January 26, 2022

What Does a Salesforce Admin Do - Ep. 29

What Does A Salesforce Admin Do And Why Do Companies Need Them

Here's An Overview

Salesforce Admin is one of the best jobs you can have without a degree. When junior positions are ranging from $70 to $75k, and the certification costs only a few hundred dollars, it’s indeed one of the best jobs you can have out there.

Learn from Hannah herself as she walks us through her first tech certification job!

Welcome to Degree Free, where we explain what you can do instead of going to college, and how to teach yourself, get work, and make good money.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • What is the typical day like for Salesforce admins
  • What experience do you need to become a Salesforce admin
  • What’s the salary range for Salesforce admins

Hannah also talks about why you’re a good candidate for a Salesforce admin if you have customer service experience.

Enjoy the episode!

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Links and Notes from the Episode

Episode Transcript
Please enjoy this transcript or our episode!

Please note the transcript may have a few errors. We're human. It can be hard to catch all the errors from a full length conversation. Enjoy!

Ryan: Aloha guys, and welcome back to degree free. We are your hosts, Ryan, and Hannah Maruyama on this podcast. We share a fundamentals. We discovered and the mistakes we've made while self-educating, getting work, building businesses and making money. We'll tell you how to make it happen. No degree needed.

Hannah: Welcome back to the podcast. Everybody we're happy to have you. And we would like to send you an email. That's right this week, and every week after that, we would like to send you our free newsletter. You can get it at degreefreenetwork.com. There's some really cool stuff in there. Typically what we do is we get covered degree free news. So companies that are now hiring degree free, or coming up with apprenticeship initiatives, different resources that Ryan and I think are valuable and good ideas for a bootcamps, courses classes and different tech jobs. So you don't wanna miss that.

Ryan: Yeah. And if you guys like to podcast don't forget to like and subscribe and let's get into today's episode. Today's just going to be a quick episode today is going to be what Hannah used to do. Hannah so does a little bit of this in, in some of her roles, but the very first job that had a had was a Salesforce administrator and today, we're going to tell you what a Salesforce administrator does.

Hannah: Yeah. So this one's a big one because this is this is how we started talking about all of this stuff too. Was when we made the transition from when I made the transition from working in a a tourism sales role to a tech role, and this was my first entry-level tech job. And basically what I did was I found a certification for those of you who don't know, I just looked up profitable certifications in a certain salary range.

And I found that Salesforce was one of those. It's a, basically a steward of a CRM, which is a customer relations manager. And what that does is it stores information about a business and its sales and customers. Sometimes there's other types of data, but that's what it stores and it stores it and organizes it so people can use it, add to it, change it and run reports. Those things are really important because data and analytics are king right now. And the numbers will tell you how to make business decisions, and so administrating these systems, they're a little bit too complicated to have the average user maintain them. So typically people are certified so that they can maintain, it's called an instance, but a version of Salesforce that is used by a company.

Ryan: Yep. Absolutely. And I think one of the things that with Salesforce, funny. Not funny haha, but Goodfellows for those listening. But yeah, one of the things that I found interesting was that salesforce is used by everybody. Salesforce is used by so many different companies. And I think what a lot of people, and I know this from hearing the conversations that you've had with many people is that a lot of people think that like when you're a Salesforce administrator that you work for Salesforce.

Hannah: No, they have no idea who I am.

They've never heard of me other than when they gave me the piece of paper that said, you know how to use our system.

Ryan: Exactly.

Salesforce admins are what?

Hannah: So Salesforce admins can work can work in a variety of different positions while Salesforce itself does have Salesforce admins, and you can be an administrator who works for Salesforce, who is not a Salesforce admin technically.

But this is becoming really common with tech roles, but like most people who are certified to use certain thing, like Salesforce do not work for Salesforce. They work for companies who use a Salesforce. They keep somebody on staff to maintain their instance. And when I say maintain, typically Salesforce administrators are not in charge of building things because they're not developers. So it's good for entry-level tech roles because once you learn how it works it's pretty easy to just do things inside of it. Cause you're not really constructing. You're just, the basic things, like if somebody wanted to change the, like the theme.

Little profile pictures or change, change different settings inside of it, or if they want to reorganize their user roles. So if some of their users can see like $500 clients and some of their users can see a hundred dollars clients, you can change the settings so that everybody can see the $500 clients, things like that.

So it comes, that's a good example of it, where you would use it to tweak user settings, you would use it to add or subtract permissions, like so changing what people can see and do, who are using the system, using the instance.

Ryan: Like it's like a kind of like a IT tech role, if it's like a, or is that wrong?

