Kristin Langlois

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. 

 

Are You Set Up to Attract, Engage, and Partner with Independent Salesforce Consultants?

Traditionally employed Salesforce experts know customer demand for their expertise is growing, and the talent supply is tightening. Many are capitalizing on this moment to become their own boss and go independent with their consulting career. 

I’ve recently spoken with some independent consultants who took the leap into entrepreneurship within the past six months. For most, the move to entrepreneurship was a calculated risk (look no further than 2022’s 19% growth in global talent demand, despite the buzz of a recession). The way these experts see it, trading a corporate security net for true freedom was a bet worth taking. 

Why customers need to get agile in the search for Salesforce talent

The demand for Salesforce talent isn’t slowing down. At the same time, more than 50% of independent Salesforce consultants have no intention of going back to full-time work.

Salesforce is a rapidly evolving and complex system. To make it sing, customers will need to augment their teams and partner with the growing pool of independent Salesforce experts. The good news is that elevating your Salesforce recruiting strategy to include independent consultants is a win-win scenario:

  • Bring in niche skills for specialized projects 
  • Gain flexibility to scale up or down as needed to meet deadlines and expand bandwidth 
  • Save dollars on recruiting and hiring costs
  • Engage with highly motivated and experienced Salesforce experts who are invested in their customers’ success

Read on for some pointers on attracting, engaging, and partnering with independent consultants. 

Break your Salesforce projects into sprints for efficiency and flexibility

Bring in the right talent resources at the right time.

Is your internal Salesforce team stretched too thin? Or do you need a specialized skill set for an upcoming implementation project? The beauty of working with independents is they’re available in a fractional capacity, ready to scale up or down based on your needs. Organizing your Salesforce projects in sprints will allow you to identify where you need extra support and when. 

Another major benefit of partnering with independent consultants is they’re able to get started faster, and you only pay for the hours you use. While you may find that hourly rates for independent consultants vary across a wide range, their value comes down to far more than rates. It’s about finding the talent you can trust, who will be there when you need them, and without the overhead of a large consultancy or a drawn-out, expensive recruiting process. 

This leads to faster results, more productive teams, and a better return on your Salesforce investment.

Give independent consultants an option to apply 

Once you’ve determined where independent consultants can fill in the gaps in your Salesforce team, look closely at your job listings and job descriptions. Include keywords that search filters will make applicable for independent consultants. 

As mentioned, organizing your Salesforce initiatives into sprints will help you create project-based opportunities for independent consultants. Make sure your job postings – with LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. – use language that caters to project-based opportunities. 

Most employers are only sourcing and hiring full-time talent. Building out strategies to hire project-based workers will take some leg work, but having the right processes to work with independents – relationship management, contracts, payment, etc. –  will help you partner with the talent you need to keep projects moving. 

Simplify how you engage with independent consultants 

Onboarding an independent consultant doesn’t have to be complicated. If you make their barrier to entry as simple as possible, you’ll get work started faster and set up the foundation for a healthy partnership for future projects. 

Good independents are in-demand and entertaining multiple project opportunities. Your engagement process needs to be efficient and streamlined. Winded interview processes, complicated contracts, and other red tape will encourage independents to choose another customer’s project over yours. 

The skills vetting process is, of course, still incredibly important. An on-demand consulting partner like 10K can connect you with proven talent ready to jump on a project in less than a week. They will also shoulder the most time-consuming burdens – sourcing, vetting, managing, billing, etc. – so everyone can focus on the work that matters. 

A few closing thoughts for talent management leaders

A one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting and hiring Salesforce talent won’t cut it anymore. The independent workforce is growing; they’re also here to stay. Shifting the mindset of your hiring teams will be key to keeping pace with the rapidly evolving Salesforce talent landscape.  

10K resources to help you partner with independent Salesforce consultants 

On-Demand Salesforce Talent Guide

​​3 Essential Questions for Vetting a Salesforce Consultant’s Soft Skills

3 Bite-Sized Salesforce Tasks You Can Get Off Your Plate Today

Salesforce Consulting: 5 Tips For Landing Your First Contract

Independent Salesforce consulting continues to grow in popularity. Converging economic factors like inflation and overly ambitious post-pandemic growth have led hundreds of companies to lay off over a hundred thousand tech employees since the start of 2023. While this is unfortunate for all the employees affected, it creates new opportunities for independent Salesforce consultants. 

