Do you really need a Salesforce admin? Yes, you do. Salesforce is an investment in the future of your business, so every business with Salesforce, even a company with a total user count of one, needs a Salesforce Administrator to get the most out of that investment. Here’s why:

1. Out of the box, it’s not configured for your specific business.

Most companies buy Salesforce Sales Cloud first, which contains the CRM capabilities to track and manage your business. But the out of the box setup does not reflect you and your business. When you first buy it, you need to create users, import data, and configure the system to reflect your lead and sales management processes, among other things. Out of the box, Salesforce comes with the following Sales Process represented as the Opportunity Stage Field:

Out-of-the-box Salesforce Opportunity Stage Values: Prospecting, Qualification, Needs Analysis, Value Proposition, Id. Decision makers, Perception Analysis, Proposal/Price Quote, Negotation/Review, Closed Won, and Closed Lost

Out-of-the-box Salesforce Opportunity Stage Values: Prospecting, Qualification, Needs Analysis, Value Proposition, Id. Decision makers, Perception Analysis, Proposal/Price Quote, Negotation/Review, Closed Won, and Closed Lost

Does the default Salesforce sales process match your sales process? No - its a starting point for your business to work from. Typically, small businesses have fewer sale stages than what’s outlined above.

When you buy Salesforce, you need to, at the bare minimum, update the Opportunity Stage Field to have values that represent how you sell and the steps you take your prospects through.

Another example of a configuration you might make is adding a field to capture why you lost a sale. Salesforce does not come with a “Closed Lost Reason” field out of the box - usually, businesses care about why they lost something - and they care in a way that’s reportable. Adding a pick-list field (this is the Salesforce term for a drop-down field), to capture common reasons for losing a sale. Over time, this will enable you to determine whether there’s a pattern, and what steps to take to improve your process.

For example, your closed-lost reasons may include “Chose Competitor,” “Changed Mind,” “Lost Budget,” or “Lost Momentum”. Viewing this data in a report would add value to your pipeline analysis and planning activities.

2. It’s a platform.

A platform is defined as a solution that can be built upon. In the case of Salesforce, some capabilities will probably come built in with the solution you purchase. But your Salesforce Org can, and should, be built out further to track, measure, and reflect growth in a way that best fits your business model.

In our opinion, companies who purchase Salesforce should be asking “What else can I do with Salesforce?” This is not only because of the expense of Salesforce, but because of the unlimited potential a platform like it allows.

You can run your entire business on Salesforce, with every employee, partner, and customer using Salesforce to interact with your business. You can use Salesforce to build your technology solutions, like custom applications you would want to offer and sell to others. You can build websites and customer portals (also referred to as Communities) to engage your customers and provide them access to key data (like account statements or cases they might log to ask for help). The possibilities are endless with Salesforce, and having a qualified and experienced Admin can help you uncover where to use the platform more.

Back to Sales Cloud: many who purchase Sales Cloud do not realize that you can also use it to support your customers using a built-in feature called case management, where your customers can log a case or ask a question from a web form (called web-to-case) and have it created in your Salesforce instance.

An experienced admin will know where these solution opportunities exist. If you don’t have an admin or are just starting to become one, then you need to invest in learning what the platform has to offer so you can get the most out of your investment.

Another challenge we see is that companies without Salesforce knowledge purchase additional solutions that are already included in existing Salesforce license. For example, many clients with Sales Cloud come our way and tell us they have started to purchase a case management solution.

As was mentioned, basic case management is included in Sales Cloud licenses. On top of that, purchasing a separate solution means your users now have to learn two systems and your data is in two places. Having an admin can help you avoid these mistakes.

3. Salesforce changes three times a year.

That’s right: every spring, winter, and summer, Salesforce has a major release. When you Google “How to Prepare for Salesforce Releases,” you get countless blog posts and articles that describe the steps needed to prepare for a Salesforce release. The amount of preparation depends on the complexity and age of your Salesforce instance.

In the “Craft Your Release Strategy” module of the Salesforce Trail “Prepare for Salesforce Releases” (Trails are learning paths made up of modules that teach you various things about the Salesforce platform), the recommended approach for you, the admin, is to Learn, Educate, Plan, Communicate, Test, Go Live, and Iterate.

  1. Learn: There are various ways to learn about what changes are headed your way for a release. You could read the release notes, watch Salesforce videos that discuss new features, read through the release preview (which contains a subset of the release notes), take the release-specific trail to get a badge, go through the release in a sandbox or another pre-release org, experiment with new features, read various blog posts featuring people’s favorite features, and/or participate in the discussion on the community.

