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Salesforce Admin Tips: How to Deliver Success for Your Company

Cloudy, the Salesforce Admin mascot, sitting up a bench and working on her laptop
Salesforce Admins deliver results. Use these four tips to deliver success.

Jennifer Lee is the Lead Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and has 10+ years of Salesforce experience. Here she explains her top four tips for new Salesforce Admins.

Salesforce Admins have the power to deliver success for their companies. How do they do it? Here are my four Salesforce Admin tips to deliver success for your organization.

1. Hone your skills

To be a great Salesforce Admin, it’s not just about having great technical skills. Technical + soft skills = admin success! The Salesforce Admins Skills Kit features 14 skills Salesforce Admins need to be successful in today’s world.

Here are two important soft skills to have throughout your entire career as an admin, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned admin.

Learn to communicate well

Excellent written and verbal communication skills are important to have as a Salesforce Admin. You’ll use these soft skills to successfully collaborate with your business and technical stakeholders to design, configure, and implement changes in Salesforce. You’ll also use these skills to effectively interact with your end users to demo new features, troubleshoot reported issues, and handle requests. 

What’s good communication? Practice active listening, document, and share what you hear back to your business and technical stakeholders for agreement. Build trust with great communication skills and transparency. While I would love to deliver only good news to my stakeholders, there are times I cannot. I’ve found that when I communicate often, early on, with transparency and honesty, while providing a revised plan or alternatives, people appreciate the gesture, and the message is still well received. People like to be kept in the loop. This is not just one of my Salesforce Admin tips‌ — ‌it’s a great work-life tip, too.

Develop your Salesforce Admin communication skills

Have a Learner’s Mindset

One of the keys to my admin success is that I’m constantly learning and improving my skills and solutions for business challenges. By doing so, I’m more flexible and capable of change and growth. This has opened doors to new opportunities. Despite what you might think, I wasn’t born knowing Salesforce. 

It takes time, effort, patience, and practice. When a new release comes out, I write a blog about it. Not because I want to read 500+ pages of release notes, but because I want to understand the new features and use them in a pre-release sandbox. 

If there’s a new topic or feature I want to learn more about, I head to Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform to complete a project or work on a module. The more you know about Salesforce and how it can help your business, the more valuable you are to your company. 

You can find some great resources on the Salesforce Admins website, the Salesforce Admins YouTube channel, and Trailhead, along with some helpful community resources you can find by googling the topic + Salesforce. 

Jen’s Tip: I’ve taken things I’ve learned about and started building apps in my Developer Edition org (org is a term for a Salesforce environment), which I can use in my personal life or to try out new features that my company isn’t ready to invest in. But when they are, I’ll be ready because I have the experience of building it in my org and can hit the ground running.

Events are a great learning resource as well, whether they are Salesforce hosted – World Tours, TrailblazerDX, or Dreamforce to name a few or community-driven events, local user groups or community conferences, they are a great place to learn from Salesforce and practitioners like you! Trailblazer Community groups and Ohana Slack are also good places to learn virtually from others.

2. Always be release-ready

The first handheld mobile phone was made in 1973, weighing 4.4 LBS (yikes). They were big and clunky when first invented, but with constant innovation, mobile phones became lighter, sleeker, and even smarter.

Imagine if we just stopped at the initial invention? Who’d have thought in 1973 that you could take pictures, record videos, and access apps from your mobile phone one day? Companies and people who choose not to innovate are eventually left in the dust. 

Salesforce is constantly innovating with three major releases a year. One of the most crucial Salesforce Admin tips is that a successful admin stays on top of the latest features, reads the release notes, stays on the pulse of upcoming changes; is proactive in incorporating these changes in their org, understands the impact on their business, and takes advantage of new features to move the company forward. 

You are the Salesforce advocate, the trusted advisor for your company. Feeling a bit overwhelmed? The Admin Relations team is here to help. Our Release Resources page is YOUR headquarters for all things to make sure you’re release ready, including our Admin Preview Live (highlighting the features we think are important to admins and your users.) 

