Salesforce Approval Process: Simpler Config Than You Think

As you continue working in Salesforce and get a feel for building simple configurations, don’t be afraid to tackle building an approval process. Approval processes are used all over the place in different companies for different important reasons, so why should Salesforce be any different? Before you think Approvals in Salesforce are too advanced for you, take a look at the outline we’ve created below. Building an approval process is not as challenging as you think, and they can truly make a difference in the way your company handles approvals. If you have any kind of item that may need to be approved, you should consider building the Salesforce approval process.

A Relatable Example

Let’s say your company wants managers to approve of all high-value deals. This makes sense as high-value deals are important and upper management should have their eyes on them to assist in making the deal happen! A manager may need to look at the deal to confirm that all of the information is accurate and there has been adequate communication with the team members or client involved on the deal.

In Salesforce, using Opportunities to manage deals, you can create an approval process where once a high-value deal reaches a specific Stage, managers have to approve of the Opportunity record before any further actions or edits can take place related to that record. Let’s say that in this case, a high-value deal is one that has an Opportunity Amount of over $20,000. Let’s also say that once an Opportunity has reached the Stage “Proposal/Price Quote”, the Opportunity is starting to get serious enough that it’s time for a manager to check the information and communication related to it. We can set up our approval processes with this criteria easily. Let’s get started:

Use The Wizard!

The first decision you have to make regarding Approval Process setup is to choose the right wizard to use. In this case, we are going to use the JumpStart Wizard. With this wizard, some default options are already selected for you, making it a simpler and easier tool to get started with. In the future, when you need to create more complex approval processes, try using the Standard Wizard.

Salesforce Approval Process

Picture Credit: Salesforce

After selecting the Jump Start Wizard, you are prompting to Name your approval process. Remember to pick a name that is concise and explains what your approval process does. The Unique Name will auto-populate when you enter the Name. The Unique Name is the API name of the approval process, or how you will recognize it when creating change sets or referencing it in custom Apex code. We’ve named ours, “Managers Must Approve High-Value Opptys”.

If you want a button to appear on records that says “Submit for Approval”, then check the “Add the Submit for Approval button and Approval History related list to all Opportunity page layouts” box. We will do this in our case.

Approval Assignment Email Templates define the email that the approver will receive when a record is submitted for approval. In this case, the User who is informed that a record needs their approval is the Manager of the Opportunity record owner. You can create a custom email template to use here, or if you leave this field blank, an automatic approver email will be sent to the approver notifying them that the record needs approval.

Salesforce Approval Process

Picture Credit: Salesforce

Next, we want to fill out the criteria for a record to actually enter the approval process. This relates back to our scenario: We want Opportunities to qualify for the approval process when the Opportunity Stage is “Proposal/Price Quote” and when the Opportunity Amount is greater than $20,000.

Salesforce Approval Process

Picture Credit: Salesforce

To keep things simple, we will set the approval process to Automatically assign an approver using a standard or custom hierarchy field: Manager. This way an Opportunity record Owner’s “Manager” is the User who will approve any Opportunity submitted for approval by the owner.

Salesforce Approval Process

Picture Credit: Salesforce

Upon clicking Save, you have created a single step approval process! However, it is not ready to be used yet. Although it is not required to do so, Salesforce recommends that you add other steps to your approval process to ensure that it is working properly and takes all sorts of approval cases into account.  

Salesforce Approval Process

Picture Credit: Salesforce

You can add these next steps in the Salesforce Approval Process Detail page. This includes adding steps to create multi-step approval processes, what should happen when a record reaches the final step of the approval process and is rejected, and more. These steps are more advanced but you should still take a look at them to see if any are needed in your approval process.

You’re Almost Ready To Start Using Salesforce Approval Process

Finally, you should conduct careful testing to ensure that the approval process is working as expected. This includes testing to ensure that the approval process emails are getting sent as well. To make testing emails easier, you should create and submit Opportunities for approval as a single User, then log into that single User’s Manager to submit or reject the record in the approval process. Another tip is to change the Manager’s email in their User page to your own email address so you can ensure that the emails are getting sent. Remember to always build new config in a Sandbox org – you wouldn’t want to change the email address of an actual User in Production!

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The Differences Between Record Types and Page Layouts… and Why You Should Know Them

Many new Admins and Users make the same mistake: Creating too many record types. Why is this a problem? Too many record types can make your org more complex than it needs to be. As new Admin comes along, or as changes are needed for your org, the more technical debt you have, the more time will be wasted in the future on people trying to understand or change the org.

You probably need fewer record types than you think. This is because most of the time, you can achieve the desired results you need with page layouts instead. Oftentimes, Users will create completely new record types with a new page layout, when all they need to do is create just a new page layout. We will go over what exactly record types and page layouts are, what their key differences are, and how you can get started building them today.

First, What is a Page Layout?

