How To Be Best Friends With Your Salesforce Administrator

July 5, 2019

As a marketer, and as you dive deeper into marketing operations, you’re going to realize you can’t work in a silo. There are things you’ll want to get done that require the assistance of other people. Some of these things will involve your Salesforce Administrator.

In general, it’s a good idea to work closely with your Salesforce Administrator in order to align marketing operations. In order to be successful, your Sales and Marketing teams must be aligned – but it’s important to go a step further and also align with your Salesforce Administrator. If you bring the admin into your processes a little too late, they won’t be able to handle your requests because, for example, their work queue is six months full.

In order to create alignment with your Salesforce Administrator, you need to understand what they do.

A day in the life of a Salesforce Administrator is filled with data and reports. But this is a good thing! The Salesforce Administrator holds the keys to complicated reports that will prove your ROI.

Something else to remember is that just because someone has a Salesforce Administrator certification (which every Salesforce Administrator needs) doesn’t mean they’re ready to be a Salesforce Administrator. Ideally, you should have someone with one advanced certification and 2-3 years’ experience in Salesforce.

You want someone who realizes they can’t do it all by themselves. You want someone who trusts their team, just like you trust your team.

Here are five things you can do to develop a working relationship with your Salesforce Administrator:

  1. Go say hello! Introduce yourself, and make a good first impression. Don’t let the first time you introduce yourself be “Hey, I need this…” Let your Salesforce Administrator know what projects you’re working on and why. Be open with yourself, and they will most likely be open with you. Approach your Salesforce Administrator honestly (don’t have ulterior motives). While they do perform a job that helps you immensely, you want to see them as a person instead of a job role.
  1. Have a basic understanding of the database. Your admin works data day in/day out. If you have an ask and can show that you understand the architecture of the database, they’ll be more likely to accommodate you. At the very least, you should have some basic knowledge of the data and how it flows between the two systems. Know how the connector works between your marketing software and Salesforce, and you’ll be able to make a meaningful connection with your Salesforce Administrator.
  1. Keep timelines in mind. What we’re asking for might seem simple, but in the reality of the Salesforce database, it could be very complicated. Be mindful and have realistic expectations of the Salesforce Administrator’s timeline. Remember that you are not the only person talking to her/him – asking her for impossible reports. Keep in mind that they likely have an enormous amount of work on their to-do list.
    • Reporting – the pressure is on your Salesforce Administrator to prove the system is working. If you have a basic understanding of how data works, you can start to ask for reports. Salesforce is where you want to get the reports from, but let the admin choose where the report should live. She/he is the one who will have to keep up with and maintain the report.
    • Seasonality – be aware of when your admin is going to be super busy, and plan ahead. Don’t ask for a complicated report on the last day of the month. And remember you’re not the only one asking for stuff from the admin. If you know you’re going to need a report, get the ask out early.
  1. Ask for their consultation vs telling them what to do. If you’re trying to accomplish X, the best way to do that is to ask for your Salesforce Administrator’s advice. Give them the context of what you’re trying to do. They are focused on data/reports, so they tend to look at things differently (in ways that marketers don’t). They also know the ins and outs of their system and will likely know the best way to undertake and accomplish your ask.
  1. Integrate them into your team. Instead of leaving your Salesforce Administrator out in the cold, put them on your team. Have a regular cadence of meetings with them to help stay aligned. Invite them to marketing operations meetings so they can understand where you are in relation to where they are. The Salesforce Administrator holds the keys to complicated reports that will prove ROI – data you need to prove your worth.

Seek to understand their pain points. You might have a Salesforce Administrator that trusts you and lets you run with lead management strategies, and you might have someone who is more protective of their system. Give them a voice by putting them on your team!

Here are some behavior indicators that you are falling out of alignment with your Salesforce Administrator:

  • Your Salesforce Administrator is too busy – When they’re not properly trained, and they don’t know what they’re doing, Salesforce Administrators become exceptionally busy. Give the admin time, but if he/she’s taking 3-4 weeks to put something together, there’s a problem.
  • The hijacker – Saleforce is theirs and no one else’s. This Salesforce Administrator is extremely protective of their instance. No one other than them can touch it. While this attitude is understandable, it should be considered a red flag.
  • Poor communicators – Part of an Salesforce Administrator’s job is to communicate. When communication is poor, the whole company suffers.
  • No ticket system – On a typical day, Salesforce Administrator deal with a plethora of requests. Good admins will have instituted a ticket system to handle these issues.
  • Disorganized – A Salesforce Administrator that appears disorganized is more than likely trying to bandaid their system. This means they’re spending more time trying to keep things from going wrong instead of optimizing the system.
  • No collaborating…no allocation of the work – An Salesforce Administrator’s job is demanding and rigorous. If they’re not capable of allocating work and expect that they themselves will be able to accomplish everything, you’re in trouble.
  • Doesn’t work on improving their education – Salesforce is constantly adding new features. A good Salesforce Administrator is going to be excited to be working in Salesforce and will keep up to date with the latest features and releases.

Millions of people are certified as a Salesforce Administrator – all of them are different. Each admin will have a different approach to the requests you make of them because they bring unique experiences to the table. Those differences and quirks should be valued! So, get to know your Salesforce Administrator as a person – not just a job role.

Need help?

Our Salesforce consulting may be what you need to help create better processes!

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