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My Journey from Novice to Expert: Earning my Salesforce Stripes

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

I've gotten used to my name being synonymous with "Salesforce" wherever I've worked. I found that it was rare for the system to come up without some version of "you can talk to Soof, she knows more about it" being tacked on to the end of the sentence. At first, I found it odd--I've only worked here for x months, my exposure to the system isn't that extensive, how did I earn this title so quickly? But over time, I embraced it, and looking back now, I'm realizing it kickstarted my career's most exciting chapter.

My Salesforce journey began at Wells Fargo. I was thrown into a migration project—moving documentation teams into the Legal Agreements system on Salesforce. It was a puzzle of brainstorming and trial-and-error. There were endless back-and-forths, balancing flexibility of our team's current business processes and the integrity of the new system. I think we spent a month iterating on how we'd like to capture the terms of a specific negotiated agreement. But once the dust settled, our team of users were navigating the system like pros. It was my first real taste of victory within the Salesforce world.

Throughout this project, I relied heavily on a team that knew Salesforce inside and out. I was constantly asking them for tips, feeling like a bit of a bother. They showed me the ropes, teaching me how to build my own reports and navigate the system more efficiently. While those tips were immensely helpful back then, in retrospect, these little how-to nuggets and baby-steps toward self-sufficiency helped me understand the Salesforce framework from the ground up.

Fast forward to a different company, I found myself in a complex Salesforce setup, feeling clueless. My team lead seemed to know everything about everything, always asking the right questions and carrying conversations, even on the most obscure Salesforce features. When I asked how he knew so much, his secret was simply "a few years' experience and some good old Google magic." I realized that this knowledge was out there, and if I had the time and the determination, I could probably figure my way out too.

It wasn't long before I was able to put this theory to the test. A team approached us with a need for a Field Service setup, something that I hadn't really come across in my experience, and I realized many of my team members were in the same boat. We were all waiting for someone else to take the lead. But as time ran out and expertise seemed scarce, I took the initiative, embracing the power of research and resourcefulness (i.e. Google magic and YouTube tutorials) to navigate uncharted Salesforce waters. I ended up spending so much time with this project, that the Field Service setup came to be my favorite thing we had built and I loved getting the chance to learn more and improve it wherever we could.

When I began my consultancy journey, I knew that I wouldn't feel right (regardless of my honorary degree from the Salesforce School of Hard Knocks) if I didn't have my certification. Remembering past victories—tackling tough migrations and diving into unknown Salesforce territories—gave me the confidence. From being an absolute newbie to earning my stripes as the Salesforce go-to, it's been quite a ride!

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