What do you do?

As an ‘adult’ (in quotes, because I still don’t really feel all that grown-up), one of the questions that you inevitably get when meeting new people is “What do you do for work?”. As a Salesforce administrator/developer/business analyst, I’ve struggled to come up with an easy way to answer this question.  In fact, I can explain the jobs of pretty much everyone I know (including the guy who makes DC to DC converters), but I still struggle with my own. So what’s the perfect Salesforce admin elevator pitch?

Image via commons.wikimedia.org

Image via commons.wikimedia.org

First, let’s think about what are the elements of a good elevator pitch. Your pitch needs to be concise, but with enough detailed information for your listener to understand. Brevity is difficult when your job can entail everything from password resets and new user setup  to multi-step approval workflows and building visualforce pages.

You also don’t want to overwhelm the listener with too many technical details in the short amount of time you have to pitch yourself. Even though some admins don’t think of them selves as technical people, there are a lot of developer-y and computer-science-y terms that we use daily that could get lost on your audience.

So while I can’t write your own elevator pitch, here are the key elements that I try to inclue in mine: My opening sentence always includes “Salesforce.com” – if your audience has heard of the company or software, it makes the rest of the conversation very different from if they haven’t. After that, I explain what my company uses Salesforce to do – a high-level explanation of departments that use it & why. And I close with how I support efforts within those different departments.

Do you have a great elevator pitch? What elements do you include to make sure your pitch works?

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9 Comments to “What do you do?”

  1. I go the opposite route, the longer and harder to understand the more important the other person will think you are. That’s totally how that works right?…people wont think I am trying to impress them with what I do to overcompensate for my actual level of importance?
    On the other end I could say “I help people with computer programs”

  2. I go a third route. I mention sfdc in passing but describe my job as it pertains to my employer. I help administer a learning organisation and I develop the system to allow professionals learn how they do their job using the Force.com platform. Additional questions are directed down either of “Isn’t learning great” or “aren’t SaaS and PaaS great” routes.

  3. Here’s what I tell my parents: “I manage the application that my company’s Business Sales and Marketing departments use to manage our customers.”

  4. I personally sum it up in a sentence: I solve my organization’s business problems through the use of cloud technology (Salesforce).

    While Salesforce is my main platform, it’s not my only platform. Titles are oftentimes misleading. In many instances (as your post suggests) admins are the admin, developer, project manager, business analyst, trainer, strategist….. If I’m in an elevator that’s only going 2 floors, saying that 1 sentence will answer it in a way I’m satisfied with; if we’re going more than 2 floors they can ask follow-up and clarification questions. If they know Salesforce, they typically start asking how to do XYZ, etc.

  5. In the Silicon Valley, I can usually say “Business Analyst and Salesforce Administrator”. In fact around here, your likely to run into others and exchange ideas, like I did recently at my Nephews birthday party. If that gets a blank stare I take Aiden’s route. Having lived in Sarasota FL for the last 2 years it was “computer stuff”. If it was a cute girl, it was “Fighter Pilot”.

  6. Michael Farrington summed it up pretty well in this clip… “I do computers” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh6GxBnRImw

    I take a similar tack as you Ms. Dente, if they have any inclination towards computer technologies and have heard of salesforce.com, I give them a fairly complete rundown. A majority of the time… “I’m a director / sales engineer for a small software startup near Boulder that does unnatural things with Word and Excel files”.

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