Author: 17grapes

Salesforce has been around for a couple of decades now, and it’s still one of the most popular tools to create and support CRM (customer relationship management) in one, synchronized space. If you’re working in a leadership position in a medium- to large-sized company, there’s a good chance you’ll need to become Salesforce-certified at some point. Why not get ahead of the game and start studying for when that moment arrives?

This task may seem daunting at first, especially if you haven’t taken a test for a while. Instead of going into the test blind, you’ll need to prepare properly to get the best results. Follow these helpful tips to get your Salesforce certification.

1. Be aware of price

Although pricing varies, the majority of Salesforce certifications cost between $200-$400. If you fail and need to take the exam again, the retake fees are around 50% of the first certification cost, according to this article from Salesforce Ben.

If you work in an office environment and use Salesforce for your daily tasks, it may be worth asking your work if they’ll cover the exam cost.

2. Study, study, study

You won’t be able to ace an exam without studying first, and the Salesforce certification is no exception to that rule.

Many popular platforms offer Salesforce training programs, including LinkedIn and Youtube. LinkedIn currently offers a free month for this course, but you’ll have to pay a fee and join a pool of over 35,000 students after the month is over.

Salesforce also offers a free one-day virtual prep webinar to give you a bit of extra confidence before test day. You’ll learn from a certified Salesforce Instructor who will help you leave the class confident and ready to tackle the final exam.

3. Get hands-on practice

If you haven’t taken a practice exam yet, we highly recommend doing so to help train your brain to answer on-the-go questions. Go ahead and log into your Salesforce account and complete the Admin Beginning and Admin Intermediate trails to help test your knowledge of Salesforce.

To make the process easier and less intimidating, try having a friend over for a study date while you do this. Work on quizzing each other on in-depth sales questions and study material close to what is on the actual exam.

Don’t forget to relax and be kind to yourself throughout the Salesforce certification process. Not everyone passes the certification test the first year, and there’s always room for growth and opportunity.

Finding great Salesforce talent can be challenging in today’s tight labor market. That’s why interviewing job applicants is such a critical step in the hiring process. Talking to applicants in person and observing how they answer your questions can help you determine whether they have the right skills for the position and if they’ll fit well into your organizational culture.

Just make sure to focus on a few key areas. These will help evaluate candidates’ potential and make sure you’re getting the best candidates.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before and during an interview.

Look for well-rounded candidates:

Of course, it’s great to find candidates with Salesforce certifications and experience. But don’t just look for people with lengthy Salesforce history. There are lots of career paths that can lend essential skills to potential candidates. It can be especially helpful to look for candidates with customer-facing positions, like customer service, restaurant work or flight attendants. Just make sure to ask questions about their customer-centric strategies, problem-solving skills, and best practices.

Focus on Trailhead:

When reviewing a candidate’s resume or during the interview, focus some of your questions on Trailhead. If you’re not familiar with it, Trailhead is Salesforce’s online learning portal. It’s essential that candidates stay up-to-date on trends and best practices, so asking questions about their activity here can help identify top candidates. Consider asking questions about their favorite Trailhead modules, how they participate in the Trailhead Playground and what apps they’ve built or new skills they’ve recently learned.

Make sure to see if the candidates have earned any superbadges, as well. These are great at assessing how candidates perform in real-world scenarios.

Allow for a conversation:

You’ll want to be prepared for the interview, but you don’t necessarily need to stick to a script. Allowing a real conversation to develop often can give you a better overall sense of the candidate. Understanding who they are and what’s important to them can help you assess the way their personality might fit within your workforce. You want to not only find the best talent for the position but to do it in a way that allows you to preserve the team dynamic that’s already working for your group. A conversation also means that you’ll be listening better and learning more than a simple list of questions could tell you.

Be ready to answer:

A candidate may ask questions during the course of the conversation. Be prepared to provide answers.

