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The Best Way Forward to Become a Salesforce Admin

Heard a lot about Salesforce and still have no idea how to tread forward?

Do you still figure amongst the ones who love dreams and don’t know how to make them possible?

Well, relax! You are not alone, and I am sure there are many sailing in the same boat. 

If you are wondering how am I so sure, its simply because I too was there a couple of years ago before took the leadad and stepped into the heat. And, you bet! Life has not been at one pace. There is a new rush, a new motivation and of course a new challenge. The best part is that I love every single bit of it. Now, I never said it was easy, because it was not, at least not for me as I had to knock many doors to find the answers. Answers? But to what? Oh! Yes, I never mentioned them. 

They are not very different from the ones you have in your mind. Infact there was more as there was no one source that could be referred to. Every answer required a new source of information and believe me it was taxing. There are times in our lives when we know what we want to do but there is no singled out way to get to it.

Salesforce is big and is growing. We all know that. This is precisely the reason why many of you want to be a part of the magic. Believe me, there are many out there who do not have more reason, than to be part of something big. They do not weigh all the options but want to jump into it. And guess what? Failure! Why? Primarily because they were not aware and of cour,se not prepared for the challenges. The preparation you see plays a vital role. 

So here I am to get you prepared, to take you through every bit of information that you will need on this path. This will help you to make a more informed and sounder decision. So, let me begin.

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Read: How To Start Your Career In Salesforce?

Salesforce Administrator! Wow

So here we go. 

Who is a Salesforce Administrator?

Unlike the seasonal database administrator who we are well acquainted with, these Salesforce administrators have a much diverse role. Remember, Salesforce is a core asset of IT. This is true despite the fact that it rests in the cloud. The future of IT lies somewhere there and thankfully, Salesforce already has a slot there. 

A Salesforce administrator has many vital roles. One of them being to be able to solve real-time problems of the users. Here is a crisp list of some of the real-time tasks that you will be required to handle:

  • Deal with user accounts and passwords.
  • Deal with SSO and other kinds of authentications.
  • Addition of other IP addresses.
  • Troubleshoot different scenarios during workflows, auto-responders, approval cycles, etc.
  • Expansion and refining of other kinds of sharing rules and additional incentives.
  • Help in setting the data records that are generally inaccessible to the users. 

While these comprise some real-time tasks, let me now even walk you through some of the weekly assignments that often fall in the kitty of a Salesforce admin. Weekly? Yes, many tasks roll on a weekly rhythm, and just need your attention for 2-5 hours in a week. Now again, I am outlining a casual situation and if in case you get to work in a heavy environment, these calls get more frequent in the week. 

  • One of the major weekly tasks is to take a snapshot of the weekly performance like the history data, the system tables, etc. Store them wisely.
  • Tools like Ring Lead and even the Demand Tools have to be run for data deduplication. 
  • Adoption and other data-quality dashboards have to be run.
  • A lot of vivid kinds of examinations are recommended like time-based workflow, debug , ogs or even the SFDC errors, user lockouts, login faults, etc.
  • User deactivation for any reason.
  • Modification of roles and other rules for sharing of records as per the changes introduced in the organizations. 
  • Import of both the leads and contacts.
  • Updating various price lists.
  • Changing various delegation and escalation paths. 

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In addition to these, there are some tasks that need monthly, quarterly or even yearly attention. Each of these carries significance in their own perspective. Let me give you a brief overview of each of them. Beginning with the monthly tasks.

Read: Difference between Hubspot and Salesforce CRM
  • Important changes to be made to both the pick-up and other lists.
  • Identification of new sources of data pollution by running new reports for field utilization.
  • Using Eclipse for a complete backup of the metadata.
  • Refreshing of the sandboxes.
  • Keeping track of all the significant fixes by Salesforce.com
  • Installation of all the high-priority fixes.
  • Archiving copies of error logs.

