Use Salesforce to Send Emails Quicker Than Ever Before

Emails are the core of communication for many firms and we all know how time-consuming they can be. According to Forbes, the average employee actually spends about 2 ½  hours per day reading and replying to emails. This adds up to a lot of time not spent working on projects!

Luckily, you can use Salesforce to automate tedious email tasks, freeing up your team so they can spend more time working on projects, meeting deadlines, and doing the work they enjoy. We’ve explained some of these key email features below so you can get started automating email functions through Salesforce today!

Email Templates

Salesforce email templates are re-usable emails that you can connect to different types of automation. Your customers or team members receive these emails when other things happen in Salesforce, like creating a new Opportunity. Email Templates will save you hours writing the same type of emails over and over again, and they’re easy to set up too!

Salesforce Emails

  • Folder. You can select the folder you’d like to keep this email template in. This is good for an organization when you have many different email templates for different reasons.
  • Email Template Name. Use a clear concise name that allows others to know what your email template is meant for.
  • Template Unique Name. This will auto populate after you enter an Email Template Name. This name is to be referenced if you use this email template in Apex Code somewhere else in Salesforce, or in a Changeset. You don’t need to worry about this right now.
  • Encoding. Encoding standards tell your web browser or email application how to read the characters or text in your email body. You don’t need to worry about this right now.
  • Description. Write a clear concise description so others know what your email template is used for.
  • Subject. This is the subject of the email that everyone who receives the email will see.
  • Email Body. This is where the actual email message is written. You can add plain text and Merge Fields to create your message.

Merge Fields

Merge fields can be used to pull your customer’s unique information right from Salesforce and into your email templates automatically. For example, if you wanted to send your customers an email addressed directly to them, you would write something like this in the email template:

Dear {!Lead.Name}

Where {!Lead.Name} is the merge field that will update to the name of your Lead. Merge fields are awesome because they easily allow you to customize emails sent to customers, making them feel important. Additionally, you can use merge fields to send the most current and up to date information to your team, ensuring everyone is on the same page with projects.

Workflow Email Alerts

Email Alerts allow you to send emails automatically through Salesforce. You can specify the type of person to receive these email alerts, like an internal User or Contact, and you also specify the email template that you want to be used in this alert. Email alerts can be used for actions like sending emails automatically internally when deals close or sending “Welcome” emails to new Leads. To send an email alert, you must create a configuration to actually fire the rule. We will get into this below!

Salesforce Emails

  • Description. Write a clear concise description so others know what your email alert is used for.
  • Unique Name. This will auto populate after you enter an Email alert Name. This name is to be referenced if you use this email alert in Apex Code
  • Object. Pick the object you’d like your email alert to be associated to for merge field values in the email itself as well as potentially where to find information to determine the actual recipient.
  • Email Template. Pick the Email Template you’d like to be associated to your email alert.
  • Recipient Type. Determine how the email recipient is identified. You can pick from the following list:

Salesforce Emails

  • From Email Address. Specify where the email has come from to the end User.

Send Emails Automatically in Salesforce

Instead of focusing on projects, many of your team members day is consumed by writing and sending emails. With email templates, you took the burden of actually writing certain emails off of your team’s back. Now, with Workflow Rules or Process Builders, you can actually set up emails to get sent automatically based on happenings in Salesforce so your team can put their time toward productive work instead.

Workflow Rules

Use Workflow Rules to send emails automatically so your team doesn’t have to! Workflow rules fire automatically when something happens in Salesforce. For example, workflow rules can fire when a new Opportunity is made, when a Lead’s status changed to a specific value, and from many other things. Once you write your rule to fire based on an action in Salesforce, you will have to associate your existing email alert to the rule. Then, after activation, you will be all set to send emails automatically in Salesforce!

Process Builders

Process Builders are more complex configurations that you can also use to fire email alerts. With process builders, you have many more options to cause an email to fire and can create more complex scenarios than with a workflow rule. If you are new to Salesforce, stick to using workflow rules to send emails for now. However, once you feel more confident with your config skills, check out how a process builder can be used to automate emails and ultimately let your team spend more time on the important tasks.

Salesforce Emails

Email Reports Daily/Weekly/etc.

One last capability of email in Salesforce that you may not know about is the ability to send Salesforce Reports automatically over email to who you want, when you want, and with only the most updated Report information. By scheduling a report to refresh, you are telling Salesforce to automatically refresh that report so the information is completely up to date. Then, you determine if you’d like the refreshed report to be sent to just yourself or other Users you specify. Finally, you determine the duration of time you’d like the report to get emailed out during, like at the end of the week, 2 weeks, month, or another time. Sending updated reports automatically over Salesforce to Users can save your Users a ton of time by not having to track down each other to find the information they need.

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

Top 5 Salesforce Project Management Apps

Salesforce.com has tons of different functions and capabilities, but it does lack one major feature: Project management functionality. You may be able to get by with some custom configurations or code to help you manage projects and people, but if you truly want to have great project management, you should consider getting a Salesforce project management app from the AppExchange.

Project Management Salesforce

However, exploring the AppExchange brings you to your next problem; There are so many different project management apps, how are you going to select the best one for your team? Do you want to spend a little more and get an app with numerous functions, or would you rather pay for an app with just the essential project management features that you truly need?

In our previous article, 5 Essential Features Your Salesforce Project Management App Must Have, we identified 5 very important project management features that you should make sure your new project management app has. As a refresher, the 5 features are:

  1. Resource Allocation
  2. Gantt Chart
  3. Time Tracking
  4. Projects Templates
  5. Team Collaboration Capabilities

All companies are different, which is why we are lucky that there are so many different project management tools on the Salesforce AppExchange. To help, we’ve consolidated a list of what we consider to be the top 5 favorite Salesforce project management apps that include some, if not all of the 5 features listed above.

