5 things I learned from my first month working for a Salesforce ISV Partner

Ruth Cawdron, Marketing Manager at ProvenWorks shares her experience.

“I’m good at what I do.” “I’m good at what I do.” “I’m good at what I do.”

It became a mantra in the weeks leading up to the first day in my new role. I was leaving behind a sector I’d been in since graduation and moving into technology. As a humanities and arts student at university, I’d barely heard of the concept of ‘SaaS’ before I got the job of Marketing Manager at ProvenWorks, a small but mighty UK Salesforce ISV partner whose products have been hitting top of the AppExchange since 2008.

When I started, I didn’t know about Salesforce, I didn’t know about ISV partners and I didn’t know about the AppExchange. Maybe that’s you right now. It all feels alien and overwhelming. So as someone who is one month into the biggest professional change of their life so far, what have I learned so far? And how might it help you?

1. Don’t panic

I know, I know. I can hear you rolling your eyes… but it’s true. It has to come first. There will be plenty of moments where you don’t understand what’s going on, and you certainly won’t understand what people are saying.

They’ll use acronyms. They’ll type weird abbreviations. They’ll have meetings where whole conversations will go over your head. It’s okay.

You won’t become an expert in a day but you’ve signed up to something, and if you put the time in you’ll get there. I haven’t reached the finish line; I don’t think anyone ever does. But this is a place that celebrates learning (more on that next!).

In short: If you’re just joining the Salesforce ecosystem, take it from someone who is one tiny step further along – do not panic. Take it hour by hour, day by day. You’ve got this.

2. Make Salesforce Trailhead your best friend

I work for an Independent Software Vendor called ProvenWorks. We’ve been a partner of Salesforce since 2009 and we make apps, like AddressTools, that empower you to be a data hero. We’re all about simplifying, improving and enhancing your data management. So you might be wondering why I’m bringing up Trailhead – the Salesforce learning platform… It’s because it’s incredible. No seriously. There are badges and trails on everything, and they’re interesting, interactive and incredibly helpful. We have wonderfully smart developers in our team who will still hop on Trailhead to learn about something they’re not sure on. There is no better way to understand Salesforce, the space in which it operates and the whole ecosystem it has created.

In short: Dedicate time to work through trails. Then come back to it whenever you need a refresher. This was a great first trail for starting to understand Salesforce.

3. Get to know your customers

If your team doesn’t already have them, create user personas. User personas represent large segments of your customers based on shared behaviour, motivations, goals, pain points and other characteristics. (There’s a great Trailhead on it!) Do it early on because it will help focus every customer-facing interaction from that moment on.

I spent a long time curating questions to prompt the information I wanted to find out and then created a Google Form (ask me if you want it!). I set up a meeting with the team and we worked through the form several times to create our different personas. Then I presented the information in a more meaningful way using one-page profile sheets, and there we go. We all understand more deeply our potential users so we can better meet their needs. Not to mention, sitting down with the team and chatting through our user personas was a lot of fun and a great way to get to know my colleagues!

In short: Organize a session to learn who your customers are and how to meaningfully interact with them. It’ll be useful for your colleagues too, I promise!

4. Get to know your Salesforce Account Manager

Every Salesforce Partner has an Account Manager. They have access to loads of connections and data and they’re literally there to help! We set up a meeting very early on so I could meet our Account Manager and find out more about what kind of things we could get involved with as Salesforce Partners.

In short: Meet up with your Account Manager and spend some time learning how best to make the most of the relationship.

5. Get stuck into the Salesforce community

The Salesforce ecosystem is vast but it’s friendly! There are plenty of ways to get involved and find valuable connections. Some of my favourites are:

  • the Trailblazer community (#trailblazers)
  • the Partner community
  • LinkedIn
  • Slack
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Salesforce and User Group events

Start with one platform and get to know it. Introduce yourself, ask for help, look for partnerships, establish your brand and share your learning. I was blown away by the warm welcome I felt online and I love the encouragement that is so easy to find along the way.

In short: Dedicate time to building relationships across the Salesforce ecosystem. You never know what opportunities might be hiding around the corner.

New to working in the Salesforce ecosystem?

In <10 words: don’t panic, keep learning, ask questions and get connected.

If you’re reading this and you’re at the start of your own Salesforce journey, welcome! I know what it feels like to look up at the huge learning curve in front of you.

So what do you need to do next?

Put one foot forward and start climbing, one tiny step at a time.

Where to go next?

Here are some Trailhead resources I found helpful when I started:

Admin beginner – Start your #AwesomeAdmin journey

Partner community – Learn how to partner with Salesforce

Marketing best practices – Listen to your social community, publish compelling content, and engage online

Find out more about ProvenWorks here.

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