My ‘Salesforce Story’ - How I got to Here

As I set out on my trail to become Salesforce Certified it seems fitting to provide some context with my origin story, as it were.

In the beginning…

In March 2010, I started a new job, working in field sales, supplying electronic journal databases to university libraries. On day 1 I received a login for an online CRM and a copy of ‘Salesforce for Dummies’.

The company provided plenty of training and support and I used Salesforce daily. We lived by the old mantra of:

“If it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist.”

Over time more of our company information became accessible through Salesforce and our Customer Service team moved onto the same system (I’d later learn this was us adopting Service Cloud).

I avidly partook in system feedback sessions run at sales team meetings and became intrigued with the the system. In liaising on a project with a Marketing colleague I got my first glimpse of the ‘Setup’ area, and I suddenly felt like a kid in a toy store. I just wanted to dive in and play with everything!

Sadly I never got to play. I stagnated in my role and despite efforts (mine and colleagues) there was no pathway to move sideways.

So I left.

The Wilderness

I didn’t know what I wanted to do. A friend who ran a data consultancy took me on for a while in a sales role, though that wasn’t a good fit. However, while I was there I was asked to use Goldmine. Man the frustration! I couldn’t stop thinking “We could be doing so much more if we used Salesforce!”

As far as I could tell, at my previous employer our 200+ Salesforce users were supported by just 1 person (shout out to Laurie Ward!), who had to deal with all of our requests to merge records and complaints about the system, yet also consistently delivered tools and functionality to make us all more productive. I got to thinking ‘How do I get to do what she does?’

So I targeted any kind of data/CRM/lead generation role that detailed the use of Salesforce in the job description.

Landing on my Feet

After a few months, and just before I was going to need to take any job just to pay the bills, I landed a position with Research Media, who make awesome stuff like this:

For more than 2 years I supported the company’s use of Salesforce; implementing some much needed data governance practices, on-boarding NewVoiceMedia’s CTI solution for the inside sales team, collaborating with Matt Skan at Volution on custom developments, and we even rolled out ExactTarget (just as it was acquired and became MarketingCloud).

I dipped my toes into Bristol’s Salesforce community, promptly finding myself surrounded by many friendly and supportive folk, including a few MVPs - Hi Simon, Chris and Alex!

Owing to market pressures the company pivoted and I got to spin up a brand new Salesforce instance, supporting wider company activity. We went Lightning Experience from the off and adopted Andy Mahood’s Taskfeed - an awesome collaborative project management tool native to the platform, seriously check it out!

Unfortunately the company no longer needed a full-time person to support Salesforce, and with a new baby at home I also wanted a shorter commute, and so it was time to move on.

U.K. Salesforce roles outside of London are hard to come by, and it took a little while to find one, though I eventually secured the position of Salesforce Executive at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, a business unit of Hitachi Capital UK, where I’ve been since March (2017), which brings us neatly up to date!

You can support my ‘Trail to Certification’ simply by clicking on the heart below and sharing my journey across the web with the #SalesforceOhana!

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