Organizations that have reduced their full-time workforce still have Salesforce orgs to maintain, and many will be looking for fractional talent to take on that work and fill in the gaps. 

Independent Salesforce consultants can be a lifesaver for talent-strapped teams who lack the niche expertise or resources to manage their existing Salesforce projects (not to mention any future improvements they’d like to make).

So whether you’re a newly-unemployed Salesforce professional or are just thinking about the next step in your career, now is an opportune time to step out of your comfort zone and start a new journey.

Our recent global survey of independent Salesforce consultants revealed that 40% started their Salesforce business between 2020 and 2022—and more than half of them don’t plan on returning to a traditional full-time job. 

Salesforce consultants have a lot of career choices. What’s best for you?

If you’re a Salesforce professional with at least three years of consulting experience, you have many options for capitalizing on your skills. 

Some people opt for freelance projects via talent marketplaces such as Upwork or Fiverr. Additionally, some staffing firms can connect you with Salesforce customers looking for contract help.

Freelancing is a solid choice for many Salesforce professionals. It can also be a great stopgap when caught between full-time jobs. But for some, the idea of being their own boss and establishing an independent business calls to them. If this sounds like you, keep reading for five tips for landing your first project as an independent Salesforce consultant.

Define your differentiators and carve out your niche

Embrace the hustle of running a business. That includes all the behind-the-scenes action: creating a sales pipeline, marketing, maintaining client relationships, and more. To thrive, you have to be your loudest advocate and hungriest salesperson.

The idea of selling yourself may feel scary or overwhelming. Especially if your background is rooted in tech, not sales or marketing. But remember, the talent demand data speaks volumes – your Salesforce skills and expertise are in high demand. All you need to do is communicate how your in-depth knowledge can maximize a company’s Salesforce ROI. 

Ask yourself what makes you different as a Salesforce consultant and how you stand out from your peers. Consider your hard skills and soft skills. 

How are you viewed by the people you engage with in professional settings and in your network? What are your unique competencies or niche areas of expertise? Reach out to your colleagues and ask for honest feedback. These details inform who you are as an independent Salesforce consultant and define your personal brand.

Develop your soft skills and business knowledge

It takes more than technical prowess to build a sustainable independent Salesforce consultancy. You also need solid communication skills, people skills, and business acumen to thrive. 

The most effective Salesforce consultants are strong technologists who are also capable of translating their expertise into terms that non-technical people can understand. They know how to communicate and collaborate with their clients while delivering exceptional work.

If you feel your soft skills could use some work, sites like Udemy and Coursera offer hundreds of online courses for a small fee. LinkedIn also offers a free professional soft skills learning path, which includes courses in communications, emotional intelligence, and persuasion. If you want to sharpen your skills in person, many local colleges and chambers of commerce offer classes or resources for small business owners.

Developing your business acumen will also help you be a better consultant for your clients. It will not only help you with the day-to-day tasks of running a business (e.g., setting rates, bookkeeping, etc.) but will also help you better understand how your customers operate and how their Salesforce org can best meet their needs. 

Leverage your network and market the hell out of yourself

Solopreneurs are the face of the company and must be comfortable getting off the sidelines to capture new clients. Consistent networking and an active online presence are absolute necessities. If you believe you have the skills and expertise to do great work, tell everyone who will listen! 

As soon as you start taking steps to legally establish your consultancy, make it official with your personal and professional networks. Project work is all about timing, and you never know who in your extended network might need the expertise you’re offering. And don’t be afraid to ask your connections for introductions. If someone you have an existing relationship with is connected with someone at a company you’d like to work with, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they would connect you. 

Remember, first impressions matter. And when connecting with new people, always follow up on communications (especially if you were introduced by someone else in good faith).  

Treat building your business like hunting for a full-time job 

If you’ve ever spent any time job hunting, you know how much work it takes to beef up your resume, research companies, fill out applications, and reach out to potential employers. Landing Salesforce consulting gigs can take just as much effort, especially when starting out.

Get organized on Day One. Outline a process and use a system for tracking the status of your prospective customers. This is where your Salesforce skills can come into play to track the contacts you have made, project opportunities you’ve bid on, and companies you are pursuing for consulting engagements. Ensure you can easily identify conversations and action items related to each company and engagement. 

