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Top 5 Takeaways From Recent In-Person Salesforce Events

Just getting started with Salesforce, or have you been in it since before Classic was Classic? Either way, there’s always something new to learn about platform capabilities. 

There are numerous ways to proactively seek out details about specific topics or features you’re interested in. Of course Trailhead, in addition to a veritable sea of blogs, official help articles, video tutorials and more. But I think it’s also essential to factor more passive learning into your journey. 

  • What’re other people building in Salesforce? How might it apply to your use cases?
  • What tools are people using to streamline processes? How do other Admins organize their day?

For me a key way to expose yourself to passive learning opportunities with those outside your day-to-day circle is through in-person events.

As an introverted extrovert, it tracks that I factor networking into my learning habits. I even chatted about with my friends at SKUID about this recently. 

When I relocated to Charlotte in 2010, one of the first things I did was sign up for my local User Group.  I still remember a great presentation by then-leader Kelly Bentubo. She gave examples for adding images to your formulas as visual indicators for your users. While her use case didn’t directly translate to my org, it was something I had never considered! 

I wanted moar collaboration! Over the years I started a local Women In Tech User Group chapter and a monthly Salesforce Saturday meetup. In 2015 I co-founded a regional superuser group event, Southeast Dreamin

We were about to host our 5th annual event when quarantine shut it all down. Not only was I no longer collaborating with my coworkers in the office but I wasn’t able to connect with the greater community in person. 

Some events decided to pivot to virtual presentations. This was a great way to stay connected to my local community and even pop into User Group meetings in other areas. Even so, I missed the casual hallway conversation. Plus it often feels much harder to carve out virtual time when there’s work to be done. Am I the only one who intends to watch the recording later but never does?

We started to see a turnaround in late 2021 and I think it’s safe to say that events are back! 

Volunteer teams running community events in both Tahoe and Florida hosted in-person events with vaccine confirmation and onsite testing. My Florida Dreamin mask has become one of my favorites. Speaking of favorites, Cirrus Insight came in second in the Demo Jam!

Salesforce is also reimagining how to bring people together in these times with Vaccine Cloud. I was able to attend Dreamforce2U in NYC with vaccine confirmation, pre-event testing, and onsite testing all tracked in Dreampass

Was it a bit awkward being back around people and not wearing pajama pants? You bet. Do I seem to have forgotten how to bow out of a casual conversation when I need to get to my next session? Apparently so. But whether it was in sessions, at our Cirrus Insight booth in the Expo at Florida Dreamin, or in the wooded mascot wonderland of an official Salesforce event I had wonderful conversations with old friends and new.  Here are a few takeaways:

 

Perception of the Admin role is changing

    A lot has changed on the platform since I first met Salesforce in 2007.  In many ways the perception of the role of Admin - both how business views the role and even how Admins view themselves - hasn’t scaled along with it.

 I attended a great session in Florida, Today's Salesforce Admin: Not Just a Technical Role hosted by two Salesforce Solution Engineers (Christen MacDougall and Nicholas Kilduff). It  really got me thinking about all the hats I wear as a Senior Admin. 

New Admins are mainly focused on technical proficiency. With experience comes a higher level understanding of how the software supports the processes that drive the business. Along the way you add different hats - Salesforce Advocate, Success Consultant, Solution Engineer, Business Analyst, developing a Center of Excellence. It’s key to ensure internal visibility to your efforts, and ideally your title and salary grow with you.

 

Personal branding is top of mind

As quoted on the Salesforce blog, Salesforce Director of Enablement Programs Paul Wilhoit describes a personal brand as simply: “What People Say About You When You’re Not There”.

Today there is an ever crowded space of people looking for Salesforce roles. Building your personal brand can be a way to differentiate yourself from the pack. 

If you’re just getting started, sharing your learning journey with others can help others find success. No matter how new you are — there’s always someone newer or someone just getting started with a specific topic who can learn from your experience.

 

Break the mold with User Experience (UX) Design

More so than ever, Admins have flexibility to curate an optimized user experience. This can help enhance adoption and drive desired behavior. Back in the Classic days, moving out of the Detail Page Big Block of Fields with Related Lists at the bottom required Visualforce or other custom development. Lightning grants increasing flexibility with every release for customizations with and without code. 

My interest is piqued by the new User Experience Designer Certification. Both to add another hat to your Admin repertoire or, as I saw discussed in New York, if you’re looking to focus your career as a Salesforce Designer

Even if you’re not looking at the full certification, the learning path can be informative. Even as a seasoned Admin it’s still worthwhile to question your assumptions. A great point by Jonathan Linn in his presentation at Florida Dreamin’ was so simple but has stuck with me. When you go to create a new Lightning page, there are already tabs and components on the page. In a sense  you’re not really starting from scratch. Such a simple thing, but how might starting truly from a blank slate change your outcome? Also, in yet another use of images/emoji, he included them in Tab names.  A unique way to break up the blocks of text for the eye. 

Flow is the future

The decision tree for where to build new automation has changed yet again. Salesforce has decided to Go with the Flow and will be moving Workflow Rules and Process Builder to end of life. 

The Automation team continues to do a great job making Flow more approachable. There is a ton of great content out there to help convert you to a #Flownatic by choice before you’re forced to change. 

We know Salesforce will provide tools to help migrate existing automations to Flow. But this can also be an opportunity to “clean your room”. Are those Workflows still serving your current business processes? Validate if the field updates or Process Builder options you have chugging away in your Org today are needed. Then you can map out how to optimize them in Flow. 

Great opportunity to use Trailhead if you’re just getting started with Flow Builder!

 

There’s just something about seeing Marc Benioff on stage

Unsurprisingly I’m biased toward smaller community-led regional events (shameless plug for Southeast Dreamin). But I can’t deny there’s something super energizing about seeing Marc Benioff on the big stage. Not only to see his fabulous shoes, or to win buzzword bingo. He provides insight into the big picture and the macro focus for the company. 

Of course some of it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Not everything is as easy as it looks in the demo. But if you have a chance to see Marc speak I highly encourage you to do so!

What events are you most looking forward to attending in 2022? Here’s hoping we can safely connect and collaborate even more in the year ahead!

Kristi Campbell

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