Thursday, 14 July 2011

How do I learn Salesforce ? and How do I get started on the platform?

I heard this question couple of times “ How do I learn Salesforce ? and  How do I get started on the platform? ”
So I thought about giving some notes for newbies who might be interested in these steps.
I come from a Mechanical Engineering background, and my interests are web based startups, building web applications. Since my interests’ lie in web application development, the learning pace was quick for me. However I think one does not need a background in Software engineering or Information Technology to get started. That is the beauty of the platform. Any person interested on the platform can come to speed very quickly.

You can quickly get started with these tips:

1.    Time Allocation: Allocate dedicated learning time every week. You could schedule it on a calendar and setup reminders. Plan it like an event. Make sure that you have some uninterrupted allocated time
  2. Free Developer account: Any one can signup for a free developer account on Salesforce. You can sign up here: 
     Once you have a free account, you are free to configure your salesforce application.

3.    Help and training menu online: Login with your developer account. Once you are logged in you see the help menu as shown in the figure below. Click on help to find the complete online help guide on the platform.

Once you click on help, you can see a lot of documentation. Also you can also download a printable a user guide as well from the image shown below.

4.    Check out AppExchange

AppExchange is portal where you can find many pre built applications for the platform. It is a place where you can look for applications and install it in your account. Isn’t it a good idea to just use off  the shelf application when it available already than build it all yourself ? If you are familiar with apple’s App Store or Android Store where you can download applications, AppExchange is a store like place where you can search, & install applications. Some of the applications are free and some of them paid.
5.    Customer Stories: One would be very keen to know about the existing implementations and how saleforce really solved a companies problem. You can check out the CRM case studies and success stores right here. Here you can find different customers talking about how different products of Salesforce helped them solve problems in their companies.

6.    Training: officially provides classroom and online training. You can find more information here. The training for just ADM 201 module costs $3000. and $4000 for Developer training.The training sessions last 8 hrs each day for 3 or 4 days. However, I find this back to back training not so effective because, one cannot absorb so much content in a day. 

7.    However, when a trained professional guides through the step by step process the learning becomes easier and faster. I also do offer trainings online. There would be 20 sessions and each session lasting 1.5 hr. Mornings /Evenings. Please email me for more information. It would cost way less compared to salesforce offering. Training is geared towards certification. To find out more click here

8.    Like any other skill, More time and effort you put in, the more proficient one would become. So I guess these steps will help you get started on the platform.

When you don’t have time for all this, you would hire a consultant on the Platform.