Record Types and Page LayoutsPage Layouts let you design the actual visual layout of a record. They include options of where to place fields, buttons, custom links, related lists, and more. You can control which fields are seen on the record, which fields are Read-Only, and which fields are required to be filled out before saving the record. However, it is important to note, that even if a User cannot see fields on a page layout, they can still see the field in other places in Salesforce, like in reports. If you want a field 100% hidden from a User, you will have to update the field’s field level security.

Okay, Now What is a Record Type?

Record Types help control what business processes, picklist values, and page layouts are available to different users for different reasons. They are easy to create and can be assigned to different Users. Let’s say your company keeps track of US Accounts and UK Accounts in separate ways. This may include keeping track of shipping preferences on the Account level. Let’s say that with US Accounts, you have 3 picklist options: Rail, Air, and Truck. But with UK Accounts, you want to add one more option: Sea. This is one case where you may want to create two different record types because you need two different picklists for the same field.

So, When Do I Use a Page Layout and When Do I Use A Record Type?

You should use a record type (with a page layout!) when you need records to have different:

  • Processes – Like a Sales Process
  • Picklist Values – Like “Shipping Type” in our above example
  • Page Layouts – Use different page layouts to reveal the different picklist options and further differentiate between record types

You should use only page layouts if you just want different fields shown to different Users. Even if you have 10 fields that only Marketing Users should see, you still don’t need a separate Marketing record type, unless you need some of the fields to contain different picklist values. You should use a page layout when you need records to look different for different Users. Use page layouts if:

  • You want some fields required to be populated for certain Users
  • You want to hide/reveal certain:
    • Related lists
    • Fields*
    • Buttons
    • Custom Links
    • S-controls
    • Visualforce Components
  • You want to make certain fields “Read Only” for certain Users

*Note: This is not a permanent way to hide fields! Users can still access them in Salesforce, like through reports

Assigning Record Types Page Layouts

Now that you understand the differences between page layouts and record types, you can start creating and assigning them. If you have already created the different record types and page layouts, you can navigate to a specific Profile type to assign them. In a Profile, you can see an overview of all of the different page layouts assigned per record.

Record Types and Page Layouts

Picture Credit: Salesforce

Sometimes, the page layout assignment will vary per record type. For example, in the image above, for the High Volume Customer Portal Type profile, all Accounts have a page layout called “Account Layout”. However, for Idea records, the page layouts vary by assignment. That means that there are multiple record types for the idea object that may have different page layouts.

Record Types and Page Layouts

Picture Credit: Salesforce

To apply existing page layouts to the different record types for the Idea object, click on Edit Assignment.

Test Thoroughly!

With page layouts, you are controlling who has access to seeing and potentially editing which fields on a record. With this being the case, it’s important to thoroughly test new page layouts ensuring only the most important fields and information are shown to the right Users. Sometimes, Users can get overloaded with the amount of information on a page. This can be discouraging and even make Users more prone to making mistakes when inputting data. Remember, taking a field off of a page layout doesn’t keep a User from having access to that field as they can still see it on reports.

A good way to test how your page layouts look to different Users is to actually log into Salesforce and test as that User. This way, you seeing a record exactly how Users of that Profile are seeing it (depending on your sharing rules too). You can even click around as that User to see which fields are editable, but remember to not make any changes if you’re in Production!

Record Types and Page Layouts

Picture Credit: Salesforce

In order to log in as another User, you have to ensure that you have been granted login access or that you are a System Administrator with permission to log in as any user. To set this as a Sys Admin, search and select “Login Access Policies” in the Quick Search bar. You will be taken to the Login Access Policies page where you can adjust the settings accordingly.

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5 Project Management Problems That Can Be Solved Using Salesforce

Project managers face a variety of problems every single day. Some are people related, some are task related, but all are headaches and can make or break the successful outcome of a project. With this being the case, what project manager wouldn’t look for new ways to decrease the likelihood of issues occurring? Luckily, Salesforce is here to help. Using Salesforce, project managers can minimize common day-to-day problems and focus more time on getting projects completed successfully. Here are 5 project management problems that can be solved using Salesforce today.

1. Lack of Communication

Lack of proper communication is a huge problem for project managers and their team members too. Clear communication channels are a must-have in order for team members to get the right information that they need and for projects to get completed effectively. In Salesforce, you can communicate in a variety of ways. In particular, Salesforce Chatter is a great communication tool. You can post messages on to records in Salesforce and tag relevant people so that they see the message. This helps ensure that everyone has been informed of the message. Also, you can ‘Follow’ an individual User so that you are notified via email or in your Chatter feed of their real-time actions like commenting or liking posts. This is great because project managers can be followed by all team members, ensuring that everyone is updated of any actions the project manager takes in Salesforce. There are many awesome Chatter features you can utilize for better communication today.

