/, Podcast/Salesforce Career Conversations #16: David Massey

Salesforce Career Conversations #16: David Massey

Episode 16: Salesforce Career Conversations David Massey with ROD. David talks about how he found his way into Salesforce. Originally a Salesperson at a travel company, he was one of the unlucky ones having to figure out a new career due to the impact of covid.  In less than two years, David has become a Salesforce Certified Consultant and now helps others to obtain their own certs.

Lee Durrant: Hello, it’s Lee Durrant here, with another episode of RODcast. We dive into people’s Salesforce careers to find you little nuggets of inspiration that might help you in your Salesforce career. I’m pleased to say that joining me today is Dave Massey, who is– I’ve lost count, but multiple certified Salesforce consultant and author of davejmassey.com, a website designed to help you learn Salesforce.  

Hi, Dave, have I introduced you right there, mate? Is it author? Are we going to go with that? 

David Massey: Yes, we’ll go with author and thanks for having me, Lee. It’s a pleasure to speak to you. 

Lee: No, you too. We haven’t spoken before, which, frankly for me, is a bit rare on this podcast because I’ve played it safe. I normally just talk to people that I know, but I couldn’t help, like probably a lot of people in the Salesforce ecosystem, couldn’t help noticing what you’re up to and thought, from a selfish point of view, it’d be great to get you on our podcast and talk about your relatively short journey so far in Salesforce and the very quick rise to being a little bit of an influencer. 

If you don’t mind, perhaps giving us a very quick overview of who you are, then we can talk about, I guess, what’s happened to you in the last few years if that’s all right? 

David: Yes, that’s perfect. Where I am now is I’m an eight-time certified Salesforce consultant, working for a company called ThirdEye Consulting based out of London. Literally, two years and a week ago, I was actually a travel agent. It was only the 30th of March, I actually discovered Salesforce 2020, so the 30th of March 2020 was the first time I saw it. Prior to that, I’d worked in sales and service for a good 10, 15 years, selling everything you can think of from cars, to windows, to vacuum cleaners, to TVs, broadband, the works. Sold all of it and I found myself working in the travel industry. 

I’ve been really successful. I’d been in it again, for about seven years at that point. I was doing really well with my sales team and when I say travel agents, technically, it’s like a tour operator. Everything was custom built, everything was tailor-made, flights, hotels, transfers, trips, seven or eight week holidays, so something quite bespoke. 

Again, was doing really, really well. Then COVID hit and as COVID hit, as most people know, in the travel industry, it is essentially minimum wage and then you earn all your money through commission. That’s just the nature of the beast in sales, as you know. Yes, I walked into the office after COVID had hit and was just faced with the fact that I’d lost 50% of my commission overnight and all the other commission was going into a holding pot. 

It couldn’t really be touched, because it needed to be there to obviously keep everything going. It was a bit of a shock to walk into that. I’m married, I’ve got two kids, we’ve got a house, a mortgage, I’ve got a big dog that eats more than me. It was one of them where I had to look around and think, “Right, what am I going to do?”  

Lee: You were made redundant, were you? Or what happened? 

David: No, I wasn’t made redundant. Literally, I just had to work full time through it, working from home because again, particular with the travel industries, it wasn’t a case of, “Oh, right. Well, COVID shut down, lockdown, nobody does anything.” Because we still had to manage all the flights, the hotels. Again, this is a bit people often didn’t realize is we were working behind the scenes for minimum wage, working 10, 12 hour days because we’re going through time zones to try and sort things out. 

It was in Rochdale, the company I used to work for. From Preston, it’s a good hour, hour-and-a-half drive back. Plus, a nice 9, 10, or 11-hour shift depending on how busy you were just to keep wheels turning and all that for essentially a minimum wage, which wasn’t ideal. I thought, “I’m going to have to change here.” Set myself a couple of things is like, “Well, one, it’s got to be something that’s going to be future proof.” Technology lends itself to that. 

I got sick of driving to and from Manchester every single day, it was a pain. Especially on the M61 when you’re getting towards that ring road. It’s just game over, isn’t it? 

Lee: I’m getting to know it now I’ve moved north. Yes. Okay. So you were looking for something where you could work remotely then as well, was that part of it? 

David: Exactly. Yes. Something remotely. It had to be something that interested me. First, I started looking into cybersecurity because I thought, “Well, if you’re talking about future-proof careers, then cybersecurity doesn’t get much more future-proof, does it?” I started looking into it and spent a bit of time, watched a few videos. I just sat there and I thought, “I can’t do that. That’ll bore me. There’s no way I could do that all day.” 

Then a friend of mine who’s actually a Salesforce recruiter in America. He said, “You know what, Dave?” He said, “With your background and your knowledge and your experience,” he said, “I know you don’t have anything to do with IT.” He said, “But have a look, have a look at Salesforce.” Everything I thought was, well, one I don’t have a degree, let alone an IT degree. I’ve never worked in technology at all, so I’ve never worked on an IT help desk or anything like that. 

My experience of IT was essentially selling laptops. Now that was about as close as I got. It was like, “All right, and I’ll have a look at it.” I still remember to this day, it was one of the last few days of March and I fired up YouTube and I just whacked in Salesforce. I remember watching this video with someone basically putting together reports inside five minutes and then just hit refresh and pulled all this data for it and I was like, “Do you know how long it takes me to do that at the end of the month?” 

I was like, “It’s like witchcraft. It’s crazy this.” I looked at it, I was like, “All right. Well, that’s a bit more of a look.” Then I started diving into it, found Trailhead, jumps into Trailhead, and just got the book for it really. I kept studying. Again, I was still working full time, but I was studying at night, studying in the evenings, studying early mornings as well before I left the house and then at the weekend. It was a bit of a slog. 

Yes, and then seven weeks later, I sat and passed my admin exam on my first attempt. Four weeks after that, I got my app builder. Then a couple of– I figure it was about a month after that, I managed to secure a role for a company called Art of Cloud in Leeds, and they gave me a shot. 

Lee: Just to rewind a bit there, how– I mean, forgive my ignorance, but does it cost a bit of money to get those certifications or to sit the exams?  

David: Yes, so I paid out for them. They were $200 each for an exam, which was why I needed to make sure I passed on the first time because I was digging into whatever money I had. I mean, the stuff that I used to learn essentially use Trailhead, so that was obviously my number one goal. 

In terms of mock exams, I’m sure everyone’s heard this before, but Focus on Force was a dream, and that really helped. I did try a couple of Udemy courses, but I just didn’t find anything that matched how I learned. I didn’t really get too much use out of that. It was mainly Trailhead, and Focus on Force, really. 

Lee: Brilliant. Okay. That’s really good in for some people because I think a lot of people and maybe yourself included before you spoke to your mate in America, just assume that Salesforce is IT and that’s not me. As you said, I don’t have a degree, I would never have thought to get into software and obviously I don’t. It’s interesting, because I think in other parts of IT definitely is a bit of a blocker, isn’t it? The whole degree thing. 

David: Yes. 

Lee: Coming up through the ranks with that, but your experience as you say, with your sales background and your experience with a bit of everything really, isn’t it? It’s large corporates, it’s small startups. 

David: Yes, been there and done it. 

Lee: In many ways, even though you probably didn’t feel it at the time, I suppose the whole COVID thing you might argue, has done you a bit of a favour and set you on this new path that you would never have dreamed of? 

