Hello and welcome!
As you probably read in the About page, I decided to share all my Salesforce Certified Administrator notes for Free in this website. More details about my journey with Salesforce in the About page.
To make things short, you will find all my notes in this website, I originally took these notes using Microsoft Word, and I did my best to convert the formatting from Word Document to WordPress. I relied on many excellent resources on the internet: Youtube videos, paid Udemy courses, paid independent courses, blogs, the Salesforce Success and Developer communities, Salesforce Help…etc. I will do my best to list all these resources. Also a note, I did not intend any plagiarism and I did my best to present accurate info. Please feel free to report any typos, mistakes or plagiarism in the respective page comments’ section at the bottom of each page.
Finally, to make things simple, the Salesforce Certified Administrator Study Guide sections were followed, and each section has its own chapter in this website. Also all the weighted requirements are as of the Summer 2016 Release Study Guide. They are:
- Organization Setup – 1%
- User Setup – 9%
- Global User Interface – 1%
- Security and Access – 15%
- Standard and Custom Objects – 18%
- Sales and Marketing Applications – 9%
- Service and Support Applications – 6%
- 8-Activity Management – 3%
- Chatter – 1%
- Data Management – 11%
- Content and Folder Management – 2%
- Analytics, Reports and Dashboards – 13%
- Workflow Automation – 7%
- Desktop and Mobile Administration – 2%
- AppExchange – 2%
To start, this is an introductory chapter with some concepts that need to be grasped before beginning with Chapter 1 next.
What is Salesforce?
- Salesforce was co-founded in the bay area in 1999 by Marc Benioff a former Oracle executive and Parker Harris, with goal is to provide CRM delivered over the internet, which is a radical change from the on-premises Server model.
- Salesforce later expanded to offer Apps built on its platform: PaaS.
- 3 points that made SF successful:
- 1- Industry agnostic
- 2-Most innovative for 4 years in a row, fastest growing Software company
- 3- Emerging technologies: newer products (marketing cloud, Wave..etc).
- CRM is a major offering of the Salesforce platform – 2 CRM product suites:
- Sales Cloud: sales and marketing tool to capture, quantity and sell new and recurring customers campaigns
- Service Cloud: processing support requests, validate support contracts, online knowledge base
- The other major offering is the Force.com platform: this is a PaaS offering where you can build your own Apps
- What is AppExchange? AppExchange contains Apps made by Salesforce and other parties- some free, some paid – ex: JobScience recruiting App. This is compared ti the App Store of Apple, or Google Play of Google, where you can get free or paid Apps.
- Chatter (social media of Salesforce),
- Universal search (search any term and it will display the result)
- Reports and Dashboard (collection of reports in 1 page – you can schedule reports to your inbox)
- Social profile (can see customer social media pages in Salesforce)
- SalesForce1 (mobile), integration with email client. Config features:- Page Layout: simple page change,
- Custom fields and Objects: add field easily
- Validation rules: require a field only when stage is lost
- Workflow rules: email notification when stage is lost
- Approva Process: manager approves an opportunity over 100K USD
- Robust Security: which user can see what
- Multi-currency Development features
- Code: Visualforce and Apex – used to create custom pages and advanced logic
- API: connect to other systems
- Sites: publish SF data to the internet
- Sandboxes, Changesets, Force.com IDE
What is CRM and how does it differ from ERP?
- As per the above, Salesforce offers 2 CRM solutions: Sales Cloud and Service Cloud.
- What is CRM?
- CRM is a software model that is used to manage all aspects of an organization’s interactions with its Customers and Prospects, including (Marketing, Sales and Support: like campaigns, phone calls, emails, social, opportunity lifecycle. cases… etc. It is customer-centric, hence the name Customer Relationship Management.
- The CRM approach tries to analyze data about customers’ history with a company, to improve business relationships with customers, specifically focusing on customer retention, and ultimately to drive sales growth
- Goal of CRM: increase Sales, increase communication, streamline business processes, decrease operation cost.
- What is ERP?
- CRM is often confused with ERP (Enterprise Resource Planing). Whereas CRM is mainly customer centric, ERP is Enterprise centric: it is used to plan the resource of an Enterprise
- For example, if a company manufactures and sells Electronics, it will have 2 major units:
- Manufacturing Unit: inventory management, resource planing, manufacturing, shipping, payment..etc – This is all Enterprise centric, back-office… therfore this is maintained by ERP.
- Sales and Service Unit: Marketing, customer info, reports, opportunities, cases..etc. – this is all customer centric, they interact with the customer, they know their customer, Front office… therefore this is maintained by CRM.
- Other CRM Solutions: Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Siebel, Peoplesoft, SugarCRM…
- Some ERP solutions: SAP, Oracle E-business suite, JD Edwards, SAGE…
What is Cloud Computing?
- One of the major characteristics of Salesforce is that it is purely Cloud based, without any on-premises option.
- Cloud computing is a model that enables convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability.
- 5 essential characteristics of Cloud Computing:
- On-demand self-service: you can start small, and pay as you grow.
