Here’s a scenario: You’re a decision maker at a successful company (hey, congrats!) that’s in the middle of a large-scale Salesforce implementation. In a matter of weeks, every team across your organization — marketing, sales, customer service — will be fully trained and ready to use the platform. It’s an exciting time, no doubt. But before you can celebrate, there’s one more thing you need to take care of: Finding a Salesforce admin.
Now, you might wonder if such a hire is really necessary, and you might use your doubt as an excuse to delay a decision on the matter. But we want to help you avoid such procrastination (it never ends well, does it?). So let’s be clear: yes, you really need an admin. Salesforce has the power to totally transform a business, and that means there needs to be somebody in charge. Somebody to handle everything from small issues (like resetting passwords and acquiring new licenses) to major changes (like building new functionalities to solve problems). That’s what a great admin does: They successfully manage your Salesforce instance as it exists now while simultaneously helping it become even more effective for your organization as new needs arise.
Here’s the tricky part, though: Hiring a Salesforce admin isn’t just about finding somebody with a knowledge of the platform. Yes, that’s an essential aspect of the job, but mere expertise doesn’t guarantee that a given person will be right for the role. And on the flip side, a lack of expertise shouldn’t necessarily disqualify a candidate, since the right person can pick up Salesforce pretty quickly — especially with the help of a tool like Trailhead.
So how are you supposed to successfully hire a Salesforce admin? We recommend looking for someone with these essential traits.
A great Salesforce admin is…
A non-critical admin might receive a request to build out a new functionality in Salesforce and simply, well, build it. Job done, right? The issue is that just because somebody asked for something doesn’t mean they should have. Or, here’s another way of putting it: Just because somebody asked for a particular solution doesn’t mean it’s the absolute best fix for the problem at hand.
This is why a critical admin is so important: They won’t just do as they’re told. Instead, they’ll investigate what’s really going on, looking into all the details until they have a full understanding of the situation. They’ll take that data and and use it to make a suggestion for the answer they believe is best. Often, this rigorousness means the difference between time wasted on a subpar solution and an effective fix that elegantly solves a major issue.
In Salesforce, everything is connected. Which means that improving one area of the platform could very well break another part. You need an admin who can think of the system in its entirety, one who is constantly aware of how the system’s various parts are working together.
Let’s say your sales team has redefined the stages of their opportunity process, and needs to see those changes reflected in Salesforce. Originally, those stages were probably designed with a number of automations and validation rules. If your admin were to change the stages without updating the automation and validation rules, nothing would work like it’s supposed to.
Like a chess player, a great admin needs to be thinking a few moves ahead.
At larger organizations especially, an admin is going to be bombarded by requests from users across functions. Some of those requests will be urgent, some less so. Some will involve quick fixes, while others might take days or even weeks to deal with. As these requests come in, an admin will need to make lots of fast decisions and organize their workload accordingly: This task has top priority today, and I’ll start on that larger build sometime next week.
Without the appropriate organizational skills, certain requests are bound to get lost in the shuffle, frustrating users and ultimately costing the company a shot at greater efficiency and productivity.
As mentioned above, a Salesforce admin needs certain investigative skills so they can get to the root of a problem and design an appropriate solution. But as business leaders know, solving problems often requires a great deal of creativity. You need to be able to look past the obvious, to trust a hunch and be willing to experiment. The same is true when it comes to Salesforce.
Because Salesforce is such a varied and diverse platform, however, it attracts all sorts. Some are creative types, while others are much more analytical. As you’re searching for the right admin, make sure to gauge potential candidates’ imaginative tendencies.
Learning Salesforce to the fullest extent means learning its many nuances — which features and strategies are compatible, which aren’t, things like that. For many, this knowledge is earned through the long process of trial and error: Okay, I can do A and B together, but not B and C. Got it.
A great Salesforce admin won’t give up in frustration when they can’t figure something out. They’ll keep trying until they crack the case.
Looking at this list of attributes in its entirety, the entries probably shouldn’t surprise you. For the most part, they’re the same traits you’d want in any employee. Right? In today’s business world, the most successful companies are driven by people with broad skillsets, people who can tackle many kinds of challenges. Keep that mind during the hiring process for your Salesforce admin. If you ever feel confused about what you should be looking for, trust your gut. Try to find the same valuable traits you’re always on the hunt for.