Hannah: No, I'd say that's accurate. Cause you do trainings and you reset a lot of passwords. Honestly, the majority of Salesforce administration, I think for most admins would agree is running reports for upper management and resetting people's passwords. Yeah. Which it sounds that sounds like something.

Wow. They really need somebody to do that. Yes, it's a very important, because a lot of the information in the system is very important and you need to make sure that there's one person who has, it becomes a security thing too, at that point where you want to maintain a consistent someone who is in charge of what goes on in it.

And you want to maintain one security point that is in charge of it too.

Ryan: So admin role, it's not really necessarily the person that is analyzing the data that comes out through that either goes into Salesforce or out from Salesforce. It's really just the person that maintains the Salesforce instance.

Hannah: So a Salesforce Salesforce administrator can upload data into the system. Sometimes, sometimes they do that depending on the company they work for. Maybe they're in charge of that. Sometimes that might be a developer too that's in charge of doing that. If they have one on staff, again, just because. The more secure and accurate, the data is the better. So you might want to put a developer in charge of doing that, but Salesforce admins can upload data into the system.


Ryan: Yeah. But they're not, like I said, they're not responsible for the analysis.

Hannah: No, and it was a free-flowing role in that, depending on the admin's competencies, the management might use them that way. If they happen to understand something because of what they know about Salesforce, but no, they're not a business analyst.

They just, all they do is they take care of Salesforce and the users.

Ryan: Is this a role that like, this is all you do in the company or I guess maybe it doesn't depend on the company, how big and small they are.

Hannah: Yeah. So you get on a team. This can be a giant team. There can be multiple administrators.

So you could have 20 admins at one company. If it's a large company or if it's a Salesforce focused company too, it depends on what they're using their instance of Salesforce for. But yeah typically, you can, you could have a bunch. Yeah. You could have a bunch.

Ryan: No, but do smaller companies still only hire Salesforce admins or do they want to see somebody that is like a utility player?

Hannah: I think that a smaller company is probably more inclined to hire an admin first. Oftentimes, you can hire a developer on contract, or you can utilize Salesforce itself like the company itself, you can reach out to them and have them develop things in your instance for an additional amount of money.

So a lot of companies actually prefer to have an admin on too, because they're a little more user-friendly. So they're better at relating to people and teaching them how to use it as opposed to a developer, which is used to like coding.

Ryan: So is that normally your only role in the company?

Hannah: Yeah.

Ryan: That does my question.

Hannah: Yeah. You might have some admins that also have developer certs so they can do both, but that most of the time an admin is just an admin.

Ryan: And you're not doing like business analyst work on the side or anything.

Hannah: No your job is just to maintain the instance and that's it.

Ryan: Got it. Got it. What type of companies use Salesforce?

Hannah: So like you said earlier, all of them. Quite a few and it's, actually, it's funny. Cause a lot of people were saying that, oh it's, reached its peak, but I disagree with that. In the last couple of years, there's been an explosion of companies switching to Salesforce because everything went online.

And now because everything is online, even companies that aren't all online are having to modernize in order to keep up with everything moving ahead of them. So even like large retail stores are starting to switch to Salesforce. Online companies already were, a lot of them were running that way.

So you're looking at like sales companies I don't know, but companies like Home Depot probably have Salesforce on the backend.

Ryan: I guess one of the things that I'm wondering too is if this is where your career goes, is, does it box you in as far as like okay, so I'm going to get a sales force administrator certificate. Does that mean I have to continue down this road? Like where, do you go from there? What's the job progression from there?

Hannah: Sure. So you can follow one of the paths that they lay out on Salesforce, but do you mean you're boxed in as far as you have to go further to Salesforce?

Ryan: Yeah.

Hannah: Yeah. In that way. Yes. Your fate is very much tied to Salesforce and whether or not people continue to use it, but what a lot of people do is they become, they get certifications in integrations, right? So an integration basically is another application that ties into Salesforce that works with it. And there's quite a lot of them that do so a good example would be like DocuSign, which is a company that allows people to send in sign documents online. A lot of people have used it before. But you could get experience in DocuSign and that compliments your Salesforce experience. And it also gives you another pathway too.

Ryan: I see.

Hannah: Yeah, but a lot of people like Salesforce developers pretty pegged into Salesforce. You, have to, you have to be a Salesforce developer because it's very specific to Salesforce. You may have some additional coding knowledge that you could then turn into being a Salesforce developer.

But if you're a Salesforce developer, you'd probably have a hard time transitioning out of that into something else.

Ryan: So this might be a silly question, but if you're a Salesforce admin, does that give you any experience in being an administrator over a different CRM system or not really?

Hannah: I think that would make you attractive if you had certification or experience in another CRM.

