It’s true. Salesforce Administrators juggle a lot of priorities. At different times admins may be providing user support, configuration, project management, and even documentation (when you get a chance). So, when you have so many different priorities pulling at you, how do you work in a way that sets you up for success? Here we talk through the top 4 characteristics of a successful Salesforce Administrator, so you can lean into those skills and set yourself up for being a successful Salesforce admin.
Let’s define success
First off, let’s talk about what success looks like for you. Is it that you’ll move up into a higher level position, that you’ll increase your salary, or is it that you won’t have to hide under your desk when someone asks you a question (we’ve all been there)? Whatever your version of success is we can find some common characteristics that everyone is striving for.
In this article, we’re going to paint the picture of success as not only surviving in an administrator role but thriving. It’s that moment when you walk into work and say, “I love what I do, I’m good at it, and I could do this forever.” That is the definition of success! Some of you may already be there. Congratulations, that’s awesome! However, others reading this may feel like that moment is a long way off. So let’s take a look at the top characteristics you can identify to help you get to that pinnacle of success.
The top 4 characteristics:
Nat Turner once said, “Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.” We all know the effects of broken communication, but can you identify a time when you saw great communication solve big problems? Often times admins can get so deep into solving a user’s problem that we forget to communicate the solution to the broader staff so that others understand the issue as well. That is why we need to consciously make the effort to make sure we over-communicate any system changes, field changes, or even page layout changes.
As we highlight this number one characteristic we realize that creating a communication plan can solve a lot of headaches down the road. Take some time to think through the ways in which you can provide better communication to the users you support. Perhaps that’s through a documented change log you post online, developing a RACI matrix for your organization to help inform the correct people, or even just taking a minute to tell coworkers how you plan to communicate changes. After all, communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.
2) Problem Solving
As you grow into a Salesforce administrator role and the Salesforce org that you support becomes more complex, problem-solving is a critical function. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but problem-solving skills don’t come overnight. They’re earned through experience and time. The good news, though, is that there are a lot of techniques and resources out there for developing this skill. In fact the Harvard Business Review broke problem-solving down into five steps.
- Define the problem
- Generate solutions
- Evaluate solutions
- Pick a solution
- Make a plan
These steps are a great place to get started when it comes to solving the complex problems that can arise in Salesforce. In fact, we’d even add that step A is the most important step to spend time on. Often times the problem that a user says they’re having isn’t the actual problem they’re experiencing. Speaking the language of the user is important.
Problem-solving takes time to master, but the more you do it the quicker you become and the better you get at it.
3) Technical skills
There are a number of resources available to help any admin become better. Trailhead is a prime example of the amazing resources Salesforce has developed to support those working within the platform every day. As you dive into the trails and earn badges you’ll gain a new understanding of the platform and what it can do. There’s not a Salesforce Admin on the planet that knows everything about the platform, so take a look at the areas that interest you and make it a goal to continue to grow your skills through monthly learning sessions.
The fourth and final characteristic of a successful admin is flexibility. While all employees need to be flexible in their positions Admins especially need to be flexible. Since you will be wearing multiple hats depending on the day, hour, or even minute, we recommend doing your best to plan out your day with gaps for the unexpected.
If you’re a task-driven person who needs a running checklist each day to stay on track, we’d encourage you to add a couple of extra empty checkboxes to that list. Those empty checkboxes are places where new tasks can arise throughout the day and you already have space for them. The best part about it is if you get to the end of the day and no new tasks came up, then you have two free checkboxes to mark off. What a way to end the working day!
As you look back at the 4 characteristics don’t feel like you have to have all four mastered today. These are areas every Salesforce administrator is growing. If tackling all four together seems overwhelming, then pick one to work on each month for the next four months. You’ll be amazed at the growth you’ll see over the course of those months.
The most important thing, though, is to recognize and celebrate the ways you’re growing as a Salesforce Administrator. Each person has their own definition of what being successful looks like, but at the end of the day, if you can look back and say “I love my job, I’m good at it, and I could do this forever” then you’re on the right path to become a very successful Salesforce Administrator.
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