At first blush, a programmer seems like a great fit for your business needs when it comes to Salesforce. They aren’t intimidated by the system and can customize it as much as you want. Salesforce isn’t usually their primary skill, though, and that’s where things can get tricky.

In our experience, having the technical chops to take on custom work and knowing when custom work is called for are two different sets of skills and expertise.

Knowing the difference between customization that’s necessary to support businesses processes and customization that isn’t the right solution and will slow down future improvements to the system is key. There’s a lot that can be done to optimize Salesforce that doesn’t require code.

The more code in your system, the more likely it will break — or at the very least bog down — future enhancements.

It’s a scenario we’ve seen time and again: a business engages a programmer to optimize their Salesforce system, they’re both aligned on the custom work needed, and the programmer delivers the work according to the defined project scope. The business is up and running in no time with their requested system improvements. For a time, they might even work well.

Then, as it inevitably does, the process changes. All of that custom work becomes the foundation of new system updates and gets layered even deeper into the system under more custom work.

When one small thing breaks, it’s now a domino effect causing other issues throughout the system.

Like pulling on a random loose thread on your clothing, without a clear idea of what that custom work affects, you can’t be sure what it may be unraveling.

That’s why we advise organizations that when they’re looking for an admin, they don’t really want a programmer. 

Salesforce has a lot of out-of-the-box functionality that allows for non-programmers to create powerful business process rules (“clicks not code”). You can create approval processes, for example, that force any opportunities that fall outside of specific pricing rules to go through management first, and make a record of the approval before allowing it to the next stage.

 A programmer without good Salesforce knowledge might write custom code to do the same thing, only it will take them much longer, and you’ll need their help any time the process needs updating.

If the programmer leaves (they’re in high demand too!), then you’ve got a big headache: custom code that can’t easily be changed. Which means you’ve got a programmed solution for a critical business need that can’t be maintained. Yikes!

So what do you want to look for?

The ideal Salesforce admin — and if you know of anyone looking for a great place to work, we’re hiring! — has at least three years of day-to-day Salesforce experience, has worked for organizations of a similar size and maybe even similar industries, and can do some business analysis, documentation, and training. 

They’ve worked with integrated packages before, maybe even written some Apex code. 

They enjoy the complexities of wrangling Salesforce to solve your business problems, but also like meeting with the management team/users on reporting and new initiatives. They have a Salesforce Administrator certification. They dream about Process Builder, data deduplication, and their next certification.

So now you have your list. Good luck on your search!

(Spoiler alert: someone with all of the above is rare… and pricey.)

If you have trouble finding this rare bird, or want to benefit from engaging with a certified Salesforce Partner who can leverage the Salesforce knowledge and expertise of their entire team for your benefit, then we should chat about your business needs. Get in touch with us here to start that conversation.