If you had asked me 8 years ago what Salesforce was, I wouldn’t have had an answer for you. Fast forward to today and I’ve lived and breathed Salesforce every year since then. To introduce myself, I’m Ben the founder of SalesforceBen.com. I’m just an average guy that didn’t really know what to do with his life (Especially straight out of college), but I was lucky enough to secure a graduate position working for a Salesforce consultancy.
Over the past 6 years, I’ve dedicated a big portion of my days to creating SalesforceBen.com, along with my co-editor Lucy. We support Salesforce professionals get informed on Salesforce news, as well as topics to support their careers. We are also really passionate about getting people into the Salesforce Ecosystem that has been so good to us and our careers. Within this post, I hope to bring light to what a career in Salesforce means, as well as why this could benefit you.
NB – Although the title may seem this way, I’m not going to sell you the secret to happiness for $9.99 with a money back guarantee
What is Salesforce?
So first off, let’s dive into what the heck Salesforce actually is! Well, Salesforce is a SaaS based CRM platform, still confused? Don’t be. SaaS simply means Software as a Service and is a cloud computing term that means services that are delivered from a web browser or App. Think Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox or Gmail, all these services are SaaS.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. All businesses in the entire world will have some form of CRM. The software simply records who your customers are, what interactions you’ve had with them, and what products they have bought. If you run a hairdressing salon, you might have a spreadsheet or a notebook of your regular customers – if you run a catering company, you will have the same, or if you run a 10,000 employee international conglomerate, you will have CRM software. Rather than this software sitting in a server in your companies basement, it is delivered through your web browser.
21 years after founding, Salesforce is the market leader of CRM software, dominating over 20% of the market. But since their founding, Salesforce has developed a range of products to support companies connect with their customers.
For more information on Salesforce and it’s products, read our post here.
The Salesforce Ecosystem
So now you are an expert on SaaS-based CRM’s, let’s look into how this translates into you and your job prospects. Salesforce as a company are pretty massive, in fact they have 42,000 employees based around the world. Being a fast-growing tech company, they are hiring all the time in a variety of roles from Sales, Marketing, Engineers, and management. You can read all about a career working for Salesforce here.
But what I want to speak about, is the “Ecosystem” surrounding Salesforce. A CRM is a vital system that companies purchase in order to improve internal processes and better serve their customers. As this tool is so important, a plethora of jobs are needed to support such a system. You will need a business consultant to assess requirements and translate these into a technical solution, a developer to write code and integrate external systems, a data migration expert will be needed to move data from one system to another.
You will also need an individual or a team, to support users of Salesforce internally at a company once it has been rolled out. To support with new requirements, questions, bugs, training etc…
In addition, Salesforce allow companies to build Apps on their platform. Much like you can download an App for your phone to play games, or track your sleep. You can download an App into your Salesforce system to extend the functionality. Maybe you need a project management tool? Or a contract generation tool? Salesforce has created a huge ecosystem of partner applications that range from 1 employee, to 1000’s of employees depending on the size of the App.
The amazing statistic is, that although Salesforce has around 42,000 employees at the time of writing, it was estimated by IDC that from 2016 to 2020, 1.9 million jobs would have been created in this Ecosystem. How incredible is that? Not stopping there, in a similar study conducted in 2019, they predicted that in 2024, a further 4.2 million jobs will have been created.
These jobs aren’t just any old jobs, they are a new breed of careers. Suited for ambitious, creative, determined individuals that want to better themselves through earning new, in-demand skills.
As we talked about in the previous section, there are many different jobs available in the Salesforce ecosystem. and depending on your current skill set or background, there might be an obvious choice of which career path would be suited for you. If you have little to no experience in the IT sector, don’t worry, there are huge amounts of resources online to upskill yourself, more on that later.
