If you relish the thought of being the go-to Salesforce expert, then Salesforce consultant Heather Black of Supermums. org has some fascinating thoughts on what will make you an Awesome Salesforce Admin, and tricks and tips to get you there!
The 4 Essential Roles
First off, I like to think that there are four roles that an excellent admin has to take on. I call these The Guardian (security management), The Doctor (system management), The House Keeper (data management) and The Leader (CRM Road map).
The Guardian is all about security. Here we are talking about the security of people’s data.
The big thing we need to be asking ourselves is who needs access to what and who doesn’t? If people can access the system how can we make sure they only see what they should be seeing? Leaving your data vulnerable to a security breach means that you may also be at risk of personal liabilities, reputation damage, and even financial penalties.
So how do you navigate this?
I have some steps you can take to keep your data safe:
- Run a security health check (which you can find in your setup menu). This will run a report and provide you with guidance and a list of actions.
- Create a custom domain for your company’s Salesforce instance using the mydomain functionality. At Economic Change, for instance, we log in through economic change/salesforce which provides an extra level of security.
- Have password policies in place. Hopefully you have a designated GDPR person who is in charge of password policies (or this may even be you) who knows best practices, how to create hard to hack passwords and reminds people to change their passwords regularly.
- Security policies. Decide who can access what and when and if there are any limitations – during certain times for instance, or only from certain IP addresses. These should be decided by someone who has a wide view of the organization – this could be you or someone else.
- Look at your backup options for Salesforce. You may have the default scheduled export of data but this is a spreadsheet and not particularly useful if you need to restore quickly and easily. We rely on Own Backup, which means that a restore can be with little to no hassle. For our organization, we set up an automated, weekly scheduled, backup. Backups are vital! Imagine what damage a disgruntled employee could do if they decided to delete something and you couldn’t restore it to what you need without a lot of difficulties.
- Monitor security breaches. First, think about the protocol when someone leaves and make sure that they no longer have access to any of the systems or data. Next, think about what each user can see – what do they need to see and what do they not need to see? Log in as each user so you can really know, hand on heart, what they have access to, and whether that could be a potential security breach. You should be doing this anyway as part of user design and set up. Go through each user and decide what objects, record types, etc. they really need to be able to access and only give them those permissions. You can also create an audit log that allows you to track what people are doing and accessing. Obviously this needs to be used wisely, you don’t want people to feel that they are being spied upon. You need to decide what a data breach would be and how you would monitor that.
- Take advantage of tools on the AppExchange that can track changes to fields and track these like a video.
- If you hold personal data, ask what is the method of consent? You should only really have the details people have agreed to you keeping (unless these are in the public domain, which is different). Who owns this personal data and when do you delete it if it is no longer useful or needed? If you are just putting in data that’s been found and you don’t have consent then what will you do about this? You need to know why the data is there and why and how it’s being used.
Suggested Trailhead – Protect Your Salesforce Data
I like to think of the doctor as someone who runs health checks, diagnosing and fixes bugs and issues.
I always think good admins have a consultant’s mindset and treat the organization as their customer. They run their service like a customer service desk, documenting and logging problems, pain-points and then solutions. This is a wonderful way to prove your worth as of course those who don’t use or understand Salesforce may not be able to see and comprehend all that you do and recognize its value. This is where you should have the mindset of “I am a consultant, but in-house”.
As a doctor, health checks are your responsibility. If these are not done, automation can fail which means emails may not happen: the sales team may not get any alerts and thereby not realize that there are good leads to follow up on or customers may miss out on vital information. Either way, you are leaving yourself exposed to a risky situation of the potential loss of revenue or damage to your company’s reputation.
Managing your work like a consultant also means keeping a log of how long it takes to accomplish various tasks/projects. Have clear prioritization. Time-box things so that people understand how long things take and what’s been done. This also allows you to manage their expectations.
Also, although you might not be focusing on finances…perhaps you should. Be aware of how much things cost. This includes people, time, cost of licensing for apps and more. Don’t forget, people are paying you to be there and get these things done. All these will justify your reason for being here and get you into good habits if you want to move into consultancy.
You’ll ideally need to be doing:
- Critical updates – These should be flagged ups as they come up so take the time to resolve them as they arise.
- Latest releases – The latest releases are all on Trailhead. You’ll find that there are always new trails and badges being released. Go and do the exams and keep on top of all of these and share your successes and what you learn. Not everyone will do their trail so if you can summarise and let people know what’s new that will be very useful.
