Thursday, 30 July 2020

[#Blogged] - Salesforce Administrator Guide: Propelling your Career Forward - Part 2

Part 2: Basic Admin Skills to Master in Salesforce

In Part 1 of my series for Salesforce Administrator Guide: Propelling your Career Forward, I discussed things to consider as you pursue your Salesforce Administrator Certification. Here, in Part 2, I want to discuss Basic Admin Skills to Master in Salesforce, whether you already have your certification or it’s a work in progress. If you’re looking to challenge yourself, make it a goal to become more proficient in each of these areas by the end of the year, focusing on one skill every few weeks. Before you know it, you’ll be an efficient Salesforce ninja, ready to tackle new ideas and help your company in ways you never thought possible! Let’s get started!

  1. Creating New objects - As intimidating as it sounds, understanding how to create a new object in Salesforce is a crucial skill you can use as your company continues to grow. Furthermore, with solid knowledge of when it’s appropriate to create a new object, you can help guide solutions to use the best feature for your needs. 

  2. Reporting & Dashboards - This is the bread and butter for management and how they analyze the health of your company and your customers. Get some practice slicing and dicing with different report types, how to summarize a report, and how to manipulate data within the report. Also, explore dynamic dashboards, and practice by assembling a dashboard that could be useful for your Sales team. You’ll be a hero for mastering this skill!

  3. Permissions - As scary as permissions can be, understanding them is crucial for keeping your org in great shape. Make sure you know what Organization Wide Defaults are, and how to use Profiles, Permission Sets, and Field Level Security. Permissions “make or break” so much in your org, from reports, to process flows. This is worth a large investment of your time, and one I highly recommend learning sooner rather than later.

  4. Creating Fields - Understand how to create a custom field, and how those fields differ from Standard Salesforce fields. There are so many different kinds of custom fields, so make sure you play around with each one. This is where it really gets fun, as you can explore which ones are your favorites, and it may spawn some ideas on current projects you’re working on. 

  5. How to Set up a User - Make sure you are comfortable creating a user, and understand the license types you have and the limits of each one. Learn the difference between Freezing a user and Deactivating, and the implications of deactivating a user when they own records. 

  6. Data Cleanup - Knowing how to clean up your data is a really important skill that seems to elude a lot of admins. Learn some best practices you can recommend to your org, and how to backup data with dataloader and also, mass update data. It’s also important to understand what it means to export data, and who should have those permissions. 

As an admin, with these skills under your belt, you’ll be on your way to furthering your career in no time! 

Friday, 24 July 2020

[#Blogged] - Salesforce Administrator Guide: Propelling your Career Forward - Part 1

Part 1: What to Keep in Mind as Your Pursue your Salesforce Administrator Certification

If there is one positive to our ever changing world, it has caused a lot of reflection into our personal and professional lives. COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we work, with remote work options being the norm, and no longer the exception as they were before. This has caused many people to consider their current positions, and how they can perform their tasks more efficiently at home. It has also caused a lot of uncertainty, with many people asking how they can propel their career forward, make a career change altogether, or make themselves more valuable to the companies they currently serve. 

I’m here to offer encouragement and advice from my personal experience. You absolutely can utilize Salesforce to help you excel in all three of those approaches, and I want to use this series to show you how. In this 10 part series, I will explore ways you can take this time and uncertainty and use that anxiety and worry for the betterment of your career. It’s time to focus on some positives, and I’m here to offer guidance on moving in the right direction when it comes to Salesforce and how to make the most of it.

Let’s dive into Part 1: What to Keep in Mind as you pursue your Salesforce Administrator Certification.

A lot of people wonder if it’s “worth it” to get officially certified when it comes to Salesforce exams. They may worry about the cost or time it takes, and whether or not it actually “pays off” in the end. I’m here to tell you “yes, it does!”. Yes, the exams can be a few hundred dollars, however, there are two things to keep in mind here: your company can reimburse you for this with a little persuasion on your part, and if they don’t, it’s still a worthy investment for your career. It’s one thing to say you have a few years of admin experience, but it’s another to be able to show your official certification as proof on sites like LinkedIn or your resume. Plain and simple, companies will take your expertise more seriously if you have the certification to prove it, and may actually pay you a higher salary.

So, what should you keep in mind as you pursue your Salesforce Administrator Certification?

  1. Access the Exam Guide - Make sure you log into your Trailhead org to access the wealth of materials they have available for exam certifications. You can navigate to your exam guide by going to Credentials > Certifications > Selecting “Administrator” > Get the Exam Guide. This outlines exactly what you need to study and the weight of each section.
  2. Do the Trailheads - Salesforce has put together Trailhead modules to help you prepare for your exam, so take advantage of those!
  3. Give yourself time - Make sure you give yourself a good few weeks to prepare for this, and even a few months if you don’t have much experience under your belt. If you lack experience, also consider exploring scenarios in a dev org, so you can practice as much as possible.

