Today I became a Salesforce MVP. I was not fully aware until my phone didn’t stop buzzing because my twitter feed started exploding 😉
I’m super thrilled with that honor, in fact, I’m still not sure I fully understand how I deserved it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be 😉 and hopefully for many years to come!
What is a Salesforce MVP?
For those who don’t know what the MVP Program is and why it’s such an honor to be recognized and accepted in the program, let’s start by explaining what it is:
According to Salesforce, the MVP Program recognizes exceptional individuals within the Salesforce community for their leadership, knowledge, and ongoing contributions to the community. They embody and represent what the spirit of the community is all about by being accessible & responsive while sharing their expertise and knowledge about the ecosystem. MVPs are also leaders in the community and brand advocates for Salesforce as well as the community.
Reading that I think you can realize how very honored and excited I am to even be nominated and accepted.
How Salesforce MVPs Help
I know a lot of MVPs have helped in numerous ways over the past few years either on a personal level as on a professional level:
- Giving me great advice
- Providing me with solutions to common day-to-day salesforce problems
- Creating complex formula’s (SteveMo Formula Guru)
- Motivating me to try harder and not give up if I am looking at a specific problem for hours. Yes, that still happens 😉
- Pushing me to speak at events
- Providing me with best practices
- Just showing me they care
- Learning me to code (yes you did David Liu!!) Thank YOU!
From Callcenter agent to Salesforce MVP
In my professional career, there is one thing that has always been particularly special and valuable to me: the mentorship that I’ve received. People in the community take time out of their busy schedules to help me not only be a better professional but a better person all around. Good advice and empathy are a priceless gift that I’ve been fortunate enough to receive. Therefore, I’m going to work hard to put my energy into the MVP Program, so that I can hopefully help some others in a similar way.
But of course, I couldn’t be where I am right now in my career, heck I wouldn’t even have heard of Salesforce, without the help of some really special people, dear to my heart! And I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.
First and foremost 2 great people managers that managed me for several years when I just came out of school and started as a call center agent at Orange. They saw great potential in me and gave me lots of opportunities during the first 11 years of my career: Isabelle De Brock & Mario Renneboogh. They have supported me being more assertive, give feedback, learn to coach, train and motivate people!
It’s also thanks to Isabelle, who after leaving and starting a new career at a Waste Management company on the verge of implementing a new CRM, that I learned to know about Salesforce. In 2009 Salesforce was chosen as the new CRM application at Van Gansewinkel (now Renewi) and she persuaded me to resign and come to work for her and wanted me to become a Salesforce Key-User and Trainer during the implementation. After careful consideration, I grabbed that opportunity and I never regretted it!
I participated in the implementation, saw the power of the platform, wanted that business users loved their new tool and I started to learn, learn, learn. For several years I trained, coached and supported 700 users while bringing in new ideas to the implementation team. Until, in 2013, a Flemish law in Waste Management changed and we needed to inform 50K customers and have them sign a new contract. We had no resources nor capacity, nor were our systems ready to do this on a short term, so my management came to me asking to design a solution that met the following requirements:
- It needed to happen within 3 months
- Fully automatic
- As less work for internal employees as possible
- Reach the 50K customers and inform them
- Use that as an opportunity to extend their contract
- Use it as the opportunity to upsell
- Oh yeah and our internal Salesforce team and Project team has no resources available for the moment
I designed a self-service portal on Force.com integrating with our ERP to show our customers their current services, the missing services, introduced them to the new law and made use of the opportunity to sell them those missing services for a bargain and/or extend their contract. Hiring an external implementation partner to build it and making use of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Nintex Document Generation, and Docusign this could all happen with just sending a bulk emailing to our existing customers, and behind the scenes, everything was created in Salesforce. The contact was updated, the opportunity with products and new services logged, the signed contract was captured and activated and a case was created to our back office to handle the order. This project was a huge success! Such a success, that they presented it at Dreamforce in 2012. Shortly after I was asked to join the internal Salesforce Change Team and become a fulltime Salesforce Business Consultant & Admin.
