Friday, December 5, 2014

Tackling Homelessness with SalesForce and a Consumer App

With a platform as large as SalesForce, there are bound to be interesting use cases.  However, once of the more interesting ones I have heard is about HomelessLink.  They help people who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless, in the UK.

Where I think they are brilliant in their use of SalesForce is around using the Service Console to manage "cases" coming in of homeless.  This could be from someone calling their call centre, or using their Street Link website, or even their iPhone App.

From the above sources, they are able to go out and meet homeless people and potentially help them. Furthermore, because this is all in a CRM, they could easily make maps of where homeless areas are to ensure other government programs are applied to the area.  Or, they could even easily report on homeless they have helped for funding considerations.

While there are many ways to use SalesForce, this is one that helps those who are really less fortunate and may have never heard of SalesForce!  But, because of the SalesForce Foundation, they are being help!  You can see all the details from the case study.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DreamForce 2 You in London

So, for those of us living in Europe, a "quick trip" to San Francisco for DreamForce is actually quite the commitment.  It involves an 8+ hour plane trip, as well as some "wicked" jet lag!  So, it seems SalesForce has grown wise to this and has a new seminar/event called "DreamForce 2 You".

While they don't bring all the big artists (like Bruno Mars this year at DreamForce) or Marc Bennioff, at least not this year, they do bring many of the customer stories and high level demos of the topics discussed at DreamForce this year!

It was a great way to learn more about some of the big DreamForce announcements, including:

  • SalesForce Lightning - The new way you can build mobile apps, on the fly, for SalesForce1
  • SalesForce Wave - The new way to "visualize" data and make the reports, and the ability to drill into it (PS - Did you know that 90% of the world's data was created in the last 2 years!)
  • How Coca-Cola is using SalesForce Lightning
While the event isn't a DreamForce in any way, it does provide the ability to network and meeting like minded professionals which is one of the big events of going to SalesForce.  If you want to see the "actual DreamForce announcements" you can just follow the SalesForce Youtube Channel!  So keep your eyes out for a DreamForce 2 You event in the future!  Even if you went to DreamForce, it lets you re-create that energy you had for those few days in San Francisco!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Think about the End User

With SalesForce, it is very easy to create great systems using their declarative. interface.  And of course if the custom fields and page layouts don’t work meet your needs you have other options like Apex and VisualForce.  All of these let you create a system and interface that is customized to your business.  

However, something we don’t often keep in mind is the end user.  We have to keep the end user and their needs, and ease of use in mind.  Without that focus, you can end up creating systems in SalesForce, or any system, that don’t really make the end user’s life any easier.  It should always be a primary concern and focus to ensure that the system you have designed is focused on the end user.  Make it simple and easy to use.  And perhaps most important, make sure the technology and system you are implementing save the user’s time.  Otherwise, the adoption will never gain transaction and the investment you have made will not return the benefits you require.

Friday, September 5, 2014

SalesForce Winter 15 Sales Cloud Enhanacements

SalesForce has a number of exciting enhancements coming to the Sales Cloud.  They include the following exciting enhancements:

  • Duplicate Checking - Finally, SalesForce has released Duplicate Checking natively in the system.  No third party applications are needed.  Of course, it still is in Beta and doesn't support Custom Objects, etc. yet.  But, it is still forward moving progress!
  • Convert Leads on SalesForce1 - Sales Reps on the go can now review leads (which they already could do), but also convert them, all on their mobile!
  • Territory and Forecasting Enhancements - In a constant effort to enhance the Territory and Forecasting functionality in SalesForce, many important enhancements coming.  They include a more logic configuration of Territory Management and allowing Forecasting Revenue Splits!
There is many enhancements coming to the Service Cloud too.  We will be posting about them soon!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SalesForce1 Winter Enhancements

The upcoming SalesForce Winter 15 has many exciting enhancements coming to SalesForce1.  They include:

  • SalesForce1 Configuration Wizard (for Administrators) - when you first click on SalesForce1 in the Setup menu (in a regular browser on desktop/laptop) you will be provided a visual workflow of the settings to configure.  Presently you have to navigate across a number of different menus!
  • SalesForce1 List Customization - users can now create or customize existing views (for Leads, Contacts, etc.) on mobile.  This will help decrease the number of views since users won't need to have special views just for mobile.  Users can also now sort the records
  • SalesForce1 Quick Action Toolbar - To make SalesForce1 easier for users there is now a quick action toolbar (see bottom of screenshots below).  This will make it easier for users to perform key actions they need.