Better interviews often lead you to connect with better candidates and form better relationships with potential new hires. Treating the interview less like an interrogation and more as a learning opportunity for both parties can help ensure that you’re able to bring the best talent on board for your insurance business. No job applicant will be perfect, but a great interview can help you determine if they’ll make a great addition to your team.

If you’re interested in learning more about Salesforce and all the benefits it offers, please get in touch. Call (801) 245-0500 or visit our website and fill out this online contact form.

Do you believe that your skills, intelligence and abilities can be developed over time? Or do you believe that your talents are mostly fixed, meaning that if you’re not really good at something now, you probably won’t ever be great at it? These are critical questions to ask yourself. That’s because your mindset — how you view, interpret and act on decisions, problems and challenges in your life — can play a significant role in your success and happiness. Or it can hold you back from being the person — and business leader — you want to be.

American psychologist Carol Dweck is credited for identifying two main types of mindsets. A growth (also called learning) mindset is a belief that with hard work, desire and perseverance, most people can develop and improve their talents, abilities, and intelligence. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset believe that a person’s talent and intelligence are more or less innate — you either have certain characteristics or you don’t. In other words, there are ‘gifted’ people and there’s everyone else. Those with fixed mindsets do not believe they (or anyone else for that matter) can significantly improve their innate qualities.

There’s no shortage of examples of the great things that can be accomplished with a growth mindset. For example, at Microsoft, Satya Nadella made it his mission to revamp the leadership and the culture at Microsoft with a growth mindset after taking over in 2014. In his book, Hit Refresh, Nadella explains that mindsets– specifically helping employees at the company develop growth mindsets– were his tool for taking Microsoft to the next level. After more than a decade of static market capitalization and share price, Nadella helped usher in a new era for Microsoft, one in which the company’s market capitalization and stock price more than tripled. Pfizer, too, credits a growth mindset for the company’s success and growth.

One of the keys in developing a growth mindset is to help yourself and your organization’s leaders view failure as an opportunity to reflect, learn and improve your skills. In many organizations, failure is not tolerated or viewed negatively, which makes employees fearful of making mistakes and as a result less likely to take risks and think innovatively. To adopt a growth mindset, business leaders and employees must embrace risk and imperfection and push themselves out of established comfort zones.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” He couldn’t have been more right.

Moving into management can be an exciting new challenge and serve as the payoff after years of hard work. But with more responsibilities come more risk. Whether you’re in a brand-new position at a new company or have been promoted in a company you’ve been with for a long time, the challenge remains: how can you step confidently into a new role you’ve never had before?

Here are some things to remember as a new manager.

  • Be Authentic: Just because you have a new role doesn’t mean you need to adopt a new persona. While certain things will invariably change based on your new position, you don’t have to adopt anyone else’s style or personality to be a successful manager.
  • Be Confident: Chances are, if you were hired for a management role, you have the skills, knowledge, and experience to get the job done. Remember what you bring to the table and that others already see those strengths in you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be sitting at the management table.
  • Know Your Team: In addition to knowing yourself and your skill set, it’s important to know the team you’ll be supervising. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their working and learning styles? While you can accomplish a lot of learning from looking through past performance reviews or reading LinkedIn profiles, a welcome lunch is also a great opportunity to get to know your employees.
  • Find a Mentor: The best leaders learn from other leaders. Even if you’re not officially someone’s mentee, leverage your relationships for guidance. If you have a relationship with an old boss, send an email or LinkedIn message, or look into joining an existing professional development group at your organization. You can even get guidance and inspiration from books written by leadership experts. Asking questions is an important part of building your own foundation and style of management.
  • Embrace Mistakes: As a new manager, you’ll undoubtedly make mistakes. Being able to ask for help and learn from slipups and move on will be a huge benefit to both your mental health and your career. Having the perspective that mistakes – and even failures – can help grow you as a manager and leader will be impactful for years to come.

