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.

 

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7 SFDC Tricks That Every Salesforce Admin Needs to Know

Salesforce has so many different features and functions that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. Even the best Admin is always looking for helpful tips and SFDC tricks when navigating the vast world of Salesforce. We’ve consolidated a list of 7 of our favorite Salesforce Tricks that every admin needs to know if they want to work faster, smarter, and get more done! Even if you’re a new Admin or new to Salesforce, you can use these easy tricks to save time and complete projects better.

Take Advantage of Chrome Extensions

If you use Google Chrome to browse the web, you probably use Chrome Extensions.

Google Chrome extensions

Chrome Extensions are almost like miniature apps that you install on your web browser to use whenever you’d like.

There are extensions to do things like help you find discounts on products or block ads on websites. Some Extensions are extremely useful to Salesforce Admins too!

Salesforce API Fieldnames is an Extension that allows you to view the full names of Salesforce custom fields without having to leave a record. Force.com LOGINS helps you to easily manage the usernames and passwords of the different orgs you may use, like a Sandbox and Production org. You can download both of these for free from the Chrome Web Store today! Using Chrome Extensions will make your life much easier when using Salesforce.

Minimize Unintentional Emails: Adjust Email Deliverability

Sometimes, when doing data loads, you may accidentally fire emails to Users. This happens when there are workflow rules associated to records being touched by the data load, and as a result, Users could receive tons of unintentional emails! Another Salesforce trick that can prevent your Users from receiving tons of ‘fake’ emails is turning off email deliverability when doing data loads. You can change the Email Deliverability settings from All email to System email only, preventing any emails from firing based on changes to records. Just don’t forget to switch the deliverability back when you complete the data load.

Email Deliverability

Filter For Records With List Views

Do you waste tons of time trying to find Salesforce records and wish you could filter them? If you were unaware, List Views can provide this for you and your team. List Views are easy to make and give you the ability to filter on almost any field on a record. You can make your own personal List Views to use, or List Views for anyone on your team. List Views are an easy way to help your team stay organized and find their records quicker than ever before.

Salesforce List Views

Send Automatic Welcome Emails to New Users

In Salesforce, you can set up automated emails to fire based on actions like creating or editing records, when events occur, or when a specific time period passes. With this clever hack, you can automatically send welcome emails to new Users every time you create one! This email can be filled with an important company or Salesforce information and ensure that your Users are set up for success right from the beginning. To set up this automation, create a Workflow rule to be fired when a User is created with criteria that the rule only fires when a User is active. Then, just add your email alert and your Users will be all set to receive automatic welcome emails.

Automatic Welcome Emails in Salesforce

Find Inactive Reports by “Reporting on Reports”

Do you have tons of Reports sitting in your system that you’re afraid to delete in case that one User still uses them? Your Report folders can get extremely cluttered when Users create reports that they only use once, then leave for you to wonder about. One cool and somewhat hidden Report feature is that you can create a Report on Reports to see when the last time a Report was run. This way, you can check to see which Reports are truly unused and delete them, cleaning up your org and creating a better experience for Users. Your team will be able to spend less time sifting through reports and more time on meaningful activities, helping them complete projects successfully.

How to View Archived Activities

In Salesforce you can have Activities, like Tasks and Events, related to records. You can view a record’s Activity History to see past actions associated to the record. However, when reporting, you can only include Activities that are less than a year old. Activities that are over a year old are not deleted but archived instead. Since you cannot report on them, one trick to viewing archived activities is by doing an export using Data Loader. You can pull all Activities and their related details into an Excel file and view the data there. Additionally, if you need to be able to see Activities that are over a year old in your org, you can send a request to Salesforce Support to increased archived days from 365 to a larger number. Knowing how to find archived Activities is important when driving future decisions based on past events.

How to Make Rollup Summary Fields On Any Objects

The last Salesforce trick that every great Admin should know is how to create Rollup Summary fields on objects for records that do not have Master-detail relationships to another object. In native Salesforce, you can only create Rollup Summary fields on objects that are detail records in Master-detail relationships with another object. However, oftentimes Rollup Summary fields are needed on records that do not share this relationship. This is where Rollup Helper can help! Rollup Helper is an app that allows you to create a Rollup Summary field to show calculations like sum, max, min, average, or counts on objects that are not in a Master-detail relationship and may just be child records on other records. Best of all, Rollup Helper is free for your first 3 fields.