Keep watching this blog for more information about the Winter 15 Release

Monday, September 1, 2014

Winter 15 Release Notes Now Available

As an SalesForce Administrator will know, it seems there is always another release around the corner after the last one.

The Winter 15 Release Notes and Promotional Materials are now available!

Some of the big exciting new features coming include:

  • SalesForce1 Mobile Action Bar
  • Ability to Convert Leads on SalesForce1
  • Preventing Duplicates on SalesForce1 and Sales/Service Clouds when entering records
  • Viewing System Status in the SalesForceA app
  • Much More!
We will be posting individual details about the above in the weeks to come to help you prepare for Winter 15!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Difference between Email and Username in SalesForce

In SalesForce, when you are creating a user, you have likely noticed that there are two fields: User Name and Email that most people always enter the same thing in both.

However, do you know why there are two different fields for what seems to be the same thing?  Well, here is the answer!

In the Email field, you can specify the email address that any system notifications should go to.  This means, anything triggered by Workflow Rules, Email Templates, etc.

In the User Name field, you can specify the "user name" that users use when logging in at

So, why would you ever have different addresses in each?  Well, for example, if you have a user who has left the organization and you need someone else to get their notifications, you could change that (original) user's email address field to the new employee.  Or, if you already have a SalesForce logon with a said email address, but want to have another SalesForce logon, you could use the same email address for both but a different user name for each.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Uses of Validation Rules

A feature of SalesForce that is well developed, but not always used extensively by customers, is Validation Rules!

Validation Rules, at their simplest, allow you to enforce data quality rules.  That means that you can ensure that certain fields are filled out (when another field is filled out) or the format of the data is in the format you want.  Here are some samples of how you could use Validation Rules:

  • Disable Users with certain profiles from editing a record when certain values are chosen on a record.
  • Force Users to enter a value in a field when a certain field is populated.  This is different then making a field a required field in the page layout since you can choose with a validation rule, to only have the field required if a different field is chosen.
  • Force Users to enter data in pre-defined formats
  • Force Users to enter data of a certain length
  • Force Dates entered to be in the future, or in the past specifically
There is a whole number of things you can do with Validation Rules!  You can learn more about Validation Rules from the SalesForce Help Documentation

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ways To Keep Your SalesForce Instance Secure

Many organizations/company's have a set it and forget it mentality when it comes to security in systems.  They often set the security permissions based on the functionality available in a system at the time (of implementation) and then forget it!

Well, as we all know, that isn't a good practice as new ways to "hack" are always evolving.  

So, I thought it was a good time to review some of the ways you can keep your SalesForce Instance secure.   They include:

  • Password Policies (located under Setup>Security Controls>Password Policies) - within this section you can set how long a user's password works for before it should be changed.  For example you could force a password change every 30 days.  This is useful to ensure user's are constantly updating their passwords, and by proxy, ensuring that old computer's they may have used don't continue to have login access
  • Session Settings (located under Setup>Security Controls>Session Settings) - within this section you can set how long a user's logon works for after logging in.  For example, should they have to re-login every 2 hours to prove they are still using SalesForce
  • Network Access (located under Setup>Security Controls>Network) - within this section you can specify if only certain IP address ranges can login.  For example, you could make it so that only logins from the Office IP addresses work and not one from a user's home.
There is many other ways you can improve your security, but many of them start simply with user education.  Educating the user's why they shouldn't write down their passwords, why they should log off, and why they should be careful what links they click on in emails are some of the most basic, and important steps you can take.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Different Types of File Storage Options

In SalesForce, you have a number of different ways to manage files.  However, do you know which way is the most appropriate way for your needs?   It is pretty simple!