    There is no right or wrong path - just remember as you review and learn to keep track of features that you think your users have been asking for or might benefit from.
  2. Educate: After you’ve learned about the release, you should share what you learned with your stakeholders and teach them about what’s going to soon go live in your instance.
  3. Plan: As the release approaches and you’ve decided what to implement, it is recommended to review the timelines that Salesforce has for the release, such as when the sandboxes will have the new release features and when they will go live in production. Using these dates, you can outline your plan to test the new features and make customizations to enable the new features.
  4. Communicate: It’s best to let your users know that new features are on their way so they know what to expect.
  5. Test: Make sure to test new features, ensuring that something new won’t interfere or break what’s already there.
  6. Go Live: Launch into production.
  7. Iterate: Keep it going (and going and going).

Do you as a business owner or executive or sales leader have time to manage all this and keep up with building your business and growing your pipeline or delivering your service? Probably not - that’s why you need your own Salesforce Administrator.

4. There is just so much to learn.

Keeping up with Salesforce release changes could easily be considered a full-time job, especially for newer admins. In the last decade, Salesforce’s complexity has increased exponentially. What once was simple CRM where an Admin made field additions, created formulas, and configured workflows has become an ever-increasing set of features, functions, clouds, apps, integrations, and more.

To give you an idea of the volume and breadth of content to learn, let's review what information is out there.  There are currently 89 different Salesforce Trails you can take. This is an incredibly large amount of content to consume and Trailhead was introduced in late 2014. On the certifications page for Salesforce, you can see there are at least 26 different certifications that one could obtain on their Salesforce learning journey. As you read in #3, Salesforce adds a multitude of great new features three times a year. The release notes for Spring 2018 alone, if printed, is 527 pages full of new features and information.

Salesforce has 6 different Clouds: Sales, Service, Marketing, Commerce, Communities, and Integration. Each cloud has multiple editions, add-ons, and special selections to choose to extend the system, for example, Salesforce CPQ. Salesforce also has 13 different industry-specific solutions (for example: Financial Services Cloud, Health Cloud, Government Cloud, etc.) There is a specific solution for document management and collaboration known as Quip, which is like Google Docs and Slack rolled into one. Lastly, the platform itself, App Cloud, allows you to build your own enterprise applications. There are endless opportunities to build solutions, both for your internal business users and for your customers. Anyone can build their next great idea using the Salesforce platform solutions.

If your job is to build solutions, great you can learn about Salesforce and Administration. But, if you are leading a Sales Team or an entire organization you're going to need an admin who has the time to keep up with all of this information and learning.

5. It’s an investment.

Salesforce is worth every penny, but it is not inexpensive. As a small business owner or executive, you should look to do as much as you can with Salesforce to run your business - doing so can actually help you save money.

You may not yet have an IT team of your own, and maintaining several solutions (and then attempting to integrate them if they don’t come with built-in integrations) is not recommended. You’ll spend too much time and money to get them all to connect, and then potentially introduce new issues to your organization and data that even large enterprise organizations with lots of resources would be challenged to solve.

So why not seek out any and every way Salesforce can help solve your business problems and deliver on your goals? That is the biggest advantage of using Salesforce: you can replace other software solutions you are paying for, reducing your costs.

You also improve efficiency if employees don’t have to bring a data set from one system and then another system together in a spreadsheet or have to spend time learning multiple systems. If it's all in Salesforce, it’s all connected, you’re saving money.

As you read before, there’s so much to know, and a good admin can help identify what parts of the Salesforce platform could be used to solve a problem. If Salesforce doesn’t offer it, there are even more solutions on the AppExchange, which has thousands of solutions to extend Salesforce to meet your business needs. Having an admin who can outline a roadmap for change that’s tied to your business goals will help you use Salesforce to its fullest and improve ROI in all parts of your business.

6. Your business will change, too.

Raise your hand if your business was the same today as it was a few months ago? A few years ago? Yeah, it’s not. Your people change, your processes change, your customers change. All those changes require updates to Salesforce.

When your business process changes, your admin will need to update the appropriate fields, objects, and automation and then conduct a data migration so that your data isn’t out of sync and you are able to report consistently. You will need new reports to get insights into what’s going on in the business. Perhaps you add a new product line to your business - you will need to add that to the system so that your Sales Team can connect. Have a new question for a prospect on your Contact Us page that’s been connected to Salesforce using Web-to-Lead? You will need an admin who can generate that new field’s HTML to embed in your website. Your admin can also help add and subtract users from the system.

There’s no way any one person can know it all when it comes to Salesforce. The good news? You don’t have to do it alone. Contact us to get the most out of your Salesforce investment.