Once your backend processes are lined up, strengthen your brand on LinkedIn to open doors to new consulting opportunities.

Optimize your profile, so companies searching for your specific skillset can easily find you. Remember, they’re scouring through dozens of profiles, so relevance is key. Include your Salesforce industry-specific knowledge, tools and technologies, interpersonal skills, and anything else that conveys your Salesforce expertise. Curate your profile for the work you want to do and delete anything that doesn’t align with your Salesforce career goals.

10K COO Jared Miller says your LinkedIn profile should tell your Salesforce expert story. “I look at scores of Salesforce LinkedIn profiles daily to source talent for the 10K Expert Community,” he said. “…the old adage holds—first impressions matter. How an expert communicates their Salesforce experience almost always determines whether I make contact to learn more.” 

Do your homework and nail the client intro 

Once you’ve done the legwork to market your skills and have sufficiently piqued the interest of a potential client, the real selling begins. When you’ve booked a first meeting with a company, you still have to communicate your value and sell them on why you’re the consultant they need.  

Famous race car driver Bobby Unser once said, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Whether you’re going to the Indy 500 or a business meeting on Zoom, preparation is key. The most successful independent Salesforce consultants nail the client intro by always coming prepared. 

Research the stakeholder you’ll be meeting with and see if you have any shared connections or interests. Show them you did your homework on their industry and company, and check out any recent news about the organization. If they recently went through a merger or launched a new product, you should know about it. Come prepared with thoughtful questions that show you’re thinking about how you can help them solve problems.

Bonus tip: Before taking a first meeting, ensure you have a 1-minute elevator pitch. A good elevator pitch explains what you do and summarizes how your unique skills benefit your clients. You can also tailor your pitch to speak to each client’s specific needs. (If you need help to craft your pitch, Indeed has some helpful resources.)

Looking for connections to a roster of cool project work? Or a community of like-minded Salesforce experts like you? We’re here to help you overcome the challenges of becoming an independent Salesforce consultant. Contact us! 

From Layoff to Entrepreneur: How to Become an Independent Salesforce Consultant

There’s a familiar formula playing out across the tech world right now. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it, and it certainly won’t be the last. 

Soaring Stocks x Unsustainable Growth + Economic Turmoil + Inflation  = Tanking Stocks + Spooked Shareholders + Widespread Layoffs 

Business is a numbers game, and that’s fair. We understand that. 

But what’s not fair is that real lives are left stranded after the calculations. Employees are considered family until one day, they’re reduced to just a number. An unnamed resource with a price tag – this has become the cost of doing business in tech. 

If you’ve been affected, it’s okay to grieve

The recent layoffs at Salesforce, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, Lyft, and many other tech companies are disheartening. If you’ve been affected, we are sincerely sorry. 

Getting laid off is an incredibly difficult life event. Please take some time for yourself to grieve. Throw yourself a little pity party and let the dust settle before pressuring yourself to “get it together” — self-reflection and rest will pay off tenfold. 

It won’t seem like it now, and maybe not for a while, but getting laid off can be an unexpected opportunity for change. No one wants to be shoved blindly out of their comfort zone, but this moment can pivot your career trajectory for the better. It can help you build momentum for change. 

Use the momentum for change

Have you ever dreamed of being your own boss? Or what would it feel like to be more flexible with your time and projects? Have you ever said to yourself, “I should just start my own business?”

No more office politics. No more wondering when or if your position will be eliminated. No more bending to the bottom line. No more bureaucracy. 

Being independent means you drive your success. The road will be bumpy, but all the independent consultants we know say the journey is worth it. Especially when customer demand continues to grow amidst an economy prime for contract talent. 

If you’re a Salesforce expert with at least three years of consulting experience and can’t stop imagining what it could be like to just do it, then this guide to starting your own Salesforce consultancy is for you. 

The difference between independent consultants and freelancers 

Establishing an independent consulting business isn’t a band-aid between full-time jobs. It’s a commitment. 

Here is how we define an independent consultant versus a freelancer: 

There is absolutely no shame in freelancing if entrepreneurship isn’t your bag (we go into detail on how to make that determination below). If the ideal scenario is to land another full-time job or you simply need more time before going all in on your business, then freelancing while applying to new roles is your best next move. 

Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?”

Be honest with yourself. Not everyone is cut out to start a business, and that’s perfectly okay. 