Likewise, the quarterly calls may look like the following:

  • Revising the Community or Partner Portals.
  • Downloading of the CSV from the setup audit log of the system administrator.
  • Revising the notes of any kind of third-party applications.
  • Running various reports like the Reports, Roles by Profile Report, etc. 
  • Examination of new pick-ups that have been added to the fields.

And, finally let me also quickly walk you through the yearly responsibilities:

  • Creation of an archive of all the field history tables of the system
  • Archiving or purging of all the documents for bringing down the storage charges in your system.
  • Archiving various histories for audit, compliance and even regulatory reasons.
  • Updating various system road-maps for summarizing the upgrades and addition of new features.
  • Also, attending the DreamForce.

This was taken in detail on purpose. I wanted you to know exactly what you should be looking at. There should be no doubt about this aspect as it will form a vital part of your journey. You will have to work around a lot of activities and maintain the credibility of the systems. Now, of course, you might have gauged the diversity of the tasks you will be required to organize on a daily basis. Definitely, all this requires much more than certifications. And from my own bag of experiences, let me frankly state that it requires a whole mindset. Latter is most often fuelled by intent than by knowledge.

Here are the essential skills that you should have to be the finest Salesforce Administrator.

Must-Have Non-Technical Skills for Being a Salesforce Administrator

A majority of Salesforce implementations do not see success and always see some glitches in adoption. The success of any new technology depends on the mindset of your employees in terms of methods, processes, behavior and also outcomes. Everything needs a particular approach that often results from the right skills.

non technical skills to become salesforce admin

  • Logical Thinking: A successful administrator should be comfortably able to break the complex parts into small digestible chunks. I strongly feel that this results from knowledge about the basic architecture of the software and how does one individual change has an effect on all the rest. 
  • Best Team-Member: The Salesforce administrator has to be truly empowered. Many things will fall in line simply because of the expertise in handling the process and the team. Hence, only a person with strong conviction and respect amongst the team can bring everyone on one page. A true administrator should not have to be micro-managed and has to be dependable.
  • Knows Sales Process: Salesforce CRM tool is the most important tool for your sales team and it has to be woven around the marketing funnel of the team. A person who is familiar with the software and the way sales are handled will be able to maximally augment it. It becomes highly critical to thoroughly know the sales process of the team and see how to deal with it.
  • Communication: Needless to say, any kind of management to be effective requires great communication skills. As a Salesforce admin you have will deal with a range of stakeholders apart from your own team. This is of course not a casual conversation but wherein you will be needed to communicate concerns, explanations, decisions and even the whole processes to different people as per their level of acceptance and expertise. Your clients may not be very tech-savvy or may have great expertise in the same. Of course, your communication in both cases calls for different levels of sensitivities. This is the skill that you will require very often. There has to be no hesitation in talking to people from different backgrounds like the managers, IT consultants, other employees.
  • Curiosity: This is natural. Also, this is essential. Remember, many times in technology solutions are not served but have to be found. There will be days when you have to sit for hours or maybe days trying to work around the database to get to the best solution and make the system work as per your requirements. This may get taxing at times. Your admin has to have a natural curiosity that will fuel how he works around different platforms to find the solution. 
  • Project Manager: Your job as a project manager requires a high level of multi-tasking and respecting different deadlines along with meeting the needs of your clients. You are the face of your company for developing the Salesforce needs of your users. Everything has to be streamlined and well-woven into the basic thread. 
  • Strategic Thinker: Remember, only a person with a keen foresight will be able to build on the vision and mission of the company. A good admin has to have strategic thinking to be able to see through the challenges of today from becoming roadblocks tomorrow. All the functions that may seem to be useless today may actually gain relevance in the future. It is the long term vision and the ability to study the bigger picture that differentiates a seasoned Salesforce admin from the fresher.

Now, of course, many of the skills mentioned above are a result of the experience but at the same time, they are the result of a conscious and continuous self-effort. Obviously, a natural curiosity for technology will help you tide over many technical snags with ease. Putting in another word, effective engagement of stakeholders, project management, business analysis, and helping your end-user with the solution is the primary skill that cannot be done without. 