Above all else, be patient with yourself! This is a great step you’re taking to challenge yourself and further your career.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

[#Blogged] - Make Your Life Easier with Lightning Email Templates & Org Wide Addresses

One of the biggest complaints from Sales reps is that they spend too much time doing unnecessary administrative work. And, a lot of times, they are indeed correct. There are a lot of things we could be doing as Salesforce Admins and Developers to make the end user experience a little easier. This is not intended in any bit to downplay the awesomeness you bring to the table every day, and the incredible functionality your org now has because of your hard work. But helping your end users, whether it be Sales, Services, or any other customer facing role, is the name of the game. And you really do want them to be as self-sufficient as possible. 

If you boil down the type of work your customer facing roles are doing in Salesforce every day, you can bet those individuals send a lot of emails, and log a lot of activities. If you take it one step further and look at the types of communications they are sending, I bet you see a recurring pattern or theme. They probably send a handful of variations of the same information out to clients throughout the day, but are doing a lot of clicks and keystrokes to make it happen. You will, more than likely, see a lot of checking in on proposals, requests for meetings, and additional white papers or use cases being shared. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time. 

Let’s talk about Lightning Email Templates and Organization Wide Addresses. While you can technically use Classic Email Templates to send in your Lightning Org, Lightning Email Templates are housed and created a little differently. By the end of this post, you’ll be a Lightning Email pro! Let’s jump in!

Create a Template from the Salesforce Record

Salesforce is great with allowing flexibility of options for creating what you need. This is one of those times. Let’s say your rep is on their 16th email of the day, and they’ve recognized this is the same email they’ve sent most of the day - checking in on proposals. They go to their activity tab, and select Email, and enter the information as if they were in their own inbox.

Image: Just a regular email.

And at the bottom of the email, they have the option to associate the related to field (i.e. Account, Contact, Opportunity, etc), but it defaults to the record that the email is being sent from. The ability to send attachments, preview, and pop out into a larger screen are all options they can use to their advantage. 

Image: Related To field at the lower part of the Email activity

Before the user Sends the email, the template box can be selected, prompting the user to “Save as a new template”. This can be done after the email is sent, as well, by opening the activity and selecting the template box at that time.

Image: Save your template

There is one suggestion that should be considered - it would make life easier if the Merge field was used, instead of hard coded names. Make sure to use the Merge icon and to insert merge fields before saving as a template.

Once the “Save as New Template” has been selected, a new window will appear, to prompt users for the Template Name, Description, and Folder. Keep in mind, users will have the ability to save their own private email templates. 

Image: Create a template from your email

Once Saved, the templates will be stored in an area outside of Classic Email Templates, however, users can find their template from the icon within the Email Activity when they’re ready to send their next email. Once they select the Template icon, they can select “Insert a template…” and see their Recently Used Templates. Choosing the template will then populate the email message, allowing them to look it over before sending to the customer.

Image: Use a template to save time!

Navigating to Lightning Email Templates

Lightning Email Templates are not as intuitive to find as our old classic templates were. When using Classic Templates, a search can be done in the Home tab of the Setup screen. However, when searching for Lightning Email Templates, you must go to the App Launcher icon, and search for “Email Templates”. 

Image: the App Launcher to find Email Templates

The Email Templates tab will appear on your Navigation bar, and you can see Recent templates, as well as navigate to your Private Folder, if necessary. 

Image: Your List of Lightning Email Templates

System Admins can also choose to create New Email Templates from here, by selecting the button, which will launch a page that looks like this:

Image: New Email Template

Keep in mind that Related Entity Type is the object for which this template can be used upon. This is an easy way for System Admins to address departmental wishes to have more structured templates created for their reps, and to make sure everyone agrees with the tone and verbiage.

When it comes to permissions, you’ll want to make sure your end users do not have “Manage Public Lightning Email Templates”, and that is only locked down to System Admins. You users will, however, need “Lightning Experience User” permissions, as well as access to the folder in which the templates are being stored. 

So there you have it for Lightning Email Templates - wasn’t that easy? Now let’s talk about Organization-Wide Addresses.

Organization-Wide Addresses

Fairly easy to use and set up, Organization-Wide Addresses are a great way to associate an email address to a user profile. This is especially helpful if you have a Services department, and would like a uniformed address for those customer facing roles. That way, customers think they’re responding to “Info@” or “CustomerService@” instead of an individual person. This can help make your company appear more professional, and can add a layer of protection for your employees.

To set this up, in the Setup Home tab, search for Organization-Wide Addresses. Select the “Add” button (not pictured) and you will see the screen below. You can then enter your Display Name, Email Address, and select the profiles you wish to use that address. If you need to select more than one profile, use the Shift key to select multiples.

Image: Setting up Organization-Wide Addresses

Resources & Further Reading:

Email Templates in Lightning Experience

Manage Public and Private Email Templates in Lightning Experience

Considerations for Using Organization-Wide Email Addresses

Access and Sharing for Email Merge Fields, Templates, and Attachments in Lightning Experience

Thursday, 2 July 2020

[#Blogged] - my 5 Most Impressive Takeaways from Trailheadx 2020!

