What I Learned My First Year as a Consultant

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Like many other recent grads, I joined the Salesforce Ecosystem intentionally. Perhaps it was because I was non-committal to a particular vertical, or I had some glorious fantasy of sitting in a high rise boardroom. More specifically, I felt drawn to the speed of learning I knew wouldn’t come from any other profession. Little did I know just how correct I was in my thought process. 5 years later, I haven’t looked back.

I could share for days about what I learned my first year…. I could share for days about what I learned just today. But, I’ll do my best to highlight three areas where I had the opportunity to grow which are unique and specific to this crazy world of Salesforce consulting.

 

I learned what I loved

Within consulting, we have the opportunity to be exposed to so much; different industries, unique styles of management, innovative approaches to solving problems. This wasn’t exciting to me at first, it was overwhelming. My first day, I remember calling my dad and exclaiming, “I can’t do this! It all moves so fast!” I was challenged, nonetheless.  With the support of mentors, I began to find my passion. First in the little things; building a few validation rules or chiming in on calls. Soon, the job became more colorful. I was able to handle and master most aspects of the platform; standard Sales and Service, CPQ, Analytics.  I was drawn in by the ability to love what I was learning, and even more by the seemingly limitless amount to learn. Being able to apply my technical skills to help clients achieve measurable business outcomes was the carrot that kept me pushing myself to learn more. Tech aside, I loved seeing results!

I learned what I was poor at

Within the first year, there was an immediacy and importance placed on mastering the technical side of my role.  Because of this, I continued focusing on the technical areas where I excelled, and let the “people and process” part of consulting fall to the wayside. This made it difficult for me to communicate my technical solutions with clients and led to more than a few communication lapses. I learned I didn’t have straight forward answers, I learned I had difficulty providing options, I learned I had difficulty engaging in strategic conversations. It was frustrating. However, through this process, I also learned I had mentors, and other teammates who were willing to step in and support in the areas I was shallow.

I learned my voice

I was fortunate to have a manager who found being authentic critical to the success of a new consultant. What makes you unique? How can you professionalize your quirks? And how can you use them to the advantage of your clients? As consultants, we have unique offerings we can bring to the table. During my first year, I was able to define my voice and I continue to refine it. By harnessing my personality, I have been able to bring another element to my relationships with (often remote) clients. This ensures, clients remember there are unique individuals presenting them their Salesforce solutions and allows me to connect with them in a more humanized way.

 

While I have the need to conclude this post, by no means a pressing desire to leave what’s within consulting. Not only do I have the opportunity to continue learning, but I have the rewarding opportunity to watch other fresh consultants grow, and watch my clients grow with them.

 

WRITTEN BY MORIAH GONZALEZ