Exploring Salesforce Business Use Cases To Save Many Headaches

Salesforce showed me how much more productive (and stress-less) life can be when you simply get organized. This should be a no-brainer. Yet it’s not! We have arrived well into the 21st century, and still so many companies use manual time-consuming processes for repetitive task that rob them of so much valuable time. And not only that. Losing time with admin tasks, means losing time you’d rather spend with getting to know your customers and making sales. In this article, we discuss common use cases where using the Salesforce platform has helped organizations make huge improvements. And it’s not always about making more sales, but having the time to focus on what matters most: Making an impact!

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

This article is not only for potential Salesforce customers out there. It’s for Salesforce Administrators, Business Analysts, Consultants and others too. It helps you understand the importance of getting Salesforce set up for any business department, in the right way. Therefore, let’s find out how Salesforce can help businesses and different business functions.

Typical Business Challenges

Have you come across long winded convoluted email trails, outdated Excel spreadsheets, inconsistencies across documents, tedious and repetitive manual steps? Then we’re onto something to fix.

These are not only problems of sales reps or marketers. It may appear Salesforce only offers solutions for sales processes or marketing strategies or customer service.

Even though Salesforce’s key products are named after these (Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud), the Salesforce platform can be extended to pretty much any other business function.

Depending on the complexity of the requirements, you can already integrate other business needs into the Salesforce edition you or the company you work for have already signed up for. If the integration however becomes too complex, you may want to look at Salesforce’s product range or explore solutions on the AppExchange instead.

“Always explore the capabilities of what you can do with what you are already paying for.”

Unknown

Therefore, let’s see what you can already do with the Salesforce org you got in front of you.

Explore Salesforce Business Use Cases

The challenges I mentioned earlier are the same across any business function. Salesforce’s core products already have solutions for these common business processes built into the platform out-of-the-box (e.g. Tasks, Chatter, List Views, just to name a few). You just need to make use of them and apply them across your Standard and Custom Objects and Apps.

Let’s look at some examples other than sales, service or marketing:

IT – can use Salesforce to track and analyze requests, automate email confirmations on status updates or track hardware used by employees.

HR  – can use Salesforce to capture and monitor performance reviews. Or manage on-boarding and other training plans as well as holidays and other leave.

Finance – can use Salesforce to manage pricing, budget and contracts.

Other – Throughout our Salesforce Administrator Certification Course you will get a good idea of the essential tools and other use cases to build in additional functionalities.

For more complex business requirements, make sure to check out Salesforce’s product range, like Salesforce Financial Service Cloud, Salesforce Health Cloud, Salesforce Education Cloud, and many others. And as always, make sure to have a look at the Salesforce AppExchange too.

Which business function would you like to see integrated into Salesforce? Leave me a comment below.

WHAT ELSE…

This video tutorial is part of our Complete Salesforce Certification Courses. They cover everything from Salesforce Basics to advanced Salesforce features and functionalities every Salesforce professional should know about.

We provide you with different types of study materials, so you can choose what works best for you. This includes well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams.

And if you are brand new to the world of Salesforce, I’d recommend to sign up to our FREE 21-Day Salesforce Beginners Challenge.

Build a Salesforce Custom App for your next Salesforce Job Interview

Being new in the Salesforce job market can make you feel tiny in this vast Salesforce ecosystem. Many job ads seem to be looking for applicants with 2-3 or more years Salesforce experience. And you may not have any of that at all and you may feel like you will never find that Salesforce dream job. In this article we discuss how you can still stand out from the crowd and showcase your Salesforce talent… in your unique way!

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

Showcase Your Salesforce Experience – Even if you don’t have any

Being new in the Salesforce job market can make you feel tiny in this vast Salesforce ecosystem. When you see a job posting, in most cases they seem to be looking for applicants with 2-3 or more years of Salesforce experience. And you may not have any of that at all and you may feel like you will never get a job in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Now, keep in mind that all those experienced Salesforce Admins or Salesforce Consultants have started just like you. Hence, they must be coming from somewhere. And with the Salesforce job market growing constantly, the Salesforce ecosystem is in need of building out more Salesforce professionals, just like YOU.

However, this also means there are a lot of newcomers competing with you. How can you still stand out from the crowd and showcase your Salesforce talent?

Prove your Salesforce Talent in your next Salesforce Job Interview

It’s about the big picture. It’s about understanding the Salesforce platform, how it can improve business processes and how you can contribute with your skills to your future employer’s success. Recruiters and Hiring Managers are looking for a well-rounded skill profile. They are not just looking for your Salesforce Admin Certification or other certifications. They want to see how you can apply your technical knowledge in combination with your soft skills. There are three key aspects employers are looking for:

Creative Thinking

This means, thinking outside the box. Can you identify what a business needs and what a potential solution may be? This can include setting up Custom Apps and Custom Objects to manage business-specific processes with all corresponding details in one place.

Problem Solving

What do you do when you don’t seem to find a declarative solution? This is a common scenario. Do you have to take it to the next level with more complex automations or should you look for a solution on the AppExchange?

Forward Thinking

This means helping a business look into the future. How can they get business insights and identify potential improvements for future business success and growth, for example with Reports and Dashboards. Maybe consider the integration of Salesforce external data with tools like Tableau.

This doesn’t mean you have to know the apps on the AppExchange or tools like Tableau inside out. That’s impossible. However, having an understanding of the potential capabilities will go a long way. So just step outside your Trailhead zone and take a browse through Salesforce’s product range as well as the AppExchange. Maybe get a free trial for Tableau (or other Salesforce products) or watch some demo videos.

Just like Albert Einstein used to say:

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

Albert Einstein

This means you don’t need to know everything but you need to know when and where to look for answers.

The next question is how you can build up these qualities to prepare for your job interview meaning for your Salesforce dream job.

Build Your Own Salesforce Experience

Even if you don’t have on-the-job experience with Salesforce, you can start building your very own technical experience and soft skills. It all starts with your hands-on practice, a.k.a. experience on Trailhead ▶️ (Video Guide included). And then … taking all that Salesforce knowledge and converting it into a tailored build completely done by yourself. 

Does this feel unachievable? No need to pull your hair out! Let’s take it step by step:

Gaining Salesforce Hands-on Experience starts by Learning Salesforce

As mentioned earlier, your Salesforce learning and experience journey starts with Trailhead. Get a Trailhead Account and start learning.

A good starting point is the Salesforce Administrator Certification Trailmix, even if you’re not sure yet whether or not you want to get certified. It covers all fundamental knowledge and hands-on practice every Salesforce professional needs to have, even those that choose not to get certified.

What I’ve done with the official Trailmix though, I’ve tweaked it a little to add a bit more logic and additional learning units, that I know will serve you better grasp the contents. This will give a more comprehensive learning experience:

WeLearnSalesforce: Salesforce Administrator Credential (NOTE: You must be logged in to your Trailhead Account.)

Other WeLearnSalesforce Trailmixes:

If self-guided learning feels to overwhelming, how about taking a Salesforce Course. Have a look at our guided video tutorials and study workbooks to complement your learning success.

Once you’ve got your fundamentals covered, you are ready to take it to the next level. This means, start completing more advanced Trailhead Modules and Projects. This will not only help you prepare better for your Salesforce Certification Exam but it will help you deepen your expertise.

Here are some recommended Trailhead Modules and Projects:

Build a Battle Station App

Build a Data Model for a Recruiting App

You can also choose to complete one or more Superbadges. They are provided by Trailhead to give you real-life business use cases of the type of challenges you’ll be confronted with in a real Salesforce Admin job role or similar.

Here’s a great example:

Lightning Experience Reports & Dashboards Specialist Superbadge

While Superbadges won’t take forever they still do require some time and patience to be completed. You may as well skip them for now (but not forever) and see how far you get with what you’ve already learned. Why not give it a go and build your very own business use case.

