The one thing that I wish was available to me when I first started on my Salesforce.com Admin Journey was a list of helpful apps to make my life easier. When I reminisce to my first attempt to be an administrator to Salesforce.com 7+ years ago, I cringe a little bit.
I was in a small direct marketing firm and I was asked to set up and administer Salesforce.com because I was the youngest person in the company. Those of you who’ve been a part of a small company knows the mentality. It’s all hands on deck and job descriptions are loose definitions of what will be required.
The discussion to make me the admin went like this:
“John, you know about computers, right? Do you think you can set up Salesforce for the sales team?”
I gladly accepted the challenge but it was a struggle. I am one of those professionals that bridge the gap between the millennials and the boomers. The Huffington Post describes the small segment of my generation as the “Oregon Trail” Generation (people born between ‘81 and ‘86). We grew up with the internet, we were there for first dialup modems and America Online. Everyone who is older than us automatically assumes people of our age have a built in ability to code or develop.
This is why I was asked, “You’re good with computers, right?” and not “Do you know how to architect a cloud based database?”
I don’t even know how to begin to answer the question, “You’re good with a computer, right?”
“Uhhh, I mean, I guess so?”
That was a long intro on how to be an effective Salesforce.com Administrator, but I’m always surprised how many people have a similar story on how they fell into their position. Admins seem to rarely have tech backgrounds. The degrees that admins receive range from social work to finance, teaching to communications, and theater to history. There is no set path to becoming a salesforce.com administrator.
When I was asked to set-up salesforce.com there was no “how to” book or a copy of “Salesforce.com admin for dummies”. There were forums and google and a really helpful community that surrounded the platform. But, if you were like me and you like to figure things out on your own, these add-ons and apps for Salesforce.com should be your first tools on being effective.
This is a plugin for Chrome that shows you the API name of any field in salesforce.com. I can’t tell you how many times I was attempting to integrate an app or map fields and having to keep multiple screens up just to match the API name and the field label.
What Boostr will do is allow you to see the API name by hovering over the label name. It is easily turned on and off, and it can take you to the field within setup with the click of a button. This feature will cut down on click and load times by taking you directly to the field you are looking to update instead of navigating through the setup screen.
How do we add Procurement objects to Salesforce.com?
How do we build a Higher Education objects into Salesforce.com?
How do we account for Budgets within Salesforce.com?
How do we link these new objects with our existing architecture?
These are the type of open ended questions that Admins face regularly when dealing with Management. Most of the common business practices have already been thought out by the Salesforce.com Team and are offered free on the App exchange.
These are also “Managed Apps” which means if you can make changes in the developer console. The developer console will have to be a discussion for a more advanced blog post later.
The first questions I was asked from executives is, who is and who isn’t using Salesforce.com?
Well I knew how to show management, who was logging into Salesforce.com but I couldn’t figure out who was using Salesforce effectively.
By installing and customizing this dashboard, executives have the ability to see with the click of a button who on their sales team is using salesforce.com effectively.
Now a discussion should be had with your management team to determine what “effective use of salesforce.com” is for your organization. For different companies or in some cases different sales teams within a company. So an inside sales rep might have a different definition of effective use of Salesforce compared to an outside sales rep.
Workbench is a free and powerful tool for admins and developers. Some of the features represented on here are akin to the Apex Dataloader but it can do so much more. What I personally like to use it for is the adhoc SOQL Queries.
SOQL Queries works the same way as SQL but it is specific to Salesforce. If you want to run mini reports on newly added data or newly created fields, this works great. It circumvents the reporting feature and allows you to report on fields that are not reportable in the Salesforce.com reporting features.
Reporting on Users and roles and profiles is one of the best features of Workbench. You can see who belongs to what Role which you can’t do using Salesforce.com reporting.
I tend to use it when I am having a difficult time to getting a report to display what I want when I know the data is in the system or when I need a count of the records in the system.
John Romano Jr.
Sr. Salesforce.com Consultant
Certified Sales Cloud Consultant
Certified Salesforce.com Administrator