So, Which App is Best For Your Team?

 

Inspire Planner

Inspire Planner is a powerful yet very easy-to-use Salesforce-native project management app. It was created by a group of experienced application designers and project management professionals who were aggravated by the lack of project management tools in Salesforce that were not expensive or had too many extra features. That is why the Inspire Planner team invests a lot of time and effort into simplicity and user experience of their app. In addition to that, Inspire Planner is also a great choice for the teams who need to involve external partners in the projects such as your customers or suppliers.

Inspire Planner has 5/5 of the essential Project Management features and more, including:

  • Resource allocation views to see available and overallocated resources
  • Gantt chart that seamlessly supports complex task dependencies with multiple predecessors
  • Time Tracking to compare Planned Project Effort vs Actual Effort for accurate project forecasting
  • Project Templates with the ability to link Projects to any Salesforce object, like Contacts and Opportunities
  • Project Task assignment to Users or even Contacts synced with Salesforce Tasks so your team is always aware of what they need to do
  • Easy project files sharing and complete Chatter integration
  • And more!

Pricing:

Inspire Planner Salesforce Project Management

Overall, Inspire Planner is an affordable Salesforce project management app that focuses on the essential features that you need for project management as well as on a great customer support. Inspire Planner is ideal for a team who wants a straightforward project management solution with no extra unneeded frills to work quicker and better in Salesforce. If your team wants more complex functionality, another tool may suit you better.

 

Milestones PM+

Milestones PM+ is a Salesforce-native project management tool that offers both a paid version and free version of their tool. The free version is a great option for those who are new to Salesforce or uncertain that a project management tool will truly help their team be more productive, while the paid version offers a vast amount of features for a team who wants a more complex solution.

Milestones PM+ Free Edition has limited versions of 3/5 of the essential Project Management features and more, including:

  • Customizable project templates (with limitations)
  • Gantt Charts to group related projects together (with limitations)
  • Milestones to group related Tasks together
  • Project Tasks to log time
  • Chatter for team and cross-functional collaboration
  • Risk and issue tracking capabilities for project contingency plans

Pricing:

Free!

 

Milestones PM+ premium version is more robust, includes all of the Free Edition features, 5/5 of the essential Project Management features and more, including:

  • Salesforce Activity Sync to sync project tasks with Salesforce Tasks and Events all in one place so Users have full visibility into seeing everything they need to do for projects
  • Gantt Chart enhancements like email options and drag and drop functionality
  • Resource assignment including assigning any contacts as resources, even if they are not a licensed Salesforce User
  • Custom fields creation options in project templates
  • Email Workflows to alert Users of new Project Task assignments or project updates
  • And many more!

Pricing:

MilestonesPM+ Pricing

Along with a great customer support team, you can’t go wrong with selecting Milestones PM+ Free Edition for your company if you would like to test drive a project management app before fully committing to a paid version. Milestones PM+ is a little more expensive than other Project management tools but offers a large number of features that make it worth the premium price if you are looking for a more robust Project Management tool.

 

Mission Control

Mission Control Logo

Mission Control is a native project management app built on top of Salesforce to take all of your org’s customizations into account. One cool feature of Mission Control is that it uses something called Roles to help keep your team organized. You can define a Salesforce User or Contact’s Role, along with Skills, the Team they belong to, and when they are on Holiday, or not available for projects. You can also track Milestones, Actions with a Time Log and more, all related to the different projects you complete.

Mission Control has 5/5 of the essential Project Management features and more, including:

  • Resource Allocation across all projects through a Scheduler of up to 12 weeks with filter capabilities based on Teams and Skills
  • Interactive Gantt Chart(s) with Milestones, Actions & Checklist Items
  • Track time with the Salesforce1 Time Logger, including Start and Stop functionality
  • Project Template including a “Deep Clone” feature
  • A Kanban Whiteboard feature to give Users visualizations of their actions based on the current status
  • Chatter Integration and Collaboration Timesheets
  • And more!

Pricing:

If you’re looking for a tool that offers more than just project management, such as expense management, Mission Control may be the tool for you. Mission Control gives you great financial tracking capabilities for projects, including revenue, staff costs, and expenses. If you are only looking for a straightforward project management tool, you may want to pick another option. But, if you’re looking for an all-around robust tool with more capabilities than just project management, Mission Control may be a great choice for you!

 

TaskRay

TaskRay is not only a full suite project management app but also it provides robust customer onboarding functionality in Salesforce. Their mentality of “Plan, Work, Report, Repeat” is seen through their various project management features, with some listed below, and they have also been known as “the Leader in Customer Onboarding in Salesforce”.

TaskRay has 4/5 of the essential Project Management features and more, including:

  • The ability to plan schedules, create dependencies, and re-assign team members through Gantt chart drag and drop functionality
  • Time Tracking features with the use of task cards, checklists, and task details with viewable timesheets
  • Project Templates including the ability to copy Tasks, checklists, and associated files
  • Chatter Conversation functions with task card notifications enabling project collaboration.
  • A Kanban View to manage Tasks similar to sticky notes
  • A weekly Agenda feature viewable right in TaskRay
  • And many more!

Pricing:

TaskRay is priced similarly to Milestones PM+ and Mission Control, but also offer more than just project management. Although their Resource Allocation capabilities are not as built out as other apps, TaskRay has great reviews as far as being easy to use goes, and also offers many other exciting features such as a Daily Planner for email reminders. These reminders can contain summaries of recent activities and lists of tasks that need to be done. They also have an Email to Task function where you are able to forward emails that will actually create new Tasks!

