CPQ Specialist certification

I’ve been playing with CPQ a few years ago and this year attended awesome CPQ Fast Path training for partners. A few busy weeks and I finally found time to attend the certification and … passed it!

You might have heard, that this is one of the most demanding certifications to obtain, but I don’t really agree with this statement. I feel that Service Cloud or Pardot Consultant was harder, maybe not in terms of knowledge but trickinest, as there were some questions where you might disagree with the answers. CPQ cert is purely about knowledge and I feel is pretty black and white.

It took me a while to find the courage to do it and I went to the testing center as we got such recommendation. I did all the other certifications at home and I much prefer it, but here are some calculations for which is better to have a paper, which you aren’t allowed to at home. Well, I got one, but I must admit it was convenient to have the paper for some notes.

Reading materials

There are quite a few of them on the internet, Jan Vandevelde book referenced from everyone, but I found it a bit dry. I also liked the Yelena from SF9to5 blog and Santanu Boral visualised the object model and added links to Trailhead. If you like links to other resources Chris Gardner post might be useful.

But after all I liked the presentation from the Fast Path the best.

Check your vocabulary

Non native speakers might have problems with some questions (you know you can get extra 30 minutes?), in this exam I have to thing hard what „ramped up“ or „escalator opportunity“ might mean. I probably got it right, but it looks like these are some standard wordings in CPQ world, so it is good to understand them.

What you really need to know

Pricing and discounts make 39 % of the exam, so this is the priority. I would say discounts are easy, price waterfall as well, but you really should check price rules, including objects on which they can run. The same applies for product rules and if you know what all the settings in these two are for and what are the possible values there you are good to go.

Expect questions about hiding things on quote documents, twin fields and field sets. A bit about MDQ products. A few questions about configuration attributes.

And good luck. Don’t worry, this exam isn’t tricky, it just tests your knowledge.

And new version of this exam will be roll-out soon, the beta version is just available. Sadly once I passed the exam I wasn’t able to register for the beta to check the content, looks like the division between different areas is a bit more granular, but I’m not sure about the questions as the content looks about the same.

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Lightning Sales Ops: Building Salesforce for Sales Development Teams, Matt Bertuzzi

Lightning Sales Ops, Matt Bertuzzi

I’ve been implementing information systems for last 20 years, most of the time CRM. After such a long time I should know a thing or two and I still found this book extremely valuable.

Matt divided the book into 5 parts – Identify, Plan, Contact, Qualify and Report and the biggest difference – to most of my implementations – is, that he focuses on teams which get a lot of leads. Which completely change the rules of the game.

Sales development reps are your highest volume Salesforce users, yet in terms of support, they get the scraps

Identify

  • Create a timezone field on lead – I never had such request but it make complete sense and just when you get this request you realise, there isn’t any support (besides picklist field) for such thing in Salesforce. It looks easy at first (it is just +- 12 hours), but do you really need all of them, what about summer/winter time, what about timezones which are divided. Plus use it for dividing leads into call times;
  • average SDR needs 14 clicks BEFORE his call to prospective customers just to check all the data and update a status;
  • lead or no lead? When I implement Salesforce at NGOs I go with no-lead scenario because they don’t really need to „separate“ contacts on multiple places. And I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone and normal companies might have use case for it as well;
  • update the „standard“ lead assignment to something better with flow – check for existing company and route to their AE and use only email domain for the mapping.

Plan

  • limit number of status to 6 or less;
  • add some rules from which status you can change to which;
  • use leads‘, contacts‘ and opportunities‘ status to set status on account;
  • make campaign names useful (not for marketing but for SDRs so they know what it was about), include additional details (such as link to presentation and elevator pitch) and extend the standard campaign member statuses (and you can use this app from AppExchange to set it on all campaigns);
  • add field with LinkedIn address which open a prepopulated search so they can find the contact quicker (and then save the right link into this field) – use workflow to set the default value when it is empty;
  • use flows to add important information to record details dynamically.

