here at Salesforce. Before I was an evangelist, I worked at and in the nonprofit world, and I made many incredible connections with people doing amazing things with Salesforce technology and nonprofits, and I really want to share some of them with you.

Mark: In this podcast mini series, we'll be talking to a variety of folks in the Salesforce nonprofit ecosystem, including admins, architects, consultants, and employees. By the end of the series, you'll learn what makes the nonprofit sector special, how Salesforce technology supports the missions of some amazing organizations that are making a huge impact, and you'll learn about the fantastic community of people that are making it happen. I'm really excited to talk with Anne Young, senior community engagement manager at Anne and I worked together during my time at dot org, and she has a lot of great insight into building community, both online and off. So without further ado, let's talk to Anne.

Mark: Hi Anne Young. How are you?

Anne: I'm good. Thanks for having me.

Mark: You bet. Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. And can you tell me about what you do?

Anne: Absolutely. So my title here at Salesforce is senior community engagement manager, and my primary responsibility is working with our nonprofit and education customers, so that's both higher ed and K through 12, so the kiddos, working with organizations and schools that are using the Salesforce platform to run their day-to-day operations better. So that can be anything from fundraising to student success to program management, kind of depending on the organization's mission. And the way I see my job is I help our community members help each other. So I provide them with different opportunities to communicate, whether it be through the power of Us Hub, which is our online community for nonprofits and schools. They help each other be successful.

Anne: A consultant is a very expensive, wonderful thing that we have available to our Salesforce customers, but not all of our customers are able to keep somebody on retainer and help them every day. So if I am an admin at a small nonprofit, I look at my other admins at small nonprofits as my coworkers and my water cooler folks who answer all my questions. So we do that through the online community as well as working with the trailblazer community groups and at in-person events, like upcoming Dreamforce, and I find ways to facilitate that sense of community and really celebrate everything that they do.

Mark: Fantastic. That sounds amazing. So there's this online component and offline component, right? So it's kind of a cool melding of two worlds, if you will. Can you maybe share, I don't know if success story is the right answer or the right question, but something around people going from online to offline meeting?

Anne: Yeah, that's actually really interesting because my team and I just attended a community management summit last week that was very interesting. In the past, all of these conversations about community have been like, how to get people to engage with each other online and online and let's get people in these virtual rooms and working together, and there's really a resurgence and a throwback to, "Let's get together in a room. Let's get together in physical life and work together." So I think now online communities are a lot more about how to facilitate real life interactions.

Mark: Fascinating.

Anne: Yeah, yeah. It's pretty cool. It's like, "Hey, let's go back to block parties and in person meetings and really actually being together," which I think is cool. And yeah, in terms of a success story that we've had with our community, I see our Seattle nonprofit community group as a really cool example of people who are very active in our online community, but they also meet every month and do a lot of helping each other on the platform together. They do a lot of helping newer admins grow and learn and work on certifications together. And it's a really cool thing to see. We also work very closely with a group called Amplify.

Mark: Say more about Amplify.

Anne: Yeah. Amplify is amazing. I think we have about 3 to 5,000 members. I don't know. Do you have a fact checker on here? And they have chosen to use the Power of Us Hub as their home base where they connect, and they help amplify underrepresented voices in tech. So they started out-

Mark: Fantastic.

Anne: Yeah, absolutely. Such an important thing. They started out by working specifically with females to help to empower them to get jobs in technology and work in technology specifically around the Salesforce platform and within the Salesforce community. They found a very deeply committed group of people that were excited about the same things that they were and we've just gotten to have this really cool community within our community watching them grow. So yeah, in terms of both the online, they have this very strong online presence, a very active group and the Power of Us hub, and then they also do happy hours all over the country. Maybe even they've had world. I think there was one in London, maybe.

Mark: Oh, fantastic.

Anne: And they come to all of our in person events and usually have sub-meetings at those events. There are chapters all around the country for people to get together. They also do study groups for Salesforce certification exams, which is a really cool way to sit with a group of people virtually. I think some people do them in person too and study. I know for me, I'm not going to hold myself accountable to study for a test at this point in my life.

Mark: Not unless there's a group of people holding me accountable.

Anne: Yeah, exactly. So to have the group of people holding you accountable and helping you is really special and it's really kind of the core of what our community is all about is like, "Let's help each other succeed. Let's help each other achieve our missions."

