Your education should never stop in a Salesforce career, no matter how experienced you are, says Valerio Lancia, managing director of enterprise technology at K2. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is to never get into a comfort zone with Salesforce; you need to keep developing your skills,” says Valerio, who has been working with the CRM platform for about 13 years.
Don’t wait for your employer to tell you about the latest Salesforce releases and trends, advises Valerio. “Be curious by learning something new yourself every day, whether it’s formal training or reading an online article. As we saw at Dreamforce, the platform is increasingly driven by AI and is constantly changing,” he adds.
Valerio has taken a problem-solving approach to his Salesforce career. “Always put your business objective first, and think creatively about the best Salesforce solution to achieve it,” he explains. “Sometimes we limit ourselves too much – we might decide to get a developer to write code, when the best business solution is flow automation, which an administrator can do with drag-and-drop. To succeed in a Salesforce career, you must understand the full capabilities of the platform.”
Starting a Salesforce career
Valerio’s advice comes from hands-on experience, which began in 2010 when a multinational company put him in charge of a new project…implementing Salesforce. “I seized the opportunity to take my career into a future I knew would be dominated by cloud technology,” says Valerio, who was based in Italy at the time.
Salesforce training was thin on the ground back then. “I had to teach myself a lot on the job – for example by experimenting in a sandbox environment. But after a couple of years, I headed to London for a Salesforce administrator course. This furthered my interest in the platform as I could chat with like-minded people, and I saw how Salesforce jobs were taking off in the UK.”
The booming Salesforce job market convinced Valerio to relocate to London in 2012 for a role as a CRM manager. Three years later he trained to become a certified Salesforce administrator, using the Focus on Force platform (now part of K2).
Becoming Salesforce certified
Valerio’s prior work on the platform helped him pass the certification exam at the first attempt. By contrast, most people these days head into the exam with little or no experience. “Most of the time, organizations now only hire certified Salesforce professionals, so you have to get certified right at the start of your career. It’s a much steeper learning curve than I faced, which is why Salesforce courses from K2 University are increasingly in demand.”
How to perform well in a Salesforce career
Whether you’re a Salesforce administrator, architect, or developer, the certification is “an important badge” that gets you into a role, but it doesn’t guarantee future success. Here’s how to do well on the job, according to Valerio:
Valerio has worked in architecture, business administration, and consultancy roles during his Salesforce career, and says they’ve all required strong people skills. “This is particularly important when you’re implementing change because you have to sell the benefits of the Salesforce solution to others in the business. The ability to build trust with stakeholders is critical, even when you have strong technical skills,” he adds.
Learn from others when finding Salesforce solutions
“When problem solving, it’s tempting to start from scratch. But you’re probably not the first person or company who’s faced that same challenge on Salesforce, so do some research and find out before you give yourself extra work. One of the things I love about Salesforce is that there’s a big and growing community to reach out to online.”
Consider career goals when choosing additional certifications
Valerio has added the Salesforce Cloud Administrator and Platform App Builder certifications to his resume in recent years. “These were really aligned to my own consultancy-focused Salesforce career path. Don’t choose Salesforce courses and certifications just because the subject matter seems generally interesting – focus on whether they also help you meet your specific Salesforce career goals,” he advises.
“People who are new to a Salesforce career often want to achieve big things and become experts very quickly,” says Valerio. “But even after getting certified, it can take time to make an impact when using a platform as dynamic as Salesforce. You will reach your career goals with hard work and patience.”
By Simon Mortlock