Contact

  • leverage path (check Trailhead what it can do for you);
  • add custom fields to tracking progress – disposition, last attempt date, last connect date, # of attempts;
  • create report based on those custom fields and you can monitor how they fulfil their SLAs;
  • speed up entering info – the standard log a call is nice, but it takes a while before it loads up. But you might create a custom action which predefines all the fields and it is enough to click it, which will speed up the process for people a lot;
  • don’t rely on tasks (the „always have open task“ rule), rather use the custom fields to monitor progress;

The presence of an open task doesn’t guarantee follow-up any more than the presence of a dictionary guarantees good spelling.

  • formalise you cadence and create automation to update Next Action Date;
  • power up your list views.

Qualify

  • route meetings round-robins – this goes all the way how your SDRs work with AEs – is it 1:1, are those two separated groups, etc.;
  • pre-opportunity vs opportunity discussion is just awesome;
  • always create opportunity from contact – it creates contact role (you need it to Einstein Activity Capture work properly), bring campaign history, allows for campaign influence measurements. Because the manual creation of opportunity is pretty long create a checkbox on contact which will call flow which will create the opportunity.

Report

I’m sure you’re hearing the same exact things, but I measure activities, conversations, meetings passed, meetings accepted, and trending.

  • PREVGROUPVAL AND PARENTGROUPVAL are support awesome, you just need to learn them!

All in all

194 pages, $3,79 and more tips then anywhere else. A lot of automation you can use, great ideas for reports and dashboards, this book is definitely worth the investment (in terms on money and time to read).

There two downsides of the book – the picture (at least on mine Kindle) are pretty badly visible and all the links in the book doesn’t work anymore 🙁

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Einstein Analytics Academy

We had a Field Service Lightning workshop (by Pawel Dobrzynski), MuleSoft workshop (by Patryk Bandurski) and now we plan Einstein Analytics Academy led by Rikke Hovgaard. The difference between „workshop“ and „academy“ also means this will be more official and longer.

Key facts:

  • dates: August 19 – 20 (attend both days is mandatory and yes it is the week after CzechDreamin)
  • price: free of charge, you are responsible for your expenses
  • location: PwC Prague office (Hvezdova 2c, Prague 4)
  • capacity: 35 people
  • pre-work: most likely
  • target audience: clients and partners
  • refreshment: will be provided
  • equipment: yours

Why attend

I attended the campfire a year ago at London and I expect this will be very similar.

Also passed the Einstein Analytics and Discovery Consultant certification and these two things had something in common – I got tons of tips how to visualise data and plenty of ideas what might work better and how to achieve it. If nothing else, this is the reason #1 why to attend. When you check Rikke’s blog you will get a lot more ideas, so do it now.

As EA now also include Discovery (for free) the whole product just got 100 % better and more feature rich. You won’t learn only how to analyse data, but the whole „team of data scientist“ you get as part of Discovery will be ready to your service as well. Once you understand how to use them – at have enough data – they might be really powerful and helpful.

Agenda

Day 1

  • Chap1:Basic Terms 9-9:30
  • Chap2:Dataset Builder 9:30-10:00
  • Chap3:DataPrep/Recipes 10:00-11:30
  • Break
  • Chap4:Lens & Explorations 11:30-12:00
  • Lunch
  • Chap5:Dashboard Basics 1:00-2:00
  • Chap6:Collaboration 2:00-2:30
  • Chap7:Compare Tables 2:30-3:00
  • Chap8:Configure Actions 3:00-3:15
  • Break
  • Chap9:Layouts & Mobile App 3:15-3:45
  • Chap10:Embedding 3:45-4:15
  • Chap11:Connect Data Sources 4:15-5:00

Day 2

  • Chap12:Pages 9:00-9:30
  • Chap13:Custom Maps (GeoJson) 9:30-10:00
  • Class Exercise: Business Jargon to Designer 10:00-11:00
  • Chap14:Analytics Apps 11:00-11:30
  • Chap15:Einstein Discovery 11:30-2:00 (with lunch)
  • Chap16:Intro to Tech Terms 2:00-5:00
    • Misc topics 15min
    • Security 15min
    • Data Considerations 15min
    • Data Layer Technical 30min
    • Bindings (intro) 45min
    • SAQL (intro) 30min
    • Additional Material 15min

Register

I almost forgot to put the link to the registration form in this article – here you go.