Mark: That's so great.

Anne: It's great to be a part of. Yeah.

Mark: That's magic. So what does the kind of day-to-day look like in terms of community management? I know we've also spoken with your teammate Lizzie, but maybe if you could share a little bit about what happens. How are you using the Salesforce tools? Because I believe it's a Salesforce community, right, the Power of Us Hub?

Anne: Yeah. The Power of Us hub is built on the community's product. So yeah, we use a lot of the community moderation tools that are built within. A lot of that is used to pull metrics and find out what's going on in our community. I find it very important to understand how our customers and how our community members are really engaging. Are they clicking in from an email? Are they coming in to ask a question? Are they accessing a knowledge article? Those are all really important ways for myself and my team to figure out, how do we keep structuring things and how do we keep it an exciting day?

Anne: In terms of my day-to-day job, I always say that any community manager could really sit and just live in their community and answer questions and make sure everything's perfect all day, every day. There is plenty going on in a thriving community for that to happen, but I think sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. What's next? What is this community really asking for? What are the trends that we're seeing in other communities? and go to things like that.

Anne: Also, I work very closely with the rest of our customer success team to help find events that are helpful to our customers in terms of how can we give them ways to access really smart people and really smart tools and learn from each other, so that's something that we are building upon. We've actually been working very closely with our pro-bono team at Salesforce to do some lightning success clinics.

Mark: Great.

Anne: Say that 10 times fast. And those have been a really cool way to see people get together. But yeah, I would say no day really looks the same. We are very deep into right now planning a really wonderful experience for our community and our customers at Dreamforce to help them be successful on the platform, so that's one big thing on my plate. And one thing that's sort of been top of mind for my team is, how do we incorporate a global community? How do we be better at including people from all around the world? There's a lot that falls into that, time zones and languages and just general use of technology and preferences and all sorts of different things, so there's a lot. There's a lot to do every day.

Mark: Is the Power of Us hub English only right now or are there a couple of languages in there?

Anne: I believe we have a French language group. We have a very thriving Spanish language group-

Mark: Oh, that's great.

Anne: ... that actually has some subgroups and some of our community members have taken on to start those groups and to kind of community manage those groups within the greater community. And it's been really great when a question will come in in Spanish and my high school Spanish does not really suffice.

Mark: Nor does Google translate, I imagine.

Anne: Nor does Google Translate seem to really understand Salesforce terminology with regard to that. So it's great to have those community members that I know that I can tag and say, "Hey, can you help this person?" And they're excited to help them, which is really fun.

Mark: That's great. It's interesting. Your role as a community manager sounds a lot like being a Salesforce admin where you're trying to anticipate the needs of users, give people what they want, make sure people are connecting with each other, anointing super users or sub-community managers within the community.

Anne: Absolutely.

Mark: So that's great.

Anne: Yeah, we actually have a program within the community called Hub Heroes where we award people a status of a hero if they're kind of going in a lot and and helping each other and really being valuable to the greater community. And we write a blog about them and we consider it a great way to kind of work toward other things like becoming a Salesforce MVP or other things that people are excited about.

Mark: Oh, that's fantastic. I love the idea of recognizing heroes. What's that, monthly?

Anne: Yeah, the goal is monthly and sometimes we skip a month.

Mark: Sure. Ideally monthly. I get it.

Anne: Yeah.

Mark: Cool. I'd love to hear maybe a little bit about how you came into this role and what your journey is. I believe you were at a nonprofit previously. Full disclosure to everyone, Anne and I were on the same team and were, I guess, work spouses for [crosstalk 00:11:33].

Anne: Yeah, we were each other's only coworkers for-

Mark: Yeah, for quite a while.

Anne: A year, two years, maybe?

Mark: Yeah, a couple of years.

Anne: Yeah. At the time my daughter was about three and she would always grab my laptop and say, "Shh, I'm talking to Mark."

Mark: That's awesome.

Anne: I was on the phone with you a lot. Yeah. So how did I get here? It's actually sort of a roundabout way. I was at a nonprofit prior to coming here that focused on workforce development here in San Francisco and I was actually a part of a small team at that nonprofit that was working on our transition to Salesforce from-

Mark: Awesome.

