Focus on People: Samuel Blount – Getting Admin Certified For Broader Professional Competencies

Samuel was formerly an Engagement Manager for a digital transformation (DX) project. While still enjoying a non-technical role for his client, little did he know that his passion for continuous learning will be rekindled through a Salesforce certification.


Check out how he was able to decode the nooks and crannies of this known CRM tool, his future career plans, and how the certification made him a sought-after professional.

My name is Samuel Blount, and I currently work for Filestage.io as a Customer Success Manager.

How and why did you get started with Salesforce?

My first exposure to Salesforce was a few years ago for a US client. I worked as the Engagement Manager for a digital transformation project where we implemented a new HRM and CRM, which is Salesforce and a couple of other systems as well. My role was not particularly technical but very much around change management and the support systems around the implementation.

From there, I decided to get certified in Salesforce to get a bit more experience and have something on paper to show that I knew what I knew. Earlier this year, prompted a little bit by COVID and everything that’s going on, I felt that it would be a good idea to get that certification so I went through my Salesforce Admin certification.

What is your role now?

Now, I am working for Filestage.io as a Customer Success Manager. It’s an easy-to-use online tool that aims to optimize task management and collaboration. Though we are not currently using Salesforce for our clients, we’re going to change the CRM internally in the future, and it's very much likely going to be Salesforce.


On the side, I work with a local Salesforce consultancy company here in Uruguay. It is mainly on how they can market their services and how they can add value to Salesforce clients. So I actually have a bit of a dual role in there.

I decided to get certified in Salesforce to get a bit more experience and have something on paper to show that I knew what I knew.

What were your goals when starting and how did you keep motivated?

I aimed to get a Salesforce certification to learn a newer skill and to have proof that I am certified professional in a certain field of expertise. When I first started learning Salesforce, I was relying on the companies I am working with for internal training and learning how the system works.

Then I found Trailhead which is a huge resource that greatly helped me in finding any piece of information about Salesforce. I thought I was ready to take the Admin exam just from using Trailhead. Then, a few experienced colleagues recommended Focus on Force, which I ended up using. I purchased a package that has the test exams plus the study guide. If I hadn’t done that, I’m sure I would have failed my exam.

Do you currently have a certification? How did obtaining this certification affect your career?

I have a Salesforce Admin certification and posting it on LinkedIn gets a lot of attention. The community around Salesforce is fantastic, so if anyone sees that somebody passed the exam, there’s a lot of congratulatory messages, likes, and comments. If you’re on the job hunt, that in itself allows you to be recognized much easier.


This really helped me with opening up job opportunities, whether with Salesforce or not. Besides scouting for a Salesforce-focused role, it also highlighted my ability to continuously learn and improve professionally

What was the most challenging part of learning Salesforce and how did you rise above those challenges?

I think one of the most difficult things when studying for the exams is that there are multiple ways to answer a question. However, Salesforce asks you to answer a question in a very specific way, like the most optimal way of completing a task for admin, for example.


By going through the Focus on Force exam questions, it allowed me to really focus on the best way to do this action, instead of just how do I do it.

By going through the Focus on Force exam questions, it allowed me to really focus on the best way to do this action, instead of just how do I do it.

What is your advice regarding the certification and how to study for the exams?

My advice is to never get too confident. I’ve learned different systems and programs over the years and I felt quite confident that I will be able to do this. But I got humbled when I took the first test exam maybe because I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.


To make up for it, I went through very specific study guides for studying each section. I looked through which areas have higher weightage. This way, I can focus on them more and learn those with lower weightage at a later phase of my review.

How did Focus on Force study guides and practice exams help you prepare?

Focus on Force helped me build up the percentages that I was getting in each of the specific exam areas. Though Trailhead can teach you everything, it’s not going to teach you how to pass the exam the same way that Focus on Force does.

A piece of advice is to study with two windows open, one for your Focus on Force exam and one for Trailhead. Then, as you answer a question, go through it in the sandbox environment in Trailhead and figure it out by actually doing that action hands-on. I think, that made a very big difference from the first time I tried to answer the exams on my own vs going through that style. And on my third attempt, I passed the Focus on Force exam.

I’m a visual learner so I feel I need to work on the solution to be able to answer the question. I focused on each section and go through each of them using sandbox or Playground. This gave me a better view of the concepts and helped me choose the best answers through practical applications, making me pass the exam.

As you answer a question, go through it in the sandbox environment in Trailhead and figure it out by actually doing that action hands-on.

What’s your future goal and where do you think your career will head forward to in the future?

My long-term plan is to move to a consulting role with one of the local companies. I’m currently going through Trailhead to learn about Sales Cloud Consultancy and soon take that certification. Eventually, something that really interests me is to get into the non-profit side of things.

It’s fantastic to help an organization and find something that you are passionate about, whether it’s for charity or education. I’m getting a lot of advice that volunteering for a non-profit can help me gain more experience. So in the future, I would like to dedicate myself to work for a non-profit organization as a consultant.

It’s fantastic to help an organization and find something that you are passionate about, whether it’s for charity or education.

What would you suggest for someone that wants to start a Salesforce career?What would you suggest for someone that wants to start a Salesforce career?

First is including a Salesforce certification in your CV makes it more attractive to companies, even for positions that are unrelated to Salesforce. In my experience, they were interested in me because eventually there’s a chance of implementing Salesforce. However, the continuous learning that you can show by passing an exam is much more important.


The second is experience working with Salesforce in any capacity. If you can find a job where you’re using Salesforce as a product, it allows you to slowly move into roles such as an admin, consultant, or developer.


However, if you’re scouting for a job and don’t have Salesforce experience or have tenure with other CRMs, you can build an instance or a CRM mockup within Trailhead playground. Add your interviewers as users for them to see how you’ve built and administered it. Through this, they can really see your skills first-hand in action instead of just describing your expertise in an interview. Doing your Superbadges and your exams are all very important, but actually building and administering instances in Salesforce is a very important step as well.


In general, what you can learn in Salesforce can be replicated in other systems. It helps you understand the reasoning in the business processes and the workflows behind how a business platform could work. With the name and the recognition that Salesforce has globally, getting certified will definitely help to give you a boost over some other CRMs.

With the name and the recognition that Salesforce has globally, getting certified will definitely help to give you a boost over some other CRMs.

What Certification are you studying for now?

Focus on Force currently provides practice exams and study guides for ten certifications