“Any business who wants to grow should be using Salesforce – it’s Salesforce’s job to produce software that helps their customers succeed and grow.”

Salesforce stands behind the largest and best-known cloud-based platform for CRM solutions.  They offer many apps and add-ons to customise your CRM as much as possible.

One of these apps is also Nicereply. You can easily integrate Nicereply with Salesforce and enjoy different distribution options and many benefits.

There are many inspiring people working with Salesforce who share their knowledge and experience and are important part of this community. Therefore we’ve prepared series of interviews with Salesforce influencers to get you closer to this CRM platform.

In the meantime, read about another inspirational Salesforce MVPs, Amy Oplinger , Enrico Murru and Bill Powell.

Ben McCarthysalesforce influencers

  • Founder of UK-based EMPAUA
  • Managing Director, EMPAUA
  • Certified Salesforce Administrator, Developer and Sales Cloud Consultant
  • Founder of the world’s most popular Salesforce blog, SalesforceBen.com
  • Salesforce MVP

How did you get started with your blog and what was the motivation behind starting it? Why do you think it’s important to produce content?

I initially started my blog as a way to write down interesting tricks and tips that I found when I was administering Salesforce. Back in 2014, there was a limited amount of blogs, no trailhead, and the Salesforce community was a fraction of the size it was today. I thought this would be a great way to help not only myself but others that had similar questions.

I think that anyone who considers themselves an expert in any area of Salesforce should work on providing content for the community.

This could be in any form and doesn’t just mean blogs, but answering questions on the community, posting videos, articles, AppExchange reviews, all of these types of content help power this community driven ecosystem.

Why do you think companies in Europe should use Salesforce? What are it’s biggest advantages and benefits?

I think that any business who wants to grow should be using Salesforce, as a customer company, it’s Salesforce’s job to produce software that helps their customers succeed and grow.

There are so many benefits to using Salesforce but from a high level there are two main ones. Salesforce helps it’s users manage their day to day workload, having one place to write down everything about a customer, an opportunity, or a case.

In addition, there are so many productivity features like email integration, automation, reminders, tasks etc. that help you accelerate your business processes. Taking a different approach to the benefit, for managers or business leaders that want to improve their business, Salesforce has fantastic reporting and analytical features that give decision makers insights into how their business is running.

With all the data that Salesforce is collecting, it’s the perfect place to analyse your business and make informed strategic decisions.

What are some tips / tricks you would advise someone to do in order to learn how to use Salesforce faster and more efficiently ?

I wrote a post on this a few months ago. There are many ways you can accelerate your Salesforce career and it’s something that I was looking to do early on to get as far as possible, one of the best ways is Salesforce certifications.

Certifications force you to look into specific areas of Salesforce that you may not have covered in the past. To be a well rounded Salesforce professional, it’s important that you understand all features, whether they are standard or custom.

What is one Salesforce feature that you think everyone should use and why?

A new feature that I have got a particular liking for, is the Kanban view. This new feature came out with Lightning a few years ago and allows you to view any object in a Kanban summarised style. This gives you a whole new way to manage your leads, opportunities, cases, or any custom objects you might have. This has definitely revolutionised the way I manage my sales pipeline.

How in your opinion Salesforce got so big? How did it become such a leader in it’s field?

I think the secret to Salesforce’s success is a pretty straight forward one. They invented a completely new type of product that the world needed and then continued to innovate. When Marc Benioff and Parker Harris invented Salesforce, they wanted a CRM to be as easy to use as Amazon.com (Notice any similarities between Amazon.com & Salesforce classic?!), and they succeeded.

After the world started paying attention they made sure that they continued to be one of the most innovative companies in the world. This kind of thinking has made Salesforce a success.

Your are founder and managing director of EMPAUA – which offers Salesforce implementation and administrative and technical support. Why should companies hire external company, such as yours, to implement and drive Salesforce solution instead of doing it on their own? 

This is a question I get asked on an almost daily basis! Setting up Salesforce is a fairly complex task, not only when you think about all the different features that interconnect, but also you need to understand best practices and what is best for your specific business or industry. Most Salesforce partners will have a particular speciality and niche that they will draw upon when implementing Salesforce.

At EMPAUA we focus on hypergrowth companies usually in startup mode that are looking to put Salesforce at the heart of their business. Within this horizontal we pay particular attention to Financial Services, Property, eCommerce, Retail, Insurance among others.

A big question to ask yourself when looking to self-implement is the cost of cleaning up a potential bad implementation (Not only financially but in time as well).

