“There’s beauty in the chaos of learning a new skill - embracing Salesforce has been a satisfying and fun experience, while helping me bring more agility to the business.”

Katherine Duncan is an explorer who loves a road trip as much as a creative journey. From leading her team through digital transformations, to looking out for their health and safety, Katherine is a Trailblazer keeping her colleagues’ interests at the heart of change. We talked to Katherine about how she’s bringing better, faster processes to the business.

Tell us about your role at Steelworks Design

My role, like a lot of things at Steelworks Design, is varied and unique! I’m both sales administrator and health and safety coordinator. Every day is different, and that’s fantastic! I can be on site talking to a customer one minute, then training the team over a lunch and learn the next. I see my role as bringing people together and making the company a better place to work - whether that involves helping set up our new premises or customizing Salesforce to help the team work better.

How have you helped the company to prepare for Industry 4.0?

The next generation of technology is here, and we need to adapt to stay ahead of the game. But I see that as an opportunity, not a challenge. We don’t sell off-the-shelf products, so the way we do business is fundamentally different to other manufacturing and engineering firms. With a bit of creativity, we can take a product like Salesforce and customize it to completely meet our unique needs. For example, our quotes are complex, but I’ve been able to create a handful of templates the team can update and send out to customers, and automating more processes like that will help us work faster and smarter, and ultimately to grow as a business.

As a newcomer to Salesforce, how did you handle the implementation and customizations?

I first heard about Salesforce from an IT partner who laid out the groundwork of what we needed to do. From there I just jumped in and found out what I needed to know! I use Trailhead if I want to find out something specific or I need a refresher, and I’m also an active member of the Salesforce community. I’m never the first person to have a thought or a question, so it’s my go-to place for answers. It’s a great place to air suggestions for future improvements too. My team thinks of me as the Salesforce guru, but really it’s been super easy to put things together and connect the dots - even without much prior experience.

How have you found user adoption?

The key to user adoption is good communication. I train the team myself, as I understand how they work. The breakthrough moment was finding a way to connect with them - finding out what wasn’t working for them, then showing them how we could fix it with Salesforce. With a small team you can really get to know what speaks to each person and get the whole team working more effectively.

What advice would you give to other Trailblazers?

Lesson number one is get yourself on Trailhead! I wish I’d found it sooner. Apart from that, I think being willing to continuously work on improvements and customization is really important to keep your business adaptable and robust. Don’t be afraid to suss out your weaknesses or know when something’s not working, because in Salesforce you can try new things really easily. Right now we’re not resting on our laurels thinking we have the perfect platform, we’re always looking at how we can do better, whether that’s my team coming to me with new ideas, or taking inspiration from something I’ve seen in the Salesforce community. And the best part is, I know that if anyone comes to me with a suggestion, we can absolutely make it work in Salesforce. If you’re willing to get a little creative and learn some new skills, you’re set.