Focused and Certified: Jeff Weller — From Olive Garden To Being Able To Influence A Community

Senior Salesforce Consultant Jeff Weller

3X Salesforce Certified Jeff Weller is a Senior Salesforce Consultant/Business Solution Architect for Breama Inc. in Calgary, Alberta. He got his start a few years ago: looking for work, Jeff moved to the States where a friend of his introduced him to Salesforce. Check out how he is now able to influence an entire Canadian province, why he says being Salesforce certified gives you an edge (even without a college degree), and what skills he says are most important in a Senior Salesforce Consultant.

My name is Jeff Weller. I’m a Senior Salesforce Consultant and Business Solution Architect for Breama. And based in Calgary, Alberta.

How did you get started with Salesforce?

Great question! I was working at Olive Garden and out of school, and I just couldn’t find a better job than what I already had. So I decided to move to the United States for better opportunities. A buddy of mine was like, ‘Hey. Have you ever heard of Salesforce? I’m starting up a company.’ And I was like, ‘Nope.’ So I saved up as much as I could, and ended up spending all my savings to take the Admin 201 course by Salesforce. Long story short, that was when I got my first certification, and I started working with my buddy. And I have been doing this ever since.

I was working at Olive Garden and out of school… Ended up spending all my savings to take the Admin 201 course by Salesforce. That was when I got my first certification. 

What were your goals when you started with Salesforce and how did you keep motivated?

I was never the type to just sit down and accept what life has thrown at me. I don’t have a college degree so I’ve always worked hard to continually improve myself in every role that I’ve moved forward in. And Salesforce has allowed me to do that because their environment and what they offer is just so wide. You continually learn and offer new skills. And just become more valuable in different ways.

Speaking of challenges, what was the most challenging part of learning Salesforce?

One was having to do it by myself — before Trailhead. If I was to pick a specific thing it would be the Security Model — but that’s now very simple now that I know it. But if I was going more general, I would say the fact that Salesforce is not an industry standard — it’s more like an industry parallel. On Salesforce, SQL queries aren’t called SQL queries — they’re SOQL queries. So everything’s just a little bit slid off the main path. Learning all of these was the most complicated part.

Can you please give us a day in the life of a Senior Salesforce Consultant?

Primarily, you serve as the liaison between clients and the technical teams. As a senior-level person, I also train and mentor peers — taking them through implementation, expressing the best standards of practice, client relationship management, stakeholder relationship management; and understanding any project risks and making sure that the project is handled and maintained in both timeline and budget. So some of that Project Manager-type work as well.

What are some of the important skills that a Senior Salesforce Consultant should have?

Patience, first and foremost, is what you need. You need it for the clients. You know, everything might be going seemingly fine but as soon as it doesn’t, you have to be able to handle that relationship with the client. In addition to that, definitely a foresight of setting expectations ahead of time, and standard project management skills is a must. You also need a fair amount of business analysis skills — to make sure you’re always getting the correct information.

Patience, first and foremost, is what you need… Everything might be going seemingly fine but as soon as it doesn’t, you have to be able to handle that relationship with the client.

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

You know, a few years ago I took the Sales Cloud Consultant certification exam and I was like, ‘Yeah, I got this no problem.’ Then I took the test — and failed miserably. I then used Focus on Force and what it did was it allowed me to see things that I wouldn’t have gotten through Trailhead alone. It’s really worth spending $20.00. I bought the study guide and practice exams and they were really pretty much spot on. And so because of that, I passed.

Did obtaining your 3 certifications affect your career in any way?

Definitely. Again, I’m not a college graduate — it is what it is. And a lot of companies have requirements that say, ‘Hey, you need a college degree.’ But I’ve been really motivated and my certifications got me into positions that I probably had no reason to be there for. They are invaluable to somebody like me, and I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without them.

I’m not a college graduate… A lot of companies have requirements that say, ‘Hey, you need a college degree.’ My certifications got me into positions that I probably had no reason to be there for. 

Are you comfortable doing interviews? Would you say that communication skills are essential to one’s career?

I feel like I am. Thankfully, I’m lucky in that sense. To me, communication skills in the form of writing and speaking, are a necessity for any position across the board.

What advice would you give someone who is planning on starting a career with Salesforce?

My advice would be first get your Admin Cert. Once you get your Admin Cert, you will see many doors open up for you and you’re going to be able to get into places you never thought. You’re going to be an influencer of various markets and industries. Here in Alberta, Canada, I’m now influencing an entire province. Is it this new hydrogen stuff that’s happening? Is it machine learning? Investors are always searching for what’s cool and what’s exciting for a certain location. And I’m influencing the communities around me as I’m building a system that supports the different municipalities’ efforts to bring in new businesses and grow their own communities. And all these businesses that come in creates new jobs for people. And it all started with me getting my Admin Cert almost a decade ago. And from there, I’ve since gotten more certs. It’s been a fantastic ride with Salesforce.

I’m influencing the communities around me as I’m building a system that supports the different municipalities’ efforts to bring in new businesses and grow their own communities.

What Certification are you studying for now?

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