10 Must-Have Qualities For Your Salesforce Administrator [INFOGRAPHIC]

The following guest post is by Dan O’Brien, marketing manager at Prialto. It originally appeared on Salesforce Ben, and is reprinted with the author’s permission. 

Want to know how to optimize your new CRM setup? Start by finding a stellar CRM administrator on your team. Nearly 60% of Salesforce implementations are unsuccessful, always due in some part to an adoption problem. Rolling out a heavy new piece of software involves changing your employees’ processes, behavior and expectations.

Having an internal champion to shepherd it through can make a substantial difference.

How do you pick this person?

Here’s who it should NOT be:

  • A member of your IT team: While this person is working with a solid piece of technology, your administrator needs to be someone who is familiar with your sales process and your sales team. This role is much more about hand-holding people than coding new fields into Salesforce. So don’t make the mistake of trapping your CRM know-how in the IT department
  • The entire team: Putting everyone in charge of CRM means that nobody is really in charge. Democratizing Salesforce is a surefire way of ending up with duplicate, outdated data and unused fields and reports. You need to have a CRM guru onsite who is ultimately accountable for both adoption and maintenance of the platform
  • Your best salesperson: Sure he’s organized and extremely successful, but that may be exactly why your top sales rep isn’t the right person for this job. Salespeople are wired to talk and to sell. The better they are at doing that, the worse they’ll be at data entry into a cloud database. In fact, in most cases, your star sales rep is the one who’ll give you the most push-back on adopting your new CRM.

If not these obvious choices, then who? Pick your onsite Salesforce expert based on their strengths. Here (in no particular order) are 10 characteristics a successful Salesforce administrator cannot do without, and explanations of why they matter.



To understand how to make Salesforce achieve its purpose, you’ll need someone who is capable of thinking a bit like a computer themselves. The person should have some understanding of fields, categories, the underlying architecture of the software and how individual changes effect one another. Logic, process and the ability to break things down into digestible chunks are key attributes of a successful administrator.


If your CRM implementation lives up to the hype, it can turn out to be the one piece of software on which your business and your executive team come to depend. To build a strong tool, you’ll need a person with conviction and resilience, and a good deal of authority. Make sure that your proposed Salesforce administrator isn’t someone that you need to micromanage or someone who lacks respect among his teammates.


Walking colleagues through unfamiliar territory is going to be more than half the job description for this role. The CRM administrator is the representative of your employee team to management. How the administrator coaches fellow employees sets the tone for whether your team sees CRM as a job enhancement or as time-consuming nuisance. Choose an administrator who knows how to build people’s confidence in their own abilities and is passionate about supporting their needs.


Your CRM is intended to be a key tool for your sales team, and should be built around the team’s funnel. To ensure that the software is meeting its intended goal, you need to have someone familiar with the existing sales process and the strategic skills to help augment it. If your company does not yet have a clear sales funnel, those strategic thinking skills will be even more critical to making your CRM instance relevant to the rest of the sales team.


The Salesforce administrator is constantly communicating concerns, changes, processes and explanations across a wide spectrum of stakeholders. This person should be comfortable picking up the phone and talking to employees, managers or IT consultants about the CRM platform at the drop of a hat.


There will be days and even weeks spent “fiddling” with the database, analyzing what works and trying to figure out how to get the system to do what you need it to do. This may involve time spent on the phone with Salesforce’s customer service or clicking around your platform to understand the problem. Your Salesforce administrator should not be someone who’s scared of breaking the program with a mere click, but someone who is willing to google around and follow threads of conversations to find a solution.


Most organizations will have at least one a naysayer on the team who will publicly debunk his obligation to work within the CRM. Your internal cheerleader needs to be able to turn that rhetoric around by showcasing CRM’s ability to boost sales. Only a true believer is likely to succeed in keeping the broader organization behind your CRM infrastructure


Positive habits and culture will be your strongest ally to a successful Salesforce implementation. Fostering this culture will take someone who is not only knowledgeable about how things should be done, but who understands and even empathizes with the sensitivities about changing what is currently being done. Ideally, this person would know who on the team is likely to be the most resistant and who can be a ringleader for the cause.


Your Salesforce administrator will be in charge of developing and rolling out your company’s instance of Salesforce. The job requires multi-tasking, several deadlines, and the ability to relate the users’ needs to developers. It’ll likely take several months and a decent chunk of change to do the job right. Make sure your administrator has the organizational skills to space everything out.


Building a company’s CRM takes time, patience and an incredible amount of vision. Little tweaks here and there may meet today’s needs, but could clutter up your database for years to come. Functions considered useless today may be essential once your company scales to meet its annual goals. A good Salesforce administrator keeps her eye on the big picture to avoid today’s challenges from becoming tomorrow’s roadblocks.

Looking to make your Salesforce implementation successful, check out these other powerful Salesforce guides for sales and marketing!


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