Salesforce Certification … To Take the Test or To Not Take the Test?

For me working within Salesforce has always been through Self-Taught means. For the past 7 years I have researched and watched numerous videos to learn and master various parts of Salesforce. I jumped into the deep end of the pool in in my current position almost 2 years ago learning more in my first 90 days than in the previous 5 years combined. The stress of my Project load on my first day almost had me fleeing the office, jumping onto the red line and heading home. Starting out with 18 new projects is most definitely a trial by fire when starting an intense new job with a long commute.

Weighing the Salesforce Certification test and what it would and would not mean for my career path has always been a bit of a conflict for me. The rational part of my brain knows I will pass the ADM 201 test with flying colors and I am more than able to do the same for the ADM 301 and DEV 401 as according to Salesforce’s own test description and advice. Unfortunately the part of my brain that suffered through two rounds of SAT tests in high school is reluctant to pay and take a test where I have a 2% chance of failing. Irrational much? Yes I know!

In my opinion the Salesforce Certification test is not an accurate portrayal of an Administrators knowledge and ability. Rationally it is not hard to pass a multiple choice test where you only need to pass 65% to become certified. When you look at it clearly it is a test with 100 multiple choices questions and you only have to guess 65 of those questions correctly. More likely the correct answers can be found not necessarily by knowledge and application but by memorization and logic. The new Salesforce Trailhead platform provides a well-rounded hands on based Salesforce training. The badges in Trailhead and the trails they have designed for specific job functions and features is a better gauge for understanding someone’s knowledge and ability.

Unfortunately there is a weight to having a specific Certification when you are in the job market and looking for a specific salary range or position and title with a new company. If one wants to be distinguished and stand out among the crowd having a certification is leg up and having more than one certification means someone is standing up and taking notice of you. With that said I have to squash my irrational fear of taking the Salesforce Certification test. I need to just sit down and do it. My nervousness and fear is unfounded and is just an excuse to avoid standing up and being someone who has distinguished herself and is demanding to be taken seriously. So to take the test or not to take the test is not really the question or quandary. When it comes down to it the real question is when do you take the test?

Related Articles:

http://certification.salesforce.com/
http://certification.salesforce.com/Administrators

Guide to passing all Salesforce certifications

Beginner’s Guide to Salesforce Certification

http://resources.docs.salesforce.com/204/14/en-us/sfdc/pdf/salesforce_lead_implementation_guide.pdf

 

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Lightning Experience Transition Planning … Take a Deep Breath You’re Going In…

Now that I have realized Lightning is not as bad as I thought it was there is still the task of transitioning to the new UI. Salesforce’s Trailhead has been instrumental in helping me to feel better prepared to roll out Lightning Experience to my users.

Now that I have realized Lightning is not as bad as I thought it was there is still the task of transitioning to the new UI. Salesforce’s Trailhead has been instrumental in helping me to feel better prepared to roll out Lightning Experience to my users. With that said there are times when one can be over prepared. I feel as if I am over-stressing about migrating to the Lightning Experience. I am reviewing the numerous modules and trails about Lightning Experience. There is a ton of content, articles, trails and modules around this topic. I think the fact that there is so much content and focus on this it is making it even more overwhelming for me.

That is not to say that the modules and trails in Trailhead are not very helpful, they are. The modules are simple and very clear. I love Trailhead and only wish that Salesforce could have come up with this new training program years earlier. This new Salesforce training concept and site is stunning. Unfortunately the trails and modules around preparing a Lightning Migration does not alleviate the stress of the change. If your company and org is anything like mine then this is not a project that can take up a large amount of your time. As a member of my company’s IT time we are constantly prioritizing projects and finding ourselves knee deep in development of one kind or another.

As much as Salesforce can give advice and preparation about including key stakeholders and having your executives on board with a Lightning rollout in the end you (Admin and possibly Developer) are doing the majority of the heavy lifting. I need to feel comfortable with what needs to change, what will and will not work in Lightning experience. We also want to improve our users’ ability to navigate to the items they themselves will use in their role. This means (for me) a revamp to profile mapping and having to lay out all new Apps that are profile and department specific.

Obviously this is something that goes hand in hand with any new transition for a UI. As an admin and an IT professional I should not be surprised and in truth I am not. Unfortunately this not the type of project that can or ever will take priority as much as I (or you) would want it to. Salesforce is good as saying that something like this is not a simple transition and should be considered a priority if it will improve your Business. I agree but transitioning your UI is not necessarily going to raise your ROI immediately especially if you have development that is ongoing that is in fact improving said ROI.

My point is do not feel discouraged as you go through all of the Content about Lightning Experience. It is overwhelming how much there is to learn about Lightning and preparing for a transition to the Experience within your org. It is not going to be a simple switch to flip and there will always be the inevitable hiccups and problems. The change may not be as quick as you would initially have hoped for but give it time. I do think Lightning Experience is constantly improving my original opinion. I like the look, the feel and the bells and whistles that are hidden gems within it. I am looking forward to the transition to Lightning Experience but pacing myself in the transition is what I have found to be the biggest necessity.

Helpful Content:

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/module/lex_migration_rollout

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/lex_migration_rollout/lex_migration_rollout_enabling

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/lex_migration_rollout/lex_migration_rollout_educating

https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/winter16/release-notes/lex_rollout_strategy.htm

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/trail/lex_admin_implementation

 

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

With the onset of Social Media and the immediacy that millennials and those who are becoming mobile customers require and demand, Marketing Cloud is the only tool on the market that is delivering this experience and the information a company needs to meet these demands.