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How to Use Salesforce Accounts to Effectively Manage Your Customers

Accounts are one of the most important features of Salesforce. This is where you hold all of the information that is directly related to your customer, like their location and who works there. Salesforce Accounts also hold vital information like documents associated to customers, who spoke to the customer last, and even what they spoke about. You need to use Accounts in Salesforce if you want to maintain good relationships with your customers and sell more to them. Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you effectively manage Accounts in Salesforce and use Salesforce to your advantage!

How do Salesforce Accounts Relate to Contacts?

Understanding how Accounts are related to Contacts is vital to managing customers in Salesforce. You think of an Account as the company you are doing business with and Contacts as the people you are doing business with.  For example, you could have a company who is your customer, and that company may have a purchaser who calls you to order products. You should have a Contact record created for the purchaser, and it should be associated to the Company Account. You can associate Contacts to Accounts right when you create the Contact, or you can associate a previously created Contact to an Account. Check out this Trailhead for an even more in-depth look at how Accounts relate to Contacts.

Salesforce accounts and contacts

Don’t Lose Contacts! Always Associate Them to Accounts

It’s important to associated Contacts to Accounts when using both in your Salesforce system. Depending on your sharing settings, a Contact may only be seen by its creator, owner, and a system administrator. You must associate Contacts to Accounts so that other Users are able to see that they exist. If other Users cannot see a Contact, they may create their own and therefore a duplicate. Additionally, when you keep your Accounts and Contacts organized, you’ll have an easier time using your org overall. For example, using Salesforce-native project management apps like Inspire Planner will be much more effective with connected Accounts and Contacts. With this app, you can associate Tasks to Accounts or Contacts and stay updated on any actions that happen to any of the three objects! Overall, you should always associate Contacts to Accounts so that you can stay organized overall and effectively manage your customers.

Associate Salesforce contacts to accounts

Working With Individuals, Not Companies? Setup Person Accounts

If you work primarily with individual people instead of companies, should you even use Accounts? Instead, try using Person Accounts. Person Accounts contain a combination of Account and Contact fields, holding the business information you need for an individual person. To enable Person Accounts, you must follow a few steps like reaching out to Salesforce Customer Support. Person Accounts also cannot be turned off once on, so test them in a Sandbox first. You can however have both Person Accounts and Accounts in your org, if you work with individuals and companies.

Find “Inactive” Salesforce Accounts Using Automation

Most Salesforce orgs end up bogged down with tons of “inactive” Accounts Users no longer work with. Users waste time combing through irrelevant Accounts just to find their own customers! It’s also time-consuming and tedious for you to sort through all Accounts and try to determine which are “inactive”. To solve this, set up automation to find and notify Users when Accounts becomes “inactive”. First determine criteria that make an Account “inactive”, such as when it has been 90 days since an Account’s “Last Modified” date. Then, create actions to occur when an Account meets these criteria, like writing a Chatter post or sending the Account Owner an email asking them to check if the Account truly is inactive. Using automation to find inactive Accounts will help you keep your org clean, let Users find their customers quicker, and help you effectively manage Accounts overall.

Inactive Salesforce accounts workflow

Ensure Accounts Aren’t Owned By Inactive Users

As employees come and go, you likely update your Salesforce org by making these Users inactive upon leaving. However, did you know that even if a User is inactive, they can still own Accounts? You must reassociate all Accounts related to inactive Users to active Users so that you do not lose track of customers! Luckily, Salesforce provides reporting on Accounts owned by inactive Users so you can easily check your entire system for any Accounts with old owners. You do not want any customers getting lost when someone leaves your firm if you want to effectively manage Accounts in Salesforce.

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Get over $10,000 in Salesforce apps for free with Inspire App Stack

We are launching the Inspire App Stack to offer the whole Salesforce community amazing deals for the best apps from the AppExchange!

Read below to find out why we’re doing this and sign up for the Inspire App Stack today (absolutely free). Read more

5 Best Ways to Communicate With Your Team Through Salesforce

Project managers must be experts in communication to ensure their team has the information they need when they need it. Keeping an entire team on the same page is challenging! However, using Salesforce you can easily communicate the most important and current information to your team members quickly and clearly. By using any of the 5 ways to communicate through Salesforce listed below, you’ll enable your team to spend less time trying to find information and more time on projects.