  • SalesForce/Chatter Files
    The SalesForce/Chatter Files, located either when you attach a file in Chatter, or go under Files, is designed to store the files you share internally.  While very similar to the CRM Content, the SalesForce/Chatter Files has the additional ability of allowing for syncing of files between a user's desktop and SalesForce (via SalesForce Files sync)
  • CRM Content
    The CRM Content, located under the Libraries and Content tab, are useful for managing documents where there are frequent changes and sharing.  This would be common for files used for Sales & Marketing collateral.  The CRM Content functionality handles versioning, comments (from users), and sharing with ease.  Files here can be up to 2 GB.
  • Documents
    The Documents, while one of the oldest SalesForce modules, is probably the one most incorrectly used.  It is designed to host images and files that are hosted on your website or in your Community/Customer Portal.  It shouldn't be used for managing files and Sales Collateral.  That's because the size of the documents that can be hosted here are limited to 5MB.
  • Attachments
    Under any record, there is the Notes and Attachments related list.  Any files uploaded under this related list are stored in the Attachments section.  Like Documents, you are limited to 5MB.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy Integrations with Other Systems

Often when a SalesForce Administrator or Business Executive hears the word, "Integration", the dollar symbols start flying and the schedules float into the abysses.

However, it does not always have to be this way.  There are now platforms, like Dell Boomi or Zapier, that allow you to build integrations in a declarative (i.e. point and click) way.   Both charge based on the number of integrations and activities (i.e. amount of data/connections) your business would need.

With the "Point and Click Integration" it is now possible to build an integration between systems in minutes....with no developer needed at all!

An example of some of the integrations you could easily build either of these tools include:

  • Create Contact in Paypal and have them created in SalesForce
  • Take Existing Forms and Input into SalesForce
  • Automatically Add Contacts from SalesForce to MailChimp
  • Automatically Add Contacts from SalesForce to Google Contacts (good to users to have contacts on their mobile phone)

All of the above can be done in a matter of minutes...and simply complex business processes, with ease!

Friday, July 25, 2014

SalesForce1 Dashboard Drill Downs

In the Summer '14 release, a useful feature has made its appearance - mobile dashboard drill downs. 

For those of you familiar with Dashboards in SalesForce, you can click on any element in a dashboard to see the drill down report.  This drill down then shows you the core report details that make up said dashboard chart/numbers.  

Until now, on SalesForce1, you couldn't access those drill downs.  Instead, you had to go back to a computer to access the drill downs.  This is no longer the case.  With SalesForce1 now you can see the drill down the reports.  Unfortunately, you can only see the drill downs if the report in question is a Summary or Tabular report.  If it a Matrix report, unfortunately, you still can't access them in SalesForce1.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Orders Object

In the summer release of SalesForce (i.e. SalesForce Summer 14) a new standard object has been introduced - Orders.  Now, anyone familiar with SalesForce will know that the addition of a Standard Object isn't a common occurrence unless there is some work SalesForce is doing to the "core" to solve common user/admin challenges have.

In this case, SalesForce is trying to give its users a standard way to track the actual orders (either increases/decreases) that have come in from the Sales or Account Mangement team.

Like an SalesForce object, you have the usual customization options available around Fields, Page Layouts, Validation Rules and more.  Additionally, with this new standard object, it already has a direct relationship with the Opportunity and Contracts object.  Unfortunately, neither of these objects can automatically create an order (you still need a developer to help with this).

Essentially, with the Orders object, SalesForce has set it up so that the requests come in (by way of an Opportunity or Contract), are then approved/rejected (by your services team) and then completed.  As a result, out of the box, they have an Orders status and Approval process embedded with this object.

While this new standard object is useful, for some smaller organizations, the tracking of both an Order, and the Opportunity, could result in more work.  However, it does introduce the ability to have better historic reporting for auditing on who authorized certain upgrades/downgrades to client.

To read about all the options you can setup you can review the SalesForce Orders Object help page.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Want to Continuously Learn about SalesForce?

Are you someone who likes to continually learn?  If so, SalesForce has a great Success Community that can help you continuously learn!

At you can see questions posted by fellow users.  For the ones where you know the answer, you can contribute to the answers.  But, for questions you don't, you can see answers provided by other users in the community!  This provides a great way to learn more about the system, and possible use cases, daily.  And best of all it doesn't cost you anything!

