Vitaly is a Consultant and Business Analyst whose career started in Marketing. After opening his first marketing agency a decade ago, he decided that CRM implementation was a necessity and experimented with various CRM software before finally deciding on Salesforce.
A multi-certified Salesforce professional in Admin, Advanced Admin and Platform Builder; Vitaly gives some practical insights on how to empower oneself by being a part of a community.
My name is Vitaly Makarkin. I currently work in the Salesforce ecosystem as a Salesforce Consultant and Business Analyst.
How and why did you get started with Salesforce?
My professional career started in the field of marketing. I was initially working with an Australian team but about 9 or 10 years ago I would eventually open my own marketing agency. It didn’t take long for me to realize the necessity of CRM implementation because I wanted to grow in my IT knowledge. At that time it was not yet the Salesforce CRM that I was using, rather a CRM software from my country.
While it was the No. 1 CRM for small and medium businesses in Russia, I began wanting to explore the international market about 3 or 4 years ago. I quickly found that my CRM system was not popular outside Russia. I needed to make the necessary upgrade and utilize a CRM software that was already recognizable by people outside Russia—in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe. I actually started with Microsoft Dynamics, but it was not what I was looking for.
And then I found Salesforce. The great thing about Salesforce is the community behind it. I made friends from all around the world. They wrote to me and gave me advice on how to maneuver the journey into this ecosystem. I wanted to get certified right away.
When you started with Salesforce what were your goals?
My goals were to become experienced in CTA, be able to mentor new employees, and document my journey through my writing. My actual role now is Salesforce Consultant/Business Analyst for the CustomerTimes, and I wanted to grow within the company and also be able to teach staff how to work with this CRM system.
So you market yourself as a consultant and a business analyst—do you do much development?
I’m currently working on passing my Platform Developer I exam. I feel that the theoretical and practical knowledge I’ve gained from the previous exams I’ve passed—Admin, Advanced Admin and Platform Builder, will help me in some way. But when it comes to actual development, right now, I need some practice. I need to understand what the programmers are doing.
So what would you say is the most challenging part of learning Salesforce?
The biggest challenge is not to be intimidated by people who’ve already achieved great results. I really think it helps to be in a community of people who are on the same level as you—still learning and trying to grow. The support system is vital. Find focus groups that are in the same path as you are.
For example, there are focus groups of people who are preparing for the Admin exam. You can communicate with these individuals and grow with them. You will be in the same boat of thoughts, fears and pains as with these people and it will be easier for you to understand that you’re not alone.
I really think it helps to be in a community of people who are on the same level as you—still learning and trying to grow. The support system is very important. Find focus groups that are in the same path as you are.
The three certifications that you’ve passed, how have they affected your career?
It’s like a piece of the puzzle that changed my life. My certifications certainly gave me a great starting point. Recruiters now see me through a crowd of people. My CV is now quickly identified by HR’s, and during interviews, they see me as someone who’s worked very hard to pass those exams.
My certifications certainly gave me a great starting point. Recruiters now see me through a crowd of people. My CV is now quickly identified by HR’s; and during interviews, they see me as someone who’s worked very hard to pass those exams.
What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about starting a Salesforce career?
First, be certified. Certificates are the results of theoretical preparation and it will show recruiters that you know your stuff. It will also help you to spend a few hours after your day job and on the weekends to prepare for your certification.
Also, prioritize applying to companies that are in the same industry where you hold a diploma. You need to understand what the employer wants.
How would you describe Focus on Force to someone who hasn’t heard of it?
I will say that whether you’re just starting out learning about Salesforce, or you have many years of experience, Focus on Force is a tool that you can use to pass your exams. Focus on Force gave me an understanding of how the exams look like. I’d sit down in front of my computer and it was like an online teacher—I’d get my answers with explanations. It 100% works, because of how mistakes are explained. As a marketer, I like to look at different resources and from my point of view, Focus on Force’s goal is straightforward—they want people to pass their exams!
Focus on Force gave me an understanding of how the exams look like. I’d sit down in front of my computer and it was like an online teacher—I’d get my answers with explanations.
What Certification are you studying for now?
Focus on Force currently provides practice exams and study guides for sixteen certifications