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January 10, 2020

Insights from a Salesforce Implementation Engineer: Is Your Data Telling a Story?

What is Salesforce Again?

“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Abraham Laslow said that. Or was it, Abraham Kaplan? One of the Abrahams, for sure, though.

Working within the Salesforce platform as a certified administrator is a blast, but one thing that inevitably happens to whenever I mention this to the uninitiated is the dreaded question, “What is Salesforce?” Depending on my audience, I may need to come up with a quick analogy. (That’s not a problem, though. When it comes to analogies, I’m like a tap-dancing improv comic on their best night.)

My answer is inevitably something like this. Salesforce is a way to connect every piece of data your company keeps in a customized, flowing, beautiful dance as opposed to checking each drawer in your kitchen, one-by-one, until you find what you’re looking for.

It’s data that tells a story in contrast to data that sits in a dark room waiting for you to ask it a question.

It’s a gorgeous Gerstner Master System, handcrafted and beckoning you to explore, instead of an unorganized metal filing cabinet you have to begrudgingly thumb through, praying the last guy left everything in alphabetical order.

THAT is what Salesforce is.

Tell Me a Story, Data

I meet so many people in business that use the quickest, cheapest tool at their disposal to try and solve whatever problems they face. Even now, I am typing this in a Google document. This is often a great, affordable, easy way to get the job done, but what happens when you need something more robust; more involved to track your company’s data? Well, when all you have is a spreadsheet, everything looks like a table.

In 2020, data is so much more than columns and rows on a spreadsheet. The way we analyze data now makes it very necessary to understand what our data is telling us; whether about a client, about a product, or about how our client interacts with our product. That is a story that cannot be told simply in a row or a column.

Spreadsheet Battleship

Business is all about connections, and if you are trying to make connections on a spreadsheet, you can often be left feeling like you are playing a game of Battleship. Row 12, Column G. You sunk my quarterly earnings! When all those spreadsheets are stacked on top of each other, you are left with nothing of discernible substance. Just data, for data’s sake.

With Salesforce, every “12G” and “18Q” can be woven together to create a stunning tapestry of information. Relationships, transactions, reports, opportunities, questions, answers, partners, clients, strategies; all hand-in-hand to show you the bigger picture of why your company does what it does. A potato is just a potato, but when you mix it with some broth and some carrots and some beef … baby, you got a stew going!

Set Down the the Hammer, We’ll Bring the Toolbox

Now that you have a clear idea of how Salesforce works and optimizes business and life, we can guide you closer to the promised land. Maybe you’re an accidental admin or maybe you’re the on-purpose admin … but need a little help identifying more useful tools in your tool shed besides the hammer. If that’s the case, look no further.

Why use a hammer when you could have a whole team of talented craftsmen at your disposal? A Salesforce Administrator can make sure the kids are up and ready for school on time. A Salesforce Consultant can look at your living room and design a floor plan to increase feng shui. A Salesforce Architect can design you a series of shelving units to optimize the space in your garage for better storage and accessibility. A Salesforce Developer can take your dreams of that backyard firepit and make it a reality. (Maybe we also get slightly carried away with analogies.) The point is, try to do all THAT with a hammer!

So, what is Salesforce? It’s your data, arranged and connected in a way that makes analysis a pleasure instead of a chore.

And you don’t have to be an Abraham to understand that.

Be Cool, Use More Than One Tool

At Shift3 Technologies, we use a consultative approach to help you determine the best strategy to identify your challenges, implement appropriate solutions and enhance your systems. Frustrated with Salesforce? Learn to love it again with our 3-part blog series. For a free consultation, email [email protected] or call 559 560 3300 today.

This post was written by Bradley Norris, Salesforce Certified Administrator.

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