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When Code Academy first came out in 2011, aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere couldn’t sign up quickly enough. “Learn to code interactively, for free” is the latest slogan on the homepage, and it couldn’t be more apt. I’m happy to be one of the 24 million+ users behind the brand who recognize its fantastic value proposition.
That’s why I was so surprised by the fun, user-friendly experience of Salesforce Trailhead. As a marketing consultant who works with Fortune 500s, and a Salesforce veteran, I work closely with Salesforce environments and help my clients use Salesforce more effectively. But I wasn’t expecting something as refreshing as Trailhead.
Trailhead is like Code Academy for Salesforce. Signing up for a developer environment is totally free. There are beginner, intermediate, and expert courses in both declarative and programmatic solutions. You can even earn points for completing challenges.
The ultimate goal of Trailhead is to transform how customers learn to use Salesforce, by radically simplifying and redefining the learning experience.
What Can You Do In Trailhead?
If your job involves managing databases, spreadsheets, or contact lists, you should be on Trailhead. It doesn’t matter whether you already know how to use Salesforce—Trailhead makes the learning experience fun and will teach you how to make apps that will greatly simplify your job.
If you do use Salesforce, you probably suspect that you aren’t leveraging it the way you could be. But you aren’t sure where to start learning, either. There are so many things you could learn. It probably seems easier to just make do with what you already know.
Let’s say you’re a B2B business owner hosting an event to build up your client base. You need get in touch with more CXOs and more stakeholders. You invite a lot of speakers, as well as your warmest leads and their friends at work. And then, in no time at all—it’s the day of the event.
If you’re like 99% of business owners out there today, you would rely on a traditional pen-and-paper signups to capture information from attendees. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but chances are you’re already using Salesforce anyway. So why not impress your attendees with a simple app?
By using Trailhead’s declarative Schema Builder (a drag-and-drop flowchart that allows you to intuitively “program” without any programming knowledge), you can email each of your attendees a link to a survey that automatically populates Salesforce fields with their responses. You don’t need to know any programming to do this. And you could set this all up in less than one hour.
Check out the first lesson (Salesforce Platform Basics) to see what I mean. I completed it in a little under 20 minutes, and it taught me everything I needed to know to get started on an app similar to the one I just described. I even got 900 points and a nifty badge for completing the post-lesson challenge.
Following The Trail
Most of us already use Salesforce, but we find it intimidating. This shouldn’t be the way of things.
You don’t have to be a developer or a Salesforce admin to take advantage of what Trailhead has to offer. Anyone with a business and a client list could be supercharging their Salesforce experience with Trailhead and getting the best bang for their buck in 2015.
If you want to learn more about how Trailhead can modernize the way you use Salesforce, take a look at this helpful video from Adam Seligman at the 2015 Salesforce Developer Keynote.
About the Author: Alp Mimaroglu is a Marketing Luminary at Symantec. He specializes in marketing automation, demand generation, analytics, and marketing technology. Alp has extensive experience with both business and consumer marketing. He’s passionate about how technology is rapidly becoming the key to success in both the corporate sales and marketing landscapes. Follow Alp on LinkedIn and Twitter.