🌶 Because…eventually, this part is what will set you apart from the competition.

Build your own Salesforce Custom App based on your own Real World Experience

And this is where you can truly prove that you can think outside the box and come up with customized solutions. Now how does this work?

By building your very own app in Salesforce. You are essentially replicating a real-life business process in Salesforce. Simply look around you. What types of shops are in your area? Are you a member of a sports club? Think about how these shops or clubs would manage their day-to-day to-dos. Think about how they would manage their customer details, their memberships, their sales, donations, equipment, and so on? 

Take one example and write out the details and then create it in Salesforce. You can use a Trailhead Playground ▶️ (How-to Video), or better, your own Developer Org ▶️ (How-to Video).

🌶 KNOW THIS: It doesn’t have to be perfect, a potential employer just wants to see how you can approach solving a business problem.

Let me give you a couple of examples you can use to create a Custom App on your own:

Salesforce Custom App Example 1 – Manage your job applications:

  • Track best job portals (a.k.a. Custom Object)
  • Identify suitable positions and corresponding job applications (a.k.a. Custom Objects)
  • Use a dedicated workspace for job applications (a.k.a. Custom App)
  • Store Recruiter contact details (a.k.a. Account and Contact Standard Objects)
  • Manage different types of jobs you may be interested in such as Volunteer, Full-Time, Part-Time etc. (a.k.a. Record Types, Page Layouts)
  • Track your application progress (a.k.a. Paths Settings)
  • Set up automated follow-up reminders (a.k.a. Flow Builder)
  • Monitor time and effort (a.k.a. Reports and Dashboards)

Salesforce Custom App Example 2 – Manage your running club:

  • Set up club departments, sponsors (a.k.a. Account Types = Record Types)
  • Set up club members (a.k.a. Contacts)
  • Manage equipment (a.k.a. Custom Object)
  • Track donations (a.k.a. Opportunities)
  • Use dedicated workspaces for club internal details versus sponsorship details (a.k.a. Custom Apps)
  • Set up automated sponsorship renewals (a.k.a. Flow Builder)
  • Monitor sponsorships and donations over time (a.k.a. Reports and Dashboards)

🌶 Struggling to find ideas? Then check out the Salesforce Customer Success Stories. They range from small businesses to larger organizations that have decided to solve their business issues with Salesforce. You can read about the types of challenges and which Salesforce products they chose to overcome these challenges:

Customer Success Stories

Source: https://www.salesforce.com/customer-success-stories/#!page=1
 

Once you’ve created your personal business use case, a.k.a Salesforce Experience, it’s time to tell the world about it!

Share Your Salesforce Experience

Don’t be shy to share your work with Recruiters and Hiring Managers, even if it’s not the typical on-the-job type of experience. It still shows that you’ve developed your Salesforce skills plus soft skills to match the criteria employers are looking for.

Therefore, add your Salesforce experience to your resume. And even better, add it to your LinkedIn profile, because that’s a common place where Recruiters and Hiring Managers are looking for talent. And you want to make sure you can be found.

And don’t forget to add your Salesforce Certification as well as your Trailblazer.ID.

Closing Remarks

Gaining Salesforce experience has different faces. They include practicing hands-on with Trailhead, completing Superbadges or building your own Salesforce App. Other ways to gain experience is through volunteer opportunities and of course real-life Salesforce jobs. As I always like to say: Take it step-by-step, and you will get there!

Let me know in the comments if you managed to create your very own Salesforce app. What did you set up? I’d love to hear about it. 👏🏻

WHAT ELSE…

We make learning simple with our range of well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams.

And if you are brand new to the world of Salesforce, make sure to sign up to our FREE 21-Day Salesforce Beginners Challenge.

What You Need To Know About The Salesforce Setup Menu

Salesforce is a powerful platform with many configuration features and setup tools. In order to get the most out of Salesforce, it’s important to understand the options available to you. In this video tutorial, I will walk you through the three main Setup categories and explain what each one is for. Let’s go!

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

Salesforce is a powerful platform with many configuration features and setup tools. In order to get the most out of Salesforce, it’s important to understand the options available to you. The Setup menu contains every single tool you need to configure a Salesforce instance to meet specific business needs.

Where Salesforce Admins Spend Their Day

The Setup is pretty much the engine room to enable the Salesforce user interface settings for optimal performance and usability. Whatever Salesforce Users see in the front end is managed through the backend, the Setup of the platform. It’s the Salesforce Admins go-to place to customize, configure and support a Salesforce instance and its Users.

Become Confident Using the Salesforce Setup Menu

In this video tutorial, I will walk you through the different options in the Setup menu and explain what each one does. You can follow-along from your own Trailhead Playground or Developer Org. Simply click the gear icon ⚙️ in the upper right corner.

VIDEO TUTORIAL WALK-THROUGH SCRIPT:

  1. Go to the gear icon on the top right
  2. You will see the main Setup item
  3. You may see more options such as the Service Setup. This depends on the Salesforce products you have acquired 
  4. When you hover over the main Setup item you’ll notice a little expand icon. This will open the Setup menu in a new browser window. So let’s click on it. It will be handy for you to keep the Setup page open separately.
  5. On the Setup Home page you will find some handy quick links at the top
  6. Click arrow to the right
  7. And below you will find recent pages you have been working on once you get started
  8. On the left is your main Setup menu which comprises of three main categories
  9. The ADMINISTRATION category
  10. This is where you manage your User [USERS >] and their data access [PROFILES]
  11. From here you will do things like adding new users [USERS]
  12. Viewing user details [user “WeLearnSalesforce”], changing passwords and monitor login history
  13. Under Data [DATA>] you will do data exports or set up duplicate management 
  14. Under Email you will be creating email templates and a lot more
  15. Under PLATFORM TOOLS this is where most of your customization will happen
  16. You can modify the user interface [OBJECTS & FIELDS] and 
  17. Deploy new features [ENVIRONMENTS/DEPLOY]
  18. You can manage your entire data model and create new apps 
  19. And if something needs to be coded with programmatic tools [CUSTOM CODE], this is done here too
  20. The third category is the SETTINGS where you will manage your company settings [COMPANY SETTINGS>] such as business hours and fiscal year 
  21. You can also view your org’s history [SECURITY>/Setup Audit Trail] and manage your entire security model
  22. You’ll notice that there are a lot of menu and sub-menu items and it might be a bit tricky to quickly find a specific section. That’s where the Quick Find box at the top will come in handy
  23. To the right of the Home tab, you will find the Object Manager tab. You will use the Object Manager to manage page layouts, add fields, create new Custom Objects and so on
  24. The Object Manager [Platform Tools/Objects and Fields/Object Manager] is also available from the main menu. However, since this is a very prominent section, Salesforce has made it easier for you to access it by adding its own tab

Key Setup Pages To Get More Familiar With

Once you start configuring a Salesforce org you will get more and more familiar and confident using the various setup items. There are a few Setup pages you will find yourself going back to regularly:

Company Information: This page gives you an overview of your Salesforce Org and includes the unique org ID, list of licenses, data and file storage.

Users: This is where you will find all User accounts and their details. Popular action items for Salesforce Admins include password resets, creating new Users as well as freezing and deactivating User accounts.

Login History: You will find this section on each User record. It will help you troubleshoot login issues such as incorrect passwords, login IP address, login date, time and more.

Profiles and Permission Sets: These pages are highly relevant to data security and what Users can see and do in a Salesforce org.

Setup Audit Trail: Troubleshooting Setup issues will also become a key element of Salesforce Administration. The Setup Audit Trail provides information about changes in the Setup, including what type, when and by whom the changes were done.

I hope you feel more comfortable with the Setup menu now. Don’t worry you will get a lot of practice throughout our Salesforce Certification course. 

