Jennifer talks about the key traits needed to succeed as a Solutions Architect, offers her advice to others looking to become a Marketing Champion, and highlights emerging trends you should watch out for from Salesforce in 2022.
Salesforce Republic (SR): As an experienced Salesforce Solutions Architect, what do you think are the key traits to succeed in this role? Have they changed at all since you started your career?
Jennifer Schneider (JS): While our technology and the amount of information readily available has changed drastically in the last 17 years, the fundamentals have never changed. Prioritizing them, however, is ever challenging in a world of instant gratification and the lack of respect for process, training, and reduced timelines.
I’ve written a blog that explains the 3 keystones I focus on as a solution architect, which you can find here, but as an overview, my top 3 keystones are as follows:
- Integration into your core CRM platform
- Functional support for business processes, yet customizable and built for scale
- Alignment with other platforms in your tech stack
SR: Could you tell us a bit about what drew you to pursue a career in the ecosystem? And what made you decide to take the path of a Solutions Architect in particular?
JS: My journey is a strange one, I was introduced to Salesforce, through our CRM, when working in radio advertising while I was finishing my schooling. As my career developed and I finished my MBA, I started my career as a BDR even though I was pursuing marketing. I grew on from there to run my own BDR team. Along the way I was fortunate to be taken under the wing of our SFDC Admin. After that I worked on the client side, then moved over to consulting. That is where I became a Solution Architect. My knack for understanding sales, operations, marketing and admin requirements seemed as a natural fit. Now, moving over to the product side at Qualified, I have come full circle.
It’s been amazing seeing all sides of the sales, implementation and end user side of the process for the entire techstack enablement has been rewarding.
SR: When it comes to career progression, what advice do you have for other Salesforce Solution Architects?
JS: I think the main point of contention is understanding what your sweet spot is. What is your favorite tech stack of platforms? Are you focused more on Sales, Marketing, Service, Finance, Operation; or tying them all together? Are you strategic or functional? Do you prefer to be in one platform and specialize? Or would you rather see and relay the bigger picture? Or maybe you love to train and be a resource for others.
There is room in the world for all of us. Own what you are passionate about, challenge yourself, it creates growth.
SR: Congratulations on becoming a Salesforce Marketing Champion! Could you tell us a bit about the journey you took to get to Marketing Champion?
JS: Thank you. This was a complete surprise. When the program began, I was really excited to do more in the community, so I applied, but honestly wasn’t holding any expectations. I had a podcast I was running called PardotLifeHacks, and doing some community events, but other than that my work had me very busy. I am inspired by so many others, in the community, who are constantly giving back to others.
SR: Could you reveal some of the responsibilities and opportunities that come with this new title? What most excites you?
JS: Responsibilities and opportunities are hand in hand. You don’t have to be in the limelight to be a Marketing Champion. This is the brilliance of the program. Those that are comfortable to present, travel to events or speak on-line, there is a platform for you. Those that would rather problem solve, build, collaborate, and create content or solutions behind the scenes or in your community, there is a platform for you.
Contribute and be excited about those asking you these questions. Be a person that always extends their hand to lift the next human up. Pay it forward.
SR: Do you have any words of wisdom for future Salesforce Marketing Champions?
JS: Always apply. Know your worth. Help others as you can, and never stop learning.
SR: As part of our Women In Salesforce community, you will be talking at our upcoming event on how the business model has changed as a result of society becoming increasingly digital. Could you tell us a bit more about this?
JS: Yes, it is important to understand the shift, and how all our jobs, processes and perspective are and will be affected. I will focus more on the sales piece in our discussion, but you will be able to see the impact from a marketing, operations and admin perspective.
In fact, you can get a sneak peak of what I will be covering in my latest blog. Why Sales loves Qualified. While I mention the Qualified tool, the fundamental stretch across the industry can be applied to many business processes.
SR: Finally, are there any emerging trends you think people should watch out for from Salesforce in 2022?
JS: Absolutely. Watch Conversation Marketing, I may be a bit biased, but there is a reason I made this shift in my career when I did. I whole heartedly believe in this direction and selling in a digital-first world.
If you’re a Salesforce professional and would like to join Jennifer in our Q&A series, please get in touch with us today!