 

Taskfeed

taskfeed logo

Taskfeed is another Salesforce app that focuses primarily on customer onboarding, but we’ve included it in our list because it also has completely built-out project management functionality. Also, for many businesses, projects only start after a customer has been successfully onboarded to a service. Customer onboarding is step one of successful project management for many companies.

Taskfeed has 4/5 of the essential Project Management features and more, including:

  • Drag-and-drop Gantt Chart feature to schedule tasks, define durations of tasks and define dependencies
  • Track progress and time spent on projects without leaving Salesforce
  • Taskfeed Templates, like Project Templates, from onboarding playbooks to re-use with future customers
  • Collaborate with your team through Chatter and share onboarding plans with external customers or partners
  • Set baselines for each project to see how well your team has delivered in comparison to customer expectations
  • And more!

Pricing:

taskfeed pricing

So, Which App Is Best For You?

The 5 apps we showcased above all have their own sets of pros and cons. For a simple yet powerful Salesforce project management app at a great price, Inspire Planner may be the app for you. To accomplish more than just project management and utilize many robust features at a higher price, Milestones PM+ Premium or Mission Control would make a great fit. And finally, if customer onboarding is your first step to starting projects, Taskray or Taskfeed would be good apps to look into getting. Overall, your company and team has unique to be taken into account while selecting the best Salesforce project management app for your team.

 

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

5 Key Features Your Salesforce Project Management Tool Must Have

The Salesforce platform is great for holding customer information, tracking and making new sales, and automating business processes. However, Salesforce comes up short in one major way: it does not support project managers in the best way possible. There are only a few if any, built-in Salesforce project management tools and functions.

Fortunately, project managers can get the tools and functionality they need by installing a project management app from the Salesforce AppExchange. There are tons of options and picking one that meets the specific needs of your company or team can be tough. To help, we’ve identified 5 essential features that your Salesforce project management tool must have if you want to increase productivity and complete projects better than ever before.

Essential Salesforce Project Management Tool Features:

 

1. Resource Allocation

When picking a Salesforce project management tool, you should definitely consider one that gives you the ability to clearly see what projects your resources are being used for, and how you can allocate tasks amongst them for the best results. You may have employees or coworkers who are completely overloaded with tasks, while others may not be busy enough. With a tool that gives you visual insight into how your resources are being used, you will be able to spread tasks around more evenly to fully utilize all of your resources.

2. GANTT Chart

Gantt Charts are a project manager’s best friend. If you are unfamiliar with them, a Gantt Chart allows you to easily visualize all tasks within a project, understand project timelines and task dependencies, and identify what work needs to be completed by what deadline in order to keep the project on track. Salesforce currently does not offer a Gantt Chart type resource for project managers, but luckily, many apps do.

GANTT Chart Project Management Inspire Planner

3. Time Tracking

A time tracking feature will come in handy when you are forecasting project timelines. You want to look for a time tracking feature that you can use to compare “Actual” time spent on projects with “Estimated” and see the difference. A feature like this will help you see where potential project bottlenecks are and understand what types of tasks may take your team longer than others. Then, you will be able to create a realistic project or task deadlines to set your team up for success!

4. Projects Templates

If you often have similar or repetitive projects, you should consider a tool that has a project template feature. Just like Salesforce Email Templates that save you time from writing the same type of email over and over, you want to consider picking a Salesforce project management tool that offers pre-loaded project templates so you don’t have to create new projects from scratch every time. This will save you countless hours of project setup so you can instead focus on managing your team and helping them succeed.

5. Team Collaboration Capabilities

Every project manager knows how important collaboration is for a successful project. Communicating the right information at the right time is vital to make sure every team member has what they need to succeed. Your Salesforce project management app must have the capabilities for you to share your project with people both in and out of Salesforce, especially since some of your clients may not use Salesforce themselves. Additionally, you should look for a tool that is completely integrated with Chatter if your team uses it for communication so they don’t have to learn a completely new communication method.

Learn more about 6 Awesome Chatter Features You Need to Start Using Today in our article!

Team Collaboration Inspire Planner

So, Which Tool Should You Pick For Your Team?

When it comes to picking the right Salesforce project management tool for your company or team, you should definitely consider choosing one that has the 5 essential features above. These 5 features will not only help you gain more visibility into projects and how your resources are being used, but they will also make working together much easier as a team, saving time overall. We’ve created a list of our Top 5 Favorite Project Management Apps in Salesforce that have some of, if not all of the features listed above to help.  If you want to use Salesforce to its fullest capabilities but also have successful project management, getting a project management tool should definitely be a consideration in your near future!

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

Top Salesforce Trailhead Trails To Learn Common Salesforce Objects

The Salesforce ecosystem is a huge place that’s overwhelming to try and learn everything all at once. Luckily, Salesforce offers a great resource that breaks down the entire platform into easy to understand interactive learning activities: Salesforce Trailhead. Salesforce Trailhead contains Trails, guided learning paths, which contain Modules, specific topics, containing Units.

There are 111 Trails, 391 Modules, and countless Units, so the next question is where do you even get started with Salesforce Trailhead? The best way is to pick a concept or feature within Salesforce and tackle the Trail(s) related to it. If you’re new to Salesforce, start with the more basic concepts to understand the platform as a whole, and move on to advanced concepts when you’re ready.

To help, we’ve consolidated a list of the best and most helpful Salesforce Trailhead Trails and Modules to learn all about Salesforce Objects. Objects are an important building block to the Salesforce Platform. Once you understand them, you will be on your way to becoming a Salesforce Pro in no time! We’ve also included a couple of our favorite Trails to explore once you have mastered some of the fundamentals of Salesforce.

