3 Tips to Balance Technical Needs With Business Skills When Hiring in Salesforce

Posted by Will Lutz on Dec 13, 2016 3:14:00 PM

It is so important for your new hires to have both business and Salesforce skills. We hear it over and over again from the better hiring managers. Making sure they have them is an important part of the recruiting process.

Finding a good candidate quickly can save your team time and money. This balance gets looked over by way too many in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Why Is This So Important?

Take a moment and remember Salesforce Admin’s long lost ancestors: database administrators. Before Salesforce, the database administrator spent their time working with query languages (like SQL) ensuring data was secure and available for analysis when needed.

They were primarily computer nerds (I use that phrase lovingly). Keeping their heads in their screens and providing technical aptitude to the team.

Enter stage right, Salesforce and SaaS. Now a lot of the database administrator’s functions are outsourced to cloud functionality. With all that time on their hands, the (now) Salesforce Administrator spends time leveraging the databases’ capabilities to support (or sometimes actually do) sales and marketing.

This is why many organizations separate their Salesforce team out of Information Technology departments and into it’s own division frequently called “Sales Operations.” Their business skills are just as important as their Salesforce skills.

If you are hiring a Salesforce Admin (perhaps for a Sales Ops role) then you need to ensure candidates have both business and Salesforce skills. We have three big tips to make sure you get the best out of your recruiting process.

Tip 1: Vet for Salesforce Skills First

We have discussed before about the importance of Salesforce Match. To recap, it’s matching a candidate’s technical skills with the organization’s instance requirements. I.e. if you use Sales Cloud, don’t hire an Admin who only has Marketo and Pardot experience.

The beauty of Salesforce’s training programs - both certifications and Trailhead - is that it’s pretty easy to quickly identify which candidates actually meet your requirements.

Shameless plug: ForceOwl’s app makes this search even easier by allowing you to look up candidates by certifications, skills, years of experience and more.


Make sure these minimum requirements are met before you spend more time on a candidate. Make Salesforce Match part of your early vetting to avoid headaches later.

Tip 2: When It Comes to Business Skills, Look for Experience Over Schooling

I am 100% biased on this topic. Not so long ago, I graduated with an MBA from a great school and really loved it. However, MBAs and degrees like them can be deceiving. For example, spending two years learning banking, finance, and macroeconomics won’t translate well into software marketing and sales.

I will preface this next sentence with the fact that is my opinion and I’m sure not everyone would agree with me: there is no substitute for practical experience. Once you’ve filtered out bad technical matches, look for experience in previous roles. Is the candidate iterating on assignments and learning from them? Candidates with projects they can reference instead of using generic job summaries are what we’re looking for.

If you are hiring a junior Admin with little experience, but a lot of potential, look for Trailhead. Trailhead Badges and Superbadges are some of the best proxies for real experience. As I’m sure you’re already aware, Trailhead requires people actually perform practical tasks in toy Salesforce instances. Everyone needs to start somewhere; good Admins start with Trailhead.

Tip 3: Include Your Sales and/or Marketing People in the Vetting Process

For Sales Ops roles, Admins are supporting the sales and marketing staff; in a way they are your new hire’s customer. Any good salesperson will tell you our job is always to delight customers.

Including your business experts in the vetting process from the beginning will go a long way to helping you find the right candidate. They’ll be able to validate a candidate’s experience, and ask them pointed questions during interviews.

Ask your business-person to bring a real world Salesforce business problem to interviews. There is no better test than seeing how a candidate would operate under real world conditions.

Always Look for Balance

Superstar candidates are always exciting, but don’t get swept up if they’re just a business genius or just a Salesforce virtuoso. You need someone who has a balance of both skills.

Topics: Hiring For Salesforce, Trailhead, Hiring, Tips, Salesforce Match