• Emily Malone

What I learnt at the September Salesforce Administrators Group event

It was another great turn-out for the Salesforce Administrators group, and why not? We had another great line up that only a fool would miss! But don’t worry, if you were unable to attend, here’s what happened on the day…

Observations from 500 contact centre visits over the past 28 years

Speaker: David Thomson, Principal Solutions Engineer at Salesforce

After a short introduction, David kickstarted his talk by focusing on Salesforce’s Service Cloud and how different organisations have identified problems and resolved or improved them by using the adaptable platform.

Looking at the Pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence, World war two planes and designing women’s trainers, we really did cover a lot of ground.

Some key points for me were around having a good Knowledge base that will really help divert traffic and improve the customer’s experience. If you provide a smooth, streamlined service that makes it effortless for your customer to learn and engage with your business, they’re much more likely to return.

We then started looking into various examples of ‘understanding the user’s needs’ by looking inwards, rather than outwards to help shape the way customer service is delivered. An example of this is empowering service agents to apply discretionary funds as and when they feel is required, and looking at the impact this can have on the customer. No authorization, no sign-off — just simple customer service, done well.

Dave then started talking about the importance of getting the basics right instead of just focusing on giving the customer the ‘wow’ factor. A good, clean, basic service will ‘wow’ your customers in a way that will keep them returning time and time again, without the added complications of additional whistles and bells that may not add any true value.

We then started looking at the consolidated customer view and what benefits this can bring to your company. Dave told us that seeing all interactions and generating opportunities based on those interactions will help predict prospects, which really shows how the Salesforce platform can help you engage customers better!


David’s talk was really engaging! It was a great condensed learning opportunity to understand how 500 different contact centres have all used and adapted Salesforce to tackle and improve their own unique issues and customer experiences. I would be very surprised if there were people in the room who didn’t go home with at least one take away point from this talk!

With some great examples and clear useful slides and some recommended reading material, this talk is definitely one to put on your radar.

Dave’s Recommended Reading:

  1. The effortless experience – Mathew Dixon This is well worth a read on how to gain customer loyalty.

  2. Invisible woman – Caroline Criado Perez An amazing book which is a real eye-opener about how the world was designed with men at the forefront.

IHG User story

Speaker: Emma Keeling, Product Manager Sales and Catering of InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)

Emma is a regular member of the #SFNotts and #SFWiTNotts user group, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to listen and understand her personal engagement with the Salesforce platform!

Emma (aka ‘Mamma Bear’, as stated on her lovely t-shirt) started by setting the scene and guiding us through her career path. First explaining how she came to work in the hospitality industry and then how, over time, she became ‘The’ subject matter expert in their previous operational system – a system that had the ability to take bookings, look at scheduling and prepare invoicing. She became the go-to person for any troubleshooting issues or user guidance.

Emma was then informed that the current system was no longer going to be supported and needs to be moved over to a new platform. This couldn’t have come at a better time as she was also just about to go on maternity leave (welcome ‘Baby bear’)!

On Emma’s return to work, suddenly she found herself walking into a whole new system, going from a subject matter expert to clueless in what seemed like overnight. With people still looking to Emma to provide support, she soon realized she had to roll up her sleeves and get to grips with this new Salesforce platform.

By engaging with the Salesforce trailhead learning platform, Emma soon got her Ranger status and then went onwards to achieve 3 x Certified status and regaining her title of ‘SME’.

Emma then went on to explain and demonstrate how she and her team have adapted and use the Salesforce platform within the hospitality industry to include: account management, room booking, and conferencing and events.

IHG have now built a bespoke platform that they’re hoping to roll out to their franchises to better help, support and align their business processes. This not only helps the in-house staff but also adds value to their customers and offering something more.


Emma’s story was a great real-life example of how salesforce can be turned from an unknown entity into a practical, bespoke, and streamlined system that can be configured and rolled out en-mass.

Using real-life experiences and diving into the free Trailhead learning platform can transform not only yourself from clueless to SME, but also giving you the skills to make the Salesforce platform what you need it to be.

An Introduction to Salesforce Maps – an admin perspective

Speaker: Christy AU, Senior Portfolio Success Manager at Salesforce

Having previously worked in a logistics company, this talk was the one I was looking forward to most!

Christy describes Salesforce Maps like ‘The Uber CRM Experience’. Having the ability to really visualise account data in real-time and seeing first hand where accounts, reps and opportunities lie within the geographic area can help you focus your target audiences and make journey-planning a breeze!

Live locations give your business the opportunity to track service/sales reps in real-time, so you can give accurate ETA’s, and improve your levels of customer service. But it mainly ensures the safety of your remote workers.

Salesforce Maps also has the additional features of having notifications settings to advise when employees have arrived at their destinations, which allows for much more flexible in diary planning and gives greater value if events change.

Christy enforced that Salesforce Maps wasn’t designed to micromanage your employees or act as Big Brother tracking every movement. But it allows for greater flexibility in account management and gives the flexibility that’s sometimes needed when out on the road. This app can also be switched on and off by the company and the employee directly.

Using live demos, Chirsty went on to show how you can optimise paths. For example, if you have four accounts regionally and you wanted to see accounts nearby, you can set a radius and clearly see which accounts are within reach. This is really going to help you book meetings to calculate the best journey paths!

You can create a report within Salesforce Maps. However, a limiting factor is you can’t currently pull reports into it. Salesforce, if you’re listening, this might be something for the future…

But this doesn’t mean you should rule it out as an existing Salesforce user. The complexity and value of this feature within the Salesforce Maps application is still worth the effort of adding your existing customer base.

Using colour coding and markers helps you to visually see key accounts and other defined details, with the option to hover over each account and see related records to include chatter, contact details, and other activities.

Advanced routing to solve Traveling Salesperson Problems (TSP) and Vehicle Routing Problems (VRP) can not only save time, give added security but will also navigate using an application of your choice like google maps or alternative Nav options.


Christy gave a really great overview of this application and I can really understand how this can add real core value to some of the industries out there.

Being a person out on the road and also heading the coordination of field teams in the past, I am envious this was not available to me then! Having a really clear visual tool like this would not only have made diary management more streamline but would have also given me an extra security level and peace of mind when out and about in remote and isolated places.

The Twitter competition

The winner of a years subscription to one of JetBrains IDEs with a street value of £399 was…

Lee from Bookwise – congratulations!

If you’re interested in attending the next oe:gen Salesforce Admin Group (#SFnotts) or any of our upcoming events, sign up to our weekly blog or monthly newsletter subscription list to keep in the know or visit this link!

Our next event is our Salesforce women in Tech event (#SFWITNotts) which will be on the 9th October 2-5pm so get the date in your diary and book — places are limited! Check it out here.

And if any of you out there are interested in being a guest speaker please contact Paul or Emily on LinkedIn!

See you next time x