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Phil Walton: MVP Interview


phil walton salesforce mvp
Salesforce Admin Tips

What’s your background, how did Phil Walton Consultancy start?

My background is more Business than Technical, and I have been running my own small businesses since 1999. I first used Salesforce in 2004, and instantly took to it. After the initial project I was recommended to others as the local expert, and things snowballed from there. I was so lucky to be involved in Salesforce at such an early stage, and I feel fortunate that I have seen it evolve, rather than having to learn it all at once. But new Admins and Developers do learn it quickly, so they keep me on my toes. I now have a nice small group of freelancer Salesforce gurus that I have worked with over the years, and we all love what we do.

What’s it like being a Salesforce MVP outside of the US, is it difficult to stay ‘in the loop’ with all the latest changes?

I think it is true to say that the MVP program is much bigger in the US than in the rest of the World. I have tried to explain to a few people in the US that we don’t even know the term ‘MVP’ over here, but in the US it is used as a noun (fyi – It comes from an American sport terminology for ‘Most Valuable Player’). But it is definitely changing, and now there are MVPs around the globe. In June Salesforce flew us all to San Francisco to meet up at an annual MVP Summit, that’s a pretty nice perk of the ‘job’. But we also have an amazing community network which means we can keep in touch, discuss new ideas, and also give candid feedback straight to the people at the top. And guess what, we manage it all on Salesforce Communities! It’s all about being able to enhance the Salesforce experience of every user and department.

You’re about to complete your 150th App review, what can you tell us about the progress of the AppExchange? Which apps have impressed you?

I think one of the things that Salesforce users ignore is the amount of amazing free Apps on the Appexchange. Its easier to hear about the big ones, they are important, and they can make a huge difference to the success of your business. But there are some freebies which can save you days of work, or hours of admin cutting and pasting, or hours of reading ‘Salesforce for Dummies’ trying to figure out a functionality. Apps like ‘Field Trip’, ‘Multiple Web 2 Lead’, and ‘Former Positions’, are really useful and reliable. Another App I reviewed recently was ‘Object Convertor’, and if I tried to replicate this functionality it would take weeks of coding, and this one guy has done it himself, and given it to everyone for free! Know any good free Apps Ebsta? 😉 “Besides our Linkedin and Gmail integration for Salesforce? Well, InsightSquared have a great Sales funnel for sales managers. It’s super simple and solves a common problem, that’s exactly what we think a free app should do.”

Over the past couple of years you have shared a heap of great tips. What have you got planned for your 100th ‘Tip of the Week’?

Many thanks for that, actually the main reason I do it is that I do get a lot of emails saying that someone has found something useful, or I have saved someone some time, effort, or a headache. And that keeps me going! So 22nd August will be my 100th consecutive Friday post, hmm… so I can’t tell you exactly what will be on it, but I have invited 10 guests to add their own Tip of the Week. And I am pretty excited about the guests.

So you run the North England user group. What can attendees expect to learn?

There are 2 elements to our User Group events, one is learning from fellow users, Consultants, Partners, and experts; the other is the social element, being able to meet up and chat with people informally. We say to everyone “Leave your chequebook in the office, this is not a sales event”. We also plan to mix it up a bit, with some events just being social (we had a beer tasting event in Sheffield recently), and some where we can get involved in some local charities. Plus of course we have our own online Salesforce Community, so we can all chat and ask questions, etc in between meeting up. If you are not part of your local User Group or Developer Group you are really missing out. It’s all free and extremely useful, and there are groups across the UK, so what are you waiting for?

Presumably you’re heading to Dreamforce, what are you looking forward to?

2013 was my first Dreamforce, but it will be an annual trip now! It was such a crazy, hectic, amazing event. 135,000 people crammed into downtown San Francisco, and yet you still bump into people you know (or have met online in the communities and forums), and it all runs like clockwork. It can be difficult knowing who to meet, and who can help you, so I am compiling a list and infographic 25 UK & Ireland Attendees You Should Meet At Dreamforce2014. Keep an eye out for it! It can be also be difficult to justify the cost of the trip, especially if you are travelling internationally and even more so if you are self-employed. But I would strongly recommend it! Find a way, and you won’t regret it!!

Dominik Kondziela

As part of the marketing team at Ebsta, I help write and publish our online content. From Slideshares to blog posts and tweets, we share our wide knowledge in CRM adoption and sales productivity.

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