It’s not uncommon for an organization to purchase Salesforce without an admin in place to support their investment. We all get excited about the potential of a new system — and when that system can be the one source of truth for your company, this excitement seems totally warranted!

With that said, technically-minded individuals at these organizations can often find themselves in the role of accidental admin. Without a plan in place, it falls to them to coordinate the behind the scenes work to make the most of the investment. It’s an important role and combined with the day-to-day responsibilities, it can be a lot to take on.

At Cloud Giants, we’ve collaborated with accidental admins as devoted and driven as full-time Salesforce admins. If you’re ready to start a relationship with a consultant who can do more heavy lifting with you, we’d love to chat about how we can help you and your organization reach the next level.

Our colleague Stephen spent years in the nonprofit world as a program manager and superuser turned accidental admin. His love for Salesforce and systems only grew in that role and he transitioned over to consultant at the end of 2018 with us!

If accidental admin sounds like you, read on for Stephen’s tips for successfully navigating your unique role.

Keep the Focus on Value

Change can be hard. And asking your colleagues to change their current way of working in a system can be difficult to do. For Stephen, it was crucial that his change management practices involved keeping the focus on what value that change would provide.

By centering conversations, new training, and requests around how the system would benefit the user and the organization, it can help to take the edge off any disruption to the normal way of working.

“You don’t want to come across as the Salesforce police,” Stephen said. “You have to show the value of everything. Like when we would run reports, you can see in real time the information. So when folks asked for high-level information, it was clear.”

Get Key Users Excited

As an accidental admin, it can certainly feel like you’re going it alone sometimes. By poking around in the system, you’ll start to see its value quickly and feel more comfortable working in it.

You’re probably aware of who in your organization also prizes efficiency or typically gets others fired up. Recruit these other technically-minded colleagues to help drive user excitement and user adoption when the time comes to roll out something new. They may not be as deep in the weeds as you are, but they can certainly help others feel excited about the value of the system.

“A lot of regular users miss what a powerful tool Salesforce is because they use Salesforce in a certain way in their role,” Stephen said. “They have what they need to do with it, so exploring other uses isn’t high priority. It’s so much to learn but it can do so much to help a business.”

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

In Stephen’s experience, a lot of decisions as an accidental admin come down to this one idea.

“It can be tempting to sacrifice long term gains for short term benefit,” Stephen said. “As the admin or superuser at your organization, it’s crucial to make sure you’re harnessing information in a meaningful way longterm.”

Salesforce is a robust system and with each new release, it gets increased functionality and capability. It can’t be simple and do all the things, so focusing on the long term strategy for making the most of it will set you up for long term success.

“It’s incredibly important to take a step back and think about the data and how it can be harnessed in a meaningful way,” Stephen said. “Having conversations with your colleagues about how data can be systematically captured is critical. We’d talk about account history, meeting information, and where that data should live — where it was most useful to tell the story.”

The point, he reminded, is to use that data to tell the story of your organization. By focusing on the value change can provide, recruiting others to help foster user excitement and user adoption, and remembering that it’s a marathon rather than a sprint, your organization can maximize their investment in Salesforce and you can proudly wear the badge of Awesome Admin, even as an accidental one.