General Object Intro

Objects are the basis of the Salesforce platform. They hold all of your Salesforce information organized by Records. The following Module and Unit are a great place to start understanding what exactly Objects are and how you use them in Salesforce.

Module: Data Modeling Module

Unit: Understand Custom & Standard Objects Unit

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the perks of using objects on the Salesforce platform.
  • Explain the difference between standard objects and custom objects.
  • List the types of custom fields an object can have.

Leads & Opportunities

Lead and Opportunities are Standard Objects in Salesforce. They are also amongst the most commonly used objects as Leads help you track your prospective customers and Opportunities help you track sales and current deals your sales reps may be working on. The following Module and Unit will give you a  great overview into how you can use Leads and Opportunities in Salesforce today.

Module: Salesforce User Tour Module

Unit: Work With Leads and Opportunities Unit

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Use the Lead Workspace to action your leads and move them toward conversion.
  • Use the Opportunity Workspace to do more in context, with fewer clicks.
  • Gain at-a-glance insights with accounts and contacts.

Accounts & Contacts

Accounts and Contacts are two other commonly used Salesforce Standard objects. Accounts track your current customers and their business, while a Contact tracks any person associated to that business. The Module and Units below will give you a great overview of how you can use Contacts and Accounts in Salesforce and how they relate to one another.

Module: Accounts & Contacts for Salesforce Classic

Unit: Get Started with Accounts and Contacts

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe what business accounts and contacts are, and explain how they’re related.
  • Describe what a personal account is.
  • Add a new business account and associated contact.

Unit: Understand Account and Contact Relationships

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Relate a single contact to multiple accounts.
  • Define a contact’s roles for each account it’s related to.
  • Create a hierarchy among related accounts.

Some of our other favorite Salesforce Trailhead Modules include:

Module: AppExchange Basics

A 45-minute crash course to learn about the AppExchange and how to navigate the sea of Salesforce Apps within it. Apps range from documentation tools like DocuSign to fully integrated Salesforce project management tools like Inspire Planner, and more.

 

Module: Competitor Tracking in Salesforce

This Module teaches you why knowing what your competitors are and aren’t doing matters and how to use custom fields on Opportunities to populate useful competitor tracking reports and dashboards.

Module: Alignment with Your Manager

This Module is not as Salesforce-functionality heavy as some others. Instead, it emphasizes what you can do to build a better working relationship with managers you may report to and how that can lead to future benefits for everyone. Also be sure to check out the most helpful Salesforce Trailhead Trails fit for Salesforce Users of any level!

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

Top 20 Salesforce Influencers to Follow

The world of Salesforce would be incomplete without its millions of community members. Whether people are actively seeking to get better at using Salesforce through the Trailblazer Community, helping fellow community members in Answers, or sharing experiences over #Twitter, the people who love to talk Salesforce are the people you need to follow. We’ve collected a list of awesome Salesforce Influencers who you should start following on Twitter today to learn more about the Salesforce Community and people it makes up.

Daniel Peter

@danieljpeter

Daniel Peter is a dev-focused active member of the Salesforce Community. He started with Salesforce in 2009, a working as both a Salesforce Admin and Dev for Safari Books Online and has been featured as a guest on the Salesforce Admins Podcast and contributed many articles to the SFDC Community. Daniel currently works as an Advisor Salesforce for Startups Accelerate Program.

Tiffani Bova

@Tiffani_Bova

Tiffani Bova is Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. She centers her expertise around 2 objectives – customer success and growth. Prior to joining Salesforce, Tiffani was working at Gartner as a VP, Distinguished Analyst and Research Fellow covering Channel Innovation and Sales Strategies. She is also the host of “What’s Next!” Podcast on iTunes which is recognized as one of the Top 100 Business, Marketing and Management Podcasts. In addition to that, Tiffani is the author of the recently published book “Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices That Will Make or Break Your Business”.

Oliver Hansen

@nesensa

Oliver Hansen has spent his time collecting hundreds of Salesforce blog resources to consolidate on his website, Salesforceblogs.com. Here you will find three categories: Salesforce Blogs, Salesforce Gate, and Salesforce Podcasts all handpicked to help the Salesforce Community as a whole. Oliver works as a Digital Marketing Specialist at Datacolor where he combines his two passions of marketing and Salesforce.

Keir Bowden

@bob_buzzard

Keir Bowden, aka Bob Buzzard, is a five time Salesforce Developer MVP. He is an active SFDC community member and often posts helpful information for Developers. Keir is also the author of Visualforce Development Cookbook to teach developers more advanced VisualForce concepts. Outside of Salesforce, Keir is Chief Technical Officer at BrightGen and enjoys walking his dog and road cycling.

Zachary Jeans

@ZacharyJeans

Zachary Jeans is an independent strategy consultant with a love for the Salesforce ecosystem. In 2014 and 2016 he was named the #1 Salesforce influencer on Twitter based on research from Run Consultants. Zachary is a Constellation Research Orbits member also has a large interest in nonprofits.

Mike Gerholdt

@MikeGerholdt

Mike Gerholdt is the master of everything Admin related! He currently works as the Director of Admin Evangelism at Salesforce and was a past host of the Salesforce Admins podcast. He has spoken multiple times at Dreamforce as the Salesforce Admin Keynote speaker and now leads the Salesforce Admin Track. Mike currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa, and is a big fan of Apple products.

Eric Dreshfield

@ericdresh

Eric Dreshfield is the founder of Midwest Dreamin’, a Salesforce conference that takes place annually in Chicago and is all about SFDC learning and collaboration. Eric is an extremely active leader in the Salesforce community too. Not only has he spoken at Dreamforce, but he has also been named a Salesforce MVP every year since 2013. Eric currently works as Advocacy Manager for Apttus and was able to spend some time with us to give us all of his SFDC insights.