Ryan: But you didn't have any certification, but so you still, you're a Salesforce admin and you have some experience Salesforce admin work, like you're already doing the work. Does that translate to HubSpot or Zoho CRM or?

Hannah: I wouldn't say directly, because I don't know that I could get into those environments and know what's going on.

But I think that for a lot of admin roles. It's a very similar thing. You're going to be interacting with users, resetting passwords, making sure that just stewarding the instance or whatever, version of it they're using. So I think in principle, if somebody was looking at your resume, I think that would be a good thing, but I don't know that it would get you the job.

Yeah. It probably would over somebody that has no experience. But if you're looking at somebody with years of HubSpot experience and you have Salesforce and a little bit of HubSpot, they're going to pick the HubSpot admin over you. Yeah.

Ryan: Yeah. Especially since CRMs are very sticky relationships, right?

It's if you're using Salesforce, if your company is using Salesforce now, it's not like they're going to switch over to a different system, different CRM system or anything like that.

Hannah: It would be a massive undertaking to do, and by a massive undertaking you now have to switch all of your information over to the other one and you're going to need big teams and big price. It's going to be an ongoing expensive project to do yeah.

Ryan: What does a typical day like?

Hannah: Yeah. So for a lot of Salesforce admins, it's very similar, I think, to probably cybersecurity people and that you don't really do that much. It's your job to be there in case something happens or in case an upper management person wants you to do something.

But you're there in case someone has a problem logging in you're there in case someone can't get, they get in and then their information is not loading, right? Their page isn't loading for some reason, you're there in case they bring on, they hire new people and you have to onboard them and you have to teach them how to use it.

That you're there in case they rolled out a new feature that a developer built and you need to teach the users how to use that feature and how to use it in Salesforce, and then you're there to, like I said, make reports and then show those reports to management if there's a meeting or, something like that.

But most of the time you're just, you're there if there's additional work or restructuring that the management wants done, you're doing that. And if you're not doing that, you're just waiting.

Ryan: I know from your personal experience that you went from sales in a completely unrelated field to Salesforce admin work.

Okay. So you had some sales experience and stuff like that. Like you had work experience underneath your belt. Is being a Salesforce, admin, like an entry level thing, is something, is there something that you could do as your first job? Or like what what's the amount of skill that you need? So let me break this down then.

So you go to Trailhead, you do the Salesforce admin, you get the certificate. What kind of work experience do I need backing that in order to get salesforce admin role.

Hannah: Customer service. It's a customer service role. You're technically serving the customer who purchased Salesforce and then the customers of the person who purchased Salesforce versus the users. Because if the people that the software was purchased for can't use it, it's a useless purchase, but if you can teach people how to use it and help enable them to use it, then it's really useful. That said that's not a small thing to do because a lot of people are really resistant to using software and they're resistant to learning how to use new software. People are just naturally that way.

Ryan: Cause you're introducing different processes and different things in order like to change in general.

Hannah: It's more things you got to do.

Ryan: Just change in general people don't like.

Hannah: I was working, they implemented a new Salesforce instance. They move from classic to lightning, which is the new version while I was at my sales job and I was super resistant to it.

So it's funny because now I'm on the other side of the equation.

Ryan: Before you had as a user, not as a Salesforce admin.

Hannah: Yeah.


Ryan: Yeah. And you just you get stuck, you get hung up on small things that are irritating things. Don't load.

So you have a little bit of exposure to Salesforce then. Prior.

Hannah: Oh yeah.

I hated it.

Ryan: But you've seen it. You saw it, you used it.

Hannah: And I had used it like way back in the day at a fundraising job long, time ago. But in a very, minimal sense. All I was doing was logging addresses and in Salesforce, that's all I was doing. It was just like create new—

Ryan: This is an entry level job?

Hannah: I'd say. Yeah. Obviously the more experienced your admin is the better off you're going to be, but everybody's got, everyone's got to start somewhere. And I think absolutely if, especially because Salesforce the one thing, like I'm not a Salesforce evangelists by any means. But the one thing I will say is that they were probably really up there as far as being able to educate people about how to administrate and develop their product, they were way ahead of everybody else, and it's way more approachable and way more cost-effective than most programs. So I think that was what was so attractive to me at the beginning was it's very user-friendly. In that it's a complex system.

It's not easy to, look at and to understand, but they did everything that they could to make it easy for people to get certified and use their system. Yeah.

Ryan: Okay. And then I guess, what are the kind of salary ranges that you could be looking at?

Hannah: Yeah. So I think when I started that was two years ago, I think the mid range, like mid middle range salary was 84,000 nationally, which is pretty solid.

And then junior, if you have a junior admin pro 70k, 75k somewhere in there,

Ryan: Is junior admin a different certification?