Automatic Emails With Real-Time Info

We spend too much time writing emails and still hunting down coworkers for accurate information. According to university researchers, some employees spend ⅓ of their workday just on email! Luckily, Salesforce has automated email functionality to let your team spend less time on emails and more time on other tasks. You can use Email Templates to set up premade emails containing real-time information and Workflow Rules to send them to the right people at the right time. It’s easy to set up too!

Email templates are self-explanatory: reusable templates to send emails. You can write them directly, customize them with HTML, and even include your company letterhead. However, the best part about email templates are Merge Fields which pull information directly from records into emails. {!Lead.Name} is a merge field to put the name of any Lead in emails automatically. With merge fields, you won’t have to spend time combing through records to find specific information and they’re always up to date. Email templates will save a ton of time and ensure all shared information is completely accurate.

Communicate Through Salesforce - Email templates

Creating automated emails is easy to do with Workflow Rules and Email Alerts. Workflow Rules are actions triggered by various changes to specific records like someone closing an Opportunity or when a specific date/time happens, like the end of an hour or a quarter. Email Alerts send the email after you specify the email template, object the merge fields relate to, and recipients. Automatically sending emails will speed up communication with your team and ensure only correct and important information is shared.

Communicate Through Salesforce - Email alerts

Salesforce Chatter: Your Simple Yet Powerful Messenger

Another great way to communicate through Salesforce is with Chatter, Salesforce’s Enterprise Social Network. You can write Chatter Posts on records or User’s profiles, attach files to the posts, and also tag people in them. This makes file sharing easy and keeps everyone on the same page. Chatter has many great features, including some highly collaborative ones like Version Control. Version control allows you to replace older files with newer ones in a clear way so that everyone has the most up to date document. Chatter is a great native Salesforce feature makes communication quick, clear, and effective.

The New Sticky Note

Have you ever written a sticky note only to misplace it within minutes? If your answer is even just once, you should consider checking out Salesforce Notes. You can use Notes to write quick memos records from the Salesforce1 mobile app or from the platform, and even create Tasks directly from Notes. This allows you to keep information associated with records, write Notes on the fly, and keep your team informed of what you need. Notes are a modern-day sticky note that keeps you and your team on top of your tasks.

Communicate Through Salesforce - Notes

Automate Communicating With Process Builders

Use more advanced configurations for better communication like Process Builders. Process Builders can automate business processes like all of the above actions! They can send emails or create Notes but also have more complicated logic than what a Workflow Rule handles. You can also use Process Builders to automatically create Chatter Posts on a record when a certain criteria is met too. Process Builders can speed up your messaging methods allowing for your team to be more efficient and have better communication overall.

Communicate Through Salesforce - Process Builder

Leverage the Salesforce AppExchange

Have you ever used the AppExchange? Salesforce AppExchange is a marketplace full of add-ons to enhance your Salesforce Platform and to help your team’s communication. One useful app is CalendarAnything, a robust calendar app that gives full visibility into who has meetings when, and edit records from the calendar. Another great tool to improve communication is Inspire Planner, a Salesforce project management app that fully integrates with Chatter and allows you to see exactly what Tasks have been completed by who and when. If you want better communication with your team, you should definitely check out the AppExchange and different apps it offers.

Never Miscommunicate Ever Again!

You must use only the best methods to communicate with your team through Salesforce. Communication is vital to the success of any project and luckily, Salesforce enables you to communicate clearly and quickly. Automatic emails, Notes, and Chatter messaging allow your team to spend more time on meaningful projects instead of chasing down information. Leveraging the AppExchange to find apps like Inspire Planner or CalendarAnything will ensure your team has full project visibility, up to date information, and successful collaboration. If you want your team to communicate better, start using these tools today!

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How to Plan Your Salesforce Data Cleaning Process?

Guest Post by Anna Kayfitz, CEO at StrategicDB

Dirty data is one of the biggest headaches that Salesforce Admins, sales reps and marketers alike are facing. Since data quality affects many areas of your business, it is also a risky business as you are dealing with the data that your business depends on. If you are a Salesforce admin responsible for clean data, you probably have a hard time figuring out where to start? Here are a few simple steps that you can use to get started.

