What makes a good Salesforce.com Admin?

Salesforce.com Admin What do they do?

I heard a phrase on the Social Pros podcast I want to share with you-
“we think that success is about the wand, and success is still about the wizard. I don’t care what tool it is, if you don’t have the right person or people to operate the tool [...] it’s just not going to be successful”.

I completely agree with this statement- thinking the wand will fix your orgnaization and ignoring the wizard is a huge mistake. Organizations just think it’s about the tool- like Salesforce. They say “Oh yeah, we have that.” And then wonder why it didn’t magically fix their problems. Well, it didn’t fix their problems because they didn’t get a wizard or even understand the need for a good wizard behind the technology wand they just purchased. With that said, what should companies look for in a good Salesforce.com Admin What are some of the fundamental attributes they all share? This post will help you find a good wizard.

Curiosity

I’ll start by giving you the hardest attribute to interview for, but the one that is really key and that is curiosity. In my early days (pre-full time Admin) I had a natural curiosity to learn more about the processes the company has in place and about Salesforce. In my first Admin 201 class I could tell which attendees would be good admins and which wouldn’t because of their curiosity. Some people just walked through the exercises and didn’t try to apply them to their business or be curious about features or how to use the application in different ways. Curiousity makes you ask Why? it makes you question what you know and what you can learn. Curiosity leaves you wanting to know more and eager to learn more. Admins without a curiosity to learn more about their craft might be in the wrong profession.

Drive

I saw learning Salesforce as a way to advance my career and career advancement is always what drives me to succeed. Drive is something to look for in a new Admin or in an employee you are looking to promote. Drive helps fuel the ambition to learn and understand how to apply features and functionality to improve the business. Drive pairs well with curiosity and it lends itself to setting ambitious goals. Good Salesforce.com admin will always have goals for themselves that are constantly reevaluating.

Willingness to learn

I -by far- don’t know everything about Salesforce. What I did a week, month, or year ago and always be done better because I can learn more. In my opinion a good admin is never happy with how much they know and always wants to learn more. A good admin will bug you constantly to go to a user group meeting, to go a Cloudforce event, and to go Dreamforce. Why? They want to learn, they want to understand more about the application and how other companies are using it.

What does a Salesforce.com Admin do all day?

A while back a reader wrote me asking for help in the nature of “My boss doesn’t think I do anything all day but surf the internet, and I’m slammed with things to do! How do I show my value?” the resulting post described how to build a request feature in Salesforce. But that is really just the answer to “how” do Admins get work done, not “what” is the work? So first off, Admins don’t really support the platform perse- it does that all on its own- so there isn’t a need to make sure the server is up, or the code isn’t crashing. Often an Admins day is filled with micro-training sessions where they are helping users utilize/ understand functionality in the system to make their jobs more efficient. It could a best practice on creating and assigning an activity. Or how to build a report with Buckets. But it’s so more than that, they spend time with business units understanding processes and integrating them into Salesforce or making changes to a Salesforce application because the process has changed. Really good Admins are working to drive adoption through Chatter by posting Salesforce tips or building educational materials to keep the users informed. Often Admins are tasked with creating the baseline report or dashboard for a team or department that they can then clone and build off of. Or training that department on how to build their own Dashboards and Reports.

Anything else?

Good Admins know when to use clicks and not code. Good Admins can sit in a meeting with any member of the organization and confidently speak to features and functionality. They have the ability to see the greater vision of how the company can be using Salesforce to benefit the entire organization and not just the department or group they work in. Yeah, I’ll go out on a limb and say that great Salesforce Admins are visionaries. Meaning they can see where the business wants to achieve, what’s possible in the application, and how to communicate that benefit out to the organization. Finally, good Admins get and maintain their certification and proudly display it as a badge of honor.

Banner Credit: Victor1558 via Flickr
Photo Credit: cell105 via Flickr

Author: Mike Gerholdt

Mike is the Founder & CEO of ButtonClick Media, LLC. ButtonClickAdmin.com is known as the top community site for Salesforce Admins and Developers to learn about new Salesforce features and best practices.

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