2. Unclear Expectations

Everybody wants to do a good job on their work, but if expectations are unclear, how can this be done? Oftentimes, a task may be completed incorrectly due to an employee not being on the same page as a manager when it comes to an expected deliverable or outcome. This can be frustrating for all parties involved and can waste a ton of time. With Salesforce, you can clearly identify task and record owners, directly creating a clear expectation. For example, a manager can create an assign a Task to a User, complete with all details regarding what needs to be done. Additionally, a manager can post a Chatter message on a record or even reference a record directly in an email, allowing for a User to know exactly what needs to be done in relation to it. Salesforce can help add clarity to project expectations, increasing job success and decreasing frustration amongst team members.

Project Management Problems

3. Lack of Proper Delegation

One of the most challenging project management problems is Delegation. Giving up control over tasks can be tough when you know that you personally could complete the task successfully, but perhaps need to allocate your time elsewhere. The Salesforce project management app Inspire Planner can help here. Inspire Planner offers two different features that can be utilized to make delegation easier: Time Tracking and a Gantt Chart feature.

With Time Tracking, you can compare Planned Project Effort vs Actual Effort for accurate project forecasting. With this feature, you can determine which tasks should be delegated to which team member based on the most accurate time. This will help you see who can complete what faster, as well as where you may need to project manage more. This also helps you to see what tasks may take you too long and if another team member may be a better fit.

Gantt Charts are great for helping to see how your delegated tasks are coming along and if there are any bottlenecks. They allow easy visualization of all tasks in a project so you can understand timelines and dependencies. If you see that one team member is swamped with tasks, you can delegate some of the work to another, helping to spread the effort across your project and ensure timelines are met.

Project Management Problems

4. Scope Creep

Scope creep is something that is almost unavoidable for project managers. Scope creep is when your project begins to have tiny bits of updates or additional requests that seem small at first but can ultimately cost you hours. One great way to minimize scope creep is to have requirements plan laid out before starting the project. This creates a framework in which you work off of, and if something isn’t in the requirements document, it cannot be done. You can then use Salesforce files to store this document and even associate it to related records. This way, everyone has access to all of the information they need to ensure project needs are clear and scope creep doesn’t happen too often!

5. Responsibility of Ownership

Has a manager ever asked your team if a project or task has been finished and everyone looks at each other? Sometimes, the only reason something doesn’t get done is that it is unclear to the team whose holds the responsibility. Salesforce can help make it clear to your team exactly who is responsible for what, ensuring that projects get completed successfully and on time. Most records must be assigned a record owner. Therefore, there is no questioning who is responsible for it! Be sure to create an understanding amongst your team that record owners are responsible for items related to the record too. Another way to increase the responsibility of ownership is through Groups. You can create Private Groups of Users and assign records to them. This allows the Users to understand what they are responsible for but gives them the freedom to delegate specific ownership amongst themselves.

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

5 Best Ways to Use Salesforce for Professional Services Automation (PSA)

Professional Services Automation is taking mundane or inefficient processes in the services industry and bringing them into the future. PSA helps you complete tasks better and faster than ever before by digitizing and automating different stages of a product or sales life cycle. Salesforce itself is the perfect platform to allow for professional services automation at multiple levels. Here are 6 ways you can use Salesforce for Professional Services Automation to start completing projects of high quality more successfully today.

Manage Your and Your Team’s Calendar With Ease

If you haven’t digitized your calendar management needs, your team is making scheduling and keeping track of events much harder than it has to be. A digital, collaborative calendar is almost vital today, as everyone has their own busy schedule yet meetings and events still need their participation. To help, Salesforce offers their own calendar feature that lets you track meetings with clients, team members, manage events, and more. You can sync your Google calendar with Salesforce to ensure that your calendars are always accurate and up to date too. With integrated calendars, information related to events will be consolidated in Salesforce allowing for reps to avoid switching back and forth between systems to try and find missing information. This saves time and headache for all parties involved.

Professional Services Automation

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Automate Time-Tracking and Keep It All In One Place

Time-Tracking is an important but pesky task to remember to do. There are many different tools that will help you automatically track time as you work, but having a tracker actually integrated into Salesforce would save you time hopping between apps and cause less confusion down the line by keeping all information tracked in one spot. Although Salesforce itself does not have a time-tracking feature, project management app Inspire Planner does. Inspire Planner natively integrates with Salesforce and runs with the platform, allowing you to utilize the time-tracking feature to compare “Actual” time spent on projects with “Estimated” and see the difference. Automating time tracking and keeping the recorded information all in one place will help you actually track time and use the results effectively.

Upgrade Your Project Management Process

Project management is a large part of professional services automation. By digitizing project management stages all in one spot, you are making all of the data and information centralized. This will allow the right people to have immediate access to the information they need at any point in time. Utilizing professional services automation software geared toward project management will also help you save time as you will be able to track a project’s lifecycle and see where bottlenecks are. Using this information, with future projects, you will be able to practice risk mitigation and only increase the success rate of your projects. Although Salesforce itself doesn’t offer native project management features, there are many different project management apps that do fully integrate with Salesforce which can fill this void.

