How to make fast improvements to your Salesforce site with Accelerators

Salesforce launched Accelerators back in 2015 to help their customers succeed faster. So if you’ve got a Salesforce product that needs some improvements but not a lot of time to spend, there’s probably an Accelerator out there to help you!

What’s an Accelerator? 

After working with 150,000 customers across the world, Salesforce found there were common challenges faced around several key themes: 

  • Getting started 
    Knowing where to begin is one of the biggest challenges when choosing a Salesforce product. 
  • Onboarding employees 
    Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people can absolutely loathe change, and it’s tough to get everyone in your business excited about a new system. 
  • Product adoption and feature adoption 
    Old habits die hard. Even when you think you’ve onboarded well, your users might decide they don’t see how the experience is better for them personally.

These are just a few of the many challenges oe:gen’s customers have also personally faced in the past.  

As consultants, we often have the same conversation with several customers around onboarding — of course it’s different people in front of us with totally different businesses, but they almost always have the same pain points. Still, we listen and we build for them, and it can take weeks.  

That’s why we’ve been squirrelling away on something that’s going to be a total game-changer for businesses needing an Onboarding Tool for their Salesforce Community or Commerce site.  

What we’ve done for this first Accelerator is take our experience of common onboarding journeys and lay down the foundations. It’s like buying a plot of land and finding someone already did the groundwork for you, but left it flexible enough that you can still put your dream home on it. We just reduce the time needed to work on it. 

With oe:gen’s Onboarding Tool Accelerator, you’ll be able to get quick, customisable examples that have already been designed and pre-built by our team. Then, we’ll be able to tailor its design and slot that into your Community like it ain’t no thang.  

How will it benefit me? 

Imagine if you could: 

  • Improve data
  • Speed up UX
  • Make updates with clicks, not code
  • Save time and free up admins
  • Get over a month’s worth of complex work delivered in a single week
  • Make decisions and collaborate with the best people for the job
  • Discover and understand risks early 
  • Feel confident about your decisions and gain results that last 
  • Achieve stakeholder alignment quickly to make change happen 
  • Overcome organisational barriers. 

Well, rather than paying our team to spend weeks designing and building your business a brand-new onboarding solution, we’ve got one designed and developed that’s ready out-of -the-box for you — minus a few customisations. This means there’s less risk involved for you and your business and you get a better idea of what your project might result in, faster. 

For example…

Say Emma wants to get a business loan to open her own recording studio, and your business provides the kind of loan that she’s looking for.   

You want her to sign up to your Salesforce Community to help her with all the questions she might have about her loan application, but the onboarding experience isn’t great on your existing application form, or you just don’t have one yet.  

Badly designed onboarding forms lead to bad data, rubbish customer experiences, and even loss of customers in some cases. If people are getting blocked from using your Community from the get-go, you’re going to get more phone and email enquiries. It makes communication harder and more time-consuming and can unfortunately cost you more money in the long run.  

With our Onboarding Tool, we can show you an expertly-designed onboarding journey for Emma, for a Loan Broker, and for your team, faster. 

The outcomes of the Onboarding Tool: 

  • Users like Emma or her Loan Broker will be able to complete the form on any device, in a timely manner, with a great user experience built by UX design experts. 
  • Onboarding Managers will be able to access information about on-going onboarding submissions easily, and be able to take action on these onboarding submissions with a few clicks.
  • Onboarding Admins can manage the multiple onboarding journeys and forms from a single management tool within Salesforce. 
  • Senior Management can report on journey metrics and be able to receive proactive updates. 

How is this possible? 

Using our huge breadth of experience creating these onboarding forms time and time again, we’ve been building this customer-agnostic, customisable Onboarding Tool as an internal project for the past few months.

We’ve treated it exactly as we would have for a customer, from discovering and defining the requirements in workshops, to creating beautiful pixel-perfect designs that provide our developers with everything they need to build the tool.

The development has been completed in sprints with regular scrums and sprint ceremonies to help the team deliver the best possible solution, in time and under budget. 

When will this be available? 

It’s available right now! Contact us for a free demo below.

What’s next? 

Now the Onboarding Tool is out the door, we’re planning to continue building on the groundwork we’ve laid here to create a world-beating Accelerator for Service, encompassing a Community with the beautiful UX that oe:gen are renowned for, and a best-in-class Service Cloud implementation to back it up. Watch this space!