David: Yes, it’s a really weird thing to say, because COVID was horrible and there’s no taking away from that. The amount of money it costs me because I lost all my commission was phenomenal. It was battling with kids teaching from home as more people have probably experienced than they ever want to. It was tough, but out of that, it was quite– I don’t know what the correct word is for it, but it was quite– it was like a sense of freedom to me, because I’ve been stuck doing what I was doing and working in sales for so long and once you get used to earning that commission and earning that money, then it becomes a bit of a crux and it’s hard to walk away from. 

Literally, overnight, it was like, “Well, there you are Dave. There’s nothing holding you back now. Now, what are you going to do? Now show us what you’re made of.” It was like, “Right, here we go.” 

Lee: I’m thinking, so when you went to– Art of Cloud gave you a shot, what can you maybe describe what you did to get– probably not literally, but metaphorically in front of them because I appreciate, I can imagine that you’d be saying you’re trying to explain to them that, yes, I look like a travel agent on paper, but I’m doing all these things. I think that’d be interesting for people listening that are in a similar situation. 

Obviously not– We’re coming out of COVID now, if you like, but there would certainly be people that are thinking they want to switch careers and on paper, they don’t look like what they’re trying to become. Do you get what I mean? If you can get us a bit of an idea of how you did that? That’d be great. 

David: To be honest with you, it was just sheer brute force. That was essentially what it came down to– 

Lee: Well, you’re a Salesman, aren’t you? I suppose. Yes. 

David: It was one of them where I knew where I was lacking. I knew where my strengths were and my strengths were, if I could just speak to someone and just get 10 minutes of their time, I could probably at least impress enough upon them to give me a shot to have a full interview. I must have sent over 100 LinkedIn messages, easily over 100 LinkedIn messages in, what? About a month, a month-and-a-half? I was just trying to go to anyone who would take a shot at me. Any company I found that was using Salesforce, I heard was using Salesforce, I was getting in touch with them to try and get a role with them. I did try and speak to a few recruiters, but I think at the time, the market was quite quiet because everything that had kicked off. 

Lee: Yes. When you started doing this was probably– If it was March, April, May which seems like a long time ago now, isn’t it? For the first time in the history of the Salesforce ecosystem, I think it went very quiet for about four or five months, so you probably couldn’t have picked a worse time. Then it exploded, didn’t it? That gave you a chance. Sorry, I interrupted you. You were saying. 

David: No, it’s fine. Yes. That was it. A lot of the problems I ran into, which is I’m sure what other people run into, was every time I got to speak to someone or I tried to speak to a recruiter, because there were a few recruiters that I tried speak to, the more main ones we should say, the larger corporation ones and it was really difficult because it was like, “Oh, right, yes. You’d be good for a junior role, but you need two years’ experience.” 

I was like, “How do I get two years’ experience for an entry-level role?” “Oh, yes. Get yourself some certs as well.” I went and got myself some certs and was like, “Look, here we are. I know what I’m doing or at least I can talk about it to an extent.” “Oh, yes, but you haven’t got the experience so we can’t put you in front of anyone.” It was a catch-22. I had to rely on transferable skills. 

This is a big thing. One of the things I always emphasize with people is, transferable skills are real. When people say, “Look at what you’ve done and how you can move that across.” It’s so true because within the ecosystem, the Salesforce ecosystem, there’s such a wide range of roles. For me, I fell into working as a consultant because I have that background of being able to just speak to people and because I’ve had so many years of asking questions and asking particularly awkward questions to get the right information, I can help pull and gather those requirements that perhaps some people would feel uncomfortable doing. 

Same as– I’ve had to deal with irate customers. If COVID taught me anything is how to deal with people who are shouting at you to try and get their money back and you can’t give them their money back. When you’ve dealt with that for a bit, you suddenly get that ability to really manage people in terms of that side of things. I learned on that a lot. I learned on the fact that “Just give me a shot.” That was my big thing to them was like, “Look, give me a shot. Give me three months. If it doesn’t work out, you can get rid of me, but give me three months and let me show you what I can do.” 

The bloke who hired me is a guy called Ben Stevenson and a lady called Liz Rhodes as well. They literally took a punt on me just because I think they felt I was dead friendly and they wanted to give me a whirl. I went in there and after brute force of knocking the door down, “All right. Come on, Ben. Give me a shot. Give me a shot.” I got a shot and they just let me flourish essentially. 

They didn’t try to pigeonhole me, they didn’t try to say, “Oh, you’ve not got any experience so you’re going to spend the next two years purely building out-of-field (sic). We’re not going to let you speak to any customers or anything like that.” They literally just said, “Right. You think you’re going in front of customers? Let’s put you in front of customers.” That panned out all right. 

Then I remember having a conversation with Ben. He was like, “Oh, so what you thinking? Where is you going?” I was like, “I want CPQ. I want my CPQ cert by Christmas.” This was only in June, July by the way as well. This is early on. He was like, “Why do you want that?” I was like, “Everyone’s told me it’s the hardest cert to get bar PD 2 and, obviously, your CTA.” Everyone told me that it’s really, really difficult. 

I was like, “I want to test myself. I want to see if I can do it.” He’s like “All right.” He’s like, “I don’t think you could do it, but have a shot at it.” I kept studying and I set up my admin, my app builder. I then went and got Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud. Then I think I got field service before I got CPQ and I ended up getting CPQ as well. It was a dream because again, this is the thing I want to impress upon people as well is, there are going to be those roles where you’ll become a solo admin or you’ll just become a Salesforce administrator. 

There’s nothing wrong with those roles. They are really good, solid roles, a good grounding, but if you can get yourself into a consultancy, a startup consultancy or a small boutique consultancy, the experience that you’ll gather in 12, 18 months, it will be more than what you get in years and years as an admin for a single org because you’re touching so many orgs, you’re talking to so many people in so many industries and you play so many roles. 

I was playing BA by gathering all the requirements. Then I ended up doing a lot of pre-sales by being on the initial calls with customers, putting together proof of concepts. Then I’d be running a little team to get all the conflict done, I’d be doing the solution design, helping build more complex stuff. Then I’d be doing the testing, the deployment, the training. In 18 months, I learned so much. It was incredible. 

Lee: I’ve got this strange smile on my face because I’m just thinking, you must’ve had moments, you’re in the middle of a project pinching yourself thinking, “This is crazy.” Especially if you still feel like you should be doing what you were doing before. It’s great. It’s a great story, which really has only just begun, when you think about it. A good indication of what the Salesforce ecosystem can do for somebody. 

Obviously, let’s be honest, you’ve had to work for this. I think a lot of people may have given up. Even right at the beginning, when you said, late nights, early mornings, studying and then all the hundreds and hundreds of people you’ve approached. That’s probably where a lot of people will maybe give up. I think in this ecosystem, there’s a lot of people out there that will give you a shot if you appear to bring something to the party. 

I’ve been speaking to a lot of people in this space and I think a lot of people say that maybe in many ways, the easiest thing to learn is the Salesforce technology. It’s the business of dealing with people that can be the hardest skill to master. Clearly, you’ve got that. I was going to ask then if you had any mentors. Maybe I’m guessing you probably mentioned them both, but was there anybody that helped you along the way or we’re going to go with Ben and Liz or– 

David: Yes. There were a couple of people. There’s a CTA based in Germany called Johan Furmann who spent a lot of time talking to me. He’s a really nice guy. Again, he’d just give me a bit of advice when I wanted it. I’d probably say that the biggest mentor I had from a personal point of view was a fella called Dean Deville who was at Art of Cloud and his background was Everton and Man united. 

He was an admin turned into a consultant. What he didn’t know wasn’t really– He just knew everything and it was just because he had a slightly different approach to me because I see everything at a high level and that’s how I do my designs and then I dive into the detail, whereas he was more detail-orientated. We worked together by bouncing off each other, by having different views. He just taught me absolutely loads. He was really, really pivotal in terms of my learning. Definitely. 