Furthermore, if you contribute to the Success Community frequently then you could potentially become a SalesForce MVP which includes great swag and meet-ups!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Scheduling SalesForce Reports and Dashboards

Many administrators, and users, don't know that you can automate the sending of reports and dashboards to user groups.

And best of all, this is all available using SalesForce out of the box.  

To set this up, you first need to make a report.  From there, when you click on 'Run Report', you can click on 'Schedule Future Runs'.  From there, you can then schedule the report to go out automatically to users at a pre-defined timeframe.

The same can be done for Dashboards.  This option is available after you have built a dashboard.  From there, you have to choose 'Schedule Refresh' when you are in the dashboard.

Now, for both of these options, it is important to keep in mind that when you schedule a dashboard or report like that, it shows the records accessible to who scheduled the dashboard.  That means you could send a scheduled report/dashboard and show records other users may not have access to.  That is important to keep in mind.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Receiving a SalesForce Certification offers a fairly comprehensive certification program.  This program helps administrators, developers and architects of SalesForce systems become recognized for their skills.  These certifications are very beneficial, especially when you are thinking of changing jobs or starting your own "SalesForce Consulting Firm".  That is because they are consistent and recognized world-wide.

I personally have done four of the seven certifications available.  I have done the Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Developer and Service Cloud Architect certifications.  There is still the Advanced Developer, Sales Cloud Architect, and Technical Architect certifications.  

With any of these certifications, I found I learned a tremendous amount about SalesForce by achieving each certification.  This is because as you are studying for the certification you learn about other features/tools available in SalesForce that your organization may not be using.  

Once you get one of these certifications, with each release, you will have to do a "maintenance exam" with every SalesForce release.   There is basically one maintenance exam for Administrators (and its related certifications including Advanced Administrator and Service Cloud Architect) and one for Developers.  They take about 20 minutes per release to do.

For those of you thinking about doing a certification, I recommend visiting the following sites:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Visit to Heron Tower

I just had the opportunity to visit the offices in London at Heron Tower (scheduled to be renamed to SalesForce Tower in the future). I have to admin I was impressed by their offices. I have been to the offices in Vancouver, Canada but they were nothing compared to these offices in London. They have an amazing view of the city of London. 

I was there to learn more about the Summer '14 release that I will post about soon. 

If you ever get an opportunity to visit a office you should!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tracking Customer Satisfaction

Tracking your customers and their satisfaction is important, especially if you want to upsell customers and retain them for years to come.  With SalesForce you have a tool to help you do this.  

SalesForce gives you a powerful system to manage survey responses and thus, customer satisfaction.  Since SalesForce is a database system fundamentally, you could make a custom object to track customer satisfaction questions.  These could be questions like:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10 how satisfied are you with our services?
  2. Would you recommend us to a friend/co-worker?
From there, you would then have reporting tools (since SalesForce lets you report on custom objects) so all you need is a way to get the data into SalesForce.  This could be done any number of ways including:

  • Having your reps/customer success teams manually entering the data into SalesForce after a call, etc.
  • Having a tool, like Clicktools ( plugged into SalesForce so that you could email them a survey and have their responses go into SalesForce
  • Having a website where customers could give their feedback and have it imported
So there is no reason why you shouldn't be tracking your customers satisfaction scores so that you have a quantitative way of knowing what your customers are thinking. I can help you build any of these if you need!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

SalesForce Two Factor Authentication App

Recently I was playing around in the iOS app store and searched for SalesForce.  I happened to be looking to see what apps were now integrated with SalesForce.  However, in doing so, I found a gem of an app that SalesForce themselves make.

It is called SalesForce#.  This app essentially lets you enable two-factor authentication in your SalesForce org.  For those of you that don't know what two factor authentication is, it is requiring another piece of information from a user (like a code generated from a phone, etc.) in addition to their password to access a service.  This helps reduce the risk of someone hacking a password and being able to access your systems/information.

