Success in a Salesforce administrator job goes far beyond just managing the software; it requires a deep understanding of your organization’s needs, a proactive approach to problem-solving, and the ability to adapt to ever-evolving AI-driven technology.
Salesforce administrators play a crucial role in harnessing the potential of the world’s most popular and powerful CRM system. But is becoming an administrator a good career move, and how can you succeed once you’re working as one?
To find out, we spoke with three K2 experts: Marissa Rico, a delivery specialist; Aleix Vila, an advanced trainer partner and certified Salesforce instructor; and Zerina Karahodzic, a K2 University Associate. As you embark on a career as a Salesforce administrator, here are their top tips to excel in the job.
Why work in a Salesforce administrator job?
It’s an achievable entry point into a technology career
“Typically, to break into a tech job, you need to study computer science,” says Aleix Vila. “But people in Salesforce administrator jobs come from all walks of life – from hairdressers to philosophy students. Salesforce has democratized access to tech careers because you don’t need to code to be an administrator; you use the platform’s drag-and-drop functionality.”
You can work across companies, industries and countries
If you take a Salesforce administrator role, you won’t be confined to a niche tech career. “You’ll instead be working on the world’s most popular CRM platform, used by companies large and small, across all industries and markets around the world,” says Zerina Karahodzic.
It’s an increasingly sought-after job
As a Salesforce administrator, you are likely to be in high demand in the job market, says Marissa Rico. The profession is facing long-term skill shortages and has a high attrition rate as administrators frequently change companies to advance their careers, and vacancies open up to replace people who leave, she adds.
More employers are looking for certified Salesforce administrators
To take full advantage of this high demand from employers, you need to get certified as a Salesforce administrator. “The clear trend is that more companies are looking for certified expertise. Certification means you’re more employable, can command a higher salary, and are able to work on better projects,” says Marissa.
The administrator role is a stepping stone into many other Salesforce careers
Zerina says becoming an administrator opens “many exciting doors” into the Salesforce world. “You could advance your career as an administrator over the long term, or eventually move into another Salesforce role, such as a developer, consultant, or architect,” she adds.
What does a Salesforce administrator do?
A Salesforce administrator is responsible for user management and security management – from setting up new accounts, to creating reports and responding to requests. All companies use Salesforce differently and this impacts the focus of administrators’ work.
“They customize the Salesforce platform according to their company’s core business needs. A recruitment firm has different processes than a marketing company, or a charity,” explains Zerina. “Salesforce is highly customisable for any company that needs to track its CRM activities and run its business efficiently,” she adds.
Administrators serve as a bridge between Salesforce users and Salesforce specialists, in particular developers, says Aleix. “Administrators typically talk to ‘super users’ in each department when it comes to, for example, change requests. They then communicate requests to Salesforce developers and architects in the company, so they’re right in the middle of things and do a lot of coordination work.”
What skills do you need to succeed in a Salesforce administrator job?
A learning mindset
For Marissa, having a “learning mindset” is key to success in a Salesforce administrator job. “If you’re not willing to constantly learn, you’re not suited to this job,” she says, pointing out that Salesforce does three product releases a year. “This means you need to constantly update your skills and even add new Salesforce certifications,” says Marissa.
Zerina adds: “In recent months, K2 University has seen increasing demand from companies to educate their administrators about Salesforce Flow, an important automation tool that allows administrators to build powerful business solutions using clicks, not code.”
Dreamforce 2023 underlined how AI is changing Salesforce products even more rapidly that in the past, and is requiring Salesforce administrators to get to grips with new features such as Einstein Copilot, a generative AI assistant launched at the conference.
Communication skills are critical in a Salesforce administrator job
The rapid pace of change in the Salesforce ecosystem also requires administrators to have strong communication skills, according to Aleix. “When there’s a change to Salesforce, it’s important to create instructions about it, and run a communication campaign to let end users know,” he says.
Aleix also says administrators need to be adept at “diplomacy”. “On a new project, they might have a Salesforce architect telling them what to implement, but then they also need to work with a developer to get it done. The administrator uses their communication skills to update stakeholders and reconcile potentially different approaches to a solution. It’s about finding common ground.”
The ability to solve problems
As administrators communicate with various people across the company – both Salesforce experts and non-experts – they need the ability to harness the vast capabilities of Salesforce to solve business problems. “Proactively finding solutions is core to the job of a Salesforce administrator,” says Zerina.
What are some surprising aspects of working as a Salesforce administrator?
The Salesforce community is very supportive
From short learning sessions on Trailhead to in-depth courses from K2 University, there’s a wealth of development opportunities that help Salesforce administrators advance their careers. And if you want support, you can reach out to the wider “Salesforce community” via online platforms and at events like Dreamforce, says Marissa.
“The community is huge and very helpful. Many people will lend you a hand if you need a job or have a technical question,” says Marissa. “It’s also a global community – you can meet new people and learn from them, wherever you are in the world,” adds Zerina.
The scope of a Salesforce administrator role is bigger than you might think
“An administrator can perform a lot more tasks now compared with 10 years ago,” says Aleix. “Using Salesforce Flow automation and drag-and-drop functionality, they can do things in a single afternoon that would previously have required a developer to work for two weeks. Developers are being pushed into more specialized API work or platform customizations,” he adds.
Being a Salesforce administrator is…fun
“Some people become Salesforce administrators because it’s a growing and well-paid job sector. But a lot of them soon find out that it’s also pretty fun,” says Aleix. “You’re always discovering new things on the platform, creating new solutions, and seeing a positive impact on end users.”
By Simon Mortlock