How's your week been? Feeling a little stressed and anxious? As I write this, I just got home from a friend's housewarming party, where the typical response to: 'How are you doing?' was 'I'm ok, considering...'
The 'considering' was code for 'I never thought a Trump Presidency would be this bad.'
So keeping in mind this is a professional blog for social change oriented Salesforce folks, I thought I'd take a technology perspective on what technology ties are to the Trump Presidency, if any, and/or what those of us who work in technology or use technology can do when a new policy takes effect, say to defund the Affordable Care Act or ban Muslim refugees, that we do not agree with. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Hold your technology company's leadership accountable: I could not have been more proud to see that Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, attended the women's march in San Francisco on Saturday, January 21, to advocate for equality. Marc is consistently vocal in advocating for equality, which matters because as a business owner his voice resonates loudly in audiences that are conservative and liberal. He also represents thousands of jobs in dozens of countries. The CEO of Uber, by contrast, has come under criticism for joining President Trump's economic advisory group. Work at Twitter? Maybe the next time you're housing a Republican victory party you could tweet your CEO and suggest it be moved to another locale.
2. Get on the Trail! That's right, there are Salesforce Trailhead modules that can help you be an awesome ally for equality! Check out the new Equality Ally Strategies badge and all of the diversity focused badges! Use the knowledge you learn to support and advocate for your colleagues of all backgrounds at all levels of the organization, in addition to encouraging your organization's leadership to take action like you did in tip #1.
3. Use technology to make social change! In addition to using Salesforce itself to organize your data, members, donors, actions, campaigns, and more to change the world, a barrage of new apps and web sites have flooded the market encouraging you to contact your elected officials and take other steps to stay engaged. But what apps can you trust? What apps won't crash? Only time will tell, but please let me know what you're having success with! Two that I have found so far are: Showing Up for Racial Justice (primarily white people organizing for racial justice; has chapter organizations across the country; why not start one at your company?) and The Indivisible Guide (for organizing to get your message through to elected officials, written by former congressional staffers). I've tried several other mobile apps and online petition sites and many have unclear information about who the founders are and what their affiliations are, and most ask for detailed personal information in order to send a canned email to an elected official, which does not seem to be an effective means of persuading an elected official but is a more effective means of gathering personal contact information to send endless emails that the signer may or may not wish to receive.
4. Take care of yourself. Getting enough rest, limiting screen time and news/media exposure to certain hours, doing activities that bring your joy and fulfillment, and staying connected to community/ pets/family are important. You are worth it. The more healthy and sane you are, the better you will be able to reflect that to the world, and the world could use as much health and sanity as you can spare right now.
What ideas do you have? What apps have helped you change the world? What do you see as the role of tech in the new administration? Good luck out there!
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!
So you've decided to get the 10 free donated licenses from salesforce.org for your nonprofit - congratulations! If one of the reasons you're excited about Salesforce is because of the license donation, you're probably interested in how you can keep your costs down and your return on investment high while using this incredibly flexible constituent relationship management software in the cloud. Here are a few tips:
1. Be flexible. This can mean a few things, of course, but the general rule of thumb to remember is to focus more on what you need to accomplish rather than how it needs to be accomplished. In other words, put your needs in the form of "we need to report on how many new donors we have attracted each month" rather than "we need a report in PDF format with a green column showing how many new donors we obtained for each calendar month."
2. Get on the trail! The more you're willing to use learn yourself, using the fantastically free Salesforce Trailhead online learning tool, the better off you will be. Think about it - spending a lot of money per hour to have a consultant do a custom training for your Salesforce administrator or staff is probably not worth it for about 80% of what your staff needs to learn. If your staff can complete certain trails and badges before doing certain customized training with your consultants, you will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars. What's even better, is that this will assure that everyone comes into the custom training your consultant does with the same base level of knowledge. And what's more exciting is that you can track people's progress in Trailhead and make sure that everyone has earned the same badges.
3. Know the true drivers of your timeline. Almost everyone who hires a consultant wants the project done immediately. What is the real reason for your urgency? Do you have an event coming up? Is there a board meeting? The more honest and open you can be with your consultant and of course the more flexible you can be in your date, the better off you will be. The more urgent and desperate you are the more likely you are to pay a pretty penny for expedited services.
4. Be willing to do work yourself. Not only is learning Salesforce an excellent investment for the long run at your organization, you can save thousands by doing some of the data clean up yourself or other tasks that can be extremely expensive if only consultants do them. Ask your Consultants directly what tasks you can take on to lower the total project cost.