5 quick ways to improve your Salesforce self-service customer Community right now

A couple of weeks before the UK lockdown, I was booked to be spending a relaxing week in Rome with my partner. Obviously, we decided not to take our holiday in the end, and our flights were cancelled shortly after. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find any information about my flight (other than it being cancelled, of course). No refund notification, no information about how to request one, and I could probably learn to pilot my own damn plane before I get through to a customer service agent, right now.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been searching for help in navigating the uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic wherever I can, and FAQ pages and customer self-service centres have been a huge part of that.

It’s more important than ever to put all your efforts into making your customers feel supported and cared for, and self-service channels like Salesforce Communities and portals are powerful tools for this.

Online communities not only help you build deeper connections between your business and customers, but they also help your customer service agents by reducing the number of cases you might be experiencing right now.

To make sure your self-service channels are helping your customers during this time of crisis, here are a few quick things you can do:

1. Update your FAQs and Knowledge Articles

Identify and add more of your new frequently asked questions to your FAQ page and Knowledge Articles. There’s bound to be loads more than usual!

You could host daily 10-minute meetings with your service agents so they can help each other. Or, you could create a collaboration document so your teams can regularly and easily update frequent customer queries related to the crisis.

This is a shared document where your team can record and share how they’ve helped customers. We use Quip for this, which makes it super easy to keep everyone on the same page (literally) on the fly, no matter where we are.

2. Update your messaging

To show you’re sensitive to what your customers are going through, your messaging might need an edit. If you’re not sure where to start, see this blog for some marketing tips during the crisis.

The main thing to remember is to let your customers set the tone; they want to be helped right now, so do so in a compassionate way and put the relevant customer support info at the forefront of everything; don’t leave them in the dark.

3. Ask for customer feedback

A great user experience (UX) is as vital as ever – you need to not only make using the Community a breeze for your customers, but to also make sure your service agents aren’t spending their time helping users navigate it.

Instead of receiving hundreds of messages about their difficulties using your Community, create a quick user experience feedback form. This will help you eliminate repetitive tasks and quickly make more informed decisions on where to improve the user interface of your Community, while also letting your customers know you’re already thinking about ways to improve things for them.

4. Check out Salesforce Care

What is Salesforce Care? It’s how Salesforce is helping companies of all sizes navigate COVID-19, involving a suite of super helpful and quick-to-implement products like Einstein Bots, Salesforce Maps, and Marketing Cloud Social Studio that are free for 90 days. Check out this lovely video for more info:

5. Talk to us!

We’d love to have a chat with you to identify some bespoke quick wins for your Community. Beam a message directly to David, Mark and Paul via our ‘fancy a chat?’ form and they’ll set up a call to help you out.

How much does Salesforce cost?

It recently came to light that a post I wrote on this subject many years ago isn’t really much use for people wanting to know the likely costs of Salesforce now!

A lot has changed in the SFDC ecosystem over the years… so what can you get for your beans these days? I updated this blog post in 2018 – it’s about time for a 2020 update! 

Sometimes our customers/potential customers have already had discussions with Salesforce [SFDC] directly, and other times we’re their first point of contact. Unsurprisingly, the answer to the question “How much does Salesforce cost?” is usually  “Well, it depends on…”:

  • What do you want to do with Salesforce?
  •  How many Salesforce licences will you need?
  • What kind of Salesforce licences will you need?
  •  Who do you want to work with on the implementation?

Click here for Salesforce licence costs


1. Salesforce for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – [Sales Cloud]

Different companies have different understandings around what CRM means – we’re often called in to help facilitate cross-functional workshops to establish a clear understanding of the business benefits of a single view of data – whether it’s Accounts, Contacts, Sales and Financial information etc.

Remember the key benefit to businesses will be the management information which will be available.

INDICATIVE COST – Enterprise licences are £120+/user/month. Consultancy and Implementation is £9,000+

Click here for more info on Sales Cloud implementation

2. Salesforce for Customer Service  – [Service Cloud]

Out-of-the-box Salesforce has a big tick for allowing the automation/semi-automation of routine customer service activity such as raising cases/tracking activities, making customers happier using all the features in the #1 platform for service.