Is there any particular Setup area you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments!

WHAT ELSE…

This video tutorial is part of our Complete Salesforce Certification Courses. They cover everything from Salesforce Basics to advanced Salesforce features and functionalities every Salesforce professional should know about.

We provide you with different types of study materials, so you can choose what works best for you. This includes well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams.

And if you are brand new to the world of Salesforce, I’d recommend to sign up to our FREE 21-Day Salesforce Beginners Challenge.

How Do I Navigate in Salesforce Lightning?

While the Salesforce user interface is very intuitive, there are a few not-so-obvious navigation features you do want to be familiar with. Salesforce contains a lot of data in a lot of different places, a.k.a. Salesforce records. Therefore, the more effective you can navigate through the system, the faster you will find the information you are looking for or you want to update. Imagine the smile on your co-workers face when you can show them at least one trick you learned about in this video tutorial. Sounds good? Let’s go then.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

While the Salesforce user interface is very intuitive, there are a few not-so-obvious navigation features you do want to be familiar with. Salesforce contains a lot of data in a lot of different places, a.k.a. Salesforce records. Therefore, the more effective you can navigate through the system, the faster you will find the information you are looking for or you want to update. Imagine the smile on your co-workers face when you can show them at least one trick you learned about in this video tutorial. Sounds good? Let’s go then.

The Difference Between Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience

Did you know that Salesforce has two different user interfaces? An old one and a new one. The old one is called Salesforce Classic and the new one is called Lightning Experience, though it’s not so new anymore. End of 2016 Salesforce had been making significant changes to the way you work to be even more efficient and productive. That’s why they introduced the new modern user interface that is much more dynamic and interactive.

Why do we even need to talk about this when the new interface has been around for so long? Isn’t everyone using Lightning Experience? Yes and No.

Yes, in most cases, you will find and use the Lightning Experience user interface. This includes your Trailhead Playgrounds, Developer Orgs, Production Orgs, and others. And No, in real life, there are still some organizations using Salesforce Classic. Moving from an existing Salesforce Classic Org to Lightning Experience can require more extensive configurations which can take longer to undergo for some.

This means you will need to be familiar with both user interfaces. The good news is that many features you will be learning about work very similarly in both interfaces. However, there are a few differences you should be aware of.

Below is an example of the Accounts and Contacts Pages. You’ll notice quickly that the Lightning Experience user interface can do a lot more. Therefore, make sure to review the full comparison list too!

Source: help.salesforce.com

Due to these differences, it is sometimes necessary to switch between the two user interfaces. There is a so-called switcher which is easy to access. In Lightning, you’ll access the switcher from your profile menu, and in Classic, you’ll find it at the top of your screen.

Navigate Lightning Experience With Ease

Since Lightning Experience is the one everyone should be using, you will learn the most essential navigation paths and best practices around this user interface. And whenever there is a need to switch to Classic, I will tell you so. 🤓

In this preview video tutorial, we will dive right into the tabs along the navigation bar. You can follow along in your own Trailhead Playground, so you can practice your hands-on skills already.

VIDEO TUTORIAL WALK-THROUGH SCRIPT

  1. Now let’s have a look at one of the tabs. Let’s start with the Accounts tab.
  2. By default you will be taken to the Recently Viewed Accounts which may however be empty if you haven’t used it before. 
  3. When you click the little drop down arrow to the right of the heading, you will find more options to view your list of records. This is what we call List Views. You can choose from All Accounts or My Accounts or other filter options. Some of them are provided to you out-of-the-box, and others can be added as needed, such as this one Platinum and Gold SLA Customers which is a custom list view.
  4. Let’s select All Accounts for now. Notice the pin icon to the right? You can pin the selected list view instead of the Recently Viewed one.
  5. The list view can be sorted by clicking on the column heading. For example clicking on the Account Name column heading. You’ll notice a tiny arrow which indicates how the list is sorted and in which direction. You can click the arrow to switch the direction, like so.
  6. Now let’s select one of the Accounts, for example Edge Communications. This will take you to the full Account record. This record contains a number of information which are broken down into tabs. At the top, you’ll find a Highlights Panel to view key details about this Account. 
  7. Underneath you will have a Details tab which contains the key details plus other important information about the Account.
  8. You will also have an Activities tab where you will see to dos that are coming up as Next Steps or Activities from the past. 
  9. Under the Chatter tab you will see updates and questions related to this Account. 
  10. And under the Related tab you will find the related Contacts, Opportunities, Cases and more. 
  11. Remember the relationships between objects we talked about in the previous unit. This is what they look like.
  12. To view the details of one of these related records, for example Sean Forbes, you have two options: You can either click on the hyperlink which will overwrite your current page, or use the right mouse click to open the record in a new window. 
  13. Either way will take you to Sean’s contact record where you can see all his details. You notice the way the page is set up is quite similar to the Account page we have just gone through. Now, to view the Account details from Sean’s record, you can either switch windows depending on how you opened it or use the Account Name hyperlink to look up the page. 
  14. And this is how the Related lists and Lookups work that we discussed in the previous unit.
  15. Let’s jump to the Opportunities tab. From the dropdown at the top let’s select All Opportunities.
  16. The list views you have seen so far, look like a table. However you can change the view. Go to the top right corner and click on this little table icon and select Kanban
  17. This is now giving you a really nice summary type of view which is great to monitor and manage multiple opportunities from one page.  You can drag and drop, you can view subtotals and you make changes
  18. The Kanban view is available for other tabs as well. For now, let’s change the view back to Table.
  19. At the very top of your screen you will find the Global Search bar. It works quite like a Google search. Simply type in a name or phone number or other search term of a record you are looking for. 
  20. Once you click into the search you may see recent records. If nothing comes up or they don’t contain what you are looking for, start typing your search term, for example “Sean“. You may see suggestions coming up. If they don’t show what you are looking for, run a full search and click on the magnifying glass
  21. You will see a page with all search results containing this keyword
  22. You can use the dropdown arrow to the left of the global search bar or the menu items on the left to filter your search results for specific record types, for example Contacts
  23. When you do this, you can add even more filter options
  24. And to go back to the full search results, you can click Expand List .
  25. In case you can’t remember the spelling when you search, you can use the asterisk as a wildcard. However, you need at least two characters. 
  26. For example you want to look for John but you’re not sure if it’s John or Johnathan or Jonny. You can type in “jo” and then add the asterisk and then run the full search.

This is how you navigate through the front end user interface and find the records you or your co-workers are working on.

What trick did you learn in this video tutorial that you can’t wait to show your colleague or friend? Let me know in the comments.

WHAT ELSE…

The full video is part of our Complete Salesforce Certification Courses. They cover everything from Salesforce Basics to advanced Salesforce features and functionalities every Salesforce professional should know about.

We provide you with different types of study materials, so you can choose what works best for you. This includes well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams.

And if you are brand new to the world of Salesforce, I’d recommend to sign up to our FREE 21-Day Salesforce Beginners Challenge.

Meet the #1 Customer Relationship Management Cloud Application, Salesforce!

Salesforce is used by thousands of customers across many countries and growing massively. For good reason. It brings customers and their partners together to manage their daily business challenges in the smartest way possible. It’s called Customer Relationship Management, in short CRM. In this article, we look at the basic elements of the Salesforce CRM Platform and how it brings business data to life.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

Salesforce is used by thousands of customers across many countries and growing massively. For good reason. It brings customers and their partners together to manage their daily business challenges in the smartest way possible. It’s called Customer Relationship Management, in short CRM. In this article, we look at the basic elements of the Salesforce CRM Platform and how it brings business data to life.

Welcome to The World of Salesforce

Let’s get you started with understanding the basic elements of the Salesforce Platform and how it will be beneficial for managing day-to-day business processes.