Lee: Brilliant. Nice. That’s good to hear. Was the CTA guy in Germany someone that Salesforce assigned to you or something, or is it someone you just happened to know? 

David: No. It was my stereotypical, “Right. I need to learn. Who can I learn from?” Then he popped up on LinkedIn. I think he got his actual CTA and I was like, “I’m going to reach out to him.” I just dropped him a message and just clear as day he was dead happy to have a chat. He must’ve spent a good 10 hours with me over a couple of months to help guide me. 

That’s the big thing about this ecosystem as well. I do it a lot now where people drop me a message on LinkedIn and I’m happy to respond. I can’t go into mega detail on people asking me about complex flaws and stuff because you just can’t explain that stuff over a chat, do you know what I mean? Over messages. You haven’t got the time to sit there and every night do mentoring because you’ve got your family and everything like that. 

I would definitely say if anyone has any questions, just ask. The weird thing about this ecosystem, which again, if you come from a sales background, sales can be a little bit cloak and dagger, should we say. A little bit like, “I’m not giving you any information because I might lose a sale and you might do better than me and then it makes me look bad.” Salesforce is completely the opposite. 

You can ask anyone, you can ask a CTA anything you think of, a simple question to a complex question and they’ll answer you and they’ll answer you genuinely. They won’t be funny about it. They won’t try and use it as a stick to beat you over the head with and they don’t come across egotistical as well. There’s very few people I’ve met in the ecosystem I’ve thought, “Not asking him that again.”  

Lee: No, I know what you mean. Despite my youthful looks, I’ve been recruiting for ages and in loads of different spaces, all in technology and IT, but I’ve never known an ecosystem to be so openly giving without any agenda, seemingly anyway. I think it’s fantastic for that. You’re proof of that as well. You’re paying it back already, aren’t you? I don’t want to skip too far ahead. 

I appreciate what you are already doing in your reasonably young Salesforce career is fantastic giving people the opportunity to learn. I just want to bringing it back again. Do you remember the first Salesforce project you did then? Maybe just out of curiosity, did you build something on the free developer edition to show Art of Cloud, or was your first project an actual live project? 

David: I did build a few things in a dev org just to really get the hang of things as well because again, it’s one of them where– and this is where, we could talk about this for hours where you have that argument about experience versus certs, certs versus experience and all that. You know what I mean? 

Lee: Yes. 

David: You could have all the certs. I’ve worked with some people and their number of certs and they’ve been able to hold their own, but they’ve not been particularly exceptional. Whereas I’ve worked with some people like Dean’s a prime example, I think I’m going to say he only had six certs as if that’s not a lot, but in comparative he had six, seven certs, but he was unbelievable the stuff that he could do. He’s better than some of the guys I’ve worked with who’ve had double figures in terms of certs. 

Certs don’t show equal skill, but likewise, I’ve also worked with people who’ve got five years experience who don’t really know how to do stuff either because they’ve only worked in a really niche org, just one org for five years and it becomes that customized after five years that you pick that org up and you compare it to a brand new org, there’s nothing the same and so a completely different experience. 

Lee: It is a question we ask quite a lot is the certifications and experience debate because there are people that collect a hell of a lot of certifications and it becomes an addiction to them rather than– 

David: Like Pokémon. They got to catch them all.  

Lee: There’s nothing wrong with that. I think in my experience with these podcasts, I think the main theme is a bit of both really ideally because certainly with your experience as a salesperson, dealing with salespeople, dealing with customers, that’s invaluable and in the industries that you’ve worked in, I’m guessing now then have you had experience now in new industries, they didn’t just pigeonhole you as a travel, the travel industry, suppose they wouldn’t because they wouldn’t be much work with COVID, but no. 

David: No, they weren’t much when I joined, but travel industry is– I’ve been really fortunate, as in some of the stuff I’ve touched– I’ve worked with a sports team, so I worked with quite a high profile sports team. That was really good fun when– 

Lee: You mentioned Everton and Man United, are we in the same– 

David: Oh, no. Weren’t them two I’m afraid, no. 

Lee: I’n not after names. I’m a Liverpool fan, so it’s really the worst things you can mention. That’s interesting. That’s been quite fun if you’re a sports fan of course. 

David: Yes, it was quite interesting to see because again, that’s the beauty about Salesforce is whatever industry, whatever business, no matter how big or how small, obviously cost prohibited because Salesforces isn’t cheap. Salesforce can really help every single company. Every single company can make use of Salesforce with the stuff that it can do. Again, my background from sales, I can see how effective it can be. 

I’ve done sports teams, I’ve worked with electrical distributors, I’ve worked with pharmaceutical companies, an arms dealer as well, like a munitions dealer. Yes, it is been wild, but it’s been really good because that’s what– and again, this is one thing when people ask me like, “Why do you enjoy your job? You just sit in front of a screen all day, just tapping away and clicking away?” 

It isn’t actually like that because I spend a lot of time speaking to clients and the information you get and just the different viewpoints and the different experiences of different industries and how we work and stuff like that is brilliant because okay, you are technically carrying out the same kind of stuff, you’re technically carrying out requirements gathering, you’re technically designing a solution, you’re technically building, but realistically it’s different every time because you’re working with a completely different setup, so every company’s different how they work. 

Lee: Yes, and I suppose when you refer to people saying you’re sitting on a screen all day, are these friends of yours from your previous, let’s just say your previous life or your pre-COVID life that they now think you’re some tech wizard, which of course you are by the sounds of it. 

David: A lot of my friends and family are tradesman, so plumbers and engineers, that kind of thing, so they really do graft for the money. I’m not saying what we do is easy, but it’s a lot easier to be sat inside a nice warm room, clicking on a mouse and hitting a keyboard than it is to be in the trenches. 

Lee: Yes, absolutely. There’s a different stress to it. I’m sure you’ve had experience of that now in terms of having to hit deadlines and what have you. 

David: Yes, CPQ deployments. Don’t talk to me about them, they’re always fun. 

Lee: You passed the exam then there’s you can’t moan now about getting a project, I suppose, can you? 

David: True. 

Lee: It’s quite complex based on what you said earlier on. Obviously, I’m a recruiter, so I’ve got no idea of the complexities behind it, but from what I understand, they’re quite complex projects, aren’t they? 

David: Yes, they’re very complex because you look at the majority of Salesforce products, like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, it’s metadata-driven. There’s stuff behind the scenes, whereas when you move in stuff like field service and CPQ, it flips it. It’s actually data-driven instead. You’ve got to flip that and then it’s just everything is so interrelated with CPQ. You think, “Oh, I’m just going to change this one thing. I’ll just change this one thing and I’ll be fine.” You change it, it breaks 20 other things. You’re like, “Oh, no.” And then you’ve got to go back and fix it. 

Lee: Nightmare. Is there a project at the moment in your two years or however long it is, sorry if I got that wrong, that you’re most proud of? Maybe the one you’re most proud of is the one you found the most challenging. That might be quite interesting to hear about. 

David: Yes, there are two projects that stand out in mind and both of them was at Art of Cloud actually because these were the real baptism by fire ones. There was one which was for a company down in London that did pest control and that was Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Field Service. It was quite an intense one. The guy we worked with was a dream to work with, really nice guy, down to a fully understanding and knew what he wanted as well and just straight talking because that’s the big thing I love as a consultant is I don’t want to try and deal with customers who won’t give me a straight answer. 