INDICATIVE COST – Licences are £60+/user/month. Consultancy and Implementation is £9,000+

Click here for more info on Service Cloud implementation

3. Salesforce for API integration and workflows – [Salesforce Platform]

oe:gen has been working with Salesforce for the past 10 years and are often asked to integrate with other systems or use complex workflows to create business applications on the Salesforce platform.

INDICATIVE COST – Licences are N/A. BA, Programming and Implementation is £15,000+

4. Salesforce for Customer or Partner Portals/Communities – [Community Cloud]

The phrase “The Social Enterprise” was coined by Salesforce a few years ago, and we’re now seeing the porous membrane effect —  as more and more companies chose to transparently share more and more information with their customers and partners. oe:gen are the number one specialists in EMEA delivering Communities, including UX and skinning to match corporate brand guidelines and create the best possible Customer Experience [CX]

INDICATIVE COST – Community Licences: pricing is now based on per user / log-ins – POA. Design and Implementation is £12,000+

Click here for more information on our implementation costs for Communities

5. Salesforce for Automated Marketing – [Pardot]

Generate high-quality leads with Pardot’s tools to keep your pipeline fully stocked with a steady flow of high-quality leads. We can get you up and running, or we can help design and create a more seamless brand experience for your existing Pardot landing pages, forms and emails.

INDICATIVE COST — Pardot B2B Licence:  Licence is £800+/month. Design and Implementation is £3,500+

Click here for more info on Pardot implementation and Pardot design support

6. Salesforce for Marketing teams – [Marketing Cloud]

Marketing Cloud is a unified platform of expert marketing tools built on the world’s #1 CRM – helping you know your customers, engage them, and personalise their experiences across everything, as if they were right in front of you.  It hooks into Salesforce CRM to integrate every touchpoint and experience with your brand across advertising, marketing, commerce, sales, service, and apps.

INDICATIVE COST – This is one of the most expensive licence types:  POA. Consultancy and Implementation is £30,000 – £50,000+

7. Switching to Salesforce Lightning  – [All Salesforce Clouds]

If you’re a new Salesforce customer then you’ve already experienced the latest Salesforce UX visual experience. If you’re still on “Classic” then you need to transition/migrate/change your Salesforce org to the new look and feel.

The stats prove how much more engagement you’ll get – and that’ll result in happier customers, as well. It can be very straightforward where you’re using Salesforce in a fairly straightforward way – if it’s a more mature Salesforce instance, it can get a little trickier.

INDICATIVE COST – No licence cost implications. Consultancy and Implementation is £6,000-£20,000+

Click here for information about Salesforce Lightning Transition

Get in touch if you have any more questions about Salesforce implementation costs, we’d love to hear from you!

The tools we use to get development done

Back in 2006, oe:gen began as a web design and development company. Throughout the years, we’ve been keeping up with the change of demand, going from standard websites to complex Salesforce Communities (and jumping over a few obstacles along the way). On this weird and wonderful journey, we’ve consistently strengthened our skills to nail the user experience of each of our projects, as well as trialled an insane amount of tools to see which are the best fit.

All this hard work has lead to what we are today – a Silver Salesforce partner full of over 30 experts in building beautiful, fully branded Salesforce Communities that our customers (and their customers) love to use.

In case you were curious about how we create these customer experiences, here are some of those tried and tested tools we continue to use.

Development 

Primary tool: JetBrains WebStorm with Illuminated Cloud 2 

We fell in love with WebStorm and Illuminated Cloud 2 as soon as we used them.  We were on the lookout for a solid, performant, extensible development environment for Salesforce, and WebStorm with Illuminated Cloud 2 met that brief superbly.  Some of our favourite features include the great code completion, refactoring, customizable linting, git integration and general layout/usability of the app. 

Honourable mention: VSCode with the Salesforce Extension Pack (and loads of other extensions) 

We have developers here at oe:gen who like to be “individual” and therefore opt to use VSCode with the Salesforce Extension Pack, plus Jira, Spotify and many other extensions that slow their machines down.  Bless them.  This is fine, we’re not dictators here, so long as they don’t come running to us when they can’t deploy a Lightning Component. 

Deployment 

Primary tool: ClickDeploy 

We’ve read about and trialled several metadata deployment tools in our time, but ClickDeploy meets our current needs very well.  It’s a huge step-up over traditional changesets, while still being very user-friendly, allowing us to deploy code and config quickly without spending hours RTFM-ing (Google it).  We’re on the cusp of upgrading to the top tier, Enterprise, for all the CI / CD gubbins that brings. 

Source Control 

Primary tool: Git with BitBucket 

Need I really say anything about Git?  We moved over to BitBucket from GitHub shortly after a certain software behemoth got their claws on it and haven’t looked back.  We love the native integration with Jira and the configurable branch permissions. 

Project/Task Management 

Primary tool: Jira Cloud 

oe:gen have dabbled in simpler tools like Trello in the past, but none really cut the mustard quite as Jira does.  It took us many, many months to accept Jira for what it is and to learn how to customize it to meet our needs, but now we’re (mostly) there. 

Collaboration 

Primary tool: Microsoft Teams 

We use Teams.  We’d probably prefer to use Slack.  Sometimes you don’t get what you want in life, okay?  Teams has come a long way since its early days where the application would hang regularly and notifications were none-existent.  It’s not perfect, but neither was Game of Thrones.  You still watched all of it, didn’t you? 

Knowledge Sharing 

Primary tool: Salesforce Communities with CMS Content 

Being experts in Salesforce Communities, we thought it’d make sense if we created an Employee Community where our team could go to get information about the company, our tools and processes.  We’re mid-development, but are seeing a lot that we like about Salesforce CMS. 

Our value of continuous improvement means we’re constantly keeping an eye out for better ways to do development here at oe:gen. But these guys have become favourites in our toolkit. If you want to find out more about how we build our “best in class by far” Salesforce Communities, chat to us today!

Why can’t I log into the Partner Community?

Why can't i log into the partner portal?

You might have noticed there’s a bug with the Salesforce Partner Community login that’s limiting a lot of users from signing in. Here’s the current Partner Community login problem:

Users are signing in with their existing credentials, which usually work, but are being taken to the ‘join the community’ page instead. Huh, that’s not right?

If you then press the ‘join the community’, you’ll trigger an email to your partner admins, who can verify your account to join the Community. 

But see, the problem is, for a lot of us, our admins cant sign in either! 

via GIPHY

Not good times.

Thankfully Salesforce is aware of the Partner Community login problem and is currently looking to resolve it, so hopefully, this will be resolved soon! Keep an eye out for updates.

Here are 10 telltale signs your online community needs a revamp

Online communities are popping up on every digital street corner. From Facebook groups to Salesforce Communities, more businesses are bringing all their people together in one place to connect and engage with each other. Why? Because they know that real relationships and human-to-human interaction are key to business success. By creating these online spaces, businesses are not only gaining better customer retention and loyalty, but they’re also getting mega insights into who their buyers are and their biggest challenges.

Read moreHere are 10 telltale signs your online community needs a revamp

Is Salesforce right for your nonprofit?

Rallying donors, engaging with your community and hitting your fundraising targets isn’t easy when you’ve got hardly any time, resources or IT budget. And even if you were to install new technologies to help you overcome your everyday challenges, the chances are they won’t be tailored enough to suit your specific organisation’s needs. The struggle is most certainly real for nonprofits doing demanding, important work with limited resources. Could Salesforce be the answer?

Read moreIs Salesforce right for your nonprofit?

Salesforce customer portals vs. Communities

Thinking of turning your old customer portal into to a Community? These days, Communities are the only available option from Salesforce. If you already own an old-school portal from way-back-when, Salesforce will kindly allow you to keep it alive. But before you get too excited by that, you might want to see what a new Community can do instead.

Read moreSalesforce customer portals vs. Communities

10 great tools for monitoring customer satisfaction

Being in the age of the empowered customer, we’re all increasingly expecting more convenient ways to solve our customer service issues. It’s a no-brainer — by making sure customer service is accessible to suit these expectations, businesses are more likely to build brand-loyalty and receive repeat purchases. That’s why there have been so many new and improved customer service tools popping up all over the place.
Here are 10 of the best tools for providing and measuring great customer experience.

Read more10 great tools for monitoring customer satisfaction