Salesforce Administration

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Tips for passing the admin 201 exam:

1. Take Mike Wheeler's Salesforce Admin course on
2. Take practice tests on

1. Register for the test.  Paid for the test.  Set a date (give you a deadline 
   and work your butt off)

Do we need to hire a full-time Salesforce Administrator?

Where should the Salesforce Administrator belong?

Traditionally I’ve seen Salesforce administrators as either part of Sales or Sales Operations, or they have resided in IT. If an admin’s primary function is to support Sales, then the former. If not, then they are likely falling into a traditional IT support role (more so if Salesforce has a lot of integration with legacy systems or the admin’s primary responsibility is to support end-user questions). For companies that are call center centric, then administrators typically fall in an operations role or again with IT.

The new department that Salesforce administrators are starting to be associated with is Marketing. With the’s recent acquisition of Radian6 and Buddy Media, and the proliferation of marketing automation platforms such as Pardot, Marketo and Eloqua, (and new features like, the reliance on Salesforce from marketing departments has grown tremendously.

Are Salesforce developers worth more that administrators?

Good Salesforce developers are more rare than good Salesforce administrators (i.e. it is harder to learn to code vs. learning the declarative configuration options in Some Salesforce administrators can manage development resources, some can’t. Administrators that can manage development resources are worth more.

There are those extremely rare instances where a Salesforce Administrator is a master of both declarative (button-click) configuration and configuration using code. Those that are fluid on both methods are worth more than those that configure solely with clicks (i.e. less farming out development requirements to other departments or outside the company).

Having the 401 Developer Certification does not mean someone can code. In fact there is NO coding knowledge required to pass that exam!

What are the skills required for a good Salesforce administrator?

Salesforce administration inevitably involves working with data both inside and outside of Being fluid with the native import wizards, the Data Loader, and the "vlookup" function of Excel come into play frequently. There will be lists to be imported, data to be cleaned up, and reporting analysis that will require exporting information outside of Salesforce to be furthered massaged in Excel.

I’ve seen IT generalists and folks in sales support or operations roles make solid administrators. If I had to choose, Business Analysts (BAs) I think are a natural fit. By definition they can analyze problems, formulate solutions, understand data, and in a lot of cases they have the people skills to work directly with c-level and department managers on initiatives. They understand the needs of the business but technically dangerous enough to know how to get it done. Lastly they know how executives like to see data and that’s important when configuring Salesforce analytics.

Although your administrator does not need to have programming skills, but it could be an advantage, s/he should have:

  1. A solid understanding of your business processes Knowledge of the organizational structure and culture to help build relationships with key groups
  2. Excellent communication, motivational, and presentation skills
  3. The desire to be the voice of the user in communicating with management
  4. Analytical skills to respond to requested changes and identify customizations Outstanding project management skills

What are some of the responsibilities of a Salesforce administrator?

  1. Administration
    1. Continuing customization and development
    2. User maintenance
    3. Database de-duping and cleanup
    4. Development of reports and dashboards
    5. Ongoing documentation
  2. Training
    1. Develop and implement training for users
    2. Keep materials up-to-date
    3. Communicate future Salesforce releases and enhancements
  3. Grow
    1. Design and manage ongoing development of the system to meet the organization’s mission.
  4. Manage Vendors
    1. Managed outsourced Salesforce implementation partners and ongoing relationships with Salesforce employees.

Do Salesforce administrators have a voice in company decisions?

I raise this variable because I think this is an extremely important factor in accessing a Salesforce administrator’s value to a company. If the administrator just a "doer" (and simply implementing the decisions of others), they have less value to an organization versus an administrator that is providing options and strategic direction on how to solve business problems with the Salesforce platform. An individual that is involved in the decision making process, or even better the strategic direction of a company, has inherently more value to an organization.

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