 

Amy Oplinger (Salesforce Amy)

@SalesforceAmy

Amy Oplinger is an awesome Admin and yet another Salesforce MVP. She started as a Sales Rep but soon became a Salesforce Consultant after using and falling in love with the platform. Also a past Dreamforce speaker, she specializes in SFDC Admin for SMBs and enjoys end User training the most. Amy holds 171 Trailhead badges and currently lives in Ohio.

Rebecca Dente

@sfdc_nerd

Rebecca Dente has over thirteen years working in cloud technology and is a frequent Dreamforce speaker. As one of the first 500 people to become a Certified Salesforce Admin, she is a Salesforce Influencer and MVP and was given the Dreamforce Chatterati VIP Award in 2010. Today, Rebecca is a Partner at MTI Solutions & Consulting.

Fabrice Cathala

@fab  c

Fabrice Cathala is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the tech world and more than 10 years working with Salesforce. Starting as a Salesforce project manager for Symantec, Fabrice has since earned 9 Salesforce certifications and spoke at Dreamforce in 2016 and again this year. He gives us his take on Reports and Dashboards and how he cannot live without them today. Fabrice currently works as a technical lead for Appirio, a cloud technologies firm, and lives in the UK with his wife and daughter.

 

Michael Farrington

@michaelforce

Michael Farrington is a Salesforce MVP with his own blog and website filled with both helpful and comical SFDC articles. His lighter take on Salesforce-related matters is entertaining to read while still learning about the platform in general. Michael currently works as a Sr. Salesforce Architect at Domo Inc.

Cheryl Feldman

@CherFeldman

Cheryl Feldman started as a hair stylist until she tore her right rotator cuff and had to pivot careers. From moving to office work to showing an interest in reporting and metrics, Cheryl was put on a Salesforce implementation project, spent hours each night reading about Salesforce and convinced my IT department to give her Admin access. Today, Cheryl works as Assistant Vice President, Salesforce Administration and Strategy for Allianz Global Investors.

Gillian Bruce

@gilliankbruce

Gillian Bruce is a Senior Admin Evangelist for Salesforce after joining the team 2010. She strives to bring people together to ignite change and enjoys building and organizing communities. Gillian now hosts the Salesforce Admins podcast and lives in San Francisco.

Francis Pindar

@radnip

Francis Pindar is 1 of 9 people from around the globe to have been awarded a 6x Salesforce MVP. He’s worked with Salesforce for over 10 years and is a frequent speaker at Salesforce events including Dreamforce. Francis is also Co-Founder to A Force Guru, an e-learning company that aims to provide low cost and high quality Salesforce Certification training.

Jennifer Shier

@crmsalesgem

Jennifer Shier started as a Sales Rep and has since spoken at Dreamforce many times and is a Salesforce Influencer and MVP. She has over 20 years of data and analytics experience and was one of the first 250 people to become a Certified Salesforce Admin. Jennifer did an awesome interview with Brainiate and currently works as Senior Marketing Planning Analyst for Palo Alto Networks.

Steve Molis

@SteveMoForce

If you’ve spent any time on the Salesforce Trailblazer Community website, specifically in Answers, you will have heard of Steve Molis. According to one of his Yelp Reviews, Steve actually hit an app limit for number of questions answered! Also a Salesforce MVP, Steve is a self-described Pseudo-Developer, Husband, Dad, LGBT Ally, Rescue Dog Owner and more.

Ben McCarthy

@SalesforceBen

Ben McCarthy, better known as SalesforceBen, is the founder of one of the most popular Salesforce blogs of all time. You’ve likely visited his blog to find information on how to prepare for getting Salesforce certifications, to catch up on the latest SFDC news, or to learn more about config and development in general. We were lucky enough to get a chance to sit down with Ben and get his thoughts on the Salesforce world as well as some of his insights into the vast platform. Ben lives in London, United Kingdom and currently is the Managing Director of EMPAUA, Europe’s fastest growing Salesforce consulting firm.

 

Brent Downey

@brentdowney

Brent Downey is the mastermind behind Admin Hero, one of the most popular blogs and reliable Salesforce resources in the SFDC community. His Admin Hero series, Zero to Hero is a complete guide to understanding the fundamentals of Salesforce in a language that any new Admin will understand. Brent has spoken at Dreamforce in the past, is a Salesforce MVP, and currently lives in Colorado with his wife.

Tom Blamire

@Salesforce_Tom

Tom Blamire has been a Salesforce Evangelist since 2014. He posts Salesforce information, tips, and tricks on his website and is also a proud co-founder of the Gif Squad. Tom currently works as a CRM Specialist for CME.

Justin Edelstein

@JustEdelstein

Justin Edelstein is another Co-Founder Arkus, Inc. After accidentally starting with Salesforce in 2007, Justin has since become an AwesomeAdmin and has written SFDC content and articles. Justin currently lives in New York City and works as Chief Technology Officer for Arkus, Inc.

Jason Atwood

@JasonMAtwood

Jason Atwood is Co-Founder & Chief Productivity Officer at Arkus, Inc, a Salesforce Consulting Partner. He started using Salesforce in 2000 and is actually one of the first 500 certified administrators. Jason co-hosts the CloudFocus Weekly Podcast covering the cloud computing news and events and has spoken many times at Dreamforce.

Bonus: Marc Benioff

@Benioff

Marc Benioff is the man behind Salesforce. He is the Founder, Chairman, and Co-Ceo of the cloud computing CRM we all know and love today. He started Salesforce in 1999 and it has since grown into a 97 billion dollar global company. Before Salesforce, Marc spent 13 years of his professional life working for Oracle and even continued to become the company’s youngest vice president.

