Thursday, 15 October 2020

[#Blogged] - Salesforce Administrator Guide: Propelling your Career Forward - Part 9

Part 9: Become a Master of Chatter

In Part 9 of my series on Salesforce Administrator Guide: Propelling your Career Forward, I want to talk about a useful tool that can often be overlooked,even by advanced Admins and companies that have had Salesforce for a while. That awesome tool is called Chatter! 

Chatter is a messenger tool utilized within Salesforce so your end users can better communicate without leaving the platform. Want to leave a note for your manager on a record that can send them an email, notifying them immediately? Need to pull in colleagues from other departments to collaborate on a specific record, such as a customer support case? Or need to send messages automatically via Process Builder on certain records? All of the above - and more - can be done in Chatter. You can have private groups, public groups, and make posts on object records and user records. End users have the ability to dictate how frequently they receive emails on posts, so they’re not feeling overwhelmed. And, you can follow records that are of interest, such as a big customer, or someone you need to keep an eye on. 

Image: Your Sales team can quickly reach out to a user or group by tagging them on a record

While I could write many posts on the use cases of Chatter, for now, I want to go over how you, as an Admin, can navigate through some of the different areas of Chatter more efficiently. 

How do you turn this thing on?

Chatter must be enabled in your org, and there are settings that can be established, as well, before users can jump in and start making posts, questions or polls. By navigating to Setup > Quick Find and searching for “Chatter”, you can quickly find the “Chatter Settings” tab. 

Image: Chatter Settings must be enabled before it can be utilized

This is where you will enable Chatter, if it is not enabled already, and can turn on special features, such as Draft Posts, which allows users to draft instead of sending right away, or allow for approval requests to be sent in chatter as well. There are many other features that make the end user experience more valuable that are nestled here on this page, but this is not the only area of Chatter you should be familiar with. Next, let’s look at the Chatter app itself, and the functionality it contains.

What can I do in the Chatter App?

The Chatter app is where you will spend most of your time when it comes to working within Chatter. The app contains tabs that allow you to set up groups that can be tagged in Chatter (such as the Sales Management group in our first image above), see a list of chatter posts related to records you’re following, and allow you to determine how frequently you see emails related to chatter. In some cases, it makes sense to see every post, but other times, you may only need a daily digest. 

Image: In the Chatter App, you can access groups, people, and how frequently you receive emails from Chatter

Assisting your end users will more than likely occur in the UI, and areas such as the privacy of their posts, how they adjust email notifications for Chatter, and how to tag certain groups. It’s just as important to feel comfortable with the Chatter App as it is with Chatter Settings.

This is just the absolute surface of Chatter, and it’s a great tool to learn. You can find out more in this awesome Trailhead called Chatter for Lightning Experience!

Friday, 9 October 2020

[#Blogged] - Salesforce Administrator Guide: Propelling your Career Forward - Part 8

Part 8: Get the Skinny on Reports and Dashboards

Back in Part 2 of our series called Salesforce Administrator Guide: Propelling your Career Forward, I discussed basic admin skills to master in order to increase your value as a Salesforce Admin. Today, for Part 8, I want to dig a little deeper, specifically into Reports and Dashboards, as this is a great skill to master and will allow you to further support pretty much every department in your company. Let’s discuss what they are and why they’re important.


Image: Report Builder in edit mode...also where the magic happens!

Whether it is your Sales manager looking for the number of Closed Opportunities for the month, or a Customer Support representative trying to better understand how they’re spending time on their cases, Salesforce reports are a crucial tool for chopping up information into easy-to-digest pieces. Before you dive in, there is something important you must understand - if the data doesn’t exist in Salesforce, then the report cannot display it. Unfortunately, there is a misconception (usually amongst end users) that the reports can pull your company data and analyze it in a flash. While it can provide great results in a small turnaround time, it can only be as good as the data in the system. Poor data equals poor reporting. 

Once you’ve got a handle on implementing good data practices, it really is fun to jump right in. When creating a new report, think of it as a blank canvas holding every single record you have in Salesforce, and you get to narrow it down (with Filters) and organize it (with the ability to group rows and group columns). You also get to decide which parts of the data you want to actually see in the report (which are your columns). On the Report Editor, you also get to show Subtotals, and the Grand Total, which is great for summarizing your numerical data.

Keep in mind, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But once you create (and save!) a report, you need a great way to display it, right? Well, that’s where dashboards come in.


While you can add charts to reports, dashboards offer a collective view into multiple metrics in one glance. Your end users can start their day by diving into a refreshed dashboard as they sip their coffee, and focus in on the areas that need the most attention without wasting any time.

Image: Understanding data is much easier when it’s visual.

Dashboard parts are called components, and each component consists of one report. But what if my company needs to see more than three components!? No worries - think of a dashboard as a corkboard with malleable features, as you can squeeze in up to 12 columns and 20 components in a Lightning dashboard. You can display the data in graphs and visuals that best suit the information. Maybe you need a gauge to push sales reps to move that needle this quarter, or you need a bar graph to show comparisons between team members working towards their goals, or you simply need a short list of 5 accounts that need the most attention right now. Either way, there are numerous ways to display the data, and you get to design it the way you see fit.

Reports and Dashboards are one of the most commonly requested tools to show company analytics, and they’re actually really fun and easy to learn. Get started today by searching for Reports or Dashboards tabs or search your App Launcher.