How do you ask Salesforce users for feedback? The topic came up during the most recent #AdminHour, when I mentioned asking for user input could actually be quick and painless. The response: but how?
I also have a few new tech tips to help you conduct your surveys:
So, by popular demand, I'm reprinting this blog post from 2015:
If you’re a busy nonprofit Salesforce administrator, developer, or consultant like me, you may be more comfortable creating new fields and planning what Dreamforce sessions to attend instead of consistently and thoroughly prioritizing user feedback.
But listening to users is at the heart of what we do.
Salesforce is easy to customize to meet the needs of our organizations. In order to do that, we need to know the needs of our colleagues, and actively measure whether we are meeting those needs.
A five question survey that takes less than five minutes to fill out, that you send out about every five months, will give you a great baseline of ‘customer satisfaction’ and allow you to track trends over time.
Here’s my proposal for questions (all are on a 1 to 5 scale, with a 1 being ‘not at all’, 3 being Neutral, and 5 being ‘definitely’):
1. Salesforce makes my job easier.
2. I understand how to use Salesforce to do my job.
3. I log in to Salesforce X times per work week on average to do my job (including accessing contacts). Note: In this case, the 1 to 5 scale is used to indicate how many days per work week the user logs in to Salesforce.
4. I have access to the reports, dashboards, and other data I need in Salesforce to make decisions for my job (or I know how to build my own custom reports).
5. My team uses Salesforce to inform our work and decisions.
BONUS: I know how to access support resources when I have Salesforce questions.
These questions can be asked in a Google Form or your preferred survey format. I have had the most success keeping surveys open for about two weeks (making the deadline clear in all communications) and sending several email reminders to encourage completion.
How do you solicit feedback from staff? How often do you ask for structured or unstructured input? What questions work best for you? Inquiring minds want to know!
First presented as a Lightning Talk (five minutes) at the Bay Area Developers User Group, I hope these resources, tips, technology solutions, and advice will help you prevent and manage any chronic pain you face, particularly RSI (repetitive strain injury) that may be brought upon or increased by computer work, which I have worked with for over 15 years. I welcome your feedback and questions!
So you know you need to move to Salesforce Lightning but you are having a hard time getting off your butt and finding the time. Welcome to my world. Before Longshore Consulting's Lightning Boot Camp starts May 1st (be sure to click the subscribe button on the right to stay tuned for the latest details!), Trailhead is the best way to get started learning Lightning.
Still not super motivated? I hear you. Don't worry, #AdminHour has your back! Join super special awesome guest trailblazer Rita Leverett and I on Thursday, April 20, 2017 *live* at 10am PT/1pm ET for #AdminHour: Lightning Trailhead-athon! Together we'll earn a Lightning Trailhead badge, in real time, encouraging and answering each other's questions as we move down the trail together! It will be fun, free, and interactive - join us!
Feeling motivated and want instant gratification that only points and badges can provide? Fantastic! Let's take a tour of what Trailhead has to offer in the Lightning department. When we first arrive at Trailhead, I like to find and filter modules and trails based on Lightning Experience, which you can do just like this:
For today and for #AdminHour, let's focus on the App Customization module. Why is this Trailhead module so awesome? Because it essentially teaches you how to customize the Salesforce Lightning Experience in about an hour. Let's dig in some more...
Trailhead's App Customization module has five sections. The first is Modify Page Layouts, which is great because for those of us coming from Classic, it's almost exactly the same as what we're used to! So this should take less than the allotted 15 minutes, but the screen shots in Lightning are great for orienting you to where basic items like the edit button and related lists are hiding.
Second we get to Customize Compact Layouts, which is the new for Lightning highlights panel at the top of record pages and is SUPER IMPORTANT because without doing this in your instance you will need to click a lot more (and as of this writing, wait longer), which is bad.
Now we get some action with Customize Actions which are amazing productivity boosters, which is great since everyone will lose some time getting used to where everything is in Lightning when you first make the migration over from Classic. So why not ask your users what they want and deliver? Now I'm not sure if you should make a global action to deliver each user a pizza when they click 'Order Pizza,' but I'll leave that up to you.