Salesforce is a cloud-based application. This means, that all the data is stored in the cloud. Customers will be able to manage all their contacts and potential customers, organize and prioritize their daily customer activity, close the company’s sales and share key insights … in the most effective way. 

All of this happens from the one central location, through the cloud, in real-time, from any device that has an internet connection, from anywhere and at any time. The sky is the limit. No more Excel spreadsheets or post-it notes which are disconnected and can be hard to find. With Salesforce customers will save time and become much more organized, meaning a lot faster and more efficient. This makes customers happy and therefore increase sales.

Salesforce provides you with a constantly growing suite of products, referred to as “Clouds”. This range of products allows customers to manage all their different processes such as Sales or Marketing or Customer Service and many others. Have a look at their website for an overview of all their products so you don’t miss out.

In this article, we’ll focus on the Sales Cloud. This is Salesforce’s core product from which the rest of the platform has evolved. It’s the perfect place to start and understand the core principles and architecture of the platform. The Sales Cloud hosts a specific bundle of features and functionalities dedicated to managing sales-related data and business processes.

How Is Data Organized in Salesforce

Let’s look at how the data is set up and structured in a Salesforce Org. The data generated is organized in so-called Objects. Each Object contains a set of very specific type of data. Just like your kitchen: one drawer contains your cutlery, the next holds your dinner plates, the next one stores your placemats. When dinner time arrives, you open each and grab all the pieces that nicely fit together and make the dinner table look nice.

Salesforce pretty much does the same. One Object contains the data about the companies (= Account Object) an organization works with, another Object contains the data about the individuals (= Contact Object) from these companies they deal with, and so on.

An Object is like a table of data, like an Excel spreadsheet. Let’s take the Account Object as an example. It contains the details about the Accounts, such as the name of the company, the address, the annual revenue and a lot more. The rows represent the account record of each company and the columns represent the details of each of these.

The Concept of Standard Objects

To give you a head start, Salesforce provides several Standard Objects for customers to start saving important customer data right away.  Standard Objects contain a set of Standard Fields which you can customize or extend with Custom Fields, as required. Before we dive into customization though, let’s understand first what the Standard Objects are:

The Account Object contains general information about the organizations you work with, such as name, address or website. An Account can be a customer, a supplier, a partner or even a competitor. Any type of organization requires a different set of data stored in an Account Record. 

The Contact Object contains details about the individual person of an Account, such as their mobile number or email address. A Contact can however be a private individual instead. This is referred to as a Person Account which we’ll cover in another article.

The Opportunity Object is there to store information about the potential product or service a customer is interested in such as the amount or the name of the product.

The Lead Object contains information about potential customers. It’s similar to a Contact Record but not fully qualified yet. Once a Lead has been verified to turn into a likely sale, that’s when it is being converted. The conversion process divides the Lead information into three parts, an Account Record, a Contact Record, and an Opportunity Record.

I know this may be a little confusing. Just think about a Lead as a business card. Once you have caught up with the person you met or who has been referred to you, and you have determined the chances are good, you set them up as a customer, meaning a new Account Record with a corresponding Contact Record and a Sales Opportunity.

The Campaign Object manages your marketing activities to generate Leads or retain Contacts and stores information around dates, location, budget and more. 

The Case Object is typically used to captures enquiries from customers such as questions or issues with products or services. Cases can also be used to manage general enquiries or even internal change requests. You can connect Case Records to the other associated Objects they are related to, in this example to the corresponding Opportunity. This extends each record to provide additional customer information.

Finally, the User Object holds the details about the people (= Users) in your organization that have access to all that data in Salesforce. Through the User Object, you’ll not only manage their details but also the type and level of access each User will have. This includes read, edit, create or delete access. This is all part of the data security model we’ll have you covered with too.

Note: These are the most relevant Standard Objects you need to know about for now. You’ll notice that there are quite a few more. We’ll take it step-by-step and explore the other ones as we go.

Relationships to Other Objects

Salesforce is a relational database where relevant Salesforce data is connected to provide the insights each business requires. Each Salesforce Product, like the Sales Cloud, comes with Standard Objects which are already linked to one another. This means the relationships between these Objects have already been set up.

Based on the type of data, the Objects are organized by business function. In Sales Cloud, this includes Sales, Service and Marketing functions. In the system, they are referred to as Apps which are selected through the so-called App Launcher. This is similar to an app on your mobile device which has a very specific purpose, like managing your shopping list. The Apps in Salesforce do just the same.

An App in Salesforce contains a default bundle of Salesforce Objects. The Sales App contains Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities. The Marketing App contains Campaigns and Leads, and Service App contains Cases. Some Objects, like Accounts and Contacts are cross-functional and will therefore be displayed within each of the apps. These Apps can be tailored based on business needs. This includes re-arranging the default Objects, adding or removing Objects and so on.

The way how the Objects within these Apps are linked is through so-called Related Lists and Lookup hyperlinks. Let’s look at Related Lists first. For example, on an Account, you will see a list of related Contacts or related Opportunities. This means, the Account is the main record (=Master Object), and the Contacts, Opportunities, or other records such as Cases, are attached underneath it (=Detail Objects or Child Objects). It’s like you are looking down.

With Lookup hyperlinks however it’s the other way around. For example, you are on a Contact record, and you want to see the Account details, you will find a hyperlink instead. It’s like you are looking up to the Master Object.

Organize Data Through Collaboration

There are vast amounts of data coming together in a single Salesforce Database. Salesforce Users will most certainly have questions or updates around these.

And this is where Chatter comes in. Chatter is Salesforce’s built-in collaboration platform. Salesforce offers it for Users to share information and ask questions in context to records they are working on. Users may need to involve subject matter experts from their teams or create chat groups to discuss specific topics. Or they may want to know what other people are saying and follow them to get notified. It’s similar to social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn. With Chatter, Salesforce Users can create an online and searchable content source.

Now you have learned some of the essential features and functionalities of the Salesforce Platform, in particular Sales Cloud. There is so much more to learn about Salesforce, such as its architecture and infrastructure, customization, change management and so on and on.

Watch this space!

Please let me know in the comments what else you are looking forward to learning about Salesforce. These articles are created for YOU! So go ahead and share your thoughts. 👏🏻

WHAT ELSE…

Our Complete Salesforce Certification Courses cover everything from Salesforce Basics to advanced Salesforce features and functionalities every Salesforce professional should know about.

We provide you with different types of study materials, so you can choose what works best for you. This includes well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams.

And if you are brand new to the world of Salesforce, make sure to sign up to our FREE 21-Day Salesforce Beginners Challenge.

Build Your Own Salesforce Custom Report Types

Salesforce Reports analyze data that is stored on Salesforce Records that belong to Salesforce Objects that are related to one another, or not. That’s a mouthful. And so are Salesforce Reports. Depending on how the data has been set up and structured in your Salesforce org, you’ll need to craft your reports in a corresponding fashion. Salesforce doesn’t leave you alone. They give you ready-to-use Standard Report Types. And if you can’t find what you need you simply build your own, meaning Custom Report Types. Let’s discuss the differences and when to use what type.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

What are Salesforce Standard Report Types?

Standard Report Types are provided by Salesforce out-of-the-box. They come with Salesforce’s Standard Objects such as Accounts, Opportunities, Cases, Leads and so on. You will find the corresponding categories from which you can choose the available Report Types from.

Plus, when you create a Custom Object and tick the “Allow Reports” checkbox, Salesforce will also create a Report Type for you automatically. You’ll find it under “Other Reports”.

Which Standard Report Type Should You Use?

Let’s use the “Opportunities” Category as an example. This is where you find Reports related to the Opportunities Object and their associated Objects such as Products or Contact Roles etc.

The Standard Report Type “Opportunities” will include fields from the Details tab of these records.

A Report Type like the “Opportunities with Products” will include fields from the Details tab as well as fields from the related Object, in this case the Product details.