Now, with SalesForce#, you can set it up so that only specific users, say your Administrators, would have to use it.  What would happen is after they enter their usual SalesForce User Name and Password, they would enter the token ID from their phone app, which looks like this:

From here, you can see that the user is being prompted to enter the code generated by SalesForce#.  So, all the user has to do is open up the SalesForce# app on their phone, get said code, and enter it to complete the logon.  It is a very nice, slick way to enable two factor authentication fully supported by SalesForce.  

This two factor authentication is basically a more enhanced version of the traditonaltext message you get from SalesForce with a verification code.  That verification is only sent once to the user when logging in from a new computer and can't be "reset".  Whereas the use of SalesForce# can be set when they access the Reports Tab in SalesForce and also it can be "removed" on a user, or all users, to force them to have to re-authenticate themselves.  Although not a requirement for many organizations, it is a good tool to have in the toolbox.

To set up SalesForce# all you need to do is first download it from the App Store (iTunes).  From there, you
then have to go to the user's record in SalesForce and click "Add" beside Time Based Token" on their record.  Then, from there, the user will be prompted to log in again, and after doing so, will be shown this screen to add their token to their account:

Screenshot of Where to Enable Two Factor:

Screenshot of User Adding Token to Account:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The First Company To Secure Your Business...

At the recent SalesForce1 World Tour in London, an interesting idea was proposed.  It revolved around the fact when a business secures a new customer, you can often have that customer for life.  However, to do so, the business has to offer something to the market faster or better than a competitor.  As a result of that, customers are often drawn to that company and consider doing business with them.  If that company can keep that constant innovation going, and deliver the customer service needed, they have an amazing opportunity to keep that customer for life.

As a result of this above statement, it is important to remember how a CRM can help you do this.  Between Cases (that allow you to deliver quick customer service), Ideas (where you can track and manage innovation) and Opportunities (where you can track sales data), your CRM can help manage all of this for you and help your business grow.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

SalesForce1 World Tour London

Today I was lucky enough to be in London, UK during the SalesForce1 World Tour. For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to attend a SalesForce1 World Tour, I would liken it best to a 1 Day DreamForce. You still have the traditional keynote, cloud expo and breakout sessions. However they are on a smaller scale than DreamForce. 

At the SalesForce1 World Tour they announced that SalesForce has recently taken over the building naming rights to a tower here. So coming soon is SalesForce Tower. They also announced that a new data centre in the UK is about to come online with additional ones in Germany and France coming online next year. 

There is a SalesForce1 World Tour coming up in Toronto, but none in Vancouver. You can see the complete list here -

If you are lucky enough to be in a city with a SalesForce1 World Tour I recommend attending. It helps educate yourself further with useful breakouts, network with fellow SalesForce users and get you excited again like you were after DreamForce. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Power of Workflows

If you are on Enterprise edition or above, you have access to a powerful feature - workflows.  With workflows, you have the ability to automate key business processes when certain things happen on a record.  For example, you could:

  • Have an email sent to your Contract Administrator when an opportunity is marked as closed by your sales team.
  • Have a task reminder logged for a sales rep when they enter a contact to touch base with that contact again in 3 months.
  • Have a field update made automatically, either immediately or a set timeframe thereafter, when a record is changed.  For example, you could have SalesForce automatically mark opportunities as closed lost if there is no edits on them in 6 months
With workflows you can do so much once you know how to use them effectively.  Furthermore, in the next release, you will have the ability to leverage Flows ( and launch them by way of workflow rules.  The power is endless and all of this doesn't require you to write any code!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

SalesForce Licenses Options

If you are like most organizations, you have some users who need to do anything and everything in SalesForce.  However, you also likely have other users that just need to do a few simple things.  If it happens they need access to your custom objects, but don't need Leads and Opportunities, and just need read-only access to Accounts and Contacts, there is another option.  They are:
  • Light - light is priced at $10/app/user.  This gives them access to:
    • One of your apps
    • SalesForce standard security, profile and permission configuration
    • Analytics like Reporting and Dashboards
    • API access
    • Full read/write access to Activities, Tasks, Calendar, Events, Content, Ideas and Q&A
  • Enterprise - enterprise is priced at $50/app/user.  
    • Same as above, but to any number of your apps
    • Bulk and Streaming API
Both have the regular increases to data storage, file storage and API calls.
These are a great way to save money on your license costs!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

DreamForce Registration

Last year I attended my first DreamForce.  Now that I can see you can register again for DreamForce 14, it seemed fitting to reflect on last year's experience.