 

By following these Salesforce influencers, you are setting yourself up for continuous learning about Salesforce related activities and events, and are on track to becoming an active member in the Salesforce Community today. At Inspire Planner, we strive to also contribute positively to the Salesforce Community in many ways. Our app is designed to make the lives of Project Managers easier through full integration with Salesforce. We also have a blog where we post articles about Project Management, Salesforce Tips and Tricks, and even have our own AppExchange Stack offering over $10,000 of software deals to become more efficient in Salesforce.

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

Sandbox Secrets: 6 Ways to Use Your Salesforce Sandbox

Salesforce Sandboxes are used for different purposes but oftentimes people do not understand their true value. A Sandbox acts as a replica of your Production Org which means that everything you do in a Sandbox, as long as it has been recently refreshed, mimics what happens if you did the same action in Production. Believe it or not, this is very useful when it comes to using Salesforce overall. Below are 6 ways that you can use your Salesforce Sandbox today!

Practice Practice Practice Building Configurations

Config may seem like a complex and looming, tech-heavy headache, but every Salesforce admin had to start somewhere! There are many types of Sandboxes but you should practice building config in your Developer’s Sandbox. Not only is it best to never build directly in Production, but by practicing building config in your Sandbox, you do not have to worry about making any mistakes that could compromise your data. You are free to play around as much as you’d like to truly get a grasp on what building config is all about.

Now That You’ve Built Your Config, Test It In Your Sandbox

Our second tip for using your Salesforce Sandbox is to test newly built config in it. We recommend testing in your Full Copy Sandbox so that the test environment is as similar to Production as possible. This means conducting a deployment of your newly built config from your Developer Sandbox to your Full Copy Sandbox. This seems straightforward but we cannot emphasize enough the importance of thoroughly testing config before deploying it to Production.

Additionally, sometimes config clashes with Apex code in ways that you would never see in the Salesforce user interface. To help handle this, be sure to run Apex Unit Tests after you’ve created your config. These tests will show you if your new config is clashing with any code, and what the resulting error is. By thoroughly testing in a Sandbox now, you are saving your team from running into problems down the road in Production.

Hint: If you only have one Sandbox, build and test in it. Try to NEVER build in Production!

Plan & Practice Your Deployment

Sandboxes are useful for practicing deployments. Without conducting a practice, actual deployments can take much more time than anticipated. Sometimes certain config needs to be deactivated before you can deploy or else you will hit errors and your deployment will fail. Additionally, when deploying a large amount of config or code, it’s easy to forget a component or piece to your outbound changeset. Salesforce will show a missing component error when this is the case. By practicing your deployment in a Sandbox first, you will save time and have an even smoother deployment to Production.

Practice Data Loads

Just like practicing deployments, you can also do mock data loads in your Salesforce Sandbox. This allows you to catch errors early so that your real data load runs quicker and as expected. For example, when data loading an to update many records, you may hit a Validation Rule error. That means some of the records you are updating violate a Validation Rule created after those records were created. You will have to spend time finding the Validation Rule, deactivating it, and then re-run a data load of these error files. By catching this error early in a Sandbox, you will know to deactivate specific Validation Rules before running the deployment.

Additionally, if you run the data load and make mistakes compromising the data, you are in a Sandbox and not touching real data. Practicing data loads in a Sandbox environment can not only save you time, but can also keep your data safe from accidental changes!

Test Apps From the Appexchange

Some apps from the Salesforce Appexchange, offer free trials or test drives in your Sandbox environment so you can see exactly how the app would run in your Org. Not all apps offer this useful trial but one that does is the project management app Inspire Planner. By using the free trial in your Sandbox, you will understand how Inspire Planner fully integrates with your Salesforce Org and how certain features work. You will see just how your data would look when using some of Inspire Planner’s features like its Time Tracker to compare Task Planned Effort time vs Actual Effort times. Downloading a trial version of an app and running a test drive in your Sandbox is great to get a feel for how an app would realistically run in your Org.

Credit: AppExchange

Train New Users in Your Sandbox

Training new Users in your Sandbox lets them get a feel for using your Salesforce program without pressure. They won’t be afraid to play around with the org and get comfortable with it since all of the data is a replica of Production, but they will be worry-free since their actions cannot truly affect your business. For example, when training new Users in Production, they could accidentally change data, email a customer, or even delete information. Using a Sandbox for new User training is the best way for them to get to know your org without feeling any pressure of making mistakes.

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

6 Easy Ways to Use Salesforce for Project Management

Every project manager should look for ways to become better at what they do. Many project managers also use Salesforce in one way or another to support projects and run their teams. However, Salesforce is so vast that utilizing its capabilities for project management can be tough. To help, we’ve consolidated a list of our favorite 6 easy ways you can start using Salesforce for better project management today!

Manage Your Team: Account & Opportunity Teams

On any project, teamwork is key. People who work well together can complete projects quicker, better, and have more enjoyment doing it. To help teams work together, Salesforce has useful two options; Account Teams and Opportunity Teams. By utilizing these team settings, your Users will be set up to successfully work quickly together, making you a better project manager.

Account teams are Users who all work on an Account together. They are given access to the Account, any Account Contacts, any Account Opportunities, and Account Cases. Using Account teams helps your team know exactly what their role is on each project, saves time by keeping communication in one spot, and helps you see who is doing what for each Account.

Opportunity teams are Users who all work an Opportunity together. Depending on your Security Settings, the Opportunity team will not be able to see Account information like Contacts, Cases, and the Account itself. Use Opportunity teams when you need someone to work on a specific Opportunity but you don’t want them to have access to Account information.

