Archives for January 2024

Why Ongoing Education is Key for Salesforce Experts

What makes someone a bona fide Salesforce expert? 

A growth-minded spirit and dedication to ongoing learning separate the Salesforce professionals from the experts. Because the platform is constantly evolving, it’s critical to dedicate time to expanding, deepening, and specializing your skills to keep pace with Salesforce’s impressive pace of innovation. This is how to deliver the most value to customers while building a sustainable Salesforce consulting career.

Upskilling and specialization are some of the most impactful ways to gain a competitive edge and win new projects as a Salesforce expert. However, time is money, and ongoing education takes precious time. Here is how we recommend approaching upskilling to stay competitive as a Salesforce expert. 

The best Salesforce experts are upskilling

Expertise, like the marketplace, isn’t static. During inflation or recession, investing legend Warren Buffet says you should do two things: First, invest in yourself. Get better at what you do and who you are. Second, protect yourself with the best protection— a business that doesn’t require heavy capital investment. 

Sound familiar? Our survey of independent consultants – some of the most elite talent talent in the Salesforce ecosystem – made it abundantly clear that ongoing education is necessary. However, at the same time, most independents agree that time is money. Billable hours keep the lights on, but upskilling is key to staying current on the latest trends. 

Independent Salesforce technical consultant and entrepreneur Tasha Rucker succinctly captures the importance of professional development for Salesforce entrepreneurs. 

“…I’m a lifelong learner. I can design my own professional development and it’s funded by me. Whether it’s which conferences to attend, present at, or how to market my brand – I have the freedom to choose. It feels good to invest in myself and my future.”

Why Salesforce experts should carve out a niche in the market 

Before going after a new Salesforce certification to elevate your expertise – the key to winning clients, expanding business capabilities, and weathering economic storms – take the time to establish your market niche. 

It’s impossible to attract and win over every customer. It also doesn’t pay to get distracted by the next shiny product and the imagined dollar signs that come with it. That said, choose a corner of the market that will allow you to do the Salesforce work you love and excel in it (bonus points if also narrowed by industry.) For example:

  • CPQ 
  • Financial Cloud
  • Health Cloud
  • Manufacturing Cloud
  • Commerce Cloud

Customers recognize good work and will come back for more – more than half of independent consultants’ customer base is repeat customers. 

Becoming an expert in a specific cloud and/or industry is also a strategic career move. Repetition and exposure to various use cases and challenges will result in deepened expertise – the hallmark of a good consultant. This will help you continuously win over new project work in your corner of the market. 

How Salesforce experts can carve out their niche

Consider this advice from independent Salesforce architect and entrepreneur Lamin Ceesay. He positioned his independent consultancy by first identifying market opportunities aligned with his passions, purpose, and goals to drive solutions for customers.   

“To find your market niche, do some competitive analysis. Compare your offerings to consulting firms, other independent consultants, etc. You don’t want to compete with the big players, but you have to find a place to compete and provide value.” 

To harness the power of vertical specialization, pick something you’re good at and seek clients whose problems need your solutions. Ask yourself, ‘What do I enjoy?’ ‘What am I really good at?’ ‘What are my unique skills?’ ‘Who would value that?’ ‘What problems can I solve for them?’ Magic happens at the intersection of your unique talents, skills, and desires and the businesses that would value the transformation you enjoy delivering.

Take a bite-sized approach to upskilling 

Whether you’re seeking a new certification by adding credentials that demonstrate your expertise or just looking to expand your skills, set yourself up for success by first defining what success will look like for you. 

Do you have a knack for relationship-building? Then, you have a solid foundation for what it takes to become a solution architect. Are you technically savvy or love coding? Then, hone in on technical consultant, technical architect, or developer skills. 

Knowing what you’re good at and enjoy will also help determine your blind spots. Both are necessary to build a learning game plan that will inform which skills to sharpen and when. 

Trailhead makes hitting your target easy and on a customizable schedule. Set measurable goals for learning and choose a certification exam date that’s manageable and practical. Consider your current project load and personal life, then reverse-engineer your learning schedule. 

