Because the Salesforce software takes care of many traditional admin tasks, system administration is easier than ever before. Customizing the application, training users, and “turning on” new features—all are just a few clicks away. The person responsible for these tasks is your Salesforce CRM administrator. Because this person is one of the most important resources in making your CRM a success, it’s important to carefully choose your administrator and to ensure they are keeping their skills up to date.
(NOTE: this article is specific to small-to-medium businesses. Large enterprises often use additional roles and will be covered in another post.)
The SF System Admin Role
In many ways, the administrator fills the role played by traditional IT departments: answering user questions, working with key stakeholders to determine requirements, customizing the application to appeal to users, setting up reporting and dashboards to keep managers happy, keeping an eye on availability and performance, activating the features in new releases, and much more.
Experience shows that successful administrators can come from a variety of backgrounds, including sales, sales operations, marketing, support, channel management, and IT. A technical background may be helpful if you desire advanced automation or integration with other systems.
Here are some qualities to look for in an administrator:
- Past experience with other business’ processes
- Able to grasp a solid understanding of your business processes (not just “taking requests”)
- Able to build relationships with key groups
- Excellent communication, motivational, and presentation skills
- Analytical skills to respond to requested changes and identify process improvements
Invest in your administrator
Investing in your administrator will do wonders for your Salesforce CRM solution. With an administrator who is thoroughly familiar with Salesforce CRM, you’ll ensure that your data is safe, your users are productive, and you get the most from your CRM.
Salesforce offers both self-paced training and classroom training for administrators. For a list of free, self-paced courses, go to Salesforce Training & Certification. To ensure that your administrator is fully trained on all aspects of security, user management, data management, and the latest Salesforce CRM features, enroll your administrator in Administration Essentials (ADM201). The price of this course includes the cost of the certification that qualifies your administrators to become Salesforce.com Certified Administrators.
Although there are huge benefits for a well-tuned CRM, it can be challenging to invest in the above level of training. If you encounter issues with training and retaining a world-class Salesforce Administrator, consider partnering with a consultant who can fill the role.
Providing adequate staffing
The number of administrators (and, optionally, business analysts) required depends on the size of your business, the complexity of your implementation, the volume of user requests, and so on. One common approach for estimating the number of administrators you need is based on the number of users.
The table below outlines the typical number of Salesforce Administrators based on the number of Salesforce users at an organization.
|Number of users||Administration resources|
|1 – 30 users||< 1 full-time administrator|
|31 – 74 users||1+ full-time administrator|
|75 – 149 users||1 senior administrator; 1 junior administrator|
|140 – 499 users||1 business analyst, 2–4 administrators|
|500 – 750 users||1–2 business analysts, 2–4 administrators|
|> 750 users||Depends on a variety of factors|
Other Salesforce Admin Staffing Considerations
In addition to the user base, also consider the points below:
- In small businesses, the role of the administrator is not necessarily a full-time position. In the initial stages of the implementation, the role requires more concentrated time. After go-live, managing the Salesforce CRM day to day requires much less time. We often staff our support retainer clients at 20 to 40 hours per month.
- Some companies have several business units that use Salesforce CRM solutions—such as sales, marketing, support, professional services, and so on. It is usually difficult to find fulltime employees with this breadth of skills. Consider using separate administrators for each group, to spend between 50–100 percent of their time supporting their solutions. Alternatively, hiring a widely-experienced consultant can help ensure that both Sales and Marketing get the support they need.
- The same thing can be said for companies that operate in multiple geographic regions, consider using one administrator for each major region, such as North America, EMEA, and APAC. Also appoint a lead analyst or administrator who will coordinate the administrators from the various regions.
- Lastly, if you need customization beyond the “clicks not code” capabilities of Salesforce CRM or want to develop new applications, you may need a developer to create, test, and implement custom code. Again, consultants have the advantage here, as developer positions take quite a long time to staff.
We hope this article has been informative. Check the Salesforce Success Community for more info, or contact us to schedule an introductory discussion on best practices.