The most common type of role sits within businesses that purchase Salesforce and then need internal resources to support the tool. This might range from a single Salesforce Administrator in an SMB business, to a team of 100 or more that contains Admins, Business Analysts, Developers, Architects, in a company that uses Salesforce for its 10,000 users. Let’s have a look at a few…
Salesforce Admin – An individual that helps a company get the most out of Salesforce. Focuses on ensuring the system is working for its users, extending functionality based on new requirements, fixing bugs and training users. If you are not from an IT background, becoming an Admin is a great place to start. Read all about how to become a Salesforce Admin on Salesforce’s career page.
Salesforce Developer – An individual that extends the functionality of the Salesforce platform using code. Developers can be used for more complex business requirements where standard functionality doesn’t cut it. Developers can also integrate with other systems using API’s or Middleware. If you have any previous coding experience, becoming a developer is a great place to start. Read all about how to become a Salesforce Developer on Salesforce’s career page.
Salesforce Marketer – If a company is using one of Salesforce’s marketing products, an individual will be needed to run marketing campaigns and optimize performance. Salesforce has two Marketing products, Marketing Cloud & Pardot. If you are from a marketing background, then this is a great place to start. Read all about how to become a Salesforce Marketer on Salesforce’s career page.
Another common type of role sits within organizations that help implement Salesforce for customers when they first buy it. A good understanding of business analysis and technical Salesforce knowledge is needed in order to effectively roll out Salesforce to an organization. Consulting roles arguably have a higher barrier to entry, as customers will be paying high day rates for your expertise, usually, prior experience is needed. However many consultancies hire juniors to train them up.
Salesforce Business Analyst – An individual that will look at current companies’ processes, and figure out what is working, and what is not working, in order to create user requirements for the Salesforce implementation. Often this role is tied in with a hybrid of the below role, with an individual taking on both responsibilities. Read all about how to become a Salesforce Business Analyst on Salesforce’s career page.
Salesforce Functional Consultant – An individual that is skilled in the implementation of Salesforce and it’s many features. Will take user requirements and translate these into Salesforce solutions that will then be implemented. Typically uses “point and click” functionality, and does not need to code. They will also sometimes be responsible for gathering further requirements and performing training. This role is well suited for someone that has previous experience in a consulting position. Read all about how to become a Salesforce Consultant on Salesforce’s career page.
Salesforce Architect – Although this role can be found within an End-user, it is most typically associated with consultancies. This individual will be expected to understand business process and the Salesforce products inside out. They will be responsible for overseeing complex solutions, and ensuring their success. Read all about how to become a Salesforce Consultant on Salesforce’s career page.
Salesforce Developer – Almost identical to the role in the previous section, with the exception you will be working with multiple clients instead of being an internal employee.
Another common type of role sits within an ISV (Independent Software Vendor). Remember the Apps that are created on the Salesforce platform from an earlier section? Well, these are the guys that develop and maintain them.
Implementation Experts – Each App that’s developed on the Salesforce platform will require some level of implementation. This may be something very simple that a Salesforce Admin can handle, but for more complex Apps such as CPQ tools, or Accounting packages, implementation will be done. ISV’s will often have specialists that can support with this. Depending on your background, do some research on the type of Apps available, maybe your previous experience will make you perfect for a job with one of them?
Support Roles – Similar to the section above, as well as implementation, ongoing support will be offered by most Apps. If this sounds like something you have experience in, have a look at the Apps available.
4 Reasons to Pursue a Career in Salesforce
Before I go onto talk about the actual jobs that you can land yourself in the ecosystem, I’d like to talk about the type of community that Salesforce have created. They have created this amazing community where people want to help each, progress the industry and to not sound too cheesy, the world. When you’re around people like this day in day out, it’s very hard to not feel a sense of achievement and happiness.
Salesforce promote this with one word, Ohana. Which directly translates to Family in Hawaiian, but to give it a more specific definition..
“Ohana is more generally used to describe any group of people with a common bond; people in Hawaii have a community ohana, a friends ohana, even a work ohana.”
This is even further demonstrated with one of the largest software conferences in the world that Salesforce host in San Francisco every year, where 170,000 people attend.