- Broad network access: not only http, but IP based
- Resource pooling
- Rapid elasticity
- Measured Service
- 3 service models:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – Office 365, Salesforce CRM (Sales and Service Cloud)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – developers who want to build apps (Force.com platform)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – servers, storage, routing
- SaaS is a subscription delivery model. As a consumer of a SaaS product, you pay a recurring fee for access to a service/software (e.g. yearly licenses for Salesforce.com). This is a flavor of Cloud computing. Other flavors are IaaS and Paas. IaaS offers just the Infrastructure, PaaS offer the infrastructure in addition to the runtime platform that allows you to create your Application.
- Multitenancy: The term “software multitenancy” refers to a software architecture in which a single instance of software runs on a server and serves multiple tenants. A tenant is a group of users who share a common access with specific privileges to the software instance. With a multitenant architecture, a software application is designed to provide every tenant a dedicated share of the instance – including its data, configuration, user management, tenant individual functionality and non-functional properties. Multitenancy contrasts with multi-instance architectures, where separate software instances operate on behalf of different tenants.
What are Tabs, Objects, Fields and Records?
- An Object is comprised of its field definitions and records (ex. the Account Object in Salesforce). Equivalent to an Excel tab.
- A Field is one data point within an object (ex. “Account Name” field on the Account object in Salesforce). Equivalent to a Column in Excel.
- A Record is row of field data within an object (ex. the Account record “ABC Genius Tech Consulting”). Equivalent to a Row in Excel.
- A Tab is used to expose an object and its data to the end user through the web interface.
- A Tab is not necessarily associated with Object all the times (there are different types of tabs).
- Page layout controls how the fields are arranged in the page. Each Profile has its own Page Layout.
- Each App has its own tabs (changing App has no impact on Security).
What is metadata? How does it compare to Data?
- Configuration within Salesforce, including, as an example, object and field definitions is stored within something called metadata. This is usually entered and configured by the Admin or Consultant. For example, in the above screenshot, “Website ” is a field with field type = URL and label “Website”. These define the field, and hence they are metadata.
- You can consider the source code for the application itself as data that provides the information on how your application looks, feels, and functions: this is metadata.
- Another example:, the custom field “Reason Lost” on the opportunity object is defined with metadata, while the opportunity records are data. Metadata is the information about the configuration: we define a field using metadata (field type, length, label…), and this fields will then contain the data.
- Data itself is the information such as the Account name entered, the phone number entered.. it is the data that a user enters in the different fields. For example, “720-444-1837” is the Phone number of the record with Account Name “ABC Genius Tech Consulting”, hence it is data.
- Salesforce updates their platform 3 times per year (winter, spring, summer), and includes new features or other improvements.
- All Salesforce orgs are automatically updated with the latest release (according to the release schedule emailed to administrators) for free.
- Ex: Winter 16 (Oct 2015), Spring 16 (Feb 2016), Summer 16 (June 16)
- As an administrator, it is a best practice to read through the release notes to see which improvements can be applied within your organization. See the Getting Certified for information on recent releases.
Maintaining Your Salesforce Credential:
- After passing the Salesforce Administrator exam, you will have to maintain it (keep it valid)
- To maintain Salesforce certification credentials, all certified professionals must successfully complete annual release exams specific to their credential.
- Check this page for Release Exams: http://certification.salesforce.com/schedules
- To learn more about maintaining your credential, please visit this knowledge article.
- If you do not pass the release exam by its deadline, all credentials maintained by that exam will expire, or in some cases become suspended. Please review Salesforce Expiration Policy for more information.
Get hands-on Salesforce Experience:
- Grow where you are planted: if your current organization uses Salesforce, ask for a Delegated Admin role to manage a group of users in your office, just add this to your job role without any pay increase
- Sign-up to volunteer administering an organization. Check this link. Check this Udemy lecture.
- If you have a non-profit organization, you can get a free 10-user non-profit Salesforce organization
- Get a Developer account – more info below.
- As you will see in the coming chapters, Salesforce Sales Cloud Developer Edition is a Free basic edition that offers up to 2 Salesforce CRM user licenses, and 5 MB of data. You also have 3 force.com user licenses, and many other user licenses.
- The Developer Edition is very important to apply the concepts in this course, it is almost identical to the Enterprise Edition, but without any Sandbox support and with the user license and data restriction mentioned above.
- To create a Developer Edition account, go to: https://developer.salesforce.com/signup
- You can have multiple Developer Edition accounts using the same email address but different Usernames
- The Username should be in an email format, but not necessarily a valid email, as any email will be sent to the email address specified at the top
- My advise is to create a single email address for all your Salesforce Orgs, and different Usernames that indicate the Org. For example, I have 1 email address for all my Salesforce Developer Edition accounts, and many Usernames like:
- After creating your account, you may visit the Getting Started page: https://developer.salesforce.com/gettingstarted for links to:
- Trailhead: Learn Force.com basics with Trailhead, a fun and fast way to challenge yourself. Celebrate your progress with points and badges!
- Force.com workbook: Build an app from scratch with these easy to follow tutorials.
- Technical Library: Documentation, code samples, tools and other technical resources.