- NPSP releases – If you are in an organization that is using the NonProfit Success Pack, staying on top of the latest NPSP updates should be a top priority for you. These releases are quite regular. Also, make sure to stay on top of your NPSP Health Checks.
- Optimizer – this will improve features customization and is now available in an App that you can install to make life much easier.
- Field Audits – ask people what fields they are using and why and get rid of ones that aren’t needed. This really helps to tidy things up. We use an App called Field Trip that helps us do an audit of fields.
- Move to Lightning – Salesforce is really encouraging this and it’s worth getting on board as there are a lot more features if you’re not already using it.
- Error handling – Check all the different errors such as NPSP errors. Do a weekly or monthly check depending on how complex your system is. If error alerts go to a number of people you may not see them. If people are downloading third party Apps all over the place then you are setting yourself up for chaos when someone leaves. Set up a centralized email address that isn’t linked to any one individual, where these can be organized and forward details to a handful of people that need to know.
Keep record logs where you log and document all your cases. If anyone wants your help get them to submit a web to case form and respond to them. These already exist in Salesforce in the Service Console. This again will help to justify what you do and what have been the business benefits of the time you have spent on what.
When it comes to implementing, make sure you have a few Power Users who can help you and train others. Allocate time for each job, extending it to your Developer Team if necessary or Salesforce contract support provider if necessary. Think through who is going to take ownership.
Suggested Trailhead – Get Started with Service Cloud For User Experience
The House Keeper
- The House Keeper is all about data management and keeping your house in order. I often meet with organizations who say they don’t trust their data and it’s here that the House Keeper can really add value and help create trustworthy and usable data.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Consider your duplicate management. How will you identify duplicates and flag them? Salesforce can detect duplicates if people are logged in and adding manually but this can become a bit more challenging when people are filling in web forms that feed new data into Salesforce. You may need to do a deep cleanse to get rid of duplicates on a regular basis
- Salesforce has its own duplicate management tools, but you can also use Validity. Do you have duplicate reports and how often will you look at it?
- Merging. You have to decide when you will merge and when you won’t. Creating strong and easy to understand rules will be helpful here and you may need to decide this as a team.
- Data validation – what fields will you require? More isn’t necessarily better. If people have to input 10 fields to add a contact they just may not have all that info and vital contacts might never be added if your team doesn’t have the requisite data to populate your required fields.
- Create business rules. What are the required fields? That’s your starting point. What are your agreed core fields (i.e. the fields that are most useful to have)? How can you segment and know which mailing list to put them under? Again this should be a group conversation. What will define good quality data in your system? Once you decide, this has to be enforced from top-down or you will end up with dirty data once again.
- Will you use autofill (like Postcode finder) to help rule out unreliable data?
- Create a good quality system that everyone follows and police it as if people don’t follow the rules or else it will dissolve into chaos once again.
Trailhead: Data Quality
This is really about business analysis. As a leader, it’s all about following a vision and it’s your job to uncover that vision and then highlight the path and tools needed to get there. If you do this properly you very well may get rid of multiple systems, data solos, poor customer information, and bad business performance.
The questions you need to ask to create a business case are: What are the priorities for the organization? What’s the strategy? What do they want to achieve? What are their pain points and what’s stopping them from getting where they want to be?
Of course, you do need to be asking at a board level, but you need to also consider the challenges for the front line staff or delivery team.
Ask all of these questions before doing anything. Once you know what the organization wants and needs, you can then put together a business case that will get you high-level executive sponsorship and investment. It will also help you get agreed priorities, and buy into people using it.
It’s at this point that you can move on to giving them a demo that will show them how Salesforce will address their needs. People don’t understand all the different things Salesforce can do, so this demo is vital. You can then say this is the solution is and this is what you should be considering.
As you become a Leader, it’s important to work with other people. I’m still learning things from the people I work with. Get yourself a mentor. Build up a team of Power Users around you and train them to take some of the easy work off your hands. Showing other users how to do straightforward tasks is an easy way to allow yourself more time to deal with more substantial issues. Set up Salesforce “Lunch and Learns” every month and make sure you include your executive board members.
Trailhead: Innovate the Salesforce Way
Pulling it all Together
Create your own Admin project plan – what you need to do and when (e.g, weekly, every 6 months) and share it so that everyone can see the work you are putting in and can recognize that you’re on top of it and that you truly are an Awesome Salesforce Admin.