5. Dedicate the internal resources. Almost every client I work with has vastly underestimated how much internal capacity a CRM project can take. There's a wide variety of knowledge that only nonprofit staff have and are actually better positioned than the consultant to do - for example, working with the executive team, mapping out certain processes, clarifying internal timelines, and creating the exact field mapping from the legacy system.
There are many more ways to save money working with consultants. One great way to start is to just ask. That said, working with Salesforce is an investment and if you truly have no budget you may want to reconsider your decision until you learn more. How can you learn more? Glad you asked. The Nonprofit CRM Summit has a free session for you on nonprofit system administrators as leaders which you can get right here.
“The Nonprofit Success Pack is like a swiss army knife of social change goodness.” - Missy Longshore, Principal, Longshore Consulting
Have you heard that the NPSP is now the Nonprofit Success Pack? That’s right, the NPSP is stronger than ever as a versatile tool to serve nonprofits and foundations around the world with their CRM, fundraising, volunteer management, analytics, and other data needs!
Whether you’re already on Salesforce’s NPSP or are just getting started, Longshore Consulting recommends these 7 tips to succeed with the NPSP:
Did you miss #AdminHour: Let's Learn Salesforce Charts! on September 8, 2016? Well, fear not, friends, you can catch the full replay right here. Why would you want to do that? Well, because, it turns out, not many people I've surveyed (about 50 folks who are learning Salesforce since May of 2016) have a lot of experience with Salesforce charts. But data visualization can transform your organization. That's right. I said it. Well, actually, Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, author of the amazing book Storytelling with Data, and speaker at the Nonprofit CRM Summit, said it, but she's right. So join us as we get (or rather, got) hands on with this critical skill!
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to let you know that #AdminHour is changing a bit to serve you better. That's right, it turns out it's a bit challenging for us all to get hands on in Salesforce without the ability to get hands on in Salesforce via screen sharing. So for now we're experimenting with a great, fun, highly interactive webinar format where we (presenters) can still appear on camera for that oh-so-personal touch, and you can still interact live via chat. The format is the same: follow along during the hour to enhance your Salesforce skills in your own Salesforce organization - none of that watch and learn, implement later stuff! So please, tell your friends.
As a matter of fact, why don't you join us next time? Details can always be found here. The next #AdminHour: Let's Get Ready for Dreamforce! is Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 5:00pm PT/8:00pm ET, and it will be a fun, interactive way to meet people, get your questions answered, and get tips and suggestions from Dreamforce veterans, locals, and new attendees alike - all are welcome! Register here right now!
As you may have heard, the #DF16 agenda builder (in English: the 2016 Dreamforce session registration tool) goes live on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 (as of this writing the exact time of day has not been announced).
But don't worry! With a few simple tools and strategies you can be ready to take advantage of all that Dreamforce has to offer:
1. Watch the Road to Dreamforce '16 right here. It's live every Tuesday before Dreamforce from 11:00am PT to 11:30am PT, but the recordings are always available. Many people tweet tips using the #RoadtoDF16 hashtag or you can ask your own questions to get them answered.
2. Bookmark sessions in advance so you can narrow down the list of 1,900+ sessions when it's time to register on September 7, 2016.
3. Review this PDF of how the agenda builder works. Special thanks to Heidi Hopkins for posting it!
4. Take a deep breath. Not all the locations, times, and even sessions are posted yet. I try to follow two rules:
a. Hands on Training sessions fill up first, fast, and will be for sale after Dreamforce. That's right, they're recorded, but after Dreamforce in 2015 I was only able to access the recordings by paying a minimum of $99 to access them!
b. Not all sessions are recorded. For nonprofits, there's the Community Cascade day which won't be on the agenda for another week, and my Developer Zone theater sessions were not recorded at Dreamforce 2014 or 2015. Also, roadmap sessions and many others are not recorded for various reasons, so be sure you understand exactly what sessions to attend. Don't know for sure? Ask in the session chatter feed, the all Dreamforce chatter group, or your best option: @ mention the speakers on Twitter so they can confirm (although they may not always know).
5. Advanced tip: Use this **unofficial** agenda builder app (thank you Deepak Anand of Dazeworks!) in a developer org to help you get organized!
What are your best tips and suggestions to keep calm while you're planning your agenda? Let me know in the comments!
Want to learn Salesforce without needing to stress? Looking to learn reports and dashboards, adoption strategies, configuration techniques, and data cleanliness that works for you in a relaxed hands on nonprofit training environment with less than 10 people? Join Longshore Consulting for pre-Dreamforce *in your instance* live, in person training in the Bay Area on October 3, 2016. Here's all you need to know! Note registration closes on Thursday, September 15, 2016!