Help Reps Stay on Task with Task Notifications

Task Notifications are a new Salesforce feature from the Winter ‘18 release. They are visual reminders of Tasks that need to be completed by the User. Up to three reminders can pop up on the User’s page at a time, allowing them to stay on top of what they need to do and keep your project timeline running smoothly. This feature is easy to enable but is currently only available in Lightning. If you use Lightning, you should set up Task Notifications to keep your team on track and stay ahead on your project deadlines!

Collaboration: Files & Chatter

Chatter can be used across your entire Salesforce org, so why not use it to help your teams communicate? By creating a “Team Chatter Group” you can easily keep all communication and collaboration with team members in one central location. This way, everyone is updated on project happenings and it’s very easy to find project information.

Files are great for team collaboration too. You can make documents private to a team or public, use Version Control to see how many past versions of a file exist, and ensure files are always up to date. Users can even follow files and set up automatic notifications of any changes. Taking advantage of Chatter and Files for collaboration will help your team communicate better, keep information centralized, and help your team finish projects faster and better. Happier teams will make you a better project manager overall!

Field History: See Who’s Changed What & When

Field History Tracking allows you to see all changes that happen to a specific field. By clicking on a field’s history, you see all prior and new values in the field, who changed each value, and at what time this change occurred. As a project manager, you can make decisions off of these changes like adding an approval process so only certain Users can approve changes to fields, or even giving only certain Users access to changing fields. You may also be able to identify why certain fields change so much and see if there is a way to prevent the need for so many changes. This will save your team time and headache as they will only have to enter information once and be finished with the record!

Hint: Don’t forget to add the Field History related page to your page layouts too!

Use Reports to Stay Updated On Project Timelines

Managing project timelines is a huge pain point for project managers. If one of your team members gets off track, your entire project could be delivered late. To help manage projects that are at risk of being delivered late, you can use Salesforce Reports.

You can easily create a Report of Open Opportunities and filter by a time period, like within the past week, past 30 days or more. The fields you can run this filter on include:

    • Last Modified Date
    • Last Activity Date
    • Last Modified By

You can use the same style of report for Accounts too. This report will you see which of your projects haven’t been touched in a while and what team you may need to follow up with. Using reports to stay aware of which projects are prone to coming off schedule will help you take actions to keep them on track and become a better project manager today.

Utilize the Salesforce AppExchange: Inspire Planner Project Management Tool

Despite using native Salesforce for project management functions, it is not a complete solution since Salesforce’s main function is to be a CRM. However, you can use a project management app from the AppExchange to have a complete project management solution on Salesforce.

Inspire Planner project management app is fully integrated with Salesforce and has all vital features to make you a better project manager. You can have project templates, use time-tracking features, share projects internally and with external users, set up multiple predecessors for Tasks, track estimated vs actual completion times for projects, and more. Getting the Inspire Planner app will put you on track to becoming a better project manager today!

Inspire Planner is a user-friendly project management app for Salesforce

5 Things You Need to Know Before Using Salesforce Leads

Today, many companies use Leads to track their potential customers, see how well their marketing campaigns are working, and try to increase overall sales. Managing Leads in Salesforce is not only simple to do but also very beneficial since Salesforce tracks everything. Managing Leads in Salesforce utilizes the tons of Lead data generated and lets you report on this data, providing visibility into your Lead processes to further drive decisions. In Salesforce, there are many features you can use to make this entire process quicker, automated, easier, and more successful overall. However, there are 5 things that you need to know before using Leads in Salesforce if you want to have effective Lead management and increase sales.

1. Map Custom Fields Or Lose Your Data

When you create a custom field, you must map it to another field on Accounts, Opportunities, Contacts, or a combination to ensure that your data is not lost upon Lead conversion. What this means is that you must match a field from Accounts, Opportunities, Contacts, or a combination of those to match the custom field on your Lead. Then, upon Lead conversion, the value is saved in this new field. For example, you may have a custom Lead field called “Number of Children”. If you want to capture this information on Accounts, you will have to specifically match the Lead field to an Account field, called mapping. It’s a simple process, but if you forget to map the fields, you will lose this information when the Lead is converted.

2. Change Lead Status Values to Fit Your Company’s Needs

Lead Status is a picklist field like any other. This means that you can edit, delete, and add new picklist values to the existing list. You can also specify a default value for when a Lead is created for the first time. Customize your Lead Status values to match your Lead Process: If a Lead must go through a “Nurturing” stage before it can be ready to convert, add “Nurturing” as a Lead Status picklist value, and adjust the stage order as necessary. You can take it one step further to use Validation Rules to ensure certain information is recorded on the fields on your Leads before Users can change the Lead Status. You can learn more about this below.

3. Use Validation Rules to Keep Lead Data Clean

Validation Rules are a great way to make sure Users don’t try to qualify Leads that are missing information. They actually improve the User experience by letting Users know what information is missing and are easy to setup too. Validation Rules work by preventing a record from saving if specified criteria are met. First, you must determine what information a Lead must have before its status can be updated. Then, create your rule to enforce that! For example, you can have a Validation Rule prevent a User from changing a Lead’s Status to “Ready for Conversion” if the “Company” field has not yet been populated. Just be sure to write a helpful “Error” message for the rule so it’s clear to Users what information they need to add.

4. Use Auto-Response Rules to Quickly Email All New Leads

To automatically respond to all new Leads that enter Salesforce from your company’s website, use Auto-Response Rules. Auto-Response Rules are an easy way to automatically send emails to any new Lead that enters Salesforce that also meets a criteria. They are easy to set up and you can have multiple rules. This is very useful if you want to send different email messages to Leads based on different criteria. For example, if you have different responses for Leads based on their occupation, you can write multiple rules to reflect this. All you have to do is specify a criteria, such as Occupation being “Education”, then associate the appropriate email template.