Read: Study Guide you must follow for Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification

In addition, there are some technical skills that are essential. These are essential as well and need some particular effort to learn. 

Essential Technical Skills needed for being a Salesforce Admin

technical skills to become salesforce admin

  • Knowledge of Salesforce Platform: As the name states, it is important for you to know the Salesforce platform well. Unlike other CRM platforms, that keep your customer data and help you build relationships with your prospective customers and help you collaborate with new customers, Salesforce has a lot more to offer. There is a lot of standard functionality and revolutionary features that help you set up a completely out of the world customer experience. Features like various cases and other communities for effective customer engagement, sales management, customization of Salesforce mobile app, management of the marketing cloud for effective customer service, etc. require knowledge. 
  • Data Management: There is no doubt that there will be a huge amount of data to be managed. Management means taking care of data input and output. In the case of data input, you should have knowledge about the data import wizard or data loader. Both are used for different workloads. Likewise, knowledge of data export is also essential. Again, on the same lines, there will be data export wizards and data loader both catering to different loads of data. 
  • Data Security: The need for data security is not more pronounced in history than now. The increased incidences of cyber-attacks and the evolution of new viruses, the success of any software firm are not possible without having a sound data security framework. The Salesforce platform is endowed with different functionalities to furnish a flexible and layered sharing model that makes designing of different data sets easier for different users. It allows you to balance both the security and ease of use while bringing down the risk of any kind of stolen or unused data. It is important to have a clear knowledge of the data security framework in Salesforce. It is only by the perfect combination of security features at different levels can a Salesforce admin provides the apt access to different users in one go without having to give specific permissions individually.
  • Knowledge of Formula Fields: Salesforce is required by organizations to have a huge amount of data to deal with on a routine basis. Users have to properly understand this data at a glance without doing any mental calculations. Knowledge of the creation of customizable formula fields and the need for their creation is essential. You should be able to use the formula editor efficiently. The use of at least one use case for each formula is essential. This can further lead to the creation of simple formulas. Having knowledge of usage of formula editor effectively makes a lot of difference.

Salesforce also provides many certifications to get your knowledge of the desired credibility and recognition in the job world. There are broadly four different credentials that can be taken up:

  • Salesforce Administrator: This is a certification for those professionals who possess a Salesforce experience and are continuously working out ways to get more features for their companies.
  • Advanced Administrator: This certification is designed for those seasoned Salesforce professionals who have already become an expert in Salesforce administration. They have developed great expertise in using the advanced features and functions of Salesforce for solving many different business problems.
  • Platform App Builder: This certification is particularly designed for all those professionals who can showcase skills and expertise in designing, building, and customization of applications by making use of declarative features of the platform.
  • CPQ Specialist: This certification is particularly for those professionals who already have experience in the implementation of the Salesforce CPQ. It is a great way for a demonstration of skills and knowledge in design, building and even implementation of flows with the Salesforce CPQ.

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Salesforce admin is a wide role with many diverse responsibilities. There is so much to do. The idea to take you through these details was to make you familiar with the profile of a Salesforce admin. Once you are clear on this part you know how you have to deal with different aspects of the role. Also, the decision if you are really meant for this, will become easier. This is a world of technology and also, remember one thing, that things are going to get more streamlined and demanding at the same time, in times to come. Employers will look for many aspects of your personality along with your technical skills and certifications. 

So, you have to work on your overall development and not just sharpening your technical skillset. Salesforce is all set to define the future of CRM and is here to stay. Now, if you want to experience it as a part of it or as an end-user is your call. But, my experience tells me that it is fun. Lots of things to do, people to meet, challenges to accept and targets to achieve. There is no time after you step in. So, reflect now and get yourself the best of certifications. They will land you in the best job spheres. That is a bet. Do share if you won it!

Read: Execution Rules of Salesforce Triggers

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