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What Is a Salesforce Admin?

Learn what a Salesforce Administrator is, and what they do to create a vital bridge between business and technology.

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Salesforce administrators help users get the most out of Salesforce technology. [®TRINETTE REED/Stocksy]

Salesforce helps over 150,000 customers across a myriad of businesses, nonprofits, and institutions to connect with their customers. People around the world rely on our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to keep business running. The Salesforce Administrator in any of these organizations is critical for success. Read on to learn:

  • What is a Salesforce Admin?
  • What does a Salesforce Admin do?
  • How to become a Salesforce Admin
  • Career prospects and opportunities for Salesforce Administrators
  • What credentials and certifications are necessary for the job?

What is a Salesforce Administrator?

Salesforce Administrators work with stakeholders to define system requirements and customize the platform. To put it simply, they enable users to get the most out of Salesforce technology.

A Salesforce Admin best understands how to make the platform work for their company’s goals.

Some organizations may employ just one admin; some employ many people in this role. A Salesforce Administrator’s colleagues can rely on them to:

  • Maintain the platform
  • Make it as easy as possible for users of any technical level to use Salesforce
  • Stay updated on the platform’s new tools, capabilities, and updates

Think of Salesforce Administrators as your trusted advisors on all things Salesforce. They are a vital bridge between business and technology.

What does a Salesforce Administrator do?

At some organizations, administrator jobs are combined with other roles. Depending on their needs, some hire for this role specifically. Because of our platform’s capabilities, having someone with an admin certification (more on that in a minute) can ensure the company is using the platform to its fullest potential.

Take, for example, your sales team. They might use Sales Cloud to keep track of opportunities and close deals. With the help of a Salesforce Admin, your salespeople can set up personalized dashboards, fields, alerts, and reports to shorten the sales cycle and track every lead in greater detail. This level of organization can lead to greater satisfaction among salespeople and new customers.

As our Trailblazers continue to grow and impact business, Salesforce Admin jobs will grow, too. Our research shows a 400% annual growth rate for admins and an average U.S. starting salary of $79,000.

And that’s just one department. We have solutions for just about every team in a company, including sales, marketing, customer service, and more. Each department can learn from the Salesforce Admin how to use our platform most effectively.

How to become a Salesforce Admin

You do not need a technical background or knowledge of Salesforce technology to begin. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection anywhere in the world can get trained via Trailhead, our free online learning platform designed to teach new students and seasoned professionals a wide variety of business skills. Best of all, learning to become a Salesforce Admin happens online and on your schedule. 

To find work as an admin, you must prepare and study, and then pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. Absolute beginners kick things off by learning what the Salesforce platform is and what it does, and then build on that learning in a series of engaging modules. We estimate that it takes around 115–125 hours of study and preparation to pass.

Career prospects and opportunities for Salesforce Admins

As our Trailblazers continue to grow and impact business, Salesforce Admin jobs will grow, too. Our research shows a 400% annual growth rate for admins and an average U.S. starting salary of $79,000. It’s a career path for people who love to learn and for professionals who enjoy using the latest technology.

Some people who earn their Salesforce Administrator Certificate do so to supplement their current role in a company – and potentially secure a higher salary. Others use it to enrich their resume and find a new position. Many companies across industries and of different sizes use Salesforce, including retailers, nonprofits, financial services, healthcare providers, software companies, and businesses that provide a service.

Salesforce Administrator credentials and certifications

Becoming a Salesforce Admin can be a valuable long-term career path, or a way to improve the career path you’re already on. The Salesforce Administrator role has five credentials, including:

  • Administrator – designed for those who have experience with Salesforce and continuously look for ways to help companies get additional features and capabilities
  • Advanced Administrator – for seasoned Salesforce Administrators who have mastered advanced Salesforce features and functionality to solve a variety of business problems
  • CPQ Specialist  –  for individuals with experience designing, building, and implementing quoting flows with Salesforce Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ), technology used to organize sales teams
  • Marketing Cloud Administrator – for administrators who configure and troubleshoot configuration and user requests in Marketing Cloud, including subscriber data management and Setup navigation
  • Platform App Builder – for those skilled in designing, building, and implementing custom applications

You can also pick up a few Superbadges along the way to indicate extra learning concentrations in topics such as Business Administration Specialist and Security Specialist.

Examples of the concepts you’ll learn during study for the certification exam include:

  • Managing users, data, and security
  • Maintaining and customizing Sales Cloud and Service Cloud apps
  • Building reports, dashboards, and workflows

Note that in addition to becoming a Salesforce Admin, other paths of study exist to help professionals learn and demonstrate their capability with our platform. You may also want to consider certifications to become a Salesforce Architect, Developer, Marketer, Consultant, or Designer.

To become a credentialed Salesforce Administrator, you don’t need any other certifications. However, if you choose to become an Advanced Administrator, you’ll need to start with your Administrator Certificate. The Advanced Administrator exam builds on your Salesforce Admin knowledge and deepens it.

Before scheduling your exam, we recommend that candidates have at least six months to one year of experience using Salesforce.

How to prepare for the Salesforce Administrator certification exam

Future admins have a few options to prepare for their credentials. To complement the Trailhead courses, Trailhead also has a community of fellow learners; members are known as Trailblazers. You can join the Trailblazer Community to learn together, find answers, and collaborate.

Administrators can also learn from the Salesforce Admin YouTube channel with videos that show what the role entails, as well as recorded webinars and educational videos. (You can also get tips on how to pass the exam.)

Other online and offline resources include blog posts, podcasts, and virtual programming and in-person events that are updated often and spark some inspiring conversation.

With the help of a Salesforce Admin, your salespeople can set up personalized dashboards, fields, alerts, and reports to shorten the sales cycle and track every lead in greater detail. This level of organization can lead to greater satisfaction among salespeople and new customers.

Once you’ve gone through the courses and steps on Trailhead to learn and study for the certification, familiarize yourself with the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam Guide.

When you’re ready, it’s time to sign up for the exam. The test can be taken in-person or online.  It includes 60 multiple-choice or multiple-select questions and five non-scored questions. Test takers have 105 minutes, or just over an hour and a half, and they must score 65% or higher to pass. There is a fee to take and retake the exam.

After you pass the test, you’re a certified Salesforce administrator, and your career opportunities have expanded. But your learning doesn’t stop there. Maintain your certification on a specific schedule to keep your knowledge, skills, and abilities current.

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