The fourth module starts to get a bit funky, but hang on, we can do this! Create Custom Objects and Fields is mostly what you know how to do if you know how to create these things in Classic. Great news, right? Yes and no. On this trail, we're going to take our skills up a notch by creating a custom Visualforce help page for your custom object! I know, I know, it sounds really scary. But thanks to Team Trailhead, it's not! There's code you can cut and paste and update for your use case. Surely a raise can't be far behind if you do this, right???
Finally, we conclude our short badge trek with Create and Customize Lightning Apps. This is handy because switching apps looks different in Lightning, and there are a few standard apps that you will probably want to customize or edit right away before you go live with Lightning. Also if you change the name of your standard app from 'Sales' to 'Our Company's Stuff' it might be more clear to people where to go if they accidentally change apps and need to get back to their standard grouping of objects.
So that's it! What's your favorite Lightning Trailhead Badge? Let me know and it could be the star of a future #AdminHour!
Let's talk about what every nonprofit wants: free tech support! In this video, I'll walk you through the benefits of joining and being active in the Power of Us Hub. If you're not logging in on a regular basis to take advantage of the ability to get your questions answered, you're missing out! Watch the video and check out these links that I mention in the video:
Are you hesitant about moving to the Salesforce Lightning Experience? Me too. I've been using the current Salesforce user interface (UI) for years, and the nonprofit clients I work with here at Longshore Consulting just need a functional, affordable CRM. A lot of the bells and whistles offered by Salesforce Lightning seem great but two questions remain:
1. When will I have the time to make the switch to Lightning?
2. How do I do my job in Lightning?
In other words, I know I need to make the switch to Lightning, and I don't want to fall behind, but my main goal is social change (and fundraising, programs management, civic engagement, etc.), not running the world's greatest database (although of course I love Salesforce). Sound familiar?
To help your journey to Lightning (which, it's true, will basically be inevitable at some point*), I've curated these resources to help you out - please feel free to contribute more in the comments so I can update this post!
*While technically Salesforce will not retire Salesforce Classic (sometimes referred to as the Aloha UI), all webinars and demos you see from Salesforce, for example at Dreamforce, and all documentation, are quickly being moved to Lightning. Even more important is that no new features are being developed for Salesforce Classic (or at least, the bare minimum of features/improvements are being made to classic). Salesforce wants to do as much as possible to entice everyone to make the switch to Lightning.
1. Review this handy list of Lightning vs. Classic Features. It will super quickly allow you to see what's available and what's not in some areas you may have heard conflicting information about, like reports (and of course keep in mind more functionality is added each release). So as you can see, if you're ride or die with pie charts, you may need to wait or just plan on switching into classic to use those (but P.S. you shouldn't be using pie charts anyways - read 'death to pie charts'). While you're on this page, be sure to Preview Your Org in Lightning Experience and run the Lightning Experience Readiness Check - two great tools that take no time at all!
TIME REQUIRED: 5-10 minutes to review the list, 30 minutes to preview your org, 1 minute to run the readiness check (then 5-30 minutes to review the report).
2. The Lightning Roadmap: That's right, Salesforce has actually posted on the Internet when they're doing what with Lightning, so you can know when you really need to make the switch and can plan accordingly. A few that stand out to me as coming in the 'future', meaning beyond Summer '17, that may be important to nonprofits, include:
- Lists - Mass Inline Edit
- Reports - Search within Folders
- Reports - Printable View
- Dashboards - Scheduling
Just remember, you can always switch back to Classic at anytime to access these features!
TIME REQUIRED: ~10 minutes to review the roadmap
3. Understand what changes you would need to make for the NPSP to work. AKA 'known limitations,' some things will function differently in Lightning if you use the Nonprofit Success Pack and it's important you review the link to see what changes you might need to make so you can continue to be awesome (and do things like create Donation records as easily as possible).
TIME REQUIRED: ~15 minutes to review the list; ~2 hours to make the changes depending on your skill level (instructions are provided).
4. Trailhead Don't get overwhelmed that this trail has 7 badges. You can pick and choose individual units as you need them and remember to use Trailhead to train your end users, too!
TIME REQUIRED: I recommend ~15 minutes a day in the two weeks before you go live with Lightning.
TIME SAVED: All the hours you would have spent writing training materials to train your staff on Lightning!