You’re not going to offend me, you’re not going to hurt me if you tell me that you don’t like how I’ve done the page layout or that’s not working how you envisioned, just tell me and I could fix it. He was just straight to the point, “No, I don’t like that, Dave. Change that. No, I don’t like that, change that. That’s not how we do it, do that.” That was really challenging because Field Service is very, very complex to set up as well because there’s so much that should be automated that isn’t automated, that you then have to automate and you’re dealing with that. 

Then again, you’re trying to train the client to an extent as well, because again, when Salesforce show and do demos, they show everything to the best of its ability, but you’ve got to be able to gather all those requirements and then replicate that and build that as well. When you’re doing Sales Cloud, then you’re doing Service Cloud as well and then you’re building a community with a big knowledge bank on it as well, and then you doing a Field Service. It’s an awful lot. 

That was really good fun. Like I say, the client was brilliant so that made that really good fun. I enjoyed that and that was a really good learning curve. The other one was my first CPQ project as well. 

Lee: Oh, right. With your certs fresh under your arm. 

David: Yes, fresh under my arm and yes that was brilliant because again, because I come from a sales background and as I said earlier on, it was complex sales, it wasn’t anything off-the-shelf. I’ve never sold an off-the-shelf product apart from like TVs and stuff, but in all my life everything’s been custom made, everything’s had to be that true, fact-finding, figuring out what’s wrong, how we can fix it and this one was the CPQ project. 

I think when we walked in, there was 600, 650 products and then by the time I left, it was 65 or something because just the way CPQ had been set up for them, hadn’t made the most out of CPQ and you could actually start condensing it all down and just making life easier. I remember showing them how we’d change stuff and they said, “Where’s that?” I remember the sales guys just looking like, “What? It’s this easy?” With Salesforce you can have confetti at the end, if you win a deal? 

Lee: Oh, yes. 

David: Yes, it just had confetti display and they were chuffed with that, they were happier with seeing the confetti. They were in the 20 minutes, I was saving them to build a quarter. It was really funny, but yes, I enjoyed those projects. They were really good fun. 

Lee: Like I say, totally different to what your background is in respect to what you’re getting involved with, this is brilliant. Do you ever think of going back to the travel industry and saying, “Look, you guys should be using Salesforce.” Or whoever you used to work for, if they’re still around the course? 

David: Yes, they’re still around. Do you know what? I do think the travel industry could make a massive use use of Salesforce, but the problem again is, and I only know this having worked in travel is most people think travel agencies make a fortune. They think that they’re making 20%, 30% profit. They don’t. They make less than 10% profit. Then out of that 10% profit for when they sell something, you still got to keep the lights on, you still got to pay the insurances, you still got ATOL licenses. 

People don’t realize that travel isn’t as profitable as what you would think it is and these travel agencies don’t make a killing, they don’t make that much money at all. That’d be my only thing is, it’d work for your big players, your big guys Salesforce would be fantastic, but trying to convince someone smaller who’s only got like 10 employees for example, someone completely independent, when you’re suddenly talking about what the licenses are, they’re not cheap, but there’s no point really getting Salesforce essentials, which doesn’t really come with much. 

You’ve got to start looking professional really to start getting stuff. Even as professional your hands are going to be tied to a certain extent. When you start talking, “Well, it’s going to cost you like £70 quid per user per month.” You’re like, “Hang on, that’s £700.” It’s a big chunk that. Again, because they’re so used to working with spreadsheets and working with manual contracts and they do have automated systems as well, but these systems are nowhere near as good as what Salesforce can do. 

There’s that challenge, but that being said, I know there are travel companies who are using Salesforce and using it really effectively. 

Lee: There’s a couple of ISVs out there that they’re focusing on that space. I’d be interested to see how they’re getting on actually in the current climate, how they bounce back. Going back a little bit to when you were knocking on some doors trying to get your foot in the door in Salesforce, did you get many interviews or was Art of Cloud really the only one that gave you their time? 

David: No. I got a few. I was really fortunate in that I ended up with three offers on the table. 

Lee: Really? Okay. 

David: Yes. I got really lucky. I think the key behind it and again this is– Some people think you’ve got to put some fake persona on, about being really professional and, “Hello sir, my name’s David Massey and I’d love a chance to speak to you.” Realistically, people aren’t bothered. They just want to speak to you, they just want someone genuine.  

I messaged him I was like, “Hey Ben, looking at getting into the Salesforce ecosystem. I was wondering if you had any junior positions.” He just messaged back and said, “Not at the moment. We’re looking at moving offices.” I think it was in September or something like that. He said, “I’ll reach out closer to the time.” 

Lee: Where are we now? September 2020? 

David: Yes, September ’20. I was like, “All right.” I was like, “At least he’s come back to me.” Then I went and got a job– I say I got a job. I got an offer from a company in Wigan, but they were very data-heavy. They were more Informatica than they were in Salesforce. Then literally about a week before I was due to start that, Ben just messaged me just saying, “Hey Dave, are you still looking at getting into the world of Salesforce? We might be looking at bringing someone on.” I just messaged him back. 

Again, there was no messing around. I’m not blowing smoke or anything. I’m just like, “Thanks Ben, but I’ve actually accepted an offer and I don’t want to waste your time because I’ve already accepted an offer.” He was like, “Oh no, that’s fine. Let’s just have a chat anyway.” It might not be now, but it might be in the future. Then I had a chat with him, had a call with him, a Zoom call. It was a Google Meet call with him and Liz and just got a really good feeling from him. 

He offered me the role about an hour after the meeting and the rest was history. He was like, “These guys are going to work.” That was August. It might’ve been July. I think I started in August, so it might have been July. Again, there was no pretending to be something that I wasn’t and they weren’t potentially something that they weren’t and that’s what I love about the ecosystem is you do get people who have a persona and stuff like that, but realistically it isn’t that way inclined. 

People are people and they don’t pretend to be something that they’re not. You probably know this from speaking to candidates. You can pick up straight away, if you speak to someone and they’re not being genuine, within 10 seconds you go “Oh, no. That’s not right.” That’s what’s good about this ecosystem, is people are just friendly and you can just chat with people easily. 

Lee: Absolutely. To be fair, there’s a place for everyone. You’ve got the big corporates that you might consider to be a little bit more of the type that– the persona you said earlier on, but I tend to find if you do go to a partner like Art of Cloud who are owner managed that, “You’re going to get the real thing really.” And great experience I imagine, working with a company like that where you probably get your hands dirty in everything. 

Maybe if you’d gone to a big enterprise partner, you may have been pigeonholed a bit early as just a BA or something, I don’t know. I guess working for a smaller one, you get to do all sorts of things. 

David: You get to lend a hand. On some projects, as soon as I saw Flows, I knew they were going to be incredible, just being able to see what you could do. This was two years ago, before they got really powerful and I knew that was going to be what was going to happen. I just had this feeling. I learned Flows and then at Art of Cloud, I suddenly became the person to go to about Flows. 

Because I became the go-to person for Flows, I then started to be able to teach so many more projects because people thought, “Oh we need this Flow building.” “Got to Dave, give it to Dave, he’ll have a look at it and see what we can do.” I kind of niche down into Flows and that’s one of the things I’m quite strong at. 

Lee: It’s not a bad thing to be niching, is it? My wife’s our internal admin and she’s just getting her head around it. It’s a side job in terms of– as a lot of people that become an accidental admin that she was going on about the other day. It means nothing to me, but clearly it’s exciting to someone who’s into that. 

David: To the geeks a bit like me. 

Lee: He said to you, “I pull away from that, but you said it.” 

David: I said. It’s all right. 