TIP: Report Types that include details from related records like Products, will only give you a subset of the records (=AND condition). In our example only Opportunities that do have Products attached. You will not be able to include Opportunities without Products.

That’s where Custom Report Types come in.

What are Salesforce Custom Report Types?

Whenever you can’t find a suitable Standard Report Type or need something more complex, that’s when you need to build your own Custom Report Type.

For example: Opportunities with our without Products (=OR condition)

How To Build Custom Report Types

Custom Report Types (CRTs) are created from the Setup menu. You need to select the Primary Object, choose a meaningful Report Type Name and Description. And, you can choose a Category, though you can’t create new categories.

These steps are pretty straight forward. BUT, what the heck is a Primary Object? The question should rather be: What is the main focus of the Report? The Primary Object will determine your Filter Options in the Report.

For example: CRT on Accounts with or without Opportunities. The main focus is on Accounts for which you want to see related Opportunities details. Users will be able to filter by Account to identify those that do or do not have Opportunities.

CRTs typically contain information from multiple related Salesforce Objects, such as “Accounts with Opportunities with Products with Schedules”. Or: “Accounts with or without Opportunities with or without Products with or without Schedules”. The latter would be the most comprehensive.

This means, you can add up to four related Objects, the Primary Object being your first one. You can choose between AND or OR conditions.

AND example: Accounts with Opportunities

OR example: Accounts with our without Opportunities

Awesome Custom Report Types Features

CRTs have another huge advantage over Standard Report Types: They allow you to tailor what will be available in the Report Builder.

You can organize the fields from each Object and group them into logical sections. You can even rename field labels, especially when you have duplicate field names like the “Created By” field. AND: You can add fields from related parent records, meaning Lookup fields. For example: On Account records, you’d have Lookup fields to the Account Owner (= User Object).

You can also specify default columns which will auto-populate when Users create a new Report of this Report Type.

Benefits of Salesforce Custom Report Types

CRTs have many benefits. You can even use them to improve Standard Report Types, though you’ll have to re-create them first as a CRT.

CRTs help you to:

  • Remove clutter from Reports that Users don’t need to see or should not be using
  • Make building Reports easier for Users
  • Standardize the Report building process across teams and departments

Did You Know?

You can hide Standard or Custom Report Types which are redundant. Instead of deleting a Report Type (CRTs only) which would delete all associated Reports, you can simply hide the Report Type.

NOTE: This is currently only possible through the Salesforce Classic UI. However, Salesforce is planning to make this available to Lightning in Spring’23. (Refer to Release Notes!)

If you want to learn more about creating Standard and Custom Report creation, it’s included in our all of our Salesforce Certification Courses. Understanding the data setup and structure is a critical component. That’s why we recommend learning about Reports in context of the bigger picture. This will make you the better Salesforce Admin or Business Analyst.

Plus, all study materials, such as Video Tutorials and Study Workbooks contain awesome checklists, flow charts, diagrams and best practices. You can even download and pin them to your office wall. 🤓

Let me know in the comments what types of Custom Report Types you have created or which ones you would like to try out.

WHAT ELSE…

We make learning simple with our range of well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams.

And if you are brand new to the world of Salesforce, make sure to sign up to our FREE 21-Day Salesforce Beginners Challenge.

TOP 10 SALESFORCE SPRING ’22 RELEASE HIGHLIGHTS

The Salesforce Certification Exams have just switched over to Spring ’22. Aren’t we already moving into Summer ’22? That’s right. However, the exam cycles do have a shifted time frame. Salesforce learners need to be able to catch up. And here we go, if you are preparing for your Salesforce Certification Exam, make sure to familiarize yourself with the current release notes. Here are my TOP 10.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

#1 Collaborative Forecast Setup Becomes More Effective

This makes so much sense. Salesforce is combining Forecast Settings and Forecast Types into one screen. You won’t find a separate menu item for Forecast Types anymore. And that’s not all.

The Forecast Settings include a few new features, such as the display of Quota-related information. You get two new columns by default, the “Gap to Quota” and the “Pipeline Coverage”.

Tip: Enable “Show quotas” in order to see the option to enable “Show gap to quota and pipeline coverage”.

#2 Display Historical Trending on Forecast Tab

You’ll love this one for sure! You may be familiar with Historical Trending which is used to track changes on records such as Forecast Items. Historical Trending is usually used in reports to analyze such changes. However, in regards to Forecast Items, you can now enable the display of upward or downward trends on the Forecast Tab. This may even make the creation of corresponding reports redundant. #admintimesaver 👏🏻

Tip: Historical Trending is not enabled by default. Make sure to enable it first. Once it’s ready you’ll receive an email. After which Forecast Users will find respective Display Options on the Forecast Tab to choose from.

#3 Selecting The Right Report Types Becomes So Much Easier

When creating a new report from scratch, the very first thing you need to choose is the Report Type. If you get it wrong, you’ll have to start all over. 🤯 Salesforce makes this easier by showing you Recently Used Report Types.

And the best part is you can now hide Report Types which should not be used at all. This feature was already available in Salesforce Classic, and finally found its way into Lightning Experience. What took them so long? 🤔

Tip: You need to enable this feature under Reports and Dashboards Settings by ticking the checkbox “Enable Recommended Report Types”

#4 Inline Editing in Reports Gets Even Better

Similar to List Views, inline editing can be a double-edged sword. On the one side, inline editing can be very practical allowing Users to make changes right from the Report without having to open the record. On the other side though, related information might get overseen and not updated. This is being improved now. Whenever you update one field on a record that is relevant to another field on the same record, this related field will be highlighted.

Note: This feature is still in Beta and may or may not become Generally Available.

Tip: If you haven’t already, enable “Inline Editing in Reports” in the Reports and Dashboards Settings.

#5 Personal Data Protection In An Online World Becomes Even More Important

You already have all these data security and access tools available to prevent unauthorized access to specific types of data. However, there’s been a gap around User Data such as Names, Addresses, Emails, etc., especially in Experience Cloud Site Users. They should not necessarily be able to see each other’s details. Therefore, make sure to enable “Enhanced Personal Information Management” in the User Management Settings.

Note: This replaces the “Hide Personal Information” feature, which you will need to disable again if you had it turned on.

#6 Sharing Rules Become More Sophisticated

In regards to data protection, you can now include or exclude specific records which are associated with High-Volume Community Users or System Users.

Tip: By default, the Sharing Rule automatically includes these records. If this is not desired, ensure to deselect the checkbox “Include records owned by users who can’t have an assigned role”.

#7 Smarter Manage Permission Set Group Assignments with Expiration Dates

Keeping an overview of who is assigned to what Permission Set or Permission Set Group is hard enough. Permission Set Groups even allow you to add expiration dates which is awesome. You can now not only see the list of Users with an expiry date, but you can now also search and filter Users.

Note: This feature is currently in Beta, and may or may not become Generally Available.

Tip: Enable “Permission Set & Permission Set Group Assignments with Expiration Dates” in the User Management Settings in order to assign and manage expirations.

#8 Identify Sloooooowwww Record Pages

Since the introduction of Lightning Experience, Users have been complaining about slow page loads. This impacts user adoption significantly and Salesforce has already made a number of improvements around this issue. The Lightning Usage App already includes a section around “Slowest Desktop Record Pages”. However, while you are building out Lightning Record Pages, you are now automatically prompted when the system recognized pages that could run more efficiently.

No tip, just keep an eye out. 😉

#9 Our Love For Flow Is Growing

Almost no other Salesforce development tool has seen so many improvements in such a short time as the Flow Builder does. We all know by now that Flow will become your go-to automation tool and Salesforce is making sure, you won’t have such a hard time. From all the new updates, here are my Top 3:

Auto-Layout becomes Generally Available

When you create a new Flow it is automatically set to Auto-Layout. However, if you prefer, you can switch it back to Freeform. I still personally prefer Freeform because I like to see all Elements and Resources in the panel on the left. #oldhabitsdiehard However, the Auto-Layout is just perfect for Flow Newbies or if you prefer a more guided approach.

