The ABC’s of Salesforce

Better late than never, right? At least in most (read as: some) cases! 
My apologies for my disappearing act. With a month full of High Holidays, it was quite hard to keep up with things. Moving forward I will try to post regularly again. The feedback I have been getting is tremendous and I want to thank you, my incredible readers, for your participation and contributions.

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As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was honored to speak in the Admin Zone Theater at Dreamforce. My presentation focused on what I considered to be the ABC’s of Salesforce. The topics I covered were based on my experience and journey with Salesforce: when I first started with Salesforce, there were so many things that I didn’t know and so many more things I wish I had known. Today, I can look back and pinpoint what I have now coined as “The ABC’s of Salesforce”.  As I did in my presentation, I will start with “B” since it is the Beginning of it all.

2015-10-15_2027

Basics: Know the Basics
Familiarize yourself with the basics of Salesforce, and specifically what features and objects your Salesforce instance includes.  Know what platform capabilities are and how they can be used. Ask yourself questions that are important and pertinent to your instance and your use of Salesforce.  Take a look at security, automation and reporting because they’re also essentials for your organization.

True Story: Recently, I had an organization approach me about an issue they were having with tasks. Every time a user was assigned a task, they received 2 email notification. One was the standard task notification email and the other….was an email sent through an Apex trigger .

You want to avoid these pitfalls by knowing what Salesforce can do for you and what you can do with it.

This applies if you are part of a nonprofit as well. Using the NPSP as an example, learn what the packages contain and what functionality they offer. This will help you create your processes, trouble shoot any issues you may have and guide you in making the best decisions for your organization.

Pro Tip: The best resource I can possibly suggest is Trailhead. If you have not used it already, you should literally run to try it out and see for yourself how incredible it is. Along with that, there are some great workbooks that offer step-by-step tutorials that will give you a great overview of Salesforce. As well, Udacity has a fun and interactive Salesforce course that you can follow. 

Appexchange: Your One-stop Salesforce Marketplace
The Appexchange is a marketplace of Apps that can extend the functionality and features of your Salesforce instance. Think of it along the lines of having a smartphone – that’s your Salesforce org. Your phone is certainly useful but you can also download additional apps from the Apple Store/Google Play that extend your phone’s capabilities. This is what the Appexchange does; from quote of the day, to mail merge to highlighted fields in your page layout – there are over 2000 Apps that will give you additional functionality and tools to meet your business needs.

2015-10-15_2020

True Story: I recall a time I had hours of meeting with a Consultant and developer trying to solution on a complex need we had. This was just when I heard of the Appexchange so I did a quick search and found an app that did exactly what we needed for a nominal cost. We could have saved lots of time by searching there initially. 

Keep in mind that you are one of many other companies using Salesforce. Chances are, that if you need a certain tool, others may also and there might therefore just be in App for it!

Community: Where the Magic Happens
The Salesforce Community is your best option to finding answers and help to any problems you might have. More than just a forum, it is a community of people that care and are dedicated to your success. You can also visit the IdeaExchange to post ideas you would like Salesforce to implement or vote on existing requests.   So many great features have been added just because we asked.

If you are a nonprofit, visit the Power of us Hub. Is is the best place to find information, collaborate, post questions and connect

Pro Tip: You might come across a solution which seems great but doesn’t address your particular need. Think out of the box and consider how you can translate that into business needs for your company.

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Dreamforce: My Highlights as a Newbie

Dreamforce. Keynote. Dreamforce. Presentation. Dreamforce. Sessions. Dreamforce. Swag Dreamforce. Comfy Shoes. Dreamforce. Agenda Builder. Dreamforce. Saasy. Dreamforce. Dreamforce. Dreamforce.

For the past few months, as excitement for Dreamforce 15‘ grew, these are just some of the ideas and terms floating around the cloud. The countless article, blog posts, tweets and videos could not do enough to prepare me for #DF15.

Because, after all. Dreamforce is Dreamforce.

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Admin Zone Theater
Admin Zone Theater

#1 – Admin Zone Presenter

Yup! Aside for being a newbie to Dreamforce, I was a first time presenter. My Wednesday started with a quick registration check-in and then I headed to the Admin Zone (Lodge) for a smashing presentation (full post on that coming up). I was honored to share my thoughts and tips with such a great crowd. Having received so much from the wonderful Salesforce Community, it felt good to be able to give back. I was double honored with the flow of questions at the end and being approached for tips on how to get certified.