5. Lightning Resource Inception: There's a lot to learn about Lightning, so it's a good idea to benchmark this post and other resources that you find most helpful. Here are some fantastic resources you'll want to come back to again and again:
- The Salesforce.org Webinar: Migrate to the Lightning Experience
- Healthy Org: Migrate to Lightning Experience
Of course, I most want to know what *you* think of Lightning and all of Salesforce. Longshore Consulting's second annual Nonprofits who Salesforce survey is happening right now, and if you take five minutes to fill it out you will be entered to win over $600 in prizes! Thanks!
One of the most popular blog posts in the Longshore Consulting blog archives is this article, "5 Tips on How to Use Salesforce Sandboxes for Nonprofits" (re-posted below). While it's still a great article, a few things have changed since I first wrote it two years ago, so I thought I'd republish it here to make it easier to find on this site and to offer some new tips and resources.
Here are four additional big improvements and tips to help you use sandboxes with ease:
1. Nonprofits now get a free Partial Sandbox! This is an amazing way to include some data in your sandbox so you don't have to type a bunch of test records. Not sure how to do this? Check out this #AdminHour, starting at 23 minutes in, where I walk you through how to set one up (there's also a ton of great tips about how to test whether your nonprofit is ready to switch to Lightning in that webinar recording, by the way).
2. You can now learn more about Sandboxes with Trailhead! Get tons more Sandbox details and earn some awesome points, and be sure to check out the extensive list of resources to learn more, on this unit of the Application Lifecycle Management trail.
3. There's now an Apex class screen that comes up when you're creating a sandbox that's a little confusing: just ignore it and click 'Create.'
4. Sandbox access: if you have a user who can't access the sandbox, you'll typically need to go in and: a. change their email to their actual email address, b. have the user click through on the email getting them to verify the change to their email address (and on the subsequent screen have them log in with their sandbox username, i.e. being sure to append '.sandboxname' to their email address), c. confirm with the user they're now able to log in to the sandbox, and if not send them a password reset (from within the sandbox setup screen), and d. tell the user to set their sandbox password to the same as their production password for ease of use. Ideally, before generating the sandbox, you should make sure all users are created in production to have as few issues as possible with sandbox logins. Also be sure to have people login to the sandbox the day *before* your staff training so you don't have to spend precious group time troubleshooting login issues.
Good luck on your sandbox journey! For ongoing tips and Salesforce support in an interactive format, be sure to sign up for #AdminHour, which is free the first and third Thursday of every month at 10am PT/1pm ET. Hope to see you there!
5 Tips on How to Use Salesforce Sandboxes for Nonprofits
Salesforce Sandboxes are super fun and helpful places to test out changes to your Salesforce system before you put those changes in place in your live production environment. But when and why should you use them? What do you do with them if they’re blank? When should you refresh your sandboxes? Here are five tips to help you use them without fear: 1. Don’t be afraid – they’re meant to be played in! Just click: Setup –> type ‘Sandboxes’ in the Quick Find –> click ‘Sandboxes’ –> click ‘New Sandbox.’ You’ll likely have Developer and Developer Pro sandboxes available (assuming you’re a nonprofit). Type in an easy name to append to your Salesforce user name, like ‘test.’ Remember when you log in to go to https://test.salesforce.com/. To log in, use: firstname.lastname@example.org and your regular password. 2. Discuss before refreshing. When you refresh a sandbox, you push a new copy of your production environment’s metadata into the sandbox, completely writing over everything that’s in the sandbox already. In English, that means if you added a new field in your Salesforce instance called ‘My New Field’, then refreshed the sandbox, you would now see that field in the sandbox (but not the records or values you had entered into that field). If you have more than one Salesforce administrator at your organization (like most nonprofits), be sure to communicate clearly before you refresh the sandbox. Otherwise, if you refresh it without asking, you could erase the workflow rules, applications, or code another team member is testing out in the sandbox. 3. Use one sandbox as a documentation resource – after all, nonprofits get 7 free sandboxes! Just be clear in the sandbox description field. For example, one sandbox could be named ‘backup’ and the Description could read, ‘Backup of our organization’s Salesforce instance as of February 2015, before we upgraded to the Nonprofit Starter Pack v 3.0, in case we want to refer to any of the configuration before upgrade.’ Note it’s a good idea to log in to your backup sandbox at least once to check all your metadata (configuration) is there before you perform any major changes in production. 4. Know what can and can’t be moved into production. Apps from the app exchange, for example, can’t be moved, but it’s still a really great idea to test them in the Sandbox to see if they’re a good choice for your organization. The full list of what can be moved using a change set can be found here. 5. Quickly create test data if your sandbox is empty. Unless you pay for a partial or full sandbox, your sandbox will not have any records, so be sure to quickly enter a few test records when you login for the first time after creating or refreshing your sandbox. Remember to start with Organizations, then add a Contact, and then add a record to the new custom object you just created if needed (e.g. lookup relationships). This part can be frustrating because each time you refresh the sandbox you’ll need to start over and create these test records again. To make it easier, I keep a few test names on hand (think ‘Kermit de Frog’ and ‘Test Testerson’) and only fill in the required fields. Have any other tips or suggestions? Leave them in the comments!