DreamForce is a great opportunity to learn more about SalesForce, but also about your fellow users of  The opportunity to network is ever present at DreamForce, especially at the nightly parties.  Of course you can network during the sessions too.

When it comes to the seminars/sessions that you can attend, I strongly recommend attending any sessions related to roadmaps or future plans.  That is because those sessions are often not recorded for future viewing.  Most of the other sessions are all recorded and can be watched after DreamForce.

For anyone who is thinking if they should attend or not, I would recommend the experience without question.  However, if you are going, make sure you book your accommodations now!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Translations within SalesForce

For those of you that haven't discovered, SalesForce has a very comprehensive translation ability to allow you to customize the application to your users and their language.  Unlike some systems where you simply change the language and are stuck with incorrect translations for some words, with SalesForce you can fully customize what translations are used.

This customization of the translations is done through the Translation Workbench.  The Translation Workbench lets you specify languages you want to translate, assign translators to languages, create translations for customizations you’ve made to your Salesforce organization, and override labels and translations from managed packages. Everything from custom picklist values to custom fields can be translated so your global users can use all of Salesforce in their language.

You should definitely check out this feature if you need to do any translations whatsoever, either in the core SalesForce application, or in your Customer Portal/Community.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Implementing State/Country Picklists in SalesForce

SalesForce has been focusing on their past few releases in releasing more "true to the core" functionality.  This functionality is crucial for making the lives of everyone easier that uses SalesForce.  One of those features that was recently released was "State/Country Picklists".  This valuable features ensure that administrators can ensure that the right location data is entered every time - without validation rules to support it!

While the State/Country Picklists are an easy to implement feature there are a number of steps I would recommend following.  They are:

  1. Review the guide Implementing State/Country Picklists by SalesForce
  2. Complete the initial steps mentioned in the above guide up until the point of actually turning it on.
  3. Review the validation rules you presently have enabled for Leads/Accounts/Contacts and modify as appropriate
  4. Review the Web to Lead forms you presently have enabled to ensure the State/Country picklists align to the new SalesForce values
  5. Work with anyone who frequently imports leads/contacts to ensure that they know they now need 2 columns for State and 2 columns for Country.  This means if a lead list is being imported, you have to have one column for the State's full name (e.g. California) and one column for the State's Abbreviation (e.g. CA).  The same holds true for countries
  6. Review the "Known Issues" page (under Help & Training) to ensure there are no surprise issues you will run into.
  7. Turn on this new feature (see guide)
  8. Review the leads/contacts you already have in the system and update any that were missing states/countries.  This is a step most administrators miss.
Other than the above steps this is a fairly easy feature to turn on.  That being said, one thing I learned here was to ensure that you check the "Known Issues" page so you can learn of any potential issues that may arise (but that your testing didn't find).  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Importance of User Groups

I just attended the Vancouver User Group meeting, like usual, and learned something new like usual.  While prior to the meetings it is easy to think they are not valuable because of the time they will take, you need to stop that thinking.  At the user group not only do you meet interesting people with the same "product focus" as you, but you learn a ton of new ways to use SalesForce and how to improve your business.  You should always make time for the user groups, but also in contributing to the Success Community for your user group!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Documents versus Content

Have you ever been curious about the differences in SalesForce between CONTENT and DOCUMENTS?  Well, let's try to clear up some of the confusion. 

From what I have seen, Documents is truly designed to be a content repository for the system administrator. In Documents you would store things like attachments to email templates, pictures you need to host on the Internet, and files for sites you may have. 

Content on the other hand is designed to be for sharing and collaborating on documents within your organization. It supports things you would need to do this such as version control, tracking comments and views and more.  

Now, for a basic organization you could do everything under Documents. However, as you grow, you will certainly want to leverage the functionality available under Content. However, SalesForce still needs to do some work on content to make it more usable.