Being in a new management position can be overwhelming, but all managers have been there. With patience, determination, and flexibility, you can transition well in your new role.

When was the last time you gave some thought to your personal brand? No matter where you journey in life, or what new horizons may beckon, when you care for your personal brand, you’re making a long-term investment in yourself. A personal brand is the sum total of the energy and time you put into your career. It’s what you stand for. It’s how others see you. Serial entrepreneur Chris Ducker once said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

While many busy business owners and executives don’t think branding is important to them or worth the time it takes to invest in a successful personal brand, they couldn’t be more wrong. A strong and positive personal brand can unite your team, increasing engagement among employees, fostering cohesiveness and reducing uncertainty. Your team will have a better idea of who you are and who you strive to be. It can help your company be more successful by communicating to your customers and clients what you and your company is all about.

It’s important as a leader to regularly pause to reflect on your personal brand. Is it what you’d like it be? Personal branding is not just about a job you had 10 years ago, or even a business you launched that later carried you through many an adventure. A personal brand is your reputation, your personality, and your track record all rolled into one package. It’s absolutely your most valuable asset.

When it comes to reinforcing or even reinventing a personal brand, consistency is critical. That’s why it’s crucial you give your personal branding strategy some serious thought. Do you want to be known as the technology expert? Are you venturing into a whole new arena and wonder how that will mesh with your past experience? Are you a collaborative leader, a kind leader, or one that is focused on giving back? What do you think is your most important quality in business? How do you want others to perceive you? These are the kinds of questions that can have a major impact on your personal brand.

Don’t just drift along, hoping your life’s master plan will unfold the way you envision. Take an active role in building your own personal brand. Branding isn’t optional in today’s business world. It’s a necessity. Once you determine what you’d like your brand to be, act in ways that support it. Share content online that reinforces your brand. Be a part of organizations and initiatives that align with that brand. You don’t want to try and be someone you aren’t. But you do want to tap what’s best in you and make sure your actions and words reflect what makes you unique.

Tom Peters, who coined the term ‘personal branding’ back in 1997, gave advice that year that is still true today. “You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.”

Have you ever felt misunderstood? We all have. That’s why perception checking is such an important skill. Simply put, perception-checking involves directly asking another person for clarity to ensure you’re understanding what they’re trying to say with their words or body language.

It’s a cornerstone of effective communication. And it’s easy. The next time someone explains something to you, repeat back what they said and ask if you understood them correctly. And the next time you think you know the reason behind someone’s actions, ask for clarification. It’s that simple.

In the workplace, there are multiple advantages to perception checking. Here are some of the most important ones:

Avoiding misunderstandings

Perception checking helps anyone pay better attention to what others are saying and retain that information. To engage in perception checking, simply start by summarizing what another person says to you, then ask if that is the main point they’re trying to get across. You might be surprised by the number of times another person might rephrase things differently to communicate with you more effectively. It might seem cumbersome at first, but over the long run, perception-checking behaviors can result in more effective communication.

Improving morale

Nobody likes to be repeatedly misunderstood or ignored. Perception checking can naturally boost your employees’ morale because: 1) it demonstrates you’re paying attention to what they’re saying, and 2) it gives them an opportunity to clarify their ideas, thoughts or suggestions if you didn’t fully understand what they were saying.

As a leader, it’s your job to start the practice of perception checking, then use your status as a workplace leader to encourage other employees to practice it, even when you’re not around.

Increasing your own self-awareness

Perception-checking might be about interpreting other people’s messages, but it can also help you become a better listener and observer. By getting in the habit of verifying another person’s verbal or nonverbal communication, you’ll quickly realize when you aren’t listening well or struggling to connect with a client or coworker. It’s not a perfect solution to all misunderstandings, but nevertheless, perception checking is a crucial communication skill that all leaders should practice and encourage in the workplace.

Do you like to make New Year’s resolutions? Studies show that most Americans make an average of three to five goals each January. The problem: Most resolutions are cast aside by the end of February.