Hannah: No, it's just an inexperienced admin. Yeah. Sometimes companies will hire on a Salesforce admin certified people as junior developers and they'll teach them how to develop.

They'll put them underneath a developer, a Salesforce developer, and then teach them how to develop the instance. Yeah.

Ryan: So on the top side, as far as the Salesforce admin.

Hannah: Oh, a good experience admin 110k, 120k, somewhere in there. Yeah. It's a good job. It's a good job. And if, as long as the company continues to use Salesforce, it's unlikely they'd get rid of you.

Ryan: Yeah. You have a real, you have a super important job.

Hannah: Yeah.

Ryan: I think I have a one more question or maybe a couple of. When you're saying that a company has multiple Salesforce admins like 20.

Hannah: You might have that if you have different languages being spoken, you might have that if you have large sales regions you might have that if you're just a really large company and you need that because it's too much data to take care of or too many users.

So if you have thousands of users, one admin is just not going to cut it. Cause if what if everybody has a question that day. By departments, you might have a Salesforce admin sales, a Salesforce admin marketing, which they do have different units.

There's cloud. There is marketing. And then you might like the government, for instance, a lot, Salesforce runs a lot of the U S government. And so you're going to have different Salesforce administrators within different branches. But you might have a team and then you might have some that work on teams so you might have a Salesforce admin that works on a development team that they cut when they're done.

And you might have a Salesforce admin that's on staff that is there to maintain something. So different functions too.

Ryan: I think that's all the questions that I had. Is there anything else that you want to say about Salesforce admin? Anything that we haven't covered yet? We've been over salary range and experience in order to get hired. I think we're going to do another episode on that is how to become a Salesforce admin. I'm going to list all the resources that you use in order to do it. But yeah. Is there anything else that you wanted to say about this?

Hannah: I think probably the most important thing would be just to speak to who I think is probably a good candidate to learn something like this. And that's going to be anybody with customer service experience. If you worked at a call center, if you've been in the service industry, you are prime. You have the skills that you need to do this because you can speak to people.

And that is, that's the biggest, that's really the biggest thing. Like as long as you can speak to management, as long as you can clearly communicate with people, understand what their issues are and then solve their issues or help them to figure out how to solve their issue. Your golden pony boy.

That's it.

Ryan: I did have one question. I thought about it. I guess For Salesforce admin, is it mostly work from home or is it hybrid or you go in the office? Like what is the industry standard for Salesforce admins?

Hannah: That's the thing. So I think if you're working on a development team and you're an admin, you're more likely to get work from home.

That is a catch. If you're an on-staff admin, a lot of times they want you in the office and the reason they want you in the office is because if they have a developer, they cannot get the developer to come in the office. So you're there to be the face.

Ryan: And you're putting out fires or you're

Hannah: The developers cost too much for them to put in,

You're the point of contact?

Yes. Because a lot of times the developers, like we'll re they'll just refuse to work in an office cause they, they don't have to, they're more sought after and they get paid more and that's just a condition of employment. A lot of them will just go, "no, I'm not coming into the office", plus there's less of them.

So they might have to go remote in order to obtain that developer to keep on staff too.

Ryan: I see.

Salesforce developers period.

Hannah: Yes.

Ryan: As compared to Salesforce admins out there.

Hannah: Correct. So they'll keep you in the office so that somebody can if, they let's say a manager wants to see a certain type of thing implemented in Salesforce, they go to you and then you make, be in charge of communicating that to the developer and then coming up with solution and then showing it.

Ryan: Right. Makes sense.

Hannah: Yeah.

Ryan: I think that was it. Thank you very much. That was a short episode today. I just want to go over where you got your start in the tech industry and everything like that. And not to say that you won't do that type of work again.

Hannah: Never know.

Ryan: Yeah. You never know. Yeah.

Hannah: Yeah, I think I think that was it for today.

Just really wanted to touch on those things and go over. Let you folks know it's not that intimidating. It's a pretty, it's a pretty straightforward job. Pretty good job. And yeah, if you want to see, if you want to get an email every week about different types of jobs that are like this, and you want to know the resources to get them, and you want to see what companies are hiring for them, then please sign up for our newsletter at degreefree.com.

You do not want to miss that.

Ryan: And if you guys haven't already please like and subscribe. Give us a share. It helps to get the word out there and. Get our ideas and thoughts and hopefully auctions into other people's ears, and hopefully they can take action on it too. If you guys wanna get in touch with us the best way to do it is to [email protected] to send us an email.

We always love to hear from you guys. It also gives us a lot of ideas for episodes of the show. And please follow us on social media. You can follow the podcast at @degreefreepod. Hannah is @hannahmaruyama and I am @ryankmaruyama on the socials. But that is it guys until the next time. Aloha!

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