Manage Documents With Salesforce Files

Paper documents are a thing of the past, yet so many firms still rely on them. With Salesforce, you can step into the future with robust digital document management using Salesforce Files.

Files allow you and your team to collaborate and share documents easier than ever before. The documents can be made public or private to different Users, as well as can be “followed” so you never miss out on an update. You can even use Version Control to see how many past versions of a file exist and ensure files are always up to date. Using Salesforce files to automate your document management process will make you and your teams’ lives easier and you’ll never lose or accidentally delete an important document ever again!

Professional Services Automation

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It’s a CRM! Reach Clients Quickly And Easily

Salesforce is a CRM – a Customer Relationship Management System. Their main focus is on customers and clients. Having a CRM is a vital piece when making the most out of professional services automation software. Salesforce enables Users to reach clients quickly and easily through the different ways to track information. With field options to track email address, street address, phone numbers, and more, you will always have a way to reach your client. Additionally, you can track all messages between a User and a client on a client’s Salesforce record.

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

4 Ways Custom Salesforce Fields Can Keep Your Data Clean

Salesforce Fields are the building blocks to data tracking in Salesforce. There are two main types of fields in Salesforce: Standard Fields that come already pre-built into Salesforce and Custom Fields that you build yourself to track any specific data you want regarding your customers, sales, team, and more. There are over 20 custom field types to pick from, ensuring that you can customize your Salesforce org exactly how you need to. However, an important but sometimes overlooked function of custom fields is that they can help keep your data clean and error free. Clean data is vital to any business that wants to have accurate business predictions, complete more projects successfully, and run smoothly in general. Here are 4 ways that you can use Salesforce custom fields to keep your data clean and minimize human error.

Use Picklist Fields to Restrict Values

Picklist fields are one of the simplest yet most effective ways to ensure that only clean and accurate data ends up in Salesforce. Picklist fields consist of a list of pre-created values that a User picks from to populate a field. The user cannot write their own values in; they must select from the list. Picklist fields are easy to create and since Users cannot write in their own values, the field stays consistent and error free!

There are different types of picklist fields:

Local Picklists have a set of values unique to just that picklist field. Shared Picklists can be populated with values from a global picklist value set. You define these values in Setup. Finally, Multi-Select picklists can contain more than one value. You should create your picklist field keeping these different field types in mind so that you pick the type that suits your business need best.

Salesforce Fields

Picture Credit: Salesforce

Use A Checkbox To Answer Yes/No Fields

If you have a field and the value should only be answered with a “Yes” or “No”, change that field to a checkbox field ASAP! Checkbox fields can only be checked or unchecked, which correlates directly to a “Yes” or “No” (or a “True” or “False” when filtering). By using checkbox fields, you’ll take out any human error that comes along with having to input “Yes” or “No” text directly into a field. For example, Users may input a negative answer to a field by using text like “No”, “no”, “False”, “Incorrect” and more. Too many different negative answers will make actions like reporting hard. If you wanted to see every record with that field answered with a negative term, based on the above example, you’d likely miss some records by not knowing how exactly each User marks the field as negative. Checkbox fields will make your life easier by restricting your Users’ data inputs and keeping messy data out of your Salesforce org.

Salesforce Fields

Picture Credit: Salesforce

Automatic Formatting Will Save You From Headaches

Many custom fields automatically ensure that field value inputs can only be recorded in a certain format specified. This ensures data cleanliness and prevents for future confusion. For example, you do not want your Users entering a Time field with both 12 hour time and military/24 hour time. This can lead to misinterpretation in the data, such as whether or not the field referring to 9 am or 9 pm. Other than time fields, fields that have automatic formats include:

  • Currency Fields
  • Date Fields
  • Names
  • Phone Numbers
  • Times

The formats for all of these fields can be changed in your Locale settings.

Salesforce Fields

Picture Credit: Salesforce

Hide Unused Fields With Profiles or Page Layouts

When you have a lot of information to track, you may find yourself in a situation where one object has a large number of fields. If you have many different fields that not all Users need to have access to, you should hide those fields from them. This will keep Users from getting overloaded by seeing too much information on a single record. It will also help prevent Users from accidentally filling out the wrong field. One way to hide a field from a User is by removing it from the page layout that the User sees. A User will not see that field on a record, BUT they are still able to see the field and its values in other places in Salesforce, like in reports. You can also use field level security to control User access by hiding the field from the Profile of the User. Then, that User and all Users with the same Profile will not be able to see that field on records or in other places in Salesforce.