Conduct your own release readiness meetings with a lunch and learn 

Here’s my recipe to take release readiness to the next level at your company.

  • Highlight features and enhancements you think are important for your technology and business users to be aware of 
  • Bring the features to life by demoing them in a pre-release org 
  • Show your admins and developers how to configure the new features in Setup 
  • Suggest using new features to help your business increase productivity and efficiency 
  • Don’t be afraid to go back to review the solutions you built previously 

With new knowledge and more innovative features, I’m sure you can improve these solutions to make them more maintainable, performant, and less clunky. Join the Release Readiness Trailblazer Community Group to stay up to date on the latest and greatest.

3. Establish great habits

Salesforce Admins build, configure, and automate technology solutions to deliver value. You deliver on four core responsibilities: supporting users, managing data, maintaining security standards, and delivering functional analytics. Your successful admin career begins with knowing your core responsibilities and creating repeatable habits. The Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins Trailhead module dives into each of the four core responsibilities and the habits you can develop to be an #AwesomeAdmin. 

4. Build, test, and debug in a sandbox before production

Okay, admins, I left the most important tip for last. Regardless of the size of your org, you should always build and test in a sandbox first before deploying to production.* What’s with the asterisk at the end of the sentence? For the most part, I stand firm in that statement, with a few small exceptions, which I’ll get to in a sec. 

Production is where your users, customers, and integrations to other systems work. It is not a place where you should be building new things that aren’t ready for prime time.

Let’s take, for example, a new production of a Broadway show. They don’t open the doors for people to watch as they build and tweak the sets and costumes, and performers rehearse the music and lines, right? These things are done behind closed doors, behind the scenes. The same thing applies to what you build. You want to build and configure in a sandbox first. Then, you must debug and test enhancements to ensure they work as expected.

Identify your trusted users, and use them

It’s best to engage a few of your trusted users to perform user testing. This way, you ensure the feature works as expected and, if necessary, allow for time to make any tweaks to fix issues before you put it into the hands of all your users for smoother user adoption.

If you build things like automation directly in production, the automation interacts with your production data. As a effect, you might inadvertently change production data that your users, customers, and external systems use. When you build and test in a sandbox, you’re using data that’s safe to update for testing purposes. If you build or update automation or validation rules, or if you have triggers on impacted objects, be sure to run Apex tests in your sandbox to ensure your flows and validation rules don’t unintentionally break existing code. 

A benefit of running Apex test classes in a sandbox before deploying your changes to production is that it’s a dress rehearsal for when you deploy in production as Apex test classes will run. This way, you ensure that you’re deployment-ready. 

You don’t want to find out as you’re pushing out your new features that a test class fails and your deployment needs to be canceled until the Apex class is updated to resolve the failure. 

*Now, back to the asterisk. Here’s a short list of the things I believe you can do directly in production.

  • Create/manage users
  • Make low-risk configuration changes that won’t break Salesforce, such as managing list views, reports, and dashboards

How I Solved This: Populating Sandboxes with Flow

In this series, we do a deep dive into a specific business problem and share how one #AwesomeAdmin chose to solve it.

What are your Salesforce Admin tips?

All right, admins. There you have it, my top four Salesforce Admin tips for your admin success. Hone your skills. Always be release-ready. Establish great habits. And lastly, build, test, and debug in a sandbox before production. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Reach out to Salesforce Admins on X at @SalesforceAdmns or on in the Admin Trailblazers Trailblazer Community group and let me know your top tips for admin success.

Jennifer Lee Lead Admin Evangelist

Jennifer Lee is a Lead Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and host of Automate This! on the Salesforce Admins YouTube channel with 10+ years of Salesforce experience. She’s an advocate for Salesforce Admins sharing best practices and technical content and is a passionate #Flownatic. Jen is also a certified Salesforce Application Architect and an All-Star Ranger. She enjoys hiking, biking, and traveling with her partner and her pomeranian Mochi.

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