Just last week, we had the privilege of attending the Salesforce Trailheadx 2020 Conference live from our own private workspace. It was just one day, but was filled to the brim with exciting new features and takeaways, bringing more fun energy to the month of June than I could handle! Whether you were a developer, admin, or architect, there was something for everyone. They also had guest speakers (Singer) Jennifer Hudson, (and Comedian) Trevor Noah. You can always count on Salesforce for a good time!

But seriously, they unveiled some really great features that are actual game changers when it comes to getting hands on and making it count. These past few months have been challenging for everyone, and Salesforce really stepped up in producing solutions that change the way we work for the better. They’re making executives more available on a monthly basis, and providing ways for developers like you and I to share ideas and concerns that can really make a difference. They’ve also provided ways to write cleaner, more efficient code that takes less time to implement. And, they are producing documents to help guide you towards better quality solutions when it comes to triggered automation.

I could go on and on about this, but it’s best to just let you read it for yourself! Below are my 5 Most Impressive Takeaways from Trailheadx 2020!

  1. Salesforce Code Builder. When Salesforce partners with a mega champ like Microsoft, you know great things are going to result from two of the biggest beasts in the tech industry. One of those great things is Code Builder. By using Microsoft’s Visual Studio Codespaces, coding just got a lot easier.  It has a web-based IDE, and support for GitHub. All of the tools you need are centrally located, so you can say goodbye to bouncing around from one place to the next, wasting valuable minutes that can add up to hours. And, this isn’t just restricted to Production orgs only -- you can also connect to Sandboxes and scratch orgs. Even better, you can access and write Lightning Web Components from the browser. Code Builder is especially a game changer for those coding beginners, with a friendlier UI that can help produce results without overwhelming confusion, especially with SOQL Queries.  I’m really excited to try this out, and make my (coding) life so much better!
  2. Architect Decision Guide. When it comes to triggered automation, how you devise a solution can leave you paralyzed with analyzing which options to consider to make it just right. How do you know you’re choosing the correct option that gives the most flexibility where it counts when considering the future use of the org? Well, now you have a couple of guides to help you out. Using handy-dandy Quip, Salesforce has released the “Architect’s Guide to Building Forms” and “Architect’s Guide to Building Record-Triggered Automation”. While a bit lengthy, these are really important documents that help to outline your best options when considering solutions. It also goes into detail about the power of Dynamic Forms and the increasing importance of Flow. Check these out today! 
  3. Salesforce Anywhere. If it’s one thing companies learned over the past few months, it’s that to have a chance at being successful, a key factor is enabling your employees to do their jobs anywhere. With Salesforce Customer 360, your teams have never been more efficient! The doors have been opened to functionality that allows your Sales, Services, and Marketing teams to operate from anywhere. Service Cloud Voice and Einstein Call Coaching can help your Customer Service reps become customer assisting rockstars. And, your different teams can connect easier with video conferencing right in Salesforce! Also, employees and new-hires don’t have to wait for the next big gathering to learn more -- they can tackle new skills with Trailhead GO, so they’ll never fall behind. This is a really exciting tool and I’m looking forward to the availability coming up later this year.
  4. Monthly True To The Core (TTTc) Webinars. As the story goes, some years ago, a few developers expressed their exasperation of not feeling heard by Salesforce. That has spawned these interesting talks called True to the Core (#tttc) with high ranking Salesforce drivers like Co-Founder and CTO Parker Harris, along with a team of PM’s to answer questions and to dive into functionality that aims for keeping the platform grounded. It’s for serving those questions that keep you up at night, and really giving a voice to Salesforce developers that have really great ideas for improving functionality. Well now, it’s not just happening around major events -- they’re making this monthly! In my opinion, this is a great way to keep momentum going and goes a long way in keeping people more involved. Win-Win!
  5. Introducing Safe Navigation Operator. This is a major time saver for developers everywhere! We all know the headaches in having to write code formatted to check if IDs are null, and how it can add lines of code to an already long Apex Class. Now, instead of having to write out repeated “IF” statements and checking for null values, we can format with “?” to see if it’s null. Your code is cleaner, and you don’t have to pull out your hair trying to make sure you haven’t missed anything. This is looking to be released in Winter ‘21, but is definitely worth the wait! 

The learning doesn’t stop here! You can still Register for awesome videos and information shared at Trailheadx if you couldn’t make it, and they have put together some great trailheads for Architects, Developers and Admins to continue the journey forward. And, don’t miss out on those hashtags for #tttc! Make sure to register for Circles of Success and Product Demos, while you’re at it. Take advantage of all that Trailheadx 2020 has to offer!

Further Reading and Resources:

Salesforce Introduces New Developer Tools for Building, Scaling, and Shipping Apps

Introducing Salesforce Code Builder

Introducing the Architect Decision Guides

Introducing Salesforce Anywhere

#tttc hashtag on Twitter