1. Trailhead will be EVERYWHERE at Dreamforce. Seriously. There will be new trails and quests, opportunities to win swag like a Trailblazer hoodie sweatshirt and Astro dolls of various sizes, and if you've never logged in to Trailhead you'll be farther away from cuddling up to the Cloudy of your dreams. Plus, after this blog post, Trailhead is the best way to prep for Dreamforce (of course!).
2. Every session will be linked to a Trailhead module. This is true. Log in to sessions you plan to attend and you'll soon see a link to the relevant Trailhead trail. Be prepared by earning badges now so you can stay up to date with fast paced sessions!
3. If you're not using Lightning, you'll be confused at Dreamforce. While not every HOT (Hands on Training) will be taught in Lightning, *definitely* be sure to check the description for sessions that are "in Lightning" so you can be prepared. And if TrailheaDX is any indication, all presentations and demos from the main stage and keynotes will be in Lightning. Use Trailhead to get you caught up to speed and comfortable with Lightning if you haven't made the switch over from Classic yet.
4. Avoid on site overwhelm. There's so much that will be happening at Dreamforce, Trailhead is a great way to get mentally caught up before you arrive so you'll have room in your brain to take in the news about all of the exciting new things that are coming up in the Salesforce universe. After all, Salesforce consistently ranks as one of Forbes' most innovative companies in the world. With the announcement of Salesforce Einstein and Salesforce's many recent acquisitions, you never know what Marc Benioff and the team are up to next! Some Trailhead badge suggestions are: http://bit.ly/trailheadbydf16 - then see how you stack up and get to work earning those badges!
Couldn't get in to Dreamforce (yup, it's sold out)? Looking to learn more in a relaxed hands on nonprofit training environment with less than 10 people? Join Longshore Consulting for pre-Dreamforce *in your instance* live, in person training in the Bay Area on October 3, 2016. Here's all you need to know!
Dreamforce is coming! If you're a nonprofit looking to maximize your Dreamforce investment, it's best to plan ahead so you can make sure you'll be able to apply the lessons you'll learn all year. Big changes are coming to #DF16, so let's go over them:
1. The campus will be significantly different. Get to know the new layout of where things are and be sure to plan extra travel time between those Hands On Training sessions in the Hilton, the Salesforce.org Zone (which is farther away this year in the Westin St. Francis Union Square), and sessions on other parts of the campus.
2. Marc Benioff's keynote will be in a much smaller room (Moscone North Hall D, about one half the size of the previous keynote space). That means if you want to be physically in the room (which I highly recommend doing at least once), I suggest lining up at least one hour in advance of the keynote start time (currently scheduled for 1:00pm on Wednesday, October 5, 2016).
3. Trailhead, Trailhead, Trailhead! Trailhead will be the major theme again in the Developer and Admin Zones. I know this isn't a surprise, but remember you can do Trailhead at home for free, so catch up now so you don't feel overwhelmed when you arrive in San Francisco. One great way to get started is the Get Ready for Dreamforce badge here.
4. One expo to rule them all: There's only ONE cloud expo this year. This is great so you don't need to walk between Moscone West and Moscone South, but it may mean you want to plan accordingly to make the most of your visit.
5. The U2 concert is far away! The Cloud Palace, aka the Cow Palace, is not in San Francisco, it's in Daly City and is almost 20 minutes south of San Francisco (driving with no traffic) and is not BART (subway) accessible. While I'm sure there will be shuttles and so forth, be sure you plan accordingly! (The road to DF16 also mentioned that the majority of us will be watching the concert from outside since the venue only seats 12,000 people, so bring many layers of clothing and, as always, extremely comfortable shoes).
6. UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Remember that Moscone is under construction! This means less sessions but the same amount of people (or maybe more people). Be sure you register in advance as soon as agenda builder goes live at the end of August, arrive early to sessions to claim your spot, and plan extra travel time for the larger campus (especially if you're going to nonprofit sessions). I know this is the same advice you hear every year if you're a Dreamforce veteran, but due to this year's construction, fewer sessions, less rooms, and more people, I recommend taking this advice seriously, especially if there's a session you really want to get into on Tuesday or Wednesday (there's a lot more wiggle room on Friday and Thursday after the concert).
Want more? Longshore Consulting is offering a small group (3 to 10 people) Salesforce training for nonprofits and foundations on Monday, October 3, 2016 - the day before Dreamforce, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Included in the session will be a 20 minute review of your Dreamforce agenda. The training will focus on charts and dashboards, data cleanliness, and user adoption. What's unique about Longshore Consulting trainings is that the entire time you will be in your organization's Salesforce instance, immediately applying what you're learning. To indicate your interest, get more information, or ask questions, fill out this form.
Missy (@missylongshore on Twitter and Periscope) writes this blog just for you!