If these cats are the closest you've come to seeing Salesforce Service Cloud in action, don't worry! #AdminHour is here to show you the basic concepts of the Service Cloud, give you resources to learn more, and encourage you to get paws-on with this fascinating part of Salesforce that's right under your whiskers.
Of course, one of your best resources for learning and getting hands on with the Service Cloud is Trailhead, where you can check out the entire Service Cloud Trail.
Two other things that may surprise you:
1. Many elements of the Service Cloud, like Cases, are free!
2. Many nonprofits can use the full Service Cloud for free!
For more information, check out #AdminHour, explore Trailhead, check under 'Company Information' in setup to see what licenses you have, or check with your Account Executive. You can also comment here and I'll do my best to help!
Want to keep learning more about Salesforce? #AdminHour is fun, free, and interactive the first and third Thursday of every month at 10amPT/1pm ET. Upcoming topics include Salesforce consulting and the Spring 2017 release. Learn more, register, and catch replays right here.
A lot of nonprofits I talk with are absolutely terrified of data migration and data importing. I was at first too when I first started using Salesforce. It's understandable - it feels permanent and like a big project! But with all of the available tools, resources, and support available to you (none of which were around when I started out, I might add, when we had to walk to school uphill both ways), you can totally do this. Just remember to practice in the sandbox and take it one step at a time. With that in mind here are a few additional tips:
1. Clean your data! If you're taking the time to move your data from one place to another, you certainly want it to look sparkling fresh so people will use it, right? Here are some tips:
2. Format your data! Again, watch this video for tons of tips to help make this easy (hint: filters in Excel really help with this!). You'd be surprised how many phone numbers, email addresses, states, etc. need to be cleaned up. Make sure your data will match the data standards and validation rules that you've established - for example, where do you put extensions for phone numbers? Are you using state abbreviations? What about US vs. USA for country?
3. Map your data! I like to keep this simple by using an Excel or Google spreadsheet where the top row has my legacy database field names and the bottom row has my new Salesforce field names (the goal is to have a 1:1 relationship between your legacy fields and new fields in Salesforce, assuming you're importing all of the old data). Then I use the data validation feature in Excel to restrict my data input to just the correct Salesforce values as appropriate (i.e., the right picklist values). I put all of the data to be imported into this spreadsheet in the appropriate Salesforce format for each field.
4. Figure out the import order of your data. Should you put in your Accounts first, by themselves?When in doubt, ask! Note you may need to split up your spreadsheet from step 3 into multiple objects, and confirm that you have at least the required fields from each object included. This step is heavily dependent on which tool you're using, so my advice is to draft a plan and then confirm that plan in the Power of Us Hub. It's typical to start with Accounts (Organizations), then add Contacts, then Opportunities (Donations), but this is different if you're using the Nonprofit Success Pack (see resources below). Some tools can also handle importing to multiple objects at a time, which is great and can save you a lot of stress! The Salesforce Importing Data Quick Start should be able to help, but does not address the NPSP. Don't worry, you can do it!