#2 – Apex 4 Admins

This was my-must-attend-session and thankfully, I was able to attend! I arrived 35 minutes early to ensure entry – and good thing I did because I was the last person admitted to the class. It was truly a sad moment to watch over 150 people be turned away. From Apex Classes, to Lists, to SOQL, Leah McGowen-Hare rocked the room as she eloquently and humorously guided us through different Apex concepts. There were several “Aha!” moments that will help propel me in my journey to learn Apex.

Swaaag
Swaaag – Day 1

#3 – Swaaaaag

Because I wouldn’t be a good blogger if I didn’t talk about the Swag. My closet now boasts to many T-shirts to number, sweaters and a few other prized goodies (think selfie-sticks, remote-controlled Ferrari, Quadcopter) . It’s not often I can go away for a week and come back with presents for the little ones without even stepping into a store.

#4 – The People

Meeting my colleagues from Cloud 4 Good was definitely the greatest highlight. Working remotely, it’s not often we see past each other’s shoulders (webcam). Having these few days together was a real treat of fun. Through sessions, booth duty, and keynotes (not to mention evening parties and Dreamfest!), I really got to see and appreciate even more how close we are as a team.

It was also incredible to meet with so many people that I know virtually or not. Every moment was a surprising new encounter, relationships forged and strengthened.

#5 – The Everything

There are too many awesome moments to expound on them all;  GirlForce Meetup was a beautiful event to meet and connect with fellow women in the nonprofit tech world, the various zones and expos were great learning opportunities as were the many sessions, keynotes and events over the week, Dreamfest has no words (and left many with no voice), Dreampark was stolen moments of relaxation and HOTs are just about the best thing out there. On top of that, San Francisco is a beautifully place to be and the weather cooperated wonderfully.

A most inspiring, exciting and exhilarating week.

Because, after all. Dreamforce is Dreamforce.

Lookup Vs. Master-Detail: The Real Difference

I have a confession:

For a long time, I never really understood the difference between a “Lookup” field and the “Master-Detail” lookup field. Whenever I needed to create a field that referenced another object, I would read over the Salesforce explanation and then randomly chose one field.

Lookup...or...Master-Detail
Lookup…or…Master-Detail

Over time I discovered various nuances, but the real “Aha!” moment was when I really, really got it.

Simply put, a Lookup field connects 2 objects to each other. For example, a customer can be linked to a store they frequently shop at. This relationship, while helpful to know, does not intricately bind the customer and store to each other. If the store closes down, the customer will still be around and shopping – but in another store. The relationship ends with no affect on either end.

Let’s use a Parent-Child analogy to explain the Master-Detail relationship:

Parent & Child
Parent & Child Relationship

MasterDetail is like a human parent child relationship. Just like a child can not exist without a parent, a Detail (child) record MUST have a Master (parent) record. This strong relationship makes the relationship field required on all records. As well, the child record inherits the same ownership and security (think DNA) as the parent record. Should the Master record be deleted, all the Detail records will be deleted with it (think of going back in a time machine – before the parent was born = no parent, no children).

Similarly, going back to our store, the inventory can have a MasterDetail relationship to the store. If the store closes down, the inventory has no use and and can be deleted. You might chose to send the merchandise to another store which would be called Reparenting in Salesforce (sorry, not detailing that here!).

Hope this helps you navigate object relationships in Salesforce!

Wishing you a wonderful, relaxing, long weekend,
Rachel

LastPass: Making Magic of Passwords

Magic!
Magic!

If you’re anything like me, or even nothing like me at all, you are probably logging into multiple sites each day – several times a day!

On any given day, I can be logging into 4 Gmail accounts and 5 Salesforce instances. Remembering all those usernames and passwords can be quite a task.

Enter LastPass*, a simple application that sits quietly in your browser until you need it. And then the magic happens!

With LastPass, you can save usernames and passwords to just about any website.You can store them in folders and give the saved logins names for easy identification. When you reach a login page, you simply chose the correct login match and login. On a new website or using a new login? No problem – you can save the information on the fly! Also, you LastPass account can work across all your devices. Once installed, you have the same saved logins wherever you are.

While there are other browser extensions that retain passwords (especially for Salesforce), I chose this one not just because it was recommended by a friend*, but also because it can save all types of passwords.

Happy Passwording!

*As of 2014, 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family and friends about products – making these recommendations the information source ranked highest for trustworthiness.