It is commonly known that if you want to become skilled at Salesforce and expert at Salesforce administration you need to work on your hard skills a lot. But what are some of the soft skills you think people should work on to become Salesforce influencers and important personalities?

What are some soft skills that differ the best people from others at Salesforce?

Soft skills are most definitely an area that some professionals like to leave to last, however, they should be worked on as much as your harder technical skills. This might seem like a generalisation, but all Salesforce professionals have to work in teams and interact with their users, customers or team members. Here are two soft skills that I think all professionals should work on…

Targetted Communication – When dealing with Salesforce, it’s inevitable that you will end up speaking to many different stakeholder types, all at different levels and skill types.

For example, you will be dealing with users of different skill levels, line managers, directors, executives, developers etc…When dealing with different types of stakeholders, it’s extremely important that you understand how they are invested in the project.

For example, a user will generally not be interested in the technical implementation of Salesforce, they will mainly be interested in how the system will help them in their day to day activities.

Similarly, when dealing with executives who are generally controlling the budget, they will be interested in the ROI of the project and how it can help them meet their long-term goals, they will not be interested in what kind of automation tool you used to develop.

Being Commercial – A slightly more obscure soft skill that I feel is very important is being commercially aware. Being commercially aware essentially means being aware of the financial implications of Salesforce.

Salesforce is big business, as well as being a premium project, a lot of money is spent on Salesforce itself, Apps, consulting services, and employees. It’s important to understand the cost of Salesforce, as well as why people are choosing to implement.


Rakesh Gupta

rakesh gupta salesforce influencers

  • Author
  • 4x Salesforce MVP
  • Salesforce Architect
  • author of the automationchampion.com blog
  • Offers online and corporate training for various Salesforce certifications
  • Founder – Automation Hour

Just recently you’ve launched your new book called Mastering Salesforce CRM Administration which is focused on helping people understand and use the features of the Salesforce platform. Why did you decide to write the book and why should every Salesforce user read it?

In other words, this book is all about mastering the Salesforce Platform. Towards that end, I guide users to explore complex topics such as territory management, forecasting, quota, knowledge base, and more.

Most of us are familiar with Benjamin Franklin’s quote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn!” I launched ‘Mastering Salesforce CRM Administration’ to involve Salesforce newbies, new or experienced Salesforce administrators, and Developers.

One of the best ways to involve is via a hands-on guide. And, that is exactly what ‘Mastering Salesforce CRM Administration’ book offers – a hands-on guide to users from varied skill sets to confidently prepare for Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator certification.

As you go through the content, you will notice that the book focuses on real-world examples. The book explains how to build seamless and streamline solutions – to tackle pain points encountered by Salesforce Administrators and Developers – using real-world examples to help users understand and use the known, and not so known, features and functionalities of the Salesforce platform.

Mars teaches us that even the sky is not the limit, once users master the Platform, their ability to customize and configure the features and functionalities of the platform will be boundless.

Your blog automationchampion.com is one of the most popular Salesforce blogs there is. What is the key to building such popular Salesforce blog and producing quality content?

If I have to pick then, the winners are:
1. Rain or shine, blog at a regular interval(s)
2. Cover out-of-the-box concepts that emanates an ‘Ah Ha’ moment

Sprinkled on the top are my enthusiasm and deep-seated desire to share my expertise as widely as possible.

You are 4xSalesforce MVP. What is your advice for all the SF community members that are hoping to achieve similar recognition?

To become an MVP is not a goal- it is a recognition by Salesforce! If you have insights to offer, be magnanimous in sharing! Generate and share quality content – write blog posts at regular intervals, share your knowledge with local user groups, @Dreamforce etc. In short, be an inspiration!

What resources would you advise people to read to understand Salesforce easily and quickly? What are the best resources to make use of?

Definitely Trailhead.

What in your opinion separated Salesforce from its competition in its early days? How is it possible that it got so big and such a giant in its field?

They focused on their goal, had good strategy, had the ability to change with time and had better customer support. ​

What differentiates Salesforce from other companies and why did you decide to dedicate your career to become Salesforce expert, learn the most about Salesforce and share your knowledge with others?

The culture Salesforce Ohana has, it feel like you are working for your own. Everyone on in the Ohana is very helpful and obviously better resources are available to learn. ​

If you’d like to learn more about the insights from the best known Salesforce influencers make sure you subscribe to our blog! We will be releasing interviews with Salesforce personalities and professionals as well as other content covering the whole spectrum of themes from customer service to marketing on regular basis.

In the meantime you can check previous interview with Bill Powell.


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