Salesforce – how to automate things

This is part of my serie „what we didn’t do during implementation and should„, so you might not find anything interesting or you might just open your eyes wide and say wow! And automating things is definitely the part you probably didn’t do at the beginning but should do now as it is similar to how we are used to do things – crawl -> walk -> run.

So what can you automate, what does it take and how to do it?

There are a few ways how – workflow, process builder, (lightning) flow or APEX. APEX is definitely the most advanced thing, workflow we should forget (even though it still has some great edge use-cases), process builder should be history soon and flow is the way to go for declarative administrator. Let’s speak about process buider (because it is still here) and flows for now.

Process Builder

You can super easily define the rules when something shoud happen. I would say anyone can understand after a few minutes, especially if you ever draw some process diagram. And there is a nice module on Trailhead.

It can run when you create record or after you change it, you can also run it after sometime from any date field you have on your record.

Practical example:

  • when I change opportunity status to Offer sent it will create a task for sales rep to get in touch with customer after a week. If the opportunity is still in the Offer sent status after two weeks, manager will be notified;
  • when opportunity status is change to Closed Won change account status to Customer;
  • when opportunity is not Closed Won or Closed Lost a week after Close Date send email to sales rep to finally decide;
  • send email to customer when the invoice is not paid a week after due date;
  • notify sales rep one month before contract end to get in touch with customer about renewal;
  • notify sales rep a month after opportunity was won to check with customer how it goes.

They might be small things. But those are the things which people will slowly and surely appreciate, because they don’t have to think about them.

One warning – don’t to automation for everything, sometimes report is better. It is great to send info about unpaid invoice to accountant week after due date, but it is maybe even better to create a report which will show the invoices, so they don’t have to go one by one, but can open the report and do the calling in one blast. But maybe they prefer it one by one because they need to mark as „done“ those they called and keep the rest for next day. Meaning you should always know how the users work in the system and tweak it to their work style. And that can change or be changed, because the new system offers so much more. 

Flow

Flow can be a bit more complex, especially now-a-days when it is screen flow, before save, after save, run from button, … and a few other types.

It is more like a programming – you have decision elements, assignment elements, loops, get, update, create, plus it can be extended with other components, … but at the end, as long as you are able to draw the process, you should be fine. If not, definitely check Rakesh’s or Jen’s blogs as they both have specific use cases and step by step how to solve them.

When would I use flow instead of process builder?

  • when I need to have screens with some questions, fields for additional information, etc;
  • when the process is more complex – notify sales rep one month before contract end, but not in case there is already a new opportunity.

Why use screen flow?

Well, I understand, it is really easy to create opportunity. You just need to check whether the account and contact already exist, create the opportunity, find the right product and add it. The users should be able to learn it really quickly.

But maybe create some simple wizard, which will ask for account name and if it cannot find it in the database ask for more details. Then offer all contacts to choose from plus fields for a new one. Another screen for opportunity name and close date plus which (one) of your product you want to offer. And then create all the records in the background and open it for you. Sounds easier?

As you can insert the screen flow into Lightning Page you can also do quick setting of some field values. One customer had to update documents and it took a while to open the lookup field on each of them and search for the contact from that exact company. Screen flow, which get all the contacts and just let him choose was a miracle.

Quickly select related record you want to save to lookup field.

Some other examples:

  • assign the right SLAs and working hours to cases;
  • contract creation, which ask a few more details and generated all the relevant documents;
  • NDA generation, which you can start from account but it will create related records in the background and send for approval if needed.

There is great trailmix for flow and some videos. Definitely watch them.

What are your use-cases, what you did and it saves a lot of work for your users? Will you share with me or maybe with Automation Hours webinar?

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Co s knížkami?

Knihy mám rád. Dokonce je i rád čtu. A doma máme velkou knihovnu, kterou jsme si kvůli tomu nechali vyrobit. Jednu celou polici zabíral Cook, další zabírají Verneovky, police na cestopisy a průvodce, police na kuchařky a police na spoustu různých dalších skvělých knih, které se tu tak sešly nebo jsme je chtěli.

A pak přišla nutnost mít polici na hry, dětské časopisy a knížky, na tamto a na ono. A při tom všem jsem si uvědomil, že spoustu těch knih už znovu neotevřu a nebudu číst, že to bylo fajn, ale stačilo. Co s nimi?

