Let me start off by saying something in public that I’ve mentioned repeatedly in private. What Tamara Vogel has managed to accomplish in driving herself to become a Salesforce Consultant and get her Salesforce Administrator certification in less than a year is nothing short of incredible. This blog post about her journey is a must-read. Being able to come in and work with her every day is one of the highlights of my job.
Tamara and I were talking recently about her past life as a musician and teacher, and how coming into Salesforce consulting was in a sense starting all over for her. I told her that while she may be new to Salesforce, her past experience had probably given her more skills relevant to what we do than she realizes. Once I explained to her what I meant, she convinced me that the topic could make a good post for our blog.
So what did I mean when I told her that she was more prepared for this job than she thought?
It’s Less About the “Salesforce” Part…
I’m a Salesforce Consultant. That’s what my job title says, that’s what my certifications say. And Red Argyle’s tagline is “Tailored Goodness for the Salesforce Platform.” There’s really no denying that Salesforce is a huge part of what we do and that knowledge of the system and platform are essential to giving our clients the best possible service.
But I don’t believe that knowledge of Salesforce is the most important qualification for the work we do. I’m not even sure it rates in the top three. Even here at Red Argyle, the levels of experience that staff members have with Salesforce vary widely.
This begs the question, then: If knowing about Salesforce isn’t the most important thing in being a Salesforce Consultant, then what is?
…And More About The “Consulting” Part
In my experience, the single most important skill needed to be an effective Salesforce Consultant is being a good communicator. Expert communication is at the core of everything we do. Every job starts by listening to our clients, finding out about the systems and processes they have in place, what works, what doesn’t, and where they want improvement. Listening isn’t just a passive skill either; knowing how and when to ask the right questions helps us get to the core of what our clients need. And once we design a solution for them, we have to be able to explain what we’re planning in terms that they can understand and respond to.
I haven’t been able to decide if one of these next two skills is more important than the other, so I’ll just go in alphabetical order. Creativity is a skill that I think is highly underrated, but which is hugely valuable to a Salesforce Consultant. Each of our clients has unique needs, and no two Salesforce implementations are exactly alike. Every solution that we deliver has to be tailored to the problem we’re trying to solve. Our ability to be creative and identify unique and useful solutions to the specific challenges we encounter is a huge part of successfully delivering on our clients’ business needs. A consultant’s Salesforce knowledge serves their creativity by giving them as many options as possible.
Finally, the best Salesforce Consultants are quick learners. As I just said, each client and issue is unique. Even after half a decade of working with Salesforce, I rarely know how to solve a client’s issue without some additional research. And the Salesforce platform is huge! Even if someone could learn all of the things that it was capable of, that knowledge would be out of date in 4 months (or less!), when the next update rolls out. Being an effective Salesforce Consultant requires you to always be learning new things and integrating new knowledge with past experience.
My wife teaches costume design at a local liberal arts college. Despite the fact that she and I have jobs that look radically different on the surface, the skills that really matter to our jobs are nearly identical. We both live and die by our communication skills, our creativity, and our ability to learn new things. And with a little bit of thought and reflection, I think you’ll find that these skills are more common and more essential than you might give them credit for.
Learning Salesforce isn’t easy. Mastering it takes time and commitment, like any other skill. But if you’re thinking about a career working with Salesforce, don’t get bogged down by how much you do or don’t know about the platform. Consulting, especially, is about so much more than just the systems we build. I hope this post has helped shed some light on the skills that really matter in this career.
Are you looking for a Salesforce Consultant? Do you have thoughts about the skills I’ve outlined above or other skills you think are vital to what we do? Leave a comment below, or get in touch with us via social media.