July 20 by Zack Alspaugh
Apttus is extremely excited to launch it’s new Salesforce MVP of the Month program, in which we spotlight the exceptional leaders of the Salesforce Ecosystem that have lent us their expertise, knowledge, and ongoing contributions, ensuring both our individual improvements and the betterment of the platform as a whole. It’s thanks to these individuals that our daily questions have been answered on the Success Community, difficult admin tasks have been made easier, and even empowered some of us to get certified.
This month we are proud to feature Maria Belli who is Salesforce Technical Lead with CASE Partners, Inc. in Hartford, CT. Maria is also the founder and co-leader of the Salesforce CT Developer Group, a co-leader of the amazing Girly Geeks, and of course a Salesforce MVP (Spring ’13, ’14, ’15). As a certified Salesforce Admin and Advanced Admin, she is extremely active on the Salesforce Success Community and was even highlighted as a Top Contributor on our recent Salesforce MVP Infographic.
1. How and when did you start working with Salesforce?
I started working with Salesforce in August, 2010 and I was completely hooked on the platform from day 1. Before that, I was managing another CRM system that was very inflexible, expensive to maintain, and user adoption was practically non-existent. I was tasked with finding alternatives (again) and recommended Salesforce to the management team (again). We had a consulting group who helped us with the initial development and implementation and I followed along with everything they did and leveraged their knowledge, along with the Salesforce Community, to learn as much as I possibly could. The rest is history.
2. Most of us depend on MVPs like you to answer our questions. Who do you turn to if you have a question about Salesforce?
Haha, I can be stubborn at times so I usually search Google or the Answers Community before I reach out for help. A good percentage of the time someone has already asked a similar question. BUT, when I can’t find an answer there, I turn to our amazingly helpful Salesforce community and post my question in the Answers forum, a Success Community group related to my question, or I Tweet my question using the #askforce hashtag. It’s important for others to benefit from my questions as well.
3. What couldn’t you imagine doing every day without Salesforce or the AppExchange?
I’ve been in an IT related field for almost 20 years now (yikes!). I’ve done everything from fixing computers to database administration to networking with lots of other things mixed in between. In all of that time, Salesforce never felt like a job, but more of a hobby. I love building solutions (especially things that require me to think outside the box) and the Salesforce platform is just second nature to me. I learn by doing, I learn from others, and I learn by helping others. I can’t imagine doing anything else — it would just feel like work.
4. What is your favorite app (or top 3 if you can’t decide) from AppExchange and why?
My top 3 apps, in alphabetical order, would have to be:
Conga Composer: Why? I can easily pull data from Salesforce into any format I need without having to write code in Visualforce and Apex.
dataloader.io: Why? Being a Mac user, this is my go to for loading data. It’s cloud based and easy to use.
Field Trip: Why? This app is helpful in identifying which fields are heavily used (or not). Very useful when dealing with a messy, undocumented Salesforce org.
5. Do you have any advice for brand new Salesforce users?
Absolutely! I typically tell users to take their time learning the system. There is SO much to learn and you can’t take it in all in one day. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it be asking a coworker or reaching out to others in the Salesforce Community. Everybody is always willing to help! Oh, and I always tell everyone about Salesforce Trailhead. So much goodness in there so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already (https://developer.salesforce.com/trailhead)!
6. What are you looking forward to most during the upcoming Dreamforce?
Wow, there are so many things! I am really looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new people. I love being surrounded by other Salesforce users, admins, and developers. I’m also looking forward to the keynotes, the sessions, and the Dreamforce 5k Community Fun Run I am coordinating with fellow MVP, Chris Zullo. Oh, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in the Admin Zone!
7. What kinds of things are you involved in, like to do outside of the Salesforce ecosystem?
I have 2 kids, a husband, and a dog that all keep me fairly busy. I enjoy bike riding, jogging, and just hanging out with my family and friends. Outside of Salesforce and anything geek related — my family, friends, and community are the most important parts of my life. I don’t know where I would be without their love and support. I also like helping raise awareness for cancer by participating in my local Relay for Life every year in memory of my dad.
Posted by Zack Alspaugh on July 20, 2015.
Do you know an MVP that should be MVP of the Month? Please submit all nominations (self-nominations accepted as well) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include MVP’s email address.