I’m a Content Marketer and a Trailhead beginner. The two are an unlikely mix but definitely one that could generate a successful CRM partnership. I’m going to share my early experiences of Salesforce’s training resource and advise you on what you need to brush up on if considering going on an aptly dubbed ‘Trail’.
Beginning with CRM Essentials
It’s likely that when you go onto Trailhead, you’re already reasonably knowledgeable on what Salesforce is and its purpose but there’s no harm in reading through the basics. The CRM Essentials module gives you all the standard vocabulary used in a Salesforce database and what each of the Salesforce platforms like Sales Cloud and Data.com do.
The Admin Beginner Course
I chose to study the Admin Beginner course because I thought it would give me a great overview of Salesforce. The full list of courses available has many interesting alternatives including Developer Beginner, Admin Intermediate and Lightning Experience courses. I fear the Developer Beginner may be a slight push for someone who would undoubtedly like strict grammar in their code.
Salesforce Platform Basics
There are 7 modules to the Admin Beginner course, each giving a rough estimate of how long it should take you to complete them. Although daunting, I dived straight into the first unit Getting Started with the Platform.
I’ve always had a love of words so getting to grips with the more difficult terminology that Salesforce use was intriguing. Forget all English lessons from school, a ‘field’ isn’t something you run around in and a ‘Parent’ isn’t your Mum or your Dad. It’s good to jot down any words that you weren’t aware of and their definition so you can refer back to them in later modules.
Excitingly, the final challenge for the unit is to build your own app. Don’t get palpitations, it isn’t as it sounds. You create your own Developer Org and they walk you through step by step of what to do.
Naturally, as a human spellchecker, it was ironic that I would build an App and spell it wrong. This meant that when I needed the challenge to be approved, it gave me a big, fat no. I had to really get my Developer hat on and try to work out how I was meant to solve it. After half an hour or so of sheer panic at ruining Salesforce forever, I discovered that all I needed to do was delete it and start over. That’s what you call a Salesforce hack
Discovering Use Cases for the Platform
The second unit was all about Use Cases to help understand how multiple departments can utilize the tool. This was the perfect opportunity for me to see in-depth how IT, Product and Ops could all use the same system but in different ways. From a Marketing perspective, it helped me gain a better understanding and lit up a few content light bulb ideas in my head. Whichever department you’re in, learning about how you can collaborate with others will undoubtedly help you see the overall value of Salesforce.
Understanding the Salesforce Architecture
This unit is all about ‘how it works’. Seeing ‘Salesforce Architecture’ was probably the scariest moment of Trailhead so far. Why? Because I’ve grasped an understanding of its elements but not how it all comes together.
One thing that really struck a chord inside me (as a non-natural tech user) was how simple Trailhead explained things. I’ve heard ‘API’ thrown around for years but it’s only once they’d given it to me in Layman’s terms that I had a Eureka moment.
The challenge at the end was much like the previous unit where you answer multiple choice questions. If you succeed the first time round, you get full credits and if you have to take further attempts, your credits will decrease. Although I’d taken a lot of information in and was worried that I hadn’t had time to fully digest it all, I managed to answer the questions correctly which gave me confidence to continue on my trail.
I have to admit that I felt pride in having a Developer Org as though I was going to be Ebsta’s next Full Stack Developer. After all, the app I had built was definitely going to be a huge hit once spelt correctly! So when this unit gave me the opportunity to learn more about the user interface, I was secretly excited.
This section was all very easy to understand with the ‘Top 10 You Can’t Miss Pages in Setup’ clarifying what you need to know and why it’s important. I even had the chance to test it all out on my Developer Org which overjoyed the Techie inside me. If you do struggle, don’t give up – there’s a list of resources at your disposal right before the challenge.
Developing an AppExchange Strategy
As a Marketer for one of the most popular apps on the AppExchange, I tend to know quite a lot about the marketplace because it’s a huge part of Ebsta’s journey. This experience actually made it all the more interesting to see what Trailhead suggests as a strategy for AppExchange navigation. I was avidly taking notes so I could map out a different kind of customer journey for my content’s target audience.
There’s also a section on ‘Installing an App’ and ‘Accessing Installed Packages’. (Rest assured that Ebsta is excessively easy in both of these areas)
The challenge for this was once again multiple questions and although some were tricky, I think my luck struck once more. It seems that much more knowledge had snuck its way in than I had anticipated!
My First Badge
Once I’d completed my last challenge, I was awarded my first badge, the illustrious Salesforce Platform Basics! Admittedly, I let out a little squeal of happiness when it popped up in big Salesforce blue on my screen. Although I may have only completed one out of the seven modules, I already feel like I’ve had valuable insight that I can now use in every day working life.
Here’s to Module 2 and Data Modeling. Happy Trailing!
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