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Part 1: The Many ‘Hats’ of a Salesforce Administrator


Sarah Dallimore - January 9, 2017 - 6 comments

The responsibility of managing Salesforce in organisations of 50 or less employees tends to rest on one pair of shoulders. Sometimes even just the one shoulder when your role is split between that and say for example, IT Support. And with this responsibility, comes not just wonderful opportunities (exposure across your entire organisation; increased knowledge; skills development; role variety etc.) but also constant challenges and frustrations.

Whether you stepped into the role with previous Salesforce experience, achieved it by default due to your natural aptitude for using the application or got lumped with it because no one else wanted it, one thing is certain: to be successful you need to be comfortable wearing several different ‘hats’!

We begin Part 1 of this series by providing you with a summary on the various ‘hats’ an effective Salesforce Administrator wears. Our top tips on the best way to excel regardless of what ‘hat’ you are wearing will follow in Part 2, released next week.

Hat 1: Salesforce Administrator

This is your core responsibility: being the resident Salesforce Guru, which can include anything from setting up users; keeping data clean; creating fields; workflows; reports etc. The objective is to ensure that Salesforce aligns with your business processes and ultimately provides optimum efficiency. You will often be taking requests from users on what they need achieved therefore you need to be comfortable advising them on a solution that both meets their requirements and aligns with Salesforce best practice.
However, ask yourself, “Are the changes you make fully utilising the Salesforce application and available features? Are you continually learning new things about Salesforce?” If the answer is ‘not sure’ or ‘no’ then don’t worry – we will give you a great tip on how to start achieving this in Part 2.

Hat 2: Trainer

You will often have to run numerous workshops with users to get them up to speed with processes and changes. In my opinion, it is VITAL that this happens. Understanding the process and the reasons why it needs to be followed vastly improves user adoption, reduces the number of errors and ultimately make your life easier in the long-term. You should be documenting as much as possible so that there is always a reference point, for both yourselves and other users. It can also be handy (and a great time-saver for yourself!) to identify ‘Salesforce Champions’ within the business so that they can provide that more hands-on support to their team members. Depending on the size of your organisation and the volume of changes happening, training can often take up a lot of your time. Next week we will share our tips on how to become as efficient as possible wearing this ‘hat’.

Hat 3: Business Analyst

Business Analysis can sometimes be overlooked within organisations, but if a project is going to have a relatively high impact, for example it will affect all users then I would highly suggest going through a requirements gathering process. By understanding what needs to be achieved you can effectively design and implement a solution that will meet it. The alternative is the risk of having to possibly re-do all the work to meet those requirements initially missed out! These workshops can often result in a never-ending list of requirements – find out in Part 2, how you can effectively sort and prioritise them.

Hat 4: Project Manager

Some Salesforce initiatives you carry out will be ran as mini-projects due to the resources being used to complete and the impact it will have on the business. In smaller organisation this responsibility will often fall on you. Your approach will of course vary depending on the size of the project but if the only resource being used to complete the work is yourself and there will be no external costs involved then it will be quite informal. Don’t forget to put on your Business Analyst ‘hat’ before commencing any project! More tips to follow in Part B.

Hat 5: Change Manager

Effective Change Management should work in hand with a Salesforce Administrator role as you will often be making changes to existing processes as well as adding new ones. Some of these changes might be small, for example you have changed the location of an existing field on a certain page layout… simple for you, but when a user is in a rush and trying to complete a record and can’t find that field… they won’t just let you know about it, they will often tell fellow colleagues and possibly their manager about their frustrations and the next thing you know, a simple change has escalated into this big problem! Keep it simple – as long as you understand the impact the changes will have then you can put together an effective communication plan. Part 2 will give you some tips on how to maximise your communication efforts.

Hat 6: Salesforce Ambassador

This is all about driving Salesforce within the organisation and letting people know how amazing / life-changing it is! Don’t underestimate the importance of wearing this hat – by getting users on board (in particular key stakeholders who control spend!), can provide you with a sometimes easier path, for example, to get funding for an App in the App Exchange. And let’s be easy – being positive and excited about Salesforce is a very easy thing to do! Find out in Part 2 how you can also help turn your users into fellow Salesforce Ambassadors.

Hat 7: Support

Often the least enjoyable part of the role as it usually means you have a frustrated user requiring ‘urgent’ assistance. Try and learn not to drop everything you are doing as soon as you receive a support request – otherwise you will never get anything done, plus it will set that expectation with users that they will always get an immediate response (great for them of course, but terrible for your productivity!). Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce the amount of time you spend providing support and also come out as the hero at the end of it. Find out more in Part 2.

How many of those ‘hats’ are you wearing?! Are there any we have missed? If so let us know and we’ll make sure to include it in Part 2 with our top tips on how excel in that ‘hat’!

6 comments

  1. Great article! A year ago, I was one developer on a team of about three. Now, I am one of one. Wearing all these hats and probably a few more!

    • Sarah Dallimore

      Thanks Christopher! Appreciate the feedback. Let us know if there is anything in particular you would like us to write about. Have a good day

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