Anne: ... many, many disparate systems we were on. We had a lot of government contracts, so it was a really complicated build and it was really interesting to be a part of it. I had very little technical expertise or knowledge. It was kind of just like, as it goes at nonprofits, like, "You're here, you're helping, pull up your bootstraps." So that was a really cool experience. I loved working in workforce development. I found it very rewarding and very interesting. That's always something that's been top of mind for me. I think living in a city like San Francisco where you see such disparity in wealth and such disparity in people's lifestyles and the things that people want to do, it's really important to find a way to build people up and give them opportunities, and I found that to be a really great place to work.

Anne: How I ended up here was actually-

Mark: Yeah, so take us on the journey from being at this organization to getting to Salesforce.

Anne: So I have a six year old daughter named Gigi and I was on maternity leave and had made the decision to take some time off and wasn't going to go back to the nonprofit where I was and was kind of reevaluating what I wanted to do with my life, and a former coworker from the nonprofit where I was had reached out to me and he said, "I am selling at," or it was Salesforce Foundation at the time, and I was like, "What do you mean you sell at a foundation?" And he was like, "Well, we give away these 10 free licenses to nonprofit customers and I get to have these really cool conversations about what nonprofits are doing and what their missions are and then I help them get this donation and then buy more things and get more products that really help them achieve their mission." And he said, "They're really in need of more salespeople. You should come meet my manager."

Anne: And to me, that was just not something I had thought of doing. I was a new mom. I was at home with the baby, and I was like, "I've always worked in nonprofit." I was kind of just trying to figure out my next step, but I really trust this person and I really feel like he's someone that knows my skill set and had my best interest at heart, so I gave it a shot. I came here, I had lunch with him and then met some of his teammates and then ended up in the interview process for a sales job at Salesforce Foundation at the time.

Mark: Do you want to give this person a shout-out?

Anne: Ryan Boyle, if you're listening.

Mark: Cool. Thanks Ryan.

Anne: Yeah, he now works with a Salesforce partner, but he was here for a number of years. I was in that sales job for about a year, and hats off to all of the salespeople at and It's a challenging, challenging job. And while I feel like I was successful to an extent, I knew that my skill set would be better used in other parts of the company, and that's one thing that I think is so cool about working at Salesforce is that my manager was open to making introductions for me and helping me find something that was really cool, and that's when I got to know my current manager, Alicia Schmidt better. At the time, she was running the Power of Us hub and all things community for, and her role was expanding and she needed someone to help her do that. She brought me in, and I've been on her team for a little over four years. So I've been at Salesforce ... My anniversary will be in November, my five year anniversary.

Mark: Happy Salesforce-versary.

Anne: Thank you, thank you. And it's just been a really cool experience. I definitely had some trepidation about, "Okay, am I going to get that same feeling of making a difference, of really seeing transformational change day-to-day?" And now my life is different. I'm leaving a kid at home and things like that that I didn't have at my prior job, and I do get that. I get to see it through our customers. I get to see the cool things they're doing. I get to see how our technology makes their day-to-day life easier, which I think is pretty incredible. I remember how hard it was to work at a nonprofit. I remember how hard it was running programs when you're under-resourced and you have a bunch of reporting to do and you don't know what your next step is. I think any way that I can make those people's lives better is amazing, and it's pretty cool to get to be a small part of that.

Mark: That's awesome. Wow. Thank you for taking us down that road and memory lane.

Anne: Totally.

Mark: Are there any cool things that you're particularly proud of that you've done in the hub recently, like maybe a project that you've worked on or something particularly neat?

Anne: One thing that I really love is we've been doing these sort of Reddit style AMAs, or Ask Me Anythings.

Mark: For the old people or non-Reddit users out there.

Anne: Yes, yes, exactly. So what we do is we get a product team for example, to sit in a virtual room, much like the conversation that we're having right now. So everyone who is running the event is sort of in this virtual room and talking to each other. And then we tell our customers, "Okay, you have an hour to ask these product experts anything." And our customers are used to having access to their sales person. They're used to having access to their community managers. They don't get to talk to a product manager very often. So this is an opportunity to be like, "Hey, I can type a question and I'm going to get an answer in realtime." So we've been doing those and they've been really successful and super fun to run.

Mark: That's great.

