In this rapidly changing and evolving world that we all live in, it feels that priorities massively shift for Salesforce professionals every quarter or so. Migrating to flows, learning Salesforce DevOps, or most recently, preparing for the wave of AI technology that is coming for us.
Although it can be hard to keep up, variety is the spice of life – and these new technologies that Salesforce professionals are at the forefront of ensure that you continue advancing your career and future-proof your skillset. Here are five different areas that I believe can help you stay ahead of the pack in 2023 and beyond…
1. Be Aware of Artificial Intelligence Opportunities
Since ChatGPT was released towards the end of 2022, the world has been obsessed with generative AI and the potential positive implications that it can have on humanity. It promises a productivity increase, $7T added to the global GBP, and a new age of creativity.
Whether you are of the opinion that Artificial Intelligence is just another fad, will take your job, or the entire world – there’s no doubt that generative AI is here to stay. It’s just a matter of time until AI features are embedded into every tool and workstream that we use on a daily basis. Business leaders recognize this too – with 82% saying generative AI will lower costs, and 80% of them saying it will increase revenue.
On this basis, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the curve and start learning the fundamentals of both generative AI on a general level, as well as the specifics of Salesforce’s solutions that you will soon be implementing and supporting users on.
Whilst there isn’t a huge amount of information available as of yet due to Einstein GPT being in pilot, Trailhead has created a set of modules that will help you understand the fundamentals of generative AI.
In addition, at Salesforce Ben, we’ve covered almost every major announcement to do with Einstein GPT. So make sure to check out the following blog posts:
- 7 Sales GPT and Service GPT Capabilities Unveiled by Salesforce
- Salesforce Announces Einstein GPT Integration with Flow + Data Cloud
- Top Use Cases for ChatGPT in the Salesforce Ecosystem
- Can ChatGPT Replace a Salesforce Developer?
- What Are the Implications of GPT AI on the Salesforce Platform?
- Can ChatGPT Replace a Salesforce Admin?
2. Do More With Less (Focus on Value)
The last 18 months have been tough on the global economy – layoffs, inflation, and interest rates rising makes for a pretty sorry story. Even technology companies, who had a pretty good ride over the global pandemic, are now suffering from over-hiring, and their customers having less disposable cash.
The Salesforce ecosystem hasn’t been immune from this either. With Salesforce revenue growth having halved from roughly 20% down to 10%, this has had a big knock-on impact on the ecosystem. Less net-new business means slower growth for consultancies and fewer new Salesforce jobs available.
Although the picture isn’t as pretty as it was a few years ago, things are still looking very bright for Salesforce. With over 24% market share, continued growth, and innovation on the platform, I’m pretty happy betting on Salesforce for the long term.
But this does mean that priorities have massively shifted for businesses, and in some cases, this has meant redundancies for Salesforce professionals.
This is why it’s more important than ever to ensure that you are proving value in your role. Now is the time to be as proactive as possible, ensuring that your time is fully utilized on exciting projects that are going to increase employee productivity, bring in more revenue, or lower costs.
One of my favorite aspects about Salesforce is the platform itself and the fact that you can essentially build anything you want to support your business processes. So be proactive, engage with your business or customers, and ensure that they are getting even more ROI out of a platform that is already included within their subscription costs.
3. Lock In Your Specializations
Since Salesforce released Trailhead back in 2014, they have been on a mission to get as many Salesforce professionals into the ecosystem as possible. Even six years later, in 2023, IDC released a study that showed 9.3M new jobs would be created in the Salesforce ecosystem over the next five years (the study was probably taking into account a current lack of talent back in 2021, as well as Salesforce’s projected growth).
It’s safe to say that Salesforce’s mission has been a massive success. There has been a huge influx of new Salesforce professionals joining the ecosystem over the last few years – so much so that a friend told me that they received over 1,000 applications for a Salesforce Administrator role.