Knihobudky

Kus knih jsme odnesli různě do knihobudek. Neměl jsem náladu s tím vůbec nic dělat, nepovažoval jsem je ani za nějak skvělé, chtěl jsem se jich prostě zbavit. Vyřešeno, jenom jsme je nosili postupně, abychom chudáka knihobudku nezahltili.

Knihovna a domovy důchodců

Další myšlenka byla využít knihovnu a domovy důchodců. Nejdřív ty důchodci – staré časopisy se jim moc líbili a rádi si je vzali, s knihami to nebylo úplně ono.

Knihovny – asi by se knihy vzali, ale musí se to nějak vybírat, nebylo to úplně jednoduché. V každém případě do nich dnes chodíme pravidelně, vždycky tam objevím náhodně něco zajímavého, ale pokud nějakou knížku konkrétně chci, tak si ji pořád asi spíš koupím. Možná i proto, že mám pocit, že ty knihy co chci v knihovnách moc nebývají. Ale musím na to myslet a častěji se po nich dívat.

Reknihy logo

Reknihy

A pak jsem objevil Reknihy. Vyskládáte knihy na zem, vyfotíte, pošlete fotku a zpátky se vám vrátí, které by si vzali + případně pošlou poukaz na poslání přes Zásilkovnu. Zabalíte, odnesete, zdarma odešlete a pak jenom čekáte, co prodají.

Dřív bylo v pravidlech, že po třech týdnech ty knihy odnesou do knihobudek či jinam za vás, teď už si je nechávají a prodávají pořád, asi i proto se stěhovali zrovna do většího.

Pro mě je důležité, že jsem jim tam poslal asi tři krabice knih, na účet dostal 2 000Kč a ještě tam další knihy na prodej mají, takže možná dostanu ještě něco. A mám z toho takový dobrý pocit, že si ty knihy někdo znovu užije, že jsem něco „vydělal“ a že jsem s tím neměl práci. Za mě dobrý.

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What it takes to implement Salesforce for NGO?

When I spoke with SeyitBek on his Salesforce Chef podcast, I told him that I started my Salesforce career in the non-profit world and grow from there. Also a lot of people when they are looking how to start in this ecosystem are recommended to do implementatio for NGO, as the feeling is, that the requirements are pretty simple. And then there is a lot of people with the non-profit experience who warns agains it, because when you do mistake on such implementation, that organisation doesn’t have money to repair it.

The stakes are just too high to try untested skills on a nonprofit’s or a school’s org. Please, only volunteer your current Salesforce expertise.

Lucy Mazalon, Salesforce Ben

What does it take to implement Salesforce for non-profit in Czech Republic?

Fundraising

I would say this is where we start with every single organisation – their donors and donations. It looks simple at first, but it also means integration with banks and on-line donor portals, maybe things like direct debits.

If you want to replicate it, the actual configuration is simple, but you need to develop a lot of custom integrations. If I count correctly we (at CRM pro neziskovky) support around 10 local banks plus Darujme, our biggest on-line donor portal.

It also includes confirmations of gifts, which are needed in Czech Republic on yearly basis.

And slowly but surely it goes towards automation – thank you letters, birthday emails, name days, you name it. Very often we get stuck here – not because it is hard to do, but because they can get complicated. When, to whom, from which email, what if they don’t want our newsletter, what if …

Gmail/Outlook

This year the Gmail/Outlook integration get more popular, especially with organisations doing the corporate fundraising. They are aware that they should share the info and that maybe the forwarding of emails is not the way to go.

„Marketing“

From fundraising you slowly touch the marketing part. Because you need to show the fundraiser that they are now able to segment the donors, that it can work automatically and dynamically – so far they mark each of them manually and were happy to change it every then and now, but the system can do it for them.

This means reporting, campaign management, show them that they can calculate ROI, that they can segment more and play with different call to actions.

This usually doesn’t mean you need to be marketer or that you will do Marketing Cloud/Pardot or connect with social networks, usually we are not that far.

Grant Management

There are typically three types of fundraiser – individual, corporate and grant. Individual is the typical one I covered above, we don’t usually care much about corporate fundraisers for some reason, but we care about grants a lot.

List of grants which might be open, those they applied for, won or lost, which needs the report how it was used and all the paper work around.

The part they most like about grants is, that the system can notify them when something has to be done.