What would happen if you picked just one resolution — one important business goal — and stuck to it for an entire year? A goal that’s challenging and, if you work hard, attainable? Research shows that instead of coming up with multiple goals for 2021, pledging to make one significant change is more likely to result in success. And make it specific. Instead of a New Year’s resolution to ‘attend more networking events,’ quantify the number of networking events you’ll attend each month and what you plan to accomplish at each. Instead of ‘growing your business,’ quantify how much you plan to grow your sales or profits.

One time-tested method for setting effective goals is called the SMART principle. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Using the SMART approach, quality goals can be created by asking yourself these five questions:

  • Is your goal specific enough? You’ll be more motivated to work hard to attain a goal if you spell out exactly what should be accomplished. Instead of a vague goal of increasing traffic to your company’s website, for example, you would want to set a specific goal in terms of unique visitors or page views.
  • Is your goal measurable? Make sure you can monitor your progress and ultimately measure whether you have accomplished what you set out to.
  • Is your goal achievable? You don’t want to create goals that are too easy to reach but you don’t want to set yourself up for failure, either.
  • Is your goal relevant? If you accomplish your goal, will it further your personal and/or business objections or mission?
  • Does your goal have a timeline? Having a deadline can be motivating and give you an exact date in the future to work toward. Otherwise, you might not feel the urgency to put in the required effort.

Research also shows that sharing your resolution with a trusted co-worker, colleague or business group can make a big difference. Let others know about your goal early in the year.

Are you a leader known for your kindness? It’s the hallmark of an incredible personal leadership brand. Helping and supporting others can help them understand who you are and what you stand for.

Consider the colleague or friend who is always willing to lend a hand or listen. Or the one who tries to help you succeed in your endeavors. Someone who remembers your birthday. Someone who likes to give back by serving as a mentor to young adults. Or the person who is a big cheerleader for their friends and colleagues, always celebrating the successes of others. A person willing to go out of their way to support others is well on their way to developing an effective brand built around the qualities that people admire most.

Do people trust you and do you add value to their lives? Do you help people even when it’s inconvenient? What do you want people to think of when they think of you? How would you like them to describe you when you’re not around? So many people in the world today are trying to sell things or want to know what other people have to offer them. Instead, look for ways you can add value to those around you.

To develop a successful leadership personal brand, you’ll want to select one quality or trait you want to improve upon or develop. Step 2 is brainstorming some of the ways you can foster this trait and create a plan of action. You’ll then want to spend the next 30 days actively seeking opportunities to put your plan into action before reassessing and adjusting your strategy. For example, if you want to improve your ability to show kindness through gratitude, you might purchase a pack of thank you cards. Every day, think of someone new who you’d like to express gratitude toward and write them a quick note. Or pick up the phone and let someone know how much you appreciate them. Send someone an encouraging note or e-mail. Make sure you’re letting your co-workers/employees know when they have done an awesome job.

Studies suggest a kind leader who is in tune with the feelings and struggles of others is a powerful and effective leader. In one study by the O.C. Tanner Institute, employees cited recognition from company leadership as the No. 1 factor that would inspire them to do their best job at the office. A 10-year research study by Harvard Business Review shows that kindness — and its ability to foster trusting and quality relationships — is strongly correlated to effective leadership.

If you want to do a better job connecting with and supporting other people, look for ways all around you to lend a helping hand or ask ‘how can I help?’. Consider helping someone in your personal or work life who has struggled; look for ways to mentor people just starting out in your industry or career path or find a new way to volunteer your time and to support others in your community. Even when you have to communicate bad news or let someone know they aren’t doing their job properly, deliver the message with compassion.

Choosing to be kind and showing compassion isn’t always easy. It can be the more involved, time-consuming and complex route in many situations. Rest assured, though, that qualities such as compassion and kindness are noticed — and that demonstrating them to others can have a larger effect on your life than you have ever imagined.