Determine If Your Custom Fields Are Underutilized

Even though custom fields can help you have better data, having too many isn’t great. Unused fields can confuse Users and take up extra space on page layouts that could instead be used for important information. Additionally, there are limits as to how many custom fields you can have on an object, depending on your Salesforce edition:

Salesforce Fields

This means that unused fields could potentially be taking the place of other fields that may track more important information. Luckily, there is a Salesforce app called Field Trip that allows you to create reports of all of the fields in your Salesforce org by the object and see if they are or aren’t being utilized. You can see statistics like when the field was last touched and on what percent of records is the field actually populated. After running the report, you can determine which fields you don’t truly need, delete them, and free up space for actual important data tracking. This helps to keep your data cleaner as deleting the fields will, in turn, get rid of extra saved data that you don’t actually need.

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

Why Salesforce User Adoption Matters and What You Can Do About It

Salesforce is a business tool with awesome features that can help your team sell more and complete projects more successfully. However, Salesforce can also be an expensive tool, especially if you’re paying but Users aren’t using! With average Salesforce pricing costing between $25 and $300 per User, if your Users are not fully utilizing your Salesforce instance, that monthly cost can add up quickly. There are many reasons as to why you may have resistance from Users to working with the platform or low Salesforce user adoption. However, there are many ways you can engage your team to start using Salesforce more and enjoy it more too.

Why Does User Adoption Even Matter?

User adoption is extremely important when it comes to using a business system, or in this case, Salesforce. You have low User adoption if many of your Users are using Salesforce incorrectly or even not at all. This can decrease productivity as you may have many configurations in place to make Salesforce help your employees or team be more productive, so if they aren’t using Salesforce, they aren’t taking advantage of this. Additionally, low User adoption can create inaccurate metrics within Salesforce. For example, if half of your team tracks their own deals in Excel or directly on their laptop, those numbers don’t reach Salesforce and aren’t tracked. If you ran a report to see how many deals or opportunities you had that year, you’d miss out on these deals. Finally, you or your company are paying a lot of money for Users to have access to Salesforce. If anything, low User adoption wastes money and prevents you from gaining the highest return you can from using Salesforce.

Salesforce User Adoption

Why Users May Not Be Using Salesforce The Right Way

There are many reasons as to why your employees or team may not be using Salesforce often enough or in the right ways. If there isn’t enough training in place for new Users, resistance to change can be a large factor. Not only can new technology be frustrating, but Users may also feel that they’re spending too much time trying to figure out how to work the system and less time on meaningful activities like selling. Additionally, some Users may not be using Salesforce correctly and their actions could have negative impact they are unaware of. For example, something as simple as clicking a button too many times could result in the system not processing records correctly. But, how do you even know if Users are having trouble with Salesforce?

Root Causes: Are Your Users Having Trouble With Salesforce?

There are many ways you can check to see if your team is using Salesforce in the way that you want or need them to. First, you have to determine the metrics that matter to your team. Does success mean completing activities on time? Or having a high percentage of Opportunities in the Closed Won stage? Once you have determined metrics, you can create reports to get insight into User performance. Some possible Salesforce reports and metrics to use include:

  • How many opportunities have users created in the last 30 days?
  • How many activities did users complete in the last 30 days?
  • What data have users created or updated in the last 30 days?
  • What is the login rate over the last 7 days?

Another way to determine where Users may be having trouble with Salesforce are asking directly… through Salesforce! You can create Chatter Polls to get valuable User feedback. Polls are also anonymous, as in, you will be able to see how many people have answered them but not who has said what. This could be helpful so Users do not feel pressured that they will be judged based on their answers. There is also a Survey function new to the Spring ‘18 release that you can use to gather User feedback.  

What You Can Do About It

Once you have established your measurable ways to indicate what successful User adoption is for your team, you can start taking actions to increase it. By determining what issues your Users are facing, you can then use some of the same tactics above to start to create documentation, trainings, and resources for Users to use to understand Salesforce better. For example, if you create a Poll asking Users what their biggest Salesforce pain point is, you can then target solving that problem with directed trainings. Additionally, you can even ask Users what they think an effective form of training is. Perhaps they would learn best from hands-on training or webinars, instead of documents. Finally, you can use the same metrics and reports above to track if your adoption strategies are working too. For example, if you use a login report to determine that Users are not physically using Salesforce enough, after training sessions, you can check back in to see if your login rate increases or stays the same, and hopefully has not decreased!

Salesforce User Adoption

Awesome User Adoption Resources

User adoption strategies can be tough to implement. Luckily, there are some great resources for User adoption in Salesforce. Salesforce has a recommendation of best practices for driving end-user adoption that is worth checking out. Additionally, Salesforce also offers a suite of Salesforce Adoption Dashboards that are built to help you monitor your User adoption increasing efforts. After all, Salesforce wants your Users to use the program too!

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

Best Salesforce Articles of 2018 from Inspire Planner

2018 was a learning experience for all of us. And as any learning experience, it was sometimes challenging and demanding, but the reward of understanding something new is always a great incentive. However, if your learning experience was getting around the Salesforce ecosystem, you might have spent a lot of time figuring every small thing that this sophisticated platform could provide.