Whilst this is great for new talent, this does provide a unique challenge for existing Salesforce professionals – as their skills that were once super unique are now fairly common. The solution? Salesforce specializations!
Salesforce specializations are niche skills in the Salesforce ecosystem that often connect with a specific product. Examples of these could be Salesforce CPQ, Marketing Cloud, Tableau, or DevOps.
But why are they harder to learn? Well, Sales and Service Cloud can easily be spun up with a Dev Org, with plenty of resources to learn on Trailhead and beyond. However, with niche skills, they are often more complex products that are hard to learn online – usually, actual project experience is required.
These Salesforce specializations allow you to stand out from the crowd and unlock a new kind of job market where your skills will be massively in demand. Make sure to check out the following post for our full list of specializations.
4. Get Familiar With ISVs
With over 4,000 apps on the AppExchange, Salesforce has one of the largest B2B marketplaces for professionals to discover new tools. Back in 2019, Salesforce’s annual investor report stated that 95% of the Fortune 100 run at least one app from the AppExchange, and I would imagine this percentage probably holds true across most Salesforce customers today.
In recent years, the AppExchange ecosystem has skyrocketed. App categories, such as DevOps, Backup, Document Generation, eSignature & Impact Analysis, have almost become a requirement for Org’s of a certain size – both due to productivity gains and complexities around configuring Salesforce.
So how does this affect your career? Well, if you are just getting into the Salesforce ecosystem or looking to switch roles, there is a very good chance your next role will involve some of these app categories. Implementing or using tools such as DevOps or Document Generation will have a definite learning curve associated with them, even if you are a seasoned Salesforce professional.
If the company you are applying for is a heavy user of apps such as Gearset, Copado, Provar, or Conga, and you understand what it takes to implement and use these tools – you have a huge advantage over your peers.
For those without any experience with these products, many companies provide free training and certifications to help you upskill on specific products and the app category in general. For example, with DevOps, you have the choice of Flosum, Gearset, and Copado’s learning platforms. Make sure to check out the full article below.
5. Don’t Forget the Fundamentals (AI + Data + CRM)
It can be easy to get sidetracked with all the exciting advancements in technology recently, but the fundamentals of a great Salesforce implementation must not be forgotten. Ensuring proper business analysis, requirements gathering, and building scalable solutions for Salesforce are cornerstones of being a successful Salesforce professional.
However, the fundamentals of Salesforce will become arguably even more important with the rise of Artificial Intelligence. Hence Salesforce’s new messaging – AI + Data + CRM.
Salesforce’s AI Cloud will work in a similar manner to that of ChatGPT. A Salesforce professional will create a templated ‘prompt’ using a new feature called Prompt Studio. For example, the prompt could create a sales email using Sales GPT.
Once the prompt is initiated, Salesforce will grab any relevant data (name, industry, customer type, location), securely mask the data, and submit it to an LLM (Large Language Model) of your choosing for the magic to happen and an email to be generated.
However, the secret sauce in this whole process is that Salesforce is allowing you to securely use personalized information from within your CRM in order to make the prompt response even more personalized and relevant. But in order for this to be effective, your data needs to be in check. Duplicate data, wrong information, missing fields, and general dirty data will obscure the AI’s ability to create accurate and informed responses.
So how do you ensure your org is AI-ready? Ensure the fundamentals of your org are strong, adoption is high, users are happy, and your org is collecting all the necessary information. Here are a few posts that might help:
- Complete Guide to Salesforce Duplicate Rules
- Ultimate Guide to a Salesforce Implementation
- Salesforce Duplicate Management: 5 Phase Process to Deduplicating Your Salesforce Org Data
- 9 Free Salesforce Training Resources
Although the world economy has suffered a bit this year, there are still plenty of ways to ensure you are developing your skills on the Salesforce platform.
It’s also important to stay aligned to market movements. This includes the Salesforce job market, the wider economy, and also what’s important to the company you work for – for example, doing more with less.