Your employees are productive and do everything you tell them to do. But are they happy? Will your best and brightest work as hard as they can and stick with you or will they leave at the next opportunity? Gallup research shows that the majority of U.S. workers have some level of dissatisfaction with their jobs.

Studies also show that employees rarely disclose their frustrations with work situations until they are well on their way to finding a new job. That’s why it’s imperative for managers to get an accurate read on how things are really going at the office. But that’s easier said than done.

One way to gauge employee satisfaction is to meet one-on-one with each member of your team regularly. Ask them not only how they feel about their jobs but how your company — and you — can help them meet their personal and career goals. And don’t forget to provide regular feedback. Take a few minutes each week to provide positive feedback on recent accomplishments. Make sure if you’re providing negative feedback that you also provide some positive feedback as well in the same meeting.

Perhaps the best way of all to get honest feedback from your team is to make sure that each person feels that they can come to you with the good and the bad. Do you show irritation when employees approach you with problems or issues? Do you glance at your computer or phone while your employees are talking to you? Do you appear rushed when people come to talk to you? You may unknowingly be encouraging people to not be candid about how they feel and about what’s going on at the office.

How well do you know your employees’ hopes, dreams and personal challenges? Do you know what’s going on in their lives? Their children’s names? Their hobbies and what they do on vacation? It’s amazing how much happier people feel when someone takes a genuine interest in them. Taking the time to listen to your employees, support them in their careers and genuinely get to know them can go a long way towards helping them be happy at work.

The last year and a half has manifested a sea change in the business world. In what has been coined “The Great Resignation”, people are ready to leave both pandemic restrictions and their current jobs behind.

The size and scope of the problem is of epic proportions. Record levels of Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Microsoft Work Trend Index has found that 40% of workers globally are considering leaving their existing employer. Another survey revealed that 26% of workers are planning to leave their current job after the pandemic is over.

Business leaders are debating the why, but not the aftermath. That exodus is going to be costly in terms of hiring and training resources for a wide range of companies. In fact, 73% of CEOs say a labor/skills shortage will likely be the biggest issue to disrupt their businesses in 2022.

So why the mass exodus now? You could say it’s the perfect storm of factors. First, Forrester data shows that more than half of employees want to keep working from home, while many employers want people back in the office. If a current employer doesn’t want to accommodate at the very least some amount of time working remotely, a significant share of workers say they will actively start looking for an employer/position that will.

Second, the pandemic has brought about two distinct financial paradigms for workers, with some people struggling to make ends meet, while others are emerging stronger. Some people who are emerging from the pandemic financially stronger than two years ago are better positioned to make a career or location change.

There are several other factors that come into play, according to an analysis of more than 9 million employee records at 4,000 global companies. For example, many workers have had a lot of time to think over the last year and a half about the trajectory of their careers and lives overall. They’re questioning existing situations and systems and wondering if they want to be part of organizations that they believe don’t value them well enough as individuals and won’t help them reach their career and life goals. Not surprisingly, employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates. They are at a career crossroads age-wise, and are thinking hard about how well their companies fit them and where they want to go from here. Others are simply burned out.

Now, more than ever, American workers are willing to work hard and commit to organizations that meet their needs. Leaders must express a willingness to be flexible in work arrangements and help their workforce reach work/life goals. If this isn’t part of the equation, you could have an employee retention problem down the road.

Leaders also must make it a point to really tune into the worker sentiment and make improvements. You might consider talking to workers individually and collectively to really get to the heart of what workers want and expect. A detailed and quality data analysis can uncover some surprising things about a company, such as factors causing people to leave and/or employees who might be at great risk of leaving. You’ll also get an idea of how changes — in working conditions or compensation, for example — can have a profound impact on employee retention. Even companies that in the past haven’t really had to work hard to retain their best and brightest may have to spend time and effort on doing so now.