Use Flow Trigger Explorer to see all Flows associated to a specific Object

One of the issues with having too many automation tools is that you don’t really know what automation is already in place for one particular Object.

The Flow Trigger Explorer has been put in place to take some of that guesswork out. Of course, it can only look at Flows, but for Record-Triggered Flows, it shows you if there are other Flows already in place for the same Object. Almost too good to be true, but it’s right there. 😉

No tip, just click on “Open Flow Trigger Explorer…”.

Determine Run Order of Record-Triggered Flows

How do you know which Flow runs first when you have multiple Flows for the same Object? Good question. Problem solved with the “Trigger Order” field which you can determine when you save a Flow. If the Flow was saved already, just go to the Flow Properties.

Note: The Flows must use the same trigger, either before-save or after-save.

And there’s heaps more. Make sure to check out the other Flow updates too.

#10 Convert Workflow Rules to Flow

A little warning first: Don’t try this one in a real Production Org, test this out in a Sandbox or Developer Org first! Plus, this is currently in Beta and may require fine-tuning. However, it’s certainly worth giving it a go.

It’s time we face it: Workflow Rules and Processes are going to be retired. While they will still be around for another (probably long) while, you won’t be able to create new ones anymore. You will only be able to edit existing ones. This means, you still need to know how Workflow Rules and Processes work. But, you will also need to learn more about Flow and how to migrate Workflow Rules and Processes to Flow Builder. Salesforce is starting to provide you with migration tools. Here’s one for Workflow Rules:

You will find a new Setup menu item “Migrate to Flow”. Select the Rules you wish to migrate and the system will do the work for you. Once the migration is completed, you will be able to test the functionality in Flow Builder. Voila!

There are so many more features to explore. Go check them out and remember you can earn points for learning all about them: Spring ’22 Release Highlights

Let us know in the comments which features you enjoy the most. We’d love to hear from you!

WHAT ELSE…

We make learning simple with our range of well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams.

And if you are brand new to the world of Salesforce, make sure to sign up to our FREE 21-Day Salesforce Beginners Challenge.

How Long Does It Take to Learn For Your Salesforce Certification Exam?

That depends! Not the answer you wanted? Bear with me. There are a number of factors contributed to your experience, study materials, career goal and more. You are going to make this work using the guidelines we’ll discuss in this article.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

“Success isn’t overnight. It’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.” 

Dwayne Johnson | actor and former pro-wrestler

One of the most popular questions around Salesforce Certifications is how long or how much time it takes to get ready for the Salesforce Certification Exam. And this is indeed a very important question to ask yourself. Understanding the timing will help you prepare accordingly and avoid the frustration.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, we can certainly apply a rule of thumb to give you some direction. Therefore, in this article we will break down the most relevant factors that will contribute to the date you’ll register your Salesforce Certification Exam for. These factors include:

  1. Your Salesforce experience
  2. Your available study time per week
  3. Study materials at your disposal
  4. Your Salesforce career plans
  5. Your desired Salesforce Certification exam date

Your Salesforce Experience

Have you had any experience with Salesforce yet? If yes, then we need to look at the type of experience.

This includes the type of Salesforce User, the type of Salesforce Org, type of involvement, and time spent in the system. Here are a few examples of what this may look like:

Type of Salesforce User:

  • Trailhead Learner completing Trailhead Modules and Projects
  • Salesforce Business User like a sales person using the User Interface, not the Setup
  • Salesforce Administrator working in the system setup

Type of Salesforce Org:

  • Trailhead Playground/Developer Org
  • Production Org such as Enterprise Edition, Essential Edition etc.
  • Robust org setup or disorganized org

Type of involvement:

  • Trailhead Learner completing step-by-step projects or completing complex SuperBadges
  • Business User working in the User Interface only, no Salesforce Setup
  • System Administrator configuring the Salesforce Setup, differentiating between simple setup items (e.g. setting up Users) or complex customizations (creating Custom Objects/Apps, Workflows, Flows etc.)

Time spent in the system:

  • Daily usage
  • A few hours per week
  • Irregular login

Where do you think you fit in? How confident do you feel about your experience with Salesforce?

Based on your previous experience, you may consider the following time frames:

0 Experience: 3-6 months

6 months+ Experience: 6-8 weeks

12 months+ Experience: 3-4 weeks

However, you need to consider how much time you can afford to study. Therefore, let’s look at the weekly study time and how this can affect your timeline.

Hours Per Week You Have Time to Study for your Salesforce Certification Exam

What does your daily life look like? Are you currently working a full-time job? Do you have kids or other people to care for? Do you have any leisure activities/hobbies to attend to?

This will help you determine how much time you can free up to focus on your Salesforce studies. You have various options, such as studying full-time or part-time or casually.

If we take the number of hours per day or week into consideration, the time frame may look like this:

And that’s not all, yet. We also need to look at the study materials you’re learning with as well as your learning pace to work through the materials.

Salesforce Study Materials at Your Disposal

You’ve got a lot of options to choose from in regards to how you are learning all the Salesforce Certification knowledge topics. These include Trailhead Modules/Project, video tutorials, study workbooks, practice exams, quizzes, and others.

If you are a Salesforce Newbie, you will certainly have more knowledge topics, or more material, to work through than someone with prior experience. And even if you are experienced, you may need to work through topics you thought you are confident in to make sure you’re not missing something you may not have been exposed to yet. At least, that’s what I’d suggest you should do. 🤓

What’s the best way to learn all that Salesforce knowledge to prepare for your certification exam?

With so much content out there, we’ve collated the essential details into a comprehensive Salesforce Certification Guide. It’s an 8-step guide telling you exactly what you should do in order to reach your exam day and pass at the first attempt. It also includes important information about what happens after you got certified. Because this is where your career really starts off. 👔

Your exam day will only be as successful as the Salesforce knowledge and skills you are bringing with you. The key to a successful exam day, therefore, is HOW you prepare yourself.

This means learning the right content in an effective way for your brain to absorb all that knowledge and retain it. It’s not just about “learning” it’s about “understanding”. There is science behind this, combined with real-life experience from other Salesforce learners.

Here are the recommended study materials that will help you prepare and give you the confidence for your exam day YOU want to have:

Salesforce’s Trailhead Modules and Projects – Each Salesforce Certification requires a different set of knowledge and tools. You will learn these through Trailhead Modules and Projects. The ones relevant for the Salesforce Certification you are preparing for are collated into so-called Trailmixes.

Salesforce Video Tutorials – Video tutorials are a great way to learn in a well-structured and coordinated way. Especially if you are a visual learner who prefers some guidance. Our video tutorials will not only help you “learn” but will offer plenty of opportunities for self-guided practice to help you “understand” what you’ve been learning about.

Salesforce Study Workbook – If you enjoy reading, taking notes, and even like to print out pages to pin at your desk, then our Study Workbooks are perfect for you. They give you a summary of all exam knowledge topics for review, and also include links to the Trailmixes mentioned earlier, so you can deepen your hands-on practice.

Salesforce Practice Exams – I believe these are a must-have for everyone. Because they do two things. One, get you familiar with the exam format and complexity of questions and answers. Two, they help you determine whether you are actually ready to take the exam. They are used to identify your strength and weaknesses, including detailed explanations and additional learning resources to strengthen your weaker knowledge areas.

NOTE: If you are a Salesforce Newbie, I would not recommend to start learning with Practice Exams, rather use them at a later point in time. They are meant to check in on your existing knowledge of the Salesforce features and functionalities.

