mentoring

Mentoring Salesforce administrators into broader roles

by Kirsten Sherwin

One of the most challenging pills to swallow as a Salesforce consultant is that to really do your job well, you have to wear many hats. And sometimes, you might not like all the roles you’re expected to play. Like the 1999 Monster commercial, you may find yourself answering “When I grow up, I want to…” with half-hearted and painful realities of climbing the workplace ladder.

But you can avoid that unsettled sense of underappreciation and being overworked by understanding your career trajectory. As Salesforce consultants, we may have a designated level in a company, but we play different roles in different projects, and there are opportunities to grow during each project if you know what they look like.

So, what do you want to be when you grow up? How about a certified, skilled, and progressing Salesforce wizard with nowhere to go but up. With these tips, you can find that upward motion.

 

Understand that certification is only a baseline

At Simplus, everyone has to be Salesforce certified. That’s just our expectation. It’s also only a baseline. To move up and develop your career at Simplus, we expect hard skills and soft skills to be developed. These skills help someone to truly be a consultant, not just someone who has certification thrown on their resume. We’ll touch more on what these skills are in the next section.

By first wrapping your head around this concept—that your certification is a starting point, and only a starting point—you prepare yourself for constant progression. Promotions and bonuses happen to proactive people, so let your certification be a bounce spring to future success rather than your only credential.

 

Develop hard and soft skills

No matter what role you are assigned to on a particular project, we are all consultants. And there are a lot of skills associated with consulting. To grow as admin, start with your certification and then really hone in on certain skills or additional skills. We call these soft skills and hard skills. To start, take an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses in some of the following categories:

Hard Skills

– Sales support

– Ability to produce Design Document with Acceptance Criteria

– Ability to produce client deliverables

– Write a SOW

– Write a PowerPoint proposal

Soft Skills

– Mentoring

– Business etiquette

– Knowing when to escalate

– Setting expectations

– Determine in or out of scope items and address

 

These are just a few of the hard and soft skills we look for at Simplus to promote team members into positions of higher responsibility. Hard and soft skills clue managers into what you’re good at, what needs to improve, and overall what kind of consultant you have the potential to be.

 

Put it in motion

Ultimately, to put an upward career path into play, on-the-job training is best. While there are typically other resources available to help you earn new skills and improve weak ones, nothing can compare to real, hands-on experience. Exams or certification trails cannot tell you everything you need to know to be a good consultant: that sometimes things break and go wrong and it’s on you to find a solution, that metrics and technology change and you have to adapt. But there are some tools you can use to guide and track your progress as you gain more on-the-job experience.

First of all, use career tracking tools, such as V2MOMS. Update them regularly, at least every quarter. You have to have some way to track what you’re doing and where you want to go. Be sure your career tracking tool includes the operations and metrics of the position you’d like to have, not the one you do have. There’s often a lot of resistance to this, but to get the job you want, you actually have to do the job you want while still in your current job—in any industry. Promotions aren’t just handed to the status quo-keepers—they go to those going above expectations.

Second, have regular conversations with your manager. Be clear and transparent about your stretch goals. Get feedback on what you could be working on to reach them more quickly. A good manager will want to help you and put opportunities to progress in your way—they will challenge you. Be sure to rise to the occasion.

 

By viewing your certification as a baseline only, developing skills constantly, and putting in motion your stretch goals, you can be more than just a run-of-the-mill Salesforce admin who passed the certification exam. You can succeed in your career path, achieve more than you thought you could, and always have a good answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

 

Kirsten is a Solution Architect here at Simplus. She brings over 6 years of certified Salesforce administrative experience to our team. She has proven to be successful in improving client service delivery and penetration through outstanding relationship development and vendor management. Her innovative thinking has led to her proactive development and update of best practices, standard operating procedures and project management. Her distinguished performance has led her to excel in every project she has been assigned. Ms. Sherwin holds a B.A.. in English from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

kirsten.sherwin@simplus.com

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