Hacking Your Dreamforce ROI

Dreamforce is a big investment, not just in terms of the cost of admission and travel, food, and lodging, but also the time commitment – effectively a week away from the office. Salesforce has a lot of resources for planning your experience, including this great Get Ready section on the Dreamforce website, which points you to blogs, videos and more. Here are my personal tips on how to make that big investment pay off.

Set Your Objectives
Start by listing your objectives: key topics you need to learn about, technologies or apps you want to explore, Salesforce resources you need to know more about, people you want to meet, keynotes and events you want to be a part of (like Marc Benioff's keynote on Monday afternoon, and the concert/party on Tuesday night.)

Do the Research
Spend a couple of hours on the Dreamforce site with the Agenda Builder, filtering sessions by your topics of interest, industry, day/time, level, job responsibility, etc. They have many sorting filters to help make t…

Activities Drive Sales and Insights

With Salesforce rolling out the Winter '18 updates, it's time to revisit a key feature in the Lightning Experience: Activities.

 If you're responsible for sales results, you know that focusing on the results is a rear-view mirror activity; instead, the way to achieve success is to proactively manage all of the activities that drive results. Those sales activities include meetings, calls, tasks, events, emails, and more. It's a lot to keep up with, and even harder to track if you're managing a big team. That's a key reason why you need to be using the Activities functionality in Salesforce.

The Activity Timeline appears on the layout for Opportunities, Leads, Accounts and Contacts, where your reps can see their open tasks, scheduled meetings, and a history of all the associated activities. That drives rep productivity, as these activities show up on their home pages on the calendar, and in Today's Tasks and Today's Events. BTW, integrating Outlook and …

Lightning Path to Sales Success

Salesforce Lightning Experience has a compelling tool called Path, designed for implementing disciplined sales, marketing, and service processes. The Path component is a graphic guide through the process, coaching reps on the key data required at each stage, as well as your custom Guidance for Success.

Conforming every opportunity to a consistent process provides you with better visibility, higher rep productivity, and an opportunity to automate processes that improve the customer experience.

The Path component drops in at the top of the page on Opportunities, Leads, Campaigns, Contracts, Orders, and your own custom objects. Each stage is determined by the picklist you have set for the Stage field, and all of the Key Fields and Guidance for Success info is customizable. Let's walk through the process. For this example, we'll use the Opportunity process and data provided in the Lightning Experience Rollout SuperBadge on Trailhead.

There are five stages in the process: Qualifica…

Salesforce Login Splash

As I was logging into Salesforce today, I got a splash screen message regarding upcoming maintenance. The message was generated by Salesforce, but it occurred to me that we can do the same thing for our users when we need to schedule maintenance. It's actually really easy, using Visual Flows and Login Flows. Here's what it will look like when we're finished.

1. Create the Visual Flow

Go to Setup and type Flows in the quick find, then select Flows on the left, and click the New Flow button. That takes you to the Visual Flow Designer.

Let's set up our icon. Visual Flows doesn't make it easy to just drop in an image, so we have to hack it a little. Select the Resources tab and double-click Constant. We're going to paste in the url for an icon that Salesforce makes available. Give this the Unique Name: Icon, leave Data Type as Text, and paste this into the Value: <img src="/img/msg_icons/warning32.png" />.  Click OK.

On the left side menu, select the…

3 Ways to Increase Your Salesforce ROI

We're all in the same boat: you make the investment in Salesforce, launch and train, and pretty soon things are running smoothly. Your reps get into the routine, you have your reports and dashboards, everybody's happy. Time passes and you fall into a comfortable marriage with Salesforce. Things are working well, your needs are being met, but every now and then, you start to wonder... are we getting the most out of this investment?

The answer is easy: NO. Here's why.

Salesforce is constantly evolving and improving, adding new capabilities that can dramatically affect your results. If you are using Salesforce to do what you set it up to do years ago, you're missing out on every enhancement that has happened since. But don't worry, we can fix that right now. Here are three pieces of low-hanging fruit on the ROI tree.

1. Migrate to Lightning Experience
Lightning Experience is the modern interface for Salesforce that improves user productivity, especially for sales and s…

Yes, It's Time to Migrate to Lightning Experience

A retronym is a new name for something old that becomes necessary for distinction when something new comes along. For hundreds of years, there were guitars, but when Les Paul invented the electric guitar, all the others got the retronym acoustic guitar. So it is with Salesforce: when Salesforce modernized the platform and user interface, they called it Lightning Experience and pronounced the previous interface Salesforce Classic.

Classic implies some kind of noble nostalgia, but the reality is that all of Salesforce's focus and development investment remain focused on the future, and that future is Lightning Experience.
"Figure out what's going to happen and make that your plan."   I don't know who originated that quote, but that's really easy to embrace in this Salesforce context. There's no uncertainty about what is going to happen. Lightning Experience is not just the future, it's the present. So if you haven't migrated from Classic, now is the…

3-Step Security Tuneup

Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, raising awareness about the various tools we can use to maintain security. Unfortunately, many long-time Salesforce customers haven't updated their security protocols and many of their users are logging in with the same password they have used forever on their gmail or social media accounts! Luckily, Salesforce has some great built-in security features that are easy to implement; here are three quick steps you can do today that will help you sleep more securely tonight.

1. User Login Audit Salesforce provides a built-in tool for viewing login history. From Setup search, enter Login History, which takes you to a comprehensive report of all the logins for your org in the last six months. The amount of data can be overwhelming, so click the link to Create New View, and select the fields most important to you. You can also download the report as a CSV file. 
There are a few key fields that aren't in that Login History (for example, La…