Lee: Obviously, I know you don’t want to give too much away, but you then moved away from Art of Cloud to go to ThirdEye, is that correct? 

David: Yes. I moved on– 

Lee: What was your motivation there and you didn’t upset anybody obviously, but was there a particular reason for that or just felt like the time was right to move on? 

David: Yes. I just felt like the time was right to move on. It was one of them where I knew I needed to learn more, but to learn more I couldn’t do it on my own at that point. I had to work with some talented people, some architects and stuff like that. I’ve been very fortunate in working with some really good people at ThirdEye as well. That was really the motivation behind it, was working closer with– because again, if you have a look at ThirdEye and you go through the people there and you look at the backgrounds, you’ve got Deloitte, you’ve got Blue Wolf you’ve got 4C, you’ve got those people and when you come from that background you generally pick up a couple of good skills. 

That was what I thought is– I saw it and I was like, “I have to give this a whirl.” In the end I moved on to ThirdEye. 

Lee: Are you involved in interviews now for ThirdEye or did you ever do that for Art of Cloud? Do you actually get involved interviewing for new candidates? 

David: I did one or two Art of Cloud, but I don’t tend to get involved at ThirdEye. It’s a different remit to what I do. There’s a couple of the more senior members of staff and senior leadership, they’re the guys who do all the interviews at ThirdEye. 

Lee: When you were at Art of Cloud then it was something that even in the short time you’ve been doing it, you were still brought in to interview Salesforce people basically. What was your style for that and what is it that you would look for? I know we touched on experience versus certifications. 

David: It’d all depend on the role, to be honest. When we were bringing in– I’m going to use the word general, and I don’t mean that in a negative way, but when we weren’t bringing in someone who was specialized like CPQ or all like that and it was someone we wanted to bring as a consultant or you could train up to touch different products, then I was just looking for decent people. 

We’ve all heard that saying, and you’ve probably seen it, I don’t know if anyone’s done this on the Huel wall that they have which is, “Don’t be a an idiot,” basically. 

That was essentially it. I was just looking for people who weren’t idiots because to me you can train anyone technical skills. With enough time and enough patience and the right training, anyone could pick up the technical skills, but what’s really hard to train out of people is if they’re rude, if they’re abrasive, if they don’t work as a team, if they’ve got an area of arrogance. 

To train that out of someone is incredibly difficult whereas if you’ve got like a really nice guy– We hired a guy called Callum at Art of Cloud. He was really a genuine nice guy. Do anything for you, happy to go for a pint with you, a really nice block. He just picked stuff up dead quick, but it was because he didn’t have that air of superiority or anything. He knew Salesforce, but he didn’t see himself as being any kind of expert and he picked loads up, and he was just a nice guy. 

It just makes the office nice. You know what it’s like when you get a couple of dodgy people in an office, it can just throw it up. That was the key behind it. When it came to– The more technical stuff was we had an interview for a CPQ guy once and I just asked some basic questions with CPQ and he couldn’t explain certain things like twin fields or how you put together bundles or stuff like that then I knew, they’re your bread and butter. It’s like almost asking someone else, “How would you create a field,” or, “What’s the difference between a profile and permission set?” and stuff like that. If they couldn’t answer that, then I thought, “Well, even if you are a nice guy, if they’re CPQ-” Considering there’s only one of me who was the only person who did CPQ, “-then I don’t really have the time to train someone up in CPQ,” because it isn’t an easy thing to learn. Even if you have the cert, and this was what I was saying. Certs don’t mean skills, like experience doesn’t mean skills either. It’s finding a blend between the two. 

Lee: Yes, that’s good advice, I think. Going back to the kind of people you were looking for, and you still do, I suppose, one of the best things I’ve learnt, funny enough from a Salesforce partner was that they only ever recruited for humble, hungry, and smart people. Those three words had specific criteria around them and like you say, I suppose in the Salesforce world, and as I said before, one of the easiest things to train is the tech side of it. As long as someone’s humble, hungry and smart, then everything else can be taught. 

That stuck with me, and we go by that now and it really does help if everyone’s on the same page, and everyone’s interviewing to that sort of criteria, then it’s very easy to go “Actually, yes, this one ticks two or the three but if you don’t tick all three, then you’re not going to work. You’re not going to fit in.” Even now that we’re– I don’t know whether you guys are. Are you guys all fully remote now? Have you gone back to slightly in the office slightly not or? 

David: Yes, it’s a bit of a hybrid. It depends on it. ThirdEye are obviously based in London so they’ve got an office in London and there’s a lot of people from London who go into the office daily or a couple of times a week. I’m up north in Preston, there’s a couple of guys from Liverpool as well and we’ll go down once a month or maybe more depending on if we’re needed in the office. It is very much hybrid now. I think that’s the way it’s going to remain because I can’t see the point of someone being in the office full time now. 

We’re doing this interview on a Google Meet. All this week, I’ve been on Google Meets, we have the requirements gathering for quite a large project, everything done through Google Meet as well. It’s just the way the world’s going now. 

Lee: Again, it’s one of the positive– I know there are a lot of bad things, of course, that happened because of COVID, but one of the absolute positives is that. You think about the customers, the Salesforce customers, the amount of money they probably used to spend on the expenses side of it, because they’ve had to put you up in that Premier Inn over the road and what have you, just to have you in their office every day when really it could be done remotely. 

David: I think the talent pool’s a big thing as well- 

Lee: Yes, good point. 

David: -because there’s so many people up north and again, anyone who’s south of Birmingham thinks anywhere north of Birmingham is the north. Generally, people don’t associate the skill set up here that you have got and some incredibly talented people in the North, and now they’ve been given a chance to work for London companies. 

Lee: Yes. 

David: I know it’s probably been a given in the tech industry. Like I say, I’m new to the tech industry so this might have been prevalent for 5 or 10 years, I’m not 100% sure but I just know that the opportunities now because you don’t have to be in the office are massive now, I’m in Preston. Previous to COVID when I used to look for jobs, well Manchester would be the furthest I’d go, then I’d maybe look up to Lancaster and a push, down to, well, Liverpool really, that was my golden triangle where I could look whereas now I can look anywhere, and people can look anywhere. For ThirdEye, we’ve got a really talented solution architect called Priscila and she lives in Edinburgh. 

Lee: Wow, yes. I know, it’s brilliant, isn’t it? It’s brilliant from the individual’s point of view in that, like you say, you can look anywhere now, literally anywhere. It’s broadened all of our horizons, hasn’t it? From my point of view, I own a company and I was very much a, “You’re in the office and if I can’t see you sitting at that desk, I don’t think you’re working.” A bit old school, in a way, grew up in a similar background to you, all sales and you’ve got to be on the phone and I need to see you. Whereas obviously, COVID has changed that. 

We’ve moved to the Lake District, we’ve shut our office down. From the business point of view, rather than now looking for people in a catchment area of the office that we had, we can now look everywhere and it’s now the best candidate, not the nearest. 

David: How much better is it. 

Lee: Oh, it’s amazing. I don’t think we would ever have changed. If that’s true of us, it’s probably true of an awful lot of companies as well. 

David: Yes, 100% agree with that. 

Lee: You’re right, technology companies were a little bit ahead. Salesforce companies, there were a few Salesforce companies that were fully remote even before COVID so fair play to them. There were still some that insisted, “If you’re not on a project, I want you in the office,” which is a bit crazy when you think about it. 

