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One of the first recommendations I make with any of our clients is for one or more of them to attend the Salesforce “Administration Essentials for New Admins” course. It teaches you the fundamental skills and knowledge to manage a Salesforce org and is where many of us get our first taste of the genuine power of the platform.
It's five days, either classroom or virtual, and it's not cheap. That sounds like a big commitment, even bigger when you stop to think about it further: I've been on it. My whole team has been on it. What's more, we've all completed certifications on the platform to demonstrate our expertise. If our clients are paying for this level of expertise, why on earth am I asking them to gain expertise of their own?
Here is an experience we had on a training course we delivered for a large client a couple of years ago. My colleague was delivering training on basic customisation of the platform. As the session progressed, grumbling in the room became louder and louder. Realising something was off, he stopped and asked what was wrong. Was it the content? The pace? Was his shirt inside out? No, it was the realisation that in 30 minutes he had taught them how to do something another consultancy had charged two days worth of work for. Two days billed for a 30 minute task.
As regrettable as it is, there are unscrupulous firms around who will charge what they can get away with. If you understand the platform, they can get away with a whole lot less. Even more than that, you put yourself in a position of not needing a consultant at all for some things, which seamlessly segues me into...
One of the services we offer is Salesforce support. Firms use us as an expert system administration resource, saving themselves time and money and creating resiliency in their business. In fact, I like our support services so much I've waxed lyrical about them before! Given we offer this service you might think it's in our interest for clients to have as little technical knowledge as possible so they rely on us solely to provide that. In reality, you will get the most out of a system if you understand it. You don't need to be able to build complex automation and integrations with third party platforms, that very much can be dealt with by us, but equally you don't want to be relying on external help for adding a new field or moving something around on the page. These are quick and easy wins if you know what you're doing and we would much rather our clients were in a position to do just that.
Once you're self-sufficient you begin to understand the capabilities of Salesforce - how it can do the heavy lifting of repetitive tasks or be set up to protect your data integrity from the ground up. In fact, that makes me think of...
For all that this third reason sounds like I've swallowed “Marketing for Dummies” and am randomly spewing out product slogans, it is actually true. In fact, this is one of the primary takeaways we hear about from people who attend the Admin Essentials course. Once you get a flavour of just how much you can get Salesforce to do (without needing to become a developer) the possibilities are genuinely exciting. Hell, I enjoy it so much I do it full time! You won't maximise your ROI on Salesforce unless you really understand what it can do. The way to understand it is to invest in a bit of training - believe me, you will make that investment back several times over with the skills and knowledge gained through it.
So, that's why I nudge people to go on the course. Does it lose us some work as clients complete things in house? Yes. Is it worth it for the pleasure of working with these people in the longer term? Absolutely.