Salesforce Admin salaries are a hot topic, and for good reason! The Salesforce Economy is growing at such a rate that Salesforce Admins find themselves in a favourable position, with higher average salaries than equivalent administrator roles in other industries. Our Salesforce Admin Salary guide brings context to what your salary should be (or could be) with information to back up that figure.
Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: how you can increase your earning potential! Let’s see what practical steps you can take to climb the ladder. If you would like a recap how a typical Salesforce Admin career path looks like, you can find our Salesforce Admin Career Path infographic at the end of this post.
Maximizing your Experience
Become a Junior Salesforce Admin:
- Have experience in administering other systems, have completed Trailhead badges, or you are an ‘accidental Admin’ in your organisation, with a motivation to learn and a keen eye for spotting efficiencies!
- Learn feature terminology and begin to seek out answers from online help resources (know what you don’t know, and what to search for!)
Go from Junior → Mid-level Salesforce Admin:
- Get comfortable with Salesforce best practices, with a full understanding of the options and their trade-offs when maintaining and customizing Salesforce, such as Process Builder vs. Flow, record types vs. page layouts.
- Understand and have experience with Salesforce integrations and their implications.
- Become self-sufficient in troubleshooting and finding answers online.
Go from Mid-level → Senior Salesforce Admin:
- Solution design and its considerations, beginning to understand concepts in the Salesforce architect domain.
- Seek to understand the needs and motivations of different stakeholders around the business (sales managers, users, marketers) to improve your requirements gathering skills and be recognised as a driver of transformation.
- Start mentoring, prove you can lead a team.
Here are the tips Christine (MVP and long-time Admin) and I would share with Admins looking to accelerate through the junior-mid-senior career path.
1. Take Certifications
Certifications are often met with scepticism. Can someone who passes an exam really know what they are talking about? Experience will always trump certifications, however certifications will bolster your experience by strengthening your Salesforce best practice knowledge.
Certifications are beneficial especially for Admins establishing themselves at the mid-level, which demands Admins who can maintain and customize a Salesforce org using best practices. Studying for an exam requires the discipline to cover every topic in-depth, and more importantly, learning the trade-offs between different options and when to use each (eg. record types vs. page layouts). There may be features or concepts you come across in the study guide that you may not have working as a junior Admin in one org.
“Taking certifications was valuable to strengthen my Salesforce best practice knowledge”, said Christine, “I found taking certifications other than Administrator solidified my role as a mid-level Admin, such as Advanced Administrator, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Platform App Builder.”
While certifications may not directly increase your salary, they will place you in another league where the job opportunities require that credibility. The certifications on your resume will enable you to get your foot in the door as a proficient candidate.
2. Take Interest in a Specialisation
A junior or mid-level Admin have many possible specialism pathways. Mid-level Admins usually work with Sales Cloud or a suite of clouds (Sales + Service Cloud, etc.), which could result in having a specialism eg. CPQ, Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Combine multi-cloud skills to stand out in the marketplace. An organisation looking for an Admin skilled in more than one platform area will expect to offer more salary, which increases the less common the combination of products!
3. Work in the Right Role and Team
Although easier said than done, working in the right environment can help you reach the next level.
As a junior Admin, if you are looking to step up to a mid-level Admin fast, consider working in a team. There is a big but here – but find a team where managers (or more experienced Admins) will delegate tasks to you that will stretch your skills, for example, introducing you to more features or use cases. A team environment will mean you can venture further into the unknown and still have their support to rely on. When you join a team, set clear expectations that you want to be challenged, or risk being ‘pigeon-holed’ into a junior status. Think realistically if this team will sincerely offer you that progression.
Senior Admins, as described in the salary guide, typically work for larger Enterprise companies in a product owner position, managing a team or external parties to oversee the development of the Salesforce org. If you are a mid-level solo Admin, perhaps consider shooting for a job opportunity that fits that criteria.
4. Become Self-sufficient
While having the right working environment and team around you is important, you need to know where to go for answers. Being self-sufficient is a big part of progressing up the Admin career ladder. When faced with questions or some tricky troubleshooting, you should know what you don’t know – yes, that’s not a typo. As a mid-level Admin, you should be able to describe what your issue is using the correct terminology, and explore all possible solutions in your research (not jumping at the first answer that seems viable).