David: Yes, it is. Like you say, that’s the big thing that shocked me, moving into this ecosystem is work-life balance is important for whatever company you work for generally, and I might just be lucky, but the ones that I’ve worked for, work-life balance is key. In the mornings, if you cast your mind back to when I was in the travel industry, I was leaving the house at seven o’clock in the morning, wouldn’t get back till like seven, half seven at night, depending on traffic so I’m fully gone out the office. You can imagine how little I saw my kids, how little I really saw my wife. By the time it came to Thursday or Friday, I was goosed, I was absolutely goosed doing that. 

Now I get to drop my kids off at school in the morning, I get to go to my little lad’s football games at night and take him training. This sounds really bizarre and people will laugh at this, but I actually get to sit and have a family meal at night, where there’s me, my wife, my kids. I haven’t had that for a decade. People take that for granted whereas if you’ve worked in sales, particularly in retail, you used to working evenings, you’re used to working weekends. 

This is a prime example of it, in the travel industry, your peak season is January and February so that’s where you make a lot of your money. What would happen is, I did this every year, is I’d take the week before Christmas off, then I’d have Boxing Day off, then that was it, I was working. I’d work then all the way through to New Year’s Eve, work New Year’s Eve till lunchtime, finish, have New Year’s Day off, then I was back in 2nd of January, pretty much all the way through till the end of February/middle of March, having 1 day a week off, and being in the office 12 hours a day. It used to absolutely cripple me. 

It’d come to April and I needed a strong drink and a really good lie down. Now it’s not like this, everything’s balanced, and I’m happy and my family’s happier and that’s the big thing. When people are wondering about, “Oh, is it worth going into Salesforce,” because let’s be honest, it’s tough to get in. The ecosystem isn’t easy to get in. It’s not something you can just walk into unless you’re lucky and you become an accidental admin but the admin cert– Again, I’m sure you’ve probably heard this off loads of Salesforce guys, is the admin cert is one of the toughest. 

Lee: Literally, today, somebody was telling me that yes, it’s apparently one of the hardest ones to get, which is surprising really. 

David: Yes, there’s only CPQ that I would rank as higher than the admin, that’s the only one out the ones I have done I’d rank higher than the admin. 

Lee: And you’ve got eight, so saying something, isn’t it? Wow, okay. 

David: I like to call them the core ones; Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud. Yes, it is tough to get in and there will be times where people just feel like giving up because you do, and again, and I use this phrase all the time, everyone laughs at me when I say this, but it is like a jigsaw. Salesforce is like a massive jigsaw. When you’re learning it, you’re learning individual pieces and it’s like when you’re building a jigsaw, you might put two or three pieces together and then you’ve got to set it aside, you’re like, “Well, I don’t know where that fits,” and then you go do a few more pieces and that doesn’t fit with the first bit and you carry on and you carry on. 

That’s how getting your admin is. Then suddenly, as you get to the end, and you start going back through your notes and you start building some stuff in DevForge and really getting your hands on that, “Ah, now it makes sense. Now I can see the big picture.” 

Lee: “These are helping,” yes. You said earlier, you’re a big picture guy so that must be quite  challenge for you there. 

David: That’s the thing I would say to people. I always champion the phrase is, “Learn the concepts, and then learn the details. Get the concepts down first and then learn the details,” because you need to understand the big picture, that’s what’s been really helpful for me is I’m able to look at the big picture and see the parts and look at how they work with each other before I start getting into the nitty-gritty of it. That’s the big tip I’ll give for anyone learning. 

Lee: Fantastic. Just going back to what you said earlier on as well, in this ecosystem at the moment– I say at the moment, as long as I’ve been in it which is quite a long time, if you feel like you’re burning out or the work-life balance is slightly out of whack, there’s so many opportunities out there for people like you. I can only imagine what your LinkedIn inbox looks like. 

David: Yes, it gets busy. 

Lee: There’s a lot of people like me out there, constantly, constantly. You’ll probably get your head turned quite easily. I don’t know whether you have any advice for people in that situation. I appreciate you’ve not been in the ecosystem that long, but it could probably be in a situation where you can get your head turned so quickly that you’re not giving your current employer the chance to really bed yourself in. If that makes any sense? 

David: Yes. I think that applies for a lot of roles as well, not just the Salesforce ecosystem. Interviews; I always used to look at interviews as me auditioning for someone else because that’s basically what it is in sales, isn’t it? You could pick up a salesperson any day of the week and you’ve got to really say, “Look, you need to hire me over the 27 other people who are applying because of X, Y, and Z.” With Salesforce, it’s a little bit different. You still have to prove your point as in, “Look, I am good. I can do what I can do,” stuff like that. You’re not held over a barrel in that sense in terms of if that company doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t work. 

Before I picked ThirdEye, again, I had five offers before I picked ThirdEye. I went with them just because they aligned with me. We’ve got a CTA called Jeff who’s one of the earlier CTAs. He started with basically the question, “Look, Dave, all I want to do is I just want to build cool stuff with cool people. That’s what I want to do.” It was like, “Do you know what I mean?” It just matched what I had in mind as well. Even when you’re in a company, yes, it is true, give them the chance. Again, this is from speaking to other people as well. Companies will say, “Oh, yes, we’ll make that change shortly. We’ll bring in XYZ,” or, “We’ll put you on this course,” or, “We’ll do this,” or, “We’ll do that.” They’ll go, “Right, just give us a bit of time.” 

One month goes by; nothing happens. Second month goes by; nothing happens. You speak to them in the third month. “Oh, we’ve been busy at the moment. We’ve had other things on, but we’ll get round to it.” Then the third month goes, then the fourth month, then the fifth month, and then lo and behold the sixth month. Still, nothing’s being done. Now in the ecosystem, six months is a long time. There’s an awful lot you can learn in six months and there’s an awful lot you can get. 

Lee: You are proof of that. Yes, definitely. 

David: Give your employer the benefit of the doubt. If you are unhappy, speak to them. If you feel like it’s falling on deaf ears or they’re not quite understanding what you’re saying, maybe look at how you’re presenting it and make sure that you’re actually presenting it in a way that they can understand. Then if still nothing changes and you don’t feel like you fit, then perhaps it’s time to have a look around. Just be cautious because again, almost like in a sales perspective now, particularly consultancies, they’re crying out for people. You go on to LinkedIn, and you just put in “Salesforce Consultant in the UK” I dread to think how many hits you’ll get based on that. 

When you’re interviewing the company, just try and make sure that what they’re saying is true. Make sure there’s some congruence between what they say and people. What I have done with all of the companies is reached out to people who are there and just asked them, “What’s it like?” Or have found people who’ve left. LinkedIn like I say, LinkedIn is amazing. Just find people and go, “Oh, right. I can see you used to work for XYZ. What was it like? Would you recommend working there?” People will be honest with you. 

Lee: That’s a good tip you’ve got there. 

David: They’ll go, “Oh no, don’t go there, it’s shocking.” or, “Yes, yes, it was really good. It was just time for me to move on.” 

Lee: I don’t mean to slag off the industry that I’m part of, but if you’re going through an agent, more often than not, the agent can be telling you just what they think you want to hear to get you over the line, so to speak. 

Again, a bit like your sales background. You know what I’m talking about in terms of trying to get deals. I think what you said as well about speaking to your current employer and maybe it’s falling on deaf ears and trying a different approach. If they’re still saying, “It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming,” but it’s six months, that leads quite interestingly into a topic that is quite hot at the moment. It’s always been reasonably hot in Salesforce. It’s very hot at the moment is counteroffers. 

In that scenario where you’ve asked someone, your boss, or whatever, “Can I have this?” You’re being told to wait and wait and wait, you then go out to the ecosystem, and like you’ve just described in your short experience, you’ve already turned down, by the sounds of it, about eight offers to get the two you’ve got. You know that out there are other companies that will just give it to you like that. What happens then when you get that counteroffer? Because I tell you what, it is rife out there, all of a sudden, magically, what was taking six months is just on a plate for you. 