Disclaimer: I am not advertising or receiving any kickback for this post.

#StruckByLightning – The Lightning Experience

Homescreen of the New Salesforce
Home-screen of the New Salesforce

As the Salesforce community celebrated Adam Seligman’s 16th birthday, thousands of users gathered at 100 locations across the world (with many more viewing it live) to experience the introduction to the Lightning Experience.

I happened to be in New York, so this was my 2nd Salesforce event that I got to attend.  The ambiance, décor and excitement really set the tone for what was to be an incredible announcement. And so it was.

Lightning Experience is more than just a revamped interface. It is a revamp of the entire user experience, setup and the way end users will use the platform. It comes with a sleek, modern feel and real time updates – 2015 here we come!

Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

  • To say it again; the sleek, modern interface is drool-worthy! The tab bar has been replaced with a sidebar and icons for each object, the crisp design is efficiency driven and will really put users ahead of the game.
  •  I love the real time capabilities! Searching for a list view is no longer a struggle – start typing in the name and results will appear! Need to edit a contact? No problem. A pop-up will appear, make the changes and press save. The list will automatically update with the new values. Entering addresses is now powered by Google and will populate as you type.
  • List views retain their awesome capabilities but are more data and results driven! The chart button on the right immediately displays the list view data in various chart formats. And check out the new functionality for opportunities! You can display opportunities in a board which align them according to stage, total the amounts and alert you if there are no related tasks or overdue tasks. More than that, you can create the task right from that page and even more than that….you can drag and drop opportunities as they move through the sales process! Totals will update in real time and totally keep you on the ball.
New Salesforce Opportunity Record
New Salesforce Opportunity Record
  • This Lightning Experience release really focuses on the sales cloud and that is why we are seeing so many incredible changes to the standard sales object. On a general level, each object record has its own layout and design, based on it’s use. The opportunity object was glorified with a highlights panel that indicates the stage, and can be customized to give you relevant tips to guide you through the next steps.
New Salesforce Dashboards
New Salesforce Dashboards
  • Reports & Dashboards are extra snazyy and can leave your head spinning with all the great changes. While creating a report is fairly the same, running it leaves you no doubt that you are experiencing the Lightning Experience. As to dashboards, with the feel of Wave, dashboards components can now be resized and arranged in more than 3 columns! This definitely got a great cheer!
  • The setup/backend is also part of the New Salesforce. Items are now grouped according to their functionality and as always have a quick find search box. No more separation of custom & standard objects

What does this mean to me?

As with any Salesforce release, it is a good idea to prepare and familiarize yourself with the changes to come. While Salesforce Classic (as we knew it until now) will still be supported, you will surely want to migrate your users to a better experience. Thankfully, Salesforce has been preparing for this and already has extensive documentation in place.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

Watch the release

Lightning Experience FAQ

Trailhead – there are 4 trails to blaze!

Sign up for a pre-release org – Currently not available

And of course, get social. Join the discussion. Come to Dreamforce!

A Piece of Heaven: Marshmallow Cream Cake

Cake Photo
Need I say more?

I know this is not Salesforce related, and not even technology related (other than oven usage), but it definitely falls into the more category and it’s part of my playground and so delish, I couldn’t resist sharing!

I discovered this recipe at a relative’s home and instantly loved the variety of flavor and the ease of make yet decorative appearance. Baking it myself reinforced my feelings towards it and made it a instant hit in my home.

Ingredients:

4 Eggs
1 1/2 C. Sugar
2 T. Vanilla Sugar
1 C. Oil
4 T. Cocoa
1 1/2 C. Flour
1 t. Baking Powder

Topping:

16 Oz. Marshmallow Cream
12 Oz. Baking Chocolate
1 1/2 C. Crunch Peanut Butter
3 1/2 C Rice Krispies

Directions:

Beat eggs with sugars. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

Spread thin layer of marshmallow cream onto cake and then refrigerate for 1 hour. In double broiler, melt chocolate and peanut butter. Remove from heat and add rice krispies, mixing until completely coated. Spread topping over cake. Chill. Cut into circles or squares.

**Personally, I am not exact on the measurements of the topping. I simply spread the marshmallow cream until there seems to be a sufficient amount. The rest of the topping has yet to fail me if I don’t measure it perfectly.**

THIS CAKE FREEZES AMAZINGLY WELL. I LIKE TO BAKE A FEW BATCHES OF IT, FREEZE IT FOR AN HOUR OR SO AND THEN CUT INTO (SMALL) PIECES. THEN, I PUT IT BACK IN THE FREEZER, READY TO TAKE OUT ON SHORT NOTICE. IT IS DEFINITELY IMPRESSIVE AND GREAT TO GIFT TO OTHERS.

Tasks: Create your Own Reminders (Using Process Builder and Flows)

This post is in collaboration with Gorav Seth who patiently led me step by step to mastering this magic! His blog post includes some screenshots (using the event object) of the steps involved. Thanks, Gorav!

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Wouldn’t it be great to get a reminder when a task is due…Like, an email straight to your inbox alerting you, ” Hey you! This task is due in an hour!”…Unfortunately, this is not native for Salesforce and that’s when you need to wrap your head around alternative Salesforce capabilities to do what you want. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a thread where this exact issue what being discussed.

In this example, we will create a simple reminder for a task related to a contact.

What we want: An email reminder one hour before a task is due.

What we need to do: Use process builder to launch a flow that will send the email.*

HERE’S HOW

1. Create a flow – Go to Setup>Create>Workflow & Approvals>Flows> New Flow

2. Lookup Task – From the left palette, drag the “Fast Lookup” element onto your canvas (big screen area)

  • Name: Lookup Event
  • Unique Name: Autopopulates
  • Lookup: Task
  • Criteria: Field = Id, Operator = equals, Value = vaTaskId

The value vaTaskId is a new variable you will create to match up the task in question to work with this flow. We will later use it to reference the task in process builder.

  • Variable: sovTask

This time, you are creating an sObject Variable to store the results of the lookup. This is basically a representation of your task, in memory, which you can later reference for the email.

  • Fields: Select the fields that you would like to hold and later reference.
  • Click Ok

3. Lookup Contact – From the left palette, drag the “Fast Lookup” element onto your canvas (big screen area)

  • Name: Lookup Contact
  • Unique Name: Autopopulates
  • Lookup: Contact
  • Criteria: Field = Id, Operator = equals, Value = {!sovTask.WhoId}

Because we have “saved” the task, we can now refer to it’s field and match up the correct contact associated with that task.

  • Fields: Select the fields that you would like to hold and later reference (e.g. FirstName, LastName)
  • Click OK

**Option to have a lookup step to grab the task owner/assigned to info and use that to send the email. For now, we’ll skip it and just assign the email manually.**

4. Send email –  From the left palette, drag the “Send email” element onto your canvas (big screen area)

  • Name: Send Reminder Email
  • Unique Name: Autopopulates

For the body and subject, we will create text templates using variables from the task we previously referenced and held.

  • Add row > Select Email Addresses (comma-separated), and enter the email of the desired recipient (or reference the email of the owner if you have referenced it earlier)
  •  Click OK

5. Connect the screens– Going in order of the screens, click on the little node on the bottom and drag it to the next element. Then go to the first screen (fast task lookup) and click on the little green icon to set it as the first step.

6. Save – Save your flow and give it a name! Ensure that the type is set to auto-launched. Press OK. Close and then activate your flow

There! We have created the flow to send an email reminder….now we need to launch the flow!

7. Open Process Builder – Go to Setup>Create>Workflow & Approvals>Process Builder> New

  • Name: Activate Task Reminder
  • Api Name: Autopopulates
  • Click Save

8. Select the Task object – Click on the rectangle “Add Object” and select task in the right panel.

  • Save

9. Add Criteria – Click on the add criteria Shape. In my example, we want it to fire when the reminder field is checked off.

  • Name: Task Criteria
  • Criteria: Conditions are met
  • Conditions: field = reminder set, operator = equals, type = boolean, value = True
  • Save

10. Schedule the action – In the scheduled action rectangle, click on set schedule.

  • 1 hours before Reminder date/time
  • Save

11. Add the action – Click on add action (below scheduled actions)

  • Action: Select Flows
  • Action Name: Launch Flow Email
  • Flow: Select the flow you just created
  • Set Flow Variables by clicking add row: variable = vaTaskId, type = reference, value = Activity ID
  • Save

12. Activate your flow

That’s it it takes!

Enjoy the wonderful and magical fruits of your labor.

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* In case you’re wondering why we don’t use Workflow rules, you can’t send email alerts as a workflow action.

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Resources:

http://goravseth.clarify-it.com/d/nhpcx4