To help you out with understanding and getting the best out of your Salesforce experience, we at Inspire Planner, have prepared many articles in 2018 diving into the most useful tips and features of Salesforce that can improve your efficiency and ease your experience with the platform. The following articles proved to be the best and most helpful for our readers.

Top 20 Salesforce Influencers to FollowBest Salesforce Articles of 2018

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.

In this article, 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.


5 Key Features Your Salesforce Project Management Tool Must Have

Best Salesforce Articles of 2018

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.


7 SFDC Tricks That Every Salesforce Admin Needs to Know

Best Salesforce Articles of 2018

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.


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

Best Salesforce Articles of 2018

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 the six awesome Chatter features highlighted in this article yet, you aren’t taking full advantage of Salesforces’ #1 enterprise social network.


5 Foolproof Data Loading Tricks Salesforce Admins Must Know

Best Salesforce Articles of 2018

Salesforce data loading can be a daunting task for new Salesforce admins. Whether you’re inserting, updating, upserting, or deleting, your overall actions are touching a lot of records in your org, which can be intimidating. However, if you follow the right best practices, data loads can be completed successfully and with less stress overall. In this article, we’ve outlined 5 foolproof data loading tricks so you can start completing data loads with more confidence today!


Top 5 Most Helpful Salesforce Trailhead Trails

Best Salesforce Articles of 2018

Salesforce Trailhead is an interactive way to learn how to use the 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!


Bonus: [Free eBook] Top 50 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Salesforce

Best Salesforce Articles of 2018

If you are looking for an ultimate guide that will help you learn Salesforce fast and get the best out of your experience with it, look no further than our Free eBook – Top 50 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Salesforce. This guide will provide you with the most useful tips for generating the leads, setting up accounts, contacts and reports and diving into every important small detail of Salesforce helping you to increase your efficiency and improve your understanding of the platform.


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

What is Salesforce Pardot and How You Can Start Using It Today

As Salesforce grew as a company to become the world’s #1 CRM System, a logical step when maturing was to build out a marketing automation solution. After all, how can you manage customers and leads without having a way to attract them in the first place? Salesforce proceeded to acquire ExactTarget, which in turn owned Pardot. Thus, Salesforce Pardot was born.

Salesforce Pardot is a B2B, or business to business, marketing automation solution. Pardot provides Marketing Automation features designed to enable you to create effective personalized campaigns and generate more leads than ever before. Overall, Pardot will help you align your marketing and sales teams, allowing them to work together better and generate more sales for your company. We are going to discuss the different Marketing Automation features within Pardot, how they will help your teams work better together, and how you can get started using it today.

Salesforce Pardot

But First, Is Pardot Right For You?

As we said above, Pardot is best for businesses who sell to other business. Pardot is also best for companies who require their leads to go through a robust Lead qualification process in order to be sent to sales reps. If your company is not a B2B company and you instead sell to individual consumers, Salesforce Marketing Cloud will be a better solution for you. Salesforce offers a helpful chart to determine what marketing automation solution is best for you:

Salesforce Pardot

Credits: Salesforce Pardot

Salesforce Pardot

Credits: Salesforce Pardot

Additionally, your marketing automation solution will also depend on the size of your company or how much you want to spend on a native marketing automation solution. Pardot pricing looks like:

Salesforce Pardot

Credits: Salesforce Pardot

To see Salesforce Marketing Cloud pricing you will have to contact Salesforce and request a quote.

Now to the Features! Salesforce Pardot Marketing Automation

Streamlined Lead Management

Streamlined Lead Management ensures that only Leads with high chances of being converted into paying customers will be sent to your sales reps to focus on. With streamlined lead management, you have the capabilities to nurture leads with automations that you create, like automatically sending emails to certain Leads based on other actions that occur. You also are able to identify the best leads to be sent to your sales team through lead qualification capabilities. Streamlined lead management will help you grow and sell only to the right customers for your business.

Smarter Lead Generation

Smarter Lead Generation helps you get higher quality leads from the very beginning of when you start capturing lead details. This is done through an intuitive and easy-to-use landing page builder letting you create beautiful landing pages all without needing an IT team. Smarter lead generation utilizes “Smart Forms” to collect only the most important lead information. Finally, organic and paid search functions allow you to understand the return you are getting on your SEO strategy and social posting lets you track interactions with prospects through social campaigns.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing is a staple when it comes to marketing automation. Salesforce itself allows you to do a lot with different automatic email configuration, but with Pardot, you can bring your email marketing efforts to a whole new level. Create professional emails and email templates through an intuitive email builder. Powerfully automated engagements let you set up email scheduling and send emails automatically, allowing you to focus your time on marketing strategies instead of sending repetitive emails manually. Finally, personalized messaging helps you deliver the custom content that customers have grown to expect and optimized sending enables you to run tests to see what type of email marketing strategies yield the highest return.

