We’re Speaking at Dreamforce!

Critics who viewed our sessions at Forcelandia called them “Hilarious!” “Informative!” “The best!” If you’re coming to the big event, don’t miss out!

Flow Basics for Nonprofit Admins 

Wednesday, 12pm Westin St. Francis with Salesforce.org staff Jessie Rymph

jessie headshot

Flow is a powerful automation tool that walks users through screens, updates multiple objects at once, and reaches distantly related records all with clicks-not-code. By learning Flow, nonprofits can surpass the limitations of Process Builder and harness the power of code without actually having a developer on staff. In this session, we’ll demystify record variables, “get records”, and other elements that are often unfamiliar to non-coders. Participants will walk away with an understanding of the *why* behind each step in the flow creation process!

One Process to Rule Them All

Thursday, 11:30am Moscone West with MVP Maya Peterson

maya

One process to rule them all, one process to find them, one process to bring them all and in the invocation bind them. As a best practice Salesforce now recommends restricting your org to one record-change process per object. Truly a tool of great power. In this session you’ll learn tricks to manage process criteria nodes using Custom Metadata Types, Custom Settings, and Custom Permissions. No harrowing trip to Mount Doom required.

Salesforce Implementation Recommendations

A retrospective…

Almost 4 years ago, I started a new job as the company’s Salesforce Admin. When I joined, they were on their 5th year with Salesforce. I soon learned that inheriting a Salesforce instance has its benefits…and its challenges.

I often found myself wondering, “If we could start over and implement a new instance of Salesforce, what would we do differently?” I’d note down observations I had when things went well and especially when they didn’t. Over time, my list grew (and was repeatedly validated).

The goal behind the below recommendations is to make life easier as an Admin. While some recommendations may take more time to execute, in the long run, it will make your job and the job of anyone joining your team a whole lot easier.

  • Focus on data quality. Decide early on the information you require in order for a Lead, Account, Contact, Opportunity to be created. With Leads and Contacts, I cannot stress enough the importance of a complete company name and contact name with either phone number or email and state or country. Company websites are super helpful, but you can create a custom formula field to extrapolate this info from the email address.
  • On the topic of data quality, have a data management strategy to moderate and maintain clean data over time. For example, we had a report on reports not run in the last 6 months. We’d notify users that we are deleting reports and remind them to run the report if they didn’t want it deleted. 
  • Use that Description field. Every time you create a custom field, report, dashboard, workflow rule, etc., make sure you fill out the Description. My recommendation is to include why it was created (especially if it was requested by a specific person or team, include that). This information is super helpful down the road when trying to figure out why you have this or that and what you need to keep or can delete.
  • When creating custom fields, be careful about the field type. Multi select picklists are difficult to report on. With picklists, select the option to “restrict the options to picklist values” and if you do offer an “other” option, create a dependent text field to capture that info. Also, if you plan to use in-line editing in list views, be aware that certain field types aren’t supported (long text area, rich text, checkbox, etc).
  • Turn on Field History Tracking. You can select certain fields to track on each object. Best practice is to track ownership fields, fields important for compliance, and anything that impacts a business decision, such as who owns this record. The field history is shown in the object’s Field History related list.
  • Have minimal page layouts. When you add a new field or a new app, you have to then add it to the proper section on each page layout, which can be very time consuming. Multiple profiles can share the same page layout, and you can control visibility on a profile by profile level. If you want to hide a field, make it no longer visible in in the Field-Level Security.
  • Utilize Record Types. If you have different business processes for a Lead/Account/Opportunity, than consider having different record types for each object. You can set up unique picklist values, sales processes and page layouts for each record type. If you have a sales team going after Enterprise accounts and another going after SBM, consider leveraging record types.
  • Create a custom field to indicate what type of deal the Opportunity represents. Is it New Business versus an Upsell versus a Renewal, etc.? I have often leveraged this field when creating validation rules, workflows, process builders, etc. Also consider automating the naming of new Opportunities. We chose to standardize Opportunity names in this format: Country – Company – Record Type – Opportunity Type – Year.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. This list wasn’t intended to be exhaustive as these are recommendations based on my specific observations over the past couple years. There are many excellent posts of Salesforce best practices, and I encourage you to check those out too.

How to Include an Unsubscribe Link, Revised

Revision notes

I have revised this one to submit for security review with the AppExchange. With security improvements to Sites in Winter ’20, I’ll need to add additional improvements very soon.

Now includes Leads as well as Contacts. Includes Custom Metadata instead of hardcoding emails in the Flow.