The idea of being your own boss is sexy – many people envision more money, more flexibility, and more security. The potential for those benefits is very real but not guaranteed. There will undoubtedly be times when your income is unstable and/or you are working 80+ hours weekly.

When the going gets tough, what will drive you to keep going? We created this downloadable checklist to help guide this thought exercise. Here are a few questions to start with:

What’s your “why?” for starting a business?

What problem do you really want to solve?

How will you be able to solve that problem better than anyone else?

10K’s CEO, Nick Hamm, started his entrepreneurial journey years ago (after seven years entrenched in various roles within the Salesforce ecosystem). He saw a problem and knew he had a good solution. Nick saw firsthand how hard it was (and still is) for Salesforce customers to find good talent. At the same time, a lot of great consultants were going independent. This created a diverse network of top talent that was not easily accessible to customers – that’s how 10K was born. 

Lay down the foundation for your consultancy 

Once you’ve got the ethos of your independent consultancy on paper, it’s time to structure your business and make it official. This is what will differentiate you from a Salesforce freelancer. It’s also a strong selling point for customers considering your services.  

Establishing a business sounds daunting. However, when it boils down to it, there are only four steps to make it a reality. Here are the four first steps you should take:

Find the right circle of advisors

While it’s great to have a mentor to help you with the technical side of starting a consultancy, it’s equally as important to establish a go-to network of specialized advisors. They will play a crucial role in your support system and help with strategic decisions. We recommend enlisting a CPA insurance broker and attorney. 

Establish an official business entity 

Establishing an official business entity – LLC, S corp, etc. – solidifies an official transition to entrepreneurship and symbolizes the commitment to independent consulting as a full-time job. 

An established business entity is also a non-negotiable formality for many potential customers and partners. They want to work with experts who are protected from liability and can provide a non-personal social security number.

Separate personal and business finances

With an official business entity in place, it’s time to get the financial back of the house in order. Choose a trusted financial institution to open an official business checking and savings account. 

It is crucial to keep personal and business finances entirely separate. Mingling accounts and their activity – personal and family expenses, business expenses, business income, etc – will inevitably create a nightmare when it comes time to file personal and business tax returns. 

Create a contingency plan

If we have learned anything since 2020, it’s that life is unpredictable. No amount of research, foundation-building or financial planning can insulate business owners from the inevitable curveballs. Contingency plans provide peace of mind and actionable steps if business doesn’t go according to plan A. 

When you’re ready to take action, we go into more detail for each of these four steps in this article.

Promote the hell out of your services 

Being the boss also means owning sales, marketing, and branding. You are the face of your business. As soon as you start taking steps to make your consultancy legally official, make it official with your network. Promote the hell out of yourself! You are your most knowledgeable and loudest advocate. 

Jeff Mevorah, an independent Salesforce Technical Consultant, recommends that budding independents should “Think like an entrepreneur and get yourself out there. Tell everyone about your new journey. At first, I was hesitant to post on LinkedIn and promote myself, but I realized I had to get out of my head. My network has shown me an outpouring of support. It’s also a major source for project leads. The Salesforce community is incredibly supportive.”

Prepare for client intros

Do your homework

A good consultant performs ample due diligence before meeting a new client. Research should always include basic knowledge of the client, both the individual you’re meeting with (if you know who you’re meeting with), the company, and their industry. Earn conversation points by arming yourself with relevant industry trends and challenges so you can confidently speak to their pain points. 

If someone is setting up the call for you, such as a delivery partner or agency, don’t hesitate to ask for a prep call. At 10K, it’s our priority to ensure every expert is prepped and confident for their new client intros. 

Master your 1-minute elevator pitch

Like resumes, your elevator pitch shouldn’t be one size fits all. It should be tailored and tweaked for every client intro and the needs you hope to solve. 

Take the first 30 seconds to discuss your overall career background and 30 seconds to highlight your skills as they relate to the client’s project/industry. Outline a relevant example or two to demonstrate how your experience is a value-add. For example, “For a financial services client, I performed XYZ; for a technology start-up, I performed XYZ, which increased LMNOP and decreased QRS, surpassing client expectations.” 

Offer metrics when you can and advocate for your skills – clients want to know you can be an effective partner and help solve their problems. 

Sharpen your soft skills

Clients want to feel confident about your ability to parachute into a project, jive with stakeholders, and get the job done. Your personality and communication style should shine. 