We will confirm registrations in the week from August 5th, don’t make any plans before.

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Workflow or Process Builder

I have a confession to make – I’m Salesforce certified application architect (and certified system architect as well), but in this area I fell misserable.

Process Builder or Workflow, the never ending question. According to Trailhead it is solved, Process Builder wons. It is the future with all those benefits and it is what we should use. Yes, it is missing Outbound Messages, but besides that it has all benefits – order of execution, related records up and down, automate more things.

Process Builder or Workflow

When I run over a Quip document (for MVPs only) titled „Examples of why you used a Workflow Rule because Process Builder caused issues“ I was surprised with so many reasons why workflow is superior.

First of all – when you want to update a field without triggering validation rule (check order of execution to try to make sense of it).

Time-based workflows – the interviews are visible on flows page (not that big deal to me), but you need to remind yourself that the flow will be processed by the version of Process Builder which created it (so it might do something completely different to what you want now).

Cross-object fields are finally solved in Summer ’19 – at least it looks like you don’t have to check whether the lookup field is filled in to check the value of the target record as step 2.

Bulkifications issues are something people are still scared of, even though Salesforce claimed it is solved. And I feel I tested it a while ago and was happy with the results as well.

Complex formulas – obviously what people like is the fact, that in workflow you have one Field Update which you use in multiple workflows, while in process builder you need to define it again and again, if you use it at multiple places.

What else is good to know?

Process Builder runs in system context (e.g. has access everywhere), while Flow runs in user context (can do only what user is allowed to do) – unless you start the Flow from Process Builder, then it runs in system context.

When you want to send email alert to email field on related object, I always create something, which copied the value to field on the object which will trigger it. The reason was, that in email alert you can select only email field as a recipient and not a formula field. But Alena sent me this great (and awful) tip, how to overcome it without copying the value.

Process Builder

A while ago Salesforce add the check (or rather recommendation) whether you use just one Process Builder per object and this article from Alex Peattie builds on top of it with some recommendation how to split processes so they can call each other. Easy read for developers, probably way harder for admins.

With this you should also be aware of the critical update in Summer ’19, which changes the behavior of record value you access – you can access either the latest value or the value it had at the beginning of the process.

Think twice

Yeah, those might be edge cases, but transfer workflow to process builder might be challenge at some places, with consequences you didn’t think about first. Be careful!

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Summer ’19 Release Notes

Another release ahead of us (actually it is already here as I didn’t have time to check the release notes before it landed to my organisations and then it had to wait for more interesting blog post to be published first). At first it looked like feature heavy release, when I checked better I don’t think there are so many of them, but still some are pretty cool.

Lightning, Lightning, Lightning

The very first part in Release Notes is dedicated to move to Lightning. We already know that from Winter ’20 the Lightning will be enabled for everyone (well, you can actively kind of opt-out by enabling the right permission); the Transition Asistant has been improved (probably never really saw it) and it can check for Visualforce pages which might make problems after switch (I’m still surprised how much energy Salesforce invest into improving VF pages, for example there is a new tag which can make them auto update in the same way as Lightning Component do).

The most important point – In-App Guidenance, which enables you to add prompts almost everywhere to show users what is new and changed, you can also set how often it should pop-up. Now you just need to find the time to write all those text and set it up.

Changes in UI

Enhanced Related Lists are in beta, but they promise great things – you can show up to 10 columns (as was standard in Classic), can choose how many records you can see. Related to this is also the ability to filter related lists, sadly the filter is temporary and you have to set it up every time.

Enhanced Related Lists

Utility Items are not aligned to the right, small but probably nice feature. Plus the Notes can pop-out, so you can – for example – put them on second screen.

See which objects have been searched and how many results each of them have is awesome. I hated clicking through them just to find nothing was found.

Search results

The whole UI is more colorful now, has more shades. Clicking on the navigation menu will show you 5 recent items (instead of 3 till now), you can define the color of hyperlink, header is hidden when you print the page, you can switch Lightning to mimic Classic when showing record details (why would you do it?) and you and your users can choose whether to show activities in the Lightning way or switch back to related lists (just go to settings and search for Record Page Settings). Rich Text Editor has been change, which – besides everything else you won’t notice – will allow you to insert pictures. Yeah!

