A few months ago, my boss asked me to learn Salesforce and eventually manage the platform for our company.
Despite having no experience with Salesforce, I familiarized myself with Trailhead and built-up my skill set.
I’ve become more comfortable with the platform, but I feel like I’m at a plateau point.
I need to hone in on best practices, build a team around me, and figure out how my company can actually use Salesforce effectively.
Any advice on where I can learn all of this?
First off, I’d like to commend you for taking on Salesforce by yourself.
When someone comes into a Sales Ops role with very little experience, it’s usually because they were formerly working as a platform admin on the Marketing side and their company decided to implement Salesforce – suddenly naming them as the brand new Salesforce admin.
This is a big job with a massive learning curve, and you’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting already!
With that said, one of your most significant assets going forward will be the community.
By “community”, I am referring to platform support forums, blog articles, webinars, user groups, and in-person industry events – all of it. Community support can be found anywhere like-minded users and thought leaders go to help each other and push the platform forward!
When searching for community resources, the obvious first step is to seek out places that deal directly with your platform of choice. In your case, a great place to start with Salesforce is Trailhead – an online educational resource that has an entire “Trailblazer Community” of groups and forums where you can connect with other Salesforce users.
Feel free to go even deeper and seek out users who are in the same industry or role as you as well. This will give you access to advice and support that is directly relevant to industry-specific struggles you may face.
Especially when it comes to more widely-used platforms like Marketo or Salesforce, the surrounding support communities are extremely large. There might be hundreds if not thousands of users who are all discussing different answers to the same problem.
So how can you filter through all of these thought leaders, communities, and forums, to understand which advice and solutions are best for you?
Many platforms have systems that certify individuals as being trustworthy when it comes to technical insight and advice. For example, Salesforce has a number of official credentials that can be earned through their aforementioned Trailhead platform such as certified “Salesforce Administrator”, “Salesforce Business Analyst”, and several others.
While confirming an individual’s certifications is important, it’s also crucial to ensure they’ve been deemed a reliable source by the surrounding community. It’s usually a safe bet to follow those who have a sizable online following or are endorsed by the platform itself through the “Champion” programs – which we will discuss below.
As you navigate the learning curve of platforms like Salesforce or Adobe Marketo Engage, seeking guidance from recognized “Champions” can be invaluable. These individuals, distinguished with titles such as “Adobe Marketo Engage Champion,” “Salesforce Marketing Champion,” or “MVP,” are known for their expertise and substantial contributions towards fostering a nurturing community.
These champions are encouraged to share knowledge and uplift the community – a philosophy central to these recognition programs. Aligning yourself with this network can significantly benefit your learning journey, offering access to reliable advice and innovative solutions based on extensive experience.
Following blogs that offer expert tips can be a game-changer changer as well. The Salesforce Admin blog is a rich resource that offers tips, tricks, and career advice for Salesforce Admins. Another insightful platform is the SFBen blog, where you can find a plethora of admin-related content and the latest Salesforce news. Leveraging these resources and attending major vendor-organized marketing and sales events where “Champions” often share their insights will equip you with the knowledge and network to excel in your Sales Ops endeavors.
Finding a mentor to personally advise you on your journey is the most effective and personalized version of community support that exists; you have a direct line to someone with a deep understanding of the problems you face, working with you directly to help grow your professional skill set.
Mentors can be current or former colleagues or bosses, people you’ve built relationships with through vendor-run events, family members or friends from school who work in the same field as you, and so on.
There are also incredible mentorship programs out there such as Women In Revenue, who offer mentorship and menteeship opportunities with the goal of providing empowerment, inclusion, and equality to women in revenue-generating roles worldwide. Learn more about it.
Support communities are a valuable resource for all Sales Ops professionals – regardless of experience level.
When you’re starting out, look for the community surrounding your platform and seek out users who work in your industry or have a similar role to you.
Trust in those with official platform certifications and vendor-approved community “Champion” status as being the most reliable source of advice for you to follow, and find a mentor who can work with you directly to achieve your goals.
You’ve got this,