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Florida Dreamin’: A Conference Where Soft Skills Shine

Florida Dreamin’: A Conference Where Soft Skills Shine

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In the beautiful sunshine and chill vibes of Clearwater Beach, FL, Salesforce community members of all kinds came together recently for Florida Dreamin’. The Dreamin’ events are community-led Salesforce conferences around the globe each with their personality. Florida Dreamin’ specifically strives to, “provide inspiration, coaching, and guidance on how to truly blaze your own trail.” 

This comes from a perceived, “gap in Salesforce education when it comes to career pathing and guidance.” From my experience as a first-time attendee, this conference lives up to its vision by serving up an abundance of project management/team dynamics & soft-skill content.  

Of the 44 sessions on offer, over half had a non-technical focus with topics spanning from career path advice and how to negotiate like a pro to advice on building diagrams and running demos that are informative and effective.

Some Soft-Skill Session Highlights

I attended many wonderful sessions across a variety of technical and non-technical topics, but wanted to highlight three soft-skill sessions in particular. Two of them I found especially illuminating and will be taking tips and tricks back to my consulting work and the third one is my speaking session, which I certainly hope provided impactful guidance to those in attendance.

5 Critical Change Management Steps for Successful Adoption

In this session, Paula Cervoni and Stacey Chery of Silverline emphasized the importance of dedicated and continual change management throughout the lifecycle of a project and into the training and adoption phase. Good change management helps get to the end goal of successful happy users which is what we all want! The change management steps Paula and Stacey outlined are:

  • Alignment – to the vision and mission of the project with engagement from Stakeholders, SMEs, Executive Team Members, and end users
  • Communication – a concerted strategy and communication plan to keep users informed every step of the way, 
  • Training – curated applicable training paths for each user group/business role using real-world examples when possible to demonstrate utility, 
  • Reinforcement – making sure that users are actively supported and know exactly who to go to when they have issues at go-live, 
  • Measurement – getting some data behind adoption and success with both formal and informal measurement methods 

With these steps, you too can change manage with the best of them and help your projects succeed, not just from a technical perspective, but from an adoption and satisfaction perspective as well. 

The Surviving & Thriving Handbook for Accidental Admins 

I was honored to give my first-ever Salesforce speaking session at Florida Dreamin’ and am especially happy to be able to join in on the soft-skills theme. My session highlighted my journey into accidental adminship* at a nonprofit organization and the struggles I faced trying to be successful in my day-to-day job as well as my Salesforce Admin duties. 

To help bring myself from surviving to thriving, I enacted a number of actionable processes which streamlined my responsibilities, set expectations for my end users, and increased buy-in and end-user satisfaction. 

Suggested steps for others facing accidental adminship included:

  • Establishing 2x yearly full organization Salesforce expectations and communication meetings 
  • Offering regularly scheduled office hours to your end users 
  • Identifying and leveraging your super users to be your champions, beta testers, and day-to-day support for other users in their departments
  • Setting up a Salesforce Request queue process to allow the Admin to triage, manage, and systematically work through end-user needs and issues
  • Bringing in a trusted partner, such as Sercante, for support

If this sounds like a topic you could use some support on please reach out to Sercante! We are here to help ease your Admin burden.

 * An Accidental Admin is, “someone who had not considered a career in Salesforce until some event brought Salesforce into their work life and who juggles Salesforce admin responsibilities in addition to their regular job” – Source: Salesforce Ben 

Just a Demo? Never! Always Demo Like a Pro

Jennifer Kinstle, Principal Architect at Zennify, gave a super practical guide on how to demo like a pro. She highlighted three key steps to a successful demo which ultimately can lead to increased adoption and project success. 

Her recipe for a great demo is the following:

1. Know the business  – Understand the specific audience you will be demoing to. Tailor your demo to the language and topics that will be most understood and valued by the demo audience.

2. Tell the story – A good demo has a beginning, middle, and end and works with an applicable business use case. Jennifer suggested always “share the why”  – making it clear to your audience why the demo is important to them and their business.

3. Prepare & practice – This includes preparing your space, both physical and digital to ensure there are no unexpected interruptions… error messages or chat messages, and the like.

Jennifer also advises tailoring your demo script to what you need. If you need a full line-by-line script, do that, if you do better with bulleted talking points, then go for it. She also highlighted the importance of the run-through, do the demo exactly as you would for the demo audience in the environment where you will be doing the final demo. This is a critical step to mitigate unexpected errors or bugs so you can fix them before show time.

Following the tips in this session, I feel like I will be able to improve the utility of my demos for my clients.

Florida Dreamin’ for the Win!

Florida Dreamin’ was a wonderful conference experience and a great place to give my first ever speaking session. The manageable size of the conference, beautiful location, and focus on soft skills and the Ohana spirit make this an ideal conference for everyone from the seasoned pro to the brand new trailblazer. 

Gorgeous ocean sunsets and delicious tiki drinks aside, this conference has a strong sense of community and inclusion with loads of meetups (including a nonprofit lunch meetup that I attended) and excursions. Folks were there to learn a lot, network, and have a fun time doing it, and I don’t think you can ask for much more out of a Dreamin’ event. 

Be sure to check out these other posts from my fellow dragons who attended Florida Dreamin’ with me and shared details about their favorite sessions there.

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  • Abbey is a CRM Strategist with Sercante. She is a Certified Salesforce Admin with the aim to conquer the world of certifications as she grows in her career. Abbey comes from a nonprofit background with deep experience in the complete business cycle of financial planning & analysis AND Salesforce strategy. Now, she seeks to increase CRM utility and usefulness for a broad swath of clients through innovative and tailored solutions. When not working, you can find her acquiring more yarn for knitting, or seeking out the best food and drink on offer in whatever locale she happens to be in. She also invests in her community and maintains her connection to the nonprofit world through volunteer work. Her goal is to facilitate mission progression through key system support and improvements and drive user adoption and happiness.

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