The experience of becoming a Salesforce Administrator can be a whirlwind of new information, building relationships with your fellow administrators and most of all, trying to develop a thorough understanding of the Salesforce stratosphere so you can best serve your user base. As someone who has essentially learned Salesforce Administration backwards (I received the title of Salesforce Admin, then scrambled to learn how it works), I can vouch for having encountered some white-knuckled, fist-clenching troubleshooting challenges. At first, I allowed myself to succumb to my frustration. After all, how could I not have all the answers? However, in my short time as a Salesforce Admin, I have discovered that not only am I not alone, but there are a ton of resources at my finger tips to help me as I navigate through my learning. Throughout my experience, I have picked up 3 tips that have been essential to my process:
1.Repeat After Me: “Google is My Friend”
Aw, Google. It is a powerful tool. When I started, I had never used Salesforce and most of my fellow colleagues were also beginners, so finding answers was a challenge. Prior to being able to solidify any actual Salesforce education opportunities and link up with other, more senior Admins, googling for answers to my inquiries was basically the only resource I had. Thanks to those many searches, I was able to bookmark a couple of targeted sites that I still constantly use in my search to solve Salesforce mysteries:
Salesforce Trailblazer Community: If you are just getting started and are not already familiar with the primary success site for Salesforce, this is a great place to start. This website is strictly built to ensure your success as an admin. There are sections of the website that you will heavily utilize:
–Help: This is a section where you can find articles related to a massive amount of inquiries you may have on Salesforce topics ranging from functionality, to best practices, to correct implementation and customization. I visit this site daily.
–Answers: More than likely, you are not the only Admin who has had a specific Salesforce question, and that’s one of the things I love about the Answers section. Here, you can search for an inquiry and will find several admins who have asked the same or similar question, as well as several potential solutions. Often times, a “best answer” is also chosen by the original poser of the question, giving you a better idea of what solution actually worked.
–Collaboration: I will cover this section in Tip #2.
Downdetector: If you have ever experienced an outage of any kind, you know how frustrating it can be. Multiply that frustration by the number of users in your company, and you’ve got a real problem on your hands. Salesforce recently experienced a pretty epic outage and in my search to understand and explain why this was occurring, I located Downdetector.com. This website will not only tell you if Salesforce is experiencing issues, but you can connect with other Salesforce Admins around the world who are providing live updates of their outage challenges.
Moral of the story is, never be ashamed to ask Google. Even at your most experienced as an Admin, you’re never going to have all the answers.
2.Connect with the Salesforce Trailblazer community…..and Tap into Their Knowledge
This, by far, has been the most important step in my Salesforce journey. One of the most unique and fantastic qualities about Salesforce is the vast community of admins and developers who, once you connect with them through various forums, are readily available to help you when you get stuck. One thing that continues to blow my mind is, these people have their own jobs and responsibilities, and yet everyone still makes time to push each other along. Not sure how to start connecting with fellow admins? See some suggestions below:
- Salesforce Trailblazer Community – Collaboration: the Collaboration tab of the Salesforce Trailblazer Community website is a great place to start fostering connections. Once you create your profile, you will be able to start connecting with fellow admins and follow various subject forums targeted at networking and troubleshooting. You will also be able to join user groups in your area that are most applicable to your use case.
- Salesforce User Groups: making connections online is a good starting point, but I highly recommend attending monthly user group meetings. Attending these meetings has been beyond beneficial to my Salesforce development. You can bring any issues you are currently troubleshooting to discuss with your fellow admins, and it’s the perfect opportunity to network and highlight any Salesforce-related needs your company is currently facing. I’ve made invaluable connections through these user groups, and have even been able to land educational opportunities and found people who were willing to mentor me along the way. You can search for groups that best apply to your use case here.
- Slack Channels and Study Groups: these resources are incredibly helpful, but they are also resources you have to tap into through connecting with other admins. This is another reason I suggest attending user group meetings. If I could use an analogy, attending these meetings is like starting to build your Salesforce web: you could potentially connect with a Salesforce admin, who then could lead you to a number of opportunities, several resources, and if you’re lucky, many more connections, further building your web. Truthfully, I don’t know what I would have done if an admin hadn’t taken mercy on me and invited me to a couple Salesforce Slack channels (often referred to as Slackforce channels). Additionally, some user groups have an admin kind enough to offer a weekly study group to help you review what struggles you are having. Ask around and see what resources you can locate.
As a self-described awkward soul, I know this kind of outreach can feel uncomfortable and, well, awkward initially. To that end I tell you, get uncomfortable and awkward. Anyone I’ve met thus far has been nothing but welcoming and generous with their knowledge.
3.Have Patience With Your Learning Experience – and Yourself – As You Grow Your Skills
This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn. Taking on Salesforce Administration when I didn’t even know the jargon, much less how to build or customize anything in my org, was incredibly intimidating at first. Furthermore, my fellow colleagues were relying on me to guide them through the best way to use it, and I didn’t have enough answers to understand it myself. Keep in mind, you have to cut yourself some slack. The reality is, learning Salesforce and becoming an efficient admin is hard. For me it certainly does not come intuitively, but I really enjoy being an admin, and that’s one of the things that continues to push me to learn more. I suggest you locate your primary source of motivation to be the best admin you can be and tap into it when you’re having your deepest doubts about your capabilities. I’ll leave you with the best advice I have received thus far: the best way to continue building your skills is to just keep going.
For more Salesforce educational resources, this Geckoboard article has a great overview of what’s available, both for free and at a cost.