Listen first

A great consultant listens, intending to pick up verbal and non-verbal messages. Ask questions for clarity and provide feedback to prove you heard and understood what the client said.  

An active listener can hear what’s not being said by listening between the lines, such as a shift in tone or body language. Picking up what the client doesn’t say is an advanced communication skill that helps make a difference in complex problem-solving.  

Be humble

It’s important to present yourself as an expert and show authority in your skillset. However, there is a fine line between confidence and condescendence. How you ask questions and comment on the client’s situation matters.

For example, tame your surprise and reserve judgment if you disagree with an approach they have taken in the past or don’t understand how their organization/processes are currently set up. Instead of saying, “Oh, so why did you wait until now to implement Marketing Cloud?” offer them support with, “You’re making a great first step toward leveling up your XYZ with Marketing Cloud.”

Practice empathy

Clients sometimes express or show frustration while describing their business problems, especially in initial conversations and discovery. Let them know you are invested in solving their challenges and adjust your tone and body language accordingly. It takes vulnerability to admit there’s a problem and ask for help, and giving clients your empathy can make a lasting impact. 

Join a community like 10K

There is a lot of pressure and unique challenges that come with being an independent business owner. It can be a lonely venture at times. That’s why we are so proud of 10K – a community dedicated to connecting the growing global population of independent Salesforce consultants. 

If you’re interested in speaking with our Chief Talent Officer, Kristin Langlois, about going independent, please contact us today. We’re here to answer your questions and help launch a new career you can be proud of. 

Do Companies Expect Too Much From Salesforce Administrators?

If you walked into a room full of Salesforce veterans today and asked them how they got their start, many would tell you they began their career as a Salesforce Administrator. 

Admins have historically been jacks of all trades, with a breadth of knowledge across different areas of Salesforce. At some organizations, they are the only person who understands what Salesforce can and can’t do, acting as a chief keeper of knowledge. 

But times have changed (a lot), and the Admin role doesn’t look the same as it did 10 years ago—nor should it.

Over the last several years, the Salesforce ecosystem has seen incredible growth, and the platform has become even more complex. It’s also become verticalized, with more industry-specific capabilities and customizations to meet customer demands. 

All these changes and expectations have left some industry veterans wondering… will the Salesforce Administrator become a thing of the past?

This expansion has led to higher expectations for Admins, who may struggle to keep up with the increasing need for specialized knowledge. It’s also made it more challenging for new talent to break into the Salesforce ecosystem and land their first Admin role. 

All these changes and expectations have left some industry veterans wondering… will the Salesforce Administrator become a thing of the past? Our team is confident that Admins are here to stay, but they can no longer be considered catch-all, Salesforce generalists. 

According to Matt Gvazdinskas, 10K’s Chief Strategy Officer, “Salesforce customers still need Admins, especially in the early days of their Salesforce journey. There is still a very important customer service-like role that an Admin needs to play to support users, especially for larger, more mature organizations.”

Salesforce Admin Can No Longer Be a Catch-All Role

Thanks to a number of converging factors, including tighter budgets and a “Great Reshuffling” of the talent market, the number of organizations expecting too much from their Admins is on the rise. Many Salesforce customers also don’t fully grasp (and often underestimate) the skills required to manage their org.

Admins today are expected to be both tactical and strategic, with deep and broad skill sets across multiple areas of the Salesforce ecosystem. And yet, they aren’t paid as well as those in niche roles, like business analysts and consultants. In many cases, the expectations of the Admin role are no longer on par with reality.

In order to improve efficiency, support new business strategies, and enable a more remote workforce, many organizations are expanding their capabilities across multiple Salesforce clouds. Unfortunately, Admins who are expected to keep up with and manage all these new capabilities and requirements on their own end up overwhelmed, and many eventually burn out. 

Here is a post we recently came across on a Salesforce subreddit. It’s an example of how Admins are now expected to be more strategic and help their organization identify what they need to succeed. 

It’s perfectly okay to not know Apex – this Admin just needs to get strategic and identify a solution. We would recommend this Admin define the talent gap on their Salesforce team (an Apex coder) and then prepare a proposal for leadership to enlist the help of a skilled Salesforce Developer, development team, or a Technical Architect (depending on the complexity of the org and requirements).   