Salesforce Pardot

Credits: Salesforce Trailhead

Seamless Sales Alignment

Seamless Sales Alignment will help unite your sales and marketing teams to sell more effectively overall. Engage Campaigns will let your sales team send mini-campaigns pre-approved by your marketing team directly to their customers. Real-time alerts will ensure that your reps are always there when customers need them. Activity tracking will allow your reps to be better prepared for any questions customers have, and finally, since everything is seamlessly integrated into Salesforce, you will be able to track all of the data related to customers that you choose.

Insightful ROI Reporting

What is the use of holding and collecting data on your leads and customers if you aren’t making meaningful business decisions with it? Insightful ROI Reporting lets you use actual KPI measurements to see what the data says about your marketing efforts, especially through ROI Reporting and Lifecycle Reporting. Advanced email reporting gives you a deeper insight into how your customers actually engage with emails through metrics like clicks and opens. Finally, you can even connect your favorite tools to gain a better understanding of how your different marketing channels are working alongside one another. If you have access to the data, you must utilize it to help your business grow and sell more.

How Does Aligning My Sales and Marketing Teams Help My Business Grow?

Aligning your marketing and sales teams can help your business grow in many ways. One important feature of a better-aligned team is having a solid lead qualification strategy. If marketing understands the types of leads that sales can easily convert into customers, marketing will send only the highest quality leads to sales, or leads most likely to convert. This will save time for sales reps as they will be able to focus on selling to customers who are the most likely to actually buy your product, instead of chasing down leads who may not be ready to buy. Additionally, if marketing has insight into which leads were successfully converted, they can make new marketing decisions based off of what marketing strategies did or didn’t work well.

Salesforce Pardot

Credits: Salesforce Pardot

P.S. Pardot Does More Than Just Marketing!

Although we only discussed the Marketing Automation features that Pardot provides, Pardot can be used for more than that. With B2B Marketing Analytics, you can get insights from your data to learn more about what marketing strategies worked best. Additionally, you can combine your marketing and sales data all in one place, and share your insights easily with your team. Another feature offered by Pardot is Salesforce Engage which helps you close deals faster than ever before. After you’ve mastered marketing automation, explore some of the other types of features offered by Pardot. it could be very beneficial to your team!

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5 Ways Salesforce Calendars Can Make Your Employees’ Lives Easier

In today’s busy world, everyone uses calendars to maintain their work schedules. Calls with clients, project deadlines, and meetings all must be scheduled, and writing things down won’t cut it anymore. With everyone’s hectic schedules, online calendars are a great tool for ensuring that everyone is free when your meeting is actually scheduled and that everyone involved receives all updates to your events. Salesforce calendars provide different scheduling functionalities to make your employee’s lives even easier. With integration options to existing calendars used by employees, specific types of calendars for different needs, and integration options, Salesforce calendars will help your employees spend less time scheduling and more time on meaningful activities, like projects.

Integration is Key: Sync Your Google Calendar With Your Salesforce Calendar

Everything integrates these days, and Salesforce is not the exception! You can sync your Google calendar with Salesforce to ensure that your calendars are always accurate and up to date. With integrated calendars, reps will be able to keep all information related to an Event consolidated in Salesforce. This is important because reps should not have to go back and forth between systems to try and find missing information.

Although this feature is available in both Lightning and Salesforce Classic, you can only sync to Salesforce Classic, as in, only events created in Google Calendars will show up to a Salesforce Classic calendar or org. If you create an event in Salesforce Classic, this cannot get sync back to your Google Calendar. This is not the case for Lightning, however, once Lightning Sync is enabled.

Calendar Types: Public and Resource

In Salesforce there are a few different types of calendars that you can use for various business purposes as needed. Salesforce Public Calendars are good to be used for managing or tracking group activities or events. For example, you can use a public calendar to schedule a common activity, like a weekly meeting. You can also create Resource Calendars which can be used for a shared office resource, like a smartboard or specific meeting room. These different calendars are easy to create and can help your team stay on schedule or understand what resources may be available to be used when.

Set up Public Calendars or Resources:

Salesforce Calendars

  • Search for “calendar” in the Quick Find Box
  • Company Settings >> Calendar Settings >> Public Calendars and Resources

Calendar Sharing: Let Users See What They Need To See

Calendar sharing is an important feature you can set up for your Users in Salesforce. Some Users may need access into different public or resource calendars so they are aware and up to date on events. In other cases, a calendar may need to be private so only a few Users have access to it. You can share calendars in both Salesforce Classic and Salesforce Lightning and depending on your sharing settings, Users can even change their own settings to make their calendars as accessible to others as they’d like.

