A couple of months ago I joined over 25 other business / program architects to attend the first Salesforce advisory bootcamp, and based on early outcomes, it was a huge success and clearly points the way forward for onboarding new talent into a crucial and client-facing advisory role.

If you're in a sales role, you might want to also check out this winning sales approach hardly any reps use article for another view point on becoming a trusted advisor.

The following are 5 key ingredients for transforming a set of deeply experienced experts into trusted advisors:

1. Have a clear vision and plan

How do you quickly scale an existing team of outstanding advisors with additional talent who can be rapidly equipped to deliver a world-class service, in a consistent and repeatable way? This was the key challenge facing bootcamp organizers who responded with a clear vision and roadmap for achieving that objective based on a 4-week immersive bootcamp experience.

2. Work with first class talent

Course attendees - consisted of highly experienced new hires with decades of collective real world experience / expertise in every aspect of business and technology delivery, advisory and leadership. Fellow attendees included former CxOs, Directors, Chief architects, entrepreneurs and consultants, as well as experts in various emerging fields (e.g. IoT connected farms). It's fair to say attendees learnt as much from each other as they did from the course.

Course professors - Salesforce Program Architects and Business Architects are highly regarded for their extensive platform knowledge, assured expertise and get-it-done capabilities. The bootcamp delivered 4 weeks of guided instruction, facilitation and coaching by an all-star cast of Salesforce Certified Technical Architects (CTAs) & Business Architects, along with several guest execs and leaders who never failed to inspire with their knowledge, humility and kindness.

3. Invest in nothing but the best 

Location & amenities - Choose a strategic location, with enough separation from typical office environment, or city centre distractions, in order to avoid any slip back into regular ‘work’ or ‘social’ modes. However, ensure there are enough amenities available or within a short distance to cater to everyone’s need for the duration. The Bootcamp I attended was based in Orlando’s Lake Buena Vista, and despite recent tragic events in the city, it was an excellent venue that ticked all the boxes, particularly for visiting family members.

Training resources and materials - Collect and collate all best practice materials, customer success stories, success methodologies, techniques and any relevant training material. Create a shared repository and collaboration channels e.g. Private Chatter groups and shared Google drives for the community.

4. Provide in-depth simulation and real CxO experience 

The curriculum included 2 challenging days of CxO training delivered by Youd-Andrews, a leading provider of business simulation experiential learning services. It involved an extended role play that covered the entire lifecycle of a typical CxO level engagement, complete with real life CxOs who observed, coached/mentored and provided honest, unvarnished feedback to attendees about critical CxO skills and techniques. For me, this was the deal clincher as it’s a mandatory skill for trusted advisors to interact with key business stakeholders at the highest levels and to make a point without resorting to tech speak. 

5. Nurture a fun and self-sustaining network of experts

One great outcome of the bootcamp experience was a shared sense of community and fellowship with a globally diverse set of individuals based on shared experience and common perspective / growth trajectory. The network is alive and well, and proving rather valuable as many of us start to engage with real clients in the role we’ve become even better equipped to deliver. No request, question, or achievement is too small to be ignored by the collective wisdom that is emerging from this high value network, and long may it continue.

Finally, and given the resounding success of this first advisory bootcamp, it is not surprising that a few more are already in the works, including the next one only a few weeks away. In addition to the key insights and lessons learnt from the preceding bootcamp, subsequent ones will provide even further opportunity to improve and enhance the experience, so I say to those lucky enough to secure a spot on future advisory bootcamps, you are in for a treat! 

If you're interested in finding out about career opportunities at Salesforce, please do check out our Careers site and perhaps I'll see you at a future bootcamp!