Anne: It gives other people in the organization a little glimpse into what a community manager's day-to-day life is like kind of at hyperspeed, and it's just been a really cool way to get in front of our customers in realtime and also to show the power of the community's platform, for that to see like, "Okay, I'm doing this right here in this virtual room and I'm asking questions." And I love it because we have some AMA groupies that got really excited and they want to answer the questions before the product managers do and really get in there and so it's this really fun sort of competitive, fun thing to do.

Mark: That's great.

Anne: That's something I've been really excited about. I think Dreamforce is always a really special time and making sure that I'm able to highlight the awesome things that our community members are doing and getting to see them in person makes some of the struggles of your day- to-day life that you have in any job really feel worth it. I remember the first Dreamforce that I went to after I had been a community manager where I was like, "Whoa, all these people know me and wait, I know them." It was just this really cool aha moment of like, I spend all this time with these people virtually and here I am getting to be in a room with them and hear them speak and hear what they're excited about.

Mark: For a while, I think that their face was the first face that they saw when they joined the Power of Us hub. Is that right?

Anne: Yes, I believe so. I believe so.

Mark: Right when they signed in the hub, there was a welcome from you?

Anne: Yeah. Yeah. So for a while, prior to advances in technology, I was actually manually welcoming everyone into the Power of Us hub, as many as I could, so if I missed you, I apologize.

Mark: It's too late. The statute of limitations is [crosstalk 00:19:46].

Anne: Yeah. We now do have some wonderful automation in place that welcomes people based on their roles and the types of organizations where they work, so it's a little easier. Now I believe they see Lizzie's face, who is my colleague.

Mark: Got it, got it. I was like for a while, it was you and you were manually doing it, but now it's automated.

Anne: Yes. Yes.

Mark: Cool.

Anne: Technology.

Mark: Yay. Do you have any advice for Salesforce admins who are maybe just dipping their toe in the community, either online or offline?

Anne: Absolutely.

Mark: It can be overwhelming, right?

Anne: Yeah, that's what I was going to say. It's a lot. And also, I think that there are no dumb questions is the old adage or no stupid questions or whatever it may be. I think the Power of Us hub and the trailblazer community are both very, very supportive communities of people that want to help you and want to see you succeed. A lot of the people that are very active in our community are that way because they got something out of it early on. Maybe they were the new admin coming in and they were kind of daunted by what was ahead of them and they got that help so they want to pay it forward. So I would say take the plunge, ask the question is the first thing that you would want to do.

Anne: Also, we have a really robust knowledge base and we have an incredible team of content producers on customer success at, rather. And they are producing every day new and updated content that can really help you be successful and help you learn. We have kind of curated some of that content into a getting started series, so there's a getting started group in the Power of Us hub that can help you kind of guide your own journey, like, "Okay, I should listen to this webinar and then I should read this article and then I should follow this person." So there's kind of a different way to learn for everyone.

Anne: And the other biggest thing I think is attend your local community group meetings. If you work for a nonprofit, there should be a nonprofit community group in your area. If there's not, there's likely a virtual one. Our higher ed community group program has grown a great deal in the last two years, so there's a lot of those around the country too, and those groups oftentimes will have meetings that are specifically focused on newer admins and how they can get started and how they can move forward. So to me, learning is all about community. It's all about getting to know these people, and there's places for introverts, there's places for extroverts. Just get out there and learn what you need to know.

Mark: Oh, fantastic. I love that. Learning is all about community. It's so perfect. Well, Anne, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

Anne: Of course. Thank you for having me. It's always good to chat.

Mark: Yes, anytime.

Mark: That was great. We got a ton of valuable insight and advice from Anne. First and foremost, plug into your community, whether online and the trailblazer community or the Power of Us hub or offline in your local area. You can check out your local community group at And all questions are good, even for folks just getting started. Learning is better as part of a community. So get connected to Amplify and help amplify those underrepresented voices in tech and connect with their fantastic study groups.

Mark: Finally, try thinking like a community manager as an admin. What do my users need? What are they asking for? You can create an internal community of your own Salesforce users using Chatter and get them to start helping each other. So thanks for a great conversation, Anne. We hope you all enjoyed this episode of the Salesforce for Good Mini Series, and stay tuned for the next one. Thanks for joining us.

Direct download: Salesforce_For_Good__Anne_Young.mp3
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