My career journey: from barista to Salesforce Consultant & Rising Star

After recently becoming a finalist in the Cloud Professional of the Year category of the Computing Rising Star Awards, we caught up with UK-based Revol Adam Lawrence to talk career progression, current projects, and his former life as a barista.

Hi Adam! Thanks for sitting down with us. Could you tell us a bit about your background and your career path so far?

Sure. When I first joined Revolent in 2018, I was working as a barista for a well-known coffee shop chain. I had previously worked in IT as a project manager in a development house and had experience using marketing software.  That came after studying Business Management at the University of Winchester.

How did Revolent help in terms of building your career in the cloud?

Since starting with Revolent, I’ve become a certified Salesforce professional and have worked with five different companies. My first client placement was before my training had even finished, and I’ve enjoyed gaining experience across a multitude of industries, from food and beverages to events, media and now construction.

It has set me up very nicely, and I haven’t really had any downtime, I’ve always moved from client to client. That’s really built up my experience and I’m becoming more and more confident every day. I tell my colleagues all the time that once you start to build that confidence, there aren’t many things you feel you can’t do. I can’t quite believe it sometimes – two years ago I was making someone’s coffee!

What can you tell us about the project you’re currently working on?

I’m currently working with one of Revolent’s clients who operate in the construction sector. The  particular division I am in is still fairly new, and the decision was made late last year to migrate their operations to Salesforce. Up until that point they had been using Microsoft Excel to track all of their deals and compliance regulations. Phase one was deployed in July. I was part of that from start to finish, and we have very recently deployed phase two of the project.

Need to find Salesforce talent like Adam? 

Excellent. What platforms are you currently working on?

I work on the Sales Cloud part of Salesforce, but I’m also the main consultant for Pardot. Even though we have roles assigned to us that fit our expertise, it isn’t always strictly rigid like that – sometimes you’re asked to help out elsewhere and I always put myself forward because that is how you learn and grow.

There are often areas where you might not have any direct experience, but I’ve always been willing to give things a go and learn something that I might be able to take to another client further down the line.     

How have you found the Revolent model and the way it’s used by clients?

It’s very unique, and in the case of my current placement it’s been a bit of a boon. It’s extremely hard to find technical expertise in a very niche industry – more so for end-users – because often consultancies tend to hoard more experienced individuals.

But they’ve hired four of us in total here, and we’ve been generating a lot of value for the company. We’ve made sure things have been delivered on time, provided expertise on a day-to-day level and been able to make a very tangible contribution.

What can you tell us about the project you’re currently working on?

From our perspective, being on placement means we have learned and continue to learn a lot from the seasoned professionals and permanent staffers who work for the client. They have more time to deal with things now that they have a lot more resource to rely on. That’s another of Revolent’s great strengths.

In the past, a senior Salesforce Architect would constantly be on call – even when they were on holiday – because of issues that no-one else was qualified to fix. That’s not the case anymore. Companies can often find themselves in chaotic situations, but Revolent can help to stabilise those firms and help to grow their systems as and when it’s needed.

How much has this placement helped you in terms of experience?

It’s been incredibly hands-on since the day I started. Because I’m working as more of a consultant, I get to practice all of the aspects that come with that, such as configuring, being able to manage clients, relationships and, of course, expectations, as well as testing and assisting with training. I’ve also been writing and running code, even though I’m not a developer.

I didn’t have a very technical background to begin with. I was always interested in technology, but had considered it as more of a hobby. I’d done internships for app development companies, mainly to see if it was something I wanted to pursue as a career.

You were recently shortlisted for a Rising Star award. You must be incredibly proud of how far you’ve come in such a short period of time!

To be considered among some of the industry’s top talent is very humbling – especially for someone like me, who hasn’t had any formal training outside of Revolent. One of the nominees, who is from Japan, built an AI system for a pharmaceutical company, so to be thought of alongside someone that skilled is incredible.

It very much validates some of the things that I hoped I would prove when I started. To come out at the other end and be nominated for an award hopefully means I have proven myself and have a right to be here.

It’s no secret that I didn’t have that much experience when I first started, but over time people started listening to me, and I’m now part of meetings with senior stakeholders, CEOs and directors where I’ve become the kind of ‘voice of Salesforce’.

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