Volunteers

The next big topic are volunteers. They have all their contacts in Salesforce so it makes sense to have volunteers there as well. Some organisations even go that far that they record what tasks they gave them, rate them, monitor utilisation and such thing.

Usually our first debate – and „mistake“ I see a lot – is, that volunteers are some other „sort of people“, meaning they can be record type of contact in Salesforce or different object all together. And I always say NO, your volunteer most likely is your donor at the same time.

What is nice when you can link volunteers with grants – exactly my experience from one organisation where they had volunteers management in place and added grants and realised they can use grants to reward the volunteers and that they have all the details in the system and can report it automatically without any manual work.

Project Management

Not often we get here. It is great to see all the PM apps on AppExchange and it is usually on the wish list, but most organisations are not that structured to really use it or they already use Asana or Trello and are more than happy there.

Integrations

It is getting to be normal. I already covered the integrations with banks, but here it is more about marketing automation (read MailChimp or SmartEmailing), some use Slack and feel it might be interesting to integrate.

How much work is it?

First of all – this is a marathon and people usually don’t foresee this. The typical implementation takes a few months. Not because it is that hard or that complex, but because the non-profits struggle with capacity. Our typical counterpart is the fundraiser who still need to get the money for the organisation and on top of that they are responsible for Salesforce implementation.

Quite often we can see that this is the first time people get their hands on such technology, which allow them things they never dreamt of, so the trainings are a bit challenging as well. I mean it looks simple to use but even those a few objects we typically implement – account, contact, campaign, activity and opportunity – are hard to grasp and fully understand.

And when we get to reporting and how we can filter data and play with different charts, that’s usually tought time, because they didn’t think about filtering and slicing the data they have.

All in all be prepared to spend a week of work over next 6 months if you are super quick and pushy, more likely it will take a year. At the same time we are able to do it in 24 hours as well.

Non-profit versus profit implementation

This is my favorite. I got my experience in the non-profit word and when I went through my first interview not many people appreciated it. Like – that’s not real experience.

After all those years I can say that most non-profits have better system in place than most normal companies. They do know how much their typical donor donate, when they donated last time, how much, how often.

Typical business company track all their opportunities but very little care about history, statistics, forecast and such thing. Which is quite surprising.

Business companies have more money for all those integrations, backup solutions, document generation but at the same time wants to save the money as well. So I would say in terms of 3rd parties apps the normal companies usually use about the same number of them as typical non-profit.

Trainings are being quicker for business companies. They are not that afraid of throwing their people and let them swim, at the same time it might mean they are not getting that big values. I would also say that typical NGOs will ask for help with reports for first a few months, which is not the case with companies.

I already covered the speed of the implementation. The typical implementation is about the same in complexity of the result (and I compare here NGO implementation run by one person to corporate implementation with 20+ people on the project) – the end result will be about the same, but the closure of the NGO project will be typically way later, there probably isn’t that strong push to get the ROI back as soon as possible.

I didn’t cover all the differences for sure, but these are the main observations I can put together after all those years. And I would be super interested in seeing how it compares to NGOs around the world. Maybe I’ll find out at the NonProfit Dreamin event which is being scheduled for the beginning of the next year!

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Sharing is caring – release notes

Chatter functionality was one my favorite things in Salesforce for years. And I still love chatter, don’t take me wrong – helps me so much to keep track on communication.

Since we transitioned to Lightning I am more and more excited how much you can personalize your experience. A few clicks and your life is so much easier.

Getting excited with every single release looking what is there for me as admin, end user, what is there for our clients … but reading release notes it’s definitely part I’d like to skip.

I have my favorite bloggers for tips and tricks, also webinars organizes by Salesforce Admins very useful and of course Trailheads, Community Groups

During Summer ’20 release I discovered page with resources easy to access and use. SUMMER’20 RELEASE page with all Latest Innovations and Resources, demos, playbooks has it all. Plus the button DOWNLOAD RELEASE IN BOX – presentation ready to use – perfect.

Perhaps this isn’t life changing thing but it made my day.

Sharing is caring, right?

Pavlina Preissova

Pavlina Preissova – 178/61 – blond – addictive type, running on gym, coffee, 100 % chocolate and SF releases. Often drinks blood and step on corns. But she is really good cook ;))))

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NGO Hackathon #2

In the middle of August we did NGO Hackathon #2. We did the first one two years ago and got pretty good feedback, so we decided to repeat and change the format at the same time.