5. Use Lead Assignment Rules to Assign Leads to Users Automatically

Another feature that is easier to setup than it may sound is Lead Assignment Rules. Lead Assignment Rules are used so that when Lead meets specific criteria, it is automatically assigned to a specific User or Queue. You may use this feature if you have multiple departments or teams who should handle a specific type of Lead. For example, if your company was a regional company that handled Leads based on location, you may want all Leads from NY, or New York, to go directly to one specific User. You can set this up for multiple regions and ensure that all new Leads are directed to the right person. With Lead Assignment Rules, all Leads will have an owner who is assigned to that Lead for a specific purpose. This helps you have better Lead management as Lead owners will know exactly how to nurture that Lead into a customer, increasing sales for your company overall!


Inspire Planner is a user-friendly project management app for Salesforce

Top 5 Most Helpful Salesforce Trailhead Trails

Salesforce Trailhead is an interactive way to learn how to use the Salesforce.com platform. You learn through “Trails” or collections of modules that each teach you about a specific Salesforce feature. You read through examples, take quizzes to test your knowledge, and even practice building configurations in Sandboxes or practice environments to gain hands-on experience with the features. However, with over 85 different Trails to pick from, getting started with Trailhead can be intimidating. Here are 5 of the most helpful Trails to focus on so you can become a Salesforce expert today and help your team work quicker, faster, and better!

1. Learn What Salesforce Is: Grow Faster With CRM

Even if you have never heard the term CRM before, (Customer Relationship Management), the Grow Faster With CRM is a great Trailhead to start off with. It provides a clear, high-level overview of what a CRM is, how Salesforce is a CRM, and what Salesforce can do for you. It also provides a great introduction to the different main product offerings of Salesforce: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud. The entire Trail is only 3 hours and 15 minutes long, but if you are trying to save time and if your company doesn’t use Service Cloud yet, try just skimming the last module, Contact Center Transformation.

2. Admin Beginner… & Medium, & Advanced

Where else better to start learning Salesforce.com than the Admin Beginner Trail? This Trail gives you an introduction to what exactly you can use Salesforce.com for. It touches upon Data Modeling, which sounds intimidating, but really will teach you about objects and what they are used for. Next, you learn about data management best practices as well as what Salesforce Lightning is and how to build in it. Finally, the Trail wraps up with touching upon Mobile customization options and how to build reports and dashboards in Lightning too. If the 8 hours and 55-minute trail sound too daunting, you can break it down by module too. The first module, Salesforce Platform Basics, is only 55 minutes long. Once you master Admin Beginner, check out Admin Intermediate, and then Admin Advanced too!

3. Understand & Get Started With Lightning Today

Salesforce Lightning is the future of Salesforce, so you should understand how it works sooner as opposed to later. What better way to do so than through the Get started With Lightning Trail? This Trail gives a great overview of the basics of Lightning as well as includes a Lightning Experience Rollout module that helps you set your Users up for success since Lightning comes with a completely new User interface. Although this Trail is listed to take 9 hours and 25 minutes, we think you could get through it quicker than that too. Understanding how the upgrade to Lightning works is crucial for the future of Salesforce and success of your team.

4. The Basis of Salesforce: Discover Sales Cloud

Sales Cloud is where you begin when you first use Salesforce.com. It’s the basis and backbone of your Salesforce org. Often, other Cloud products are added once you have an established Sales Cloud. The Trail Discover Sales Cloud is a quick 1 hour and 40 minute Trail that is divided into two sections: What Sales Cloud is and how you can further customize it to work with your company. The first module, Sales Cloud: Quick Look, is actually in the Grow Faster With CRM Trail too, so if you’ve completed that one, you’re already on your way to becoming a Sales Cloud Expert!

5. Customize & Enhance Your Salesforce Org: Learn the AppExchange Basics

A simple but helpful Trail to take a quick look at is called AppExchange Basics. This 45-minute crash course will prepare you to navigate the AppExchange quickly and easily to find helpful apps for your Salesforce Org. First, you learn about what the AppExchange is, and then you spend some time learning how to navigate the vast AppExchange. With so many apps ranging from documentation tools like DocuSign to fully integrated project management tools like Inspire Planner, it can be a lot to take in at once. This Trail will help you feel comfortable in the sea of Apps and even teach you the best way to install apps so your teams will be able to sell quicker, easier, and more than ever before.

Inspire Planner is a user-friendly project management app for Salesforce

 

Top 5 Ways to Use Salesforce AppExchange

Have you ever used the Salesforce AppExchange? Even if you’re brand new to Salesforce, it’s easy to start using the AppExchange to discover add-on apps and features to enhance your Salesforce native functionality to make it work even better for your specific company needs. Here are 5 of the best ways you can leverage the Salesforce AppExchange to become more efficient and help your Users have a better experience.

Salesforce AppExchange Solutions

Salesforce-product-collections

Understanding what Solutions are is step one to successfully leveraging the AppExchange. Solutions, commonly seen as downloadable apps, are components that allow you to use Salesforce beyond its native functionality. Whether you have a large enterprise or a small business, the AppExchange has something for you. The marketplace itself is very easy to navigate with search options like filtering apps by Salesforce Product Collections or Industry Collections. Product Collections lets you search for apps based on Salesforce product, like Sales or Service Cloud. Industry Collections lets you pick through categories like Nonprofits and Retail to find the best-rated apps from other companies in your industry. The apps are offered as paid or free versions, but be careful with the “free” versions: Many of them have very limited functionality meaning you to have to pay at the end anyway.

 

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified