This is a guest post by Kerry Skemp of Jitterbit.

Back in October, Salesforce and IDC released an in-depth study on the impact of the Salesforce economy. The study suggested that the popular cloud-based CRM will be responsible for $272 billion in business and 1 million jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem (plus 1.5 million beyond) from 2014 to 2018. It’s pretty clear that many of those jobs will be for Salesforce Administrators. But it may not be as clear exactly what a Salesforce Admin really does, and how you can be sure to select a good one. In this blog post, we take a look at what Salesforce Admins do, why they’re so important, and how to find one who can help grow your company – or how you can become one yourself.

What Are the Tasks of a Salesforce Admin?

A quick glance at job descriptions for Salesforce Admins reveals a wide range of desired qualifications. Some Admins are more like customer support agents, helping the sales team and other staff members with Salesforce-related questions about anything from logging in to creating reports, plus simply keeping the system up and running. Other Admins are more like developers, using their knowledge of SQL, Apex, and other tools to create custom reports and dashboards, as well as connecting with data from systems (perhaps using the Jitterbit Cloud Data Loader) to help make the most of Salesforce’s capabilities.

The exact duties of a Salesforce Admin may vary between organizations, but there are many basic administrative tasks that all Salesforce Admins should perform regularly. These tasks include backing up data, adding new fields, managing workflow rules, and vetting any new plugins that users may add. Given the power of the Salesforce platform, there’s really no limit to the lengths Admins could go to in order to make enhancements to help the team.

The Importance of a Salesforce Admin

A Salesforce Admin is a key part of any large organization that relies on Salesforce. Not every small business will be able to hire their own Salesforce Admin, but the more important Salesforce is to your business, and the larger your team grows, the more important it will become to have a good Admin. One suggested rule of thumb is that teams with more than 30 Salesforce users might consider bringing a full-time Admin on board.

A good Admin will save your team significant time on (at least) two fronts: figuring out how to use some of the more complex Salesforce features, and avoiding making decisions based on bad data. The Admin will ensure data quality, fight the scourge of duplicate data, and put strong processes in place to make sure that your company’s decisions are always based on current, accurate information from reliable sources. The Admin will also make that information easy to find, in the form of standard reports and dashboards tailored to the needs of specific teams.

Another important but easily overlooked aspect of a Salesforce Admin is their role in encouraging Salesforce adoption across your organization. Having someone who understands the nuances of Salesforce will help team members start to use the system more frequently and effectively. Your Admin can help set up the reports and alerts that will get users engaged. And we all know that the more we use Salesforce, the more powerful it gets, as we continue to populate it with useful information – and align our teams internally. Increasing adoption can potentially have huge benefits throughout your organization.

Must-Have Salesforce Admin Traits

Any good Salesforce administrator must have a number of crucial traits, including:

Solid Salesforce skills: This is an obvious requirement. If your admin doesn’t understand Salesforce inside and out, she or he won’t be able to add value as an admin. So, consider developing a test of Salesforce skills or looking for Certified Salesforce Admins to ensure competency.

The ability to nerd out on data: Your Salesforce admin should be the type of person who loves vlookups, runs pivot tables in their sleep, constantly seeks out new data solutions, and craves the additional power Salesforce offers to build on basic tools. If just the phrase “data duplication” is enough to make someone shudder, you might have found your Salesforce admin.

An understanding of the business: An Admin who isn’t attuned to your company’s business needs can’t possibly add as much value as one who is. Make sure to show your Admin the big picture so she or he can help suggest ways that Salesforce can help reach company goals.

Strong people skills: A Salesforce Admin shouldn’t just hide behind a computer, clicking buttons. A good Admin will meet regularly with stakeholders from different teams to understand their struggles and figure out the best ways to fix them in Salesforce.

Enthusiasm for Salesforce: Salesforce has a strong community of dedicated users. You should rely on your Admin to be a part of that community and consistently bring in new ideas and ways to improve Salesforce. (That makes a user group a great place to recruit an Admin!)

How to Become a Certified Salesforce Admin

As you would expect, Salesforce offers a plethora of resources for becoming a certified Salesforce Admin. If you’ve already been working closely with Salesforce for some time, you could jump in feet first and start reviewing the study guide for the admin exam. If that seems like a little too much for you, check out the Beginner or Intermediate Trailhead courses for Admins. Once you’ve climbed the mountain, start studying for the Admin test, you can get your certification and find the Admin job of your dreams.

We hope this post helped you figure out what a Salesforce Admin does, how to make the most of an Admin’s skills, and how to find yourself a great Admin. And if we’ve succeeded in selling you on the value of Admins already, maybe you can start studying to become one yourself!

Posted by Kerry Shremp on March 22, 2016.