And again, it depends on your prior experience. Salesforce Newbies may need all of the study materials, Salesforce Experienced may only need the Study Workbook and/or Practice Exams. Choose for yourself, it’s YOUR Salesforce Career!

And this brings us to the next factor.

Your Salesforce Career Plans

Now, we need to look at your Salesforce Career plans. This means, how important is the Salesforce Certification to you and how fast are you looking to use it to make a career move.

A Salesforce Certification is not a must-have to move into a Salesforce job, however, it will likely open more doors if you have at least one. You may even be in a current Salesforce job, maybe as an accidental Administrator, and you’re considering adding that Salesforce Certification to your CV but you’re not in a rush.

The urgency to gain the Salesforce Certification will also determine your exam deadline. And this takes us to the last but certainly not least factor.

Your Desired Salesforce Certification Exam Date

If you already have a date in mind, you can take the table from above and count backward to determine how many hours per week you would potentially have to study.

For example:

You’re desired exam date is 4 weeks from today. Two scenarios:

  • As a Salesforce Newbie, you’d have to study almost 240 hours per week. 🤯 I guess this is not very realistic. You may need to consider moving out that exam date.
  • As a Salesforce Experienced, you’d have to study 40-120 hours per week based on the type of experience. You may or may not be able to make it in 4 weeks.

🌶 Keep it realistic, and use the table above to determine your potential exam date. Yes, you can book your exam date already. This may help to push you forwards. However, if it’s an unrealistic date, you may get super stressed out and even fail while you could have prevented that by setting a realistic date.

If you are not sure whether you should book your exam date already or not, I’d suggest you get started with your learning curriculum. As you progress over the next few days or weeks, you get a feel on how well you are managing the complexity of the knowledge topics and your learning pace. Remember to make use of the Practice Exams to determine your exam readiness. Once you have a better idea, you can certainly go ahead and book that exam date.

We provide a Study Checklist to track your learning progress in combination with a traffic light system. This will give you a good idea of whether you are leaning more towards the sooner or later exam date.

What Else

Extended Hands-on Practice

Hands-on practice is included in any of the above-mentioned study materials. However, if you are a Salesforce Newbie or even if it’s just a few new topics you are studying, you should double-up your hands-on practice. The more you get your hands on the system, the better you’re learning success will be. And learning success means “understanding” your knowledge topic, which in turn will help you pass the exam. PLUS, retain the knowledge for your upcoming job interview.

This means you can either retake the Trailhead Modules/Projects in a new Trailhead Playground, or try on your own in a Developer Org. Alternatively, go and complete Trailhead Superbadges. They are based on real-life business scenarios and requirements which you need to set up in a Trailhead Playground all by yourself without any guidance. They are pretty tough and therefore the perfect way to really deepen your Salesforce skills. Yes, they do require a bit more time and patience. You can skip them, however, I’d really recommend you complete the ones listed in your Trailmixes. Superbadges can even be linked to your LinkedIn profile page, just like you can with your Salesforce Certification. That should tell you something. 💡

Here’s one which is part of the Salesforce Administrator Credential Trailmix:

Salesforce Documentation

Provides an extensive library of product features, knowledge articles, how-to documentation and so much more. While you are studying through your knowledge topics, you may want to read through some of the provided references on help.salesforce.com. They often contain additional or contributing information you should at least have a browse through. This also helps you get familiar with Salesforce Help and how to use it, because you’re going to need it, not only to prepare for your exam but also as an on-the-job reference. 🤓

Salesforce Release Notes

Contain important updates to the Salesforce platform. Each Salesforce Certification Exam is based on a release cycle. Which release cycle it is, is provided to you on the exam guide. Therefore, before you sit the exam, it helps to have a look at the exam relevant topics.

For example, if you are studying for the Salesforce Administrator, you should have a look at Analytics, Configuration, Einstein Automate, Sales, Marketing and Service.

This should give you plenty to contemplate. I hope you’ve been finding this helpful to determine your realistic exam date. Let me know in the comments when you are planning to take your Salesforce Certification Exam. We’re here to support you and help you keep going!

We make learning Salesforce simple with our range of well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks, and realistic Practice Exams. Available for Salesforce Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform App Builder and more.

All materials are in line with the official Salesforce Certification Exam Outline including regular release updates.

Why You Should Set up a Regular Salesforce Data Backup

Did you know that Salesforce does not automatically create a backup of your Salesforce data? At least not in a way that would allow easy recovery. Any data loss or data corruption in a live Salesforce Org can have a devastating impact if you do not set up a comprehensive data backup and restore mechanism. In this article, we’ll discuss your options of manual and automated solutions.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

Let me start by asking you this: Do you take photos of your family, friends, hobbies, travel or else? Would you be sad if you lost any of them? For my part, I’d be devastated. Therefore, I regularly create backups of any of my photos, whether I’m taking them with my phone or camera.

What does this have to do with Salesforce? A lot! Because the data stored in a live Salesforce Production Org is critical for customer relationship management, business success, legal compliance and so much more.

This means, if any sensitive or business-critical data is lost and not recoverable, it can have a devastating impact. This is particularly relevant when large amounts of data are impacted.

Data can get lost in many different ways. The most common reasons are:

  • Salesforce Users overwrite data
  • Salesforce Users delete records
  • Salesforce Administrator changes field types
  • Salesforce Administrator runs data imports

Any of the above can happen by accident or can be deliberate. As the Salesforce Administrator, you have many tools at hand to protect data access, data edits as well as data deletion. However, data loss or data corruption can still happen. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can manage data backups to recover and restore data when required.

Salesforce Data Backup Solutions

Did you know that Salesforce does not automatically create a backup of your Salesforce data? At least not in a way that would allow easy recovery. If you want Salesforce’s help with this process, you will need to install something first, and that’s Salesforce’s Backup and Restore service. It requires quite a few setup steps before it will backup your data and provides a recovery service. Plus, it comes at an additional fee.

Alternatively, you can find backup solutions on AppExchange with a range of highly respected Salesforce Partner Apps that work a charm. Yes, they do come at a cost too. Depending on your Salesforce org’s data capacity, restore process and of course budget, it’s worth checking out these apps. Just search for “backup”:

Source: appexchange.salesforce.com

Meanwhile, what can YOU do already?

While the automated solutions are great, you can already start with the more manual backup solutions Salesforce does provide you with out of the box, included at no additional cost. You can always extend with apps at a later point in time.

These out-of-the-box backup solutions include Report Exports, the Data Export service, and the Data Loader App/Dataloader.io. Let’s go through each to see how and when to use them.

Export Salesforce Data with Reports

Salesforce data is stored on records that belong to various Standard and Custom Objects, such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, and so on. One of the easiest ways is to create reports for each of these Salesforce Objects and export them into a save place on your company’s server.

PROs: Simple way to create ad-hoc reports relevant for data clean-up processes, before data imports, whenever there’s a limited amount of records involved. Exports to .csv and .xlsx. Can be scheduled for export.

CONs: This is a manual process. You won’t be able to export the entire database. Cannot be used to restore, unless you do a manual re-import under specific considerations.

Export with Data Loader App / Dataloader.io

The Data Loader works similarly to reports in the way that you need to select specific types of records you want to export.

PROs: Automatically stores the export file in a pre-defined location. The export process can be automated using the command line. Exports to .csv, .xlsx and other.

CONs: Requires installation of Data Loader App locally as well as Java Runtime Environment (alternatively use Dataloader.io web service). You need to be familiar with all the above-mentioned tools and processes.

Salesforce Data Export Service

This one is managed right from within your Salesforce Setup menu, no need to install anything. You can choose between weekly or monthly exports (depends on Salesforce Edition). It’s the most comprehensive of the export tools:

PROs: Automatically exports either selected or all data. Can include images, documents, files etc. (Beware file size!)