- Intro Webinar: Live intro series on Force.com, Apex and Visualforce.
Salesforce Certifications Summary
- Administrator: recommended course: ADM201
- Advanced Administrator: Admin is pre-requisite. Recommended: ADM211
- App Builders:
- Platform App Builder: no pre-requisite – course recommended: DEV401 (building App with Force.com and Visualforce) – no coding needed – replaced the Force.com Developer
- Developers – replaced the Advanced Developer:
- Platform Developer 1: Apex and Visualforce
- Platform Developer 2: multiple choice essay (need to book a window)
- Implementation Expert:
- Sales Cloud Consultant: overlaps with the Administrator exam. Needs it as pre-requisite.
- Service Cloud Consultant: overlaps with the Administrator exam. Needs it as pre-requisite.
- Pardot Consultant (B2B Marketing)
- Marketing Cloud
- Architects: very rare, there are only around 200 in the world! (very high registration fees)
- Check the updated Certification page here: http://certification.salesforce.com/
Salesforce Help Page:
The central hub of resources aimed at getting you up and running on Salesforce. Choose your Cloud to get started, and then you will get many interesting topics. Let’s say you choose “Sales Cloud”
- Learn Best Practices:
- Getting Started Webinar Series – This interactive webinar series shares best practices and proven approaches to help you implement Salesforce. The four steps outlined in this workbook align to the four webinars in the series.
- Getting Started Videos – The Getting Started series is available as on demand videos and align with the steps outlined in this workbook.
- Getting Started Community – Join this forum specifically created for new customers to ask questions and get answers from Salesforce experts.
- Getting Started Workbook – a Doc file that was designed to help you get off to a great start and fast track your deployment
- Partner Success: This page provides useful tips and best practices to maximize your success when using Salesforce implementation partners.
- Learn Best Practices:
- Complete Salesforce Set-Up:
- Set-Up Salesforce Series: The “Set-Up Salesforce” video demos and in-app walkthroughs can take you through it step by step.
- Traihead: Trailhead is the fun way to learn Salesforce. As you make your way through guided trails, you’ll earn badges to celebrate your achievements.
- Accelerators: Engage with a Success Specialist to learn how to set up and customize Sales Cloud faster.
- Complete Salesforce Set-Up:
- Go Further:
- Training: Another Trailhead for Admin Beginner and User, as well as 2 Video training for Admin and User.
- Best Practice Recommendations offering step-by-step configuration manuals and more
- Demo Videos for product overviews and implementation how-to’s
- Live Events from expert webinars to exclusive Circles of Success customer roundtables
- Go Further:
Engage with and get answers from a passionate community of talented experts
- Post your questions to the Community: Engage with and get answers from a passionate community of customers, partners and Salesforce experts.
- Browse official documentation: Visit our library of online help, guides, how-to videos, and articles to learn new skills and solve problems.
- Join the conversation: Find and follow interesting people, join groups for discussion and share files publicly or privately.
- Ideas – Share and vote for ideas to improve the product.
- AppExchange: Extend your success in the cloud with the AppExchange, a marketplace of business applications and consulting partners.
- Post jobs and find qualified professionals: Check out the Developer Marketplace to find qualified professionals waiting to help make your implementation a success.
Find documentation, videos, and walkthroughs to help you succeed
- Left Column Categories:
- Salesforce Basics
- Evaluate and Roll Out Lightning Experience for Your Org
- Set Up and Maintain Your Salesforce Organization
- Sell to Your Customers
- Set Up and Maintain Sales Tools
- Support Your Customers
- Set Up and Maintain Customer Support Tools
- Collaborate with Everyone
- Set Up and Manage Salesforce Communities
- Streamline Sales and Service with the Salesforce Console
- Welcome, Salesforce Point & Click Administrators
- Enhance Salesforce with Code
- Deploy Enhancements from Sandboxes
- Package and Distribute Your Apps
- Deliver Collaborative, Connected Patient Care with Health Cloud
- Financial Services Cloud
- Salesforce Limits
- Get the PDF Guides:
- Left Column Categories:
Salesforce Developers Page:
Resources and References:
Below some excellent Salesforce resources that I relied on:
- Personal blog by Ben McCarthy
- Admin Hero:
- Personal Salesforce Blog by Brent Downey
- The Zero to Hero is an on-going Salesforce post series which uses those same materials but simplifies the content and uses language that you can understand
- SFDC Trails
- Personal blog by Snehal Surti
- Study tips by section and reference to study material
- Certified on Demand:
- A paid Salesforce Certified Administrator study guide by John Coppedge. It offers a structured set of objectives, resources, and key facts designed to prepare you to pass the Certified Administrator exam.
- Focus on Force:
- A paid study-guide site that offers guides and practice exams for: Admin, Advanced Admin and Platform App Builder
- Udemy Course: The Complete Salesforce Administrator Certification Course
- A 11-hour course by Mike Wheeler
- Udemy Course: Project Based Salesforce Admin & Adv Admin Hands-On Training
- A 15-hour scenario-based course by Archana Rajendran
- Jenwlee’s Salesforce Blog
- A personal Blog with some great tips by Jennifer Lee