The scenario above drives home the fact that an Admin is just one role companies need, not the only role. Currents Admins can lean on their program goals, business understanding, and roadmap to identify where additional skills need to be brought in. 

New Crop of Salesforce Talent is Eager But Underprepared 

It seems as though Salesforce customers are finally picking up on the fact that they need to hire for more specialized roles, with data showing demand for the traditional Admin role diminishing. 

Our 2022 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report found that the growth rate for Admin job listings declined by 36% over the last year. Admin supply also declined globally, down 20% in established markets and 16% in emerging markets. The talent market for traditional Salesforce roles is clearly shifting.

But while demand for Salesforce generalists may be in decline, on-demand learning with Trailhead, talent boot camps, and other certification courses are on the rise, promising an exciting career path for young professionals or those looking to make a change. 

But while demand for Salesforce generalists may be in decline, on-demand learning with Trailhead, talent boot camps, and other certification courses are on the rise, promising an exciting career path for young professionals or those looking to make a change. 

These programs are great for helping people understand the core Salesforce technology and the basics of navigation, setup, configuration, and data management. In other words, they’re very effective for preparing someone to pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam

However, training isn’t a substitute for the specialized knowledge and skills gained from real-life experience (business analysis, project management, product management, etc). This is where customers should choose to meet aspiring talent in the middle. 

Organizations Should Hire For Potential, Focus On Upskilling, and Look to Fractional Talent  

We found that more experienced admins are starting to find their niche and move into specialized roles. Our research showed significant growth in the higher-paying roles Admin typically move into, including: 

  • 33% increase in Salesforce Business Analyst roles 
  • 17% increase in Salesforce Consultant roles 
  • 13% increase in Salesforce Solution Architect roles

We also ran a Glassdoor compensation comparison (for all years of experience and remote). The following are median comps including base salary and bonus:

  • Salesforce Administrator: $80,368
  • Salesforce Consultant: $132,597 
  • Salesforce Business Analyst: $94,226
  • Salesforce Solution Architect: $177,516

With these numbers, we’re not terribly surprised to see a shrinking talent pool of experienced Admins. It’s a competitive talent market, and for companies to hire effectively, they must adjust their expectations. Rather than duking it out for the few experienced Admins still out there, companies should consider taking a chance on new talent eager to learn and grow. Look for candidates that check 80% of the boxes on your wish list and invest in training to fill any gap areas, like foundational IT skills or business acumen. With a bit of mentorship and guidance, these are the folks who could become your next #AwesomeAdmin.

On that note, it’s crucial to remember that if you hired an Admin for their potential and invested in their career development, you have to stay tuned into where and when they need support. A win-win solution is to partner with independent Salesforce Architects, Developers, Business Analysts, and Consultants who can help your Admin solve complex business challenges that require specialized skills (custom business applications, system integrations, etc.). Learn how to make on-demand talent an effective part of your Salesforce program with our how-to guide.

To identify the tell-tale signs your Admin needs help, stay tuned to our blog!

10K’s 2022 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report is Now Available

Our fifth annual Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report is available now. Download it for access to more of the latest trends and statistics around talent supply and demand, and learn more about what’s happening in the Salesforce partner ecosystem.

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How to Break Into Salesforce

Do you want to land a job as a Salesforce professional? It’s totally within reach. 

Despite recent tech layoffs at major companies, talks of hiring freezes, and slowdowns, research shows that Salesforce remains hot with growing customer demand. Pivoting into a Salesforce role is an excellent and smart next career step for anyone willing to put in the work and dedication.   

Whether you’re looking for a new job with stability or are currently employed and Salesforce-curious, the good news is absolutely anyone can break into the Salesforce ecosystem. It will, however, require more than Trailhead certifications and badges. 

Most recruiters we know in the industry agree that focused professional development – real-life education, experience, and relationships – are absolute necessities for landing an entry-level Salesforce role. Yes, even Administrators. 

The beauty of every Salesforce career is no single trajectory is the same. Here are some actionable steps to help blaze your own trail and land your first Salesforce role. 

Imposter syndrome, who? Put your hand up!

Nine times out of ten, an absence of hands-on experience will be the deal breaker for companies hiring for Salesforce roles, including entry-level.  

The chicken or the egg? This is a frustrating scenario for many job seekers looking to enter a new field. “How am I supposed to land a job to gain experience when I don’t have experience?” Hence the phrase “breaking in” (it’s the hard part!).

