Salesforce Trailblazer: Ben Fuller
First Exposure to Salesforce
We all have our own story and each story is unique, much like the orgs we work in. My Trailblazer saga started back in 2006, with a small website company. I had just graduated High School and was working in their technical support department (full disclosure my parents owned the company so I was most definitely the low guy on the totem pole). The company had just recently switched from MS Access to Salesforce and was utilizing Sales Cloud (not opportunities) and cases.
I spent a year playing around in Cases, experimenting with list views and templates before leaving the company behind to join the Air Force. I figured that was the end of my time in the tech space, but due to some bad knees I ended up at the company again a year later.
Back in Sales
This time I took a role in the Sales department, I was able to get my hands dirty with simple workflows and vertical response. Building trade show campaigns and mass loading leads were part of my daily responsibilities. I spent two years splitting time between an Inside and Outside sales role using Salesforce daily. I was hooked, Salesforce made everything easier. We lived by “If it's not in Salesforce it didn't happen”
Eventually I took a role with a startup in Chicago that had just purchased Salesforce, it gave me my first shot at a full blown implementation. It was a mess, nobody on the team had any idea what we were doing. It was a learning experience for sure, we imported and deleted leads 7 different times before we got it right.
After leaving Chicago I moved to Salt Lake where I took a position with a largo BPO, I picked up some great exposure to to ServiceNow and Zoho, but was still hooked on SFDC. After transitioning back client side to manage a 30 person technicaI support team, I undertook a Desk.com implementation. It was a complicated process as at the same time we were building out Desk we were also implementing an integration with a custom e-commerce Drupal site that had real stability issues. While the implementation was hard, it sealed my future. I knew that Salesforce was where I wanted my career to go.
Full Time Salesforce Admin
In January of 2016 I accepted my first dedicated Salesforce role as a Junior Admin. It was my first introduction to Service Cloud, a CPQ/Billing tool, Knowledge and Apex code. It was enlightening, it showed me how much I had to learn. Fortunately I had a great first boss in Brent Booth, he's an absolute stud of an admin and manager. I still call him with questions to this day, and he's always happy to help when he can.
After my role as a Junior Admin, I joined an ISV as part of their Internal Operations team. This company had an extremely complicated org, with Pardot, Cornerstone, FinancialForce, and Krow Software. It was full of legacy half finished projects and abandoned ideas which helped us learn to troubleshoot better. At this ISV, I met Eric Laing, probably one of my favorite people of all time. Eric taught me best practices, how SDLC and ITIL methodologies combine to help build a Center of Excellence. He also became a close friend and mentor, and someone I turn to daily for advice.
From there, I moved on to an internal Senior Admin role for a chance to work on what was one of the most ambitious Force.com projects I had seen. We were integrating three separate systems into one single SFDC instance while simultaneously applying GDPR to each country that we operated out of, which lead us to 3 separate AWS instances, utilizing Salesforce connect. I got to play with all the toys… Sales Cloud/Service Cloud/ Communities/ Shield/ Live Agent/ Salesforce Connect/ CPQ/ and Pardot. It was a different world, we relied heavily on outside development talent. All the apex and custom code allowed me to get my feet wet and dig into different classes and triggers, it was a humbling experience. It helped to reinforce that there is always something to learn with Salesforce.
Next Career Steps
On 12/3 I start my next adventure, this time in the Sales Operations world, I'm excited for a chance to take my experiences working as an Sale/Account Manager and combining them with my knowledge of Salesforce to help build a foundation for a successful Operations platform.
Salesforce is a powerful tool, your ability to manipulate is only restricted by your understanding of the SFDC ecosystem. If you haven't already, spend time on Trailhead, explore the Appexchange, cry over badly written workflows and lightning flows, tear down and rebuild. Be creative, your org is only as powerful as you make it, so take advantage it.