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Thought Leader Talks: Salesforce Pardot, Salesforce Administrator Certifications With SalesforceBen

Every month, CloudAlly’s Thought Leader Talks profiles notable techies, influencers, and cybersecurity experts. Their pointers from the trenches combined with their expertise offer insights that are both practical and resourceful. Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Lucy Mazalon and  Ben McCarthy the team behind the immensely popular salesforceben.com – the largest independent Salesforce blog in the world. Lucy is a 6 times certified Salesforce and Pardot Consultant. She started The DRIP in 2016, which later merged with Salesforceben.com. Ben, a Salesforce MVP, has been smitten by Salesforce right out of university. He has held various roles working for ISVs and is the co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Nymble

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Thought Leader Talks with Salesforceben’s Ben McCarthy and Lucy Mazalon

Welcome, Lucy and Ben! We’re excited to have you on board and look forward to hearing some great Salesforce insights. 

About Salesforceben’s Journey

Let’s start by talking about Salesforceben. From a platform to “share your trials and tribulations as a newbie Salesforce Admin”, to the largest independent Salesforce blog. Wow! How has the journey been? What has been the biggest takeaway from collaborating with so many Salesforce developers, admins, consultants, and architects over the years?

Ben McCarthy: Thanks a lot for the welcome! It has been really fun and really cool to see the brand grow and help so many people along the way. Personally, it’s very exciting for Lucy and me when we’ve written an article or a guide, to get feedback from people saying that it’s helped them out. It’s been such a blessing to be able to work with so many people from the Salesforce community across the world over all these years. It’s rewarding to be a part of so many people’s Salesforce journeys from admin all the way to architects and Salesforce Technical Architects (CTA). In the Salesforce-verse there’s so much to learn – Trailhead which is great to master the features, but then there are also the softer skills and various career paths. That’s why I think it’s so important to constantly be learning not just the technical aspects of things, but also the softer skills and how to navigate your career. We’re very lucky to have so many giving people who want to share their Salesforce learnings. That’s probably my biggest takeaway from it.

Salesforce Administrator Certifications

Your blog is a great resource on Salesforce certifications. What advice would you give to aspirants who want to get Salesforce Administrator Certified? Particularly those on furlough – what Salesforce Administrator certification route would make them more marketable to employers?

Ben McCarthy: It’s a great opportunity, if you’ve been unfortunately furloughed, to upskill in a new area. There are so many great Salesforce resources; Salesforce Trailhead, loads of YouTube channels, and blogs like ours where you can learn Salesforce for free. For Salesforce administrators, I think it’s important to first learn the foundations and then probe deeper and understand the logic behind it. So that when a question is asked, you know you can logically work it out instead of just trying to remember the right answer. To make yourself more marketable, understand how everything fits together. Salesforce has published the number of jobs they hope to create, 4.2 million new jobs from 2019 to 2024. So I think it’s very important to market yourself and be unique. I think you can do that with specialization – whether it be Salesforce Lightning, Marketing Automation, Salesforce Einstein, or Salesforce Field Service Lightning. Another way is to review your past work and examine promising areas of your career. Perhaps you’ve done project management before and now you want to learn Salesforce project management skills. It can be very valuable at a Salesforce consultancy or in a team with an end-user. Skills from a previous life can help you massively and help you to stand out from the crowd.

Salesforce Architect Career Path

The Salesforce Architect role is being increasingly sought after. What would your guidance be to Trailblazers who are looking to transition into the Architect role?

Lucy Mazalon: Like you said it’s a very popular transition at the moment; an aspirational goal that a lot of people in the industry have. I’ve spoken to quite a few Salesforce architects over the past few months to understand more about the architect path. Based on my learnings from them, I could say that perhaps people who are aspiring to become an architect could consider working for a Salesforce consultancy. 85% of Salesforce solution architects work within consultancies, so if you want to surround yourself with architects to learn from them or to find a mentor in them, then perhaps you should work for a consultancy. The solution architect is also becoming a highly popular role, so explore other architect pathways. Try and work on projects where you’re going to be able to progress into the Salesforce architect domain. Find a mentor because it is one of those careers that takes time and can’t be accelerated. 

Salesforce Pardot Certifications

Lucy, Salesforce Pardot is your sweet spot. What pointers would you give to someone aspiring to take the Pardot Specialist Certification? Is there any Pardot Study Guide you recommend?

Lucy Mazalon: While it’s been a popular certification, in the past few years it’s becoming wildly popular. This is because it is such a go-to choice for people who have Salesforce and are looking for marketing automation. Salesforce has released a Trailhead mix for the Pardot specialist certification which is also updated with Pardot Lightning. I highly recommend you check that out. Pardot Lightning was released last year and that’s now been reflected in the exams. As the exams have become a lot more scenario-based; it’s always good to really understand the thinking behind why someone chooses a certain solution and steps to go troubleshooting. Apart from reading around that, join a user group. At the end of the day, if you’re serious about learning Salesforce Pardot, it doesn’t stop with the certification. That’s how you’re gonna progress and become a good partner administrator.

Salesforce Retiring its Data Recovery Service

With Salesforce retiring its Data Recovery Service, what best practices would you recommend for Salesforce backup and recovery?

Lucy Mazalon: Salesforce retired its data recovery service in the summer. We released a post about the news, and it was one of, if not the biggest posts of this year in terms of our blog performance and blog views. So that’s just saying something about the urgency that people felt. There is a general misconception that Salesforce was always backing up your data. It goes without saying always that people should have a Salesforce backup provider. People are just more aware that they need a third-party backup provider. Ask a lot of questions when you’re evaluating options, as it’s not only important how easy it is to back up data, but it should be easy to restore data as well. This is the toughest part to nail down. Especially if you think about all of the different configurations that people are doing day to day in an organization. It’s not as simple as just re-importing data. There are so many things that need to be considered.

Impact of the Great Lockdown on Salesforce Professionals

The economic fallout of the pandemic has been rough on organizations and individuals. The IMF calls it the “worst recession since the Great Depression”. What are your predictions as to how it will impact the global supply and demand for Salesforce professionals?

Ben McCarthy: Yeah, I think it’s going to be an interesting few years. I used to work at a Salesforce consultancy before I co-founded Nymble. The consultancy industry was hit really hard when everyone went into lockdown and people stopped spending money because of the uncertainty. However, fast forward a few months, and people are again investing heavily in Salesforce and consultancies are pretty busy. Salesforce themselves are selling a lot more to existing customers, as businesses are doubling down on their cloud infrastructure. because of remote work. The recession is obviously going to make new businesses conservative spenders. However, I think the demand is still going to be because the pandemic fallout has given a huge push for digital. Companies need to invest in cutting-edge CRM, to facilitate their digital transformation. And Salesforce is the best; for a lot of industries, it’s the default CRM. So I don’t really think investment in Salesforce from existing customers or those going through digital transformation is going to diminish. People’s jobs and the job market will continue to expand. That’s good to know.

It certainly is good to know that!

Thanks, Lucy and Ben for your time and your valuable insights! I’m sure our readers will find your recommendations on Salesforce certification paths for admins and architects, Salesforce Pardot, and evolving Salesforce roles very helpful. It’s been great talking to you.

Read our other Thought Leader Talks with Gemma Blezard, Szymon Bochniak, Enrico Murru, Michal Zmiri-Yaniv, and Meighan Brodkey, and stay tuned for another insightful chat with an amazing Thought Leader next month. Happy Holidays!

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