Last time we had three NGOs and multiple teams who compete to deliver the best solution. This time we had just one NGO and bunch of people working together to deliver one solution. Cooperation not competion this time. And in 24 hours we more or less delivered what should be delivered.

Kick off

What are the takeaways for next edition?

Timing

Originally we thought about doing it during Spring, but then Covid came. Autumn looked too far away so we decided to do in during the Summer time, which definitely limit the number of people who could attend, but at the end it wasn’t problem, as we got just the right number of people we needed.

Timing is also about those 24 hours and how to plan it. We started in the afternoon and run till afternoon the second day and I would probably change this next time – I could see how people completely lost energy 1am the latest and as we tried to work the whole night we didn’t really delivered much the second day. Also they had to left their job ealier the first day, so not really win for them. At the same time starting in the morning and finish in the evening would not provide enough time. Tricky decision.

People

Get the right mix of people was our main challenge. Actually it took a while to get the „right“ NGO, as I wanted implementation which will connect developers, consultants and junior admins and that isn’t the typical implementation. Plus they had to be willing to wait till the hackathon.

At one moment it look like we don’t have enough (skilled) developers and then suddently the NGO changed their requirements and we just had enough.

Yeah, we had fun

The feedback we got was also about little promotion of the event and we could definitely do better here, at the same time we had enough people and I’m not really sure we could use any more.

I completely forgot to let them introduce each other, something I do during every user group and somehow completely forgot this time. With 15 people around they were able to do it on their own, but I still don’t understand how that happened. And we don’t have any group photo (but here I can blame the photographer).

Project Management

Plan was great – introduction of the NGO and their needs, split into groups, prepare questions, slots for questions, implementation, first demo and feedback (for each area), finishing, final demo, training and party.

Plans are to be changed, so we broke them right after the introduction. I wanted the first thing to be done to be a list of tasks by each team, so they can all see what needs to be done, learn what other „roles“ need to do on such project and see the progress. For some reason this didn’t materialise (except for one team) and I didn’t push for it.

Discussion about data model

It kind of wasn’t missing (the teams knew what to do), but was really missing from the knowledge transfer perspective.

We didn’t do any demos during the day and slots for questions got mixed, but I didn’t miss these too much. Meaning from the client perspective, but it would be great – again – for the knowledge transfer.

Consultation during the day

Requirements

This is kind of part of project management, but probably worth mentioning extra.

We spent sometime with the organisation before the event to speak about what they need, clarify some questions, tell them what they need to prepare, etc.

Requirements sharing

I didn’t do any summary from it on purpose, I wanted them to present it during the day, just be ready for all the questions and have answers.

It also means that I wasn’t able to catch a few things, which complicated the process later on, the most visible one are email alerts. They prepared emails A – G (when we started the analysis they had just A – D) but I didn’t realise that each of those emails exist at least in two variants (he/she) and some in even more (the maximum is six variants of one email and we are lucky, because in Czech we can have 8 variants of this email). Annoying to configure them, annoying to put all the logic in the system with not that strong benefits from it.

The presentation of needs could be more professional. I wanted to have it the way we did it, but agree that some reharsal with the NGO before and polishing of the presentation would be beneficial.

Plus let the attendees know in advance what we will build, which was something we kept under the cover. This one is with a question – they could prepare some questions/ideas before at the same time they might go completely in wrong direction.

Training

We finished the day with user training, where I sit just with the people from NGO and no one else made it here (I didn’t tell anyone else). Mistake again, they could benefit from it, see what they built over the night, get the feeling of accomplishment.

Knowledge share

My main point for this event was the sharing. Sharing the knowledge, so people know what it takes, how much they (don’t) know, how they should approach different things.

Working and sharing

The second part was sharing about the people, get to know them better.

It could be better. I already wrote how we „failed“ in knowledge transfer, we could share it more. We also didn’t really have breaks for chat, it was incredible, but the people really worked all the time.

Next?

What will be next? I definitely want to repeat it and it looks like the people are happy to help next time as well. Plus we have – thanks to the missing marketing – a lot of other people we might be able to persuade and get onboard.

Who know, maybe autumn will bring some nice NGO who wants Salesforce and have their implementation interesting enough to put there so many people. And then we will need to learn from these mistake and make the event even better. Crossing my fingers!

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