Main image of article How to Become a Salesforce Administrator

Salesforce has emerged as one of the most widely used customer relationship management (CRM) platforms in the world. As more companies adopt this cloud-based solution to manage their customer interactions, the demand for skilled Salesforce administrators has increased significantly.

A Salesforce administrator is responsible for managing and configuring the Salesforce platform to meet the needs of their organization—for example, creating and managing user accounts, setting up workflows and automation rules, and configuring data access and security settings.

Becoming a Salesforce administrator doesn't necessarily require a tech background, as the platform is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, and Salesforce offers a free online learning platform called Trailhead.

Trailhead provides a range of resources for learners, including interactive learning modules, hands-on projects, and guided learning paths. “This is where any aspiring admin can start their journey, and learn how to optimize business processes, develop essential habits for success, learn the basics of the Salesforce Platform, and more,” says Kris Lande, Salesforce's senior vice president of marketing, community, and content.

The Trailblazer Community provides peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and support, which can help admins accelerate their learning.

The Salesforce Admins site is another resource with regularly posted blog posts, podcasts, and videos focused on technical and business skills. It is entirely dedicated to admins; aspiring admins can check out the blog and podcast to learn about best practices, tips, and career advice.

Lande adds that some of the core technical skills that Salesforce administrators should develop include:

  • Product management
  • User management
  • Data management
  • Process automation
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Good attention to detail

Making Connections, Amassing Knowledge

Rowan O'Grady, President of Americas for the Frank Recruitment Group, says becoming a Salesforce administrator is fundamentally about learning and connecting. “There’s a definite technical knowledge base you must grasp alongside the more qualitative side of things—networks, relationships, company values, and business goals,” he says. “You must be prepared to devote concentrated time to study and practice as you pursue certifications.”

He adds it’s equally important to think about the spaces you want to be in and to cultivate the relationships that can help get you there. “Starting out really requires a kind of multi-focal approach,” he explains. “You must devote time and energy to training and certification pathways while simultaneously working actively to build your network.”

LinkedIn, recruiters, and Salesforce consulting partners can all be vital at this pivotal early stage. “Being intentional in your networking is crucial in an immediate tactical sense, but it also pays dividends in the longer term,” he says. “Pursuing connections and learning more about work that genuinely engages you can be a massive positive influence insofar as figuring out the space or sector you’d really like to work in.”

A Range of Certifications Available

A majority of Salesforce administrators are certified, according to Frank Recruitment Group, and 92 percent that certifications can help a candidate stand out during a job search.

Salesforce’s Administrator credential is the central starting point, designed to build foundational knowledge of Salesforce and the essentials of managing and maintaining the platform.

The Advanced Administrator certification builds on this via a more in-depth exploration of Salesforce, with detail on processes for designing advanced reports, automation, and dashboards.

From there, Salesforce certifications focused on gaining more niche knowledge and skills include the Certified CPQ Specialist, Certified Marketing Cloud Administrator, and Certified Platform App Builder certifications. “Each of these will help a candidate gain a deeper, more focused body of knowledge,” O'Grady says, adding he strongly recommends taking advantage of Trailhead.

“It’s particularly great because it’s focused on technical skills and credentials as well as soft skills, which helps develop confidence and round out a candidate’s profile,” O'Grady adds. “Trailhead’s great because it’s authoritative as it comes from Salesforce, but it’s also great because it’s been implemented with access, inclusion, and community in mind.”

Salesforce helps anyone prepare for their certification exams with free resources including the company's Admin Beginner and Admin Intermediate trails on Trailhead. “We also created the Admin Certification Prep trail and Admin Certification trailmix to empower aspiring admins with the training resources they need to get exam-ready,” Lande says.

There are also free certification prep webinars which are led by expert instructors who share their expertise, tips, and best practices for acing the Salesforce Certification exam.

An Evolving Role Requires Continued Education

O'Grady adds that the Salesforce administrator roles have really evolved in recent years; they’re more intrinsically tied to business goals than ever before. “Alongside keeping a clear overview of the network and developing a good troubleshooting practice, it’s now essential that admins are in ongoing communication with the relevant business leaders throughout an organization and keeping up with market and sector trends,” he says.

Lande agrees that continued education is critical for admins who want to stay on top of emerging trends and technologies: “They can access to a range of free resources on Trailhead to help them stay up to date and connected with other professionals in the Salesforce ecosystem.”

She points to the rise of generative artificial intelligence (A.I.), which has captured minds and imaginations at a rapid pace. “The skills that businesses will need to put this technology to work are lagging,” she says. “That’s why we introduced AI learning content on Trailhead—like how to use AI to meet your business needs, how AI is changing customer service, how Einstein GPT is transforming the future of work, and how to create ethical AI—to help admins stay sharp."

Lande says another way to stay connected is to join one of the many Salesforce user groups, which allow admins to connect with other Salesforce professionals in their area or with a shared role or interest: “They provide an opportunity to continue their learning on best practices, strategies, and tips for working with the platform.”