It’s frustrating for my industry that those companies don’t just give it to people in the first place. We don’t all have to then do this dance where we have to go out and get other offers to get the counteroffer in the first place. I don’t talk specifically about Art of Cloud, but did you get counteroffered there? Have you ever been in that situation before with the other offers you turned down, perhaps? Perhaps, they tried to increase the offer. 

David: What I’m going to say is probably going to be music to your ears. I don’t believe in taking the counteroffer personally myself, because to me, if it’s got to that point where you’ve asked them and you’ve raised the issue time and time again and it’s literally taken to the point where you’ve had enough, you’re stressed, you really dislike what you do because nobody looks for a new job unless they’re really unhappy, do they, realistically? Okay, you might get tapped by a recruiter saying, “Oh, here’s an opportunity, do you want to look at it,” but to actually go through the interview process. 

Again, the interview process for most consultancies isn’t quick. It isn’t like a half-hour phone call. “Here’s the job.” You’ll have the first interview, which will be the first screening which someone just wants to make sure that you’re not going to set the building on fire. Then you’ll have a second one, which will usually be with a couple of people. There might be some people you’ll be working with and that will become more technical. They’ll ask you a couple of technical questions, that will generally be around about an hour. Then I’ve found in my experience, for a decent role, there will be some form of presentation and you’ve got to prepare for it as well. 

You’ve got to spend time preparing for the presentation and then actually demonstrating it or at least having some real technical conversations. Doing that isn’t easy. It’s not something you just think, “Oh, do you know what? I’ll just get a new job.” You’ve got to think about it. If you’ve gone through all that effort, there’s a reason you’ve gone through all that effort. If your company turns around and goes, “Oh, look, we want you to stay. We’re going to double your wage. We’re going to do this, we’re going to do that.” You think, “if I was that important to you, why didn’t you offer me this when I said I wasn’t happy? You’ve literally waited till the point where I’m at breaking point to do it.” For me, that just breaks all trust. 

I’ll give 100% to whoever I’m working for but if I don’t feel I’m getting it back from them, then that trust has gone for me. I’m very much an all-or-nothing guy. I’ll work the late nights. I’ll do the deployments at ten o’clock at night. I’ll do it to get the projects over the line. In return, I expect to be given that respect back as well. If I say, “I’m not happy because of XYZ,” or, “I need an extra bit of support with this,” or, “I’ve noticed this isn’t quite right. We could do to bring some more people in to help with this,” even if they don’t carry it out straight away, I expect there to at least be that conversation behind it. 

That’s a lot of time people leave companies. People do leave companies for the money, but more than often, people leave companies because they’ve lost faith in the boardroom, they’ve lost faith in the manager. It’s like the old football, isn’t it? When a football manager loses the dressing room, it’s game over. It’s the same, if you’ve gone to the point of looking for a new role, it doesn’t matter what your current company is going to offer you because even if they offered you £20,000 bonus to stay realistically, the only reason they’re offering that is because it’s going to be cheaper than the amount of time and effort that they’re then going to have to try and find someone, and interview them, and then do the screening, and all that kind of stuff. 

Lee: Yes, all the stuff you just described, yes, they’ve got to do that, yes exactly. You’re right when you said it was music to my ears because it kind of is. It sounds like someone like yourself when you get to the point, “I’m leaving,” you’ve probably done all the things that you should do to get to that point. Maybe the best advice here could be then that if someone is listening to this and they’re in that position of thinking, “I might just– I think I might look around.” If they haven’t actually gone and asked their boss for whatever it is that is making them unhappy to fix that problem,- 

David: Speak to them first. 

Lee: -then they are probably a counteroffer risk. To be fair, if that’s fixable, then try and fix it before you run off to the wider world and do those four or five interviews at four or five different places. I think you’re right actually, if you do what you said because you sound like the sort of guy obviously, with your background, you’re very probably proactive anyway. There’ll be a lot of people in Salesforce that probably aren’t and maybe they’re a bit quiet and they might go unnoticed and the only way to get noticed is they’ll hand their notice in. 

David: It’s a shame when it’s like that though, isn’t it? Again, this is just my view on it is just because someone’s an employer and someone’s an employee, it doesn’t mean it’s a parent-child relationship, is it? Do you know what I mean? 

Lee: Oh God, yes, I know what you mean. 

David: It’s not that way, it’s a two-way street. 

Lee: Yes. 

David: Again, I’ve been quite fortunate as in with Ben and Liz, I got so well with them that if I had any concerns, I could just say, “Do you want to grab a coffee? I just want to speak to you about this.” That was it, it was an open-door policy. I think that’s the key. For me, for any successful consultancy that I’ve seen or I’ve spoken to people who work at them, that’s the number one thing. It’s just, “Oh, yes. If I have an issue, I can just speak to them.” There’s no repercussions for raising an issue or challenging a design or anything like that, it’s very much, “Yes, let’s talk about it.” 

Lee: Yes. That makes perfect sense and I’m actually already aware that we’ve been on for an hour. I haven’t even got on to yet what you’re doing. At what point did you decide to effectively give back then and set up davejmassey.com, which is a website that you designed to help other people learn Salesforce? When did you think, “I’m doing that?” Were you at Art of Cloud then, were you at ThirdEye, or what? 

David: It was something I had in mind from probably about six months in. Again, I was very naïve when I went into the ecosystem. When I was studying for the admin cert because again, I didn’t really know anything about it, I thought, “Oh, this is the base level cert here. If I can get this then– This is easy.” 

Lee: Right, and now you know, yes.  

David: “Bloody hell, that was the hardest one I did.” I just kind of, I don’t know, I just looked at how Salesforce has changed my life. I talked earlier on here about my work-life balance. Again, I feel like there’s a big thing about not having this stereotypical background, which I think is key. People just think, “Oh, I don’t have a computer science degree, oh I’ve never done any programming. I don’t know HTML,” or, “I’ve never done this,” or, “I’ve never done that, so I can’t touch it.”  

Lee: Yes, definitely. 

David: I just want to drive through to people that, “Do you know what? You don’t have to be. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed by no stretch of the imagination, but I can learn it.” Other people can learn it, it’s just a lot of it is just about perseverance. It’s going through when it gets tough. The idea of me giving back was to make it easier for people to learn. Even though I have wittered on a bit tonight, you’ve probably gathered I’m very much a straight-to-the-point kind of guy. I’m not one for filler and fluff and talking around a topic, I’ll just get straight to the point of it. 

Lee: And really passionate about it and that comes across in bundles. I know I’ve said the website a couple of times, but is there anywhere else people can find you, is davejmassey.com the main place to go and have a look? 

David: Well, the website, I’m just redeveloping the website at the moment because again, that was almost– To begin with, it was a little bit of an experiment just to see if people were interested and then people got interested and I had a load of messages. LinkedIn is where I spend most of my time, to be honest with you. If people want to get in touch with me, just find me on LinkedIn. That’s the easiest place to find me. 

Lee: You’re David Massey on there. 

David: Yes, I am, yes. 

Lee: Obviously this will go out and we’ll add you in it so cool, okay. 

David: Yes, David Massey, I think my handle or whatever you call is just SFDaveMass so it’s quite easy to remember. 

Lee: Pretty cool, pretty cool. 