CONs: Data is only prepared for export. Once the export data is ready, the system will send an email to the Administrator with a link to a .zip file. The zip file is stored within the Salesforce Setup from where it needs to be manually downloaded. And, the .zip file delete’s itself after 48 hours.

The Data Export is really easy to set up and if you can ensure that an Administrator will be around to take care of the .zip file within the 48-hour time frame, then this is certainly a great tool to use.

Final Thoughts

The out-of-the-box backup solutions do not provide out-of-the-box recovery methods. The recovery process is a rather manual process, including tools like the Recycle Bin and Data (Re)Imports. Depending on the volume of data/records involved, remember to take a look at Salesforce’s Backup and Restore service or solutions on the AppExchange.

All of the above is about Salesforce Data, not Metadata. Metadata are the containers that define the type and location of the data, not the data itself. This includes Field Types, Page Layouts, Reports, Validation Rules, and so on. Therefore, if you need a backup, or better a copy, of the Metadata, that’s what Sandboxes are for.

Salesforce Data Backup is part of our Salesforce Administrator Certification Course. Application Management including Sandboxes is covered in our Salesforce Platform App Builder and Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification Courses.

Let me know in the comments how you manage data backups and which tool you prefer to use.

WHAT ELSE…

We make learning Salesforce simple with our range of well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks and realistic Practice Exams. Available for Salesforce Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform App Builder and more.

All materials are in line with the official Salesforce Certification Exam Outline including regular release updates.

Before You Run Your Next Salesforce Data Import

Running Salesforce Data Imports to insert or update larger amounts of Salesforce records can be a real time-saver. OR NOT! It can also mess up your data seriously if the import is not prepared well. Which in turn, will cost you a lot of time instead, to fix it all over again. 🤯 In this article, I want to discuss how you can ensure your data imports run smoothly.

Author: Peggy Schael | Salesforce Trainer | WeLearnSalesforce

I’ve been going through the painful way of understanding how NOT to use the data import file. We had created a huge mess at the time and it took weeks to fix the whole thing. 🤯 Only because of one field we got wrong. Trust me, you don’t want this to happen to you.

Therefore, in this article, I want to discuss how you can ensure your data imports run smoothly. 🤓 We’ll look at the types of data import tools available to you and what steps you need to follow in order to prepare your import file in the right way.

Which Salesforce Data Import Tool Should You Use

First of all, it’s important to understand which tool you should choose for what type of data import,  data update, or even data deletion. While we will focus on data import in this article, I’ll give you a breakdown of the main data management tools every Salesforce Administrator should be familiar with.

These tools are Data Import Wizard and Data Loader:

Data Import Wizard

The Data Import Wizard comes right out of the box and is accessed through the Salesforce Setup interface. As the name reveals, the Data Import Wizard can only do imports/updates. It’s limited to the Standard Objects Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Solutions, and Campaign Members, but unlimited Custom Objects. You can choose to verify duplicates and choose whether or not you want to trigger workflow rules or processes.

Data Loader App / Dataloader.io

Then we have the Data Loader. It comes in two versions:

Version 1: The Data Loader App. This one is also available through the Setup, however needs to be downloaded and installed on your computer before you can use it. It looks a bit like a dinosaur but is still loved by so many Salesforce Admins because it’s the most versatile of the data management tools.

Version 2: The Dataloader.io website is the modern cloud-based alternative. It can be launched from the Setup menu too. It is a paid service, however can be used for free to manage up to 10,000 records of up to 10MB per file.

Both Data Loader versions support imports, updates, exports, and mass deletes for pretty much all of your Standard and Custom Objects. Using the command line you can even automate imports and exports, for example for regular data migrations from/with other systems. Both Data Loader versions also support saving field mappings which are super handy for those regular data imports. They do not support duplicate checks though and can’t turn off workflow rules/processes.

Here’s an overview of their main differences and when to use which data management tool and what else you need to consider:

As mentioned earlier, in this article we will further focus on data imports because they require the most careful preparation.

Differences Between Salesforce Data Import and Data Update

When you do an import, you need to differentiate between data import and data update. You can choose between the two or even combine the two actions in one upload.

Each Salesforce record is being associated with a unique record ID. This means, if you are doing a data import to create entirely new records, Salesforce will automatically generate a unique record ID for each new record.

However, if you are doing a data import to update existing records, you need to tell Salesforce which records need to be updated. Hence, you must reference the existing record IDs.

And this is the tricky part. If you don’t include the record ID in your data upload, Salesforce will create new records instead and you’ll end up with duplicates.

Now, where do you find the record IDs of the records you want to update? You’ve got three options:

  1. In the URL of the record.
  2. By including the ID field into the corresponding report.
  3. By including the ID field in the data export when using the Data Loader.

Each of these options will give you a different number of digits, either 15 or 18. How does this matter? This is relevant for things like V-lookups in an Excel spreadsheet. Excel does not care about upper or lower cases, hence some of the record IDs will appear as duplicates. Therefore, in case you need to use the data for V-lookup purposes, it’s safer to use the 18 digits.

By the way: The number of digits does not matter for the data upload process. It will work with either number.

What Does a Salesforce Data Import File Look Like

The data import file needs to match the structure of the Salesforce Object which contains the type of records you want to upload. The structure of any Salesforce Object is the structure of a table, like an Excel or CSV. Depending on the type of Object, you need to include the relevant rows and columns.

Data uploads must be done from a CSV file. In case you’ve got an Excel in front of you, make sure to convert it to CSV first.

Here’s an example of an import file related to the Account Object:

Apart from the record IDs we discussed earlier, there are a few other items you should be verifying before you run the import.

Don’t Miss These Steps When Preparing Your Salesforce Data Import File

Therefore, here’s a checklist for you of the most important items you need to verify before you start the import.

  • Verify whether there are any mandatory fields that may be missing, or other data validation rules you may have in place. Also, do all fields you want to import exist in Salesforce or do you need to create custom fields.
  • Clean up potential duplicates. Yes, the Data Import Wizard has duplicate options available however they may not necessarily work in 100% of the records. Therefore it’s always better to check upfront if feasible.
  • Verify picklist values. If a value in your CSV file does not match existing picklist values, it will still import but not actually add the value to the picklist. Picklist values can be enforced. This means, records containing mismatching values will not be imported.
  • To keep your Salesforce data clean and tidy, it’s good practice to run a spell check, verify naming conventions and data formats like country codes and so on.
  • If you are importing currency fields, make sure the currency exists and is included in the file, not just the amount. They are essentially two different fields.
  • And remember the field mapping. It’s best to rename the column headings to match the Salesforce field label. You can still rename during the import but that may take longer. Remember that the Data Import Wizard does not store your mappings. However the Data Loader can, and this may be handy for regular uploads.
  • Determine the Record Owner. If you don’t include it in your import file, YOU will become the owner.
  • One last item that can get really interesting is date and time formats. Make sure the date and time fields are formatted correctly, otherwise they will most likely not get imported correctly. Here is what Salesforce accepts:

Source: help.salesforce.com

Conclusion

The actual data import process is not very hard, however, the type of data you import is what matters and what can truly mess things up.

Data Management is part of our Salesforce Administrator Certification Course. You will not only learn how to import and export data in Salesforce but also learn WHY this is relevant. There are a lot of factors to consider in regards to data setup, data security, data clean-up, data backup, data migration, and more. Therefore, we believe it’s essential to understand the bigger picture. 🤓

Let me know in the comments if you found this article helpful. If you had any data import mess-ups let me know too, we can all only learn from our mistakes and by sharing them with others.

WHAT ELSE…

We make learning Salesforce simple with our range of well-structured Salesforce Video Tutorials, downloadable Study Workbooks, and realistic Practice Exams. Available for Salesforce Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform App Builder, and more.

All materials are in line with the official Salesforce Certification Exam Outline including regular release updates.