Before I get into Trailhead—what it is and why it’s a great resource for admins, developers, business owners, and just about anyone—I want you to watch this video from the 2015 Salesforce Developer Keynote. Just click through it. I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how enthusiastic the speakers are and how engaged the audience is.
Surprised, right? You shouldn’t be. Salesforce is opening the road to over one million jobs in the Salesforce Economy, with 30% of new hires earning over $100,000.
And along the way, the lovely folks at Salesforce have figured out how to make learning their platform engaging, fun, and rewarding. It’s called Trailhead. As I’ve said before, it’s like Code Academy for Salesforce admins, and it’s tons of fun. With over 66 badges and counting, it’s an amazing and—far more importantly—in-depth resource for professionals who use Salesforce.
Always Be Following The Trail
After signing up for a free developer environment, Trailhead lets you learn at your own pace with high-quality, user-friendly “Trails” that are divided into individual modules that teach specific skills. Users can earn points and badges for completing lessons and challenges.
The first module (Salesforce Platform Basics) can be completed in under half an hour even by someone totally new to Salesforce. From there, you can deep-dive into declarative (drag-and-drop programming) Trails, or programmatic (coding) Trails—both of which help you build useful “apps” that automate certain processes for your business.
For example, there’s a Trail on Data Security and another on Process Automation (which I really appreciated as a marketing automation consultant). Just take a look at each “syllabus” to see how comprehensive the modules are:
The Data Security Trail is 95 minutes of learning split up over 7 bite-sized modules (each with their own challenge), while the Process Automation Module is 85 minutes total split up over 5 modules. It teaches users how to use the Visual Workflow as well as Approval Processes.
Easy-to-make apps are a big selling point for Trailhead. By showing non-developers how easy it can be to use a declarative (no programming involved) Schema Builder with flowchart diagrams that show exactly how a process will execute, Salesforce expands their user base far beyond seasoned admins who know how to code.
Humanizing Development and Technical Documentation
Almost all of us have used or still use Salesforce in our daily work. It’s an indispensable calendar and sales and leads database for most organizations.
Yet for plenty of smaller companies, like nonprofits, people have to wear too many hats. Some people have no choice but to become Salesforce admins without having any real idea how to use the platform. They’re woefully underprepared and unequipped.
Trailhead was made with these people in mind. Case in point: one of the most recent Trails is dedicated to nonprofit admins. It covers Fundraising Basics and Donation Management (over 3 hours and 45 minutes), and the developers are working hard on Grants Management, Volunteer Management, and Events Management modules as well.
Even better, the nonprofit Trail includes a seven-part video series on an actual nonprofit, Cradles to Crayons, and an actual nonprofit admin, Zachery Tapp. Zach explains how Trailhead helped him skyrocket his productivity and unlock the true power of Salesforce for his company.
It’s great hearing from Zach, because his story has the happy ending all Salesforce admins would love to have. Salesforce can be complex, but learning it doesn’t have to be. Trailhead makes it as painless—and as fun—as possible.
Author’s Bio: Alp Mimaroglu is a Marketing Luminary at Symantec. He specializes in marketing automation, demand generation, analytics, and marketing technology. Alp has extensive experience with both business and consumer marketing. He’s passionate about how technology is rapidly becoming the key to success in both the corporate sales and marketing landscapes. Follow Alp on LinkedIn and Twitter @alpmimar.