There is a wealth of advice online, and knowing which sources are quality is something that comes with experience. Spend time reading multiple threads in the Answers Community and blog posts written by reputable Salesforce professionals*.
If you felt disheartened reading the previous point, please don’t – never dismiss the value working as a solo Admin! This has been a great foundation for you, and you have become adept at finding answers yourself even if you don’t give yourself full credit for your self-sufficiency.
(*blog posts will typically have the author’s bio at the top of the page outlining their credibility. If in doubt, search Linkedin too.)
5. Get Involved in the Trailblazer Community
The Trailblazer Community is a bustling space online and offline, where Salesforce professionals gather to share their knowledge in exchange for others’ wisdom.
From what we have seen, mid-level Admins tend to be more involved in the community. This could be attending user groups, answering questions in one of the many online groups, and other types of involvement.
Getting involved means that you are broadening your knowledge. Gain awareness of other Admin’s issues and how they resolved them (the dos and don’ts), hear candid feedback on features you may be planning to roll out, and overall, prove you’re a proactive Admin that’s trying to always better your org.
6. Prove You Can Lead a Team
Managing a team or working with external parties to oversee the development of the Salesforce org is typical of a Senior Salesforce Admin role. This is a sizeable transition for Admins that have been working independently for some time, and that have been invested in ‘technical’ skills and less so on ‘people management’ skills.
How can you prove you can lead a team? Following on from the previous point, another benefit of getting involved in the community is the opportunity to connect with others and give back. There are several programs running where you can mentor a more junior Admin, guiding them through the path that you have experienced yourself.
Any experience mentoring is good experience; not only will it prepare you for future opportunities as a senior Admin (you should call upon your mentoring in interviews for senior roles) but it will nurture your emotional intelligence and improve your effectiveness in the ‘softer’ Admin responsibilities, such as Salesforce adoption and change management.
7. Understand the DNA of an Organisation
Your colleagues will fill certain roles in the organisation – from the sales leader, to the head of finance, marketing director, and more – all of these individuals have different motivations, some shared, but others more self-interested.
Who is defining the requirements for the CRM and making the decisions – and more importantly, are these the right people that should be involved?
What happens when priorities conflict? Or it’s not possible to deliver something how and when they want it?
This is ‘stakeholder management’ and is something that a consultant tunes into pretty quickly. The goal of a consultant is to balance different stakeholders’ needs to inspire change and balance needs (knowing how to win over certain people).
No Admin is an island. You are the in-house consultant. Get to know who the decision makers in your organisation are and what makes them tick. You will gain more recognition as a positive change maker, and therefore, indispensable to the organisation.
8. Get Familiar with Integrations
You may think integrations are a developer’s territory – time to bust that myth! As Admin roles become more senior, they demand a more holisitic understanding of Salesforce and its interactivity with other platforms. To be clear, I am not talking about Admins actually developing the integration – mid-level Admins need to understand the ways these tools could integrate with Salesforce, for example, which objects should integrate, data sync behaviour, and any implications on org security.
Common 3rd party integrations include: Docusign, Conga, Survey tools, Pardot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Marketo, Active Campaign.
Integrations in the accounting and ERP categories are more complex, and while these typically have their own dedicated admin, the Salesforce Admin
will need to know how the integration works for troubleshooting on the Salesforce side. No doubt you will have heard of these examples: FinancialForce, Xero, Netsuite, SAP.
Know one integration, and you may find that knowledge is applicable to other integrations in the same category, for example, understand how Survey Monkey works, and have a better understanding how other survey tools could connect with Salesforce.
Finally, integrations are keywords on your resume. A hiring manager seeking candidates with integration knowledge may offer higher salaries to ensure they have the correct capabilities in-house. It’s certainly one way to spark their interest!
There’s no doubt that Salesforce Admins are deserving of their compensation – they carry out a core function that allows organisations to maintain a health org, customise Salesforce using declarative (point-and-click) configuration, support the needs of users, and in turn, optimise business operations.
I hope these tips on how to increase your salary are useful to you in your career and personal development. Remember to check out the Salesforce Admin Salary guide which shares salary data collected from the largest salary survey, arming you with ammo when asking for a raise, or applying for a new role.
Salesforce Admin Career Path