5. Again, practice in a sandbox! A Salesforce sandbox exists so you can test something before you do it in a more permanent way in production. Data migrations involving multiple objects can be tricky to undo, and you're given about 30 free sandboxes, so test out your skills before you move forward and ***be sure to check your work*** before and after you put it into production.
What's your experience with Salesforce data migration and importing? Favorite tools? Let me know and be sure to come to #AdminHour the first and third Thursday of ever month at 10am PT/1pm ET to continue to build your Salesforce skills in a fun and interactive way!
If you'll be importing into the Nonprofit Success Pack, be sure to watch this webinar and check out this page.
When my friend Pierre told me he had three Salesforce certifications, I was shocked. I thought there was no possible way I could ever accomplish such a feat. Well, it's been a few years, but here I am with three Salesforce certifications (Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant, and Salesforce Developer), studying for my fourth! I can't believe it. And I *hate* multiple choice tests with a passion. So here are some hints and resources to help you along the way. The most important thing I can say is: you can do it!
Tip 1: Use Salesforce materials! Salesforce creates the certification exams, so be sure to use Salesforce materials when you study. Your first stop should be the Salesforce certification website, where the first thing you should download and use for organizing your studying is the exam guide for the certification you're going after (e.g., the Salesforce Certified Administrator Exam Guide). If you're on a budget, Salesforce Help & Training and the various implementation guides Salesforce produces are your best bet - simply take the topics in the study guide, google them, then practice, understand, and memorize the definitions and concepts from Salesforce's own documentation.
Tip 2: Join a study group *and* get a study buddy. There are several free study groups forming regularly in the Success Community and Power of Us Hub, or you can always form your own. Keep in mind, though, that the exams are difficult and you'll need to spend many hours outside of the study group studying. I highly recommend finding a one on one study buddy to keep you on track and to divide and conquer some of the research and sifting through all of the various subject areas on each exam. It's also great to quiz each other and clarify concepts. You can post in a group like Girlforce that you want a study partner, or ask at your local user group meeting.
Tip 3: Does your Salesforce organization have Premier or Premier Success? Are you sure? Take a quick second to double check because online, on-demand certification prep courses are included with these support plans. Otherwise, it's worth asking your organization to send you to a Salesforce University live or live online class, or at the very least pay for your exam fees. If you're paying out of pocket, consider the reduced cost exam fees surrounding Dreamforce.
Tip 4: Use free technology and apps! While Salesforce Trailhead is not designed to help you get certified, it can certainly introduce you to the concepts on certification exams and get you hands on in applying them in a free developer org (or Trailhead playground). The most useful aspect of Trailhead when studying for certification is probably the 'Resources' section at the end of each section, since it has a ton of handy links to Salesforce documentation.
Using flashcard apps like Quizlet can also be great, as long as you make and study your own flashcards to ensure accuracy.
Want more tips? Be sure to attend or catch the replay of #AdminHour: Let's Talk Salesforce Certifications, which you can register for right here.
I often encourage the nonprofits I work with to avoid using multi-select picklists, and I always get the same question back: Why? Here are a two of my many reasons why I personally advise against using multi-select picklists whenever possible, why do you use or not use them?
1. They are really difficult to work with in formulas. Example: I wanted to use values from a multi-select picklist field as part of a naming convention for cases. There's not an easy way to do this. In fact, Salesforce help points out there are very few formulas where multi-select picklists can be used. Here they are:
2. They are hard to work with in reporting. Example: I wanted to use race as a multi-select picklist field to allow people to self identify in whatever way they choose. This is great, until I realized that to accurately capture people and that myriad ways to self-identify, I'd have to create a report for each picklist value (e.g., African American, Asian, Latinx, etc.) and then people would be double counted across the reports (e.g., someone who multi-selected African American and Latinx). I would then also need to create reports with all of the possible permutations or report on each person individually to allow for their full individual expression. Instead, I opted to use checkboxes which make reporting much more clear. Also, to be clear, to be able to report on one option in a multi-select picklist requires a super annoying workaround! Ugh! Read how to do that here. How this makes me feel:
So, what are your thoughts? Are there times when you don't need to report on multi-select picklists so you just use them anyways? Are there times when you've used one only to realize later you would have preferred checkboxes? Let me know!
Missy (@missylongshore on Twitter and Periscope) writes this blog just for you!