This project changed my life around because now I was sitting behind the buttons and could actually push them 😉
I worked closely with my colleague who setup our Salesforce environment from the beginning and he actually became my mentor. Rene Te Poel, a big thank you for sharing everything you new about Salesforce and giving me your support and guidance! We made fantastic stuff and we all had to thank Frank Salens our Head of Change, who from the beginning saw what Salesforce could do and always wanted to be one step before the competition! You weren’t shy to try out new Salesforce features at all, giving me the opportunity to learn to know them and use them ranging from Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Nintex, Docusign, MapAnything, Communities, Live Chat, Service Console, custom apps, appexchange apps, you name it,… Van Gansewinkel had it!
This was the time I really fell in love with the power of the platform!
As an admin who needed to learn everything, the community was my go-to place to search for solutions and luckily there were lots of people eager to help and a lot of them were Salesforce MVPs!
There were a couple of things I missed at that time, face to face contact with experts, discussing with like-minded people, sharing common problems and discussing possible solutions and just learn more about Salesforce!
Getting involved the Salesforce Community
In the online community, I was getting answers and help and I heard a lot about User Groups in America, but there wasn’t one in Belgium. I missed that, really missed that! And weirdly enough I think somebody read my mind or it was telepathy but only a few days later the Belgium User Group was created by Samuel De Rycke (MVP) & Matthew Schutz. Of course, I immediately subscribed and on a rainy December evening, 2015 5 people were sitting at a table in a pub discussing what we wanted to get out of meetings about Salesforce in Belgium. Matthew was London based and wanted somebody to help Samuel in leading this newly created User Group and I accepted. For the past 3 years now our User Group has grown to an average attendance of 50 people, meeting every 2 months sharing their experiences, discussing new features, going through release notes, doing Trailhead exercises, having fun!
Meanwhile, more User Groups have been created in the BeNeLux by AWESOME and PASSIONATE people like Sergey Erlikh, Rob Van Waveren, Pattrick Ittah, Martijn Schwätzer, Hans Post, Ayako Sawada, Jesse Hoosemans, Sjoerd Woltjer, Erik Van den Hurk, Cornel van der Heiden, Bhavna Bahnoda, Giorgio Vinci, Paul Ginsberg, Andre Van Kampen, Lianne Aurik, Ruben Schuring, Thomas Cherlet, Julie Minners, Kevin Jackson, Nathalia Medvedeva and Michaël De Feyter! Be sure to join them all at www.beneluxusergroups.com to stay up-to-date on the next events!
And keep an eye out on social media when we open registrations for our new Community Lead Dreaming Event called “YeurDreamin“, that will take place for the first time in April 2019!!!
After 3 years as an admin & developer at Van Gansewinkel I joined a consulting firm with values that are completely aligned with what I value most, 4C (Platinum Partner). This gives me the possibility to be surrounded by experts, learn from them, share my knowledge with them & help different customers get the most out of Salesforce on a day-to-day basis! I really want to thank my 4C Family for letting me in and coping with my loud voice 😉 They provide me with all the support I need to become better at my job, but also to give back to the Salesforce TrailBlazer Community by hosting User group events, letting me spend time to organize them and contribute in several ways, spread my passion, learn more, network and go to Dreamforce to meet all those awesome people!
Being so passionate about Salesforce my colleagues even think I’m a walking Salesforce billboard because I have more Salesforce branded clothes than normal clothes! And I actually ware them 😉 but hey I’m not sleeping with the mascots yet, so I’m not complete freak yet 😉
But man,… MVP…, who would have ever imagined I would become part of that AWESOME group of people! I hope to be able to help lots of others in the same way they have all helped me (and hopefully keep helping me) in the future! I will certainly give it my all!
I wonder what the future will bring.
Again thank you all for your support, for your nomination and being my friends! What a wonderful year this will be.