ICYMI: Salesforce and the Accidental Admin

Birth of the Accidental Admin

In any organization, the move to implement and adopt Salesforce is a multi-step process. Prior to acquisition, the business’s stakeholders evaluate their options for a new CRM, cast a vision for its ultimate functionality, and work with consultants to migrate data from existing systems. It’s an exciting time for the employees who will rely on this new, day-to-day system because it’s Salesforce (one of the top CRMs used globally). Finally, they can hold all their work in one place, have cross-departmental visibility, and easily automate the tasks that absorbed too many hours each week.

However, adopting a new system presents growing pains. The difficulty begins once the CRM is handed over and accessible to all users. End users will always spot oversight areas or opinionated improvements: “We should have included a checkbox for ‘do not call’ on the Contact and Lead pages,” or “I meant to request a Salesforce report to replace my weekly pipeline update spreadsheet.” It becomes clear at launch that the considerable investment is not helping the business to the extent they’d hoped–the ship is rudderless–without a Salesforce Admin.

It’s then that a special someone rises up to take on the challenge, and the “Accidental Admin” is born.

The need for admins are a common reality of owning a Salesforce org, but unintentionally filling the role of a Salesforce Admin with an Accidental Admin can cost a business in the long run. Data integrity is too important and business operations too dependent upon Salesforce–and there’s a solution available. Salesforce partners like Bitwise Industries offer outside support from Certified Salesforce Administrators to handle Admin responsibilities.

Challenges with Having an Accidental Admin

Having an Accidental Admin support your Salesforce org presents challenges and limitations. The most important element they lack is expertise. Certified Salesforce Admins have hands-on experience and extensive training. An Accidental Admin–who may have a background in accounting, marketing, or facility management–can’t compare to a Certified Admin. With a full-scale Salesforce org, without a Salesforce Admin, regular Salesforce updates like the Spring 2022 Multi-Factor Authentication requirement could bring your entire org to a stop. Certified Admins have knowledge of third-party integrations, complex reporting, and time-saving automation tools.

Another potential risk is in the area of compliance. An Accidental Admin will do their best to meet the requests of your business, but lacks the education and resources of a Certified Salesforce Admin. If your org contains any sensitive data, it’s your duty (and a legal requirement) to uphold specific standards for access to and dissemination of that data.

Finally, your Accidental Admin already has a job! Managing a Salesforce org in addition to other work duties is likely to result in one of the Accidental Admin’s roles taking the back seat. It’s also important to consider potential overtime pay and adherence to labor laws if the duties of the Accidental Admin requires them to work more hours than scheduled.

Let’s say your Accidental Admin wants to study to become a Certified Salesforce Admin. Wonderful! The Salesforce ecosystem is full of Certified Administrators who began as Accidental Admins. If that happens, you’ll want to fill the employment vacancy left by your Accidental Admin becoming a full-time Salesforce Administrator. Be sure to research average salaries of Salesforce Administrators to make sure the transition from Accidental Admin to Certified Salesforce Administrator is commensurate.

How Accidental Admins Are Born

You may have had Salesforce in place for two hours or two years when the Accidental Admin moved into their accidental role. 

Accidental Admins can be:

  • A Salesforce superuser deputizing themselves
  • Someone assigned to “learn Salesforce”
  • The person who understands Salesforce the best
  • An employee who volunteers because they enjoy tinkering and finding out how things work

I became an Accidental Admin while I was running business operations for a mortgage office. As a small team with a single loan officer and multiple loan processors, it fell to me to use Salesforce to create marketing workflows and integrate our third-party autodialer. After a few months, I realized that my other duties–things that were important but not urgent–were not getting done, and we hired additional office staff. I loved Salesforce then, and have made a career of it now, but it scares me to realize the power I had then, especially considering the sensitive personal information required for the mortgage approval process.In my story, taking over Salesforce management necessitated another hire to fill the obligations from my original job. In retrospect, it would have been valuable to have our own Salesforce Admin on-call, someone capable of complicated workflows and sophisticated architecture. As eager as I was to make Salesforce work for us, my inexperience and lack of support slowed adoption and kept our implementation suboptimal.

We Can Be Your Admin

At Bitwise Industries, we use a consultative approach to help you determine the best strategy to identify your challenges, implement appropriate solutions, and enhance your systems. Instead of creating your own Accidental Admin, use us. We have Administrator-as-a-Service offerings to help you get your org on track and keep it on track—for long or short-term timelines. For a free consultation, click here. Trying to get your users to love Salesforce again? Read this helpful guide.

This post was written by Christine Farmer, Salesforce Support Manager at Bitwise Industries. Christine loves taking naps and listening to audiobooks. She has also been known to stand on a soapbox when the moment requires it.