David: Reach out to me on that, I’m not sure if you’ve seen but I’ve done a couple of courses over the last couple of months as well, which are on Udemy. Again, if you go to my LinkedIn profile, you drop me a message, I can send you the link, which gives like a discount to it. The reason behind them again as well was when I learn stuff I need it clear and straight to the point, I’ll lose interest– If someone spends an hour to tell me something that they could have told me in five minutes, I’m gone. My head’s away with the fairies where- 

Lee: Yes, at that high level. 

David: -I’m daydreaming about my tea or whatever. Do you know what I mean? 

Lee: Yes, absolutely. 

David: That was kind of what I did with mine and again, I used a tagline; “clear, concise, and straight to the point” because that’s exactly what it is. It’s no filter, it’s no fluff, it’s like, “This is the feature, this is what it does., this is how you set it up. Then these are the limitations,” that’s all you need to know. That’s all you need to know; you don’t need to go into a big spiel about anything like that. People just want to know what it is, how it works, and why it shouldn’t be used for. That’s just how I teach it. I’m constantly adding stuff to it. 

Again, when I did the admin course, it’s the first thing I did, I used literally just the MacBook microphone and the camera. The quality isn’t the best so I’ve invested in better equipment now so now they sound better. I’m going to be reshooting those videos. 

Lee: Now, that’s good but I think that if your content’s engaging and I think you said this earlier on, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it comes across. It’s like this podcast, we’ve had a couple of little glitches here and there but people will be able to hear in your voice what you’re passionate about, what you’re doing. You’re willing to help people out, you’re paying it forward in a way that– I’ve forgotten, did you say his name is Johan? In Germany,- 

David: Yes, Johan Berman. 

Lee: I would advise anyone listening to this to check out davejmassey.com when the website’s back up or whenever you’re ready to have a look or certainly on LinkedIn. 

David: It’s up and running, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the background, where I’m just writing a load of new content. When I launched that, the idea was just to help people really understand that it can be done and the process behind it because again, I have a very structured way to learning and it works for me, it really, really works for me. A lot of people are quite taken aback by some of the really simple things that work. 

For example, I study in short bursts, I can’t study for an hour or two hours, just doesn’t work for me, my brain switches off. 20 minutes, 25 minutes, set my topic, what I’m going to learn or what I’m going to start, go for it. My timer goes off, ping, I go get myself a brew, I go for a walk for 5 minutes, come back, back at it. I’ll do those four or five times so I get like a time blocking to do it that way where I’m constantly fresh, which makes a big difference. It’s like when I take kids to football or take my daughter to ballet, and I’m waiting outside to pick her up. If I go early and I’ve got 10 minutes, I’ll just do a bit of studying then. It’s little things like that. 

Again, sometimes people think it’s tougher than it is. I’m not saying it’s easy, Salesforce isn’t easy, but it is doable, and it’s achievable to the vast majority of people, it’s just a case of figure out what works for you, figure out your learning style. For me, I’m very much like writing. While I’m a big picture thinker, I need to be able to read a block of text, highlight what’s the key bit of it, then I take that information, write my own notes. Then once I’ve got my own notes, then I’ll turn it into a diagram, so I can see it that way. That works really well for me, whereas I know some people who swear by like Udemy and swear by YouTube because they can follow along and they can see it, then that’s better for them so it’s finding the right learning style. 

Lee: Yes, finding the right learning style. Half the battle is figuring out what yours is– 

David: Yes, that’s true, that. 

Lee: Probably one of the reasons I didn’t get a degree because a lot of it was the thought of sitting there and listening to some stuffy old fella just talking for an hour and a half, I would never have paid attention. I’m well aware we’ve gone over. I say this in every podcast, I don’t know why I do it. We’re always over an hour. What does the future hold then for you? Obviously, I’m not after you saying you’re leaving or anything like that. Where did you see this going, this whole Salesforce career? If you don’t have a plan, then, even more exciting sometimes. 

David: I genuinely don’t really have a plan at the moment. It’s still all a bit of a whirlwind for me. This time two years ago, I think I was only just learning what a lookup relationship was or something like that. It’s crazy in two years. I don’t know where I’ll be in another two years. For me, my big thing is I just want to open up the ecosystem to other people. There’s so many people out there who are like me, who don’t think they have the ability, don’t fit any kind of stereotypical, “Oh, I can become an IT consultant.” Often, they’ll probably get looked down upon because if people don’t– 

Again, this is– see where you’re quite different and a couple of other recruiters I’ve spoken to is you actually know what you’re talking about. Whereas, as you probably know, for some of the bigger recruiters, it’s like a revolving door, isn’t it? A recruiter comes in, young person who’s not really got much experience, who was probably a lifeguard or something beforehand, comes in and is suddenly expected to know everything and they’re not going to know. They’re probably not going to get the time to realize that transferable skills are the key things, you can learn technical skills whereas your transferable skills are– 

That’s just what I want to highlight to people is that even if you don’t think you’ve got the skills to do it, I bet you, I bet you, you do. No matter what you’ve done, I bet there are some transferable skills there. People are, “Oh well, I’ve worked in a customer service center for 10 years answering the phone.” Good, you know how to speak to customers, you know how to deal with irate customers, you know how to handle people, that’s brilliant. “Oh well, I’ve worked in a sales line for 10 years.” Good, you know how to sell, you know how the sales process works. Whatever it is you’ve done, you can move it across. “Oh, I’ve been a teacher for 10 years.” Brilliant, you’ll be absolutely fantastic as a trainer, won’t you? There’s so many– 

Lee: The .org world would probably snap you up. 

David: Exactly. 

Lee: Yes, you’re right. The beauty of Salesforce is even though it was set up to be for the sales side of things, it’s grown into- 

David: Massively. 

Lee: -I think someone mentioned the other day, this moldable ball of clay for just about any industry, whatever industry, anything you can think of. If you’ve got an experience and I suppose a lot of people maybe have just come out of the hospitality industry thinking, “What do I do myself now?” They might know that industry inside and out. From every corner of that business, they know what the pain points are. Go and learn Salesforce and then go and build an org for that industry and you’ve probably got an app ready to go. 

David: You can go as far as like, “Oh, I’ve been working in manufacturing, I’ve been a welder,” or, “I’ve been a line engineer,” or, “a line worker for 10 years.” Well, you’ve got manufacturing knowledge and skills. Do you know how rare that is? Do you know how difficult it is to find people who understand that process? That’s an incredible skill to have. 

Lee: It looks like Salesforce are going to go and hire people from industry and train them on Salesforce rather than fresh out of uni, don’t really have any life experiences, and give them a few certs and they rock up and tell people what to do with their systems. I think hopefully that’s the way it’s going as we’re trying to drag those people in from those industries and point them at your website. 

David: Totally. 

Lee: Ideally. That’ll be good, wouldn’t it? 

David: Yes. 

Lee: I massively appreciate your time. Obviously, first time we’ve spoken. 

David: It is, yes. 

Lee: I’m looking forward to stalking you on LinkedIn and just seeing what happens. 

David: Yes, definitely. Feel free. 

Lee: Cheers. Dave, unless you have anything else you want to say, mate, I want to you just thank you for your time. Obviously, we’ll all watch you with interest. Thanks very much for joining us. 

David: Yes. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for having me, Lee. It’s been good to speak. I might have gone off on a couple of tangents but I hope it’s been useful for people.  

Lee: Absolutely, I’ve written loads of notes. I’m very similar to you, I have to write stuff down. I’ve got loads of stuff here. Yes, I think it’s been brilliant. Thanks very much for your time and we’ll all watch you with interest. 

David: Perfect. Thanks for having me and have a good one. 

Lee: Cheers, mate. 


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2022-09-22T21:06:35+00:00 Career, Podcast|