  1. Decide what will be included in your data cleaning project. To do so begin by running a report in Salesforce to check to see if you have data quality issues. There is a lot to be considered:
    • Deduping – There are duplicated accounts, contacts, leads and between contacts and leads. Using Report you can run Power of One. It does not always work but you can easily export to excel and use conditional formatting to do a quick test to identify how many duplicates you have. For accounts, using website is a good indicator, for contacts and leads you can use an e-mail address.
    • Data Appending – Some data is missing and it needs to be filled in so you can do the territory assignment, segmentation, and analysis.  You can run different reports per mandatory fields or you can create a new field to calculate data completeness by counting the percentage fields that are blank. For example, if you had 10 mandatory fields, having 3 blank fields out of 10 would indicate a data completeness score of 70%.
    • Data validation – Your sales team is complaining about multiple cases of wrong data that slows down their workflow. Alternatively, if you are tracking field changes you can run a report to see how many times certain fields were changed. Another way is to use Data.com Clean Status to see how many accounts are out of sync.
    • Cleaning Historical Data – Historical data contains bogus and test records, outdated contacts and leads, and accounts that are no longer valid. One way to test is to run a report using ‘test’,’bogus’,’xxx’ and other keywords to identify how many records were created as bogus.
    • Standardization – Fields such State, Country, Industry or Job Titles need to be standardized. It is necessary to classify # of revenue and # of employees into ranges for better reporting and territory assignments. Using Report functionality you can see all the different combinations and record counts per each field.
      Data Standardization
    • Establishing Parent/Child Relationships – It is especially important for international companies that can benefit from knowing that their colleagues from other parts of the world have successfully sold into an account that they are trying to sell into.
    • Other Data Cleaning Needs – That can be specific to your business.
  2. Now, that you have a full list of what you want to tackle in your data cleaning, the next step is to prioritize. The way to prioritize is to recognize the importance of each step, the risk involved, the people that may be involved and the length of time it may take to complete. For example, your analyst and Salesforce Admin can solve data standardization of industry issue. Other important decisions may require the involvement of VP of Sales and VP of Marketing. Deduping always triggers a discussion on deduping requirements and identifying what deduplication tool you will use. It involves the risk of deleting or merging data that is used or needed by someone else in the organization and will require the whole sales team to review their lists.
  3. It is now time to decide if you are going to do data cleaning in-house or outsource data cleaning. When deciding on a provider you should ask the following questions:
    • Where will the data be processed? Data Security questions
    • How much will it cost?
    • What is the confidence level of matching data to third parties (for data appending and validation)?
    • What are your typical match rates? If they say anything more than 90%, it is impossible. Usually match rates are between 60-80% at best.
    • How are you doing standardization? Using text mining or a combination of text mining and human effort.
    • Can you use your own rules for establishing a surviving record when deduping?
    • How accurate is your data? If they respond with 100% run far away as it is impossible to have perfect data.
    • What is the turnaround time?

  4. Now that you have established your data cleaning plan, prioritized tasks and decided how to go about cleaning your data, the next step is to backup your data prior to beginning your clean-up.
  5. When you start cleaning, remember to:
    • Communicate with your team on the changes they are about to see in Salesforce and the timing of the changes.
    • Bring in the right people to help you make decisions. Do you need help from your analysts regarding what buckets to use? Or maybe you need marketing help on segmentation of titles? Getting the right people involved at the beginning will save you time down the line.
    • Set-up data governance rules and make changes to your salesforce processes to prevent issues from coming back six months after you cleaned it.
    • Keep backing up your system in case something goes wrong so you can easily revert it.

Happy Cleaning!

About the author:

Anna Kayfitz is CEO and founder of StrategicDB Corporation, an analytics and data cleansing company. StrategicDB Corp. helps businesses get more from their data. By analyzing sales and marketing data, you can derive tremendous value for your business. StrategicDB offers data cleansing services because no analysis is possible if you cannot trust your data. Some of our services include: segmentation modelling, dashboard building, market basket analysis, lifetime value analysis and much much more.

