Any Salesforce Admin, no matter how long they have been an Admin, occasionally runs into things they may not know how to do. Where do they turn for help? Here are five great tools that every Admin should keep handy.
There are a lot of great podcasts out there that can help you work through issues as an Admin. I think most people would agree that the ButtonClickAdmin podcast is the “go-to” podcast for your Admin news, tips, and tricks. It’s been around for a long time. Mike Gerholdt started it and had help from Jared Miller. When Mike took an Admin Evangelist role with Salesforce, the ButtonClickAdmin podcast moved with him, and he took on a new co-host, replacing Jared with a fellow Salesforce employee, Gillian Madill. They discuss new release features; bring on special guests to talk about the secrets to better adoption, user groups, and upcoming events. Of course they also talk a lot about Dreamforce when it’s in season. A few other podcasts that are definitely worth listening to include: The Wizardcast with Brian Kwong and Mark Ross, Nerdforce with Nana Gregg and John Graf, and The Case Closed Podcast with Jeff Grosse and Cheryl Feldman. If you’re more the developer-type, check out the Code Coverage podcast from Matt Lacey and Steven Herod.
2. Salesforce Success Community Groups
Just like podcasts, there a lot of great groups to join on the Success Community to stay up to date on all things Salesforce. One of my favorites is New to Dreamforce. Obviously this group targets people who are attending their first Dreamforce, but the information shared there can really benefit anyone, even if they are not attending Dreamforce. I would also recommend the Release Readiness & Feature Adoption group. In there, you will find all the good stuff about upcoming releases, including scheduled webinars that go over the highlights of the releases. If you are looking for answers to tough questions, I would suggest Who Owes me a Beer. This group was started by Steve Molis, the number 1 contributor to the Answers Community. Steve, and many other incredibly smart people, frequent this group to answer questions about how to do something, why isn’t this formula working, and much more. Of course, as a local user group leader, I’m partial to the user groups on the Success Community. You can join a group online from your local user group, and stay up to date on when meetings are. And if there’s not a physical group close to you, these virtual groups share all the same content from the physical meetings, so join 1 or 2 in your area, or do what I did, join them all! (I did not literally join ALL virtual user groups, but I did join many groups that are not located anywhere near me.)
Where was Trailhead when I was first starting out with Salesforce? What a fun and amazing tool to learn from. Trailhead now has trails and modules covering over 100 topics, and when you complete the modules, you earn a cool badge you get to display on your profile! The best part about Trailhead is that it is not just reading and learning. You actually DO the challenges in a free developer org that you set up as you begin your hike across the trails. That’s cool, but the thing that makes Trailhead so amazing is that when you think you have completed the challenge, Trailhead checks your work for you and lets you know if you got it right, or if something is amiss. It’s rad, and Chris Duarte, the Editor-in-Chief for Trailhead and her entire team at Salesforce are equally as rad!
Trailhead: the place where a trail begins
Salesforce Trailhead: the place where learning begins
4. Go-to People
Even with all the great resources that are available, most successful Admins will have a few people on speed dial to reach out to when they have that really tough question that they just can’t get answered anywhere else. For some people, that go-to person is Steve Molis, Mr. 40,000+ Answers. For others, it’s Jeff May or Vinay Chaturvedi, two of the others who are usually top 15 contributors to the Answers community. Some people are even lucky enough to have personal connections to Salesforce Product Mangers who, needless to say, would be an ultimate resource. For me, I don’t have just one go-to person. I’m that guy who seems to know everyone in the community, but the hard part about that, sometimes, is figuring out who is the right person to go to. And that’s where the secret to the success of this community lies – if you pick the wrong person, chances are they will refer you to someone with the knowledge you seek.
What? You’re not on Twitter? Why not? It’s a wealth of information! Got a Salesforce question you need answered super-fast? Ask it on twitter using #askforce, or ask it in the Answers forum on Salesforce Success and tweet out a link to the question with #askforce. Want to know what is going on with a live broadcast from Salesforce? Search using #SalesforceLive. Wonder what you missed by not attending Apttus Accelerate? Seach using #AccelerateQTC. Curious about Dreamforce? Previous years used #DFyy, where yy is the calendar year, like #DF15. There’s not much activity about Dreamforce 2016 using #DF16 yet, so be sure to follow Dreamforce on Twitter to stay up to date!