Focused and Certified: Lee Beardshaw – Enhanced Opportunities with Salesforce Certification

Salesforce Consultant

Lee Beardshaw is a Salesforce Consultant for Primo Cloud Consulting which helps a number of different businesses implement Salesforce in their systems. He got his start in Salesforce more than a decade ago when he had to implement a CRM system for an international vehicle tracking solutions company.

After going through numerous systems, he realized that Salesforce was a cut above the rest.

I am Lee Beardshaw. I am a Salesforce Consultant for Primo Cloud Consulting.

Could you tell us how and why you got started with Salesforce?

It started about 11 years ago. I was working as Head of Operations for a vehicle tracking solutions company that had operations around the world: we had a development team across Europe, and we had sales teams in the UK and Canada. We realized that our departments were becoming disjointed—that things were siloed, and that we were missing things. This prompted the company to have me take a look at a lot of different CRMs—probably around 20 or so at that time.

Long story short, one day the CEO called me into the boardroom and asked, ‘Which one do you think we should go for?’ And I told him that unlike some of the other solutions where there’s a lot of development work required before you can even get into the roll out stage, Salesforce was head and shoulders above everything because of its ease of use and the fact that you could roll it out quickly. It was quite funny because while we were sitting inside the boardroom and signing the contract, he said, ‘Now we’ve signed the contract. Salesforce was the most expensive and we can’t afford anybody now—you’re gonna have to learn it.’ This was how I got my start.

Unlike some of the other solutions where there’s a lot of development work required before you can even get into the roll out stage, Salesforce was head and shoulders above everything because of its ease of use and the fact that you could roll it out quickly.

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

A consultant has to be quite adaptable to working with different people, different customers and on different projects at the same time. What I do is I try to have a schedule—I keep the same things happening on specific days of the week. For example, I have the majority of my meetings on Mondays, so that I can plan out and put them to action for the rest of the week. Being a consultant also means talking to a lot of people, working with stakeholders back and forth, texting, bill work, technical drawings, and writing training documents.

What do you think are the most important skills of a Salesforce Consultant?

The softer skills are really important. Having good communication skills, being patient, being organized, and being able to plan. These are the key things that you don’t learn from Salesforce or any other system you’re going to be working on. These softer skills are what you need to work with people and actually be able to get the job done.

The softer skills are really important. Having good communication skills, being patient, being organized, and being able to plan. These are the key things that you don’t learn from Salesforce or any other system you’re going to be working on. These softer skills are what you need to work with people and actually be able to get the job done.

What was the most challenging part of learning Salesforce?

The Salesforce partner ecosystem was very different then. Today, you have partners all over the place but it was quite sparse at that time—or seemed that way. We didn’t have any of the resources that we have today: there was no Trailhead and no Focus on Force. 

We weren’t really guided in the way we felt we should have been at the starting point. Essentially, I watched a lot of YouTube videos on things like how to add validation rules, how to create new fields and put data to it, and all these different things that we take for granted nowadays because they’re on Trailhead. Before, one had to dig around on the internet, trying to find out what we’re supposed to be doing at that time.

How did obtaining a certification affect your career?

Honestly, I did the Admin Certification not because I needed to learn those skills—because I was doing those things on a daily basis, but because I was self-employed at that time and I felt that I wasn’t getting the same opportunities as people with the certification. 

To get the roles that you’re going for, you’re going to need the certification so I went out and got it. And it proves that you’ve taken the time to sit down and learn the different aspects of Salesforce—especially the Admin certification. I’ve heard a lot of people within the ecosystem say that the Admin one is the hardest one to get because there are so many aspects within it and I agree.

To get the roles that you’re going for, you’re going to need the certification so I went out and got it. And it proves that you’ve taken the time to sit down and learn the different aspects of Salesforce.

What advice would you give someone who is preparing for a certification?

One of the things that I found really useful was Focus on Force. The study guides really help you understand what you need for the certifications. If you’re looking to study for a certification, Focus on Force is a great place to start. It’s a really good resource hub for information, and they have a great blog too! I wish they had been around 10 or 11 years ago because I would have been straight on it.

What are your plans for the future?

It’s difficult to say, but my plan is that I want to double the customer base again this year, which I was able to do last year. And take it from there. We’ve got really good opportunities this year to grow. Being able to make customers go, ‘Wow, that’s brilliant. That’s going to save us 10 minutes.’ You know, those sorts of things are the things that I enjoy.  So working with more people and being able to deliver solutions—these are the things I am looking forward to this year.

Being able to make customers go, ‘Wow, that’s brilliant. That’s going to save us 10 minutes.’ You know, those sorts of things are the things that I enjoy.  So working with more people and being able to deliver solutions—these are the things I am looking forward to this year. 

What Certification are you studying for now?

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