 

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

Salesforce Chatter Does What?? 6 Awesome Chatter Features You Need to Start Using Today

What exactly is Salesforce Chatter? It looks like Facebook, you can post statuses and tag people, but is that all you use it for? Many people underutilize Chatter and are unaware of all of its benefits other than communication. Chatter can do much more than act like Facebook! Chatter has the capabilities to help you increase team productivity, spend more time on meaningful activities, and have full visibility over projects leading to successful project management in Salesforce. If you aren’t using these six awesome Chatter features yet, you aren’t taking full advantage of Salesforces’ #1 enterprise social network.

Follow Everyone & Everything

In Chatter when you ‘Follow’ someone, you are notified via email or in your Chatter feed of their real-time actions like commenting or liking posts. However, Chatter lets you follow more than just people by enabling Feed Tracking. With Feed Tracking, Users can follow records and are notified of changes to them, helping to lead to successful Salesforce project management. Sales managers stay updated on relevant Opportunity information without having to chase down employees. Many standard objects already have feed tracking enabled too.

Follow Everything Feature

 

Approve or Reject Records

Salesforce’s Approval Process feature lets Users approve or reject changes to records in various situations like management approving hours or checking information changes. To approve/reject records, Users must navigate to the record, search for the changes, then finally find where to approve/reject. This is time-consuming and tedious. However, if you Enable Chatter Approvals, Users can see a consolidated overview of relevant record information and approve/reject options right in their Chatter feed. This saves tremendous amounts of time on searching through records and allows information to stay relevant and accurate. Enabling Chatter approval/rejection capabilities makes the approval process much quicker, easier, and clearer for Users.

Out of Office Automatic Message

Have you ever spent time waiting on answers from someone just to find out that they are out of town? If yes, you must start using Chatter ‘Out of Office’ statuses. Users write a post and specify the start/end dates for the time they’re gone. Depending on your version of Salesforce, the message is posted as an automatic response when someone writes on your feed, creates a post tagging you, or it will show up almost everywhere that your name appears. When your specified “End Date” passes, the message stops posting. This feature saves time and keeps everyone in the office informed. Additionally, the automatic post is great for customer-facing Chatter portals where customers reach out to you and are told immediately that you are away, not ignoring them!

Out of office feature

 

Take Actions! Create Polls & Tasks

Actions are a cool feature of Chatter that let Users write special types of Chatter posts and create records right from your Chatter feed. One useful Salesforce Chatter action is creating Poll posts. Similar to Facebook, you can create polls that people vote on via clickable choices. Many companies use this feature for internal decision making like what time to start a meeting, but it can also be utilized to aid in more strategic business decisions, like who should be staffed on which projects. Polls make decision making easy and clear to everyone in your organization.

Create Polls feature

Another underutilized Chatter action is the ability to create Tasks right from a record’s Chatter feed. In the post, you populate fields like Subject, Assigned to, Due Date, and an actual Task record is created. The “assigned” person is notified they have a Task too. When using Chatter to create Tasks, you only need to populate the most vital fields upon creation and avoid scrolling through the entire record. Overall, Chatter Actions can save you a ton of clicks and time, all while allowing you to continue to communicate often and effectively to your employees.

Create Tasks feature

Invite Others Outside of Your Company

Chatter does not have to be just an internal communication network. You can invite customers to get involved too! Salesforce offers special Chatter External licenses that can be granted to people outside of your workplace. The licenses let them see information on Chatter, connect with Users, and follow groups all while restricting access to your Salesforce data. Sharing documentation, information, and collaborating with customers is easy with external licenses. Customers can receive Salesforce Chatter notifications, share information or files, and write posts. Overall, Chatter is a great way to communicate and share information, both internally and externally.

Upload Files & Manage Version Control

How many times have you run into issues from having the wrong version of a document? These issues can be small internal hiccups or larger, client-facing problems that leave you looking and feeling disheveled. Chatter Version control is an awesome feature that helps stop this. First, you can keep collaborative files like PDFs or Word documents organized and up to date with Chatter Files. Then, you can share them with individuals, groups, or associate them directly to records. Finally, use Chatter Files Version Control to very easily and clearly replace the old version of a file with the new one, alerting everyone who follows the file. You’ll easily be able to collaborate on documents, keep attachments associated with the correct records or projects, and never reference an old file again.

Upload files feature

Use These Salesforce Chatter Features Today!

