We all know that one of the big bugbears of any changes you make as an Admin or Developer is getting users to like it. Here are some of the main tips for making sure you really get across to your users why changes will help them.
Within the training of teams, you might want to create some exercises to make it more engaging and less of a “this is what’s happening, tough luck” approach. Make sure these exercises are appropriate for each team you train, as different areas of the business might be using Salesforce in a different way.
You’ll also need to choose who’s going to be training. You might have multiple Admins/Devs or even some super-users who’ll be going away to teach these users. One approach to training is a ‘train the trainer’ approach. This means the admins and people who are very familiar with the system will train some key users of the system.
These users will then go away and train the rest of the team. This can sometimes be a better approach because usually the users will be more comfortable with these key users, so feedback will come more easily.
If you’re just making changes in the system, it might be worth getting some opinions on where training should be given in other areas of the system, which don’t necessarily relate to the change in hand. This can be used as a refresher to the team to help them understand the capabilities of Salesforce and make their job easier.
The rollout can be done in a few different approaches, and one that is recommended is giving access to some key users within the company. These key users can then get their hands on it to see how it handles normal, day to day operational use. This can then be rolled out to other teams in the business.
For example, say you’ve changed the fields on the opportunity object and want to let some key ‘super-users’ test it out and give any initial feedback before rolling it out to different areas of the team.
In the early stages of the rollout, its best to take things slow — allow time for users to get used to the new system. They will more than likely struggle to navigate, and whoever deals with internal cases/questions will be getting a lot of enquiries.
Be aware there might be a lot of errors as well. When users get their hands on things, they usually find things you didn’t when initially testing. There will probably be some permissions errors where users get too much/little access to areas of Salesforce. At this stage, it is up to the implementations team to keep everybody happy and get them all through this learning curve.
Entering data for a record in Salesforce is part of the platform’s core functionality. But what if data needs to be added, updated, or deleted for five records? Or 25? Or 8 million?
Depending on the amount of data that we’re talking about, it could be mildly irritating, a major pain in the bum, or simply impossible to make those changes manually. Data Loading is the term we use for making mass updates to our data, and there are a number of tools available to help us do it.
The most common use cases for a Data Loading tool are:
Exporting data from an org,perhaps to migrate to another system,
make a back-up, or create a “sample” of our data that we can then import into a sandbox org.
Inserting data, either from another system, another org.
Deleting multiple records.
Updating multiple records.
Unsurprisingly Salesforce’s AppExchange is a good place to look for Data Loading apps. Most of them are not free, and as we all like free stuff (and there are dozens of apps) I’m only going to talk about a few of the options that are free (but still with great features).
Data Import Wizard
Salesforce has it’s own built-in Data migration
tools, called Data Import Wizard (for importing data) and Data Export Wizard (for, well, you know). They’re accessed within your org’s Setup, and are really easy to use because the formatting is similar to the native editing environment in Salesforce.
This is an external application which can be used via the web app at dataloader.io or the desktop app. The web app has free and paid plans so be sure that the free plan meets your needs.
Jitterbit’s Cloud Data Loader
Part of Jitterbit’s Harmony platform, but can be used in isolation at no cost. There’s no web app but installing the desktop app is so easy even I could do it.
So which is numero uno?
The specific use case, as well as personal preference, has a big impact on which tool would be most suitable. Some people I know really like the Data Loader desktop app; I’m more of a fan of Jitterbit’s offering. But they do have some limitations which no amount of fanboyism can ignore, so here’s a summary of the features of the three tools.
Data Loading — Best Practices
No matter which option you use, how you use it is obviously very important. So here are my top 6 best practices for importing and exporting data to your Salesforce org:
If you’re updating or deleting data, make a backup of your data first. Always.
Test a batch of records first. Five should do the trick. If you’re importing or inserting records, remember not to include those five records when you do the actual import!
If something goes wrong you can use the Mass Delete feature to delete up to 250 records at a time without the need of a Data Loading tool.
Disable workflow processes, validation rules and Apex triggers. If your Sales Director gets an auto email notification whenever a record is added, and you mass-insert 50,000 of them, he’s not gonna be a happy chap.
Ensure that roles, profiles and sharing rules permit the required levels of access before performing the data import, especially if the data is sensitive.
Create a data template for each object, typically the field names. If records are already in the database, exporting a record will give you a CSV file with the required fields (i.e. your data template!)
We all love a nice, smooth data load, don’t we? There are some things that can be done to help make this a reality. Here are my top 6 tips on cleaning data before it’s inserted or updated to your org:
Consolidate values. Have one common value, so instead of “SF”, “San Francisco” and “San Fran” all referring to the same thing, have one true value.
Use existing picklist values. Replace values in your data that are not in the object’s picklist value set with values that are.
Use the correct parent record IDs, so child records will be related to the correct parent when they are imported.
Reduce the possibility of importing dirty data by using Lookup fields, automated field updates (with a Process Builder for example), or formula fields in your org; you can then omit the data values for those fields from the import completely!
Replicate the object’s field names in the data import file’s column names. This will help the “automapping” feature of the data loading tool to map the columns to the right fields.
Include the Record Owner ID for each record if possible. Otherwise, all imported records will get the user who imported the data as the Record Owner.
Using Excel to help clean your data
Excel can be used in a number of ways to clean your data. Here are my top 6:
The Sort function to sort by a column; this then helps to manually see duplicates.
Filter helps to see records with similar field values, which can then be consolidated to a single value.
If the source data file contains formulas, Save As CSV saves the resulting values, not the formulas.
Find and Replace helps to standardise fields by replacing or deleting data (for example removing letters so only numbers remain).
Concatenate combines values from more than one column, which is useful for things like combining a phone area code and phone number if they are in separate columns. (And Text to Columns does the opposite).
Format Cells helps standardise values. So if you need to ensure every value in a column starts with a 0, this is your guy.
Salesforce has recently released its new app — Trailhead Go. This is an app for both Android and IOS that puts all your beloved Trailhead trails in your hand to use on the fly!
To use the app, you need to either create or already have a Trailhead account. At the bottom of the app is a navigation pane, which contains the following tabs:
On the Today tab is a summary of Badges, Trails and Trailmixes in progress, this is a great place to look if you have a spare 20 minutes to finish off a trail and learn something new.
On the Learn Tab is where you’ll find your recommendations. These consist of Modules, Projects, Trails and Trailmixes. I’d advise going here if you want to start a new badge and learn something new.
On the Search tab, there’s a recommendation on what to search for, as well as a search bar where you can search for Trails, Modules and more! If you have something in mind you want to learn, search it in there. It’ll search for keywords for you.
For example, I’m looking to learn about Process Builder. So I’ll search “Process Builder”, and it’ll show me everything with ‘Process builder’ keywords.
This is where you can see your Trailblazer profile, including how many badges and points you have with your rank, a doughnut chart of your skills based on completed badges, recently-passed badges, and your info.
The more tab is a bit like the settings tab. You can find help, send feedback, go to the Application Settings (which I believe isn’t working at the moment), and then there’s Campfire Mode.
Campfire mode allows you to change the interface of Trailhead Go, as standard its white with all the backgrounds being light. By using this toggle, you’re able to make it black (a dark setting).
One thing that I’ve found that they’ll hopefully fix by the next update, is the fact you’re not able to change the language. So far, the only way I’ve found how to change the language is to uninstall the app and then go to the desired country’s app store. For example, I want the app in English, so I’ll go to the UK app store.
So far, this app has been enthusiastically welcomed by the Trailblazer community. Which isn’t a surprise seeing as it’s been requested for several years!
Whether you’re new to Salesforce or not, Trailhead is your mentor when it comes to learning the platform.
For those of you who’ve never used it before, Trailhead is a learning experience platform that teaches you how to use Salesforce. It pushes bite-sized, engaging content to gain new skills and improve on existing ones, with quizzes and practice tests to make sure you get to grips with each area of the system.
Trailhead works off badges and points. A trailblazer will work through modules and units to collect points. Then, these badges and points will continue to build upon your profile the more you work yourself through the trails.
There is a bit of a structure to it:
At the top is a Trail, which is a guided learning path that focuses on an area/topic. For example, Salesforce Basics could be a trail, walking you through the basics of the platform.
Each Trail is composed of multiple modules, and these modules cover a specific skill or area of knowledge. For example, within the Salesforce Basics Trail, there might be a Navigating Salesforce module.
Each module contains units, which is the bulk of what Trailhead is. Each unit begins with a set of learning objectives, and contains videos and text to help you understand that topic.
At the end of each unit, there will be a multiple-choice quiz or hands-on challenge, which will test your knowledge on what you’ve just learnt.
In a project, you’ll follow steps while building what you’re learning in a test Salesforce Environment. This means you’ll be able to get hands-on inside a test org. An example of this could be a step-by-step guide on how to create a new Opportunity.
A Superbadge is a large-scale project that gives you a chance to show off your expertise. Each one has prerequisites which need to be completed before unlocking the Superbadge. These prerequisites will be Projects and Modules, which are standalone and not part of a trail. They’re probably the hardest part of Trailhead and will require a fair bit of experience to be able to complete.
A Trailmix is a personalized Trail. You can combine it with modules, projects, Superbadges or other Trails. And these can be published for everybody to access, as well. For example, there are some really good Trailmixes on Trailhead where people have made a learning path of the best modules to learn a certain topic. In the rest of this blog, I’ll be showing off some of these, as well as some of the best Trails/projects/modules.
A quick note before going through the resources when you’re new to Salesforce — on Trailhead, you can find these by going to the search bar and searching for them.
One of the first Trails that I suggest is the ‘Admin Beginner’ Trail. Salesforce has a hashtag for admins in Salesforce, this is #AwesomeAdmin, which can be used on multiple social media platforms to see what admins are up to! Salesforce calls this trail the ‘start to your #AwesomeAdmin journey’.
This Trail takes you through various areas of Salesforce, from the platform basics to reports and dashboards.
Learn Admin Essentials in Lightning Experience
This one is a fairly large Trail for admins, but it’s important for starting off on Salesforce. Salesforce has two UI’s, an old and a new, called Classic and Lightning. This trail helps you master the fundamentals of administering a Salesforce org.
Taking you through modules from preparing users, to data management tools.
Salesforce User Basics
If you are going to be the end-user of Salesforce, this is a great course. It will take you through how to work with your admin, to learning the basics of Salesforce and how it works.
If you are looking to become a developer of Salesforce (write Apex Code and do customizations for Salesforce), then this Trail is a must! Leverage your existing development skills to build apps fast on the Salesforce Platform.
There are also some really key modules on here around the data structure and modelling of Salesforce, flows, formulas and validations. These are all key areas of Salesforce for both Admins and Developers. However, later on in this course, there will be some apex work which won’t be suited for Admins, so this Trail is best suited for Devs.
Once you have started to get to grips with Salesforce, and
have completed the Admin beginner, this trail would be a good place to go to really start to build off of the foundations of your knowledge. ‘Supercharge your skills and apps by using point-and-click tools to solve common business needs’, which as an admin for a company, will be a frequent role of your job.
This app will take you through various parts of Salesforce including setting up the Mobile App, AppExchange Basics, Security etc.
‘Reach all-star admin status by tackling more advanced Salesforce features. This trail should be completed once you have done the Admin Intermediate, which will take you through Advanced Formulas, Salesforce Connect, Company-Wide Org Settings. This badge will really start to hone on your Salesforce skills.
Get Started with Sales Cloud
The chances are, your company will be using some feature of Sales Cloud. Sales Cloud is very wide, covering a large area of Salesforce capabilities. It will take you through how to roll out Sales Cloud managing Users and Data, and the basics of configuring Sales Cloud.
Service Cloud Essential Basics
If you’re an Admin who’s new to Service Cloud, this trail will be great for getting you up to speed with the basics. I’d take this trail followed by the ‘Get Started with Service Cloud for Lightning Experience’trail, as this one is quite short, and talks about key terminology and other various things you will need to know to work in the Service industry.
If you’d like to find some more trails and modules to take on, from Trailhead, go to the ‘learn’ drop-down tab, and select what sort of level of the Salesforce Structure you want to learn from (Trailmix, Trail, Module or Project).
Once selected, you can filter the options down. For example, if you’re a new admin to Salesforce, you could select Beginner as one of the filters, and Admin as another, which would be perfect for you! You can also filter off of products (the different cloud offerings) and tags (Salesforce Topics, e.g. Apex).
Hope this brought some light onto how to start learning how to use Salesforce. Happy Trailblazing!
I’ve been working at oe:gen for about six weeks now! That’s not a very long time, but I already feel like a firm part of the team and so fortunate to work for a company with such an amazing culture and values. So much that I’d like to shout about it! oe:gen isn’t just dog-friendly (my Boston Terrier Elvis loves hanging out in the office), it truly embodies what it stands for. See below for oe:gen’s official values and my take on how they’re reflected in the company’s culture.
oe:gen really is one team. The office is an open space with developers, marketing, sales, directors, project managers, designers, the business solutions architects and consultants all sharing one space; it is a very flat structure where equal value reigns supreme. As is the case with some other more traditional workplaces, oe:gen doesn’t operate a culture of barely visible executive members, privileged parking spaces and separate offices for the ‘more important’ members of staff. oe:gen is inclusive, treats its people equally and is the most supportive place I have worked to date.
Cultivate open and honest relationships
oe:gen’s open culture is reflected in the work environment. Meeting spaces don’t have any walls, and other than using a private space elsewhere in the building for chats about personal development, day-to-day meetings are conducted openly, and collaboration is actively encouraged.
Never be afraid to ask questions
When most people start a new job, they’re immediately in a position of unconscious incompetence, and I was no exception. I didn’t know what I didn’t know yet, but I was encouraged to sit in on sessions and to ask questions. This helped me figure out where I needed to focus my energy, so I can work on plugging my knowledge gaps with the use of Salesforce’s online learning platform called Trailhead (which is free for anyone to sign up and use).
Often in new jobs, there’s a sense that you’ve been hired because it’s assumed you already know everything, and there’s a fear to admit that there’s something you don’t know. oe:gen’s way is much more in tune with real-life; they know that we’re only human, that there is always something new to learn but that equally everyone has a unique perspective and value that they can add. Attitude and willingness to learn are more important than knowledge because the former isn’t something that can necessarily be taught. Which brings us on to the next value…
oe:gen fosters a culture of learning. If you love to learn new things to improve yourself and the work you deliver, then oe:gen is the place for you. Together with Salesforce’s Trailheads and the willingness of colleagues to help and share knowledge, and the encouragement to provide feedback on processes and ways of working, oe:gen is truly a fertile ground to learn and grow in your chosen career.
In fact, oe:gen runs a Salesforce training academy where anyone from any background or demographic can apply to learn all things Salesforce alongside real-life experiences — no qualifications needed — just a positive mental attitude and willingness to learn and contribute!
Focus on delivering results
oe:gen is customer-centric. One of the reasons I wanted to join oe:gen was due to their focus on working with the customer to deliver not only what they want but need in order to solve their business problems.
oe:gen is brilliant at getting into the skin of its customers to fully understand how Salesforce can add value and business impact. To do this requires collaboration and mutual understanding of ways of working. oe:gen isn’t afraid to say no to clients who don’t share the same values — something which contributes to its success at delivering the right results.
And finally, always be your authentic self
The most refreshing part of working at oe:gen so far is the freedom to express yourself (and to bring your dog into work!). In some previous jobs, I’ve felt constrained by prescriptive dress codes and codes of conduct where it feels like you need to leave your personality at the door and churn out work in an almost robotic fashion. oe:gen celebrates the diversity of its workforce by encouraging collaboration and inclusion, not only in the office but in the industry (check out the Salesforce Women in Tech events!).
oe:gen is a great example of a company that is committed to keeping the balance of working towards profitable business growth without sacrificing its great company culture – but don’t just take mine (and Elvis’) word for it, check out the Glassdoor reviews, they speak for themselves!
If you would like a career at oe:gen, click the button below!
It’s no secret that these days, companies are striving to create, deliver and personalise content for their customers. And according to Salesforce’s latest ‘State of the Connected Customer’ report, 78% of customers expect consistent experiences across departments. That’s why Salesforce has just announced its hybrid CMS!
Salesforce says the trouble with legacy CMS’ is that they’re designed for a single touch-point, rather than the ‘ever-evolving, omnichannel customer journey‘ of today. Salesforce’s CMS is designed to easily help us create and deliver content to any channel or device, and connect that content to your customer data.
What’s different about Salesforce CMS’ features?
You can choose a content type, or create custom types and quickly draft the content in the app, without really needing any technical skills at all.
For example, if you want to add content to an experience built with Salesforce, you can choose from two of the CMS’ “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” tools: Experience Builder and Commerce Page Designer.
You can build a great experience by simply dragging content components right onto the website, portal, forum, or commerce storefront you’re using. But both tools are developer-friendly too, which is perfect if your design and development teams want to build the experience with code.
If you want to deliver content into a third-party site, experience, or mobile app, you can also use their headless APIs to do that smoothly. And it also has multi-language and translation features to help you scale.
Instead of blindly creating content, your teams will have access to their customer data to help inform their decisions and personalise their content. Plus, Salesforce CMS lets you actually turn your data into content. No, seriously. They say you can take a CRM record from your CRM and translate the rows and columns into rich, visual content, such as a banner or engaging promotional CTA. Pretty cool, that.
Salesforce CMS is also a shared service, meaning you can collaborate across teams who use:
And according to Salesforce, soon Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud will be added to that list, too.
Your teams can create a variety of content in one central location and then distribute it to any digital touch-point. You can also create content collections, which are like playlists of content that can be added to different experiences.
And this can be any format — blogs, news, events, social, email and more. You can start new projects with a single click, visualise that content in every format before publishing, build custom content, and drag components right into your site as needed.
Your content will also be dynamic — adapting to wherever it appears, meaning there’s no need to recreate content for different touchpoints. You won’t need to worry as the experience, branding and assets will stay just as you intended across each interaction.
Connecting a CMS to the world’s best CRM instantly sounded like a fab idea to me, especially since at oe:gen, we’re always looking out for ways to give better, more personalised digital experiences. Learn more about Salesforce CMS via this link!
We’ve been having a bit of a drive here lately at oe:gen, a Salesforce Certification drive! We’ve all been pushing ourselves in the last few months (with a bit of friendly internal competition) to up our cert game and try to gain credentials in all the different areas we specialise! People have been attaining certs left and right, bells are ringing, and cake is being eaten, but what happens when the unfortunate happens and… you… fail.
That’s right, I can admit it! I’m Alex, a Salesforce Consultant and just last week I failed a Salesforce Certification. But you know what? It happens, and there’s a few things I learned from the experience that I’d like to share with you.
Be proud of yourself
The first thing most of us do when we fail is begin to question our own ability, which sometimes isn’t even related to the test/exam/inflatable obstacle course we just fell off… we internalise these thoughts and start believing that we’re frauds for daring to try and not succeed (see Imposter syndrome). We forget that the pursuit of knowledge and ability is something we should be hugely proud of and failing is just a small bump in the road. So, go you for trying!
Having attained a few certs previously, I wholly began underestimating and underappreciating how much experience is needed to pass these exams. Failing one has given me a new appreciation for them and realisation:
It’s easy to forget this simple fact, but look back at the recommended pre-requisites of one the next time you’re thinking of taking a cert. Most of them have a number of Trailhead Trails you should complete beforehand and at least 6 months to 1 years’ experience hands on using the platform. If these exams were easy, then the accomplishment of attaining them would be far less rewarding.
Get back on that horse and start studying
The immediate gut reaction to failing anything is usually the want to give up and throw in the towel. It might be only a small thought, but I personally get this niggle in my head for a couple of hours… but then I try to get myself reinvigorated with the material.
Firstly, I try to look back on why I failed, and how the Salesforce Cert gives you a percentage based on each section is really helpful here. Looking at where I was strong and where I completely dropped the ball (I’m looking at you Salesforce Engage section!) gives me great guidance on where I need to go do some extra studying and focus my attention. This leads into my last point…
Yeah! You heard me! Use your scores from each section to figure out how far off you were from passing. There’s even a handy calculator someone made here that will work out your overall percentage score if you want to get specific. Then, set yourself a new target date to get the exam booked again. Think about it, you have the knowledge from before, you’re going to study up on the parts you weren’t so great at and you now know a little more about how the questions are structured; you got this!
I have a few passions in life; one of them is writing helpful articles for sales and marketing folks, and another is horror movies. So, to honour the spookiest day of the year, I’m going to combine (absolutely shoehorn) the two. Let’s see how this turns out…
Dreamforce is back in action on Tuesday 19th November, so we’re heading over to San Francisco again! And this time, we’ll be using our customer’s app, what3words to navigate around the biggest event in the Salesforce world.
What’s what3words, you ask? Well, it’s an app that’s really simplified location finding. It assigns each 3m square in the whole world a unique three-word address that will never change.
The creator of what3words used to work in the music industry and noticed that in the music world, technicians and musicians were getting lost trying to find live events every day. So after experiencing a few too many ‘navigation nightmares’, Chris Sheldrick asked his mathematician school friend, Mohan Ganesalingam, for help with an algorithm to make precise GPS coordinates more concise and easier for people to use.
These three-word addresses are as accurate as GPS coordinates but are much easier to say and share. People use what3words to find their tents at festivals, navigate to venues, direct emergency services to the right location, and more.
It’s pretty much perfect for navigating San Francisco and the huge space that Dreamforce occupies. Paul will be using it to find his way around and meet up with his pals. If you’d like to grab a drink with Paul in San Fran — be that caffeinated, soft, or alcoholic — send him a little message via this Pardot landing page and he’ll arrange something with you!