The good news is, the Salesforce ecosystem is a behemoth. There are plenty of opportunities to gain experience working with the platform. It’s all about building relationships, knowing where to look and where to volunteer. 

If you’re currently a Salesforce end-user… 

No one wants to be the “yes man” and be overloaded with work, but taking on a Salesforce project at your current company is the easiest way to gain experience. The opportunity to work on new and challenging projects is truly priceless. Especially when thousands of other tech workers are striving to do the same thing. As an end-user, you’re already a step ahead of some of the competition. 

Tune into your organization’s Salesforce program’s challenges and initiatives, then volunteer to take on the task. This kind of hands-on experience will not only build confidence, but demonstrate a go-getter mentality and motivation to learn, grow, and be a team player. 

The projects you volunteer for probably won’t be sexy or have high visibility, but that’s a small price to pay for the end goal: Landing a Salesforce career. Ask to help with current or future internal salesforce projects as a stakeholder, tester, or beta group user. This will expose you to how new features are designed and implemented. 

If you’re currently looking for work…

If you have the resources and 5-10 hours per week, build your Salesforce experience and volunteer for a nonprofit or startup. Choose an organization whose goal and initiatives align with your interest to make volunteering a win-win scenario. Volunteering is an awesome way to gain experience, but remember, Salesforce is a critical piece to serving a nonprofit’s mission. Approach the opportunity with respect!

Promote the hell out of yourself 

The Salesforce job market is competitive and you’ll need to promote yourself to rise above the noise. You are your loudest and most knowledgable advocate. Before reaching out to any companies, do the standard ‘landing a new job’ housekeeping. 

Spend time getting your LinkedIn profile into shape. Flip your “looking for work” setting on and make sure your profile features relevant keywords to attract your ideal Salesforce roles/industries. 

With a LinkedIn profile that’s ready to sell, turn to your LinkedIn connections and their networks to find others who will be excited to advocate for you. Find people who have your ideal roles and reach out to learn more about their Salesforce journey. The Salesforce Ohana is real and many are passionate about helping others break into the ecosystem. 

Cold messaging may feel strange or annoying, but with intention, it won’t come across that way. It also helps that people love to talk about themselves, and the Salesforce talent community is called Salesforce Ohana for a reason. If you’ve got drive and kindness, most (we would bet a solid three out of five) Salesforce folks are willing to help. 

Come prepared with questions

The ultimate flex is asking for help with no fear – whether it’s which skills to focus on sharpening, where your resume needs color, an introduction, or career advice, the important thing is to just ask

It also helps to explain your “why.” What is your motivation and desire to pivot into Salesforce? Ask about their career trajectory and listen closely for lessons that can help your journey. 

The term ‘networking’ has a corny connotation but data proves it shouldn’t. According to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking and CNBC reported that 70% of jobs are never published publicly. The squeaky wheel gets oiled, so start squeaking!

Upskill, upskill, upskill 

Hit Trailhead with a laser focus on developing your Salesforce knowledge and soft skills. A solid Trail to start with is Skill Up for the Future with Trailhead.   

Salesforce is constantly expanding its breadth of offerings. With specialized products and triannual releases, growing customer demand is helping create a steady flow of new career opportunities. If you’re committed to doing whatever hard work needs to be done, you can break into Salesforce. Once you land that first Salesforce job, your career truly has no ceiling. 

Check out our 2022 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report to see how experienced Administrators have seized the opportunity to level up into more specialized roles like Business Analyst, Consultant, and Solution Architect. 

Fold yourself into the Salesforce Ohana 

The Salesforce ecosystem is flush with local user groups and online forums. They are excellent resources to turn to for wisdom, introductions, and support. 

Tap into in-person communities for relationship building and camaraderie, such as Salesforce Saturday meetups, other community events, and Trailblazer community meetups

Keep an eye on upcoming regional community conferences – such as WITness Success or Midwest Dreamin’ – to make new friendships and sit in on info sessions. 

If online relationship and community building is more your speed, Reddit has an active community of Salesforce professionals (r/salesforce). It’s an open forum to ask questions about career pathing and learn about Salesforce use cases and project troubleshooting. 

Landing a first-time Salesforce gig isn’t always easy, but it is everyone’s opportunity for the taking. If you have questions for our team, contact us or check out more 10K articles here.