Allow Recipients to Unsubscribe from All Emails

Follow this tutorial to include an unsubscribe link in promotional emails sent from Salesforce. This post gives you some reasons for considering this feature.

When the recipient clicks to unsubscribe, a flow will look for all contacts and leads who have this as their preferred email address (if you’re in NPSP) or in the Email field. All contacts or leads who meet that requirement will be marked “Email Opt Out.”  The email address owner will receive one confirmation email immediately.

Please try this in your sandbox or a Trailhead playground first! I cannot figure out how to test it in a developer edition! Continue reading →

Winter ’20 Flow Improvements & Disappointments

Oh man…so much good stuff in the new release. And a real bummer.

Add a lookup component in Flow

I’m really disappointed about this. I was confusing “lookup” with “search.” I want to search for any record I want and get a list returned. Nope. I can search using any lookup field I already have. This is good, but not quite what I was thinking.

RIP Bailey Bones, my beloved companion of 14 years.

Unsatisfying use case : A dog turned in at the animal shelter has a microchip number (text field) which I want to use to search for potentially matching dogs. I want to look up a dog in my flow then process their intake at the shelter.

  • Possible solution: I could do this if I had the microchip number in the name of animal, like Bailey 238392, and I looked it up to the animal record from say, an adoption record. It has to already be a lookup field.

Satisfying use case: Let’s say I am processing an animal record for adoption. From the animal’s record, I can lookup the Contact record of the person who is adopting the animal as part of my animal adoption flow.

Note: you can do a work around for this kind of search. Thanks Jenwlee.

Continue reading →

Was it worth my time to automate that? On the AppExchange!

Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest in my June 5, 2019 post “Was it worth my time to automate that?” The solution is now available on the AppExchange from Salesforce Labs! Check it out!

Have you ever wondered:

  • How much time am I saving with this automation?
  • How many times has this process ever fired?
  • Was the time I spent building this thing worth the investment?
  • Are the people who requested this automation actually using it? If not, who is?

Continue reading →

My First Time at Forcelandia: A New Admin’s Account

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend my very first Forcelandia. This was the fifth year for the event, and it was also the first year it was sold out. I must admit, I was pretty pumped. Not only was this the first Salesforce-related conference I was attending, but I was excited to get a glimpse at the developer side of the Salesforce landscape. I may have played ACDC’s “Thunderstruck” a few times on the way down, you know, just to get in the mood.

Forcelandia is a conference that may appear intimidating at first glance to the new Salesforce admin, as it is mostly tailored to the developer. Having attended though, I can say I got tremendous value out of the experience as a newbie. Below are some of my takeaways:

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Intro to Flow at Forcelandia

At Forcelandia this year, I explained why we have to “get records” and why we use record variables with this analogy of ordering at a coffee shop with a robot.

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3 Tips for Troubleshooting (And Staying Calm While Doing It) as a New Salesforce Admin

The experience of becoming a Salesforce Administrator can be a whirlwind of new information, building relationships with your fellow administrators and most of all, trying to develop a thorough understanding of the Salesforce stratosphere so you can best serve your user base. As someone who has essentially learned Salesforce Administration backwards (I received the title of Salesforce Admin, then scrambled to learn how it works), I can vouch for having encountered some white-knuckled, fist-clenching troubleshooting challenges. At first, I allowed myself to succumb to my frustration. After all, how could I not have all the answers? However, in my short time as a Salesforce Admin, I have discovered that not only am I not alone, but there are a ton of resources at my finger tips to help me as I navigate through my learning. Throughout my experience, I have picked up 3 tips that have been essential to my process:

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Was it worth my time to automate that?

UPDATE 9/9: Now on the AppExchange! Click here to see the listing.

UPDATE 6/13: Thank you everyone for your interest in this solution! I am working on adding it to the AppExchange through Salesforce labs!

At TrailheaDX I ran around like a bird for a video with Einstein and Astro. I also facilitated a lively Circle of Success (small group conversation) on Process Automation. Everyone shared their best practices, asked questions and learned from each other. The admins’ orgs ranged from a 10-free-licenses nonprofit to a giant health insurance company, and years of experience from 0 to 10 (not me! I’m at 8, I think).

One guy (and I’m so sorry I don’t have his name) asked:

“Is there any way to track how often your automation fires?”

That got us thinking. What if you could find out:

  • How much time am I saving with this automation?
  • How many times has this process ever fired?
  • Was the time I spent building this thing worth the investment?

Continue reading →