To make your learning schedule bite-sized, download the Trailhead GO app. It boasts an impressive library with over 800 ‘badges’ of bite-sized and dynamic content across various topics. There’s something for everyone, and it’s an effective way to build momentum for your upskilling journey. 

Lean on your community for mentorship

The Salesforce Ohana is alive and well. No matter your career path or goals, there are experts who have already walked the journey and are eager to offer their lessons learned. Start with your local user groups or apply to join an expert community like 10K’s. These groups are full of welcoming and supportive people who value collaboration, learning, and leveling up the Salesforce ecosystem one person at a time. 

The 10K View 

The Salesforce platform is constantly evolving, which means that Salesforce consultants need to be constantly learning. The best way to do this is to carve out a niche in the market and focus on a specific cloud or industry. This will allow you to develop deep expertise in a particular area and become a valuable asset to your clients.

To find your market niche, do some competitive analysis and identify what you can offer that others can’t. Once you’ve found your niche, you can start upskilling by taking Trailhead courses, attending conferences, and networking with other Salesforce professionals.

Taking a bite-sized approach to upskilling and setting measurable goals is important. This will help you stay on track and progress towards your desired outcome. You can also lean on your community for mentorship or to discover new learning opportunities. For example, 10K’s ISV Partner Program connects our Salesforce expert community with industry-leading ISV certification opportunities. 

Follow these tips, and you can become a stand-out independent Salesforce consultant who is always learning and growing. 


Meet Amanda Bittner, 10K’s New Delivery Manager

Today, we proudly announce that Amanda Bittner has joined the 10K team as our first dedicated Delivery Manager!

Like many in the Salesforce ecosystem, Amanda fell into her career accidentally. Shortly after starting law school in Australia and realizing law was not her passion, Amanda jumped into technology sales. Her tech career led her from project management in the public policy sector to serving as a Salesforce trainer for a consulting firm and holding various roles within the Salesforce consulting world, including associate, consultant, director, administrator, architect, and manager. With eight years of experience, Amanda has honed a unique set of skills as a delivery management expert.

Read on to get to know Amanda, what she appreciates most about our approach to Salesforce consulting, and how her role will add value to the 10K Community.

You’re 10K’s first Delivery Manager. What is your vision for the role, and what are you most excited to accomplish in your first year? 

My vision for this first year feels like a kaleidoscope. When I consider 10K’s growth since its founding nearly eight years ago, I can see the variety of beautiful pieces and shapes that have made the company what it is today. The 10K team has embraced and capitalized on its unique blend of expertise to build a one-of-its-kind company. 

In this first year, I’m eager to bring my perspective and skills into view. As the company’s first dedicated Delivery Manager, it will be my job to capitalize on 10K’s proven processes and create an exceptional delivery experience for our customers, experts, partners, and internal team.  

10K’s on-demand consulting model is unique in our industry. Why do you believe in the model, and why do you think what we’re doing matters so much in the Salesforce ecosystem?

Salesforce is a textbook disruptor whose commitment to innovation has paved the way for a thriving and growing ecosystem. 10K is on the same path with our on-demand consulting services. We are leading an overdue and necessary shakeup to the traditional consulting model from the top down. 

I’m passionate about Salesforce and 10K because I believe in one of their shared core values: trust. We have earned the trust of our experts, customers, and partners to provide an exceptional experience with every engagement.

10K’s vision is to give people the freedom to excel at the work they love. How do you see yourself and your role in this vision?

To create freedom, you have to eliminate what weighs you down. My role is to identify the areas where I can relieve a burden for our internal team, our customers, and our experts so that they can gain more strength, support, and flexibility to excel at what they love to do. 

What is your favorite adventure?

My favorite adventure is the adventure I have not had yet. I have been incredibly blessed to have traveled to six continents, lived in three countries, and done some incredible things. However, I also know that there is an adventure in the ordinary, too, and I try to live out each day, finding some adventure. Whether it is big or small, near or far! Next on my adventure bucket list are Patagonia and to climb Mt.Kilimanjaro.