By looking at some of the numbers earlier, it’s staggering to see the number of jobs that will be created by the Salesforce ecosystem, 4.2 million in the next 4 years! This shows there is a huge demand for Salesforce professionals and their skills. It also tells us that as this Ecosystem expands in size, the number of senior positions needed also expands, so the quicker you get into Salesforce, the faster you can grow your career by moving up the ladder.
Some of the success stories you hear are amazing, and you can be one too.
3. The Money
Being on the cutting edge of the technology industry and being able to save companies huge amounts of money through the use of Salesforce, means the jobs are pretty well paid. In fact, after around 3-4 years of experience in the world of Salesforce, you can look to make an average of £60,000 in the UK and $114,000 in the USA. You can read more about the salaries in this Infographic I’ve put together after compiling data from various sources. If you would like to get even more insight, check out our salary guides for specific roles…
- Salesforce Admin Salary Guide
- Salesforce Consultant Salary Guide
- Pardot Salary Guide
- Marketing Cloud Salary Guide
Last but not least, we have happiness as a benefit. Arguably the most important aspect of any career, if you are not happy in your job, then you are spending a huge portion of your life unfulfilled. Well I can only speak from first hand experience here as I have no statistics to back it up, but Salesforce checks all the boxes of a great career. In my 8 years of being in the Salesforce ecosystem and speaking to 100s of people, I’ve never heard one talk about how they don’t enjoy their job in the Salesforce world. Sure, people might get fed up at one company, but they can change to more suitable one with no fuss, due to the skills being in such demand. Let’s have a look at the top 5 reasons for employees being happy in their jobs and how Salesforce counters these.
- Not being paid enough – See infographic above, those salaies can’t be sniffed at!
- No room for progression – As mentioned, the ecosystem is growing at such a large rate, more senior positions are usually available within any company, or if not, companies are always hiring.
- Poor company culture – Salesforce leads by example, and so many ecosystem companies employee similar policies to put culture at the top of their priority list.
- Poor work-life balance – This is something that is core to a lot of companies, happy employees = better performance and remote working, for example, is something you will see everywhere.
- Boring daily routine – Salesforce is an exciting platform that enables you to be creative whilst having a major impact on businesses using it.
Sign me up!
Sound interesting? Well, you’re in luck! Salesforce along with the community has now made it easier than ever to grab yourself a job in this incredible industry and the barrier to entry is becoming lower and lower. This does not mean that it’s a breeze to get a job and anyone can just walk in, but the resources and tools are out there, you just need to put in a little groundwork. Salesforce Partners & customers are always looking for dynamic and hardworking individuals that have the right attitude to train up to become superstars. Here are a few pointers that you can start doing straight away..
1. Start reading up on everything Salesforce, absorb yourself in what the product, the company and the industry is trying to achieve. Use blogs like this one among many others to fine tune your knowledge.
2. Sign up for a Developer Org & Salesforce Trailhead. In combination, you can think about these two services as a free training course/environment. Trailhead will teach you about so many aspects of Salesforce whilst testing you with real life scenarios along the way to reinforce learning. This blog post covers why Trailhead is so powerful.
3. Become the community. The Salesforce community has become extremely widespread and exists in a lot of forms. From active members of the community on Twitter & LinkedIn, to online forums and in person user groups. You can find all about these in the Power of the Community blog post.
As a side note, if you are really interested in pursuing a career in Salesforce, please sign up to your nearest User Group to learn more about the community, and if nothing else, free beer and pizza.
4. Salesforce offers Certifications for professionals that wish to prove their knowledge to current or prospective employee’s. These are usually multiple choice based questions taken in a test centre. If you wish to place a goal on your path to become a Salesforce professional, the entry level Administrator or Platform App Builder certifications are a good way to go. Demonstrating that you are already certified to a prospective employer looks very good.
This blog post was written to hopefully bring light to an amazing “emerging” community that is actually not that well known to the broader scope of people. I use the word emerging in jest, as although the general public probably hasn’t heard of Salesforce before, the community is thriving with millions of people currently contributing to the community.
If you’ve found ever the slightest interest in what’s been written in this article, dive in and explore a few of the links posted. This could be the start of a prosperous, successful, and long career.