Sharing for Personal User Calendars:

Salesforce Calendars

  • Setup >> Sharing Settings
  • Under the Organization-Wide Defaults related list, click Edit
  • Select a default security access setting

Sharing for a public calendar or resource:

Salesforce Calendars

  • Setup >> Public Calendars and Resources >> Sharing

  • Add the different public groups, Users, or roles that you’d like by clicking Add and adding them to New Sharing
  • Select the sharing level you’d like to use in Calendar Access

Calendar Integration With Salesforce Project Management Tools

Another perk of Salesforce calendars is that they can be used alongside functionality in project management tools. For example, using the Salesforce project management tool Inspire Planner, you have the ability to create Projects and Project Tasks in Salesforce, while with Salesforce calendars in Lightning, you can create custom calendars based on Salesforce objects. This means that you can create calendars right from Projects and Project Tasks! You can have a specific calendar for a project containing whichever details about it that you want. Additionally, by using calendars to track your Project Tasks, you will have full visibility into what is due when helping you manage project deadlines and ensure employees are completing their tasks on time.

Let Reps Set Up Reminders To Never Miss Another Event

Similar to notifications of events in Google Calendars, you can allow your sales reps to set up Event Reminders in Salesforce. This will help make sure reps do not miss any important client meetings or other types of events. Users can set up the event reminders themselves, which is great so only the reps who want to receive reminders do so. To allow reps to start using event reminders, you must ensure that reminders are enabled so Users can actually see them pop up in their browsers.

Next, ensure in-app notifications are enabled by searching for “Salesforce Notifications” in the quick search and checking the “Enable” box. Finally, don’t forget to add the Reminder Set field to Event page layouts!

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5 Foolproof Data Loading Tricks Salesforce Admins Must Know

Salesforce data loading can be a daunting task for new Salesforce admins. Whether you’re inserting, updating, upserting, or deleting, your overall actions are touching a lot of records in your org, which can be intimidating. However, if you follow the right best practices, data loads can be completed successfully and with less stress overall. We’ve outlined 5 foolproof data loading tricks below so you can start completing data loads with more confidence today!

Turn Off Configurations That May Fire On Your Data Load

Depending on the type of data load you are running, a lot of existing records can be touched. With this being the case, you will want to proactively temporarily deactivate any configuration that could accidentally fire on the creation or update of a record. This includes configurations like Workflow Rules and Process Builders that are set to fire when any change is made to a record, or when a record is created for the first time. Temporarily deactivating configuration will allow you to complete your data load without firing any accidental changes in your org. Don’t forget to reactivate when you complete the data load!

Salesforce data loading

Look for rules with this type of criteria

Plan Data Loads For Off Business Hours

Another useful Salesforce data loading trick is to always run your data loads off hours from when normal business operations are ran. It is important to do this especially if you have deactivated some configuration from firing on the creation of a new record. For example, if you have a Workflow Email Alert that fires a specific email for when a new Lead enters your system, you may have deactivated that configuration for your deployment. You will want to conduct the data load at a time where it is less likely for new Leads to enter your system so that you minimize the chances of a new Lead getting created and not receiving that certain email.

Salesforce data loading

Practice in a Full Sandbox First

Practice makes perfect, and with Salesforce data loading, it is vital. If you can, practice your data load in a Full Sandbox environment so you can see what will actually happen to the records and org after completion. Practicing in a Sandbox helps you see if you accidentally fire configuration during the data load, and also what errors may prevent the records from uploading or updating properly, like a Validation Rule. Not only will practicing in a Full Sandbox help decreases stress during the actual data load, but it will also save time down the road. By addressing errors prior to a data load, you will understand what changes or deactivations need to be made to your org to ensure a smooth and quick deployment.

Here are some tips on how to utilize your Salesforce Sandbox experience

Use an 18 Digit Id Instead of 15

In Salesforce, records have unique identifiers that are 15 digits. These unique 15 digit ids are case sensitive, as in the upper and lowercase characters matter. For example, these are two different records:



This works in Salesforce, but when you are conducting data manipulation or cleansing, a common first step in a data load, many programs cannot take case sensitivity into account. For example, without proper helper functions that may slow down your program, Microsoft Excel cannot detect case sensitivity and would consider the two records above the same. Luckily, records also have an 18 digit id that is completely unique to the record and solves the case sensitivity problem in Excel. You should use this Id when you are doing any form of data manipulation in Excel prior to a data load. Use a converter tool to get a record’s 18 digit id.

Smaller Batch Sizes

When using the Salesforce Data Loader for your data load, records are processed in incremental batches. This means that Salesforce will run the data load for the number of records you specify, like 10 or 100. The maximum batch size you can run is 200 records, but it is not always wise to run batches that large.

Salesforce data loading

Sometimes, depending on the setup of your org, Salesforce can’t process a large number of changes to records at one time, which results in an error stating “Error: System.Exception: Too many SOQL queries”. To combat this, decrease your batch size by clicking “Settings”. Although your data load will take longer to run, you will hit fewer errors and have a smoother data load overall.

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