For the past 7 years I have been primarily working within Sales and Service Cloud in Salesforce. I have not given much thought to other Salesforce Clouds assuming they were really all tied up into one platform and organizations user licenses were the difference. It has only been recently while working closely with my organization’s marketing team specifically the Social Media team that I have become aware of Marketing Cloud.

We found a big disconnect with the various Social Media tools and connecting them with our customer data. We needed a tool that would allow us to be able to see our customer’s full profiles while also allowing us to manage our Social Media and Marketing communications. Also as we exploded on our own Social Media outlets we found the need to integrate Customer Service and Experience with our Salesforce profiles so that we could provide better service to all of our customers and potential customers.

We demoed the Marketing Cloud while at the Boston World Tour Day in April. The demo just gives you a brief glimpse of the power and features within the platform. As we started to research tools that could solve our problems we kept coming back to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Here it seemed all of our problems would be solved. We would be able to integrate into our current CRM pulling a full view of our current customer profile. We would be able to better market and communicate with our customer’s especially those who are completely mobile.

The platform also replaced a Social Media tool we were using to manage our communities separate from our customer base. By using Marketing Cloud we are able to combine both our Social Community and our Customer base. This allows us to stream line the Customer Service Experience across all channels from Personalized Emailing, Text messages, and Push Notifications to being able to respond to both Positive and Negative Social Media Sentiment. This an extremely powerful tool for a modern company to put into place to better handle and oversee their Customer Experience. This helps you have a real time 360 view of your customer base and your social community in a way that we have not been able to before. With the onset of Social Media and the immediacy that millennials and those who are becoming mobile customers require and demand, Marketing Cloud is the only tool on the market that is delivering this experience and the information a company needs to meet these demands.

 

Related Articles:

https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/overview/

http://www.salesforce.com/eu/marketing-cloud/overview/

https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/channels/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salesforce_Marketing_Cloud

http://pages.mail.salesforce.com/page.aspx?QS=3935619f7de112efc3ef6f6de92aa18e6d7eeb8bd9e5fd22

 

User Adoption: The Daily Struggle

How to increase User Adoption of your CRM platform? Remember everyone struggles with this regardless of what industry they are in or what platform they choose.

The biggest struggle any company with a CRM platform has is boosting and maintaining User Adoption. However long it has been since you implemented your CRM platform user adoption will always be an issue. With a platform like Salesforce it can be a daily struggle for any Administrator to keep User Adoption up since they regularly upgrade Salesforce 3 times a year. Some releases are bug fixes but majority of them introduce new services or products and as well as upgrading and improving current ones. With a company like Salesforce that regularly upgrades and fixes their own instances for all of their customers at once Admins for smaller companies may struggle to keep their users up to date. Not every user is tech savvy or a quick study.

I find that as an Administrator I struggle with keeping up user morale and convincing my users that Salesforce is a good system. It gives you a 360 view of your customer relationship regardless of what industry you are in. How do you convince a group of users that a system like Salesforce is worth investing their time and energy in? Salesforce is good for making things simple. I find as an administrator it’s my job to translate the complexity of the system into simple easy to understand steps. Training, training and more training is what will boost user adoption. A companies Salesforce team cannot expect that once they train their users that the buck ends there. Most companies have multiple programs to run their businesses and not everyone will remember what was trained during their initial days on the job. Refresher training is a must! Small power sessions I find are the most useful. When you get a couple of users from different departments together in a mini session you get better feedback.

I also believe it is the Administrators job to not only know the system inside and out but they should know their business. You can expect your users to get the most out of their CRM system as it stands out of the box. It has to be molded to their industry, to their business styles and processes built to make the users jobs easier and more efficient. An administrator and developer cannot expect a company to get the most out of their platform if they lack the business knowledge to translate their needs to the system. If those in charge of a platform do not understand their users how can they expect their users to understand their system?

Salesforce has quite a few tools to help boost user adoption. They suggest metrics to help boost adoption by reporting and measuring who is actually logging into the system and using it. I find that the rewards and badges they have created under Chatter works wonders. My company boosts different locations so not all employees work face to face. We find that Chatter allows us to connect socially and professionally. We share company events and good news via chatter but we also reward each other for jobs well done. This has boosted morale across the board as well as adoption. As users get better acquainted with Chatter and seeing their fellow team mates using it they start exploring the possibilities more. Another way you can boost adoption is showing your users how the system can save time and building processes that stream line data for them. Salesforce has plenty of ways to automate services as well as saving time when it comes to reporting that may be used weekly, monthly, and annually which can be set up automatically to run on a clocked basis.

Regardless of how many users you have or how intricate your build your platform it is always a good idea to stay organized. It allows you to keep track of training users across the board as well as planning for upgrades which Salesforce schedules and announces at least a month before it is due to launch. It is always a good idea to have a communication plan to keep your users informed of any changes that may be coming including any training you may be putting together. Keeping your users in the loop and even encourage suggestions they believe could improve their job and experience. This will get them into the CRM conversation and forces them to really take a look at the platform and see the potential it has and not just another burden or task to complete.

Of course as the CRM Administrator I believe my first priority is to be positive and encourage my users to believe in our platform. I am here to encourage my users to use the system. I prefer to call myself a Chatter Cheerleader and Salesforce Supporter. If I am not using the system to the fullest then my users will not either.

Related Articles:

https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewSolution?id=000025306&language=en_US

http://www.cirrusinsight.com/salesforce-user-adoption

http://www.bluewolf.com/blog/7-secrets-drive-salesforce-adoption

https://blog.internetcreations.com/2013/03/6-ways-to-increase-salesforce-user-adoption/

http://cloud4good.com/how-to-increase-user-adoption/

http://www.mansasys.com/salesforce-user-adoption

http://blogs.perficient.com/salesforce/tag/user-adoption/