And the most important feature? You can link specific step in Path with confetti!

Confetti when you win an opportunity

Sales Cadence

Really looking forward when they will include this feature in standard and not as paid add-on. Works now for Person Accounts as well (seriously, it didn’t before?), you can link more of them together, choose how to sort your queue, preview emails which will be send and you can call it from flow.

CPQ

Einstein everywhere, here it can suggest the ideal price based on historical data. Curious how much sales people will trust it.

CPQ Price Guidenance

But the logic updated in price action formulas when calculating with percents is serious one – YOU NEED TO UPDATE SUCH FORMULAS, otherwise it’ll return nonsense.

Reporting

This is huge! Row level formulas (no need for simple formula field to calculate something, in beta, needs to be enabled), conditional formating in Lightning, search for records in report (understand, it is cool, but why don’t we rely on browser search and invest energy into this?), conditional notification definition in Lightning (I still don’t understand why and how it is done, but you can subscribe to 5 reports in Classic and to another 5 in Lightning).

Two level sorting on dashboard components, ability to change width of columns (which will be reset every time you open the dashboard).

Einstein Analytics support connection to Oracle Eloqua, can sync more data with Amazon Redshift and has better performance with Google BigQuery. Plus new templates, which are awesome as always, but somehow I wonder when they will develop applications for core Salesforce as well.

Debug steps is awesome, ability to sort by dimensions is pretty cool as well. Pilot of versioning of your dashboard, lenses and dataflows sounds awesome, now you had to save it manually (or probably use DX to help you with that). But you have to use Workbench to handle it anyway during the pilot, there is no UI for that.

Communities

Ability to create reports is nice, global quick actions plus mass quick actions, choose what users can do in list views (change table to kanban, inline edit, list search, list pinning and list actions) sounds promising, I wanted to hide a lot of those actions from users the other day.

Survey

What was paid add-on once upon a time is kind of free. You can send unlimited number of them, first 300 responses are for free. And that’s probably all worth saying about it.

Mobile

The mobile app now supports Path and confetti, iOS 12 and above is supported (as well as Android 6+)

Developers

ExperienceBundle to download information about community (instead of the SiteDotCom binary file).

Continuation class in APEX to make long-running requests from Aura/LWC looks interesting, they aren’t allowed to do any DML operation.

Insert LWC into VF page – well, why not. Just, why exactly? The same goes for <apex:liveController/> which will make your WF page re-render dynamically the same way Aura/LWC does. Just … didn’t we want to leave all this behind?

Disable access to non-global APEX controller methods in managed packages is absolutly obvious, just wonder whether it will make my hack to DocuSign Gen not working. Hopefully not.

supportedFormFactors so you can define for which device it will be rendered.

force:source:deploy and force:source:retrieve will work the same way as their respective mdapi commands, so you don’t have to worry whether you pull/push to scratch org or standard org.

Ability to define more features in scratch org definition file, still not all of them, but way more.

Larger Debug Logs – from 5MB to 20MB, you can generate 1GB max of them in 15 minutes.

A tons of new parameters for Aura and Lightning Web Components.

Others

Patient Timeline is super cool, would be great to be able to use it elsewhere as well. Or maybe Amnon Kruvi’s app will be able to do that.

I love the Automation Home screen, really looking forward to find whether it will actually help me to improve things. And the notification builder looks promising as well, I migrated from email to Chatter, so now will probably even migrate some thing to these notifications only.

Automation Home

Evaluate Criteria Based on Original Values in Process Builder critical updates is really serious, it might change the result of your whole process, so go and re-check them.

That’s all?

Live chat, dialer, Pardot, Knowledge, FSL, merge cases (beta), conditional macros, muted permissions (in Pilot) or improved partner search and even showing where they delivered their work (not sure they might want to show it sometimes). Yeah, there are much more in the full release notes, so feel free to go and check it, but frankly, those features didn’t really ring the bell.

Frankly, this really is great, but not as full of new features as I would hope for. The most important to me are finally being able to have more than 4 columns on related lists, which shouldn’t be the highlight of new release. Or is this the new standard?

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