Chatter features enable your team to communicate better, increase productivity, and spend more time on meaningful activities. Users can use various Chatter features to quickly follow and create records, spending less time searching through data. Using Chatter correctly increases visibility, allowing the right people to see the right information at the right time, like with Version Control. When it comes to Salesforce project management, Chatter is a vital addition, especially when using the Inspire Planner project management app. Inspire Planner is not only a Salesforce-native app, but it also integrates seamlessly with Chatter. By together utilizing Inspire Planner and Salesforce Chatter, you will increase efficiencies, reduce email communication, and complete tasks faster than ever before.

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified

5 Must-Have Skills for Salesforce Project Management

Managing a project inside your Salesforce instance requires a unique set of skills.

It’s no news that being a project manager is a tough gig. You’re the head honcho for the project and the organization is expecting you to get the job done. When it comes to your Salesforce instance, there can be major implications with the project’s deployment.

No pressure!

While I could go on for days on listing out the skills required to successfully manage a Salesforce project, I’d start by becoming proficient in these five skills to create a framework for success.

1. Emotional Intelligence

Being a successful Salesforce project manager requires a good blend of IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence).

There are technical details that require you to use, but your emotional intelligence is what will predominately ensure the success of the project. You’re potentially dealing with executives, large sums of money, strong personalities, people with their own agendas, and deadlines. This level of stress can take a toll on you.

Although a stakeholder might make a suggestion, it might not be feasible or won’t add long-term value to the business. A project manager with a high emotional intelligence will come from a place of understanding, where they’ll recognize the recommendation that was made, and even table it for a future project, but will empathetically convey why it doesn’t make sense to carry out that recommendation at the moment.

Not sure how emotionally intelligent you are? This quick assessment will get started on where your EQ is. This book is another tool get into the weeds on building your emotional intelligence.

2. Self-Management

Know thyself.

With everything that goes into being a project manager, the most important thing to manage first is yourself.

In Peter Drucker’s book, Managing Oneself, Drucker discusses how and when people operate at their best. They should know their strengths, weaknesses, and when they perform at their peak level.

Self-management

Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash

First, learn to manage yourself before managing a Salesforce project. Self-management can be broken down to several sub-skills like organization, communication, and technical knowledge, but it’s up to you to understand what your role entails and what you must do to be successful.

Most importantly, know your bandwidth!

3. Salesforce as a Second Language

The successful project manager should have such an intimate relationship with Salesforce that it would make Mark Benioff jealous.

They should understand the overall architecture of Salesforce — knowing what is possible, how objects interact with each other, the implications of removing fields, and how even making small changes can affect a bigger process.

Salesforce’s Trailhead and Udemy are two good places to build those technical chops. With Trailhead, you can get practical with building projects, or become a specialist with Superbadges. It might not be necessary to have admin-level skills, but when someone is explaining something, you should at least know enough to follow along.

4. Big Picture Mindset

Act tactically but think strategically.

It can be easy to only see what’s in front of you. Tunnel vision on the goal is admirable but detrimental.

Seek to understand the business impact on the project’s nuances. Combing through the details is good. Combing through the details to understand the grand vision is what you should be doing.

5. Leadership

A little cliche to add this to the list but it’s worth a mention because as a project manager, your main goal is to lead a team. Managing the project is secondary.

“The P in ‘PM’ is as much about people management than it is project management.” – Cornelius Fichtner

When you’re leading the project, you are the person that has to inspire the team to push towards the goal. If a teammate doesn’t have the resources, you need to get them what they need. If there’s bad news to deliver to the boss, you will be the one to deliver it.

With this responsibility, you also become an unsung hero. If a process is broken, you have to fix it to allow your team to make progress. You might have to do things no one else cares about. And when you’ve reached the pinnacle of the project, you give praise to your teammates.
You are King Leonidas leading your team into battle. Empower them and they will follow you into the ring of fire.

Salesforce project management can be learned. It’s a combination of technical and non-technical skills. The technical skills are necessary to be successful. Although technology is dynamic, it’s not as complex as the human personality. Each person has their own unique skills and ambitions. On top of that, knowing your own personality, strengths, and ambitions will help you lead a team and manage yourself. Honing in all these variables can make you very dangerous in your role.

Inspire Planner - Project Management in Salesforce Simplified